Thursday, January 29, 2009

Coffee & Chat (part 4)

"Never let anyone come to you without coming away better and happier"Mother Theresa
Justify Full
I've never spent much time studying the writings of Mother Theresa, but I reckon on that one she had it about right.

I was blessed this afternoon with an hour with The Godfather...he's a busy busy boy at the moment, so I decided to bless him simply with a Costa Coffee and thus also the pleasure of my company for an hour (I couldn't honestly say which one he saw as more of a blessing...) His smile when he saw his "proper" coffee made me smile in turn, and then the fact that he devoted an hour of his time to just hanging out chatting made my day. He has such a fresh perspective on just about everything as well as being the most patient and least judgemental person I know.

I decided while I was walking home that that was my challenge...not only to foster the same relationship with my god-daughters as I have with him, but just in general...I want to be able to contribute something to people when they come to me, whether its a shoulder to cry on, laughs & fun times or advice...even if its little things like commenting on other blogs & encouraging people to keep on with exactly what they're doing...I want to help and love others like I get helped and loved.

What about you?

Love, etc.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nostalgia, or, That Was The Roman Adventure That Was...

Today I *finally* finished my Rome scrapbook. Started in HUGE eagerness the week I got back from Rome, today I finished it. TWO YEARS AND A HALF YEARS LATER. No jokes. Not that I've been creatively slack in that no no. I've done a set of three Flower Fairies cross-stitch pictures, made *that* wedding scrapbook, hand sewn Christmas cards for my nearest & dearest, done two mini-scrapbooks for birthdays, made numerous hand-made cards for birthdays & weddings and made about a MILLION batches of brownies. But was scrapbook time again.

I have no idea why I suddenly felt such a desire to finish it, but I've just had the best day flicking through what I'd already done and all the photos I still had to sort out. Rome was one of the funnest weeks I've ever had, and definitely up there with TOP holidays. Even now, whenever its on TV, I still do the whole "I've been there...and there...and there...and did you know..." A love affair began with that city, and its one I intend to nurture and revive throughout my life!!

FEET!! (flip-flops + Roman streets = whoops!)
(extra points if you can identify us from our feet...)

The photos brought back so many memories (if not first and foremost just HOW many pictures the three of us took!! Seriously. Many.) ...the truly Italian policeman who asked us (all three of us) out just because we'd asked him for directions...the SUNTANS (from the girl who never tans...this was exciting!)...the foot-spa bath & breakfast terrace of THE most beautiful hotel...the two pizzas split three ways daily (for two days before we got hungry enough to eat a whole one each)...the ice-creams (also a daily occurrance) and all those sights you see on tv & can't quite believe you're standing in front of.
Give three girls an ice-cream and a camera...

There were also the things that were never caught on camera...three wardrobes mixed together...pillow...numbering off...the proposal at the Trevi that we were watching and worked out was going to happen a good 3 or 4 minutes before the bride-to-be did (bless)...the actual bride and groom that we saw having their photos done at the fountain...the pennies thrown in to make sure we all go back one day...the sunsets over St Peters.

The Three Goddesses

So many memories from just one week caught forever on camera & in my mind...days like today I love scrapbooking!!

Love, etc.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Pollyanna Day

Yesterday, I *may* have written a slightly (very) rant-y post about how everything was going wrong. Today, feeling slightly different, and after a metaphorical kick up the backside at church this morning, my post will read somewhat differently.


Today I'm bored of being unemployed Today I'm realising how much fun I can have relaxing with my free time, reading all the books I want & spending time chatting to people I'm normally too busy to catch up with.

Today I hate the fact that I'm utterly broke and living with my parents. I hate that I've reverted to the level of independence and self-sufficiency I had when I was 16 Today I've remembered just how lucky I am that my parents have taken me back in and provide me with rent-free living with unlimited hot water and internet...

Today I hate the fact that Dad is ill all the time and feels the need to take it out on me and Mum when all we're trying to do is help. I hate that they can't work out what's wrong with him and that we have to carry on as if everything is normal This is harder, but even so, I can still be glad that we have private health insurance through his work and thus have his neuro consults this week instead of in 3 months. It helps me to remember that its a good job I'm here to help mum, especially when she's so busy at work at the moment herself.

Today I hate the fact my best friends are spread around the world and I can't go to them and have a hug I also need to remember that we're blessed with amazing technologies that mean I can talk to any of them whenever and wherever I feel the need, and most of the time can hear their voice or see them on webcam too. As my Littlest One proved to me yesterday, the thoughts and love and intentions behind a virtual hug can help almost as much as the real thing.

