Friday, 8 November 2013

I'm saying no

This blog post started out as a rant, it’s one that has featured in many a facebook status, but I hope this is more of a positive response.

There are many things I don’t like about the world: war, pain, abuse, ferries in stormy seas, driving on icey roads and the claim culture we live in.

Last year I had a car accident, nothing major and I was not injured at all. I repeat I had NO DISCOMFORT AT ALL! Mild or otherwise. However since that accident 15 months ago I have had a whole load of different companies trying to get me to claim this compensation that is rightly mine. This is where we disagree. Maybe I’m cutting off my nose to spite my face but not being injured I don’t believe I should get this money. Most companies are quite simple to get rid of, there are two lines that work well – “Are you suggesting I make a fraudulent claim?” or “Yeah, isn’t God amazing!” Though asking “Why?” often gets me passed on to a supervisor or gets the phone put down on me. One time I just said hello and I was passed to a supervisor.

Today however I had a lovely phone call with a guy called Dean from another of these company. As well as checking if I had kids and how long me and Boyfriend had been together, we got chatting about my views on the point of life and the claim culture we live in. He didn’t seem to get that I wasn’t  going to take this money as as a young woman why would I turn down £2000 (That was today’s amount, I’ve been offered anywhere between £1000 and £5500). He believed that life is about money. I told him I disagreed, he tried to put me off by suggesting that I wishy washingly believed that life is about love. Life is about love, but it’s the understanding of love that you have that makes a difference. I believe in love that cares for those around me, that puts my neighbour first. This led to a conversation about what I do in my local community and my training to be an ASL in Scouts, as well as who Bear Grills is.

It’s my morals that stop me from claiming this money. The way I was brought up but also the faith have led to my beliefs. I said I worked for the church and Dean said he was also a Christian (when I said now I bet you think I’m a religious nut) so I challenged him on this views on the importance of money and then we had a random bit about a catholic priest that stole money from the church. Dean decided to give up but told me he’d call back soon. To be fair to him I quite enjoyed the chat, he was quite cheeky but went though all the usual compensation stuff (like the money is already there for you so it won’t effect anyone’s premiums) with some new things thrown in (like shock can be counted as mild discomfort – I confused him by saying it had been amazing that I wasn’t injured, not that it was an amazing experience).

But I’ve already made up my mind.

I’m saying no because we shouldn’t live in a culture that means every accident automatically means money is put aside.

I’m saying no because regular pestering phone calls for 3 years are not acceptable but this way I get to share my message with any company who will stay on the phone long enough to listen.

 I’m saying no because the I want to live in a place that isn’t about what I can get, but about what I can give, where who I am is more important than the money I have in the bank.

I’m saying no because I wasn’t injured and I’m not going to make a fraudulent claim.

I’m saying no.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The best days of my life?

 My parents will tell you, with great embarrassing glee, that at the age of thirteen I told them I had the best day of my life when I got to meet Minnie Mouse in DisneyLand Paris.

It is often said that our school days are the best day of our lives. Now I don’t believe that. Not that I didn’t enjoy school. But life since has had its advantages. University was good fun and graduate life, despite being grown up and scary, has been a good.

It's a roundish birthday next week and the scary thing  is that I knew my Mum when she was this age. At this point I was 2 and she was pregnant with my Brother. My life and her’s have been different, I have a degree and she didn’t get her’s till later in life. But she was married and owned a house at 20, whereas I should have the latter at least this month.

I started my new job in September and my current phrase is “I love my job!” I’m not saying it’s easy, there are lots of people to get to know and learn the ropes (and knots) but this week at Scouts – of which I’m training to be an ASL (!) we had a chocolate fountain.

Last week I had truly one of the best days of my life. I was in Paris with the Cubs and Scouts, I exchanged on my house, we got a message saying some grant money had been agreed, we won the quiz at the centre after a camp fire with marsh mellows, songs and stories, and I got to meet Minnie Mouse!
Sometimes it’s the simple things that make good days!

