Friday, December 26, 2008

A thoroughly modern Christmas

A thoroughly modern bouquet - a vase of sweets! sadly, you can guess the amount, but you won't be getting any sweets from me!

This Christmas was a little different this year. I spent all of Christmas Eve doing Christingle services, leading them none the less. now I can normally do three Christingles but before it has been 'just for fun' as it were, no direct pressure on me, and not really a huge deal of preparation either but this year, I had to stand at front of church, prepare a power point, write a service order and learn it and remember to light the advent wreath. I also had to do a song sheet and speak to a number of people about how the whole service was going to work. The adrenalin soon wore off at the end of the last service and I came crashing down. It's tough working for 6 hours straight.

Then my sister returned home and after resting for a little bit, we watched the Gavin and Stacy Christmas special...which was a little long and I didn't really get it, because I've never really watched it before. We then headed to church for midnight communion.

All normal so far...other than being really tired.

Christmas Day, I spent the whole day with my family, not really unusual, but we had a change of plan mid-way through December my Nan decided that she was going to spend Christmas in London with my Aunt and Uncle, so no chance of a Christmas dinner at Nan's, which after spending 24 Christmases there, to not be at hers was different. Normally we head to church and then to Nan's where we sit and chat and dinner just appears, this year though, I helped with dinner. I really enjoyed it, I didn't over indulge but had enough to eat and then for the first time in 24 years, we opened all of our presents. After a couple of hours watching TV and playing about with new things, we headed to my cousins for dinner and more presents. I ended the day very tired but happy.

Doing all of this means that Boxing day was unusual too, I've spent part of the day outside and the boys have gone out to a friends house. We would normally have a family dinner and watch tv together, but that hasn't happened.

I feel like I've lost a day somewhere, but I really haven't, it was over a lot quicker than I expected and I've already done some sale shopping!!!

Merry christmas to you all and I hope your celebrations have filled you with joy, just as mine has!

P.S. Don't watch POTC before Christmas, you'll end up watching it twice!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Office

No - I'm not going to talk about how Ricky Gervais only has one acting style or that one of his co-stars is far better than him...

No - I'm going to talk about my office, the hub of all the youth work at Christ Church. Since I began working for the church in July there have been various bits and pieces going on while I've been out of the building, and it's nearly finished, so here are some photos for you...

Ok, so it's a mess at the moment, but it's functioning as a great space for me to check my email, write letters and create talks...

Check out my lazy chair in the corner - from IKEA - an at a third of the cost, that is my bargain buy of the year! I love it! (it does need a cushion though!)

There's still a little bit to do, it's got to be painted, and I've got to find a sensible way of cutting out the draft...

Monday, December 15, 2008

A special Event

Want to meet some new people, but not sure how to? Well, come along to the event above, spend a couple of hours in the company of young adult christians, in a safe environment and in the knowledge that you'll come away knowing more people than when you started!

Search for us on Facebook, you can't miss the bight orange picture that's being used for our publicity! If you're not on facebook and would like to join us, please leave a comment and some contact details and I will get back to you as soon as I can... (I check my blog every day!)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Photo Blog!

Just some of the things I've seen over the past week or so for you to take a look at!

A rainbow above Mayflower School - yes we were stood in the rain, and yes, we all got our phones out to take a picture, whilst Gary proclaimed "That's a sign that God will never again flood the earth, that is!" Brilliant! Isn't it funny how God reassures us?

At the end of the Youthwork Conference on the way home, driving through the countryside - couldn't ignore the sun shining in my eyes - so had to take a couple of photos! We had a really good weekend. I still haven't really thought about it, I can't get my head around the weekend, it started well and had various highlights, Mike Pilavachi, Ben Cantalon and the Sunday morning seminars being the ones I can remember the clearest. God has definitely started speaking to me in a loud and clear voice again, so I've got to keep listening.

The next event was Jen's birthday, here's the lovely lady herself...

Ten of us went out to celebrate her birthday this year. We had a great time at Macaroni Grill (which I've never been to before) and then on to Chicagos, which has had a complete refit and looks absolutely amazing now. We had so much fun, dancing, laughing and eating that we're going to do it all again very soon!

Also, a formal congratulations to Mandy and Rob, who got engaged at the end of November. I'm very happy and can't wait for the wedding!!

And finally...

A packed church for the Advent Carol Service. A lot of work went into making a very special service to celebrate the start of the church year. We welcomed all of the different schools in our district and were blessed with a choir and hundreds of stars to decorate our stunning tree!

I have really loved the last couple of weeks, there's been so much good news. Looking forward to spending the next few preparing for Christmas with friends and family. I don't know if I'm ready for it, or even in the mood really, but whatever happens I'm sure it'll hit me soon and I'll get a little panicky!

P.S. This is for the third time of trying - for some still unexplained reason, connecting to the internet is still hit and miss.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pulling a muscle

In more ways than one...

It's true, Wii sports is dangerous... I've pulled a muscle - how unfit am I? But it's totally addictive... especially if a young person has beaten your score and you know you can do better!

And laughing too hard... Mike McIntyre is hilarious! You know how your sides ache... He's someone I'd really like to see live... he's really clever and Live at The Apollo is so much better... I didn't like Jack Dee... he's far too dry.

This week has been good, I haven't been in school as much as normal, due to lots of things going on for other people.

Tonight we're out celebrating a birthday of someone who is very dear to me! I'm quite excited, we haven't been out as a group for ages, we get to spend a lot of time together which is great!

Also this week, a member of the same family got engaged to her long term boyfriend. I cried, I'm so happy for them!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Youthwork: The Conference

Spending a weekened in Eastbourne, wet, cold, windy, by the sea, in a hotel which bearly had a sea view...

The highs and lows of youthwork. Above the lows. Below the highs (does someone feel I'm doing this the wrong way round?)

Ok lets start with company... I joined the youthworkers of Luton on the retreat day after spending some time with my sister in Luton, we travelled down together and shared in a 24 hours of being fed, both spiritually and physically, in a lovely church called All Saint's. Luton youthworkers are great... very funny and they do get on with each other really well. It was good to spend time with people just chatting and chilling.

The rest of the weekend was just right, I took time out, I listened to seminars all of which was helpful to me. The worship from Ben Cantalon was brilliant (if in my old age it was a little loud at some points) and I've got some good resources to read and use.

I absolutely love the 'We love our youthworker' which is a new charter for churches and youth workers, which helps youth workers and gives them a voice...

More when that comes into the fore during 2009! More when I've reflected some more!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Good clean fun...

Just watching some of the Children in Need programme from last night... It's a fundraiser for children in the UK who are disabled or struggle with life in some way.

It's good clean fun, there's nothing that's close to the mark or controversial... Terry Wogan is always a laugh and they focus so much on English bands and artists, it's nice to see the stars of our small screen enjoying themselves (newsreaders, soap stars and lifestyle shows)!

(Unlike Comic Relief/Red Nose day, which is just cringe worthy i.e. Tim Westwood pimping some old people's minibus - they don't need DVD players installed! and Ricky Gervais' sketch that was just wrong)

Personally, I spent the day collecting money from people, at a fundraising concert and with the young people of Christ Church, watching the evening unfold.

Last night alone £21.9 million was raised, I don't know when the final figure comes out, but I'm sure it will be a lot higher than that, for a start, I've got to add £20 to it!!

Something less fun was shopping in Basildon for a birthday present... so many people around, the Christmas lights were switched on this weekend and it seems that people have started to panic a bit about Christmas being just around the corner... 5 weeks 5 days....

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Playing with fire

Well, not quite fire, but definitely sparklers. And not really playing with them, more watching the young people to make sure that they didn't attempt to hurt each other.

