Spring time…

Beautiful park scene in town, 18 April 2017

Dear friends

It’s most definitely spring and despite a chilly breeze – we’re on the coast – we’ve had some glorious sunshine the whole week and I’m feeling guilty that I haven’t done a good spring clean.  

Last year’s spring clean didn’t really happen and I resolved to make sure I took time off this year when everyone else is at school or work to take care of the house.  Though I’ve took days off in March they were spent doing my second job (reviewing student work experience log books) and only one day I managed to do some work in the garden.

But in the last few days… (the Easter weekend) … we’ve assembled two chests of drawers (to replace the one big one that we’ve had since not long after we married), stripped our sons’ bedroom of wallpaper (that’s been pending since the ceiling was filled in about 6 months ago), and I got my hair done (pick & drop, curly lion mane style – I’ll try taking a selfish and show you) and Friday opticians, I have permission from Daur1 to spend money on myself and get new spectacles, you deserve it she beamed having recently purchased a Chromebook for herself… even though I keep giving her bus fare to get to work because she never has change!!

Anyhow, it is a wonderful time of year! Sunshine yesterday, rained at night, sunshine today.  I took some tree photos and spotted a Norway Maple – I know this tree now because on my latest project the tree officer is objecting to a grade B1 Norway Maple being felled to make way for our development.  So we’re going to work on keeping it… 

Norway Maple – distinct red and cream colour during Spring

Anyhow, I’m rambling!!  Easter weekend was great – though I had an awful piano lesson (too little practice) and my teacher said my cuckoo sounded like it was on drugs – and as I tried to sit peacefully in sacrament meeting on Sunday, to focus on the speakers, the atonement of Christ, His love for us, my love for Him, I couldn’t help thinking which way would an intercontinental nuclear missile be launched from North Korea, east or west? And where would that be intercepted? Where would the fallout be if it exploded in the atmosphere? Over Africa? Over the Pacific? Would we, here in the UK, see pink skies?… troubling times.

And at the moment the BBC news app replaces North Korea and Trump headlines for some UK news on the royal family (Prince Harry coping, or not, with the loss of his mother at age 12 and the reality of mental health), it hits us.  We’re going to have a General Election in less than 2 months (7 weeks and 1 day from when I’m writing this).  

The media is going to be full of it!! But I suspect the electorate are full of apathy. 2014 Scottish independence referendum (phew, we’re all together); 2015 general election (conservative clear win, not a surprise), 2016 EU referendum – WHAT!? I’m still to openly meet more than one person that owns up to voting leave but, I’m told, they are there! Oh, and a new PM; (And 2016 US presidential election, which, although it’s own another country, let’s face it, the whole world got involved! WHAT!?…); 2017 Brexit notice really served – farewell to EU legislation et al 😦 

And now, bring it on, 2017 UK General Election!  Son1’s first opportunity to vote, a cohort unable to vote in the EU referendum and hugely affected by the outcome, gets to vote in a snap general election.  However, the context has changed: Article 50 notice has been served, the UK will leave the European Union; EU residents are openly made to feel unwelcome – sad but true in many places; and there will be changes to immigration laws, something which could have happened without leaving the EU but….  I suspect that whoever chants UK First the loudest will win.  

It’s Spring, Jesus did rise from the dead and is alive today, and one day will come back, meanwhile let the games begin… again.

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spring is back!

Dear friends
This weekend is Easter #Hallelujah and the clocks spring forward so we are heading into long, long evenings.  We have virtually 7 months of British Summer Time… it’s almost ridiculous to me that Greenwich Meridian is based in the UK, given most of the year we spend in BST!  Anyway, spring it is – grog spawn has been seen in ponds, daffodils are blooming everywhere, pumps are replacing boots, and Son2 left (abandoned!) his jumper at school!  We’ve had the school Easter concert – a great, stirring rendition of Bring him home from Les Miserables by the school concert band (not featuring Daur1 on flute who has been committed to revision sessions) and the Glee (interesting!) version of Homeward bound by the student led A Capella choir, featuring Daur2 singing alto. 
And today is my last full day in the office until early April – I have to go in next week to get a new, long awaited, laptop, but that will be the morning only.  And I think tomorrow we have a cinema trip planned – Batman vs Superman and Kung Fu Panda 3!  And I really must do some Christmas preparations!!  🙂

a quick hello…

Dear friends,
I’m at the bus stop – having missed two since I stopped to get a newspaper & there’s been two ‘not in service’.  It’s a grey and very windy morning and I have a runny nose – no sore throat – does that mean it’s viral?  But life is great! 🙂 
I heard of a spontaneous rescue at the waterfront – a passerby jumped in the water to save the last crew member trapped in an air pocket of a sinking tug boat.  The tug sank; both men are safe. We need to be there to help others.
And it’s Easter week – I’ve never understood why this isn’t a bigger deal than Christmas since it is what makes all the difference.  Being born is one thing and, yes, that made a difference (especially to a certain group of believers – see 3 Nephi chapter 1); but successfully completing your mission which rescues all mankind from death, for ever… That is important!! That can make a huge difference!! #BecauseHeLives
Bus!! Have a great day. 🙂

