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Remembering

“Better by far you should forget and smile, than that you should remember and be sad…”

Each of us has their memories, each of them as unique as we are, as unique as was our relationship with him. These all together make a picture of who he was. But a person is always so much more than the sum of the memories, thoughts, achievements, relationships with those they know, influences on the world around them. All that they are, all that they were to you, to the world, cannot be summed up in mere words. Here language fails us. It is not enough to describe a feeling, an emotion, a lifetime of experiences and actions. And if words cannot say what and who a person was, and what they meant to you, then they become just as obsolete when trying to describe what the loss of them means.

He is gone. My friend is gone. There is so much I want to say but can’t. Words will not do what I want them to, aren’t enough. All I can do is remember. And I do, I will, always.

There’s no such thing as bad weather…

There’s nothing like a birthday for being a great excuse to get all (or most) of the people you love together in one place. On Thursday I managed to fill our (smallish) living room with a whole lot of people and have a good old catch up with friends I really don’t see as often as I should, even though they live round the corner! We had tea and cake, and then wine and more tea. And then champagne. And then I think more tea.

Pip and Alice Champagne!!!

And yesterday I decided I wanted to go for a celebratory walk for my birthday, and, I could say ‘dragged’ some friends up a hill in the rain and wind, but they were fairly willing from what I could see. We did a shortish wander in the Brecon Beacons, in some of the strongest winds I’d experienced in ages. Apparently this wasn’t *bad* weather, it was just more weather, extra weather. Specially for me. Aren’t I lucky 😉

Windswept people

And after all that weather we just *had* to retire to a pub in Brecon, where we were joined by some more lovely (and possibly more sensible) people who hadn’t walked, where we stuffed ourselves with lots of yummy food. And nice beer 🙂

All in all a wonderful couple of days, and I remembered again how lucky I am to have such fab friends. I couldn’t make it home to my family in Manchester, but I had my adopted family in Swansea instead 😀 I had presents and cards posted to me from home, which made it feel more like a real birthday, and even my extended family made the effort to get my address for posting this year. I have the dvd of Walk the Line, which has that wonderful combination of a good storyline and amazing music (well it is Johnny Cash!) and a couple of new CDs from some friends who know me far too well 🙂 And as if that wasn’t enough, just to make even more fellow folkies jealous (not deliberate, honest!), Chris got us tickets to the big main Fairport Convention winter tour gig in Birmingham Symphony Hall!!! With support from Tiny Tin Lady and Show of Hands as special guests 😀 Not quite sure he knows what he’s let himself in for… Feel very lucky and spoiled, but not complaining. Will take me a while to wipe this grin off my face though.

The Fruits of Loving

In the joy of conversations,
in the laughter of jokes,
in the risk of encountering personality,
in the fear of exposed vulnerability,
in the danger of loving,
in the unpredictability of all relationships,

in the midst of all of these,
we find strength for the way.
Affirmation for our humanity,
solace for our souls.
We glimpse the deep potentials of life,
the joy of growth, and the realisation of our identity

For the way of love it at cost,
a way of pain, brutality, risk.
But a way which is of life and all its fullness.
A life which blossoms with the seed of our human potential.
The life we were meant to lead is found.

Scott Blythe, member of the Iona community

I found this two days ago, the evening before my birthday (which I will blog at some point!) and it made me think, about the friends that I have and the relationships I’ve built. Yes its risky, you lay yourself open to heartbreak and make yourself vulnerable. But it is in this sharing of life with others that we find life in its fullest sense. And, especially this week, I wouldn’t be without that for the world.

Bored of the internet?!

A friend recently gave me a link to a random webcomic of “romance, sarcasm, math and language”, on which I found this;

Made me chuckle. Thought it might appeal to some of you other internet lurkers out there… 😉

2006 in pictures…

I don’t do new years resolutions. One thing I do do is look back at the past year, thinking about what I’ve achieved, what’s changed, etc. I was thinking this as usual, and also noticing that I haven’t blogged in a while, and that there’s a few things I didn’t really blog at the time. So here are a few photos of things I’ve done this year..

This year I have travelled

…to Austria in January (possibly the coldest time to go, never went above freezing once, but a fab trip all the same!)

Salzburg Steyr

…to Oxfordshire in May, for a morris dancing extravagansa!!!

Dancing outside the Horseshoe More garden dancing

…to Pembrokeshire with my parents in the summer- much much warmer, almost too warm, but allowed for some paddling in the sea. And visiting puffins on Skomer!!

Coast path, with Broad Haven in the distance Sunset over Broad Haven beach

…and most recently to Paris to visit Chris, first time there aswell. Not as cold as Austria, not as warm as even a welsh summer. Wonderful to see a city I’ve been wanting to visit for many years, and I got to see him too 😀

Notre Dame close up Looking up at Sacré Coeur
Louvre and Pyramid

graduated again…

Silly hat! Aint friends brilliant!

recieved a bunch of flowers, roses no less 😀

Flowers!!!

I know there’s lots more, but I’ve run out of energy to link to any more pictures… There’s more on my flickr pages. Here’s to memories, good and bad, of 2006, and to the start of 2007. I think the best resolution you could make is that this year be one you can look back on with satisfaction, and with a smile. Happy New Year.

