Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Never Say Never...

So when I was little, my mum told me that I should never say never to God, because He would see it as a challenge to make me grow. I seriously spent my childhood deliberately never saying anything like "I'll never be a missionary" and "I'll never live in Africa" just incase.

When the conversation came about one time about what I wanted in a boyfriend, without thinking, I came out with "I'd never date a guy with a beard" and the slightly more convoluted "I could never marry a guy with a double-barrelled surname" (since my IRL first name is also double barrelled) (like Sarah-Jane but not) I wasn't entirely negative though, as I also made sure everyone knew that he had to be able to wear a blue wool coat and look good in it.

Near enough a year to the day after that conversation, God gave me the best way I could ever think of for never saying never again...

Love, etc.
xxx

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

"we make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give"
Winston Churchill

After deciding on my blog title, I googled "Random Acts of Kindness" Twenty minutes later I was still sitting watching the quotes scroll round on their home page. Possibly THE simplest idea ever created by a human being, I love the premise - perform one act of random kindness a day.

I've seen so many examples - the traditional things like paying for the person behind you at the drive through, or for someone else's dinner in the restaurant; little things, like post-it notes on mirrors or notes in someone's pigeon hole; bigger things, like the guy who not only helped us get our suitcases on the train in Rome but who went and got a luggage trolley and actively came and found us when we got to the airport, or like the person I saw the other day scraping their next door neighbours windscreen free of ice before driving off.

Random Acts of Kindness always makes me think of one lady at my church who's ministry really could be random acts of kindness. She is ALWAYS smiling, and always so glad to see her friends and check up on them and make them smile in turn. Even her Facebook life makes people smile - her profile picture is a dancing Little Miss Sunshine, and her presence on everyone's pages - commenting on things, sharing good times and celebrating achievements - cheers people immeasurably when they see it. Little things really do mean a lot.

"The wind is real, but you can't see the wind - you can only see the leave rustling in the trees.
Pain is real, but you can't see pain, you only see tears. Happiness is real, but you can't see
happiness. You can only see the smile on someone's face"
7th Heaven

For me, seeing that smile is enough.

Love, etc.
xx

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Lighthouse

This weekend just gone was another epic "first" of my life. After many trips to Weymouth, I'd never yet managed to see the lighthouse lit up after dark - we were always on the wrong side of the bay, or just plain in the wrong place. I've read Anne's House of Dreams; I've been to Montauk Point; I've been up Portland Bill each time I've visited The Drummer's parents, but in my twenty-three years, I've never seen a lighthouse lit up after dark.

After a little persuasion this weekend, The Drummer ventured out with me to the top of Portland Bill and we were greeted with the most amazing sight - in the pitch black, eight beams of light, rotating round and round, each one lighting up the hazards and shining far out to sea, warning the ships of the danger. The bill was so stormy that we couldn't even get out the car, but the sheer majesty of the lighthouse; the elegance of the beams of light; the safety is was bringing to the people out at sea - it was one of the most moving, humbling experiences I've ever had.

No matter how small or insignificant you're feeling, there's always something bigger than you out there to show you the way.

Love, etc.
xx

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Castles In The Air

"Wouldn't it be fun if all the castles in the air which we make could come true, and
we could live in them?"
Jo, Little Women

When I was a little girl, if I was very poorly or very sad, I was allowed to curl up on the sofa under the blue and white stripey duvet and watch videos. If I was ill for longer than a day, I would watch Little Women (the first day of any illness being taken up with Narnia) (and we're talking BBC 1980s here, none of this new film malarky) and so it has always been well up there in my favourite stories of all time ever. Depending on the time of day/wind direction/color of their dresses, I would variously want to be each of the girls, but what never changed was my love of the idea of castles in the air. Everyone has castles in the air - we all have our dreams and wants and desires, and we all want them to come true.

When I was little, I used to agree with Jo, but now I'm not so sure. I've gone through times where I've thought I've known what I wanted and been impatient for my castle to become reality. Patience is not an overly well-developed virtue of mine, but sometimes, the castles are waiting or changing for good reasons.

I'm glad that a lot of my castles haven't come true. I'm even gladder that the special ones have.

Love, etc.
xx


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ever Mine, Ever Thine, Ever Ours

We all know that Disney films give girls unrealistic expectations about hair. And men. Whilst our hair has become an acceptedly un-winnable daily battle that will never go away, our expectations about men remain unachievably high (since they are, after all, only human)

Growing up on a diet of Disney princesses finding their prince sets the bar very high for the poor darlings that have to compete with Prince Charming on his white horse and in some way maintain that standard every day of a relationship's life. And its not just a case of competing with our childhood Disney Princes. Oh no. Right when a girl is at her most anxy and hormonal, along comes The Notebook. Love Actually. The Holiday. And all the rest of the chick flicks with perfect guys loving in perfect ways.

Now, be under no disillusion - the path to true love doesn't run smooth. We are SO aware of that. Big leaves Carrie at the alter, but we still all want a real life Big to woo us again with love letters and propose on his knees in the end. We all want a Miles to make us fetucchini and sing to us in Blockbuster. We all want to end up in the relationship where our Noah will tell us our story day after day when we're too old to remember.

And I've found it. I'm settled. I'm the luckiest girl alive to have The Drummer loving me and wanting me to be his. I don't need huge soppy displays of his love; I don't need adoring emails and txts; I don't need constant reminders of his love, because I *know* that he loves me. When it comes to it, he celebrates the good stuff, holds me until the bad stuff stops hurting, cries with me when I cry. I don't need anything more. If I'd put together all the best bits of all the films, I still couldn't have come up with a guy better that him, no matter how many times I watch Pride and Prejudice. He's my Darcy. My Big. My Prince Charming.


The love letters though...Big, that was a winner.

Love, etc.
xx

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Skip to the end...

When I was little, I used to have an absolutely appalling habit of flicking straight to the back page of a book to see how it ends. I'm getting better at not doing that, although my gosh does it take a lot of self-control not to do that anymore!!

I was reading something the other day and went to flick to the end when the afternoon of my first date with The Drummer popped in to my mind - he'd just acquired Season 7 of Star Trek Voyager and I didn't want to work my way through the previous 6 seasons just to answer my childhood question of how they got home, so begged him to let us watch the last 2 eps. His look of horror as he asked whether I was "the sort of person who did that with books too" made me laugh (and also maybe fear a little for our long-term future**)

He had a point though - going straight to the end might give you the same result as working your way through, but with nowhere near as much knowledge and answers and reasons why. "Just because" is all very well when it comes to Star Trek questions, but I never want to only have "just because" as an answer to a question about my life because I was too busy skipping to the end to enjoy what I have

"Your life is like a book...don't jump to the end to see if its worth it. Just enjoy
life and make those pages filled with beautiful memories"

I have some spaces left. Come fill them with me.

