Monday, 30 January 2012

A walk in the park...

Yesterday evening I went for a stroll with our dog, Sam.…the poor animal had been stuck inside for more than normal in the day as we'd been out to church and also to the cinema in the afternoon to watch Warhorse (quite traumatic but very good !!)….so Sam really needed to stretch his paws (and he get's very excited at the prospect of a walk!)…it was about 7pm, very dark, very cold, and very peaceful outside.  It was a beautiful winter's evening.  

One of my lovely daughters decided at the last minute to come with we walked down towards the park wrapped up warm in coats and scarves.  We talked through some things.  We held hands. 
It was one of those unplanned 'special times' that come when you least expect them.  We did a normal circuit to the park and came home talking all the way.  As we arrived back on the drive there came another big we turned tail (literally for Sam!) and went for another circuit and talked some more.  Sam was very confused!  

Topics of conversation for our walk were (in no particular order!) :-
- Painful memories
- Emotions
- Death, Jesus, resurrection, heaven
- Forgiveneness
- Trust  

Nobody really wants to be in the club that I'm in coaching my children through (just about) the most horrendous journey thinkable...I haven't done it before and am a bit of a rookie!
It is good though (but difficult) to talk about pain and to acknowledge the past; it's also good to talk about those we love who are not with us.  
For Ellie and I, it's a privilege to lead our children through this season of their lives with all of it's complexities, pain and emotional sensitivities.  It's also our delight (but very tiring!) to parent five children together…at different times and in different ways, they all inspire us, provoke us, make us laugh, make us cry, and bring great joy to our hearts.  

Today Ellie will be walking the dog :-)

Monday, 23 January 2012

When you say nothing at all....

I will let this speak for itself.

Click here and press play....

I'm very pleased to call these dear people family.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Father's Song....

Today we have at last exchanged contracts on Ellie's house.....hooray !!
A week ago it looked like it was all going to fall through....and it appeared that nothing short of a miracle would make any difference (it's a long story!)
However, the good news is that we know a Miracle Maker and we really didn't need to worry about it at was all in His hands.

The sale completion date (proposed by Buyer) is 10th February...for people familiar with Ellie's journey, you will recognise that date as being the 12th anniversary of her saddest ever day. So on that day we will have some tears no doubt, and we will also look forward to the next phase of our lives together with our five children...and I think unmistakably in the background we will hear the song of our Father in heaven singing over us.

This Sunday we're going out to dinner to celebrate the house sale and, amongst other things, we will talk about our God who never leaves us nor forsakes us despite whatever life throws at us.

If you listen carefully and open your heart, you'll probably be able to hear him singing over you too.....and if you still don't think you can, then perhaps you will get the idea by clicking here. He really is there you know !

Monday, 16 January 2012

Just a piece of paper...?

On Friday we had an appointment at the Law a consequence everything changed....and yet nothing really changed.
We both signed five pieces of paper in the presence of a Court official and when we walked out we had both become the legal parents to five children.

For us, Friday was simply stamping the paperwork on a commitment we both made to our children as a part of our wedding day still felt very significant though !

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

'Letter from America'...

My friend Dave lives in the USA, is a father of five, a Christian, a great friend who I worked with for many years and an all round fabulous chap!!
This is an extract from an email I received from him yesterday...

Your last e-mail mentioned how difficult it is for people to talk about bereavement and loss and I must admit that I find it difficult too.  There have been many times where I’ve read your blog and been moved by the rawness of emotion and wanted to say something but, because what I wanted to say always seemed so pathetic, I didn’t – please forgive me.  Even now I am at a bit of a loss to know what to say.  I think it’s a bloke thing:  We always want to fix things, or give a suggestion to make things better but, faced with something that can’t be fixed they fold like a cheap card table (as by boss is in the habit of saying) or, just avoid the subject altogether (as you’ve already encountered).  There is nothing that I can say that others haven’t already said but, I do want you to know that I am for you and always here if you need to write a note to work out any kind of frustration (or for any other reason)...."

I love him to bits...for his honesty and openness and many other reasons!

I think a lot of people who know our history actually don't know what to say to us, or maybe what not to say to us. We understand that. Truth is that our emotions can't be 'fixed' or made any easier with simple's just not that easy which is probably why we can all find it a bit difficult at times. It's probably not helped by the fact that Ellie and I talk about death and about Ben and Karena and our journeys as part of our every day normal conversation (I don't think you can have gone through what we have done without talking about it as a formative part of your life....anything else would feel like we're somehow denying the people whom we loved so dearly or denying what has happened).....and contrary to what many people say,time really doesn't heal (it does help with acceptance tho) what's the solution??

To be honest we have no idea (!) BUT.....the good news is that we always welcome simple things like just saying that you care, writing an encouraging note, a hand of support upon the shoulder, an invite for coffee, or just a simple warm smile that can make all the difference....It's also ok to admit you don't know what to say, because it's about being there as a friend that counts - not any clever words.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Bear meets Ros...

One of my heroes is Bear Grylls. He's just so cool....ex-SAS, a survivalist extraordinaire....a proper man's man and a Christian to boot. I like to think that we're similar in many ways, but I fear I may be deceiving myself !!
This week he said the following via twitter ....

"Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal"

Enjoying life is a concept I have struggled with over the last few's all seemed so jolly hard, so difficult, so fraught with pain and heartache.
Consequently I re-tweeted Bear's comment, but added my own sad slant as follows....

"Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal (@BearGrylls). Love it! BUT for my kids who've had a parent die this is easier to say than do"

Not all that profound I know......BUT then my dear friend, Ros, saw my comment and her reply lifted my heart and refocussed me...she said :-

"I'm a child with both parents who've died - it works out ok in the end. Immanuel (Jesus) came that we can live life to the full :-) "

Kinda says it all really !

If you nothing better to do, you can follow me on twitter direct (@craigtwittwit) or via the blog over here -->

Sunday, 1 January 2012


Yesterday we had a family trip to the cinema, Dominoes Pizza and then did silly games before having the midnight chimes (at 10:30pm!!!)
Good to make some new family memories and traditions...! Today we're off for a family walk and picnic with good friends....

On my mind all day yesterday, and today as I wake, is the following scripture.

Isaiah 43:16,18-19 - This is what the LORD says — he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters,“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland".

At the start of this new year, I'm believing this for us all as a family.