Thursday, December 31, 2009


Photos by

Just thought I would put up a few pictures of my recent adventures and life changes.


E.K. Ludwig

Friday, December 4, 2009

Carloman and Charlemagne

On this day in 771 AD King Carloman died and left his brother, Charlemagne in full control of the generously sized Frankish kingdom.

I have no idea why I've just informed you of that after many weeks of silence-but it does bring back memories of my lectures at King's College and how passionate Professor Jinty Nelson was about all things Carolingian.

On another note the re-write for, 'Ridley Sinclair and the Fae' is still very much so in full swing and leading me to write whole histories, backgrounds and even myths for some of the characters in the tale. Today I've had to discipline myself to finish the latest chapter I'm on and not make notes. But it's most enjoyable so there aren't any complaints :)

And on a completely separate note-do not watch, 'The Golden Compass'. What a royal waste of time. Too much going on it too short an amount of time, a thoroughly unbelievable and confusing world-ugh didn't like it one bit. It really isn't any wonder that we haven't seen it's sequel just as yet.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Human Zoos

A friend of mine made mention to Channel 4's documentary series: 'Race: Science's last taboo' on their Facebook profile status. And so naturally I went along to see what the big hullabaloo was (and you can too here:

I haven't had a chance to watch any of it yet (still working out the whole streaming UK programmes from the US) but the thought and fact that both British and American anthropologists deemed it high science to 'collect' indigenous people from their homes and place them in zoos-made my stomach turn and my scrambled eggs return to the surface.

Ota Benga, a Batwa Pygmy, from the then Belgian Congo was taken to St Louis zoo in 1904 and then the Bronx zoo where he was gaped at by paying customers who left, probably thinking A.C. Haddon's conclusion in his 1898 book, 'Study of Man' that the white race had completely superseded the black race, was in fact true.

This is not my attempt to scream for maddened retribution, this is history and what was real and I am glad that Channel 4 have taken this acidic subject by the helm. If anything there needs to be more of this. Schools in the US and all over the UK should show this. If we are ever to break the myth that some people groups are not part of the same Human race then we need to tackle it head on. It is uncomfortable, it does make one cry and want to throttle bigots but the less we speak about certain issues the more power they get.

And I hope we can agree; racism really doesn't need anymore empowering.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Any Book readers?

Fancy reading some of my work, 'Ridley Sinclair and the Book of Riddles'?

If so let me know on

Ta :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009


As writing (the journalistic sort) has now become my bread and butter I think I've realized something anew. I think I have this revelation every six months or so. I'm a fiction writer first and then a journalist after. My very insides delight in the web of plots, the timbre of character's voices and the depth the color of words can take you to.

Today three good friends have asked me what's happening with the book? Is there no relief from that question? Apparently until you've done all you set out to do, no.

So now to stop writing about writing and just doing it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Getting the sack, a flea infested apartment and moving North.

I realize it's been a horribly long time since I've written, please do forgive.

After happily jaunting around Thailand (Chiang Mai heavenly, Bangkok swampy in the monsoon season and Phuket the faithfully expected Island bliss) I came home to the most tumultuous week ever. It was so knotty and fast paced, I couldn't have written or made it up if I'd wished.

The long and short is I am no longer working for Experience Worship, partly in thanks to my troublesome visa situation (if thinking of relocating to the US be prepared to have your brains, nerves and optimism frazzled by the administrative process for everything), I was kindly given the flick. In the meantime the apartment I was flat-sitting decided to explode with more fleas than there are dust mites in the London Underground and I was so badly bitten I still bear the scars all over my feet (really should get on to using some Vitamin E oil, I'm a bridesmaid in two weeks and pox-ridden feet will not do).

And so what is a girl to do when her small world is falling apart? Sit calmly and think. And in that thinking time my absolutely sweet, kind, handsome and simply wonderful boyfriend suggests we bring next years plans forward about 8 months. And so I will be moving to Indianapolis tomorrow (he's coming today to help me with the loaded drive tomorrow-a total gem), where I will be living in a wonderful community house with a friend called Julie (backpacked with her in Thailand with my beau and other friends).

This week has been such a cocktail of emotions and practicalities. I detest packing with such venom that I had to get started on it as soon as the sun rose on Monday morning. And now I am as good as done. I just need to drop some things off to the hungry and zip up my suitcase later on. Ah, that and trying to buy a car-roof rack for my luggage. Hmm I'll see how my visit to Auto zone goes and let you know.

I haven't said many byes either. I haven't thrown a party or wanted one thrown for me. I haven't called people up and told them individually what my plans are. Not completely sure why. I'm not being secretive (blogspot proves so), I just don't think I can be asked for all the fanfare. And plus I'll be back in two weeks to be a bridesmaid. Perhaps as we drink blood orange sodas at the reception and dance under the fairy lights that hang up on the church beams I'll understand then that another chapter has closed and my time in Nashville has too.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Strict Joy

This title sounds like something C.S. Lewis would have written but is actually the name of The Swell Season's new album coming out on the 27th October and I can not wait!

