Thursday, 29 March 2012

gossip and petrol

Margaret Sentamu told me on Saturday that gossip is good!

I probably should say she wasn't just talking to me - though I did have chance to chat to Mrs ABY a couple of times while at the MWiB roadshow as I was being the techy and clicking buttons for her powerpoint.

She used the african proverb - "if you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman you educate a family" to justify that statement.

Now I liked that. I like a bit of gossip. I'd like to clarify that, by saying it's cos I'm nosy, I'm good at keeping secrets so don't worry I won't tell everyone that it was you who...

But I also understand that gossip can cause real issues. Like for example petrol. No strike has actually been decided on. But gossip can very easily be spread and grows out of proportion. When the media take hold of something like the possibilities of a petrol strike, and then people with authority say something about it, folk devils are created and we go into a moral panic (See I knew AS level Sociology was worth it). In this case losing trust in the people who provide the fuel we need to get around and panic buying. Which is a silly phrase in its own right, but that's another story.

Now I haven't been out to panic buy fuel, and I'm now at a stage where some point tomorrow I am going to need to get some. Living a in rural community I have no choice but to drive to most places I go. The buses don't go on the right routes or at times that work and its too far to walk, and you can't really carry stuff on a bike - ignoring the fact I can't ride one. One again the rural communities miss out.

We live in a society where information is constantly being spread. Blogging is easy, tweeting is even easier, and we share our lives on facebook. Occasionally we go back to emails so that things can't be mixed up with our facebook lives. We share information, opinions, and prayer requests. I wonder where it is all going to end.

And I'm here, sat at home cos it seems silly to go out to have an excuse to get petrol, spending even more time in the digital world.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

back on track

When I was little - well littler, (in about 1993) I was diagnosed with asthma. My parents don't remember why it happened, but I know I had a big inhaler breathing thingy and I'm allergic to something that treats asthma in a certain form. Not telling you what in case you decide to attack me with it and I'll go all spotty!

But for years its never affected me really.

Then Summer 2010 I started to get a tight chest and went to the doctor, given an inhaler and asked to go back for an asthma test. January 2011 the nurse said I was borderline asthmatic.

Now I've never been sporty, I used to run a very slow 1500m at school cos no one else would and I'd win lots of points for my form and later house in sports day.

But now I'm trying to get fitter and run 5k for cancer research (sponsor page plug) using this scheme.

I've had a few weeks off, but with £50 sponsor money already and my number for the race arriving in the post and the sunshine to make it easier I've been running today. I managed the whole 20 mins of week 1's scheme = 60 secs running and 90 secs walking, I've still got a long way to go, and I'm learning to run with asthma, taking my inhaler first today helped me not get so out of breathe.

Before when I was just lazy I took for granted that I would be able to run if I wanted to. Now its taking work, but then nothing worth doing well is easy.

Please sponsor, support and/or pray for me, as I train and run.

Monday, 26 March 2012

doing life

At Church yesterday morning we were given a couple of mins to share 5 things we are thankful for with someone we aren't related to - which was easy for me, but not everyone! I was thankful for a great day with MWiB the day before, and the people who had driven me there. For the sunshine of that day, and a friend getting engaged a couple of days earlier, and last but not least another couple celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary that day.

I'm very lucky that I've been taken in by many people, but 2 families in particular. In this I mean the families who only kick me out when they want to go bed, who argue, tell off the kids and tickle each other's feet in front of me. These are the people who know my coffee order.

The couple celebrating invited me round for lunch yesterday, which other than me was family only - the same family who let me move into the granny flat.

I went on from there to my other adoptive family. We had tea, and even played football. Then mum and dad went off to the cinema and I babysat the 2 boys. Littlest was already in bed but big boy had some time so we watched a dvd for a bit then he went to bed.

Not long later I could hear crying, and went up to find big boy (who is only 7) upset cos there was a fly / moth type thing on his bed. Realising I had to be a grown up I got a glass and paper and removed scary winged thing, and read a story, then sat and played tetris while big boy fell back to sleep. It is a real privilege to be part of people's families.

Sometimes it's not easy. Some days many of you offload your problems, and yeah it can get tough, but please don't stop. I love being a part of your life. Thank you for sharing your ups and downs. Thank you for doing life with me.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

first last

I’m a real believer in everything having a time and place. Everything is for a season. I spent yesterday in York at the MWiB (Methodist Women in Britain) roadshow. It was a brilliant day with over 500 women (and some men). There is much I could say about it, and probably will at some point but right now I want to focus on Jill's – our president - theme “for such a time as this.”

