Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Something better

A fab quote from 'Passion and Purity' By Elizabeth Elliott

Taken from a dialogue between Elliott and God re: the feelings she had for a man she was growing to love, but couldn't marry at that time:
My heart was saying, "Lord, take away this longing, or give me that for which I long."

The Lord was answering, "I must teach you to long for something better." - Elizabeth Elliot



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Monday, October 20, 2008


Thank you to everyone's who's been praying about today's final assessment! The external moderator came in today and observed a lesson of mine (which went nigh on perfectly!) and set down to grill my files.

After the black smoke had cleared, she and my tutor gave me the thumbs up for Friday's piece of mandatory paperwork.

All I can say is praise God for the way he's kept me going with energy, patience, strength & determination over the past 7 weeks. It's been tough, but God's been tougher, there've literally been tears but God's always been there to comfort me, it's been a strain on my sleep (let's not start counting!) but yet he's always given me the strength I've needed for the day ahead.

Jude puts it very succinctly:

"To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen."
-- Jude 1v24-25 --

He can't help but praise God out of the sheer factual wonder that he will keep him safe in Christ until that truly amazing and awesome day when he returns. That has been the greatest challenge this term - keeping my focus on the prize; not of NQT (newly qualified teacher) status, but of my hope in Christ. And what joy it's brought! When teaching has been hard & the kids nightmarish, paperwork's built up and the clock's carrying on into tomorrow, getting my focus set on that hope of ours in Christ (that is, a future with God) has brought the joy back & renewed determination.

Now, with half term beckoning I've been told by friends that life'll calm down a bit, especially in the evenings. And part of me's looking forward to that. I'm challenged to remember that it's in my weakness this past half-term that I've known his strength most fully. How easy to cruise on when life seems easier! But I don't want this to be the case, I want this passion and reliance to continue day in, day out. He's sustained me perfectly according to my needs; that reliance I want to continue to walk in.

Rock on :)



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Friday, October 17, 2008

The theology of curves


Did you know that every line drawn on a graph has a formula which describes its path perfectly?

Chatting with a friend of mine at 1am this morning got me thinking about how sometimes we have no idea what God seems to be up to and your life seems to be a bit like an erratic curve on a graph. Let's face it, we like to know what's going to happen next in our lives - if we could choose to have a line to represent our lives then it would be a straight line (linear) graph. Always constant, the gradient never changes, and easy as pi (pardon the maths pun) to work out what it's going to look like 10, 50 or 10,000 steps down the line. In short - with a linear line, we can work it out very easily and predict what's going to happen.

But our lives aren't linear lines, they're curved and meandering, what's know as a differential curve. A-level maths teaches you that a differential curve which meanders around all in what looks to be a highly erratic way can be nigh on impossible to predict. Cue much flustering about not being able to predict this seemingly erratic path.

The great thing about curves however (well, as a maths bod) is that all curves have a formula which enables you to predict how the line will progress - perfectly. How encouraging to be reminded that God knows that formula - he just reveals a little bit of the line's path each day.

We may not be able to predict what's coming up next, or where our paths are going to pitch and soar (and sometimes seem to change direction), but we serve a God who knows that path back to front. He knows the formula that describes our path perfectly - from year to year, day to day, situation to situation. Our lives have some of the most complicated differential curves in all creation, so delicately interwoven into God's plan that it makes my head hurt.

And for each line that's carefully and lovingly woven into his marvelous plan, he knows the formula that describes where it's going. Perfectly. Let's learn to trust Him in the plotting of our paths.



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Monday, October 06, 2008

Trust in you alone

We sang The Lord's my Shepherd (Stuart Townend version) on Sunday morning and the line 'I will trust in you alone' struck me freshly. This poem came out of it:

I will trust in you alone

I will trust in you alone,
for my thoughts lead me astray.
I will trust in you alone,
for tomorrow and today.
I will trust in you alone,
for you lead my footsteps still,
and only when I trust in you
can I walk within your will.

I will trust in you alone
when the way's unclear to me.
I will cling to your firm rock
and learn to patient be.
I will trust in you alone;
give me that mustard seed,
to humbly seek your perfect will
and love what it may be.



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Where do you source your joy?

