Monday, December 13, 2010

Quick Christmas

December has come upon us rather quickly and without little notice it must be said! I have had a few moments of dis-belief in the past month or so.

The first one is a wonderful moment though. As part of my job I get to go into school and run lessons. It is always really interesting to see how much students know... It's a lot of fun to get students thinking about things from a Biblical perspective, the new things that we can teach them about the Bible and the characters we can read about. Recently we were talking about New Starts and the story of Nicky Cruz. One class we spoke to knew so much about the questions we asked them that we sailed through the lesson and felt truly elated at the end of it. I feel to my knees at the end of the lesson, knowing that God was working in all of their hearts and minds, teaching them about His goodness and grace. Today we were in a different school, but still came away feeling the same, Christmas lessons are always good when you get questions that enable you to tell your story and God's story in more depth.

The other dis-belief was a bad one - in fact things come in threes and I understand that a little more after having a wingmirror broken, a dead laptop and a maxed out overdraft (due to paying for a new wingmirror and paying to fix the laptop). It was a bad week for me.

Any way, the laptop is still not back, after the problem was not fixed the first time around, so I'm working from the home laptop, hence the lack of posting and general quietness.

In a few days we will definitely be in the run up to Christmas, there are carol services to be had, there are talks to be done and there are parties to attend.

Shaken Up has finished for 2010 and we will be back on 14th Jan.

There are lots of things happening over Christmas, new things to do. Things we will do once, things that will start new traditions. I'm apprehensive about this Christmas, but that's mostly because I will be in Church for three days in a row. Three Christingles, one midnight communion, one Christmas Day communion, and a Boxing Day service at 10am.

I would like it to be over so that I can rest! I've had one cold so far and seem to be really tolerant of illness at the moment. I'm praying that continues.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


My plan was to blog this afternoon, but life has taken over. I am thinking about what to write about and I hope that I will be able to do it soon. Apologies for the silence... I'm thinking and I will put it all down soon!

Friday, November 05, 2010

4 years ago

Today is the anniversary of my last big break up. I split from Henry, who was my fiance. The last four years have been difficult to put it in a word, though that doesn't explain why or how, or how different things are now. I'm still really rebuilding my life I guess.

It's sent me into a bit of a wobble really. I was blogging nearly every day at that point, so re-reading the account is hard to do. I still can't learn a lot from it and it seems like this time of year is the moment where I step back at take account of what I've done, who I have surrounded myself with and where I am with God. I wish I knew how to put it all into words, but I only have sounds right now and a sense of wanting to give up.

I always underestimate this time of year. Last year I had a wobble, almost out of nowhere and almost lost someone close to me because of it, the year before was not great either and in 2007 I was decorating my room this weekend with two wonderful friends who are now married.

The next couple of weeks is looking good for being busy and having space to think too. I'm working this weekend, so I've got a day off in the middle of the week. Seeing a good friend too for quite a lot of the time!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Remember, Remember

It's November and the world is changing, colours are now oranges and yellows, there's a breeze running through the house every time you leave a door open and there's an unmistakelable chill in the air, that won't be gone until mid-May! (I really wanted to say April, but I would be lying) It's that time of year when I lack motivation for wanting to get out of bed too early, though this week I have felt the benefits of early nights and early mornings, happily! I think the clocks going back has helped this a little, but my enthusiasm will soon die, I think!

Once again, we've had a debate about switching the clocks. In the spring, it's because the animals get caught up in traffic when the nights get lighter (and not in t good way) and during the autumn it's all about trading hours for business people, as I understand it. Now I don't normally listen to the news very carefully, but it seems that this time around, in 2010, there have been some lengthy discussions about taking action - do we stick with GMT or BST. The days get longer no matter what the time is, we definitely get more sun in the summer and less in the winter, but the system is so old that it would be too different. And it's not something you can change at half an hour a time, or even by fifteen minutes! I don't know what the solution is, but I know you can't please everyone, so you've got to put up with it. It's not the reason the economy is failingg, if that was really the case, we'd have gone bankrupt a loooooong time ago!

You may or may not know that my sister is married. To Robert, who is an American. He's living here now after what must seem like an age of waiting for my sister. It's been an interesting time, but I'm going to meet him on Saturday and we'll see how things go. Sorry if I caused any alarm with my last post. It was the night before they got married and emotions were running high.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

As time goes by

The last ten or so weeks have been a rollercoaster for my family, in it's many different forms and ways. Maybe one day I'll write about it in full somewhere, but for now, please pray, if that's what you do. God knows what is going on and if you could just say my name to him that would be great.

Thank you to every single person who has already prayed with me or for my mum and dad, who I'm missing so much already. Your support is invaulable and of the highest praise, so please, if I don't thank you personally, take this as some way towards a thank you. It is times like these when I know I couldn't do things on my own.

I thank God for you.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Harvest pt. 2

My brother said yesterday that he was buying a Euromillions ticket with thoughts of becoming famous if he won... A good idea, but on the fame stakes for the family, I am miles ahead of him already. Two Blue Peter appearances under my belt and various news articles, prove that I'm a little more famous than he is (does infamy count though?).

My latest escapade comes in the form of a newspater article... the last time I had my photo taken for the paper was when I had curly hair! So a very long time ago... but here's the evidence

Don't I look good!?!?! Bear in mind that I had spent a wet afternoon in Norsey woods... but I look happy at least.

Today we have had the second harvest festival from Brightside school. They do a wonderful job of putting things together for an event that, according to the BBC, is dying out. We are living in a constantly changing world - and that shows by not hearing any familiar songs this morning - so children are viewing harvest differently. It's interesting though, school is already different from what I remember. I sound like an old woman :( I guess I am though.

Time to get my act together!

Last night we had J.John chat to us (DVD!) about adultery, which was really interesting. It was a fresh look at some of the things we're told not to do... but positively what we should be doing in our relationships - particularly with those we are in love with. If you're interested in Just 10 - have a look at the website or youtube for a glimpse of how good Just 10 is!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Harvest Festival

The last weekend was taken over by all things harvest-y. A chance to celebrate the things that we count as our own harvest. For me, it's how thankful I am for the hard work of the people around me, that we've created a space for young people to come to on a Friday and in school too. For the relationships that continue to grow and the opportunities that I have to share the gospel with the community around me.

We celebrated this year by holding a scarecrow festival, our first ever festival, which went down really well with the younger families and some of the adults, we had two entries from St John's school so a dozen scarecrows were voted on and the winner is.... ME! My 'Young person 101' got the most votes but it was a close one. I really enjoyed the problem solving aspect of it, but I think that is partly because I have an artist inside me and she quite enjoyed being let loose for a little bit. Here's my young person

Sport loving, laces undone, hoodie and jean wearing! Typical really!

Here's a really scary scarecrow!

My good friends Helen and Emma spent over two hours putting him together! He did a brief preach, before being dismantled.

We had a lot of fun at the barn dance and Sunday morning was about celebrating everything that had happened and was going to happen. I was most impressed with the pathfinders and the brilliant mime that they did to tell the story... Margaret's message was really good too and we held a collection for our mission partners in South Africa. The band were really good and the whole thing just hung together.

After that I walked around a very wet norsey woods with my parents and some others for 2 and a half hours. I got lost, but it's not difficult to find your way again... At the moment the rain is depressing me a bit as is waking up in the dark too. I'd rather stay in bed! But life goes on and so must I. We then headed back to church for the voting of the scarecrow contest. A man from the paper turned up, so I am going to have my photo hopefully in that this week. All good fun!

It's an interesting time of year.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Eating well

Eating is one of the things I love to do. I have always been near food, I have done a little bit of experimenting in the kitchen, some has worked, some hasn't, but I am a follower of instructions, so I find making things really easy. I also get distracted easily, so I'm often blaming my tools when something doesn't turn out right.

