29 Aug 2011

The countdown continues

So only one week to go until I begin my new job with XLP (www.xlp.org.uk) and I have fully recuperated from my exhausting week of working with kids and am now gearing up to get going.

I have spent this morning packing up my room and am currently sitting here with foils in my hair waiting for bleach to work its magic. Tomorrow I am moving to London and at the weekend I am being a bridesmaid for my friend Clare. I love my life!

I am getting so excited about starting now. I just want to get to know as much as I can about Lewisham and the people there. It is quite scary when I think about the fact I'm moving to a new place and that I don't know anyone...but I know that this is where I am supposed to be and that I will be fine once I get to grips with everything I'm supposed to know.

September is a chance to start new things and I joined a group on facebook where you read a chapter in Proverbs every day through Sept. I am going to give it a go to try and dig deeper into the word of God. I love the things you learn through Proverbs - Prov 15:1 "a gentle answer turns away wrath" that has been something so useful for me. But yea its kind of like New Years, its another chance to start things a fresh. I am terrible at waiting to start things until the beginning of the month or term or holiday etc...I am looking forward to getting on with this pronto.

Are you starting anything new in September?

26 Aug 2011

When fatigue sets in...

It's a Friday so its understandable to be tired...but oh my word am I tired!

This week I have been helping at my Church's Holiday Bible Club, and fair play its only been 3 hours every morning, but it has totally exhausted me. To the extent that I had to have a nap yesterday and today. I'm wondering whether I'll be able to handle a "real" job when it starts in 10 days time. Who would have thought that being out of the work environment for 2 months was enough to make me lose my work stamina.

So because I have been so tired I have been thinking about how important it is to rest properly. I am normally pretty rubbish at really resting because I find it hard to switch off and allow myself to do nothing. I'm also pretty bad at really having a "sabbath" or whole day of rest. It's something I want to get better at over this next year. It's pretty important just because i'm going to have have endurance to get through the terms and not get burnt out.

I've been burnt out before and it's just horrible, you feel really numb and exhausted all the time. I don't want to get into that position in this role.

Resting is where it is at.

22 Aug 2011

and the count down begins....

dum dum dum, dum dum dum, doo doo, doo doo, doodly doo duuuumm....(my version of the countdown clock from Countdown)

Right so since my last post I've been to London, the South coast, Birmingham and Aberystwyth and back so its been a busy busy week. And it's only just hit me that 2 weeks today I start at XLP (www.xlp.org.uk). Before then I have 4 days of a Church holiday club to help with, an opticians appointment, have to plan and lead my Church service on Sunday, pack to move to London, move to London, visit my grandparents, have a family day out, listen to live jazz, get my nails done, set up a wedding reception, be a bridesmaid, deliver 3000 Alpha leaflets and actually be in London ready to go on Monday 5th.



Saying this however, I LOVE being busy. I have been thinking over this last week I actually cannot wait to start now. I have enjoyed my summer break loads but I'm itching to just get on with it now and get my teeth into something that I'm passionate about.

Today has been my brother's birthday. Daniel turned 10 today. I got back from Birmingham this evening in time for dinner not really knowing what we were going to be doing. Got back to find that we were having a roast dinner and that it was the 5 of us, plus my grandparents, and my other brother's girlfriend and our lodger. Dan hadn't been allowed to open all his presents so before dinner he was able to rip into them and delight himself in Wii games, a Chelsea kit, football boots, and this really cool water/foam bullet gun. It was really nice to be able to there for his birthday as the last few years i've been away at various things. I love it when kids get excited about occasions. Apparently Dan had been so keen that on Saturday he woke up convinced it was his birthday then! I think I want to be someone who does find life exciting and who can join in excitement with people.

