I think I should perhaps . . . introduce myself.
My name is Valerie Ann Lancaster, nee Wing. I am a housewife happily married for fifty-one years, to my husband Bern. We have two sons and a daughter. We are also blessed with five lovely grandchildren: our grandsons aged nineteen, seventeen and twelve years and our grand-daughters who are sixteen and two and a half years.
I love all creatures and until recently have always shared our home with much-loved cats and pet rabbits. At the moment however, there are just the birds and other wild life which visit our garden.
We live in a village outside Southport and have been there for over forty years now. I was born in the Potteries “where the ‘mugs’ come from” as my Mum used to joke and that part of the world and its people, are still very precious to me.
For fifty years I ran various Gymnastic Clubs for children starting when I was still at school. Eventually I became a qualified Coach with British Gymnastics. Bern began helping me not long after we started going out together and he went on to become a qualified Coach and Gymnastic Judge.
I should mention that as well as Gymnastics being our hobby (all our coaching was done voluntary) Bern and I also loved to be out in the countryside, especially among the high mountains around the Lake District and up in the Highlands around Glencoe. We still do go out walking, but now it is much more low-level, along streams, across hillsides and through woodlands. I also enjoyed going out on our motorbike, ‘hiking on wheels’ as we called it! Many of my nature poems were scribbled onto a piece of paper pressed against Bern’s back or held tightly on my knee, as we travelled through winding country lanes or sped along the motorway on our 900cc Yamaha (now a 750 BMW).
In 1992 I decided to slightly reduce the hours I spent coaching gymnastics and cut my sessions to twice a week instead of the three. However, this spare time was soon taken up with another interest, which quite suddenly and unexpectedly, came into my life and it was this which led to the “Just Poems” and then to the “Just Stories”.
I have always believed that there is definitely a life after ‘death’ but like most people, I had never really sought to understand it, that is until 1992 when I was shown some family photographs by a close uncle of mine. On one of these was my Uncle Gordon, his brother, who had been my mentor and trusted friend. He had passed away over twenty-two months earlier. However, I was now looking at him on a photograph which had been taken very recently. There was no doubt at all in my mind that it was him. I did not have to think about it, I just knew!
I had often talked to this second uncle about the ‘super-natural’ as we used to call it, though to quote a dear friend, I now know it is ‘super’ and certainly ‘natural’. One evening he said to me what many people say: “When I go over, I’ll come back and let you know what it is like.” To me, looking at him on this photograph, he had done just that! I decided I would have to find out more and so it was that I found my way to a Spiritualist Church.
Like many people who are going somewhere new for the first time, I was very unsure and hesitant, I just did not know what to expect, but the people were very friendly and did not try to influence me in any way. They said I would be made quite welcome if I wished to attend one of their Church Services and advised me to only accept what felt right to me, explaining how everyone is an individual and therefore entitled to their own thoughts and feelings. I liked their sincerity and after later discussing it with Bern, we both decided to go.
This was quite a big step for me to take, for while I was a child my father became ill with Multiple Sclerosis and later passed away at the age of forty-three. At that time I was only fourteen and I felt devastated. I loved him so much and had been convinced he would get better. I was brought up in the Church of England and had been told that if I said my prayers my father would recover. I did say them, for many years, yet he died.
I cut myself off then from religion although I still believed in God, but not in the way the Church had taught me, yet now I was going into a Church where hymns were sung and prayers were said. I decided I could not be a hypocrite so I sang the hymns but only listened to the prayers. However, when we came home after the service we both knew we had felt something very special that evening and we also knew we would go again. We went there for many years and are still going to other Spiritualist Churches, for we have found an understanding and meaning to life which is not dogmatic and which welcomes people from all walks of life and all different cultures and creeds.
It was about five weeks after we started going to the Services that I received the first poem. One evening in the Church tearoom we were given a newsletter and in it was an article written by an 18th Century Carmelite Nun. What it said was beautiful. A few days later at home, I decided to try and condense its meaning into a small verse. This I did, calling it “Just a Thought”. However, before I could even put down my pen, I started writing out other words which were to form a poem of their own and so it was that “Just Poems” were born!
As already mentioned, I quickly realised they were to be shared with others. They have helped me so much in my understanding not only of myself and how to approach life in a better way, but also of my spirit-self and of spiritual things. They have made me aware of Natural Laws, or Universal Laws, as some people call them.
It would be lovely if these stories and poems could bring you some comfort, especially in those times which are hard, when life can seem so cruel. Maybe they can simply be of help to you in your everyday life and in your awareness of the continued life we all lead in Spirit, or Heaven, or whichever name you may choose to call it. For those who do not believe in anyone or anything, perhaps they may tempt you to think a little differently.
I sincerely hope your life and the life of your loved ones is happy, fulfilled and enlightening.
With best wishes to you,