I am writing a daily blog (Monday to Friday)  on preparing spiritually and physically

to lead a Pilgrimage of 100 miles in September.

for details of the Pilgrimage, click on the dropdown Cotswold Pilgrimage bar at the top of this page 





I’ve been posting about retreats recently –

ideas for a 24 hour retreat http://www.ministriesbydesign.org/2012/06/12/refresh-renew-recreate-retreat/

thoughts on a 10 day silent retreat http://www.ministriesbydesign.org/2012/06/13/bubbles-and-silence-a-10-day-retreat/

special places to go http://www.ministriesbydesign.org/2012/06/20/760/

Now for something which is easy and do-able, whenever you need it. 


Right now?



Do anything meaningful in just one minute?

Yes.  You can – YOU can.

Take just a minute, anywhere, anytime, and RETREAT into God and His promises.

Here’s a suggestion:

Stop. Do something different. If you are sitting at your desk, turn away from the computer, put down the pen, move your hands …. You might like to place them palms up, resting gently on your knees, then close your eyes and take a deep breath.

And another deep breath.

This is a retreat. In your mind’s eye, go somewhere beautiful, peaceful, life giving, that means something to you – a favourite beach, a mountain top, a woodland track ….

As you do so, give thanks to the Lord – for He is good and His love endures forever. (Ps 118:1-3)

Allow yourself to BE in His love. Accept it. It’s always there for you, surrounding you and holding you and accepting you. Relax into it. Drop the shoulders, ease the neck, straighten the back …. relax!

Another deep breath.  And as you breath out, cast all your cares on the Lord – for He cares for you. (1Peter 5:7)

Imagine throwing something – a stone into the water, a rock over the edge of the cliff, a heavy branch hurled away from you. Mentally turn your back on it and thank Him that He can deal with all of that as long as you leave it all with Him. So leave it with Him.

A deep breath. You are continuing in His love, your cares are left with Him, you can relax.

Now think about what you are returning to. It lies ahead of you. But you know that you are in His love, your cares have been left with Him. And now He tells you, Don’t worry about the future. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life …. Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
(Matt: 6:25-27)

Commit what lies ahead to Him, for “I know who holds the future, and He holds it in His hands…. I do not know the course ahead,
What joys and griefs are there.
But one stands near who fully knows,
I'll trust His loving care.”

Another deep breath. And as you breath in, take in the power of the Holy Spirit. I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you ….  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:6-8)

As you gently come back to whatever you were previously doing, thank God for what you have just experienced of Him.

Take it with you as you continue today.

And know that a one minute retreat can be made anywhere at any time. It’s free, quick, easy – and soul restoring.

Thank God that there are so many minutes available each day!


What do you do to keep in His Presence regularly? What might you do in a moment of retreat?



Pleurisy and a new resolve


I am writing a daily blog (Monday to Friday)  on preparing spiritually and physically

to lead a Pilgrimage of 100 miles in September.

for details of the Pilgrimage, click on the dropdown Cotwold Pilgrimage bar at the top of this page 


WEEK FOUR already.

Time for a checkup.

Yesterday was decidedly a non-exercise day.

The Vicar has been feeling poorly all weekend – no energy and some chest restriction and pains.  I felt I needed to keep him company so after leading at the 8am Communion service and helping with the 9.30am Communion service, I flopped on to the next-door sofa to him – and read and read and read. Anne of Green Gables: it’s the book for my Book Club this evening. (#happinessproject Book Club reading children’s classics post: http://www.ministriesbydesign.org/2012/01/23/finding-fun/)

Not many steps on the pedometer yesterday then. We don’t even have to go out of the front door to get to church: which in such wet weather is really quite a bonus. Apart from that, living in/over the shop (ie church) does not have many advantages.

* * * *

The Vicar has been to see the doctor this morning, and was sent immediately for various tests and checkups at the hospital.  It would take the morning; I drove him there, and headed off to Brent Cross, the nearest indoor shopping centre.  And there, I paced up and down and round and about, feeling quite American in my trainers and determination to put steps on the pedometer.

A good place to walk in such Noah weather.  Not sure others appreciated the sense of pace and speed as I sped around each level.  3,000 steps clocked in a short time.  But I fear I will need to venture out into the storm that is the current British summer if I am to do another 7,000 today.

Most days last week I managed at least 8,500 which is the target set for me on my Fitbug online pedometer. And a couple of days were a minimum of 10,000 and Monday was 12,000+  having walked the hilly golf course.

I am also trying to ensure I do at least one hill, up and down – we fortunately live at the top of a steep hill; or escalators on the Underground make a good way to run up and down.

Then there’s the PowerPlates at Movers and Shapers.  I am going three times a week  - half an hour sessions each time with an instructor putting us through our paces.  They promise that if you attend twice a week for six weeks, you will be in good shape. It's definitely coming.

So, there is definite improvement.  I can walk briskly up the two flights of escalators at Highgate Station with hardly any difficulty – a huge advance in three weeks. And the powerplates sessions are beginning to have the desired effect.


There is a big but.  All that exercise together with some other things going on right now have led to an increase in eating. The more I try to eat less and eat better, the more I crave chocolate rich tea biscuits and digestives and other unsalubrious carbohydrates.

The scales are either lying or I have actually put on weight.

Eating is such an easy way to try to cope with stress and depression.

But it’s not the best way.

Time for drastic action.


* * * *

Meanwhile, the poor Vicar has been diagnosed with viral pleurisy and told to rest.  He is looking very sorry for himself, understandably so.  Not much going out in this weather for him.

I shall be his nurse for a while, I think.

* * * *

Resolve: to continue the exercise – walking lots, powerplates, up and down hills and escalators.

Resolve: to cast my cares upon the Lord and not try to find solace in the biscuit tin.  HE alone can rescue, He alone can save. HE alone can lift me