I know, throughout my short life that I’ve been in the right place at the right time – for such a time as this. And I know that I was called to this job, just in the way that I had people around me to support me to apply, and how the pieces all fell into place. In the same way I’ve always had somewhere to live here.

But today was my first last. Well to be fair I may have had my last Village Christmas meal in a barn, but this was more noticeable. I’d forgotten till I was driving down to the church, chastising myself for once again not taking time on Friday to buy breakfast and thinking I must next time, but there won’t be a next time. It was made more obvious when I saw a card being passed around the group – I was helpful and kept leaving. So at the end of the session where my marvellous 4 girls have planned a whole service (minus sermon) for the Sunday school anniversary, they presented me with card and fair trade chocs!

So I’m leaving, but yet I’m not. I still have 19 weeks to go. I will still see those kids at other places. But today was the last day we were us, there.

It is going to be strange as I start to leave, and do many more lasts, especially if I do stay in the area. So maybe it is time to move on.

Things change, I personally think that electricity pylons aren’t very pretty – though there is one in a field near to where I lived that brings back memories of walking and chatting with an old friend. However we accept them as part of the country side. Now, Wind turbines I think are very elegant, I wonder how long it will take for them to be accepted as the norm.

I don’t know what is next for me. I have some ideas but then I know God has a habit of turning them upside down. I believe in a God that always takes me from where I am. Today we sang Beautiful lord, and the words really spoke to me, it’s very much where I am. So I’m going to end with them –

Verse 1 :
Beautiful Lord, Wonderful Saviour
I know for sure
All of my days are held in your hands
Crafted into
Your perfect plan

Verse 2 :
You gently call me into your presence
Guiding me by Your Holy Spirit
Teach me dear Lord
To live all of my life
Through Your eyes

Bridge :
I'm captured by
Your holy calling
Set me apart,
I know you're drawing me to yourself
Lead me Lord I pray

Take me, mould me, use me, fill me
I give my life to the Potter's hand
Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me
I give my life to the Potter's hand

By Darlene Zschech
copied from -

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Coming Home

Many months ago I went through my diary and found a totally free weekend! I plan my life out in great detail in my diary, if it’s not in there it doesn’t happen. I don’t bother taking appointment cards because to be fair they are just something else to lug around and I might as well write it straight into my diary.

So I decided that my free weekend would be best used on a holiday! Therefore me and boyfriend went camping this weekend– yes in March! When we booked it I hadn’t noticed it was Mothers Day, but actually this was quite apt. We went camping on a basic but nice campsite (the toilet was plumbed in and not a portaloo!), where we were the only tent, and as the weekend got wetter I saw why the other 10 or so groups there had brought caravans and parked at the top of the field.

Being long distance, me and boyfriend don’t go on many dates, but we got the tent up and went off to find a chippy before deciding a local pub made more sense and had burgers. Much to boyfriend’s dismay we couldn’t find a Weatherspoons though. [my proof reader says this is NOT TRUE!!]

By 10pm we were in our sleeping bags as it was so cold and we’d both forgotten to bring some cards. Though I remember talking about the colour of the sky, I’m so rural nowadays I’ve forgotten that light pollution in big cities changes the sky’s colour!
Saturday dawned well rained, but we ventured out of the tent when it stopped to eat cereal, make lunch and meander across the countryside to visit my uncle and auntie/Godmother and 2 youngest cousins in time for tea. We did manage on the way over to look at birds where I got accused of being my father’s child (Which I am!) and bought a dress for one of this year’s many weddings and a book. There were a few moments when I recognised where we were, memories of car journeys, or shopping for post-its.

We had a lovely evening and boyfriend even ate Indian food, and got to watch most of the rugby - even if he missed the tries due to eating. I called a lion a tiger and had a good catch up with the family. All too soon we had to head back to the cold tent where I didn’t sleep well and even woke up, middle of the night after dreaming about a huge meal being made for me but not getting to eat it, really hungry and the food was all in the car – a wet 5 meters away.

Sunday and the real reason we had chosen that area arrived. Though started with the trudge up hill will one of the favourite books of my favourite 22 month old going through my head. Which goes something along the lines of “Father Christmas needs a wee, he’s being drinking drinks since half past 3, at number 1, 1 hot choc – yum...”

Boyfriend and I were on MYE together back in 2007-2008 and our meetings were at a place I called home the first time I arrived in the car park. Yardley Hastings United Reform Church and Crossways Centre was the aim of our pilgrimage to Northamptonshire. We arrived a bit early so drove over to Castle Ashby to see the roads we used to walk in the middle of the night.

