Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Freshers Flood

Well, last week was rather crazy - the freshers arrived!

Aber is again considerably busier than it has been for months and it is impossible to find a decent parking space! I've now gotten into the habit of when I get a parking space near the house, I don't use my car for a few days so that I can keep the spot - makes no sense really as I'm not benefiting from the parking space as I'm not using my car from it... but I guess it's there in emergencies!

I've been really good this term (so far)! I have only driven up the hills once and that was to help take things up for Fresher's Fayre! :) That makes a massive difference to last year! Oh, and it isn't just because I haven't been going up the hill because I have! :) I've walked up it loads in the last few weeks - more than I did in the whole of last year probably!

Having the freshers arriving also meant lots of CU/Church events... freshers' week was very busy! I didn't get involved as much as I would have liked though (I slept through prayer meeting and so didn't get to sign up to things - but I did ask to be on things any way :) )... We had a lot of freshers round at our house after the events though so we've definitely gotten to know people which is great :)

In fact, after CU on Friday Malcolm, Laura, Kirsty and I came home with a group of freshers (8/10 of them) and had just started playing a game when Isaac and folk came in with nearly everyone else! It was insane! We didn't even count how many there were but there were more than enough for an EPIC game of Articulate... we had 6/7 groups of 5-6 people... it was crazy! But fun :)

Sunday lunches have also been a bit crazy... Fresher's Sunday we invited back a group of people and I ended up making roast dinner for 18 people (Thank you Jesus for multiplying food! <- He's good at that!) and then last Sunday we made dinner for 20 people! 38 people in a week can't be bad! I was quite impressed if I say so myself, I've never really been amazingly skilled at the cooking front but people seemed to really like it (in fact, some were commenting to others about how good it was) :D

I was going to title this blog post 'back to routine', but I haven't really yet settled into a routine... this week is a seminar-less week and I have been given LOADS of shifts at work so it's been a bit crazy and definitely not standard routine...

Also, a quite add... thank you ever so much to Rachel from Dreaming of the Country for giving me a blog award :) And a very big welcome if you've found me through her post! :)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Summer comes to an end...

Summer is now swiftly coming to an end and things are starting to normalise again...

This summer has been really quite good. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at CARE and loved 'working' in London for those 5 weeks. It definitely tickled my taste buds for the future. I've just in fact been looking at possible posts in London for myself next year if I were to do a part-time Masters - I've decided I'm going to apply for a Masters! 

It has also been wonderful seeing friends of mine get married! The Brights and the Sweeneys both got married this summer and to have been part of such wonderful events was lovely. They are wonderful people and I am looking forward to seeing how God uses them as couples in the future! :)

While that has all been wonderful, my highlight for this summer has to be the time I've spent with my family. I haven't spent too much time at home as I was staying in London for a large chunk of the holidays, but what I have spent at home has been wonderful. Now I'm back in Aber I'm really going to miss them! In fact, I only left yesterday and I already really miss them!

It's been exceptionally wonderful spending time with my sisters getting to know them better. As siblings the tendency to fight with each other and argue when we were younger was very strong, but now that we're all growing up we can have civilised conversations! and much more of course! :) I really do love them both greatly and will really miss them!

Here are some photos of us (and my cousins) messing around a few weeks ago...

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Show Off Your Shot Winner!

and then, she {snapped}

Last week I entered into the Show Off your Shot competition... (here's the post if you missed it Show Off your Shot)...

Well, I was a winner :) It's very exciting! :) I think I'm going to get more into this... 

Friday, 26 August 2011

Drive time

Tuesday (23rd) I got to spend nearly a whole day with my sisters, it was wonderful!

I had to collect them from a little cottage half an hour outside of Aberystwyth where they were staying with my grandparents then drive them home to Nottinghamshire to my mum... my granddad had welled up when we were getting ready to leave and told to me to make sure I drove very carefully as if anything happened to us it'd kill him... no pressure!! (Of course, I do tend to drive carefully and wouldn't want anything to happen anyway)

After I picked them up we drove back to Aberystwyth. I wasn't quite ready to say goodbye again yet and wanted to show my sisters my new house... we then went to the beach for a while...

After playing around for a bit we then set off to Nottingham... However, not long out of Aber, we had to make another photo stop!

The journey back was hilarious. The three of us sang at the top of our voices for close to 5 hours non-stop! Our throats were starting to hurt by the end... but it was worth it!

Esther also took lots of photos of the Welsh countryside on the way back, but they're her photos so I shan't put them up here as I don't want to get done for copyright! :P

I really enjoyed the drive back, and while it is always scary driving with both of them in the car (all mum's eggs in one basket), it was wonderful spending some fun time with them. I definitely feel like I'm growing closer to them! :) 

Mr and Mrs Bright

Another summer month, another wedding...

The 20th August saw another two of my friends get married. It was such a wonderful weekend!

Here are some photos from the wedding day...

