Church Event

Wonderful Sleep

I haven’t slept properly for a long time. I think it’s probably related to the loss of Dan, but that aside I was getting more tired and more intolerant and nastier by the week.

My brain just wouldn’t stop. I’d be at best on pause for a few hours and then my brain would pick up from exactly where it left off.

Until last night. during the day yesterday I spoke to a few friends who stated the obvious to me (obvious to any christian anyway): get someone to pray for me about it.

So I did. I got two friends, a married couple who have children my age to pray with me over the issue of not being able to get good quality sleep. I didn’t feel much difference, no great emotional anything, but I did notice that I felt rather calmer than I had before.

Come the end of the evening, I got home, made a drink and headed for bed. Going to bed late frequently means I won’t sleep well, that I’ll wake even more often than I would otherwise. I didn’t turn off the light til just after midnight. I did wake before the alarm but when I noticed the amount of light in the room and the time I wasn’t bothered at all: it was 06:30, I’d slept all that time without waking once.

I’m still quite tired, its been a busy weekend, and I was supremely tired before, but I honestly believe that the insomnia is gone and that I will catch up the rest of the missing sleep over the coming days.

Thank you, loving heavenly Father for giving the gift I most needed when I asked for it.

Categories: Church Event, Dan, Hope, Life | 1 Comment

RAW 2012: of muddy knees and great days


My final RAW event has happened and passed. It was good.

There were the trials of pitching a tent in the rain and trying to dry out and warm up, of sorting transport on a daily basis having arrived on foot, growing more tired as the broken nights got cold.

Then there were the amazing moments like finding that someone was willing to help and cheerfully doing so in the face of my tired and frustrated grumpiness.

The meetings were inspirational, truths that I thought I’d learned years ago becoming new and vibrant again.

RAW outdoors was fun, out in the city centre both days, singing, testifying, dancing, handing out sweets, bungee run, all sort of fun things to to that make everyone smile.

But this is it, I can’t report on next years’ RAW event as I’ll be too old to attend. I’ve been putting in some thought on this and that fact is actually not a bad thing.

We never stop learning through our lives, and RAW is for a specific age group. Its now time for me to go on and learn new things and build on what I learned before. Nursery is fun but you don’t learn to read there, that’s for the next stage, primary school; and at primary school you don’t learn complex maths, that’s for secondary school. In other words, I learned a lot in JGen, but I have to move on now as there is work to do with what I learned and more to learn yet.

So even while I wipe my tears at the end of an era, I’m already looking to see what’s coming next.

Here Goes!

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The enormity of it


Last weekend was our annual Church Growth conference. I missed the last one as I was working all the hours God sent and then a few more. I was looking forward to it, the chance to see my friends and generally catch up and hear more about the vision for the church.

The day was a good one: meeting people, looking after people, being challenged and uplifted. Then there was one of the highlights in an already fairly good day. I managed to chat for a minute with Tom.

I don’t see T0m very much any more, but I used to do domestic work where he lives and saw him from time to time. Tom was blind and waiting for a guide dog.  Except that now he no longer needs a guide dog. The morning after I posted “Dear Dan” Tom woke up and realised he could see. After six months of blindness, the precious gift of sight, given back to him. I’ll spare you the details of the condition, but the likelihood of this happening was so remote it just wasn’t going to happen.

Back to the point. I literally only got a minute with Tom, but I suddenly realised that he had never seen my face. He was blind in one eye when we first met and within a few weeks was totally blind. I remember tweeting a few minutes later “The miracle of it. Tom with his sight. Walking around, greeting people he hasn’t seen in months even though we’ve seen him.”

Even now, five days later my eyes keep filling with tears. I love a God who is capable of returning sight to a blind young man. I’ve witnessed the healing. I saw him before, shellshocked and frightened and isolated. I saw him on saturday, walking without guidance, smiling and laughing, greeting people.

My God, how great You are.

You can read a first-person account of the Monday Morning Miracle here.

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The slowness of the Post-Christmas three days

I’ve been feeling bogged down by this virus today, to my shame I only just managed to get dressed before my groceries arrived. But I have eaten and rested and done some sorting out and planning and I think I’ve managed to retrieve the day. I’ve even found my bike lights, ready for a trip later this week… out on the bike where they’ve been for the last six months – oops!

I can report that yesterday I went out on the Kings House Annual Christmas Outing, which was delayed due to Christmas day falling on Sunday and lots of people having things to do on Monday. There were quite a few of us and we went to Arrow Valley Lake. It was enjoyable although I completely neglected to take any photographs. I’m sorry. I’ll try harder and get something for later this week. It’s a good place to walk, with an easy walk and a longer walk, depending on your ability. I took the shorter one and had some good chats.

Now, back to my list of what I do and don’t need for my next trip! Food is off the list as I’m having lunch with someone, and checking bike tyres needs to be on it as it will save me getting bus fares at each end of the trip.

See you soon!

