Archive for the ‘Celebrations’ Category

Scary – isn’t it?

A whole new horizon – and no markers in the sand to say ‘THIS WAY’

This is how I feel as I begin my journey beyond breast cancer.

And yet there is warmth in the sun and the breath of life, and boy does it feel good.

I am thankful to be alive.

6th October marks the anniversary of the day my life changed when I was told I had breast cancer. This is my week of transition when I step off the bridge.

Please come with me on this new journey.

I look back at the things we did before my year of breast cancer treatment. We had workshops on Spiritual Journalling, Touching the Edge of His Cloak, Listening to God’s Heartbeat. We joined the Benedictine Monks for retreats, and we spent a season Listening to God’s Heartbeat.

And now we can also look back on a long slow year exploring a journey with God – making breast cancer an opportunity to get to know God better.

I would like to keep learning and keep sharing – and to do this I value your help.

We have a Celebration on 16th October. BC and I are thrilled at your enthusiastic response. Please let us know if you have missed an invitation and would like to come.

And after the party, I want to build again on the foundations we laid. I value your feedback on two questions:

  • FIRST – I would like to run another WORKSHOP or RETREAT in the New Year? Are you interested to join me, and if so, what topic would you like?
  • SECOND – I would like to start another blog. This would be about what it means to have life to the full: taking John 10:10 and exploring what that means in our lives day by day.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full

Please let me know what you think. You can comment in the usual way by clicking on the comments tag at the end.  Or you can email me directly.  The next post tells you how to do that.

And about the new header to my blog. I took this photo after one of my early morning radiotherapy treatments. Sitting in the peace of a summer morning, I recognised how much the obstacle of treatment had become an opportunity to listen to God. What do you think – do you like it or did you prefer the orchids?


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My birthday

My birthday present – the box set of Poirot DVDs.

Such delight!

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The Jive Aces playing live at the Mayor's Thames Festival

This is my birthday week.

BC and I celebrated in style with the Mayor of London at his Thames Summer Festival.

On both sides of the River Thames between Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge there were market stalls, street theatre and live music. We had the best cup of coffee ever from a small Fair Trade stall on the South Bank. The two man team must have served at least 500 cups of coffee by the end of the day, and always with a smile.

Afternoon tea at Tate Modern looking across the Millennium Bridge to St Paul's Cathedral

People were out to enjoy the day.

The Jive Aces played outside Tate Modern and a crowd danced in the sunshine. You can listen to the band here and sense the thrill we felt.

The beat of their music made our feet tap.

And there was a tender moment when the gentleman in front of us helped his wife out of her wheelchair to dance on the spot – perhaps reliving something they had lost.

32 groups of people formed a carnival procession in the early evening. The air came alive with the beat of their music and dance. Hours of planning and preparation invested in a display of delight.

Thames Festival Fireworks

And as darkness fell we joined the crowds on Waterloo Bridge to watch the amazing fireworks display from three barges on the river. Thousands of us gasped and oohed and aahed in unison.

There was a rhythm to the day – a rhythm of life.

A good to be alive day!

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

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I am thinking a lot about my transition from being in treatment for breast cancer to moving on with life.

Like all good stories I want a good ending. I want to tie up all the ends, close the book and move on.

But this is real life.

There can be no neat ending with cancer. Nor with other forms of loss like bereavement or divorce. We have to move on, taking our new scars with us.

Ending on a High

This week I came across the Peak End Rule which gives two useful tips on how to soften the memory of a bad experience.

According to this we judge our past experiences almost entirely on how they were at their peak (pleasant or unpleasant) and how they ended.

Other memories of the experience are not lost; they are simply not used in our recall.

The interesting thing about the peak memory of a negative experience is that, no matter how bad it is, your memory of it is averaged out in relation to what else was going on at the time.

And so the tips are:

  • Soften the experience of the peak experience, the worst days, by creating positive experiences in the midst of them.
  • Create a good ending that gives you a positive start for the next stage.

So does this work for me?

The worst days have been bad, and there were lots of them , and yet in the midst of them were very many lovely experiences. You gave me cards, flowers, phone calls, text messages, emails, a smile a, hug.

Averaging this out, I have an overwhelming feeling of being loved and cared for. I will not look back on a long black year of breast cancer treatment. Instead my memory is of being vulnerable and yet surrounded by loved.

Thank you for that.

And the ending? Well, that is what the party is all about.

I will send emails out this week.

If you are reading this blog and I do not have your email, please let me know.

Having shared the year with us, please join us as we end on a high.

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I need a really good ending to this year – a right of passage that lets everyone know my period of intense breast cancer treatment is over. I am well.

I want to celebrate life and health and love and friendship.

BC and I are deeply grateful for the love and support you have given us.

And so we are having a PARTY.

Come and be our guest – dance CEROC with us on Saturday 16th October.

This will be a party with a difference – we will be taught some dance steps and by the end of the evening we will all be dancing together to our heart’s content.

Put the date in your diary and look out for more details.

Have a look here to see Ceroc in action. If others can do it, we can.  We want YOU to come.

Let’s celebrate together.

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I made it – the end of my radiotherapy treatment.

Time to celebrate and be thankful!

Click here and turn up the volume.

Join me, with folk all round the world, in a dance of gratitude.

Enjoy the music, feel the fun, and be delighted by the squeals of happiness . .

. . it is good to be alive!

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Who says plants don’t talk?

A visit to the garden centre, alone, with the promise to myself to look, listen, smell and touch.

This is not about buying anything I need – it is about enjoying the moment; giving my mind ideas for a new season of growth.

And there on its own is the Amaryllis – the last of the batch. It speaks to me of purpose, endurance, hope and beauty. I check my posture to match the upright young stem, and I notice I am smiling. This young bulb is determined to be what it is meant to be – and I want to be like that too.

‘Think UP’ – words I read in the morning as a key concept of the Alexander Technique bring it all together. What preoccupies my thoughts affects my body, my posture and the way I feel.

Here it is on my kitchen window sill . . . . pacing me daily, drawing me forward and turning my thoughts to things above. I need all the help I can get.

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

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