Saturday, 2 December 2006

han's shenanigans...

I have this seemingly innate tendency to break things. Some might call it absentmindedness, some, clumsyness, some carelessness, but I prefer to refer to my behaviour as my 'han-nerisms'. No matter how hard I try to be careful I still break things.

Here is a run down of the recent han-nerisms that have hit this household recently.

*** the demise of the coffee table: actually, I have to confess that this has not been such a 'recent' han-nerism. It happened one lovely summer day back in May. I had painted a canvas, and, having learnt from past misdemeanors, I hung it up on the wall to dry to avoid treading on it. Once it had dried, and i was replacing the mirror back on the wall where I had hung my canvas, I managed to knock the candlestand from the mantelpiece onto the unsuspecting glass coffee table below, smashing the large glass panel. So, in my attempt to avoid an accident, I had created another one!!

*** the telephone injury: Having been working hard last week, I was having a much deserved hyper, energy releasing moment, and did a first, and last, handstand in the hallway. As I was coming back down to earth, my right foot came smashng down on the intercom phone, causing a wee bit of damage. ie, nothing could be heard through the receiver and the receiver button had fallen inside the phone. I thought I had done a good job of fixing it - you could even hear people talking to you from outside, but my excitement ws soon deflated, when the buzzer went, and the phone promptly fell off the wall. This became a frequent event - whenever the buzzer went, the phone fell off.

*** umbrella breakdown: Last night, I went out for the ECS christmas dinner (for those not down with the lingo, that's short for Early Childhood Studies), and there was a whole lot of rain happening, so my kind housemate lent me her 'automatic' umbrella. 'Automatic, as opposed to manual?!!' (thinking along the lines of cars...) I asked. Apparently so. This posh umbrella, at the mere click of a button, shoots out and unfurls itself. With another click, it retracts itself - pretty impressive, I must say. Well, on the walk home, I tried to close the umbrella using its self-retracting mechanism, but it didn't work. So now we have an open umbrella sitting happily in our lounge.

I think that's about it for my recent major hanerisms, although managing to change the combination on a combination lock without meaning to, resulting in two bikes being locked in the garage, might be classified as han-erism, but we've yet to establish whether or not I was responsible for this.

Other strange happenings in our house have included returning home to find that some animal had done its business on our bathroom floor, leaving no trace of its identity, other than its poo. Nice.

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

the adventures of hattie

Today on my trip to the supermarket to get dinner, I came across this poor stray hat - she had been abandoned by some heartless smoothie drinker who had decided that it was fine for hattie to be separated from her mango smoothie. Yes folks, this is the new phenomenon at my local supermarket - dressing smoothie bottles in hats. So, being the kind-hearted person that I am, I took hattie under my wing and brought her to a nice warm home, out of the cold of the refridgerator to a new life at number 9. As you can see, she quickly befriended one of my eggs. You see, we are trying to wean her away from her refridgerated existence, but she had some difficulty when I opened the fridge and spotted the eggs, happily residing there. So in an effort to help her adjust, we allowed one of the eggs to have some time out from the fridge - after all, eggs are best cooked at room temperature, as they are not too fond of the cold either, so I was actually doing both the egg and hattie a favour.

Mr. egg is not the only friend hattie has managed to make. In the short time she has lived here, she has also found another human companion in the form of one of my housemate, Sarah. Sarah was equally as excited as hattie was at their new found friendship.
However, the fun with sarah was short lived - as soon as hattie spotted the family of leaves that currently reside on our wall, she wanted to join their party - they were very compliant, as you can see from the picture below. Let me take a minute to share with you the story of the family of leaves. One might be inclined to think that leaves actually like to drop off trees in Autumn, judging by the carpet of leaves that frequent pavements across England during this season. However, there are some who prefer the warmth and don't want summer to end, so although they follow the lead of their fellow leaves in that they have changed colour (although having said that, there are a few rebels among the ranks who have insisted on staying a shade of green), they are not content with being trodden into mush. So I kindly rescued one small family of leaves, and they now live on our wall - they're by the bright lamp that lights our room, so they kind of think it's summer, but aren't comletely fooled.

Monday, 20 November 2006

learning to read

Learning to read is something that I learn about on my course, but in this context, I am actually referring to myself. With one of the essays I am writing at the moment, I seem to be incapable of reading an article from start to finish without veering off in different directions, all related to the essay, but it has left me feeling like I'm tying myself in knots.

Basically, I'm writing about policy drivers, funding and format of early years services in 3 OECD countries, and they all interlink with oneanother, which is great in some ways, but totally confusing in other ways. Ho hum...I'll get my head round it eventually!!

