Sunday, 31 May 2009

We did it!!!

Yay! We ran our marathon relay on Sunday and we did so well.
We managed to complete it in under 5 hours - 4hrs 53mins 23secs to be exact!

I'm very proud of my team. We are all complete beginners and have only been running since February so I think that we did very well, especially as it was so hot on the day!
We've managed to raise over £1,500 for mosquito nets for Bwindi in Uganda too!!!


Ok, so we don't look our best here..well I definitely don't anyway...but the day wasn't about looking good. It was about achieving something we didn't think we could, having fun together, and raising some money to help other people. And we can do that no matter how we look!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad's birthday.
Living so far away from my family means that I now rarely spend time with them on their actual birthdays but I know my dad will be having a good day because my mum's text to tell me that they're off to a brewery in Wales!

Although I don't understand my dad's love of beer (or anybody's love of beer for that matter, apart from fruit beer!) I do understand that my dad will always be there for me and would do anything to know that I am happy and taken care of. I have learnt a lot from my dad about working hard and not giving in to peer presure or bullies.

Dad, even when your not taller than me in feet and inches anymore, I will still look up to you xxx

My dad and sister at my wedding two years ago.

Have great birthday!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Big Word Wednesday #1

So for a while now I’m wondered about having some sort of regular feature on this here bloggette. Only I couldn’t think of anything.
I thought about doing a photography series of sorts, which I’ll probably still do at some point, but my photographing has been so sporadic that I didn’t really have much to show. I’ll get a wriggle on, I promise, and get snapping so I have more to share. I know that the pictures make the words much more pretty!

Anyhow, I just came up with something that I’m going to start on a regular basis from today until I get bored of it/forget about it. And please don’t think that I’ve spent weeks dreaming up this idea…I literally just thought of it right this minute, whilst typing a big(ish) word.

So, what is Big Word Wednesday?
Well…let’s find out…

Speculation (noun)
1. a conclusion, theory or opinion based on incomplete facts or information
2. reasoning based on incomplete facts or information

How often in life do we make assumptions and judgements based only on what we can see? How often do we judge people and their situation based on our initial perceptions or understanding? How often do we make decisions and then give our reasons based on incomplete or partial information?

Two other definitions for speculation are:
3. a risky transaction
4. the making of risky transactions

Making a decision, or basing our thoughts and opinions on incomplete or partial information is risky. Surely that’s just common sense.
But what about when our opinions are about other people?

How risky is it to make a decision about some based solely on what you can see?
How risky is it to make a judgement about someone before ever even speaking to them?
How risky is it to make assumptions? To assume the stereotypes are correct? To believe the rumours and gossip?

Are you prone to making speculations?

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Learning to Love

This weekend while listening to the sermon at church I was reminded why I chose to call this blog ‘learning to love’. The preacher discussed some of the lessons we can learn from the story of the prodigal son, and I was once again touched by the response of a father to his wayward son. A response of love.

I believe in a God who is love. And although I don’t always understand or completely comprehend what that means I know that it means more than the gooey lovey-dovey stuff we see in romantic films and cringe over on Valentine’s Day. I know that God’s love caused Him to make the ultimate sacrifice so that I could have a hope and a future and a relationship with Him.

This love is more than just nice words and thoughtful gifts. This love changes hearts and attitudes. This love supports, encourages and inspires. This love forgives and then forgives again and again. This love remembers no wrong. This love protects and trusts and hopes. This love is selfless. (See 1 Corinthians 13 for more about this love)

But although I am made in His image, this is not always the love that I show.

The love that I show is not consistent, dependable or unfailing.
The love that I show can vary, have no integrity, and be solely based around my own feelings.
The love that I show can be selfish and greedy.
The love that I show can be anything but love.

But I have hope. I hope that my God, who is love, can teach me how to love. To really love. To love like He loves.

So I have dedicated my life to learning to love.

To love when I don’t feel like it.
To love when I don’t think it’s fair.
To love regardless of what I can get out of it.
To love when it’s hard as I do when it’s easy.
To love when it’s not cool.
To love when it’s costly.

To love people as God loves them.


Thursday, 21 May 2009

Running on Empty?

I was going to write a different post today. I even had it planned out. In fact, I had a few planned out.

But today I just couldn't bring myself to write what or how I had imagined I would write. So instead, this is going to be more of a jumbled note of some of the things I've thought about this week and some of the questions and challenges those thoughts have raised...

