Thursday, May 31, 2012


Since September 1st 2011, I have been reading the Soul Survivor Bible in one year. Some times I have gone about it with the proper mindset, sitting quietly, reading slowly and talking to others about it. Other times I have done my own special brand of skim reading. I am behind at the moment, by about a week, nonetheless, I persevere and I want to keep on track as much as possible over the last 100 days, so that I finish with everyone else doing it this year. Here's hoping.

One thing I don't need to worry about it God speaking to me. The question you could ask is how can God speak to me if I am skim reading? Well, in His own way He does. yesterday evening, I read about 4 days in one go, which is a whole bit of Isaiah and all of Galatians, with Psalms and Proverbs thrown in for good measure.

So I was, for God's reasons, focused on Isaiah - and here's what happened from it.

I found the songs that my church dearly love and know well, from the 70's

How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
    “Your God reigns!”  Is 52:7

You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.  Is 55:12

Both of the songs - Our God reigns and The Trees of the field, were written close together, you've got to wonder what God was doing in the UK at that time among worship leaders and if it still happens today?

The second thing was the prophecy of the servant of god, who I know as Jesus, you might disagree with me, but here it is and it excites me that the bigger picture is laid out before the people to see and that the hope of a Messiah is long standing. I am really excited that I get to share the bigger picture with all the young people. 

The third thing is something that has really spoken to me, and I probably needed it 10 days ago, instead of yesterday! Isaiah 54:1-8

“Sing, barren woman,
    you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
    you who were never in labour;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
    than of her who has a husband, ”
says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
    stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
    strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
    your descendants will dispossess nations
    and settle in their desolate cities.
Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
    Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.

You will forget the shame of your youth
    and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
For your Maker is your husband —
    the Lord Almighty is his name—

the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
    he is called the God of all the earth.
The Lord will call you back
    as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young,
    only to be rejected,” says your God.
For a brief moment I abandoned you,
    but with deep compassion I will bring you back.

In a surge of anger
    I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
    I will have compassion on you,”
    says the Lord your Redeemer. 

The verses I have highlighted screamed at me as I read the verses. Knowing that God has me, he has called me his own, and he feels deep compassion for me is surprising, it's glorious to know. He has claimed me and will fight for me. Awesome.

And the last little bit is the armour of God, which reminds me that there is nothing new under the sun. 

He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
    and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
    and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.  Is 59:17

As I read the end of Ephesians tonight, I will look back at Isaiah and see the parallels. God knows what he is doing. I don't, which is why I find this fascinating. I like the apostles were just saying the things that had already been said, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, they speak to us today.

I know God has a huge plan for everyone, for all of the young people I see, for those who I don't and for the town I work in. I love that I am 'skim reading' the Bible, that I don't need to study it to great depth, but it gives me great depth for free.

I have been thinking about roots, deep roots for the young people that I work with and how we can encourage them. I have also been thinking about generational things. I hope I will get a chance to report all of that soon. Now though, I have to get ready to see my young people perform at school.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


59 by Harry Baker - YouTube

This is where I have seen Harry Baker before... this is an awesome poem. Quirky and a good one!

I would really recommend that you seek him out and give him a go!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Youthwork Summit 2012 pt 2

Youthwork Summit « youthpastablog

Above is the link to a blog post from a man who was really engaged in the day overall. It is very much short pieces of what actually happened, but well worth the read if you were there and didn't get some of what was happening, it's also great if you weren't there and need to know in brief what happened, without reading transcripts or watching a days worth of youtube clips.

As for me, I have started the process of sifting my brain for bits and pieces about the day, those things that spoke to me, what went over my head and why, and how can I keep my young people in the picture as I think about how the future vision is for the youth work I do in Billericay?

I have started with a mind-map of all of the people that spoke and 2 or 3 words (sometimes a sentence if it struck me) of what was said during the 10 min talk. Then I moved on to what I thought could come from what was said. I managed to do the second bit really quickly as they have been the things on my mind since the summit, but also the things we are already doing and how that is developing the youth work. There is a picture on twitter of it if you click on the side bar and have a look at it! I will post it on here if I transfer the photos to my laptop.

So what does the youth work of Billericay need to look like in the future? What does the education of our young people need to look like? And how do we reach and teach the Gospel in a relevant way for those who have no sense of who God is and what God can do in their lives?

The day has already inspired me and will be gearing us up for all that is to come in the future of youth work. I hope I am doing this proper job, properly and that God is speaking to people through what i say and do.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Youthwork Summit 2012

Youthwork Summit 2013

This weekend - just the last 72 hours has been such a rollercoaster of emotions, I am hoping that once I have some time I can process everything that has happened and encourage those around me who were with and without me during the weekend.