Paul's example in Romans just knocks me for six. He's gone through being beaten, rejected by fellows 'brothers', thrown out of towns, thrown into prison, shipwrecked, left hungry and seems rarely to be given any thanks for his efforts. Yet, he has what can only be called an abundant and seemingly depthless joy that he exudes in everything he writes about. What I love about this joy Paul has, it that it's drawn from the same source that we can drawn ours from - an eternal and unchangeable hope in Jesus Christ for our lives and after.

In light of how amazing the gospel of Jesus is, should we not be exuding joy in everything? Cat's post on Living for Christ with Joy has made me think; what makes me smile, what makes me rejoice in how amazing God is, what loving things do I enjoy doing that bring me a refraction of the joy Jesus wants in my life? Here's the short-list that came to mind:

1. Reading books
2. Cat :)
3. Playing the piano/guitar
4. Sunsets/sunrises
5. Playing console & PC games
6. Good coffee
7. Chatting with friends
8. Making or playing with gadgets
9. Listening to music
10. Helping a child learn something
11. Cooking
12. Snowboarding
13. Photography
14. Poetry
15. Random chats with friends!

How amazing it is to realise that God's made us to be joy seekers after his name, or Christian Hedonists (as John Piper puts it). I often find it far too easy to detach having joy in Christ from my life each day. But how can I do that, when this joy of his is ready to fill my life in every conversation, every decision and action as Paul discovered. I wonder how else joy manages to peek through in our lives (and in some cases, jump up and down). How does it in yours?



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Monday, September 22, 2008

Currently loving: Jim Brickman

Stumbling upon internet radio stations, this chap's a corker if you're into Ludovico Einaudi or country music (not quite my thing, but his piano's stuff's fab):

Iceberg radio
--> Textures
--> Jim Brickman

And best of all, it's free!



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Updates from the 'ding & 'wow, is that the time?!'

3 weeks in and I find myself still in one piece, the kids all in 1 piece (respectively) and all my crockery and smashable items at home all in one piece. I am pretty tired, but I'm finding that work-life balance is getting there gradually. Marking (usually) happens at school and everything else happens at home! (sometimes, including marking)

Part of me is very much looking forward to half term when my re-take of the 7 week summer block for my PGCE will be completed and I'll have (God-willing) passed with the necessary pallet of flying colour. But then again, another part of me's saying not to rush this 7 week period away. Even thinking about this part of me now makes me realise how strange a thought this is; as when this 7 week period's up, it will mean I can reclaim my evenings and weekends, not to mention give me more time to catch up with people and be able to go to my homegroup at church.

But the other part pipes back up again, reminding me that this 7 week period is reminding me of facts that are fundamental to me during my teaching - both now, and facts that will hold right on through. These 3 weeks have been great fun, but they have been physically shattering going to bed (mum, look away) around 12-1am'ish, and getting up at 6am each day, working 6/7 evenings to keep on top of work & having to lay down commitments I'd love to be a part of. I ought to be 'Tim, living corpse on show', but I continue to be left in wonder at how God's keeping me going - my PGCE reminded me that sometimes all you can do is run on grace when even the fumes in your fuel tank have run out.

This crazy and wonderful reality keeps hitting me freshly each day and I can't get the smile it causes off my face. Once verse that's just struck me is

'Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.'
Psalm 55v22

I'm dog tired, but find that he's keeping me going sufficiently each day. My workload with marking, planning and PGCE paperwork ought to get me down (and at times it can do because of what I miss), but the simple, and amazingly profound fact that God keeps sustaining me in my body and by his Holy Spirit leaves me in awe. Why would God choose to keep a muggins like me going when there must be a hundred more able teachers out there? I love how I can't understand his love, how it's a pool of infinite depth - growing more dense and incomprehensible the further down you go!

I really hope this continues as this year goes on - I want to be walking more closely with God so I can understand his will for me better, I want to be realising and acknowledging each day how weak I am in myself so his strength can sustain me althermore amazingly - I want to know more of this amazing God who calls me Son and invites me to call him Father!