I had a quality weekend. Having looked after Madeleine all day Friday and taught her how to spread marmite on her sandwiches (pretty impressive skill for a 2 year old, I reckon), and listening in amazement to her telling me how the picture on her yoghurt pot was a raspberry, and how she eats raspberries off her fingers (which I have witnessed personally, just like in Amelie!!), I spent the rest of the weekend being more of a socialite than I have been in a long time! On Saturday night, my flatmates and I went to a 21st at Byzantium which was a most amazing venue, with beautiful food - perhaps the poshest meal I have ever had!!

This week I've been spending more quality time with kids - I had to do a couple of observations at a preschool for one of my unite. The kids were so cool - I loved watching the quirky things kids like to do - there was one boy who liked to suck his thumb whilst twiddling other children's hair, which was quite amusing - he seemed to prefer the girls' hair because it was longer than his, but they weren't always as compliant as he would have liked in order to satisfy his hair-twirling habits!!

On Tuesday eve, I looked after Madeleine, and we did lots of dancing together, which she loved and though was hilarious - by the time we had finished, she had mastered her own pirouetting technique, which was brilliant!

At the moment, I'm writing my report on my observations, but have already managed to go 300 words over the word count, and I'm not even a fifth of the way through!! Oopla.

Time to get back to work!! (If anyone would like to leave a comment for me to read when I take a break from writing, that would be very lovely.)

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

right about now...

For much of today, I have just had my trusty laptop to keep me company, and have been type-typing away in between bouts of reading for my dissertation, which is now in full swing. The picture to your left is of me in the warmest jumper in the world - it adds approximately 2 stone to my appearance, perhaps the quickest weight gain you will ever witness, at the end of a day of dissertation ramblings and modelling. That's right folks - modelling. Not quite as exciting as it may sound - I had my photo taken for the 2008 Bristol perspectus.

So, when you look through uni prospectuses and wonder if the person laughing away like they really are having a ball is real, I can assure you that at Bristol, this is the case! How funny. They even want to quote me in the prospectus!

(Sorry for the lack of photo - I removed it upon discovering that it wasn't possible to see my face!)

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

...finding peace in the midst of madness...

The manicness of final year has most defiinitely struck home over the last couple of weeks. But, as always, God is incredible, and although I am incredibly aware of the huge amounts of work that have to be done, I have an amazing peace about it all, and know that it will all get done. It's looking like as from March 25th, I am going to have a whole lot of time on my hands, as I will have done all of my essays for the year, and handed in my dissertation, and will only have one unit left to do. Which means that easter is going to be amazingly relaxing!! The only thing that might change this is if they decide to be a little bit kind and extend our deadlines. So, if anyone would like to come and visit me in the wonderful Bristol, or would like me to come and visit, then please do not hesitate in letting me know.

I'm having fun researching different arts and health projects for my dissertation - there's some amazingly exciting and interesting things going on in the arts and health world, and I'm looking forward to learning more and more, and being thoroughly inspired.

Friday, 27 October 2006

a wee bit of a catch up...

Well, as you can see, I failed to write another entry on Wednesday, so I'm writing one today, which is still pretty good going - two entries in a week, considering my recent track record.

I thought if I write snippets through out the day, then it's much more doable to update you, than if I try to write one big blog entry. So, here comes an update of the last few weeks!!

The first exciting thing to mention is that I went to see the amazing Imogen Heap at the Colston Hall with the wonderful Maeve. She was amazing and wonderful. Maeve and her flatmates bought me 'Speak for Yourself', one of her albums for my birthday which is brilliant. She's just amazingly creative, and has a perspex piano!! If you follow the link it will take you to her myspace, where you can hear some of her tracks.

The next exciting event was Katy and Rachel paying me a visit for the first time since I've been in Bristol. It was so lovely to see my wonderful ladies. The only problem was, I got very sick on the first night they were here, and so by the next day I was way too weak to do anything other than rest. Although that was very rubbish, it was so good to see them, and another exciting thing happened while they were here. On their way back from the waterfront, they bumped into a very old friend of ours from Canterbury - a guy called David Bain. They arrived back at my flat and I heard them chatting to a guy, and I was somewhat bemused at the thought that they could have bumped into someone they knew in Bristol. So, it was such a lovely surprise to see that they'd very randomly found David Bain on their travels!! He's recently moved here, and is now started coming along to my church, which is very cool indeed!

Then it was Maeve's 21st birthday, and we went out for a wonderful dinner at The Primrose Cafe, which is a bistro in the evening. Her Dad had very kindly decided that he wanted to pay for us all, so we didn't have to worry about the average cost of mains being £15. We had a private room all to ourselves, beautifully adorned with fairy lights. That Sunday, we went to the Brecon Beacons - something that Maeve and I had planned to do last year for our birthdays, but never got around to organising it this year. It was SO good to get out to the countryside, and feel like we were in the middle of nowhere within 20 minutes of walking. There is something indescribably refreshing and life giving about standing on the peak of a hill. I revelled in the opportunity to take some photos of my lovely friends - something which I don't really do that often as it's not particularly feasible to carry my big ole camera around with me. I only took black and white ones, and haven't had a chance to develop them yet as the darkrooms are being revamped. Hopefully I'll find the time at some point to print them, scan them and upload them onto here. Don't be holding your breath though!!!