How still we see thee lie…

After using up all my creative thinking on the previous post, I resort to passing on anothers words. A new take on O Little Town of Bethlehem, one of my favourite Christmas carols. I don’t think I could ever sing these words, I know (and love) the real words too well. But they made me think.

O troubled town of Bethlehem
with conflict still you lie.
Above your deep but restless sleep
indifferent stars go by;
yet in your dark streets may you find
resilient, endless light:
for hopes and fears of all the years
were borne in you one night.

For Mary’s child was born, and cried
unnerving powers above
whilst God of Life who bears our strife
encouraged hope and love.
O morning stars, now sniper-fire
obscures such hopeful births;
but mothers sing of everything
their prayer still ‘peace on earth.’

How silently, how violently
your wondrous gift was given;
while God is grace for every race
your streets with fear are riven.
As Jesus came amongst the poor
(confronting powers-that-be)
through risen will and faith he still
invites us ‘set them free.’

O daring child of Bethlehem
empower us all, we pray
to work for peace that wars may cease
and love be born today.
With all the nations angels
proclaiming we shall tell:
“Heal Bethlehem, join ‘us’ with ‘them'”
Amen, Immanuel!

Graham J Adams

Thinking about hope

Its funny how your own words can come back to haunt you, usually when you don’t want them to. Yesterday in church, the second Sunday in advent, I heard the readings I’d written for the advent candle ceremony being used for the first time.

“Last Sunday we lit the first advent candle, which represents the hope which we have in Jesus. We light it again, a single candle which brightens the darkness with its flame, and we remember this hope which stands in the face of despair.”

I wrote that, little knowing how much it would mean by the time I heard it read back to me.

Does hope stand in the face of despair? I’m trying at the moment to see, to hope, that it does. There is something in me which knows its there. I just can’t see where, or what, this hope is. Strange, we say the hope isn’t and can’t be overcome. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it. I hope it won’t, I need to know and to see that light right now.

The sound of a voice crying out in the desert, “Prepare a way for the Lord!”. There is a voice in the wilderness, the sound of life in the emptiness, hope coming from nothing, where we cannot see it, do not expect it. Only heard by those who choose to listen for it. It tells us he is coming, he is with us.

“Grace comes to us hidden beneath its opposite” (Martin Luther). How true. We find the grace and love of God where we least expect it; light in the darkest night, love in the rejection of a pregnant woman and her family, peace in the shivering cold of winter. If we find these things in the very places and situations where they seem to be absent; if, like the wise men, we find God not where we expect him, coming in glory and majesty, but with the rejected, the poor, the suffering. Why should we be surprised that hope, too, can be found in the very depths of despair?

I wrote that then, and believed it. Lord help us to believe it, and to know it, now.

Christmas presence

A concert I went to tonight at Swansea Grand, with two of my best girly mates. Lots of Christmas music, orchestra, choir, even some stuff in welsh, and audience participation (well, singing carols!). Hayley Westenra was fantastic, I’ve decided I want her voice. She sang this song, which I’d heard many years ago but forgotten about more recently. It sent shivers down my spine…

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Did you know
That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
That your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered
Will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Did you know
That your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know
That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little boy
You’ve kissed the face of god

Mary, did you know?
The blind will see
The deaf will hear
And the dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the lamb

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy is lord of all creation?
Did you know
That your baby boy will one day rules the nations?
Did you know
That your baby boy is heavens perfect lamb?
This sleeping child youre holding
Is the great I am

Pictures from India

About a month ago Mike sent me these pictures he’d taken of some of the children he was working with in India. I thought it would be good to share them. The first is a young girl who Mike told me they’d found on the street with a broken arm, she’d been there for a few days without treatment, and they took her to a doctor. The little boy is Suresh, the same one in the picture alice posted, who Mike had become good friends with over the last few months. It seems fitting to be able to remember his work through his photography, which he had such a skill and a passion for.

Manjeeta

Suresh

Friends there’ll be no sad farewell

Others have said more than I can. I don’t think I have the words right now. He was everything that has been said about him, and more. How do you describe someone in words, you just can’t. A man of faith and of conviction. Opinionated about everything, interested in people, amazingly observant, in pratice as well as in his photographs. Talented musician, dearest friend. Irreplacable.

One of my abiding memories of Mike will always be sitting singing our way through his Kate Rusby songbook, whose music he loved. On any occasion when people were gathered and there was a guitar, there were certain songs he would choose, and one in particular, which is so appropriate right now. I can still hear him singing it now.

To Canaan’s land I’m on my way
Where the soul of man never dies
Where all my nights will turn to day
Where the soul of man never dies

Dear friends there’ll be no sad farewell
There’ll be no tear-dimmed eye
Where all is joy and peace and love
And the soul of man never dies

A rose is blooming there for me
Where the soul of man never dies
It blooms for all eternity
Where the soul of man never dies

Chorus

A love light beams across the foam
Where the soul of man never dies
It shines to light the shores of home
Where the soul of man never dies

Chorus

My life will end in deathless sleep
Where the soul of man never dies
And everlasting joy I’ll reap
Where the soul of man never dies

Chorus

I’m on my way to that fair land
Where the soul of man never dies
Where there will be no parting and
The soul of man never dies

I hope thats where he is now, I think thats what he’d want.