31 March 2013

#lentphotos - ALL

Here are all the photos posted during the #lentphotos project

#lentphotos: the project 

I wrote a blog daily for each photograph, some short, some longer. Links to my favourites are included in this post.

Day:1 wilderness (Culloden, Inverness)

Day:2 a temptation

Day:3 a place to reflect (American Military Cemetery, Cambridge) (blog)

Day:4 simple food (patatas bravas, poor man's potatoes)

Day:5 a place to pause (blog)

Day:6 a luxury

Day:7 quiet (Crofter's Cottage, Solas, North Uist)

Day:8 a focus (our trusty ford focus on North Uist) (blog)

Day:9 food for thought (son & daughter in law's wedding rings & their reading)

Day:10 a prayer

Day:11 navigation

Day:12 refreshment

Day:13 trusting

Day:14 food (Foodbank collection)

Day:15 a quiet place

Day:16 a blessing (Clare College Chapel, Cambridge) (blog)

Day:17 a journey

Day:18 a wild animal

Day:19 the road ahead

 Day:20 a reflection (blog)

Day:21 help (blog)

Day:22 bettering oneself

Day:23 divine

Day:24 orientation

Day:25 nutrition

Day:26 wisdom

Day:27 support

Day:28 perspective

Day:29 spirit

Day:30 Jesus

Day:31 another temptation (blog)

Day:32 renewal

Day:33 waiting (blog)

Day:34 strength (rays on roots)

Day:36 a necessity

Day:37 hope

Day:38 the road travelled (blog)

Day:39 last supper (the Seder plate at our homegroup meal)

Day:40 loss (balloon release at local Baby Memorial Service) (blog)

#3goodthings [31 March 2013]

25 March
God's promises
working to a backdrop of relaxing piano music
not taking a negative comment personally


26 March 
fox sauntering across the road in broad daylight
sharing a Passover Meal with the homegroup
most tasty roast lamb ever


27 March
good comments after Passover Meal
more aspects of co-dependency making sense
challenges from doing #lentphotos


28 March
safe arrival of a friend's baby in snowy Derbyshire and their sheep are OK too
daughter returning today
still light at 6:15pm 


29 March
this is so good it warranted a 3 in 1 via @charliemackesy #247pod


30 March
quick & unexpected answer to prayer
sofa chilling afternoon
gadgets that re-set time automatically


31 March
lunch with family
Easter worship

51 gifts

29 March 2013

#lentphotos - 40 - loss

This photo was taken following a Baby Memorial Service. 

I attended the service as a musician but it is a particularly painful loss that I have never experienced personally. The sadness in the midst of that group of people was tangible and some families had lost multiple children. 

In our previous church one family lost a baby shortly after birth, another lost a teenage son to cancer and two families lost adult children (both to cancer). Others in and around these times talked about their children taken away before time from years ago, the heaviness of the weight of wounds remembered once more.

No matter what stage in life this happens, it is an unbelievably painful, raw, lonely and bleak loss. 

And there are the other losses too, family, friendship, health, employment, security, homes.. 

In the aftermath of loss unanswered questions hang in the air. Letting go is difficult.

Because the wounds of loss are often deep healing takes time. Steps towards disentangling peace from pain can be almost imperceptible, silently.mending.

On this day Good Friday we remember that love does its most significant work. 

Releasing us from all of our sins once and for all. 

In the agonising, raw and lonely pain of Jesus' death, the self-imposed injuries of our hearts are noiselessly and gently bound piece by piece.

A painstaking work in progress.

Your hands, though bloodied on the cross
survive to hold and heal and warn,
to carry all through death to life
and cradle children yet unborn.

Inspiration from lyrics of We cannot measure how you heal

28 March 2013

#lentphotos - 39 - the last supper

Seder plate with elements

A couple of evenings ago we shared a Passover Meal with our homegroup. As a bible study group we are still getting to know one another, but food relaxes us and is something we do very well. Fortunately one couple have a dining room and table large enough to accommodate 22 people, as well as the gift of generous hospitality.

Firstly we shared the Seder meal with associated readings and questions about the passage of Jewish people from slavery to freedom. After this there was a slap up Passover meal of tender beautifully cooked roast lamb with vegetables, followed by delicious desserts prepared as church people know best.