Then, along came my 22nd birthday - I spent the day of my actual birthday working hard on my dissertation in the library and then had a relatively relaxed afternoon. In the evening I had some friends over for dinner. We had planned to go out for a drink after dinner, but, in typical Hannah style, I decided that 10.30 was a far better time to go to bed than to go out for a drink, so we just stayed in and chatted - a far better option. The Saturday before my birthday, I went out for a meal to a lovely restaurant called Moreish with some friends from church. John was able to pop over from Bath for the evening, which was so lovely - I can't remember the last time I celebrated a birthday with him, which is quite shocking! I also had a seasonally themed birthday party with a chocolate fountain, which was very cool.

Since then, I have been working hard, feeling the impact of being in the third year. It's all going ok - I'm learning about amazingly interesting stuff, which you can feel free to ask me to tell you about, as I would happily talk about the sheer amazingness of God that I have seen more and more as I have learnt about aspects of child health, and how children learn to read and write. Truly remarkable, I must say.

This week saw Madeleins 2nd birthday, which is incredibly cool. She is way ahead of herself in the amount she can say - we have some fantastic conversations, and she's started engaging in pretend play, which is brilliant to watch. We went to the park the other day, and unfortunately everything was wet, so we searched for creatures, after Madeleine's keen eyes had spotted a tiny white insect which she called a ladybird, and then she actually did find a ladybird. Then we jumped in some puddles and then looked for cats on the way home. She got incredibly excited when she spotted a black cat, and I thought her conversation that she tried to pursue with the cat was very admirable - 'Hi cat, how you doing? You walking? Yeh.'
What a legend.

Right kiddlywinks, that's about it for now. It is way past my bedtime, so I'm going to do the sensible thing, and sleep. I will endeavour not to leave so long a gap between posts....

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Just a brief one...

This is just a short post to let any of you know who still bother checking my blog, that I am still alive and well, and immensely busy.

Wednesday is my dissertation day of the week, so I'm just taking an interim break from it as my thoughts are getting a wee bit muddled. One thing I have never been good at is being concise, and at the moment my dissertation is heading towards being a thesis, so I need to limit myself on what I'm researching, but it's so interesting that I want to learn about everything!!

I am going to try and update this later on today to let you know about my antics over the last few weeks, but I can only do so if I get enough dissertation work done before planning kids cell this evening and going to bed - might not sound like a lot to complete in a whole day, but believe me, it's plenty!!

Sunday, 24 September 2006

Back again...

Well, it's been another month since my last post...I've just completely out of the flow of writing. It's not that I haven't had anything to write about - more that I haven't known quite where to start.

I'm feeling quite overwhelmed in some ways at how incredibly exciting the times we are living in are. God is doing awesome, awesome things, that I feel so privileged to be a part of. I find my desire to live for God increase daily, but am realizing more and more as this desire grows, how much of a sacrifice this is, and what at challenge it is to live selflessly.

I'm going out to my church prayer meeting in a few minutes, so this is just a short post. When I was younger I always had this vision of church prayer meetings as boring times that if you went to a church you kind of felt obliged to go to, but that is so not my experience of the meetings. They are brilliant times where we've seen the Holy Spirit move with increasing power.

I've gone back to looking after Madeleine, who is just brilliant. She gets SO excited about me coming, which is rather flattering! We have great fun together, but she has now got to the age where she is starting to develop her own autonomy and is stepping out in taking control of situations, which is a really important time, but I'm really realizing how important the way I respond to her in these times is. I'm realizing more and more how much grace and patience being a parent requires. Parents deserve a huge amount of respect.

That's all I have time for tonight guys.

Monday, 28 August 2006

Back from Uganda

Well, I think this has been my longest break from blogging yet. Even though I've been back from the wonderful country that is Uganda for 2 weeks, I have either thought about blogging and not known where to start, or have not had access to the internet.

But I feel that now the time has come for a post. I am feeling particularly inspired and excited about what God is doing in His wonderful world. Whilst there are a lot of things going on which are not particularly wonderful, it is still so clear that God reigns over us with an incredibly Almighty power.

Uganda was an awesome time. It's always hard to sum up trips like it in just a few words when you experience and learn so much...I had the incredible privilege of working with Pastor Stephen, who has such a huge abundance of wisdom and vision. It is so clear that God is His strength and is behind everything he does. He is a man who knows what it means to be gracious. Many people have hurt him and let him down, and in spite of this, he really shows them love. It is very apparent that Christ is living in him.

