I am not a “blogger”

It’s March 2017. It’s been four months since I last uploaded a blog post. I have thought of this little area of the bloggy world many times in those four months, but haven’t actually managed to put thoughts into words and words into publishing. Because I am not a “blogger”.

I created this blog years ago (WordPress tells me this is my 249th post actually) with the intention of having a space to just write. I wasn’t that bothered if anyone read what I posted, and I wasn’t that bothered by what they thought of what I wrote. It’s just for me.

I know that ‘just for me’ is a bit of an oxymoron when this is a public posting blog…I get it…but I am not blogging for the purpose of sharing some profound thoughts, or teaching about something. It is unlikely you’ll find enlightenment here.

This space…that gets forgotten about…then revisited…then forgotten about… it’s not anything that special. But it’s mine, so that’s ok. I’m not going to feel any pressure to post a blog a day, or a week, or to link to “the blog” from every Instagram and Facebook post. In fact I just removed the link from my Instagram bio. I am not going to plan my life around what makes a good blog post (or Instagram photo, or Facebook status)

It’s not to say that people who do those things are bad…or that I’m in anyway better than them… it’s just to say that I do not write for people to read it. I write for me.

Henry David Thoreau said: “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

I am living my life right now. I am trying to figure out which direction God wants me to go in. There are a lot of options open, and I feel like the space I am in is like a turning circle, in a railway station. I could go anyway, anywhere. It’s confusing and a little bit like going mad and finding myself all at the same time because the more I question the more I find myself coming back to the centre – Jesus – and craving and seeking what He is saying.

I might write about these choices and what God is saying… I might not. I might just end up posting cute nephew and little sister photos. I might go 4 months without posting. Either way, that’s ok. Because I am not a “blogger”.

-x-

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May

May has arrived, and brought Spring with it. I am so happy to have sunshine and blue skies back in my life! My new house is across the street from a church, which has beautiful trees in the churchyard, and out the back of my house just beyond my garden is another one. In just a week it’s gone from barely green to bright and lovely. No matter where I am in the house, if I look out the window there’s a tree. And we all know I love trees 🙂

I can’t believe I’ve only been in my little house for a week. It has felt like home since day one. This weekend my Mum has been to visit, since it’s a long Bank Holiday weekend. We’ve been very busy – we went shopping, and to an interactive exhibition by the Philharmonic Orchestra at my University, we went out for tea and pastries, and tea and cake, and dinner with my brother and his girlfriend, we read books, we went to church and to the garden centre, and to Dunelm Mill where we bought a rug and curtain for the house, and then to lots of shops to buy plants for the garden – we did all sorts! Lots of little adventures that mean nothing to most people but oh-so-much to me.

I am so tired now…Mum left a few hours ago to drive back to Plymouth and I have just crashed out on the sofa.

It was so lovely to have her here. I love spending time 1-1 with my mum. Yesterday and this morning we cleared my garden and planted things. We pulled down so much Ivy that 2 bricks came out of the dividing wall and I got a little scared. I mean, I like my neighbours (a couple I know from church) but I don’t really want to share a garden…or lose my security deposit. So we left some of the Ivy there and just tidied up around it.

Tonight I am going to see Olympus Has Fallen with a bunch of people from church. There is a cinema about half an hour away called the Carlton, and it is the most delightfully quaint cinema I have ever been in. It reminds me of the very old Odeon that used to be in Plymouth City Centre. My dad would take us there to watch Disney movies and other kids films. We saw Mighty Joe Young there, and it was the first film to make me cry.

The best thing about the Carlton is that it’s only £2.50 on a weeknight! It’s £3.50 on weekends and for an extra £1 any day you can upgrade to a “lounge seat” (not that I ever have) and even though the popcorn and sweets are quite overpriced, even when I went to see Les Mis and paid the online booking fee, and bought popcorn and minstrels, I still spent less than £10. You can barely get change from a £10 note when you go to see a film at Ashford Cineworld, or Canterbury Odeon, or Westwood Vue. The Carlton has so much more in terms of character too. It’s in a very little seaside town and only has three screens, with the max seating probably being 300 people. Teeny tiny, but sweet and wonderful. I’m looking forward to it.

