lesson 1 (of 7) inflicted – Dumbledore’s parenting do’s and don’ts

31 Jul

A parent is only as happy as their unhappiest child’ anonymous grandparent

In J. K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ Dumbledore’s life ends as he tries to parent. But the child he has been lovingly trying to help at his end is not just Harry Potter, but Draco Malfoy. And us.

Wand less, injured, exhausted, Albus Dumbledore tells Draco on/ in “lightning stuck tower” as The white blond student moves to kill him ‘ … come over to the right side, Draco…you are not a killer’

Draco responses to Dumbledore that without a wand and alone Dumbledore is at Draco’s ‘mercy.’

Albus replies, ‘No, Draco ‘ said Dumbledore quietly. ‘It is my mercy, and not yours, that matters now.’ p. 492

At Dumbledore’s life end, these words illustrate the first and most important principle of parenting:

1. All parents will both be inflicted and be inflectors of pain with and for their children.

Draco has mercy; Dumbledore affirms this, yet at this specific moment it is the surrogate parent’s mercy that matters. At this moment Dumbledore feels Draco’s pain and his own coming pain. He is inflicted.

Dumbledore is inflicted by this own loving choice. He wants, deeply desires, to give Draco the choice to either kill him and become another horcrux breeder or to love by putting his wand down.

Parents, Dumbledore tells us in these last acts and words, must accept the pain of stepping back and allowing their children to inflict pain on themselves and perhaps even others. This is how we grow: by making choices, rightly or wrongly.

We can not blame ourselves as parents when our children hurt and disappoint us. We can blame ourselves when we hurt and inflict pain on our children. This is life’s way; God’s design, Dumbledore’s final gift to Draco and parents:

Step back and breathe; let the child chose; even if it means you must fall off a lightning struck tower. Be hurt; be inflicted.


after easter 2, our risen Jesus 1 John 4:19

31 Jul

We love fo He first


We sing for He first sang over us

We can pray as first prayed over and then taught us prayers

We meditate because He listens to our breathes

We walk because He walks with, among all

We fellowship because He ate, sat, slept, thirsted with

Pharisees, sinners and disciples, and, especially, me

We laugh because He loved life

We cry as He wept over death

We serve for He first served us

He knows us; He feels us; He touches, breathes, understands me, us, better than we know ourselves

Jesus is closer to me than I am to


He rose for us


27 secrets beliefs about trains

31 Jul

on the metro, subway

‘I want mercy for myself; justice for everyone else

the good, things I like to do, have on my train trips

the recording in London, ‘Mind the Gap’

if you are 60 years of age in London, all tube and bus rides are free

for one set fare in NYC you can ride all day from one end to the other (Dyre Avenue, the Bronx, to Coney Island, Brooklyn)

musicians play in the W always of the subway in NYC, from singers to actors; from violinists to drums and more

helpful, friendly staff ( Paris, London, Europe calling)

people giving up seats to seniors, Mums, with children or pregnant with children to come, or to give a seat up for anyone at all

public transportation is the ultimate going green

the baddies, peoples and things who are driving me crazy

the recording in London, ‘Mind the Gap’

people who stand still in the middle of passageways to trains

those who take up more than one space. standing or sitting

those who stand by a subway/metro/tube doors (and won’t move for love, money or the disabled- this is London calling)

people who play their cell phones loud on the subway (NYC calling)

loud talkers

slow walkers

slow walkers who are reviewing the mobiles/cells

slow walking tourists (please stand aside, preferably to the right)

those who block the escalators by standing next to a companion speaking and oblivious to those who want to walk on the left (please stay right, in your slow lane)

slow walkers )did I say this already?)

the uglies, the unthinkable, the unmentionables, the unimaginable

changing service without any notice (NYC, NOT calling)

‘Weekend works’ with ‘free’ shuttle bus services

urine puddles, (especially in NYC at Penn Station when the weather gets hot) stains and smells on the Metros stairwells, walkways and elevators’ enclosures.

full meals with their assortments of: drippings, visuals and odours left on seats and floors in subway cars and stations

large packages and or bags on seats in cars replacing the living

unbearable announcements on cars

people pressing onto you, touching you, on packed trains

vermin in the subway eating piazza


muffled, muttered, the incomprehensible

oral announcements on the NYC transit cars (I used to tell excited noisy primary students on field trips to understand carefully to such announcements as the speaker was giving out the secrets of the universe-we never could quite get these secrets translated)

the recording in London, ‘Mind the Gap

a father’s prayer

18 Jun

Mark 9: 21-29

When; how; where did Jesus teach his disciples-prayer?

Here is an overlooked passage

“When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

The father is the faithful prayer. He recognises his personal unbelief. He holds this unbelief as he embraces his son. In the face of daily disease; disappointments; illnesses; possessions, he cries out in a father’s prayer for belief. Healing follows.

