Wednesday, 28 December 2011

settling in

I'm gradually getting used to a very different way of life in the land where aged 75 you receive a free lift pass to ski – (slightly better deal than a bus pass) and the kids are dragged around in sleds instead of pushchairs. To state the obvious it is extremely beautiful. I work for a family who own a chalet that they built from the ground up. On a good day I get to stack wood and bake cakes and generally pretend to be an alpine housewife and on a bad one I am painfully aware that I am a university graduate with no real life plan cleaning toilets for a living (very nice toilets but that’s not the point!). However for every one of those moments there is ten where I am blown away by the beauty around me, the mountains that surround on every side reminding me of Gods plan for my life. On days like that I want to stay here forever.
The community here is interesting. There’s a lot of people running away from things and others who do seasons as a way of life. The crowd is quickly shifting with tourists coming through and even seasonnairs coming and going as they break various ligaments and have to be quickly replaced...
Which brings me to skiing!!! Being on the slopes is amazing I love the sociable aspect of getting to know people chatting on the lifts and skiing with them, I’m gradually working out who its wise to follow off piste and who to avoid following altogether. Not loads of news so far but i'll write again soon.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


Having an amazing time and I don’t even have a lift pass yet..!

I'm Living with 3 beautiful girls in a very tiny flat, I’m sharing a room with Daniella who is turning a blind eye (ear?) to my loud and enthusiastic sleep talking so I can’t ask much more than that!

Also there's lots of 18-30s seasonnairs living in the town as well so will have a good group to ski and socialize with.


Monday, 28 November 2011

For Sheffield

December is almost here and France looms somewhere in the not so distant future. Bittersweet is the word for this time. As I prepare to leave Sheffield for the first significant period in 5 years I am falling in love with it in a new way.

My community who surround me so completely will be sorely missed. Watching the guys next door having a ridiculous Laser tag tournament in the street from my open window as I began to pack my things reminded me that leaving here is not going to be easy. I am keenly aware that life rarely stands still. While I’m gone there will be marriages begun and babies born, new friendships and plans for the future made, and stepping out of the centre of these things leaves me in some way vulnerable.

The nursery where I’ve been working this year is a perfect microcosm of this, the children change so fast, growing and learning at an astounding rate. Today in the playground as the three year olds were chalking on the ground, the colours seemed everywhere, iridescent in the sunshine. The air was full of the newness of these children, their excitement and their many many questions.

As I look back as this time of my life as I step away into 5 months in the Alps and who knows what in the future, I am deeply aware of how blessed I have been by Sheffield. How I have grown here and learned so many things. How I have been loved and honoured in both my weakness and my strength. I have learned how to expect more from life, to face hard situations with grace and courage. To hold on to some things lightly and others with the tenacity of a bull terrier, and above all to love with the depth of heart that has been shown to me by God and by those around me.

Yes I will miss it with every bit of me, this exciting, topsy turvey, childlike life I have fashioned here. Yet I know that its time to go! I am moving towards some great unknown and this thrills me, God has opened up doors and I’ve made the choice to step through them, knowing the cost but also knowing the possibilities. I hope that I’ll end up back in Sheffield but more than this stability I want the heart knowledge that God is my home and that is enough.

my friend Matt gave me this poem over the weekend which sums up better than I can..

“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, 

when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, 

when we arrive safely because we sailed too close to the shore. 

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the waters of life, 
having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity, 
and in our efforts to build a new earth, 

we have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim. 

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas, 
where storms will show your mastery, 
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. 
We ask you to push back the horizon of our hopes, 
and to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love. 
This we ask in the name of our Captain, who is Jesus Christ. ” Francis Drake

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Le Pot de Miel

So this week I had a very exciting job offer...............Soon I will be living in this charming place...


spending a lot of time enjoying this sport...

It's totally random, totally from God, working at this beautiful place;

living in community with these guys..

anyway I fly out on the fourth so this will turn into a (hopefully eventful!) French blog! Quick turnaround but so very exciting. I'm out in France for the whole of the Ski season so will be returning mid April!! Will keep you posted on general stories/progress!!!


