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Friday, 30 January 2009

Friday 30th January 2009

Went to the gym today. I feel great after a 50 minute workout. I've zapped around all day with bags of energy. I have only two weeks to prepare myself for skiing and sledging.

I've also managed to do some work- wading through the PhD skills audit and had a conversation with my third party supervisor.

At lunchtime I met up with the friend who we are hosting a party for tomorrow night. We have bought all the food and drink and I feel prepared. We decided to buy things that are easy to prepare, so no cooking basically!

Lulu went out all morning and for the first time she came back inside on her own accord! Progress.

The cold weather is set to return this weekend. Oh no. Apparently it's the coldest winter in 13 years. I can believe it. We are expecting snow and -3degree temps. I know it will be cold in Switzerland, but it is different as it is usually so sunny and when we've been in the winter before we've come back with suntanned faces.

Anyway, musn't grumble and must return to my work.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Thursday 29th January

At last I'm beginning to focus on my work. Hopefully it will last. I'm writing the research problems at the moment and need to sort out the research questions.

My mum went back on Tuesday. I would like to write that everything was straightforward, but it wasn't! The high speed Virgin train pulled into the station and I carried my mum's bag onto the train and quickly found her a seat. We said our goodbyes. I turned round, walked up the aisle of the train and as I approached the door it closed in front of my eyes! I kept pressing the 'open' button to no avail. Thinking there was something the matter with the door I ran to the next door to find that wouldn't open either. Then the train set off with me on board! All I could think about was the children and collecting them from school on time. The train manager who appeared- probably after hearing the commotion informed me that the next stop was an hour away-Stoke on Trent and that they couldn't stop the train to let me off! Apparently when these high speed trains stop at stations they set off after only a minute after everybody has boarded. I was told that the next time my mum travelled on the train to inform the station and they would arrange for someone on the train to meet my mum on the platform and accompany her to her seat! If only I had known that before.

So, for the next hour on the train I made call after call to ensure the children would be ok, as at this point I was unsure as to what time I would get home. Graham was in Daventry and was just about to give a presentation to loads of people!

The children were sorted and then the train manager told me that I had 4 minutes once in Stoke to cross the platform and to catch a train back. So, once there I said goodbye to my poor mum who was very distressed by the whole thing. Well at least she only had another half hour to travel on her own. I ran under the tunnel and just caught the train. I spoke to a couple more train managers who were very understanding and to make me feel better said that it happened all the time! They waived my train fee and I even got a free cup of coffee.

I was also concerned as I had parked my car in a 15 minute parking bay in front of the station, and thought the very least I would have a parking ticket and the worst the car would be clamped or towed away! I really prayed that the car would be ok as I needed a quick getaway once I was back in MK.

One hour later I arrived back at the station. I was delighted to find my car in the same place, without any parking tickets stuck to the window or clamps on the wheels. I drove home and got back at 4.20pm just in time to see Charlie who had walked home from school.

Perhaps God was telling me that I just needed to be still with Him for a couple of hours.

Well, at least I've made numerous people laugh when telling them the story.

Yesterday morning I accompanied a friend to hospital as she had to have a mammogram. Thankfully the diagnostic radiographer thought she only had cysts , but the consultant wants her to have them aspirated to look at the fluid just to be sure.

I then went to work and the panic of not doing any writing for over a week set in and after prayer and the realisation that I can only do this anyway with God's help I began and did quite a bit. So I will finish and get on with it. I have a full day here today so hopefully if the inspiration continues should cover quite a lot of ground.

Monday, 26 January 2009

John Newton- Olney Parish Church

We've had a busy but enjoyable few days. My mum arrived on Saturday and had a good trip on the train. Graham and I went to the church quiz with 7 friends and amazingly, after a shaky start where we were in last place out of sixteen teams ended up coming joint second.

Sunday was spent indoors for most of the day due to the rain. We went to the afternoon service. Harry was playing in the band and my mum loved the service which was brilliant. Paul preached and was amazing as usual.

Today after Lulu came home after being outside for nearly 3 hours I took my mum to Olney which is about fifteen minutes away. Olney was the home of John Newton author of Amazing Grace, where he was the rector of the parish church for several years. The sun shone and we had a long walk through the old market town to the 13th century church where we saw John Newton's tomb in the churchyard before going inside. The interior of the church was spectacular.

We then had a look round some shops and had lunch in a deli before driving home.