I want my own kitchen most of the time, but I love cooking with Chris and Mum though I love it when Chris cooks for me! I'm looking forward to having a house and being able to fill my cupboards with basics and my freezer with meals. I'm hoping that I will have more than 7 meals in my repertoire when I have a family (after I saw the BBC report the other week!). I'm hoping I'll learn something from Chris' mum and my mum too, as well as my Nan who makes a mean roast.

It's interesting to me when I find a flavour that I didn't expect but tastes like something that I've eaten a lot of the time. I found some crisps that fit that description... here they are

The taste exactly like a curry I've had and I think it's the one that Chris' mum makes! It smells divine though and they aren't too spicy, though if you like a mild curry, it's best to stay away. If you can get hold of some Hairy Biker crips, I would recommend them. Full of flavour!

Monday, September 27, 2010


P.S. I've just heard back from Cadbury and they have taken ywo years to get to the point where their pure diary milk products are fairly traded... they didn't really answer my question.

Does an Advent Calendar not count as pure dairy milk?

I'm disappointed by the answer I've been given. Booo. Not good enough Cadbury! On with the fight!

We also found out from the Kenyan's about their involvement in fair trade... it seems to be helping!

Time for a breather!

This is my wonderful boyfriend, doing something that he really loves. I am really happy that this is a picture in the public domain... it puts a smile on my face every time I see it, every time I remember being at Silverstone for the very first time, knowing that he was wandering around with a media pass. This weekend he was doing the same thing at Brands Hatch... his work for The Checkered Flag has taken over his spare time. He works his socks off with his paid job and then works twice over at the weekend. The life of a sports journalist isn't all flowery shirts and iPads (take note Eddie Jordan)!

This is my lunch today. I am sick again. Not 100% and grateful that I spent all of yesterday afternoon sat down, doing some cutting out. I hope I haven't given what I've got to anyone else. I feel really rubbish, but I have a lot to do still, so onwards and hopefully upwards.

Yesterday we had the ladies from Ciamanda in Kenya at church. It was good to sit and chat with them, and find out about their youth groups and how thing are the same and different in the part of the world that they have come from. I wonder what it is really like. The last time I went to Africa, they were only advertising mobile phones, but in the 8 years since then, everyone seems to have them!

My parents are on their way home from a weekend away to celebrate their 27th Wedding Anniversary. With a wedding on the way... it's their last chance for a holiday. It's nice to have the house to myself for a bit, but it's always nice to have them back!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Not a word....

I finished Her Fearful Symmetry over a week ago and I was a little bit confounded by the ending. I think confounded is the right word. It finished abruptly and it is rather strange, though the whole book leans to strange. Anyway, back I go to the Phillipa Gregory books that I brought a year or so ago and haven't picked up after being a little bit disappointed by one of a trilogy she had written.

I don't really like being disappointed by books. I find it sad that I can leave a book half way through reading it, but some subject matters just don't capture my imagination, and I guess that you can't please everyone so I am going to be disappointed.

This week has been a week to get back into a routine, although every September since I have been a youth worker (volunteer or paid) has been slightly different from the one before. There are days when I suddenly realise that every week is different from the one before, that I can't possibly think of my life ever being the same again. I am a fan of order and knowing what's coming next. I like to have things planned, even though to some it seems that it's chaotic!

I tell you something that is not chaotic at all, and that's the supermarkets already having their christmas stuff on the shelves. It's very organised of them to be thinking about it lng before the rest of us!

I was out last night, after my first night of my second year at CCS when I came across a whole isle dedicated to all things christmassy. Here's the evidence -

Shocking. I know we say that Christmas gets earlier every year, but this is seriously early... there isn't even any hallowe'en stuff in the shops and they have the Christmas stuff out! Sadly, once again, nothing fairly traded (not even the cadbury calendars) so I am on the hunt to find out how I can petition cadbury (and find a fair trade chololate calendar).

Here's hoping that Christmas won't come to soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010


I have a pocket bible that my mum gave to me as I started my first year out, and because it is brown in origin, it has taken many different disguises, partly to disguise that it's a bible, but also to give me something to talk about when I meet people for the first time. I normally carry my bible with me, so it gets a lot of wear and tear.

Here's a picture of another makeover that it's just gone through

Twist your head and you'll find that at t the bottom of the picture is the old skin, and above that is the new skin that was used for the refurbishment.

I love my Bible, it's accessible to me and others, it's got notes of talks I've listened to, important reminders of where passages are that are important to me, how I've put Bible verses into context or they've been broken down for me. I have not read all of it, I hold my hands up to that, it is difficult some times to read it. i try to though and when I need it the most, it's more reliable than anything else!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The view from above

Have a look at this - I couldn't even watch it all the way through without feeling incredibly wobbly!

There are people in the world who appear to be a lot braver than myself. I guess the only way to get to the top would be to climb up - using a helicoptor would possibly be too dangerous.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry

I am reading a book I can't put down. I think it's because it's a book about twins and there's a cemetery as well, and it's set in England, and most reference points I can get along with. I am only about 250 pages in, so not finished yet. But I am enjoying it. Not as much as TTW, but I want to find out what is going to happen to the twins and their neighbours, plus other residents.

We are trying to get back in to the swing of things. Dealing with Christmas and Harvest, New Year, All Saints Sunday, tea and coffee, schools clubs, carol concerts, Christingles, Boxing Day being a Sunday this year, the town's fun day, the new members of staff. So much to think on, thankfully I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, but it's tiny and there is a long way to go!

I am happy that I get to be in a different place for half term this year. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Recently, facebook has told me that there is at least one birthday a day of the people I have added (or have added me). For some of them it's difficult to remember what we did to celebrate those birthdays, but mostly I have some recollection of what birthdays in early September felt like. Being amongst the youngest in the year during my school days meant that there were people in my year who were over 10 months older than me, the way school works in the UK is very strange.

I digress, I'm talking about birthdays because last Sunday, when I was blogging about books, my family were converging on the house to share with Mike as he turned 21. We share stories, about younger days when we were silly and things that have happened more recently. My cousin was unfortunate enough to burn the back of his hand (and some of his kitchen) in a deep fat fryer incident. We were all told about Karen's wedding and talked about dogs, now that we can share stories to help understand how best to look after our dog.

We will always do this I think, pick on each other, call everyone old, find reasons to laugh and joke about the past. Of course we're creating new things to talk about, but the old ones are the best!

Sunday, September 05, 2010


In the last 50 mins before the family descend on the house for my brother's 21st birthday, I thought I'd tell you a little bit more about me and my relationships with books.

I can imagine that I am much like the rest of my generation when it comes to reading... otherwise I may start to sound weird, you can let me know what you think. Close family and friends already know I am weird.

I have read a number of books in my time, some were really good, others were awful, there have been easy reads and some have been full of difficult words that I have used a dictionary so that I could get through them.

One book took my imagination and I have written about it and the movie many times. The Time Travellers Wife is one of those books I will read for the rest of my life. I hope.

I do own a lot of books, not nearly as many as some people I know, but I have brought a book case to specifically keep my books in. I own a wide range of books and find that when I'm reading, I sleep better and my imagination gets a work out, when normally I over think things, if I'm thinking about a book, I'm not thinking about other things that might be more harmful to me.

I started with Stephen King and progressed to things about theology and sociology for my degree. I have a number of cookery books and a number of bibles, two very good types of books to live well. My most prized books are the few that are signed, mainly by Jamie Oliver, as my Aunt worked with him for a few years during the beginning of his Sainsbury's campaign. I have a few books that have been brought for me, and I find that buying a book for someone is a highly personally thing to do. One book reminds me of a life that was never meant to be, but once it has been written in, I find it hard to give up. The book I carry around with me the most is my brown NIV, the bible that was given to me by my mum at the start of my first year out. It has pages of notes and little bits of knowledge that I keep going back to. I have lots of books that are waiting to be read.

