Thursday, 30 December 2010

My brother

When I think of Paul, how can I not be reminded of his exuberance? That vivacity that just exuded from him meant his presence always filled the room, even without speaking. That sparkle in his eye – often seen with just a quick wink and a cheeky smile that went from ear to ear, said it all.

He could often be heard before he could be seen, although I’m sure I could squeeze a height joke in there somewhere that he would roll his eyes at! As a little girl, that volume was the signal that my brother had arrived. I have so many memories of tearing down the stairs or scrabbling past people crowding the hallways, just so I could get to him. We were always met with an enveloping hug and a squeeze. You always felt like he was excited to see you.

I remember seeing his shadow in the door way with that familiar and safe voice of his calling out and just running full speed from the back of the garden, filled with delight. Only to then crash land on my knees when I attempted to jump the patio wall. That moment is so clearly cut in my mind, not for it’s painfulness but for how it demonstrated classic Paul. You see for me, when I remember him it’s not just his energy of his character but his tenderness. Paul loved fiercely. I remember kisses on my knees and being swept up off of the paving slabs into safe arms and snuggles on the sofa.

On my wedding day, I didn’t manage to see Paul very much but I felt his pride and his overwhelming approval all day long, often met with winks or broad smiles. He caught me for a few quiet moments in the afternoon and just held my hands and kissed my cheek. He didn’t say very much at all but he didn’t need to.

Just a few months ago, he was the Master of Ceremonies at a family wedding, a job surely created for him! His presence did indeed fill the space and his joy for them came across in the words his gave. Yet in the midst of the partying and the people, Paul sat on a sofa in a quiet room with his arms wrapped tightly around Beks and I. We sat for a quite a while, just enjoying each others company, with few words. I will cling on to that recent memory because it reminds me how his character often showed softness and warmth. I can never be mistaken how intensely he loved us.

Paul, I loved you too. I was so proud to have you as my big brother. I will remember your lust for life, the magnitude of your bravery and how you loved me. I have been so inspired by you. When people ask me what you were like, that is what I will tell them.

Thank you for loving me the way you did.

I’ll love you always,

Sunday, 18 July 2010

God is good, period.

What a week. Thank the LORD that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. 

Encouraging with some things on things I've read or heard since Wednesday that are strengthening me - hope they do you too. 

 July 16- My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers
 ' much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?' (Matt 7:11)

 Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct in this passage for those people who have His Spirit. He urges us to keep our minds filled with the concept of God's control over everything...Fill your mind with the thought that God is works on the following principle: 'God is my Father, He loves me, and I will never think of anything that He will forget, so why should I worry?' Jesus said there are time when God will not lift the darkness from you, but you should still trust Him. At times God may appear like an unkind friend, but He is not. He may appear like an unnatural Father, but He is not, He may appear like an unjust judge, but He is not. Keep the thought that the mind of God is behind all things, strong and growing. Not even the smallest detail of life happens unless God's will is behind it. Therefore, you can rest in perfect confidence in Him.'

I love this guy - his messages have spoken into my life repeatedly. The church he leads have a fantastic website filled with amazing series to listen to. Stuart Bryan posted this one up this week. I've heard it before, but the truth of it resonated to my core this week.

Read this today, same book.
After hearing Simon's incredible preach today, I came home and spent more time with Jesus. I read this and it followed on from what Simon shared today about the necessity of quite times, not simply as a spirital discipline, but for the radical change it will have on us. 

'When you pray, go into your room and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place...' (Matt 6:6)

Having a secret place stillness before God means deliberately shutting the door on our emotions and remembering Him.... When we truly live in 'the secret place', it becomes impossible for us to doubt God. We become more sure of Him than or anyone or anything else. Enter into 'the secret place' and you will find that God was right in the middle of your circumstances all the times. Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. Unless you learn to open the door of your life completely and let God in from your first waking moment of each new day, you will be working on the wrong level through the day. But if you will swing the door of your life fully open and 'pray to you Father who is in the secret place', every public thing in your life will be marked with the lasting imprint of the presence of God.'