I'm looking forward to going back in September and spending some time with them both :) They're going to be living in the flat above my boyfriend :)

They're wonderful individuals and are a wonderful couple. I'm sure God will bless and use them both immensely... to the happy couple! :)

Thursday, 25 August 2011

My wonderful family :)

I have a wonderful family! :)

Show Off Your Shot

A few friends of mine take part in photo competitions/shares... I thought I'd start having a go too :)

The idea for Show off Your Shot is simply that... a photo that you want to show off! :)

So here it is... my entry for this week...

I took this photo at the Belvior Castle 2011 firework competition. It was a really beautiful night, but this photo has got to be my favourite! I love the way the fireworks look like stars and the effect of the smoke behind the tree.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Shack

I know writing a post about The Shack now seems a little outdated but today I finished reading it.

I started reading The Shack nearly a year ago but put it down when uni reading became more of a priority, I picked it up today and finished it.

This book is such an emotional roller-coaster... and the emotion it brings is wonderful. I really like a book that brings me in and The Shack certainly achieves that.

The story is beautiful.

While it is beautiful and emotive and a wonderful piece of written work, sadly it has had a lot of controversy around it.

After The Shack was published it received an immediate response from the Christian community praising how amazing the book was and how it would be an amazing tool for evangelism. In fact, the cover of the book quotes "This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress did for his. It's that good!".

However, after the immidiate hype came a somewhat longer lasting criticism of the book as theologically incorrect. Some of the issues include the portrayal of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Another is that of the 'logistics' of forgiveness.

Reading this book, I must admit that, as the writer states will probably occur, I am left with a greater desire for close relationship with God. Despite possible theological inaccuracies.

I think there are a couple of important things to remember when reading The Shack;
1. It was written by a non-Christian as a fictional book... he is not a theologian.
2. We should always question what we read. There are many books written which we, the Christian community, will priase simply because it is written by Wayne Grudem, John Piper, John Stott etc. We still need to question what we read and come to conclusions for our selves. This works in two ways. Firstly, we engage in what we are reading greater and therefore take away more. Secondly, we are not naive when discussing 'hot topics' such as the theological correctness of The Shack; I have had too many conversations about The Shack with people criticising it without having read it themselves.

The issue of the portrayal of God the Father ('Papa') in The Shack firstly as a woman I know has caused many to react. I would like to state however that God is outside gender. Our God is greater than our imagination and our understanding. Also, in The Shack, 'Papa' later appears as a man, a Father, He explains that Mack's issues with his father led to his needing to see God as outside of gender, and approach Him first as a big black woman to break down his stereotypes and his problems with "fathers". This, I believe, reveals God greatly! God reveals Himself understanding of our needs and difficulties, and in a way best restoring our relationship with Him.

How beautiful is that?!

I would urge anyone and everyone to read The Shack. It will bring you to tears, make you laugh, and leave you with a greater desire to know God personally. I have never read such a beautiful and challenging story... other than that of Jesus of course...

Blessings x

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Sweeney Wedding

Last weekend saw the wedding of two of the most wonderful people I know.. Hannah Purnell and Alistair Sweeney.

The wedding was beautiful!

It was such a moving wedding. I found it so hard not to cry all the way through!

It was really moving and the love they have for each other and God was so clear throughout the whole service. 

Ali's speech at the reception was so moving! I nearly cried!

(the lego was Ali's one request)

After the honeymoon the Sweeneys will be off to Leicester to start a church with a church plant from their current church in Derby. I know that God will use them both greatly. They are a wonderful and wonderfully blessed couple.

I am so happy for them :)

Les Miserables

Last Wednesday was so much fun!

So, I'd been walking around London on my own after work and stuff in the first week and saw loads of people having fun with their friends and I just really wanted to be with people I knew! Wednesday was a real treat.

A group of people from uni came to London to see Les Mis :)

We went for dinner, then headed to the theatre. It was so much fun! On arriving at the restaurant I didn't stop talking for ages!

Here are some pictures of us at the restaurant:

After enjoying our food we headed off to the tubbeeee....

And to the theatre...

It was a really good production! I hadn't seen it before so it was really exciting! :)

I definitely recommend it to anyone! 

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Affirmation and Appreciation

Last week and this week have gone past so fast! I didn't even realise it was already Wednesday - and that's nearly over now!

But to update you on my time in London...

So, I've been doing this work for CARE - researching and writing a paper for them - and it's been really interesting, but I kinda felt like it was something given to me because they needed to find something for me to do. I felt like this because no one else in the office seems to be looking at the same area... but then again, nothing overly major is happening in that area at the moment so I do understand why they're not frantically looking into it.

I was feeling a bit bummed out about it until last Wednesday.