I recently spent time in Yorkshire with Chris and he took me to a second had book store that had all sorts odd things. I came across a big fat bible, that would have been amazing to own, but I have no where to keep it and it was an odd translation, so I would have little use for it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

You think you're busy!

So the first of September is here, just about.

Today has been a London day with the male youth workers in the town, something that has been in the diary for a long time. I'm glad I've spent the time with them, glad I've got something out of it too. I always find myself having honest conversations with the people that do the same job with me. Something that I think is harder to do with people who don't understand or don't know. Of course it also depends on how long and how much time you spend with someone too. But I digress!

We were in London for a teaching session about CRB and ISA forms. ISA has been put on hold by the most recent government as they think they can streamline it more so it's less complicated for people to understand. Good for them, as it all came a bit out of the blue for me and I still don't really understand why a second regulatory body is necessary, but then, I don't much like the way CRB's have worked any way. So new forms and a promise that it can be done online (making it easier and quicker) in the future. Though one question is popping into my head as I write - surely a signature is a good thing?

Lots of fun to be had and a chance for a rare moment of youth work...talking about life instead of work!

But now we are back and I feel that we will race towards Christmas, very quickly. There is a holiday on the horizon though.

This term is exciting, I'm building relationships with a lot of people and gathering information that I simply wouldn't have come across two years ago when I first started. There's a first, a third and a fifth Sunday to sort in October, and once we get there, we'll be thinking about Advent and Christmas Eve. A youth work conference, a Christmas party, so much more and meetings too! I am glad for flexible days, time off and friends who see the need for relaxation in my life!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What's on my mind...

I'm hoping that doing a short blog will inspire me to work on my talk a little bit more, perhaps putting down some of what is in my head will clear the cobwebs and get me writing.

This weekend I spent time in two places that I've never been to before. I was on the outskirts of North Swindon for a wedding and then to Silverstone for some racing.

On Saturday, we celebrated the marriage of Julie and Paul. Paul used to be the vicar at the church I work for now and Julie was a volunteer. They've been friend for a very long time, so we were all excited when they announced that they were going to get married.

Here's the wonderful couple

With Bridesmaid. I could've put up a photo of the aftermath of the confetti moment, but I know Julie would never forgive me! We spent time as a bunch of friends, chatting and catching up with people that we haven't seen for a long time. Very happy to see my old boss for a few minutes with her wonderful husband

I was at their wedding too! It's exciting that they are moving on and my old boss is going to be a vicar's wife soon! She's even learnt to make marmalade! :) Very happy for all four of them, it's exciting to see how things have changed and what has developed.

On Sunday we got up early, again, and heading two hours north to Silverstone. The journey there was interesting, the sat nav doing it's best to take us off the M1 too early, especially when there isn't much traffic around. We got to Silverstone and were instantly confused. It's a huge circuit, so finding a programme and getting some idea of what is going on was really hard. The staff were ok, but information about important things, like the pit walk and changes to the programme were hard to come by. It's different at Silverstone, because it's not owned by Motor Sport Vision, it's difficult to get my head around how different it can be. The other thing about Silverstone is that there's no cash point at the circuit (in a place that probably needs two or three.)

Any way, we had a really good day, sat in the sun, walking around and watching the BTCC races. Here's a video of Tom Chilton and the boys going round the bend at Maggotts.

Chris and I watched the highlights on Tuesday, only to hear Jason Plato complain all of the time! The less I say about it, the better. I'm still a bit annoyed about all of it really!

Still it was a good result for Team Aon over the weekend and Chris got some good photos. It was his first time with a media pass at a big event, and it was nice to have a conversation with him, whilst he was in the media centre and I was on the pit lane!

Here's a photo to prove that I was there

I love the races and I love that Chris has spent a summer doing somethig he loves. He has worked really hard recently, all of free, so here's hoping he gets some sort of recognition for it in the future. We're hopefully heading to the DTM on the Saturday again in a couple of weeks. More load cars and clever driving.

Other things are happening around me at the moment, some of which are exciting, but others are harder to take on board. There is a lot to do before term starts in a couple of weeks, I've got to get my head around what happened at Soul Survivor and how best to work with it. Seeing what God has put on the hearts of the young people and try to think about my own experiences. Lots of exciting conversations to happen.

There is a wet dog sat at my feet, looking at me, telling me to move on. So I will. There is more to come I promise!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I am still here!

I will blog about the weekend at some point, it's been a hetic one, and I've got some videos to show you too! Promise I will do it before this week is out.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Soul Survivor

Sadly, a lot of people faired better than me upon our return to Billericay. I have suffered for my faith this week, with a nose that's so full of gunk, I can't breathe through it and a stuffed sinus too. It's been painful, but is really insignificant compared to the work of my Creator and the freedom I find in His love.

There are things for us to work through, ideas, prayers to pray and hope. Dreaming big and gathering those around me who can really do wonderful things. We have to dream big, we have to change the world and start with love.

Waiting on God to send the Holy Spirit is something that scares a lot of people, but it is worthwhile, He healed a lot of people while we waited and even healed me! My knees have always suffered from camping and walking, but some of the youth group prayed ovver my knee and the pain went, it was really amazing!

If you want to have a look at the Soul Survivor website (and find the dates for next year) you can click here, if you want to have a look at the videos from God tv to see what it's like of an evening, have a look here.

I do recommend it, it's a 12,000 strong crowd. We witnessed over 500 people start their lives as Christians, and many many more taking a stand to change the world.

I got home, feeling slightly better than when I left the showground, hoping that everyone would turn up soon so I could go home and have a shower. I quickly did that and sent my wonderful boyfriend a couple of messages about how I missed him... little did he know that I would turn up on his doorstep to surprise him on his birthday. it had the desired effect... happy boyfriend!

We've spent time doing the things that he loves, mainly various forms of golf (though none of them proper) and watching the A-Team and eating. I have enjoyed myself, despite the illness of the year knocking me out in the afternoons at the moment. Today I am writing through it, though I may fall asleep before dinner gets called.

Tomorrow we celebrate the wedding of two good friends, who have taken their time to get to this place, but we are all happy - firstly that the groom is recovered enough and that they have stuck together for so long.

Sunday is race day for everyone - we're heading to the BTCC, so were praying for sun and a good couple of races to get the drivers and spectators going. Chris got a media pass for the weekend, so we're both super excited that he will get to stand amongst the drivers (most of whom he has met) for two days.

I need to defrag my computer and sleep!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Off to Soul Survivor

This time, I must remember to change my voicemail so that people know I am on holiday (of sorts).

Staying in a field of five days (the long-winded way of saying 'I'm going camping') is going to be really interesting for me, I've done it before, but with Scouts, which is once again another experience that I can add to the list of things that I have done in my long life. This is different, we are in a field that has portable showers and toilets. With a lot of other people. I know that when there is a shower available I would really like to have one before I start my day, but I think that everyone will be having showers in the morning, so I may have to default to a time that is unusual, but at least I will be clean.

I will do a full write up of the Soul Survivor experience when I get back.

I've finished The Time Travellers Wife, finally, it's not like it was hanging over me, I just knew what was coming and didn't really want to partake in it, knowing how it would make me feel, I still cried and cried at Henry and Claire's story, i think I always will - it is tough knowing that, but at the same time, I have another outlet for the stress and the worry that I come across at certain points of my life.

So now I am reading the sequel to Man and Boy which is another book that I will hold on to in my life. If you haven't read any Tony Parsons, I would recommend you give him a try, if you like real life fiction, he's very good. Dysfunctional families and characters that somehow find their way in the world, very heart warming. I have an even longer relationship with his books. But that's another story.

The really good news is that my best friend is engaged! I'm waiting for a picture of the ring - but here's a picture of us in the mean time

We were celebrating Take That Day - the greatest day of my life! I love Kay very much and I wish her many blessings as she prepares for married life!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Posting videos to blog

In a response to a comment on 'Funsies' - posting a video to a blog isn't difficult at all.