Love, etc.
xx

** this fear disappeared as we were settling down in front of the finale and he asked me whether I'd read the last page of the book of "Us" and whether it was a good one *swoon*

p.s. Ten points for the first person to tell me where the title is a quote from...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Green Screening

Obsessed is a strong word, but apt, I feel, in relation to my love of Angels and Demons. Mostly because its set in Rome admittedly, but still. Watching it again this evening, I realised I'd never watched the Special Features. And now I kind of wish I hadn't. Theoretically, I knew that it wasn't really all shot on location - you're not allowed to talk in the Sistine Chapel, let alone take a whole film crew in there - but a little part of me had always stayed lost in the magic of the film. Until I saw the amount of green screen used. Obviously its a lot, but to me, a little of the magic, a little of the mystery went seeing how small the sets were - the St Peters set is mostly plywood. The Sistine Chapel ceiling...screen. The faithful crowds in St Peters Square...CGI.

Don't get me wrong - its still one of my all time favourite films, but I'll watch it in a different way now - the geek in me will be looking for CGI; for objects that are clearly filmed against a green screen; for continuity errors. That got me thinking - how often in life do we do that? How much of your life is a green screen? Reality projected against something blank. Truth, but not quite. Fooling people, but really deep down, knowing that they know that its not real.

A little of the magic has gone.

Love, etc.
xx

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Culture Clash

Now, call me old-fashioned (and believe me, that has been known) but I'm about to get on my soapbox about the state of popular culture. Really. Me. Yes.

I have to admit that I'm normally one of the first to ignore the warnings of pastors and elders about the influences of the secular world on Christians, and its not really something I've ever had that much of a problem with. I drink alcohol, but not to excess, and feel no pressure from any part to do so. I listen to the radio and watch tv, and freely skip channels if I don't like what's on (whether for moral reasons or simply because its painful to listen to) I sometimes wear short skirts and heels like the rest of the population, and feel no shame in wearing them. Essentially, I make my own decisions for what I allow myself to be exposed to. Some people would say I'm too liberal; others would (and have) laugh at how strict I am about some things, but for me, I know I'm making the right choices.

Imagine then my shock (at myself!) when I found I was disgusted by Taylor "Love Story" Swift's new song, You Belong To Me. I'm a girl - we're all entranced by the idea that Romeo is going to kneel to the ground and pull out a ring and propose. That's a dream for princesses everywhere, and I have to admit, I've never felt a need to turn the radio off when the kids have been around, even the oler ones who are starting to pick up on songs they like and who wrote them. THAT is where has scared me - that the girls I look after could listen to Love Story and think how great it is and then want to hear more, and coming across songs that sing about how she thinks that the boy she likes shouldn't be with his girlfriend and lists the reasons (!) That is not a healthy thing to let girls think is acceptible and for the first time, I can see why parents are often so guarded about what they let their children see/hear/have until they are old enough to know what is good and what isn't. And strangely, it lasts.

"You'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable,
authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the
ugly; things to praise, not things to curse"
Phillippians 4v8 (The Message)

Love, etc.
xx

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Words

23.57, 31st December 2008. A text message that changed my world. And then a day of absolute silence that almost destroyed his while I panicked about starting a SERIOUS RELATIONSHIP. Said silence and panic led to an FB status of "[Beautiful Intellectual] has a lot to think about" which prompted another txt along the lines of "whatever you're thinking about, you know where I am if you need me" And I fell in love.

A few days later, I was telling the most important person in my life (outside immediate family) about it, starting the conversation with the phrase "[The Drummer] is going to ask me out, and I'm going to say yes" which normally would have had her bouncing around the room squealing if it had been any other of her friends, let alone me. I was met with her opinion that it was a mistake and he wasn't who God had lined up for me; a brick wall rather than the shared excitement I was expecting.

Its taken this long, almost ten months, to get over that. To get over that hurt. To get over the loss of my best friend. To get over the rejection of my boyfriend. Recently, I've spent a lot of time realising I'm preparing to do all the big stuff of my life without her beside me, and I'm honestly not sure how that leaves me feeling.

"It’s amazing, some people, they just say these small little things, one sentence and it
changes the way you feel about them in an instant. Small little words that can hurt you
so much or make you fall deeply in love forever. It changes everything, nothing between
you is ever really the same again, even if they don't know it"

Just be careful what you do with your words.

Love, etc.
xx

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Smells like home

On the train this morning I had the strongest deja vu I've had in a very long time. I was sitting listening to my music watching the world go by when I realised I was suddenly feeling really safe and comfortable and couldn't work out why. It took me a while to realise that I recognised the aftershave of the guy who had just sat down behind me, and slightly longer again to realise it wasn't the same one The Drummer wears. It took about another 5 minutes pondering, scooting through my mind all the different guys I knew and hugged regularly (that sounds worse than it is...) and couldn't for the life of me work out where I knew it from. It wasn't until Black And Gold came on my MP3 much later on that I realised it was the same aftershave the Landlord of Dreams (who, with his wife, housed me for free for a term before Christmas last year where I had nowhere to live and no money for rent) Their home became mine, and that smell became home because of the welcome and love and acceptance I had there.

Smells are strangely evocative things - fresh grass equalling the summer, even if its still only March. The precious talc-y baby smell left on your clothes after cuddling the kids. The smell of The Drummer's parents house meaning total relaxation and peace. Smells always mean something; they always come with memories.

Home has many smells these days - The Drummer's aftershave, my parents house when I get home after being away, St Johns when you're the first one in on a Saturday. Each and every one has its memory; each one is home to me.

Love, etc.
xx

Monday, October 05, 2009

Relationships

"Good relationships balance over time. This means that at any particular point in time,
the relationship may appear quite unbalanced: One partner may be more nurturing;
one may be more needy; one may be providing all the financial support, etc. But if both
partners are loving, understanding, giving, dedicated and flexible, then the relationship
can handle all kinds of ups and downs, and still be strong, exciting and, yes, romantic.
The best relationships are well balanced. Not a delicate balance; not a static
balance- but a dynamic ever-changing balance"
Gregory Godek

I found this quote earlier this evening and realised it summed up everything I've been trying to show myself recently - everything will balance over time. Yes, right now, it feels like my relationship with The Drummer is unfair on him - I'm needy right now & he's a rock, I'm broke right now and he has a steady job etc, but its true that our relationship is going to emerge from this, probably even stronger than before. I love the fact that although they're nearly always in the same place with the same people around and a lot of the same stuff to do, every weekend we spend together is different; every weekend highlights a new experience for us as a couple; every weekend brings us closer together.



