Thursday, December 29, 2011

Single and lonely?

Single and lonely | Christian News on Christian Today

"For those with family, the holiday period can be a manic time offering few opportunities to sit down and take stock.

For Christian singles, however, it can be a distressing time that intensifies their feelings of loneliness, a season of reflection often ending in nostalgia.

Some reminisce about past relationships and feel guilty about mistakes they made. Many are uncomfortable being the only single person in their family. Others feel depressed because they have no one to celebrate with. Everyone has their own story.

For Tanya*, a 39-year-old nurse from London, this holiday has been particularly challenging. Her parents live in Cyprus and their relationship is complicated.

“I have depression anyway. It has hit me. It has accentuated everything, especially as I do not have family to spend Christmas this year. It has caused me to feel a lot more down,” she says.

“It is difficult being on my own, especially in my age. It is a lot harder for me.”

In a way, being together with other people over the holidays makes her feel pressured because “this is a time of family, love and togetherness”.

While others are desperate to get as many days off as they can over Christmas and New Year, Tanya actually requests to work.

“... [T]o put it out of my mind and work instead of sitting on my own at home,” she admits.

Occupational therapist Bethany, 33, believes that this time of “togetherness” is challenging for people who are alone.

“It is more in your face. And it makes me feel sorry for those who do not have anyone. It almost makes me cringe.”

Kimmy, a travelling occupational therapist and single mother from New York says the festive period does not affect her, especially because back home in her native US there are so many singles.

At the same time, the 35-year-old also recognises that one by one, many of her friends are getting married.

These days most of Bethany’s friends are in relationships too and she cannot help but feel a bit “isolated”.

In terms of this New Year’s Eve, Kimmy plans to watch the fireworks in central London. Picturing the midnight countdown, she admits to wishing she could share this experience with a partner.

Bethany and Tanya will celebrate New Year’s Eve together. For Tanya, the last thing she wants is to impose herself on friends who might feel they need to invite her.

“I do not want them to feel sorry for me. I do not like that feeling,” she emphasises.

Her Christian faith though has helped her to maintain a positive outlook on the future.

“God is going to sort it out”, she affirms. “I know He is going to provide me with someone.”

Bethany adds: “It is one area you cannot control. You cannot control when you meet someone.”

She admits that she would love to meet someone but refuses to lower her standards and settle for just anyone.

“The bottom line is if you are really strong in who you are in Christ, you will not worry about it. You will trust that God will provide you with the right partner when it is the appointed time.”

*last names have been omitted by request"

I spotted this article in Twitter - and I have two basic reactions to it - I feel sorry for these women in the first instance, that they are alone and that they find Christmas really hard, and secondly, what are they doing and what is the church doing to help these women out?

Note that this article is only about women who are single and alone, not about men. I know my fair share of men who are single, and although I can't speak for any of them, I bet some of them feel like this. God calls us to be in community, to be with someone, for life and it does become a struggle to be on your own in the end.

So what are the Church doing to deal with the singles and what are the singles doing to sort it out themselves. Are they spending time out and about with other singles, or with good friends who have good friends who are single? Does the church recognise that community is as important for single people as it is for families?

In my experience, a lot of the older single people in the church are teaching me how to be single, they are independent and they do love spending time with their friends and their church. They are not sad and alone. They don't resent people for feeling sorry for them, they understand that God has put them in a place where they can help each other to feel like a family.

Yes, God has the prefect partner for each one of us who believe and we have to get the fine balance between trusting Him and actually going out. I read a quote somewhere about Disney teaching girls that some day their prince will come - i.e. Cinderella's prince searched the kingdom high and low for her and they lived happily ever after. Looking at the rest of the story though Cinderella actually went to the ball, rather than sitting at home in front of the tv, blogging about being single... oh wait.

Ok, so I am not the perfect example of a Christian single, but I do try to spend time with my friends, with my church and with my Bible, but also making new friends and going on dates (shock horror) to see what works and what doesn't. I guess my profession allows me to meet a lot of new people on a regular basis, for which I am hugely grateful.

For those of you who are really struggling with this time of 'togetherness', it is hard, but at the time when the church celebrates, what are you doing to celebrate being single?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Let me just say...

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the comments on Street Pastoring.

For me, when I have taken the time to reply to questions and opinions, I have prayed, I have considered and often found the answers coming to me. I hope that I have given a balanced view, but also a truthful Christian view.

I am always holding up my hand to say I don't know all of the answers, although it's taken a while for me to get to that point.

I hope that you will continue to read - the journey to here from some 7 (!) years ago when I started blogging has been cautious, frightening and fun, many things have happened and few haven't. I hope you can see the trust I have and that my life is truly in the hands of something greater than I will ever get to grips with.

Here's hoping that as I move out of home permanently and continue to work with young people in Billericay that I will enjoy 2012 and you continue to follow my misadventures!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Please can you get in touch again? Thank you.

Here's what you wrote

"And this is what is wrong with religion.

you should keep your religion to yourself, the arrogant view that people are better off with your religion (not any of the other hundreds of religions strangely) is disgusting.

i am atheist, does that make me less of a person than you? no. but in your eyes it does. its a horrible world view to have, and you shouldn't be actively approaching people effectively telling people this. keep your religion to yourself and keep it in your church.

however if i did bump into you in the street im sure i could pose some interesting questions and ideas to you."

Thank you for your opinion, in response to my post about Street Pastoring, it is always interesting to hear what others have to say.

I posed the question to facebook to see what I should do about your post, as I have many Christian and non-Christian friends. The opinions ranged from reply to delete, and one answer caught my eye...

"And this is what is wrong with atheism.

You should keep your atheism to yourself, the arrogant view that people are better off without religion (including any of the other hundreds of religions strangely) is disgusting.

I am Christian, does that make me less of a person than you? no. but in your eyes it does. its a horrible world view to have, and you shouldn't be actively approaching people effectively telling people this. keep your atheism to yourself.

however if i did bump into you in the street I'm sure i could pose some interesting questions and ideas to you."

Thank you for your opinion, because I would not have a story to tell about how I helped a few people on the way home after my work Christmas do, how I wished that I did have a Street Pastors hat and jacket on to help those who were in distress or lost, because before you posted it, all I could think about was getting home to bed, instead it inspired me to remove broken glass from the high street and speak to my friends about how best to respond. 

I feel that Jesus would probably ask if he could come to dinner at yours. 

Thank you for finding my blog and if you would like to talk to me, please get in contact.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


We're just 10 days away from the big day... so hears something for you to think about, this is some of what I said to the Uniformed Organisations and their parents tonight.

"All of these children have expectations on their lives. Harper is expected to be glamorous, well dressed and sophisticated, like her mum when she grows up and Charlie, he’s got his school and his new club hoping that his skill will carry him though the ranks to an England player. And Jesus? Like Harper Seven, before he was born a lot was written about him, but unlike Harper, those things were written hundreds of years before His birth. He was born with the world on His shoulders. Much like Harper Seven and Charlie, Jesus made headline news. We have sung about angels announcing his arrival to shepherds  in the fields, and what is more exciting than that? Like Charlie, He really did come out of nowhere and gained a whole lot of publicity in a very  short amount of time; for someone so young, he had a king after him and people from all walks of life bringing him presents.
Whatever you are expecting at this time of year, please don’t forget that the reason it all started was because one little baby was born, with the world watching on. Jesus was a very special baby. 

Jesus is dressed as Santa and the line is ‘Go on, ask him for something this Christmas’. Maybe there is something you can ask for, it might be one of those special things I asked about earlier.

Little Harper and Charlie won’t be able to help you with the bigger things this Christmas, maybe not with the smallest things either – Harper is not even a year old and Charlie, well, he’s just started school, but Jesus is the one we can go to for help.

I don’t know if you heard the lyrics of the John Lewis advert, they are really sad – ‘The luck I’ve had can make a good man turn bad, Please let me get what I want, Lord knows, it would be the first time’.  Sometimes life isn’t how we want it to be, but we can pray to Jesus to say thank you for what we get, sorry for the wrong things we do and please for things we need help or are struggling with and He will answer our prayers, often in ways that are unexpected. For a lot of your leaders – they have been praying for new leaders, and they got me this year, so I am an answer to prayer, but perhaps not the one they expected!