In the post create window, you can hit the last icon on the bar directly above the place where you write your script, and if you have a video file you can post it directly to your blog. If you have youtube videos you can post them by creating the url for the video and pasting that into the script window.

It's that simple - the only problem I have found is that the youtube videos are a little big sometimes, so you can fiddle with the height, but you have to be in the Edit HTML tab to do so.

It can take a little bit of time, but once you've done it once, you can do it again and again.

I use my phone and my digital camera to make videos.

I hope that helps... if not, have a look at blogger help and they might be a bit better - although possibly use more jargon.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


I just had to share this with you. We don't normally have a games night, but when we do, it gets funny and competitive, due to the nature of the people I spend my time with! This is a video of some of my best friends playing Just Dance on the Wii.

Helen, the shortest of them all, gets a little bit excited by Just Dance and to be honest, pulling faces and dancing to make evryone laugh!

I love my friends and the things that we do together, I don't see them as much as I would like, we're all really busy so it's becoming harder to meet.

I think the video explains it all!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Looking forward

Everyone keeps saying I look tired. It's not really a surprise to me... I am tired, probably more than I'm letting on really.

I'm praising God that I got an opportunity to sit on my own this morning for most of the service, I know I haven't really been to church during July so to be there this morning felt a little strange! It was a good atmosphere though, Mandy and co led really well for the sung part and Warner did an excellent job too. Dad spoke on greed and what it does to us.

Chris is at a race almost every weekend from now until late September, so I will be spending my weekends mostly on my own, when I'm not with friends or family. It's really exciting for him, this time last year he was tentative about spending the time doing it, but now he's writing for I will be spending my week nights with him, rather than weekends. With the little bit of spare time he has, he's using it doing something he really loves, so although I don't see him, I'm happy that he's getting so much out of it.

Here's to some thinking time over the next couple of days, before the final push to SS...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Back from the boat - year 2

Day one of the recovery from Falcon camp, and I'm feeling fab! I had a really good time this year, felt 'at home' and hugely blessed as soon as I stepped into Alice's house, and then on to the boat a couple of hours later. It's strange to think that before last years camp, I was hugely nervous about sleeping on a boat and this time around, it seemed like I had really come home. It is never going to be the most comfortable week's sleep that I have during the year, but I still manage to sleep soundly. This year, I got woken up twice during the night by sick girls, but I really don't mind, if I can calm a whole dorm down and get then back to sleep, I know I'm doing the job that I'm called to by my creator.

Once again at team debrief, I felt as though the first day was 6 years ago, rather than 6 days, we all struggled to remember what it felt like to be a team without 20 children taking our attention and making us laugh so hard. I spent some of my time this year doubled over in laughter and was really blessed by all of the Jelly Bean Girls and every member of the FACT team. A day spent off the boat was the wettest one we'd had all week, but we were inside all day, we really didn't know it was going to rain that heavily, as we got back to te boat, the weather cleared and stayed away long enough for us to got out again! No need for the code red activities, we got to do everything we wanted to. The day sail (setting out at 10 and getting back at four) was really good, last year I learnt to sail, this year, I didn't have to, if I didn't want to. I got a bit of the bug, but didn't follow through, and after giving it a second try, I think that I like being out on the water, but I'm not actually cut out for it. Tacking back and forth is always a little too scary for me!

I have some more great memories of this week, including the difference in some of the returning children, having conversations with those young teenagers has made me realise what a difference a year can make and how their lives are really affected by the people that they see during term time. I'm going to miss everyone who returned this year, as they are too old to come next year.

So now I can spend some time thinking about the young people in Billericay, Soul Survior and the what I have learnt from Falcon that I can use at home.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I have completed my 400 miles in 39 days. I'm very grateful for everyone who has sponsored me, my page will be open until October so please, if you're reading this and you'd like to give, please do.

Stop the Traffick work tirelessly to bring people out of slavery and to stop people trafficking across the world. It is really important work and the case studies of people who have been saved only prove how great the charity are.

I would've blogged about this yesterday, but I got a ticket for being parked outside my own house, so that took over. Yesterday was not a good start to being 26!

However, my birthday was really good, Karen and I introduced our friends and family to TopGolf, which I think most people enjoyed and we were joined by extra people for the BBQ afterwards, which seems to have become the annual event!

That's all that is happening at the moment. I'm busy preparing for Falcon camp again. Looking forward to it, the extra day might be the killer though!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nearly There!

A new video for you to have a look at!

I am at the end of my epic journey, ok, so I've not gone very far physically, but spending time cycling has been interesting and a good chance to do some reading and thinking.

Today is no different, for thinking that is. My wonderful boyfriend of a year set me off this morning... it's two years this week since I started my current job, which means it's two years since I had to get on a bus to get to work, it's also two years and two weeks since I passed my driving test. It's two years since my brothers went on holiday with their friends and I was left in the house on my own. Which means it's two years that my Dad has been in his current job too, 18 months since he fell over and broke his arm and had a plate put in it.

My life at the moment feels like it centers around working for ECC, although I'm not there any more, the 11 months that I spent in that office were some of the best moments and hardest moments too. I'd never had a 9-5 job before and so far, I haven't had one since. Although the stresses are completely different I wouldn't change my job for the world.

It also means that it's a year since Chris and I decided to make it official. I didn't blog about it at the time, there was a lot going on, and although it didn't slip my mind, I didn't feel it was right to broadcast my relationship so shortly after it started.

Chris and I had been on a couple of dates before I eventually said yes to his question, and it was my mum's fault that I did - she posed a very awkward question the first time that Chris came over for dinner. I literally could've died, I was so embarrassed and I did tell her off after Chris had left!

But a year on, we've done a lot together and there is still more to do. we've had our experiences, the ups and downs of learning about each other and travelling 32 miles each way to see each other (I hold the record for the longest time taken - 2h 05min).

Today we're heading back to the city where we had our first date, to eat something I've never had before - sushi. I've had sushi that hasn't had any raw fish, but it's time to take the step to eat raw fish and know that it's not going to kill me, because it's been prepared properly.

Our first date was at Pizza Express and I really enjoyed every moment of it! I'm looking forward to this date as much as I was looking forward to the first one. I'm even nervous about it!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's all over

SOLID is over - it had it's highs and lows, it was too hot to do anything for someone as old as me, but I got to spend time with a number of people who I enjoy spending my time with. We are still learning lessons about how best to do SOLID.

Over the weekend I obviously didn't get a chance to cycle, but I am now only 38 miles from my target and that means 90% there! Please, if you haven't done so, sponsor me, it's all of a really good cause and I'm really happy that I've raised some money already, but I'd like to try and get to £100 at least to make it worth while.

I haven't lost any weight like I thought I would, but that really doesn't matter. I might try to keep cycling and I haven't been to Jazzercise as much as I wanted to.

The summer is panning out nicely and we're heading towards Soul Survivor and birthday fun as well as Falcon.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


So July has come around super quick again this year. My second year in charge of the youth festival has brought its challenges already. We're heading away for the weekend to Stubbers, so there's some action packed time ahead for the young people and a chance to meet with God and work through a load of stuff with them, making sure that they are safe and happy for the time we're away. I'm fortunate that they are all sensible for the most part, and I have known most of them for a year already (or in the case of Verity - nearly 18!) so we have a good understanding of each other and hopefully at the end of the weekend it will be better.

Pray for us any way... it's getting bigger for Christ Church and it is super important.

This time last year I was blogging about Take That and a new car, about Solid and about other tiny bits and pieces that were going on. This year I really don't have it clear in my head what is going on... Yes, I've been on holiday, yes I've been cycling and trying to raise money for Stop the Traffik, yes, I'm preparing, slowly and surely for Falcon this year, I have more responsibility with this one. at some point I will be celebrating my 26th birthday.