Of the many, many words of wisdom that Pastor Stephen gave me, the one in particular that has sprung to mind right now is when he was talking about having a huge heart, and a lot of room in his heart to love people. Then he said that he also expects to be disappointed by people, which I found an odd thing to say at first, thinking that it was perhaps a little harsh. But then he explained what he meant and it all made sense. We all do things to hurt people, even though much of the time we can have the best intentions. Pastor Stephen said that in expecting disappointment, it is not a surprise when it comes. Knowing that the people we love can and will sometimes hurt us can enable us to let the disappointment wash over us when it comes, and just carry on loving that person despite the disappointment. I don't want you to misunderstand what he meant - it's not that he is just waiting for someone to let him down, it's that he has the perspective that disappointment inevitably happens, and we can choose how we respond to it...

I'm now back in Bristol, and it's so exciting to see what God has been doing here over the last few months. There are many new faces at church, and have been incredible healings in people which is brilliant. God is really on the move, and the more we see Him at work, the more our faith increases to see even greater things happen..

Friday, 23 June 2006

Back to Uganda

I apologize for the lack of blogging recently. Despite finishing my exams on the 7th June, I still had a fair bit of work to do until I could relax. The dissertation process has now begun. I'm gradually getting past the denial phase of thinking I actually cannot write a dissertation to realizing that it is possible, despite my tutor's helpful comment of saying 'fools rush in where angels fear to tread', following her comment of 'why did I ever agree to let you do this topic?'....

Last weekend entailed a camping trip to Spitten Farm in Evesham for an NFI conference, which was perhaps the most laid back conference ever, consisting of 3 morning meetings over 3 days, leaving the rest of the day to simply relax and enjoy great company. It was a quality weekend - the perfect ending to another academic year. One quite cool occurrence of the weekend was bumping into a girl who I met in Uganda this time last year, who I haven't seen since. She's going back again this summer, so I'll see her there again, which is cool. It's funny to think that you can live in the same country as a person but spend more time with them in another country than you do in your home country...

On Monday I was meant to be going horseriding in the Cotswolds with my flatmates for Sarah's 21st birthday present, but they decided they wanted to spend time with all our friends rather than just the 4 of us, as everyone was leaving uni on Tuesday. So instead, we went to Longleat Safari Park for the day. Highlights of the day were:

*** Watching the mischievous monkeys rip car ariels and windscreen wipers off

*** Sharing car space with deer

*** Playing football with a cool 2 year old

On Thursday, I made the journey back to the Bay with MJ Wicks, and have spent the time since getting ready to go to Uganda tomorrow.

Last night I went to the Fine Art Degree exhibition at KIAD, which was a quality evening. My old friend Mark Thorne had some of his work on exhibition, hence going there. There was a quality folk band playing who were amazing. It was lovely to watch children and adults dance around to the music, completely uninhibited, although this lack of inhibition in the adults was probably influenced by the free alcohol, rather than just a childlike willingness to dance in front of anyone!

As mentioned before, I am off to Uganda tomorrow for a two month trip, which is very exciting. Lizzie and I are taking a team of 9 girls out to a village called Lungujja on the suburbs of Kampala to work with a school, which was established by an amazing man called Pastor Stephen. The adventure might also include a trip to Rwanda; it's pretty much impossible to imagine what this would be like - quite possibly harrowing and devastatingly sad.

We don't have electricity where we're living, so I don't know how often I'll be able to update this, as I'll have to go into Kampala, but I do plan on sending e-mails when I make it to an internet cafe, so if you'd like to hear what I'm up to, and find that I'm not updating this, just let me know and I'll add you to my e-mail list.

Tuesday, 6 June 2006

four down, one to go...

I'm 11 hours and 14 essays into my exams, with one 3 hour paper consisting of 4 essays left - this time tomorrow I will have finished my second year exams. Woopwoop!!

Revision this year has actually been quite an enjoyable experience - our dining table has become our revision area, with three of us revising around it for approximately 8 - 10 hours a day, although this has been interspersed with library sessions at the medics library. I find it fascinating thinking that I am sitting amongst the future doctors of this country. Very cool. Meals are being eaten off the floor - obviously not quite that literally, and we have found that our ability to construct real sentences that actually make sense has somewhat diminished as a result of the lack of talking and immense amount of knowledge-absorbing that's been going on. It's all good fun, this exam business.

I had some quality time with Madeleine yesterday, playing with stones and petals in the garden, and trying to eat suncream. She's going through the stage where she confuses her 'yes' with 'no', or has learned deception 2 and a half years early, pointing to her nappy and saying 'Poo, no', when asked if she's done a poo. You gotta love it.

