Well ladies, that’s craft night done for another year- and it just keeps getting better! Or so I’m reliably told… Friday evening was actually my first ever experience of the legendary Falkirk Vineyard ladies craft night. Despite being on the team last year unfortunately I couldn’t make the actual event, so having heard such wonderful things about previous years- I was very much looking forward to this year! So much so that in my giddy excitement and anticipation of the event I agreed to lead a craft table… need some jewellery stamped?! It turns out I’m not really your girl for the job… but you were all so kind to me and did a fabulous job stamping! Who knew hammers could cause such hilarity?!
As well as my hammering we had other much more proficient crafters offering decopatch, cross stitching, card making and beautiful colouring sheets. Thank you so much to those who led a craft table, we know how much time and effort goes into preparing for these events and we love your talents and were so blessed by the craft skills you shared.
This year we had 55 wonderful women who participated in crafting and we loved having you! And we’d really love to invite you to the four other events we have in our calendar:
And if you’re on Instagram follow us on @falkirk_vineyard_ladies for regular updates about events, blogs, Eden, material girls and plenty of encouragement.
As well as 55 crafters, this year we also had 7 stalls selling wonderful treats, treasures and gifts, including our own Eden pop up shop. The stalls added such a lovely atmosphere to the room both before and after the crafting and bonus- I finally started my Christmas shopping! Thank you so much to the stall holders, you really made this years event special.
We were also lucky to have such kind staff from the park hotel who really went out of there way to serve us and who even partook in a little festive shopping of their own. I’m sure the poor bar man will one day recover from the horror of me answering his question ‘of what type of bowls do you need?’ With – ‘well you know bowls. Just the kind of bowly bowls to put stuff into that you normally put into bowls.’ But you’ll be glad to know bowly bowls were provided and snacks consumed aplenty.
And when I wasn’t snacking I was watching and learning from our lovely Lyndsey. As always fabulous Lyndsey Henderson led our FV Ladies Ministry team so well to organise craft night. Tonight I am thanking God for Lyndsey’s leadership, commitment and heart for women in Falkirk Vineyard and beyond. I’m also praying for next years craft night and would love if you would pray along with me for guidance, wisdom, provision and for the women who will join us next year for an evening of festive crafting.
I am English. Despite trying my best to put on a ‘Scottish twang’, after a few minutes of talking to me, you will soon discover that I am from down south.
I grew up in Cambridge until I was fourteen years old. I will never forget the dreaded moment when I waved goodbye to my dad as he ventured off to a job interview in Edinburgh. Me being the stroppy teenager that I was shouted : “Don’t you dare get that job!” Of course, he got the job and after a few months of packing up we started our new adventure. The moment I got onto that plane I was so scared. Leaving my siblings down south at university, I was entering a complete unknown world. No friends, no security, just me, my mum and dad (a teenagers dream!). I remember the journey well. As we were beginning our descent into Edinburgh my mum pointed out the window to the most beautiful and fullest of rainbows. She said: “Look Joanna, that’s God's way of saying to you that this will all be ok. He has got you and he is going to protect you in this. He promises that he will look after you.”
Now I wasn’t a Christian at this point. I had turned my back on God but for some reason this message really stuck with me.
He promises to look after you.
A year later God’s promise was already being fulfilled. I had settled into and was enjoying my new school, I had made fantastic friends and most importantly… I had found God.
I had told my parents I would only consider going to church if they found me a friend. Of course, God is good like that and I was introduced to a lovely girl who is now one of my closest friends. In fact, although I didn’t know it at the time, I was also introduced to my now husband, Matthew. The puzzle pieces were coming together and it was for this reason that I started to believe that I had a loving God that I could put my trust in. God was going ahead of me, making the paths clear and making sure that I got to know him and felt secure in my new life in Edinburgh.
‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight’ -- Proverbs 3:5-6
Fast forward to last year and God’s promise was living true. I had finished my teaching degree and Matthew and I had just happily married. We were entering into another new period of unknown and this petrified me. Although, this time it was different. I knew that I had a loving God who was still continuing to fulfil his promise of looking after me. Our new life started to come together but the church hunt every Sunday was getting rather frustrating. Until, one day someone had suggested Vineyard. “I think you’ll both love it … they have doughnuts apparently!”
As soon as we arrived it felt like home. God’s way of assuring as that it was the right place to be was when Megan and Stuart announced on our very first Sunday that they would be starting a young adults group. Wow. Ok, thanks God, this is almost too good to be true!
