Sunday, 27 October 2013


Took my first service of communion today! I was nervous/ excited disbelieving that I could do it and it was amazing. As I stood there before the communion table I realised the enormity of what I was doing. I felt so privileged and so in Gods place for me. The only glitch was the elders were all there in BLACK TIES! I mean Why? Isn't this supposed to be a celebration of he Lords Supper. Just being a lowly locum I can't make any sweeping changes but if I could that would be the first. That and having all the elders served first even when they're not on duty and all sitting on the chancel behind the pulpit! The youngest child who came with me remarked on this.  But anyway a momentous day.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Time out

Had a great weekend, apart from anything no else met up with Mr &Mrs Gerbil which was just lovely! Apart from the usual funerals ( I had one on Monday that lasted an hour and twenty minutes! With five eulogies and musical tributes!!) undertaker was worried grave diggers may have gone home and we 'd have to fill in. By the end I was losing the will to live  apart from anything it was the second I'd conducted that day. Must admit I've been haunted by a most beautiful piece of music that was played called the Ashokan Farewell ( google it , I don't know how to upload on here!! That night I sat in on the session meeting at the church where I'm locum. The interim moderator asked during the meeting had anyone anything to say about the locum!  To say I was embarrassed and overwhelmed by the depth of their appreciation, affection and genuine desire to keep me as long as possible would be an understatement, the treasurer also pointed out a huge increase in offerings since I'd arrived indicating an increase in church attendance! All I can say is its all Gods doing! I'm now up to atwo day locum appointment! Apparently I also exhibited an untapped talent for singing on Sunday having chose all my days (ch4) and having a decent choir who practice on a Friday I thought everything was grand.  They all moaned about it ( In a good hearted way ) solution I sing into the mike! Anyhow upshot is they know want to form a concert party with me on lead vocals! Help! First communion service is this Sunday
I can't believe I'm going to conduct my first communion. I'm very aware of the privilege and nervous and excited too. The youngest child is coming too as we're off on a spa break straight afterwards!  Enjoying a cheeky wee night at beautiful seaside town. Full of cocktails great food and with my favourite daughter. Feeling blessed and thankful to God :) it's been a long haul and now without set backs and challenges but throughout God has been there!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Hill walking

It's been a hectic couple of weeks nine funerals and two weddings as well as a drama production and the youngest daughter and her husband moving back home with us fir a while. Sunday afternoon has traditionally become adventure day for the pungent child her big brother and I. Recently our adventures have been climbing one of the many beautiful hills in our area. We're not fair weather walkers and are undaunted by a few spots of scotch mist. But leaving church on Sunday on just such a drizzly dreich dank day, I was tired I wanted to go home get changed have lunch and snuggle in with a good book. I got home and there they were sitting ready booted, rucksacks packed with the picknick raring to go. Of course I fell in like the great mummy I am got changed and threw myself into the plan. Except I fell asleep in the car almost before we left the village. Half way between home and our destination I suddenly became aware of breaks being applied heavily, of screams filtering through my consciousness, screams of my two children in the front seats. I cautiously opened one eye. Youngest child was pointing her phone in video mode at me saying to her brother, I think she's dead, she hasn't moved! Kids ehh. I was utterly exhausted I just wanted to sleep. We climbed the hill. By the time we got to the top we could barely see each other, it was so foggy and misty. By now I wasn't tired and lethargic any longer. I was actually refreshed and renewed even with no view as a reward. In our spiritual lives, Sometimes God takes us out of our comfort zones to give us a new refreshing experience of him too, the journey can drain us a bit and we need to climb a few hills to see the bigger picture and  get out of the valley.  So thanks kids for a great day out as usual and thank you Lord for a salutary lesson!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Big move

The highlight of this week was the moving back home of my daughter and son in law! This happened on Wednesday night when I thankfully was speaking and re dedicating a guild!  Generally the youngest child and I get on really well so my major worry is that the stress of living back home with ma and pa again will cause friction between us, already I see it. I love her dearly but she seems to have morphed into my shadow and much as I love her I like a bit of space too. I LIKE sitting in my bedroom at night listening to the radio tweaking my sermon/ assemblies , whatever... I LIKE a bit of space for reflection etc. and if I want to go out visiting I don't need my daughter telling me I've done too many hours this week. Exactly this time last year, to the very hour it was my old guys funeral. I find myself at some point every day thinking about him, and I still miss his gentle calming influence and ever ready encouragement.  He was probably the only person the youngest child would ever listen to, and he'd tell her I don't need a mother any more !!
Reading through our local newspaper I was had a chuckle at how inventive the undertaker must've been to thank the Rev ( I still get a kick seeing that and a joy beyond belief) to make all the notices so different, quiet week this last week only 2! So I've a wedding couple coming today and then a wedding later this afternoon. The youngest child has gone on a hen weekend.
On a lighter note I made a trip to the local tip with stuff from her room she was getting rid of (including some very saucy items she'd been given at her hen do!) as I pulled the plastic sack from the car ( helped by some random knight in shining armour!) the bag split!!  We both looked at the contents me in horror ( I wanted to die)  and if course what was the first thing I said " it's not mine" aagggghhhh.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Four funerals and a wedding

Last week I conducted four funerals and my first wedding as a minister ( previous life was as a registrar!) the wedding was a joy , bride and groom and both families totally chilled. The nicest compliment I've ever been given was afterward one of the guests said you were really enjoying yourself weren't you? We looked at you and I thought she's really enjoying this and thatpermeated through   the whole service everyone just totally relaxed! That's one of the nicest things anyone has ever said and I really took it to heart.

