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Leah's blog

Sunday 6 May 2018

The Art of Marriage

Julian of NorwichAll shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well”: The famous saying of medieval mystic, Mother Julian of Norwich seems apt today.  It has been my personal mantra for many years but I would also like to share with you the words of another wise woman who said

“Never confuse a wedding with a marriage.

A wedding is easily arranged, (I’m not so sure about that!)

A marriage takes longer.”

It takes time to learn the art of marriage.

Take time out with me to explore the pleasures, triumphs and challenges of a modern marriage giving thanks for : -

  • cups of tea we bring each other

  • choosing plants for the garden

all those thoughtful messages left on a mobile… all those little things we do without thinking that are really big things.

  • The art of marriage is in those loving details.

  • Talking through the events of the day

  • Sharing successes

  • Consoling each other in failure

  • Bringing that unexpected gift.

  • Cheering each other up by being extravagant now and then.

  • All those projects and schemes we dream up over a bottle of wine or two…even three!

Then all shall be well, all manner of thing shall be well.

  • For pillow talk shared in the small hours

  • Suppers round the fire with trusty friends.

  • For the comfort and release of good sex.

    All shall be well.

It is only realistic to take time out to reflect on the challenges of living together.

*   When we go to bed in a strop of indignation

  • When the overdraft is overdrawn

  • When the child won’t sleep.

  • When the stitches start to unravel in our knitted lives.

  • When families interfere, make demands or quarrel.

  • When temptation walks through the door, as it surely will, and sits down at the table smiling...

How then shall all be well and all manner of thing be well?

May we find the courage to talk through the difficult times and disappointments.

Listen and look into each other’s face to see what is written there.

Don’t be too proud to seek the help of wise friends or counsellors.

Learn the art of forgiveness and practice it well.

Say sorry and show we mean it but most of all

May we be granted the gift of humour to laugh at our own foibles and funny habits. Yes, we do all have them!

Then all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.

So stand together to face the world forming a circle of protective love around each other, a circle that gathers in friends and family too, building up an cherishing atmosphere in which each can breathe yet with space enough to fulfil their true potential.

All shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.

Draw deep from the reservoir of love at the heart of the universe.

Tap into the divine whatever you understand it to be.

Draw strength from your love, one for the other,

Practice the art of marriage

Confident in the hope that whatever life throws at you…

All shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.

Leah Fleming. Written as part of the wedding service of her daughter , Hannah to Gareth.

Wednesday 10 January 2018


Quaker TapestryThis story is inspired by the Quaker tapestry in Kendal Cumbria which depicts the history of the Movement and also the fact that in the late sixteen hundreds, a couple from my village were sent to York jail ( 60 miles away) for marrying, not by the rites of the Church of England but  by an alternative civil ceremony.

Researches show how persecution lead many Yorkshire families to face the perils of the Atlantic in rust buckets of ships to found new colonies in Pennsylvania; a journey that could take three months and brought death and sickness to many pilgrims. They faced the hardship of life in the wilderness and accommodating the local tribes of the Lenne-Lenape and other not so peaceful American Indians. There was also the temptation of a worldlier Philadelphian society made up of many immigrants, not of their persuasion.

The Glovemaker's DaughterThe story is told through the diary of Joy, orphaned, brought up on a Dales farm who leaves the community to find herself in Leeds and then as a hired hand to help a pioneer family. The title comes from Joy’s mother, a glovemaker married to the son of a local judge, disowned for marrying against his wishes, once free they return for the birth of a daughter that neither would see.  Joy inherits a pair of gloves whose provenance changess the course of her future.

Through Joy’s eyes I explore life in a fledgling colonial settlement with its rules and culture that she finds increasingly limiting. How the love of a man, not of their faith forces her to make a decision that will alter her life for ever.

I have often fancied myself in another life as a pioneer woman who “opened up the West” but this is the nearest I can get to imagining such a life.


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