I will also be celebrating a year with Chris. I won't do too much reflecting on the last year with him, but I have done a lot of things I never thought I would get to do, and I'm looking forward to doing some more things with him in the coming months. He's really wonderful and has made me really happy over the last year.

One of the things that I have mentioned on a number of ocassions is 'The Time Travellers Wife' I have a strange relationship with this book. I can't put it down. This time around is slightly different, since the release of the movie, I've not read the book, but now I have my own copy again I've picked it up to read again, but a lot slower than before. I'm scared of it now. I'll let you know how I get on!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Chris and I spent some time in Swaledale this weekend with his family, in a lovely tiny village called Muker. His parents own a house up there and although we didn't stay in the house, we did stay in a B&B at the back of the village. It was wonderful, firstly to have so much space to ourselves but also to be so close to everyone, you can walk 2 mins an be at the bottom of the village at Chris' parents front door!

The view across the village.

We spent Friday travelling, and only got caught a couple of times in traffic - including seeing a car on it's windshield on the A14, the journey was good though, with Chris pointing out various things along the way and telling us how far we had to go. Saturday was a day out to Hawes, which is in Wensleydale, sitting in the back of a landrover, being bumped around a bit was good until I started to feel sick. I thought that the Wensleydale cheese factory would be in Wensley - but it was on the edge of Hawes. Chris and I love cheese, so it was a bit of a must, despite the climb! (You'd think by now I would be used to exercise, but I'm really not!) The rest of the day was spent in Reeth and then down at the river, which was behind the B&B. Jenny - Chris' younger sister - found tadpoles and fish, while Sophie (Tim fiancee) built an impressive dam. we headed back and got ready for dinner in Thwaite. Sadly no photos, I left my camera behind, but we had a really good night.

Sunday was a quiet day and wet with it. Chris decided to show me the inside of White Scar Caves, which was really interesting - here's a (bad) photo of us outside.

It soon got cold and dark and wet after this, but a lot of fun, trying not to bump our heads and listening to stories from our cave guide. We headed to Tan Hill pub afterwards for a bit of lunch and some live music (although we didn't know that until we arrived). Tan Hill is the highest inn in Britain, so I'm quite pleased that Chris took me there and brought me a half! We spent the afternoon asleep, recovering from Saturday night. The weather cleared and we headed over to West Burton falls before dinner. Chris gave me a beautiful photo for me birthday last year and to stand in that place was really wonderful.

On Monday we went to Settle to get on the train to Carlisle, through the countryside and through Dent, which has the highest train station in Britain. We spent lunch time in the city and headed back on the train for dinner with Chris' family. Yesterday we got up early and went to Masham to the Black Sheep Brewery before getting on the A1 and heading south. We've done quite a lot, including eating, socialising and spending time in the pub. It's easy to get to know people and the event that Michael and Gill put on for their friends will be remembered for a long time.

This is the first proper holiday I've been on it quite some time - I got to Bristol, but that has an association with work still and every other time I've been away, I have been fact I think the last time I went on a proper holiday was Paris 2005.

This weekend I'm going to send my phone to be repaired! Joys of technology slowly dying on me!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Nearly there!

I am actually incredibly excited today - I'm over the 300 mile mark and I'm going on holiday, in about two hours!

I have almost sorted next weekends activities too - a little shops during this week have helped me immensely, it means I won't be rushing around like a headless chicken on the three days I'm at work next week. So far I can only think of one thing that I have forgotten and I don't think that the yong people are going to miss it if I forget entirely... though I probably won't, it's a very important part of SOLID, having hot chocolate on Friday and Saturday after the main celebration is a key part of my ministry (!?!) we all get to sit around a chat through the day and life. I must remember to pack cards too and find out if we've still got the cutlery that I brought last year!

I think this holiday is gonig to be well deserved, but I really don't know how long it will take me to switch off!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Two Thirds of the way there!

Another mile stone reached today. I'm now well on my way to being finished - here's the latest video

W're also well on our way to a very busy July... There's a holiday (at the end of the week) and a weekend away at Stubber's the week after, which I'm now an old hand at! My birthday and a special celebration party during the third weekend, by which point I will have finished my cycling, and then finally the run up to Falcon camp, and then actually Falcon camp, I'm not really going to be at church this month... but when I am it will hopefully be really exciting! We have got BBC Essex visiting church, so although I'll be at work really early on my birthday, I'll hopefully have an opportunity to hear the young families and young people on the radio!

Time to get on with work!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

End of week four

It's the end of week for for my cycle and I'm 391km through - that's over half way and I'm really excited about the next 3 weeks as I head towards my goal of 400 miles. The sense of it's nearly over is a strange one, I've had a sometimes tough, sometimes easy month of it. It is a lot easier to cycle when it's cold, it's a lot easier to cycle when you're motivated to do so... it is not easy when you're angry, when you're tired, or when it's so ridiculously hot that your head pounds from standing up.

I hope I'll be finished by my birthday, I want to time it so that I don't have to do a 40min cycle on my last day (purely because I have a really early start at church), so going to 633km up to the 17th is my goal. Here's hoping that going on holiday doesn't disrupt it too much and that I'm not too tired from other things that are going on in the next three weeks.

I will video blog soon and I will remind you to sponsor me - my £1 for a mile is looking dire!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Feeling the burn

Thankfully not sunburn! it's so hot here that cycling is becoming difficult, I am still attempting to do 20km a day, when I can fit it in, at the moment though, sleep is in order, since I'm finding it even harder to do that!

I'm taking hayfever tablets to combat grass pollen and I'm really excited about going on holiday next week with Chris.

This season of strawberries and tennis has been exciting, Andy Murray is doing well and although all our women have been knocked out, there was a very exciting visit from the Queen yesterday. It's not something she does every year, so it was nice to see her in sky blue and a very pretty hat! Here's hoping the rain stays away. It's nice to see some frilly skirts too. Wimbledon and football, plus a race this weekend means that there is a lot of sport to keep up with!

CTB are holding their annual Praise in the Park at Lake Meadows on Sunday at 11am, so if you're in the area, come and join us!

There's no Christ Church Summer Party this year due to circumstances beyond our control.

I've spent most of my working day in School - St Johns and Mayflower, talking about God and sex and then finishing well. I'm not going to lie, I find both things really hard some times, particularly in a world that is full of lies and a focus on the negative. Some very interesting conversations came out with a lot of the students. I think when we re-start in September, it's going to be really interesting!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Just after I'd done my halfway cycle - I'm actually now on 331km, my maths has suffered a bit from the hayfever (hence the sniffle) and lack for sleep - I some times don't know if I'm coming or going... What I do know is that some people are sponsoring me, for which I am truly grateful... I am some £350 behind my traget though, so if you feel the need please visit my justgiving page.

I'm up late because I'm waiting for my room and body to be a sensible temperature before I try to sleep.

I'm trying to beat my target of 384 this week, considering there are a few days coming up when I can't cycle. I may be able to walk though, but I'll keep tabs on that because it will only be short distances.

In other new, England are through, the longest tennis match still goes on and the churches will meet together on Sunday morning for the annual Praise in the Park...there's also a grand prix going on, and a birthday to plan for...26 soon!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Giving Blood

I should be shutting down, ready to do some mentoring in town, but I thought I'd say a quick hello, and to make you aware that I did a very cautious 6km this morning. I'm always wary of doing exercise after giving blood and I did feel a little sick and light headed...but I got there and I am well on the way to completing this challenge... I've got 4 days off in a row at the start of July, so I will be working hard either side of that to do the km I need to have a restful last week! Scary stuff that we are now thinking about the end already!

Time to go and do some work!