For something that happened and we weren't quite sure of how it would go, all of the leaders were positive at the end of the night... 20 young people from two youth groups... sparklers, food and a uni-hoc game...oh and some indoor fire works that set off the fire alarm (which reminds me that I don't know where the smoke alarm is or how to shut it up). It was a good night and we've been invited across town to the christmas party in a month or so.

It's saturday, yeay!! I've almost got rid of my cold, after spending a lot of today in bed...

Going to Come Dancing at church this evening... Should be interesting, I always enjoy learning new things and raising money at the same time. There will be photos!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Where do we go from here?

This is a question that haunts me. It's one that is always being doubt there's one man who's asking it more than everyone else.

If you've slept for the last 18 months or so, you won't know that the American election has happened and the new president of the free world is Barack Obama. I couldn't get to sleep last night, so I ended up watching the BBC results programme for two hours. They talked and talked about how much McCain was like President Bush, and were absolutely sure that he wouldn't be in power when the presidency changes hands in January.

I guess one of the reasons I couldn't get to sleep was because I'm worried (as well as being ill). I'm worried about how Mr Obama will put in to practice the ideology that he's talked about for so long. I'm worried that if it doesn't work out (in my very English way of not trusting politicians) there may be a horrible backlash and America will take some steps backwards (dare I say, more steps backwards).

I saw a postsecret that said 'It's only a matter of time' - a postcard of famous political faces who had been assassinated, people who wanted change. You can take that two ways, either as a threat or as someone who is worried for safety. I'm the latter.

I want to see this world get better, in so many ways...

I'm praying hard for the government that is going to surround this man.

We're also asking the question about our alpha group...but we haven't come up with any ideas yet!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

At it once again...

Ok, so when did I last blog? An hour and a half ago...?

Guess what my little brother is doing again...yes, drinking soup and eating as noisely as he can... do things not stick in peoples minds? Does being told off, or warned against something not make an impact in the minds of teenagers any more?

I know the answer to the last question, there is no impact to be made, no matter how many times...

Here he goes again...

Youth Alpha talk is going well so far...blogging and facebooking takes my mind off it temporarily, so that I can refocus and get it done for tomorrow evening.

There's doing things quietly

and then there's doing things noisely...

I'm complaining quietly about my brothers noisey soup drinking...don't get me started on how annoyed I am today...

I had to ask him to do what he was doing quietly (or I would've taken his soup away from him) and he gave me a dirty look!! It's rude to slurp at the best of times, but least of all while I'm quietly stewing about how the next couple of days are going to turn out.

I've always been concerned for safety, for good teaching and for everyone to have a good time. So to be told that I've got to be careful with the sparklers that I'm going to give to my young people next friday annoys me a little. I've had all three things drill into me since I was very young. I know the rules inside out, and I will be passing my knowledge on to the young people who will be holding the sparklers so that no-one gets hurt and everyone can have fun.

I don't make up the rules as I go along and everyone will get a fair chance - those who play up will feel the consequences. I've got a mobile phone and I will have all of the young peoples names and emergency contact details so if anything goes wrong there is a plan.

I really don't know what else to say...some poeple are helpful, others not so. That's life and we give thanks in all circumstances - so thank you Lord, that there are people who are concerned for my safety and thank you that they haven't completely scuppered all of my plans as the new youth worker in town.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I'm sorry that's the wrong answer

I'm always facinated by how things work, how they are made and what drives the people to create things that can make our lives easier, or more fun.

Finding out the answers to my questions though is sometimes a little frustrating - big companies like to keep secrets.

Take walkers for one - they pretty much run the snack empire in the UK at the moment, so they can reinstate crisps and the like at their will. They've brought back monster munch, quite successfully, which leads me to me first question - How is monster munch made?

Being internet savy that's where I'll always go first. Type in whats in my brain and see what happens...normally I don't get the answer straight away, because my mind seems to work slightly differently from those who add to the internet daily. But I keep searching and eventually get some sort of answer...however, there's nothing online, so I went to, because they've got an 'ask us anything' policy, so I did - guess what? They haven't got the answer either. I'm going to suffer for a little longer. I don't understand the snack world and I probably never will!!

And I'm trying to find out the background song to the new Rimmel London advert with Sophie Ellis Baxter - no joy there either, the other problem with the internet is that you can always find outdated information...I won't tell you about the time that I asked about a job only to be asked where I found the ad and that the position had been filled for over a year.

Talking of outdated...I need to update the CCYM website!

(P.S. Kate Moss looks awful on the Rimmel London website - how is having your mouth open in a photo ever attractive?)

I had an interesting day started with purchasing tickets to see Take That in concert on Saturday 4th July 2009. Fastest ever sell out tour, it took 9 excuricating minutes for me to get on to See Tickets to buy tickets, but here I am, still alive and very happy that I won't have to take a day off work to see them, and I will be taking all of my best friends with me.

The rest of the day was taken up with prep for the Club night at St Marys, a very successful night, and we're hoping that it will grow and grow in the coming years!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Nautical Night

Happy 21st Birthday!!!
So the images loaded backwards, and it takes a lot of effort to move them around. So this is Helen, hugging her balloons. Very pink and very big...Post cake at the end of the night...

Post blowing out candles...speeches time as always at 21st, the dad just has to say something. I can't remember what my Dad said at mine, simply because I was a little embarrassed, and probably too stressed out by the whole day.

This party, however, was a lot different, here we are (Heather and I) waiting for everyone to arrive so that we could give Helen her 21 presents. We were rushing around like lunatics in Basildon shortly before hand...but Sailor and Lifeguard...we were ready and Helen got the shock of her life when we arrived!

So its half term at the moment...there's not a lot going on, which is relaxing, but frustrating too. I know that I've got a busy term ahead of me...Christmas is racing up on us really quickly and I know I've got a lot to do, but I can't plan for it, until I've got an idea of what actually needs doing.

Still, Friday is a big day, Take That tickets go on sale and we've got our second club night at St Mary's on the High Street. Big smiles all round! :-D

Saturday, October 25, 2008

You can't stop the Beat!

It's Saturday...Yeay!!

For the second time this week I have watched Sky 1's 'Hairspray: The School Musical' and I'm absolutely besotted by the whole thing. Teenagers doing something enjoyable and showing the world and themselves that they are totally capable of producing a West End production in such a short amount of time. A couple of well known celebrities took a group of students and coached them through 6 weeks of rehearsals, and at the end they went to the Lyric Theatre and preformed to a sell out crowd of friends and family.

If you haven't seen any of it, see if you can find it online...when I was their age I just didn't have the confidence to do anything like that, even now it would take a lot of convincing. But seeing young people working hard and producing something that they're going to remember for the rest of their lives really makes me smile.

Tonight we're all heading to church to celebrate Helen's 21st birthday...all in Nautical's going to be so much fun...we've got a lot of different outfits and of course there will be photos!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Christ Church Weekend Away 2008

Here's the official report of the weekend away...

We started by getting lost - or at least I got lost on the way to High Leigh Conference Centre...more stressful than I'd ever imagined, and I now know that following someone other than Jesus is an experience that's not so good for me!! Thank you Helen and co for being patient with me though!

We had a good weekend...the young people learnt a they are with 'Loser' written on their foreheads after the second session...

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. Luke 9v24

Bravely showing off that they'd give up their lives to be followers of Jesus.

In the afternoon, we went to Lee Valley Boat hire to have a go at Pedaloing...

Us after hour on the was really good fun, I'd suggest it as a good afternoon out, if the sun is shining and there's a pub you can get to afterwards!

The rest of the weekend was interesting, I shared my time with people I'd not really spoken to before and having communion altogether on the Sunday was a really good idea.

Stars in his Eyes is our regular saturday evening entertainment, and hopefully everyone enjoyed it, from those taking part or those just watching. I'm very proud of some of my young people who thought of things to do.