Balance is necessary - a relationship doesn't succeed without equality. I'm not his Spare Rib for nothing.

Love, etc.
xx


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pointless or, Pity Party for One?

Do you ever look at your life and wonder why on earth you are where you are? Do you ever just sit back and think "what on earth am I actually here for?" I am aware at this point that it sounds like I could do with a good dose of The Purpose Driven Life, but I did that last time I was terminally unemployed, and given that that was only such a short time ago, I'm not convinced its been long enough to make a difference again. Today is most definitely *not* a Pollyanna day.

The only thing stopping this pity party for one is the knowledge in the back of my mind that, however pointless I feel that there must be a purpose for me somewhere. Right now, I can't see it. I have no idea why my patience is being tested in so many different ways. I have no idea what I'm meant to be learning. I have no idea why things are being given with one hand and taken away with the next leaving me splitting my life between 2 counties, not fitting in in either, with no money to speak of to my name.

I have no answers. And to be honest, I'm surprised I found this many words.

Love, etc.
xx

p.s. I may have been overstating when I said the pity party was being held at bay. Clearly it is not.
xx

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Grace, or That's Called Growing Up Kiddo

I am not by nature the world's most gracious person. Actually, let me rephrase that. I'm an incredibly gracious person unless I feel threatened, then I get all loud and proud and kinda forget the "by their works you shall know them" bit, and the whole "whatever is true...noble (&) right" thing and just get a bit, well, nasty.

I've made reference to The Drummer's Ex before I think, but BOY has that become a situation recently where I need to be gracious. The Drummer calls it "gracious in victory" but over the last couple of days, I think just "gracious" would do. I have in my life something a lot of girls would kill (or at least seriously maim) for - a dependable, solid guy who utterly adores me and goes out of his way to protect and look after me. And he's mine. And he's not going anywhere. So why do I let myself turn into such a diva when she calls him (or floats onto our radar in any small way) Why do I act like a brat and make a difficult situation worse? Why can I not just look at my life and realise I have more than enough to share a little grace with others?

Its all well and good being gracious when life is easy, but that's not entirely the point of grace. Having a tantrum is easy. Being gracious is not. Realising what I have, both on earth and in my God, made me realise in turn that I should have no option.

Being gracious isn't a choice, it should be the norm. But MAN is that hard.

Love, etc.
xx


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Readjustment

Its funny how things turn out. I thought my summer was going to be like this, but it ended up being about totally different things to what I had expected...

It wasn't just my brother's wedding. It was the day I got a sister...


Lots of technical geekery with The Godfather that wasn't just technical geekery but some special times of healing and wisdom (but ok, there was lots of playing with new toys too!)


Whilst I was totally expecting to love my holiday in Weymouth, it never occurred to me how much I'd love becoming part of a new family...


A return trip to the city that stole my heart became the first of many "City Breaks For The Girls," a fact which I'm VERY excited about!

There was a whole lot of hanging out with the gang...


and from a source I never thought I'd here it from again, I was reminded that

Readjustments. Sometimes they're not all bad.

Love, etc.
xx

Monday, August 31, 2009

Left Behind

I didn't realise until I got to Rome that this is the first time I've been away and left someone behind. Someone who missed me just as much as I missed them. Someone who checked their phone as much as I checked mine for messages. Someone who's face lit up when they saw me come back through Arrivals.

As Winnie The Pooh once said,

Pooh: this is the best part of the day
Christopher Robin: what part is that?
Pooh: When "you" and "me" become "we"

I think there's a lot to be learnt about love from the wisdom of a little bear

Love, etc.
xx

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mugs

Not having grown up enough to drink tea or coffee, I drink an AWFUL lot of hot chocolate. Particularly in the winter when its all snuggly and warm. Its all about the mug...too small, and there's not enough room for the cream. Too big and there's too much to drink. There's nothing better than "exchanging fact" (because I'd never gossip) (*ahem!*) over a big chunky mug cupped in your hands licking the cream off the top (or using a spoon if in polite company...) (rare...)

My room is constantly littered with mugs, including one which is rarely far from my desk that reminds me daily of a certain truth we could all do with bearing in mind sometimes


"He is perfecting me" Phillipians 1v6

Love, etc.
xx

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Unexpected

On Sunday, The Drummer and I went to the Walking With Dinosaurs Arena Tour. Which was ALL kinds of awesome. It was so good, it distracted me from eyeing up the rigging and tech equipment, which, given how much of a Tech Geek I really am (and the fact it was my first time at the O2 in ALL its glory) makes it a really quite impressive show!!
TFL, in their infinite wisdom, had once again closed the Jubilee Line, so getting there was an utter mission (including my first trip on the DLR...no drivers...WIERD!) and a boat shuttle across the river from East India docks which now bear little to no resemblance to the docks that funded my school. But still. Nice little trip round Londontown thanks to TFL *ahem*
As we finally arrived, we clocked the (hour long) queue to get the boat back across to the East India docks and balked at the sheer number of people who would then be waiting at East India (and Bank) (and TCR) to get back to Waterloo. The Beautiful Intellectual doesn't do the Tube overly well at the best of (busy) times, so a plan B was clearly necessary. £5 has never been better spent on me than the Thames Clipper ticket from Grenwich to Waterloo Pier. Ohmigosh was it just THE funnest 40 minutes I've ever spent in London.
It was the most perfect (and totally unexpected) ending to an amazing afternoon. I could get to quite like the unexpected...
Love, etc.
xx

Monday, August 10, 2009

Understanding

At heart, I am a musician. Nothing thrills me more than hearing a piece of music, particularly orchestral music, and losing myself in how it all fits together and picking out all the different parts and melodies.
I was listening to a piece the other day that I'd once played in an orchestra and started to focus on a tune I'd never heard before - I was amazed that I'd managed to not only rehearse it regularly but also perform the piece a number of times and yet there was still more that I hadn't heard. I was reminded of one time where I'd had to leave the rehearsal for some reason, and walking back into the hall, as I crossed the room to get back on the stage, I remember trying to work out which piece they'd moved on to rehearsing because I didn't recognise it. Turned out it was the same piece they'd been playing when I left, but from outside of my little seat in the middle of the Strings section, it sounded so completely different that I didn't know what it was.
Recently, I've come to realise that this is sometimes (often?) true of our lives - sitting there knowing we've done all the rehearsing and preparing and ready to do it, but actually not really seeing the full picture at all, and not knowing what to do when we're confronted with it. Its taken some long struggles, some that are still lingering yet, but I'm finally starting to accept that there is always a reason and there's always something learnt.
"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps,
you understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right, and stopping the leaks
in the roof, and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and you are not surprised.
But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably, and
does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is
building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new
wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.
You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building
a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."
The bigger picture is there - just don't miss it in preparing your own little bit, however perfect you think you're making it.
Love, etc.
xx