I would also like less paperwork; but as with his work in me, one day at a time :)



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Episode II: Return of the teacher

Well, the summer holidays have gone very quickly yet again but I have been able to enjoy wonderful times. Here are the highlights:

  • Going on holiday for a week to the channel island of Alderney, lots of cycling, french fort sight-seeing, good food and scrabble playing in the evenings.
  • Spending a week at the 'Young adults prayer and bible conference', receiving great teaching, praying in intercession for national issues, enjoying good fellowship and fun times in between the sessions playing 'Pit!'
  • Enjoying a week with my lovely Catty at my house, going for walks, visiting my gran and studying the books of Colossians together as she gets prepared for Relay this year.
  • 28 hours of coach journeys to get to Scotland and back (intense joy...) to spend a week working at Abernethy (the christian outdoor centre that I did my gap year at) cooking and cleaning while enjoying the wonderful atmosphere of working with a large group of people who love Jesus.
So, since being back in England I've now packed up, moved to Reading and am setting up house in west Reading in Tilehurst. I've taught my first 2 days at my new school which was a very daunting experience and I think I was more nervous than the 27 kids, but had a great 2 days beginning to get to know them and working out which groups they're going to be in etc.

The big task of teaching my class their first week of academia is now upon me and I have to say that I'm nervous in many ways, but I was wonderfully encouraged in my bible meditation today from Romans 12v9-14, which gives a list of attributes that Paul exhorts us as christians to be a number of things, including:
  • Be devoted to one another in brotherly love
  • Honor one another above yourselves
  • Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer
  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse
This list of attributes reminds me in some ways of the expectations that are on me as a teacher, there are things which I need to do in order to fulfil my job - teach, mark and assess, and oversee the children's academic, personal and emotional development.

What struck me in reading that list of attributes Paul encourages us to have, was that all of these things are important, as are my teaching responsibilities in my job, but in both cases, they seem overwhelming when I think of what it involves for me! But the wonderful fact of it all is that Paul's previously been reminding the readers of his letter that they are to keep Christ central in their lives - and the product of meditating on Christ's death for us on the cross is that we receive His joy! And from this joy, Paul's readers will want to do these things he mentions - not out of personal reasons but out of that joy He puts in us. These things become a natural reaction to what He's done for us.

Returning our thoughts to our lives then, we must remember to keep the gospel of Christ central, our first thoughts in all things; and then serving God in everything else we want to do will come out of that.

I have to say that I'm amazingly excited but very nervous about this first term. I hope and pray that this will draw me closer to God and help me to realise that I can't do this job (aka. serving him) without his hand on me, guiding me each step of the way). Please keep that in your prayers, and now, let's go for it.



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Who would you choose?

It's funny how things just come to you in the shower, isn't it? The last 2 lines of a poem came to my mind this morning and this poem is what came out of it.

Who would you choose?

The water was rising, the rain pouring down
as I stood on the edge of bank
time for just one, time to choose from those two
before both of them sank

My mother was clinging there, grasping a branch
as the powerful currents flowed past.
My girl-friend, the other, ten metres away
where she, to a tree stump, held fast

I looked at the flow of the melt-water stream
and looked from my girl-friend to mother;
how could I choose between two that I love?
yet time but to choose one or other.

How could I measure the worth of two people
who meant all the world to me?
and wade with a rope to save just the one
deciding the other’s destiny?

And so there I stood, unable to choose
out of love for these ones, so dear.
Both looked on with pleading, each yearning their life,
with inescapably palpable fear.

I couldn’t decide, make this ultimate choice
and give up the one for the other.
In choosing the one, the other would die.
Could I give up my girl-friend or mother?

Yet this story’s no ‘one-off’, it’s happened before
when one could be saved, but who?
Between sinner and son, the father chose one
when God turned to man, and chose you.



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Friday, July 04, 2008

Next steps

Here's the nutshell version of today's events.

After the meeting this morning, I was informed that they were failing me due to a variety of reasons, effectively summarised by me not having 'pulled my weight' outside of the classroom. Fighting this corner would not have helped & so I've accepted the reply.

I was given 2 ultimatums, fail and give up, or fail and I find another school which will allow me to complete my 7 week teaching block and pay the assessment fee at the end.

I phoned up my head teacher to be for this coming September and went into school to discuss the situation with him and the deputy head. The humbling outcome of this is that they still want to have me teach the year 4 class, and will be organising cover appropriately to allow the deputy head to mentor me for the first 7 weeks of the Autumn term to fulfil the 7 week block requirement.