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

testimony tuesday

...its been a while! I was in the middle of revisiting my new years resolutions once-upon-a-blog, evaluating everything so far.... and then life happened. Isn't that always the way!

I will get back to the those, I will stick to them! Not for my compulsive behaviour but in the spirit of making this year count.

For now, a catch up.

Work...its been a bit all consuming at the moment! I have been working part-time/fulltime in a school in the borough. I've been giving supply and study support to Year 2/6 and I've had the opportunity to do some great 1-1 tuition as well with individual pupils. All in all I have been in everyday for nearly a year. This has been really helpful and definitely been a huge opportunity to get me back into teaching. Its a long story - some other time perhaps!
This year the school failed its OFSTED and we have been in a big season of change. Despite the feelings around the place and the moral, I'm going with the motto that change is good, moving on, moving forward! An opportunity to grow, learn, develop and make it the school we want it to be.

There was talk for a while that they wanted to employ me as a class teacher and get me involved permanently. I certainly wanted that, but for a whole year it has been, at most times, looking like an impossibility!  There just wasn't space for me and the talk on the wind was that nobody was leaving. I love that I know the God of the impossible.

The week before half term 3 people resigned - for various reasons. But it meant not just one opening but many! Well, I interviewed on Friday and I got the job!

I have had some hesistancy from people, who know what I went through last time, that don't understand why I'm jumping aboard a 'sinking ship'; pulling a school out of OFSTED is hard work.  But Matt and I feel God has brought me to such a place and time as this. A place where previous heartbreaking experiences are being use for good and a place where encouragement and the confidence I desperately needed has been restored. It feels like a risk and I'm running with that. I'm saying yes to this opportunity. If you were there at the leadership meeting on Tuesday, Simon talking about this certainly encouraged me!

I've had to stay hush hush about it for a while, with OFSTED being involved and the report not being released and my job just talk and not official. Now I can sing it out - this is my Thankful Tuesday.

My God is good.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

my list

I guess this is a list of things I would love to do in my lifetime. As you can see some are more serious than others! It's rather long, so I will try and double as many as these up as possible. If there's exciting things on your list please share them with me! They might spark some more ideas!

1. Learn sax
2. Stand on the steps of St. Peters (Aug 2008)
3. Ride in a hot air balloon, preferably linked to number 26. 
4. Send a message in a bottle
5. Get a tattoo (May 2007)
6. Write a book and have it published
7. Put my name on something
8. Grow my own garden
9. Cook and eat something I've grown
10. See the Northern Lights
11. Stand in the Colloseum (Aug 2008)
12. Learn Italian
13. Swim in the ocean (July 2006)
14. See my name in lights
15. Snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef
16. Set foot on each of the seven continents
17. Ride an elephant
18. Stand at the top of the Empire Estate Building
19. See New York lit up at Christmas
20. Look up at the ceiling of the Sistine chapel (Aug 2008)
21. Grow my nails.
22. Tread grapes in Tuscany
23. Stand in the poppy fields in Florence
24. Have a family
25. Safari in the Serengeti
26. Sell one my paintings
27. Helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon
28. See the Mona Lisa at The Louvre
29. Gondola ride and kiss under the Sighs bridge.
30. Go to the opera in Milan
31. Attend at least one major sporting event
32. Shower in a waterfall.
33. Make fire!
34. Drive a convertible with the top down and music blaring.
35. Go deep-sea fishing and eat my catch.
36. Watch the sunset over Ayers Rock
37. Photograph an engendered species
38 Walk the Great Wall in China (seven wonders)
39. Fly a kite
40. Sit in a Maclaren F1.
41. Go back to school and study Art history.
42. Climb a mountain
43. Spend time in Paradise, NZ
44. See the Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC in full bloom
45. Times Square on New Year's Day
46. Bora Bora...:)
47. Stand in the Amazon Rainforest
48 Visit The Uffizi, Florence
49. The Taj Mahal, India
50. See Mount Rushmore
51. Adopt.
52. See Muse in concert
53. See Christ the Redeemer in Rio
54. Spend time in another country to serve not holiday. 
 One day I'll work out how to make this a separate page, with a link in the side bar, so that when I achieve something and need to mark it off I don't have to keep reposting! If you know how to do this I would be muchly grateful for your help!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