All in all a lovely day, which was almost springlike with the sound of birds singing.

Friday, 23 January 2009

New blog

Oh dear. For several moments I thought I had deleted my whole blog, entries, photos, live feeds, everything. I had downloaded a different template from a website and didn't save my widgets. So, for the last hour I have been trying to find my old widgets and add some more in the process.

Anyway, I have had such a good day of socialising and haven't done any work at all. I had such good intentions as well and had brought home a briefcase full of papers to read. I have also been thinking( a lot) about the research problems to do with my topic which is good. The main highlight of my day was catching up with a dear friend of mine. We haven't see each other since the beginning of December due to the busyness of our lives, and my illness. We have put some plans in place including a trip to a health farm in March, and Faith Camp in the summer with only Rosie and her 11 year old son as the others will be at Newday! It's a shame that both camps are during the same week this year, but will be more of a break for us.

I also met up with a neighbour this morning and then somebody I met when we first moved to the village 9 years ago came round this afternoon along with a friend who also knew her. Now the children have left the village school and have gone their separate ways it is difficult to keep in touch. Talking about keeping in touch! Somebody who I did my nurse training with 24 years ago has contacted me through Friends Reunited! How nice is that!

Anyway, need to get the live feeds back in place so I can monitor who is actually reading this, if anybody!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Looking forward to visiting the above in a few weeks!

My bible notes from U.C.B. are so apt.

Who belongs in your life? 22 Jan 2009
'"...Where you go I will go..."' Ruth 1:16
Ruth told Naomi, '"Where you go I will go."' You can spend your life anywhere with anybody doing anything, then suddenly meet someone and sense that there is a connection between you. It's what made Elisha quit farming and follow Elijah, an eccentric prophet; it's why Timothy hung out with Paul, an old man soon to be executed. You know intuitively, 'I won't reach my destiny without you in my life.' Looking back you realise if you hadn't met that certain person, or taken that phone call, or read that email, you wouldn't be where you are today. On the other hand, '...Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye...' (Ruth 1:14 NIV). Now Orpah's leaving didn't make her a bad person; it just meant her part in the story was over. Recognise when somebody's part in your story is over, otherwise you'll just keep trying to raise the dead. David pleaded with God for his newborn baby's life. 'He fasted...spent the nights lying on the ground...and...would not eat...' (2 Samuel 12:16-17 NIV). But when the child died he had to accept that there was nothing more he could do, so he 'got up...washed...changed his clothes...and he ate' (2 Samuel 12:20 NIV). Acknowledge when something is over. If God means you to have it, He'll give it to you. If you've tried to make it work and it hasn't, accept His will in the matter. Get up, go to the department store, buy yourself a new outfit, treat yourself to a good meal; start living again! Never beg anyone to stay with you against their will. Their leaving is no accident; it just means God has something better in store for you (and possibly them too), so trust Him and move on!

Psalm 139 was a joy to read today- one of my favourite psalms:

Psalm 139 (New International Version)

Psalm 139
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to [b] me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

We sung 'Crown Him with Many Crowns' on Sunday. What a fantastic hymn. The following verse is just so poetic and so meaningful. Yes, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is in control of time. Everything is in His timing. He does not change, but by His grace we can change to be more like Him. Friendships, jobs, places can change. We change- thank God! Life would be incredibly boring if we didn't.

Crown Him the Lord of years,
The Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres,
Ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise shall never never fail
Throughout eternity

I've had a good week, and am back in the swing of work. I now need to focus and hone in on my research questions after reading so many articles. I pray that God will help me identify the gaps in the research I have been reading and that by doing this project, He can be glorified, as I can't do it in my own strength!

Looking forward to the weekend as my mum is coming down to stay with us for a few days. She is catching the train which she is anxious about. My sister will take her to the station and we will pick her up. We are looking forward to seeing her and spending time with her. We are going to a quiz at church on Saturday so she will stay in with the children which will be nice for them to spend time with their granny.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Cat up a tree!

We let Lulu out today and she ran straight up to the top of the willow tree in the bottom of the garden. She eventually came down and once back inside she had a snooze to recover from her ordeal!

Have had a good day. Went to watch Rosie play netball first thing and then went to collect Harry from his friend's. Stayed for coffee and chatted to my friend for a while as the boys hadn't long got up. A neighbour and children popped in this afternoon and then after tea Graham and I played copious games of Mariokart. I am rubbish and came last every time. After about the twentieth game I gave up.

