Sunday, June 24, 2007


I thought a few days ago that I would like to write a quick blog update on the progress of my new flat, but after the last couple of days, this post is no longer going to be 'quick'! Sorry about that!

Since I first got the keys to my flat, my Mum and Dad have been working tirelessly all day every day, (in their holiday's), to put laminate flooring down over the whole of the flat. What would I do without them?! This is very nearly done now - just got small amount of beading left to do. Its taken a long time because none of us have ever done this before - and the only right angles in my flat are in the airing cupboard, and much of the flat is on a curve! This is humorous as I like everything neatly and in straight lines!

Over the last couple of days my friends, my mum and I have been trying to build flat packed furniture. This we have done many times before, and should have been no problem - except for one thing; I bought my coffee tables from ILVA and my bedoom furniture from Argos. Do not ever do this! When you are used to building IKEA furniture, ILVA and Argos are not good options. The instructions IKEA give you are clear, precise, and never leave you with any room for doubt, (I have found). They clearly point out every step - even to the point of showing you when you need to turn the pieces over, and which way they should be facing. ILVA had one page worth of pictures that we had to somehow decipher. Argos instructions were even worse. At one point they told us to screw a drawer to the runner without telling us which hole to use, or which direction to go in, (out of the drawer or into the drawer). Now you may be thinking this is common sense, but my Mum and I had to try every combination before finding one that worked! A simple job ended up being very difficult.

I have realised that in life in general, I love being instructed. At work, I will do the things I am told to do, and will enjoy doing them, and doing them to the best of my ability, but when it comes to having to make a decision, or taking the initiative - I would always ask for direction from my boss or colleagues first. I aways need the confirmation that I am doing the right thing.

In my Christian life I am very grateful to have the Bible which gives clear instructions for Christian living. However, as we know, sometimes it can be difficult to know or agree about how certain passages are meant to be applied to our lives and our culture today. I don't like this much. I like the answers, I like the clear direction, I don't like having to work it out for myself. I am excited about all the enthusiasm for mission there is in our church right now. It is cool to see all the passion - but I also feel a bit frustrated about it all. Why? Because there isn't anyone saying this is what you need to do - go and do it. I feel a bit like I am waiting for that to happen. For someone to work out what it all means, and then tell me what to do. I desperately want to be involved, but I want to be told how.

A couple of people said tonight that the answer to most of our questions or frustrations is 'us', suggesting that we have to take some initiative in figuring out what do do, and how to turn our passion into action. But what do we do if the thought of making things happen yourself fills you with dread, or frustration, or completely overwhelms you, or worst of all, makes you feel so alone? Of course I know we are not alone in it because as people keep saying, we have each other, but what is the point in us having each other if we basically have to be the answer ourselves anyway? Is it not possible that we belong to the body of Christ because there are some of us who will be able to work out the meaning of the scriptures, then some who will be able to tell us what thatlooks like in our culture, and our community, and then others who can give directives and work out strategies and plans, and then otehrs who take that direction and do the things that have been suggested?

'Do I have to change?' is my basic question. Should I be trying to work out how to implement the teachings of the Bible in my community? Should I be working it out for myself, making decisions and taking action - or is it ok for me to wait on others to do that part? Should I be figuring it out, being brave and learning how to be a bit more self-reliant, or should I be taking my place in a team - which currently means waiting? Am I being lazy by saying that? Taking the easy option because I don't want to have to do the other stuff and deal with all the emotions that invokes in me? What if I can't do that because the thought of that is so massive that I am left immobilized because I get overwhelmed. If that is how it makes me feel, should I be listening to my emotions and hearing that this is simply not my role, and I can sit back and wait, or should I be striving to work through those emotions and make them go away so that i can do something about it? If I do that, will I just burn myself out because it is not really 'me', or will I discover that maybe it is really 'me' after all?

Sorry - I know its very personal, but I am guessing I am not the only one feeling like this. Its good to be able to understand the reason why I have been feeling so frustrated for so long - now I just need to know what to do about it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Making the most of it!

At the weekend I went to Bracknell for a reunion with my uni friends. We only get to meet up together about twice a year and so these times are really special. We had a superb weekend – it was so much fun. I am always amazed by how easy it is to be with these guys, even though we see each other so rarely. Anyway, we had an enormous amount of fun. There are many highlights, but there was one in particular that made me think.

