What I learnt in March


Today I’m linking up with Emily Freeman who organises one of the many end of the month blog shares that can be found around the internet.

Partial success is still success

I disappointed some folk this month, quite by accident. They were pretty angry with me and didn’t hold back in telling me so. I had to have some difficult reconciliation conversations that didn’t really go my way. Even though my counsellor seemed to think I managed pretty well, (I am paying her to say all the encouraging things), I couldn’t shake off the idea that I’d failed.  It will take me a while to adapt to the (healthy) notion that a success in life is sometimes a mix of the good and the bad; that a situation doesn’t have to work out perfectly for it to be OK. That a situation doesn’t have to work out perfectly for me to be OK.

Friends matter

I’ve had my fair share of coffee dates this month and have enjoyed seeing friends. I’ve also enjoyed some additional online company through joining an online writing group and an online reading group. Nothing beats face to face real-time friendship apart from really good online conversations with friends you have never met. It brings to mind something CS Lewis said:

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What you too? I thought I was the only one!”

Also something Flannery O’Connor said about writing:

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.

I love reading but …

However much you like reading you’ll never find the answer in a book. This is probably this month’s  most important observation. Having spend many hours reading and several inches of column time writing about the special books that have shaped my life, I’m more convinced than ever. Books are important in personal and spiritual formation but other things are more important.

What other things? Maybe I’ll be able to say more definitely in “What I learnt in April”! Probably: prayer, face-to-face friendship and face-to-face church (an d the places where these things intersect).


I tend to fall through most of the week tackling the things that present themselves and all the new thoughts and ideas in no particular order.  Four children, full time work and a driven lifestyle have only confounded this rather  poor habit. In terms of spiritual disciplines I’m convinced of their value but nervous of setting myself up to fail. This month I’ve been making friends with some helpful habits that seem to work for me.

My first habit is using a bullet journal to stop myself becoming over whelmed by demands and to-do lists. You can read about the method here, but I have to confess to being a rather casual keeper of the bullet journal.

My second habit is herbal tea in the same pretty cup every night at bedtime.

My third habit is daily journalling and prayer. I have been writing using the same format everyday based on The Book of Common Prayer. I write my own collect, copy out some scripture and maybe add some quotes and comments before finishing with a written prayer. I then read over what I’ve written and practice some silence or simple contemplative prayer. I’m experimenting rather tentatively with the Jesus Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer.


We renewed our National Trust membership after Jonathan said it wouldn’t be a Bank Holiday if he didn’t get dragged round the garden of a stately home in the rain. It was the first week of clocks forwards and despite the gloomy weather everything was looking gloriously green and full of life. I have been making a point of bringing a little spring into the house each week with potted hyacinths and magnificent bunches of florist daffodils. On the nights when I don’t sleep well, the birds start singing at about 4.30, bringing a little music to the night-watch.  Its good to have them back!

If you’re joining me via Emily freeman’s blog, drop me a line. It would be good to connect!