Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 Awards

From the books I have read, films I have seen and songs I have heard, here are my number 1s of the year!

Book of the year:
This is a bit tricky, because although I have read eight books for the first time this year, none of them have been outstanding, so I will go for one that I had read before but came back to again in the autumn. It's a fantastic story and a gripping read!

The Testament, by John Grisham
Film of the year:
This is much easier, although I haven't seen so many new movies this year there is a clear standout in my mind.
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Song of the year:
If it hadn't been for a request to pick up a friend at a railway station I might never have heard this song, but it has become an absolute favourite.
Bottled Up Tight

Monday, 29 December 2014

2014 - Another Year Gone By

Quite a lot is made of what happens post-school, but not so much post-university. Many things are just assumed, like a job. I am not one for doing something just for the sake of it, though, I would much rather find the right thing.

I began the year in the middle of my PGCE, the year heading in one direction, but soon with some uncertainties. I enjoyed teaching, but everything else that comes with the job was always just out of reach, pulling silly faces at me.

There were plenty of enjoyable moments within all of this. I visited Bristol with both of my placement schools - firstly the museum and later the zoo. I also saw my first live, professional rugby match, at the Rec and my first water polo match, at Bath Uni.

Then there were these incredible guys:

And there was this too!

Come July, though, I had made one decision, I was not going to become a teacher (at least not a formal, schoolly one). This of course left a lot more decisions to be made and a lot more uncertainties. It also meant me leaving the beautiful city of Bath.
However, having finished the busiest/craziest few months of non-stop work in my life, I put aside concerns, firstly for a day at the Trent Bridge test match;
and then for Scotland and the West Highland Way!

So the second half of this odd year began:
There was cricket,
  A day at a private hospital,
    Dropping one sister off in London,
      Helping the other move house in Newcastle,
        A wedding in Winchester,
          and amongst all this job applications, and no positive replies.
I filled time helping out YFC - local and national. (Cheers for the work guys!)
But it all came down to my fall back option. Something I'd had at the back of my mind since about March:
First: Application. Then Wait, Offer, Training, Job! Christmas!
In the grand scheme of things it's not a huge amount of time, but it definitely feels it when you're in it. So life goes on!
There's been other stuff this year and a lot of other amazing people (you know who you are)! Thanks for making it another crazy, wonderful, beautiful year!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

When Santa followed God

Santa Clause - Saint Colas - St. Nicholas!   

And before that Bishop Nicholas, persecuted and imprisoned along with other Christians. In his early life he used the wealth of his deceased parents to assist anyone who needed his help, particularly the sick and children for whom he had a great love.

"Jesus said to him, 'If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.'" - Matthew 19v21

Just a thought for this Christmas.


Friday, 19 December 2014

An early Christmas present

I have completed my 11 days of training in Surrey and am now officially employed by PGL! Hurray!

From late January I will be working at Winmarleigh Hall, in Lancashire, as an Activity Instructor/Group Leader. More details, stories and pictures to follow in the new year!

Here's a few more snaps from the training:

6 in a hoop

Table Wrestling


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Day off in the Devil's Punchbowl

A day off from training resulted in a morning stroll through the Devil's Punchbowl, with the sun beaming down!



Monday, 8 December 2014

The Need To Belong

I have recently been introduced to Jean Vanier and have begun listening to some lectures he has given (which can be found on YouTube). I am delighted to hear his incredible wisdom, particularly on the subject of Belonging and the need to be connected to others. This matches the thoughts I've been having recently on relationship, some of which I wrote about in The Fight for Unification (see left hand side).

These are some of the things he has said.

"We are in a world where, in some countries, each person is seen as important, and that is a great progress in humanity, the value of the human person."

"There was a time when what was important was the group, but now there is a consciousness that each person has rights...that each person is precious."

"But on the other hand, as we have brought up the individual, we're losing a sense of belonging and the need to build something together; to be bonded together in mutual affection and love."

"And you'll find there is a tension, between belonging and inner freedom, as we can see belonging as giving security and stifling the person, but we can also see that by accentuating the person, and not accentuating the element of belonging, there can be a lot of anguish ... and loneliness, and feeling of being lost."

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Love what you got

Two friends moved into neighbouring houses.

The first arrived with enough furniture to kit out the small home and soon added to it another bed, a sofa and a large cabinet.

The second arrived with no furniture but soon acquired a kettle and a piano.

Both were very happy.

(True story)

Christmas is coming. The ridiculous Black Friday sales have gone, taking with them the worst of consumerist society and the rest of us can settle down to enjoy what we've got; homes, friends, joy.