Archive for the ‘Glasgow’ Category

Looking back over my blog posts at the end of the last two years, I see my comments about the last two years were that they were pretty rotten years. Well guess what, 2014 has had some real lows but thankfully also some highs too.

So let’s start with the highs first:

glasgow_2014_commonwealth_games2014 saw us having 3 family weddings, the first ones since our wedding 20 years ago! Mind you they didn’t half make me feel old though, especially the last of the 3 weddings which took place just last Saturday, as it was the oldest daughter of one of my cousin’s that was getting married, and she was a flower girl at our wedding!

This year also saw my home city of Glasgow hosting the Commonwealth Games. As it’s unlikely to happen again in our lifetime we took this opportunity to attend a number of events during the games, and were so glad we did because we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. What a fantastic atmosphere there was at all the events we attended, Glasgow did us proud!

Onto the not so good stuff from this year:

The first family wedding of this year was in Keighley, Yorkshire, and sadly my hubby was unable to travel down to the wedding because of his health. So Mum and me travelled down to the wedding ourselves. It was a long and tiring weekend but one which we thoroughly enjoyed. In the following couple of weeks I didn’t think my Mum was quite herself and seemed overly tired, I thought it was just due to the wedding…

hospital2A couple of weeks after attending that wedding, I found my Mum lying on her living room floor, she’d been there for approx. 19 hours, but couldn’t get up and couldn’t reach the phone. Thankfully she hadn’t broken anything but she did end up in hospital for a number of weeks for rehabilitation. When she was discharged from hospital she was very tired and confused when we got her home, and didn’t last very long at home until she ended up back in hospital again – I found her on the floor again the morning after she was discharged from hospital! Mum was admitted to hospital again for a number of weeks. During her time in hospital time they found her infection markers were very high and despite numerous treatments they failed to come down, so further tests were performed and they showed Mum had cancer.

Things moved very quickly then and before we’d really had time to take in what was happening, particularly Mum. Mum started her chemotherapy in September and was finally discharged from hospital at the beginning of October after being in hospital for over 3 months (excluding the 1 overnight she had at home when she fell again). Mum has continued to get chemo every few weeks, and hope to find out fairly early in 2015, how well this has worked.

Add to this, my hubby’s health issues, my own on-going health issues, and those of our 19-year-old cat, and you can see this year’s had some tough times for us.

Sadly this year I also discovered that several people who I had come to consider as good friends, sharing some private things with them, have turned out to be false friendships. As when things got tough in various areas of my life this year these folk have hardly spoken to me, taken other people’s side in disagreements without even asking me for my side of things. It’s been upsetting that they have chosen to believe the views of another and seemed not to even consider that this view was not an accurate reflection of events. This was made worse when I asked one person about something I supposed said, and they just laughed, suggesting they had no understanding of how events had hurt and affected me. They certainly haven’t shown any interest in me or my family or the fact that I’ve been struggling to cope with all that’s I’ve had to cope with over the last while…

So it’s been a stressful year with some highs and some lows. To be honest I’m not quite sure how I’ve kept going as, as well as working full-time, I’ve either been visiting Mum in the hospital, or looking after her at home very day. Between looking after our house, and Mum’s house, and making sure Mum has everything she needs, it’s tiring, and stressful to put it mildly! That said I know that in all these situations I’ve listed here, God has been there with me, and they have each been part of God’s plan for my life.

I’m finding life quite tough just now with everything that’s happened in the last year or two, but just like last year there’s one song that has been stuck in my head which keeps reminding me that no matter what I’m facing, and how bad life seems, God is there for me and He will always be there for me – Here’s Kutless with Promise of a Lifetime:

So as you can see 2014 has been a mix of highs and more lows, so I’m hoping 2015 will be the first year in a while that’s just full of highs…I can but hope can’t I?

I hope your 2014 has been a happy one, however if not, I hope you have had the love and support of family and friends to help you through the year.

I pray that as we look ahead to 2015 you may go forward with confidence knowing that whatever situations you have to deal with, God is by your side not just during this Christmas season, but all year-long.

The Promise of a Lifetime by Kutless
 
I have fallen to my knees
As I sing a lullaby of pain
I’m feeling broken in my melody
As I sing to help the tears go away
Then I remember the pledge you made to me  I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime Will you help me fall apart
Pick me up, take me in your arms
Find my way back from the storm
And you show me how to grow
Through the change I still remember the pledge you made to me

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime  I am holding on to the hope I have inside
With you I will stay through every day
Putting my understanding aside I am comforted
To know your always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime.
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
Looking back at me
I know that you can see
My heart is open to the promise of a lifetime 

Glasgow is my home.

