Sunday, December 12, 2010

Writing for the sake of writing.

It has been quite some time since I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as the case may be) and shared some intimate or not so intimate thoughts with cyber space and all you stalkers out there. I know there are loads, what with my five followers and all. Whilst it may be 12.39 am on a Monday morning, I feel it is an appropriate time to reignite the flame within my heart that is writing.

I spent some time reading a friend's blog tonight and realised how much I really do enjoy learning about people and knowing the relevant and irrelevant details of their lives. This blog showed me the person in a whole new light and it was quite enjoyable to learn about their thought processes and opinions through the written medium. I am aware that this can be achieved through facebook, and don't get me wrong, I am as voyeuristic as the next person, but there is something about a written piece of work that really warms my heart. People write from the heart and divulge information that may otherwise remain unknown. Words are powerful tools.

Studying English teaching, I do a fair bit of writing at uni. However, this writing is normally not welcome, nor interesting. I love the idea of writing for the sake of writing, and learning through that practice. It is for this reason, that I am going to challenge myself to regularly put pen to paper/fingers to keyboard and write my little heart out.

Considering I am currently a lady of leisure (hence writing a blog post at 12.39am on a Monday morning) I am hoping that this will actually occur. If not, feel free to berate me at regular intervals. I am going to take the liberty of appointing Jenny Allison to keep me accountable. Hopefully you will be blessed with hearing of all my wild escapades and adventures over the summer. None of these are yet planned so I may not have much to write about, but I'm sure I will be able to create a masterpiece or two. Interesting? Quite possibly not. Writing for the sake of writing? Yes. Even if it is just a written version of the verbal diarrhoea that so frequently graces the conversations I participate in.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Is it really well?

Over the past few weeks at church, we have been embracing the wonderful hymn 'It Is Well With My Soul'. Written in response to the tragic death of Horatio Spafford's four daughters at sea, the hymn is one filled with power and might. To sail past the location where his pride and joy breathed their last breaths and to be able to pen such powerful lyrics demonstrates a faith in none other than God.

I have always found this hymn overwhelming to sing and find a peace whilst singing it. If a man who has lost everything can rise up from the dust and proclaim 'Whatever my lot, you have taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul', we are surely able to hand over our petty worries to God. However, I find that this is often much easier said than done. I know that if I do hand over my problems and I praise God through every season, that my life will be better for it, yet I still manage to hold onto them. This said, the more that I experience life and what it brings, I am slowly but surely finding the strength to proclaim that 'it is well'. Sometimes I find it really hard to believe that it really is well. How can it be well when people are hurting, people and dying and people are aching? It can be well because God has given us an eternity of perfection to look forward to! He has restored our relationship with Him, through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and he will carry us through any storm, no matter how high the seas may roll.

Singing this hymn for the past few weeks at church has been challenging me to put my life in perspective, to realise that it really is well. In light of recent events, I believe that God was preparing me to be able to say that it is well. Whatever my lot, I am more freely able to proclaim that it is well, and not despair at what is occurring. Whilst there may be pain for a time, or for the rest of my lifetime, it is ultimately God who will prevail in these situations. If Horatio can lose everything he knew, yet proclaim the name of Christ and his undying faith in him, then surely I can too. It is by the grace of God that I may have this I don't want to waste it! Even if it seems that it may not be well, take a closer look (or a look from further back!) and realise that it is well. It is well.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dreams, dreams, what do they mean?

Last night, I watched a fairly intense TV episode, involving a gunman on the loose. I knew, that watching it before bed would not be a good idea for my subconscious, aka, my dreams. I was right.

It all began in a camp bedroom, with a host of male and female leaders, jammed into bunkbeds and all over the floor. We were all having a bit of fun, and turned the light on to see each other and carry the bedtime party on in the light. Whilst we were chatting away, we could hear noises outside, there was a group of men sitting around a fire outside our bedroom window. A friend (who I went to school with, but not longer have contact with) yelled out the window for the men to shut up. As soon as she did so, one of the men stormed over to the window. There was only a flyscreen between us and him. The light was switched off, and we all pretended that we were asleep in the room. All of a sudden, he thrust his hand and a loaded gun through the flyscreen. We were all panicked, but remaining completely silent. I was in a weird position, face down, but with my bum in the air... (?) trying to be inconspicuous. He stood there for ages, pointing the gun around the room and asking us to get up and show ourselves. Nobody moved. I felt that I had to do something, so I was going to pretend that I was only a child, so that he wouldn't shoot. I started opening my eyes, expecting to see the dark room and his gun in my face...only to find myself in my room lit with the morning sun, and lying safe and comfortable in my bed...I actually breathed a sigh of relief...I was really scared.