But what ever you ask for remember this year that Jesus is ’God with us’ and He was a very special gift that God could not wait to give to us."

There is a power point to go with it - if you haven't seen the John Lewis Advert, you can watch it here.

But the message is simple this Christmas, remember that God is with us, for all that has been and all that will be, with you and those you love. God loves you for the you of you, and whatever you are expecting or whatever is expected of you, don't forget the reason that we're celebrating.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Music and Words

I am a traditionalist when it comes to music... I don't like buying mp3 files very often, I much prefer a CD - ok so it's not vinyl, but keeping music electronically just doesn't sit right with me, plus my car has a CD player and we all know what radio connections are like, even in a tiny spcae like a car.

So recently I started listening to Lady Antebellum after hearing 'Just a kiss' at Jazzercise (of all places) and it is a really good album, if you want to buy 'Own the Night' I would recommend it. I buy popular music, there's not a lot of niche about what I listen to. I am a person who loves musicals, the charts and the old stuff... I think a lot of my friends are the same.

I do listen to Christian music though, a mix of live and music, they are songs that I often identify with strongly, they bring back memories of good times of worship and those of the lowest moments.

One of my bug bares about music though is the way in which words are sung. My dad always said that ABBA were the best singers in English because their intonation was impeccable and listening to some of the recent offerings from the music industry recently I can really see what he is on about - after all no-one sings 'Chiquitita' like Anni-Frid and Agnetha! (I can't even say the word properly!). I brought an album from Hillsong and there is on song that I really like on the album, but I really don't know the words, because they aren't sung clearly.

We are in an age when people need to hear the truth about God and often people will listen to the words of a song more often than not, so if those words are not clear, what is the message the Christian music industry is sending. It seems lazy to me, when words fall into one another and you can't make out clearly what is being sung without first looking online (or in my case on the information sleeve in the CD case!).

Here's hoping things change in the future, that song production never stops and the praises to God become clearer and louder!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Street Pastoring

The first time I heard about Street Pastoring, I thought that I ought to find my way on to a team at some point in my life.

When I started the Course in Christian Studies (CCS) I never thought that as part of it I would be working towards a second certificate in Evangelism and being recognised as an evangelist in the diocese. CCS is a two year long course that is a pre-requisite for other ministries, lay and ordained, in the diocese. Of course you can do it on it's own if you would like to!

So on Saturday morning, I found myself waiting, and waiting, and waiting, for 9.30pm to come round. Then I headed to Chelmsford to meet with the rest of the team that were volunteering over night. There are 6 people on every team, and team members volunteer once a month, 2 to pray whilst 4 others wrap up warm and head into Chelmsford. Before that we read a bible passage (Colossians 3) and prayed. This weekend was a special one for the Street Pastors, they were joined by the High Chief of Essex and the Mayor of Chelmsford. They were discovering what the Street Pastors do in the early part of the evening.

So we donned jackets, coats, hats, gloves and scarves, and I put on my special bright yellow observers jacket to make me stand out in a crowd. There were too many of us, so Hugh, the leader for the evening, split us into two teams and we wandered around, speaking to bouncers and managers, and the occasional person who recognised 'us'.

I did not realise how big Chelmsford is. when I used to go out at the weekend, we would stay in one area for the most part, so walking up past the bus station and down to Moulsham Street, becomes quite epic. I wish I was wearing a pedometer now, just to count the steps that I did. Chelmsford is a busy place as well. There are lots of young people around, and some older ones too. I was the youngest member of the team on Saturday, so I was unsure about how people would perceive me.

No-one stopped us to say that we were doing a bad job, or it was a bad idea that we were out on the streets, especially after the Brentwood Street Pastors were met with an angry reaction. People in the end came up to us to speak to us, I heard the words 'those are the street pastors, they give out flip-flops to girls' more often than not.

Half way through the night, we went back to the base for tea and toast. it was a good opportunity to sit down, rest the feet, fill up the tank and catch up on things we might have missed. We warmed up enough to feel really cold when we stepped back into town, and then it got interesting. We quickly gave out our first pair of flip-flops, our first gospel (Luke) and a few casualties of the night.

We spoke to the police about how their night had been, how they hadn't really been to busy and how we had picked up over 80 glass bottles (which I am told is unusually high). We finished the night with a conversation about the beginning of the world and handing out another gospel.

Walking back to the base for the final time, I found myself growing really tired, but a quick warm up and a prayer for those we had met changed all that.

I can not wait for Street Pastoring to come to Billericay. I think it will make a difference, like it has in Chelmsford, to the places that are busy and to those who are lost or unwell. if you are reading this and you are part of a church in Billericay, please get people to read this. Street Pastoring is so full of Jesus, his passion for the lost and love for those who don't know love.

It's serious work, but rewarding and wonderfully simple, just caring for people!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Advent is now here! What we have been waiting for is just four weeks away! It's time to get the cards written, I have already done most of my present shopping and find the tree under piles of stuff in the loft/garage. There is a lot to do, from practising the prefect roast to writing talks.

At Christ Church we are very fortunate that we start advent by inviting the community for carols and story telling and that there are plenty of things going on for us to prepare properly for the birth of a very special baby. It's going to be a good few weeks for all of the things that are going on. Life doesn't stop at Christmas, it is really only beginning of life! I have several meetings, services and meals to attend, hoping that all are fruitful!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Youth work adventures!

This week has taken a much more relaxed view on work. I have started the only Christmas talk I am doing this year and it had come out of the idea of expectancy. There are a few young children at the moment who seem to be in the press a lot for what is expected of them in the future, same with Jesus really... and there's the obvious connection with expecting Santa to arrive as well. So that's well on it's way to happening. There are other things going on at the moment, a stronger connection with school, staff members and some of the pupils. I seem to have found myself with a PA at school of late, they are really so helpful and God seems to put people in the right place at the right time, and for that I am really grateful.

This weekend sees the annual pilgrimage for many of my colleagues to Eastbourne for Youthwork: The Conference. Gary and Ray are both blogging this weekend and you can follow the progress/thoughts on Twitter using #ywc2011 as well. It is worth it for the snippets of things you hear and see. I wish I was with them, but my training budget has been spent and I am feeling the need to spend a little more time with my friends.

As well as that I am with the young people on Sunday morning, helping them to lead worship, we also celebrated Children in Need a little bit differently for the first time... and it really did make a difference. We watched Black Lightning play (our 'local' band) - they were really good, and have a long road ahead of them. I haven't got the right permission for photos - but some might appear over on the church website. We raised £30 through subs and biscuit sales as well. The church do a lot during these times, it is so easy to raise money for a charity that helps British charities.

I have started to finish the process for buying my own place. I will fully tell that story when I am settled.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Evaluating this week

At the start of this week, I headed to Northampton, via Luton (thanks!), to spend time with a whole bunch of people I have never met before, for training in relationship and sex education. Very full on three days of a lot of serious stuff, a lot of listening, but a lot of fun as well. If you want to have a look at what evaluate do, why not have a look at their website. I can't really tell you a huge lot about it, other than it is an awesome teaching resource and worth the effort. I am hoping that there will be a team in Billericay or Essex in the future, it needs a lot of praying about and asking if this is the right thing for the area. It certainly has given me a lot to think about both professionally and personally.

I met some really wonderful people and did not stop laughing from the moment I met everyone, until I had to leave.

One of the things I can tell you about is the Australians that were sharing the conference centre with us. Being the outgoing person I am, I had to find out why there were in dreary England. Of course, if you don't know what King's Conference centre is near, the next sentence is going to be a shock to you. They are the Australian National Trampoline Team! Kings is next to a huge sports centre that also has a trampoline centre. It was amazing to chat to their coach about what sort of competition they face. Apparently China are the ones to watch. Have a look at their website - I've already spotted the people I 'know'!

