I’m used to preparing for change. You learn to gather up The Lasts. The last drinks with friends before a few months abroad. The last church service before moving away. The last lunch with colleagues before a new job. I’ve found Lasts to be helpful road markers in navigating new things right alongside the sadness of saying goodbye – even if temporarily.

I was not prepared for the Lasts of the 2020 Before Times. Because had I known, we would have hung out for just a little bit longer, had another drink, taken one last selfie and the last hug goodbye would never have ended. HOW COULD WE HAVE KNOWN? And also, thank God we didn’t. Because if you’d told me what we were in for I'd have climbed into a hole in the garden and never left.

IMG_20200314_163309662This is the last photo I took before life as we knew it was gone.

I'm not the same person I was a year ago. I'm now the kinda person who notices the magnolia trees are late to blossom this year – WHY ARE THEY DENYING US THIS JOY?! DON'T THEY KNOW WE NEED IT NOW MORE THAN EVER?!IMG_20210319_102327897When I look back over the past 12 months I am reminded that:

  • Everything happens
  • Life is precarious
  • I am not in control
  • I need to laugh more

Not everything happens for a reason. Just, everything happens. Fullstop.wp-16163398204665713912128119571339.jpg

Everything happens, including all the good you can imagine and the all the bad of beyond even your worst nightmares.

Everything happens. Everything we can control and everything we can’t.

Everything happens. And God is there.

God can protect. But that doesn’t mean you will be protected. And God can heal. But that doesn’t mean you will be healed. And God can provide, but that doesn’t mean what you need will be provided.

And yet, on the very day my mind was swirling with thoughts of identity and priviledge and awkward conversations, my spiritual director started with a blessing that talked about respecting individuality and difference. HOW COULD SHE HAVE KNOWN this was what I needed to hear?

And so what are we to do with a faith that says the Great One has chosen not to save us from this thing but can also be unexpectedly present in the detail of the every day?

I don't really know.

And yet, I’m still convinced that the goodness of God is planted deeper than all that is wrong. I know that I will see the goodness of God while I am in the land of the living. And so I come back to the table - a wild feast in the presence of my doubts and fears and worries - a table for those who have much faith and those who would like to have more - a table that declares there is grace enough to go round, even here, even now. And so...

Break the bread. Pour the wine. Get comfy with complex questions and no satsifying answers.

Dear Friends, Beloved Reader,

Lockdown 3 - what can I say. We’ve said it all already no?

screenshot_20210228-1444245211891061112368977.pngHow you hanging on to your sanity? I’m pretty sure mine is long gone.  I've long abandoned dreaming of Chateau life and instead have succumbed to the watching say-yes-to-the-dress stage of lockdown. But I'm getting better at handstands, so, you know, win some lose some.

What is saving your life right now?

Saving mine?

  • Walks. Still. Always. Especially on Sunday mornings with friends who ask the big questions and don’t expect me to have any answers.img_20210226_130909123_hdr651716568277073939.jpg
  • The Calendar of Good Things. Pizza is not guaranteed, every small thing is worth celebrating.
  • Spiritual direction – space to bring all my thoughts and questions and leave with reminders of the truths I have long known but somehow forgotten. For real don’t know how I ever navigated life without it.
  • Finding new spiritual practises. I know monotony can be a luxury but I am officially bored. As ever, my beloved Barbara Brown Taylor is helping me see mundane activities in a new light. But if anyone knows how I can transform general boredom into a spiritual practice LET ME KNOW.
  • The refill shop now sells CRISPS – and there was great rejoicing throughout the land.img_20210223_1351585484146929098345003956.jpg
  • Signs of spring and SUNSHINE.
  • 80s music aerobics and dance workouts - guaranteed to get me out of bed before 7am. GOTTA GET MY MOVES SORTED FOR 21ST JUNE PARTIES.
  • Pastries and hot cross buns. Technically I gave up pastries for lent but tis lockdown sooooo….screenshot_20210215-1947337585663566014472909.png
  • Reading books about WILD adventures – both soothing and aggravating my restlessness.