spring cleaning

I'm feeling need for a spring clean everywhere - so over the next few days this blog will have many face lifts...probably only to go back to the original (isn't that always the way!!) I like to change my furniture around very frequently and have very deliberately (to save Matt!) bought stuff for this house that cannot be changed around. Getting itchy feet! So my blog will have to face the brunt of my indecisiveness for now. Apologies if you check in and I confuse you!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


I made awesome healthy pancakes for breakfast today (the joy of being on Easter holidays!) So must share this recipe. I was very dubious, but so pleasantly surprised. These turned out like American pancakes, not the think version we would normally have. Add more milk/water to thin out further if you want normal shaped pancakes.

  • 1 egg (or 2 egg whites) lightly beaten
  • 1/8 Cup light sunflower oil
  • 1 ¼ Cup no fat milk
  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbs flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Dash cinnamon (optional)

Beat the egg/s with the milk and oil. In a separate bowl mix the remaining ingredients.You can either stir the flax seeds in as they are, or grind and then add. Gradually sieve these ingredients, whilst stirring, into the egg/oil/milk mix. 

Grease a plan on the hob, either with a dab of butter or with spray oil. When it is hot enough (add a teaspoon of water, if it disperses into water droplets it is hot enough).  I did about 2 tbsp per pancake. 

I had mine with raspberries and yoghurt. Delicious.


All my expectations this year are challenges..otherwise what would be the point!? However no more than expectation number 3....getting fitter. 

I am a complete contradiction. I can be unbelievably productive when I want to be and can achieve more in one day than even I thought possible, baking, planning, cleaning, exercise, quiet time, email catch-up. I like those days, I feel a little like superwoman.  Yet I can be horrendously lazy, in fact shockingly so and always feel guilty about it. Take today for instance...

I woke up at 11 - a complete switch from last weeks not being able to sleep at all and waking up at 4 most mornings. I have done some planning. I have read the paper and had some coffee. I have stared out the window and watched clouds for longer than I care to admit. I haven't ventured out the living room, because if I do I will notice the huge (its truly disgraceful) pile of laundry that needs doing. The bathroom than needs cleaning, the bed that needs stripping and washing, the kitchen.....oh the kitchen. 

Don't get me wrong, its my holiday - I'm going to take things easy and definitely take some days 'out', planned days of resting and not feeling guilty about it. But I need to summon up that productivity in me because its good for me!! But all this is not the most conducive when you are trying to get fit.

Anyway...all this leads to me standing and saying no more! I have never been a naturally sporty person, which had led me to having an average fitness level. But I've come to place when I'm realising God wants me to be all that I can be, spiritually and physically. He designed me for life and I want to do it with vigor and vitality in me. I will be 25 this year and I said to myself that I wanted to be in better physical condition than I had ever been, I know my metabolism will just continue to slow down the older I get. So I'm shaking it up now!

What am I doing about it?

I've changed my diet substantially - not much in content as I like a lot of fresh food anyways and eat a moderated amount of carbs. But I am eating smaller amounts more frequently in order to kick start my poor poor metabolism.

Drinking more water - I'm terrible, I really don't drink enough at all, again not helping my metabolism.

Running - not easy. I have flat feet. But I've always wanted to be a runner - no gym, no sign up fee, just me my kicks and the pavement. Also I'm doing the race for life with some girls from Kerith in honour of my brother and he's continued battle with cancer.I need to get in shape for that! It may only be 5k but I'm terribly unfit.

So I'm off...talking about this encouraged me to get out there. I'm going to keep updating my blog with this - I think it will certainly keep me accountable!