My friend Jo spent a while before the weekend thinking of ways she could keep us all entertained for the weekend as she was the host (And was brilliant at it – thanks Jo!). One of the things we were all really keen to do was go on a picnic and have cream teas! But unfortunately, the weather didn’t seem to appreciate this, and decided to rain on and off all day on Saturday. We weren’t sure whether to risk it or not – we wanted to go, but we also didn’t want to get caught in a downpour, so we improvised.

Jo has a lovely garden, so we decided that would be a great spot to have our picnic, but because we wanted it to feel authentic, we trekked all the way round the block and came in the fence to the back-garden. The rule was that we weren’t allowed in the house, because in theory it wasn’t really there. So to get home afterwards we had to walk back round the block again!

Ok, it might sound silly, but it made it really fun, and we had such a laugh. And we got our picnic! We made the most of our day, in spite of the complications the weather brought us, (in fact it was probably even more special because of the fun created by the rain).

It made me think quite a bit about how easy it is to moan about things, but because we are so busy looking at the negative, we forget to see how we can make the most of it. (See Sarah’s blog!)

This concept is all well and good for picnics and the crazy weather we are currently experiencing, but what about things which disappoint or hurt or get in the way at a deeper level. I know there are some things in my life I am disappointed about and that prevent me from doing what I really want to do, or from being what I really want to be. I guess this experience should teach me that I should try to make the best out of my situation, (Viv Thomas in his book ‘Second Choice’ talks about this). But its hard isn’t it. I had to ask myself, ‘why is it so hard?’ The point is that if I know that I can make it better by making the most out of it, why do I refuse to? Is it better to live with the misery, or to enjoy the benefits of taking positive action?

During all of these thoughts, the word that kept coming back to me over and over again was ‘acceptance’. To make the most of your situation, you first have to learn to accept it. That is the hard bit – and the bit that I get to a quandary. Is it always right to accept your situation? Sometimes, shouldn’t we fight to change it rather than just simply making the best out of it? And most importantly, how do you decide which things to accept, and which things to fight for?

Friday, June 15, 2007


Yes, that's right! I have the keys. (Ok, so I took this picture from google - its not my actual key, but it makes the point!) Now is the fun part - decorating and designing. There are so many possibilities... what clock shall I get?!?!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Should I change who I am?

Over recent weeks, it has become clear that I am not assertive enough. It has been suggested to me on more than one occasion that perhaps, I have a tendancy to let people walk all over me. Now I am fortunate that most people I know would never take advantage of this, but what about people who I don't know well? I realise that anyone reading this may be a little confused. I know that in certain areas of my life, I know my mind, and am not afraid to state it. This is really only when it comes to things about God though. In that area, I think I have a lot of praying to do because gentleness is not always very evident in my character. (Sorry about that!)

However, when it comes to anything non-spiritual, I err on the side of caution about stating my mind. The thing is I have a big fear of conflict, and would always try to avoid it wherever possible. I now have a situation that I need to be a little firm about and I am too scared to do it.
Andy and I have a few things in common at the moment with all this moving house palava, - a palava which seems to be made worse by the fact that I am the way I am.

Numerous times I have been told that someone will ring me, and they don't. I have been left out in terms of information sharing - I always seem to be the last to hear about what is happening with the arrangements, and I feel like I - the housebuyer - am getting in the way. When I talk to people or ask advice about this situation, I always seem to get a similar response. People are saying that I need to ring the financial advisors and my soliciter and bug them until they do something. That I should be firm with them, and give them dates when i expect things to be done by. There was a situation last week with the mortgage. I have analysed this situation over and over, and for the life of me I can't find anything in it that could have possibly been my fault, and so i am told to remind them that they have been the ones that have made the mistake.

The trouble is, none of that is me. Its not in my character, its not who I am. Instead of telling them its their fault, I am much more likely to apologise to them for taking up so much of their time. I can't make demands or be firm with them. On a number of occasions I have decided I will, but then bottle out, and instead sit on my hands and hope that it will work out. (Which frustrates some of my colleagues immensely!) Clearly this is not the best solution to the problem. I could ask someone else to hassle them, but I don't want to always have to rely on someone else to fight my battles for me, so the upshot is, I need to be brave and be firm. But then I am faced with a quandry, because I also want to be gentle. I would rather take the blame myself than dish it out to other people, (even if I can't see how it could be my fault). I don't want to compromise who I am in order to be who everyone else tells me I should be - we are always told not to do that.