A year on

Well I did it. A whole year has passed since my old friend died. A year in which
I plumbed the depths of sorrow and soared to the dizzy heights of unimaginable joy. I wish he could have shared that with me, the weddings the ordination. The completion of the journey he kept me company on, but I know he'd be so proud.  When you lose someone you love it leaves a huge gap in your life but a year on I still find myself thinking of how he'd react what he might say, and so I can empathise totally with bereaved families , I've been there! These past two weeks have been manic both weeks I had believe it or not four funerals and a wedding!  I also attended the " flourishing ministries" conference on Wednesday and Thursday and actually paid a tenner yes ten pounds for one glass (ordinary size) of winE!!!!! Next time I take my own. It was depressing stuff by 2020 there'll be less than half the ministers needed to fill posts. And generally morale seemed low ( hence the need for wine!) at the first wedding I conducted  a week past on Saturday I got one of the nicest compliments I've ever had. A guest said to me " you really enjoyed that didn't you! I just looked at you and thought she's really enjoying this, and you made it so comfortable for everyone. It's so special the feeling that you're where God wants you to be  even though everything else is falling apart ( we're about to have youngest child and her husband moving in temporarily but apparently it's very trendy, they're called boomerang children. Gods got my back .? I know that for sure ! 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


When God says something is wrong, it's wrong! You don't need to rationalise, make excuses or feel sorry for yourself. You just need to agree, ask His forgiveness and get it out of your life. Who gets the prize? Those who pay the price! Paul knew he couldn't win the race without first bringing his body, mind and emotions under the control of God's Spirit. The same goes for you. And you can't expect somebody else to make you do what's right; you must listen to what God's saying to you, and take action.  ( Hebrews) that was my reading for today as I wrestled with a dilemma! Ordination brings responsibilities, the vows we take are awesome and being out there in the full glare of the general public ( especially in a collar) really brings an awareness of how your behaviour is perceived by others. So why is it than even when you make the right decision, and know its the right decision and you couldn't do anything else you don't feel totally blessed/overjoyed etc, you just feel crap! As I've worked and embraced the whole aspect of " being a minister" theses last months I've such a feeling of realisation that this was what I was put on this earth for and that IS such a privilege, joy and yes "calling" I'm also getting to know my weaknesses though and I hear what Gods  saying but I'm a work in progress and right now I want to throw a wobbly :(

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Weight lifting!

Today we did presbytery Sunday when we all swap about. I went to one of the bigger churches in our nearest ( not a city but bigger than a town) . This particular congregation ( and minister) by their own admission don't like this Sunday. The morning got off to a horrible start we had torrential rain, gales force winds and lots of water on the road. I got road raged by a guy in a motor home who pulled out in front of me gesticulated rudely when I beeped him then tried to intimidate me by tail gating me. Since I was clerically attired I didn't feel it was appropriate to reciprocally retaliate! Anyhow the welcome at church was enthusiastic and very well received. The only challenge was lifting the plate to receive the offering. It is situated in front of the lectern, at the appropriate time the minister lift sit to receive the offering. Well, the minister didn't tell me it weighs a ton!! Once the bags are placed on it is even heavier, there's then a tricky lift up onto the communion table which is on a small dais definately not for the vertically challenged! I did enjoy my visits though and afterwards at the cup of tea I was asked for my phone number by an elderly Italian gentleman who wanted to send me a book of love poems!! Hey ho! A lovely congregation many of whom who took time to remark at the door how God had spoken to them.  Rounded off tonight by a songs of praise, all in all a decent day!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Presbytery swaps

This Sunday will find me in one of the most lively and spirtually aware churches in our presbytery.  On this particular Sunday  the ministers in the presbytery play musical pulpits and all swap around. This is not a popular Sunday with either ministers or congregations. Some congregations feel they're just getting an old recycled sermon. Ministers get pissed off travelling form one end of the presbytery to the other ( a not inconsiderable  distance) I know the congregation I'm going to feels this way because the minister told me so! So no pressure !! I want to take Gods word and lead worship in such a way that the congregation feel blessed and "fed" . Their usual minister is dynamic, down to earth and a hard act to follow so. I'm praying God leads me and fills me with confidence as I lead worship. Feeling nervous already!!!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Shingles notwithstanding

In  spite of having shingles I'm still hanging together and really looking forward to getting back to my"flock' tomorrow. It's such a privilege to share this time with them and I'm becoming quite attached to them, it's a tremendous privilege to be called and feel called and affirmed and I'm looking forward to the next few months and building relationships as the various organisations start up again. Flat Jesus is appearing tomorrow in various photos taken on holiday but it was a mistake asking the youngest child to put together a PowerPoint as  she had included so many photos that were a bit questionable? Yes I did try a shisha pipe in Tunisia but it was purely to explore the cultural experience! I did wear a bikini but purely to absorba s much vitami d? For the bones? As possible! In no way could I share such images with my congregation ( bad enough I have a tattoo!! Anyway looking forward to sharing Gods word and worshipping tomorrow

Friday, 6 September 2013

Post Holiday

So I've not posted for ages and so much has happened. Holiday to Tunisia was spectacular though I was seriously concerned I might come home with a collection of camels for my beautiful daughter. It was a strange experience lying by the pool in temperatures in the high thirties wearing bikinis, side by side with women in full Burka going in the pool a dichotomy indeed! Also strange when other holiday makers asked as you do " what do you do" and seeing the reaction when the response is I'm a minister! We spent a night in the desert taking in a Bedouin camp and visiting the Berber caves driving to the Sahara on our air conditioned bus looking out at shanty town settlements was disturbing. Tough we did visit the set of  the original Star Wars film, unfortunately in the middle of an unbelievable sandstorm through which you could see nothing. The strange thing is we took loads of photos and they are completely clear!!  Came home feeling great, refreshed and........... Got shingles!!!! How did that happen. Anyhow back in harness sermon done Friday night glass of wine!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

drug smuggling?

