Friday, June 23, 2006


Tomorrow I'll be near here. My favourite place in the world. The Buttermere valley in the Lake District. There is no other place better for my soul, and I've bagged it for the new earth. If you speak to me nicely I might let you wander the slopes with me. (as if it could ever work like that :-) There will be many moments out in the lakes, many reminders of the nature of life, the Big God we have and fun times with friends. Sadly I can never escape my sin, but there will be many reminders of grace and rest for my soul. Small dance. (I'll tell you all about them when I get back)

Here's a better reason why I love it so:

"The world we bring not here; we leave
Behind it's stormy passions, and its strife:
All that compels the noble mind to grieve
The trifles and the meannesses of life;
For in this spot where God is all in all
The world appears immeasurably small."

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I lie down and sleep. I wake again because the Lord sustains me, it's as simple and as hard as that. Within that day he provides people to remind of his grace, friends to pray with over the phone, revelation of the darkness of my heart and a strange sense of hope that I may make it home.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


A friend came round our house to celebrate her birthday, my housemate bought her a genius collection of charity shop presents. A bag with stars, because she is a star. A very victorian handmirror because she is a lady. A random Cd which looked pretty and acually was, because, well, why not. A Spot the dog collection of snap cards because she is lots of fun to be around and a Mr Motivator video, because, well, erm, 80s lycra. A joyous evening of friends and wine.


Getting up early in the morning sunshine, rolling back the cover of the outdoor pool and getting in. Lying on my back in the pool gazing up at a clear blue sky, a moon too late to bed still around and nothing but the sound of birdsong and splashing water.


The moment of sitting in Team Days and realising that God had been at work this year, and there was much to thank him for.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Sunday. Reflecting on the week I've just had and appreciating all the very good things that happened in it. Musing on how easy it is to make idols of all those things, to start loving life purely for the details rather than the One who made and gave them. Don't get me wrong, it is right and proper and joyful to dwell in the details. But they are not the ultimate point of this life. Tonight at church we took communion. I love those times because in them we get to hold our hands out and receive, we get to accept that we are in desperate need of a saviour and cannot save ourselves, we get to experience the extravagance of the Creator of heaven and earth as he pours himself out for us. The Giver, giving the best gift, himself.

And then we sang my favourite hymn, 'How great thou art'. It's a hymn I can't listen to without having images of the Lake District floating around in front of my eyes. It's a hymn that kind of sums up what I'm trying to articulate here. It starts with the majestic power of God, goes through creation and the wonders of this world (kind of what this blog wants to draw attention to) and then goes straight to the heart of this life. This God didn't spare his Son, but sent him to die to take away my sin, to bear my burden, to draw me to him. The ultimate reality is God, the director and author of life, the Father Son and Spirit drawing us into their relationship. The Giver of all these brilliant gifts. And so it is good to stop and ask the question of my soul, if I had none of these gifts would I still be satisfied with the Giver himself?

With the God of heaven and earth, with the lover of my soul, with the Father who runs to greet me, with the Son who gave himself for me, with the Spirit who is at work in me reminding me of these things. The gifts he gives us in this life are amazing, the depth, the detail, the beauty, the taste, the touch, the smell and sense. But they are not IT. They must not replace an appetite for God in my soul. The questions remain, "do I really hunger for God? Do I miss him? Do I long for him? Or have I begun to be content with his gifts?" (J.Piper- A Hunger for God). I want to feast on God, I want to drink from the inexhaustible fountain. I want to know Him. I want to ache inside for Him, I want to know Christ. I want to have these desires more than anything else. So come Lord, break through my idolatry and show me You, show me that you are better than these amazing gifts, help me revel in You, the mighty God of the universe, the tender lover of my soul, the roaring sound of the Niagara Falls and the gentle crackling of a winters fire. Come and show us you.

(much of this is owed to Mr J Piper- go and read a Hunger for God. Now.)

Saturday, June 17, 2006


It's kind of cool when once again all the things you love about life happen in one day. Sunshine, BBQ's (again), friends who ask good questions and make you think about God, cycling up hills and getting endorphine rushes, more sunshine, cherries, good chats, games, more friends, late night walks on the beach. This is what Saturdays were made for. Hoorah.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Wow, three weeks of cool stuff. That's pretty cool in itself. It will be interesting to see just how much of this relates to food by the end of the year. Today is one of those days when I have to dig deeper and force myself to think through the stuff of the day, to think above the zoned outness of my brain that has been with me throughout the day. But there are moments of greatness that occurred even on such a day. Cycling along the sea front rejoicing in freewheeling and the sparkling sea. Slobbing on the sofa waiting in anticipation for my housemate to come home so I'd have someone to talk to. Cooking the most immensely satisfying stir fry together in under 15 minutes. Looking forward to tomorrow and two days off. Looking forward to a morning when mercies will be new, the spaced outness may have gone and the sun will still be shining.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


The pure shot of adrenaline that hit me when Crouch scored in the last 10 minutes of the match today. There's nothing quite like sitting on the edge of your seat for 80 minutes, willing us to either score or stop them from scoring, and then the sweet relief of the goal. Ah. Beautiful.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Doing what it seems only true English people can do, going to the beach on a day that looks like this:

sitting in the spitting rain, eating ice cream outside shivering. Beautiful. More beautiful was the conversations which ranged from the ongoing debate as to whether Snape is evil or good, why Dumbledore would trust him if he was evil and musings on just how book 7 will end to what you can learn from the stuff about the tabernacle in Exodus.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