Monday, June 14, 2010


I'm attempting a video diary on the prompting of my vicar who is geat at doing this. I'm not so great, but for the time being (until I get hold of some editing software) this will do. Please have a watch and think about sponsoring me - I'm now up to 201km, which is nearly a thrid of the way through. There's plenty of time to for the other 442km!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


It's been a while since I posted, but the good news is that I have spent the time cycling! As you can see, I've tripled-and-then-some my total of last thursday.

My total for 2 weeks should be 192km, so I'm not very far off, I'll try not to have a day off this week to catch up so that I hit my target for this coming week. My time is coming down as well, I do hit a bit of a brick wall at 10km, but I'm getting through it.

Please sponsor me, if you can. My Just Giving page is just a little to the right!

I'm spreading the word and people are telling me that I look tired so I am telling them that this is the reason.

The other reason is that we are still getting used to having a dog, to the stresses and the communication that needs to happen, to the responsibilities and differences of opinion. Some times an animal will bring people together, other times it will drive them apart.

The other thing that is making me tired is hayfever.

It's a long list of things, but isn't it always that way!

Thursday, June 03, 2010


I've cycled 49km so far... today I'm going to do things a little different, it's going to be quite hot today, so when it gets a little colder later on, I'll do my cycle.

So far, to give you the sort of distance I'm doing, I've gone far enough to get from my house to the outskirts of Hatfield Peverel and back or from my house to jct 27 on the A12.

I still haven't been sponsored though, so my idea to get £1 for every mile I cycle is looking a little bit sad, but I'm hoping everyone will understand that I'm doing this for Stop The Traffik.

Since I spent time working in Bristol, Stop the Traffik has been a charity that I have wanted to do something for, it's taken me a while and a bit of a push...but now that I'm doing it, I really want people to give. It is a worth while cause, there's more traffiking of humans going on now than ever before, and it's being done in secret ways and with a lot of deciption. People are told that their sons and daughters or family members will be treated really well, when actaully they get their passports and identity taken away from them. It's really sad and raising money and awareness is one way of helping out.

So the quest continues, today though I have to go to the Red Cross for some first aid training.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


is the big day...the start of 40 days of cycling... I'm still recovering after my first attempt so I don't know how well I'm going to do in the first week, but it is half term, so it's a little easier and the weather isn't so hot.

It's when I get busy or miss a day unintentionally that I'll have a problem! I don't do particularly well for catching up with things... but I figure if I do an hour tomorrow at 20km/h, then I'll be alright, not too fast, and do a little over what I'm expected. I know with these things it's all about routine, but it's finding that and fitting it with work that's the problem.

So - sponsor me... please!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How do you introduce yourself?

Just an additional blog, for today, but separate because it's an important question that should have it's own post!

I was taken to a meeting about Kenyan Parish Links last week and found that Kenyan Christians will introduce themselves with their name and then that they are saved. The point was raise that we sometimes (a huge majority of us) introduce ourselves with our name and then months down the line when we have gotten to know people we tell them about our faith... now I know being English and reserved and conservative and all doesn't help with telling people, but actually if you believe it strongly, why not?

We promote our jobs happily to the people that we meet, sometimes we even promote ourselves first, but what about the God who brought about the earth, gave us His only Son so that we could have eternal life and continues to change peoples lives on a daily basis?

ASBO Jesus strikes again

As always browsing the net and catching up on websites I visit occasionally brings up something that pulls on my heart strings... I love Peter Smith's blog at the moment, I have always wanted to own a piece of art, something original and I think ImPossiMaLs are brilliant... when I have enough money for the one I have my eye on I might buy it...

The other website that tugs on my heart and my brain is ASBO Jesus and this particular cartoon (left click and bring it up in a new tab!) for the series that Jon has done. He is a really clever artist and I know that what the cartoon is saying rings true for me. A lot of life is spent making sure lots of people are happy but I know that as a youth worker I am only human and I can't make everyone happy/heal all their hurts etc. It does take a lot to realise that some times, and normally if you don't know who to make happy, you should turn to God and know that He did the ultimate act to make people happy - have a look here to see what that is.

On a brief aside, I'm glad LOST is over, it's about 8 years since it started and once I couldn't watch it on normal TV I lost interest (ha) and gave up, I don't think it's great that Sky are using Amazing Grace to promote the double episode on Friday, but then you can't make everyone happy!

Fun and games

There's a lot going on at the moment... some of it includes cycling... today I tried to cycle 16km (10 miles) in under 40 mins... I didn't quite manage it... 42 mins isn't bad though!

Keep thinking about what you can do to help. Donate here

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

400 miles in 40 days

Monday is the start of a 400 mile cycle/walk to raise money for Stop the Traffik, a charity that is close to my heart.

Karen and I are doing it together so expect some blogging about it, facebooking, twittering (from Karen). Karen has done this before and although I'm not new to exercise, I'm new to this type of exercise...

So you can be praying for me over the next forty days... it's going to take about 40 hours and I will update my status as I go...

Click here to raise money for Stop the Traffik

(the flash little button I had doesn't work!)

I'm hoping to raise a pound for every mile I if I can get £10 a day for 40 days that would be really good too... give what you can and gift aid it too...

Monday, May 24, 2010

How time flies!

Almost exactly a year ago I was blogging about my first ever experience of a large school trip as a leader. This year, I am not a newbie any more and count myself among the experienced trip goers! This year I spent two days in Canterbury with year seven from Mayflower High School - the local secondary school, who work really hard to behave well when it comes to days out.

And they did, the groups that I looked after were exceptional at listening and taking notes as we were taken around the Cathedral and then as we headed to St Augustine's Abbey, they did really well not to mess around... much better than the french students who pounded and giggled their way up the Trinity Chapel steps on Friday! The students crawled on their knees like the pilgrims would have done to see Thomas Becket's tomb - it's not there any more, but there is a candle in its place.

As always a visit to the Great Cloister which is where this was taken

A picture of the tower above the entrance to the Quire.

I really enjoyed both days and the weekend held some well spent time with the Falcon Afloat team and the young people of Christ Church. I am very tired, but I know that half term is just around the corner and I have a chance to breathe!

Then summer is looking busy, with world cup and summer festivals. Excited about September already and hoping that cycling 400 miles in 40 days will help me to lose a bit of weight and raise a bit of money.

First though a meeting... and a chance to see Chris tomorrow. Happy days!

Monday, May 17, 2010

What are you going to ask God to help you with?

Yesterday I spoke at church, it was the Sunday after Ascension, the time where Jesus goes back to Heaven to be with God. It wasn't my greatest talk, but I ended with the question above.

Mark and Hannah, whom I have known since I was 18, were recently on Premier Radio talking about what they are doing in Billericay, you can listen to them talking about their mission here. They know what and where their mission is, but for some people it's not so obvious.

We had a baptism family and our uniform groups at church yesterday, which means that it is a busy time in church. It's always hard to know how to pitch a talk, but using Up went down well and broke the ice with a lot of people. I wasn't at my best for reasons known only to God... although falling asleep last night and sitting thinking this morning, I started to come up with ideas for talks. I'm going to write them down here, so that I can come back to them in a year, or if I get given this passage again!

Mission:Impossible - talk about the disciples being given the impossible task of going to the ends of the earth, they didn't know that their ministry would take the turn it did.

I did have another one, but it escapes me right now, it came to me as I fell asleep!

So this week there is lots to do, I've got planning to do and a day out, some admin to do and phone calls to make. The summer is coming, so I've got a lot of planning to do for the holiday camps and things that are going on!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Impossible Elephants

After a long day out at the Christian Resources Exhibition, where I found out that there's a new generation of Veggie Tales called What's in the Bible? (English website soon) and that clergy can wear the most beautifully handmade stoles, I decided that I should take some time to relax and after my parents came home from my great uncle's funeral, we headed out for dinner at The Ship. Whilst we were eating some really scrummy food (duck and beetroot salad and rib of pork with a pint of Black Sheep Bitter for me), we had a discussion about elephants...