Today I hate the way that every conversation with Jim at the moment ends up with me moaning to him What I should really be saying here is how lucky I am that I have someone who will always pick up the phone/respond to my txts & spend hours with me on MSN just to make sure I'm smiling & goes out of his way to cheer me up when he discovers that I'm not.

I hate the fact that my so-called best friend walked out on me for making what has turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made This is the hardest, and I'm not sure that I truly believe it myself yet, but all I can do here is be thankful for the four years that we have had & all the fun times we had during them. It makes me sad that she was there for every minute of my worst times, but now is missing me at my best, but there's not a lot I can do about that apart from not let it make me bitter and angry.

Today, I hate the fact that my driving lessons are so dependent on my parents & that I have no independence as a result This is potentially the most obvious and brattish of them all in that barely anyone else I know has parents that are paying for their entire course of driving lessons, permits and tests. And insurance on a car to practice in. Lucky lucky lucky. Just a bit of a spoilt brat at times to remember it.

Today I hate the fact that I'm not in Egham with all my friends I've been blessed to have two homes where I'm equally loved and welcomed. And so SO lucky to have so many friends willing to share spare rooms/sofas/floors when I want to come back and visit.

So yes. A Pollyanna Day...wherever you look, there's got to be a silvery lining somewhere. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of searching.

Love, etc.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just for giggles...Random Letter Meme

With thanks to Blue Eyes viaTurquoise Ribbons, basically you get a random letter and blog about ten things you love that begin with that letter. Then when people comment the blog, you assign them a letter and so the meme continues with lots of different letters, lots of different loves and on lots of different blogs.

I would like to argue that Miss Blue Eyes did not, in fact, assign me a random letter when she chose to give me the letter J, but there we go. I shall do my best not to disappoint :p
  1. St Johns My uni church that has become so much more than just a place to go on a Sunday morning. Because of St Johns and everyone in it, I now consider Egham my home (still, even though I'm living away at the moment) and still consider St Johns to be my church.
  2. Josie & Jonah & all the other kids that I babysit for and fulfil the general purpose in my life of making me feel loved and making me smile whenever I see them :)
  3. Jesus clearly a standard response to the most important things in my life, but really. My faith has given me much much more than just my salvation (see St Johns above! :p) It also means I have to do silly things like leave Egham to follow my calling, but even then, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
  4. The Jacks who deserve a category all of their own, despite their little monkeys having been mentioned already. Mumma Gingy was my original Uni Mum, and has never failed me yet, despite some truly spectacular tradges. She never tires of giving me the same advice (well, she may, but she still gives it and still loves me for all of my idiocy!!) and gives the best mumma hugs :) RJ could easily have his own category, but for the sake of ease (and lessening his embarassment) I figured he could share :p RJ was the first person to let me shadow him...the ensuing 2 years and my determination to make it as a Sound Engineer are all down to him saying yes that first time I asked if I could help rig, so nicely done RJ...its all your fault :p (Obviously I mainly mention him to say thankyou and give him a little message of affirmation and respect, in case that wasn't clear enough!)
  5. Jim The one you were all waiting for!! I'm not going to embarass him (much) other than to say I've been blessed with a very very lovely boy who treats me like a princess and makes me feel very special :) He is one of the hardest things about being away from Egham, and is my best reason to go back :)
Now, after a small debate with Miss Blue Eyes, and having given her the answer she wanted when she assigned me the "random" letter J (!!) we agreed I could do 5 J's and 5 T's (an actual randomly assigned letter) so, to resume...

  1. Technology Seeing as how some of my best friends are on the other side of a very big pond (KRISTEN!) and the rest of my besties and the boy are in Egham, technology is one of my favouritest things EVER. MSN, Skype, my mobe, email and Facebook aren't a way of life because I'm a geek, they're all just ways of staying in touch with the people I love when we're not in the same place.
  2. Tulips are just the most beautiful flower ever made, so they get to figure on here.
  3. Television because I'm that cool! I don't actually watch *that* much tv, but there are a certain few shows I never miss (The West Wing, Outnumbered, Greys, Neighbours, Home & Away, Hollyoaks, Strictly Come Dancing, The Apprentice, Casualty & Holby City to name a few) (OK, so I do watch a lot of television. I'm unemployed. Go figure!)
  4. TeaTime Every day from the day I learnt how to say it, about half past four, mum would get "Mumma...what tea?" This only really stopped when I left home for uni, aged 18 :p I love family teatime, particularly once me and Ben were older as it was often the only time of a day where the four of us were guaranteed to see each other.
  5. Texting Arguably different from Technology as my point here is not so much keeping in contact as how much you can make someone smile with a tiny little txt, even if it doesn't say much at all.
So there we go. Enjoy!!

