Sunday, August 28, 2005

Pointless ramblings

The song below sums up half of my thoughts about this life, the constant surprise at undeserved love, the intrigues of Grace, of a God who never gives up on his people. Some things are so hard to bend my tiny brain around. Tonight I'd like to write something profound and meaningful but my thoughts are too sporadic, swinging between wondering what the point of life is and wanting to sound postive and cheery about holidays and sunshine. Ah well.

I'm off on my travels again for the next two weeks, two back to back conferences, which I should have spent tonight packing for, and doing last minute things before I leave, watching Friends seemed like a much better idea.

So, a-conferencing here I go, hoping to survive, intact, uncynical and better off when I return. Normal services will be resumed after the 9th September. The holidays are over, the term is begining. Bring it on?

Beautiful things.

I Don’t Know Why

We come so far
And the road were on is long
But in the end we are miles from home
I see your face
At every pit stop on the way
In young girl’s dreams and old men’s smiles
I gotta tell you, let me tell you

I don’t know why, you won’t give up on me
I don’t know why, you don’t wash your hands
I don’t know why, you're still standing next to me
I don’t know why

Eye’s in the dark
I cry to dream again
I’ve got no peace, feels like I've got no choice
The human heart
It’s as fickle as the rain
It comes and goes, never the same
I gotta tell you, let me tell you
I don’t know why…

And can you believe me if I say to you
I’d never walk away again
I’ll never walk away

I don’t know why, you won’t give up on me
I don’t know why, you don’t wash your hands
I don’t know why, you're still standing next to me

I don’t know why
I don’t know why, you won’t give up on me
I don’t know why, you don’t wash your hands
I don’t know why, you're still standing next to me
I don’t know why

We come so far
And the road were on is long
But in the end we are miles from home

(Martyn Joseph)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Clearly I have too much time on my hands.

In a small moment away from work I discovered this. But as I was so proud to be associated with the great Dumbledore I thought I'd share.

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Back to Work

Back to work this week, sitting at my desk all day staring at the sea, or the cloud covering the sea from view. Attempting to enjoy time alone in view of the intense two weeks awaiting me after the weekend. One day I'll learn to be content with the situations placed before me each day.

Here's where all the action happens.

Pretty things

Monday, August 22, 2005

Returning to routine

There is something magical about going away,about holidays. Time away from normal routines, time to contemplate life again, to step back and get some perspective. Time to sit on riverside terraces in the pouring sunshine and eat massive slices of chocolate cake. Times to climb high mountains and breath fresh invigorating air again. Good times.

There is also something about coming back to the routines that threatened to stifle us before we went away. Routines that can be taken up again, that can be altered by our changed perspective on life. Well, at least, that is where my mind is at today. I love the lakes. But I'm glad to be home. Glad to see people at church yesterday, to know I have friends here, to get back into life. The stuff that I long to run away from most of the time isn't so bad. And I pray that when I go back to work tomorrow it will be a similar experience. Of gaining new perspective on the work in front of me. Of remembering the one who really is in control and can change peoples lives. The inbetween world is grand for a visit. But there is stuff to be done. The sabbath times provide us perspective on the work times and vice versa.

Resting now points us towards the eternal rest, and reminds us of who is in control. God is the one who works in all times and in all places, I just have a little bit of that to help out with, to mess up and learn the grace of my Father in. Tomorrow I start that again, desperately hoping and praying that this year may be the year in which I learn to depend on Him. In which I learn to hold onto truth and live a life of integrity that lives and breaths the reality about us. In which I stop living the veneer of Christianity and carry on living as a child of God, faithful in this relationship. And when tomorrow I fall from that ideal, that this year will be one in which I become more aware of the grace that holds me to this path, that pushes me along it and which will lead me home. And that somehow others will get caught up in that grace as I stumble over the mountains. Pray that I will know that this will happen because of Him at work, the great I AM living within me and holding me steady.

Oh and check out

'Blue like Jazz'

by Don Miller, scary and reassuring to read someone who expresses the thoughts in my head so well.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Hang the world

Hang the world, give me a river.
God's aspirin to my soul,
Hang the world, let me stay here
Let it flow, let it flow
Hang the world, give me a river
For reasons plain to see
Hang the world, let me stay here
I'm just tired of chasing me. (M.Joseph)

A small ditty which should, in my mind, be changed to 'hang the world, give me the lake district'. Which wouldn't scan so well but would sum up all I feel right now. The Lakes are the place to which I go to put this world in perspective. A Lakeland poet summed it up in these words. "For in this place where God is all in all, the world appears immeasurably small". An experience I need once in a while. A place to remember that God is the one in charge of this world and this life, not me. A place to take all my thoughts away and leave me gasping for breath at the beauty around me. A place where I am at home, where I can do nothing but smile because nothing else matters in that space. A place where part of my heart and soul have been left, and when we are reunited peace returns.