Life is good, it’s not always easy and simple, but that doesn’t take away from the goodness in it.

So are these the best days of my life?

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Love is 100 Blogs

So here it is, Blog 100. I have a number of things to say about Ireland, but that can wait for another day.

Today I want to write about love.

This is NOT an engagement announcement, don’t get excited!

But I do want to talk about boyfriend. We went on a very normal and ordinary date on Sunday night. Tea out at a TexMex kind of place and then went to the cinema to see Despicable Me 2 – ordering 2 tickets for 2D Despicable Me 2 is rather a tongue twister.

Boyfriend and I have been through a number of stages, we were long distance for almost 4 years, before the 3 ish months where we were house mates, as he took over my spare bedroom. And now he lives in the next city down, about a 30 minute drive for me or an hour on the bus for him. Therefore going on traditional dates is not something we often do.

Similarly I don’t do well eating food when stressed, I have an ex who never saw me eat in the whole time we were together. One of the ways I knew that Boyfriend was special was that I could eat in front of him.

I’m a bridesmaid at a wedding in the summer and was asked for some suggested Bible readings. So after a discussion on the UK Methodist Facebook group, and a nose through the Methodist Worship book I found a long list and knocked it down to my top three for that wedding. My fave gospel passage is that of when Jesus went to a wedding- how he turned water in to wine and the ordinary into the extraordinary.
One of the other obvious passages is the Love is....

What would you say love is?

I’m very blessed that when I went to A&E with chest pain last month Boyfriend (with only a small amount of pestering) came to sit with me and then bought me a subway sandwich.

To balance that this morning Boyfriend was feeling a bit under the weather so I drove over, with breakfast and drove him to work ready for his big presentation this evening. Plus he was in a smart suit – swoon.

I love the song by Paul Bell – What I call romance. It talks about the everyday things that make love work. You can listen to it here

Love is, just sitting together eating, looking after the other when they are ill, and having someone to watch kids films with.

And here’s to another 100 blogs.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Long Goodbye

Today was another goodbye! You may recall a year ago I was getting ready to leave, started saying my goodbyes and then circuit meeting decided to keep me, I was called to stay. But now, I really am on the move.

I’ve been putting off writing this blog for ages. This is blog number 99 and I wanted 100 to be special which meant not writing the one before it as then the next one had to be something important. Then I got offered a job! Which could have been blog 100 but I hadn’t written 99! I decided this evening it was about time I got back in my blog seat and update you on what is going on.

Tonight was my last youth fellowship at one of my new churches. It’s a church I love to pieces. The members there care about the children and young people and I feel valued and loved when I work with them. It is sad that today was my last evening with them.

When I got home I found a card from a couple at the Church I live closest too and preached at last Sunday.  They thanked me for my service, the address as well as the choice of hymns. They wished me well in my future. At church this morning a few people asked me about when I was leaving, and were relieved they would see me again before I go.

The next few months are full of working, packing, sorting, and hopefully buying a house – but more about that another time.

For now I’m just starting to say goodbye, the beginning of the end of this six year chapter. Thank you loyal blog reading for journeying on with me as life changes and all seems to be new again.

And as for my new job, more on that in due course. 

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


Before I start I’m not exactly sure where the blog is going, nor am I really sure when it starts. You know they say a good story has a beginning, middle and end and at the moment this blog has a middle!

I’m looking after a number of animals this week. Now I’d not really describe myself as an animal person. People usually label themselves as either a cat or a dog person; as I’m allergic to cats I have to be a dog person, and actually this week I’ve been on two dog walks.

The first one was with my parents and brother and our dog. She’s become an old lady at 15 and can’t go very far, but it was very nice for the five of us to walk down the road to a bit of grass. Then this evening I took the two little dogs who’s names I can never remember / I’m not sure which is which so are generally known as black dog and white dog- or just to mix it up red dog and blue dog – due to the colour of their leads. I learnt its not easy with a dog in each hand when they want to go in opposite directions.