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Not one moment

Last week was pretty hectic. Starting with someone’s fatal road accident that prevented me from getting home one day, continuing through the first week of a New Friends course at Church, and ending with a busy weekend spend partly on the M6 and partly in Liverpool. It was good but I was Tired!

I’ve been trying to catch up on sleep and housework since then and it hasn’t been easy. Ever tried doing laundry with your eyes shut? Don’t. You’ll find that your best black trousers are staining a boil wash and your favourite white top is irretreivably ruined (not really but comes close!)

This evening I found myself in tears while a conversation about a friend’s new baby went on around me. A whole box of memories and emotions suddenly exploded inside my head and I had no defence against them. Over the meal two of my best friends managed to help me smile again and over the dishes some others had me laughing like a loon. It was good.

And then in the dark in the car it all came back. Six years of dealing with memories and laying things to rest was back in a moment and I was fighting the tears and painful memories again. Then the CD player kicked in, and it was a track about not being alone. I remembered the truth of some of the facts. Yes its been a hard road and yes there are scars but you know what? Not one inch of that road was walked alone. Not one moment of this horrible few years has been lived alone.

God has seen it all, cried through it all, walked with me through it all. I was never alone and that is why I’m doing as well as I am, I’m emotionally battered, true; but I could have given in to the pain and gone in a different and much worse direction.

God has taken many forms, the arms of brothers, sisters, parents, friends. Phone calls to and from people. Everything has meant a huge amount to me and no matter how small it was I know it helped me walk the next step.

Truly, I am blessed and grateful.

Categories: Church Event, Dan, Fear, Hope, Life, observations | Leave a comment

Godspeed, Cyril

“If I should die and leave you here awhile,
Be not like other, sore undone, who keep
Long vigils by the silent dust, and weep.
For my sake turn again to life and smile,
Nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do
Something to comfort weaker hearts than thine.
Complete those dear unfinished tasks of mine
And perchance I may therein comfort you.”

I do not know the author of this short piece, I don’t pretend I am clever enough to write something like this myself.

Cyril passed away recently and it was his funeral today. It was a standing room only affair, he was well loved in the church. The stories bought more than one laugh, and as expected, more than one tear.

I almost didn’t go at all. Mum is away caring for my cousins while their mother is in hospital, Marygrace had to take her son to hospital today. I was It as far as housework was going today and most of that wasn’t going to happen. Then my dad and Lee helped out, dad helped with dinner prep and Lee did a load of cleaning.

I was half an hour late and had to stand right at the very back. My feet were killing – its not every day I subject them to 3” heels. The wind had messed up my hair and the suit hadn’t been quite enough to keep the wind from chilling me and I was feeling pretty fed up.

Then I started listening. The stories of Cyril’s rebelling against the system, Cyril loving people, Cyril loving God, Cyril fighting on even when illness started slowing him down. The memorable thing that was said of him was that his fighting spirit was never more obvious than when he became really ill, he kept on keeping on long after many others would have given up.

Now I’m back from the funeral and the suit jacket should be back on the hanger but isn’t yet, but the dinner is done and I’m taking the chance to lie down in a quiet room with my sore feet and swollen ankles up, I’m glad I pushed through and went to say Godspeed. (Even if it did pelt down with rain at the committal!)

Its been a good day overall and about to be a good evening. I best change out of the rest of this suit though first!

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Quiet Sunday in September

I’ve been doing normal sunday things today. Well kind of. I didn’t do much knitting and I was annoyed by that as I have projects I really want to get on with but can’t because this silly scarf is still on my pet pair of short needles. Rah.

I’ve been mentally preparing for the high winds expected tomorrow when the remnants of Hurricane Katia arrive tomorrow. I’m pretty sure it will be nowhere near hurricane force but we haven’t had serious wind that required met office warnings for years so I’m a bit bothered about it.

On the subject of knitting, I’ve just looked across the room and seen a completed project that needs to be washed and dried and mailed to its new owner. Talk about chasing tails.

There is one tiny fact that I noticed today. Someone else has begun calling me Rae. I really do like being called Rae, and I nearly hugged the person in question for doing it, except that they would probably have fallen over backward with surprise if I had. *short pause to picture the scene and chuckle*

I was proud of Stephen tonight, he did a really good job of speaking in the evening, all about the love of Jesus. He put his own angle on it and I thought it was great.

Categories: Church Event, Fun Stuff, Life, observations | Leave a comment

The rest of the Winning Weekend 2010

I’ve really left it far too long to give a good accounting of the bank holiday. I made no notes (more fool me) and having left it this long what I can remember is getting fuzzy. Nevertheless, I’ll put down what I can remember.

The weather was pretty typical for a bank holiday when I’m going to be outside – rain and sun combined. We were spared the hail and thunderstorms that I have previously experiences, but it wasn’t particularly warm or settled in the way I would have liked.

My strongest memory of the weekend is of meeting with friends. Some of the people I saw I haven’t seen in months, so these times are pretty special like that; bringing together people from all over the country and cementing friendships. One thing that made me a little sad was the knowledge that while I had missed one bank holiday weekend with these special people, this particular weekend was the only one my parents had been able to attend with the ill-health and subsequent passing away of my grandparents. I was glad they were there but a little sad at the reason for their missing two previous ones.

