Monday, 30 June 2008

How to Measure Change.

I was just reviewing my blog, my body of work, my journal, my thesis, my LIFE!!...changed the template...hmmm not sure, then checked out my 'About Me'

Surely it will need updating, so much has occured since I wrote it.

No, it doesn't, and I'm not sure how I feel about that!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

How Odd! ( See post below one this first)

Todays Purpose Driven Email


We Need Each Other: To Walk With by Rick Warren

Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk in Him. Colossians 2:6 (NIV/NKJV)
*** *** *** ***
The Bible often compares life to a walk, because life is a journey; we’re not sitting still. Throughout the New Testament, we are told to walk in wisdom, love, light, and obedience. We’re told to walk as Jesus walked. We’re also told to walk alongside other people. Here are three reasons to walk with other people:

1. It’s safer. Have you ever walked alone at night through a dark alley or down a lonely country road? It’s a little scary. But if you have another person with you, you immediately feel safer.

2. It’s supportive. Life is not a fifty-yard dash; it’s a marathon. Walking with other people gives you the energy to keep on going until the end.

3. It’s smarter. You learn more by walking with others than by walking alone. If you’re walking alone in the wrong direction, you may never realize it. But if you have a friend alongside you, one of you is likely to recognize you’ve veered off the path and need to find the right direction.
We also learn some important lessons when we walk alongside other people. We learn how to get along with others, how to cooperate.

We also learn how to love. Genesis 2:18 tells us, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (NIV). God hates loneliness, and community is God’s answer to loneliness. When we walk alongside other people, we find a community where we learn how to love.
Walking alongside other people also teaches us hospitality. 1 Peter 4:9 says, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling” (NIV). What’s your grumble? What’s your excuse for not opening your home to friends?

Maybe you’ve said, “My home is dirty!”
Well, clean it up!

Or perhaps your excuse is: “My home isn’t big enough.”
Can you put three people in it? Jesus says, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20 NIV).

Everybody has a longing for belonging because God made us for relationships. When we walk alongside other Christians in community, we find that longing satisfied.

Been Walking Long?

Just a thought....

Last night Joe was involved in a music event at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank with the Havering Music School and we ( Elyse, Thomas and I) had arranged to go up on the train with another parent, to meet Keith at Liverpool Street and travel together from there.

Here's the thing - I don't know this parent, a mum, very well, and we have never walked anywhere together and on the jaunt from our house to the station we kept bumping into each other or catching onto each others arms. It was totally weird, try as we might, we just couldn't seem to do a straight line between us.
So, laughing by now, we swapped sides, she was now on my right - still no good.

Isn't it odd?

I guess if we walked more together we would get used to each others gait?

Make of that what you will.

PS the event was great, but another very late night!

Monday, 23 June 2008

2 Pints of Milk and a Packet of Ham...

...were my souveniers from Camp this year. Some people got sweets, other got baked beans, yet others received baking potatoes. The really quick ones bagsied the pallet of chocolate muffins - for their children - YEAH RIGHT!!

Everyone took home a little bit of sunburn after being surprised by the sun on Sunday, most took dirty wet washing - some ( not many though) left it behind. It's stinking out DHQ as I speak, but I'm ok as I'm not there!

I hope everyone also took a lasting great memory, as we were prompted to in Camp Fire Prayers on Saturday - the LONGEST day for so many mostly amazing reasons, not just because it was the Longest Day - by Ollie, to tied us all over especially today, when everyone will have struggled to get up and get going.

A third of the children who came to KAO this year were new to the event - for some, because of their age, it was their first and last KAO - shame, but just for a weekend we were able to get to know them, value them, teach them, listen to them and watch them find their feet, find some friends( sometimes partners in crime) find out about themselves too.

We saw little worship leaders emerging - ok they were urging on their teams in the Team Song, but the other kids were following them. We saw little pastoral carers, little visionaries, little fine tuners and big picture thinkers. We saw children breaking their hearts on Friday Night and then crying with laughter on Saturday. We saw team members doing new things like making scrambled egg, defying gravity on the high wires and sharing the news that on that very Sunday, their husband was going to the Army in his uniform again for the first time in a long time- emotional!