In the meantime, would you like to see photos of my house? Of course you would, because it’s very exciting. Except, I’m sorry – because you can’t. For some reason my laptop will not let me upload any pictures from my phone. I could upload to a new post if I used my phone but it takes so much longer to blog from a smartphone.

Oh heavens. First world problems or what.

I feel like I need a nap. I certainly need to change the load in the washing machine (it stopped 1/2 hour ago) Doing nothing for a few hours is just what I need after a very busy and full weekend of wonderful nice things with my mumma. Hooray for May.

-x-

ps. Pictures as soon as I can!

Note to self…

Never, ever, EVER read the blog of someone you used to know.

It will make you want to kill yourself.

I know that none of the things that she says about me are true. Even at my worst, I was never the person that she describes.

I know it’s only words.

Except it’s not.

Her words articulate her emotions…and she was always very eloquent, so her emotions are vividly described.

The fact that she perceives six years of relationship in such a way, has such a clear hatred of me, blames me for a lot of her problems… well it’s enough to reduce me to tears and make me really want to revisit my old ways.

I’m NOT going there. I won’t. She does not have the power to make me feel that way.

Except that she does. Still.

Right now all I can do is cling onto God.

He knows that I’m not who she says. He knows my heart.

Right now, He is all that matters.

Image

Christmas Cake

Yes, I know it’s February, but if you read the previous post you’ll see that I’m clearing my backlog of images. Bear with me!

Back in October I had a big of a Christmas moment in the supermarket and decided I wanted to bake a Christmas cake. We just happened to be at the baking aisle, staring at the various Christmas baking necessities…but that’s beside the point.

I didn’t fancy all the faff of soaking the fruit (let alone the expense) so we bought a pack of 2oog ready-soaked fruit for about £2. A fraction of the cost of buying all the dried fruit individually, and also saving the cost of buying a bottle of alcohol which we’d never use up. Ours was pre-soaked in rum and I nearly got drunk on the fumes alone when I opened the packet!!

I spent a little while searching for the ‘right’ recipe, because I realised after buying the fruit, marzipan, and icing, that I don’t actually like Christmas cake that much…usually because the alcohol is overwhelming/it’s dry/heavy. So I specifically wanted to find a recipe that would make a light and moist cake.  (By the way, how hideous is the word moist)

I found the recipe here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/christmascake_2359     and apart from exchanging all the dried fruit/brandy for our ready-bought fruit, and using ready-made icing instead of playing about with egg whites, I followed the instructions exactly. That in itself is unheard of for me, I’m much more of a “chuck it all together and who cares if you left the sugar out, it might still be ok” type person.

Anyway…on the afternoon of 24th October (two months before Christmas…eve) I spent the whole afternoon in my kitchen, baking up a storm. Some friends and I were hosting a Clothes Swap on the 25th, so I was baking for that too, and the Christmas Cake was the last thing I made as I didn’t want to put anything else in the oven with the cake.

Here’s the yummy looking batter:

I used my best mixing bowl especially for the photo.

I lined the tin (something I never normally do, but I was going by the book, remember) and I got a little worried the mix wouldn’t all fit in, but it did…

3 hours at 150 Celsius and it looked like this………

Ignore that little burnt-looking bit. It’s not burnt, it’s extra flavourful ;p

My friend came round whilst the cake was cooking and said that it was like Christmas already. She was also pretty shocked at all the other baked goodies I’d made that afternoon. Bear in mind all this took only 3 hours prep time:

That would be several dozen jam tarts, several dozen oat biscuits,  several dozen cupcakes and also 2 rounds of chocolate orange shortbread with orange icing!

When my cake had cooled I wrapped it in cling film and foil, then chucked it in a Celebrations Tub (airtight) until December 20th, when I marzipanned it. I didn’t take photos of this because I don’t like marzipan and didn’t want to put it on, but my mum made me. Seems I’m still not old enough to ignore direct instructions! The marzipan needed 1 day to set, before I put the white icing on, so I did it ahead of time since I wanted to serve the cake at Small Group on Dec 22nd. Cue mad, frantic times trying to get it iced before everyone arrived!

But, I did get it iced and if I do say so myself, it looked pretty good. (And it tasted good too!!!!)

The little decorations were from the supermarket, £1 for  12, and the ribbon was from my Ribbon Box.

