Thursday, March 31, 2005

Back from Spring Harvest...

I had a great time at SH. I will try to tell you more in the coming days but some highlights:
Banner workshop (waving not making!)
Faith and Involvement Zone with Steve Chalke and Andy Reed
Daily bible reading with Gerard Kelly
Aerobics with Catherine!

It's good to be home...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Great Easter Egg Hunt continues...

Last night in Blurbchat we played battleships and mini eggs were prizes when anyone scored a hit. I did such a huge grid that not many of the eggs were won.

I thought I might open up the opportunity for all my avid blog readers to participate in this exciting new game of internet egg hunting! All you have to do is to guess three possible references and I will tell you if it's a hit or miss. A hit wins you an egg. Yum!

The grid is marked 1-24 along the top and A-Z along the side. I can't be bothered to tell you what squares have gone before- just have a go: you could get lucky...

It's hard to type your blog when your cat is on your lap!

And whenI say lap, I mean chest! It means I have to type at arms fully stretched. It's not comfortable but it's a sacrifice I'm prepared to make in order to bring to you the latest happenings in my exciting life!

Some happenings, I can't say because they are top secret. I'm sorry but I just don't trust you enough to confide in you. I'd have to shoot you anyway and I wouldn't want to do that. It's against my religion!

Blurb was really good last night. It was an Easter Egg hunt game based on Battleships. It took ages for anyone to get a hit but we got there in the end. It appeared to have been enjoyed which was the main thing.

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The type at the bottom of this motivational poster says:

" When you contend with challenges that test your strength, you move more surely towards the top. "

Life's challenges are not meant to weaken you, they are meant to help you discover who you are. Sometimes while on the journey to overcoming these challenges it is easy to become overwhelmed. However, if we do not rise to meet these challenges and seek individual growth from them, then we can have no sense of confidence or conviction: we will end up being governed by the decisions of others.

This week don't be shy, meet those challenges head first. You may not only feel more productive but you may learn something new about yourself in the process.

We at wish you a fulfilling and successful week.

I find it interesting that in a day and age when failure is seen as weakness and what things look like on the outside is of paramount importance whether or not the inside is crumbling, that we have a company can suggest that challenges can be overwhelming. I guess the ethos behind these motivational business posters is that everyone can rise to the challenge and stand panting but victorious at the end. But I do like the thought of character growth through adversity and learning about yourself in the difficult times.

It reminds me of a Christian book by Chuck Swindoll (which I thought was an unfortunate name!) about how pain brings about character. Must dig it out...

Monday, March 21, 2005

Gaining in wisdom?

Did you know that at the grand old age of 36, I have a wisdom tooth poking through? According to my dentist's x-rays, I only have one and it has decided to come through now.

Is this symbolic?

Lord, I pray for your gift of wisdom...

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Brain dead

I have no pearls of wisdom to impart from today's service. It wasn't that it was a "bad" service just that I didn't necessarily fire on all cylinders during it. I enjoyed the song selection: modern day hymn types like In Christ Alone. The passage from Isaiah was one about the downfall of Babylon and I kept thinking how it stressed the lack of compassion for babies, children and women. I struggle with those sort of passages. I guess it's good to remember that our God isn't a cosy lovey dovey God, simpering away in the back ground but a vengeful God, full of righteous anger.

Study and worship

I had a study day yesterday which was a daunting prospect as I felt really under the weather. My cold is now full blown and even though I slept relatively well (just another early start) I felt tired.

I was pleased to see we had Damian again as a tutor (he's the one from the Army welfare) and I found I really enjoyed his input last time so I knew content-wise the day would be good. Most of the first half an hour was talking about competencies, which got me thinking about how little I've done (12 to do- I've "done" one). The work around Community Work was just reinforcing what we covered in the pack. The atmosphere is so much better in the group. We appear to work well. I think on analysis we have all migrated to the people we feel most comfortable with. It just means that we actually get stuff done and that you don't feel like blowing your brains out at the end of the day. It all helps...

In the evening I went to the NYFC commissioning service at St. Andrews. It was good to pray for the guys there. I also started thinking about my placement which really should have been sorted by now.

The idea is that the placement for my course covers the things in my competencies that I will struggle to provide evidence for. Looking through however the one that seems to be tricky for me is "Management of Others" and none of the ideas I have seem to fit with fulfilling it's criteria.