The news today has been talking about the seven social classes. You can find out what you are here 
I’m an Emergent service worker. Now I’ve never been particularly happy with being middle class, it seemed such a stalk contrast, but I know because of mine and my parents education I couldn’t be counted as a working class. Actually with the conversations about five years ago about giving youth work a professional status would mean despite its dosser image – well we all know all I do is play pool and table tennis -  it's actually equal to teaching and social work.

BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat were saying that the people on twitter didn’t think class was important, and I’m not sure it is, I just think it’s about labels. We like to label things. We like to know who is like us, who is different.  As well as finding new ways to describe ourselves.

My understanding of discipleship is based around identity. Matthew 16 tells the story of Jesus asking the disciples who people say he is, and who they think he is. It is Simon who declares “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus says, “You don’t know that, God told you that.” So the first part of our discipleship journey is about working out who God is – and it’s not about us, but how God reveals that to us. The conversation goes on with Jesus renaming Simon as Peter, and telling him that Peter means rock, and on this Rock Christ will build his church. So knowing who Jesus is, working out who we are in Him and then working out what that looks like in our lives.

Being a Christian is a way I describe myself. I’m not always proud of what is said and done in my name, but more recently the church is standing up for those caught in poverty by the governments plans –but you could read more about that in the wonderful Youth Pres’ (Hayley) blog 

I’m about to start job hunting again, working out how to label myself is part of the technique of making myself look good on paper, and then bring out the best of myself in interviews – as well as keeping it real!
Who am I? That’s the question I feel like I’m constantly coming back to. Do any labels really help? Can they really describe a full living human in just a few words. Who knows? I don’t. 

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Simply waiting

While I was in Italy as part of our devotions we all shared something we were waiting for. Whether it be; news on a church event going on while we were away, news on the health of a relative, waiting for healing, waiting for a suitcase to arrive from the airport. Then it came to me, I could have talked about waiting to find a new job, knowing what God has as the next step, but I talked about waiting for the other side of my future, for when my relationship turns into a marriage.

Last night I went to an act of worship. I’d been involved in setting it up. However I still managed to engage with it, much better than I’d expected. We started by singing then there was space for people to go around the 14 prayer stations. I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts as I went around the stations, looking into some of the characters in the story and taking an item to represent their part of the story.

Take a piece of jewelled cloth...
... to remember Herod dressing Jesus in a fine robe and mocking him.
This led me to ponder on when I mock Jesus, when my faith is a joke, when I go through the motions thinking I’m doing it right, when all I’m doing is going through the motions.

Take a piece of wood...
                                ...  to remember Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross.
Is it me helping Jesus or Jesus helping me? What is my cross, what is my burden, what is it that I have to carry? Who journeys with me?

Take a nail...
                ... to remember the Roman soldiers nailing Jesus to the cross
An everyday item, used in an extraordinary way.

Take a shimmery blue stone...
                                 ... to remember Pilate washing his hands when he handed Jesus over to die
How often do I want to keep my hands clean? Make me dirty in your work Lord.

Take a piece of sponge...
                                ...  to remember the person who offered Jesus a drink.
Let me be the one who feed the hungry, clothes the naked, houses the homeless and quenches the thirsty.

Take a piece of rough cloth...
... to remember the criminals who died with Jesus
What can you say? Those who died with him, one who understood who he was. Jesus’ act of forgiveness while dying beside him.

Take a heart...
                ... to remember the mother Mary’s love and sorrow.
Here I prayed for friends. Mothers who have lost their children, mothers who are pregnant, mothers with new babies. A mixture of joy and sorrow – all surrounded by love.

Take a stone...
... to remember the stone that Joseph of Arimathea rolled in front of the tomb.
I took the stone to represent why Jesus needed to be there, and thought as it is rolled away everything that it took with it – death and sin, thoughts, words and deeds. Gone.

Take a strip of cloth...
... to remember Nicodemus wrapping up Jesus’ body.
A simple bandage. Plasters in children fix many things, in this case Nicodemus did all that he could.