NPR had Glen and Mar in to their Tiny Desk Concert recently and if you copy and paste this link into a new window, you'll get to hear the magic of this duo for yourself.

And it really is worth every 33 minutes of it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Waltz with Bashir

Is the film I watched last night with a former housemate and current ones. It was feature length and panned out like many films do except unlike the others, this one was animated. This was no Disney, Pixar or Anime but something different. Something director Ari Folman and a group of trusted friends and artists thought up.

From the moment the film started with a pack of hounds racing like shadows in a nightmare until it ended with the actual footage of the aftermath of the Sabra and Shatila Massacres in Lebanon, you knew you were watching something that would be marked in memories and conversations for a while to come.

Something in it's sombre tone reminded me of Spielberg's Munich until we got to the part of animated porn. That was just strange to say the least.

As with most things it was the storytelling that captured me. The economic, restrained but poetically placed images and memories that stuck and recurred most with me afterward.

The question of the Middle East doubtlessly brings up thoughts of the Gaza strip, Israeli rockets and missiles, Palestinian suicide bombers and now with this contribution; the incomprehensible loss on every side of a bloody and ceaseless war.

The film has pictures of death that may or may not haunt. It depends how deeply you allow them into your own soul.

And what the film also did with impressive subtlety was muse on Israel's indirect and passive aggression at the genocide of hundreds of Palestinian and Lebanese lives in refugee camps that were taken by Christian Phalangists over a couple of nights in September 1982. A genocide that was enabled by the very lights of the flares those young and sometimes unwitting Israeli soldiers fired into the air.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Why do people not like checking their blind spots before shifting tally-ho into your lane? Mirrors aren't enough and wearing sunglasses when the sun isn't that bright will not help either.

Furthermore why do the office powers that might be feel it is imperative to freeze their staff in glacier conditions by blasting the air conditioners to abnormal levels? Managers should know this is not conducive to high levels of production (because your workers are spending most of their day trying to avoid hypothermia!).

Finally why does Western Culture (predominantly) insist their societies should work 5 out of 7 days a week. Why not 4 out of 7? Maybe there is the fear that we simply wouldn't get as much done. But what if an extra day away from the keyboard and monitor added to people's general well being and so equated to higher productivity when they are in the office?

Therein lies the conclusion of my rant. Holiday definitely needed. Thankfully one is coming in the form of Thailand next weekend.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Pigeon and a boy

Is what I'm currently reading. It's rich and heady, invoking Israel's Middle Eastern heritage. An unusual find, as I was busy looking for, 'The Reader' by Bernhard Schlick. But is in a similar vein of Khalid Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner'.

Page 40 (I'm not copying you Abi, I honestly am only up to page 40) and I think he's starting to get under my skin in a good way.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Something about that makes me sick

I'm not sure if I've simply become horribly jaded and cynical with age but I can't dispel the deep dislike of everything that tries very hard to be christian.

That whole thing of an evangelism campaign and doing certain things for others with lots of coverage because these poor heathens need to hear it.

I haven't lost my faith or even forgotten Jesus' last words on earth before he teleported to heaven but I just think that He wanted more for us. He wanted us not to make a mission out of it and a thing out of it or a campaign (incorporate) out of it, but simply to be it.

For our very core to be shaken to such disgust at the evil in the world that we do not need anymore snazzy branded ministries to join the good race.

For it not be another cleverly PR'ed staged event, with flashing lights, smoke machines and at times incredibly corny music.

But perhaps to simply meet these people on their own turf, without the fanfare and glimmer at the good work that's being done and simply slipping in the background and loving them so profusely but never for a minute becoming the headline act.

Gracious, I probably do sound dreadfully biting here, but I have seen so many gimmicky, cheesy and tummy turning objects that have Jesus's name, a branded scripture and apparently the power to change someone's life, I'm about ready to burst.

This isn't to say all these numerous ministries are solely money churning machines with the added benefit of doing a good deed. There are some amazing, truly amazing souls sacrificing their very hearts to love those overlooked and receiving no glittering praise for being a 'mega church Pastor' with a ministry named after themselves. And for all of those that go unnoticed by us, I know God sees them. He always has been about working in secret and loving expansively.

Quite simply put, perhaps people just want to be befriended and loved not to join ranks and become something but because they are God's creation.

And honestly, we really don't need stomach churning objects to do that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Losing touch

Facebook, as terrible a distraction as it is and encourager of cyber-stalking, is also a reminder to how we can fall out of contact with people.

