Monday, May 26, 2008

the surrey county show

Today Frances and I went to the Surrey County Show, the English equivalent of an American County Fair. Despite a cold, windy, and rainy day we had a great time! It was much more of a farm show than the County Fairs I went to when I was little (of course what I mostly remember is all the rides and cotton candy). There were lots of stalls selling outdoor farm clothing; wellies, bush hats, moleskin trousers, etc. We saw:
Sheep Shearing
A weirdly shaped Duck
Lots of Chickens
and Horses. We also saw pigs, sheep, caged birds (including some beautiful Finches), a petting zoo full of animals. A man with a parrot on his shoulder. Flower arrangements, Bee keepers, tractors, a bird dog demonstration, falcons, a European Eagle Owl, and plenty of other things I can't remember right now. We were soaking wet, cold, and more than ready for a cup of tea when we got home, but it was a really fun day!
And I got to wear my baseball hat!

Friday, May 23, 2008

my hometown

This is Charlotte, my hometown, as seen from South Blvd somewhere past Carraba's (one of my favorite restaurants) and near the pancake place I've never actually eaten at.

It was just voted the #1 City in America, for good reason in my opinion.

The Queen City. It really is a beautiful place, I miss it...

Friday, May 16, 2008

old hymns

One of my favorite hymns (possibly my very favorite, definitely the one I sing the most) is "My Jesus, I Love Thee." In March I rewrote it (well, the two verses I know without prompting) during a slot in the prayer room:

My Jesus, I love you. I'm so thankful you are mine. I'll give up everything for you (if you'll help me, cause it's hard sometimes). You are my gracious, grace filled Redeemer, my Savior. I love you now, today, more than I ever have before.

I will love you all my life, right up through the end. I will spend my whole life serving you, with all the strength you give me. And when I come to the end of my life, on my very death bed, I want my final words to be, "I love you now, today, more than I ever have before."

If you're allowed to pick songs for your funeral when you're a healthy 25 then I pick this one. This is what I want my life to be all about.

Another one I've always loved is "Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling." It's so beautiful it makes me cry. There's this funny old movie called "A Trip to Bountiful" and the main character is this little old lady who always sings that hymn, I like the movie just for that.

And the last one I feel like mentioning is "It is Well with My Soul." If you don't know the story behind that hymn, you should find it out; it's both hard hitting and soul-affirming.

I guess that's all, good-night!

Monday, May 12, 2008

some very good advice

A couple years ago I spent several months listening to a teaching called "Living Your Destiny" by Graham Cooke on repeat. Really life changing stuff, let me tell you.
One thing he suggested was to write out prophetic words you have received in bullet form so it is easy to access them and to recognize themes that the Lord is speaking over you. This past weekend the stress of not knowing what my next step is caught up with me. I found it very helpful to read over the things the Lord has said about me. It was like giving my spirit a long, cool, refreshing drink of water.
Something that was especially relevant to the place I'm at was this one:
"You are standing in front of a big door with a doorknob too big for you to turn, but you try anyway. As you reach up, the door swings open on its own and you walk right through."
We recently had some visitors from the States by way of Tunisia who had a young son. We were talking about the sun going down and his dad asked him, "What's going to happen in the morning Riley?" And Riley said, "The sun will come up." "What does it mean when the sun comes up?" "That God is faithful."
Even though one of the main reasons the stress had caught up with me is physical weariness from the sun waking me up between 4:30 and 5:00am the last three weeks it is good to remember what that sunrise really means.

Friday, May 9, 2008

random picture post

I have finally uploaded a bunch of pictures that have been on my phone for ages, so this will be very random!
Open mic night at the John Hewitt my first night in Belfast. (April 7th) Wisteria in Guildford! (From this past Tuesday)
The sun is still shining and it's 8:00pm (from yesterday)
The very first proper English stile I ever climbed over (January)
Weeding at Sunbury Court (Almost two weeks ago) We spent this past weekend working on a community project called Ready 4 Action which mobilizes churches and youth groups from all over Guildford to do gardening and painting for people who for whatever reason are unable to do it for themselves. This is lunch on the first day and then the finished room. (As you can see the teams changed each day)

I got my face painted! (Ready 4 Action Fun Day, this past Monday)
A flower pot I painted at Fun Day and chocolate I won thanks to the boys entering me in the t-shirt contest against my will.
I maybe got a bit carried away with the face painting pictures...

And more wisteria (this is for Lacy!)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

sometimes i catch myself by surprise

I was just reading through my journal from last term, working on a timeline of my time in Transit that I started in January, when I found this prayer written on January 22:

I would like to learn how to be uncomplicated. How to see things simply, through the eyes of trust. Father, I thank you that you promise to give me hope for the future and that you promise to give me the future I hope for. I thank you for promising to place desires in my heart and to give me the desires of my heart. I thank you that all of your promises are sure and never-failing. I thank you for being good and trust-worthy. Thank you for your love that is never-ending. You look inside my heart and see things that I can't see.

Friday, May 2, 2008

i don't really feel like doing an update

Sorry! I know one is overdue, I just can't be bothered (to use the British phrase). Here are a few somethings I do feel like sharing though:

1} I wore flip flops for the first time this year at Kairos on Monday the 21st of April.

2} Weather here is very unpredictable.

3} I made Rice Krispy Treats yesterday and discovered that marshmallows here come in pink and white and the pink ones are faintly flavoured. (Don't ask me what flavour they are though, I couldn't tell you.)

4} I love the Tate Modern. I spent a whole day there two Fridays ago now (I think) and had a lovely time. Looking forward to an exhibit by Cy Twombly in the summer. I had never heard of him before, but greatly enjoyed his pieces. He is both a painter and and sculptor. I was also inspired to write a children's story with watercolor illustrations after watching a short film there about ants carrying pieces of confetti after Carnivale.

5} I'm mostly listening to A Fine Frenzy these days. I especially love this lyric: "Like an apple on a tree, hiding out behind the leaves, I was difficult to reach, but you picked me. Like a shell upon the beach, just another pretty piece, I was difficult to see, but you picked me." And she has a beautiful voice. I'm also loving The Weepies.

6} I don't know what I'm doing when Transit ends in July, but am strangely at peace about that.

7} Got sunburned last Saturday walking along the river for several hours with Kirstin.

8} The Holy Spirit is breaking out in my church in Charlotte... It's strange watching videos about it online and wondering what's really happening.

9} I'm aching for more... More of Jesus, more life, more courage, more creativity... A fuller life.

10} Here are a few things I've loved this week from Ephesians:
"God can do anything you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or
request in your wildest dreams!"
"Thanksgiving is our dialect."
"Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of
drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over
everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master,
Jesus Christ."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

national day of prayer

My prayer for America now, on our National Day of Prayer, is this:

That the things which break the heart of God would break our hearts. To such an extent that we would no longer be content to just give our money, but that we would give ourselves. To the lost, the hurt, the broken. To the ones whose worlds need to be put right. That we would become a nation with a heart for God's Kingdom, with a leader who has a heart to bless the world and not just ourselves.