 I have just come started two weeks holiday (yes I know I never go on holiday!!) But it has been a long and very eventful year and I feel in need of a bit of R&R! So with that in mind Bex and I are off on a Spa break for three days then we fly from Glasgow airport to Tunisia for a week!  (yes I’m flying too! Amazing what ordination does for you!) Having said that,  perhaps a break is in order as, last week, I “sleep phoned” Bex at 3 in the morning. I was dreaming I was phoning her, imagine my horror when I realised the phone was actually ringing out in my ear. I quickly hung up hoping she hadn’t heard but of course she woke up and at that time in the morning her first thought was some disaster had befallen the family. I can only say I was not popular next day. That was followed by a night where I ground my teeth so hard I actually loosened the roots!!! A visit to the dentist confirmed my crown was ok but I’d damaged the root! So a couple of weeks of soft food and antibiotic ( the kind where consumption of alcohol at the same time is apparently worse than death!) A week layer I was immensely reassured when Rebekah’s boss (my dentist) said my teeth looked a bit better but in any event, Bex could take some stuff with her when we go on holiday (just in case my crown dropped out!)

Rebekah has, however, vetoed that idea as the cement used  is a fine white powder and she’s not prepared to take the risk of going through customs with that anywhere in her luggage! Hardly the act of a loving daughter!

Sunday, 11 August 2013


I've been a bit low this past couple of weeks ( unusual for me especially when Holly the dogs dads been away and all is peace with just me and my dog!) but it was exactly round this time sat year my Dear Oldster began to really decline and my role as carer became pretty much full time. Coincidentally it oincided with the childrens summer holiday club which starts today. This is at the church I was attached to and because I'd committed to it last year I am running it again this year and I'm annoyed ! I'm annoyed that the minister I worked with for eight years and never had disagreement  with. Has got my hackles up. He's never been then most organised person but that was never a problem cos I was there to pick up behind him , but now I'm locum with responsibilities and commitments elsewhere I'm hacked off at his lack f support and assumption that everything will work out ok ( mainly because we all run around  making sure it is!) I'm also two of my best team down so coupled with that and the overwhelming memories I have of all that was happening ths time lat year I don't feel at my best for this. Been thinking I never really took time to grieve. So its all still there. I nursed him till his last breath. A week after the funeral I was at my probationary placement, then study and conferences, weddings, my ordination the year flew past at an alarming rate. I know tht without God beside me beneath me around me below me above me I couldn't have managed. And I love love love what I'm called to do as someone said at church yesterday it's a great fit!
 But in spite of that I'm still annoyed  that ths week I'm going to run myself ragged  organising a totally disorganised collegue ! Grrr need grace in abundance

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

I am a woman!

Today I embarked on some Parish visitation at request of elder ( wearing my clerical collar as I was visiting elderly house bounds) at the first visit I was greeted by very elderly lady with zimmer who exclaimed on opening the door to me, ( my god yer a wumman!)in other words goodness gracious me you are a female ( for the benefit of the non Scots ) she invited me in, talked non stop, stated in no uncertain terms that she didn't hold with women ministers ( or doctors) refused my offer of a prayer, thanked me for coming told me to come agin as she enjoyed the chat! I crossed the road feeling somewhat bamboozled to visit another elderly lady, and the experience couldn't have been more different. Her daughter who happened to be there opened the door and exclaimed " oh she will be so pleased to see you" and she was. We had a blether and a prayer, and I promised to call again!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Happy birthday RevGalBlogPals

Determined as I was to give birth before my thirtieth. My daughter andi only have four days between our birthdays and the whole week seems to be a ause for celebration and at some point in the week we have spa break. Some girl chillin time, lots of wine good food great company. It just so happens this is next week:)
For RevGals of which I've been a member for just a short time my wish would be to meet up for friendship fellowship girl chillin time

Monday, 15 July 2013

First Baptism

First baptism accomplished and no damage! I had a wonderful welcome to church on Sunday, my first as an ordained minister and wearing my collar with pride if somewhat self consciously! The congregation surprised we with a congratulatory beautiful bouquet of flowers and some very kind words. My daughter came along to lend some moral support and after the service commented on how much she enjoyed it and how confident I seemed during the baptism ( I was really nervous!) but the family were lovely and the baby was a wee star. Sitting in the vestry beforehand I was overwhelmed by a feeling of  complete and utter joy and also thankfulness that God doesn't call the enabled he enables the called and He has been with me every step if the way. This congregation I'm locumming for apparently would like me as their minister ( very encouraging for me but sadly not possible) but I know that at the moment I'm in the place God wants me to be and He's put me there for a reason.  Lucy the dogs Dad asked me if I felt different now and I think I do but whole lot of reflecting needs to be done on last week when I come down to earth again. As well as my excitement the other ministering the house celebrated his 25th anniversary of ordination on Friday so we have been inundated with flowers cake and alcohol! Looking at the photo on the front of his order of service from 25 years ago its apparent theres some two thirds of him that haven't been ordained! He's certainly three times the man he was then!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Am truly humbled by tonight, I simply can't believe how God has empowered me, enabled, sustained me and upheld me and tonight I have been quite simply blessed, blessed by thoe who have accompanied me and blessed by those who have joined me on this momentous journey. Through thick and thin. I am awestruck to everyone who made this day so vey special? Thank you

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

On the brink

I've felt strangely detached and a bit emotional today, as I stand on the brink of ordination. Conscious of the responsibility of God's  call on my life and that even though I'll still be the same person tomorrow night. I will be different and always looked upon as different, called and set apart to stand in the place of Christ. Will I feel different I wonder. This has been a long day, and I've reflected quite a bit on the path that led here. The ups and downs, those who shared so much of my journey and who are no longer here. It's been strange too receiving letters and cards addressed to "Rev" cos now there are two of us! The one constant and faithful companion who has been before me behind me, above me, below me and beside, still upholds encourages, strengthens and empowers me. Thank you Lord.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Two sleeps

Very busy week last week culminating in swapping pulpits with my interim moderator because here was a baptism where I'm locum. He must have the most scenic picturesque parish on Scotland especially yesterday, driving along the coast with the sun out . The congregations were lovely ( though no one told me there was a radio mike at the first church and the  woman on Bilble carrying in duty ws less than welcoming. After second service the interim modertor turned up on his way home to see how the innovative cup of tea tht was threatening to divide thechurch! (Don't ask)! And he told me they ant me as their minister where I'm locum ing which is very affirming for me though sadly not possible! Discovered after service there were at least three other ministers in the. Ongregation and a couple of them shred they  felt the message was very relevant to their situations at the minute which I was reall encourage by, so two sleeps I feel quite calm at the moment but my ma arrives on Wednesday ...... .. Not good ........