I've never liked goodbyes, they're filled with too much and they tend to resonate in my head for seasons afterwards, but I've realised sometimes I've said goodbye without ever saying it.

I live in Nashville, TN, but there is a whole world, community and bunch of people that I used to know back in England. Indeed the very nearest and dearest have remained in contact but as I look through photographs I see the stories of so many others play out and realise we are no longer part of each other's lives.

Perhaps this is just the natural order of things. To get the new you have to free yourself up to accommodate it. To be fully part of your present you have to stop strangle-holding your past. You have to accept that this is what happens when one grows up. They move out of home, get a job somewhere, move into their own place, make new friends, find love, make life.

And yet as blissfully promising as that all sounds I still look at these same photographs and ache because I know there have been too many conversations that haven't been had, too many stories that haven't been told, too many moments that haven't been shared to keep the once friendship a now friendship.

Sad, but true.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Girl crush

I wonder how many of you thought this was going to be an explosive entry of sorts ;) Go on, be honest.

Sorry to disappoint but all it really points to is my new found love for KT Tunstall. I've always liked her music and style for a good while and feel like she's been around longer on our airwaves and iTunes longer than she has, but recently my love has reached new heights of appreciation.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact she's an instrumentalist-competent at a selection of musical devices. Or maybe it's her voice which sounds old and playful at the same time as it sings out and through her penned lyrics. Then again, it could be because she's from Scotland, a place of lore and myths and unbelievable scenery and deep, deep history.

Or perhaps it's her widely spoken about attitude to her life as an adopted child, which didn't make her feel unloved but lucky, knowing her life could have turned out a thousand different ways. Her birth's initial rootlessness paved the way for a creative mind and thoughts of endless possibilities. I think it's the richness of such hope in her that makes me think what a woman.

Plus how can you not respect someone who plays guitar (electric, acoustic and bass), drums, piano and the voicebox to name but a few?

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Perfect love drives out all fear.

Monday, July 13, 2009

July, thus far

I have an awful cold. One of the ones where your throat is so sore if feels like you're scratching it out with your own nails.

I have survived a hugely busy period at work where I was an artist, problem solver, runner (mainly to Michael's), printer, decorator, hostess, promoter and gaffer.

I then survived Cornerstone where I managed to stay afloat during freezing cold nights spent praying in the tent whilst a hardcore band screamed again that they're doing this for the Lord, burning sun that made my forehead sting, the smell of BO, damp dank grass which made me want to heave, friendships that could never have been made any other way if it wasn't for the rains, being cramped on buses and smelling to the heavenlies.

Then a trip up to Indy where I went to see about a boy and came back smiling like a Chesire cat.

This isn't the most lyrical note I've ever written-but it has oodles of love in it. Promise.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

La Fetes des Peres

Father's Day is nearly over but before the evening melts into Monday morning I realised I hadn't really celebrated much with my heavenly Father.

Indeed I sang my heart out at worship this morning and hoped it brought a little smile to God's face but whereas I sent my dad in England a card and called him in the afternoon, I realised I did neither things.

Not that I know anything of a direct phone line to the heavenlies or a post code either, but you get the gist.

So I did something I haven't done since my Kensington Temple Encounter days (a weekend retreat in the sort of boonies of Bournemouth, England). I wrote God a Father's Day in multi-coloured gel pens, nonetheless.

Of course I won't be posting this belated card anywhere, but at least when He looks in He'll see a card made out to Him. And know I thought of Him today. And I was thankful that He has stuck with me through my gripe and grief.

What a Dad.

Monday, June 15, 2009


You've heard it be said, "So, I have your word?" Maybe the term seems rather archaic, but I think it shows something deeper that for some reason I missed. God's promises are exactly that, His word. Not simply as in He is the one talking but more than that, He swears on His very life and nature to fulfill His promise; to fulfill that thing He said He would do. Like a vow, giving your word can not be taken lightly, it isn't for the fainthearted. In Israel of old, if you broke a vow you could literally be cut in half by your peers.

When God gives His word as He did to Abraham and as our Hebrews author reminds us in Hebs 6:13-19 He is swearing on all that He is. He is putting His reputation, His name, His sake, His breath, on the line, to say, 'It will be done.'

Friday, June 12, 2009

English Fairy Tales

Is what I am currently reading (along with The Magician's Nephew, where I get to read a lot of, "Look here, Diggory," said Polly presently. Only Lewis could do that). And so far the fairy tales have not disappointed. What with their shot length, formulaic stages of character improvement, rhymes and riddles and of course the ever present good versus evil battle; I have been happily entertained since I started reading them last night.