Take a coin...
                ... to remember Judas betraying Jesus
How often do I sell out? How often is money the most important thing?

Take a feather...
                ... to remember Peter disowning Jesus three times before the cock crowed.
The completed bag
A feather, so colourful, so free and so light – I love placing one on my outstretched hand and blowing on it to make it float. Peter, Jesus’ best friend, disowning him,  saying I don’t know him. When it comes down to the line can I stand up and say yes I know Jesus? I hope so.

Take a piece of torn cloth...
... to remember Caiaphas tearing his clothes in anger.
What do I do when I’m angry, or break in spite? When things are out of my control...

Take some cloves...
                ... to remember the women who watched and waited.
I often feel like I’m always waiting for something.

By living simply during lent I’ve tried to live in the moment, not worry about what is next, what I’m longing for and waiting for. But, here we are Holy Saturday. A day of mourning and sadness. Waiting for the dawn. Waiting as we know what we celebrate tomorrow. God who holds us while we wait, be our light. Amen

PS - you may have noticed that was 13 and not 14, the final one was about the people of the world and we took a cut out person to think about where we are in the story and write a prayer on a cross.

Happy Easter.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Holy Week Journey

When I first started this blog it was meant to be about how my job was changing me. But actually I haven't written much about work at all. However, I'm rather pleased with my Messy Easter Morning on Saturday at my most local church - I have 23 in all across the circuit and love working in all the ones I work in, so this isn't favouritism at all, it just happens to be photos I have.

It was a very snowy morning on Saturday so we didn't get many families - well we got one. But we had a number of crafts covering the Holy Week Journey.

Palm Sunday - this was a mixture of Weaving Palm leaves (from Baker Ross) and painting Jesus on a donkey and a crowd.

Maundy Thursday - more painting, the last supper scene painted by the mum of the family and mine and two of the kids favourite meals: theirs was both Pizza!

Good Friday - three simple crosses on a hillside.

Easter Sunday, the empty tomb surrounded by beautiful tissue flowers to represent new life.  As well as the only craft that didn't end up on the wall, and disappeared before I photographed it - chocolate nests. yummy!

Unlike Christmas which seems to last months, Easter is a blur, there is so much in the story to tell, we often skip from Palm Sunday to Easter Day. Or worst still tell the story of death without the joy of new life. For me the whole journey is so important.

So may you know the journey, from celebration and jubilation, to a meal with close friends, to confusion and change, to death and finally to resurrection.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Simple Extravagance

For lent I’ve tried to focus on simplicity. However the past few weeks have seemed to be more about extravagance.  Now I realise these aren’t exact opposites but they do seem to be at least partially opposing of one another.

Extravagance has come up in a number of ways.

March is a month of two halves. Though the first half has been what I’ve thought about when I talked about March. The first two full weeks of March I was meant to be in work for 4 days out of 14. Not that I was off work the rest, but I’ve been up and down the country / continent. The first obvious example of extravagance was at Connecting Disciples, the Connexional lay employees conference. I don’t mean the freebies or even all the sweets. I might mean the food, which there was a lot and it was very good, but the extravagance of love and friendship. Spending time with friends and colleagues from across the country as well as in the office in London. We were spoilt in the variety and brilliance of the speakers, workshop leaders and general team who provide the top notch conference that it was. I’m blessed that work send me to Connecting Disciples and the time of rest, fun, friendship, worship and learning. Maybe that is something simple.

The second full week in March included in it “The trip to Rome.” Memorable for having my purse stolen on the way home – as well as all the flight delays. Like my most recent post about my love of MWiB, I do have to say thank you for the incredible experience. I was in Rome when the white smoke went up and Pope Francis I was decided upon.  I then had two full days where I worked very hard as secretary, but that did include a trip to the hotel and my first Italian cappuccino. Lots and lots of food, with a pasta dish and another dish at every meal and lots of bread and oil on the side and fruit for afters. Again the fellowship of those 7 other women was powerful and made all the hard work easier. Next year’s Joint Area Seminar is going to be fab. As well as the extravagance of food, and a trip to Rome – and even the air company who gave free chocolate on every flight as well as meals, there was also extravagance shown from work letting me have two weeks away from the circuit next to each other.  I also got to spend a morning wandering in Rome. I had breakfast in a cafe, after being asked if I wanted to sit down or stand up – they don’t seem to do take away! I got to see some beautiful buildings, fountains, churches and parks. A glorious morning, despite the awful way the rest of the day panned out.

