Family Archives

Mid-Design. Although quite a way along the path now, I believe my maker creator and Saviour is through the Holy Spirit continuing an art work in me.  Soul stuff to do.  That is exhilarating. So much yet to learn on this faith journey.

Moments spent recently with my aunt,  listening to her stories and looking at photographs that speak of family history and I enjoy a place to hear and learn.

She longs for the beauty and integrity sown into the memories and people of the past.

The words come clear, press on, move forward.

A weaving of a whole family intersecting into my life.
Presence, it held my attention and it supported me.

A large family, born out of one very principled lady of Ballymena.  She took the vow of marriage and with her family began a new journey in a new town.

Fast forward to today.  I look at photos of her and see a portrait of the matured woman in myself.  A grandmother who lived a life of ups and downs, deep losses and change.  How I wish I could talk to her now.  Gather to my heart the wisdom she would give. Ask questions that I wouldn’t have asked as a young granddaughter.

I once wrote to her with questions of salvation.  She wrote back in her beautiful handwriting enclosing a bookmark with the words

Prayer, poise and praise.

She was an example of those words to me.

My grandmother

Her poise, her Scottish lilt, her precision and legacy.  They spill over into me still.  The words of Timothy speak profoundly of faith in the grandmother and mother.  Then me.

I, like the mothers before me keep going.  Rise to the challenges.  Find deeper roots that anchor my soul.  Similarities are present, yet I must bravely find my unique self, amidst courage and discovery be the person I am meant to be.

I do not travel alone

Thou art never alone

Thou art never alone

Joy is great when fear doesn’t get in the way *

Enough said.

Love Rach x

*Quote taken from,  Surprised By Oxford by Carolyn


Thank You Scotland

A retreat is a necessity and of course offers a time of discovering new places and for us visiting some favourites too!
This year a clan gathering in an off the beaten track staying in cottages with the best of facilities enabled hospitality and relaxation.
On a wonderful sunny day we climbed on board the Maid of Forth to sail to Inchcolm Abbey.

After many years of living in and then subsequently visiting Scotland, this is our first visit to the ‘Iona of the East’!

A family outing with packed lunch, camera and adventure in our hearts!

The journey took in the 3 bridges spanning the Firth of Forth, this included the recently opened Queensferry Crossing, road bridge. We went under all 3 on our return sail.

So exciting.

A necessary journey always takes us by a small village in Fife. One of several unique places that has taken a prominent place in my heart.

Our view from this bistro takes in a favourite outlook while we sip our coffee.

we gather in the gardens with another packed lunch and too many children to stop for long to browse among the flowers.

Museums and bagpipes, followed by fish and chips bring a happy mix into our Edinburgh trip.

Tucked away in what was the kingdom of Fife, Dunfermline offers history and walks and return visits for those who love its people.

She gathers books and really another one is always necessary.  For our walk is unending in the spiritual walk of faith. Encouragement can always be gathered in armfuls to pay forward in millions of ways in our life and living in this world.

Remembering a pastors words that echo through the years and speak profoundly into my year of Rise. 

“Keep on keeping on.”

We journey through this life with a goal and purpose that need its renewal and stronghold refreshed and reaffirmed.

A woman of a similar age to myself passed away this week. Her journey not fully know to me, but I know a little of her heart.  I’m moved and feel the frailty and shortness of our days.  A good reminder to sow well into our small moments.  To celebrate them and one another.  To keep loving, even when it’s hard.

I loved our holiday and its precious moments. I relish the opportunity to know God speaking in the busy and the slower days.  His love declared through His son.

It’s a crazy mystery that also makes sense at the same time.

An old Sunday school song sings in my head,

You asked me how I know He lives,  He lives within my heart‘.

Princess Street Gardens

Let our journey know a deeper secret than ourselves.  That of a plan that is beyond what we see.

Our journey, that takes me, teaches me, to know more of the Fathers heart and revelation.

Right there In Quietness and Confidence shall be my Strength.

To discover a new horizon , just needing willingness to take it.

The way to Rise.

Keep on going.

Love Rach x

This blog post –

Dedicated to favourite Fife friends

With love

My Rucksack 

I have a new fabric rucksack.  The big block patterns are dark blue and green It's small light and comfortable to carry. 

It holds  the essentials; tissues, bottle of water, a purse and a mobile phone thus enabling my hands to be free. 

I carry other loads mentally. I carry grief, aloneness, disappointment and the struggles of overthinking!!

I journey this year reading bible in a year. Just today I'm reminded how to rise above my head stuff! 