There is less than 2 weeks left until I run my 5 miles of the Edinburgh marathon. So far I have not yet run 5 miles in one go. So you can imagine my apprehension for the big day!
I was motivated enough to go for a run by myself on Monday evening after work and while my feet were pounding/dragging along the pavements I realised a couple of things about my current approach to certain elements of my life.

I realised that I managed to go for a run because I was making time to go for a run. I planned my day to include an allowance for running time and then stretching/cooling/resting/dying after running time. But my main excuse for not reading my bible and praying more is that I don't have time.

Is that because I don't make time for it? How different would my day and my relationship with God be if I planned my day to include time to pray and study God's word? I used to do it at Uni when I had more free time but why don't I do it now?

I also recognised on the bus home before my run that the last thing I felt like doing was going for a run. But I knew that I needed to maintain some form of a training programme and so I decided that I was just going to do it. Whether I felt like it or not.
I realised again, how many times do I put of spending time with God because I don't feel like it? Because it requires effort and I can't muster any at that point? Because I have a to do list of housework and jobs that never seems to end and that often takes priority? Because its easier to get stucked into watching the tv or being distracted by other things going on?

Then my thoughts moved on a little bit, to some of the things that I often think and dream about. Some of the things that are in my heart, just waiting for the right time to be revealed and released into the world. I wondered about God's timing and when that would be and how I would know when it would be right.

Then I wondered how the two are connected. How the state of my relationship with God, and the time I spend with Him, has a direct impact on how I serve Him and the revelation of the dreams stirring inside me.

I remembered times when I have been filled with God's word, when I have taken time to study and digest it, when I have rested in His presence, when I have sought Him. I recalled how my ability to serve and lead those around me had come from an outpouring of God from me because I was taking time to allow God to pour into me. I was part of things that were beyond my own strength and capabilities and that were greater than I could dream or imagine. I was full and overflowing.

I thought about how that has changed. How I am only giving God enough time to dribble things into my life when He desperately wants to pour things into me again. How the small amount of God I am seeking is only enough to patch me up so that I can cope. When what I really want is to be overflowing so God flows through me and into those I encounter and do life with. So I don't feel half empty.

I wonder whether I am the one stalling the things of God that currently lie dormant in me. Whether by limiting the time I allow God to speak to me, challenge me, mold me, converse with me, I am limiting the work that God can do through me and with me.

It's not that I'm bad at time management, it's just that the things that should be on the top of my list, the things that should be a priority, have gradually slipped away. They have slowly but surely been choked out of my life by other 'things', by the weeds. And I don't like how it feels. I don't want to carry on like this anymore.

It's not about ticking the right boxes, or trying to keep up with the Jones. It's a desire to not let things pass me by. To not let God pass me by. To be ready and available for whenever He needs me, however He needs me. To see the fulfillment of the dreams He has placed in my heart. To bring something of His love and grace to those that need it. To see a part of His kingdom here on earth, in reality, making a difference to people.

Surely that is worth me making time for?

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Two years ago today...

...I married my best friend, my supporter, and my encourager. And what a great two years we have had!

I wrote a while ago about change, and one of the biggest changes to happen in my life has been the transition from being single to being a wife. While at times it has been hard it has also been great fun and filled with many laughs and great moments!
I am so blessed to be doing life with someone who has such a big heart, who loves me just as I am but sees the potential in me too and who encourages and inspires me to grow and be all that I can be.

One of the many reasons I named this blog 'learning to love' was because of my experiences as a wife and because of the example set by a husband who has an amazing capacity to love and keep on loving...even when it is hard...even when I am hard! It is both humbling and inspiring.

And he always knows how to make me smile...



Phil, thank you for loving me and for not being scared away by my 'last thing at night' and 'first thing in the morning' faces!
It is a priviledge to be a part of your life and I'm excited for all the things to come in our future years together xxx

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Ben & Ruth - Wedding

As promised here are some photos and details of the fabulous wedding of my little brother and his sweetheart!
Be warned...this post contains lots of photos...

First, I'll start with some of the beautiful flowers and details at the church. Ruth had made lots of bunting and bows to decorate the church - she's so creative and original and these details were a great reflection of her talents and personality. Unfortunately I forgot to get any pictures of the bunting but here's one of the bows followed by the lovely flowers at the church.






My ickle sis!

They had a cake at the church which they cut after the ceremony for everyone to share. It was beautiful


Some of the group photos

Did someone say something funny...?