In between those two remarkable weeks was a weekend! The Saturday of which was spent with MWiB at the Connexional forum. The afternoon session started with a bible passage, the story of the perfume being broken over Jesus’ feet and the woman drying his feet with her hair. This was also the story Mum used on the Sunday morning after Rome when I was at her church unexpectedly. The conversations at the Forum were about extravagance. What can we give to Jesus, worth a whole years wages? In what ways do we give things to Jesus. Though our families, our churches, though MWiB. Our love, our time, our experience. To listen, to share, to grow, to love. It may be extravagant, but that sounds pretty simple to me.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Why I love MWiB

One of the recent times I’ve been grilled about Methodist Women in Britain (MWiB) I was asked about what difference the movement has made to me. That along with what does it offer to under 60s is a gift of a question. There are many things I love about being a part of MWiB. Now I just want to clarify I love men. I have a wonderful boyfriend, some great male mates who are very supportive. However there is something very special about women only movements.

There’s something special about singing and worship. I grew up going to church with my Dad and Brother. I know my Mum must have been around before I was ten, but then she preached a bit then. Most of my memories of church as a child are when Mum was a minister and therefore I sat with Dad and Brother. It is for this reason I get confused in hymns with a split mens:womens part. Anyway when I’m at an MWiB event the worship and singing is something rather beautiful, the different tones of women’s voices. I know the first time I wasn’t impressed as I had just come straight from Spring Harvest but now I love the sensitivity of it. 

There something special about the way they care. Again this is not an anti-man thing as I know I have male friends who care – as a wonderful Boyfriend, Dad and Brother. And in the case I’m going to come to later it was a male friend I text for advice first. But knowing that on a certain day of the month women all over the connexion are praying for me is rather special. The sisters, mothers, aunties, cousins and friends I can call or go round and see when I’m upset, or happy. When life goes my way, or when God’s plan isn’t obvious just yet. When my purse was stolen in Italy – I was there for a Methodist and Uniting Church Women in Europe Seminar Planning Meeting, but more about that in another blog later in lent (I will go back to simplicity soon), it was a random stranger, an angel disguised as an American women who came to my aid and gave me the money to get a new train ticket. It was my friends who I had spent the week with who texted and called later to check I was home, and even emailed telling me how excellent I had been at the planning meeting.  These are my sisters with whom I cry and laugh, sing, pray and smile.

There’s something special about the way they enable me to grow. These women are the ones who give me incredible experiences – travel to South Africa and Rome, speak to hundreds of women, introduce me to a baroness, suggest my name to go to Irish Methodist Conference. The way they support me when I’ve had a grilling about the exclusiveness of a women’s group – or the history that is older than me. They even trust me to use the twitter account. 

MWiB isn’t about members, its bigger than Methodism, bigger than women and bigger than Britain. Next year we get to meet with women, from all over Europe, in July we finish our rubber glove campaign about world wide child domestic workers when we hopefully go to Vince Cable’s office. Whether you are a man or a woman you can find out more at the MWiB website or please ask me questions.

Its special because it engages with anyone, just as they are, accepts and loves and helps us all to grow together.

And  if you still don’t believe we have anything to offer to the under 60s check out my video 

Monday, 11 March 2013

simply being - so many words

Living simply has led me to think about a number of things.

Maybe the fact I’ve not been blogging has actually fitted in as I’ve been trying to concentrate on what I’m doing – being present and in the moment.

Other friends have been doing a photo a day, which I’ve loved checking out and reading the reflections but I was without my phone at the start of Lent. But this is what I’m doing!