Mary of Magdala remembers

Dear friends, today was an Easter presentation in sacrament meeting due to next week being fast and testimony meeting and Easter Sunday it’s General Conference (yeah!). I was given an assignment to speak on the resurrection of Jesus,  specifically when Mary Magdalene saw him and when He met Cleopas on the road to Emmaus.  I’ve decided to share my talk with you. I hope you enjoy and feel inspired. #BecauseHeLives and see Easter week inspiration at mormon.org/easter

The prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson stated:

The greatest events of history are those that affect the greatest number of people for the longest periods. By this standard, no event could be more important to individuals or nations than the resurrection of the Master.

I remember that day,  when the Master was resurrected, it made all the difference and we, His disciples, were glad.

I remember how the Sabbath after that Passover we were all so low in heart. We didn’t think it would end just like that – our Master, our Teacher, Jesus, betrayed by a friend, a so-called trial, whipped and then hung, nailed,on a cross, next to criminals. All He did was to love His people, love us,love our Father, His Father.

I remember how we knew He was the Anointed One, the Messiah, sent to redeem Israel,  sent to save us. He had in many ways already redeemed us – He had forgiven us, healed us, loved us, shown us the way to live and to love. Maybe some of us were expecting more – redemption from the Romans. So, for it all to end with His death,  just a few days after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem,  well, it was a shock.  A great shock!  So that Sabbath we were all very low.

I remember how a few of us women decided to go to the tomb and dress His body – it was all such a rush after the crucifixion. We planned to go early in the morning ‘when it was yet dark’ (John 20 v 1) – we thought the Roman soldiers, who were placed as guards, would be more likely to unseal the tomb for a small group of women.

I remember how as we approached, mournfully with the spices prepared, we saw no soldiers, no guards, and the tomb was no longer sealed – the large stone lay discarded to one side of the tomb opening.

I remember that two men were there; where we expected to find Jesus’ body, nothing, Jesus was not there, only neatly folded linen clothes. The men asked us, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen…” (Luke 24 vv5-6). Our hearts were touched – I can’t explain how; I was sad, confused, angry but felt something exciting too. We were told to not fear but to “go quickly” and tell his disciples (Matthew 28 v 7). Mary, Jesus’ mother, seemed to sense that these were messengers from God so we did as they told us and went to tell His Apostles, returning with Peter and John. They also seemed to not fully understand and eventually I alone remained, outside the tomb, my confusion and tears my only comfort.

I remember someone asked me, “Why weepest thou?” Without really looking round, so I thought it was the gardener, and I asked, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” (John 20 v 15)

Then, I remember, He spoke my name, “Mary.”  And instantly I knew, Jesus, and I turned.

I remember how my heart, my whole body surged with joy, with burning. “Rabboni; which is to say ‘Master,'” (John 20 v 16) I cried and I went to embrace Him, for with my own eyes I could see He was not a spirit; No!, He was real, He was flesh and I could touch Him. But He stopped me saying, “I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren” (John 20 v 17).

I remember how I didn’t want to take my eyes off Him, but I had to – to be obedient – and as I quickly went I realised iit’s OK, He’s always going to be here, He was alive again, never to be killed again; truly He is the Son of God.

And I remember how I was filled with hope more than I could ever imagine; hope, that I could not only be a better person, I was filled with the hope that I, you, we would live again, that death is not the end of life; that truly we all can literally live with our Father in Heaven again.

I remember how later that day, we heard of how Jesus walked and talked with two of the brethren as they travelled to Emmaus – but they did not recognise Him at first. Their hearts burned as He discussed and explained scripture with them concerning our Lord, even right from Moses. It was only as they all sat to eat and He broke bread that they recognised Him as Jesus, and then He was gone.

I remember the love I have for Jesus and how, knowing what I know, I do not want to let Him down. I want to do my part by living and sharing Jesus’ great message.

I remember how I walked with Jesus when He was a man, how I shed tears of sorrow when He died, and how my heart almost burst when I beheld Him as my God, to never die again.

The prophet, President David O. McKay said, “I think that there are many in this congregation … who have had their hearts ‘burn within them’ and I hope as their hearts have burned within them, that they realised the message that went into their hearts.  I hope they have an inkling, at least, of the divine truth that they are sons [and daughters] of God, and that that burning within them was just a touch of harmony between them and the infinite, the Spirit of God which will enlighten our minds, quicken our understandings and bring all things to our remembrance.”