Check out the wedding car...a beautiful red e type Jaguar...which my brother drove very carefully!


I like this photo because you can see my reflection in the window waving them off! And because Ruth is super cute!

The details and decor at the reception was beautiful. Lots of jam jars filled with flowers and tea lights together with some lovely items belonging to my Aunt. Everyone wanted to take the pieces home with them!

Cousin Sophie looking lovely

As well as the cake at the church, they had a table full of cupcakes at the reception. I firmly believe there is no such thing as too much cake!





Uncle Cris

The Bride and Groom





My dad ensuring he's dressed for the occasion!

The first dance


The table decor at night

The flowers from all the tables ere collected up after the reception. They looked like wild flowers in a meadow


Monday, 18 May 2009

Honey, I'm Home!

So, we're back after a whirlwind of a weekend!

My brother's wedding was absolutely fabulous and you can rest assured that there will be photos and a full recap coming soon. The whole weekend was just lovely and it was such a pleasure to see Ben & Ruth becoming a new family together.

Here's a sneaky peek...

In other news...there's not really lots to shout out about at the minute. Its quite nice to have some time to rest and settle down (and catch up on the last few weeks!)

There's the marathon at the end of the month...which I need to train harder for! But I've been blown away by people's generosity in sponsoring us...we're not far off our target now! Yay!

I've had a few thoughts about my last post regarding work. I did think about deleting it as I started to feel that it was very negative and I didn't want it to be a reflection of how I feel about life, because there are so many things in my life that I love and that I am very grateful for and that I enjoy is only a small part of my life and of who I am.

But I like to be honest and on that day that's how I honestly felt (and for a few days either side). On other days I feel different. So even if it just serves as an honest reminder to myself, I've decided to keep it there.
More posts to follow soon xxx

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Working 9 to 5...

…what a way to make a living, eh?!

Since moving up north nearly a year ago, I haven’t ever really felt settled at work. Due to some unforeseen circumstances in the few weeks before the move, I found myself having to look for another job and I’ve come to realise that I’m only just starting to reconcile the whole situation in my head.

I was very fortunate and managed to secure more than one offer of employment. But then this only added to the dilemma by creating a decision I didn’t previously have to make. After a bit of ‘eeny, meeny, miny, mo-ing’…ok, so I made my decision a bit more logically than that…we relocated to Edinburgh and I began my new job.

At first, I was aware that I was still struggling a bit with the situation, and I actually still felt hurt over the circumstances. But I got on with the team well and began to make friends and settle. I took on new roles and responsibilities and brought some of the experience from my previous employment to help the team develop and improve.

Part of the problem is that as I’ve come to know myself better I’ve come to a realisation that engineering is not where my heart is at. I find it interesting and I can do the work, but I don’t really have a passion for it. It doesn’t ignite a spark in me.

Another part of the problem is that I struggle with some of the systems and procedures in place in the office. I find they lack common sense and are often complicated to use. Sometimes they’re just backwards. I find this more difficult because I was fortunate enough to work for a company who did this well, a company who were proactive, encouraging, and a team that was lead well and with enthusiasm. And now I notice when things fall short of how they could be done. I find it frustrating.

But as I sat in a rather boring part of a training course today, I realised that part of the problem is also my reluctance to settle. I realised that for some reason I have always viewed this job as a temporary position. I don’t think I have ever considered that this job would be for life.

I don’t believe that this is a life career for me. I believe that there are many other things in my future that will take me away from the desk occupying role I have right now. And I’m happy about that. I know that this is a season in my life for this moment.

But what if my reluctance to settle, to commit to this job in a long term sense is hindering my performance right now? Is my short term productivity being hampered by my focus being elsewhere? How can I be happy and settle where I am now and give it my best without feeling like I’m settling for less or giving up my dreams? How can I get past the annoyances and frustrations of the day-to-day grind when I’d rather be somewhere else? How can I best serve my colleagues and clients each day when my heart, and sometimes my mind, is not really in it?

Just some of the questions in my head right now…

Monday, 11 May 2009

Happy Campers

So, we're back from a few days away.

We spent a few days in Wales catching up with friends. Then we attempted to go camping on the Isle of Arran. I say attempted because after two days of gale force winds and terrible rain it seemed the tent had given up too!

But we still had a lovely time away together and I'll be posting some of the pictures I took soon.

I'm going to be away for a few days again this weekend at my brother's wedding! Woohoo!!! I can't wait. There will be lots of pictures to share from that too hopefully.