Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’



December 28, 2009

Today we went on a voyage up the River Trent to Holme Pierpoint, where the National Water Sports center is… Matthew on Greenwood, and Dad as the Admiral of the Fleet, Mum and I on Coriander. We went underneath Radcliffe viaduct, which takes the trainline over the River Trent and the surrounding flood plane.

I’m quite proud of this photo, capturing both the Train and Greenwood crossing paths at the same time.

Matthew and Mum went on into Nottingham, so Greenwood could return to her home at Castle Marina. Dad and I went back down River, which was much quicker than the first leg of the journey!

Oh, did I mention it was -4 C. Brr.

We’re now home. Home is good. Although, it doesn’t sway in the water like the boats do!


A floating Christmas

December 27, 2009

On Boxing Day, we drove 10 and a half miles to Stoke Bardolf; where Mum and Dad’s boat, Coriander and Matthew’s boat, Greenwood have been staying for Christmas. It’s the first time since Matthew moved from Coriander (on which he had been living in Birmingham during his final year at uni) to Greenwood, when he bought his boat that the two have been reunited. It’s lovely.
Stoke Bardolf is the other side of the River Trent to our village, Radcliffe on Trent… The walk along the cliff path down to the weir is about 20minutes from home. Yet, here on the boats, we could be miles away from home.

Unfortunately, on Boxing Day, I awoke and realised I’ve hit the wall… So I’m struggling a fair amount.

When we arrived, we lit the fires on the boats, made sure they were well established and went for a short walk. It was really weird seeing St Mary’s church from this angle! I was exhausted when we got back, walking on the snow and ice was hard work! I slept.
Dad and I watched ‘Why Beauty Matters’ on iPlayer.
I discovered my ‘dongle can find enough internet connection; harah!
We ate much food.
We played games.
We went to bed. Early. Nice.
I had weird dreams.
We all got up late.
We had cooked breakfast a la father.
I slept. Mum watched films. Dad played with generator. Matthew cut down over-hanging tree.
Mum and I went for a short walk, just beyond the Lock and back, to get some fresh air and we bumped into a teacher from school!
I felt strangely home-sick, which is something I’m not familiar with. Although, I don’t think I was missing home, as in Mum and Dad’s house. I’m seriously missing LST, especially my closest friends. I need to cry so much. Yet I can’t. I’m holding it in. I can’t escape anywhere. There’s no where to hide without freezing to death.
I slept.
I played with my Final Recital program notes for Integrating Theology and Music at LST. I completed the first draft. That’s three of nine pieces of work now drafted before I return.
Mum watched more films. Dad read. Matthew played on his boat.
We ate much more food.
We washed up.
We played Pass-the-Pigs and Pic-a-stick. Both of which I was in the lead for the whole of the game, then Dad had a go which put him in the lead and decided it was the end of the game. Humph.
We went to bed. Again, early. Score. [I blogged]

Tomorrow we’re going to sail up river to Holme Pierpoint Lock (National Water-Sports Centre) in convoy with Matthew. Where we shall have a big lunch. Dad and I shall return south back to Stoke Bardolf Lock. Matthew and Mum shall continue into Nottingham, Mum helping Matthew with the Locks. Dad and I to pack the car and return home.

When we’ll be one day closer to me returning home. To LST. I’m anxious, excited, nervous, happy, scared and hopeful about it all at once. And I haven’t played my ‘Cello in about a month.


White Christmas!

December 25, 2009

So, I feel like I ought to take back all my complaining about the lack of snow here in the Trent Valley, because here in Nottinghamshire along with a few other places in the UK, we officially had a White Christmas! Amazing.

I woke (before my alarm?!) to the lawn being completely white with snow. Driving to Southwell to go to the Minster was pretty interesting this morning, but beautiful too 🙂

I hope you have all had a blessed Christmas.

I have really felt the hand of God upon mine. It’s been lovely. None of the family arguments. Much peace, laughter and goodwill.

