Sunday, November 16, 2008

why oh why?

I enjoy eating the following foods in large quantities:

Sour apple sweets
Peanut butter
Salted popcorn
Mashed banana
Capers (on their own)
Tinned prunes

But how to enjoy them freely? Should I become a social outcast (a tablespoon of capers and a bowl of peanut butter for tea)? Or obese (eat tea and then sneak back to the kitchen for a tablespoon of capers and a bowl of peanut butter)?

Ah, to know such trials is to know what it is to be truly alive...........

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A little project

Every now and then I write a poem. I find it takes me weeks to write one, and then I give up on it all for months at a time. Prolific is not quite the word.....

What I have written strikes me as being, on the one hand, quite good and, on the other, trite and awful.

Anyway, I'm going to publish a few of them here.

My most recent project has been to create my own versions of the psalms.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

downward spiral?

Yesterday, I was 30.

Thirty. Aaaaaaaaaaaargh. What on earth will happen to me now? Wrinkles? Flab? Neurosis? Enhanced parental features of the irritating variety? Blindness, deafness, joint trouble.....?

And I haven't even had kids yet, what the heck is wrong with me?!

Anyway, there is at least some silver lining to this sagging old cloud. To celebrate the glorious sun on my great day, Jon and I stepped out of our front door in Chepstow, walked all the way to Tintern Abbey along the Wye, had a pub lunch and walked home. So things aren't all bad, not quite yet.

Give me a few days and I won't be able to walk at all, no doubt. Must appreciate it while I can......

Monday, September 15, 2008

"...and don't dilly dally on the way..."

I sit surrounded by boxes and dismantled bits of shelving. It's fairly unsettling.

Jon and I had our last days of work on Friday. We spent Saturday & Sunday packing: the last battle with boxes is today. Currently, I'm waiting for NatWest to pick up the phone so I can alter credit card address details.

Quite how we take the bed apart remains to be discovered....

We've hired a van from Tuesday morning to Thursday morning and will do 2/3 runs to Chepstow and back in that time. Loading the van and car will be joyous, I'm sure. Especially as we live in a first floor flat.

Hey ho! As soon as my body catches up with my mind's acceptance of the fact things are changing, all shall be well.

Better be, anyway.

Monday, September 08, 2008

second coming?

My footsteps are light

I've a song in my heart.

She's back!

(And I challenge any cynics to a duel......)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

a solitary place

Today I am having a day off work for no reason.

In one week, I move to Canterbury for a month of Lambeth Conference shinnanigans .... so I took the last chance for a pyjamas-until-11am, home-bound-except-to-pop-out-for-something -indulgent-from-Tescos kind of day.

A chance not just to slob but to ponder on 'Intuitive leadership: embracing a paradigm of narrative, metaphor & choas' by Tim Keel.

Books often cohere thoughts I've been having. In fact, I sometimes rely on them for that. Keel challenged me to set the books aside more often, just try to 'be' with God (now why should that sound so cheesy?) and trust the incoherence.

He discusses churches' need to control the world with market research, Willow-Creek-modelled services and meetings. He advocates a bit of chaos and uncertainty. He asks churches to be more silent, in worship and in posture, to listen to voices from their margins, voices that might be emotional, incoherent, naive, lacking in confidence, abrasive.

He advocates more stillness. Do you need to be still? I do. My noisy world moulds me into an achiever and consumer. A purpose-driven pain in the arse. Even in prayer, I want to reach God in order to be a better person, in order to know him more fully, in order to energise myself for action, in order to change the world.....enough orders. What about enjoying God? What about him enjoying me?

One of the reasons church leadership is wrong for me at this time is because it would be something I have sought before I have sought God. Something I have idolised. Even if that's not the intention, or even the case at the start, somewhere along the line that's what would happen. 'Leading' in any formal, institutional way is a too-easy route to that mythical place where I can hear God better and where others are more likely to listen to me.

