29 May 2012

Glory = Weighty

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to flesh out a little on this ace sermon I heard on Sunday. If you want to listen to it yourself you can right here (the sermon is called Weight of Glory by Andrew Wilson)

Now I liked it for 3 reasons (I could be doing a sermon myself here! Ha)
#1. It was looking at a part of the Bible I don't read hardly at all because it's really hard to understand. Revelation is the last book of the Bible and if you read it even as a Christian you can get a little confused/scared/totally bewildered. This talk was all about Revelation 4:1-11. He broke each verse down and explained actually what is going on, how much is symbolism, how much is cultural references etc. I like that because I could actually follow what is going on. He didn't assume that people already know loads because when it comes to this part of the Bible I know very very little.

#2. It made me re-assess my view of God. I think often I put God into this box of what he can and cannot do in my life and in the world. The guy speaking used this illustration of looking at how we often say that God created the world...then showed a picture of the earth. He then showed the earth in comparison the the other planets and showed how the earth is actually somewhere in the middle with regards to size. He then showed the earth in comparison to the sun (it's very small), he then showed the sun in comparison to other suns (by this point the earth cannot be seen at this scale), he then showed the sun compared to the biggest sun we know of (our sun was 1 pixel). And made the comment that we often think we are the centre of the universe....uh...clearly not. I far FAR too often forget that I serve a God who is in control of EVERYTHING. Like he holds the stars in place, knows when a single bird falls to the ground, sustains everything by his word...that is insane when you try to think about it. And verse 3 of that passage says he does that all from sitting on a throne - he isn't stressed out or rushing around. He is in complete control because he is bigger than I am and is not limited by the constraints of a human body/mentality that I am. It was good to be reminded of how much bigger he is.

#3. It was really challenging. You may have read in my last post about my excitement that the word "glory" literally translated means "weighty". So when we talking about God being glorious we are actually saying he is richer, fuller, deeper than we are - he displaces everything. The speaker used this illustration of having a washing up bowl of water and saying we were the water, he then put this piece of paper on top and it floated there. His point was that many of us love God and like him to be in our lives, love the fact that he loves us unconditionally and that he is always there for us, but we haven't grasped WHO God is - like his is magnificent! He then had a brick which he threw into this bowl and the water went EVERYWHERE. He was saying that when we really get who God is and how totally mind-blowingly-vast he is, our lives are completely displaced by the weight of his glory. We will act differently because we realise we have constant access to a God who is always capable, we will be secure in who we are because there is a God who created heavens and all of the worlds beautiful places who also took the time to knit us together inside our mums. 

Now for me it was a challenge because I think I have been in the place where my life has been impacted by who God is....but then I have gotten lazy or forgotten his amazing-ness. I want to live in that place of trusting in a God who controls everything from a seated, calm, loving position.

28 May 2012

A busy yet relaxing weekend

So you may have noticed I have eased off the blog the last few days and that was because I was having too much fun being outside. I'll give you a little low-down...

Work as normal until 3 when I went to pick up my friend Rhiannon who I used to work with in Aberystwyth. She had come down for a visit mainly because I wanted her to play in the charity netball match we were having against Moonpig that afternoon. So yes XLP were playing Moonpig  in both a football and netball match. I was in charge of organising the netball team and to be honest it was a right faff. You would think it would be easy to get 10 people (not even just girls) who would want to play a game of netball on a  Friday afternoon....oh no...I had people dropping out left, right and centre. It was crazy - I know I am quite into sports, but I didn't realise how much other people hate them. 
Anyway so the game was fantastic (mainly because we won) but also because it re-kindled my love of netball. Oh my word I was loving it. I was probably getting a little too into it considering we were just playing them as a friendly. But yes the final score was 10-7. Straight after I was off to a project I run taking Rhi with me to see some of the work I do.
After this we decided to go for a victory drink and my friend Tom (Smith...you might remember him from previous blog posts) came and joined the two of us and two of my team mates. Totally chilled way to end the week.

Got up really leisurely. Rhi really really wanted to go to Chelsea to see if she could star spot any of the celebs from "Made in Chelsea"...I have to confess I haven't seen any of this show but she is convinced that they are all amazing. So we had a wander and I was totally enraptured by Chelsea market outside the Saatchi Gallery - if you are hungry DON'T GO THERE....so much beautiful looking food on sale. We spent the day seeing Buckingham Palace, sunbathing and getting free ice cream in Covent Garden :) win. Another winner of a day.

