Thursday, April 30, 2009

You would not believe the amount of HTML that I had to get rid of to make the post below work!


There are many things I have accomplished in life, the big things, like completing my degree, learning to drive and becoming a full-time youth worker and the small things, beating my own score on various facebook games, meeting deadlines and building flat packs.

There are now four things in my room that I have built using instructions, and whilst I am no enthusiast, it gives me some sense of joy that I can build something and it ends up looking like the picture in front of me. So now I have a picture shelf (which used to hold books), a bed (with help from my Dad) and two DVD/CD cases. (Once upon a time there was a floating shelf on the cards, but since they can’t hold anything substantial, that idea was put away.) I am a little proud of myself, because this is the first time that I’ve done something like this entirely on my own.

My Dad is always saying that Ikea is rubbish and that you shouldn’t ever buy furniture from a shop the other side of the channel, but if it’s the only place that sells what I want in white, I haven’t really got a choice!!

Anyway, the time spent was good, I got to use my brain cells (though the instructions weren’t hard) and my muscle! And now I have a wall for storage! Ta da!

The only thing that I’ve really got to figure out is how to attach them to the wall, so they don’t fall on me and potentially break my legs whilst I slept. Hopefully everything will fit in these two wonderful inventions and I’ll be able to use the spare under bed space for shoes! Now I’ve just got to fix my overflowing chest of draws... that’s for a day when I feel like tidying!

In other news, it seems that the addition of yellow lines to the estate, has psychologically altered the minds of everyone who parks in the surrounding area. Now they all seem to think that parking on the pavement and the road is ok...when in fact is more dangerous and illegal!

Case in point – the parking of the fitter who came to change the fan that got killed by my Mum leaving the sausages cooking for far too long! (the cooker and fan were brought from Galleywood kitchens – the fan stopped the house from burning down) This is happening every day and it’s rather annoying. To be honest though, since I watched the yellow lines go down, I haven’t seen a traffic warden... And there is still a gap in the double yellows on Hillhouse Drive, where all the ridiculousness started!

Now is the beginning of another four month review period for me, the last one ended well, with some really clear, constructive feedback from my management, plus a thank you and a well done! The next four months are going to be interesting... hopefully with an update of the last four to start off with and a move forwards to building relationships with team, young people and schools. I’m really excited about some training that I’ve got to look out for, all of it will hopefully make me more proficient for my job!

Keep an eye out for the return of the Summer Party in the near future!!

P.S. I have migrated to the floor, because the wireless internet connection only works down here, I swear my computer always askes itsself 'How uncomfortable can I make Liz's day today?'

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wedding Daze

I'm in the middle of two days of wedding prep for Mandy and Rob. Yesterday was dress shopping and today is the engagement party.

I'm not allowed to give you any details about yesterday... not even a hint about dresses or colours... we had a great day and I think the bridal party are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the year to come!

Today we're celebrating a year to the day with an engagement party. It should be really good fun, we've been looking forward to it for a long time!

Mandy and Rob are a brilliant couple, not only because Mandy is my best friend and I've known Rob since I was 11, they work really well together and I always enjoy their company.

The only person that is missing tonight is the best man...he's working hard for Disney!

On with the day, Karen should be arriving soon and I need to get ready to spend some time with her and Heather!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Weekend of Ultimate Funsies! EVER! In the whole actual world! YES!

A little over the top you might say, but not really when you consider that I spent a whole weekend in Elveden Forest at Center Parcs with a group of20 somethings who don't get away very often on holiday!

4 days and 3 nights of laughter and making firm friends. We did a lot of walking (cycling is expensive) and a lot of eating, swimming and sunbathing. I spent a lot of time with Karen

Here she is BBQ-ing on the Sunday night, having also cooked on the Saturday. We managed to feed 11 of us successfully at three different time over the weekend with limited space in the kitchen and a heat detector/smoke alarm that just would not shut up!

I learnt a couple of exercises to ensure that I strengthen my muscles in my lower back and stomach (if you've ever zipped up your stomach muscles and had to stand in a neutral spinal position you'll know exactly what I'm on about!) and spent time relaxing in the purpose built spa!

Unfortunately there aren't a wealth of photos, simple because my brain took a long time to get into holiday mode!

Fun all around and possibly a visit next year, if we're lucky!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This Easter weekend has gone by in a flash, partly because I haven't been able to sit a watch really.

