Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hooray, Camp!

Well, after a fairly good run of frequent posting I'm afraid I have let the side down :-( However, that was mostly cos nothing very exciting happened in my life. Ooooo, except that Dave and I went to visit my big sister who is currently VERY pregnant, despite not actually being very far into her pregnancy - that's gonna be one big baby! I heard it's heart beat which was amazing - it kinda brings home what an extraordinarily beautiful thing having a life forming and shaping inside you must be when it's happening to someone so close to you. One day I shall hopefully have the e-copy of the scan I was promised (*COUGHgavinCOUGH*) and will then be able to show you all my beautiful little niece or nephew!

Oh, and I also bought a new car! Not really a minor point, but have only picked it up today and it didn't really seem real before that. I shall post a picture of that when I've taken one cos at present it's dark and thunder rages overhead, and my photography is not great at the best of times!

And on to the actual purpose of the post! This weekend I was on camp with the youth group of Dave's home church in Corringham. The bonus with this particular church is that it's so small that you count as youth til you're about 35 (and sometimes beyond!), and a huge wide age range all gets stuck in together. It's a really great demonstration of what living in community is all about. At present I only have a few naff photos (unashamedly stolen from Dave!), but have been faithfully promised by several others that they will send me theirs, so when/if they materialise I shall post some more!

So this is Dave's cousin Jeremy, wife Vicki and sons Sam and Josh, along with Martyn on the left (him being one of those everlasting youth I was talking about!) just before 'It's a knockout' on Saturday morning. Basically an excuse for the team leaders to get the rest of camp as wet and messy as possible. But it is so much fun! And team Cheryl (that's the one I was part of) DID NOT come last - that was our one and only aim after a hugely embarrassing defeat by all other teams last year!

The Saturday evening we had a proper posh dinner (admittedly we were eating pizza, but believe me that's as good as posh gets at camp!) and after all the girlies had a nice group photo the boys were complaining that they hadn't had one. So up they all got and proceded to muck around as much as possible, so this is the 3rd attempt, and very definitely was as good as it was ever going to get!

And this is all of camp (bar Richard, who was taking the photos) all dolled up!

It was such an immense weekend. These people are all so lovely, and have welcomed me (a real outsider, lets be honest!) with open arms. This was my second year and I truly love these people and this camp. This year the teaching was about the Holy Spirit - His Person, Pastorship and Power. It was really solid teaching, taking examples from all over the Bible of how the Holy Spirit works in us and for us. Sometimes it's so good to get back to the real basics, and I feel that this weekend did that for me - reminded me just who the Holy Spirit is, and what a precious gift He is. That Jesus didn't just leave us to fend for ourselves when He went back to the Father, but sent us the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, as His seal of ownership, and to help change our hearts and minds. Mindblowing stuff every time I think about it, and something I will never stop thanking God for.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Shower time!

So, I had this thought come to me whilst in the shower this morning (not usually where I do my best thinking, but hey, some days are just different). Often christians (well I anyway) use the phrase 'I don't believe in sex before marriage', 'I don't believe in getting drunk', 'I don't believe in...' etc, and it occured to me that that's quite a silly thing to say. Cos, lets be honest, they do all exist. We may choose not to partake in them, but that doesn't mean they're not around. It's just like someone saying 'I don't believe in God'. My response to that would in general be 'well that's not a great argument - just because you don't believe in Him, doesn't mean He's not there'. Thus my plan is to avoid using this phrase in the future, at all. (Except of course for those things that really don't exist, like vampires, friendly bus drivers and woman capable of sustaining a chocolate-free diet).

Hmm, so there we are. Tonight I am mostly planning on getting more sleep so my shower in the morning might be it's usual brain-dead self!

On other news, I recieved this beautiful, beautiful gift on my desk at work last week:



Guys, never underestimate how special it is for us girls to recieve flowers. Not for any reason, but just cos you love us and have been thinking about us. I know some women (and men) who go 'ha, flowers - couldn't he think of anything more imaginative?'. But they're so pretty, and it's just so nice to know someone somewhere is missing you - I can't think of anything better.

Then this weekend was great - manic, but much fun. Dave went down to Guildford to stay with some course/1st year house -mates, and popped in here on the way down for dinner. I produced nothing very exciting, but it was great to see him for just a couple of hours. Then Saturday I picked up Esther and we headed to Cambridge for Marianne(who is engaged to my housemate from last year, Alistair)'s hen party. So much fun - we went punting...in the rain...eating a picnic...dressed as fairies. My, we got some looks! And then went on a ghost tour around Cambridge - could of been really weird, but was actually lots of fun and a good laugh - not sure that was the point though...