Over the weekend I was in Aberystwyth for my friend's wedding. It was a fantastic day celebrating and catching up with some people I haven't seen for actual AGES. I love seeing old friends. It was also a chance to say a proper goodbye to people in Aber and also to people who are moving on from there too. Weddings are such joyful times! I loved it. Plus my friends Pinch and Malc were the photographers (www.mustardyellowphotography.blogspot.com) and I was staying with them before and after the wedding. They let me edit a few of the photos from the wedding! Ha. It's been a really fun week.

I've been thinking lots about shared vision and getting people alongside you who are passionate about going in the same direction you are. Whether it be hobbies, projects or jobs I've been thinking about how lucky I have been that God has totally surrounded me with people who have pushed, challenged and stretched me as we have worked together to make things happen. It's crazy what we learn from those around us.

At this wedding I was able to catch up with my friend Lydia who I used to meet up with every week to chat and pray with during my years at uni. They were really ace times where we were honest with eachother about where we were at with God, with life etc. It was so good to know that we were standing with eachother in prayer for stuff at different times. She really taught me about listening to the Holy Spirit and just saying stuff that you felt God was saying...even if it wasn't right it was better to say it and test it out than not say it and miss out on the blessing from it. Seeing her on Saturday really made me miss that. Think I'm going to have to find a new Lydia in London.

Are there people in your life who have had an impact on you, have challenged, stretched or inspired you?

14 Aug 2011

Sunny Sundays

So today I have had such a fun day mainly because it's been incredibly competitive and those of you who know me know that I have quite a competitive nature...well maybe that's an under statement. I LOVE TO WIN. 

My friend is visiting me this week and I've been introducing her to some new games and winning a lot. Now I know there's nothing proud of to beat someone who's new to the game etc...but what about beginners luck?! I mean I have been overcoming that too. Win. 

This afternoon a group of people from my Church went to the park to play a game of softball (bit like baseball but with a bigger ball which is defo not soft!) Anyway, in true Allen fashion my Dad split me up from my brothers to increase the game banter. In Softball you play 7 innings and half way through my team was down by 5 runs. We managed to claw it back to being only one behind by the close of the game. 

In years gone by I would have fought and cried because we lost...pretty glad I've grown out of that now. The thing is is that I just loved playing. It was really fun to be outside with lots of other people and to enjoy a friendly game. Yes both of my brothers beat me but I felt neither the need or urge to make excuses as to why my team had lost. I think this is what it feels like to be a grown up!

10 Aug 2011

What I'm loving Wednesday...

Following in the footsteps of my friend Rachel (who I think got the idea from another blogger), I'm taking some time to express what I am loving at the moment!


Yesterday we went to visit Bodiam Castle all 5 of us. It's been a long time since we have done anything just the 5 of us and it was so much fun going to spend some time together. Firstly, my brother Phil is hilarious when it comes to anywhere historical as he takes on the tour-guide persona which generally cracks everyone up. I reckon he could probably get paid for doing it because it's pretty comical. Secondly, my parents kept on bringing up memories from when we had done other family trips many years ago. I love being able to remember with them and laugh about silly things that happened. And lastly, while we were there my other brother Dan who is turning 10 this month asked me about God and how you can know him more. Was just such an out of the blue question but SO cool that he's thinking about it.


I spent this morning catching up with a friend I haven't seen properly in actual AGES. But it was fantastic to spend some quality time talking about what has been happening with each of us. I love friendships where even if you don't see them for ages, you have such a solid foundation that it's totally fine and you can just pick up where you left off.

#3. SUN.

I just love the sun. I love how it makes everything seem better in the world. Even when there is loads of rubbishness going on, sun seems to make it that much easier.

9 Aug 2011

What is going on in the world?