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Unaware

Last Thursday, I spent the day with Bluebelle at the V & A Museum in Londontown. It was hard having such a lovely girly day in the sunshine while the boys were at work, but we managed. While we were there, Bluebelle took LOTS of beautiful photos, mostly arty ones of the prettiness that is the V &A (and our LUNCH!!) but I managed to sneak in to a few of them (not that I like posing for cameras. at all. no no, not me!)

However, perhaps one of my favourite pictures of the day was this one:

Partly in a "I'm so small and there is so much out there that is bigger than me" (in a metaphorical, getting-a-perspective-on-life sense) but mostly because I was so unaware of it. which really made me think. Unaware of Bluebelle's thoughts, unaware of her artistry and skill in setting the picture. I was completely unaware of anything apart from what I was thinking about, and when I saw the picture back on her camera, it made me wonder what else we're completely unaware of and what we're missing.

Its actually quite scary to realise the things you nearly missed - my decision about uni and what I really felt about The Drummer to name but two of the more important ones that spring to mind. Particularly my uni decision, given that pretty much nothing that makes me me these days would be there if I hadn't gotten over myself & looked at the website.

However, the picture is also incredibly apt for the latter of the two, given that that is the view of me that The Drummer was probably most used to before we started going out - as the drummer of our band, he was watching my back (sometimes, it turns out, literally) while my thoughts were miles away elsewhere.

He waited for my thoughts (and for me) to turn round to him. Sometimes in life we're not that lucky...maybe I should start being more careful.


Love, etc.
xx

Friday, July 10, 2009

Patience

"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day." Habakkuk 2:3

I've decided The Drummer is the embodiment of this verse - through The Great Void and The Big Mistake, there was a 6ft (ish) auburn curly-haired bearded plan for me that I didn't even see coming but now am so very glad has happened (understatement of the century)

After a week of doubting pretty much everything, I guess I really needed to hear this today - that there IS a plan and that the right thing will happen at the right time. Its really hard when something you thought was an answer to prayer seems to have become something so vastly different. I make no pretence of understanding why, but given everything else He's given me, I don't think I'm really in a place to complain.



Love, etc.
xx

p.s. Although when I say doubting everything, I mean everything apart from said Drummer. Of him, there is no doubt at all at all
xx

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Its A Small, Small World

Tonight I had the strangest experience - I sat through a pupil's concert which was finished by the 16 year old girl who had sat through so many of my own pupil concerts when she was a little girl when I was at (a completely different) school with her sister. I guess I shouldn't be surprised really - my family appears to have a penchant for finding connections in strange places: my parents used to camp with the parents of my brother's first girlfriend...the grandparents of the kids I babysat for at uni knew my parents when they were at uni...I went to junior school with my prayer partner's little sister...my mum and dad knew my old School Nurse when they were all young marrieds in Bristol...my great-grandfathers used to be travelling preachers together a good forty years before my parents even met...even The Drummer and I have a history - he was an Inter at my first ever Campaigners Parade as an Eagle (holler if you even have a blue clue what I'm talking about here!) (If you don't, he was like 11 and I was 4 and very cute with little blonde curls and we probably didn't even see each other)

Everytime I hear stories like this, it makes me think of the quote

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained
angels unawares.
Hebrews 13v2

You never know when someone you come in contact with in your present will become a part of your future in a way you could never imagine...keep an eye out, just incase.

Love, etc.
xx

Friday, July 03, 2009

Lessons in Time, or, Perspective & Priorities


"Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours
per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa,
Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein"
H. Jackson Brown

And so another metaphorical kick up the backside trundled along today, right on cue (as per usual)

It would have been so easy today to be all "woe is me, work was so hard" but instead, said butt kick reminded me that actually, time today was well spent. Huge amounts of things were done (not least a combined total of 33 rows of those BLESSED seats across 3 assemblies and 2 shows) and not just work stuff, but also the little things, like taking the time to find some Jelly Tots for Little Miss Dance. And in fact, being her runner all day because she had so much to sort out. And taking time to go to "the gym" after school to hang out with (who are swiftly becoming) The Usual Suspects (who take their workouts so seriously they can always be found in the beer garden around 4pm on a Friday) And then finding time to have pizza with Little Miss Dance and Maestro before shoehorning in some one-on-one time with the quieter of my two prefects helping her learn just one more little thing at a time.

Just one of these things should have made it a good day - how lucky am I that I got to do them all? It really is all about perspective. These people were my priority today - helping them, teaching them, valuing them, and somehow, that seemed to bless me too. And hey, I'm *more* than happy with that happening!!

Its not always about the great achievements. Sometimes its just about the little things.

Love, etc.
xx

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Speechless

I have nothing to say. Nothing clever, nothing cute, just nothing.

Sorry,
xx

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

View from the other side...

An old friend emailed me out of the blue today admitting that she's been reading my blog and really appreciated the "normal, practical non standard everyday patter" of my blog posts, particularly in relation to her struggle to find and believe in God. I was thinking about it on my way to work, and realised how lucky we are to be Christians - to be sure of God's existance and know that He is there for us.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see"
Hebrews 1v1

Even in bad patches (which we all have, no matter how all together we seem to have it) I know that God is still there somewhere, even if I'm not sure exactly where sometimes. And for that reason alone, we're pretty darn lucky.

Love, etc.
xx

Friday, June 19, 2009

Topical much?!

There's a preacher at our church who I love to *bits* He is truly awesome, apart from one tiny, niggly little thing. When he preaches, which isn't hugely often these days, he always, without fail, picks the one topic that I don't want to think about/am avoiding dealing with and hammers away at it for a good half an hour. Or longer.

I should have known last time as I settled comfortably into my seat last time he preached, thinking "oh the kids will enjoy this - its great to hear him again and have him give them such a good preach" that it was coming - you'd think I'd've learnt by now that God pretty much always uses my sermon-related complacency to whack me around the head with a sledge-hammer.

