Thursday, 24 February 2011


It took several months in the planning and much excitement as the daughters of very old (time - not too much age!) and dear friends of mine, arranged a surprise 'party' for their parents' Ruby (40 years) Wedding Anniversary.
There was to be a church service with tea and cakes afterwards with everyone from the church invited - he is the church secretary and she heads up the pastoral team. And although his address was deleted from the email, hers wasn't - so they knew that something was happening.
What they didn't know when they arrived at the church, decorated with red balloons, was that their two bridesmaids and best man would be in the congregation, all wearing something red. 
Old photographs had been obtained from Aunts and Uncles and I found one of us all at the Young People's Fellowship Easter Retreat back in 1965, which was duly scanned and shown to all. Photos included her as a fairy aged about eight, as a new parents, and with a very fashionable eighties perm - yuk!
We sang 'Now thank we all our God' which was sung at their wedding, and because he complained that they never sang what he thought was the most applicable hymn way back then, this time we did sing 'Fight the fight'! He has a very cheeky sense of humour!
So although they knew something had been arranged at the church in the afternoon, they were totally unaware of a planned meal out at one of their favourite restaurants with about thirty of their friends in the evening.
I added a day to my stay and was able to enjoy a morning with my friend of 48 years and it was just like being teenagers again!
May they have many more happy years together. 

Friday, 18 February 2011

way back when...

I was a young housewife and cheese cost three shillings a pound - yes 15p! And my weekly shop cost me five pounds for the two of us, I quickly discovered that the products I saw advertised cost a lot more than those which were not and deduced that I was paying for the advertising as well as the product. So I have never bought the washing up liquid that would make my hands as soft as my face, especially as I have to wear rubber gloves anyway!
And now I see that we are soon to have 'product placing' in our television shows as well as in the breaks. As many of the programs I like are broadcast after I start to get ready for bed, most of the programs I watch are recorded and so I can fast forward the adverts. And it is because of people like me, who don't watch the adverts, that have forced the advertisers to fight for product placement. So I apologise to the 'powers that be' for not watching the adverts but I am so cynical I wouldn't buy the product anyway!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


Following on from my last post, my exciting news is that Mandie's boyfriend of the last nine years proposed to her last Saturday, complete with ring! 
This was not exactly new news as they had both talked to me about getting married at sometime in the future and as they both came from what is referred to as broken homes, they wanted to both feel stable before they signed on the dotted line. And for Mandie, that meant tracing her biological mother.
As my business before going to Spurgeon's college was making wedding dresses, Mandie grew up surrounded by silk, satin, tulle (fine net) and lots of twinkly beads, and at thirty she has waited a long time for her dream dress!
Well that is my news but I'm going to write more about Mandie, so if you wish to know about the trials and tribulations of adoption - read on.

Back in the 1960s, the hot topic was the population explosion, like climate control is today. So before we married we agreed that we would have two children to replace ourselves and then foster and adopt as the fancy took us. Having had two boys, I was still feeling broody and so I fostered new born babies until they were adopted and we also fostered a toddler. As the boys were growing up we wanted to permanently expand our family and so we looked to adopt. By then I had lost the broody feeling so we were quite happy to have an older child but I did want a girl. The boys were ten and nine when Mandie, aged two, came to live with us. It had taken us two years to go through the adoptive process, with lots of interviews and police checks.
As I was often seen around town with different babies, wheeling Mandie around was not unusual but as folk asked about her, I explained that Mandie was adopted, so she grew up with that knowledge.
Her brothers were very good with her and even as teenagers they allowed her into their rooms when their friends were around. When one friend told her that she didn't look like either of her brothers she very proudly told them, "Well of course not, I'm adopted!"

But I found her extremely difficult. Looking back with that wonderful gift of hindsight and a counselling training, I think that she was trying to see how naughty she had to be before this mother would give her away. In recent years we have discussed this and she agrees!
I felt that I had to give Mandie firm boundaries but I just became the bad cop while her Dad became the good cop. And eventually, the gulf between my husband and I became so wide that we separated. Circumstances meant that I did leave her and she stayed with her Dad. But she would often visit me and we started to be able to enjoy each other's company. 
From very few GCSEs she has worked her way from being a shop assistant to being an assistant manager in a high street bank and has even been head-hunted within the bank to work at one of their large flagship branches.
Back in her early twenties she started to investigate her background, especially as she was haunted by the knowledge that she had a younger half-brother, but she realized that she wasn't ready. But eighteen months ago she started the journey again and has now met up with her natural mother, the half-brother she knew about and two others. She was welcomed by them all as all the brothers knew that they had an older sister, her Mum had baby photos of them all. Being welcomed by your natural family is very unusual, but Mandie was nearly two when she was given for adoption and I always wondered if at a later date her natural mother regretted it.
Life is full of 'what ifs'!
Mandie's family has grown as she now has two Mums, two adoptive brothers and three half-brothers but still only one Dad as she has no urge to find her biological father.
Mandie and I are now firm friends which is wonderful after all that we have been through, for which I can only give the Lord thanks.

Monday, 14 February 2011

it's all happening

They say that things come in threes but I'm not so sure as so many exciting things have happened in the last week.
I went to my first minister's conference which I thoroughly enjoyed as it was a perfect balance to my time at college the previous week. As with most conferences, it is the time in between sessions, during coffee breaks and over meals, that excellent conversations are had and new friendships made. And I love it when within just a few minutes of talking we find that we have mutual friends within the Baptist Church.
For those of you who read my blog but are not on facebook - facebook suggests that you might like to be friends with someone because you have mutual friends. And someone approached me because they liked my description of my religion - 'radical contemplative'. Neither of us recognised each other's name or photo, as they didn't have one and I have Olive Oyl from the Popeye cartoons! But we had met several years ago and have now become firm facebook friends.
I will save my most exciting news for another post, but for now its back to the ironing for me as my head buzzes with the excitement that new friends and conversations bring. 

Friday, 4 February 2011

stretched, stimulated and stuffed

I'm at college having stayed here overnight, following yesterday's conference on 'Is Universalism an Evangelical Option?' and before my regular 1st Friday in the month course today.
At breakfast, as one of the speakers from yesterday was at the table, I commented how my brain was stretched yesterday and that I was looking forward to it being stimulated and filled today. He commented that it would make a good three point sermon - hence the title of this post!
On telling friends about the day on Universalism, I was asked what it was. And as I have got to an age where I am quite happy to know that I can't know everything, I said I would let them know after the conference. As there were at least two other Baptist bloggers there, as well as the main speaker (look at 'theological scribbles') you may be better off reading their blogs! But the gist of it is that - in the light of thought that all things will be redeemed through Christ - might some be saved the other side of death?
There were four speakers, Robin, who has been exploring this issue for several years, another who spoke against and two others who added to the discussion in the afternoon. 
I leant towards the main speaker, not because of what he said but because he was searching and questioning with an open mind. And although others thought that Universalism didn't fit with scripture passages, I believe that it can be very helpful in situations where there is one believer in a partnership, who can hold onto the hope that there will still be a chance for their loved one to be saved on the other side of death.
Having been stretched yesterday, I have no idea what we will be looking at today, but on past experience I know I will be stimulated and stuffed with ideas from my fellow students as well as the tutor.