Graham went to the meeting at church which he said was excellent. He then played golf this afternoon. The weather has turned very windy, although not as cold as it has been.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Friday 16th January 2009

A friend took the above photo of Rydal Water in the Lake District when she was there this Christmas. I just love it. What is it about lakes and mountains that I love so much? I know that I marvel in God's creation, and mountains and lakes are where I see the splendour and majesty of God's beautiful creation the most.

I've had a good few days, and have been swimming on two further occasions this week, swimming a mile each time. Today I haven't used any inhalers and actually feel 100% better. It is brilliant to be able to breathe freely! Praise God! A friend phoned last night and prayed over the phone with me, which I know has helped.

Graham and the children are well. Rosie had her transition exam for the senior school yesterday. Charlie is working hard and playing hard with social events at church tonight and football and rugby this weekend. Harry has been asked to lead worship in his cell group next week, which he is so excited about! Both Rosie and Harry have parties this weekend. Rosie has a hockey match tomorrow morning which means I can't go to a meeting at church. Graham will go instead. We've been asked to talk about Shuttleworth. As I don't relish public speaking I'm quite pleased that Graham is going instead.

Today has been spent catching up with friends. After swimming I went round to see the neighbour whose partner died three weeks ago. It was good to spend time with her and she is bringing both children round tomorrow afternoon to see Lulu as they are planning on getting a kitten soon. Another friend came for lunch which was nice. I should have been working today but the phone line and computer have been down all day. I eventually called BT who rectified the problem which was due to a fault at the exchange.

I did a spot of housework this afternoon before collecting Harry and a friend from school. Charlie went to his friend's and then I collected Rosie and her friend from gym club. Must go as Graham and I are going to have a game of MarioKart on the Wii, much to Rosie's embarrassment. Good job the boys are not here..

Monday, 12 January 2009

Monday 12th January 2009

Had a good weekend. All the children's sport was cancelled due to bad weather ( hockey, football and rugby). Graham went to see his dad in hospital on Saturday and I went on Sunday. Church was amazing on Sunday morning. God's presence was awesome and I found the whole service, worship, sermon and prayer afterwards so uplifting. We took Rosie for her golf lesson and then had lunch at the golf club and then some friends joined us for coffee. Graham then played golf and I did some ironing before going to pick up Graham's mum to take her to the hospital. Rosie went to her friend's and Charlie back to church for a youth meeting. Watched Lark Rise to Candleford in the evening which was brilliant. I am so enjoying this second series.

Today has been good so far- apart from the cat breaking a pot containing a beautiful orchid given to me for Christmas!

I went swimming this morning and managed 1 mile. It is the first time since I became ill so I was slightly apprehensive and used my inhalers as a precaution. I do feel so energised though and realise how much I have missed exercising.

I then went to Sainsbury's before going home. After unpacking my shopping I did a small amount of work ( no writing though) before a friend arrived for lunch. It is her birthday soon and we are having a big party for her here in a few weeks time, so we discussed who to invite and food etc.

I then drove to MK to collect Graham's mum to take her to the hospital to collect Graham's dad. He was sat there ready and eager to be taken home. I'm so pleased he is much better and pray his health doesn't deteriorate again.

We have booked a holiday which I'm so excited about! We are going to Switzerland for a week in February and will sledge and ski. I'm so looking forward to the break.

The above photo is a picture of the hotel we will be staying in. We will be in a self catering apartment at the top of the hotel. The mountain in the background is the Wetterhorn.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Friday 9th January 2009

God has been teaching me to trust Him more over the last few days and 'the joy of the Lord is my strength' at the moment. Whatever life throws at us He is always there supporting and comforting us. I experienced such a range of emotions and feelings during our friend's funeral yesterday. I cried, I laughed, I questioned, I was apprehensive but ultimately I came out of the church and knew I trusted Him more than ever in all this. How do people cope with death, dying and suffering if they have no faith in Jesus Christ? 'Never will I leave you or forsake you' ( Hebrews 13:5).

I turned on my phone after the service to hear a message from Graham's mum to say that Graham's dad has been admitted to hospital with heart problems. He has been unwell with heart failure for some time and had been to see the consultant at the local hospital who thought he should be admitted for observation. Apparently his condition is stable. Graham is going to visit him tonight and we'll all go tomorrow.