I can remember a lot of these stories from when I grew up. Especially, Jack and the Beanstalk and The Three Bears (I have no idea why Goldilocks doesn't get a mention in the title) and of course Rumpelstiltskin, or his cousin, Tom Tit Tot. But then there are the others that I never touched on when I was 6 years old and sat in awed silence on the itchy mat during reading hour when we would sit stock still and listen to stories (such blissful, sweet afternoons). There's, St George of Merrie England, The Black Bull of Norraway, Nix Naught Nothing and The Red Ettin; all so rich in colour and character with tales of courage, solid love, endurance and some magic for good measure. But it is the more human qualities of the characters who make stupid choices that lead to curses and adversities until rescued by others with more sound minds and generous hearts that keep capturing me. I know I'd be the one who would cut corners because of impatience and find myself in a bog of quicksand 100 yards from home weeping and wailing until rescued. I know this, because I have done this; I do this. But it seems it's okay to make mistakes, to take the wrong turn, to get confused and lose your place in the story because this big story we're in the midst of is being written by one with such keen skill, He'll have us back on track with lessons learned and the added bonus of first hand experiences.

The only thing missing from my fairy tales is who wrote them. But then where do you begin trying to narrow down the folk stories that have been shared and whispered, reshaped and passed along the ages by scores of men, women and children?

Maybe that's what gives fairy tales their timeless quality. The authors are all of us, who have ever lived, travelled, trusted, loved, betrayed and done the same or fought for something bigger than ourselves.

The authors were those. The authors are us.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Oddly and wonderfully enough I got to see my good friend from my Pride Magazine days (and no, it wasn't a gay pride magazine).

During the twirl and whirl of her stylist job she happened to be here-Nashville, TN of all places. So of course I picked her up on one of our warm sweaty nights took her down to Hillsboro Village for a large glass of Rose, incessant chatter and laughter about our woes and joys and uniformly turned our noses up at the man in the bar who decided to heckle us (or as the kind, lovely man who took our picture said, 'Holla'.)

All in all, a fun night. I have another friend in New York right now. If only we could teleport :(

Monday, June 8, 2009


It seems I have grown an odd obsession with that one word. Whether for it's meaning or description; I have knitted it in my mind at regular intervals until I now have something to wrap around me a thousand times over.

It's been described as several things including the starting position of the cursor on a text-based computer display.

But I have become rather fond of this conclusion;

" A) An environment offering security and happiness.

B) A valued place regarded as a refuge or place of origin."

Sometimes it feels as if the battle in my head is won and I know where I am standing and I know who I am and I know why I am here. But then other times, there's a reprise of the same question; perhaps spun differently; but there nevertheless.

Maybe it's because I feel as if I am living a very transient life. Always scribbling dreams and packing up boxes and books. Planning farewell evenings and reconnecting over cyber letters. Collecting names and stories, faces and voices. And all the while still not quite having the sense I'm there yet.

This is not a charmed life, though it does have it's sweetness in the countless lives of those who have opened their hearts and homes to me. I have received so much and yet still I am near empty, waiting for my fill and my turn, of a place I know without doubt is that little four lettered word.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Edit/Work on it some more stage

My Editor is a jewel. She truly is. She is one of the most kind hearted, wise and honest women I know. She's also fierce and thorough with editing.

Needless to say I've had my initial response back from her regarding Ridley's story, which I really should call by it's name, 'Keepsake'. Though she genuinely loved it there are still two areas which need work (which in my mind branches out to several other smaller branches, thus creating a monstrous tree of work).

When I got her feedback back my first thought was, 'Okay not too bad.' This was promptly followed by, 'I actually have no idea how to do these suggested things (part of this thought still remains). Followed next by an extended period of wailing mentally at what a crap book I must have written not to have knocked her off her seat first time. This period was so extended that I took to feverishly trying to plan a new first story for my characters even though I have already been plotting the second book.

And finally and quietly as it always does after my brain fever outbursts of inadequacy, I realised something. I realised an old, and solid truth that I had buried away in my supposed self-sufficiency. "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." - Jesus. John 15:4.

It seems even writing a children's fictional tale can not and will not be a stand alone project. Of course I had always known this and in the beginning I knew the ideas and initial flurry came from God alone and then somewhere in the latter middle part and end, I simply ploughed on myself.

So God has brought me back to where He is, or perhaps brought me forward. Now I wait in stillness and try to be silent. I try to clear my head from possible character conversations and explorations and hear what the Spirit is saying. It's still very hard and I have no idea how this will pan out, but God knows this story, beginning from end, so I'm sure He knows how.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Magical people

I had this thought, the other day at work (clearly induced from re-reading, 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) that we, Christians, are perhaps a magical people.

Now of course I realise this statement will either make some giggle, roll their eyes or foam at the mouth in fury. Still, I think it's a thought worth mulling over.

In HP or Hogwarts land as I call it the magical people, with their aid of their trusty (though not always if you've read all 7 books) wands can perform all kinds of spells, charms and hexes. Their inexplicable abilities in the impossible make them, magical.

