Saturday, 29 March 2008

Sky High

I love taking photos of skies
but here are some different skies to my usual sunsets

A Virgin balloon flying over

The Millau Bridge in Southern France taken from the air
I have not been over this bridge but the many people I know who have
find it takes a big chunk of time off their journey to the South of France
Double click on this photograph which I downloaded from the second link

The Blue Ridge Parkway - North Carolina
photo from a postcard
One of my Memorable Moments was driving along this parkway by myself
at 1.0 am in the morning
It felt like I was the only person on earth at that moment
part scarey and part exciting

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

MY STORY - Chapter 22 - A Moving of the Spirit

During the 90’s there was a very strong influence on many people and churches across the world, namely the “Toronto Blessing”. We were not involved with this as God had us focused on the direction that He had given to us at that time.

It became so widespread, affecting churches and groups of all denominations, congregations, leaders, pastors and vicars alike, young and old, that I began to seek God as to whether we were missing out through not being involved. There were people that thought we were. The ‘blessing’ appeared to be an outer experience but those involved said that they were much more in touch with God and renewed in their spiritual walk and it had increased their hunger for God. I could not deny that God was doing something and He was certainly getting people’s attention and giving them a sign of His power. I had been very involved in the early days of the Charismatic renewal in the 60’s so it was not entirely new to me, but those days were on a much smaller scale as people did not travel like they do now. I did know that I did not have to be actively involved in this ‘blessing’ in order to experience the by-products as I believe that in God we live and move and have our very being. I know that trusting His life in me would bring me into all that God had and desired for me. I know that His life brings us into a day in, day out lived out life of constancy in the Holy Spirit where ‘blessing’ takes on a whole new meaning as Jesus Christ through us strives to see Himself formed in all of created beings. Do hear my heart, I am not in any way speaking out against the “Toronto Blessing” but sharing where I was on my journey at that time.

Moving on in to the new millennium, God proved yet again that we never miss out in this life of faith if we are trusting in Him for He has His times and seasons for everything in our lives.

During the summer of 2001 I was sitting at my computer one day when I received an E-mail from a total stranger who I will call Jenny. Without going into details of the E-mail I wasn’t really sure how it involved me. I replied saying, “Who are you, who do you fellowship with and how did you get my address?” Not friendly at all, in fact I was quite indignant. In that moment I heard God’s voice so clearly it caused me to take notice. I heard God say, “Keep an open mind or you might miss something.” I received a reply from Jenny stating that a ministry package was in the post. Believing that I had heard God speak I was intrigued enough to eagerly await the arrival of the package, but also to know how this person from Ohio had come by my address. I eventually found out that it had come about through Jenny’s contact with a Christian travel agent who knew a friend of mine from the States who had visited with me on a number of occasions. The problem was that my friend who is busy and travels a lot with her own ministry had forgotten to tell me.

It turned out that Jenny was a church pastor and evangelist and she had received a number of prophecies from different sources stating that she would be going to London to minister. The package duly arrived and after being touched and stirred in my spirit when listening to the tapes, I eagerly devoured the accompanying book and could not put it down, finishing it within 24 hours. The only time I have been glad to be stuck in a long traffic jam. I knew that if she was coming to London then I wanted to meet her. Having had nothing more than a word from God and a rising in her spirit, Jenny and her ministry helper, who I will call Joan, had booked on a tour to London where on arrival they were going to part from the tour group, visit some churches and see what God did in the situation. However, due to unforeseen circumstances the tour was cancelled. It was after this event that Jenny contacted the Christian travel agent. Plans had been made for them to stay in a hotel in London and she had made contact with me in the hope that I would go and meet with her giving her a contact in London. I agreed to do this and a date was fixed. This seemed quite easy and straight forward at the time but none of us knew the implications of 9/11.

Jenny and Joan were at the airport waiting for their American Airlines internal flight when the first plane flew into the twin towers in New York City. Needless to say everything was cancelled and nobody knew how long it would be before aircraft would be flying out of the States across the Atlantic again. The priority anyhow was to get stranded people home. As it happened, and obviously after much prayer, the travel agent finally found seats on a plane for about 10 days later. In view of the event money for the hotel stay had been refunded. At this point I suggested to Jenny and Joan that they forget about booking a hotel and come and stay at my house instead. They agreed in amazement as they had never stayed in the house of a stranger before.