I find this list quite surprising. Lockdown 3 is a slog and I really didn’t think anything much was getting me through the days. As ever, turns out, the grace for the day is at work and far more prevalent than I can see in the moment.

Hang tight friends, we’re getting through.

May you take hold of God today, not tomorrow, not when its easier, but in this moment now in all the glory or mess that it brings." Commoners Communion

Break the bread. Pour the wine. Give thanks and find the things that save your life.

Here we are. Friday 12th February in the Year of our Lord/the Ox/Corona 2021:
✔️Bread (choc & hazelnut croissant)
✔️Wine (big ol’ mug of tea)
✔️Fancy Clothes (sunshine yellow dress WITH POCKETS)
✔️Lipstick (glittery L’Oreal plum 255. For months, every time I walked past Boots I would agonise over the ‘I don’t need more lipstick and L’Oreal don’t have the greatest ethics BUT IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL’ dilemma. I gave in. Capitalism won again. BUT IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL. Je ne regrette rien).
✔️A deep breath

To your table
you bid us come.
You have set the places,
you have poured the wine,
and there is always room,
you say,
for one more.

And so we come.
From the streets
and from the alleys
we come.

From the deserts
and from the hills
we come.

From the ravages of poverty
and from the palaces of privilege
we come.

we come.

We are bloodied with our wars,
we are wearied with our wounds,
we carry our dead within us,
and we reckon with their ghosts.

We hold the seeds of healing,
we dream of a new creation,
we know the things
that make for peace,
and we struggle to give them wings.

And yet, to your table
we come.
Hungering for your bread,
we come;
thirsting for your wine,
we come;
singing your song
in every language,
speaking your name
in every tongue,
in conflict and in communion,
in discord and in desire,
we come,
O God of Wisdom,
we come.

Table Blessing by Jan Richardson.

Eat the croissant. Drink the tea. Remember/Lament/Celebrate/Give thanks (fancy clothes and lipstick optional)


Here we are. Friday:
✔️Bread (brownie)*
✔️Wine (big ol mug of tea)*
✔️Fancy clothes (£4 H&M best dress ever that hasn’t been worn for 4,000,012 days)
✔️Lipstick – MaxFactor Ruby Tuesday (a Classic)
✔️A deep breath

We bring you our week.
All that it was
All that it wasn’t.

All the dreams fulfilled
All the hope crushed
All the times we laughed till we cried
All the times we cried
(especially when we cried before 10.30am)
All the times our joy could not be contained
All the times we doubted we could get through the next hour

We bring you the exhausting monotony of the days
We thank you for the peace we found in surprising places
We bring you all the frantic moments and all the painstakingly slow ones
We thank you for our people who checked in/sent flowers/went for walks
We bring you the pain of all those we miss and have those we have lost

We bring you our week
All that it was
All that it wasn’t
And everything inbetween

We thank you for all the good things we noticed and for those we did not see
We cling to the goodness of God, at the heart of humanity, planted more deeply than all that is wrong
We ask for strength for the day and bright hope for tomorrow.

Eat the brownie. Drink the Tea. Remember/Lament/Celebrate. Give thanks.
(fancy clothes and lipstick optional)

*If bread and wine can be symbolic then so can brownies and tea no?

Dear Friends, Beloved Reader,

Rejoice! Celebrate! Kill the fatted calf! We got through all 5,000,012 days of the most January of all the Januarys.

The Jan Calendar of Good Things - and yeh, still haven’t got round to ordering an actual real calendar yet.
The Jan Calendar of Good Things - and yeh, still haven’t got round to ordering an actual real calendar yet.

How are you doing? Lockdown 3 wasn’t the January we signed up for was it?

I’m alright, just taking it all one minute at a time. I’ve reached the learning to handstand and sorting-out-the-entire-house stage of the pandemic.


The Boss Bitch Board, documenting and celebrating all achievements great and small, has been replaced by the Cryfest – where we document all the things great and small that make us cry. Fear not, the cryfest is supplemented by the Boss Bitch 2021 Survival Soundtrack - a good mix of dance, nostalgia and Jesus.