And there you have it, Christmas Cake in February

-x-

Photo blogs…

I used my camera today for the first time in a while, and when I sat down to take photos from it, I realised that there are way more images than I thought – I’ve been snapping away with the intention of adding the photos into blogs, but never actually getting round to the blogging instelf!

So, since it is snowy and cold outside (which I love!) I am snuggled up under a blanket with the lovely Mr Buble singing to me, compiling a few photo blogs to rid my poor camera of the backlog.
Stay tuned!

Funky fonts

I seem to have found myself with an urgent need of a printer.

How? Why?

Because, dear friend, I have discovered this website http://www.kevinandamanda.com/fonts/freescrapbookfonts/

Which has the most darling, funny, pretty fonts ever…to download for free. And the installation is so simple that I’ve managed to download 10 new fonts in less than 5 minutes.

So why the need of a printer?

Well…now I want to write letters in the pretty pretty fonts!

Not the greatest tragedy in the world…

Update – One Month In…

One Month In…how am I doing?!

Spiritual

I’m reading my Bible every day…made it through to Samuel in OT and John in NT. It got a bit rocky around Judges – I just don’t get Samson and Delilah. But a good thing from that is that I was so confused by Samson that I dug around in my Study Bible to figure it out a bit more. Which worked, sort of. I’m enjoying having quiet times each morning, reading my Bible whilst eating breakfast. It feels productive 🙂 This is tying in with the other goals I had, to spend more time with God and focus on Him. I’m still working on that…

Goal 4 was to consider how I serve in church: I’m still doing that. I was asked just recently to join another team at church and it only took a moment’s prayer to know that it wasn’t right for me. I’m still serving in the Creche team and leading another team, but with my work schedule I am currently working every Saturday for the foreseeable, and I’m on call 2 Sundays out of 5  (don’t ask me how it works!!) so I feel I need to protect my Sundays so I can attend a full service.

Discipleship; I was asked a while ago to consider taking on another “disciplee” but after some consideration I’ve declined – not because I don’t want to, I think the girl is great, but I don’t have the time to devote to her. I’m trying to get monthly dates with each girl so that I can spend quality time with them, working together.

Career

I’m enjoying work at the moment, it was fairly quiet after Christmas but then this past week has just been so busy with all the kids having a lot going on and me needing to deal with it. Craziness. But I’m enjoying it. I’m also doing contact work, which takes up my Saturdays but I can claim this time as additional holiday.

I’m still looking into external training courses I can attend to help with my PDQ. I’ve looked into some certificates with the OU but I think they demand more time than I have available so I’ll keep looking. The Kent Safeguarding Children Board has a good list of training courses but I couldn’t access the real information!

Health

I haven’t done ANY exercise, since Christmas (shocker) and I abandoned the “no chocolate” rule for the month of January as there was too much around. February will be the start of my cutdown on junk/salty/sugary foods. I plan to eat more fruit, nuts and veg to balance this. I’m also comparing gym memberships (really I just want to swim!) but I’m trying to figure out which is the most economical.

One bit of progress is that I’ve been eating lunch every day, and have increased my fruit intake already to boost lunch – so instead of snacking on eating biscuits/chocolates at work I’m having a healthy and more filling option.

Personal

I’m writing every day which I’m finding is really helpful. I have a “page-a-day” diary from work and even just writing one A5 side each evening is great as I can just offload how the day has been, how I’ve felt etc. Getting it out of my mind before I sleep is helping me to sleep better too.

I’m amending my Reading goal – because 1 Christian book for every 2 fiction books is probably very unrealistic. I’m amending it to 1 Christian book per month. I figure this will give me more chance to actually absorb what I’m reading rather than trying to just ‘get through’ one book so I can read another. I read a great book called “When I See Him” in January and I’m going to read “Mere Christianity” throughout February. It’s been on my ‘list’ for about six months!

I’m off Facebook! I haven’t missed it since Rosie changed my password for me…though it’s hard to be out of the loop with events etc, I just need to ensure I keep in touch with people to make sure they tell me in person! Facebook makes it easy for people to be lazy, I think. I’ll probably go back on at some point but I’m not feeling the urge right now. It’s not a necessity, it is a tool for networking and right now I’m managing without  – shock horror!!

I think that’s a pretty thorough update, or at least, thorough enough!