Church in the morning which was fantastically challenging. Really made me reassess how big God is and how his glory* is magnificent. I took some notes and may well blog in more depth about it later in the week. 
After Church I went straight to Tom's house because my friend Sarah (a.k.a Ralphy) had arrived and we were all getting ready to attend the BAFTAs. Yes that's right the British Academy Film and Television Awards...! Now the BAFTAs these days is actually split so the film BAFTAs happen in March at the Royal Opera House and the TV ones are in May at Royal Festival Hall so that's where we were going. It was a bit insane to be honest. I couldn't quite get my head around it...walking down the red carpet was just surreal. Everyone was looking at you clearly thinking "are they famous...?" I managed to make it down the carpet without tripping which had been my worry and then we were very briskly whisked off to a balcony before all the real celebrities arrived. 

Now I am not a massive TV fan, I don't own one, I rarely watch iplayer or equivalents and I don't really have time to watch anything religiously. However after attending this I did think I need to watch some more - honestly some of the programmes nominated for awards looked fantastic. I am a Sherlock fan and so was a little disappointed that Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) didn't win best leading actor, but his colleague Andrew Scott (Moriarty) won best supporting actor so that was ok. The whole thing was a little weird because all the plebs were up in the top circle miles away from all the celebrities. Sad times. I was looking forward to trying to blag that I had starred in something...no such luck. After the awards we went and got some dinner along South Bank...I don't really know how you beat that kind of a day.

All in all had a winner of a weekend. 

* Did you know that the original translation of glory means "weighty", so when we talk about God's glory we are talking about his "weightyness" and how his glory displaces other things.....more to come....

24 May 2012

My best guy friend

Do you know who it is?

I promise this is not my boy friend...but every girl should definitely have a best guy friend.

Mine is.....
That's right....TOM SMITH

a.k.a: Smithy, Tommo, Smithers, Oh

There are many reasons why I love Smithy and I will list a few so you can understand why he is a quality guy.

  • He is really good at laughing at himself (and me)
  • He is incredibly generous
  • He has been my "date" to a ridiculous amount of events over the last few years (see below)

  • He is the world's most qualified usher
  • He has a car
  • He is a very good listener and advice giver
  • I lived with him (and Tim and Lee) in my final year at uni and I still love him....that's got to say something!

  • We got fake engaged and started a whirlwind reaction with this photo

  • He's been there for significant events in my life

  • He makes me laugh A LOT

  • We have a really chilled out friendship where we can totally rip each other and it's ok...and we know FAR TOO MUCH about each other

  • Lastly he's the only guy I know who would willingly brave Oxford Street in 29 degree heat with me to help me buy shoes.

So Tommo - this one's for you. Love* to the max. x

* NOTE: Very platonic, sisterly love...for all you matchmakers out there...

23 May 2012

Bet you never knew...

I have realised that a number of people reading this blog might not know too much about me...

So here are some random facts to help you get who I am a bit more:

  • I LOVE travelling - anywhere. I have a huge love of Africa though
  • When I was 6 I won the Courtesy Cup which was a cup that one person won every term for being very polite  
  • My favourite food is either Reece's Peanutbutter Cups or bacon
  • I have been to the Caribbean (2007 on Cricket Tour)
  • I am half American - my Dad is from Streator, Illinois
  • I LOVE the sea! (as shown in this picture)
  • I became a Christian when I was 11
  • My first kiss was when I was 17 to someone I had known for 4 days
  • I find it really hard to pay for things under £5 on card...it just doesn't seem right to me
  • Every year I have a few days where I will sneeze HUNDREDS of times! But then I have a really long sleep and I'll be fine.

So that's 10 things about me....
give me 10 things I might not know about you!

20 May 2012

Being blessed

Quick one today. But not a little topic... 

I have had a pretty tough couple of months but recently I have been struck by how much God has and is blessing me. 


  • I have a stable, fun, fulfilling job at a time when many people are without work
  • I live in a place where I have access to everything I could need or want
  • I have opportunities to develop my passions
  • I have friends who I can laugh with
  • My team love me enough to have bought me a hamster
  • People are constantly encouraging me
  • I have a Church which is a welcoming community to me
  • I was given a bike on extended loan today!
God has provided for my every need. Sometimes I think it's easy to see what I don't have rather than what I do. I have a flipping good deal right now - I can't really complain at all!

19 May 2012

Lessons from Noah (as in who built the ark)

So I managed to survive my mental week relying on the prayers of many of my very faithful friends and a God who is able to provide what we need when we need it. There was a point on Thursday morning when I genuinely didn't think I was going to be able to keep going, I was worried I had already hit the exhaustion barrier but God was gracious to me and filled me up with energy which pushed me through til last night when I slept from 10pm-11am today. Oh it was so so good.