In our world, the unmerited favour of a brilliant, ingenious, Creator made man, who died on a cross and then confounded death by rising again left us a gift so we wouldn't be orphans - The Holy Spirit. It is through the Holy Spirit and the clever, inexplicable gifts He gives us that we are able to do and see impossible things in our very finite and fragile human lives.

Now we can't point at something and say, 'accio' and it will come hurtling towards us. But we can lay our hands on our siblings and (perhaps without all the touching for strangers) pray for them. Pray them through the valley they may be in or pray that the Holy Spirit's healing touch would bind up the sickness (or in my case, pulled back muscles). We can dream dreams and see visions, even speak things out before they come to be. We can speak in foreign and unwritten tongues and have the secrets interpreted. We can bless and curse with our tongues (see James 2 for further information) We can read Holy Scripture and get a glimpse into the heart and mind of the most Ancient of Days. In all simplicity, we can stand in the magical even whilst we live in all the mundane of normality.

When I think of the magic in Hogwarts land, I see there is and at the same time, nothing new there. It carries in it all the wish-fulfillment ability we all wish we had. But perhaps it speaks of a deeper, elder truth; that there was and already is, a great magic that we lost at the Fall, which with Christ now restoring us back into places of sons and daughters, we can now pick up where we left off.

But don't get me wrong, I don't think we've been empowered by and through the Holy Spirit solely to play show and tell with our gifts; but rather, to engage with all around us, to better the world we inhabit.

Whichever way we look at it; magic is very much so, still around.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Yesterday I read the second half of my, 'finished' children's story and then emailed it to my Editor friend.

And there it is. The book is finally out of my hands and in anothers. I have begun the process and now I'm free to think of Red and Imogen's next adventures.

It's strange reading back on what you already wrote in a flurry of creative contentment, particularly when what you read makes you smile, tear up or laugh out loud.

I've said it before but my characters really do feel like my little ones. I know them and what they look like, what they'll say and sometimes what they'll think. Finishing this first story made me realise I absolutely do not want to let go of them quite yet, even if they are starting to grow up as it heads into summer time in Eyrely.

Fiction, it's where my heart rests. Without a book to read I feel bereft and when telling stories I feel a happy contentment that sits merrily in this little soul.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


This is my third attempt to be honest with this virtual page. Honesty, alike truth gives the body and mind a jolt in a way that little else can.

Maybe it's because I've been debating how open I want to be on a blog and whether in all that's good in heaven, I should be blabbing my insecurities. Yes, it's therapeutic and cleansing in a way, but it also has a tendency to leave you feeling that bit more bare than before.

And what is this honesty or truth that has left me wrestling when I should be working, you may be wondering? It is the fear that secretly crept up on me that I am perhaps too awkward and odd to get that sweet gift that comes in a mutual love with another.

Not sure whether this is just normal insecurity we all feel at times or a horribly deeper symptom of something horrible and deeper.

Perhaps it is merely the age old question we humans have carried in our souls since forever ago; 'am I enough? Am I good enough?'

Funny how, even though I've heard the answer to this a million times I still find myself asking it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A beautiful world

Sometimes a song and the woven notes of its melody do something strange, something unruly and simply inexplicable. Sounds and words seep into cracks in my skin and the pores in my soul, and make their home there. They create a world of thoughts and feelings that shift like seasons. Sometimes it's sunny and delightful; other times the dark of lightening storms hit hard. I have no idea how waves of sound can do that to me. Take me to a place without leaving the spot. Tell me a story with so few words. Show me something with my eyes closed.

'Don't Panic' by Coldplay is one of their older songs alike, 'Writing to reach you' by Travis but somehow, in some odd unknown way, these songs take flight and paint a brightness that few other songs do, for me.

Perhaps it's the refrain of, 'We live in a beautiful world, yeah we do, yeah we do.' Simple but a refreshing take on this mass of iron ore and water. Maybe I spend too much time seeing the desperate hopelessness of our world and so to hear the opposite makes my little heart sing in chorus.

Just perhaps.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Danish Proverb

What you are, is God's gift to you;
What you do with yourself, is your gift to God.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pocket watch

I have a pocket watch. It' s a kind of burnt bronze with an antiquated lid that pops up at the slight press of the button. The same button that when pulled up moves the clock's hands.

There's also a small chain attached so I can dangle it from my pocket, like the Fat controller in 'Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends'. But there's a small hitch. The battery is dead so the hands remain at the last time I put them on. And that's the odd thing, instead of getting a new battery, I've taken to simply moving the hands to the correct time every now and again.

The pocket watch goes everywhere with me. In my jean pockets or in my brown leather satchel. In my jacket pocket or in between my fingers. On anything I can hook it on or under my pillow when I sleep.