I organised various meetings for them both in my home and at various churches that I had contact with. Our Pastor had by then listened to the tapes and the first meeting was in our own church. During ministry time I was prayed for and immediately fell to the floor. Jenny turned and said, “Look at your hands Barbara, they are covered in oil” When I eventually looked, not only was there oil but gold dust too. I had heard of people manifesting gold dust but never oil. It was not something that I had asked for or gone seeking after. I realised in a new way that we cannot put God in a box, He does what He does in spite of us. My husband Alan had the same experience that same evening at a meeting at a friend’s house. We had four meetings that Sunday and the folk at the Russian church which consisted of refugees from the old Soviet Union were really hungry for God and during ministry time they all fell down like dominoes one after the other and most began speaking in tongues. The children fell down too and I knew it was real when I witnessed a baby prayed for and saw his head just fall back on his Mothers shoulder under the power of the Spirit.

I must make it clear that we do not talk about our own personal experience generally but I do so here because it is part of my spiritual journey and was another life changing event. It is not something I can take credit for, or make happen it is down to God. It’s not something I even think about it until it happens and most often it happens during praise and worship times. On asking God why and what it was for in our own lives, for Alan it came as a sign to pray for someone and for me more of a confirmation of something that God had put on my heart, be it a word, a prophecy or to pray for someone. Many times it has just been a confirmation of a real presence of the Spirit. I am glad that I heard God and responded that day just sitting at my computer.

There were 2 incidences shortly after this that I will relate as a picture of how God used this gift. Firstly a Russian Mother asked me if I would pray for her teenage son who was rebelling against God. On agreeing I first wanted to talk to him and ask his permission and on chatting with him it became evident that his studying of science was a hindrance to him believing. I boldly asked him if it would make any difference if God gave him a sign and he said maybe. In faith I held out my hands to him and they were covered in oil and gold dust. He sank to the floor, accepted Jesus as his Saviour and was immediately baptised in the Spirit. God confirmed to me that although the inner life was the most important, outer manifestations do have their place too.

Soon after that I was having coffee in Starbucks when I noticed a family with a very sick looking little girl who looked like she had Leukaemia or something. I suddenly felt pressed to pray for her. In the middle of Starbucks, what was I thinking! Panic rose up and I said to God, “If this is what you want, then give me confirmation”. Suddenly oil appeared on my hands and I knew that there was no turning back. When I approached the Mother she was very sharp with me telling me that her daughter was very sick but I should not worry as it was not catching. I explained that that was not what I was suggesting but I wondered if I could pray for her. She wanted to know who I was and for me it felt like it was getting more difficult by the minute. I told her which church I belonged to and she became very embarrassed and said that she thought that her child would not cope with being prayed for in such a public place. She did however sound very pleased when I asked if she would like my church to pray for her daughter. The following Sunday the whole church prayed for this little girl and I saw that I had been taught another lesson. It was for me to be obedient to God’s promptings and the outcome is entirely His responsibility. I had initially been tempted to think that I had got it all wrong but who knows what seeds were sown. A life of faith is about trusting and believing and taking the next step no matter how small and insignificant it might seem at the time.

So, for the next six years we hosted this lady in our home whenever she came to the UK and organised meetings for her until the time came when I felt that we had connected her up with enough groups and churches for her to be able to make her own arrangements. As far as this story goes I will be wrapping it up and bringing you up to the present day in the next and final chapter. It has been interesting during some of the writing to realise that I have been learning all over again from my own writing. God gives us revelation and then through life experiences causes us to learn to walk in those truths. He changes us from one degree of glory to the next.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Another Look at Easter

Easter Daffodils

The daffodils are so daffodilly,
densely clustered with their yellow—
brightly rich, not a pale specter,
alarmingly true and pointed—

pin wheels in circumference,
each with a horn protruding,
a band of celebrators this Easter,
crying out Christ’s resurrection.

Surely in a universe this dark with sin,
once destroyed by angels fallen,
then by Adam’s brutal choice,

the ordinary yellow citizens of spring,
thronging in the plain dirt of a garden,
cousins to the sun’s tint beaming down,
implacably point to Christ the Lord,

risen both body and spirit,
to gather us with Him
in all that the rupture of death means,

when sung by multitudes of daffodils
in spring’s healing reminder.