I used my example there because I think it helps to have a bit of context, but I don't want this post to be limited to thinking about that specific situation. (I do realise that I have to be more assertive about it - whether I will remains to be seen!) Really this blog (in case you hadn't guessed), is to do with a much broader concept - that of, 'how do we retain who we are fundametally, yet still grow in our characters?' One of my real passions is discipleship. I really long to see people growing spiritually, being purposeful about their lives, understanding more about who God is so that they can learn to love Him and therefore worship Him more. That they can be freed into ministry and witness. I get how we can grow spirituially and yet still be 'ourselves'. What I don't get is how we can change our characters and still be 'ourselves'. Isn't what defines 'ourselves' our characters? Surely by changing one of my characteristics I am changing fundamental things about who I am. We are always told, 'just be yourself', but if that is true, we would never grow, never become better people, never adjust to what society demands of us.

So surely being dissatisfied with who we are can be a good thing, if it causes us to change for the better?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

...and yet there were more

In continuation from my last blog post...I couldn't wait till Monday night! I had to blog some more blessings! Well one in particular! The arrival of Oliver David Caffull.

He was born on Friday June 1st, at 5:35pm, weighing 6lb14. I went to visit him today, and he is beautiful. Very contented - he didn't cry once.

Thanks God, for my beautiful new nephew.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Blogged Blessings

This has been a long time coming, but I felt that I really wanted to blog about how blessed I am. It is very easy to complain about what I have, and even more so, what I don't have, but today, I choose to recognise the incredible blessings God has given me. (This may be a bit sickly sweet - I am cringing myself, but it is true none-the-less). So here are my blessings!
  • I have food, water, shelter and all of these in abundance
  • I have an amazing family, whom I love immensley. Mum, Dad, Lee, Tracey, Dale, Ro and baby Roy, I love you, and am so blessed to have you in my family.
  • I have a fun, and loyal, and loving wider family too. All my aunties, uncles, cousins, nan, grandma and grandads, I love you and am blessed that you are part of my life.
  • I have a job that I really love.
  • I have a great boss, and great colleagues. I enjoy work and that is helped by the friendliness, and the helpfuless of everyone I work with.
  • I am blessed to have some Christians at work. For some reason, that really makes a difference.
  • I belong to a Church which has its foundations built on the determination to help and heal people - both physically and spiritually.
  • I belong to a church which is beginning to recapture that vision.
  • I belong to a church which truly is my 'even wider family'. I love my friends at church, and in all honesty, I don't know what I would do without them. I am truly blessed that you are part of my life.
  • I am blessed that the leaders of the church I belong to truly care about the mission to which we are called, that they are deeply committed to Christ and that they love God, and the people God has called them to pastor. (Boy I know how to suck up! - but its true!)
  • I am blessed that I have sooooo many people in my life who will care for me and help me when they can. I am also blessed that many of these people would do that out of the goodness of their own hearts. Not because they would expect something in return. I always have someone I can go to, whatever happens. I am truly blessed. Not everyone has that.
  • I am blessed that I live in a country that allows me to worship God freely. That I don't have to hide my faith, and that I don't have to make the choice between my faith and my physical life on this earth. (Though I know what I would pick!)
  • That I have my physical health.
  • That I am a child of an awesome God.

I could go on and on! I know that relative to many people in this world, my life has been easy, and I don't (will try not to) take that for granted. The words of a song hit me today, and they are my prayer - my worship for today:

Hear these praises from a grateful heart
Each time I think of You, the praises start
Love You so much, Jesus
Love You so much.

Lord I love You, my soul sings
In Your presence, carried on Your wings
Love You so much, Jesus
Love You so much.

How my soul longs for You
Longs to worship You forever
In Your power and majesty
Lift my hands, lift my heart
Lift my voice towards the heavens
For You are my sun and shield.

Hear these praises from a grateful heart
Each time I think of You, the praises start
Love You so much, Jesus
Love You so much.