Despite not being able to make it to a midnight communion service last night, I really appreciated us all going to the Minster this morning. It’s ages since all four of us have been to church together. And, drinking tipple with the men of the choir before the service was fun times too! It’s the first year since I was 19 that I’ve made it to a Christmas morning service, as I was either working at the hostel, or exhausted.

My main gift from Mum and Dad was a digital radio – so I can have the radio on in my room here at home, and when I return to LST. They also bought me two chains for necklaces, so I look forward to wearing them for my dissertation recital and at other times. Oh, and a pair of nice fluffy slippers to replace my tatty old ones! I was given an unfortunate amount of Chocolate, but I have been generous and given it to the rest of my family! Bless Mum and Dad – they tried so hard to buy chocolate without milk in it!

I’m really starting to notice that my health is much more balanced of late, which I’m so grateful for. Maybe my Christmas wishes are coming to fruition after all that doubt? I’m praying that the plans of the next week don’t knock me off kilter, and, if they do, that I can hold onto the fact that I am getting better.

One step at a time.



December 22, 2009

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Carol Singing

December 21, 2009

My last duty as Brown Owl.

This evening I went Carol Singing at Field House, an old people’s home in our village with the District Guides; we had Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Senior Section as well as leaders and parents.

Despite asking parents to let me know if their girls were coming or not, I only knew the daughter of the Rainbow leader was coming. In the end we had a handful of girls from each Brownie Pack, and the room was packed.

We all stand looking pretty and then all of a sudden I realise I’ve just been volunteered, by the other District Guiders and Commissioner, to co-ordinate and lead the singing! Thanks for the forewarning!

The girls sang for a good 45 minutes and seemed to enjoy it as much as the old folks did! We used the Bethlehem Carol Sheets, borrowed from the Methodist Church, which I remember being new when I was about 4! So they are a bit dog-eared now!

We were given refreshments in the dining room afterwards, when one of my Brownie Mum’s said how much they’d all (other Brownies and their parents) appreciated me taking Brownies this term. She said what a lease of life I brought to the unit, and all my efforts had been noticed! I am happy that the girls have had a bit more of the spirit of Guiding, rather than it just being another after-school club or babysitting service. And I feel blessed that at least one mother took the time to tell me so. I’m glad I made a difference, the blood, sweat and tears weren’t for nothing!

My Brownies who were there tonight didn’t want me to leave. They don’t want another set of new leaders. They don’t understand what going back to London for 5 months to complete my degree means. For 7 – 10 year olds, June is one heck of a long way away.

I will be missed.


I expected the worst

December 21, 2009

The last 48 hours of my life have been pretty awesome.

I caught a train down to London on Saturday, to spend a long afternoon with a very good friend of mine. As the train went further south, I watched the fields being covered in a thicker blanket of snow. I didn’t see any snowmen, or evidence of sledging, though, which was odd. It was lovely to see Dave again. And to see Finchley, his Church and where he lives, so now I have images in my head so when we chat, I’ll know what he’s talking about (ish). We went to a cafe for lunch, watched an old episode of Have I Got News For You from about 8 years ago, with Boris Johnson presenting. Love it! Dave didn’t even have to pretend he liked his Christmas present, which was nice! We had a pub meal on the way back to the train which was yummy. It went really quickly though, which was upsetting.
I miss being able to just hang out.
I also don’t like not knowing when I’ll see him again.

When I got back to Nottingham, it was snowing, huge snowflakes. This made me very happy! Maybe I can do this whole Christmas thing? Mum and Dad picked me up from the station and we drove home in the snow. As we got back to Radcliffe, though, it had stopped and we’d just had a light splattering of snow. Not enough to do anything with. Humph.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well I was feeling. Yes, I was physically tired and achy and in pain, but I wasn’t in the heap I’d expected following a day trip to London. This is good.

Sunday, I’d expected to have been a complete wreck, too. Having taken a while to get to sleep.
However, I got up about 12.30, maybe a bit later, cooked myself breakfast and got on with things. Mum and Dad were out moving the narrow boat [fools] so I was home alone. I had expected to be in a heap, crying all day, but I wasn’t.