Glasgow is the focus of sport for so many just now.

Glasgow 2014, the twentieth Commonwealth Games.

Gold, silver and bronze medals to be won…how many will we win.

Gold medals is what we want, and on the first day of competition, we won multiple medals!

Going to watch some sports we don’t get a change to see very often.

Great atmosphere.

Great crowds.

Great support for all the athletes, but of course the loudest and best support is definitely given to the Scottish athletes.

Getting excited by the games being in my home city.

Gold, gold, gold is what we want.

Go on team Scotland, get us loads of medals.

Go team Scotland!

scotlandteam

The start of the twentieth Commonwealth Games is finally here, and it’s in my own back yard!

glasgow_2014_commonwealth_games

We’ve known for a while that Glasgow would be the host city for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but it always seemed something way in the future, however we are now on the very final minutes of the countdown to the start of the games.

Like many in Glasgow and the surrounding area, we are taking this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see some of the world’s top athletes, so over the next couple of weeks we’ll be heading to Hampden to see some athletics, the Emirates Stadium for some badminton, and Ibrox for some rugby sevens. My hubby is also heading to the Hydro one day to see some boxing, but that was not for me!

I’m certainly looking forward to seeing some world-class sport in the next couple of weeks, and most of all I’m looking forward to proudly supporting my country, Scotland!

C’mon Scotland, let’s win loads of medals!

Saltire-Scottish-Flag

God, we will give you Glory
For God you can answer prayer

This last weekend I was privileged to hear the ISS (The International Staff Songsters of the Salvation Army) on the Saturday night and Sunday afternoon during their visit to Rutherglen Salvation Army as part of their 125th anniversary celebrations.

It was a fabulous weekend, and I’m sure those who attended, were blessing and challenged by the words and music the ISS brought to us. That said, it was a bit strange for me being back at Rutherglen playing inn the band again, as I transferred to Bellshill Salvation Army 12 years ago, having been at Rutherglen all my life until then. It was strange simply because it felt as though I’d never been away!

It was definitely a weekend where God was praised and we were also reminded that God can, and will answer prayer, so one of the final songs the ISS sang, God, We Will Give You Glory, summed up the weekend for me:

 

On the day when the biggest man in African history is laid to rest, what else could I possibly feature in my blog today?!

I am no expert in politics or African history, however I have lived my life during some of the highs and lows of Nelson Mandela‘s life. I wasn’t even born when Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage, but I remember very well in 1981 when Glasgow was  the first city to honour him by awarding him freeman of the city. Mandela was not allowed to leave his prison cell in South Africa to accept the award and this seemed to incite the worldwide calls to set Mandela free.

My Dad was always very knowledgeable about politics and I remember him telling me more about Mandela and how life was for blacks in South Africa in those days. Little did we know then that Mandela would later become the first elected black president of South Africa, and a world renowned and much respected leader who in his time here on earth changed his homeland for the better far more than many other politicians can ever hope to achieve in their lifetime.

Here is a quote from Mandela which I’m sure you’ve all read or heard before, but it’s one that I’ve contemplated so many times, simply because its truth:

 

nelson-mandela

 

Finally, here’s a song by Simple Mind which was one written to celebrate Mandela’s release from prison. It’s simply called Mandela Day. which seems just as appropriate to use today as the world says farewell to one of the most influential men of our era.

 

 

Rest in peace Nelson Mandela. You changed your country and the world for the better. Well done.

 

Some more thoughts for those who have lost loved ones in the Clutha bar tragedy last Friday…

You painted me a picture of tomorrow
A place where you and I walked hand in hand
A world without despair and without shadows
But things just didn’t turn out how we’d planned
Now you’re gone

And I believe that there is somewhere
Where the angels fill the sky
And I believe we’ll live forever
You and I, you and I
Will never die

I wonder if you knew that you were leaving
I thought that I saw something in your eyes
You painted me a picture of believing
I’ll see you there on the other side
And I’ll be there

And I believe that there is somewhere
Where the angels fill the sky
And I believe we’ll live forever
You and I, you and I
Will never die

Life may not have worked out as you expected in these last few days, but be assured that your loved ones who have passed away are looking down on you now. They will live forever in your hearts and minds.

We can live forever because of God, and that I pray will give you hope for today and for the future.

On a day when many in Glasgow will be questioning why events of Friday night happened, and why their loved ones were the ones injured or killed in the incident, all I can offer is reassurance that many will be praying for you and your loved ones.

