consent: important GDPR information about us staying email friends

Hello friend, 🌷🌸😊

This post is a bit different from the usual offering. I’m writing to alert you to some changes in data protection which affect how you might receive my emails. It has primary relevance to those who subscribe to receive my blog posts by email but it’s also important for all of you to take note of, as you will see as you read on…

General Data Protection Regulation (EU)

In order to ensure that I am complying with GDPR regulations by 25th May 2018, you will need to confirm you are happy for your email to be used for the specific purpose of delivering blog posts to your inbox and storing your email for this purpose alone.

WordPress stores your email address, which I can also see. I do not share your email address with anyone else, nor will your email address be used for anything other than the stated purpose above.

I want to ensure I have your consent to do this.

Please note there are slightly different approaches depending on whether you have a WordPress account or not.

1) Non-Wordpress account holders

Please use the following form to sign up again, regardless of how you signed up in the first place. Emails will be sent to you from WordPress with the content of my posts.

2) WordPress account holders

If you have a WordPress account and follow me, the words below will read something like ‘YOU ARE ALREADY SUBSCRIBED – You are following this blog (manage). You can choose whether or not you want to continue to get email notifications from me by managing your WordPress subscriptions in your own WordPress account. Click ‘manage’ and then look at your list of subscriptions – each site will have ‘settings’ you can click through to turn on/off email notifications as desired.

Here’s the form…

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

“But I don’t get your posts by email!”, do I hear you say? No worries. If you would like to do that you can easily sign up using the form above, or, if you have a WordPress account, adjusting your subscription settings as explained above.

By doing so, you are giving consent for your email to be stored and used for this purpose. You can unsubscribe at any time, either by ‘managing’ your subscriptions as above or clicking ‘unsubscribe’ at the bottom of emails. You can view my privacy page here for fuller data collection details.

Phew! Thank you for your patience! 😉💜 Now we’ve got over the tough stuff, here’s a tiny poem for you as we close…

we’re obliged to do GDPR, even though it’s a pain
in the proverbial, and a huge nuisance to one and all
but the most important thing is to stay connected together
because I would hate to lose touch or miss your friendship

Let’s stay connected, heart to heart and home to home, sharing poetry and thoughts about love, loss, life and faith, yes?

Please excuse me while I take myself off and lie down for a while to recover. 🛌 This admin work is tiring! Do make yourself a refreshing cuppa and eat some cake to celebrate getting to the end of this message. You’ve earned it, my friend!🍩🍰☕

anamchara: appreciating our soul friendship with Jesus

Do you have a soulmate? Someone who you are completely comfortable and truly yourself with? A soul friend who has always got your back and who understands what makes you tick? A person you can totally rely on?

True soul care friends are a rarity but all the more appreciated for being so. As far as a soulmate is concerned, I’m blessed to have that in my husband. No one else quite sees or reads me with such searing acurracy, yet loves me just the same. He has proved loving and faithful for many years and I have no reason to expect that to change.

However, as a fellow flawed human being like me, he is still subject to times when he is less available to me or less able to listen as well as I might want him to. We have to give one another grace for being broken, imperfect people who are just trying their best to meet the other person’s needs.

Thankfully, God has made provision for each and every one of us to have a close soul friend, a totally reliable, loving and faithful friend whose character is unchangeable and whose ability to be there for us is unlimited.

He is able to walk with us every day. To mentor, lead and guide. To sit besides. To love us unreservedly and unconditionally. To patiently wait for us to return when we ignore him for days on end or decide to charge off without him, thinking he won’t notice if we’re missing. To comfort us when we feel sad. To rejoice with us always. To talk to us day or night if we want him to.  Sounds pretty perfect, right?

That’s because He is. Our best soul friend is Jesus Christ. He always has been and always will be. Once we learn who He is, why He came to earth and why He cares so much for us, and invite Him into our heart and home, then we begin to discover just what a treasure He is and why we need Him in our lives.

Anamchara

my anamchara
constant companion, soul friend
beyond this life’s end

you’re my earthly guide
walking by my side, you smile
there’s no judgement here

only perfect love
and total care radiates
with amazing grace

as you gaze my way
at any time, day or night
precious in your sight

I have always been
whether I knew it or not
blowing cold or hot

though you have remained
without alteration or change
faithfully the same

mentoring me still
in ways of grace, love and faith
teaching me your will

helping me to grow
more dependent on you now
yet freer somehow
© joylenton

Note: Anam cara or anamchara’s full meaning can be found here. I have used it in this haiku sequence to reflect our relationship with Jesus Christ.

seagulls: seeking to trust in God’s provision for us

Living within driving distance of the sea means that we often have times when there’s an invasion of seagulls inland, especially when it’s inclement weather where they live or they just feel like spreading their wings.