My pray for myself:

Lord, I want to have faith; believe; love; empathy- fill

me with faith; empty me of my unbelief 

Lulu..nyc styles

13 Jun

Lulu…nyc style 11 June


It has been a year since you have all heard from Priscilla and Charlie. We are well though facing issues that come as one grows older…

– health/ I am scheduled for knee replacement surgery 11 June

– retirement finances/ planning

– moving house/emptying house

– friends illnesses

– joyful times with 5 grandchildren (3 in Florida…2 in NYC)

– missing our Uk friends and home and English summers

– reconnecting with NYC …its peoples and changing landscapes

And on and on

So we are alive; well; reasonably healthy and quote happy

This June Lulu will be in 2 parts. Today’s will be pictures; part two in the second week of June (crossing my fingers) will be in words.

We start with pictures ….

Priscilla’s birthday !!!

The top 3 pictures are our one NY daughter -Elizabeth-and her husband James and two children -Sam and Charlotte

The rest is Youngest daughter’s Deirdra and her 3 children-Liv; Hero (boy 3) and Albert-8.

We love you all madly.

Charlie and Priscilla

Luke 9:62, a short reflection … He seeds…praying, I follow

12 Jun

As I prayed 12 June this morning

Luke 9:62 (last verse in chapter 9 )has Jesus tell a possible disciple

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

I mediated on this .. and I prayed

Farming is a long term daily process …

If I look back -as a plow thru the events of my life, – my plow lines are not straight but crooked.., and I can’t always see the lines as He sees them …I need to drop all and follow

Then I can trust that…

He seeds

And if my lines were, are crooked Psalm 112 tells me

‘Surely the righteous will never be shaken
    they will be remembered forever They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;…’

He sees.

sent, 4 Advent 2018 the need

25 Dec

On this Christmas Day 2018 family and food; presents and traveling forms a major part of the day. As I close Advent 2018 I have been meditating on how I have been like two sisters in Luke’s gospel, Mary and Martha.

I can be busy and whinny; I can be thoughtful and attentive. I am both. Jesus simply wants me to sit with Him. He does not send me anywhere; Jesus wants me at His feet; like shepherds and Magi; as Mary and Joesph. This day he wants me to sit by Him and be loved. Listen to the one thing that is absolutely needed- Him. He is what I need. Be with Him.

‘At the Home of Martha and Mary

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Lord, make me a channel of Thy peace; that where there is hatred, I may bring love; that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness; that where there is discord, I may bring harmony; that where there is error, I may bring truth; that where there is doubt, I may bring faith; that where there is despair, I may bring hope; that where there are shadows, I may bring light. that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted; to understand, than to be understood; to love, than to be loved. For it is by self forgetting, that one finds. It is by forgiving, that one is forgiven. It is by dying, that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.


Gabriel- ‘sent’ – God word comes 3 Advent 2018

19 Dec

Gabriel, ‘sent’ ; His word comes’ advent 3 2018

Vines Greek New Testament defines

Send ‘ as – apostello lit., “to send forth” (apo, ” from”), akin to apostolos, “an apostle,” denotes (a) “to send on service, or with ..

Lukes’s gospel opens with the Angel Gabriel traveling in his Lord’s service first to Zechariah the priest and Elizabeth’s husband.

Later, when Gabriel speaks to Mary a number of similarities and differences arise: both Zechariah and Mary are spoken to in moments when they are alone, in privacy with their thoughts and emotions; and both respond with questions and doubts. Both were also in prayerful states when Gabriel approaches. But they are also very different people: one was a young girl, a virgin to be wed; the other an older man very settled in marriage. One was hopeful in prayer concerning her new life path; the other reflective on the absence of children and the joys of an extended family. Luke describes Zechariah as being in specific prayer for a child and that he, Gabriel, was coming in direct answer to the priest Zechariah’s prayer. But the priest does not believe there will be a child, then…

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel.I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

Words here stop for a time.

He who makes his living through speaking- will not even be able to share with his wife Elizabeth his emotions. Yet words will become action; facts: first for Mary as Her story and response is different from Zechariah’s. Luke tells us that …

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

Mary in response does as Zechariah question ‘how’?; and yet she listens to the sent Angel Gabriel and immediately believes. Mary’s words do not stop when she hears Gabriel’s words. But Zechariah will speak later too. Why?

Because Gabriel comes to both Mary and Zechariah with somewhat similar news: births are always miracles but for each of them their children come in the face of a lifelong sterile marriage and in Mary’s case virginity. Their coming children are sent. Miracles of answers to prayers; words. And each are ‘sent’ to.

So why is the word “sent” used in each’s narrative? What is the meaning of its use?

‘Sent’ indicates not just a message; an angel; or even that children will be sent to Mary and Zechariah. What is sent are words. God’s words.

Words which will become actions; truth; love.