All this has been an extreme emotional rollercoaster of a morning, from failure to perfectly planned out hope for the time to come. I'd like to share part of my quiet time from today, specifically what God said:

'I have gone ahead of you and I know the plans I have for you. They will come to pass and nothing shall change this. Trust me for this day then, my son and go in my peace, which passes understanding. I am with you; and I shall never leave you nor forsake you. Now, go.'

His reminder that his plans will come to pass has proved to be particularly applicable today, and though after the meeting I felt wretched and was happily crying away, this didn't change the fact that his plans would come to pass; his good plans for me.

In the light of yesterday's quiet time where God said, 'I have called you to be a teacher, do not lose heart, but work as you must to achieve QTS - I will provide the means to achieve it', He has shown himself to be fully faithful yet again, in providing amazingly supportive head and deputy head teachers at my new school, and a willingness to meet my needs.

In reflection, that's quite a big nutshell - but I couldn't leave it in its simple form when all I can do at the moment (and have been able to do for the past 3 weeks) is praise God for his faithfulness in having gone ahead of me in all these things, in providing my daily bread in encouragement & reminders to focus on him, and in providing for my physical and job-based needs.

On another note, I'm teaching my class to be for 2 days in 2 weeks, which I'm dead excited about as I'm planning on having them put together a class newspaper for the school over the 2 days! As for now, packing must be done, as I'm moving out in 9-10 hours!

Thank you to you all for your continued prayer and encouragement, God has worked his indescribable peace through those prayers & what a joy it is to be reminded that his plans are firmly in place - no man has the power to change them.

Praise God! Now, let's crack on :)



weird is just your own personal brand of normal


I look ahead, and what do I see?
The path seems shrouded, hard to understand
I look to the left, for it seems inviting
I look to the right, for it looks clear
then I look in front of me
and that same shroud cover the way ahead.
Yet focussing through this mist I see the path;
a path I've known for a long time.
And the more I focus on the path ahead,
the less the immediate shroud blinds me,
the less the accusations and lies affect me
the more I am reminded that a path set down by Him
cannot be changed by man.
This path has been set in stone,
This path is certain.
This path is good.
I will walk it.

Tim Caird, 04/07/08 (7.21am, prior to tutor meeting)



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

And then it got hairier...

After final assessment today, I was left feeling wholly pants. In short, I was told that there was insufficient evidence for me to pass my PGCE in certain areas; namely assessment strategies & record keeping. With this in mind, a Friday morning meeting has been called with the head of my institute, my tutor and myself to discuss what she thinks.

With this in mind, I have reports to write tomorrow, a profile of a child to complete, and a whole load of writing-things-up to do in order to meet these standards I need to be at. I can honestly say that I'm seriously flagging now at the end of this term, yet am reminded each day that he keeps sustaining me in spirit and body.

It's going to be a tough couple of days, especially considering that an outcome to my PGCE will probably be made on Friday morning. I'm nervous, uncertain, but trusting Him. He'll make his good will clear in His time. I will choose to trust - because if God promised to send and then sent his son to live and die for me, I need no greater reason to trust him at his word.

In the mean time, sleep calls, and then a full-on day tomorrow. Watch this space.



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The end is in sight

I am officially still alive, though I'm currently in that strange state of mental fuzziness that comes with a lack of sleep! It's been a hard 5-7 days, with discovering that I underestimated the work load of my summer placement by quite a lot & didn't get cracking sooner! With that in mind, my 'final' evaluation did not go as well as it should have. The knock-on effect is that I have a lot of work that I need to complete over the next 12 days alongside my day to day teaching/planning/marking.

What came as a humbling reminder in the aftermath of the evaluation (and in prayer, I ought to add) was that God's got me on this course because he wants me to complete it and take up my post as yr 4 teacher next yerar. As such, he knew that I'd underestimate the requirements for this placement and as a result, struggle to complete the work. Equally important is the fact that God has been sustaining and will continue to sustain me through the remainder of my PGCE.

Coupled with these reminders, in my bible meditation I've been working through Romans 6-8 over the past 2-3 months & the stark challenge has been - am I wanting to walk in the Spirit, or walk in the flesh? I was reminded this morning that I need to be spiritually minded, and in order to do that this involves humbly desiring to walk with God. If we're seeking God to be spiritually minded, allowing ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit, then we will know life and peace.