I found two albums that helped me work last year. I put them on random play today, and surprisingly, I was productive!

I completed my application for the Liturgy and Music Assistant job at Southwell Minster. I received a message from Noel Tredinnick saying he’s happy to be one of my referee’s. So now I have DP, Rev’d Dr Jules and Prof Dr Noel!

While I was doing this, it started to snow heavily again in our village. So I paused Scrabble and the job application to take some pictures. Fun times.

Mum and Dad came home and we decided we’d go to St Mary’s in the village for their Carol’s by Candlelight service. It wasn’t bad, but I find it really hard to worship when things don’t run so smoothly. The choir has improved over the years, but there’s still a bunch of old women who warble and it’s just not nice choral singing. The solos were all over the shop and it wasn’t tight. Maybe I have been spoiled with my musical upbringing? And I’m used to things running like clockwork? Despite these, and other flaws I decided not to mention, I did manage to engage with God, which was ace.

I think I’m going to print out a copy of my Statement of Faith and stick it on my wall. Because writing that, and my testimony have been two really uplifting things for me this week.

I think I’ve found that place where I can stop trying so hard with God, and just be in his presence. I am feeling very positive and excited about LST work. And returning to LST. And trying to picture how I’m going to feel at the end of my Dissertation Recital, my Final Recital, and Graduation Day… It still seems far off, but yet there’s also a possibility it’s in reach. And I’m going to be as ‘beautifully stubborn’ as I can. To do my best to finish all my coursework before February, when I hope to return to LST.

I am happy. I just don’t know how long it’ll last. And I wish I could sleep without my mind going on overdrive!

The only thing is, it’s now past 4am and I’m not asleep, I’m just beginning to get sleepy tired. But I have a GP appointment at 10am. I need to talk with her about my options for completing my degree. Scary stuff.

This week I am to send off the job application, do some research for my programme notes and also some Jubilate work. As well as see friends and do Christmas. Hmm… we shall see..!


Why I believe what I believe [still work in progress]

December 19, 2009

I believe in God, who by His nature is Trinitarian; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Having grown up in a Christian environment, I had accepted the doctrine of the Trinity. The Bible clearly presents God as three distinguished, but united persons, although this is often a controversial element of the Christian faith as there is no explicit reference to the term Trinity in Scripture, Jesus refers to the three-in-one nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Moltmann states “the trinitarian persons form their own unity by themselves in the circulation of the divine life.”[1] Whilst reading The Shack, I came to a deeper awareness of the relational aspect of the Trinity. I concur with Moltmann, that the trinity is a model for our society; “a world in which human beings have all things in common and share everything with one another except their personal qualities.”[2]

I believe God existed when nothing else existed. I believe He spoke into the nothingness, creating the world and all that is in it; all that is known and unknown to humankind. I believe God created men and women in His image, to be in relationship with Him.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1).
“God created the physical and spiritual universe… ‘out of nothing,’ ex nihilo.”[3] Nothing is exactly that; not that nothing is a substance or matter which God created from. The Genesis creation story accounts for the whole of creation (Genesis 1:1-31). There are many theories as to the beginning of the world, but science cannot account for everything; there is so much we don’t know. I believe the most important fact of creation is that God was in ultimate control.
Genesis 1:27 informs us “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” We as humans are to be in relation with God; Adam names the animals, God goes walking in Eden looking for Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-3). We read throughout the Bible of the covenant relationship between God and mankind; “I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33).

Since the fall humanity has become bound to her sinful nature, falling short of God’s glory. I believe the only way we can be redeemed from our sinful nature is through sacrifice.

In Acts 14:6 Luke affirms Jesus’ teaching; “Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” This is the teaching of Christ, not a doctrine the church has developed. Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Only God’s Son could take away the sins of our world; only God’s Son could rise from the dead; in order for us to have an eternal relationship with him.