Friday, 5 July 2013

Long day

Been a long day with two funerals one this morning and a huge one this afternoon. Must admit when I walked out to face more thn 500 people I nearly got stage fright! But then I sensed God right beside me saying this is what I called you to and immediately I felt at peace. Have had so many positive comments  from people who were there and feel really blessed.  Also got sorted with baptismal font. My lovely church officer is having moved from the plinth onto the floor so not need to worry about me being vertically challenged just need to worry about the liturgy!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Interim moderator

Had a meeting with my interim moderator this morning who confirmed that my present congregation are thrilled to have me (as I am to be with them) we discussed the complication of everyone knowing who you are  and chatting away as if you should know them and ow awkward it could sometimes be, but it does get easier as you see the same people week y week! Then just happened to bump into a parishioner in the supermarket who rushed across to say how well may sermons are going down and also as a parting remark its been noticed I have a tattoo on my ankle ( o my). Busy busy week with three funerals one tomorrow two on Friday and all the preparation not to mention Sundays service but hey I've an ordination next week I am walking on air! Those who Walton the Alford shall renew their strength they shall  rise on wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint! ( must admit though I am a bit tired!)

Monday, 1 July 2013

Counting the days

I feel very humbled and also affirmed by the comments after yesterday's service. They like me! But more importantly I feel a great sense of being just where God wants me to be at this time, and really feel that He is using me. On a practical level only ten days till my ordination and I feel a great desire to withdraw and " be still" before God. This is unlikely to happen as I'm doing pastoral cover for two two neighbouring parishes as well as my own and already have three funerals, and its only Monday! Also had a look at the baptismal font yesterday. I'm only 4foot 11. The font is a lot 4 and a half feet tall, its set on a plinth (about a foot high) I'm slightly panicking, will have to investigate further on Thursday before funeral as I have first baptism four days after ordination!

Thursday, 27 June 2013


It's official now. My ordination date agreed at presbytery last night is 10 July!!! Less than two weeks away. As it was called I was aware of a whole host of butterflies taking flight in my stomach, and now I'm nervous and in awe of the responsibility of my calling but I am so excited that a new journey is about to begin. I also have my first baptism booked for the 14th of July. So now on to the practicalities of holding a wriggling baby, saying the words and sprinkling the water at the same time as trying to look like you know what you're doing! Eeek!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Two weeks!

Only two weeks to go  and I feel challenged excited and at peace, It still doesn't seem quite real and asi look back at my journal from last are and see just how much my life has changed I am so thankful that God has been with me supporting me and keeping me in the hollow of His hand through trauma and joy. I still miss my Oldie more than I ever imagined and I know how proud he would have been and thou I got through both childrens weddings dry eyed I think my ordination might be rather more emotional! I've been conscious these last weeks of time flying by and so dipped again into Henri Nouens book a silence and a shoutin ( out of solitude) a bery short book of reflections leading into time spent in quietness and contemplation. It's easy to let " busyness crowd  God out"

Monday, 24 June 2013

Weddingd out

So I am now totally weddinged out! Had a super day at middle child's wedding so now all my offspring are married though two within a couple of months was a bit much! One of the nice things though was having the whole family ( all ten of us! ) together again so soon, totally unheard of! I must say I did question the wisdom of not taking the Sunday off when I was still up at 2 am! As I left to take the service I heard the youngest child take breakfast orders I was glad I had to go to church:) I was completely thrown when I looked down from the pulpit and spotted amongst the regular worshippers my oldest friend and her husband ( he's the most critical person I know) but I subdued the butterflies leaned back on God and just felt totally supported by the Holy Spirit! It's so true that when we are at our weakest God can use us most. The service went so well, to the point where our new brilliant young organist got so carried away during "for all the saints" he played an extra verse which we all sat down and listened to dont you just love it when theorgaistis so enthralled he gets lost in the moment! The congregation have welcomed me so warmly I feel very much at home and comfortable with them. It's also very humbling but really affirming when they tell you over your cup of tea that the miser on struck a real chord with them. I'm now only two weeks away from ordination and have never felt more convinced of Gods calling on
My life and the responsibility, enormity and privilege. On a lighter note Lucy the dogs dad thought my outfit for the wedding on Saturday would be perfect to wear on the night! Now is this for reason of economy or was he being sincere........

Sunday, 9 June 2013


Today I went back to my attachment to say farewell, and receive a presentation. I was given the most beautiful home communion set engraved with my name ( preceded by Reverend! How awesome is that!)  and a book of common order from my oldies. Of course tears werer shed , we've journeyed together through ups and downs, highs and lows. I'm still a bit awestruck to think that a month tomorrow, 10  July I will be Ordained. I was truly humbled by the remarks made at the door and after the service  and  go in the knowledge that God, the God who showed compassion on a bereft mother is still the same today and walks through very trial woe or joy beside us.

