Mark and Helen Smith

Thanks so much for popping in to see us, on our site! Feel free to keep popping back and interact too. We hope to make a wee bit of a positive difference to your world.

God bless!


What goes on in the Dark!


Today, whilst spring cleaning my kitchen and some cupboards, I had this beautiful scent float past me! Not sure of where it was coming, from I went on a wee hunt! Mostly when I clean my kitchen its unpleasant smells I’m getting rid of, but not this time … I opened one of my infrequently used cupboards and there was the scent!  A full blown pale blue hyacinth pot… looking a little droopy and it had rather pale leaves having been locked in my cupboard for at least six or seven weeks!

I brought it out onto the kitchen table and found a couple of twigs to help it stand tall, watered it and just sat there admiring it!

 Almost as strong as the fragrance this amazing flower was giving was the sense of God saying “See! Even in the dark places, the hidden places, the forgotten places, I bring to blossom those that are planted in the good soil of my Word. The aroma of my Grace in their lives draws people and causes them to stand in awe!”

Such a lesson of how God is at work in us in the hidden, and even the darkest seasons of our lives! I hadn’t watered those hyacinths bulbs since the initial watering of the soil they were planted in… and yes, they were ready for more water, but they had sprouted, grown, blossomed and allowed the aroma of their presence in the cupboard give off such a heady, “hope-of-spring” balm, rather than a bitter, rotting scent.

 I thought how much we need to allow God’s Word to permeate our lives so that even in the dark dry seasons of hidden forgotteness we draw from Him and allow our growing to be a sweet aroma of worship and honour to the Lord who gives Grace and sustenance!

 Now this delightful flower is gracing my kitchen table and is exposed to the light and air… growing tall and strong and green.

Be encouraged… you are not forgotten and your day is coming, when who you became in the dark will be seen in the light!

Sick times!


So I got sick!

So – I got sick!

Breast Cancer!

Regular mammogram picked it up … so important to go for your checks! But, you know the medical team were fantastic… quickly got me through an operation to remove offending tumour and onto the programme of preventing it reoccurring!

Which, let’s be honest, was not pleasant… Chemo sucks – but if it works – I can do it!!

Radiotherapy was great… no issues there … and a “holiday “ in Edinburgh to boot!!

To be fair the accommodation was basic – but free on the NHS .

Forget the food – buy your own as it was pretty bad!

So grateful for all that I’ve been through… The staff were lovely – so kind and thoughtful and the people I met… a-mazing! Encouraging, strong and when they had a wobble – I could be strong … because my wobble was just around the corner!

I wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone… but, you know, I’m so glad to have travelled this road… I’ve grown, learned loads, met people who have encouraged and inspired me… and I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

Oh yes! There’s joy in the tough times, and God has been so faithful and present with me.

I‘ve laughed at my wig, come through the baldness and lack of eybrows and eyelashes  etc! and seen that I am me… no matter what I look like, what I suffer or what I go through… I am blessed to live!

Maybe not what I would have chosen… but so blessed to have travelled this path!

So – let me encourage you … the best IS yet to come and the most Faithful, kind God is in my way…and yours!

I am Blessed… and getting better!

Tree Surgery!


This morning I was somewhat rudely awoken (early!) by a number of loud voices and the revving of chainsaws! I tried to ignore it and catch a few more minutes of sleep… but it wasn’t to be!

Over the morning I watched one guy, loudly and very nimbly, climb the huge tree next door and begin to lop off the high branches. Down below others guided him with ropes and shouts of directions and encouragement as to where and how to take this tree down!

The HUGE larch gradually fell down in great thuds as massive logs of the tree plummeted to the ground! I have to admit I was rather sad to see this lovely tree come down … it must have been there for over 80 years or so! What a history of comings and goings it must have observed.

But down it came – and then they started on another!

What a life lesson!

How many times are there things in our lives that have been standing there for years and become part of the scenery… to the point where they are part of us and too familiar.

Sadly this tree that was coming down was rotten and part of a cull of potentially diseased trees.

If it was left to stand much longer then, it could cause so much damage if winds and stormy weather brought it down.

I wonder what things in our life have been in us – attitudes, reactions, sin, habits, even relationships or things that we take for granted that are “part of us” and “always been there”?

Because we look okay and seem to be standing strong, doesn’t always mean that things on the inside of us are strong and good. Maybe there’s some stuff in our lives that really needs dealing with before the storm brings a disaster!

The guys next door doing this job had been consulted about the trees, they were professional tree surgeons and knew, not only what needed to be done, but also how to do it… safely and securely. And so our neighbour was happy to leave the execution of this operation to them, knowing they would be wise in their handling of the tree.

When we come to God with our lives, with our outward appearances and our inner turmoils … He is the Master tree surgeon who knows exactly when, where and how to deal with the rotten or potentially rotten stuff lurking around us. He doesn’t fell the tree in one “fell – swoop” but takes it down gently and compassionately, and with great care!

So as I come to Him- I can confidently ask Him to see my innermost being (Psalm 139) and let Him be the tree surgeon of my heart… knowing He will take great care to take out that which is not good and wholesome and that He will leave the garden of my life better and more fruitful. (John 15)

The tree will be a miss – initially! But I must say the view is amazing and the light that comes into my house now… worth all the noise, shouting and early morning wake! And, what is more, my greenhouse now gets more sun! Good fruit, all in all!