My word this year is trust. Last year’s was adventure (yep, I’m still laughing about this). I didn’t go on any grand adventures. But it did teach me that wonder is one way to find adventure when you're stuck. I found wonder here where I am and now have to continually point out the trees, the leaves, the flowers, the moon...


Trust right now feels very much like a Pocahontas dive off a cliff. I’m trying to enjoy the freefall. Do not be surprised if at some point this year I’ve signed up for a skydive – anyone wanna come with?

I don’t know how this year will turn out, I don’t know what I’m diving into or how I’ll land. I can't even actually dive - I’ve never been able to master the logistics of it. I don’t know where I’ll end up.

But what I do know, the invitation is to trust.

Trust that we will have the grace we need to get through the day and shoes for the road we're on.

Trust that even if everything goes to hell in a handbasket, we’ll be ok - whatever ok even means.

Trust that hairdressers will open again and I'll be able to get my hair cut for the first time in over a year.

Trust that goodness and mercy are never far away.Trust

Trust in the goodness of God, at the heart of humanity, planted more deeply than all that is wrong.

Trust that I’ll find green meadows and peaceful streams wherever the diving board ends up.

Spirit of adventure, holy inviter of ledge-dancing faith and precipice living; be our courage now as we tread nervously the lines of fear and trust." Strahan, Prayer Vol 1

Pocahontas dive GIFs - Get the best gif on GIFER

And then there are the days which are just a bleak, dreary, ominous grey. And no amount of good routine, calendar of good things, welcoming prayer or choosing joy are gonna change the fact that we are still here.

Still at home.

Still isolated from our people.

Still trying to somehow get through furlough/homeschooling/unemployment/job hunting/work/the day without completely losing our mind.

Still waiting for this whole thing to end.

Still here, getting through a global health crisis.


Away from me with your 'it's a season of personal growth we're gonna be better people on the other side of this.' I don't know what happened to love joy and peace Rachel, she hasn't been seen in time. But grumpy, short tempered, lazy, so-help-me-God-if-you-breathe-in-that-annoying-way-again version of Rachel? She shows up every day.

Get behind me with your 'we’re all in this together and God is in control' because if anything, this has made inequality all the worse and over 1,000 people in the UK died from this thing yesterday and I don't really know where God is in that - none of the standard answers make sense.

I would very much like to be a tree planted by the river not fearing drought or pestilence. But I'm not. I'm def more like those bedraggled trees on the side of a grungy carpark within sight of a fancy cocktail bar, bingo hall and nandos.

tbh - it's an Emotional Support Brownie kinda life right now

I am grateful for all that I have. And I know I could have it so much worse – my lockdown struggles are just the easier ones. Lord have mercy on everyone facing the very worst of days - I hold you in my heart and in my prayers.

But I would still quite like my Before Times life back🙏🏾

And I don’t really know where to go with all the guilt and frustration and monotony but this from Henri Nouwen has been resounding in my head and heart for a few years and seems all the more true right now:

Celebration is not just a way to make people feel good for a while; it is the way in which faith in the God of life is lived out, through both laughter and tears. Thus, celebration goes beyond ritual, custom and tradition, it is the unceasing affirmation that underneath all the ups and downs of life there flows a solid current of joy.”

And so, as I did every Friday during advent and for new year, I will don my Good Clothes (which haven’t seen the light of day in almost a year 😭😭😭😭) and good lipstick. Stick on the Boss Bitch 2021 Survival Playlist. And then break the bread, pour the wine and give thanks – in remembrance of a God who is not indifferent to our struggles, in celebration of all that is good, in lament for all that we have lost and in hope that we will have all we need to get through the days.

Join me?


Break the bread. Pour the wine. Wear your good clothes.

I don’t know how to slow down. You would have thought that after all these months (years? decades?) of restrictions and queueing and patiently waiting for things to get better I would have adopted a more relaxed pace of life.

But no. I haven’t.

I have got really good at noticing The Things (like this tree full of parakeets) – I just do it at breakneck speed.