I'm still recovering after being at work for the whole weekend, but it does take time. I have a day off this week, so hopefully I can use that time to think more about what went on, and make some notes for the next time I have to do something of this magnitude!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Mainly parking ones atm. There were people in our road putting out notices for the local council this afternoon. I don't know how long they have to be up before the council can start painting yellow lines on our road, but that's what is going to happen. They're also going to put up signs that say 'no waiting 08:30 - 09:30 and 14:30 - 15:30' it's worded slightly differently on the actual sign but you get the drift.

Now the problem with this is they won't actually enforce the no waiting thing at all. Well maybe for the first week. But after that it will be a free for all, and there will still be people parked across our drive come 3 in the afternoon, or whenever one of us needs to be somewhere and the car they are using is on the drive. Yes, mothers, fathers, guardians and carers will intially be scared out of their whits, but the fear will subside and life will continue on as normal.

I've seen it happen, nay, I have parked my car in a zone similar to the one that will be implied and I did not feel the wrath of the council bearing down on me for disobeying their rules.

One problem we have is that we have 5 cars in our family currently, and only three have spaces on the land that my parents own (or are leasing permenantly - not sure how it works, not being a home owner an' all!) So two people will potentially get fined (if a traffic warden would like to watch the road for a whole day). There are two (possibly three) arguments to this -

One - no-one who can prove that they live in the road should get fined for parking on it - it's where we live, we should really have space outside our houses to park our cars.

Two - We as residents should have room for the cars that we own on our properties, so that they can sit during the day without getting fined.

Three - We should have less cars (which is impossible)

And this won't solve the problem, it'll only move it somewhere else...

I don't know how many people protested, but it doesn't seem to have done any good. Which just leads me to believe we're heading for a world where the opinion of the public doesn't matter.

Andy says he will rip up a parking fine if he gets one...We'll see....

Off to High Leigh this weekend, but first I have to pack, go to youth group, lead emarge and raid the hall of all the fun things that I own as a youth worker, and finish what I'm going to say on Sunday morning!! Not busy at all... :S

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

All wrapped up...

In my own little world recently...lots has been going on, but I still feel like I've got loads of time, when really actually I probably haven't.

I think the problem may be to do with the strange times I'm sleeping at the moment, I really can't seem to get into a routine that means I get up at a sensible time, work through the day and go to bed at an equally sensible time.

I'm working on it...I just seem to be lacking discipline right now. It's like living at home seems to have bitten me and I feel like I'm a teenager again, waiting til the last moment to crawl out of bed and go to school. It's got to change...but as with getting up, I keep putting off that change...

At the moment, there is only so much I can do at home, I'm currently suffering some interference technologically at least...the laptop has decided that it won't connect to the internet, even when it's sat next to the router, and the booster...Dad can't figure out what is wrong, so a phone call to Dell may well be on the cards...but I'm saving that until after the church weekend away.

Yes, we're near October half term, which means its going away time for many churches. This time we're going to High Leigh Conference centre in Hoddesdon. For teaching (which I will be doing with the young people and so will Karen), music and games, as well as a little bit of fun chucked in for good measure. I don't know quite how I'm going to survive, but I know that I'm going to need prayer and sleep.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Episode Two

I feel like I've had an episode, nevermind watched one...I'm going to have to watch the last 5 mins of S3 E2 again, just to understand what went on in a little more detail, cos iPlayer is brilliant, but big screen tv is better!

I'm talking about Heroes, if you're totally's so much quicker than Series 2, jumping from story line to story line, without losing the intensity of it all and moving rapidly forward with each shift.

I watched the sneak peak build up the other day and now I seen everything twice. I want to give the story line away and say 'wow, this happened' and 'woah, she/he....' but I can't for fear of people hating me because I just don't do cryptic very well.

I'm refusing to watch BBC Three this time round, just because I did exactly what i'm trying not to do right now...

Roll on Wednesdays!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Lee Evans live at the O2

This man is a comical genius...I must have been following him for a good 8 years...but he's been doing observational comedy for 20.

Last night, 4 of us headed to the O2 arena in North Grenwich, to join with 20,000 other people in the biggest stand up tour this country has ever seen.

I love it, I would add explitives...but I really don't want to offend anyone... The second half was better than the first and the experience was made better by Mike having and O2 contract, so we could get exclusive access to a horribly over priced bar. (£7.50 for a cocktail) The bar was nice, forking out £20 for four drinks hurt lots.

Speed dating, footballers, referees, all were mentioned in some vain and I can't wait to buy the DVD to see it all over again and relive the memory of seeing him live for the second time.

It was all new material, a Lee was at the top of his game, I don't know how he does it, but I've got a huge amount of respect for him!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Harvest Service 2008

Aren't we a clever bunch? Three crosses (the yellow one created by members of Christ church) to signify the local harvest (red), the global harvest (orange) and the harvest of the people who are in the world (yellow).

The cross at the front of church, drapped with the colours.

I really enjoyed the service, it got a little heavy, but all the commets were positive.

So thank you CMS for providing and inspirational service pack, to Mark and the band for the brilliant music, to Stephen for creating the crosses on the floor and the Pathfinders for their prayers. (And thank you to everyone who did something in or for the service).

I'm tired now though...I've been building myself up for a long nights sleep. It's not over yet!! I've got Evo to entertain first...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Lun - don Tuawn! (Think Lily Allen)

I have been in London for most of today...time spent on Chadwell Heath station (due to a fatality on the line) with my MP3 player to keep me occupied, on taking pictures of famous landmarks - hence the photo blog and on worshipping God with 400 other women at a conference.

Biker, bus and time piece...London at its most typical..

I was stood eating a crepe at this point...I wrote in September about Child Poverty and this was a 'Keep the promise' march, organised by the End Child Poverty campaign. Basically the government aren't doing anything about what the current situation is.

So I found myself caught up in it, without really thinking about it. Lots of noise, lots of traffic. Watching a walking protest is moving ('scuse the pun). If you've ever been to a carnival you'll know it's very easy to get a beat going with your feet and you start to dance along, well it's the same with this. People feel strongly enough to join together and stop central London to make their point.

I don't know if it was on the news, but I'm sure their will be pictures somewhere...check it out.

So the conference was really good. I missed the set up session and the day ran over, but on the whole it was well attended and thought through. The sung worship was top class, even though it was just a piano, guitar and violin...I met some nice people, got some encouragement, and gave some too. Learnt something about culture and a lot about being a single woman, which I will pass on, to the people around me.

Tomorrow is the event that I've been preparing for all weekend. Harvest service...I'm going to bed...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Harvest 2008

Not only am I leading the Sunday morning service this week, I'm also doing three mini-preaches during the service. Why? Because it's our harvest celebration this week and we (I) decided to do something different this year. Hopefully it'll work, I'm going to give the whole church a chance to take part in the service and what we're doing could be really effective, obviously if everyone chooses to take part. I'm taking my camera, it's going to be visual!

That means my week has been pretty busy, both with running around and trying to think theologically and logically about what to say and how best to get everyone involved.

More blogging when I get over the excitement of Heroes!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hitting the nail on the head...

Welcome readers old and new...

People seem to be visiting my blog after typing in some key phrases in to Google...I've checked the links and this blog seems to be in the top ten for a fair few searches...Exciting.

So I'm getting between 15 and 20 visits a day - which adds up to a lot of people at the end of the month. (Nick'll tell you that it's not a lot and he gets far more visitors...Check the link in 'Want to read more...' on the right when you've got a couple of years to spare :) )

At least there's a reason for me writing...however this entry seems to be a little lacking in direction, other than to gloat!

Youth work thingies are going well...Mum and Dad are on holiday at the moment, so the house is a little studenty at the moment, I've given up trying to 'run' the house whilst they're away, it causes me far too much stress to clean up after my brothers. So I just tidy up after myself.