Anyway the idea is this: I have a range of thoughts as to what I could do as my placement. I write these up and present them to Chris and see what he says. It would be nice to receive payment for what I do (120 hours) but being at the service last night got me thinking about spirituality and the Youth Service as one of those options. I'm not sure that he'll pay me for it but I know I would enjoy it and it would have me doing something that I feel passionate about. I could guarantee to really work on it. I know he's going to say how good it sounds but it doesn't actually hit on the dodgy criteria for me...I need to think and pray how I can get round this...

I will actually try and write up these proposals and then give you a run down later in this blog.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Early rising

Yesterday was my birthday. You would never know as I didn't stop all day. Although throughout the day I received Happy Birthday texts which were nice! I haven't opened any of my cards or presents yet- they are all sitting on the living room table.

Thinking about call in sick to work as I started to feel really unwell. The cold symptoms that I managed to hold off for so long are upon me with a vengence. Hence the early morning start: I couldn't get back to sleep.

I managed to get done all the things I wanted to yesterday which was good; Freya's assessment questions, a talk to Chris about my hours, Links 4, Spring Harvest details, youth club, along with the usual like, cooking, picking up Poppy from school and even a bit of weeding (note to self: must buy trowel!)

It would be nice just to kick back today...

Thursday, March 17, 2005

How many Baptists does it take to change a lightbulb?


The meeting last night was frustrating to say the least. How can any organisation drag between 50 and 60 people out of their homes to ramble on and on and on? We didn't have a quorum to be able to vote, rattify should I say, the proposals had already been accepted at the January meeting. This was a Special church meeting in order to meet the Baptist Union requirements. So we went through all the available options and people debated each one- until I lost the will to live. Pictures of Kings kept flashing through my mind and God kindly told me the joke above just to show that he found the whole situation incredibly amusing!

The star of the whole thing was a very tired looking Steve Genders who facilitated the meeting with great skill and made it look so effortless. I looked around and saw the faces of so many friends, that on reflection I don't think I can move churches. That coupled with the fact that my daughter's are really well established and I wouldn't want to move them. I feel it's important for us to attend as a family.

And anyway, if I feel that I'm in a holding place and my church is like that too, isn't that the place I'm meant to be? I think the moment.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Appropriate response...

Have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about and writing a response to a post on the NYFC forum. The point is, should I really be wasting my time and energy? It is in response to someone who (based on previous experience) will not listen, will pick holes in the things I say and will come away having proved that black is white.

At one time, it bothered me. At one time I thought "She's a reasonable, intelligent person, she'll understand my point of view!" How wrong was I!

SO on the one hand, I feel I have an obligation to the forumites to put across their point of view, to stop bullying and make the place run smoother but on the other hand, I just want to leave the situation be. If there's nothing for her to rail against, there isn't an issue. Hitting the balance between inaction and action is the tricky one. And I have to say my obligation the the other forum users concerns me more than anything else. It's just so darned tiring and frustrating.

Just waiting for my lift to arrive for the church meeting. Should be interesting as we are voting (I think about the building plans). It's interesting that today of all days I should do my School Council's training in the King's Centre which is an inner city community church. They have had their buildings completely refurbished to include conference rooms, cafe, gym, reception, etc. I don't see the same focus or energy coming from our church to do (or even look into) something like that. What a positive impact that had on at least 10 non Christians. They were impressed that someone took us in the lift and guided us to the room we were using, they were impressed that the food was of such high quality, they sat and looked at leaflets and were impressed that there was a gym...

More to follow- lift is here! :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Gardening- the sequel

I have continued with my concerted effort to maintain a tidy if not beautiful garden. Today I went out with a garden sack and pulled up some weeds and got rid of some rubbish. I have to say that I'm really enjoying it. The only trouble is that I'm now looking at summerhouses and wanting to knock down walls. Hopefully I'll walk before I run...but how difficult can it be to erect a glorified garden shed? ;-)

A Churchless Faith

This is a topic I have been thinking a lot about over the last few weeks with information gleaned from the Ship of Fools and this

Why is it that something described as the Bride of Christ (and can I for the life of me find a biblical reference at all to support this phrase?) cause so much pain and despair?

We know that Jesus built his church upon Peter:
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16: 18-19

So the Church had solid foundations and we know that the Church will stand victorious in the face of sin. The Church I suppose we can say holds the keys to heaven and has the power to "bind" and "loose"- is this the power to condemn and forgive?