It's going to be hard work, but I praise God that he sustains us when we humble ourselves before him and cry out 'I am weak; be my strength!' Don't forget that this is our God, who 'opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Prov 3:34. I'm feeling totally shattered, but I can't help but praise God for his strength, his grace, his peace and above all for Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for me. Because, as I keep learning, if my joy is set firmly in thankfulness for my sins having been forgiven, no matter how hard he tries, the enemy can't take it away.

Let's crack on :)



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Monday, June 16, 2008

Running on grace

Running on grace

Is it really that time already?
I could have sworn it was half-past eight.
But it's now that I'm fast realising
that I'm once again working quite late.

This teaching malarkey's quite draining,
well, 'quite' is a kind way to say
that my energy's drained by the morning
and I ought to be dead by the day.

But despite work I find I'm still going,
it doesn't make sense in my mind.
As the hours I keep (with my severe lack of sleep)
ought to knock me for six in my mind.

So I break for a mo, grab my coffee,
and think why this strange thing should be,
that in spite of the lack of my physical rest
I'm fuelled with enough energy.

My breakfast is just 'bout enough
to last til the mid-morning breather,
but after that's over, work's white cliffs of Dover
loom high over tea's brief reliever!

As for lunch, there I'm working as well,
with the afternoon work needing prep
so rest gets no look-in when children just book in
for that chat that will raise up their pep.

Dinner is rushed, true to say,
and the evenings have so much in store!
That by time home I'm led, the sun's gone to bed,
and I'm back to eight-thirty once more!

So my question has come around again,
how come I've not burned myself out?
Thus with clinical reason, through this ridiculous season,
I learn what my strength's all about.

It's not been the food that I've eaten
and definately not much from rest,
by all human reason, in this Tim-hunting season,
I should have failed this physical test.

Yet I haven't - may I hazard just why?
So simple, a reason, I know,
but when your engine is paced by the joy from that grace,
your fuel never quite runs too low.

This strength, so I learn's, just enough
to do what's required of me.
So may I continue, to walk, his strength in me,
and in grateful, and thankfulness be.

So now at 12:12 comes day's end,
and off to bed now I will lead.
My sleep may seem short, and less than it ought
but in his hands it's just what I need.

Tim Caird - 17/06/08 (12:12am)



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Sunday, June 08, 2008



'Grace that knocks me 'tween the eyes
reminds me that I'm not despised
Grace that took my sordid stain
and made this sinner whole again
Grace that satisfies my debt,
and keeps the vow I have not kept
Grace that pays the price so high
that in the grave I'll never lie
Grace that's seen this sinner saved
to renewed mind, from thoughts depraved.
Grace that knocks my mind for six
for in this heart, sin and mercy mix
and overcome by mercy's grace
my knee must bow before His face

Grace so undeserved is mine,
may he continue to refine.'

Tim Caird, 8th May 2008



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How to give a cat a pill

I was typing this up over the easter hols and couldn't resist sharing it. For all cat lovers (and those up for a laugh too, it's true to say!):

How to give a cat a pill
  1. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and apply gentle pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

  2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

  3. Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw soggy pill away.

  4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of 10.

  5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

  6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

  7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for glueing later.

  8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

  9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply Band Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

  10. Retrieve cat from neighbour's shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

  11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus jab. Throw away T-shirt and fetch new one from bedroom.

  12. Ring Fire Brigade to retrieve cat from tree across road. Apologise to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to miss cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

  13. Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table. Find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

  14. Get spouse to drive you to Casualty, sit quietly while doctor stitches finger and forearm and removes remnants of pill from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

  15. Call RSPCA to collect cat from hell and ring pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

How to give a dog a pill
  1. Wrap it in bacon



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


As of today I'm now going to be the year 4 teacher at St. Michael's - Woo!

Thank you all of you who have prayed for me, God continues to be good in going ahead of me & job applications have just gone to prove the point even more.

Onwards! Now, where's that planning I need to do...