We have dreams, many a night, yet we can rarely remember them. I can only ever remember my bad dreams...two inparticular from my childhood. What does a dream mean? Is it really our subconscious speaking to us, or is it just our imagination running wild? I am convinced my dream was a result of watching a disturbing TV episode before sleeping (which I now know what to do!), yet I have had dreams in recent times that have been eerily life like, and made me think about them for days or even weeks later. I wonder what impact our life has on our dreams...or on the flipside, what impact our dreams have on our lives?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Facebook, or my face in a book?

Studying English at uni, I am required to read many books in a fairly short space of time. Normally, I love reading. I have been brought up in a house that has an overflowing bookshelf in every room, where reading in bed every night was an absolute treat and we have 'bookclub' when we go on holidays. I love reading. However, reading for the purpose of study and potentially de-analysing a favourite text to the point where it becomes ruined, sometimes takes away from the enjoyment of reading. It is for this reason (and sheer laziness toward uni) that I often tend to half read my prescribed texts for uni. This semester, things have been different. Taking on a Jane Austen subject (in which there are a maximum of five boys!), I have surprised myself. Austen, the original 'chick' writer has me under her spell, and enjoying reading once again. Elizabeth, Eleanor and Emma are milling around my brain (in both novel and text form), encouraging thoughts on feminism, masculinity, gossip and of course, Mr. Darcy. Such a classic, Austen has the potential to be ruined through study as mentioned before. This is not my experience so far. I am enjoying reading Austen more, due to this subject and a new understanding of Austen and her character. It has made me wonder if I waste too much time, when I could be in a completely different world, experiencing characters, time periods and stories I could never imagine myself. Whenever I don't manage to finish my readings for uni, novels, or general tasks, I convince myself that it is because I don't have enough time. When I was younger, I would put everything else off until the last possible moment before I did anything other than reading. I would read before I went to bed, when I woke up, on the bus, in the car, during my spare time, even in the bath! I LOVED reading. I still do love it and on the odd occasion I let myself be carried off into another world, yet I don't often allow myself that joy. The one main reason for that: Facebook. I manage to convince myself I don't have time for things, yet I have ample amounts of time to waste on facebook daily. It is for this ridiculous reason, that I have decided that each month I will spend one week facebook free. I want to be taken away into fantasy worlds, meet the Mr. Darcys of literature, learn new spells with Harry Potter and maybe even actually do my readings on how to bring creativity into the English classroom! So next time you are feeling bored, or like having a good old stalk, pick up a new book - or an old one! - and enjoy the simple entertainment of reading a might be surpised at how enjoyable it can be. So get off facebook and get your face in a book!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wisdom teeth gone, wisdom gained.

My brother had his wisdom teeth removed today, along with some hectic mouth maintenance and a bling bling chain installed. He came home groggy as anything, with icepack strapped to his head in an oh-so-fashionable way. It was interesting to see him in such a state - pale, non-responsive and clearly in pain, yet looking so ridiculous that I couldn't help laugh at him. It was my dad that took him to the hospital for the procedure, so my mum was yet to see him. Upon seeing him, she had to sit down and have a cup of tea (which cures anything, or so I am told) due to the fact that she was overwhelmed. Seeing her son in such a way that he has never appeared before was a shock. Her heart was aching for the pain that he was in. I laughed at the fact that she had to sit down and was feeling woosey (is that even how you spell it?), yet quietly comforted as well. Here was my brother, normally as energetic and loud (he was born with a built-in megaphone, I'm sure of it) as anything, laid up on the lounge, in immense pain. I am a firm believer that mouth pain is by far one of the worst pains to experience. However, in saying that, I am yet to experience many types of pain so I can't really make an informed judgement on that. However, as I was saying, seeing my mum's reaction to my brother's state really warmed my heart. It was a moment of realisation (which as I am growing older I am understanding are important and enjoyable at the same time) of a parent's love for a child. I have heard people say that they feel the pain of their children and that their hearts ache for them, yet never really understood it completely. I don't believe I will be able to until I myself am a parent (God willing), yet today I was allowed to catch just a small glimpse of a parent's love. Even if it was in an obscure way. What a gift our parents are to us...I really don't know what I would do without them!

It's these simple things that I love. I want to share these things with people - whether it be my family's love for one another, a nice pair of shoes I saw in the shops or a recipe I like. The simplest of things are often those which bring the most joy...