Maundy Thursday was really important this year. We had some good discussions and a little bit of teaching about the first passover, sharing food and sitting together (which I don't think we've done before) ... and the time in church was equally important. We were sat with the young people from the team church across town. It was great to sit with them and listen to what they'd been up to.

Warner spoke about the first passover again and used material from the time when students from St John's school came to church to learn about passover.

Shortly after that a few of us gathered at St Mary's in the High Street to hold a vigil. I had two hours of nothing, to recover and pray.

It was nice to sit and chill... to listen to God and hear words that I've heard over and over again, but with a fresh set of thoughts

"What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."

Matt 6 from the Message (and

God will provide for us if we look to Him first... obvious really, but fixation on God is the key. often we use this passage as a 'don't worry God will fix it', kind of a 'while we're in the midst of trouble' verse ... but actually it's a verse to remind us where our focus should be inn the first place.

Mini but important...

So Good Friday crept up me. I said the words that Jesus would've said to Pilot and then rushed home to then rush out again to join this

The CTB Walk of Witness. It's two years since I last described it (here) which means I was working in Bristol at the time of blogging (time flies). We almost managed total silence and those businesses that have sprung up since Easter of last year were more than curious to see what was going on (a really clear memory of a hairdresser almost running to her door to see this spectacle is in my mind). No heckling this year, a couple of rude motorists though.

The rest of Good Friday was for Eastingle. We had 85 people in our church, learning what Easter is all about, and realising that I still don't know why the day is called Good. It was a really good afternoon, despite the rain.

The rest of the weekend was taken up with travelling to and from Bristol. It was good to see Kay, and her brother, who both turned 25 last weekend! And to collect and be driven round in Kay's new MX-5! I also saw a very dear friend, on my way home, I haven't seen Mary since I lived in Bristol, even though we used to live a street (or so) apart from each other in Billericay. She's now in Sussex, it was nice to catch up with her and meet her crazy dog, Horlicks!

Sunday came, unusual from previous years, I can't put my finger on it though, but it may have something to do with not seeing Karen, at all over Easter, and I slept for the most part (travelling 300 miles in 24 hours) and then headed to the pub. We were in the Spoons in town and bumped into the other lot from Billericay that are going to Center Parcs this weekend. I also had the opportunity to try Daffy's Elixir from Brewsters. Lovely beer - going to see if I can find it in bottle for soon!

Anyway, it is Thursday, I now feel I need to post this, because the time stamp is incorrect!

Thursday, April 09, 2009


I said it last week, that before I even thought about it, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday will be upon us and Sunday would be rushing up.

Well here it is. Holy week is about to over take my life.

After my posts last week, I got myself involved in Eastingle preparations. Which is not more than I can handle, but something I believe is important for the life of the church and the community, though it makes me crazy busy for a bit!

You're probably wondering what Eastingle is...

Well, it's the follow on from Christingle, which is the celebration of the light coming into the world and banishing the darkness.

For the last couple of years, we've had three Christingle services, we get, on average, 500 people through our doors on Christmas Eve, because of this very special service, which involves an orange, a candle and some sweets.

People started to notice that last year we weren't doing any follow up services - Jesus wasn't a baby for very long (Talledaga Nights!), He grew up. Not a lot of people know what Easter is about, which is strange to me because it is up there in importance with Christmas.

So Eastingle involves a hot cross bun, 3 ribbons (purple, red and white) and a straw.

The Straw goes in the hot cross bun and the ribbons go on the straw in this order

Purple - To signify the ministry of Jesus and His triumphal entry into Jerusalem as the king of the Jews.

Red - To signify the death of Jesus, God's only Son, God as Human form.

White - To signify the fact that when we say sorry God forgets the things we do wrong and we're 'clean' through the sacrifice of Jesus.

Just writing it is pretty powerful. We've got readings to fill in the 'gaps' and a specially written version of Give me Joy in my Heart (Sing Hosanna) as well as Colours Of Day to sing through the service.

We're also using Tim Hughes version of See His Love, with a power point presentation to match as a time for response.

It's still in the early stages of development as a service plan, but we hope that it is something that will happen every year, and we're gathering together all the information about how we've done it and what resources we've used so that we can help others reach out to their community during our festival time. I'll post some photos when the event has happened.