I love the Psalms, penned from his experience, songs of David that resonate within me, 

‘I will be with you in trouble,

I will deliver you and honour you’ (Psalm 91:15b)

The words whispered something deep into my disappointments. When the dreams fade and the hopes you had are not realised, everything looks different. I feel the crazy maze of  grief  the girl  inside you cries because the feeling aches some more. The words that inspire hope,  honouring work, right into the tears of your soul. Honour. 

Honour. Like a rainbow over the grey sky the honour given is a lift up a stony crag. Its a coffee on a long day. Its a morning sunrise, lifting the eyes to the sky. It is a hand held securely that says I'm with you forever. 

The journey with the eternal one is not plain sailing! 

Grit. We need grit! Endurance. Perseverance. Vision when the way looks lonely. A new dream when the road bends. Ability to carry the rucksack along the road of life. To keep going. To strive on. To know the burden is light yet the way can get tough. 

My aunt and uncle reach their diamond wedding Anniversary . I observe the great teacher and baker tiring, yet the grit of endurance is clear. They still love. Its the most powerful thing. Metaphorically they have stopped carrying some stuff but their rucksack is still on their backs. The greatest is Love. Love beyond everything. 

So what shall we say then. 

Keep carrying your rucksack for the kingdom. Bring a lot of heaven to earth by loving one another. 

I'm reading a great book Surprised By Oxford by Carolyn Weber, she writes with such art and delight in a discovery of Gods kingdom . 

Quote - the reason I wrote this book reports Carolyn is this;

To take away from the book that we are absolutely beloved of God and each have a meaning in His story.

I carry my rucksack , the grit conveying strength of character with determination and endurance. Knowing I'm beloved, part of  Gods story and honoured. 

Keep on Keeping on. Rucksack on. Beloved. 

The verse says , take my yoke, it's a light one.

The daily reminder into your heart and mine, to know whose we are,  the purpose we exist and carry our own rucksack in this world.

To be love and share the beauty and ongoingness. Keep doing the next right thing.


… your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit’ 

1 Corinthians 6:19 The Message. 

Let's keep sharing in our journey.
Keep on keeping on, carrying our rucksacks .
Love Rach x

Lead me to You 

 Psalm 61:2Lead me to the rock

    that is higher than I

She took a stroll in the early morning dark. The sun was slowly bringing something of a misty glow into the first day of December.

She took a deep inhale a breath that sometimes felt so hard to do. She felt the loss nip her heart like the cool bite of the morning air. Christmas songs and decorations once more took her by surprise. 

How quickly that year rolled round. 

She quickened her steps gazing along the road to work noticed the berries and the birds.

She knew she had to push through hard moments like these. 

She knew she could. 

It doesn’t stop the missing and the memory but diversions are good and work will give her that. 

It cannot be rushed through or designed . 

It’s just simply Grief. 

It’s the cost of loving and sharing many moons together.

It came to me the words scribed long ago in holy writ that in my moments of overwhelming emotions I’m led to the rock that is higher than I . 

What is so beautiful that the season of anguish is the season of great joy too. She feels it as the shepherds gather and the angels chorus rock the world. She deeply knowing that He loves her immeasurably and aware how Jesus is bringing joy to the hurting heart of this world that needs hope and the relationship that can be all that. Surely He comes small into our world because he comes in pursuit of us. 

Joy unspeakable full of glory 


Love that fills all voids 

One perfect love 

For me

 for you 


My grief observed 

I’m not sure you can observe when you’re the one grieving but this is a post about my grief journey after losing my mother almost a year ago. 

I asked my cousin if there were books she had read. My cousin sent me a book list she had worked through having done her own journey and still on a journey of grief. 

The loss of a mother looks different than any thus far. To me anyway . 

My friend whose observed me has said she can see how I have travelled through the mist of loss and seen me cope in varying stages. 

It’s something one does in small baby steps. 

I make small decisions knowing how I’m overwhelmed. One simple thing I chose to do was simplify daily decisions and activities. Rather extend something than take on something that was too much. 

I keep my routine . I read . I pray. Some things are a necessity . Coffee!

The list of books looks like this: –
A grief observed by CSLewis 

The courage to grieve by Judy Tatelbaum 

All in the end is harvest An anthology for those who grieve by  Agnes Whittaker 

[most books I bought were second hand from Amazon]

What do books bring. I think reassurance that someone understands and that its okay because they feel the same. Some books give a little phrase that help. I dipped in and out of reading, not concentrating for long. Best to use books in the way that fits you or indeed not at all is right too. 
The most helpful quotes to me are : 

Just do today

Work through your grief don’t avoid it 


Breathe. In…… and ………. Out . 

Best helps : 

Friends who sit awhile with you sharing conversation and a mug of coffee! 