For the last couple of days I have been thinking about women in leadership and rules in Leviticus. I have come to the very brief conclusion that there is a lot of context involved, particularly for the Jewish people and that God, who has the interests of His people in His heart, taught His people how to be a doctor, to stop disease spreading. As for women in leadership, I am called and equipped to lead in certain situations. My volunteers look to me and the young people as well, so it is difficult for me to say that women should not be allowed to lead. It is about heart, what God wants for those He loves. At the centre of my ministry is love, and that love comes from God. Those young people I pray for by name and those I can't even begin to imagine are all loved by God and they do need to see that in all that I do with them.

It has been good to be away, but also good to be back. I have seen Alice and Isaac again, both are doing really well! That little boy is going to bring a lot of joy to a lot of people.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

For your sweet tooth!

In Your Arms - Kina Grannis (Official Music Video) - YouTube

If you are like me and you like jelly beans, you will love this video!

The effort and attention to detail is amazing, the story board must've been immense and the patience involved just blows my mind! Both for the people creating the animation and the artist for waiting so long for a video! Real labour of love! :) Made me smile after a day of highs and lows.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

All Saint's Day

The world is getting darker, but there is a promise of hope and light in the future.

In just 7 weeks, we will have the shortest day of the year and then a few days after that, we will be celebrating the birth of the most important man to ever walk the earth.

In the run up to the season that is like Marmite for most, I have found myself heading into London, to celebrate in a church I have known about since I can remember, but have never, ever been inside of, though has recently found itself at the center of the financial world and the church's world for the last two weeks. Standing on the steps of St Paul's, looking out at the tents, that are almost piled high, I wondered what had brought the world to this place - where a sit-in protest is the way for the people's voice to be heard. Anyway, I was eavesdropping - it is hard not to when the people talking are sat under your feet - on a conversation between some tourists and a protester who was commuting to the site every day, the tourists were genuinely concerned and interested in what had been going on. There were reporters and policemen everywhere, including a men in suits with large groups of people around them.

The Tent City at St Paul's
The Church now recognise that they haven't handled this well, but later on, I watched the general meeting and saw that the church had asked for the campsite to provide a group of people to liaise with them on a regular bases - whatever you think or know about the church, let me tell you this - we do things by relationship and you can not have a liaison with a different person every day. The group discussed the idea of having just 4 people to talk to the church, which I think is a fair idea, but because of what they stand for, you can't allow people to feel as though they have more power than anyone else (because that's where the mess comes from as I understand it) though the lady leading the meeting clearly had more power than anyone else! I came away more confused and wondering why it felt like I'd been at a deanery synod meeting for 2 days straight, it is very difficult to listen to something and understand what might be going on, when you have no clue!

A lot of the protesters took the opportunity to video the meeting, a couple had laptops, some were eating, people were coming and going, and there was every opportunity for me to go up to the microphone and tell them all to go home!

Anyway, back to standing on the steps - 5pm arrived and it was time to go inside for the start of the Sung Eucharist, now walking into St Paul's was immense. I have been inside 3 cathedrals in my lifetime, that I can remember - my parents might correct that, but since being a youth worker, I have had the opportunity to stand in Ely, Chelmsford and Canterbury cathedrals - and I now realise that all of these buildings blow me away. I am by no means the most clever person on the earth, so that these buildings have been constructed, leave me in so much awe and wonder. St Paul's just has a majesty about it. It is clean and feels uncluttered, leaving all the glory to God. Even walking down the isle felt different from every other place I have ever been in and sitting under the dome, looking at the paintings, the carvings and the length of the building makes me feel insignificant, but it was All Saint's Day, so there was an overwhelming sense of love and hope too. The sound just carries so much in that place too. I came away feeling really pleased that I had spent time, doing what God has called me to do, in a place that has been a beacon for many, but also wondering about the relevance for the younger people in the church, of participating in a service like that. Who knows I might be bringing my young people into London for an All Saints Day service in the future!

I am off to find out about the benefits of an oyster card...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Time for TinTin

This animated clip is an absolute stunner and has a wonderful story attached to it.

I wish I had this sort of level of creativity and forcefulness (you'll have to read the whole article to get that!).

I will buy this movie when it comes out. I'm over 3D and back into musicals again.

In other news, buying a flat progresses, though it still needs your prayers, and hoping that I can move out soon after Christmas, but we will see how we go. speaking to estate agents and the like is teaching me a lot. Some people have very cautious stories, others are full of hope for me.

Happy to say that the bible reading continues - we've made our way through genesis, exodus and job, with Matthew. We're only 60 days in, but the reading is relatively easy for me. I have read the law books before, so I know what is coming, but it does mean I skim read when I know it gets repetitive, especially in Leviticus. I know I shouldn't do it and I need to take slowly. Still, the psalms and proverbs are delightful at the moment and we're half way through Mark. Keep going if you've started. It will be a fruitful end to the year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Something amazing!

You know how I like Disney, right? You know how I like Disney re-imagined, right?

Have a look! This is simply awesome. A good opportunity to find the real life versions of these characters, surely there must be women that look like this?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Time to get all legal!

So I am continuing the journey towards house owning... well flat owning. There is so much to think about, legally and just being in a place on my own. How do I work out so many different things to make this work? I have wanted to do this so desperately and now as it draws into my reality, it becomes so scary and so unreal, all at once.

So please pray for me. So far I have come across some wonderful people who have been very helpful and I know the right people will cross my path if this is what God wants. That is the important thing... what does God want for me?

Work is going well at the moment. We had an interesting Friday night, praying for the people that I came across, well that came across us, I don't go anywhere on a Friday night, once I am in church. And this has also been the week that the churches in Billericay have attempted to read the Bible, in it's entirety. I think we have done well. It is always difficult to figure out how long it would take, but as far as I know, we did it and hopefully made a difference to some of the people who listened to it.

The scarecrows are still in place, in church, though I think many may have been dismantled and certainly the winner's scarecrow - a boy on a scooter called Bob - has been taken away. I have had a chance to scare myself witless. if you've ever stood in a room with 30 scarecrows in the dark, you'll know that they can look quite human, when they are just shadows!

A lot of my twitter friends have spend this weekend at the youth work summit - I have been catching up with what went on, it seems that it has been monumental for some. So I will be looking forward to catching up with some of you, to find out out thoughts and if it is worth going in May! I missed out, but I did get to spend time with friends and family who I have missed a lot. I hope all of them are well, some of them have been really stressed out recently, so it was good to have a chance to let our hair down!

I am now on holiday for a week and I will be doing various things like my third ever tweetup and a chance to see Kay for a bit in Bristol, and meet her boyfriend! :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

All New to me!

MYSTERY MAZE! (interactive YouTube game) - YouTube

Have you ever read a book where you have to make the decisions? This is the youtube version of that, and well worth a go! :)

Harvest Festival

This weekend was the Scarecrow festival and Harvest celebration for Christ Church Billericay.

I had the privilege of being involved from the very start, and the only thing that stopped me from attending absolutely everything was a stupid cold that has found it's way to beating my immune system for the first time in ages!

So we had a lot of people at the Scarecrow making workshop on Saturday and have already learnt so much more about how to build a scarecrow, what to stuff it with and how to stand it up. My young people created a scarecrow of me and did a very good job in such a short time to make it look like me. It's pink and grey - with jeans, which is a little bit of a signature look for me!

About 30 scarecrows appeared during the day, most made at the workshop, but some had been dreamt up at home and constructed in the hall. I am told (via Facebook) that the barn dance was awesome and everyone seemed in high spirits this morning in church.

Today we celebrated harvest in a short service with a baptism as well. It was a lot of fun to see families interacting with each other and voting was well under way by the end of the service. I know I didn't win, but when community is involved, it is definitely the taking part that counts. I hope that we covered all parts of our community over the time and the food offering we gave will go to the womens shelter at Basildon.

I will be eating the jar of beetroot chutney Mollie was selling, when I find a brie to go with it! (and a crusty roll! It smells yummy!)

It is good to celebrate all of the things we have an opportunity to taste, see, smell through out the year. Harvest is an important time for a lot of people around the world still. We must not forget the people who don't have enough, or the freedom to make their own way in the world.

