Reasons to Smile 28/08/13

oh, it’s been a while!! I am sorry to you few faithful followers. Here’s the lowdown.

1) Bake off is back!

Mary_Berry_Paul_Ho_2378687band these beauties are back in my life every Tuesday. Now I just need to get on it with recreating some of the bakes. I’m already plotting breadsticks for this weekend

2) Family!

This year, because of some crazy unusual goings on, my parents ended up being in the UK for two months. Usually we only get them for a few weeks, so 8 whole weeks of them being on the same patch of land, able to text me, and as much as possible actually being with them was a dream! We took them out to our favourite restaurant, went out for ice cream, sat and talked about things we care about, and had one hilarious day which will be revealed some other day.

Then yesterday my lovely Brother and sister-in-law and their delicious two littlies booked tickets to come over from the states for Christmas. The ONLY good thing about living away from the people you love is the genuine joy and excitement of their visits. So now I’m plotting beautiful winter treats to enjoy with my niece and nephew, and Christmas presents that I can watch them open. Genuine joy!!

3) Glamping

I dont do camping. I did it a couple of times at Roots, back in the day, and it was awful! I just remember laying awake at 3am literally shivering in my sleeping bag despite having on every item of clothing I had brought with me, and having bad bad hair all day because I didnt have a hairdryer.

I’m not an outdoorsy type, I’d like to be, but I love my creature comforts too much. However, it turns out I love my sister in law more, because one of her 26 things was to go glamping, so this weekend, that’s exactly what we did. We hit up a bell tent in Herefordshire and I survived. More than that, I had quite a lovely time. 5 of us in the tent meant it didnt get too cold, and I’m pretty lucky that I’m married to a human hot water bottle…turns out sharing a bed with him is the cure for my chilly camping woes.

IMG_4015What I loved most was the cooking set up. We had an awesome little wood stove with a hot plate in our tent, and a BBQ outside, and I had a lot of fun (and a few moments of angst) creating dinners for us. And we had some awesome food (although i suspect digestive biscuits+marshmallows+chocolate > any dinner ever). We were in the middle of nowhere with no signal, and hardly anyone else camping at the site, so I chilled out, possibly for the first time this summer, and it was grand! I am still anti-camping, but glamping I can do!

IMG_4001IMG_4034

4) LSE Summer School 2013

For anyone who didnt grow up in the Sally Army, the idea of summer schools is a bit foreign, but growing up, they were genuinely the best weeks of my life. They seemed to be the only times I could be with people who fully understood me, they were the weeks of my first loves, first kisses, and more importantly my formative spiritual experiences. So it was a great privilege for Matt and I to be asked to be on the staff at a summer school in Kent this year. Both of us had pastoral roles, and I also lead a specialism called ‘expressions of faith’ which was such a joy. The idea of the specialism was to show the young people that they can use different ways to show what they believe or feel. I’ve been on such a journey of learning that myself in the last couple of years so it was amazing to get to share that with those young people.

Overall it was a brilliant week, exhausting and massively challenging, but just amazing. And in the long run I think it’s going to be life changing for us. We are both changed by it and it has changed the way we look at our life, so we’re making some big changes. It is amazing to see young people who have seen God and are living like it. It’s challenging to see them making better choices than I made at their age, and its challenged me about the way I’m living now.

And we had a lot of fun. It is rare that I laugh until I cant stop, but getting to sleep at 2am several nights in a row will definitely get me there. As, in almost all cases, will a Kazoo!!

and finally, 5) My first race

I’m doing it.

I’ve been running, on and off, for 8 months. I started on New Years Day, and apart from when I’ve been injured, I’ve run every week since. It has NOT been easy. I’ve had such a hard  time, and seem to have hit every hurdle possible. I started off with breathing difficulties, then had horrendous back pain which, after finally seeing a podiatrist, it turned out was caused by a forefoot supernatus…nope, i’d never heard of that either, but it was causing me some real problems. I finally got orthotics to fix it about 5 weeks ago, and then my trainers didnt fit anymore…so I had to get new ones.and now the blisters have begun…(Brother in Law Daniel, if you read this blog, avert your eyes now, i’m assured you dont do feet…)

blister

That is an extreme example, but my feet have been COVERED!

Traditionally I dont do things I’m not good at. I’m too competitive, so if I cant do things well, I dont do them. My life is a picture book of giving up stories. I have given up on lots of things because I couldn’t be the best. So there has been a real struggle for me as I have started doing this thing that I’m certainly not the best at. In fact I’m probably the worst. I run so slowly and I still have to do a combination of running and walking for any significant distance, but I’m doing it. So next Sunday I’m running a half marathon. I’m not going to beat any speed records, but I am proving something important to myself.

Training for this race has shown me what I can do. It’s shown me that I can push myself harder than i thought, and that when I do, things change.

I am running to raise money for CLIC Sargent, the amazing charity I work for. I hadnt planned to ask for sponsorship, as I’m doing the race for me. However, there are thousands of people who do extraordinary things to enable us to do the work we do with children with cancer, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try to raise a bit of cash, knowing the amazing difference it makes in childrens lives. So if you fancy sponsoring me, you can do that here.

Thats all folks 🙂

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