In Mary’s narrative (verse 37) has Gabriel stating to Mary’s question “how” -‘That no word of the Lord will fail’ The older NIV translation famously translated this verse as ‘Nothing is impossible with God.’

I always loved this older translation. I taught and wrote on it. Can you imagine thru eternity how many impossible prayers Gabriel has seen happen; come true? Inspiring beauty.

But as I have gotten older I am growing quite attracted to this new NIV revised translation. God sends His personal words to us; He speaks; and He hears our words and worship. He is a God true to His word even if at times as Zechariahs we don’t believe; we doubt yet we still have His sent word. It always holds us more than we can ever hold it. Ultimately the narratives of both Mary and Zechariah end with their singing prophetic words. They send us songs. Both sing that in essence that ‘the Lord has done done great things for me… for us’ ( verse 49)

And that is why Mary and Zechariah’s -as different as they are- have the word ‘sent’ in common: so we can understand and then receive the gift of the word. His word. Never void; becoming flesh. A baby’s soft flesh.

God sends; we receive. Hallelujah

Barnarbas, sent Advent 2 men scatter; God sends

13 Dec

Barnarbas, sent- Advent 2 – Men scatter; God sends

“They sent Barnarbas to Antioch…” Acts 11: 22

Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem for a census. Pulled, scattered by authorities from their Nazareth home, they end in a cave, a manger, homeless. And so were believers moved from their Jerusalem home, persecuted by religious authorities; scattered.

Men in these authorities desired control and power; they wanted to destroy new life. Yet God formed a strong fellowship among the homeless in Antioch. They grew in numbers, belief and loving desire to know Jesus more. Under oppression and censure the generous apostles of Jerusalem had to send help; the best of the apostles among them, Barnarbas.

Vines’ Greek New Testament defines (send)

‘Send ‘ as – apostello lit., “to send forth” (apo, ” from”), akin to apostolos, “an apostle,” denotes (a) “to send on service, or with ..

The Church in Antioch needed this apostle as Acts 11 tells us,

19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch,spreading the word only among Jews.20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

Why then was Barnarbas sent?

Simply, he looked at hearts; he saw and felt the people and was glad and joyful. He felt the homeless of Antioch and he became a ‘home’ for them- a person and a place of teaching and listening; a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit; he was an apostles’ apostle; a servants’ servant.

In this place Antioch, where Christians are first named and called, Barnarbas lives as a ‘Christ’ a sent one, ‘a little Christ’ among scattered refugees so they could feel at home.

Whether in a cave or a city; Egypt or Bethlehem; among Magi or shepherds; Jesus came -was sent- to show us how to not just get to home but be a home, a sending, a Barnarbas for all.

This advent be a home, a ‘sending’ for another. Hold a door; say a kind word; give a gift; share a talent- go; … let the Spirit of the season send you

a rewrite of ‘home’ advent 2018

6 Dec

sent 1 ‘home’ Advent 2018

Liza is a friend who is homeless. Single, with living parents and sisters, life has not turned her way until very recently.

Today, though, she is hopeful that NYC Human Resources will move her out of her homeless shelter to a studio apartment. When she is settled in her home, then she states ‘ I will feel secure enough to tell my family how they abused me all these years…I can be authentic with them…. ‘

Liza’s hope in a future home makes her views on life illuminating: she is homeless but she has not lived-she will not live- in a state of homelessness. Her hope of being sent to a studio apartment, a home, removes the state of despair, this state of homelessness. When homelessness occurs, people are transformed into objects.

While temporarily homeless, Liza trusts that a higher power sees her, and understands what her daily life is like. And there will an answer to her prayers for a home. Her hopefulness forms her into being. A being, not an object. In fact, Liza is quite like the thousands of Central American immigrants who travelled thousands of miles with same hope as Liza an American home. They are living, traveling human beings. They travel by, with, in hope. Hope is their homes.

Jesus, a baby borne in cave, a manger, homeless, is Liza’s and any displaced person’s answer. Jesus, sent by God the father, is our hope, our home. And he becomes our home by becoming homeless himself.

Jesus knows what is to be alone and lowly; rejected and driven away. Jesus knows homeless.ness.

He experienced total despair.

Threaten with murder at his birth by Herod; Jesus is then crucified by Roman soldiers at 33,

‘“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with loud voice — “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” — “that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46).

Forsaken, without hope, Jesus cries out on a loud voice for all who have experienced homelessness. He is no longer a person; he is an object, a thing crucified outside the city’s walls. We all can become things, objects without hope, when our voices are not heard. When we are not spoken to.

But this is why Jesus was sent: he became homeless so we could have a home in his house. Just as his baby cries were heard by Mary and Joseph; Jesus’ loud cry on the cross is heard. It is heard by Matthew; the forgiven Roman soldiers and especially by us-he becomes the home that sees, feels and hears.

Enter His home this season.