Monday, 3 June 2013


Started as locum in a vacant charge yesterday! What a sense of responsibility I felt towards my fostered flock. I was pretty nervous but they were all really lovely and welcoming and the feedback was really positive, there was only one wee girl in the Sunday School but we had a wee chat together and involved the congregation in the childrens talk too. Now that the first Sunday is over and I know where things are etc it'll be a great experience hopefully for both congregation and me. So now I have to get a programme of parish visitation together but be realistic as to what I can do in one day plus a Sunday. This is where I put into practice my learning and serving covenant and  show that I can in fact say no when I have to:) it's all getting to seem very real now and I love it:)

Thursday, 30 May 2013


So I'm going to say this calmly and with serenity and dignity. THE DATES BEEN SET FOR MY ORDINATION!! Did I really scream that? I am so excited. Subject to presbytery approval at the end if June my ordination will take  place on July 10th. Excited and scared and still can't believe that I'm going to be a minister of word and sacrament, how did that happen. And at the same time there's areal  sense of peace and Gods affirmation of my call and I know He who has been so faithful in bringing me this far will journey on with me. On a more practical level. I've no idea what I should wear. As a reader I've always just worn normal clothes, but a colleague has advised me to wear a clerical shirt / robes as appropriate to circumstances( definately never to the supermarket) to define my new role. Mmm still not sure and I think I'd feel a bit of a tit. I'm really short (really short) and small. anyway need to ponder that. Can this year become any more exciting 2 weddings and an ordination!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Completion certificate!

Woo hoo. Received my completion certificate today, now just waiting for presbytery to set a date fr my ordination. I am so pleased, and also really thankful to all who've journeyed with me! Just in from conducting a funeral and it had been delivered by the postman!. Note to self re funerals, wet grass and heels are not a good combination, especially when you go to walk away and your shoe remains firmly stuck! I am more conscious than ever, when conducting services of the privilege that it is to serve God and minister and feel a real sense of peace and Gods presence. So onwards to ordination ( must admit I'm pretty excited!)

Monday, 20 May 2013


Is it just me or is there something "odd" about how today's debate on homosexuality in the church and david Cameron's  timing over legalising gay marriage is on the same day. Just a thought.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Hungarian hospitality!

Just had a week in Hungary/ Budapest as part of  presbytery exchange. I had to speak about the role of OLM and the part it will play in the future of the Church of Scotland. This was a big deal for me, ( not the speaking but the travel as I hate flying, in fact Lucy the dogs dad asked my former supervisor how he'd got me to agree to go, we're drugs or alcohol involved!) maybe it was the fact he asked me two weeks into my placement and I knew he'd be writing my appraisals influenced my decision a bit! Anyway I went and had a fantastic time. When we were in Hungary we stayed with host families. My host was a Hungarian reformed pastor and his wife and daughter, only the daughter spoke English so she was our interpreter for the four days I was there . Hungarian hospitality is unbelievable they feed you at every opportunity, they go out of their way to make you comfortable and they are so genuinely caring and thoughtful it was quite moving. Their churches are thriving and the family unit is strong. They're also very proud of their heritage and traditions. I attended my hosts church on the Sunday where I shared a bit about my background via an interpreter ( the translation took twice as long as what I said! ) although extremely traditional ( and long the sermon lasted 50 minutes) there was real sense of  worship and fellowship. It was tremendously interesting to see the differences and similarities we share. I was also introduced to the legendary "palinka" a potent brew I'd heard much about which had been described to me as tasting like paint stripper ( never having sampled paint stripper I couldn't possibly comment) I was advised  to down it in one as sipping it took the lining off your throat. The disadvantage of that was, as soon as your glass was empty they refilled it! Add to that te visit they organised to a winery and its a miracle I remember any of the vist! Now I'm back at my former placement doing supply while my "former" supervisor is on study leave and I'm waiting excitedly for a date for my my ordination.  O my I am so excited :)

Monday, 29 April 2013

Final Appraisal

I passed! Am so delighted and thrilled, placement completed yesterday. Got a lovely farewell (albeit temporary as I'm back in three weeks doing supply and cover) really nice gift lots of nice encouraging comments. I really thought I wouldn't sleep last night but I read over my learning
Serving convenant, my interim reports and what we'd just sent for final review. The morning didn't start well, I stopped to buy milk on way to the meeting to make tea and coffee and noticed I'd a flat tyre! Of all the days. Rushed into a garage I've never been to before and asked the very young man if he could put some air in the tyre as I'd an interview in half an hour. I drove (fast cos you think if you drie faster you'll get there quicker so lose less air) anyway I did get there and the interview went really well  I reflected on what I'd learned at the placement and also how quickly it had gone, and i passed and proceed to ordination pending result of final essay! I am so chuffed! Tyre repaired ( great big nail) so up and running again. In spite of flat tyre etc. I did feel quite calm so thanks to everyone who prayed for me. To be affirmed and sure you are in Gods will brings peace though must admit, it was a long day yesterday:)

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Final sunday

Well tomorrow should be my final Sunday at my placement providing all goes well with my final appraisal on Monday! Having said that I then have multiple identity problems. I reappear at the same churches in two weeks time doing pulpit supply for three weeks, the if all goes according to plan I'm reinvented later in the year as locum when my supervisor retires! As he put it a couple of weeks ago in the past when students have left they've got rid of them then he mentioned something about a bad penny! I have enjoyed my placement so much in spite of being apprehensive  about leaving my attachment. I've learned a huge amount over the last six months and I can truly see the hand of God  in all that happened. To feel truly supported  and affirmed has been a tremendous blessing to me and the time has flown.  On another subject I was at the funeral of an old friend and contemporary of my old man yesterday. It was a Roman Catholic funeral, the first I'd been to, it was a brilliant service, not only did the priest preach the gospel but he paid fitting and personal tribute to a man who had a deep faith. In many ways it was significantly more meaningful than many funerals I've been at. The liturgy and tradition was very comforting, relevant and honest. I left feeling that not only had I said farewell to a friend but that I'd truly worshipped God too. Of course there was the question of communion at the end  which was sad given that the congregation was about 50/50 but no compromise there but all in all I have to say I enjoyed it.