Anyway, youth work's getting busy and I'm starting to fill my time effectively. Still no office though...

Looking forward to the new season of Heroes starting on Wednesday, that's something that is definitely going on the Sky+...shame I've got no one to talk to about it as I don't work with anyone who's as obsessed as I am!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

'I'll pray for you'

What do you think of when you hear this? Is it a comfort or annoying to you?

I've been involved recently in a conversation about this phrase, some people think it's great, that they've got a lot of people they say this to and they hope it makes a difference, other people (who have it said to them) find it condescending.

Someone said 'Why don't you go and do something useful...feed starving children in Africa or save an animal'.

My response was a little angry, not all of us are called to feed starving children or look after animals...I believe that I'm called to pray for those who do and don't have faith, that God might help them in their day to day issues, even if they don't see it.

I'll keep praying...what are you going to do?

Child Poverty cont...

Ok so in reply to my Dad's tells us that poverty can be extreme (living on less than US$1 a day) or moderate (less than US$2 a day). You can check out the Wiki site for more information. There's a lot to read and take in...

My gut reaction is to say 'surely this 'cover all' does not do that job?' On the Wiki site the definition of poverty is this

'to be poor is to be deprived of those goods and services and pleasures which others around us take for granted'

Which is better than a monetry value that certainly doesn't mean anything to me when it comes in dollars, therefore each countries cost of basic living should be set by the government, as they have the biggest idea of what the minimum is to live.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Child Poverty

Some time ago I attended Spring Harvest with St Mikes Youth, we decided that we'd do the student stream after the main meeting. We talked about various topics and even got involved in a voxpop moment or two, but there was one statistic that stuck in my mind.

Here it is

1 in 3 children lives in poverty in the UK today.

Spring Harvest was 18 months ago and this hasn't changed. I've had a lot of conversations with various people who refuse to believe that anyone in this country can be poor or in poverty, but the simple fact of the matter is that it is all relative. You would be stupid to deny that there are people who do not have enough money to live on.

So this has been bugging me ever since I heard all about it and in a couple of weekends theres a march happening in London. Sadly, I can't go, but I will be showing my support by writing to my MP. Have a look at and let me know what you think, or just take action, after all things like this don't get solved by people just taking about it!

'Let the children come to me' Jesus said and I think that is just as important today as it always has been...after all it's in the news today...Gordon Brown is repeating what Tony started...They do need to actually put it all in to practice though, the Lib Dems are talking about the educational needs of those who are living in deprived rural areas (the gist of the article in Children and Young People Now was that poverty doesn't just happen in urban areas), so it's on everyones minds...we just need to make sure it doesn't go away, that we keep reminding people about it and not ignoring it, making sure that we find a way of helping these families out.

It's bugged me so much that when I was first looking for a job, I started to look into working with people who are in poverty. I didn't really find anything, I think its something that's just not in the social conciousness, because we believe we're in a stable, wealthy country. Sadly there is a line, its happening all around the world, equality does not exist anywhere...there are poor and rich, no matter where you come from.

Don't ignore it...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A surprise...

Every time I have blogged for the last 6 weeks I have wanted to say 'There's a party that I'm organising and this has happened...' but it was a surprise - my parents celebrate their 25th Wedding anniversary this week and Karen and I have spent a lot of time on the phone organising a party for them.

I hate lying...

Here's a couple of photos for you so that you can join in too...

Karen's car before we left home...the ribbon was matching the bridesmaids dresses.

Karen and I mid party ... Mandy got hold of the camera!

A picture of everyone who attended - great idea Dad!

And a family portrait to celebrate...

It was a reallt good day, I really enjoyed it and everyone played their part. There are loads of photos and loads of memories...

I'm tired now though and I'm not doing another surprise party for a long time...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Becoming the 'bad guy'

One thing I really haven't had to get used to in my life is confrontation. It's one of the things that scares me, but I know that in my line of work, I have to sometimes use my authority to make a point, and most of the time, that means confronting someone.

Tonight was the first time in a long time that I've had to tell someone off for their behaviour. I had to ban someone from youth group for a week because he decided to use a fire door. Part of me thinks 'why didn't we use this punishment before?' A one week ban for using a door and setting off an alarm is a good idea. The more we use discipline in the correct manner, the more we're likely to be able to control situations and understand what is going on too.

More news on facebook...people are joining a group that give instructions on how to get the old facebook back, but I've read the instructions at it seems ridiculously complicated, just so that people can feel comfortable about using something that didn't even exist 3 years ago.

How has this social networking site taken over our lives?

I get it, but i don't really see why it's so important for me to be friends with as many people as possible, for me to keep up to date with those friends through their status updates. Yes its a revolution, it's instant, it fits the consumer society and we can laugh at the photos...what would Paul say about it? Is there a problem with letting this social networking site become part of our lives so rapidly and all encompassing?

I have had some brilliant conversations with my friends online, I've spoken to people that I haven't got in touch with for fact the Viz-a-Viz reunion was organised on Facebook, but there's a line that needs to be drawn...don't quite know where that is, but I'm sure I won't step over it. Will society be so conscious of it's decisions? We'll wait and see I guess...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

All things new...

It's funny how people react to new things...some love the challenge, but most just complain or make a fuss about it.

Take the new facebook, for a while now I've been getting used to working it and finding out where everything is. So I understand it, I understand how it works, and what bugs still need sorting (like walls disappearing) some poeple have had it forced upon them... kind of cruel, but it's not hard to switch over and if you're advanced enough to be on facebook, you'll pick up the new one easily!

Have just watched the closing cermony too - amazing again...our part was interesting and Boris was a laugh, as always!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Youth Alpha

It's that time again...lots of food, lots of questions and a load of fab memories...

This time we're in Billericay, we're in the high street and we're above Costa. If you're 14-18 and you've got questions, come and join us on a Monday night from 8pm.

If you're a little older, have a look at the Alpha website...

Going out tonight to pray for this, it's an all together event, so lots of different styles and ideas as to how it should work. Pray with us if you're not joining us.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Is a wonderful invention, not perfect, but nothing is these days. my main problem with it at the moment is family viewing...there are programmes that we record as a family on it, but don't watch as a family, so I end up seeing two or three of the same programme.

Take Neighbours, Mum watches it just before Mike comes in from work, then what's the first thing that Mike does? 'Can I watch Neighbours please?' Obviously the answer is yes...I'll trot off somewhere else because its the kind of programme where you can only tolerate one episode once a week.

Sleeping during the day is not, I am finding really quickly, a handy thing to do...we joked at uni about being cranky if we hadn't had a nap, but i think it's the other way round for me!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

An answer to a prayer...

Well...not a prayer as such, but a blog, a frustration and a moan...

The delivery man turned up about 20 mins after I blogged, which was great. Testament to God answering cries for help even though it wasn't in the form of a prayer. It meant that i could take some time out before going ovr to Chelmsford for a session on the 'Gospel according to John Lewis'.

A very good evening, I learnt a lot and I hope the church I attend is one of the better churches. We've got all sorts of ideas from a guy who used to be an executive of John Lewis. They built their customer service reputation through their staff...amazing...

There's quite a lot to take in and it's late, so I'm going to sleep on it!

Time Check 2

It's 15:49 and I've been sat in Christ Church Office since 09:00 this morning, waiting for a man in a van (or possibly a lady) to come and collect my old laptop and its box.

I'm annoyed, I'm tired, I'm hungry and there's pretty much nothing I can do about it. I can't really even lock to door to stop people from coming in, for fear that I might miss said collection person.

So I'm sat in a cold office, I've had the heater on all day... I missed the sunshine and the slightly warmer part of the day, it's now raining and I'm getting a little bit upset by it all.