Today, I also had an opportunity to pray for all of the young people (and their families) that we see throughout the year.  As a youth leader, how often do you name your young people before God? It is becoming increasingly important for me to pray with team members and my boss as we see the church grow and the young people develop. The Spirit really did take over tonight and I found myself praying with a sickness in my stomach that there were still so many young people in the town that don't know God and what He can do. Fan into flame please God. Help the young people that know you to be radical for you.

A short personal aside. I am single. There is plenty to say, but not here. Thank you for all your support, Chris.

Friday, October 14, 2011

One Day

If you have read the David Nicholls book and my blog, you'll know how much I love stories being told in different ways. Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveller's Wife absolutely captivated me, and really still does. I have read it several times and will continue to read it again and again.

When I saw the advert for David Nicholl's One Day, I was intrigued.  I think I also saw an interview on This Morning with the lead actor. So I thought I ought to buy the book before I saw the movie, I'd seen started for ten a few weeks earlier with James Mcavoy and really liked that, so I was expecting something that spoke to me.

I was not disappointed. I almost wished that I hadn't started it. Thankfully I was reading during the holidays, otherwise I would've had a very sleepy and unproductive few days. I have the sort of imagination that gets me deep into a well written book. I can see characters and places. Some of the places mentioned in the book, I have actually been to, so that helps a lot.

It is well written and worth a go, easy (for me at least) to read and all the twists and turns you might expect from a story about two people who remain friends through their life.

One day, I will also have my own house, and the process has started, but I am struggling. The website that is available has a lot of properties, but when I ring to ask for a viewing, I am finding that the property is sold or under offer. So pray, that I can find a good estate agent, or someone who can really help me out. I'm finding that people are making judgements about me as well, being rude unnecessarily, because they assume that I am something I am not. Hopefully I will get to talk to my parents financial advisor. It's a scary and exciting, daunting that I might be living on my own in the next couple of years. Here's to making space in the diary to view properties!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Please be careful

Tragedy as teenage girl dies minutes after applying hair dye - Yahoo!

This is the reason why skin testing is such a good idea. For the most part, people are not allergic to hair dye, but just in case, please skin test, every time you go to dye your hair - professionally or at home.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Harvest 2011

This year, Christ Church is celebrating Harvest as a family and for the most part I am involved in one way or another.

I have enjoyed the new ideas that have come along since joining the leadership team. This year is no different, we are into our second year of scarecrow making and I have a title to defend! We will be scarecrow making on Saturday, with a dinner and barn dance. On Sunday we have got a special service and any food we receive will go to a local charity, as well as the judging of the scarecrows! I have to buy a bale of hay - which is something I have never had to do before!

It should be a good weekend, the third and final one of a very 'churchy' time in October. The first weekend was last weekend (which technically started in September) when we spent time as a church, at High Leigh Conference Centre. it was a really good weekend and the Holy Spirit is definitely resting on the church, waiting for God's timing to bring the church together. I really love the church I worship in, the people who lead and serve, and even those who don't yet know how they fit, but still feel part of the family. It's great to see the holy Spirit at work in the people you love and trying to understand our future as a church is going to be a lot of fun.

This coming weekend, I have 14 young people to teach about being a young leader in the place that they are in a discovering their 'SHAPE'. I know most of them well enough to know that as leaders, Lucy and I are going to have a lot of fun!

So that's my October, some time off at the end of the month to take time out and think about other things that have happened. Reflecting on recent event.

Friday, September 23, 2011

World's Most Dangerous Road

Whilst I have been preparing pathfinders for Sunday, I have also been watching World's Most Dangerous Roads.

I am not the adventuring type - armchair adventure is as close as I get to getting on a plane and flying to the middle of nowhere! It's a good series though - good mix of 'celebrities' taking part in doing stupid things, so that I don't have to!

I'm still carrying on with Bible in One Year - we're just a week away from being one month in - it seems like I have been reading for a lot longer than that!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

for the long term

Whilst I'm here, I may as well tell you about Sunday.

For me, the weekend went passed in a bit of a blur... up early on both days, with my head full of things that I needed to do!

Sunday was a 6.30am start! Eek, but it  was all for a very good cause. On the third Sunday of the month, Christ Church celebrates Communion at 8am, if you're looking for a spoken, reflective service, this one is definitely for you. It is really is a very sedate liturgy strong service. it's good for me to go to a service where I really don't have to do anything other than just participate.

This Sunday, however, we had a very special visitor. My long-standing friend (and mentor of sorts) Shirley Gowland joined us for both services and as Warner is away for Walk West Dorset, I was in charge of hospitality for Shirley - which meant being around for the whole morning. I was also leading the 10am service ans co-ordinating the Uniform Groups.

To say there was a buzz about church, would be a bit of an understatement. Shirley and I were both excited about what she was going to say to the congregation, teaching them about a resource that she has developed, called Bible In Literacy. The response from church was amazing, the children got involved and were singing their hearts out at the start too.

We are really starting to develop proper links with the community we live in, through the uniform organisations that use Christ Church as a meeting place. I love parade services and on a number of occasions I have been a bit overwhelmed by the joy that I get from working with them and seeing young boys and girls in the church. pray for them though, they really struggle with getting leaders and we're looking at how we can support them as a church.

I am really excited about Bible In Literacy, partly because it is an awesome resource and because it is ready to use for a lot of teachers. if you want more information about training or just to find out what I am on about, please leave a comment and I will get in touch with you.

I am really excited about schools work this term and how we are working as a team to bring the message to schools, as well as the relationships we have with teachers and young people. After three full years of being in school every week, it is starting to become easy! The challenge is still there though - how do we get the message of the gospel across to so many who don't yet know it.

Longevity is the key here, it is something that I can not stress enough, but I am still learning how to deal with longevity - I have never had a job that has lasted more than 2 years and even those weren't 'career' jobs. This is a calling, it is a career, it is something I know I am called to for now, and something I know I don't always have to do either.

I have said since the end of my 'year out' of youth work at the council that I am wholly grateful for the team that I worked for that year - they gave me such a great sense of what working in the 'world' was and it gives me a better idea of what working in the 'bubble' is!

Inner Geek

I love a bit of geekery and for the most part I am 'up' on stats for this blog and apps for the phone.

So this bit of geek-ness has made me super happy today, you can see my Twitter stats here.

If you are a tweeter, have a go, you might be surprised. I am pleasantly pleased that I have never tweeted at 4am!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rally Day

Sat in the car after my second go round!

The rally car

The logo of the Christian Motorsport Team

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Raw Video: Burning Car Lifted Off Trapped Man - YouTube

It is quite amazing what the human race will do to save one of their own. :)

A change of pace

Someone recently told me 'If you're enjoying your job, you're in the wrong job!' I quickly realised I have far too much fun sometimes as a youth worker and this morning was no exception to that, however it was very extraordinary.

I have finished a very, very good week at school and a wonderful night at youth group as well (we were talking about the good bits of the OT compared to the NT).

Today has been mad because I was awake ridiculously early for a weekend... I'm talking before 9am and before 7am! Rarely in this house do I show my face before 10.30am on my day off, mostly because there's Saturday kitchen to be watched! This week however, I got an email from a contact that I had made at the CRE. I was so impressed with the work of the Christian Motorsport Team, that I wanted to give them something AND get them to Billericay at some point, so may young people could meet the guys and see the car.The fruits of my excitement at seeing a rally car close up was an email inviting me for a track day.

Now, I have only ever been to one track day, where I was thrown around in a Radical for 15 mins, and that only came about because Chris was asked if he wanted to have a go after writing about another opportunity... so I was hoping that I might be allowed to sit in the car, whilst it was stationary, and to be honest, that was enough. However, Paul Harvey, who emailed me to invite me, wanted to get me in the car! I didn't hesitate to say yes and he kindly paid for my passenger fee.

Paul is a very very good rally driver, being strapped in a proper seat, with my helmet on, and Paul talking me through some of the things that they can and can't do with the car, I felt really safe and being able to see where we were going made such a difference to how I felt as I got out of the car after a couple of laps around a very bumpy circuit (Woodbridge is an MOD site, so it's not really made for rally cars!), that however, did not stop me from feeling sick! We got up to 109 kph on the longer straight, there were some nice chicanes and a couple of really sharp turns.