I need to stop aiming for the future and learn to hear God where I am, with one foot at least in the margins. I need to stop worrying about whether or not others can hear me. That doesn't really matter. God's word is already amongst us, having arrived as a middle-eastern baby in a cowshed. Somehow, I think I need to give up worrying my pretty little head about how he'll communicate the things we all need to hear.....and just listen.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

So now we know!

Following my rather cryptic entry a few weeks back, I am now in a position to confirm what's happening with me & Jon in the Autumn. Post Lambeth...that faint whiff of future.....

On September 29, I shall start working as an Events Manager with Affinity Events in Chepstow and Jon shall start a second (ahem) PhD in Complexity Science at Bristol University. Dr Dr. Oh yes.

This is all good because:
a) Jon is clearly an academic not a teccie
b) the people and ethos of Affinity seem very well suited to my personality and priorities
c) we shall be getting out of London, the tube, the traffic, the stress, the status anxiety treadmill, the vast expense
d) we shall be getting into the Wye Valley, walks from the doorstep to Tintern Abbey, a rent free five-bedroom house, Bristol on the doorstep (and vastly less money, but what the heck. In fact, that will be fun, too.)

All less than four months away. If we stay in Chepstow longer term, which I kind of hope we will, our children may have to learn to speak Welsh. Can this get any more exciting??!!

(For those wondering what may have happened to my dreams of ordination, well, perhaps they shall resurface. But for pragmatic as well as principled reasons, I shall be exercising my ministry in a 'lay' capacity. Lying down, at times)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I recently got to wondering what the celebrities I love have to say about me. (I am an important person with important things to think about.)

I love Britney. Blonde again hurray!
I love Victoria and, to a lesser extent David, Beckham.
I love, in rather nostalgic fashion and in complete awareness of his lack of skill, Keanu.
I love Daniel Craig.
I like Kate Moss and whoever she happens to be going out with.
I am a bit interested in the Cruises.
I once loved Eminem, though he seems to have disappeared and even I am forgetting him.

But my admiration is not determined by how much they are in the media. Nor necessarily by how beautiful they are, though appearance certainly has something to do with it. I am not at all, for instance, interested in any other supermodels - especially wierd looking Aygynyeys Dyeyny or whatever - or footballers, or female popstars. Kylie is really boring, I'm afraid.

So, what is the common thread? Why do I love who I love? Who do you love and why?

(If you have no interest in celebrities you are clearly flawed and should seek help).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

time present, time future and all that....

Having a two-year job, building up to a specific project, is strange. Just as you're most preoccupied with (or stressed out by??) the task in hand, you're most conscious of its pending completion.

Freelancers or the self-employed face that kind of feeling all the time, of course. But people like me, with a touch of the control freak and a shedload of the pessimist thrown in, will avoid it if possible.

Thankfully, and even remarkably with five months to go, I'm almost certain the next step is sorted. But the strangeness remains, as now I feel torn between the demands of current responsibilities and those of a shadowy future that needs planning........

I find most things in life strange, and emotionally draining. That's just my weird old nature. But I think it's true to say that, reflecting on previous 'changes' in life, I am getting better at trusting God. I am getting better at seeking first the kingdom and believing that all other things will be added. The unknown is exciting, at least some of the time.

They say you get less able to cope with change as you get older. Not true for me thus far. (But perhaps 'older' refers to over 30? I shall no doubt become madly neurotic in later life. Such joys Jon faces........)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Went, saw, avoided all thought of conquering...

I am returned! My time in Zambia, Malawi and South Africa was great. Warm weather, friendly welcomes, hitch-free travel (almost.)

The aforementioned hitch was that we got stuck for 24 hours in Harare, which was unnerving...glad I'm not still stuck there. It was a strangely subdued place. Kind of weary.

There's an underlying strangeness about being in Africa at all. As a white, rich, Westerner you can't help feeling responsible for the problems there still are in the continent, and as if you don't deserve to benefit from all the many wonderful things there.