I do now have a tv. Though so far have just watched things that I’ve really wanted to watch and this evening I’ve also been sewing while watching Mr Selfridges – housewife practice! Not that I think I’ll be a housewife.

I’m doing a session at the MWiB Swanwick Conference in April and I want to talk about multitasking – something women are known for being able to do. Living simply in Lent is the opposite.

I went on retreat in half term, a time of prayer, food, sleep, mass, (I was with Catholic Nuns) and quiet. I went to find silence, I hardly spoke aloud for 48 hours, just little bits of chit chat at meal times and communal prayer and singing softly. The repetition of a certain chant after every reading “praise to the Father almighty, to his son Jesus Christ the Lord, to the Spirit that dwells in our hearts, both now and forever, amen.” There was one thing that I had a problem with though. There are too many words. I took books to read, I wrote poetry which I never do, shutting my brain up is hard work. Not multitasking is like not using words. Simply being.

At the World Mission Forum, of which I am now a member, we talked a lot about being. A mission partner told us of the advise she was given - just to be.

We’re about half way through Lent.  So I’m sure I still have loads left to learn.
But here is the first poem I wrote while with the nuns, when trying to escape the words.

Words, So many words
Hello, how are you?
How’s your day?
So many words
What’s going on?
What are you up to?
Can I join you?
So many words
Books and texts
Emails and phone calls
What’s going on?
So many words
Where, what, why, when
So many words
So many

Friday, 15 February 2013

simple quality time

So, just a short blog tonight to update on my lent.

  • Wednesday morning I had a lie in, before going to play in the snow!
  • Thursday I spent the day focusing on tomorrow's messy church before shopping, not getting stressed by long queues at the supermarket. After this I picked Boyfriend up from work, and we decided to get take away rather than me cooking the food I'd just bought. This meant more time together, and watching Torchwood. 
  • Friday started with quality time with Boyfriend, coffee morning and chats then going to lunch club - which is always great fun and this week focusing on prayer. A great supervision with Student, fab to have time with her to talk, as well as laugh. Then finally many hours, mugs of coffee and even bacon (with curly fries and an egg) for tea with my wonderful adoptive grandparents.

I say all of this as this week's living simply has been about quality time. Quality time is one of Chapman's love languages.
I'm not really making focuses for the time of lent, but seeing what happens. But so far simple living is all about love, and that sounds great to me.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Simply Lent

As blogging was part of my aims for 2012 I don’t feel too bad about the fact I’ve not blogged as regularly in 2013. However, I have two other posts that I’m currently working on. They do, I think anyway, both fit into my theme for Lent, which quite rightly needs to be started today.

In the past I’ve given things up for lent; chocolate, buying dvds, Bananas (which totally wasn’t a sacrifice). Anyway this year I wanted to do something a bit different but had no idea what.

About two weeks ago my tv died a death, in the past year of so the colours have occasionally gone, but some pulling on the wires and that soon returns to normal. However the horizontal thingy-me-whatsit has properly gone this time and I feel the Tv is no more. Two days after this happened I moved into friends’ house so it was no longer an issue (And the day inbetween me and boyfriend went to see another pair of friends to watch the rugby so it was all good.)

Monday morning my phone started crashing so I did the first thing you are meant to do when technology breaks, turned it off and on again, however it refused to turn on, and after two trips to the phone shop and hours downloading software to try to update my phone it had to go off to the phone doctors.

My Mum joked I should give up tv for lent, and this along with my phone started me thinking about living simply. So here is my challenge.  I’m not sure what it’s actually going to look like.

Today we had snow, so I went over to my local church to check no one was going to turn up to the Kinda-over 60s club. Part of the car park was untouched so I walked around it making a heart shape with my footprints. I’d have loved to take a photo but I didn’t have my phone, but maybe that's what living simply means – living in the moment. 

I’m not sure where lent is going to take me, and at some point I hope I’ll get a new tv, and in the meantime there is always iplayer and the like.

But this is my challenge, exploring a life of simplicity. Trying to uncomplicate, and not over-luxuarise things (if that’s even a word).