Last Wednesday we had a Public Affairs: London meeting. This involved me, the human trafficking and prostitution officer, a guy that has volunteered with them for the year, the guy in charge of me, and the guy in charge of all mentioned. It was a really interesting meeting in that I got to know a lot more about what everyone had been doing. I managed to suggest something of real use to them too and have managed to implement it too which is really good! :)

The main thing I took from this meeting though was a real sense of appreciation and affirmation. What I have been spending all my time on, is actually really useful to them! That made me feel much much better about everything and gave me much more enthusiasm which is good :)

The rest of the working week panned out as normal really... but the evenings were a bit more interesting!

More about them (and some piccies) in the next post! :D

Monday, 4 July 2011

Commuting hens?

One week down, four to go... and the blisters to prove it! 5 blisters on each foot... that's got to be a record!

So, I'm in London at the moment doing an internship for an organisation called CARE. They are a Christian organisation that work in politics. My task is to do research for topics they may want to talk about/report on. I've really enjoyed looking at areas that I wouldn't normally look into such as same-sex marriage rights and issues around the 'gay-gene'. It has really pushed me out of my comfort zone but has been really exciting all the same and I've learnt a lot already. I have a desk in an room with four other people - the 'public affairs' team - and everybody is really lovely.

The commute however is a little exhausting... and when I say a little, I mean a lot. I leave Sarah's house at 7.00am every morning and get into the office at around 8.45 for a 9 o'clock start. After the day in the office, I then leave at around 5.15 and get back to Sarah's for around 7.00. Definitely not an easy commute. And after this weekend I'm even more tired.

This weekend was Hannah's hen do. It was a really lovely weekend in Suffolk. We were in a beautiful house and right next to the beach. We even went on a speed boat ride! While the speed boat ride was exciting, I'm rather afraid of deep water and I got off the boat feeling a bit unwell. All in all though it was a really good weekend. It was lovely seeing Hannah again. I'm really excited for her and she's moving to Leicester which is great because then I'll probably be able to see her a bit more! : )

I'm really enjoying my time here in London, but I am missing people a lot! I ended up driving for an extra 3-4hours yesterday purely so I could see my mum! I'm also really missing Tom and would love people to be around here. It's really nice walking around a little after 6 and seeing so many people enjoying themselves and the buzz of people in restaurants etc. I just wish I could join with that.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Moving House

One piece of advice I have for all of you is; do not, if you can help it, move house when you are ill. I sadly, could not help it. I had no choice but to move house with a fever.

After finishing exams and enjoying a break I was planning on receiving keys to my new house on the Sunday 5th June with the intentions of enjoying a slow moving process throughout the week after. However, on the Friday before, I received some wonderful news; I was to move out of my old house on the 5th June. Joys! So I had 2 days to pack up my stuff, clean around and move out.

The stress of it all sadly got to me a bit more than I had hoped and expected. The Saturday night saw very little sleep as I tossed and turned boiling up and needing a lot of water both in me and on me to cool down. This made moving day a wonderfully exciting prospect...?!

Sunday arrived and I drove my car to the new house full of wonderfully heavy items ready to move into the house. After church we went along to our new house to be spoken to about fire, gas, electricity, water etc and to receive our keys. My health was probably most evident while we were listening to the landlord explain everything when I suddenly had to make my way to the stairs to take a seat to stop myself from either throwing up or collapsing. Then for moving the stuff in!

Thankfully I did receive some help moving in, and later moving out (next car load) which was very much needed!

After moving in completely, moving out completely, and cleaning up completely, it was really nice to be able to enjoy the evening in the house with most of the housemates for the first night.

Although moving in was a bit stressful, I am very much so looking forward to next year, and it really is a very nice house!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Birthday weekends

My birthday is on 4th May, my cousin's is on the 6th May. It was tradition that every year we would have a birthday weekend on the May Day Bank Holiday, however as I moved to Aber last year we weren't able to do so.

On Thursday I came home for the weekend as a surprise as it was mum's birthday on Sunday. I texted my youngest sister and asked her to postpone tea for me and make sure mum didn't know. However, by the time I had arrived it was pretty clear that I was coming as Esther had asked for an extra place setting to be set for her imaginary friend... oh dear... 

We were all ready for a birthday weekend for me and mum when on Friday my aunt asked whether they should be arriving on the Friday night or the Saturday morning. My other sister (Rebekah) had invited them, which was 100% fine, but had not told mum that they had said yes! 

So Esther and myself, after a lovely walk in the grounds.... 

set to tidying the house! 

My Aunt, Uncle and two cousins were here for the Friday night and Saturday and it was a lovely day :) We sat and had a picnic breakfast and lunch in the garden while our Uncle practised his first aid for a test on us - Rebekah was awfully good at playing dead! After that we went for another walk in the grounds... there's a beautiful bit with a lake that I've never been to which shows just how lazy I am! They hold weddings by the lake - its so beautiful! We collected pine cones as well for the fire :) 

It's been a wonderful weekend, yesterday (Mum'd birthday) was wonderful too with lots of food, puzzles and a lovely walk :) 

It's been a really nice weekend just relaxing at home :)