Written by my friend in Kentucky, Brian Coatney 3-23-08

The rain came

Then the snow

Then the sun to light up the clouds

Sunday, 23 March 2008

MY STORY -Chapter 21 - Winding Down and Moving Off Again

Having spent some 8 years involved with the particular ministry that took me travelling around so much, the time came when the emphasis changed. Heavy shepherding emerged with a strong emphasis on the 12 step programme of A. A. After much agonising and prayer we knew that we could not continue in this direction so another parting of the waves took place. Writing a few sentences on the page here could never express the pain involved in this decision, but as I have written before, there are times and seasons in our faith journeys and God never closes one door without opening up another. These times of waiting for the opening of another door so often become precious times in the spirit as we trust in the wisdom of our God and learn to be content knowing that His ways are not our ways and that His timing is perfect. When busyness and activity cease and we are thrown back on God alone, we have opportunity to develop an intimacy with God that is so precious.

With time on my hands I decided I would like to do some studying. I enrolled on a Psychology course at the extra mural college attached to London University. Although it was not my original intention, I enjoyed it so much that I continued to attend class one day a week for 5 years filling in the rest of the study at home. I continued until I had a diploma in Foundations of Modern Psychology, Social Psychology, Personality, Intelligence and Motivation, Group Therapy and Scientific Method. I did not continue to full degree level as my life was becoming busy again as various doors opened.

After years travelling far away from home we began to feel led to return more to our own locality. My husband Alan also retired at this time so this in itself brought its own time of adjustments. It did mean however that we were able to travel together when we did go away from home. Our first opportunity arose when we were invited to a memorial service in Kentucky for our dear missionary friend who had died the previous year. We stayed for a month fellowshipping with local folk before spending time with other friends in Texas and then North Carolina on the way home.

The following year my daughter Jane and I flew out to the States for a visit beginning with a conference which took place in the grounds of our host’s spectacular home in Kentucky. Jane had come for two weeks and me for four. God used this time to teach me in real and hard situations some more truths of His word. I developed a severe flu like cold as soon as I arrived and when the conference was over my hosts had to leave town. They were going to a wedding and although I too was invited, I did not have the funds to pay for a last minute flight. At the same time my daughter was invited to fly to Los Angeles to stay with the daughter of our host. Obviously I would not have wanted her to miss this opportunity, but I did not find it easy staying alone in a very large house in the country and so far away from home. Another friend that I could have stayed with became very unwell having just returned from a mission trip to Africa so this was not really an option.

In my loneliness I phoned a relative of my host who had previously said that she would love for me to spend a few days with her. So, later that day found me driving in the Explorer that had very kindly been left for my use, to a beautiful house on a wooded hillside. That evening while eating at their country club the husband became ill and had to leave. On rising the next morning the wife was far from well, as was the daughter who had come over to visit. Everybody was needing only a bed and solitude so after breakfast I returned to my original hosts home for the day as I wanted to get on with doing what I could to bring their house back to normal after the conference. Cleaning and masses of laundry. Not something expected of me but a way for me to repay their hospitality. About 10.0 pm that evening I drove back through the woods to find the house in pitch darkness. The only light came from the car headlamps. My hosts, all being sick, had forgotten to leave any lights on for me. Now this was a large three storey house. Eventually I found my way in and after feeling around in the dark, in a very unusually shaped hallway, found a light switch.

That night alone at the top of this house I began to lose it emotionally. I spent a long time on the phone to my husband in England waking him up at some unearthly hour and running up a heavy credit card bill. Afterwards while wallowing in fear and self-pity I began to wonder if I should have made this trip at all. Eventually I came to the place where I asked God what He wanted to show me in all of this. As I heard Him speak I knew I had to write it down. I share it here as it was certainly a milestone in my journey. This was September 1996.


God’s ways are not our ways. So often we make what seems like perfect plans, only to find that nothing works out the way we thought it would. Everything seems a mess and we think that we are in the midst of complete and utter failure. Then what?

Once we get our eyes off the situation, and look to see what God is saying to us, the Spirit comes pouring through with fresh enlightenment, and we start to see the situation/problem through God’s eyes as we say that this was meant to be, this is His planning – not our failure (it’s like we are busy making the arrangements while God is busy making the plans). God’s got our attention again, the burden is lessened, the struggle is over and we can watch and see how God works the situation out. ""
I would like to be able to say that I walk and live in this all the time but mostly it comes after a time of frustration and coming to the end of my own self-effort.