That night's topic was shalom and chatt'at (basically God's peace and then the very opposite - chaos/disorder) in the context of in our lives, there is a lot of chatt'at, and as Christians, we have shalom, and should bring it to our own chatt'at and to that of those around us. We can pray all we like for God to solve a situation, but sometimes we need to realise He has already sent us shalom - WE are shalom. And we need to apply that to the chatt'at of our lives.

In the space of 40 minutes, he managed to make me feel sad, laugh hysterically, feel guilty and then leave with a sense of hope. And that's why he's the best.

Love, etc.
xx

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Seeing Both Sides, or Why Idealising Life Can Be Dangerous...

I've always *always* envied Sound Man his job, despite his constant protestations that its "just a job" - I never understood how the glamour and excitement and atmosphere surrounding gigs could ever become "just a job" but since starting work, I've realised what he meant - its just a job. When you're buck-stoppingly responsible for the lights working at the right time, or the sound being bang on time after time, there's not a whole lot of time left to enjoy soaking up the atmosphere. I can understand how it quickly stops being the most glamourous thing in the world and enters the realms of normality.

On the flip side, however, I was showing a new director and his producer round the theatre last night and the director was so envious of my job and my "office," wanting to know how I got it and where he could get one like it. I saw so much of myself in that comment!

Don't get me wrong - I still *love* it and wouldn't want to do anything else with my time, but I've started to realise things in life aren't as perfect as our brains sometimes make them out to be.

Love, etc.
xx

p.s. Apart from The Drummer. He is, of course, perfect in every way :p

Friday, June 12, 2009

Things I have learnt .. (part 3)

In addition to these things and these things, the following things have been discovered by me to be true...

- its impossible to walk down the road, in the sunshine, listening to Mas Que Nada and keep your hips still...

- the Bible really is right when it says don't let the sun go down on a row. You get a REALLY bad nights sleep, which makes working the next day kinda challenging.

- slimming as it is, Black gets pretty boring as a clothing choice day after day.

- while "just because" may not be a good enough explanation in the classroom, when it becomes the reason for flowers, its more than enough.

- packing, wearing, or indeed simply PLANNING to wear white linen trousers is pretty much guaranteed to make it rain. As is buying expensive new sunny gs.

- when you can go back somewhere after a time away and it really feels like you never left, that's when its home.

- people care about me a lot more than I realise.

- sunshine = blisters from amazingly pretty hugely impractical shoes.

Love, etc.
xx

Just Because...


I like just because.

Love, etc.
xx

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Tables Are Turned... (a.k.a Fit For Purpose part 2)

When RJ & Sound Man sat me down and taught me about me about gain theory and condenser mics and sound desks and every type of cable under the sun, I never in a million years thought it would lead to me teaching anyone anything ever. Yet in the space of 2 days, I've delivered a mini-lecturette on pan-pots, instructed FAR too many children in the correct etiquette of a Tech Gallery and been given two prefects to train as Junior Technicians. Oh, and been asked to help deliver the "technical" side of a new diploma the kids are starting in Creative and Media Studies *PANIC FACE*

How can I teach something I barely know myself?? What do I have to offer about the role of being a technician?! Why do people keep treating me like an adult when I'm really really not?! (Clearly I am doing too good a job of pretending...) But in all seriousness - I never expected that I'd have to share what I know in any kind of formal setting, let alone stand in front of 27 kids and start their introduction to Technical Theatre. I've barely finished my own.

There is, however, a part of my brain that is pointing out that that is just exactly what we're meant to do with our knowledge and things that we learn - pass it on to others. I've blogged about the Parable of the Talents before, particularly in the context of my work, so I guess this is just another nudge to remind to stop hoarding and start sharing. Clearly this year is going be very little to do with resting on my laurels and quite a lot to do with getting fit for the next purpose that He has in store for me.

Love, etc.
xx


Sunday, June 07, 2009

Straight Talking

The Godfather is one of the few people in my life who can say something how it is, even if I won't like it (particularly if I won't like it!) and get away with it. And even get me to agree with him, 9 times out of 10 (and on the 10th time, I know I'll come round to his way of thinking eventually)

I was reading over my journal today when I was reminded of the time last summer when he left me struck dumb in the middle of Cafe Neros when he asked me whether I thought my relationship with God was starting to resemble that of the (non)relationship I was "in" at the time. Going out of my way to help him, anticipating his needs and being there to do/get what he needed. Being picked up and put down dependent on who else was around to entertain him yet I was always there waiting for him to come back again and again. Taking him back on any terms just to get him back. And so on. And so on. I suddenly could see The Godfather's point. And BOY was it an uncomfortable realisation.

I journaled the following in response that evening,
When its put so starkly that I'm treating You in the same way [he] treats me...I don't deserve any blessings at all, let alone the things I want for my comfort and convenience. When I think about how much it hurts me when [he] ignores me or picks me up and throws me away again at his convenience - I can't begin to imagine how much it hurts You that I've been doing that to You and I'm so sorry...

It was one of those tonne of bricks moments where suddenly you realise that a relationship with God means a relationship. And relationships come with hurt, however unintentional it may be.

I had another one this morning in church (although possibly slightly more shower of pea shingle than tonne of bricks...) when I was thinking about a friends BBQ that the gang were all at yesterday and how nice it was to hang out with my Little One after not seeing her properly for so long. It was a little bit bittersweet though, as I was kind of sad that we've drifted a little far apart since graduation/leaving Egham/starting work. I realised I hadn't put enough time or effort into maintaining the friendship when it ceased to be so naturally convenient and simple. And you see where this is starting to go...

When it struck home the most was when I looked up and saw The Drummer just sitting watching me and I knew that if I'd asked him what he was looking at, he'd say he was just watching me be happy and excited to see all the people I hadn't seen for so long - just the same as God does everytime I go to church. My relationship with The Drummer is hugely balanced - sometimes we talk really deeply and seriously (rare, but we're working on it) sometimes we're messing around and having fun and enjoying each others company and sometimes we just hang out simply spending time being together. I thought when I got together with him that an earthly relationship is sometimes a good model for working on your relationship with God because it makes all the emotions more real and understandable.

That comes with the flip side too though. Something to work on I feel...

Love, etc.
xx

p.s. The Journal from the night I got together with The Drummer? I don't think I deserve him, but thankyou for giving him to me. In the light of what I've just been writing about...hmm. Point made.
xx

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Achievements

What is an achievement?? Watching The Apprentice semi-final made me think about this quite seriously.