But the Garden Route of South Africa is a truly fabulous place for a holiday. And, at the moment anyway, flipping cheap. You can get a posh meal out with wine for a tenner. And a good night's accommodation for £15.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

fare forward, voyagers

Tomorrow I am flying to Zambia. I will spend two days in Ndola and then three in Lusaka. After that I go to Malawi, where I'll be based in Blantyre for four days.

And then I fly to Cape Town to meet Jon and travel around the southern part of South Africa for ten days. Elephant parks and everything.

The first bit is supposed to be work - and I will be meeting lots of bishops and spouses to talk about the Lambeth Conference - but really the whole three-week trip is just a very exciting opportunity!

I shall endeavour to photograph things. And avoid mossies.

Monday, February 18, 2008


I got tagged by Steve. See his blog for the rules.

Given that the thing is about books, I shall comply........

In turn I'll tag Lucy, Phil, Lizzie & Vicky - all literary genii (?) in their own way. Sorry my blogging friends are so depleted that I cannot drag a fifth into it.

Here are sentences 5-7 from p123 of the book closest to me right now:

"What the frog said came to pass, and the queen gave birth to a girl; she was so beautiful that in his joy the king didn't know what to do and arranged a great feast. He invited not only his relatives, friends and acquaintances, but also the wise women, that they might be gracious and well-disposed toward the child. There were thirteen of them in his kingdom, but because he only had twelve gold plates from which they might eat, one of them had to stay at home."

Pretty cool, eh? Especially as the title of the book is 'Congregation: stories and structures'.....


Saturday, February 09, 2008

three things of note this week

1. My husband has laughed heartily at the sight of his wife attempting to put t-shirts on after getting typhoid, tetanus, polio, hepatitus and diptheria injections all in one go.

2. Rowan Williams has been treated crappily by the media, again. In my most melodramatic moments, I see parallels between this and Christ before the crowds shouting 'crucify'. In any case, it's all rather horrible.

3. I have been excited to read this book by Kester Brewin. It says new things in a courageous fashion and, while I balk at some of it, is an honest engagement with church culture by somebody who cares deeply for it while willing it to change.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

beware - blog therapy!

I'm rather an emotional little flower, and find myself on the edge of a weepy ledge today. Not angst-ridden, but kind of sad.

Reading this book on the train home from work nurtures the woe. It's quite wonderful but not brimming with joy, in as much as it tracks the progress of a family coping with a young daughter/sister's murder. (Highly recommended, all the same.)

Church politics - at work, on Sundays and according to rumour - weigh me down. Like any community, Christian organsations can wander far from caring for what's most important - the precious, vulnerable sanctity of human lives. Sometimes I feel we're altogether lost.

It is easy to get despondent. I'm convinced there's cause for hope and joy in mankind, the church, the future....and yet......

I don't see what's happening from the top of the hill: I see my immediate surroundings of messy city in the valley. But I do wish that deep goodness in which I firmly believe could be a bit more aggressive with the mess sometimes. Surely we shouldn't be left to our own devices to quite this extent?

Ah, well. We have hyacinths growing in the dining room. And the mornings are getting lighter. And I'm not patiently enduring the view from the top of the hill. That I'm sure I couldn't cope with.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Year, new tactics?

Well, people, as you will see from this and most others it links to, all has been rather quiet on my little blogging network for a while.

Being rather worse at giving in than is good for me, I'm resisting. But I may need a new approach. Possibly 'Whose Line is it Anyway' style blog fashioning: 'every entry must be written on a Tuesday from the perspective of the last person I fought for a seat on the tube'. Or, 'every entry must be written in iambic pentameter'. Etc.

If anyone actually still bothers to read my ramblings, do offer up a suggestion. It might be the creative lease of life I need......

alas alack!

My dear Britney has been tipped (irretrievably?) over the edge. I am quite upset about this. No doubt not as scarred as her two small children will be, but nonetheless....time for a moment of quiet.