27. A new dawn

It may be a few days later than everyone else (you know timing isn’t my strong point), but I’ve been thinking about the new year.

On new year’s eve/day there were millions of status’ and tweets flying around the stratosphere about how great/terrible/exciting/dull/roller coaster (delete as appropriate) the past year had been and how this year will be better/even better/can’t get any better (delete as appropriate). I suppose we can get all sentimental and emotional (well, some more than others) as a new year means a new start, a new beginning. Chance to start over and move forward. Maybe leaving some things behind and looking to the future. A line in the sand. I do take time (this year there’s clearly been a lot to think about as it is now eight days in) to think about what I’ve been up to and what in my life is different (for the better or not) to this time twelve months ago; my hobbies, social life, physical activity, relationship with God. It is a chance to thank God for all He has provided over the last year, and to see His faithfulness clearly time and again.

Last night (first Tuesday of January 2014) was a momentous occasion for me. It was the one year anniversary since starting to learn to jive; my new year’s resolution from 2013. It is the first time I have ever completed a whole year of a resolution. Quite an achievement for me. I know many of you will be sick of hearing me talk of jive yet again, but I love it and I actually don’t know how I lived without it. It has (literally) changed my life – something I certainly hadn’t anticipated. Yet resolutions are exactly that – committing to changing something in our life (hopefully for the better) long term. But iit can be so easy to feel guilty about failing, to give up when the rest of normal life takes over again. Society moves at such a fast pace that by the time we’ve started something ten new ideas have come on the scene and all of a sudden we aren’t as committed as we once were.

So I’m risking it and putting it out there so I can try and complete this one too – this year I want to read the Bible in One Year.  I’m following HTB Church’s app, written by their vicar Nicky Gumbel. It comes straight to my phone every morning, and I read the passages and short commentary with each section. I am a slow reader, particularly in the early morning, so it takes me about half an hour to read it all. I’ve found by trial and error (basically epic fail) that if I don’t read it as the first thing I do, I rapidly run out of time before I have to leave for work. But this is not about feeling guilty for missing a day. It is about growing in relationship with God, who wants the best for us; not being punished for not keeping up.  Will you join me? It is always good to encourage others so let me know if you are doing it too!  If it’s something you want to join in with (it’s not too late to start!), sign up on their website to the app or to get the emails. Maybe you aren’t a Christian but you want to find out more about what is in the Bible and what on earth I am talking about – please do get in touch, I’d love to link you up to an Alpha course near you where you can explore the Christian faith and ask questions.

In thinking about the ‘new’, I have been reminded of the passage in Revelation 21v5 talking about a new heaven and a new earth where it says

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

When the time comes, heaven and earth will pass away and God will make all things new and perfect. What a hope to hold on to! Our life in eternity with the Father, and it will be heaven. Literally.

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7. Everybody’s different

I had a revelation a few months back. Literally, a revelation. I was driving to work, stuck in traffic, and watching people walking past the car getting on with the start of their day. And then it struck me – everybody’s different. Of course I know that no two people in the world are identical, but seriously, everybody is different! We all have things about us that no one else has. We may share some interests with others, but they won’t ever match perfectly. On this ordinary morning, I saw beauty in humanity I just hadn’t seen ever before. A beauty that shows me more about our amazing Creator – the detail involved in each of us points to a God who knows us individually, personally. He has made us all unique. I arrived at work and excitedly shared my revelation with my colleagues, who all seemed suitably amused at my lack of general observational skills!

In recognising our individuality, there are some things that help us understand and get to know someone – their little quirks and traits that make them them. So here are a few things to help you get to know me better, that don’t really warrant a post of their own – other fun/amusing things will probably feature more fully in the future. I know I’ve said this already a few times in these first few posts, but that is because I’m just starting out on this blogging thing, and am keeping a list (yes, another list) of ideas for future writings…

– I love all things British – The Royal family – I may have been (definitely was) one of the crazy people camping along the Mall overnight for Will and Kate’s wedding – oh yes, and dressed as Kate’s engagement ring. The Great British Bake Off – I cannot get over Frances’ incredible creative talents, I was #TeamFrances all the way, SO glad she won (sorry if you didn’t know that, but I don’t know how you’ve lasted this long without knowing). London landmarks – London is a great place to visit with such diversity and history, so much to do and new places to explore. Afternoon tea – who doesn’t love pretending to be posh? And I can now legitimately add drinking tea to that list. Only a recent addition to my life, tea is now becoming my friend. We’re working on our relationship, taking it slowly, but it’s flourishing nicely. It does however seem I still have a lot to learn – as I found out in a disastrous turn of events. Dunking a thin biscuit into a cup of tea results in said biscuit quickly disintegrating and floating then sinking in said cup of tea. Bad times. I also need to find the optimum tea drinking temperature. Cold tea is also disgusting.

– I have a massive issue with my feet getting wet if I’m wearing shoes and socks. Flip flops I can just about cope with. If I think it will rain, the wellies are on. In fact, I wear them so often I have to buy a new pair of wellies every year. I’ve even been refining my wellie style, gradually moving from the standard ‘just below the knee’ length, to calf length, and now to ankle height. Much more practical for wearing as shoe alternatives, and being able to carry back and forth when not in use. This obsession has back fired numerous times when the British weather suddenly decides to start a heatwave after a monsoon and I’m left sweltering. But rather that than wet feet.

– Do not ever give me a frothy drink, turn on a foam machine or think it would be sensible to squirt cream anywhere near me. Your life will be in danger as I have a bit of a freak out. It is the most hideous thing ever – the bizarre feeling of touching something that is so airy and gross that you can’t actually really feel it, even though it is clearly there. Eugh, I feel ill just thinking about it.

– I’m a National Trust member at 25 years old. It isn’t on family membership, I wasn’t registered under false pretenses thinking I was signing up to something else. Nope, I chose to join all by myself, and I love it. There’s some great places to visit and as quite a few of my friends are also members, it works out a cheap day out. I sound so old saying this, and according to many of my friends, I am old. But hey, age is only a number, you’re as old as you feel and all the rest of it. Why not enjoy taking a leisurely wander round the beautiful buildings and gardens on a hot summer’s day? A great way to slow down a bit in a world of business.

There’s plenty more I could share, but you probably don’t want or need to know it. Dull things like shoe size (8) or favourite colour (green) or how many houses I’ve lived in (6). Or maybe slightly more interesting things like my favourite place I’ve been to (New Zealand) or my first pet (Simeon, a gold fish – got him 15 months ago, but sadly I’m still in mourning from his death earlier this week). But that’s enough for now.

What about you? What makes you, you?