I've got some lentil soup on the stove which I think is ready to serve, so better go and attend to it....

Friday, 2 June 2006

adventures to come

On Wednesday it was my flatmates' 21st birthday. We woke hre up at 7am, by jumping on her bed and presenting her with a bunch of balloons, and her presents. Having opened her presents consisting of a carrot, some sugar cubes and an apple, I think Sarah was a little unsure whether to laugh or cry. However, we are not mean flatmates, and are not suggesting that her diet should consist of these things, so we presented her with her wonderfully crafted birthday card (see below), which gave a more specific clue as to what her actual present was. We're going horseriding!!! We're going to go on a hack in the Cotswold's, which we're all very excited about.

We left the house at 7.30am with a blindfolded Sarah, and took her to Royal Fort Gardens
to have a picnic breakfast with some delicious pastries from the bakery and strawberries and cherries from the greengrocers - so good. It was so lovely to be outside enjoying the sunshine at 8am. Love it.

I'm in the middle of exams at the moment, and I have to say, they've been incredibly kind with the questions. I've had a couple of run-ins in two of the exams with my contact lenses, which have been serving me well for most of the time. I rubbed my eyes a little too vigorously in my exam yesterday and ended up dislodging one of my lenses, pushing it up under my upper eyelid. Gross. You don't really want to hear about that anymore. I am becoming more certain that the intensity of the work you do in exams increases your appetite. I've been eating normal amounts, but found in my exam yesterday that my stomach felt like it was eating itself, it was so hungry.

It's now only 23 days until I go to Uganda, which seems unreal in a lot of ways. I don't think it will seem real until I've actually got there, especially as I have such little time to get myself organized before going, which is not a good thing, as I am partially responsible for 9 others and not just myself. If anyone has a video camera that they would like to lend me for the trip, that would be absolutely incredible. I know it's a lot to ask, and so totally understand if no-one can or wants to. I was going to ask my brother, but have just read his blog to say he's going to be making a short film over the summer, so I'm thinking that's not possible.

Sunday, 28 May 2006

weddings, babies and pirates

I know it's only been just over a week since I last updated my blog, but it feels like a long time, and I've kind of missed writing about my musings. So even if no-one bothers to read this, I guess it's good just for my own catharsis!

The photo to your left was taken 2 weeks ago when some of us from church went and had a picnic at a quality place called Brandon Park, which is a bit of a haven in the middle of the city. We weren't intentionally posing for the photo, but were trying to figure out if the camera was actually going to take the photo - hence the slightly puzzled expressions on our faces. It was a lovely sunny day, which you can kind of see in the photo, and I think we haven't had a sunny day since then, which I'm finding a little sad. But hey, I'll be in Uganda soon, and every day will be sunny, which is going to be great.

The last couple of weeks have been spent working very hard on exam revision, kids cell and childminding. I've been feeling less and less like a student recently, despite being in the midst of exams. I've been aware that my experience of student life is quite different to my friends, largely because I haved a job which in a lot of ways doesn't feel like a job, and isn't really your typical student job. Also, because of my growing involvement with my church here, I spend a lot of time with Mums and people who aren't students, which I love, but I am feeling more and more detached from my uni friends, as I am unable to do a lot of the things they do because of childminding. I don't want to seem like I'm moaning, because obviously I make the choices over how I spend my time, but I'm just trying to figure out how I feel about becoming detached from some of my close friends here because of my choices...

Part of me feels totally fine about it, which kind of makes me feel that this is just the natural progression of my life, and not something to feel sad about, but there's another part which just doesn't quite understand it all. But then I guess that's the case with a lot of things, and so it makes even more sense that I just put my trust in God!!!

Last night, I went to a pirate party at the pub, which was a lot of fun - we even had our own gold, which was eddible!! Love it. Check us out in all our pirate finery!!! It was so cool to dress up - we only got heckled by 5 or so people. Not bad going, ay.

This week has been one of receiving lots of exciting news - 1 friend getting married and 2 sets of friends having babies, and of hearing from old school friends, who I've known since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Quite refreshing, yet also strange at the same time to see how everyone's lives seem to be taking rather massive progressions at the moment. Very exciting times, I have to say...

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

a bit of a scary moment

So this afternoon, I put my contact lenses in for today's adjust-the-eyes-to-contacts-sesh, and after about 40 minutes I found myself thinking that I couldn't read as well as I thought I should be able to, swiftly followed by the realization that my contacts felt incredibly comfy - so much so that I couldn't really feel them in my eyes, which, for hard lenses, is a rather unusual feeling...surely they couldn't have both fallen out without me realizing?! No way that's a ridiculous idea. I figured I'd try taking them out, just for peace of mind that I hadn't lost them, only to find that couldn't take them out. Either I was just being a bit incompetent, or they had fallen out, so I put my glasses on, and much to my horror, I could see, which meant that they must have come out.