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Saturday, May 17, 2008

St Michael's Primary School

A job interview! So rushed, it's unbelievable, but apparently St. Michael's Primary School want to offer me a job interview. This is after I turned up to hand in my job application and look around the school while wearing my biking leathers and met the Head teacher while still wearing them. Quite a funny exchange of conversation, but he didn't try to bolt out the door or jump through the window (always a worrying start to a conversation - 'hello, I'm Tim and...' [sound of glass shattering]) so I'm taking that as a positive start.

Anyhoo, the interview's all Wednesday, including teaching a 40 minute lesson of my choice to a class of year 4s, leading a guided reading session to a class of year 3s, lunch & then the grillage in the afternoon by the top brass. Sweaty palms may also be timetabled in, but this is to be confirmed on the day.

Stay posted!



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Walk the path I've paved for you

Chats about job hunting, uncertainty about where God's wants us, and trusting God in his perfect and good will for us have all inspired this poem:

Walk the path I've paved for you

Walk the path, my saviour said,
The one I’ve paved for you
And you will see the wonderous things
I’ve laid in store for you

I gazed upon the path I saw
But yet I looked away
I didn’t like the things I saw
This was not a known way

And so I took to looking down
To where my feet would tread
And let my footsteps fall
Where my thinking led

But as I walked, I realised
The joy I’d had grew cold
My confidence was far reduced
I strived now far less bold

I kept on walking, more distressed
At each new day that came
I didn’t feel as near as blessed
Each day now felt the same

I tried to lift my eyes to see
Where my steps might take me
But couldn’t bring myself to look
At else than my dusty feet

And then I would begin to fear
Just what would lie ahead?
Around the corner I couldn’t peer,
By me, could I be led?

Yet as the serpent spoke his lies
My saviour spoke to me
His voice, refreshment to my soul,
His words, gave peace to me;

‘Walk the path’, my saviour said,
‘The one I’ve paved for you
And you will see the wonderous things
I’ve laid in store for you’

Focus on the final flag,
The prize that you shall claim
Draw from grace your joy in all
And set your heart upon the same

His hand he offered, his hand I took,
Together we walked on
two feet in front I need not look at,
but on the distant son

‘the journey may be difficult’
He said as walked on, we,
‘But my will for you is perfect
Just trust, and walk with me’



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

What kind of obedience

"Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

So Abram went"
-- Genesis 12v1-4a --

Only trusting God can give us faith & obedience like this. Abram went not on a whim, nor because it made sense, but because God told him to go - and he trusted God with his family and all he owned. Here is faith & trust in the face of the uncertain. This is faith I want to cultivate.



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Snowboarding at X-scape

What a surprise it was (at stupid o'clock in the morning, for one thing) to be waking up to go snow-boarding at xscape in Milton Keynes today. Hopefully inbetween bumping into other slope-users and picking myself up off the ground, I'll be able to snap some pics of Sapna (a fellow trainee teacher) and I. If success is found in the picture dept, I will post these pictures, so stay posted!

Time I got ready for lots of fun in the snow, not to mention a painful bum afterwards! Padding ftw :)

Edit: 6.51pm

They didn't allow photos, so they had to be payed for. Sapna and I were not amused! Worth keeping as evidence I wasn't always sliding around on my not-board. Hurrah :)



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Send in the clowns

One of my all-time favourite songs is 'Send in the clowns' by Stephen Sondheim. My first introduction to this song was learning and singing it in beautiful four-part harmony while at Monkton Combe School (my secondary school). I stumbled across it on YouTube not that long ago, sung by the melodious Frank Sinatra.

Enjoy those funky chords at the beginning ;)



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Thursday, May 01, 2008

In due time (aka have patience, trust & get on with it!)

Some of you will know that I have just begun my final teaching practice in year at a school in Bracknell, and that we have all started the exciting process of applying for our first teaching post.

This morning I was meditating on Romans 5v6, which says:

'For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.'

The key phrase that jumped out at me was 'in due time'. Think about this phrase in the context of the verse; God sent Jesus to die for the ungodly (don't forget, that's you and me) in due time, i.e. when the time was right - when God decided it was right. Thinking back to the job-hunting now, that simple phrase 'in due time' strikes home to me, and reminds me how impatient I can be in wanting a job, in having that security of a job to go on to after I complete my training.