Lots of lasting memories for me, but the clearest right now was of one young man, an 11 year old tough nut who had fallen out with his brother during Get Out of That and taken it out on anyone who came near and had been confined to 'barracks' for some time out. During the final quiz time, the puppets were handed out and he was very keen to have one - he chose 'Lucy' and as I watched him chatting and playing with what was essentially a doll, sometimes giving it a hug, I saw the anger and frustration drain away from him and could really see the kid, the one whose mum would love him whatever he did ( I hope)

I hope he comes next year and even though I want to take my legs off and throw them away - I can't wait!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Sometimes, You Can Know Too Much.

The Final Countdown has begun and I am now less that 24 hours away from the Divisional CM Residential Event of the Summer - Kids Alive Outside: Where The Wild Things Are - based on the book of the same name that was due to be released as motion picture in October, but now isn't - D'oh!

I have fulfilled the DCO bit as far as I am able at this late stage, bar packing the car to bulging point, and having a last minute catastrophe to deal with, and am now being a punter's parent, encouraging my kids to ' pack their own bags so they know where everything is'.Oddly enough, even though I know the answer to this, worrying about who they will be sharing a tent with and who they will be in a Small Group with - maybe because I DO know the answer!

I have planned every move that will be made this weekend if it all goes perfectly,and have contingencies if it doesn't. Then there is an amazing team of super dooper people who actually volunteer to support this event, and have given up hours of time already in planning meetings, running errands and preparation ( I HOPE...nah I KNOW!)and reading all my many emails.
I have even priced whole boxes of sweets at wholesale price, so that if they don't get opened during the weekend I can sell them on Sunday afternoon when it's all over, to Kids Club leaders and folks who might be running a Summer Holiday Club - that earned me some Brownie Points with the Business Department :)

I now want to forget all that and be excited for my kids who are REALLY looking forward to it - scarey!

Monday, 16 June 2008

1 Corinthians 13 - Piece of Cake?

I was feeling a bit fragile yesterday and those sitting around me in the meeting would have noticed, as I kept bursting into tears - sometimes in response to what was being said/sung etc and once when the band was playing - um - it was the tune which prompted the tears as opposed to the actual playing! One lovely friend gave me a tissue - kind :)

All kinds of reasons to be feeling this way I guess - a bit tired, a bit stressed, a bit busy with real life as well as work, being a woman of a 'certain age'? etc but also that very morning there had been a bit of a scene over a cake.

Elyse's friend is in a fund raising phase at the moment and her passion is St Francis Hospice, so they had rustled up a plan to sell cakes prior to the meeting while people were having their coffee. Elyse had volunteered us a to make a cake and had found a recipe in a Cook Book someone had bought her for a Christmas some time ago - Thank You Fiona! -The blurb under the title said,' an easy, everyday chocolate cake'

I was rather hoping to get away with some packet mix fairy cakes, but NO!

So on Saturday Afternoon we set about making our cake - I do NOT bake and so, dusty cobwebby ( not good) memories of Home Economics came drifting to the surface as we pondered over the meanings of 'beat' and 'fold'. Elyse and Thomas wanted to help which was lovely, but not feeling overly confident myself, I had to exude confidence and control in heaps, while trembling away on the inside.

Finally the mixture made it to the greased amd lined tin and into the oven - the kids were actually more interested in licking to spoons at that point.

A life time later, it was done and had risen in the middle - not the flat top of the picture in the book -and there was a rather large crack in it too but hey! and was then left to cool, until Sunday Morning when we set about the buttercream bit and the final flourish of frosting of icing sugar and cocoa.

To put what happened next into a bit of context, I have some friends who are great bakers, marvellous bakers, superlative bakers and although it is totally stupid, it really mattered to ME how this cake looked, so when I returned to the kitchen and looked at the cake to find that someone had gone to town with more icing sugar - it looked like Mount Everest had landed on the top - I shrieked, 'Who has done that to The Cake?'

The culprit wrongly suggested that it is only a cake and it doesn't matter how it looks and I made a knee jerk reaction at that highly charged point that we were not going to take the cake, at which point, a quite literally, all hell broke loose.