Once again, the prayer and worship and ministry was particularly moving. Due to a lack of notes I can’t actually tell you what was talked about, but I do recall it being right. Time and again something I’d been concerned about was addressed and discussed.

One truly amazing thing I noted was this: I’d arrived at the tent not being too sure what was coming and privately concluding that the experience I’d had at RAW couldn’t possibly be repeated – except that it was, and a small voice in my head was saying “not replicated? I was there and I am here, it’s the same Spirit, simply a greater range of ages” That told me!

23 hours of meetings and hours spent with people is exhausting, no matter how lovely those people are. Each night I got home and fell through my front door and into bed, knowing that I had to get what sleep I could since tomorrow would be just as tiring.

On Sunday I was received into membership once again. It was a little surprising since I only had literally a few seconds’ warning that it would be happening. More than one of my friends was baptised, which was great. Sometimes a friend getting their heart’s desire is a wonderful thing to watch.

It’s more than a year since Noel passed away, but the church isn’t losing it’s way. It’s not a monument to Noel Stanton, its a group of people who love and worship God and fellowship together. I love that. I miss Noel, no doubt about it; but I love that the focus is still God and not the man who led us for so many years.

God bless

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The bank holiday always starts on Friday

I said I’d post about the bank holiday weekend, and I’ve left it at least a week. That’s almost deliberate to be honest; I was very tired after it and while trying to sleep it off all kinds of things happened and I got a virus and on the story goes.

Let me tell you about Friday; all good bank holiday weekends begin on a Friday (some would say that the weekend begins on Friday). Having let the man from the electricity have his way with the meter in the cupboard, I ate lunch, sorted a packup and got on the bus. I took public transport to the Marquee site partly because I wasn’t sure if someone was going who could give me a lift and partly as a demonstration to myself that I could do it and had what it took to get myself to something I wanted to do without being carted around the countryside. This is in no way a slight on the people who kindly give me lifts, it was a challenge to myself not to be lazy and reliant on other people.

Anyhoo, a bus, train and another bus later, along with a short trip into the supermarket on the way, I arrived at the marquee in time to eat my tea along with the set-up crews and Karen; and then help out while various other people arrived at the marquee site and chatted in the way that is normal and expected on Friday night.

Friday night of a Jesus army bank holiday weekend starts with an informal meeting, lots of chat, lots of laughing, hot drinks, snacks and the like. After a good hour and a half of chat and catching up with friends the music group for the evening struck up and we sang together. It was an incredible time of worship and prayer.

Friday night of a bank holiday weekend is not an official or main event, it’s optional. A lot of people decide that since it’s an optional and informal event they’ll give it a miss and do their normal friday thing and not go until the Saturday afternoon event. I have personally always found the friday night events to be unmissable events. They are a very different style to the rest of the weekend, but that simply makes them more special. There was a lot of laughter over things like the choice between wellies and rigger boots and other footwear and who might have made the best choice.

Nothing quite beats laughing with a friend you haven’t been able to chat with properly for a couple of months and believe me, we all made up for it! Finally Beckie and her friends and I all loaded into Beckie’s car and did an errand before dropping me at the train station to make my way home again. I had checked the train times, and I knew that no matter what time things finished I would manage to get the train home. What I wasn’t so certain of was the busses. I knew what time the last one ran but didn’t know if the train would get me in on time… It didn’t. I missed the last bus out to my house by 10 minutes which meant a 45 minute walk back.

My feet were still reminding me about it when I woke up. I can tell you that retro linoleum flooring does have a purpose in this world – cooling off sore feet.

Categories: Beginning, Church Event, Food, Travel | 2 Comments

In a roundabout way

I’ve just attended the mJa Winning weekend in Northamptonshire. I’ll blog about it in a bit more detail soon, but I want to talk about something else I’ve been reminded of first. We sang a song that made me cry. There was a line in it that said “I surrender my need to be seen to be strong” I just recalled all the times when I’ve told Twitter “I can’t pretend I’m strong enough any more” and then shut everything off and cried.

I do want to get away from harping on about how bad this year has been; how much I’ve had to fight through, how often I’ve had to just keep on keeping on, how often depression has taken me off at the knees and made even the choice of what to eat or drink too hard to make. The song told me that it was OK to set it all down. It went on to tell me that I was loved with a wonderful love, and that Love would change me if I just let it.

I type this with an aching throat. The knowledge that I can set down one more heavy load and let Someone bigger than me carry it and love me just makes me cry all over again, the comfort in knowing that can’t be put into words.

This was going to be a very self pitying post today, I was going to vent it all, tell about how hard it’s been to function, all sorts of whingeing. I don’t need to. Yes it’s been a hard year, lots of big and tough changes, but none of it has been dealt with alone. I’m never alone, even when I shut the door of my flat at the end of the evening.

Sometimes a realisation is as simple as hearing a song in Church.

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