I love going for a walk but I have to be told to slow down. I love yoga but I have to skip the bit at the end when you just lie on the floor. I love loose-leaf tea (because yes to reducing what I send to landfill) but I find it agonisingly painful waiting the advised 3 to 6 minutes for it to brew, even when I have nowhere to go and no place to be but 3 metres away back at the table replying to another work email. THAT’S 180 TO 360 WHOLE ACTUAL SECONDS OF MY LIFE I WON’T GET BACK compared to the zero brew time of just-stir-it-instant-tea.

And so, after a few weeks of undrinkable weak tea and despite my very best of intentions, I switched back to teabags - fairtrade obs, I haven't abandoned all my morals just yet.


I was lamenting this very great struggle of not doing the thing I wanted to do but in fact doing the very thing I didn’t want to do, when I was challenged by a good friend to see it as a spiritual practice.

BOOM. Quite possibly the only thing that could convince me to change my attitude and behaviour. You know I love a spiritual practice.

Anything can become a spiritual practice once you are willing to approach it that way – once you let it bring you to your knees and show you what is real, including who you really are, who other people are, and how near God can be when you’ve lost your way." Barbara Brown Taylor

And so, you'll now find me trying to use those 3 to 6 minutes to breathe slowly and remind myself that the world will keep spinning whether or not I wait these 3 to 6 minutes, that my value as a person isn’t measured by my productivity in those 3 to 6 minutes (or any other time for that matter) and that these 3 to 6 minutes are a tinsey tiny act of resistance to culture that desires me to be constantly running from one thing to the next - even if its just to check my inbox.

Grab yourself some looseleaf tea and join me?

Break the bread. Pour the wine. Walk slowly and let the tea brew.

Dear Friends, Beloved Reader,

Here we are again. How you holding up?

I've reached the 'somehow ended up watching far too many episodes of Escape to Chateau DIY and am now convinced I need to buy a rundown chateau in the south of France and spend my life fixing it' stage of the pandemic.

chateauIt's gonna be great. You can come stay and we shall sit in the orchard, under the French sun, drinking wine and eating bread and cheese.orchardorcharrd wineSo yeh, Lockdown 2 is mostly creating a Chateau moodboard. This is kinda saving my life right now.

Many years ago now, a wise old priest invited me to come speak at his church .

“What do you want me to talk about?” I asked.

"Come tell us what is saving your life right now,” he answered.

It was as if he had swept his arm across a dusty table and brushed all the formal china to the ground.

I did not have to try to say correct things that were true for everyone. I did not have to use theological language that conformed to the historical teachings of the church. All I had to do was figure out what my life depended on. All I had to do was figure out how I stayed as close to that reality as I could.” From An Altar in the World, Barbara Brown Taylor

It is the year of our Lord 2020, consider the formal china swept to the floor. What is saving your life right now?

Alongside dreaming of Chateau Life, saving mine is:

  • Lunch time walks. Still. After becoming a giant dust bowl over the summer, the common is now a massive mud pit. The ground either springs back underfoot or tries to steal your shoes. Turns out, the world is not a cold dead place.
  • Sunday morning walks – life, questions, uncertainty, hope. We walk and talk it out. Conclusions – we know far less than we thought we did. Life is way more uncertain and far more unpredictable than we like to admit. Hope is still a thing, somehow.
  • After work walks - shout out to everyone marching through the dark just to hang out with friends.
  • Less sitting, more dancing. And walking - obvs.
  • Mixed Up podcast. “Going to the hairdressers is just as stressful as some people find the dentist. You just never know if they’ll be able to handle your hair and how they’ll interpret what you ask for.” NEVER BEEN MORE SEEN IN ALL MY LIFE. Going to the hairdressers is terrifying. This is fact.
  • The calendar of good things is back (its mostly food - and walks):

Teach us to remember, God; make our minds a storehouse for past promises kept, all the good things and hope fulfilled - so that we can be a prophet to our own present, a watchman on the walls of our own still night.” Strahan Coleman

  • Spiritual direction. I offload all my messy theological questions, I get some good questions thrown back at me – somehow this is helping me find my way through.
  • This.