So I proceeded to scour the hallway and my bedroom on hands and knees, hunting out two very tiny transparent lenses, all the while thinking how incredibly embarassing it will be to tell people that after 26 hours of having contact lenses, I've lost both of them....whilst on all fours, I started going through the conversation I'd have to have with the optician, and then suddenly remembered stories of contacts going behind people's eyeballs...surely not...surely I'd be able to feel them and be in considerable amounts of pain if that had happened?

I looked in the mirror, pulling down my lower eyelids to see what looked like a reflection of my eye on the lower white part of my eye..'I'm sure it's never looked like that before' I thought to myself...'wait a that my lens?' And sure enough, both my lenses were still in my eyes but had just slipped (probably from me rubbing the itchiness) right off my pupils - Thank the Lord!

So it turns out that actually it's quite easy to lose contact lenses while they're still in your eyes...

Last night I went to a Duke Special gig, which was mightily grand - a very intimate affair, due to the small size of the venue and the audience. There was hardly any seats so my friends and I sat right at the front, and I was right next to the speakers, so I felt like the drum rhythm was my heartbeat - quite a cool feeling. I'd never heard of Duke Special before - my Irish friend Maeve is into him, who is a fellow Irishman. His percussionish is a guy called chip, who plays the cheese grater with a whisk - a very creative musician.

The support act was a guy called Thomas Truax - you HAVE to check out his website to catch just a small glimpse of his style. Truly, I have never seen nor heard anyone like him. Please check out the instrument section on his webpage to see the hornicator and sister spinster, who are two of his trusty accompaniments.

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

spot the difference

Now, I know it's been a while since many of you have seen me in person, so I thought I'd give you a little test. What is different about my appearance?

....................Not worked it out yet? I no longer have glasses! Quite a significant change considering I've been wearing them for almost 18 years. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, it is now possible to get contact lenses so small that my rugby-ball shaped eyes can see through them. They are actually tiny - smaller than a fully dilated pupil. Legend.

Friday, 12 May 2006

another busy week

This week has been another busy one, with the realization dawning on me that I now actaully have to make firm decisions about my dissertation, and think about scary things like my research methods. I always knew I'd have to do a dissertation, but I always anticipated that when the time came to do it, I would feel much wiser and more capable of such a big project. And now it's got to that time, I most definitely feel that this is under my feet and in control!

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of childminding for a wonderful couple from church - Ros's sister was being awarded an OBE so they were going to London for the day and had lunch at the Ritz. So I looked after Phoebe, who's two. We had great fun, including a session at gymtots, which was very cool. I had to pick her two sons up from school, which was a slightly chaotic time - trying to keep a hold of a toddler and her beaker, and two book bags and two paintings. Mum's are amazing. That's all I can say. So many small things like keeping an eye on multiple children at once are seriously underestimated in their difficulty and value.

Yesterday, I cooked fajhitas for 30 people, with the help of two lovely lasses, which was good fun, and today has been productively spent soaking up the sun and revising - simultaneosly. Sarah (one of my flatmates) and I sat on the roof with the boys who live over the road. We thought the roof was hot enough to cook an egg on, so we tried, but it wasn't quite as successful as we'd hoped!

This weekend (tonight and all day tomorrow) Lizzie and I are going to be training our team in prepearation for Uganda, and planning with them the activities we are going to do. While we do have an idea of those things, we want the whole group to be involved in the planning. Lizzie's parents are coming tomorrow to talk to us about health issues and safety, and to tell us about worries parents have about their children going away to do something like this, so we can perhaps understand things slightly from their perspective. Exciting stuff.

Thursday, 4 May 2006

it's been a while

I've been a bit slack at blogging lately - not for lack of want, but busyness. It seems I'm gradually getting better at being disciplined with my work in that I haven't been as tempted to check everyone's blogs and update my own before studying, which I think is quite a valid reason for not having blogged as much over the last couple of weeks!

This is going to have to be brief as my eyes are starting to go awol. They've been well behaved recently, but as I'm spending a lot of my time with my head in a book or writing an essay, I think they're feeling the strain.

I had quite a busy weekend, with our kids cell discipleship group on Friday evening, which was quality. Such a great bunch of kids. This was followed by a lovely meal with some lovely friends, with the most ridiculous number of desserts. It seemed that all 10 people coming had been asked to bring something, but hey, it was good to have lots of choice!

On Saturday, I had the second of three training days in prophecy, which was very challenging but very good with a lot of exciting prophetic words coming out of it. In the evening, our flat, which is getting a bit of a reputation for being a party house, hosted a cheese and wine evening, which was lovely. It sounds classy, I know, but of course, we had to have some fun games like the cracker challenge - eating 3 crackers in one minute, and the downing water competition. I missed out on the last one, as I had been sensible and gone to bed early, but was woken to what sounded like the flat falling down, but was actully just a lot of draw slamming and bedroom ramsacking at 2am.