So it's been nearly three weeks since I last blogged and so much has happened in that time. I'll give you a brief overview:

NEW WINE: Drove down to Somerset with my lodger Smellen for a week camping in Shepton Mallet and to serve at a Christian Festival. We were both working in the main venue which could seat 5000 at least I reckon. I was on the cafe team so got to learn a new skill in working a barrista machine and honing my milk frothing ability. In between shifts I got the chance to listen to some ace Bible teaching. Was really challenged by the fact that the Bible is full of ordinary people. I mean I have always known this in my head, but it really hit me that the people God used back then to fulfil his purposes were ordinary people. The Bible says that "Elijah was a man just like us" (James 5:17). I guess that just reassured me that God uses normal people...I'm sure that plenty of you would argue that I'm not exactly normal but to me that was a bit of a wake up call that just because I'm not sorted doesn't mean that God can't use me. So much of the time I think Christians feel pressure to have their lives completely in order so that God can use them, and I don't think there's anything wrong from doing your best for God...but God isn't limited by our weaknesses. He uses us anyway! Mental. I mean look at Jonah - a totally unwilling prophet who ran away from God but God still used him even though he wasn't really that repentant. He had a rubbish attitude but God, in his grace, used him to start a miraculous revival. So anyway, yes New Wine was a really good week of being able to praise God, learn more of him and have space to listen to what he was saying.

HEN PARTY: I came back from New Wine on Fri 29th and the next day I was leading a Hen Party for my friend Clare who's getting married at the start of Sept. It was a hilarious day filled with picnics, dress up, crazy golf, disposable cameras, a great meal in the evening followed by disney! I am one of 6 bridesmaids for this wedding and am currently hunting for ivory shoes (size 5) if anyone has any that I could borrow??

FAMILY DAY: A couple days after the Hen Party we decided to have a family day. My parents and brother (and his friend) had driven over to the East Kent coast for the week and so I drove my other brother, myself and my brother's friend's mum and brother (confusing I know) over to join them. We had a fantastic day in the sun. Had a picnic on the beach, ended up having a battle with the incoming tide as to whether our defences of a moat and wall of sand would hold....it probably bought us about 10 minutes extra time before we had to move. Played a game of crazy golf (of which I won over all!) and then enjoyed some more time on a nicer, sandy beach in Margate. I've realised how much I really enjoy being able to be with my family. We do get on really well now that myself and my brother are a bit older and days out are always filled with hilarity of some nature.

XLP CAMPING: So on the 5th I went to join a group of about 18 kids (11-17) from estates that XLP work on to go on a camping trip down to Dorset. It was possibly the most intense induction to the kind of work I will be doing EVER. Myself and about 9 other leaders were in charge of making sure our kids stayed out of trouble and enjoyed their time away from the luxuries of home. There were no showers, limited electricity and our only shelter was either tents or a marquee. Safe to say some were not happy, others took to it quite well. We took them to different activities including: high ropes, climbing/abseiling, trampolining, skiing, tunnelling etc. As well as getting them to cook on camping stoves, going on nightwalks and playing sardines in the woods. While it was totally exhausting, it was a fantastic way to get to know some of the kids on the estates I will be working on. So many of these kids are hardened to any show of kindness that they find it really hard to understand when you are genuinely trying to be nice. Respect is a big thing and something I will be trying to cultivate. I have no idea how! Advice welcome.

RIOTS: Now that I'm back in the real world and able to see what is going on in our country I am pretty disturbed by all that is going on in our cities. I can understand where kids are coming from when they have limited opportunities to succeed, but if they think that that justifies them to ruin any potential livelihood that they might get in their areas they are clearly wrong. It really upsets me because I have no doubt that some of the kids I have just spent the week with will be involved in what has been happening. I think a lot of it is that they want to be involved in something, not to miss out. I've seen loads of people pointing to this verse in the wake of all that is happening - Jeremiah 29:7 "Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." I think that this is our answer. The government can bring in the army, can bring in as many Police officers as it likes but unless their is a shift in attitude there is going to be hostility for a long time. It is God who can change people's hearts. I love this verse in Ezekial 36 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." That is such a cool picture. I would encourage any Christians reading this to pray seriously for the riots and for the roots of it to be dealt with. If you're not a Christian I would be really interested to know what you think viable solutions are to the riots.

Sorry for such an essay...I'll try to blog sooner....