Today I have just been chilling, trying to recharge the ole batteries and get ready for another week that hopefully won't be quite as jam-packed but will no doubt have unexpected things arise. I have also been trying to take time to reflect. I spoke at 2 different events this week and even though the topics were really different the main message was kind of the same: We need to spend more time with God.

On Wednesday I was doing a recap of a sermon we had had at Church a couple Sundays before. It was all about Noah and why he was a "Hero of the Faith" (Hebrews 11). The main thing I drew out from it was that Noah knew God. Like he prioritised knowing God. It meant he was able to make wise decisions and be known for being righteous. It meant he knew God could be trusted even though he was doing something insane; it was right because God had asked him to do it. Noah only was able to build the ark because he knew God's voice, he loved and trusted him, and he cared more about God than about what people thought. That all came from spending time and prioritising God. 

I want to be like that. I want to know God that much. I doubt it's like a level on a computer game that you reach and think "phew I'm here", I'm sure it's a journey that is relentless and where as much as you want to move forward, sometimes there will be times when it seems like you are going back. But I don't want that to put me off because I want to be a person that God can trust with a big vision. I want to be someone who knows his voice and trusts him. I want to be someone who cares about him more than what others think. 

I am so not anywhere near there, but I want that to be my aim.

15 May 2012


This week more than any other I am having to wear a multi-task hat. There is SO much going on.

Normally I have a team of 5 to generally boss around and get to help me, but for various reasons this week that has been depleted to 2 sometimes 3. Now normally that would be ok because most of our sessions we could just about run with that number of leaders...but this week not only have we got our normal timetable (which is really full) we are also doing 3 assemblies in Tunbridge Wells. Plus I am speaking on Wednesday night and on Friday night at 2 different events. 


So today I have needed to lead a team meeting, run a lunch club, buy food for and run a youth club, get home and pack to come back to Tunbridge Wells, buy prizes, feed the hamster, go to a Freedom in Christ course I am doing, get on the train to get home, finish the assembly powerpoint....sleep. I feel like my brain is constantly thinking of where I am going to fit things in - it's like a giant game of tetris but instead of blocks, the things dropping are slots of time to use for planning/writing/packing/eating etc. 

I have always thought I can multitask quite well but seriously this is on another level. 

How do you cope when you have a ridiculously busy week with loads to remember?

12 May 2012

Sharing is caring

Some of you who know me well may well know that the title of this post is one which has been a bit of a "Naomism" for the last few years - along with "I'm not going to lie" and "fair play".

I have always been someone who loves to have deep friendships - I like being real with people and getting that back. I think somewhere along the line since graduating I have stopped investing into those types of friendships. Whether its because the people who were that have moved away and its been hard to maintain, or whether its because I have been lazy and haven't wanted to invest into new people...I've stopped being real, being accountable, being deep.

My Church before Easter was doing a serious called "From rows to circles" where it was trying to encourage the Church as a whole to embrace being a community and building relationships outside a Sunday morning. There was a recurring phrase that has stuck in my head. "You can only be loved to the extent that you are known". So if people don't know you very well then they can't love you as much, or in the way that you need. 

Moving to a new place I think changes you. Well it's changed me at least, whether I have chosen it or not I have become a bit more introspective and moving from that to going back to sharing is scary. What happens if I share too much, what happens if I scare people away with honesty? 

In the last week I have probably shared more than I have in over 18 months. 

It's been good. It was risky, but it was good.

Are you are sharer?
Do you like talking deeply or do you find it too intense?
In your experience is sharing good or bad?

9 May 2012

Cricket and Aber

From my last few posts you might be thinking that I have become a manic depressive...and this post is to prove that that is NOT the case.

This last weekend was a bank holiday and as such it was the annual "Old Girls" Cricket match. I travelled back to Aberystwyth to take part because it was my first year as an old girl and I was looking forward to playing my first game in over a year. Many of you may not know that before Aber I hadn't really played cricket before. My friend Claire wanted to join the club and wanted someone to go with so I said I would go. LOVED IT.

This is in fact the only pic I can find of me in Cricket kit. and I believe it was a day when I was doing a forfeit for some reason and so had to wear the frog shower hat ALL game!