I guess if we gauge the importance of the Church by our biblical references to it then we need to look at what is meant by church.
Jesus says “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18: 19-21
If we want the presence of Jesus and we believe that God will provide for us and perform miracles, this passage simplifies it down to real basics. It doesn't have to be about worship bands, fancy outreach programmes and powerpoint systems. A group of friends meeting to discuss and offer up the things that are on their hearts is acceptable church to God.

But to limit Church to this simplistic model is maybe selling short the world wide vision that is unveiled by Jesus at the end of Matthew. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus wasn't interested in hit and run evangelism. He wanted true believers and as faith and relationship are progressive, he would have wanted a support system in place in order that people could continue to grow in their journey of faith. This is why I believe we have evolved these elaborate systems, the things that we would describe as church.

I would like to continue thinking about this theme and when it returns will be looking at :
What would church have looked like in the time of Acts?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Green and pleasant land

Well, I got the lawn mower out and mowed the jungle that is our front lawn. T'was a good job done and I'm well pleased! :D I suppose if I do half an hour every day or so, it'll start looking good in no time. I really need to have a plan as far as bedding plants are concerned. The grass has grown over the beds at the front of the house and I'm inclined to leave them as grass to decrease the amount of weeding I have to do. I can then concentrate all my green fingered efforts to the very considerable side section of the garden. Unfortunately the side has very poor, dry soil and is subject to intense summer sun directly facing east.

It just occurred to me that I have a study day coming up this Saturday and I have to read the study pack. Maybe I should do that tonight and leave the garden designing to another day...

Garden adventures...

Due to a desire to have a beautiful garden and the sudden dawning comprehension that you actually have to do some work to have a beautiful garden, I am now going to go and actually DO the garden.

Don't quite know what yet, probably the lawn. If I can get the mower out of the garage... :(

Will update you...

The Day That Didn't get Blogged!

I didn't get chance to blog yesterday so I thought I might just reflect a little about the morning service.

I was determined to really use the time to focus on God and to see what He wanted to say. I even took notes during the sermon!! We had a minister from Cambridge called Tricia Troughton and she had a very easy clear style- I think all in all it was a good service. We sang "Overwhelmed by Love" which I don't think we've ever done before, certainly not in the morning service and Peter Barnes did a nice "Holy Spirit bit" during it. It helped to focus on the words and feel God's love for us as an individual.

It's a shame that I don't have a scanner (or indeed a working digital camera!) because my notes work so much better as they were written with plenty of pictorial representations too!

These are the random words that I can pick out in my notes:

PAIN --- BARRIERS self defences shield bad and good. We may not get all that God wants to give to us
Be Still and Know That I Am God- God has given the gift of time and memory. We need that time to let God speak to us- there's no cost to silence
Salvation- (definition) healing, coming to peace, well being. So salvation is about wholeness rather than a heroic act of saving...
Image hosted by crumpled, crushed
Image hosted by Photobucket.comunder attack but not crushed

Saturday, March 12, 2005


You know when you really cannot put off any longer something that should have been done AGES ago? Well it's a bit like that for me and the library books today. They are long overdue, I have been getting reminders through the door by the dozen and I have just been too busy (and scared of the snotty remarks to be made by the library staff!) to take them back!

Not to mention the fines!

Anyway, the Forum Library has a drop off box so I am going to be cowardly and just stick them in there.

The Red Nose Day extravaganza seemed to have gone well last night. Some of the clips that they show were incredibly moving and got me thinking. Yes of course I want to give money but actually that seems like such a cop out. "OH well, I've done my bit, I've given money" and then think no more of it until the next RND in 2007. And as I Christian, I always have the "prayer option" but I'm sorry that that seems like such a cop out as well. So In the run up to Spring Harvest I am praying that God will show me how I can help the poorest people of this world in a really PRACTICAL way.

One of many prayers going up in preparation for SH...

Friday, March 11, 2005


I've just had the post and I got my essays back! I can hardly believe it: I got an B and a C! I'm so pleased! With the amount of work that I did, that's more than generous. I have been running excitedly on the spot, shouting "Thank-you!" to God and wearing a big grin!


Fresh pineapple and a friend

Wow! Eating fresh pineapple at this time on a Friday morning- what a decadance! The taste is sweet and sharp and fresh and fruity. I love it!

Thinking about my friend Ben in HK. Got a feeling he's going through a tough time at the minute. It's really tough and I think having a faith makes it even harder if that's possible. The secular world says "If it's difficult, it isn't worth the hassle. You need something that satisfies you and satisfies you NOW!" If he weren't a Christian he would probably be going through the motions of divorce by now. He's not- now there's a triumph in itself! Trouble is that things don't just miraculously get better, it's a matter of hard work.
As I'm writing this I'm praying for Ben and his wife. Try not to give up, I pray that God will give you strength.