Track days are a good opportunity for drivers and their friends to see how a car handles, how fast it can go and what it is likely to do when pushed. We had a couple of sliding moments, rear tyres screeching as we slid round some of the faster corners. Paul allowed Levi, who had done the website for the company, a go behind the wheel. I wouldn't want to push myself, I really don't have enough experience for driving such a powerful car! 

I really enjoyed my opportunity to sit in a car that was once driven by a world class rally driver... Chris puts it quite succinctly (pinched from his twitter account)

"I'm feeling somewhat jealous of my gf. She's been out in an ex Carlos Sainz Ford Escort Cosworth rally car this morning!"

Paul and his team will hopefully make an appearance in Billeircay, maybe not for a year, but the question is there and the work needs to be done to ask all the right people!  If you see a blue and yellow Ford Escort Cosworth behind a blue van, those are the guys that are working hard to bring the message of God to the track, by simply racing!

On other sport related things... Arsenal are just making it hard for themselves and Ireland have enjoyed a WIN over Australia.

There are some good stories being written at the moment, but none greater than the story in Genesis that I am currently reading. I really can't get my head around how odd this book is, though it is a lot of fun and very intriguing to know that Jacob and co had several issues - it wasn't all dreams and favour from Pharaoh!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh the madness


Have a look at this super cool youtube advert for the new shopping centre in Stratford, London.

A colleague and I were talking about the madness surrounding this place as it opened this week. There were pictures of the front doors as people rushed in to the shopping centre, screaming.

Screaming... it is just shopping. I love shopping, but it is just shopping. You will come away with tired feet, hands and an empty purse/wallet, with things you possibly don't need, you might even come away empty handed - if you are as picky as I am!

The good news is that it has created plenty of jobs for the area, though apparently only 2,000 local people got jobs. Some are saying that it's not enough, but with the economy the way it is at the moment, if a large place is creating a great deal of jobs, that can only help??

Monday, September 12, 2011

Never Forget

Some really lovely pictures from yesterday.

9/11 memorial service Photos | 9/11 memorial service Pictures - Yahoo!

Blooming Christianity

it's always exciting when a new family walk into church on a Sunday.

I can't imagine church that is overflowing, because I have never experienced it. Still the article below is good news for the world of Christianity.

BBC News - Christians in China: Is the country in spiritual crisis?

Something Awesome

9/11 Memorial Sculpture by Heath Satow | Colossal

Just to see what a particular artist is doing in tribute to those who lost their lives in 2001.

Look at what God can do

Yesterday we remembered the lives lost in 2001 in the attacks on America. Ten years ago, I came in from school and found my mum and sister glued to the tv. There was nothing else on. We didn't have sky or even a freeview box (I don't think) to distract from what was going on. And that is all it was, for a very long time, just a long shot of the devastated New York skyline. As the reports of other hijackings came into the newsrooms, it became ever more important to keep watch and try to understand what had been taking place for longer than any civilian ever knew.

In that time, I have watched people come and go, things have happened that I would never imagine (I went to university and started a BLOG!), not all of it positive, but mostly I feel happy about where the last ten years have gone. I am grateful for the people who have let me find out my strengths and weaknesses and those who have and are still encouraging me to work for God's kingdom in so many ways.

In the next ten years, I hope that god will teach me so many new things, I know I can look forward to an adventure. I hope there will be more friends, more people to encourage, more young people to say 'look at what God can do for you' to and many volunteers to teach, members of churches to talk to and networks to make the most of (and hopefully an extended study leave or two!).

We'll see if I am still blogging or if I have children to look after and a husband to live with!

The good news is that 24 men were rescued yesterday from squalid conditions, released from slavery. I hope the police and social workers that are looking after them will know how best to bring out the truth from them, find the families that are missing them and give them the life and the freedom that they so greatly deserve.

I heard on Wednesday night, as I listened to Canon J.John interview Beth Redman, about the work she is doing with A21 and how there are more slaves in the world than ever before, so seeing the news yesterday at a national level and all over the internet, was hopefully an eye opener for many in our country. I hope that the work the police are involved in continues and the people who are involved in people traffiking and keeping people in slavery are brought to justice.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Asking the Question

Just a quick blog as I finish a day at the 'desk'. Recently I have been asking questions Twitter (find me @lizzie_rascal84) of the youth work variety and I have found that people respond to me! If I asked a similar question on Facebook, I would not get a response at all. So thank you to Chris, who signed me up and to all of the youth workers who answer the important questions and support my thoughts.

Someone recently said 'it will be youth workers who change the way the church works together' and my prayer is that it won't be down to one person, but the support from congregations will be there. Anyway... the question I asked is dissected at Youth Leaders Academy, by one of the tweeters who asks strong questions all the time. I have yet to add my thanks to the comments and my other thoughts, but I am pleased that someone with a different perspective is answering the question!

Another question I have asked recently is 'Should youth workers have a sabbatical?' which all stems from hearing my line manager talk about his very exciting time next year. He's taking three months off to study, work in a different environment and spend time with his family. All of the responses I got were positive and I don't think it is a question that has been asked enough. I think that is because youth workers are renown for having a short-ish shelf life - perhaps only 3 years - which in my opinion is not long enough to even start work!

I have had a 'sabbatical' as it were - I worked for a year with Essex County Council and whilst I was still going to church, I was doing minimum youth work. It was nice to have time off - I'd had time off from formal education before and I took the year to read my bible and pray (though I was still shocked to get a phone call asking me if I wanted to be a youth worker!). God has definitely made the most of those 'time outs' to prepare me for the future!

I hope that my question will have more positive responses from those who are writing my contract at the moment and those who are reading this! If you have an extended thought (more than 140 characters!) then please add it! As a youth worker I love to hear what other people are thinking!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Elmo in the UK

Elmo made an appearance on Radio One this afternoon! I was listening in the car on my way home! It was brilliant and you can watch the well but heavily edited video here!

Term Begins

Today, term started in full force... with a good amount of time talking, thinking and praying! I feel quite set up for term, now into the beginning of my fourth year in post, I am ready to go. Three summers ago, I felt as though the world would fall apart if I didn't plan and now I feel as though there is still a need for it, but it is not as pressing... people know I exist, they mostly know what I am up to, they are willing to hear what I am doing and willing to help me out as well.

The term, particularly for what I am teaching at church, is already laid out before me, so I can spend my quiet days preparing sessions for Pathfinders and working out how best to use material that sometimes is hard to use.

So I have the story of the prophets of Baal and the Angels in the new testament as well as the birth of Jesus to teach to a lovely bunch of year 7 to 9 students. Anyone got any resources that can help me? I'm particularly interested in telling the story of Baal in an imaginative way...

Also, my twitter career is taking off some what. I met another, lovely tweeter today, so I am looking forward to hopefully seeing all of my twitter youth worker friends regularly over the year! I have also started to take a more advisory role... it's only a question or two here and there, but still, I never imagined that my job would lead me to a place where people are asking for my advice on important matters!

As a gathering of youth workers, we said 'see you soon' to Alice (who is actually wonderful!) as she goes on maternity leave next week to prepare for welcoming baby boy into the world! We're super excited for the family and looking forward to meeting him soon. It is really good to have a time with people I consider colleagues and watching them work together!

Next week I shall find out what my Billericay colleagues have been up to and will be starting schools work!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Night Terrors!

I'm not one who normally has nightmares... I had a few reoccurring ones as a child, but soon got over them. I do have very vivid dreams, some I can remember from my teenage years even down to detail as I write. I have a wild imagination and can get lost in a book or my own daydreams sometimes. I have even figured out some of the triggers to my more recent reoccurring dream.

So on to this weeks Doctor Who - I was excited that we were going back to Dalek-esque scariness this weekend, as Doctor Who and Torchwood have been missing this a bit recently. It's been focused heavily on the Doctor's 'departure' and Torchwood is currently working though Miracle day rather than saving Cardiff (just because the site gets blown up, doesn't mean 'intergalactic' traffic stops!)