Being kind to yourself 

Art work by Jennifer @studiojru 

Issues –

For me it was that emotional surge of overwhelming emotion that caused physical discomfort.

 The solution to this is not a quick answer or even a pill, but doing the day at a time thing and not resisting feelings but noting them. It is valuing the times when the sensation was not present. 

Headspace talks about the fact there are clouds present, but the sun still shines in the sky. 

This horrible overwhelming feeling has reduced but not gone. I know that just living daily has helped and that if I felt it was too much to talk about it I focus on just doing the next thing . 
To quote a counsellor friend, “in grief experience it in the body not in the head.”

No one thing is right, we take our own journey without prescription and to me the important thing is to work through your grief, feel it and don’t avoid it as this can have consequences in moving forward or  completion.


by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I am reading a book by Dallas Willard called Hearing God. He writes, we treat God like a celestial aspirin. When we need to be in the work of listening patiently and being close to Him. Willard describes this as shoulder to shoulder with your Lord. This is the Shepherd who is with you always who is present in the green and the dark of life . 

This shoulder to shoulder image captures my imagination of withness. 

It’s keep walking. But your not alone. If we were carried all the time we would never get strong. 

Assurance is how I see it. I need a lot of that. Alongside the comforting presence there is the words of scripture that encourage me to – keep running the race, perseverance, be strong, be courageous. I’m holding you with my right hand. Such wonderful motivation. 

Finally let me share a wonderful children’s book that  captures a phrase I found myself recounting often  . Going on a bear hunt.

The words that I’ve shared and read many times to my boys when they were young. 

You can’t go over it. You can’t go under it. You’ve got to go through it. 

Love it!  The story goes on sharing in a fun way the route to a cave, mud, grass, rivers and hills. 

The words echo a truth that we need, to go through life’s stuff and not avoid the emotional journey, though painful, for we will be stronger for it. 

Daily I embrace Gods peace which transcends the feelings that stop me functioning and I am, moment by moment, learning to live that holy belonging. Uniquely me. Uniquely be you. 

Daily gratitude is my focus. A life lived well is filled with thankfulness. There is always something precious  in the midst of the mundane or indeed in the misty greys of sorrow. 

Embracing our community. Taking Baby Steps. Shoulder to shoulder with the shepherd.  


Remember in the words of Ecclesiasties 3:2

There is a time to be born and a time to die. 

Love Rach 

It is well with me 

The waves and wind know your name 

Music notes dance the words in my mind 

hope is harmony of my heart. 

I jump in time to the rhythm of grace 

How is it well with me? 

This girl woman who skips and writes

It is well with me. 

Are you journeying with me ~ it’s well with you too. 


Live life well 

Soul keeping 

His kingdom come in me 

I can dance under the stars 

I can grieve and die inside a little

It’s well with me 

Storm of life and daisy field 

It’s still well with me 




The waves and wind 

Knows me . 

Knows you . 

Walk the wild waves of this world knowing it’s well. 

Come . 

Keep going . 

It is well

Photo : Saint Andrews Scotland 

by rachnotes_


Rise my child 

Rise my daughter 

Rise to walk 

Rise to laugh 

Rise to display whose you are 

Rise because it’s okay 

Rise for you never walk alone 

Rise in love for that’s who I am 

Rise to lose those rags of disappointment that bear you down 

Rise to hold my hand 

Rise for the singing of the birds has come 

Rise to Joy 

Rise do not be afraid. 

Rise you are beautiful because I made you 

Rise to Dance 

Rise in faith 

Rise though you fall 



Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi”, which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise. Mark 5:41 ESV 

Our story is important. In both sharing it and understanding its power. To ourselves and to others. 

As a young mum I gathered together with other women at a bible study. During that time I had a ‘picture’  which told me a story,  this has continued to speak to me of this very aspect of rising. At that time the words were different but held the same meaning which simply implied the truth to keep pressing on, to keep rising. I will share my picture with you another time but for now the message which is clear now as it was then is to lean in to Jesus and to keep going. 

We know the truth of His faithfulness. By faith we acknowledge His attributes . 

It’s our not giving up. Seeing what is around us but not giving up. In worship on Sunday I heard a whisper , you rise by faith not your feelings. 

It’s an anchor . It’s not about me. The rising is because of where I hold my heart. 

We sing of waves and borders and lions dens and waiting. 

Waiting . It’s faith held in hope. 

Rising.  It’s choosing.

Choosing that as the sun sets and rises again I too will embrace my journey in faith. Rising to share my story.  With you.  With myself. 

Rising with faith. 

Proverbs 24:16   For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again. 

Psalm 84:5   Blessed are those who make You their strength, for they treasure every step of the journey [to Zion]

Let’s keep rising together. 

Love Rach x