Elephants in London, to raise awareness for Asian Elephants - there are 258 parading around the streets of our capital city, and what can the world talk about? Politics!! There are elephants everywhere (download the map and have a look) and the most important thing on people's mind is the government... Anyway, they are bringing some colour and a serious message to a world that is full of serious messages and not a lot else.

To get to my point... I have my own elephant. Peter Smith is the artist who has painted the one that will be arriving on my doorstep soon, why not head on over to his blog to have a look at the amazing purchase I've made! I have seen a lot of Peter Smith's work in art shops across the country and have always wanted my own piece of art. So to combine the two, plus giving into my soft spot for elephants, I'm a happy bunny(!) as I go to bed tonight, and if you are struggling for a birthday present as I turn 26 this summer, know that elephants and pink are a safe bet!

The bad news, a little bit, is that my right ear hurts tonight after a couple of days of a cough and a sniffle, so I'm hoping it won't get any worse, otherwise I'll be on antibiotics before you can say 'Nelly the elephant'!

Time to hit that sack, back into the classroom tomorrow for a humanist view of evil and a veggie tales lunch club!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Moshi Sushi

I always keep an eye on Paul's blog...over at andalongcameme, some times for nostalgia reasons (we went on the same holiday when we were a lot younger) but mostly because he has one of the coolest jobs in the world and a lot of the time I glean some information about life outside of Billericay from him that is local-ish... when I saw 'News Flash: Sushi in Chelmsford' I was intrigued. I've never tried sushi, but I am a fan of cooked Japanese food (Wagamama's RULES!) so I thought that since it was nice a close I'd give it a day. Paul's review of the place wasn't great, but I thought Saturday afternoon wouldn't be too bad...

I agree with Paul, the food is brilliant... I stuck with the cooked stuff... I was on my own so eating raw fish didn't really appeal to me... I wussed out, I think I need Chris to hold my hand while I try it out for the first time. The service was strange though, very well explained how a sushi bar worked, though I kinda understood it anyway (I thought the guy would sit down and tell me what to eat), and I could've sworn I got a pork teriyaki udon when I ordered chicken - even though they don't do pork... if someone had tried it, they would've agreed with me, but no one did. I kept getting asked if I was ok and couldn't get round how much the man running the front of house looked like Hiro from Heroes, yet I spoke to him when I paid and he had a Mancunian accent! They were under staffed, and it showed (not only because I was told).

Anyway, I had a good time and it is reasonably priced, have a look at their website.

Chris is currently at Brands Hatch, watching Tom Chilton and various others race the GP circuit for the BTCC, so I planned to have a quiet day/evening... but only after having a brief conversation with Admiral about why my car insurance had gone above £500 without breakdown cover... apparently the world doesn't work how it should do at the moment, so everything gets put up at renewal time! I have talked them round and saved a lot of money just by asking... lesson learnt, it's always worth asking.

I'm now catching up on the snooker (Go Carter!) and waiting for Dr. Who... What a nice way to spend a bank holiday...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Wedding

Mandy and Rob are now Mr and Mrs Campbell.

The wedding of the century didn't start very well for me, I was up at 5, a combination of nerves and excitement and being cold woke me up. So I was more than ready when I got picked up at 7.50am for the hair appointment and make up session. It was nice to sit in a quiet salon and chat with the other ladies...watching Mandy get made up was amazing, she looked really beautiful. I can't wait to see the photos that the photographer took! He was there from very early to very late - check out his website here.

We had a few little problems, but kudos to Mandy and Rob for planning so meticulously...the things that didn't go too well were entirely out of their hands... everything else was really good...smooth and mostly stress free.

I enjoyed being a bridesmaid, I really liked my dress and my bouquet is hanging in the airing cupboard drying out because I love it!

We had a real laugh with the people on our table, a bit of a Billericay school reunion! And danced the night away... Five lakes is a nice place to have a party, but we were down in the basement with a member of staff who was a new employee...bad move to leave him on his own! The best part was being joined by Chris...

Aren't we gorgeous? He's not too well at the moment (bad tooth), so I was really happy to see him.

The beds were comfortable and the room was a good size, and the breakfast looked yummy though I was so exhausted that I couldn't really eat a lot. 22 hours awake is tough... but I did it and I was really please that Mandy asked me to be a bridesmaid!

I'm looking forward to the next wedding, but seen as Mandy didn't throw her bouquet, we've got no idea who it might be!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Never Forget

I'm currently listening to 'Never Forget' and it's not coming from my CD player...but from my brother's! Interesting choice of music for a 20 year old boy...

The last four weeks has literally disintegrated before my eyes... we are days away from the Wedding of the Decade. I can't believe that it is just around the corner, I really don't know what the day is going to be like and I am grateful that there are so many people around me who have been involved in weddings more recently than I have. I'm trying to think of the last time I spent a whole day at a wedding and I can't actually remember. I think I'm fortunate that I often spend days with a lot of people, so a wedding with all of my friends should be easy, right?

We'll find out in a couple of days.

The election campaign rumbles on, with news that an egg has been thrown at the Conservative Party leader, the Labour Party leader is down in the polls and the Lib Dem leader has done well at the first national television debate, though the Scottish and Welsh front runners aren't happy that they were left out of the 90 min debate.

The churches in the town have gotten together to hold a hustings...and invited the main three parties to it. I wasn't in this county the last time there was a general election... May 2005 was midway through my degree and I should've voted but didn't. I remember paying attention and talking about the various billboards around town...but when it came to voting I didn't. Maybe because I was busy raising money or in yet another different county - it didn't even register on my radar in the blogsphere it seems. May 2005 was busy and May 2010 looks to be busy too...I'm preaching, there are school trips, working with Chris, another birthday or two and meetings.

Tonight I'm on my own at home because Chris had his tooth pulled out by the mean dentist! So I'm trying to work out the next couple of months...Successful!

With everything that has happened recently, I know I'm living in a world where God is looking out for and listening to everyone all of the time. There have been so many cries for help recently, I can't hear them all, but God certainly can and He is the only one that can do anything about it.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

On this day

On this day, the 6th day of the 4th month of the year of our Lord 2010, something major happened... Her Royal Majesty received a request from Gordon Brown, Prime Minister, to dissolve Parliament on Monday 12th April, for a General Election to take place on Thursday 6th May.

So we now have a month to listen, look, discover what each party has to say for themselves, what their policies are and how they are going to change this country to be the best it can. and then make a decision and use our vote wisely.

Gordon Brown said to the country that he is 'just an ordinary man'.

David Cameron is calling this 'the most important election of the generation'.

Nick Clegg is saying that it 'will not be a traditional two-horse race'.

In the next four weeks, the country will be bombarded with 'we can do this, we can do that' and a little bit of 'you don't want them to be in charge of the country'.

It's going to be an interesting couple of weeks. I'm going to have to keep an eye out for the stuff that is coming through the door and what is in the newspapers.

We're called to a moral decision as Christians, which makes it harder.

In other Aunt gave birth to Adam, 19 years ago today! The family is growing old and we're starting to figure out where we all fit.

Friday, April 02, 2010


This year Easter was wet... That's more for me than you!

This year we ended the Walk of Witness at the Catholic Church, it didn't rain on us, we didn't get shouted at and I found that the service at the end gets better every year. It was really good to see everyone, some who I saw last week, others I haven't seen for a long time.

I ended up going for coffee with some of them, and then headed home to get ready for Eastingle.

For three years in a row, Christ Church has held a service on Good Friday, specifically aimed at children and families, in the middle of the afternoon. We are going to keep doing this and we are going to provide the materials for other people to do it as well, so if you'd like to know a little bit more, write a comment and I'll contact you!