If you have no clue what I'm talking about - please visit the website for more information - BBC - Doctor Who - The Official Site

I love proper scary - I don't go for gory as such, though I used to love medical drama, but Casualty and Holby City got too much for me after having a week off and not knowing what was going on! So proper scary is where it is at for me. An unknown factor, the thing out of the corner of your eye that you just can't see (yes, that's a torchwood line), the psychological and mosters that you could actually picture in your own life if you didn't know any better. (After coming home from the first installment of 'Saw' we did turn on all the lights!)

Doctor Who regularly gets that right... some of the very child-like scary things have appeared. And now as I'm watching Confidential I realise that alot of thought goes into the things that are scary and bringing them to life. For me it's the child's voice again... I absolutely hated the child who had the gas mask face. The use of the word 'mummy' still frightens me!

Please watch Doctor Who - I'm slowly making my way through the box set of the first 4 series!

Friday, September 02, 2011

In a Year...

I quite like the new layout. It's making me want to write! Also procrastinating...

I am procrastinating because at some point today I will have to read my own work, which I really don't like doing... especially when I know it is for an assessment. For the last two years I have gone back to my uni days a bit, learning more about church history and the presence of the Holy Spirit during Communion. There has been a lot more that I have been taught over two years and the last year has been really important in my own development. I have gathered a better sense of what it means to be a youth leader and an evangelist.

For me, gathering some formal training as an evangelist has boosted my confidence in telling people the Truth. The things that are in my heart, that God wants others to hear. Of course, there is a certain amount of discernment that goes with such a position, and I am learning that as well.

This year, I am going to try to read the Bible in a year... with help from Andy Croft at Soul Survivor and hopefully a colleague or two, those who I see regularly and the 'Twitter' colleagues as well! Last year, when I headed to Soul Survivor for the first time ever, I was very skeptical about it. I didn't want to get carried away with the emotion of being with so many young people and their leaders, so I did distance myself from what was going on a little bit, until the end of the week, when tiredness caught up with me and it became a bit overwhelming for me. This year, when they talked about reading the Bible in a year again, I felt really heavy in myself... which for me, normally means that I have to do something about it, or God is just going to show me that I have missed out on this. So I went to the Soul Survivor shop and got myself a Bible specifically 'chopped up' for reading in a year. I love my Bibles, I have several versions and I don't really have a favourite...though if asked to read from it, I will read from the NIV.

We only started yesterday, but it has already raised some questions and brought to light some interesting things. I might end up posting about it every day! When we read something that we think we have read before it becomes easy to skim-read. Hopefully I won't do that, but I will encourage others to give it a go. It is important that we know the Bible, the easy bits and the harder parts, so that we can have a good view of what God has done and is doing for the world that we live in.

Right best start reading the words that will hopefully help me to understand more about evangelism!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

FairyTee Goes Wild

You may or may not have noticed the little bit of change that has gone on.

Recently I said 'See you soon' to Verity, who has headed to Uganda for a year to do DTS with a lovely bunch of people called YWAM. She's gone, but definitely not forgotten...and has to blog about her experience, or I shall have to go to Africa to find out what she is doing!

So her blog is here and if you know her, would you kindly support her, by reading all about what she is doing and going through the highs and lows with her.

She is a wonderful lady and she's doing it all for God, who else!?!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

All well and good....

Once again, Yahoo! are reporting things again and getting it ever so slightly wrong...

Winslet flees fire at Sir Richard Branson’s house | Movies Blog - Yahoo! Movies

Of course a huge house fire like this is not good for anyone, but if you are going to talk about a huge start like Kate Winslet... at least get her movies right!!

Finding Neverland was an awesome movie and Finding netherland doesn't even exist!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hypnotic Folding Furniture

Hypnotic Folding Furniture - Lovely Listing - Odd Finds in Real Estate Listings

This is really worth watching, some awesome design features. I really wish I had known about this when I was redesigning my bedroom. Then i would have space to play on the wii and have a double bed!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I do love a good story... and this will be one that this couple will tell their children and their grandchildren for such a long time.

Surprise: Bride didn’t know she was getting married — until she showed up at her wedding - Yahoo! Shine Canada

It took a year of planning and a lot of quiet moments from friends and family I can imagine.

Everyone was in on it... can you believe it. I don't think my friends would be able to keep a secret like this. I certainly wouldn't be able to!

Some awesome art

I know artists have used pin point for a number of years.... but push pins is something new to me!

Work | Eric Daigh

I am now in recovery from Soul Survivor and my cousins wedding. I have had an awesome time with lots of young people and leaders. As well as an amazing time with my family.

Once I have put the photo's on my laptop I shall put them on here. Considering I am on holiday this week, I should have already done it really!!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Dude Craft: Gulp! - Worlds Largest Stop Motion Film by Aardman Animation

Dude Craft: Gulp! - Worlds Largest Stop Motion Film by Aardman Animation

From my small world of blogging comes a large animation of awesomeness!

Dude Craft in its own right is awesome... the place I go to for a little bit of rest and imagination using, also to look at things that I could only wish of owning.

All this wonderful things will keep appearing in my life until such a time as not having the internet or forgetting about it.

Today the weather is horrible, I should've finished my talk for Sunday and there might be football on later... yesterday the weather was lovely, I took a day off from my talk and watched an early evening thunderstorm.

I'm hoping that time at Soul Survivor will be refreshing next week, that I will get an opportunity for a tweetup and a chance to be fed.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Photos of Dogs

Heart Touching Photos of Dogs with Humans

Some cute pictures celebrating dogs and the relationship we have with them.

Apparently we have cats.... not entirely sure if Mum and Dad have agreed to this... I haven't and I'm not sure our dog is very happy with it either... still they are up in my brothers room, probably causing havoc.

I am trying to write a 5 to 10 min talk for Sunday and look for an appropriate craft activity too. I'm thinking about bandages and sinners... I think I have something that will work, but I'm not entirely sure that it will occupy the young people (there were 4 or 5 in church on Sunday) for a while. Still I will find something for them to do. Might steal some Schools work ideas.

We're barely a week away from Soul Survivor, Verity is on training this week for her African adventure and my other volunteers have been giving me lots of opinion on how Shaken Up should work in September, some very exciting ideas, hopefully facebook will help us get some ideas...

Onwards and Upwards... Nan is recovering well from her operation on her hip, in high spirits after seeing her Daughter, Son-in-law and grandchildren yesterday (who loved the crutches she's been given!). Mum and Dad are at New Wine with various church members and the young people are preparing to lead worship next Sunday.

I'm looking forward to spending more time with Chris this week as he is photographing a couple of horse events. We've been together for over two years and celebrated on Saturday (belatedly) by going out to London for lunch, dinner and a show. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful boyfriend. The Lion King was awesome. Dinner at Circus was slightly disappointing - Chris came away hungry and we both had a headache by the end of it - nothing sweets from Cybercandy can't solve...

All exciting. Tomorrow I'm going to pop into Basildon to sort out holiday things, visit my Grandad's grave on his birthday and pack a bag to spend time with Chris!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Robbie Williams confirms Take That exit - Behind The Music

Robbie Williams confirms Take That exit - Behind The Music

This is totally not a surprise... and actually I am quite pleased that this is happening.

I am a Take That fan and have been since the band began their career all those years ago. When Robbie left the first time, I didn't cry, I was upset when they called it a day but wasn't everyone? It was only every going to be a one term thing and it feels like Robbie has ridden the wave of the Take That come back for all it is worth and decided now to write again and tour off the back of it. What a surprise. I am a little angry about it as well.

I know plenty of people love Robbie so I won't say much more about this, it just not a shock at all.

In other news... transition lessons for year 6 groups have been really good, and finish today. Also, CCS finishes today, so I have to try and remember where I'm going this evening and leave a little early with the food in tow.