On Sunday evening, I provided the childcare at a wedding - looking after 22 children and a baby with the help of one of my flatmates. Was a little crazy at times, but the decorating biscuits with as much coloured icing and silver balls as possible kept them occupied for a surprisingly long time!

On Monday I had play training - yes folks, it is possible to get a qualification in 'play', and I'm going to have it!! As it was a bank holiday, we couldn't use the uni buildings, so went to an AMAZING place called the Children's Scrapstore. Oh wow - I actually can't remember the last time I got so excited - before my eyes was a big warehouse with art and craft resources of all varieties. I could have got the resources for every single creative idea I have ever had there. And what's even better is that you pay a fiver and get to fill a WHOLE massive shopping trolley with whatever you want!!! Now I just need to find a willing driver so I can indulge in this adventure!!! So exciting!

On Monday I had childminding, and Madeleine had learnt the actions to Incy-wincy-spider and the wheels on the bus, which is very cool. I'm trying to teach her how to say my name, but when I asked her if she could say 'Hannah' she just grinned and pointed at me. She won't even try! I reckon she can say it but she knows that I want her to, and so is pretending she can't.

I'd better leave it there as I had intended to keep it short, and I need to go to a lecture soon. ttfn.

Friday, 21 April 2006

food of the day: mango sorbet

Today I have had the pleasure of spending the whole day looking after Madeleine - Dj in the making by the looks of it! She had been rummaging through my bag and came across my minidisc player and seemed fascinated with my headphones. So I showed her how they worked and played her some music - definitely a new and fascinating experience for an 18 month old!

Last night I had cell group, which was quality, as always, especially as we had 3 new people this week. What was even more quality was that one of those new people was Ben Hulks' girlfriend!! What a small world. Very cool.

This evening I had my first kids cell discipleship group. We've never run anything like it before, so it's exciting to be a part of something new. Some of the kids have such an incredible knowledge of the Bible, which was so inspiring to see.

Thursday, 20 April 2006

forest and flies

Realizing that I am well ahead of schedule with my essays, I thought I could warrant taking a break to update my blog, as it's been nearly a week since my last musings.

I had a lovely bank holiday Monday, spent in the Forest of Dean with a few people from church. I love taking every opportunity available to get outside and enjoy what the world has to offer.

In the evening I went to the pub with some other friends from church - people who I haven' t spent a lot of time with socially, so that was really quality, getting to know them all a bit better. Only problem was, it took me and my friend Jo an hour longer to find it that in should have! I know I don't have the best sense of direction (along with very poor maths skills - thanks for pointing out my mistake about the eggs Ben!), but I had checked the map on the internet, and the road we were looking for was most definitely NOT where the map said it was. But hey, what does it matter anyway - we got there eventually!

On Tuesday, one of my lovely flatmates returned
- so lovely to have her smiling face filling the flat with life again.
Last night I went to the pub to watch the football, of all things! I don't have a particular dislike for football, but to be honest, I'm really not bothered. But I was persuaded by my friends to come along and partake in some light banter and soak up the atmosphere. The other option was staying at home and killing the flies that seem to be taking over our kitchen and bathroom...

Friday, 14 April 2006

In awe of my creator

I have been sitting here, wondering what to write for probably the last 20 minutes - I haven't just been staring at my computer screen for the whole of that time - I've been perusing my photos, wondering which one to post today. I like the whole use of photos in blogging - it seems to add a lot more life to a page. A life in pictures. That's something I'd love to have - not my life, just life in general. The thing is, there's only so much you can capture in one city in one part of the world. Sure, you get a diversity of cultures, but they don't completely reflect how that culture would appear within it's original home.

The immensity of the world is one of the many things I've been thinking about this week. My friend Jo was round the other day, and was telling me about a book she's been reading about the men who landed on the moon. There are only 9 men in this world who have seen the earth from that perspective.