I have mentioned before that our family have a habit of arguing about the smallest thing and suddenly everyone was having a go and each other about this, while also dragging up any other ammo they could find. I found myself saying that it was ok, it didn't matter, it IS only a cake, and the Phantom Icer was profoundly sorry etc. and then I had to retreat to my room where these words popped into my head,

'Love does not keep a record of wrongs'

and I made up my mind there a then to intentionally live out 1 Cor 13 to my family, to role model love to them until it hurts.

Richard then said in the meeting that he had been speaking to a group of people about being the change that you want to see - or something like that - so I am resolved!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

A Bone of Contention?

Purpose Driven Daily Devotional today ends with this:

Focus on knowing God – Knowing God is more important than knowing the details. Oswald Chambers says, “Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason – a life of knowing him who calls us to go.”

I have one friend who has profound thoughts on this, - whether they are expressed here in comments remains to be seen.

For me, a big picture person, this comes as a great relief. I struggle with the details; I prefer function over form, I am a do-er who just wants to reach out and know that I am holding God's BIG hand.

For the 'fine tuners' out there, this might seem like a bit of a cop out and it might also suggest that I am fab at living by faith - I'm NOT!

I HATE pardox too!

As an aside - I love holding hands generally anyway. Thomas held mine on the way to school today and I could feel that he has grown since the last time we did that, which wasn't so long ago. The fact that his trouser legs are flapping abound his ankels and his sweatshirt cuffs just about cover his elbows is also a clue!

Friday, 6 June 2008

HInts and Tips on How to Run, Win a Race...and wellbeing generally!

The walk to school was very informative this morning as Elyse and Thomas have been trying out for the school athletic team. Well, I say 'trying out'. It seems that everyone has a go during a PE lesson to be fastest, highest, longest and it can get quite cut-throat especially in the final stages when the kids who haven't got though start to cheer for their own personal champion - all of this and more in a 25 minute PE lesson ( taking into account getting ready, getting changed etc).

So, I was educated this morning in the finer points if I wanted to win any race I might find myself entered for.

Tip 1) Keep your head facing forward and look serious
Tip 2) ( this had to be demonstrated) Make sure your arms are going like 'this' - pistons on a train sort of thing
Tip 3) Make your legs go faster than if you were just walking...again with a demonstration.
Tip 4) Try not to be nervous - trembling and feeling sick were pointed out as indicators that I might feel nervous.
Tip 5) Ensure there is complete silence before the whistle blows for Go. If you miss the whistle, you are a loser ( harsh, I thought)

I was then given various accounts of children who hadn't followed these tips and the misfortunes that had befallen them yesterday afternoon;
  • Matteo fell over
  • Jake bumped into Jason ( they are joined at the hip anyway, figuratively speaking, so I wasn't at all surprised to hear that)
  • Faye didn't even start...AND she could hear the whistle and everything.

I suggested that nerves might have played a part here, but it turns out she was cleaning her glasses or something!

Thomas's class have to try out again today as Miss Andrews lost her piece of paper(!), but the tip of the day for all round wellbeing from Thomas was this gem,

' Don't spit into the wind'

and this, apparently, is good even if you are not running in a race.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Back to School, Back to Work.

Normality returns to the Hall House as all the things that went missing last week, need to be found RIGHT NOW in order for life as we know it to continue.
1) Where is my PE Kit?
2) Have you seen my wallet?

Responses as follows:

1) In the pile of clothes at the bottom of your stairs waiting for you to put them away ( not MUCH to ask is it?)
2) NO, when did you last have it?

Turns out there was no money in it - phew - but there was the house keys, possibly more important in Joe World, his locker key.
He had looked 'everywhere', but I found it - (yeay!) and he smiled ( double yeay!)

Do you know, the thing is I can remember ranting at my mum about stuff in much the same way, being really annoyed if she moved things in my room ( How can I look under things if I'm not allowed to touch them?), but that in looking under things she would sneakily tidy up too... and now I'm turning into that very person.
As I was searching for the wallet in the untidiest room in the world, according to me, with Joe inspecting my every sleight of hand and returning items to the floor, or making them wonky again as picked up and straightened up I had to laugh, which wasn't a good thing top do in the heat of the moment, but I saw the world through his eyes, just for a mo and understood.

Woke up thinking about work after a rather alarming dream following on from Saturday Night's one where I had planned and prepared for KAO, which is good, only to find that my event was actually Summer School - which is not good. It was only a dream though....I hope!