We rang the church doorbell and were greeted by Jenny who took a few moments trying to place us. It was so nice to be home, in a place that had mothered me. The service was lovely, the people as friendly as I remembered and the coffee hot! And we rewrote on the wall we’d written on years before.

Then it was time to leave again, we went into a local city window shopped for ages, drove round many many roundabouts and finally dropped boyfriend off at train station. This was not the end of the weekend though.

I drove from there to a road I used to live on to collect brother from work and take him to his house – via a pizza place (yummy tuna pizza) and we then decided to surprise our mum by driving up to see her for about 14 hours. She lives in a place I’ve never lived though it’s looking like I might in the future if I don’t get my act together and find a new job. We didn’t quite manage to surprise her liked we hoped as she arrived as I was trying to hide my car behind the house. But still it was a very lovely evening.

The next morning after dropping brother off at station and buying more petrol I drove home, to where I live, but you could say I never really left.

Monday, 19 March 2012

it's not fair

Warning, this may get a bit ranty, and maybe a bit disjointed.

There are many things I get tetchy about - the child in me would say 'It's not fair.' I talk back to the tv - especially during the news. It's cos I care. It's cos I'm passionate.

Today I heard something that annoyed my inner youth worker. But also cos I care about equality and fairness. Today I heard it announced that minimum wage was being increased by 11p (which is not what infuriated me - though it is only half the rate of inflation) but that is only for those 21 and over. Meaning that those aged 16-20 are still being disadvantaged further as their minimum wage is being frozen. All this in a time where youth unemployement is ... do you know what I don't even know the word.

What can we do?

I love working with young people as they are optimistic, they still think they can change the world. Yes they are a little bit broken at times - but aren't we all. Why is the job a 20 year old does worth less than a 21 year old?

I'm glad to be part of a church that pays its workers living wage.

I'm not sure what to say. But it annoys me. I feel helpless in this. I'd love to change the world, and I believe by doing my small part in my little section of the World that things can change. I can pray, but I want to do more than that. The song 'God of Justice' has the line - "move us into action." I want to show my faith in all that I do. I just hope that my little bit is enough.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

I'm not a crier, but...

I said yesterday that I am passionate, and I am, but I'm not a crier. I don't cry at films, or shows. I do cry, but something has to really upset me - not knowing what I'm doing with my life, my car dying, if I'm in physical pain (I'm a wimp), and sometimes in worship. I put it down to crying a lot at Charlotte's web at a Christmas in the early 1990s, I was so upset that Charlotte died that I couldn't go to the christingle service that evening - which made me even more upset.

Today I shed a tear. I saw on Facebook that a body has been found in a river that I used to cross regularly next to a pub that I went to celebrate my A level results, a friends 21st and the catch up when we were first back from uni. A town I called home and a place I knew.

I don't know how God bears to see his broken world hurting. I have to blot out all the pain in the world, we forget that every minute children are dying, old people are alone, and for some people just getting out of bed is an achievement.

I pray that today Jesus is walking the streets of that town I once called home. That God's comforting arms are there ready to hold all those who hurt, and that good can come out of even the darkest moments.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

running - together we can beat cancer!

I've been rubbish at running, but now I have 3 months to sort that out!

I've just booked into a race for life 5k for Cancer Research in June!

My blog generally has about 50 views per post - if you each gave £4 I would raise £200 and that's just you lot, if all my friends on facebook gave 25p I'd also get there - so really anything helps.

But its not all about money! To support me without paying you can leave a comment on this blog - I need all the motivation I can get.

So bring on the running and together we can beat cancer!

My Truth

I have a confession. I woke up today at 12 noon, as the supermarket man arrived my online delivery (which was 1 hour - 3 hours early).To be fair, my diary on Monday did say sleep in the morning, and I'd woken up before 8.

But its made me think as much as I can plan my life in my diary, my body has the final say on what I can do - maybe it knew I was going to go running this morning! Life is meant to be back to normal after the mad week I had last week. But what is normal?

My Facebook is playing up at the moment, I think it's my laptop that is causing the trouble, but I've tried on a few different browsers and they all have the same issue, though other computers do not. But I keep meaning to ask friends from last week if they are back to normal - but can't.