A month later and back in the UK we had a small group meeting regularly in our home and over the years had made many contacts in the States so we continued to arrange meetings in our home whenever any of these traveling ministries visited us. We would also take them on itinerant ministry trips in this country. We also began attending a local church where we were quickly asked if we would lead a home group in our home. These visiting ministries also ministered in our church and links began to be formed. These trips are not a ‘life of Riley’ as some people think, there is often a price to pay when bringing the gospel to folk. What does one do for instance when arriving at a home you find the host had not included you in the invite and had omitted to make that clear? Well we graciously booked into a bed and breakfast farmhouse, we really had no choice, and amused ourselves for twenty-four hours before collecting our friends to continue the trip. This only ever happened once I am glad to say.

As did the time we drove 2 friends to Wales. They were staying with us on their way home to the States having spent quite some time on a mission trip in Africa. Our friend Max who was a doctor returned to this country with a severe form of Influenza which did not fully develop until we were sharing at meetings in Wales. The trip had to be aborted early and on the way home I developed a nasty cough which at the time I thought might be the result of motorway fumes. However I awoke the next morning with a high fever and feeling very unwell. The house was silent and when I went to investigate there were three of us all extremely unwell with this virus from Africa. Only my husband was still on his feet. This knocked me out right over Christmas, the only Christmas I have ever spent in bed not even caring what day it was, and it was 6 weeks before I felt fit again. This was just in time to take off on another trip to drive some other ministering guests to Cornwall.

Not long after this while at church one Sunday I went to chat with a lady at the back who I had never seen before. It turned out she was Russian and could not speak English but her children were able to interpret. She had come to this country with her children as refugees having seen her husband and other members of her family killed in her own country. I visited her, taking a welcome pack of groceries and things for her home and this led to a long and continued involvement with a spirit filled Russian church about 6 miles away. Very soon we also had connections with a black church and a South African church. God was certainly broadening our horizons and we were able to fellowship and build friendships with a broadening body of believers from different parts of the world.

I have learned over the years the benefits of trusting and watching to see what God does next. I have never, in all that God has had me involved in, gone seeking out and looking for the next thing. God has always brought something to my attention and then it is for me to respond. Often this happens without me even realizing initially what He is doing.

As I begin to bring this journey up to the present time, I will show how God has His ways of opening us up to even more new experiences.

Friday, 21 March 2008

The Donkey at Easter


When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
Of all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! for I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

by G K Chesterton

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Tatton Park Gardens

It being officially Spring this weekend and with snow forecast for Sunday
thought it might be nice looking back on a visit to Tatton Park in Cheshire
We visited on our way home from our trip to Liverpool where I was born
Had a wonderful visit but got caught up in a nasty 3 hour traffic hold up on the motorway later in the day, it was late Friday afternoon
It was so bad when we reached the M25 London Orbital
that we decided to go and spend some time in the service station hoping that later the traffic would ease
We had been in the service station for 5 minutes when there was a complete power failure
So with no refreshment of any kind and no light there was nothing for it but to get back on the road along with just about everybody else who did not want to sit in the dark surrounded by strangers
What happened to the days when one could just have handed over money for purchases and not worry about any change if the tills were down
In the modern days of computerised everything this is just not possible

Tatton Park is an award winning estate with a neo-classical mansion, gardens, working farm and deer park
We only had time to visit the gardens and mansion
I did not take photos of the mansion because they were in the middle of extensive renovations and the signs and scaffolding did not look too pretty
The theme of Victorian grandeur extends from the house into the garden, with its Fernery, Orangery, Rose garden, Tower garden, Pinetum and Italian and Japanese gardens.
Our time of visit was May so the Azaleas and Rhodedandrums were blooming

Monday, 17 March 2008

Mother Shipton's Prophecy

I was looking through some of my files recently and came across this remarkable prophecy that I had not read in some time. I thought there may be folk out there who had not heard of her so thought it worth posting. She lived in a cave in Yorkshire and as so often happens this place has now become a tourist centre.

One of the most remarkable characters of history was a woman known as “Mother Shipton”. She lived in England over 500 years ago and was a very keen, and discerning student of the prophecies of the Bible. From her studies of the Scriptures, she saw what was going to take place in the Twentieth Century or in the Latter days, and wrote it in the form of a poem. This is as it was originally written.

