It is almost 6 pm on a summer Friday; the air is heavy and storm clouds are brooding overhead; I began collating the content of today’s Festival around 7.30 this morning and I had planned to have it finished and posted well before lunchtime. Then at 9 am I received a very unexpected call: a lovely man who I had visited for the very first time yesterday had died at 7 am. It was a huge shock – I knew, he knew, his family knew that he was dying, but I had expected to have a few more conversations with him before the end.

Life is not like that though; so I hurriedly showered, dressed and ran round to be with the family and Friday Festival was very definitely put on the back burner until I had time to come back to it. Because of yesterday’s visit and conversation a couple of the blogs I’d chosen to share with you today reflected on big life events and grief, and new life…

Many of you will know Stacey Simpson Duke; she is a RevGal of longstanding and for the past year and more she has gracefully shared with us her cancer journey; her bravery and serenity throughout has been a wonderful thing to share; a few short weeks ago her beloved father died and she is grieving. She is also, currently taking sabbatical with her family, travelling round Europe and blogging at Seeing the Sacred; yesterday she wrote about the death of a beloved parishioner who always signed off with Grace and Peace, her post is poignant and beautiful and resonates deeply.

Things that make me stop and look include flowers, dogs and colour

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Tabi – 2 weeks to pup day!

I am going to recommend all three in my next suggestions for you to read. Flowers: Stop and Notice is short and beautiful, a wee reflection that will soothe your weary soul. Dogs: you need to know that my beloved Tabi, a Sprocker Spaniel is in pup – these lovelies are due two weeks from today (dogs are pregnant for 9 weeks!) so a blog titles Meet the New Grand-Puppy is always going to make me stop and look! It’s a pictorial celebration of puppies and children Derek is a regular blogger and I have enjoyed many of his posts this week.

Colour: now, the blog is not about colour as such, but has a striking piece of artwork in its post, which is a fabulous splash of colour. The post is all about the Methodist Church in England who have moved a step closer to being able to celebrate equal marriage; RevGal Sally C, writes On Love, about speaking in public “nailing her colours to the mast” and the joy she feels at this next step on the road.

There are two more blogs I want to share with you. Both of which I hope will make you smile and think in equal measure. Writing as Jo(e) has been part of the Project Naked project for some time; she has taken many photos – but this blog is all about The Naked Fishing Photo – pictures she took of three men, down by a river – there is beauty in vulnerability and courage in getting naked and then allowing the resulting pictures to be shared. there is much to ponder in the accompanying prose.

And, finally: the ever constant battle for getting clothes clean! Just Katherine, has got may years relied on a thing called a Stain Stick – not something I have every come across here in Scotland. However, she no longer has access to it, and talks about her frustration. she concludes by reflecting on the years when she could do everything for her children and now that they are grown she must let them sort out their own stains; realising that in all things, Stain Stick aside, there is one that we can all rely on…God doesn’t cause the stains, but God can bring good through them. Even the toughest, ugliest, dirtiest stains can be made new through God. we may not be able to do all the things, all the time, but we also remember with God all things are possible. And Katherine still wants her stain stick back!

 


Julie Rennick is a Church of Scotland minister serving a rural parish in a small village in the south east of Scotland – the Scottish Borders. She enjoys walking with the dog – and is very excited to be welcoming puppies into the world before the end of this month!


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