Bring on Lent and let’s see where this journey takes me.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

sound and silence

I’ve been to the panto this evening. A friend, well the Dad in the family that has kinda adopted me was Will Scarlet and his eldest son had a fab little role too. I haven’t been to the panto in a few years, me and Boyfriend went to see John Barrowman in the one in Cardiff one New Years Eve –probably 2009/2010. For our 50 month anniversary we decided on date afternoon to go see Les Mis at the cinema (well on our actual anniversary being Methodist Geeks we went to see the President of Conference then had burgers at Spoons). Anyway I bring up Les Mis as like the panto people sing rather than talk and tonight’s blog topic is music.

On a slight tangent if I was ever on Room 101 I would put songs with siren noises hidden in. These are the ones on the radio that you have to turn off when driving just to check it’s the music not a fire engine, ambulance or police car.

I think I listen to music a lot less than some people. Maybe that’s not right, what I mean is that I don’t intentionally listen to music as much as some people do. (Not that I compare myself to others often).
I don’t own an iPod, my mp3 player is rather old, and to be honest I don’t really like head phones. During the day when I’m driving I have Radio 1 on (so that's music!), and in the evening (after 7) I choose between Radio 2’s music (must be getting old) and Radio 4’s chats (turning in to my mother), or sometimes I have a specific cd in my car; the Disney blog came out of that time of driving and cd listening. When I’m at home I sometimes put the music on my laptop, but often I just sit in silence or relative silence anyway.

Something that music does is help us recall certain memories, I’m reminded of a fellow steward whenever I hear the Yfriday version of Strength will rise, I can no longer sing And Can it Be without thinking of Boyfriend or One more step without getting the giggles from old Exec days. For everyone Born will always be a MWiB / South Africa song. Some songs have negative memories though. The other day I was on a train that was packed between Huddersfield and Manchester and at Hudds two lads, one very drunk and one not quite so drunk got on and sat one next to and the other opposite me in a four seated bit – like the table seats but without a table. They were boasting the fact they had been kicked out of 4 out of 5 clubs in Huddersfield, still wearing yesterday’s clothes and were on their way to Liverpool, or maybe Manchester. After the first stop many in our carriage got off and I had the opportunity to move seats, but believing it would cause more agro stopped where I was and had an interesting 30-40 minutes being asked if I thought they were attractive, if I could tell they were wearing yesterdays clothes and the more drunk one singing over and over again “I want to scream and shout and let it all out” This song is now in my bad books for two reasons as when it came onto the radio the other day it took me back to that train ride, but it also has siren like noises in the background.

There is one type of music I seem to listen to a lot, and obviously this goes in peaks and troughs, is on hold music. It reminds me of my grandparents and Radio 3, it reminds me of placement in 1st year when I spent ages calling a bowling alley and each 20 seconds of song were disrupted by an advert. I don’t know what the answer is to decent on hold music, but I’ve not heard it yet.

Yesterday’s issue with music was that of a facebook game. This particular one where you have to fry or grill different types of chicken had a rather annoying sound track background, however if you turned it off you also lost the sound effects, the bell as a customer came through the door, the click of the frying pan saying it was done and the ring of the phone for take away orders. So the choice was include the annoying music or lose the detail that made the game easier.

Now I’m not about to burst into song when mid speech but I do talk a lot, so it may come as a surprise to you that I’ve booked a mostly silent retreat. The idea is at meal times I can chat with the Nuns and others who are staying at the Monastery but the rest of the time is for me, my thoughts, my questions, some books and God. I’ll probably take paper to write on, pencils to sketch with, my camera (rather than my phone) all to help me find God

Like I’ve said I don’t intentionally seek out music often, right now all I can hear is the ticking clock and the sound of the keys on my keyboard as I type. But silence, that’s something else altogether. 

Monday, 28 January 2013

Money Money Money

Before I start I should say that I blog about things I think about. This one might not say much, but blogging is the best way I know to get my thoughts to make sense. So this is a selfish blog for that reason. But if you are nosey and want to know what I’ve been thinking about money then please read on.