I must say that I am very impressed with how it worked through the day, how well it was put together. It was great that the speakers were referring to each other - not by name, but by things that were said. It was gathered together and well balanced in everything. It was challenging, enlightening and I was just pleased to be there, having missed out twice before.

We're considering next year at the moment (do I make it compulsory for those I work with?) and how the things that we have heard play into what we are doing.

I know I am not the only one who is wondering, I am grateful for those who are going through the same thing at the moment. I desperately want to share with everyone what needs doing, and how to say that will be up to God!

So pray that everything that has happened will be fruitful!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Getting it right

After yesterday's late night rumblings, something else has been bugging me today. I asked a question on Twitter and as yet, I have one response, but that's what a question that is 140 characters can do. It can stump some people...

So the question I asked was this 

How do you feel about going 'beyond the call of duty'?
Does volunteering for things outside of your remit make you a workaholic or a good church member?

As a youth worker, employed by the church, the lines between work and volunteering are somewhat blurred... because as a young person/adult most of my volunteering has been done with church.

Working with young people over 11 in any setting within the parish and with the banner of my church flying, is work... as is doing youth work with other churches taking the lead, but I'm also a Brownie leader for a pack with the church's name, which most people would count as volunteering, but because I am employed, it becomes work and I can count it as my hours for the week.

However, there are things that do count as volunteering, but are in my place of work i.e. moving chairs, cleaning etc. So my volunteering - being the first/last in the building gets labelled 'beyond the call of duty' when really, it is just the normal thing to do, I am fortunate enough to have a job that has flexible hours, so that allows me to do things that those that also have flexible hours/don't work/are retired can do.

So when I do volunteer, I have a sense that I am just being a good church member, I am looking after the building that the young people come into, that people from the outside see, I like the building I worship in, why would I not want to look after it an make it look really presentable? 

Does it make me a workaholic? Probably not, I think if I were filling my time with finding youth and church events to go to, I would be, probably, very annoying to some of my colleagues! 

With everything, it is a balance, when you have clear lines to cross, it becomes easier to say 'no' to things, to guard your time and protect your passions. When I worked for the council I couldn't wait to get home... now I miss the people I work with, I still struggle to get up in the mornings, but for the most part, I come home happy.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What do men want?

Dating Tips

If you get a chance - have a read of the article above.

For a while I have been reading things I probably shouldn't on Yahoo, but this one actually infuriated me. Now i know it's late on a Sunday and today started with me dropping my laptop, then writing a note for a neighbours car that was parked in my space and a finally sweet potato exploding over my thumb, so it's not been the best day for living alone or being single, but life does go on, I have taught the young people how to live distinctively, watched them lead worship and prayed over them for their exams this week. It's been a mixed day - at 4.55pm I laughed aloud as Man City to won the league.

So forgive me whilst I take a moment to tell you that getting that man you like to notice you does not mean you should do 100 things that makes you seem super human and super interesting to him for the brief moment when you're walking past him or at work, or whenever.

The first tip is 'learn about his favourite team', which if you're not interested in sport in the first place is pointless - maybe it should be 'listen and listen well' or 'honesty is the best policy', what's worse, being up front and polite about it or six months down the line, whilst you're stood in a football/rugby/other sports stadium that you've paid a lot of money for, turning to your boyfriend and saying 'you know what, I did this just so I could date you, I'm not really interested'? Of course, by that time you might be interested and it might be doing you the world of good. But if you're bored out of your brain for 5 hours on a Saturday because he thinks you like football and his team, no less, well, who are you kidding? (hence ALWAYS being up front about being an Arsenal supporter, on a first date!)

I could pull the rest of the article to pieces - but instead I will delete it from my browser history and try not to look at the Match/Yahoo website again.

What can I say? One thing that as appeared in my life again is the essay song, Everybody's Free (To wear sunscreen), if you don't know it, Google it, please. It is great advice!

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybe
you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky
chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t
congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your
choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

I have missed out on a chance this week, but I am attempting to be myself and be true to myself every day, that doesn't mean that I need to find myself in an argument or a pub quiz, trying to show off, just to get a man.

I hope one day, that the advice dating websites dish out are less about lying about who you are and more about sharing the truth's of who you are and how you got to where you are.

Monday, May 07, 2012


At the grand old age of 27 (yes, I know I am not the oldest), yesterday evening, I went to a nightclub, in BasVegas. For me, it is more unusual for me to go clubbing as I get older, but I didn't realise it was unusual for everyone else... On a Bank Holiday Sunday, you would traditionally think that nightclubs or nightspots would be heaving with people who don't have to be at work the next day.

Apparently this is no longer the case, where several Christmas' ago I was stood in a crammed bar, waiting 10 mins to get served, this time, I stood in a half empty nightclub, and waited 20 mins to get served.

I love dancing, I like dressing up a little bit and I want to be able to do those things all in one go.