Love, etc.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Kitchen Table Confessional

What is it about people's kitchen tables?? There's something inviting and comforting about sitting in someone's kitchen nursing a big mug of hot chocolate and knowing that you're not going to be judged, whatever you're there to talk about.

Liz's kitchen is probably approaching legendary status in Egham just for the sheer number of people that she looks after & listens to & counsels over coffee, but its not just there that I felt so at home. All my mums so often would let me just sit and be and listen to me while they did their day to day stuff - I used to help iron or cook & make pizza for the kids, load the dishwasher & fold the washing - their kitchen table confessionals brought me in to their families and made me feel so loved.

Being back in Egham this weekend and ending up at Alison's kitchen table this morning (being used as slave labour for Mr Berry's latest Strategies work!) was just LOVELY. There's something to be said for having people who you can just go to and go "so I've done this..." or "this has happened and I don't know what to do..." and have someone who will listen and help. There are never magic fixes, but my mums (all 6 of them!) (7 if you count my real one...) always have an answer that helps, even if its just allowing me to spend time with the kids to bring my smiles back :)

I guess they show me the truth in the saying that

A friend is one who is a source of sunshine when you are under the weather.
A friend is one who strengthens you with prayer, blesses you with love, and encourages you with hope.
A friend is one to whom distance is no barrier to communication, concern, or caring.
A friend is one whose thoughtfulness is exceeded only by his concern; whose helpfulness is second only to his awareness.
A friend is one who believes in you so strongly that you are motivated to stretch, to reach and to achieve beyond your fondest expectation.
A friend is one who transforms your loneliness into happiness, your sadness into joy, your gloom into gladness.
A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself.
A friend is one who is on the scene with you when you need him, and who quietly leaves when you want to be alone.
A friend is a source of celebration when you feel there is nothing to celebrate.
A friend is one who answers when you call. Who often answers before you call.

When was the last time you could say that about yourself and your friendships with others??Distance hasn't become an object with my Egham friendships...the person is much much more important than where they are in the world.

Love, etc.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lucky, or, A Lesson In Perspective

Today was one of those days where you realise how lucky you really are; when you realise that actually, no matter how unemployed you are, or how big your overdraft appears to be getting, really there's nothing that wrong at all.

Today my god-faughter had open-heart surgery. She was blessed with an extraordinarily talented surgeon & medical team & everything went more or less to plan. That in and of itself was traumatic enough...travelling up to be with her family knowing that she was in theatre, waiting for her to come out, waiting for the phone call to go down and visit her...I thought that was difficult. Ain't seen nothing yet.

Paeds ICU is *the* most traumatic place I've ever been in my life. (Incidentally, I have so much respect for the nurses who work in there...I could never do it, but they lavish on those kids so much love and care and attention - if you ever need an example of grace and love in action, they are it) There are just cots and beds of the sickest children I've ever put it on a scale - my Ellie had a hole in her heart patched and part of the heart wall rebuilt, and that was considered "simple" There were some desperately poorly children there, including one tiny little prem baby who was brought in while I was sitting with her who shouldn't even have been born yet, yet alone have been fighting for his life.

Looking at the babies, I suddenly understood why people question the existance of God. I've never really doubted His existance, even I was too cool to openly admit it during my teens, but today, looking at those little kids who have done nothing wrong to anyone and deserve *nothing* of what they have to go through, I was just standing there shouting at God: Why does He let this happen? Why can't He just reach down and fix them? Why, why why? There aren't any answers...I've never had any answers for that question, and I doubt I ever will.

Scared and upset and angry as I was, once I was back in the relatives room at the top of the hospital looking out over London, in amongst all the busyness, I had a picture of God having his hand over the hospital holding on to & strengthening all the people in it...patients, friends & relatives, staff & surgeons alike. And breaking His heart over them just the same way I was.

He watches us day after day struggle to live in a fallen I had just a glimpse of how much He loves us.

Love, etc.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

When does a place become a part of you??

So they kind of spoiled it with the last "when you're in Northeast England" line, but other than that, the advert was beautiful. When DOES a place become a part of you??

- when its history echoes down to you throughout the ages?

- when it offers sanctuary from a restless world?

- when its wilderness speaks and you understand?

- when the locals welcome you like friends?

- when your spirit soars?

