Sunday, March 9, 2014

Among the Stars

Here is the last page of "Among the Stars". It is being published this week, in a limited run. All credit goes to Anya Kotzuba, the gifted illustrator.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Does serendipity come in threes?

Friday was a good day.
This was the first good day in a long line of tired, dejected, depressed days.
Friday was good, all day.

First, there were the truckers.
I was listening for the sound of the courier's van, but heard instead the loud diesel of a large truck. It was an articulated brick-lorry, and the driver was lost. After much puzzling, using my cell phone's map and their printed one, we found the right place. Then followed the discussion of how to get THERE from HERE. Eventually, they drove off. (The courier never arrived, but no matter.)

Next came a meeting with an acquaintance. I could have avoided this, as the man in question is partially-sighted. I could have chosen to sit near him, but not struck up a conversation. Instead, I chose (heeded the prompt) to say hello; and we ended up praying together about a job interview he was to have in an hour's time.

The bell rang, and we went off to meet our respective sons from school. Thus, close on the heels of the man and his seeing-eye dog came Alexander and his "ice-cream" day. He had had a week and more of struggling with unhappiness at going to school each day. This morning had been better; and now he came out of school to say it had been a good day, like ice-cream.
And then, some time later - and I know this is number four - came the dressing gown. As we exited one shop, we passed another, and on the sale-rack outside were hanging some ladies' dressing-gowns. I exclaimed, we looked - and another passer-by stopped too, drawn by our interest. She was delighted at the find; and we were delighted in her delight.

Serendipity comes in threes, or fours, or as many times as you care to recognize it. And yes, I firmly believe it comes from God.

This amazing tree grows its fruit right on its trunk. It is some kind of wild fig in appearance, about the same size, and much loved by the ants!

Retracing my steps

Where WAS that flower? If I could only find it, things would be ok. When I bent down to look at it, that must have been when it happened - when the remote-control fell out of my small top pocket...

After a happy walk with my dog, just down the road, round the field, and back, I arrived home. Reaching into my pocket ... the remote wasn't there. I went cold. This was the access to my home. Without it, I couldn't get in; worse still, maybe someone else COULD get in...

Now I had to decide: Do I retrace my steps, or go straight to where it should logically be, at the place where I bent to look at the unusual flower?

Deciding on the latter, I hurried back to the field. Only the dog was unworried - she was expecting another run! I walked along, trying to find the spot where I'd seen that strange flower... The problem was, this was a field FULL of spring flowers, none very bright or tall, each ground-hugging and very like its neighbor. I scoured the area; no flower (at least, not the RIGHT flower); and no small, black, plastic remote. Dejected, I thought again.
"Retrace your steps" said my inner voice, persistent. I retraced them backwards from where I was. Nothing.
"Do it again."
I did. What else was there to do? This time, I followed my first, original, pre-loss route. Finally, as I was about to give up, there it was: a small black object in the green grass.

Retrace your steps. Logic is not always the answer.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Garden jewel

This spider is about 5mm across, plus legs. When the sun catches it, it sparkles, the colours turning metallic. I took about 20 photos, trying to capture its dazzling patterns and the sheer perfection of it...

I identified it later as a Silver Marsh Spider.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Big Book

For some unfathomable reason this remained a draft until now. It belongs BEFORE the beautiful page from Among the Stars, which is the Big Book mentioned below:

The Year of the Tortoise has delivered another surprise: the gift of writing a short children's book on astronomy. A "Big Book" is designed to be read aloud to the class; and ours is to cover 5 areas: Earth, Moon, Sun, planets, and stars.
Did YOU know that the Moon rotates about its own axis? - or that we see Venus as the Morning OR Evening "star" but not both at once? 
The whole project is filled with God-incidence and "wow" moments... But they must wait til another day. In the meantime, may I challenge you to step outside and look up at the stars?


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Song of September

It's a song of snow, and floods; of new stories; of miracles and mundane things; birthdays and baking..Above all, it is a song of a God who is completely involved in our lives, who is beneath and above, interwoven in our daily fabric, so much part of us we forget He is there - close as breath, more precious. And in spring-time, the Creator God is so clearly visible: a shimmer of green, a riot of pink blossom, everywhere a great shout of praise and life.

Friday, September 6, 2013

When the bird sings

"There are the mud-flowers of dialect
And the immortelles of perfect pitch
And that moment when the bird sings very close
To the music of what happens." (Seamus Heaney, "Song")

Clearly, today's "what happens" is Spring in all its golden warmth. A week ago, floods and snow; today, glorious sunshine. The birds are thrilling to its touch: every bush and tree is alive with twitter and song, as if some kind of liquid energy has been uncorked and cannot be contained. My whole morning has been framed and infused and delighted by robin-song. Drawn out by his ceaseless invitation, I was rewarded by a flash of orange wings, as he changed "stage" from one tree to another.

Spring has arrived; we are revived.