I can't understand why the place was half empty - maybe we should've gone to the nightclub complex next door instead of going to the one bar, but for £2 entry and £1.50 drinks, why wasn't this place packed to the rafters with revellers? It is the first proper weekend after pay day as well. It was like being back at uni!

As a singleton, it is a place to go to see who is out there... so is everyone all coupled up and staying in? Or am I just too old? (However that is a mute point because I was talking to someone who is 2 years older than me at the bar) Is it geography? (BasVegas is not a uni town)

What stops people of my generation or all the 18/21 year olds going out? Is it about being I.D.'d now? I always carry mine with me and the bouncer didn't even want to see it this time! Do people not like being challenged about how young they look? (We had a joke with the bouncer about that)

It's interesting that we are in austerity at the moment, but how are people enjoying themselves?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Whilst I catch up with Steps: On the road again let me tell you all about Steps: The Tour (and of course a bit of history).

If you don't know what I am talking about - either you're too young or you've lived under a rock. Steps are a dance and singing phenomenon from the late 1990's. They gave us dances to so many older songs and a lot of new ones too, in short the inspired a generation of children (and adults) to dance. So as I didn't see them the first time around, I was excited to see them on the reunion tour.

Mandy and I started with dinner in The O2 arena after being turned away from the sky bar, sad times, but dinner was a good chance to chat and catch up. I miss my bestie a lot of the time. We like most of the same bands and have been through some great concerts and some not so great.

Steps was one of the better ones. All of their songs are classics, the dances are as well and the way they did some of their dances were awesome. They still know how to work the room as it were, to get the crowd going and joining in. Of course we all danced, we all sung and joined in where we were supposed to.

It had its wow moments - Claire singing her solo was a stand out moment.She has such a powerful voice. The giant screen was awesome too, though from where we were stood, it didn't make the impact it should've done. (Side note - this is a problem with every concert I have been to bar Take That)

The night was really enjoyable, the singing was very good and everyone was really well rehearsed. Of course I didn't appreciate the scantily-clad ladies, but I do appreciate that the band have tried their hardest to give a good come back and say a final farewell all in one show.

There are some bands that have longevity (again Take That) and some that don't, I am pleased that I have seen Steps altogether, but I don't think we'll see it again.


Versatile Blogger Award « Voice of A Citizen

Apparently I have been nominated for an award for my blogging - so thank you to Edward (you can follow him on twitter).

I am not quite sure what to do now, because I don't think I regularly read 15 blogs that I can link to/nominate, or have ways of telling those people that they have been nominated.

But I can do the 7 things about me, which you may (if you are close to me) or may not (highly likely) know... here goes (this is very much off the top of my head, as are most of my blogs, I have never scheduled a blog post in my life)

1. Possibly my most impressive moments - two appearances on Blue Peter as a young person, with the orchestra I played with for a few years. Days I hope I will never forget.

2. I love home-baking, but I'm not actually very adventurous. I tend to try things once and never again, despite how well they turn out. (See my twitter feed for things I try out)

3. I can sing and it took me a long time to get to the point where I believed in myself, and really, I am still trying to find my voice. I would love to sing in a choir.

4. I am two thirds of the way through reading the Bible in a year. I am hoping to finish at the end of August along with others. I can't say I understand it all, nor have I taken it in, but i can feel it making a difference to my inner most being.

5. Strangely enough, I am finding this tough. Maybe this is why this is the first time I have done a list like this. It's hard to know what to say when you're caught a little off guard. After all, who really likes talking about themselves when they spend most of the time talking about someone else (Jesus in my case).

6. I am a theology graduate yet found out that I don't know huge amounts about church liturgy. My dissertation was about Women Bishops. I am very proud of my achievements whilst at University.

7. I love song lyrics, deconstructing them and wondering who they are about and how they came to be written in that way. I regularly blog about one song - Carry Me by Sabio. Some times a Bible verse speaks deeply, but this song speaks to my life as a whole.

So there you go! Seven very honest things about me, and hopefully you'll find something of interest here, I will try to write more often.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


The Frye Company

I have some Firetrap boots that are close to death, they are in the 'biker' style but they don't look like I actually own a bike. Anyway, they were a bargain, thanks to BrandAlley and I wish I'd brought two pairs now, because, despite searching high and low for something similar, I haven't found anything close, in looks or price. Sad times.

Lovely fashion blogger Fashion Foie Gras keeps me on top of what is going on and the post about Emily Blunt's choice of boot in The Five Year Engagement got me all excited... I squealed in delight and then again in horror as I saw the style I wanted and then the price.

Why do beautiful things have to be so expensive??  Still hunting for boots and hoping that something comes out of all the discount stores (online) I have my eye on! I wish firetrap and babysham still did the boots I want to replace!