End of the Year

It’s that strange in between time with Christmas Day passed and New Year’s Eve within sight.  We’ve given up celebrating all twelve days of Christmas so we don’t quite know what to do with these days as the year hastens to its end.

It’s traditional to look back on this almost over year, especially here in Blogland. I was interested to find that my most read post was KNOWNS AND UNKNOWNS written in November. It’s strangely apt for this time of year so here it is again if you haven’t read it or would like to again: https://thestufflifeismadeofblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/15/knowns-and-unknowns-five-minute-friday/.

The Queen, in her Christmas Day speech, spoke of 2019 as ‘a bumpy year’. I know how she feels. But rather than go into detail about that , I’d like to share something that has sustained me through the good and bad times.

No, I’m not going to talk about God or my family (although I echo Matthew West’s lyrics about how I ‘hit my knees and thank the Lord for Jesus and you, every day I do’). That’s perhaps, I hope, a little too obvious.

What so often sustains me is words. Writing them or reading them.

Writing poetry, blog posts, reviews, or my prayer journal. Documenting the things, large and small, that I am grateful for. Capturing and defining thoughts and feelings with ink and paper or keybaord and screen. Helps me figure things out, figure me out, sometimes even figure God out. Encourages me when others comment.

I’ve also linked up more with others through my writing by contributing to a group blog each month http://morethanwriters.blogspot.com/ and joining blog tours for book launches:

Books and articles to hide in, an escape from monotony or stress. Passing the time productively in queues and waiting rooms. Reading myself to sleep at bedtime or to conquer insomnia.  Extending my knowledge of history, theology, geography, science.  Immersing myself in the Napoleonic Wars, the forensic developments and political fallout resulting from the Marchioness disaster, the beauty and social impact of embroidery. Exploring fantastical worlds. Learning all the time from my fellow writers.

During 2019 I’ve taken part in a reading challenge and been grateful for how the discipline has both structured and widened my reading. It’s been good to share suggestions and reviews online, bonding us into friends. We’re doing it again (with new categories) in 2020. I thoroughly recommend it.

So rather than ending 2019 and looking into 2020 with the standard resolutions, I would encourage you to explore words more, whether your own or others’. Try a reading or a writing challenge – who knows what knowledge, strength, and comfort you might discover?

God bless and see you in 2020.





BIRTH (Five Minute Friday)


Dark and claustrophobic
Hours and minutes merged
Suspended in endless night
Strangers instructing
Instinct and inexperience
Fighting together
Pain and fear
Impatience and intense focus
Energy spent
A cry of life

Wishing a peaceful and life affirming Christmas to all of you.

DARKNESS and HOPE (Five Miute Friday)

Well, this week’s prompt word of DARKNESS from Five Minute Friday https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/12/12/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-darkness/ seemed horribly apt as I woke up to the UK’s general election results this morning (although I know not everyone will feel that way). And I’ve been going through my own darkness of difficulties and depression recently. In both situations, I am deciding to focus on the opposite. This means I have been grappling with the elusive and slippery concept of HOPE so here’s one of a few poems I have written recently about it.

HOPE (2)
Hope is a small brown shrivelled thing
Papery and wrinkled
No bigger than my thumbnail
Waiting to be thrust deep hidden in the darkness.
First tearing away ivy invasion which
Stealthily and steadily threatens to
Overwhelm everything else,
Then digging and pulling out weeds,
Roots everywhere,
And stabbing the hard soil into submission
Over and over again with the trowel
Until the earth softens and gives
To make space far enough down
For hope to grow.
Covered over
Patted down firmly
With nothing to show
No evidence
Just bare earth.
An act of faith or bloody mindedness
To wait and believe
Through long cold days
That roots will spread and establish,
Find nourishment in the dark,
And stubborn shoots will spear through iron earth
Proving winter’s passing.

(There won’t be any Five Minute Friday prompts in the weeks of Christmas and New Year but I still plan to write a weekly blog post then so do come back and check them out).

PIGEON’S WING (Five Minute Friday: RUSH)

I’m late posting this week as I changed my mind about what to write and then had to fit it round family pre Christmas commitments. Thanks for being patient.


When you’re in the depths of despair
Or depression –
When I am in those depths –
All the energy sucked out of me
Like circulating water
Hurrying down a plughole,
Sleep chased away nightly
By worries in battalions
Mown down by the musket fire of logic
Only to be replaced by another line,
Exhausted, overwhelmed
Thoughts, tasks, actions, all jam like traffic to
A standstill, edge forward, standstill and edge again
No end in sight.

But in this enforced, unasked for gear change
I discover beauty I would have missed –
The exact leaf shade of autumnal wisteria,
The pink, blue, and lilac in a pigeon’s grey,
The moon’s corona explained by my boy
The calming rhythm of a row of knitting
The magical transformation that creates a loaf of bread –
A whole world in the small, the overlooked, the ordinary

And I wonder what really counts –
Deeds impacting many
Politics and philanthropy
Scientific discovery and invention
Career and dedication
Or knowing the exact colour of a pigeon’s wing?

Hope you like it. If you’d like to read more inspirational writing from the lovely Five Minute Friday community, you can find it here: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/12/05/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-rush/