thanks and gratitude

Grateful Heart

This Wednesday, I don't want to say much really but just offer you this thought. 

We can go through life feeling that we are owed something, but if we wake up each morning just grateful to be alive that's a good start.

If we go into each day believing that life is beautiful ... that's even better. 

As is the fact that this picture features one of my favourite cartoon dogs - Snoopy. from the Peanuts cartoons/ comic strip!  I wrote about this and the creator Charles M. Schulz  in my daily blog back in February. But in my opinion one can never have enough Snoopy!

Have a great day! 

Begin each day


Hope

Today I'm thinking about Hope!

It's something we all need, especially when things aren't going so well for us or when we are lost, or when we are grieving.

As I explained in Sunday's daily blog, this evening in Jersey there will be a service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving to allow us to celebrate the lives of our loved ones who have died. It'll be a moving hour with some reflective and uplifting music, prayers, thoughts, readings and poems.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, many of us may have lost people, loved ones, and we may not have been able to remember them or say 'farewell' in the way we may have wished because of the lockdown restrictions. But this service is also for us to remember anyone who was and is still important to us ...I've been privileged to produce the hour for Funeral Directors Pitcher and Le Quesne, so I've spent many hours looking at different poems and readings to inspire and comfort those who will be with us this evening.

One of the readings to be included in the service at St Thomas' (Roman Catholic) Church in St Helier is this one ... a profound 'thought' from Henri Nouwen, who was a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian who has left us a huge legacy of words.

Nouwen was a complex character and this is traced through some of his writings, and much of what he wrote about - faith, loneliness, self-esteem, acceptance and other personal struggles - helps us to identify with his and our humanity. I find his words and writings inspirational!

This is just one of Nouwen's 'thoughts' and if today you're struggling, for whatever reason, I hope this brings you some hope.

If you are sad - I wish you comfort and hope.

If you are grieving - may hope help you to see beyond the pain.

If you feel you are getting nowhere - may hope enable you to see into a future!

And if you're in Jersey and you wish to join us this evening at St Thomas' at 7pm, you'll be very welcome.

 

Hope Henri Nouwen

 

 


The Road Home

Next Tuesday - October 26th - at St Thomas' Roman Catholic Church in Jersey there will be a very special event.

It's a Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving, and it's an opportunity for all of us to remember those who have died and who meant something special to us and to celebrate their lives.

The service has been organised by a local Funeral Directors - Pitcher and Le Quesne - who have held similar events before, but of course in the past couple of years that's been impossible because of the COVID19  restrictions.

We know that since the pandemic began, so many of us have been unable to to remember loved ones in the way we may have wanted. Either we've had limited opportunities to say a proper 'farewell' or we've been unable to travel to pay our respects and to grieve with families members and friends. So next Tuesday is an opportunity to celebrate and give thanks for the lives that meant, and still mean, so much to us.

But the service is not just for folk who've lost someone in the pandemic ... it's open to everyone who wants to keep alive the memories of their dear ones, even if they passed away years ago.

PLQ-remembrance-facebook (2)The evening, which starts at 7pm, will be just an hour of poems, readings, prayers, music and ... we hope ... smiles along with the sadness.

Church and faith leaders will play their part, and we'll have the magnificent Malcolm L'Amy on the organ at St Thomas' ... which is in Val Plaisant in St Helier (if you don't know it ... it's the big Catholic Church!) 

But we'll also be joined by some amazing singers. 

Georgi Mottram is a Jersey-born soprano. She's already a Classic Brit Award Nominee who’s debut single shot to No.1 in the iTunes Official Classical Charts in May 2021. Georgi is a very special talent and we're so thrilled she'll be joining us.

The Aureole Choir will also be part of the evening. The choir (founder and director Nicki Kennedy) was set up during the early stages of lockdown in early 2020 to give people who love singing a chance to celebrate their love for music. They initially met online and recorded music to raise money for local charities but now have over 100 members of all ages who meet regularly to sing, have fun and fundraise. They also run weekly ‘sing-alongs’ (with requests) to boost morale among those living alone and in Jersey’s care homes. They're a great bunch of people, so talented and so committed!