Thursday, 25 April 2013


Left home at 4 pm yesterday to do a pastoral visit before presbytery, eventually got home feel ing discouraged tired and hungry at 10.20pm! Discouraged because it seems to be half the churches in our presbytery are vacant and the conferencing session threw up that the way forward for the church was OLMs. Supporting full time ministers. A the moment there are two in training given the geographical range of our presbytery we're going to be run ragged! Then Church of Scotland is in crisis because there are few candidates coming out ( only 7 I think for full time ministry this year) churches don't seem willing to close buildings and unite with other congregations to facilitate an ongoing ministry and it all looks rather bleak:( I'm just having a whinge cos its raining and I didn't get out for a run this morning. And I hate late nights. )   As well as that I'm a bit stressed out by the thought of final review on Monday, its been a long week!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Penultimate Sunday

Yesterday was my second last Sunday at my placement. And a week today I have my final appraisal. I still can't get round in my head how quickly this last 6 months have passed and how much I've grown in my faith and also according to my supervisor in confidence and stature. I've been both challenged and inspired and now I'm now I'm beyond excited, hoping that all goes well with final appraisal etc. Leaving my placement is just temporary as I reappear two weeks later doing pulpit supply and pastoral cover and if everything goes according to plan I re emerge as their locum in September. Someone said yesterday something about a bad penny!

Monday, 15 April 2013


Having a time of  reflection recently. Coming to the end of my probationary placement at which I've learned so much and enjoyed more than I ever imagined. The church has asked that when they become vacant at the ministers retrial that I'm placed there as locum!  The next thing on my agenda is. Atrip to Hungary with presbytery to give a presentation on the role of OLM! That's next month so though I HATE flying I am excited about that, then straight home to younger sons wedding! In two weeks I have my final appraisal so hopefully all will be well and I'll proceed to ordination. As I look back at the last six months I can see how I have grown in my role and been encouraged and superbly mentored.  Yes I was initially not sure about the move but yet again God knows better than us and I've been so blessed. I've also worked hard and been encouraged by the fact that I can still study, that has been a challenge but I've enjoyed it ( not sure that's the right word) so much I'm planning on doing another module in the autumn! I'm also looking forward to picking up my amateur drama again, though I went to a rehearsal of the current production last night and came away missing my Oldster so much. He was very much a lynch pin of the group.  A revelation in the grieving process is that now all the urgency of placement study wedding is past I find I'm missing him with a poignancy I hadn't expected. He's to there to see the completion of all the work and the planning miss him more than ever:(

Sunday, 10 March 2013


What a truly amazing day we had on Friday. From start to finish it was just about perfect. The bride was breathtakingly beautiful, (I know I'm biased but think Audrey Hepburn/graceKelly combined) she was so poised and elegant, the groom handsome, bridesmaids wonderfully supportive. Father of  the bride gave her away and also officiated at the marriage, shedding a few tears overcome with emotion ( which made me look bad as I didn't!) the service was so personal with the minister where I was attached and in whose church the wedding took place, conducting the rest of the service. There was so much laughter and joy in the whole week it was mind blowing and really special. The venue was a fairy tale complete with fireworks laid on as a surprise. It made me realise how blessed we are to have such wonderful friends. Cars supplied by undertaker as a gift ( not hearses but huge Toyota something's) which they filled with balloons after the service for the journey tothereception. DVD by another friend all fantastic acts of kindness. Happy couple now in Mexico on honeymoon! Back to reality essay time again and leading worship at my old attachment (my supervisor told me to have a day off) I was amazed by the comments at the end of the service when so many people remarked on a new maturity and depth in my preaching. So many people saw a change, which I must put down to the last five months at my placement taking on board my supervising ministers comments. I must admit I felt I was preaching with a new authority. It has been a weekend of heightened emotions and sadly our old Westie Lucy died this afternoon. So much packed in to one weekend,  its going to take a while to top this! One wedding down heading towards the next in June!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The night before

Can't believe my youngest child gets married tomorrow. I've had a really special week with
Her. It's strange to think that tomorrow her dad is going to marry her!  Wedding rehearsal last night seemed rather fraught I must say. I hope he doesn't shout at all his brides like that!  Reflecting
on last weeks conference and church law and weddings it was interesting to hear some of the things couples expect. There is o much I still have o o back over but given that I've an essay deadline
of Monday and trying to keep this week as clear as possible it's been a challenge fitting everything in
Thing in.. It's like Christmas Eve here full of anticipation. So hair and make up arrive at 9 ish
Then the ceremony is at 2 .30. What are the odds that I'll cry?

Saturday, 2 March 2013


On last day of probationers conference, its been a very full prograame with not much sleep due to being in a hotel built on a roundabout surrounded by nightclubs so plenty of time in the middle of the night for reflection!  The seminars ave been super so far with brilliant speakers. Though the one tht stood out for me was the one on ordination and its implications for us. To have that spelled out and illustrated in such a gentle and spiritual way was both thought proving and very humbling and moving.
A whole day of church law yesterday from 9 - 5 could have been a drag but which found 42 of us taking part in a role play as a kirk session of a newly vacant chrge meeting our new presbytery advisory ommmittee and interim moderator for the I first  time, everyone  embraced their given characters with enthusiasm and wht followed wa a scarily familiar scene tht could have been straight from any vacancy meeting. The thing that made it so funny was ... It could have been real. But it brought home the point being made that we need to approach these tasks fully prepared wont be forgotten , I don't think, by any of us! One more session then home to the bride o . I'm getting excited!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Probationer Conference 2

Off to probationers conference! Where did that 6 months disappear to! Last time I was doing this I was leaving my Old Man wondering if he'd be still be alive ( and he was) but he died on the Friday! This time I'm leaving my gorgeous daughter, and when I come back on Sunday we'll be on the countdown to her wedding on Friday! Now how did that happen! Happier days though:)