I'm the youth worker at Christ Church, so I get to do some of the fun things... like leading a service. I still panic some times, I get nervous, but apparently I'm very good at hiding it. What I had to say was very important, I can't remember what I said though, I'm sure if I read it back, I'll be able to fill in some of the blanks, but when it comes to telling God's truth, the Holy Spirit takes over and I'm left speechless afterwards!

We had over 150 people this year - we almost doubled in number from last year and we started with 25 people the year before that.

I am pleased... and in other ways I am pleased with this

This is scrumptious Eton mess - yes that is chocolate, strawberries, cream and meringue... yes, only an hour after it was put together, it got eaten by six hungry friends!

Making meringue takes it's time, a serious amount of time, so only do it if you've got a couple of hours to spare - it took 5 mins to consume!

I have a better understanding of cooking every time I'm let loose in the kitchen, I have a better understanding of my faith every time I'm asked to explain it in church, taking time on my own is the best...

It is now time for bed and a well earned day off!

P.S. I'm liking lea & perrins a lot at the moment!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Celebrating Easter

This is a picture of a Seder table (stolen from here) which is the Jewish remembrance of Passover - this Easter I have done this twice - once with my course buddies and once with St John's school.

The importance of remembering the past is huge for the Jewish people and for Christians the world over, though opinons differ as to when it happened, but that's not my point. I said this time last year that I love tradition and I think that I can't really do without it in some respects.

It took 11 months for the work to be done so that I could make use of my DVD/CD holders, and now I'm heading back to Ikea to buy more furniture to replace the stuff that is falling apart after a long time of wear and tear.
A year down the line and I am moving forward... working towards another Eastingle and another week of busyness. I can't really comprehend how I got here, or where I will end up, but I know that I am loved fully by the Father and saved by the actions of his Son.

I also had the privilege of spending 4 days with 3 wonderful people and some guests - Mrs Barlow - actually Miss Deall and soon to be Mrs Campbell, is getting married in less than 4 weeks, so we spent the weekend at Elveden (again) celebrating.

I love this lady very much... and it's scary and wonderful to know that she will be getting married to a lovely man! There are still lots of hen things to do, but it's a secret!! Photos and a blog soon!

Here's to the end of March and the beginning of another busy month!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A day out

This week has been really unusual for me - it's been very long and it's not over yet.

The major event for this week was spending the day in Ely yesterday, with St John's school. A delightful bunch of year 8 students piled onto a coach and headed up north (yes I know it's not that far away...) with the Head of RE, the Deputy Head, a parent helper and me.

Ely is in Cambridgeshire and has a rather large cathedral off to one side. It's a very quiet village for a place that has such an amazing building... I can imagine that it's heaving in the summer... but on a mild spring day, there was only one other school there and we had the privilege of being shown the cathedral by the educational officer.

So here's a photo or two to whet your appetite and maybe get you to go to Ely...

Here's the sight that you're greeted with - to the left is the Lady Chapel (big clear windows) and the tall tower is the lantern. The rest is the main body of the church.

This is underneath the lantern - the Octagon, named because it has 8 sides (shocker). The higher structure is iron-clad wood and it rests on stone pillars. The head of RE said that I would get dizzy looking down, but when you're looking up 100 feet, it's not difficult to topple over backwards! This was built in the 1300's - it's impressive from the ground, but when you get to climb to see the angels, it becomes even more impressive.

It's hard to get the scale, but these angels were huge! I'm just over 5 foot tall - so these beautiful paintings must be 10 maybe 12 feet in height!

This is right at the very top of the Octagon and a picture of the West Tower and the countryside beyond... We were 100 foot up at this point, very cold and trying to imagine what it would be like to be 200 foot up at the top of the tower we were looking at.

If you want to visit Ely, have a look at their website for all the information. It is well worth the climb to get up to the top and have a look, especially if you've got a clear day!

Ely has an incredible history, not just at the cathedral, but in Oliver Cromwell's house too - which is a minutes walk from the front door of the cathedral and worth doing the tour.

I really enjoyed myself, getting to know the year 8 students, learning about a parish I hadn't been to before and acting like a tourist for a bit.

The week goes on though, I'm heading to Great Baddow tomorrow for some training and then to Chris' for a birthday celebration.

Time and space to gather myself together to head to youth group later on.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mothering Sunday

The middle of March has rolled around a little too quickly, but it's here and we're celebrating Mothering Sunday in our (un)usual ways.

For christ Church, it was a chance to try something new... we spent half an hour before the service started in seperate parts of the building, mothers and those without young children, chatting and having coffee and delicious cakes in the hall, and everyone else in the main church building, at various tables, making things for their mum.

Second Sunday for Christ Church is a communion service, so we thought of a creative way to allow families to come to communion together. We had four stations at four distinct points of the church and invited people to take communion in their own time.

It's an unusual way of doing things for us as a church, we normally have rows and more singing, but this time we had card making, pot painting and poem wirting, plus some sentence finishing. We had the normal things, like a talk and a welcome, but we praised God with everything we did and supported all of the families that joined us.

Yesterday was full of fun things for me personally - I got to see Alice, Andy, Alex, Stephen and Matilda, we were pre-planning Falcon Afloat, which included remembering last year and gathering thoughts for this year... some very exciting ideas and some increasingly funny memories, that always get better with time. I'm really looking forward to Falcon this year... I went with mild intrepidation last year (and I'd already been away for the weekend) but this year I'm going with a clearer idea of what to expect (at least from living on a boat for a couple of days) and how things work. However, God works in mysterious ways and I know that this year is going to be totally different from last year.

I finished the day with cooking dinner for 7 people, something that I am fully capable of, but I'm still learning about portions and how to make decent gravy! With help from Karen and Dominic (boyfriend of sister!) we put together a pretty decent roast dinner, with yorkshires and all the trimmings (no stuffing though - I really don't think we needed it) and finished with the giantic chocolate gateaux that my Nan brought. We needed more veg, but ate on time. I've realised that gravy takes it's own sweet time, there's no rushing it! Conversations after dinner were full of passion for things we love and things we hate, telling stories and humiliating each other in the only way we know how - when a family has been complete for 20 years getting together is easy and wonderful! Happy 79th birthday to my Nan - still going strong and not looking a day over 6o!!

Happy Mothering Sunday... here's to restful weeks and wonderful weekends.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Time for Focus

This week has been full of preparation for Mothering Sunday (not Mother's day as an advert for local radio keeps reminding me). We're celebrating both ideas of the festival - by inviting everyone to their Mother church and by making our own mothers feel really special by treating them to cake and drinks. (Did you know everyone who lives in England is a member of a parish? I bet that changes your perspective on community and church!)

I spent last weekend with Karen and the young people from St Hugh's - teaching them about Revelation and spending time sharing my wisdom about what it means to be a Christian.

Working on a Saturday means that I have the chance to have a day off in the week. This week it's Wednesday, next week it's Thursday and I'm not sure about the week after that. This week I got the opportunity to do something a little bit exciting - a chance to go to FOCUS - which is the annual Photography exhibition in Birmingham with Chris. It was a chance to spend the day - for me at least - going ooo and ahh, I know a tiny amount about photography - so to see that much stuff was impressive! I have been to Birmingham a couple of times, mainly for shopping and I think I've been to the NEC once, but I'm not entirely sure, so when Chris said 'it's big' I didn't quite believe him until we got inside. It's huge and the way they had it laid out meant that you couldn't really do it logically - so you just have to wander and hope you don't miss anything. They do try to fit everyone in but it makes it hard for punters when all the stalls are different sizes - there was even a UoG stand full of Pittville students! (Thank you Chris for doing all the driving)

I enjoyed my time and was grateful to get home. I didn't make it to Paul Gambling's induction(?) to the team ministry. I was really tired, but I'm looking forward to seeing the team grow and work together.

There's plenty of things going on in the next couple of weeks that mean I'm going to be working my socks off and with the event of the year only round the corner, there's some celebrating to be done as well.