Here's hoping that posting this will encourage said person to hurry up...yawn...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Doing the geek thing...

I'm far too competitive for my own good...Tetris has taken over my life...sad eh? Facebook is addictive too...

I've had problems with it though, Facebook seems to work best on IE, but I use Firefox and there can be problems with social networking sites. So we've had to make sure that the cache clears itself every time I shut down.

I'm watching the paralympic opening ceremony whilst blogging...I'm absolutly amazed and in wonder of it all. I don't know whether we can top this. The use of technology and the stories are brilliant...Visually its incredibly strong. The outfits are amazing too...

My youngest brother turns 19 today...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

On retreat...

(or under a tree as it was once interpreted!)

The SMB/Youth worker contingent in Billericay headed to Bradwell for the afternoon, to find space to pray and listen to God.

This is a picture of the church at Bradwell, its situated in a very open part of the countryside, near the estuary, which makes it very windy... Today didn't disappoint.

Inside the church is wonderful, I really wish I could have taken some more pictures and spent some more time exploring the area.

We met at Costa and did an introductory game (which I may well steal for my young people in a couple of weeks) and travelled to Bradwell for lunch and reflection time. We had lunch with the Othona Community (who make the best colslaw) and walked across the field to the church.

Retreat and reflection are a great way to start the academic year and I feel that God spoke to me through other things that were said during the afternoon. I found it very hard to be still and quiet in a cold and windy place! Though the first of many visits I think!

I know I'm not insignificant to God, even when I feel like it, and if I can't cope, God will shelter me and give me a resting place.

Tiny shells house even tinier creatures...God designed it all...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

All things Advent...

I bet you've had at least one thought about what you're going to do at Christmas...well, if you haven't I reckon by now you've started to think about what you're going to have for dinner in 113 days.

I started thinking about Christmas in mid August, we've got a party to organise for Shaken Up! More recently, today and yesterday, I've been thinking about Advent. Advent is the beginning of the Church's year, and we start the 'new year' by preparing for the coming of Christ. This year's Advent service is based on invitations and gifts.

Between now and Advent we've got Bible Sunday, Back to Church Sunday and Harvest, during Advent there's three Christingle services and then Christmas Day services (including a midnight service), there's a lot of preparation to do and a lot of people to involve.

So have to go any idea who you're going to invite to church over the rest of this year and on into the 'new year'?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A comment on a comment...

If you read the post dated Friday, August 29 2008, you'll see Sarah's comment and the link that she posted regarding the song Healer.

I did go on YouTube before my meeting last night and was greeted with a whole host of angry vidoes and replies. Apparently the guy who wrote the song had been lying about the treatment and illness he'd received.

Australian TV has pretty much ripped Mike Guglielmucci apart for the way he has deceived the church, his parents and his family.

I'm not a medical expert, and I'm not really sure what to say. Obviously it's a shock for everyone who knows Mike and for everyone who has given money or committed to praying for him over the last two years. Soul Survivour have made a statement and pulled the song from this years live album and Hillsong, well, the site seems to be a little quiet about it...

Personally, the song for me is a good one, and I guess I don't really identify with it from Mike's stories, it's difficult to make a decision based on what other people are saying, but I guess that's how it has to be.

All I can do is pray for healing, for Mike, the church and all the relationships where the trust has been broken. The song, strangely still applies to the situation, God is good and He will make right the wrongs that have gone's not up to us. God's love endures forever (Ps 136) and there's nothing we can do to earn His love, He forgives us, and He will heal us when we ask.

Monday, September 01, 2008

That Monday morning feeling...

Seems to have lasted a day for me...first day at line manager back part time and a couple of emails to catch up on...

I must admit that getting up this morning was hard, but I've got to get into a routine, otherwise I won't survive...

Here's hoping the rest of the week gets better!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Circle Line Challenge

Saturday night saw some of us head into London to take part in the 'Circle Line Challenge'.

Let me explain... The idea is to go to a pub and have a drink at every stop on the circle line, from London's underground system. Simple! I hear you cry...

Well... if you know where all the nearest pubs are... I'm surprised that Mayor Boris Johnson hasn't cottoned on to this idea and put a bar in every station... he'd make a load of money to pay for 2012!

As always, picture included...12 of us, all dressed as service men and women, getting some strange looks (you'd think that London would know what's going on by now...), trying not to get lost or beaten up... Us in the Weatherspoons at the top of Liverpool Street Station...didn't mind that pub.

Next we skipped a few stops and headed to the O'Neills nearest Kings Cross...I think we may have made/disrupted some peoples quiet Saturday evening drinks.

We decided to abandon going all the way round (you need a lot longer if you're going to get all pubs at all stations - and a sensible choice of shoe is a good idea.) and headed to Covent Garden instead.

The Punch and Judy which over looks the performers square is a lovely pub, so is Henry's Bar...which is just off the square. Not a hugely expensive night (a kitty is a brilliant idea) and there's no pressure to drink huge amounts plus there's quite a lot of time between drinks if there's a large group of you.

Shame the last train to Billericay is 00:50 and we didn't get into London until 20:15.

Still...maybe next time...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Watching the cricket...

Taking a small amount of time out to watch the cricket and catch up on all the necessary sport/celebrities doing sport things... (Strictly Come Dancing is back!!)

All the publicity is done...up and ready for everyone to peruse on Sunday, and I will post them on here, I promise...I will also post them on Facebook.

I've had a look at my resources and done some more planning. I've got to get all set up for 9 days time, when my Sundays will become the one day in the week that I have to put my all into. No more sleepy afternoons.

I've been listening to another new CD over the last day or so, and I'm already hooked. Hillsong have released 'This is Our God' and already i can hear songs that I going to be hugely helpful to me, and for my ministry. The last album I purchased was titled 'Mighty to Save' - I still reel from the lyrics from the song of the same name

'Saviour, He can move the mountains,
my God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save,
Forever, author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave'

and this album is similar, with mind blowing, heart felt, scripture lead lyrics. 'Healer', 'Your name high' and 'you are here' as songs that will probably make it into song books across the country. Apparently one of the songs was an anthem at Soul Survivor! I also love 'where we belong' because its based on one of my favourite pieces of scripture. I will be listening to this album a lot, and hopefully introducing it into church...

Makes me want to go to Australia (where Hillsong are based), or big congregational meetings...I'm part of the modern church...

We're doing well in the cricket...ODI against SA, winning convincingly so far...

New laptop is kinda behaving itself. I need to get set up at church, so that I can work happily at my desk (though I don't actually have a desk right now!).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kicking into gear seems the summer is over...not that it actually felt like it had begun at all, but there we go.

I did want to blog pictures of some of the things I've been doing today, but as ever, with different systems, you end up opening something on a different computer (namely new Vista on new system to new laptop with XP), and it doesn't quite match what you've spent hours doing, so you have to go back to the original system and create .jpg's of everything.

Basically I've blogged about it, but I can't actually be bothered to go upstairs and carry out the process that I've just described...maybe tomorrow, definitely before the term begins, you will be able to see all of my wonderful publicity on the web in various places - here I come church website!!

I also spent some time doing the visuals for those who don't have internet access - so the board in church is half complete with notes tagged to it for all the additional things i need to create for me to be happy with it.

Now that I've done all of this I've just got to pray that I get some young people along...

The rest of the day has been spent listening to the new Hillsong album and recovering from being in Bristol!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Laptop mark 2

So the laptop arrived at church, and my mum had to text me to let me know it had arrived...what do you do with a big box that's got someones name on phone them to let them know that whatever they ordered had arrived...argh!

So the screen works, the internet works, the touchpad is a little too sensitive, the right click key is a little funny, and the USB's are plagued by a simple design fault - the casing is in the wrong place...