One of the candidates was talking about what it would mean to her to win, saying that she would be able to prove to herself and her family and her daughters that she was more than what she'd achieved so far in her life.

I was surprised at my own reaction to that comment - I have one of the clearest career goals of most of the people I know, and a lot of people would probably think, understandably, that my career is one of the most important things to me in my life. When I heard Lorraine say that though, my first thought was for her girls - maybe its just me, but when I have children, THEY will be the biggest achievement of my life.

Last Night of the Proms will be epic, but my life won't have been pointless if I never get there. I might never get there - part of me worries that I'm not ruthless enough to get to the top, but I know that ultimately, that's not the most important thing to me.

JEB once called me laughably traditional. I think he was probably right. An achievement in and of itself.

Love, etc.
xx

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

We're All In This Together

Something I've realised over the last few weeks is that I'm really not alone in anything - in every single aspect of my life in the last little while I've had support and love from every angle, often hugely unexpected places. One of the instances that really sticks in my mind is The Beautiful Dr sending me an amazingly lovely, very wise response to my *ahem* issues. I don't know her overly well...we've connected more over FB, blogging and absences of our respective boys than we did in real life, but her advice was spot on and so very wise :) Another was The Godfather's wife offering to let me visit with her and the little monkeys (and The Godfather if he could have been tempted away from his Mac) over the half-term, knowing how much I'm missing the little ones in Egham and also how much I've just needed a complete change of scenery and pace this last week.

I know I've written it before, but I truly am blessed by the people around me. So often when my friends are struggling with things and feeling God is giving them no answers, I push them towards their friends - I truly believe that God puts the people around you that you need (or at least, within your reach) reminding me time and again that

"The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many,
they form one body"
1 Corinthians 12v12

Or, in the immortal words of the HSM kids,




Love, etc.
xx

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pros and Cons

I had one of my "moments" the other night about myself, which basically involved me sitting on MSN to one of the girls going "I'm not this, I'm not that, I'm not the other" which she very patiently listened to for about ten minutes. Once I'd finished my rant, she challenged me to list everything I *am* rather than focusing on what (I think) I'm not & put the 2 lists side by side. Pros and Cons of the Beautiful Intellectual, if you will.

The lists ran something like this (slightly edited for the sake of my embarassment/eternal judgement at the hands of my readers)

CONS: (yes, of course I started with the negative stuff!)
  • getting chubby
  • thunder thighs (yes, they deserve a listing all of their own they're getting that big)
  • hair that does very strange things that only resemble curls for abot 5 minutes then just goes frizzy
  • hate-inducing eyebrows
  • still living at home with my parents at the age of 22
  • can't drive
PROS: (and it took a LONG time to get these out of me)
  • make awesome brownies
  • good musician
  • good at my job
  • determined
  • easy to get on with
  • fiercely loyal
  • good friend
It was a really strange time having to analyse myself - serious, rational introspection is not something I often indulge in, particularly when I realised that I judge myself on hugely shallow attributes that have nothing to do with my value as a person. And then insult everyone around me by expecting them to do the same. I spend far too long focusing on the negatives to realise that no-one else does - they only see in my the positive things it took so long to drag out of myself. I try to make myself what I think others want to see, and, in the process, totally miss that they seem to like what's already there.

So what if I'm getting a bit chubby - clever dressing will cover that. Bad hair day? That's why there are hats/hairbands/paper-bags (joke) But a person who is weak-willed? No make-up can change that. Bad friends can't disguise themselves in color co-ordinated clothes. Loyalty can't be created like a hairstyle can.

No-one can understand [their] mystery. The best you can do is get immersed
in it. It is no use your arguing about pros and cons; dive and know
the depth. Eat and know the taste"
Sri Sathya Sai Baba

I don't think I'll ever stop seeing my cons, and I very much doubt my friends will ever stop impressing upon me my pros, but I'd like to find a happy medium where I know my depths. Where I know myself and like what I've found there. And even if I don't get there, there is one thing I'm sure of, no matter how much I laugh about it - I *am* a daughter of the King of Kings of whom He is proud, no matter how I feel about myself.

love, etc
xx

p.s. and as for the eyebrows...everyone has a cross to bear, right? :p
x

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Possession is 9/10 of the law...

But its that other pesky 1/10 that really gets to you...

I was chatting to one of my girls yesterday about possessiveness - there's a girl in our friendship group who's possessiveness is legendary amongst our peers, and she's lost friends over it and alienated others with her attitudes. Having come up against that a number of times, I've struggled hugely to understand it - if there was any jealousy to be felt, it would most logically have been directed AT her, not received FROM her.

I've recently started to understand better her position (outrageously honest moment alert) if only because I've started to become equally possessive over something that is so drastically important to me. The Drummer's ex-girlfriend (to be blunt) properly did one over the fact he was going out with me (not because it was me, just because it was someone other than her) It upset him a huge amount at the time, and he's really appreciated recently her attempts at returning to their old friendship (particularly seeing as how they work together and have a number of the same friends) I, on the other hand, am being a complete cow about the whole situation and would quite willingly damage her if she crossed my path. Its childish I know. He's with me I know. But there's still a part of me that isn't entirely convinced he won't change his mind.

We've had many MANY talks about it (rational on his part, normally prompted by irrational tears on mine) but I'm still not utterly convinced. And not, before you start making assumptions, because he's ever exhibited ANY kind of behaviour to lead me to think that - I'm not convinced he'll stay with me because of how *I* see myself. I try to persuade myself (and him) that I'm concerned because I love him and don't want to lose him, but really, its because I'm hugely insecure when it comes to my self and my self-image. The Drummer watched my previous "relationship" damage me hugely - my self-worth took a massive beating and my self-belief was practically non-existent, and its for that reason that I'm so possessive of him towards The Ex - sometimes I fail to see why he'd stay with me when he could go out with someone else.

In this case, I'm the one who the jealousy should be (and I suspect still slightly is) aimed at, but yet I don't know how to convince myself he's not going anywhere - he can't do anymore than he already does to convince me of that. I need to change how *I* think and act. How *I* see myself. The fact I'm his and he's happy to tell the world so is the 9/10. The other 1/10 is up to me.

So much for the New Years resolution.

love, etc.
xx

Monday, May 25, 2009

Just take some time...