In light of patience, we're firmly reminded in Proverbs 3 to:

'trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will will make your paths straight.' --Proverbs 3v5-6 --

It's this making straight of our paths that I find so enticing - you want to have the path made straight before you because then you can see what 's going to happen! In all truth though, no matter what the shape or the curve of our paths, they are always made clear in God's time. What we must learn is patience to trust God with our lives, and in order to trust him we must know him - we must decide and dedicate ourselves to immersing ourself in his word. This doesn't mean flicking through a verse every now and then, it means full immersion in the wonderful, inspired and living Word of God.

The more we know of God, the more we will trust him. There's a job out there with my name on it, I know that much! I just need to look for it, applying in faith that God will show me the job he wants me in next year. In due time, he will show me. As he will do for you. Do you trust him to?



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Monday, April 21, 2008

Back in the R-D-G, maybe for the last time!

The Easter hols have come to a close, but in a nut-shell they involved:
  • Cat visiting for 4 days :D
  • Visiting my gran
  • My dad & I spending 3-4 days putting up my mum's new green-house (2 days of which were spent decyphering what part 41 & part 6 were)
  • Watching plenty of Stargate
  • Completing 'Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass' on the Nintendo DS (yes, possibly a tad sad to mention that but that's just part of me! :P)
  • 'Some' dissertation work - but the 'some' that was done was good.
  • Reminders in my quiet times/devotions that I am saved by faith in Jesus' righteousness, and not by anything I can do. Changes in our desires & attitude are what we need now!
  • Enjoying World of Warcraft, and being challenged about when & how I play it
  • Much randomness with my fab family, as Cat will attest to ;)
  • Applying to 5 jobs in Reading & Swindon schools
It's funny to think that in ~10-11 weeks I will be thrown to the world as a newly qualified teacher (children of the world beware! :P ) as it seems not too long ago when I was preparing to start this course. I may do a 'PGCE in a nutshell' post sometime in June, as I know there's a lot I haven't blogged over the last year, and Blogging is something I've missed! Something about writing your thoughts down helps with making them coherant.

On the horizon then is my dissertation (which is on Maths Trails) being handed in on Friday, and my final school placement which begins next Monday & works into full swing with me teaching 100% of a year 3/4 class' lessons for the last 3/4 weeks! I'll try to post updates while I'm in school, but they may be sporadic with the amount of teaching and preparation I'll be doing.

To close, a short scripture in encouragement:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
-- Hebrews 12v1-2 --

We may be busy-squared, have much work to do & seem to be 'hedged-in' by things we need to do, but never forget for an instant that we are running this race together - we're made to serve God's glory & part of that is loving & encouraging eachother! As we run, let's throw off the worries & the guilt the enemy tries to trip us up with and fix our focus on God alone. Everything else fits into his will in his time. 'We can do all things through him who gives us strength'!



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Who do you have ears for?

This was a repeating theme in my bible meditation for quite a while and a real challenge while I've been in school this term; who do I have ears for?

Who do we listen to for our guidance, our acceptance, support and praise. There are 2 voices that we can listen to. On one hand, you have the voice of God (which, it's good to be reminded, brought creation into existence & breathed life into the dry & empty shell that was man) and on the other hand, the voice of normal people like you and me; our friends, colleagues, siblings and brothers and sisters in Christ.

Why does the opinion of other people seem to be so strongly prevelant in our thinking & our attitude in what we say and do?

The world says 'you must win at any cost', God reminds us that he'll prosper our ways if we walk with him.
The world says 'you are lost, you must find fulfillment however you can', God says 'Seek [me] and you shall find [me]', and challenged us to be concerned with his glory, to walk with the Good shepherd.
The world says 'you must be strong if you are to succeed', God tells us to acknowledge our full weakness & walk in his full strength.

Simply, it is the fear of man that tries to grab our hearts so regularly & will end up creating a dependence on other peoples' opinions of us, if we do not learn to be completely satisfied & content in our Lord & saviour, Jesus Christ; in his grace, his love, and our status in his eyes as sons. In short, we must choose to listen to God, and who he says we are; his adopted children, saved by his grace, saved for his purpose, and promised to join him on that glorious day when he returns.

The more I prayerfully think about it, the more I realise that this issue is paramount to our development as children of God, as men and women with hearts after his name. Think about these quick questions: Do you look for acceptance from your friends and colleagues? Do you want to be liked by them? Do you accept their council & readily agree with them, because doing otherwise would make you stand out?