Monday, 25 February 2013

Time management

One of the things discussed at my interim review was how I managed time. Well the next couple of weeks will be areal test! Bible study preparation. School assembly essay deadline, pastoral cover, tutorials, probationers conference,  service preparation and just eleven sleeps till the youngest child's wedding! At the moment everyone seems quite calm so hopefully that will continue. I'm looking forward to the conference as the last one was really overshadowed by my dear Old Man facing his last days. This Wednesday would have been his birthday and its now almost 5 months since he died. I still miss him and I expect I'll have a bit of a down day on Wednesday:( in spite of the endless reading, I am finding my Sacramental course surprisingly interesting, discovering how our heritage was shaped. Just a shame about the clash of deadline and wedding!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Essay Stress

Living eating breathing Luther Calvin and Zwingli and the more I read the more confused I become. The actual essay deadline is March 11 th but since my daughter gets married on the 8th two weeks today!! I'd really like to have cracked it by next Friday before I head off on my probationers conference for the weekend. Everything is remarkably calm on the wedding front even though the photographer phoned on Monday night to say he'd been knocked off his motor bike ( on its maiden run) and was in hospital ( broken femur) and likely to be so for at least a week,  good thing his daughter is a photographer too so no stress there! And I'm relieved he didn't come off any worse. I experienced one of those moments of total calm yesterday as we looked at our ecumenical Lent Bible study, led y the parish priest, that sometimes God just seems to send when you most need it. We were looking at the betrayal of Jesus in Johns Gospel which highlighted the total calm of the events. There was no sense of panic or stress as portrayed by the other Gospel writers. Something the majority of the group hadn't really noticed before. It's worth a look. So, next week essay, essay, essay!  Feedback for first ( ungraded ) essay was " covered salient points but needs to be more prosaic!) any ideas what that means in relation to essays?

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Mid term review

I was really pleased with my mid term review report, and the fact that I'm enjoying my placement so well was apparent. Less thn two weeks till my ( hopefully) final probationers conference which I'm really looking forward to, the last one was overshadowed by thoughts of my Old Man and worry tht he'd die while I was away. This one will be a distraction from last minute wedding jitters! This last week has been manic, there seems to be a spate of deaths at the minute, fitting in visiting the families whom we know well, getting essays finished, submitted, starting the next, reading so much about sacramental theology my brain feels numb sometimes, I yearn for a minute to read something that's not to do with my course! But in one of those moments of total clarity I felt a deep sense of Gods peace and affirmation of my call today. Just as if He knew I was weary and tired after a long week. I'm away from my placement for the next three Sundays with a pulpit supply next week, then probationers conference then wedding, though I'll keep up with my weekday commitments, to be honest I don't think I could do all this and be in full time employment so I'm very thankful for the fact that I have these months to concentrate on my training. Not much time for blogging ut I'm thinking once the wedding is past, things might feel a bt flat.  Had to laugh at  words of advice re daughters hen night in town next week " have a good time but remember how close to ome you are". Now I've no idea what he's expecting will happen!!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Post hen weekend

Survived the weekend, it was brilliant though flumes and bony people don't work well together, my back is raw! It w a surreal experience swimming in hot water under a frosty starry sky absolutely stunning! Back to reality and my first essay eek! One down three to go. Still trying to work out what it is that Luther actually promotes! There've been some heavy reading sessions this week. Only four more weeks till the youngest child gets married so now on the final countdown. Been missing my Oldster recently, it would have been his birthday this month and he was supposed to be reading at the wedding:(   Also had a spate of funerals to contend with so its been busy. Supper on Saturday night with the Bishop elect of Hungary! Wonder how his Sacramental theology is! Got some stuff from local Priest who is just lovely but had to augh when I read one of the headings on a print out he'd given me which was entitled Protestant errors, maybe best not to incorporate that!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Sacramental theology

Just finished first tutorial. Whew! And was shattered half way through and now I can't keep, brain all over place. Lots to take in but lecturer was really listenable. But just about fell off the bed when he asked me a question. Fortunately knew the answer! So prepared for that next time. Spoke to another candidate who also had very negative experience at mid term review so wasn't just me!  Difficult funeral tomorrow. . But I really believe God place psalm 139, because God made her and loved her and He knows why she was a tortured soul. Then I've a weekend of he partying.  O dear me. I've warned the girl No Face Book photos!  never been on hen night gonna embrace it ( within reason) it's been a long hard winter! :))

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Mid term Review

Well Mrs G. My mid term review was possibly one of the most discouraging interviews I've ever had.  I came away wondering why I was offering  myself  for service I got the impression that there's not a great deal of enthusiasm for OLMs and in fact he did say they prefer OLMS. Who are working ( I'm not at the moment, but that's mainly due to coming out of long period of long term caring,   The aftermath of that, wedding preps, placement, and needing " some much needed time out" the inference was, I felt, they get in the way too much and push themselves forward. So I was extremely discouraged at that attitude coming down from central office. My supervisor agreed but he was philosophical about it telling me to hang on in there, the end is in sight. So that was my mid term review! Major challenge this week is fitting three females and luggage and everything else we need for a hen weekend at Center Parks into a Peugeot 107!!!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Busy Sunday

Busy busy weekend. Saturday youngest child, middle child ( who was chauffeuring) us and daughter in law to be all went up to the big city o get The Wedding Dress! Only five weeks to go! Since the dress needed considerable alterations in spite of being hand made the girls and I decided we should spend the time waiting in our favourite cocktail bar, since it was Los Lucy the dogs dads birthday yesterday, daughter in law to be bought him a onesie. A monkey onesie. I will Say no more on that subject. Back to the shop final try on and yes I did cry. My little girl looked truly beautiful, elegant and utterly gorgeous, I don't know how her Dad is going to remain composed when he marries her. I have found since my Oldster died that I have becme very emotional, ti is new for me and a bit of a shock at times. The journey home was rather cramped 4 adults a huge wedding dress and shopping in a Citroen C 1 but the dress is ready
 Another box ticked! I was again on racers of intercession and as usual my supervisor and I had this tussle over whether I strayed into supplication, I would have said he strayed into intercession in the prayer of approach! The trip to Debrecen ( where I'm now billed as a key speaker!) is well on way to ing finalised. Question can I manage fr a whole week with only hand luggage? Definitely not! Spent day reading Sacramental Theology books in reparation for first tutorial this Wednesday. Then Hen weekend on Friday till Monday! I feel like I'm on a roller coaster at the minute nd everything is spinning just slightly too fast. ( and the cocktails have long since worn off) I need a Be still moment.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Interim review