They make a racket as they fly everywhere, hoping we’re going to be as generous providers of sustenance as their seaside audience are. Little do they know that we’re unlikely to be a good source of food for them, unless they scavenge our leavings.

It’s like the seagulls don’t quite trust they’ll be taken care of. Do birds actually forget that God makes sure they are fed? They have no need to fret. And does some of that doubt creep into our own souls as we hunger after things only God can supply?

“And the food became known as “manna” (meaning “What is it?”); it was white, like coriander seed, and flat, and tasted like honey bread.” – Exodus 16:31 TLB

Maybe we just need to remind ourselves of how wonderfully God has provided for us in the past to stir us toward intentional noticing and being thankful for all we receive today.

“He fed you with manna in the wilderness (it was a kind of bread unknown before) so that you would become humble and so that your trust in him would grow, and he could do you good.” – Deuteronomy 8:16 TLB

Seagull-minded

Are we seagull-minded, screeching and squawking over
one small crust of bread, as though that was all we had
and we’re worried we won’t be fed?

Do we not remember how God provided daily manna
in the wilderness, and how he never leaves his children
wanting, weary or downcast?

Have we forgotten how he lifts the weary and seeks out
the lost, giving us his strength and help when we are weak
and mending our broken hearts?

Are our minds dulled and negligent in considering God’s
magnificent provision for everything, and just how much
we need his presence and his touch?

Maybe we require a shift in our thinking so we don’t sink
into discouragement but are instead encouraged by his
word, and thankful our prayers are heard

Then our souls would veer into an attitude of gratitude
that lifts and sustains us, and treasure each slide into
deeper dependence and trust
© joylenton

“Jesus replied, ‘I am the Bread of Life. No one coming to me will ever be hungry again. Those believing in me will never thirst.'” – John 6:35 TLB

stuck: facing storms and sailing into calmer waters

We all have times and situations where we feel stuck, when our circumstances hold us fast like mud, become seemingly stagnant, and we can see no relief on the horizon. Acknowledging where we are helps, but the most important thing is to realise, no matter how long it takes and how hard we might find it—this won’t last forever.

We won’t always be caught up in our past or chained to habits we long to break free from. If our life is rooted in Christ, then we can set sail for freedom at any time. Nothing is set in concrete when we surrender our lives to Him.

And even if our situation doesn’t alter one iota, we can. By God’s mercy and grace, we can learn to change our perspective, adopt a new way of thinking about things and sail into calmer waters internally as storms continue to rage around us.

Stuck

When I feel stuck in a place of shame or pain, a puddle of difficulty
or an ocean of longing, a river of uncertainty, I remind myself that
this too shall pass and I will rise again, with holy Hope billowing

from my rooted soul like a mainsail, and Faith holding hard as
an anchor for my hurting heart, steering me away from dangerous

shipping lanes toward the Rock, who I am stuck fast to and who
steadies us through every storm we might have to go through

It’s hard to sense our salvation at hand when we’re stuck on thorny
ground, riddled with doubt and can see no way out, or we’re fixated
on things that steal and captivate our souls, but prove to be leaky

vessels, nothing but holes, just sieves that sift, leave us thirsty and
drained, desiring more, as we lose ourselves and our grip on God

While we might sometimes get ourselves into a jam, let us seek to
remain glued to God, stuck fast on his endless mercy, forgiveness

and love, because he is the Centre of our hearts, the great I AM
who freely gives gifts of grace—and is eternally stuck on us
© joylenton

I’m thankful for not being stuck for words as I share my 5 minute poem with the fantastic #FMF writing crew today, using the prompt word: “stuck.” You are warmly invited to write with us and to read the great posts being shared. Just click here to join us there. Thank you! 🙂

blue: a touch of coolness to soothe a heated soul

We’re having a mini heatwave in the UK. A skin-drenching scorcher few of us feel ready for. Because we’ve barely got over having layers of snow and a cool blue feeling in our souls.

We often choose colours that represent certain things to us. Blue is usually considered to be the colour of slowing down, a precursor to experiencing calm, harmony and rest. It’s also associated with stability and depth, piety and sincerity. It’s indicative of loyalty, trust, wisdom, intelligence, faith, and all things sky and heaven related.

On a hot day our skin can protest at sun’s fiery rays, emotions can rise and the change can feel destabilising and unsettling until we get used to it or have been eagerly anticipating its arrival for months.