When the mists threaten to overwhelm you


Swirling cloud, TenerifeRecently, Mark and I have been on holiday in Tenerife.

Beautiful landscapes which are quite awe-inspiring! From the black volcanic beaches to the mountain views and the barren, almost moon-like expanses.

One day we drove up the winding mountain roads (passing so many incredibly fit cyclists!), stopping now and again to admire the views and stretch our legs… amazing! We loved the trip!

A couple of days later, we decided to go back up the mountainous roads to see the views again!

This time the sun didn’t seem to shine, the mist was heavy and shrouded everything to the point we could only see a few yards ahead of us. We crawled, slowly up the roads and came across a few cars who had pulled into the side of the road and were turning round to go back down to the beaches.

As we crept up these roads with our headlights and fog lights on, I was so aware of the God’s still nudge of His voice saying, “The road is the same as it was yesterday. The views are still there – just because you can’t see it all – it hasn’t changed… stay the path!”

So we kept going and sure enough a while later, after driving carefully and slowly the clouds began to swirl dramatically around us and we came out into clear blue skies and amazing views once again.

What a life lesson!

How many times do we feel like giving up and turning back because we can’t see the way ahead, or because the view is not much fun!

On those tough stretches of life’s journey, it’s easy to feel hopeless and want to go back down to what is known and comfortable.

Yet to those who would, maybe slowly, but steadily keep going, remember – the path hasn’t changed! The familiar points are still there, even if they are shrouded in mist. Step by step and mile by mile… you will come through into the light and sunshine once again.

Don’t give up on what you have known to be True, right and what you have learnt of the Love of God… the clouds will lift and the dawn will break and your trek will be worth the long haul!.

Stay the path!

Stay faithful to the Faithful One! Take His hand and lean in to hear His voice saying “Keep on, dear one, keep on! I’m still as true in the mist as I was in the sunshine.”

Be encouraged today to keep on!



The Brave are Among us!


bright umbrella in stormdark clouds with bowBrave women are among us… doing life – with all the ugliness and beauty wrapped together.

Each of us has a story and each of us has anthem to our lives.

Part of our journey is living that story out and singing our anthem loud!

Bravery is not only about “war-time heroes” or hunky heroes who rescue lost folk on mountain sides or from burning buildings.

Bravery is all about holding our heads up when the weather is awful in our lives… when the climate of our situations are stormy or long drawn-out grey! It is brave to peer through the wind and the icy clutches of the rain and know there is a better day ahead! It is brave to put ourselves out for each other and carry one another through those awful times.

Many of us have gone through terrible times… and your terrible time may not resonate with my terrible time in exactness… but the griefs and heartaches are just as painful, bringing days, if not weeks or even months of sorrow and weeping.

We never feel brave going through stuff… not even after and further down the road do we feel as if we were brave. But we survived and have grown. We have a story to tell of heartache and pain… but also of love, of kindness and hope.

Don’t be ashamed of your story. Let it bring out your anthem- your song in the night.

The beauty of the pain is it has the power to transform us- yes into someone of anger and regret… OR, of someone who sees the rainbow in the storm and is stronger and more compassionate because of it.

Allow other brave women to walk with you, silently maybe, but let them be there – for they too have known this path and know the rocks and the potholes along the way.

They too can hold your hand and say look up… the dawn is coming !

I went back to a very old song that I have always loved..”Mountain Tops”  2nd Chapter of Acts… I recommend you listen to it! 🙂


Generosity – continued!


Hand glowingA few weeks ago I posted a blog about being generous.

Some more thoughts to take to our hearts:

Considering we love people being generous towards us… in their gifts, and manners and speech… it makes me pose the question, how generous are you and I toward our loved ones? – To our spouse, our children, parents, siblings?

They say “charity begins at home” and as charity depends on people’s generosity… I dare ask … how generous are you to those in your family… to your spouse, children, siblings or parents?

It’s so easy to love people being kind to us, but how easier it is to be kind to strangers (or friends!) than to be generous in our kindness to those we live with!

And so I send out a challenge to you today… are you really kind to your loved ones?

What would it take for you to lay down your expectations of being treated well and kindly and actually starting to consider them and making them the recipients of your kindness and generosity?

Think about it… it could change your world – if you dare to act upon it… without expecting any reward!


Love Heals


Scottish FlagWe woke up this morning to a conclusion to the long debate on Scottish Independence. Living in Scotland, we’ve seen the debate first hand; it’s been powerful and inpassioned, especially over the last couple of months. Now the people have made their verdict, it’s really important that our communities unite again for the future.

The big question is how to bring about reconciliation, whether it’s amongst people on the different sides of political opinions, or between rivals af any sort. What matters most is one to one relationships. Everything comes down to the attitude we have to the individuals we meet on a day to day basis. I found this great couple of verses in the New Testament this morning, which is so pertinent today and every day:

1 Peter 4:7b-11 (Message).  “Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!”

Love is the oil which makes reconciliation possible – not a passive do-nothing love, but a real type of love which affects how we talk and act to each other. That type of love comes from God. It’s so important to pray for His love to empower all we do, so we can build for the future.