Now that I look back on my journey so far, God has looked after me and loved me beyond measure. That very promise he made to me on the plane to Edinburgh has been fulfilled time and time again. I hold this verse so close to me as I think it is such a true reflection of my walk with Christ:
“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” -- Genesis 28:15
I still look at rainbows now and am reminded of the promise that God has made for all of us. Whenever I see them I feel a sense of warmth. It is almost like God giving me a huge big cuddle and reassuring me that he is with me always. Of course, my story is not finished and neither is yours. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the future but looking back on my story and seeing how God has been with me every step of the way, I know that my future is safe in his hands.
I challenge you, next time you see a rainbow, what is God trying to say to you?
All I know is that our God is an incredible father who promises to look after you.
Love Joanna x
A couple of months ago while I sat at my desk at work I opened a text from my dad. Texts from my dad are often incredibly random- he refuses to use punctuation, loves an emoji and they always require further explanation. This particular message was a picture of my dad standing on the terrace of his Spanish apartment, not particularly odd or in need of explanation. What was strange was his new mode of transportation also pictured. Much to my absolute horror he had purchased two large scooters. You know those Micro scooters which were a fad in the 90’s and remain popular between 2-8 year olds worldwide? Well these were the adult version and my 57 year old father's latest solution to the 20 minute walk home from the nearest town after an evening out.
I phoned him later that evening and he explained to me taxis are expensive. I explained to him parents on scooters were painfully embarrassing. He recounted to me the tale of the evening before of him majestically gliding past the long taxi queue on his adult scooter, my step mum beside him on her own scooter and their race back to their home. At this point I nearly hung up in horror, wondering if my impending trip across to Spain was a holiday or an intervention for pensioners on adult scooters. Clearly my darling father had the touch of the later life crises.
From then on I had regular updates about how the scooters were changing his life. And true enough when I was over for a long weekend my dad packed the scooters into the car before our evening out so we could leave the car to be collected in the morning and enjoy an evening of sangria and tapas. Naturally reverting back to 12 year old Frankie I was embarrassed of this, what people would say about us if they saw the scooters and staunchly refusing I would ever in my whole entire life ‘scoot’ home. However 11pm came and let’s face it- no one wants to walk home after an evening out. So on that scooter I got.
My dad then turned scooter master and showed me how to use the brake, improve my aerodynamics and suggested I prepare for my life to change. And just like that I saw myself glide past the taxi queue, waving to the friendly local hecklers and serenely moving at speed down hill, hair blowing in the wind. And I couldn’t help it but the smile on my face was irrepressible . I weaved in and out of traffic islands, laughed as I crossed the small canal and went round a round about the wrong way; forgetting it was Spain and not Scotland. But don’t worry the roads are very quiet and well lit (ish). I reached the top of another hill, stopping in order to ensure I could build up maximum speed by pushing off from the top. And down I went, imagine the quiet Spanish streets, wind, laughter and just then as if this wasn’t the biggest treat I kid you not, I saw a shooting star whizz past my eyes. And I felt it, the first I’d felt it for a while and I couldn’t help but shout it out loud – ‘I am Free.’
I haven’t felt terribly free recently. I’ve felt weighed down by circumstances, I’ve felt under the spotlight, I’ve felt crushed by sadness and anxiety. I’ve had sleepless nights and experienced about every subtle physical symptom major stress can cause upon the human body. I’ve felt hopeless for the future after things I faithfully prayed for and practically prepared for failed to come into fruition and helpless that I could do nothing to change this. I’ve felt worthless, unloved and all alone. But there in that moment I felt God lift a layer of sadness from me, the chains around me felt looser as I hurtled down that hill with tears of freedom rolling down my face. Every time I think of this moment I feel that freedom again and I smile. God has given me the blessing of a tangible moment to cast my mind back to when I feel weighed down and I can feel again uplifted and again feel His almighty presence and turn my circumstances back into his capable hands.
‘For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom’ -- 2 Corinthians 3:17
I am now a thorough advocate and fan of adult scooters- but please do wear a helmet and adequate padding- but that’s a whole other story entirely! Also someone told me shooting stars are actually asteroids which are entering the universe to burn up but that doesn’t have the same cheery ring to it now does it?!
Thoughts, experiences, and encouragement from the ladies of Falkirk Vineyard.