Glasgow helicopter crashFor those of you who do not know, at approximately 10.25pm on Friday night a police helicopter with 2 police officers and a civilian pilot crashed onto the roof of the busy Clutha pub in Glasgow city centre, injuring many and killing 8.

Some may think praying is not much to offer at a time of deep sorrow and disbelief, however for me although prayer may be all I can do, I believe it is the best we can all do.

It’s amazing what prayer can do. It comforts you, makes you feel whole inside, and gives you hope.

Through the pain and sorrow of these days, God will comfort those who mourn. The future may seem hopeless just now for some, but God can give them hope again.

To all those bereaved by this tragedy I offer my sincere condolences and pray that they may feel God’s love surrounding them at this time. To those injured, I pray that your physical and emotional scars from these events will heal quickly.

To all those in the emergency services who responded to the emergency call, I thank you for your dedication and commitment to help those in need. To you, my fellow Glaswegians who unselfishly tried to help and assist those caught up in the tragedy, I say well done for looking out for your fellow citizens.

I pray that God will comfort those who mourn tonight and surround all other affected by this tragedy with His love, providing hope for tomorrow.

 

I don’t know about you, but sometime a particular piece of music or a song has the power to bring me to my knees, simply because they bring me so very close to God.

The song Your Grace Still Amazes Me is one of those songs, and after hearing it last weekend at the Salvation Army UK Congress, it’s been in my head ever since…

God’s love still amazes me.

Every day I screw up by saying or doing things I shouldn’t do, but still God loves me, and forgives me.

God’s love still amazes me.

Every day I do my own things instead of doing what God wants me to do, but still God loves me, and forgives me.

God’s love still amazes me.

I hope God’s love still amazes you each day.

After a fantastic inspirational weekend at the Salvation Army UK Territory’s congress in Glasgow, what else could I blog about tonight!

I watched the Saturday night and Sunday morning meetings from the comfort of my house via the live webcast, but I have to say I still felt as thought I was part of the meetings even though I wasn’t actually there in person. So well done to all involved in broadcasting the webcast.

On Sunday afternoon our band, Bellshill Salvation Army Band were playing from 2.30 – 3pm on stage in the Clyde Auditorium, so I was there for that and then stayed for the BugleTweetafternoon meeting.

The afternoon meeting was a whole new experience for me, as I wasn’t just there to listen, I was also there to Tweet! Martin Cordner, a Salvation Army Officer & brass band composer, created BugleTweet, on Twitter and Facebook, to post updates from SA band and other concerts from around the world. So it was a privilege to be asked by Martin to Tweet for BugleTweet. I just hope that I was able to give those following the tweets, a good feel for what was happening in the Sunday afternoon meeting, even though I lost signal for about 20 minutes at one point!

Back to the meetings themselves..All those who took part in the main meetings of the weekend as well as pre meetings in the foyer and main auditorium were great – the staff songsters, staff band, various corps bands and songsters, youth band and youth chorus, puppets and kids club – all were fantastic and I know blessed many through their message.

And then there was our leaders for the weekend, Commissioners Clive and Marianne Adams, what an inspiration! The recurring message throughout the weekend was transformation, challenging us to transform our world, our nation, our communities and ourselves! Quite a task, but as they said, if we let God start the transformation from within us, anything is possible! Thank you Commissioners Clive and Marianne you inspired so many of us to get out there and start the transformation.

Commissioners Clive and Marianne Adams

The congress is now over, so let’s make sure we keep the momentum going by getting this transformation going – Are you up for the challenge? I am!

Living in Scotland, you may think that poverty is not prevalent. However I read some shocking statistics recently on child poverty in Scotland, which were publish by Save The Children in March this year.

poverty Glasgow

Poverty is defined as a family of 4 living on less than £17,200 per year or £330 a week or a single parent living with 2 children on less than £13,500 a year or £258 a week.

More than 1 in every 5 children in Scotland are growing up in poverty – That’s 220,000 of children

130,000 children live in low income and material deprivation.

Half of Scottish local authorities have wards where over 30% of children live in poverty.

90,000 of these children are living in severe poverty.

Severe poverty is defined as a family of 4 living on less than £14,300 per year or £275 a week or a single parent living with 2 children on less than £11,250 a year or £216 a week.

Children growing up in poverty in Scotland are:

Missing out on the things other children take for granted

More than twice as likely as their better off peers to suffer developmental difficulties as they reach school age

Less likely to reach their potential at school

More likely to experience health problems

Less likely to reach their potential in adult life

 

I’m sure you’ll agree that in the 21st century, these are shocking statistics, these are unacceptable statistics.

What are you doing to stop child poverty today?

Statistics taken from savethechildren.org,uk