So what is normal? Who am I? This blog has been rewritten in my head for months. Back in the autumn there was a great show called My Transsexual Summer, and some of the people in that show used the phrase 'I'm living my truth.' I'm lucky to be happy with my body, I'm vain and think I'm beautiful, I'm happy sitting in front of a mirror watching myself - particularly while on the phone, this works in this house as I love sitting on the stairs.

I'm the girl in the pink slippers at Connecting Disciples.

I love driving cos I feel in control. I'm a control freak - though messy.

I've collected some great friends who I would call family over the years. My sisters, my big brothers, some lovely nephews, aunties, uncles, parents and even a son. I'm also blessed with a lovely blood family and I'm particular close with my parents and brother, and great Godparents! Not forgetting my amazing boyfriend who puts up with a lot.

I get stressed cos I'm passionate. Watching films with me is either annoying or funny, depending on if you need to watch in silence or not. I'm indecisive, but when I've made a decision I generally stick with it.

I'm known for hugs, smiles and supportive nodding. I'm a listener and say "fair enough," "cool" and "I see" a lot. I talk too fast, say 'um' too much and drop my voice at the end of sentences - but I'm working on that.

This is me, living my truth.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Yes, yes we should.

I often find that when others are around I ask for advice in things that normally I can do without thinking about. For example, if a friend is over I would ask them if they thought food was cooked rather than trusting my own judgement like I would if it was only me. In the same way I get my boyfriend to check my blog before I publish it if he’s around, but sometimes I just post it without those checks!

I've been thinking a lot about rules and what we let people do. Yesterday I was with a group who are planning worship at their church. They want to do everything, they don't get why they can't do the sermon. And why can't they? I think since I've been on note/on trial as a local preacher I've understood more that we have to be careful who can have access to the pulpit, but maybe that is just because I'm in the 'in' club.

The keynote at Connecting Disciples gave me a lot to think about - all about worship and young people, but one thing he said was that he wasn't the expert of our contexts, and no one could tell us how to do our jobs. We are the experts of where we are. There are bigger thoughts of moving or staying, but that's another blog!

A big theme of the past couple of weeks has been communion.

  • · The liturgy that the young people wrote (found below).
  • · Communion as a means of Grace (a way to experience God's love).
  • · Love feasts of bread and fish.
  • · Meals and times of sharing, the best chats are often over food.
  • · And not worry about back-stitch methods.

I'm not going to go into who has to be there to say the magic words - prayer of great thanksgiving, as I know people think different things on this.

But, let's show God's love, and share in fellowship with our brothers and sisters. Yes, yes we should.

Young People's Prayer of Thanksgiving (written on 3rd March 2012 by LMC and Ashton Circuit)

The Lord be with you

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts

We lift them up to God.

We should give our thanks to God

Yes, yes we should.

Thank you epic God for being awesome. Thank you for being the best designer of our beautiful world. You made us like you.

So we will praise you, singing with all people everywhere

Holy holy (STF 10)

We respect you for sending Jesus.

Jesus shows us compassion, commitment and love.

Yes, yes he does.

When the time was right, Jesus chilled out with you, healed in your name, told amazing stories of Heaven on Earth, and fed lots of people, before turning his face to the journey to the cross.

At the last supper with his friends Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to them saying ‘Take, eat. This is my body given for you, do this to remember me.’

Then after supper he took the cup, gave thanks and said ‘This is my blood, given to show you my love, for you and for all people.’

Dying, you destroyed our death.

Rising, you restored our life.

Lord Jesus, come in glory.

Send your holy spirit that this bread and wine may be for us the body and blood of Jesus.

We offer our lives, our gifts, our talents. All that we are. All that we could be. All that we will be. To live to tell your story.

Through, with and in Jesus’ name. Amen

Sunday, 11 March 2012

day in the life of...

After a week of random days today has been back to normal! Well back to work at least.

So here is me blogging life, literally. Now I keep a diary of the practical things that I do, I could go back to 2010 and know what I did on this day (I had a Reflective Manager group meeting and was going to go to the cinema - but then didn't). So this isn't just what would be in my diary, but an insight in what I've done today.

So I woke up after plenty of sleep, I woke to a text that had arrived the night before, played some tetris and arranged tea on Tuesday, and saw my prayer on @yr_of_prayer on twitter. I got up and got ready and drove down to my Sunday morning youth fellowship, and stopped on the way to buy lots of breakfasty items (Muffins, Crumpets, pancakes and golden syrup). The service started with a number of songs including 'Lord make me a Mountain' I really picked up on the line - "

Lord make me the servant of everyone I meet" [I've been thinking a lot recently about what I do for God, what I do with God, what is work and what is just being a Christian]. Then there was

an activity about what we value; money, family, looks etc.