When it feels like the dark
Lingers longer than the night
When the shadows feel like giants
Are You chasing me down?
Tell me where could I run
From Your light, where could I hide?
Hemmed within Your precious thoughts
There's no hiding from Your love
Highs and lows
Lord, You're with me either way it goes
Should I rise or should I fall
Even so
Lord, Your mercy is an even flow
You're too good to let me go
Should I dance on the heights
Or make my bed among the depths
Your mercy waits at every end
Like You planned it from the start
Should the dawn come with wings
Or find me far-side of the sea
There Your hand still fastens me
Ever closer to Your heart
Highs and lows
Lord, You're with me either way it goes
Should I rise or should I fall
You are faithful through it all
Highs and lows
You surround me either way it goes
Should I rise or should I fall
Lord, You're with me through it all
Highs and lows
In the rhythms of Your grace, I know
You're too good to let me go

May you find a quiet place within you – deep and untouchable to the violent, raging voices of the moment – to hear God remind you ‘I am with you till the end of the age.’ Strahan

At least once  a week you’ll find me arguing with the wind:

Me: No. I will not do it. I refuse

The Wind:

Me: I have a work zoom in an hour, I’ll be wearing my work pjs, the least I can do is have hair that looks somewhat profesh and not like I’ve just lost a fight with my hairbrush.

The Wind:

Me: Leave. Me. Alone. Wash Day is 4 days away and I don’t have emotional capacity to deal with giant hair before then.

The Wind:

Me: *sighs, unclips hair, mutters obscenities*

The Wind:screenshot_20201006-214518188005253141173538.png

Yeh, so I argue with the wind – its 2020, I don't even attempt to pretend like I'm normal anymore.

Turns out, letting the wind run riot with your hair can be one of the most grounding and commonplace spiritual practises (turns out this is one of my most valuable lessons from 2019).

Anything can become a spiritual practice once you are willing to approach it that way – once you let it bring you to your knees and show you what is real, including who you really are, who other people are, and how near God can be when you’ve lost your way." Barbara Brown Taylor

Letting the wind run riot with my hair reminds me that, try as I might, I can't control everything so I may as well stop trying to keep the world spinning.

It reminds me the Spirit runs where it will, wild and uncontainable. So who I am to try and box it in – was I there when the foundations of the world were laid and the the morning stars sang together? Have I ever caused the dawn to rise in the East?

It forces me to b r e a t h e and then pay attention to where I am.

It lets me know I need to book a haircut. I’m thinking 2020 might be the year I go Beyonce Blonde - thoughts and prayers for this big decision much appreciated.

It asks me if I really believe that God can create a feast in the wilderness. And if I say yes, it calls me to a deeper level of trust, to throw off heaviness and walk in freedom. She who the son sets free is free indeed, right? If I say no, it reminds me that God is with me and Aslan is on the move, even when I can't see it.

And if nothing else, it makes me laugh. ANY EXCUSE TO LAUGH IS WELCOME IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 2020.

So yeh, you’ll often find me on Tooting Common – arguing with the wind and then laughing to myself.

Have you got any everday spiritual practises that keep you grounded?

Break the bread. Pour the wine. Give thanks. LET THE WIND BLOW.

Screenshot_20201006-085317For when you miss the mess and noise and chaos and laughs of your people crammed round a long table covered in food and life before the limit was 6 -

And the table will be wide.
And the welcome will be wide.
And the arms will open wide to gather us in.
And our hearts will open wide to receive.

And we will come as children who trust there is enough.
And we will come unhindered and free.
And our aching will be met with bread.
And our sorrow will be met with wine.

And we will open our hands to the feast without shame.
And we will turn toward each other without fear.
And we will give up our appetite for despair.
And we will taste and know of delight.

And we will become bread for a hungering world.
And we will become drink for those who thirst.
And the blessed will become the blessing.
And everywhere will be the feast.

– © Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com.

The table will be wide! And I’m already compiling a menu for when we can feast together.

Break the bread. Pour the wine. Give Thanks.