Next Tuesday will be an evening, as I said, which will be reflective, but it will also be filled, we trust, with smiles and hope!

During and after the service there will be an opportunity to remember loved ones and leave messages in a ‘memorial garden' at the back of church and those who wish to do so are also invited to give a donation to the Royal British Legion Jersey Poppy Appeal. That appeal actually starts next week!

Now you might be wondering why I know so much about this?

Well, it's because I've been working on this for months with the managing director of Pitcher and Le Quesne, Paul Battrick, and St Thomas' Church ... helping to communicate, finding the artists and speakers, sourcing the poems and prayers etc and getting involved in a little bit of PR as well.

I have to say, it's one of the best 'jobs' I've had for a very long time. It feels like we are doing something which will make a big difference to people and maybe bring help and comfort in their sorrow and grief.  But hopefully it will also just be a general uplifting hour! It's made me really happy to be involved, but also it's given me much time for reflection myself, and moments when I've been moved by words and music and remembered MY loved ones, including my darling Dad, who have 'gone before'.

If you are in Jersey on Tuesday, we would love to see you! If you are not here in the island, please pray for us, that people will come and be blessed. It's a big church and we'd love to see many people... and we hope it will bless us all.

So, on this Sunday, to bring you all into the circle of love we hope will surround us on Tuesday evening, please click on the link below to see/hear a presentation that will be part of the Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving.

It will be the first of two musical offerings from the Aureole Choir  and it's actually one of the first projects they produced when Jersey was in lockdown in Spring 2020. The song and video (which is on YouTube as well as the Aureole Music website) raised money for local charities, and it brought music into our lives at a time when choirs could not meet, we could not sing even in church (and anyway churches were closed)  and we felt so bereft of the joys of music and performance.

Enjoy the beautiful Jersey landscapes and seascapes and images and people, and the even more beautifully talented islanders who joined together for this very special project.

See you on Tuesday! 

 

 


Give Thanks

Spiritual thoughts come from many different directions, and I think this year so far I've turned to a few in this daily blog. 

Today I turn to the wisdom of a man called Tecumseh who lived in the late 18th and early 19th century in what is now 'America'.

He was a chief of the Shawnee tribe and a warrior who resisted the expansion of the United States onto Native American lands. He wanted to draw  the different tribes to his cause so he travelled widely trying to encourage different indigenous peoples to support the resistance to the expansion of the 'incomers' who were determined to take over their lands. This resulted in a Native American confederacy and although his efforts to unite Native Americans ended with his death in the War of 1812, his legacy did not die with him. Tecumseh has become an iconic folk hero in American, Indigenous, and Canadian popular history.

Native Americans were and are a very spiritual people, with a culture, philosophy and spirituality close to the land and nature, animals and the universe, and although Tecumseh and his peoples lived so long ago and in very different times, some of the thoughts that have been handed down through the centuries are profound and are really pertinent to our circumstances today. They go to the heart of what it is to be 'human' and that is so thought-provoking.

So, for this Saturday, here's one of those wise Native American thoughts ... attributed to Tecumseh himself.

Once you've asked yourself these challenging questions ... Have a happy day !

Saturday thanks


Six Little Words

If  you had six words to describe what's going on in your life ... what would they be?

'Quite busy, feeling a little overwhelmed' - that applies to me quite often at the moment.

'Always hopeful, or trying to be' - that's something I try to remember when I'm feeling swamped by the trials of life.

Play the game ... it's fun!

It can also be a bit challenging because choosing those words means you really have to dig deep into your emotions and be honest with yourself. Sometimes we just have to take one step at a time, one day at a time, and try not to get buried under the stresses of now and the pressures and prospects of what is to come.

For starters, I think I'm going to reflect on this thought and be reminded that today  ...

Whatever Happens ... I Can Handle It!

Thankful Thursday


Do Something

At the start of a new week, let's take a moment to think of the days ahead.

We have no idea what will come, or how the days will pan out for us.  

But even if we can't determine what will happen to us, there is one thing we can control ... and that's our own behaviour. 

I love this thought for a Monday ... and I don't know about you, but I think it's a great way to start the week.