This was our team last year before I left. Quite a crazy bunch of characters. I think that's what I liked about the club. There were people on it who apart from cricket had literally nothing else in common and yet we all became really good friends. There is always lots of banter in the club about who's doing what and who made an idiot of themselves when and while I think in other clubs that could potentially get quite bitchy - I think we had a good boundary of just wanting to have a laugh at ourselves and each other. Everyone had a bit of a crazy streak...

...as this picture shows...! Ever heard of awkward animals? Well I am sporting the "awkward turtle" see if you can distinguish between the elephant and the giraffe. 

Anyway, for the first time in a long while the Old Girls beat the current team. It was a very fun match (I took 2 wickets which made me happy) and was so good to see some of the girls again. It's a tradition that the night before the game the Old Girls and current girls go out and have to match each other drink for drink. Not going to lie this always makes the game a bit more interesting to see who will vom on the pitch and who will make it to the boundary but we did well this year. Thankfully I missed that part. We also go out the night after the match to celebrate/commiserate - while I am no advocate of getting drunk, I do really enjoy the chance to spend time with the girls and enjoy a fun night with them. One of the pubs was open til 6am for us...I left at a respectable 3am and was met for breakfast by someone who had stayed until 5:30....insane!

Aberystwyth still has a lot to charm me. Despite being different every time I go due to various people coming and going, it still makes me happy to be there. I love the sea. I actually love it - every time I'm there I have to go see it and just breathe in the sea air. Sounds weird but I find it so refreshing and just peaceful. 

Cricket and Aber - two things to cheer me up

8 May 2012


Today I have cried. A lot.

It's not just because I am hormonal. It's because I am sad too. I'm really sad today.

I believe in a God who brings hope to EVERY situation but there are times when it is really hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. When it is hard to trust that he has a plan or that he is in control. 

There are times when even though I know God brings hope, I feel hopeless. Linking up the two is hard. And sometimes I can't link them up. When that happens I cry. 

Thankfully God is God. He can do all things. He brings hope in all situations - even when I'm crying. 

3 May 2012


This is a song that I am listening to on practically repeat.

It's helping me to breathe easier


Back on the planet

Yes I know I have been absent for a while. In fact I haven't blogged in over 6 weeks. I think I was struck by how that was potentially an issue when one of my friends told me she felt like I had "dropped off the face of the planet". Yes I haven't been communicating to my "normal" extent but I wanted to let you guys know why...or maybe this is just to get my own head around why that is.

So as far as I can tell there are 3 reasons why.
#1. New facebook. Honestly it is so flipping annoying. I worked out yesterday that all the statuses I was putting up or things I was posting was only visible to me because I hadn't changed the privacy setting thing that they have introduced. Frustrating.com. So that is not really my fault because I just didn't realise.

#2. Work. The weeks running up to Easter and since I have been back from a week off I have literally been working non-stop. We had my Boroughs Arts Showcase which was really fantastic - all the acts were just insane. If you want to see a bit what they were like here are the 3 who have gone through to the final
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zb6AgA8YOo - Charlie turned up and decided to sing without any type of backing track
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI9f98DDAZI&feature=relmfu - Hayley has never had any type of dance lessons - she just has taught herself from youtube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBzsNYcgoJk&feature=relmfu - Taliyah wrote this song in memory of her Aunt who died last year. 
So doing this show took up 2 weekends and then last weekend I took 22 young people to Snowdon to climb the mountain. Most of the kids haven't been to Wales before, they generally don't see huge green spaces in their day to day lives and it was a huge challenge for them to climb the mountain. But all of them made it to the top! We also did some gorge-walking with them which was an experience for everyone in 2degree weather. 
Work has been taking over my life. I have always said that I wanted to have a good balance of work and play but recently it has defo been more work focused. Thankfully I have a day off today to catch up on a few things...like having fun!

#3. I have been pretty down. Maybe its because I have been working loads, maybe its because I haven't been able to see my friends barely at all, maybe its because I've had to make some hard decisions. But I think I have been pretty down and I know that because when I get down I want to introvert and hide. Which is effectively what I have been doing by not blogging and not talking about how I am feeling. I instead have been thinking (probably far too much) and not having time to just be. 

But I guess I want to put a line in the sand and say that whatever is going on I don't want to just hide away, but I want to deal with things and change my life so that I can have fun. I spoke to my line manager about potential changes I can implement soon so I am looking forward to getting a bit more of a grip on the amount I am working. I began a Freedom In Christ course this week which has been surprisingly encouraging. It's not new stuff I am hearing but it's being reminded of things I have forgotten or not been living in. I like it. 

Anyway, I'll try to be better at being on the planet - in the mean time thanks for not forgetting about me.