Tomorrow we're off to SOLID for the weekend with 11 boys and 3 other leaders. It's going to be an awesome weekend. I do have to print out some more behaviour agreements though, for the boys who haven't signed them! Pray for us, that we will be safe, that we will have an opportunity to chat and that we can connect with what is going on. Pray for changed hearts! (And that we get some sleep!) And for the weather... the list is endless!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What a rip off

Premier League - Parents to complain over kids' kit prices - Yahoo! Eurosport

Have a read of the article above and ask yourself the same question the survey asked.

Are replica football kits too much money? Are they a rip off?

In my opinion, yes the are. I brought my brother an Arsenal shirt last year and that was expensive (and simply because I'd gone to Lakeside before looking online).

We live in a world where things are expensive, cost of living etc, and a football shirt is a luxury - but it shouldn't be the sort of thing you have to dig into your savings (or take out a mortgage) for!

Well Done mumsnet for taking this to the top and asking the question about the massive mark up... if a shirt didn't cost so much, the team wouldn't have so much and the players wouldn't be paid a stupid amount for 90 mins on a pitch.

Rant finished... I have become a reactionary blogger :(

YouTube - ‪theshures's Channel‬‏

YouTube - ‪theshures's Channel

Late night giggle! I won't be at work until lunch time tomorrow!

This made me laugh. I love good covers - and The Shures are amazing! I would love to be this good! and obviously there's Nick Pitera - if you can get over his cheesy 'I'm on my own but I'm pretending I'm not' face! Best to just listen to him, rather than watch him!‬‏

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

24 Hours in A&E - 4oD - Channel 4

24 Hours in A&E - 4oD - Channel 4

If you can watch a couple of these (but only if you are over 16, please) I would really recommend it. It might restore your faith in the NHS and in hospitals or it might not, but the least you can say is that it will open your eyes up to the world of an E.D. no end.

This weeks episode is a bit of both... watching humanity ruin itself and also watching the older generation benefit from health care (private and free).

The couple who talk about having a spliff in a hospital and the little old lady who just wants a man like her husband.

Today has been a really quiet day and watching 24 hours in A and E finished it off nicely for me.

Monday, June 27, 2011


It is dangerous for me to be outside today, so I am hiding from the sun...knowing that if I go and sit outside, I will shortly become very pink and very ill.

So I thought, amongst emails and preparations for camp, I would tell you about a amazing Thursday that I had last week. Often my creativity flows from writing something unrelated to what I am thinking about.

It was an early, panicked start for me, but Margaret and I got on the train with seconds to spare and headed towards Denham station, stopping at Paul's Patisserie for 'breakfast' and once we got there we were greeted by our transport to the venue. If you have never been to Denham Grove, can I encourage you to go. It's a little bit lush!

At 10am we started with worship, led by Nicki Rogers,and we quickly moved into hearing from Mary Pytches who was just amazing. She told a bit of her story and used the time really well to teach us about the work of the Holy Spirit.

After coffee, we had time with Julie Sheldon, who was a Dystonia sufferer and again, had an amazing insight into the work of the Holy Spirit and how to evangelise to a group at a specific event. if you don't know Julie Sheldon, her story is amazing - she was bedridden for a while with Dystonia and was completely healed in one morning. I couldn't believe it and I can't wait to read her story.

After an awesome lunch (Prawn curry and Tiramis-oooo!) we heard some more from communicators who are trained professionally and use unusual forms of communication to tell the story of the Gospel. Then J.John spoke on some really practical pointers for preaching in general.

I really enjoyed the day and came away from it knowing that I have some really practical points to make writing talks easier and getting the evangelistic point across. I will probably use the points in my next talk as it is probably the most evangelical talk I will have done.

Yesterday we spent the late morning in the park, joining with all of the other churches, to praise in the sun and see some of the work that the churches are doing throughout the town. It was a good morning. Not a lot of people around, but the heat was getting too much for me.

Friday, June 24, 2011


YouTube - SENNA International Trailer

If you are a motor sports fan, you will know the name Ayrton Senna - if you're not, then just read a little bit of what I have to say abou the movie chris and I went to see.

Chris had mentioned the Senna movie a number of times and I'd seen it on Twitter - because I follow a lot of motorsports people. We'd been to Le Mans and quickly booked the tickets of the only showing we could make, which was a wise move, because when we got to the cinema, they were already queuing. Full of high spirits, not entirely sure what to expect, we were chatting to chris' friend Alex on the way in.

As we sat down, for me, the anticipation grew and I really began to wonder whether I was going to make it through the movie without crying. People had said it was quite a rollercoaster ride and they weren't wrong.

I am a tad nostalgic about the early 90's, so hearing Murray Walker's voice set me off. There were a number of moments where the whole audience shook in shock and laughed at some of the small things. If you know these characters, you know their little things and spot them. Seeing Damon Hill as well was quite funny.

Towards the end of the movie, when 1994 came up, Chris took my hand and didn't let me go. (For that I am hugely grateful)

Ayrton Senna's death will always be a shock to me and knowing what he went through makes it harder too. He died doing what he loved, what he felt he was made for.

I cried solidly and I'm told I wasn't alone. Death, in any way it happens is never easy, this programme doesn't make it any easier.

I can't say much more, but I know it's had an impact on me. Hopefully I won't forget it any time soon.

I am pretty certain that the advances made in safety started at that point, the world was shocked into doing something so effective that 18 years on, the world can watch a car desinegrate upon impact and then not 5 mins later, the driver is talking and walking about and at the very worst knocked unconcious. We will continue to see crashes in motorsport for all the years there is racing, but, and we have to know we aren't invincible, we hope no more death.

In other news, and possibly related, I feel like I've been crying in my sleep. Strange! And I've got my tax disc for the next year!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dear Photograph

Dear Photograph

This website looks like an awesome idea. Makes me want to dig out the photo of my 13th (or 12th) birthday and do the same. There are so many photos I could chose from!

Tomorrow is another day though and there are a lot of new things to do. Lots of memories to make.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Le Mans

You may or may not have caught the news over the weekend that there was a bit of a major race on in France.

Chris and I were there, our first experience of camping together but not of travelling a couple of 100 miles to get to our destination. I wasn't worried about travelling, Chris' driving is good and his awareness of what is going on, even in a foreign country, is impressive. we both found it a bit weird being on the 'wrong' side of the road, but you get used to that when you decide to travel through every town from Calais to Le Mans! We skipped the toll roads, thinking that it would be cheaper but it definitely wasn't quicker - as we found out when we travelled back on the toll roads.

After doing our shopping in Carrefour in Calais - which was a good idea - we made our way to the circuit. Along the way we saw some amazing buildings and towns. The countryside is really flat for the most part, there are some lovely scenes (French people have a thing about putting things in very straight lines - trees and wind turbines in particular)  but mostly we were so focused on following the sat nav that we may have missed some things. Still here are a few pictures.

Lovely buildings that caught my eye. I don't know the name of the town they were in but I would go back and shop there in a flash!

We got to Le Mans and then spent an hours sitting in traffic to get to La Sarthe, to the campsite. We were shown to our pitch and quickly realised we had quite a lot of space, because the people either side of us hadn't arrived yet. We set up camp, which is fairly easy when you have a pop up tent, blow up bed and a pop up gazebo. If there were more people involved I would show you some pictures of set up! Chris and I work really well as a team, we both know what needs to be done. One annoyance was that the gas cooker had become a little stiff, so we botched a solution for the first night and had a very good bolognese! We then headed to the circuit for night practice and a chance to look at the shops on the outside of the circuit.

It's a big site, but we happened to be quite close to the main entry point and so was our stand. It's better than I expected! Plenty of people, places to get food, and excellent radio service to tell you what is going on. we watched the end of night practice and walked back.

On Friday, we spent the whole day in Le Mans, waiting for the drivers parade - here's a picture of my favourite driver

Giancarlo Fisichella - on the left. We waited for the whole day! Travelling on the tram was fun, nice and smooth, easy to get around. We spent time eating good french food and drinking with Chris' friends. We walked back through the village, looking at all the car stalls and different sponsors.

Saturday was race day and a chance to see the start of the race. We hung around for a bit and saw the Alan McNish crash. I surprised myself by sitting for 4 hours watching what was going on. There were 20 hours left but dinner was calling. We went back to the track at about 9.30pm to see what was going on, only to witness another crash, from the same team. 2 Audi cars down, one to go, 18 hours to go.