Still a 13 inch screen is not bad - no glare so far. The program install was easy, thanks to the emergency setup my Dad has done recently, we'll just see if the internet connects tomorrow morning, so far I've done one reboot and it still works fine.

Back in Billericay now, meetings with young people start tomorrow, so hopefully I can sort out some publicity for them beforehand.

School is almost back on my radar...I'll tell you how I feel after my first week.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blogging from Bristol!

In Kay's kitchen, relishing good food and good company...On retrat for a couple of days, before term starts and things get hetic...

Not a lot to report really, just thought I'd let you know where I've been!

Kay and I have been into her school, I've been catching up on church news and sitting in the coffee shop. I've also been into Bristol to see the new development, which is opening soon...very exciting stuff, it feels a lot more built up and busy atm.

So back to Billericay on Wednesday, then meetings and a publicity run for the young people.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Another one!!

Another quiet week in the world of Liz. I still have no office, no laptop and no idea of what September holds. I'm just hoping that God will fix it all very shortly.

Karen's doing well at Resonate, proud of her talk and happy to be camping (silly girl).

I'm still astounded by the amount of people visiting my blog through the words 'pink mini cooper'. It's one of the top images in Google now! They are a very rare find it seems, but still the car of my dreams!

I'm going to have to get into gear soon, but I still think being at work 'properly' is going to hit me like a Juggernaut!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I hope you all know by now that I'm into my live music scene, specifically the local talent that can be found in Essex, and that I would love to go to more gigs where quality music is produced.

Yesterday I had a chance to support a good friend of mine and his band as they played at the 'y fest' in Central Park, Chelmsford, which is run by the YMCA.

Above, ladies and gentlemen, is Crimson Cross, in a marquee, while the rain poured down! They played well and pulled in a crowd of at least 30 people! In my (slightly skewed opinion) they were one of the better bands - shame the judges didn't think the same - the band that followed made a racket and won... :(
Still they're up and coming and they've got some good songs under their belt...a few lady fans (check the pictures on facebook of the lead singer signing autographs afterwards!), and a committed following. Bigger and better things to come, definitely...
Today is play with the printer day...trying to figure out how to save something in the right format on the laptop that doesn't work so that I can print it in the office, on a colour printer.
DELL have promised a new laptop, one that connects to the internet, has a screen that works first time and a keypad that works all of the time. For the money that is being spent, I expect quality...currently I'm only getting good music out of it...
10 to 14 working days...we'll see if DELL can finally deliver.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thorpe Park 2008

Yesterday started at 06:30 and ended at 02:00 - a pretty long day...for all the right (though some wrong) reasons.

I went to the 8am service - as it's third Sunday we get a chance to have a spoken communion before the all together service at 10am, with breakfast in between! I love being a church for an extended amount of time...though occasionally its stressful...our family is made up of a great mix of people and seeing them all is good fun.

After the 10am service, the twenty-somethings got into various cars and headed off to Thorpe Park. We had a lot of fun, trying to get people wet, getting wet on purpose and trying to dry off afterwards, queuing and chatting with the Thorpe Park staff when the rides broke down. Sadly Colossus suffered a technical failure, so we couldn't go on it, but some of the small rides made an impact...Rush and Slammer being two of the rides I would go on again. I had Heather next to me screaming like a banshee...and the boys doing superman poses as often as they could!

To the right is a picture of Stealth one of the newer rides (2006 I think) at the park. I'm a thrill seeker (a convert) and this was ok, but it didn't get me screaming like Heather. Thorpe Park is a tame park...their 'dangling legs' ride isn't fast enough in my opinion, I really wanted to go on Colossus but it sounds like it maybe suffering from old age. Overall I liked the rides, but they felt familiar and didn't rattle me enough...I didn't fell pinned to my seat on Stealth, which was over too quickly - Rita: Queen of Speed is a better ride - its longer, and well designed with tight turns and a feeling of danger - but that's 4 hours away in Staffordshire!

Still not much more to complain about...the park is compact and easy to navigate, KFC's menu was a little short, but the queuing wasn't bad, though you don't get the suspense that Alton Towers builds! X No Way Out was better than I remember it, but going backwards in the dark, with starting and stopping is hard on the neck.

I'm going to have to find some bigger, scarier rides to get a kick!

This week I've got planning, reading and creating to do, a Vista system to get used to (I don't like the fact that it 'wiped' the photos from my camera, when I told it to leave them on there), car insurance to sort, mentoring to start and a festival to go to! Exciting stuff...I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NEW LAPTOP! works! I have a screen that is fixed and although its not properly set up yet, I'm happy with my new laptop. The technician didn't turn up until 5pm though...If I'd been on my own all day...boy would I have been angry when he knocked on the door.

Still, all happy now, I have to purchase a laptop bag soon. I have a feeling this one is going to be pink so that I don't leave it somewhere!

Kay's back in Bristol, spending a few days just chilling with her has been good fun!

We're heading to Thorpe Park this weekend, which I'm a little bit excited about, going to check out all the new rides and hopefully get in for half's (as always) to follow!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Time Check

It's 11:27 and I'm inside waiting for the technician from Dell to show up...currently I'm bored, but there's an air of anticipation that he's going to do something amazing and I'm going to have a laptop to set up by the end of today.

If he doesn't turn up then I'm safe in the knowledge that Kay will definitely not disappoint!

A bit of Bristol is coming to Essex and I'm a little excited about it!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Radio interview

After spending half an hour in church this morning, I zoomed off to Brentwood to take part in a radio interview for Phoenix FM. They've got a very neat set up at the back of the Baytree centre.

I enjoyed my time on air and plugged the church, as well as the work I do, and all of the other activities we have going on. Not as scary as I thought and I would definitely do it again!

Mum and Dad are away this weekend in Norfolk, so the house has been overrun by people in their early 20's. It's been a good chance to spend time with friends and welcome people. Food is always high priority when anyone comes to visit, and this time was no different. I spent Friday night making meringue and Saturday buying and cooking meat and desserts (as well as completing my pass plus - motorway driving - piece of cake - must make sure I check my blind spots though!). The meringue went down a treat (though 6 egg whites is enough to feed ten Jamie Oliver!) and the rest of the food disappeared (apart form the salad - go figure!). Dishwashers make light work of a heavy night and the house is as clean as it was when Mum left on Friday, but only because I tidied up whilst the boys were playing drinking games.

On thing on being super efficient though - you tend to miss out on stuff...though I'm sure there will be photos appearing at some point!

Friday, August 08, 2008

A new arrival

I could talk about the team blog on my dashboard when I log in, but that's really not my kinda thing right, I'm talking about a new laptop (scream!!).

My Dell laptop arrived yesterday (though no one phoned to tell me) at church, and I got rather excited this morning, but only after I had been told by someone else that there was a package for me. I check all of my mail and then got round to opening the big box. Carol thinks I'm crazy...just because I jumped around her...its the second new laptop I've had in as many years (after I left the other (brand new) laptop on the train, without any insurance), so here's hoping I don't do anything stupid with this custom built one!

Once again, though, I'm heading home because my arm is about to drop off from sitting with no support again.

Thankfully I'm going for a hot stone massage on Monday...

And, more exciting news...I'm going to be on the radio on Sunday morning (whilst everyone else is in church d'oh? or good? Can't decide). Phoenix FM (those clever chappies at Brentwood, online and on the radio) have decided to do an article on the churches in the area. I'm the only one who responded positively apparently...more than happy to get the gospel out on a local radio station. I've just got to pray that I don't bottle it and I can give a proper insight into the work of Christ Church. It's just a chat, into a mic, with a guy I've never met before, that people in Brentwood and Billericay are going to be listening to. Eek!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Emerging Church

So back to the Post-modern church...I've read some more of Dan Kimball's book and have started to get a little bit excited about 'vintage Christianity' and 'church'. We always say the church is 'not the building, its the people' and Dan whole-heartedly writes with this belief and mind-set. He speaks of the early church and the church things have changed, but the similarities are more striking than ever.