The attachment crept up so stealthily I didn't know it had happened. My fierce loyalty to this little round bit of metal is clearly more than a mental hiccup; I think perhaps it's my way of having Anna close. Maybe that's why I like nothing more than to slip it out of my bag's side pocket and pop open the lid just to look at it and all it's detail. There's history with it, there's the story of how she acquired it, how she gave it to me and more of, the long lost age that pocket watches speak of.

I feel a bit like an old man when I take it out. No one has commented on my mild malaise yet, but that doesn't really bother me because I have secret stories and pictures all dangling off a very small chain.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Shack

You've probably heard the huge hub-bub surrounding this tale of a man called Mackenzie Allen Phillips whose daughter is kidnapped on a family camping trip and then brutally murdered. His daughter was six years old. Three and a half years later, Mack receives an invite from, 'Papa' or God to return to the shack where the last remnant of his daughter Missy was found.

There was so much hype all over this book I was most aggressive in resisting to read it. But floating about Target last Friday I came across it and dropped it into my basket. Unbeknown to me God would use those 250 pages to wreck all I thought I knew of Him.

I shan't spoil the experience of being a fly on the wall in Mack's unusual weekend with the Lord of the Universe. But I will tell you that during it you may just grasp the ridiculous depth of God's sheer pure love for His creation. You will never see such a devoted heart as God's own. And so I imagine you too will be wrecked, undone and pieced back together again in fear and trembling for the one who loves only you.

And that's the key thing here I think I learned. It isn't solely that God loves the world and the people in it. It's that He loves only you.

He loves only me.

Wine nose

My younger sister has a gift. She can smell and taste any wine, whether white, red or rose and tell you what year that wine was produced. It's an odd talent and in the early years I thought she was cheating her way into our awe. But years later and several bottles tasted she can still astonish us into silence by telling us the year.

On my most recent trip home I was thinking unsuccessfully how to make money off her gift (horribly capitalist of me I know) but ever since 'You Bet' ended years ago I have really come up dry. So perhaps her gift is just for our entertainment and to make her merry and giddy. Perhaps it's just another example of the random wonderfulness of our God's power to offer and implant the strangest gifts to his children.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hairaisers-not the holiest thought today

I was cleaning out one of the folders in my Hotmail account and came across a press release sent to me by some PRs a good while ago (11th July 2006 to be exact). It was a brief paragraph about how the packages that contain 100% Human Hair are in fact from reliable sources, namely Hindu volunteers who shave their heads in honour and worship of their gods.

Now not only has this thrown me off in the sense I have maintained the staunch argument that no corporation can have that much access to flyaway hair of all colours, but it's now added the added trouble of a spiritual dimension.

Of course if we remember Christ's words to Peter when our fisherman friend was staring at a picnic blanket teeming with all kinds of critters, that praying over things makes them clean and acceptable; but what of hair? Hair dedicated to Hindu gods that now has a new journey being tied and woven to my fro?

I'm as yet to wrestle with that one and hear what God's thoughts are and do a bit more research and prayer and perhaps get a bit of an answer.

Why this is taking up valuable blog space on Easter Sunday when I am remembering that my hero is alive and well, I have no idea. Perhaps that's what happens when you've been oscillating between health and colds, deep sleep and early starts, reading in silence to too many lunch dates.

Either way; London has been a fun time.

Hope you've had a happy, 'He is Risen' day.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Live and let live

It's been a week of pain, disappointment, misunderstanding, misrepresentation, belittling, shame and tears. But today the sun has shone. Not merely over us on this cool spring morning, but through me where shadows and hauntings have lain. Where my dreams have been filled with taunting and my mind addled with sadness.

I've prayed, wept, knelt, laid down, found distractions but perhaps best of all, I've run to the safest arms I've ever known.

It's in the invisible I've have been kept from falling over the edge and instead been lifted to see the sun shine, just that little bit brighter today.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dear Frankie

I'm not sure what year this film came out but it was before Gerard Butler became famous for his, 'This is Sparta' role, and devoted deceased husband in 'P.S. I love you', but it's a film that has caught my breath in my mouth and thoughts.

I found the DVD in the local library after a roommate watched and recommended it and remembered seeing the trailer for it eons ago in London. Sometimes there is a reason why things come around later and watching this film tonight as I just did I see why.

It deals with an absentee father, a mother (Emily Mortimer) grappling with being both roles to her son and fearfully overcoming the deep-rooted mistrust in others. It tackles being different, both in deafness and the new outsider. It peels back the secrets we all keep hidden and our desperate attempts to be brave. And it offers love as the tender, humanising hope we all harbour. But perhaps more touchingly; it reminds, how incredibly intelligent children are and what their little eyes take in and understand.

