Thursday, May 16, 2019

From the archive 20130516

This photo was taken by me 6 years ago and automatically saved in the cloud-based google photos. Today it was resurrected in a mobile phone notification. If you use social media for a while, it will occasionally throw up a picture from your past as a marketing tactic. I suppose they're thinking that most of the time people take photos of happy things and like to be reminded of them. However, even though I take a lot of photos, I'm sure I'm not alone finding these reminders can have varied impacts. Pads is on the way to a hot-tub rubbing his neck, the all too familiar pain site. He was pretty wrecked by this time and the palliative pain meds, while massive, were not quite as effective as we had hoped. 

Sunday, December 23, 2018


I am writing this as I use some time on A5 ward. I've been diagnosed with a cyst in my voice box so that needs taking out. I saw the GP about it in the summer when I mysteriously lost my voice. The xray revealed nothing sinister. Eventually the ENT referral came through and, last Thursday, the consultant ordered an urgent operation. A special camera on a thin pipe was fed into my nose. It did cause some amount of discomfort and gagging but it was a far cry from what Padi went through with his NG tube struggles.

Last Wednesday he would have been 21. It was very touching to chat with one of his classmates at Glantaf's Christmas concert the previous night. See an example of what the concert was like at

I had planned to be away writing up all la's week, but decided to submit the thesis to get it in before the year end (and avoid paying another tuition fee installment). It feels great to be free of that burden although I still have to pass a viva in the new year (no date yet).

Moli was home and both Ally and myself had taken annual leave so we had a relaxed day, walking dogs and a visit to the grave. There beneath some soil lies a broken boy, but we can fall in with thinking of him as sleeping, as per the New Testament (eg. Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 15:18  of those 'which are fallen asleep in Christ'). Christ's resurrection power is soon going to transform Pads' mortal body, to be like His own glorious body.

As other kids grow up, it is arresting to wonder what Pads would be like as a man - wonderful really, given how bright, warm and quirky he was. However, with the speed of life, it will not be long before we find out in person. If you read this but do not share our aspiration, seek God who promises, in Jeremiah 29:13, 'And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart' .

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas 2017

We tried to do Christmas cards this year but started too late... anyway, here's the news which I wrote for inclusion with the cards in case you (very likely) didnt get one. Three of the images below link to albums rather than just one photo.
2017 was not exactly full of good news globally. We have heard things from migrant friends at church (e.g. re. Cameroon) or through the media which caused us mixed feelings of sadness but also lifting our hearts in thankfulness for our mainly comfortable and peaceful existence. Our lives are finely balanced though and it does not take much to radically alter our circumstances.
Christmas and New Year 2016-2017
We began this year in Scotland again but only the kids are making the trip this time - Ally's mum has become unwell, sadly, she was diagnosed with dementia. This was not long after having moved next door to Ally's sister in Bourne End. As well as trying to be there, Ally’s time is limited by going full time in November, as a research nurse helping to run clinical trials into urology cancer treatments. In April, Mike finished data collection for his doctoral project. Writing up is difficult for many reasons but he is grateful for support of family and friends: he's been away staying at a friend's flat in Pembrokeshire for several writing retreats.
Moli, 21 this year, has been full-on with student life at Swansea and, having successfully negotiated first year, is 'experiencing' the step up to 2nd year while events organiser for the Christian Union.
Moli is 21 Asher has continued with A-levels, hockey and TKD. He's hoping to seal a place to study physiotherapy in England or Scotland next September - decent results in Biology, Chemistry and PE will open that door.
Boaz continued with piano (Cruella De Vil often chimes out of an evening), GCSE's, Athletics and TKD. He's thinking about psychology medium-term - but at which high school...?
France 2017
This August we again borrowed a more comfortable car to drive for a break in the hills above Nice. We marked the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation with a visit to Geneva on the way down.
At the Reformation Wall
Mike and Ally took a brief 3-night break to Faro, Portugal as part of celebrating Ally's 50th. We had no qualms at leaving the boys in charge.
This time of year is as much about those who have left us as those whose company we can still enjoy, especially with Padi (who would have been 20 last week) and Neil's birthdays falling close to Christmas. Upon a recent visit to Padi's grave, I noticed that our dear former pastor W. Vernon Higham's new memorial stone featured his favorite verse: The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him (Nahum 1:7). Whatever 2018 holds, we know that God is good and his hold on us is strong. May you know this too by His grace.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Notes on Numbers 12

McCheyne's calendar takes us to Numbers once a year. Matthew Henry has provided ample material for helping us learn from this neglected book.
In this chapter we see the meekness of Moses. There are lessons here for how we should die to self.

Thursday, February 2, 2017


I have some very good friends.
Of course, the best Friend sticks closer than any brother could (Prov 18:24).
I don't mean dogs - although they're wonderful hahaha! :)
Or the amazing brother lost to us last year (flickr album, youtube elegy, justgiving memorial).
Or Padi's best friend, WV Higham, also gone to be with our Lord.
Nor, this time, do I mean the many so kind friends who I have known through work, study or church over many years.
I am called back to this blog to note the goodness of God in sending migrants into our lives over the last months. If you had told me a few months ago that today I would count Eritreans and Iranians amongst my most esteemed friends... I would not have been able to hide a curious smile of disbelief. These dear people have fled in agonising separation from almost all they held dear, to preserve a future for them and their families, and invest their considerable talents and uncommon nobility of character into my country. But in many instances they leave the frying pan, for the fire. The unimpeachable judiciary have rejected claims for some of my friends' asylum on the most absurd grounds. One had so much evidence of their Christian conversion, only a criminal mastermind could concoct it... and so that is exactly the line his judge took! Other questions included, 'What is the Eucharist?', as if someone who has only ever known other Christians in the micro-house church they narrowly escaped arrest with would be conversant with CofE ritual! Honorably abstaining from applying for membership or baptism was interpreted as suspicious. Can someone please explain to the judges what a Christian is?
Anyway, in the last week or two, we have taken great joy in baptising one Iranian and welcoming another into membership (sound is better quality on this youtube and the simple membership ceremony is followed by an awesome sermon about what a Christian is). I found the prospect of local mass baptism 'less than ideal', and am happy that we have waited, in keeping with what used to be the normal Welsh practice of old, to see the depth of the profession of brothers like Kaveh and Arman. In days when a pall of wicked unbelief has settled upon the hearts of the Welsh, these 'foreigners' are taking heaven by storm. Many British would not have this Jesus to rule over them (Luke 19:14). But these Iranians, despised on many levels no doubt these days, reveal the joy and love of God. What a force for good in our country would a host of these real Christians be - humble, gentle, honest, brave, diligent, full of love towards even their enemies, 'of whom the world was not worthy' (Heb11:38) and the UK is proving we are not worthy of them. They put us to shame. And shame on us if we send them back to their own nations to face certain death, however glorious, as martyrs (that is what Islam requires done to apostates). Hopefully, some of our own digital resources will help in upcoming court appeals. Let's make Britain Great again by giving these guys asylum.
Unjust judges are condemned in the Bible (Ps 82). There is no way of knowing what kind of evidence such people will accept when they are prejudiced. Thankfully, we are all in the hands of God and can commit our dear friends into His almighty care and keeping. Psalm 130 is the one I think of with regard to them:
1 Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.
2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities
I also commend Winslow's 'Soul Depths and Soul Heights' on this Psalm (Grace Gems full text link).