Then Sunday got up far too early and drove down to Guildford, but was only half an hour late for church (due to leaving half an hour late as a certain Miss Badley wasn't ready!). It was so great to be back in Millmead again - I hadn't realised how much I missed all the people there. And was told by our Pastor that possibly the best thing we could do for our spiritual lives that afternoon was to take a nap - bonus! (Check out 1 Kings 19:1-21 for that to make any sense!). And in the afternoon Dave and I went to the 1st birthday party of this beautiful little lady:


Baby Hannah is the daugter of Dan and Sarah who are the loveliest couple who have been mentoring Dave and I in our relationship. Hannah is ultra special because just 4 months ago she was in Great Ormand Street hospital undergoing major heart surgery. But in amazing answers to prayer God brought her safely through, and she's now putting on weight and totally thriving. We're so pleased and so thankful to God for His faithfulness. Hooray :)

Monday, August 08, 2005

God Does Exist

This is a really interesting way of tackling a commonly asked question. I think sometimes it's possible to go too far with analogies - our Heavenly Father is so far beyond human comparisons that sometimes it just doesn't work. But sometimes they really do help to hit home a point, and in my humble opinion this is one of them. It's something you may or may not have come across before, but either way let me know what you think.


God Does Exist

A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists." "Why do you say that?" asked the customer. "Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things." The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop.

Just after he left the barber’s shop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt. The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist." "How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!" "No!" the customer exclaimed.

"Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside." "Ah, but barbers DO
exist! What happens is, people do not come to me." "Exactly!"- affirmed the customer. "That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! What happens, is, people don't go to Him and do not look for Him. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."

Friday, August 05, 2005

Ode to Dave

So, today is Dave and my -1 year anniversary (that’s a year to go until our wedding day – a lot of people seem to be having problems with this concept!), and to tell you the truth I’m ridiculously excited. Which is weird because ordinarily I am not the sort of person who gets hung up on dates. But then, I guess this isn’t a particularly ordinary situation - not one I've been in before anyway!

So, I decided it was time for a little blogging dedicated to him. Many thoughts crossed my mind as to how to pay a fitting tribute. Creating a little picture board was one; writing an ode was another; or possibly continuing the acrostic theme from my last post. It was such a tough decision that I went for all of the above!

First, pictures. These first two I just love – man, if our kids look like this I’m gonna be the proudest Mum who ever lived! The first is just the cheekiest grin in the world.




And in this second he just looks like so much fun!









Then there's this one, that always makes me laugh. Dave, seriously, you left your guitar behind on this particular evening!


And lastly, the future Mr and Mrs Partridge, on our way to a cocktail party - man, we're almost like adults already!


And now, the moment you've all been waiting for! Please remember I am not a poet, so laugh at the appropriate places, but don’t rip it apart too much – I spent a surprising amount of time producing something so naff. (And a couple of things to explain so it makes a little more sense – Dave first asked me out after a lovely meal in Café Uno; ‘Boss’ is a nickname I call him; and ‘Ami’ is French for ‘Friend’). So, here goes:


Ode to Dave

Daring, when he wants to be,
Asks what he can do for me.
Very super-knowingly
Explains confusing things I see.

Perhaps you’d also like to know
(Among just us, he’d kill me so),
Reluctant he can be to show
The romantic, warm and loving glow.
Right swept me off my feet it did
In Café Uno; then he bid
Do marry me’, and so, amid
Great joy and laughs that did emit
Ecstatically ‘Yes’ my answer was.

And Dave I hope you know why ‘twas,
Many reasons, but primarily ‘cos
I love you so, my darling boss.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Trust

I was at Dave's home in Essex at the weekend, which was very lovely. Although we spent the majority of Saturday searching for cheap but reliable cars (which apparently don't exist. At all.) as mine is rapidly packing up, for which I apologise profusely Partridge clan (!), weekends there are always very relaxing and much fun, for which I am very grateful. So, we were at church Sunday morning, and Dave's cousin (and soon to be Best Man!) Jeremy was talking about trust, and it's something that really struck me.

Trust is a big thing - it takes a lot for us to be able to put our trust in someone; they must prove themselves, possibly many times, before we're prepared to rely upon them fully.

So, in the Bible, when Jesus says:

'Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.' John 14:1

what does that really mean? We can't play that game when we fall backwards and hope that the person behind us is gonna catch us (well, we could, but I don't think I'd advise it!)

Another translation of the above verse substitutes the word 'believe' for trust, and this, I guess, is the secret. All we need to do is to believe that Jesus is who He says He is (easier said than done, I know!), and we can't fail to trust Him because His very essence and character is one on which we can rely.

Try this exercise - it was one we did in the service, and some of the ideas are taken from there and some are my own. Take the letters of the word TRUST and use each one as the beginning letter of a word to describe why you trust God. (If you don't, maybe think instead about the characteristics that you would want in a God - I gaurantee they're there!) And finally, maybe do it for the person in the world you most trust - your best friend/spouse/gf/bf/mum, up to you really. Makes for quite interesting thoughts!

So here, for the record, are just some of the many reasons why I trust my God. If you want to know more about where I'm coming from then send me an email and I'll talk to you more, as I have a feeling that I haven't made myself very clear on here, but it was on my mind so I thought I'd go for it anyway!

Tried and Tested
Reliable
Unchanging
Steadfast
True