I can't really add more to it then that. There are awkward silences where you find yourself falling into the screen and the moment the camera captured. Or willing and wishing for a tidier ending than the one given; but at the same time loving the clever twists that it leaves.

It is a beautiful, simple film, set in Glasgow with all the overcast and sometimes sunny skies that makes the U.K, the U.K. It has dialect, folk song and people muddling along this grand long journey called, life.

An honest treasure to find that for some reason switched a light on in me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Without a crystal ball

How on earth is one supposed to plan their future when they haven't the foggiest what it will entail?

I read this, this morning and it made me pause but not necessarily think calmly on it:

"Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good will find love and faithfulness." - Proverbs 14:22

Perhaps this bothers me because I am in the middle of sorting through that daunting task and veiled abstract thing-the future. Trying to decide where to live, how I will afford to live there, when will I live there, how long I will be there, what I will do for work, how long to commit are questions that are shredding my every nerve and stealing every thought that could have been valuable daydreaming time.

Because all I can see with complete clarity is I have no idea how to answer any of the above nor how to thread together some sort of resolution. And with that same complete clarity I know I can not last much longer in this limbo of que sera, sera.

I have always thought plans were dubious things. You spend hours poring over them and maybe with a couple of ulcers and cold sores for extra measure and you may even write them down. Then you keep pottering on with the mundane and sometimes your plans secretly come to life and start to breath. Whilst other times they go further into deep hiding and something else sprouts up in their stead.

So alas what is one to do with all this uncertainty? Keep scribbling in pencil I don't doubt and be prepared for the one who has the ink to tell you what will make it into that veiled abstract thing.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Finishing the first draft

Yesterday I finally finished writing the first draft of Ridley's story and it was the oddest moment when I typed that final full stop. Perhaps it's because I recognise there is still so much to go before it is printed, bound and sat upon shelves waiting to be taken home by eager hands in exchange for a few gold coins.

The writing process is long and arduous but the world of fiction is sheer magic. To spin out lives and flesh out characters, to know their deepest secrets before they do and see it all unfold at a measured pace makes the coming rewriting, editing and redrafting period, well worth it. Or perhaps it's simply knowing that at some point soon others will be able to share the places and lanes and hear the conversations and mysteries that have been whizzing about my head for months on end.

As I write this my little charge, one year old Aliyah is sat on my lap watching nursery rhymes and dogs, Lars and Alaska have managed to wrap themselves around my back and hip and fallen asleep (occasionally kicking out at random as they dream). This observation has absolutely nothing to do with writing a children's book except to say this was my life as I wrote that book. Us writers have been known to be multi-taskers and never have I felt it more truly as I do right now.
And now I must leave the book alone for a week to rest my eyes and brain before picking it apart from beginning to end and tying up those loose ends. Oh yes and finding out those things that I wrote in the story ages ago that for the life of me I now can not remember where exactly I did write them!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I'm not sure if my title is even real word but it captures in all it's 13 letters what I feel I'm about. One who travels the globe and meets souls, old and new, hidden and bold and stays with them awhile. Learns their ways, listens to their tales, shares life with them, weeps and rejoices, loves them from the bottomless pit that is God's heart and then when the bell starts to ring in the secret of their own soul, books a ticket and leaves to share the wonders learned with so many others.

Someone first prayed being a 'mission-broker' over me and saw this life for me ages ago and I was mortified. There was no shining light with choirs of angels singing in excelsis but merely me sat stock still thinking my 'missions' life was simply 'pc' for a wandering, lonesome life. To say I was not best pleased doesn't do it justice.

But they were right. I have hopped on more planes and sought more visas in the last couple of years than many do in their entire lives. I move country, I find a house, I make friends, I start all over. And when the chime rings I know it will be happening all over again soon enough.

It seems peculiar that God would design leave alone permit such a rootless existence, a life where it is hard to call anywhere home anymore. But then I see the quaint delicacy of his point. He is my home. He is the familiar street and neighbourhood. He is the favourite chair and homely scents. He is the warmth from the cold. He is what keeps me from being lost at sea every time I pull up the anchor and move on.

And so I look about my room now, my photographs, my friends, the cafe I am beginning to love and I see this is all for a time. A time and a season is all we have. In this breath of a life where nothing will be fixed and forever until we step into eternity, I see we only have a time and season.

So I will enjoy this, as long as it lasts. I will pour out and ring dry until I am spent. I will love and cry, befriend and believe and more importantly just be.

And when the ringing becomes impossibly loud.

I'll take my leave.

Friday, January 30, 2009


It's the smell of asphalt after the rains
And the puddles that ruin your favourite shoes.
Sometimes overhearing the ridiculous rant of a stranger
At an even more obnoxious bus driver.

It's the cherry pink blossoms that scatter on the library path in March,
Following Spring's sprouting daffodils.
And a hot bowl of pear crumble with vanilla ices,
In the warm, wooden kitchen.