A post-modern world is one where spirituality is key, but religion is not - so I've answered the question for you, if you were pondering. Further more Christianity is no longer the principle religion in society (both in England and America according to Dan) however studying religion and belief in 'God' is rife.

So Dan has deconstructed and I am now in the midst of reconstructing the idea of church.

It's not a Sunday thing, its not a programme - its a way of community and a mission.

More when I've finished...I promise!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I'm still tired...

Ok I have not really recovered properly from yesterday, and, actually, I'm still trying to get used to not having a routine still...It's taking its toll, I'm not doing all 'normal' things I would do - like drinking plenty of water and eating fruit by the bucket load, which means I'm a little under the weather anyway, so it'll take me time to adjust.

Yesterday was good fun, We piled on to the minibus, knowing that it was going to rain all day, but still in high spirits. We arrived in Frinton (which has not changed that much since I was last there some 5 years ago) and set up our stuff on the beach. I'd made the decision, long before we arrived, that I wasn't going to take my shoes off, or go anywhere near the water (for fear of being pushed in) and I succeeded in the two and a half hours that we took over a little bit of golden sand...then it started to rain...and didn't stop until we decided to head for the safety of Walton-on-the-Naze pier.

Walton has arcades, food and we spent an hour or so drinking tea (Ribena for me) and eating cheesey chips. Then we had the walk back and the journey home...

A really good day, it was all organised by the Baptist Youth worker, he's got some good ideas and is keen to get a lot of people involved with what he has planned.

We're hoping to sync our diaries soon, so that we get the right mix of events and don't overlap. Watch this space for news of all the events that we'll be doing as a team and what is going on in specific churches.

The other thing I've been up to, today and next Saturday, specifically, is Pass Plus - an additional six hours on the road with my instructor, so that I can feel a little better about driving in unknown places and focus on whats 'out there' whilst I'm driving...I've done three hours so far, and I am's a lot of hard work driving through places you don't know. Three more hours to go...motorway driving on Saturday..eek!

I'm also reviewing 4 new albums...Sara Bareillis, Gabriella Cilmi, Duffy and Alphabeat. So far so good, Gabriella Climi is my least favourite, Sara Bareillis and Alphabeat are at the top and Duffy is Duffy...unique! I'm going to keep listening, all four are on my mp3 player, so if I get to walk somewhere or have to travel anywhere on a train soon, this is where I'll go!

I'm trying to find something for us to do as a peer group for our weekend away in October...anyone got any ideas for the Hertford area?!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Grand Day Out

Walton on the Naze by day...the picture is a little glum, because it rained for a majority of the day and it was taken on my phone!

Still a good day had by all, I'm tired now though, so I'll blog more when I am less exhausted!

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Modern and Post-modern way of doing things.

The Modern - The joys of HTML/Javascript

If you've ever tired to edit a blog you'll know exactly what I'm going to complain about, if you haven't...well, I'll explain as I go along.

Karen has a tracker on her blog, its a nifty one with a lot of information on it about the readers of her blog, it gives her an idea of who's reading, where they are from and how often they visit(nothing that means she can sell their personal details on to other companies you understand!). I was thrown into this a couple of years ago (sat in Karen's room in Cardiff) and added it to my blog. Then one day, for no reason, it just stopped for at least 24 months I've had no idea who's keeping up with me and who's around regularly. Now though, things are different...I've got my tracker back...the little black and blue box lets me be just one click away from finding out all about you dear reader!

It's taken a whole week for me to figure the thing out and get it working though! Blogger decided, in its wisdom, that changing a copy and pasted HTML code (lots of lines and letters, numbers and symbols) is a regular thing to do. Extreme (the company who provide the tracker) assured me that the code was correct, and there was nothing they could help me with...I was to go back to Blogger and ask them what was wrong. As always, whenever I need help, my request becomes rare or unusual, and I can't find anything other than a description of how to get HTML on to a page. GREAT. So I came to my senses and just re-wrote the code, letter for letter into the box. I spotted the problem...Blogger had just 'forgotten' to add some lines in the HTML!

Writing HTML isn't the most exciting thing ever, but when it works, it has some exciting results!

So now I have a tracker...Woop!

I've spent most of today compiling emails and replying to various bits and pieces as well as sorting out my phone and trying to get hold of, the latter has brought me absolutely no joy at all, sometimes when I phone out the person I'm calling can't hear's happened twice, once with Orange and once today...I don't know whether its the call centre or me...still I will not phone an 0845 number if the company can't get their act together about phoning my mobile number!

The Post-modern - The Church and its surroundings

Yesterday was an interesting day...for personal reasons I took a day out, to sit in my room to pray, listen and read.

I guess the main thing that impacted me was my lack of discipline...I haven't been doing what I should recently, so building up my quiet times and prayer times again is going to be interesting, this time last year I was a lot better at it and felt better for it too...recently not so much, but it has been highlighted by a few God-incidences that reading (the Bible) and praying are things we need to be doing, both corporately and individually. So here's my pledge - to read my Bible and pray daily...starting froooommm....NOW!

I came back to my Bible notes at the right moment too...1 Timothy 4: 11-16 says

'Command and teach these things. Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.'

What more do you need to hear really when you think the world is against you? These verses are my inspiration, along with the letter to the Ephesians and the Christians in Thessalonica.

I'm currently reading a book by Dan Kimball about the Emerging Church, and Church in a post modern age. I'll review it when I'm done, some questions though, and if you can't answer it, I guess you should read Dan's book... Do you live with a modern or post-modern outlook on life? Are the people around you modern or post-modern in their view? What do you think post-modernism is?

The idea of post-modernism is an intersting subject for me, initially as a sociologist, secondly as a theologian and thirdly as a youth worker (though all are interchangeable) because it can strike fear into people and it can open up a can of worms...but from what I've already read and know, its something that needs to be tackled!

Keep an eye out for further posts!

I have to go home, sitting at this computer has given me a dull shoulder ache that can only be attributed to the lack of support for the wrists whilst typing/using the keyboard...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The interesting thing...

About spending a lot of time on your own is that you start to understand what it is you're meant to be doing...

I've taken the time today to set up the planning for the Friday evening groups, now all I need to do is pray, gather the leaders and get all of my groups sorted. I'm hoping that we can go until at least Easter '09, with the potential of even sorting out the summer term.

One problem that is increasingly major is the distinct shortage of male leaders. So pray with me that God's plan will be revealed on this one, cos it's not currently very clear...

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Oast Houses

You're gonna have to type the title of this blog into Google to see where I stayed this weekend. I can't figure out how to make it link to another web page! Of course the pictures don't do it justice, and I didn't take any of my own because I forgot my camera and was working all weekend!

I spent my time with 3 other volunteers, who were happy enough to spend the weekend with 14 children, all of whom were well behaved and extremely excited by the thought of jumping on a couple of new faces. It was a fulfilling weekend and not as tiring as most weekends that I've found myself on recently.

I also spent some time in Rye, which is a very steep town, about 20 mins from where we were staying. I found some really nice fudge (which promptly went in the fridge when I got back!) and some good ice cream too...sadly I watched the bowls for a bit and read the paper before going back for dinner and a show of all the talent in the church.

South Green Baptist Church is a brilliant family, a good mix of young and old, all helping each other and welcoming to new faces. I loved the weekend, the right level of relaxing and working for me, time to switch off and time for teaching.

So back to work, and on my own too now, well not entirely, but everyone seems to be away this week or doing intense events (holiday bible club etc) so I have to find something to fill the time! I've got a lot of things that I need to do, like creating spread sheets and documents that will make it easy for me to keep track of time and money spent, looking at the next term and finding outwhats happening, so that I can plan effectively, keeping people in the loop and checking various bits of information to make sure it's correct.

