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Archive for August, 2008

Arriving to a palatial holiday home for the week, the sunshine, French supermarkets, endless games of contract whist, bad films, the sunshine, wine, more wine, wine on the terrace, wine in French village squares in the shade, wine in beautiful restaurants, Sarah’s cute giggling fits and her generosity- “this one is on me”, the waiters wonderful French accent explaining the even more wonderful food on offer, chats, snorts of laughter from reading our books, random Narnia quoting moments, Sarah saving us from the bat, Phil and Katie, Phil’s slight obsession with the drink hour of the day, walking and talking with Katie in the morning sunshine, walks around sleepy French villages, ice cream, du pain, du vin et du boursin, ‘rest’ days, church, Psalm 130, vineyards, sunflowers, sunshine, scrabble, chocolate, tea, aperitif hour, picnics in the field, lazy mornings, random dream sharing, more sunshine, talking about James, talking about heaven, reading some more books.

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More tunnels

In view of exalting my family on this blog, here’s Dad in action again getting excited about his tunnel. (he’s the second guy who appears with a hard hat and funny goggles on) Seriously, it’s a pretty cool thing. (well if you’ve lived with it affecting your parent for 20 years..)

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The last day.

Today is my last day with UCCF. It seems fitting that it should end with blogging in front of Little Miss Sunshine with my housemate. A fairly relaxed final day then. It’s not the end of all things, after all I think the situation with UCCF is similar to the Narnia thing, once a King or Queen in Narnia, always a King or Queen. Once a UCCF Staff Worker, always a UCCF Staff Worker. It’s been 5 years that I don’t have the adjectives to describe. Most of all I’m staggered by the reality of God through it all, his patience with stupid dust like me, his work in peoples lives and the struggles and joys of living with that.

The best thing about the job has been working with Lou, Sam, Jonny, Jess, Ceryn, Sarah and Anna, all Relay workers who I’ve seen God transform beyond anyones expectations. I’ve made amazing friends for life, I’ve driven my car to death, I’ve perfected the art of eating pizza late at night driving back from CU meetings, I’ve worked with CUs of 2 people in a room, I’ve stood in front of a thousand students and played ‘would you rather’ with them, I’ve met a lot of people, been in strange situations and still nothing quite beats the leg waxing for charity event a CU put on in my first year of Staff. Watching boys get their legs and armpits get waxed as part of my job was a surreal step too far.

This morning Anna and Lou took me out for a final breakfast on campus, my graduation ceremony, to earn my breakfast I had to complete the following quiz.

1. Complete the following phrases:

“encourage the….”

“live for…”

“you’ve gotta have love…”

“I will dance, I will sing…”

2. What type of people does God use to shame the wise?

3. Name every Relay Worker that has been on the South East team in the last 5 years.

4. Which of your Relay workers doesn’t drink tea?

5. What is the best lunch to feed a Relay worker?

6. How many times have you done questionnaire evangelism in the last 5 years?

7. Chichester or Portsmouth?

8. Eastbourne or Brighton?

9. Southampton or Reading?

10. Quinta or Hoethorpe Hall?

11. What is the best sign on the A27

12. How much does Jesus love you katharnold?

I’ll post the answers if anyone cares…

I think I might sleep for a million years now. Tiredness doesn’t come close to what I’m feeling today. It’s been a blast though. I’m thankful to Gareth and Nay who had the unenviable task of supervising me through the years, to Bish for the one car journey he didn’t fall asleep on the way back from Forum, to all the lovely Staff workers especially those on the Relay Team and the class of 2003, we were the best year 🙂

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My Brother

If you’ve been reading this blog at all you’ll know how much I love my big brother. Here he is in action preaching at his church. Pretty much everything I think comes through the filter of his larger than a planet brain, he is a dude, even if he does have a posh rah voice. 🙂 (sorry Mark, couldn’t resist it…). He really loves Jesus and preaches Jesus, in a really sensitive way, there is so much emotion and passion here, passion that isn’t loud and showy but that is quiet and really wants people to get that God cares for them and to help us keep on trusting in God’s ways of doing things (which I rant and rage at all the time). The God he knows and tells me about makes me want to carry on being a Christian. (and yes, he makes me cry)

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It’s my last week with the good ship UCCF. It’s been a good 5 years, but last night, as I watched Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman head around the world,  I realised I could have been doing something entirely different with that time. For my job I have had to drive a lot. I mean. A lot. The A27 is a road I know every twist and turn of far too well. My poor car had 35,000 miles on the clock when I started, it now has 123,000. Admittedly lots of that is due to my unhealthy obsession with the Lake District but really. Apparently there are 23,600 miles around the world. (clearly that depends on where you start and what counts as ‘around’, walking in a circle around the North or South poles doesn’t count.) But bear with me. If that is true, I could have spent my time happily driving around the world 3 or 4 times instead of doing this job. Think of the sights I would have seen.

(Lou, my housemate, pointed out that I wouldn’t have been able to encourage so many students etc if I had, but really… I could have driven round the world 4 times…)

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Recently I have found myself in the unenviable position of searching for a job. This is not a post about that. That would a little bit dull. This is a post about what to do in the meantime. Days slip away in this state, recently I found myself watching an entire day of the Olympics. I watched archery, swimming, sailing, canoing, horse riding, boxing and weightlifting. Until my eyes hurt. There must be productive things I could be doing instead. Knowing there are others in a similar situation, here are some activities to fill your day. First, take a note of Hugh Grant in About a Boy, not usually the fount of all knowledge I grant you, but here he has an excellent strategy…

Things to fill your half hour slots.

1. Read a chapter of an improving book.  Or you know, a non improving book. You’ll spend hours wanting to do this when you are employed, take the chance now.

2. Discover all the fun free things there are to do in your town or city. Do them.

3. Embrace the charity shops. And find the best bargain for under a pound.

4. Team up with others in similar situations. Try not to bring each other down to the depths of misery and despair you reach on your own.

5. Exercise. It makes you happy, really.

6. Plan your time, allow time for job hunting and then do something fun to drive away the fear of there being no jobs out there for you EVER.

7. Watch some of the Olympics, when you find yourself working out the rules of Boxing and Judo the time has come to SWITCH THE TV OFF.

8. Rediscover the wonders of your CD collection, dig out the albums you’ve forgotten about, it’s like buying new music all over again.

9. Cook interesting meals with the left over food in your house. Save money, eat random.

10. Blog.

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Turning 30.

Turning 30. And although I would like to shout and scream with Joey, well, things aren’t so bad at 30. Except of course for the nameless person that asked me if I could see 50 now… In my brighter moments I love the fact that God has brought me safe this far and if he can bring me through my teenage years and beyond there is a pretty good chance that he can get me home. I love that He has done good things in me and through me over the last 30 years. I look forward to more to come. On my good days I love psalms like this:

17 Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.

18 Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come.

On the bad days, 30 seems like a really long time to have lived, and I’ve still not got all the things I thought I would have, husband, steady job, mortgage, kids, a dog. I have however loved lots of my 20s, loved visiting cool places, loved hanging out with amazing friends, loved doing random jobs and loved seeing God be faithful time and time again.

And you know, it’s not so bad, except on those days when you realise you’ve visited 2 DIY shops and a garden centre on your day off and got excited about a garden table. Oh dear. At least I have others to share in the weirdness of finally reaching the age when I thought I’d be a grown up.

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