It's your laugh over another silly story,
After too much red at All Bar One.
Or the patrons who just can't find the loo near the cloakroom.
And the Orchestra pit that always rings with magic.

It's the wide, green spaces that roll out for miles,
Empty skies and cow pats.
Farmer's markets and Lancashire cheese,
And tea at six o'clock on the dot.

It's the sea at my toes at Morecombe Bay,
The salt in the air and in my eyes,
A chill through my clothes,
A song in my veins.

It's being on the Virgin Express leaving London,
The concrete fading to verde.
Tower blocks to oaks,
Bustle to the open.

It's you waiting at Heathrow,
Time and stories on your lips.
It's with you.
That's home.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Relevant Magazine!

Hello lovely ones,

I finally have the link to a digital version of my article with Relevant Magazine on the Indian caste system that was printed in the Jan /Feb 2009. Have a read and tell me your thoughts!

Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The joys of the cyber pen

At present I am in heady love with the current older children's story I'm writing, 'Keepsake'. It has not been such a pleasure to write fiction since University when I would boycott writing my history essays for the sake of fun short stories about my house-mates.

I also managed to jot down some sort of synopsis to give you a clue as to what it is about.

Here it is:

Keepsake – A Synopsis

Ridley, ‘Red’, Sinclair is 11 years old and the only child of Lena and Liam Sinclair. After the abrupt and untimely death of his mother, Ridley finds himself moved to a renovated farmhouse in north England along with his father and grandmother, Grandee. It is in Eyrely Woods Farm that two very strange things happen to him. First he is given an encrypted diary from his deceased mother, one that holds her most dark secrets and one that he must unravel as requested to, by her. And secondly he comes into contact with Kirk McPhee; a dead girl who does not know how she died or why Ridley is the only one who can see her. With the help of his grief counsellor’s granddaughter, Imogen Rogers, Ridley sets about trying to find the answers and reasons to some of the most guarded secrets he has ever known.


‘Keepsake’ is a story about coming to terms with one of the most painful personal tragedies through the eyes of a child and how through talking, a found keep safe diary and new friendships, the heaviness of grief and guilt can be lifted.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Last night at an in-depth Bible Study I've recently started attending I heard something that caught my very imagination in mid-thought. When God said to Abraham, 'look at the stars, your descendents will be like so' (paraphrased here) it is echoed in Psalm 147 to beautiful effect. 'He calls out the stars and He knows them by name.'

He wasn't talking about constellations and formations. He was talking about- us.

We were and are those stars.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

For sheer pleasure

Too my absolute horror I have discovered that many in my new circles do not enjoy reading. For many it is seen as a chore, something you do at school and college and then for the life and sanity of you, never to be done again in the freedom of adulthood.

Try as I may to have expressed the simple wonder of reading a good story, I can't seem to convey or even draw interest to the wonders of ink and yummy smelling bound paper. Nor the unyielding mystery of an invoked imagination to create worlds, faces, histories, loves and horrors. To make friends, to be half way across the seas but to have not moved a spot, to be invited into a secret, a hushed wonder.

Instead I've been told, 'Yeah, I'll just watch the movie.' (Insert huge strangled gasp) Despite knowing full well the art of film has to omit some of the play on words to fit into the budgeted time and film reel.

I don't know but it does make me sad that there are entire people walking about happy just to feed off one person's interpretation instead of peeling back the layers for themselves and discovering that the world around them just got bigger.

Perhaps it's because I'm reading 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' and have been treated to a story-tellers delight. Or perhaps it's my trade as a Wordsmith that makes me so.

Or perhaps it is that I have found that the imagination and the words that carry you there are as infinite, relentless and as pure as ever rolling space.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Felix sit annus novus!

And so here it is; 2009. And it's a beautiful start; the sun is shining merrily through a clear sky, the dogs aren't making their usual psychotic racket and everyone is cheery. Perhaps it comes with all the anticipation of what's to come; a fresh page, a blank sheet, a seemingly as yet unwritten present.

I've always been one who wants or rather needs a word for the year. To have my compass set at the ready pointing me due North so that when all the windswept crap (that's guaranteed to come) does arrive, I'll be more than ready.

And yet this morning, the first of the 364 that's still to come, I've stumbled upon Isa 43:16, 18-19:
16 This is what the LORD says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters
18 "Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.

19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.

The thing is I've clung to this word already and yes it was of help but I was hoping and expecting for something a bit more explosive. But then that's my err. God's word never changes, or old or stagnant, or dull. It remains what it has always been, a torch light.

So I'll keep it and mull over it and stew in it and wait for the pieces to come together and for me to see the relevance of a word I've already received.

One good thing though-it speaks of promised goodies, of the brand new and the impossible happening-so perhaps there is something explosive on the way?