It's also time to remember our roots too. Tonight we are sharing a meal and remembering the last supper, which has it's roots in the Jewish Passover. I do love tradition, especially when it goes back further than I can get my head around (I'm sure I've said that before!).

Time to go out and gather some food!

Monday, April 06, 2009

You know you're getting old when....

...You go to a family party to celebrate the 18th birthday of someone who you still think should be 15!

Adam, who is referred to, quite rightly, as the youngest cousin, on my Dad's side of the family, turns 18 today, but for family tradition, we always celebrate occassions such as this on a Sunday afternoon/evening. So yesterday, we piled over to Hadleigh to wish him many happy returns and pull out al the old stories, of when we were children and life didn't include mortages, exams and university choices. It makes us happy for a brief moment (and especially happy to note that the eldest of us will be turning 30 in the next three years!) and then we go back to real life... The family bubble is amazing, we can go from opening our doors to loads of boys, to having a roast on a Thursday lunch time, to gently (though sometimes it hits below the belt) humouring each other over food and beer (and this time cake!)

Here's the whipper snapper of the group

That's 'Happy Birthday' in lights for those of you who are struggling with my photo taking abilities (they were brought with the thought that at Christmas he was dressed like a Christmas tree!). His girlfriend is sat next to him.

And this is the cake that helped us to celebrate in the only way we know how (eating lots and singing really loudly!)

That cake topper has glasses, black hair, a black outfit and the coolest drawing of a skull and cross bones I've seen for a very long time! It was created in foam by my Aunt's colleague (who isn't a profession cake maker, but a teacher). The comptuer has a mouse and a key board, plus all the wires you need! It's not edible, but still, I love it!

So Happy 18th Birthday Adam! Enjoy it and we'll see you in the pub some time soon!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Believing the impossible

For the last couple of posts I've been talking about being in our local secondary school, participating and leading lessons for year 7's and 8's (that's anyone aged 11-13, if you don't understand our schooling system!). The year seven groups have heard all about church from a Christian perspective (I can't do it any other way!) and the year eights have had the horror of crucifixion (believe me, it's not very nice to hear the description every day, I haven't got used to it yet and I hope I never do!).

I wanted to call this post 'Celebrating the Ordinary' but I think that what we've come across in the last three weeks has been extraordinary, the students we've spoken to, taught and listened to have all been interested in church and Jesus, His life, His ministry. Which for me is amazing, we don't know their backgrounds, but you can be certain that some of them have parents who have never set foot inside a church. I have been astonished by the wealth of knowledge that we have come across, and I hope that they all remember it for a very long time!

(Of course, we have our funny stories - one boy when asked the difference between real bunnies and the Easter bunny said that Easter bunnies lay chocolate eggs - a highlight of the time we've spent in school!)

The year seven's are doing a church project, they have to visit a local church and build up a report of it, and present it. It's a big part of year 7 R.S. and being one of the closest churches to Mayflower School, we end up getting a few young people through our doors. It's a great idea and it gives me a chance to talk about a building I grew up in, and this week I spotted this

(I love that I have a 5 megapixel camera with me all of the time)

Some pretty cool shots of the church I know so well and I have the privilage of working in.

These images are really key right now, particularly the one of the cross and the banner. We're heading quickly into Holy Week and before you know it, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday will be upon us... but Sunday is a'coming.

This time last year, I was scared, I didn't know where I was going, what I was doing, but this Easter, I'm excited, full of passion for what I believe to be true, the saving grace that has brought me this far, and the ability to put it into words and share the truth of Easter with those I care about the most. To speak about a history that stretches beyond my imagination and to help others catch a glimpse of what it means to be a Christian with a rich tradition, after all Jesus was a Jew!

I've been reminded this week as well that the Trinity will deal with doubters, God will arrive and say

"Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me." Job 40:7

Jesus will appear and say to those who are unsure

"Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." John 20:27

And the Holy Spirit will turn up and speak to those in their own language, so that they will believe. (The whole of Acts)

The one thing that made me chuckle is that the Thomas story appears in John, and if you know anything about John the writer, you'll know he's a little self centred at times. (Don't believe me? Read John 20: 3-9) Just made me laugh that he's a little 'I can point the finger, because I'm so great'.

Any way... pretty powerful ideas, it's for us to love the doubters, to listen to their worries, their theories, but believe that God will show up in a big way to change their lives.