I went to see Mamma Mia in London, and the programme confused us as the songs were written in alphabetical order rather than order of performance in the musical, and I remember being very confused during the interval as I’d heard Money Money Money but not Gimme Gimme Gimme (a man after midnight).

Anyway, silly story aside, I’ve been thinking about money a lot recently. My Church is having a month on finance, and I’ve been having some money issues of my own. Now I must state before I start that I’ve never been without money, I just happen to have most of my savings hidden in an ISA and am loathed to have to remove them. As you may know I had a couple of car accidents last year which has meant paying out excesses, though the first one I’ve had back and the second is currently waiting on next month’s credit card bill. I’m also loathed to use said credit card but at the moment it seems to be a necessary evil, and as long as my expenses come back from work – which I banked today, I can get it paid off straight away. The fact I’m owed an increment in my pay is another story all together and that’s all down to HQ far away so that adds to the fun.

What I have currently is a cash flow problem, its stopping me from doing some of the things that I usually take for granted – trips to the chippy for example. I’m not poor, but my savings are there so I can hopefully and eventually buy a house.

Yesterday at my youth group we were talking about tithing, the act of giving 10% of income away, whether that be charity or the church. I’ve recently stopped giving to some of the charities I support, though know I need to increase my giving to my church – I go to circuit meeting, I understand the budget, and I know how much my expenses are.
’ve always been someone who prefers an extra jumper to a heater, but I think at the moment – and since Dad set me up a spreadsheet so that I can forecast months into the future I’m a bit more wary of how I spend my money. I’m nowhere near poor, this is totally a 1st world problem, but these are big decisions to make. One activity the Minister is doing as he goes round the House groups (spoiler alert) and the Youth Fellowship was if you were leaving your house for good in an emergence / disaster what 10 items would you put in a carrier bag. Some of them would be practical, torch, radio, others are sentimental – teddy, poems, and a further third category for me were about keeping control, every plan may have changed in my diary but I’d still like to know what day it was and also to mark off key events in my journal.

When Boyfriend and I started dating I paid for a lot of the stuff, I was working and he wasn’t. Sometimes I’d hand him the money and he’d pay, other times we would split the bill. It never bothered me paying more than him. Now it’s strange, with both of us working full time sometimes he treats me, especially when it’s something that needs small change – those tips really help when you need money for parking.  I’m getting used to being the one not paying all the time. Though I earn more my house is more expensive, my bills are on top and his are included. Though one day we’ll have a joint bank account and only 1 set of bills, but that’s a different issue altogether.

I don’t have answers, just thoughts. I want to use my money wisely, I don’t want to save it for the sake of saving. Big questions.

PS - this week did a couple of guest blogs at 

Friday, 11 January 2013

5 years of inspiration

My little Methodist sister gave me a really fab birthday present last year –a five year journal. It has in it 366 questions and 5 gaps to answer each one. Brother and Boyfriend were discussing how long I’d last, and Brother was wrong – I got past Wednesday night. I’ve got into a routine of filling in the question when I get in to bed, before ringing Boyfriend for our nightly chat. I also read the next day’s question, in case there is something I need to look out for the next day.

Yesterday’s question is "what inspired you today?" So I tried to keep a look out for inspiration. I picked up on people’s courage, the kindness of companies and helpfulness of friends.

If only it had been today!

Today I’ve realised that I’m not grateful enough for what I have. Yes I’ve had a few interesting days with swapping hire cars – long story, tell you another day! But tonight I’ve had a very exciting email asking me to go to Europe for a planning meeting!

Life is good! Sometimes it's not, but let's remember when it is that we need to realise how special and exciting it can be.

Also, this week I’ve made a cake by myself – I kinda burnt the topping but managed to just cover it in buttons – see the photo! I also made chilli – not that that is a new thing. Tomorrow I’m planning on learning how to make soup! Wish me luck.

Hope 2013 is going well for you.