I was given a book by Paul, who is our new team rector, as a 'welcome' present, which I'm going to digest over the summer, so I'll let you know what comes out of that and how my ideas form.

One problem I do have is that I really can't move my youth work 'stuff' (books, bibles, resources etc) until after all the work on the church and my office has been completed, so I am a little less focussed, as well as not having a laptop (shortly to be resolved) to put all of my work on. It'll make for a very interesting start to the academic could feel a little rushed and last minute, but hopefuly not. Here's praying for guidance and focus.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

To view or not to view

I decided not to go for the flat that I veiwed last week. It's a little too small and too expensive. So we keep praying...a house share is looking like a better option, but at the moment I'm holding off on that.

This week has been interesting so far. A good friend of mine is back from his job for a couple of months, so having him around will be nice, he's always welcome and up for doing random things.

I am officially a member of the Billericay and Little Bursted Ministry, having signed my contract yesterday evening at Paul's, there's a huge sense of the word 'team' at the moment, at what it means to be in a ministry that covers a wide area. It looks like there's a lot going on that we don't know about as a team and communication is key! It's all exciting though, I'm going to be visiting the youth groups and seeing how we can use our resources effectively...

The rest of the time has been spent in school (going back into Billericay as a staff member is weird) and preparing for the weekend away with South Green Baptist Church. I'm becoming a children's worker for the weekend, along with three other VaV volunteers (some ex, some current) so it should be a lot of fun...If I can get over the illness that I'm feeling right now. I think a lot of sleep needs to be put in my diary for the next couple of days...

I've been told of the importance of taking time out and booking retreat days, before the work starts coming in. I also need to take time out to study and pray. So discipline comes back into my life in a big way and I have to make sure I stick to it!

God what are you doing in this place?

Monday, July 21, 2008

We've come so far...

...and we've reached so high...and we're still so young and we hope for more.

I could go on...and on. If you know the lyric, you'll know the band and you'll have probably heard of the musical. If you're like me, you'll have sung the rest of the song by now and remembered how the musical ends.

I had a brilliant time on Friday night, with Karen in London, seeing Never was great to see all the old songs from Take That re-worked but still sing-a-long-able*. I enjoyed almost every part of the night, the only thing I'm suffering for is not wearing comfortable shoes. I have blisters all over my feet...and I'm never walking across London again! It was good to see some friends and family, drinking in a bar near Farringdon.

The photos from the night are on Facebook and if you keep looking you'll also find photos of the main summer event that was held by EVO this weekend.

We had a BBQ, lots of music and a bouncy castle to keep the kids (and adults) entertained. We raised £165 for Little Havens Childrens Hospice (a local charity that looks after children) at the same time. I had so much fun during the day and on into the evening. I thought it would be stressful and really difficult, but God had it all under control and we invited people into the church who were new, which is alway good fun. Enid had spoken at the 8am service about welcoming people into church, and we did just that. It was an ideal event, and we're looking at doing it next year.

I have to write an article or two as well as preparing for the weekend away that's coming up (I've really not got my head around being away for this weekend yet). So back to work!

*it's the only way to describle it - I know its not a word!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day Two

This youth work malarky is good fun...I spent most of the afternoon drinking OJ and chatting about exciting events in the Bradwell Area, with Mark and a few others in Southend and we also converged on the Christian Bookshop - which is crammed full of resources (minus Nooma)!

I haven't been to Southend for years, so wandering around was exciting for me and trying to concentrate on what was being said was hard.

Mark reckons I'm still getting a bit of culture shock, I tend to mutter under my breath, so I need to adjust and keep my mouth quiet when I'm wandering around!

So Day Two...Would you like a running total? No? Thought not!

Tomorrow I am going for my first viewing of a flat that I could move into...I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One more day...

So the weekend went really quickly and this week seems to have done the same...shortly I will be heading for my bed and hoping for some sleep. SOLID made me ill...well, more likely the cut grass and camping did. Going into work on Tuesday morning was a chore, I only lasted two hours and couldn't even get up Wednesday, apparently even though I've now got a nice tan on my face, there was no colour in my skin, so the mums in my office put me back on the bus and I spent most of the next 48 hours in bed.

Thank goodness for chemists - a couple of paracetamol and benadryl later, I'm about 85% ok. I managed work today...I know I'm going in for my last day tomorrow to be greeted by a decorated desk! But this week has gone too quickly and I've not enjoyed it like I thought I would.

Though having said that, we have some very special people in town this week... Youth Life are currently touring the country, dancing and telling their stories. I've met Ilyos before, he spent new year with us, and it was great to spend sometime with him and Vitalik before they leave Billericay to take part in Soul Survivor and other festivals this summer.

I'm already being called to lead groups, which I would expect, I'm also still unaware of what is going to happen much passed Monday morning. I'm going to prayers and having a meeting straight after...and we'll see where we go from there.

Right now, I have some sleep to catch up on and a list to write of who I want to meet and what I want to do. I also have an article to write...

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Wow...where did the weekend go?

It has gone by in some what of a blur. Friday evening was spent running round like a headless chicken for ten min (so much so that I have mis-placed my phone charger - heres hoping its at work) before Lynn arrived to collect me and my gear for the short trip to Stubbers. We arrived, unloaded the car, put up four tents and ate dinner before the main meeting.

Saturday mornings sleep was interrupted on three occasions - rain, loud teenagers and loud leaders. During the day we sat in the sun and watched the football, listened to some music and avoided getting wet. I've now got a sun burnt face from sitting in the sun all day! I headed back for a catch up sleep and a chance to start the after sun treatment! We had dinner and went to the main meeting, which was intense. I was very proud to see Kate John, my sister's housemate preaching. She's clearly very practiced and a good story teller. It was nice to say hello to her afterwards.

Sunday rolled around after late night drinks and a chance to catch up with some of the girls who had come down for the evening. We packed up in record time, before the rain fell, and despite it only being ten in the morning I now have sun burnt arms to match my face! The final main meeting was a time to celebrate, and share the highs and lows of the weekend. We said goodbye to the young people and got home without any problems.

Overall a good weekend, I've learnt a lot about the young people I was in charge of, about God's grace and his unfailing love for each and everyone of us. I've spent time with some of the people I'm going to be working with for the next couple of years and prayed for healing for many things.

Even when I'm at my most tired, God will bless me in abundance, and give me a glimmer of hope for the future. I'm not a replacement for anyone, I'm creating my own ministry. One thing that keeps hitting me recently is that God hasn't finished yet...this creation thing...its not over by a long way. There's more to be added to the world.

Time to watch Dr Who...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I'm trying to think of something witty to put at the top of this post, to intrigue make you wait in anticipation for the news I have...but alas, my brain has been left in front of the TV for the day...

Maybe I'll come up with something in the future, and then it'll all seem really weird to a random visitor.

The news, Liz, whats the news?!

Well...I passed my driving test, first time round, so look out for me, I will be coming to a street near you soon...when I've got a car, and when I've completed my pass plus, I'll be on the motorway...

I'm not over it yet, see I have no car to drive across town in, as my parents are away for the week, so no opportunity to get in the car and just drive :( It won't sink in for a while.

I've got Solid to do before I can get in a car on my own! I've read the magazine and understand that I am now in a probation period for two years (my license will be revoked without appeal if I get more than 6 points on it), I've also got to get my name on the insurance, and I've got to carry my passport around for a few that I have a shiny blue certificate instead of a green photo card.

My examiner was lovely, my observation was the cause of the minors that crept in, and Jeff was absolutely thrilled that I got it first time out.

So where from here? Buy a car, move out and work my socks off!!