Escapism, maybe, but a real place to find energy and strength to carry on this journey. Sometimes the struggle seems to much and too hard, the road too steep and the mountains to high to climb, and I despair of ever making it home. Being away, drenched in such beauty and space, settles my soul as I am reminded of the one who made the mountains and the one who walks with me home. When I was younger and we were out hill walking, my Dad taught me how to walk up hills. You take small little steps, and you walk with someone. No matter how far ahead everyone else was, my Dad always walked with me. We're going to make it home, because our Dad is walking with us. The lakes help me remember the simplicty of walking with my Father. And I'm going there tomorrow. So hang the world, give me the Lake District, God's aspirin for my soul. I'll return, fitter for the journey ahead in a week.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


If you want to see a full catalogue of our time in Bulgaria, check out Dancing Dave's photo diary, ( complete with handy captions supplied by Lou ( Proving that we can never really say that what happened in Bulgaria stays in Bulgaria. Which was a nice idea when pretending to be a small child for a carnival evening, or dancing a Bulgarian folk dance badly or... as I said what happened in Bulgaria can never really stay in Bulgaria. And on one level it shouldn't - it would be decidedly pants not to tell of all God did out there, to not big up His name and work.


I am restless to the core,
Seeking to find my feet,
Turning, I run from the past.
But the future seems out of reach

So touch me and call me and make me your own
Hone me, refine me, take over my whole

Inside, within, without.

Turning in circles
Around and again
Reaching for something
I’m going to give in

So touch me and call me and make me your own
Hone me, refine me, take over my whole

Reflective space

Tonight I am restless. It’s been a week since I sat in a restaurant in Bulgaria looking forward to going home, a week passes quickly in this life. I’m not sure where time has gone, or if anything quality has been achieved in the intervening time. I’ve slept. I’ve seen friends and family. And I’ve felt dislocated and unable to relax completely.

Bulgaria was the usual mix of seeing God work in peoples lives, feeling the frustrations of not being able to open peoples eyes for them, the joy of being able to explain the reality of this life and discovering that I really do believe what I talk about. Team life was refreshing in many ways. To see 10 such diverse people get on with each other and love each other, despite differences, was great. I guess that shows the strength of unity in Jesus. Of truly having the most important thing ever in common.

Rhythms were simple in Bulgaria. There was a routine to the day. We were in one place with the same people for more than a week. There is something deeply profound about that space, rare in a job that takes me around different people and places every different hour of the day. The simple things of life become more engaging. The simplicity of routine and a pace of life that doesn’t rush around brings more space to understand what is going on and more space to pay attention to the one who makes sense of it all.

Out there we had time to chat to people, to think about big questions, to dance to old cheesy songs, who’d have thought Snow’s classic song Informer would reappear in a Bulgarian disco night? It was hard as well, having to keep on loving, having to keep on trusting in a God who, bizarrely, chooses to work through me. Having to not believe the lies that I am rubbish, useless and should not be doing this job.

Mainly the experience reminded me again of a God who is not tied to our English Christian culture. A God who speaks Bulgarian, a God who is at work all over this world bringing people to know Him. A God who is committed to working His purposes out. Good as well to see His work in the team, shaping them for the future, reminding them of His global plans and their part in them. Fascinating to participate in, and see the wonders of a God who schemes and plans things out so well.

And now I am left at home. Attempting to rest in the arms of my Father. Attempting to remember who I am and why I am in this world, and then remember that it isn’t about me anyway. Ah the tensions of this life.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Dear Diary Moment pt 2

I’m back from the land of Bulgaria, coherent thoughts and reflections may well follow over the next few days. Right now I’m in the spaced out land of ‘did anything really happen?’ and ‘where are the 9 other people I have shared my life with for the last few weeks?’. The somewhat disturbing thing is that my brain has filled in the silence by enabling my thoughts to be voiced in the voices of the team and the Bulgarians we met out there. Weird. Nothing really feel tangible right now, having got up at 2am English time to fly home. I know God did things, I know we got to be part of that, but other than that it’s all fog right now. But the good news is that I am reunited with my housemate, my music collection, my bed, my friends, family and my small soft polar bear. The sun is shinning, people can understand what I say and I’m on holiday. Ah. Big long sigh. Sleep calls.

(to see some photos, with a surprisingly nice one of me, check out the Bluefish- my dial up is too slow to upload mine.)