Church of England Diocese of Lichfield Aldridge

Children - Tom's Toddlers and Footprints (updated 29.04.2021)

Good Morning Everyone,

What a peculiar day, weather wise. Waking up to the damp, mirk and cold, and doing the school run in the lashing rain, it felt not at all feasible to hold 'Pre-schoolers in the Park'. And now look at it - the sun is out, the sky is blue (ish), and now I'm feeling a bit of a wet lettuce for not persevering and just putting my 'big girl boots' on.

The weather this morning seems to sum up the lows and highs of the last year really, and as I was contacted yesterday to be able to book my vaccine for Sunday, I'm feeling on quite a high that at least I will be getting some protection, and that at last the end feels in sight (albeit a bit blurry and in the distance maybe). Although, I did have to face the realisation that maybe I was older than I felt, that they had got to me already! Surely, I am too young to be invited yet, haha! I wish. Without asking with any intention to reveal your ages, I wonder how many of you have already received or been invited to have your vaccine soon? Are any of you having yours on Sunday too? 

This passage came to mind, that not only is God with us in all of our storms, but that every storm will pass:

A friend of mine is currently sat with her ailing Mum, in her final days. And as we have been chatting, and in my desperate bid to try and support, encourage and comfort her, I have been reminded of my own very similar experience of losing my Dad, 6 years ago now. And although it all still feels so long ago, yet it is still so vivid and only like yesterday in many ways. Looking back, as I have been, I am reminded how very un-alone I actually was, and how in Dad's passing, I experienced many of my first and most tangible experiences of God. It was what I consider to have been a real deal maker in terms of my faith journey, I suppose.

In the depth of my heartache, despair and sorrow, God was not only providing people to be in the right place at the right time, to say things that there was no way of them knowing without God sharing it with them, and to physically experience a cradling and comforting feeling, like a mother holding a child. The time was totally and inexplicably vile, but these comforts got me through. My prayers for my friend and for the family and friends of baby Ciaran Leigh Morris, on the day of his funeral, are less about taking away their sadness and anger (that would just feel wrong, wouldn't it? without these feelings, wouldn't we just feel like we hadn't cared or loved enough) But instead my prayers are that they will receive the comfort, support, love and joy from those around them, to see them through. Sorrows are (unfortunately) an unavoidable part of our lives, and some have to bear unimaginable sorrows, that none of us can imagine, or bear thinking about, like in the case of the family of baby Ciaran, but it's these times that Christ is most at work in our lives and through the people we meet. And for that, I am so grateful for my faith.  I am sure many of you are familiar with the Footprints verse, but I am always reminded of this, at such times (see the link at the bottom for the verse).

On that sombre (but also hope filled note!) lets have some fun allowing the 'storm to catch us', turning the wind into something beautiful.  (see the link at the bottom for images of the ideas here)  Here are some 'breezy bottles', wind spinners and wind catchers, that you and your child might enjoy making and watching, depending upon what you have available.  They can be made from decorating clean, plastic bottles that are upturned and I recommend an adult does this bit, but attach a string to hang through the middle of the base and have 'wings' cut to stick out and catch the wind. Just be careful as cut plastic can be very sharp, so perhaps display up high out of reach or cover the edges with some tape (or colourful electrical tape works well). The spinner can be made from a decorated paper plate or circle of thin card, and cut into a spiral from the outside into the centre and hung with some string or thread at the centre. Whilst the wind catcher can be made from any lengths of ribbon, fabric or strips of paper, hung from a small circular ring, such as a section cut from a toilet roll, pringles tube or shaped pipe cleaners etc. Any that you make, it would be lovely to see them, so do share your photos of them.

And finally, we would also like to wish a very happy birthday to Mya-Rose on her first birthday today. We hope you and your family all have a wonderful time celebrating.

"Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, God bless you and keep you, Happy birthday to you!"

God bless you all, and hope to be able to see you all in person, before too long.

Hannah and the team x