I believe the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is both fully God and fully human, made incarnate by the Holy Spirit and born of Mary, lived on earth and dwelt among us. The Son gave up Heaven to take the blame and pay the full sacrifice for our sin; the Father sacrificed his Son for our salvation. I believe that we can claim our salvation through confession and belief in Jesus Christ our Saviour.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…” (John 1:14).
“God send his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Galations 4:4-5). Grudem defines the atonement as “the work Christ did in his life and death to earn our salvation.”[4] Jesus gave up the glory of heaven to become a servant on earth (Philippians 2:7-8). “Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8); Jesus “died to sin once for all” (Romans 6:10).
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Paul writes; “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10).
Stott explains how different terms of Salvation aid our understanding. He sees the terms ‘propitiation,’ ‘redemption,’ ‘justification’ and ‘reconciliation’ as imagery to help us see the different ways we can view the work of Christ and have deeper relationship with our Substitute.[5]
“The Christian understanding of salvation presupposes that something has happened, that something is now happening, and that something further will still happen to believers.”[6]

I believe we are enabled to grow closer to God and live more Godly lives through the power of the Spirit. The Spirit lives and dwells within each believer, as a constant guide and source of strength, facilitating the presence of the Father and the Son.

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was made available for all who believed in Jesus (Acts 2:1-4). The Spirit begins the process of being united with Christ, we cannot belong to him without his Spirit (Romans 8:9, 1 Corinthians 6:17).
The Spirit is the power of our new life in Christ, as he changes us, we become more like him (Galatians 3:3, Philippians 1:6). Paul writes; “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you,” (1 Corinthians 6:19). When we are stuck for what to pray, we can call on the help of the Spirit, who intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). We also do not need to worry about what to say when we face opposition to Christ, “for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12:12). Through the guidance of the Spirit, we can have “mind[s] of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).

I believe the Biblical Scriptures are the authoritative Word of God, written by human hands, inspired by God. I believe the Holy Spirit enables us to interpret the Scriptures along with the gifts that He has given us.

Scripture affirms the authoritative nature of it’s source; “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Biblical authors were writing from their own cultural, historical and personal contexts, but they were inspired by God to write His message to us; how we can be saved, our source of knowledge and moral and ethical guidelines to adhere to.
However, I accept there are often difficulties in Biblical interpretation, to overcome the fallible human aspect, both of the authorship and the reader’s understanding. We need to use sound hermeneutic methods to avoid unnecessary confusion.
We are able to call upon the Holy Spirit, as well as the use of the gifts given to us (1 Corinthians 12), to guide and direct our reading, and aid our interpretation and understanding of the Word.

I believe the Church was established by the Son, and is the body of Christ, and He is the head of the Church. I believe our Mission as the Church is to follow the Great Commission; proclaim the Good News, make disciples, baptise and teach them to obey all that He has taught us, until He comes again. I believe one day Christ will return to meet his bride, the church, and we will be united with God and live with Him in paradise.

In Matthew 16:18, we read of the foundations of the church Jesus was beginning to build. Peter later reminds Christians that we are the church built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone (1 Peter 2:4-6). In Colossians 1:18, Paul explains how Jesus is the head of the Church, the body. “He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”
Jesus gives the Great Commission, which we read of in Matthew 28:19-20. His last words to the disciples were words of instruction. We are to obey this calling, using the gifts that we have been given to further His kingdom.

The Bible tells us of the coming of the Lord, warnings to be ready, for thieves in the night. John’s visions of the End of the world as we know it in Revelation 21 – 22 record stark contrasts with the Beginning of the world in Genesis. Satan is defeated; Sin is banished; “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,” (Revelation 21:4); Paradise is regained; Death is defeated and we will live forever in union with God.

[1] Moltmann, Trinity, In: McGrath, Theology, p266

[2] Moltmann, Trinity, In: McGrath, Theology, p266

[3] Milne, Truth, p90

[4] Grudem, Systematic, p568

[5] Stott, Cross, pp195-236

[6] McGrath, Theology, p330