Mother Shipton’s Prophecy
A.D. 1449

And now a word, in uncouth rhyme
Of what shall be in future time
For, in those wondrous far off days,
The women shall adopt a craze
To dress like men and trousers wear
And cut off all their locks of hair.

They’ll ride astride with brazen brow,
As witches do, on broom sticks now;
Then love shall die, and marriage cease
And nations wane as babes decrease’
Then wives shall fondle cats and dogs
And men shall live much the same as hogs.

A carriage without horse shall go,
Disaster fill the world with woe;
In London, Primrose Hill shall be’
Its centre hold a Bishop’s See,
Around the world men’s thoughts shall fly
Quick as the twinkling of an eye.

And waters shall great wonders do-
How strange, and yet is shall come true.
Then upside down the world shall be,
And gold found at the root of tree.
Through towering hills proud men shall ride,
No horse or mule move by his side.

Beneath the water men shall walk.
Shall ride, shall sleep, and even talk;
And in the air men shall be seen,
In white, in black, as well as green.
A great man then shall come and go,
For prophecy declares it so.

In water iron then shall float,
As easy as a wooden boat.
Gold shall be found in streams and stone
In land that is as yet unknown.
Water and fire shall wonders do, (steam)
And England shall admit a Jew.

The Jew that once was held in scorn
Shall of a Christian then be born.
A hearse of glass shall come to pass, (Crystal Palace)
In England – but, alas! alas!
A war will follow with the work
Where dwells the pagan and the Turk.

The states will lock in fiercest strife,
And seek to take each others life;
When North shall thus divide the South,
The eagle builds in lion’s mouth.
Then tax and blood and cruel war
Shall come to every humble door.

Then, when the fiercest fight is done,
England and France shall be as one,
The British olive next shall twine
In marriage with the German vine.
Men shall walk beneath and over streams-
Fulfilled shall be our strangest dreams.

All England’s sons that plough the land
Shall oft be seen with book in hand
The poor shall now great wisdom know.
Great houses stand in far flung vale
All covered o’er with snow and hail.

In nineteen hundred twenty-six
Build houses light of straw and sticks.
For then shall mighty wars be planned.
When pictures seen alive with movements free,
When boats like fishes swim beneath the sea,
When men like birds shall scour the sky;
Then half this world, deep drenched in blood shall die.

But those who live to see (all this) through,
In fear and trembling this will do;
Flee to the mountains and the dens,
To bog and forest and wild fens
For storms will rage and oceans roar,
When Gabriel stands on sea and shore.
And as he blows his wondrous horn
Old worlds shall die and new be born.

Mother Shipton did not have the words for things not yet invented but she certainly saw them

Friday, 14 March 2008

March Ramblings

The seagulls come inland and dance for me

One never knows what is going to happen next in this world of blogging
My dear blogging friend Sara from California sent this book to me
She ordered it at Amazon UK from California and had it sent direct to me
here in England
If you want to read about this book check the link as Sara has written about it on her blog
Thank you so much Sara

I have just started reading the above book
I love to read anything about Tuscany and Provence
Even though one is Italy and once is France there are many similarities I think

Let's have a look out of the window and see some colour developing

You may remember I showed a vase of roses that my daughter Jane had delivered to me on Mother's Day
The bouquet was surrounded with tight budded lillies that just looked like green stalks
When the roses drooped I was left with this pretty display

Well nobody managed to guess which were the 2 door photos that were not taken in England
Here are the answers
This little chapel is a memorial chapel on the edge of one of the Swiss lakes
It is for a famous person but as it was taken in 1961 I cannot remember who it was

This door is the barn door at our friends farm in South West France
The other half of the barn was converted into a Gite
The farmhouse is to the left
I plan to post on it one day

For those wondering, I am aware that I have not posted on My Story for a while
I do intend to finish it but have found it difficult to get on with it recently
I'm waiting for inspiration

Have a nice weekend everyone

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Doors of the World

Elizabeth of The House in Marrakesh invited me to take part in a post on doors for

Wednesday 12th March

Frank from My Paintbox has arranged this along with Elizabeth

If you go to his blog then you will see the links to all the bloggers that have taken part in this fun post

Initially I did not think that I had taken photos of many doors

I looked in some of my photos that I have on my computer and realised that many of the photos have doors in the picture

So I cropped doors out of some of my pictures and agreed to take part

You see them here loaded randomly

All are taken in England except 2, one of which is in Switzerland and the other in France

Anyone fancy trying to figure out which two photos they are?