The first BBQ of the year at our house, big fat juicy burgers and well cooked sausages. All I can smell now is smoky BBQ smell. Mmm. The best bit has to be the glowing embers at the end, white coal with red edges. Good chats with students about what God has been doing in their lives this year. Remembering Grace and a crazy God who uses us in our weak foolishness. Happy sigh.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Driving along the A27 after a long day, the South Downs silhouetted against a glowing pink sky, mist hanging around in the valley as dusk gently guides me home.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Making roast dinner at my parents house today whilst dancing around to the new Paul Simon album. Sunday morning sunshine and funky guitar riffs. Nice.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Walking down the street in the hot summer sun. Summer is everywhere. The best smell of the summer wafting over our garden this afternoon, BBQs.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Playing the bongos in our last worship time together. Knowing the safety of my Fathers arms around me as I rest on him. Grinning inanely because there is no-where else to go to, run to or hide in. Grinning because he really does know the depths of my heart, and yet he does not leave. Grinning because it's cool to hit things in time and make songs come alive. Grinning because I know the One who invented rhythm.


Sitting around a bonfire, the last night, amusing songs played and a quieter moment descends. We sing together in the dark, encircled around the glowing embers of a dying fire, orange glow lighting up faces that have seen so much of God's work in each others lives. Amazed in this moment to see the different parts of this body and the same God who works in us all. Glad with all my heart to be alive, to be known by my Maker and the friends I have in this circle. A line from a song, and tears in my eyes as I know that one day we will be home together.
"Through many dangers toils and snares, I have all ready come.
Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."


Jonny's presentation of his year on Relay. Seeing God's clear work in his life. Tears because it was born out of struggle and pain but led to maturity and growth. The crazy nature of this kingdom.


Conversations about the ridiculous grace of God. Realising that God isn't a God with a big stick shouting at us to get on with this life, but a God who lovingly, patiently and kindly will equip us to keep going and keep us in the hard times. Repeating that over and over again to myself. It's all about the character of God, when I remember he is Good and Kind I can keep walking because he enables me to. When I forget that I don't want to walk anymore.


Catching up from being on Relay 3. There really are too many beautiful moments from this week but here's at least one from each day of the conference. First up.

Driving up the drive to the Quinta. Feeling all the old memories, of the many times I've been there before, wash over me. Remembering converstations with friends, moments of reality with my Maker, moments of doubt and moments of excitement, nerves and joy. Meeting up with old friends again and laughing so hard it made all the muscles in my stomach cry out in pain. Gratitude to be back in community.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Waking up in the morning and thinking, ok God, so I want to sin, I want to turn my back on you, and then remembering that there has got to be another way, apparently in God is better joy than in my sin. Wanting that to be true. Picking up the Bible and reading about the amazing outpouring of God's love on his rebellious people in Jeremiah 31.

Reading The Ragamuffin Gospel in the sun and being reminded that we have a God who lavishes love on us, who doesn't wait for us to be in the 'right place' to come back to him, who just wants us and our brokenness.

Watching the OC and an AA meeting on it, realising that's all church is, us in our brokeness admitting our need and a God who longs for us to receieve.

Sitting in the Sun and listening to Paul Simon belt out the intro to "Me and Juilo down by the school yard".

Getting to the end of a long day tempted to sleep in a grump, but realising that there really is stuff to be thankful for.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


On a day of such sorrow, and wishing once again that I had the magic wand to take away a friends situation, it was strange, yet fitting, to realise with her such beauty and joy in the world as well. The light and dark of life sit well together. Like the rays of light that pierce through dark thunder clouds. We agreed this positive out look thing on life was good, not denying the dark and pain, but seeing the light in the days. Maybe Karine Polwart can put it better than I, "There are better days gone than those that remain, but I can find joy in the sound of the rain, you have to find joy where you can." So we reveled in chocolate cake, a beautifully sunny day, blue skies, wandering around Wimbledon Village looking at the posh pretty things in the posh pretty shops, beautiful jugs in a Kitchen shop, iced tea and traditional lemonade drunk whilst sitting on the common, talking to the one who brings meaning and light into the dark and delighting in old memories together. And of course, getting to ride in her Honda S2000. (a definite change from our Relay Days when she drove a beat up Metro...nice to appreciate the difference!) MMMMMmmmmm.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Lunchtime, Demelza, Lizzi and Nay, bagels thrust into the oven, bacon frying in the pan. Rocket, tomatoes and cream cheese added. A prayer. Thanks to the one who makes it possible and speaks into our lives. Munching on food. Chatting about life. Eating fresh cherries. Grace at the core of the storm of our lives.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Gazing out of the train window this morning to see a man walking on the platform, spots of rain fell from the sky and he made the classic all time "is it raining?" gesture. He raised his palm to the sky to see if rain was falling. I don't think I've ever seen someone do that before, not in a serious way anyway. And he was very serious and unselfconsciousness about it. I think that was the thing that impressed me the most. His complete unawareness that he might look a bit foolish raising a palm to the sky to see if it was raining.