Let's not spend our days feeling angry, or bitter, jealous, or sad about things we can't control.  Let's not dwell on the things we don't have or the opportunities that have not come our way.

Instead, let's do things that we're proud of. Let's be kind to each other. Let's reach out a helping hand to another. Let's find the positive in all things, where possible. Let's be grateful for what we have rather than being resentful that we have not been given things that we think are owed us, or that we see others enjoying.

Reaching out to others, being that 'friend' and going out of our way to make a difference in our world - maybe that's what we need to aspire to this week.

A positive mindset won't just help others, it will have an impact on our own wellbeing and that has to be something to be thankful for! 

Have a great week everyone!

 

Monday Future Self


I Pledge to ....

This Saturday maybe it's time to kick back a bit and try to rest and relax.

But when it comes to our human interactions, I believe there's no 'rest' or 'relaxation' from trying to be a person who helps others, encourages, supports and makes the world a better place.

There's no time to 'rest' from being kind.  But sometimes it doesn't come naturally and we may need to work at it.

So here's a reminder of some of things that can help to make a difference in our world.

If you fancy it, while you're having some 'downtime' this weekend, maybe give this a few moments of your time. You don't have to sign a pledge or anything like that ... but thinking about it is a start.

Be encouraged.

Have a great day!

The_Be_Kind_People_Project2

 


Focus

It's so easy to let life pass us by, isn't it?

We go through the day intent on completing our 'to do' lists, just trying to ensure we are in all the places we need to be, at the times we've promised. 

Doing all the chores around the house, dropping the kids off at school and picking them up again and transporting them to this and that 'club' or activity. Washing, cleaning, food shopping, cooking - and that's just the 'home stuff'. Most of us also have work as well ... appointments, hours in the office or wherever it is that we have our workplace, assignments ... it never stops.

In addition, then some of us even try to fit in space for stuff like exercising and 'having fun' and what with all the schedules we set ourselves, those 'enjoyments' can often sometimes end up being a bit of a stress as well - if we don't fit in that time for a run or swim or visit to the gym we tell ourselves off for being a 'failure'.

SO much time! SO little time to do it all in!

Life is so busy sometimes we just don't give ourselves a moment or two to breathe, to take in the little moments that can bring us joy. To be grateful for everything we have rather than worry about the things we don't have, or the stuff we are lacking in comparison to everyone else.

That wave from a neighbour, the giggle from a child, the clouds, the wind in our hair, the sight of a flower nestled in the corner of the garden, the people who bring me joy just by being there for me.

Today I'm encouraged just to FOCUS a a bit more. Not on all those chores but on the people who are important to me. Not the stuff that can stress me out, but those little things which I take for granted which I sometimes just miss out on because of all of the 'noise' in my life.

I'm reminded that there are so many people and things I have been given that I should be grateful for but I don't take the time to give thanks. Today I'm determined to be more aware and to be more thankful! And to be more 'in the moment' rather than always thinking about the next thing I have to do.

To cherish each moment that is given to me! 

Have a Terrific Tuesday everyone! 

 

Terrific Tuesday title Terrific Tuesday




When you rise

It's the weekend, and I'm thankful for that!

I'm thankful that I've got through this week and I'm grateful for everything I have in life. I'm not rich, but I have the love of my family. I live in a beautiful place and I have interesting work. I feel strong most of the time and when I do not ... I have God to turn to.

I am blessed!

With all this in mind ... here's an inspiring thought for today.

Have a great Saturday everyone!

 

 

WHen you rise


Thankful Thursday

I woke up this morning and the sun is shining here in Jersey.

Summer seems to be hanging on for a few moments more, I live in a beautiful place, I have a loving family and great friends, and really all the material things I need. 

I am blessed!

Got to say, although I know I have so much to be thankful for, I sometimes don't see it all. Occasionally I forget how much I have been given, and the One who gives it all to me - yes I'm also blessed to have a faith in God. 

Of course, I know I should feel that gratitude and appreciation every moment of every day, but today I just want to take a moment to be thankful for all that I have, rather than regretting all the things I DON'T have.

I love the idea of Thankful Thursday ... it should be a thing, don't you think?

Thankful thursday