I can't believe I'm almost half way through my six month placement and I'm having my interim review tomorrow. Checking over the learning and serving covenant last week with my supervisor, so far we seem to be ticking all the boxes. Not sure what to expect of tomorrow though. Had interesting feedback meeting last night. As my remit for Sunday was prayers of intercession. Supervisor suggested I go with theme of marriage following gospel lectionary I did!  I must admit I hesitantly included couples entering into civil partnerships and also touched on  the government trying to legalise gay marriage, that the church might approach this in a way that wouldn't cause offence but at the same time remain true to the teaching of the Bible ( did try and upload a copy for comment but beyond my capabilities) must admit I didn't hold back. My supervisor I think was slightly stunned but also commended me for tackling the issues we so often shy away from and he definitely couldn't say I didn't follow his instruction to the letter. So, here we go into tomorrow. Night all.

Monday, 14 January 2013


So part of my input to yestdays service was prayers of intercession! Now in the past WHENEVER I've done this it's always included thanksgiving and intercession, so as usual I drew from the lectionary readings and framed the prayers around those. O dear on hearing my supervisors prayer of appproach. It was obvious that he'd done exactly the same thing, though I don't know how he'd structured his because there a bit of everything in there! Anyway I'm just the student. He's the. Supervisor so I was wrong as he pointed out ( not at all hurt fully but humorously ) he only wanted intercessions, so next week Just Intercessions, so  unlearn the practice of past, but I did feel a bit gutted. The form of the first prayer is adoration confession and supplication? A s far as I've always gone along and throughout my training the second prayer was thanksgiving and intercessions. So am I wrong or is it just another way of doing it! Worrying as I have my interim review next week!  So only intercessions which I always think is a bit like gimme gimme gimme, anyhow I'm just grumbling now. For the childrens talk I took my passport but had to take the one I had done in 1995 because I look more like I did then ( haircolour glasses) etc than I do in the one I had three years ago. So that can't be too bad though it does pose a question do I now need a new passport photo?

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Interim review

Still struggling with interim review  report but think I'm almost there. family dynamics have changed this week. My babas left home yesterday to take up residence in  her new house prior to the wedding in Seven weeks time eek. It's. funny how you bring your children up to be independent, encourage them to stand on their own two feet, then when they do it you feel bereft. As mums and daughters go we. Are extremely close and I'm very lucky that we get on so well.
As I reflected   for my review and looked back on my journal from the time when my Old Man was dying, I realise just how Close God was to me in that. It was. A. Very special time and its only with the wisdom of hind sight that I can appreciate how present He was with me and what a privilege and honour it was to have that time with  my. Dearest Friend strengthened and sustained by a strength way beyond anything I have on my own. On my own personal journey since then  I've been encouraged and affirmed and further sustained by God. Even tonight as I looked over Isaiah chapter 43 I KNOW that those words are true because God has been faithful.
Now I'm kind of worried because I've just eaten two puppy treats instead of crisps and I've just read the label!! Goodnight, grrr

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Catch up

Had a good feed back meeting with supervisor last night, my interim review is due on 24 th so had a look at requirements for that! Whew why do the powers that be make everything sooo complicated spent the day working on that. Also o met up with another lady also in training for OLM  was interesting
To compare experiences, we also wondered f we could do the sacramental theology module together on the phone link. Does anyone know if that's doable.  As I worked on review it meant reflecting on start of my placement just two weeks after my old man died. I realise now I was very much in the handof a god and knew strength beyond myself which sustained and supported through days of deep sadness. In hindsight I realise a god was with me every step of the way for that I m truly thankful.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Preaching Assesment

So yesterday was my first full service with my supervisor assessing., though I have preached before and he was totally positive. Yesterday, I felt, went well, there were one or two issues with the hymn choices in that the first congregation is very small and has a limited repertoire, still my supervisor knows supervisor explained why after conducting so many services I was now being observed and critiqued and I was off! All in all I was really pleased with both services, sometimes the congregation at the first service can be a bit unresponsive but yesterday, they were on a roll. Feedback was really good and I was more than happy with how things went, at the next service my only disappointment was my hymn choice. I finished with longing for light and it dragged! Not a good finishing hymn at that particular church but people commented how much they liked that particular hymn. Sometimes you feel the Spirit come over you and that was how I did feel when I was preaching. I came away , feeling affirmed in my call, so I have my feedback meeting tomorrow night and we'll see what my supervisor says. Excited now to be in 2013 so much is happening.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The big Year!

This is the big year in our house. Youngest child gets married 8th March eek! I finish my module in March, my placement and final essay at the end of April. I'm off to Hungary for a week in May and the middle child gets married in June, then hopefully Ill be ordained as an OLM. This is a journey that's taken thirtyish years to travel and looking back, even just to this time last year when I was in a really low place, I can see Gods hand constantly on my life. Holding me when I've stumbled supporting me when I've been weak, guiding me and encouraging me every step of the way.  I feel so certain of Gods call, so sure and at peace that I'm right where He wants me to be. 2012 saw some of the pinnacles of joy in my walk with God but also some of the darkest deepest sadness. But He brought me through and every event has changed me in some subtle or perhaps not so subtle way.  So I'm excited by the challenges ahead, ( not least getting the wedding invites out on time!)
This year I really need to manage my time more effectively and I'm very aware of that. I've also got my interim review later this month, to look at how my placement is going. I actually can't believe how quickly that's passing and ill be sorry when it finishes ( make the most of it!) and once again I'm struck by how time flies!