If we are to rightesouly fear God fully in our lives, then we need to remind ourselves each day of his grace. We need to bring our weak bodies to the foot of the rugged cross & be reminded what He gave up for us there, and what he accomplished through Jesus' death. We need to be reminded that God alone is sovereign in our lives, and that his word to us is life. Anything that draws us away from serving him in his will for us is a lie. We must have ears for the truth.

Futher reading on the fear of man & the fear of God: 'When people are big & God is small' & Edward T. Welch



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I just stumbled across this song recently, having heard it while out in India on Lizzie's one-pod (as my friend Caroline calls it). It's a song by Nicole Nordeman, titled 'Why?', and tells the story of the crucifixion through the eyes of a little girl (watching the whole ordeal from Jesus walking up the hill), then Jesus (through the crucifixion), and then God, finishing on the wonderful truth of why Jesus had to die on the cross.

I find it a very moving and powerful song. The lyrics are just underneath the song,
Have a listen and why not post your thoughts on it?

Why?- Nicole Nordeman

We rode into town the other day, just me and my
Daddy. He said I’d finally reached that age, and I
could ride next to him on a horse that of course
was not quite as wide We heard a crowd of people
shouting and so we stopped to find out why There
was that man that my dad said he loved, but today
there was fear in his eyes

So I said Daddy why are they screaming? Why are
the faces of some of them beaming? Why is he
dressed in that bright purple robe? I bet that
crown hurts him more than he shows Daddy please
can’t you do something? He looks as though he’s
gonna cry You said he is stronger than all of
those guys-Daddy please tell me why, why does
everyone want him to die?

Later that day the sky grew cloudy and daddy said
I should go inside Some how he knew things would
get stormy, boy was he right But I could not keep
from wondering if there was something he had
to hide So after he left I had to find out, I was
not afraid of getting lost So I followed the
crowds to a hill where I knew men had been killed
And I heard a voice come from a cross:

And it said : Father why are they screaming. Why
are the faces of some of them beaming? Why are
they casting their lots for my robes?? This crown
of thorns hurts me more than it shows. Father
please can’t you do something? I know that you
must hear my cry. I thought I could handle a cross
of this size, Father remind me why, why does
everyone want me to die. When will I understand

My precious Son, I hear them screaming. I’m
watching the face of the enemy beaming but soon I
will clothe you in robes of my own. Jesus this
hurts me much more than you know, but this dark
hour I must do nothing. Though I’ve heard your unbearable
cry — the power in your blood destroys all the
lies, soon you’ll see past their unmerciful eyes.
Look there below see the child trembling by her
father’s side. Now I can tell you why, she is why
you must die.



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Irn Bru + snowman = ?

Being a Scot (and having a deep fondness of high-sugar, worryingly orange drinks), I couldn't resist posting this vid from Donald's blog.

Had me in absolute stitches!



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Monday, January 07, 2008

Reading a'hoy, thar be work off the port bow

Why the piratey name for the post? I have noooo idea, it just came to mind. What a strange mind I have, but you all knew that anyway so that's that.

A crazily busy term is laid out before me currently, with school placement starting next Monday, and 3 assignments as well as my special study (~8-9k words).

Last week my mind went 'wurgh!', and I got in a real fluster about work and this term, in particular my dissertation length special study. That bout of worrying wasted a good 2 days in me effectively saying, 'it can't be done, I can't do it!' But then Saturday made me take a pause as He gently, but firmly reminded me of something needed to hear:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
-- Proverbs 3v5-6 --

What had I been doing? Trusting in the power of Tim; which, I was humbly reminded again, amounts to diddly and a portion of squat. Looking back to last term, God held me firmly through the school experience, the assignments, and whatever else came along. Why should be not uphold me this term?

How easily we forget God's sovereign hand, and let our eyes drop to the rocky ground directly in front of us. And as I was reminded on Sunday, that focus of ours needs to be raised to the goal, to the author and perfecter of our faith: Jesus Christ. Only when it's set on him, does every worry melt into insignificance beside his glorious faithfulness, his ultimate power and total capability to provide for our every need.

It's not for no reason he commands us to trust; this is the command of a loving father, capable of anything.



weird is just your own personal brand of normal