The good news is, that when we woke up the following morning, the Audi was still running, and eventually, we watched it cross the finish line, only 13 seconds ahead of the Peugeot. Giancarlo Fisichella finished second in his class. It was an astonishing race, lots of drama and plenty of stories, that will hopefully turn into a classic! (We also saw Stirling Moss retire at the age of 81, though we didn't know it at the time!)

An amazing weekend, rounded off by a trip to the museum and a second BBQ!

We travelled home so quickly and watched the Canadian Grand Prix, so all in all it's been a pretty amazing weekend for the high end motor sport world!

Onwards and upwards...back to work today to mentoring and meeting with youth workers. Getting ready for a trip to Ely... going to have some Brie and pack my bag.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Shocking headlines

Teenager Kills Girl To Feed Video Game Habit - Yahoo! News

I have read this article several times, one because I cannot get my head around how a young adult can do this and two because it is badly written.

Sorry for blogging it, but i will try to focus on the story, rather than the way the story is written.

There are few things that I am addicted too... at 2,852 tweets (at time of publication) since December, I am not shy of sharing my thoughts in less than 140 characters - in fact I shall probably tweet that I have written this! I am mildly addicted to shopping, shoes and my hair straightners. Things that give me little comfort, but some none the less, whilst I go about my day to day life. I was addicted to blogging for a while, but even that I have kept in check and understood when enough is enough.

Where do you draw the line for the things you really like doing? Do you have a voice, a feeling that tells you to stop?

I have little understanding of addiction on the scale of the boy in the article, so I only really have a lot of questions in my head and most of them point fingers at the obvious missing pieces in his life... We will see if the answers come in the days to follow. I guess the good news to come from this is that there is a group for Gaming Addicts - and I applaud anyone who works with addicts, it is often thankless work and quite hard too, from what I know.

There's not a lot else of me to say. I started to write in shock, but I realised that it's probably not best to rant.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The sheer power of it

I know I have a really odd relationship with God - especially for those who are looking from the outside in. Sometimes I really can not believe that God loves me and wants me to hear and then share what He's telling me. I tend to get extremely emotional and find it really difficult when I tell God's truth to other people, even thinking about it now, I'm getting a little upset!

This has happened a lot recently - I'm having dreams about what to say to people and the pictures and visions are becoming clearer. God is definitely moving towards something big, He doesn't just drop me in it, I can feel that he's surrounding me with something, getting me ready.

Before I went to pray at lunch time for a local school I felt a bit battered and bruised, I'd been worrying about a number of things and people recently... so on the walk to school, I took a deep breath and said 'here, you have it, I don't want it any more' to God and what followed was a time of connection that I haven't had for some time. I had two visions of trees after the lady I was praying with said she felt like she was in a forest of bad stuff.

God has a thing about trees - I can think of several times when I have used them in illustrations, where God uses them to teach. I can see how important they are for the landscape, for the wildlife and for us. I prayed once that the students would be like the trees that surround the school, with deep roots and tall branches and that imagery has continued and developed, this afternoon it came to a crescendo with the vision of the tree being full of good fruit and bad fruit - and guess what? It has deep roots and tall branches, and the classroom it grows through is in the school's RE department.

There is a constant battle that we must not forget we are fighting... we must have the fruits of the Spirit and the Armour of God to help us!

See... weird... but helpful for me, none the less, and it makes me ready for every day that I have to face, knowing that God is right beside me, continuing the battle over this world.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TV Adverts

I love TV adverts at the moment, there are some really clever ones

and some that are just right to lift my mood when I need it the most


That's clearly two people in that jacket... that must've taken a lot of practice to be able to move like that!

I'm sure I have said before that I have a fascination with the way things work... Cadbury's have always flumuxed me! Enjoy! And if you can find something impossible, please share it!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ready for more?

Can you also tell that I'm making a concerted effort to blog again. I need to start writing about things to help me realise the important things in life. 140 characters is not enough! I do think in more than one sentence and I have quite a lot to say, I'm finding new things to be excited about all of the time, sometimes I just need to talk about them.

I am coming back to quoting Romans 8 constantly as a reminder to myself that God will love me, no matter what we go through together.

Here's hoping networked blogs on Facebook catches up with me soon! how social networking has changed my life. Sorry little blog and the audience that keep checking up on me... I will try to get the balance right!

I have mostly spent Bank Holiday re-introducing my friend to

The last time I was on Match, was two years ago, and boy, how much has the service changed. It's more expensive, more interactive and generally very different. It is really interesting to see that there are nearly 70,000 people at one time. THAT amazes me. I know there are 60 million-ish people in the UK, but still... who would've thought that it would take off like that AND they are still running adverts for it... it must be worth millions!

Well, it has been interesting to see what is now going on in the world of match and to help someone get back on their feet a little bit too.

Chris and I met through Match and we have not looked back since. I am kinda kicking myself that I deleted all the emails he sent me, cos I thought I wouldn't want to look back at them, but after this weekend I do.

It's just over a week and a half until we go to Le Mans too. we're getting things ready and that means that I have to pack for France, though I don't know what the weather is going to be like! Tomorrow will be the day to get the suitcase down (because the weekend bag will not be big enough) and try to fit the first attempt at packing in! I have grown to love camping since forcing myself to do it with young people in 2008 at SOLID, so I do know what to expect... it's just being in a different country that scares me!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

And finally....

If you haven't seen this, you need to. I showed it to my youth group for the first time on Sunday and it went down well I think.

I cry every time I see it. It really brings home to me the love that Jesus has for me and that he will not let go whatever is going on.

'We're convinced that neither death nor life, angels nor demons, nor height or depth or what's to come, can cut us off from the love of God, God is still for us, turn around' (Jonny Parks 'God is still for us' and Romans 8)

Follow Up

or possibly something to do with food.

Eric Lanlard is a little bit of a favourite at the moment... he's been Baking Mad on Channel 4.

Then there's Cupcake Wars and good ol' Duff over at Charm City Cakes. If you've ever seen Ace Of Cakes, you're not missing out at all. I love Man vs Food, though I am completely surprised that the guy who presents the programme hasn't had a heart attack yet.

Too many food programmes when you have Sky and the BBC. I'm still quite glad I missed out on Stacey Solomon on Saturday Kitchen, it's bad enough that she's on an Iceland advert at the moment.

24 Hours

A lot can happen in 24 hours and a new documentary on Channel 4 is showing us the ups and downs of Kings College Hospital Accident and Emergency. 

It has always been interesting to see how documentaries are done, how reality television has changed over the last 10 years or so, since the rise and fall of Big Brother and what affect it has on the people involved.

'24 Hours in A and E' is not very hard hitting, but it does use the experiences of the staff and the reactions of the public to tell stories. The amazement of one professional was quite interesting - I found myself smiling at his disbelief. A man had come in via the 'red' phone, the one that rings when someone is severely ill, he had been trapped, folded in half at the waist and was in danger of losing his life. The staff reacted calmly and quickly to finding out what was wrong, what needed to be fixed and how. The doctor who was overseeing the whole department spent the rest of the programme complimenting his staff on their hard work, on the phone to a loved one and shaking his head in sheer disbelief that this man was still alive.

It was wonderful to see the man who arrived on a bed, get up and walk around his flat at the end of the programme. Modern medicine is a wonderful thing... and Bizarre ER is another programme that proves that the work of the NHS is invaluable to some. although, rather unfortunately I watch it on iPlayer too late at night! I'm not very squeamish so it's not too bad for me, but i do wonder what goes though the directors mind when he's ready to show a mangled finger!

Whatever I'm watching, it tends to be something to do with the emergency services. I love Police Interceptors and the Paramedics in Birmingham that have their own show on 5. I can't believe, still, that there are people who treat the Police, Fire and Ambulance services with contempt, it is really disrespectful and makes their job a lot harder.

For me, I'm hoping that 24 hours will make a difference to Chris, because he's been in bed for nearly that long with something nasty.