I was trying to think of my own to add to this but actually couldn't come up with any. When a place is a part of you, there's no way of describing it properly. There are ways, of course, of telling...the way I grin when I just drive past my old school, the way I actually light up at the first glimpse of Founders when I'm pulling in to Egham on the train, the way walking through the doors of St Johns brings such a huge sense of peace. These places have all played huge roles in my life - they've become a part of me as they've shaped me and changed me and sent me out on to the next adventure. The best thing about a place being a part of you?? When you go back, it feels like coming home. Every time.

So what makes a place a part of you??

Love, etc.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

One Of Those Days, or, Why I Love My Little Hen

Today was just one of those days. Despite the FREEZINGLY COLD weather, I had just a perfect day (and not just because I was shopping) (for BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES!!!!!!!!!!) (altho that was pretty exciting...) ANYWAY. To get to my point.

I know I've blogged before about the randomness and slightly unsettling nature of my home world and my uni world colliding, but today I met my Little Hen (very university world) at Gunwharf (very home world) and it was just lovely. She is one of those people who just make your day better when you see them. Spending an hour having lunch with her makes me smile, so spending a whole day shopping with her...just lovely :)

For someone so small, she is very wise & her answers to all my questions and AAAAH! moments just made me smile quite the very lot. She's one of those people who you just know you have been so blessed to have been given & know that you won't be letting go of anytime soon (even if they do intend to bugger off to France and Spain for a year :p)

So Hen, this one's for you angel. Thankyou for today...I miss you

Love, etc.

p.s. My point (since I said I had one) time you have one of those days with someone...tell them!!!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Interview Time

The first (unnumbered) rule is I must link back to the post I got this from. Here ya go, Somi!
From there, the rules are numbered:

1. If you want to participate, leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.” (And your e-mail address, please.)
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Seems simple enough, right? So, Somi asked me the following questions.

(1) Name only one blogger you really respect and tell me why. I love reading Blue Eyes's blog. She has such amazingly unique insights in to stuff and always leaves you with a challenge and something to think about in your life. She's also an angel in real life as well as one of my favourite things in the blogosphere :)

(2) If you had to pick a non-urban, U.S. destination in which to vacation for a week, where would you go? I think it would have to be somewhere remote and mountainous in either the Rockies or the Catskills because the scenery is BEAUTIFUL. That and looking down from high up a mountain can really drag everything else in to perspective.

(3) If you had $500 to spend on housing, food and entertainment for the trip mentioned in (2), how would you spend it? A little chalet that was cozy and cute with a log fire and lots of blankets. Also enough meat to satisfy my recent BBQ craving and plenty of DVDs to snuggle up and watch.

(4) Tell me about one person with whom you've lost touch. If you hope for a reunion, how would you like that reunion to take place? My Kingswood girls from my first year at university. We lived together 24/7 for a year & then kinda drifted once we'd moved out of our dorm. I don't want a huge reunion but how perfect would it be if all of us ended up sprawled around in KT & Em's room eating chocolate and being hideously judgmental about the acts of the X Factor.

(5) In 2008, what was your biggest achievement and your biggest failure/disappointment? My biggest achievement...I guess I'm pretty proud that I got to rig at the Royal Albert Hall with Sound Man. Biggest failure/disappointment...I guess my degree result didn't really go according to plan.

So there we go!! Thanks to Somi for more blog craziness...I can't wait until her next one!!!

Love, etc.

Friday, January 02, 2009

This year, to save me from tears...

New Years Resolutions. Quite the fashionable thing at the moment. And as far as I was concerned, totally overrated (particularly given the fact that I broke last years one so spectacularly) (and the year before that, come to think of it) but after a lot of thought, I've decided to make one for this year too.

If' I'm honest, in my weaker, more unhappy moments, I'm not very keen on myself. I judge myself incredibly harshly and can only see the bad, refusing to believe that there is any good for other people to see in me. When I'm sad, I get too angry and block people out. When I feel lonely, I flirt too much just to make myself feel better. If I look in the mirror and see spots or bad hair, I can't see past them & refuse to believe that other people can either.


My resolution is protect me from myself, to stop me hurting other people through my insecurities, to make me just that little bit happier and more secure...I resolve to find my identity in God. To let Him strengthen me and to find His power perfect in my weaknesses. I want to end 2009 happy with who I am and content with myself. I have no idea if it will work, but I want to try it.

Inspired by this beautiful lady, come join me. Make 2009 different for yourself, and be prepared to be surprised at how different that makes it for everyone around you.

Love, etc. And a very happy new year :)