When we got through into the Youth room - AKA the vestry. We got the breakfast and hot chocolate sorted and set to the task of planning worship for the Sunday school anniversary in May. We started this 2 weeks ago - think I mentioned it in another blog. So we got out the Bibles and hymn books and got distracted by the life files in the youth Bible, which are something I love and loathe as we often go off on tangents and today we got distracted with homosexuality 'it's a sin' so after discussing that Christians can believe many things on a spectrum of human sexuality we got back on task and they decided on a topic and they need to choose hymns next week when I'm not there.

I went from there to a supermarket that sell petrol and give bee points to buy petrol, then off to hobbycraft to buy feathers and boots to get some lunch.

Then back in the car to zoom to a school field to help at a 5-a-side football tournament. Reminded me of the old days at high school and the Mehji cup. The tournament went well even if it was a bit cold and well done to Smash A for winning, and the rest of the teams for playing well. the event concluded with hot dogs and a little talk from me and a local chaplain about running with perciverence, and not worrying - like a feather just floating along.

That finished an hour early and after helping to put a tent down - good practice for camping soon. I went home and had a good chat with a cousin and aunty, catching up and sharing news.

Just before 6 I got back in the car to go to the evening south circuit youth fellowship which had 6 young people at. They got to write things they don't believe in the Bible, things they are confused about and things they do believe. We then managed to discuss, creation, heaven and hell, feeding the 5000. It made me think about what I believe. I've often labelled myself as a liberal, and on some things I am, but I think its more that if I don't have an opinion I err on the side of caution, but maybe that's wrong, there's a difference between questioning and liberal.

And now I'm home, the Tv is on, I've been working on this blog for over an hour, I've updated my to do list on and worked out whats going on over the next couple of weeks.

And that was my day back at work! They aren't all like that but that was my today. Lots to think about, lots done, lots more to do.

Friday, 9 March 2012

International Women's day

Warning blog contains some 'Wicked' spoilers.

Yesterday was International Women's day. It was also a Thursday. So like any other I wore black. There was a campaign about joining together on the bridge and more information on that can be found at -

However as I have been at a conference this week (more details on that in a future blog hopefully) so didn't have a chance to find a bridge but I did go to see Wicked - The story of the Wicked Witch of the West. Its the typical story of 2 girls who meet and instantly hate each other (the blonde spoilt popular girl and the green outsider) but stuff happens and they end up being best friends, but then there is a boy! Isn't there always!! I mention it though as there is a song and the lyrics go:

I've heard it said,
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you

Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

There are people who have changed me, Inspirational Women because I knew them I have been changed for good.

Let me tell you about my youth leader. She took me under her wing, really supported me in my first few steps in youth work. We met for coffee and I worked through the training course that Urban Saints had sent me. She did this while going through things in her life, but she was hardly ever upset. Her commitment got her what she wanted in life but she also cared about me and my future. Its because I knew her that I am where I am now.

My prayer is that I can be that person to others.

I'd love to hear your stories of inspirational women (or men) who because you knew them you were changed for good.

Friday, 2 March 2012

My Big Grandad

I get rather sad after posting a blog cos I'll sit for about 30 minutes and watch the stats page, seeing how many people are reading this, where in the World you are even sometimes whether your using Windows or if you're on your iPad. (My boyfriend calls me a blog stat bore.)

I've spent some time this morning reading through my 'Big Grandad's' sermons. Walter Harris was a Methodist local preacher. I don't remember him as a person, but I feel I have a connection to him. I hope he's pleased that his sermons have been given to me. I'm still waiting to find a Sunday that I have the same lectionary as he has used. He obviously loved Winnie the Pooh, as he references the character, he often uses poetry in his services and there are people to pray for in the worship booklets. He often preached on just one verse, and many of his sermon's are typed but some are handwritten on random pieces of paper - the back of agendas etc, things don't change too much. Like I said I don't know him, but I feel like I do.

I come from a line of preachers and ministers - mostly Methodist but with some Baptists thrown in for good measure. Within the 6 generations starting with me and going up in the Coates clan at least 5 have preachers in them. I'm the second of my generation, a distant cousin is a minister. That doesn't include Walter as he is my Granny's dad, or my mum and her side of the family.

I'm not sure where my life is going, or what is going to happen next, but there's a part of my history, my heritage, you my blog readers are my present, and though the way forward may not be clear now one day I hope my great grandchildren will be proud of me and who I was.