One of my favourite times of the day is when I get to sit and go through my Google Reader. That time is my time, even when I'm with The Drummer. Those few minutes are mine to read and think and comment - in the same way writing my blog lets me arrange the thoughts in my own head, reading other blogs gives me new things to think about (and a lot of smiles and laughter at all the cute kiddos)

Some of my favourite blogs are people's tumblrs, as rarely a day goes by without me writing down one or other of the quotes from them in my notebook ready to file away for another day and another blog post (yes, that's the truth...my blogging inspiration is rarely my own. It nearly always comes from other people's quotes *shame*)

One such example was this morning when I read the following

"Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing
what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book and remembering - because
you can't take it all in at once"
Audrey Hepburn

and for some reason (possibly because I'm in the throes of planning my trip back there) I was reminded of the day my fellow goddesses and I went to the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. Now, for those of you who have never been, the Sistine Chapel is tucked RIGHT inside the Vatican and takes a good ten minutes walk through the galleries to get to it. Now, when you've been standing in a queue for an hour before the place has even opened, there is, admittedly, a certain amount of impatience to just get to the Sistine Chapel already, bypassing all the tourist bus groups who are stopping to take their pictures and generally be slow. Turns out that in our haste to get to our destination, we missed some epicly beautiful tapestries and carvings. We missed the stunning views out over the city and the pristine Papal Gardens below. We had our eyes so firmly on the prize, we weren't really looking around, and certainly weren't stopping to value and enjoy.

How many of us do that with life?? I'm determined that my trip back this year will reflect my new outlook on life...it might take Miss Africa and I an hour to get from the entrance to the Chapel, but we'll have got to the same place in the end AND we'll have seen everything on the way too.

So yeah, just slow down and look around you. Don't miss the little things just because you're going too fast.

Love, etc.
xx

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Setting the summer out in style

Summer '09 is going to be good. Possibly better than good. I have a small inkling that its going to be the best ever, if only for these three reasons:

1) celebrating the end of my first term at work directing lighting here:


2) Spending a whole week in the sun with The Drummer (& his LOVELY parents) here:


3) Going back here after 3 years away:


There's also three weddings, plenty of time spent in Egham with my extended family and the small matter of a Take That tour with Sound Man.

I'm pretty sure there'll be a whole lot of this kind of behaviour too:


and hopefully some of this:

DEFINITELY some of this:


and most likely a WHOLE lot of this:


Bring it on.

Love, etc.
xx

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I went looking for my ideals outside of myself and discovered its not what the world hold's for you but what you bring to it...

I knew this was what I'd call this post just as soon as I read through Lele's post. She's got such a knack of getting some really deep stuff about God and life and being a grown up sprinkled in a day to day post, I love days when she pops up on my reader!!

So without further ado, my first guest post from the lovely Lele:

Hi, y’all! My name is Leann and I want to thank Laura for coming up with this idea of being a guest blogger. I feel honored! I’m from the beautiful state of Arkansas in the Southern U.S. Most people think that my state is full of hillbillies and rednecks and while we do have our share, there are also a lot of classy people here. Like myself. :) Some can even write and speak properly. We do have a lot of strange colloquialisms, but I’ll try to keep that to a minimum here.

While I do love the U.S., I heart England so much. My ancestors came from England, Scotland, and Ireland. I have red hair and turquoise eyes. I’m as pale as they come. I watch BBC-America (LOVE Doctor Who, especially David Tennant) and enjoy British musical artists (in particular, Morrissey). I love Jane Austen and the Bronte Sisters. In 2000, I had the opportunity to visit London and Bath. I was in college at the time and most of the kids in our tour were still in high school. I still had a great time and someday I’d love to go back and take my husband with me. We talk about “moving to Ireland someday” quite a bit. We have lots of dreams...

I have always lived in Arkansas and growing up, I romanticized adulthood. All I wanted to be when I grew up was an adult/mother/housewife/working woman/etc. My parents never explained to me just how hard adulthood is. I dreamed of having a white, three story house with three balconies and a Jacuzzi tub (seriously) by the time I was 25. I poured over house plans before I was even in Junior High school. I just knew I’d do better than my parents financially. I was, after all, going to attend and graduate from college (neither of my parents graduated). Fast forward to today—I wish I could go back to the innocence of my childhood! Being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I never thought about bills, working 40+ hours per week, all the inconveniences that pop up when owning your own home, having to wait until you’re in a better financial situation to start having children, realizing your parents’ flaws, admitting you’re overweight and submitting to an exercise regimen, disappointment when your dreams don’t come true, etc. Sometimes I wonder if the disadvantages outweigh the advantages...

And then there are very adult issues such as depression, with which I was recently diagnosed. I get it honest...my dad's side of the family is filled with depressives, so it was bound to happen. After the diagnosis, I realized I’ve probably been depressed for a very long time but only recently have I had a difficult time dealing with it. There are only a few times in my adult life where I can remember being genuinely happy. I know that God never promised us happiness; He promised us joy but not necessarily happiness. But even still, I have a hard time understanding why I’ve only been happy during a few periods of my life. I do want to get better and am working on it, but I think it’s going to take longer than I want.

Another weird thing is that I STILL don’t feel like a grown-up. Am I the only one? I mean, I just turned 30 in March and you’d think that I would feel like a grown-up. But I don’t. I still feel like maybe I should be in college...it’s almost as if my brain isn’t progressing as fast as it should. Shouldn’t I mentally feel like a 30-year-old? I do feel like a 30-year-old physically (*groan*) but not in my heart and head. Someone once told me that you never truly feel grown until your parents pass on. If that is the case, I hope I don’t feel like an adult for a long time. I sometimes wonder if having children will change this. I guess we have to see when that time comes.

I currently work as a technical writer for a government agency (it’s not as exciting as it sounds) but the last few years I’ve had this vision of being a freelance or book editor. I’d also love to own a used bookstore in an antebellum home. I don’t know if these goals will ever be realized, but at least I have something to strive for. I wonder if that’s why I don’t feel completely grown. If you achieve all of your goals, do you then feel satisfied and grown up? I doubt it.

Someday when my future kids are old enough, I will probably warn them of the dangers of idealizing adulthood. I don’t want to discourage them by saying, “You are so lucky! Just wait until you’re an adult. Then you’ll see how hard life is.” No, I do not want to be a downer. But I do want to be real and I want my kids to know that life is hard work and is what you make of it. I just hope that I’m a good example of that and can live my life to the fullest. I hope I can help them from making the same mistakes I did. I know that God is with me and if I let Him work in me, then I’ll have the best life possible...better than I could have chosen for myself.

From us both,
Love, etc.
xx

Friday, May 22, 2009

All roads lead to Rome...

Do you ever wonder sometimes in life whether you've ever strayed too far from the path allotted to you?