I am feeling almost back to normal and nearly went swimming this morning but didn't in the end as the cold weather put me off! I reckon by Monday I will be ready to go back to the gym. The cold snap has returned! I guess I need to stop complaining about it, accept it and look forward with anticipation to warm, sunny days.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Feeling cold

The older I get the more I realise how much I love hot sunny weather. It is soooo cold here with -10 degree temperatures. It is warmer today though and was -7 degrees when I was driving to work yesterday. Apparently the cold weather is from Siberia but should warm up by the weekend.

The children enjoyed being back at school yesterday and didn't have too much homework. I went back to work and had supervision. My supervisors are so understanding and told me to take it easy until I am feeling 100%. I have got a lot of work to do though, but two weeks to complete it. I'm quite looking forward to getting stuck in again. I am writing this from home as my office was too cold to work in so I came home at lunchtime. My home environment is definitely more conducive to write in as I am nice and warm and am sat in my conservatory overlooking the garden with UCB radio on in the background.

Rosie's hockey has been cancelled due to the weather- it's supposed to be an all weather pitch but it is still covered in snow.

Monday, 5 January 2009


Woke up to a slight dusting of snow. Harry and Rosie were desperate to get outside which they did. Lulu also went with them and it was fun to observe her take in her first experience of snow. She wouldn't come back in and was shivering. Harry pounced on her in the end making her hiss and brought her back inside.

Went into town and did a bit of sales shopping. Bought a couple of pairs of trousers from Debenhams for work. Yes, it's back to work and school tomorrow. I'm still not feeling 100% and have a couple more days of antibiotics left. I will see how I get on tomorrow. I also bought a lacrosse stick for Rosie who starts the sport this week. Harry is starting rowing also. Don't know how I'm going to manage getting up at 6.45am tomorrow. The children are also in for a shock, particularly Charlie who enjoys his lie ins.

Yesterday afternoon was spent with the neighbour whose partner died. She had several friends over and it would have been a nice girly afternoon in other circumstances, drinking tea by the roaring fire. We are lending her a projector screen so she can play a slide show in the church. Her son wants to read a poem he has written about his Dad and her daughter wants to play his favourite piano piece. I didn't realise that they had been together for over 25 years. It is so sad.

I must be feeling slightly better as I have not stopped today and have managed to clear half my huge ironing pile. The children have almost got their school stuff ready and my briefcase is in the hall. I plan to have a relaxing evening and have almost finished my black cardigan. I am knitting the last sleeve.

Saturday, 3 January 2009


The last three days of bible readings have been about perseverence which have been apt as I have been thinking that I will not be able to continue with my PhD due to being ill for over a month. ' We will reap a harvest if we do not give up'. Galatians 6:9 NIV. Perseverence means stopping not because you're tired, but because the task is done. I am only three months into the studentship as well! I'm just hoping that my supervisors will understand next week when I see them for supervision.

Yesterday I went to Tesco and did a huge shop- my first one since December 22nd. Charlie and I watched Dances with Wolves in the afternoon. What an epic! I hadn't seen it before and I cried in several places. I took Harry to his friend's in the afternoon. They were going to see Aladdin for his friend's birthday treat and then have a sleep over. I dropped Charlie off in town to meet his mates and Rosie had her friend round.

Today has been spent cleaning upstairs and taking down some of the Christmas decs. Graham took Rosie and Harry to play badminton and Charlie is catching up on about three months worth of homework. A friend called round for coffee this morning. She only found out about our neighbour yesterday and is also really shocked. Her school friend died from pneumonia aged 43 years two weeks ago and the funeral is the day before our neighbour's. So many people are mourning and I pray they will draw on Christ's strength and biblical promises to help them i.e psalm 23.

It is still so cold with temperatures around freezing. Graham played golf first thing this morning and it was -6 degrees c

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year 2009

We drove over to Cambridge yesterday afternoon to our friends for the evening. It was great to spend time with them and we had such a good evening drinking expensive champagne ( what a treat- Billecart rose ), eating a lovely chilli and pavlova and fruit and cream for pudding. The children had a jamming session with Harry on the guitar and his friend on the drums. We saw the New Year in and then played Singstar which I was pretty hopeless at.

Had a huge lie in- didn't get up until 11am and then we went to a nearby village pub for a lovely lunch. We then went back to our friends' house for coffee and got home about 4pm. It is so cold again with temperatures around freezing.