This got me thinking about just how immensely incredible God's creation is.
The world is so incredibly vast. It totally blows my mind to think about what else is happening on different continents right at this minute. How amazing is it that God created a world where some countries are in darkness while we are in light - while we are sleeping there are people all over the world worshipping God, their creator, and while we are worshipping, others are sleeping. We find it so hard to see past our selves. We have such an incredibly narrow perspective of, well, everything really. Even geniuses lack vast knowledge in relation to God, which is a pretty obvious thing to say, but just think about it for a moment. We really look up to and admire people who have a sum of knowledge more vast than our own, so how much more should we be in awe of God who actually knows EVERYTHING there is to know about everything. And to think that he still cares about every tear that people cry, every single person is known and loved by God. It is just so awesome. David was totally spot on when he said,

"You hem me in-behind and before
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
Too lofty for me to attain." (Psalm 139 v.5-6)

God took care of every single aspect of creation - design to absolute perfection. He paints the skies in ways and colours that are actually indescribable. Whilst language is an absolutely incredible thing and a wonderful communicator, our words can never sum up the magnificence of God. Wow. I am amazed. It's an incredibly humbling thing to realize these things with greater revelation. To be reminded of how small I am and how unimportant my thoughts are, yet they still matter immensely to God. The fact that we can know a God who is immensely huge yet incredibly personal is phenomenal....What an awesome priviledge which we so often take for granted.

As I've been writing this I've been listening to music by a group called Mann Friday. My friend Dave introduced me to them - they are a band from Zimbabwe, and he knows one of the guys from when he lived there. They are currently in England, promoting themselves. If you follow the link, you can listen to their music. I really love it. It is so chilled. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have...

Wednesday, 12 April 2006

eggs and eyes

Today I have been doing lots of organizing and planning for my church easter egg hunt - we're expecting around 150 people, which is very exciting. One of the things the children have to do on the hunt is collect 5 egg shaped medals with the letters 'J-e-s-u-s' on them. I'm sure all of you can do the maths, but if we're catering for 90 children, that means we have 350 cardboard laminated eggs on our hands. Love it.

We're not so mean as to only have cardboard eggs though - every child gets a whole easter egg each, and has the fun of hunting for mini chocolate eggs in two different locations - I want to be doing the hunt, not instructing people!!!

For those of you who know and are still interested, I went to the eye hospital again yesterday, and saw another new person, who was an incredibly lovely, helpful and caring lady, which was an answer to prayer. She did the same tests on my eyes that have been done before, just to see if the problem is still the same, and much to her surprise, they weren't! She thinks that the problem might be resolving itself, and that I don't need bi-focals, which is nice to know. I also finally saw the surgeon yesterday, and he seemed to agree with her, which was cool. For the first time since I've been going to the eye hospital, I came away feeling really positive about it all. Amen.

Monday, 10 April 2006

A lovely weekend

This weekend I went to Stoke-on-Trent for a very good friends' 21st surprise party. It was an amazing weekend in many ways. On Sunday we went out for the poshest lunch I have ever had an amazing place called Goldstone Hall, which was in the middle of the countryside. While we waited to be taken to our table, we sat in big old comfy
armchairs around a fire. After we'd had an amazing 3 course meal, we retired to the comfy chairs for coffee and petit fours (sorry if that's spelt incorrectly).

Having spent a week largely in my own company, it was incredibly refreshing to be surrounded by normal people and have conversations about things other than what was going round my head. I think being on my own for a bit has really helped me appreciate just how precious and amazing it is to be in the company of good friends.

It was also an amazing weekend in that it was one where God answered a few of the things that have been on my mind lately and gave me peace about other things, truly reminding me what it means to find rest in Him. There is such freedom and release when we stop trying to hold things ourselves and really let God be in control.

This evening, I've been to Asda to buy 96 easter eggs for the church easter egg hunt on friday. I got chatting to a lovely old man who worked there, who told me all about his dog who he loves to pieces and is hoping to enter into Crufts next year. He gets up at 5am every morning to take his dog for a walk, then works three jobs before going home to his wife and walking his dog again. Quality man.

Thursday, 6 April 2006

my new friend

Living alone can do funny things to you. Today, I bought myself a new friend, this beautiful plant to the left. I will call her Gertrude. I realize the tragic nature that I have resorted to calling a plant my 'friend', but I felt my flat needed a bit more life in it - our sea monkeys are cool, but they live in the bathroom, so I don't see them as much as Gertrude.

I have spent today working and painting - a good balance of both. I've been getting a little stressed at the lack of work I've done so far this holiday, but then I realized that my deadlines are actually quite a long way off, and so I don't need to stress quite so much. Funnily enough, having realized that seems to have kick-started me into working mode.

I'm off in a minute to tutor a Somali girl in St. Paul's, which should be good. I don't feel I'm the most capable of teachers - it's actually pretty hard remembering what it was like learning to read, and understanding all the different grammatical rules. Trying to help this girl with her reading has made me realize just how much I take for granted just being able to read without having to put any active thought into the process of it.

Tuesday, 4 April 2006

time for a change

Having spent much time dissatisfied with my previous blog provider, I have finally got around to creating a new blog, so here it is.

Hopefully this one will be far more colourful and have lots more interesting photos to look at.

Today I have had the joy of looking after Madeleine, who is getting more amazing by the day. She is becoming so much more responsive to when I say 'no' - a little patience goes a long way.