Strange isn't it that someone I haven't even met I consider a friend? That's the beauty of the internet.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Frettenham- it's a fine youth club

Just got back from youth club where the evening went...well! The papier mache that they started last week had obviously been chucked out by an enthusiastic cleaner so that was a none starter. Emily had a good idea based around drawing what you feel when listening to different forms of music. It worked well with the group of young peeople that participated.
Bar that, it was the usual blend of anarchy involving not enough tuck (according to them!)and active games such as rounders.
Charlie drew a fantastic card for Chris to invite him to our youth club. He's given money to some other clubs, maybe if he sees how impoverished we are, he may well cough up some dosh for us. We'll see...

Working to earn a crust

This afternoon I work on a project with young people excluded from mainstream education. It just so happens that we are currently meeting them at the local snooker club. The dilemma is this: it's so easy to turn up and chat that why should I rock the boat? It's easy but is it actually work? Thinking of my considerable youth work skills, I guess there's an awful lot more that I could be offering those young people. Having said that, they never used to turn up when we were based at the normal centre so surely having some interaction and input into some young people is better than a structured session that no-one turns up to?
I have to say, my pool skills are sharpening up considerably. The down side is that I've come home stinking of cigarrette smoke!

Now I have to think about my youth club session tonight... not feeling particularly inspired...

Thursdays are great, aren't they?

No? Well this one is OK I guess. Done some vacuuming. Need to do some more and plenty of washing. I guess you're not interested in that. Neither am I if the truth be told but it needs doing nonetheless.

Officially this morning is dedicated to study. I have a whole pile of reading to do. Feeling quite motivated atm but let's see how much I'll let other stuff get in the way...

Some thoughts going around my head atm; watched some of Dangerous Liasons last night so thinking around issues to do with that, thinking about a couple of things from the Ship of Fools.
One is about the evil that is suicide, another is "if you had your chance to do things again, would you do it differently" and another is about having a saviour complex. I've also picked up the book Fish and would like to think about the way to inject some joy into work. I have an Iain Banks book to read for pleasure but don't envisage being able to get into that for a few days.
I'm also thinking about some story writing on here; can't quite work out how it's going to work but I may give a test run to a few styles and see how it goes.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Cheesecake for the soul...

Middle offspring produced baked vanilla cheesecake today at school. It surely is soul food. But a little goes a long way and I don't feel hungry any more.

The day has been a productive day I think. The things I needed to do, I did and even fitted in a gym session. Fame Academy is on in less than 40 mins. All is good.

I think I may post more later...

Early morning, feeling rough

The title says it all I think. After feeling fluey without cold symptoms, here come the cold symptoms.
Let's face it, you name symptoms and I've got them! Lovely!
Need to crack on with my work today. Plenty to do and not much time in which to do it.

Just wondering all you experienced bloggers out there: how can you talk honestly about your feelings on your blog without offending your friends? Surely if you say "Agh! Had a phone call from Veronica tonight and I wanted to veg out in front of the TV" you'd get a whole lot of stick from Veronica? Do you write the blog hoping strangers will read it or do you have to modify what you say in order that your friends can read it?

Oh and by the way, I don't have a friend called Veronica. Well not any more I don't...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Wrinkles are in the eye of the beholder...

I noticed less than a week ago that I had a prominent wrinkle under my left eye. The skin around my eyes seems old and papery: it doesn't have the "bounce" that young skin has. Why has it suddenly deteriorated? I guess in many ways I'm lucky that I have good skin and that I haven't really had to complain about the ageing process. But can old age come at you by stealth? One minute radiant soft skin and the next "crypt keeper crepe"?
I have tried:

  1. intensive repair cream
  2. cooling eye gel
  3. cleansing and my usual moisturiser
  4. A Good Night's Sleep
  5. cold eye mask The wrinkle's still there. It's not welcome.

Funny. I'm now noticing how many eye creams my husband seems to have. I think I might be trying those...

Welcome Weary Wanderer

So, here I am and here you are, stumbled across this cosy corner of the web. Pull up a chair, come close and keep me company here. I can't guarantee words of wisdom or words of interest but I can ramble on here without seeing the look of boredom glazing your eyes, which suits me just fine and dandy! We'll see what develops over the coming days and weeks, just me and you. Enjoy!