So I thought I would keep things light today and share a trio of haiku with you to maintain the cool, calm and collected feelings of blue instead of the fiery heat that summer can bring to us. The first image is from a view we had out of the car window while travelling home after spending Christmas with the family.

At rest

a virgin-white field
bereft of footprints—at rest
like a sleeping child
©joylenton

One thing that never goes out of season is gratitude. Those who practice it are often blessed with joy and peace, even in challenging circumstances. Because it lifts our eyes off what might be limiting and confining, expands our hearts to appreciate life’s little things and causes us to be thankful for what we have.

Heart offering

gratitude expressed
a heart offering of love
simple, effective
©joylenton

It wouldn’t really be summer without thinking about cool, clear water, seas and oceans. Sometimes we can savour marine life on our doorstep by visiting a sea life or marine wildlife centre in our locality.

Ocean

these cavernous depths
where we see fishy delights
bring ocean to life
© joylenton

Whatever your personal preference and whatever the weather is like where you live, I hope you have enjoyed this small pause to savour a tiny of poetry and think longingly of cool blue days or happily anticipate the heat of summer to come.

PS: In case you are curious, here’s a link to the meaning usually attributed to certain colours. 🙂

other: learning to celebrate our difference and unity

In terms of being different and distinct, “other” isn’t necessarily a bad thing to be. Although we wouldn’t want to be extraneous or surplus to requirements, we all revel in our individuality and uniqueness. One person’s cage is another’s idea of freedom. Difference can be celebrated.

Unity is worth rejoicing over too. Because what unites us (especially as people of faith) should be greater than what might divide us. We all need others to relate to and to help us feel cared for, encouraged and understood. God made us for relationship. Together we are stronger.

Being “other” includes: the old and young, the able and less able, the small and great, the bold and confident and the shy and timid ones, the full spectrum of society and those who we might not look at twice, if we didn’t share a common humanity and feel a sense of connectivity in Christ.

Other

When we think about the other we consider
not only our sisters and brothers in faith but
the estranged, the alien and strangers in our
midst and ourselves—when we feel cut off
and adrift, isolated and lost to all but God

To be other is to feel excluded and less than
unless we think about our inclusivity in Christ
and how his otherworldliness makes us awed
and his willingness to include us is a pure act
of God’s supreme holiness, mercy and love

We are most like one another when we can grasp
our unity in him, our bond of faith acting like super
glue to hold us together, despite our differences of
doctrinal practices or lived out spiritual expression
as we respond to Holy Spirit’s ministrations within

I am the other half of you and you of me, for our
God-woven togetherness exceeds all boundaries
and wraps us around with his holy similarity, while
we bask in being wholly unique—yet joined in him
© joylenton

I’m delighted to be sharing my 5 minute poem with the fabulous #FMF writing crew today as we express our thoughts on this week’s prompt of “other.” Please click here to join in and read the great posts being shared.  Thank you! 🙂 

prompt: a way of easing back into writing after taking a break

A blank page can be rather daunting, can’t it? When you want to ease yourself back to writing again after taking a break, there’s often no better way than by responding to a creative prompt. It helps that someone else has done the initial thinking work for you! Though Holy Spirit inspired listening to life is invaluable to me too.

One of my favourite creative prompts to dive into after resting my words for a while is the Twittering Tales series—where we write within Twitter’s character limit restraints in response to a photograph—hosted by my delightfully eclectic poetic friend Kat Myrman, especially because images so often stir creative juices in me.

Today’s offering is more light-hearted than usual and has veered in the direction of both poetry and prose. I hope it inspires you to have a go yourself….

photo by leoperezwildadventure – courtesy of pixabay.com

Few stopped to savour the glorious view spread out before them, or note the delightful sounds of wildlife in the dense vegetation, intent instead on clicking their cameras, thinking only of how they would share some stunning images on social media to impress their friends with.

(278 characters)

cameras poised and eyes peeled
they had no inkling of how their
canoe was sinking, letting in water
enough to pool and wet them well

they were so enchanted by the scenes
before them, and those to come, that they
ignored the feeling of soggy feet until, too
late, it became waist deep at least

(280 characters)

Bearded hipster Harry sat in the back with his face set and grim. He didn’t want to spoil their fun but he knew his situation was getting desperate. As the vessel keeled this way and that as they turned excitedly, he felt his stomach contents protesting with their every movement.

(280 characters)

What helps prompt you to write or helps you to restart after a creative lull? I’d love to hear in the comments below. If you would like to join in you can find Kat’s beautiful blog here and this week’s Twittering Tale prompt here* Enjoy!  🙂