The elements on the Seder plate are all symbolic:

  • BITTER HERB (horseradish & romaine lettuce) :: a symbol of the bitterness of slavery Jewish people endured in Egypt
  • CHAROSES (chopped apple/nut mixture) :: a symbol of the mortar used to build in Egypt
  • PARSLEY dipped in salt water :: a symbol of pain and tears the slaves suffered
  • LAMB BONE :: a symbol of sacrifice
  • ROAST EGG :: a symbol of mourning

Also during the Seder we ate and shared:
  • MATZOH :: a symbol of how fast the Jews left Egypt
  • WINE :: a symbol of redemption

Often Jesus' greatest wisdom was imparted during a meal. He sure knew the importance of sharing food with those he loved (and those he probably didn't like so much). 

If I had one last meal, I wouldn’t spend it with the person I knew would betray me - Love does. @bobgoff

27 March 2013

#lentphotos - 38 - the road travelled

Last autumn my oldest girl friend turned 50 (oldest as in friend whom I have known the longest and kept in touch with over the years). She knew something was going to happen that weekend but her children and partner tried to keep as much secret as possible. And so various people turned up at the remote North Yorkshire farm where they live at different times. Delighted squeals of re-union punctuated the still surrounding air throughout the happy weekend.

In between the feasting, chatting and catching up with people there was plenty of time to chill. And so the Scotsman and I took a walk along this, one of the many farm tracks. (The photo seems appropriate in itself since the name of the farm contains the word 'mud').

The farm has grown potatoes for many generations. Vehicles drive up and down this road most of the year round, travelling to the fields thousands of times to harvest the potatoes and bring them back to the vast barns for sorting and bagging.

It is a familiar and purposeful route for the farmer and his workers, although it is too insignificant to be marked on a map. The imprint in the soil alters the appearance each time a tractor drives down it, so although the direction and destinations are the same, a subtle shift is occurring in the earth all the time. It is both the same and continually changing. 


And this too is the place where we hash out our day to day living with God, in the muddy middle, an undefined place between the starting point and the journey end. Sometimes in the humdrum every day routine of life, other times during the special occasions where we mark the passing of time, the arrival of the new or letting go and saying farewell.

And all the time holy work takes place in our hearts, where the master tattooist carves Himself, in slow and painstaking work.

       I’m writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts - Hebrews 8:10

We long to avoid the hard work, the tired slog of the endless every day (whatever that means for us) and wincing at the thought of pain. All that which takes place in the centre.  

We’d love a bit more of the celebratory party feeling or endless relaxation and cocktails by an infinity pool, whatever refreshes and renews us, brings us alive and makes us feel good. Don’t we just deserve at least a bit of that?

But really the dirty road is the place where He whispers the things we need to know. The things we don’t deserve, but He freely gives them anyway.


The act of continually churning of the soil beneath our feet when we put one foot in front of the other, also brings unexpected treasures to the surface. And if we are fortunate enough we notice them.


So while we were walking along this track my eye picked out what looked like an old penny, and I extracted it from the mud. Although it was so worn and dirty, it seemed almost inconsequential and could have just been some sort of unknown disc. 

Since we have been home the Scotsman has been slowly buffing the coin (he is patient like that). Although markings have deteriorated over the years by the weight of its journey through the layers of soil, it is a verifiable 1882 Victorian penny. 

As Jesus walked the dusty dirty road towards the hill outside town, bearing the pain from carrying the weight of all our sin, I am reminded time and again, grateful that God does not consider me too insignificant to overlook.

I'm in that place once again
Once again I look upon the cross where you died
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside
Once again I thank You..
Thank You for the cross

(Matt Redman: Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice)

26 March 2013

#lentphotos - 37 - hope

This is the bridge section in the song He became sin by Chris Tomlin:

All our HOPE is in You, all our HOPE is in You
All the glory to You, God, the light of the world

The music hits a long top note on the words hope (and also glory). Everything in the song seems to point to the word hope. 

Musically too the bridge section contrasts with the rest of the song, rising above and lifting out, before returning to another chorus.

Jesus our hope and the hope of all creation.

24 March 2013

#3goodthings [24 March 2013]

17 March
Townend/Getty songs
apple crumble
the Google St Patrick's Day dancers


18 March
new people doing #3goodthings
full house between us on the music round of university challenge


19 March
costa coffee
unexpected afternoon out
being in a church where most of musicians are good


20 March
introverts are awesome page on Facebook
keep plugging away at it tweets


21 March
a major answer to prayer
humility of the new Archbishop of Canterbury
mother's day flowers still going


22 March
reflective writing
winter still preventing early pollen - party pooper I know..
entertained by #ChurchOfEnglandFilms


23 March
catching up & reminiscing about nephews & niece with sister in law
John Lewis gadget department
Saturday curry 


24 March
useful information from a solicitor friend
mandolin story on Antiques Roadshow
our 80 year old church treasurer's s**y devil socks

30 gifts