When something seems to good to be true and you follow it then it all goes wrong, does it ever make you question whether it really had been too good to be true and you weren't meant to be doing it at all?

Something I've learn in the last few weeks is that things are nearly always too good to be true. There's nearly always a catch. But its what you decide to do when faced with that catch that matters I think. Everyone over-idealises situations in their lives, but it takes real guts to face up and admit that its not what you thought but that you'll work with it anyway.

"I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always
reach my destination"
James Dean

Love, etc.
xx

p.s. When I said all roads lead to Rome, what I really meant was all roads lead to mixing sound for Last Night of the Proms. Somehow.
xx

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Coffee & Chat (part 6)

I always thought turning the other cheek was a lesson about humility and submission. Turns out its not. Not really.

Turns out that if someone is struck with the back of the hand puts them in their place as a servant, but if you turn the other cheek, that forces the person to strike you with the flat of their hand, the move of a fair fight, which places you as their equal. If someone demanded your cloak and you gave them your undergarments too, they would be causing you to be naked, which was one of the biggest taboos of the time and put them firmly in the wrong for asking it of you.

And as for going the extra mile?? Did you know that Roman centurions were allowed to make the local peasants carry their packs while they marched? But that if the peasants passed out/collapsed whilst doing so, the Centurion would be court marshalled??

Its amazing how fresh a perspective can be brought to a situation through an understanding shoulder to cry on, a cup of coffee and some tlc

love, etc.
xx

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

No Regrets (a.k.a. Time Flies When You're Having Fun)

And once again, my blog becomes cliche central!! With good reason today though - I only realised when the mothership pointed it out that I left Egham 5 months ago. Somehow, its May. HOW?! HOW IS IT MAY!! THAT MEANS ITS ALMOST JUNE WHICH IS HALF A FLIPPING YEAR!!

What have I done in the last 5 months? And how has it gone so fast? And why am I not prouder of myself that I'm successfully standing on my own two feet (away from Egham) starting a new life for myself (more or less away from Egham)?!

I have never been surer of anything in my life than I was that leaving Egham at Christmas was the right thing for me to do. Its rare for me to feel called to do something (it means God is shouting REALLY loud) but ohmigosh was I scared. To leave the place that I'd called home for 4 years, and to make that decision in a matter of days. Scared doesn't really begin to describe it - I had nothing to leave for apart from a feeling, and an awful lot to stay for, including a job, somewhere to leave and my life there.

The last time I was making a hugely life-changing move that I was resisting very much (Petersfield to Egham) (ironic I know that the reverse was then so hard!), I was given a very good piece of advice - look back, but never turn back. I know that when I go back to Egham (yes, when) (as if that was ever in doubt!) I won't be an English student who does sound in her spare time. I'll be a Sound Engineer. I'll be an adult. I'll have a different place in the same ever-growing, ever-loving family that I left behind me 5 months ago. I'll still be me, I'll just be a different me.

I might not be Laura Robins though...

love, etc.
xx

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Just incase I was in any doubt...

I've spent a lot of time doubting this last week. Not so much "any doubt" as "an awful lot of doubt that occasionally flickers in to certainty" (and not in a good way) And its mostly my own fault.

*backtrack* On my first day, I almost quit. 10 minutes in, I had so much on my plate that I just wanted to curl up in a little ball and cry What I didn't share at the time was the reasons why I didn't (apart from good old-fashioned pig-headedness and refusing to be beaten by something so mundane as not having the faintest clue about how to do anything I'd been asked to do)

*present day* for future reference, I spend a lot of my time (well, a little bit of my time) sitting in the foyer feeling exhausted and trying to blend in and look like I'm working really hard (which rarely, if ever, works, as sitting and doing nothing is not a part of my job description...)

*backtrack* so I'm sitting there on my first day wondering what on God's green earth I've got myself in to when some random guy walks in (on your first day in a new school, there are LOTS of random guys) and introduced himself as the pastor of Petersfield Christian Fellowship & told me that they book out The Studio once a month for a worship meeting and would that be something I'd be interested in working on. Affirmation that I Was Meant To Be Doing This After All Number 1.

*still backtracked but forward a little* to the first day of the easter holidays. Having gone through The Studio diary and realised just how many (few) free weekends I had this term to see The Drummer and just how heavy all the set seems to be, I was starting to have another major wobble. When the guy I'm taking over from ups and comes out as a Christian, leading to a long conversation about how to manage the job AND still get to church on a Sunday (answer...with some difficulty, careful arrangement and overcoming the tiredness to go out again after you're at home on the sofa) Affirmation that I Was Meant To Be Doing This After All Number 2.

*present day -2* with a very tired quite unhappy Beautiful Intellectual after a rehearsal where nothing had gone right, the lights were all over the place and The Boss had gotten mildly irate that we opened in 2 days and had still not done a full run-through of the play yet. I had a very long very tearful conversation with The Drummer when I got home where I was wondering how much longer I could cope with the job and he was trying to persuade me not to quit. He asked what had happened to all the confidence I'd had over the Affirmations That I Was Meant To Be Doing This After All, and that just upset me even more because I hadn't felt I'd had any in so long. I had a little grumpy "well I wish I could have some more" strop, stamped my foot a bit, and went to bed.

*present day -1* Literal staggered in to school. Seriously lacking the energy to place one foot in front of the other, let alone put in a full days work then have a Dress Rehearsal. Fired off a few txts to The Gang, not expecting a huge amount other than sympathetic noises (which was really what I was after) and instead got informed that they were having a day of prayer and would be praying for me all day. Yesterday, nothing could go wrong. The Dress Rehearsal ran (from my point of view) like a dream and I didn't feel so tired or so emotional (and if you don't believe me, just ask The Drummer. I was *definitely* in a good mood last night) It hit me like a hard-hitting thing (WHAT?! I've worked 112 hours in 10 days with no time off. Give a girl a break for not coming up with a more creative simile!) that that was Affirmation that I Was Meant To Be Doing This After All Number 3 - when I remembered to ask for prayer, God stepped in again.

It reminded me of something Mrs Shep always tells me - prayer works, but only if you pray. And just incase I needed reminding, today I got Affirmations 4, 5, 6 and 7 (The Drummer,'s patience and love and encouragement for me when I was having a pre-show meltdown, a perfect first run with the lighting, Little Miss Dance sorting out the slideshow for the event immediately following the matinee and a fantastic site team who totally picked up the pieces from my *small* error (setting of the fire alarms all around the site with the smoke machine) with no problems)

Four in a day. In case I needed reminding that all I need to do is ask.

Love, etc.
xx