Monday, 17 October 2011

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


So its Autumn again. My favourite time of year, the love of which I think was instilled in me as a child by the lyrics of this song;

Autumn days, when the grass is jewelled
And the silk inside a chestnut shell
Jet planes meeting in the air to be refuelled
All these things I love so well

Clouds that look like familiar faces
And a winter’s moon with frosted rings
Smell of bacon as I fasten up my laces
And the song the milkman sings.

Whipped-up spray that is rainbow-scattered
And a swallow curving in the sky
Shoes so comfy though they’re worn out and they’re battered
And the taste of apple pie.

Scent of gardens when the rain’s been falling
And a minnow darting down a stream
Picked-up engine that’s been stuttering and stalling
And a win for my home team.
by Estelle White

So, as I move into this new season i'm feeling a bit directionless, My job finishes in just one short month and I have no idea what comes next.

I don't know what it is I want to do and be, so many jumbly ideas and thoughts, maybe start an orphanage or do a counseling course or learn to teach, adopt babies, move to a country where there's rivers and mountains and SPACE! learn to make clothes, learn how to use a decent camera, write a book.....

all of the above?!

I think God is teaching me once again to trust, to put my paw in his and walk this route out with him in the knowledge of his goodness. But its not easy!! Right now its lonely and totally intimidating, I don't feel big enough to make these decisions alone and I want so much to make this fast moving time of my life count.

However its important to note that despite the bleakness of indecision there are so many things to be greatful for. Just one example is that Christine is now officially Cancer free!!!! and has dived back into 5th year medicine like an absolute hero.

I also got to visit London this month and appreciate the bikes provided at a reasonable rate by the lovely BoJo.....

So i'll skip on into the next season of life in a distinctly haphazard fashion, dancing in the street and taking pictures of (recently mainly orange) things :)


ps enjoying this blog at the moment, great idea...

Saturday, 6 August 2011


This week has been a month since I moved to the Beautiful new house, I also happen to have inherited some extremely creative housemates which is peachy...

It also doesn't hurt that I have a window nook that looks like this....

then add Rupert into the mix

happy days!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

dancing with a banged up heart

'On the day I die I want to have had desert, so this informs how i live now. I have survived much loss as most of us have by our forties, my parents, dear friends, my pets. rubble is the ground on which our deepest friendships are built. If you haven't already you will loose someone you can't live without and your heart will be badly broken, and you never get over the loss of a deeply beloved person. But this is also good news. The person lives forever in your broken heart that doesn't seal back up. And you come through, and you learn to dance with the banged up heart. You dance to the absurdities of life; you dance to the minuet of old friendships'

Anne Lamott 'Plan B'


Monday, 28 March 2011

A New Definition of Worth

So I have a beautiful friend, her name is Christine.

She is a marathon running doctor in training with a heart for the poor. This year she has had cancer. Maybe an excuse to take it easy for a while, curled up in a ball of self pity? Not C, She is probably the most inspiring person I know. In the middle of her chemo treatment at her most vulnerable Christine went to a birthday party. The party was for our friend Chrissy (keeping up?!) Chrissy is a woman that we met three years ago doing a soup run on the streets. Chrissy is a story in her own right, a woman with the most amazing heart yet she has been through more in her life time than I (and probably you) could imagine. She currently has diabetes and a liver condition brought on by her alcoholism which in recent years has led to her being frequently in and out of hospital. Last year she had to be shocked back into life after dying because of a drugs overdose. The party wasn't exactly the safest venue for a girl in her early twenties, but C stayed, even after a dealer showed up, scared but also convinced that she was meant to be a light in that place.

Today we visited Chrissy in hospital and I was overwhelmed with what I saw, she couldn't wait to introduce us to her friend Irene. Irene a beautiful lady of 80 is bed bound and childlike in her unawareness. Since being on the ward Chrissy has befriended her. Today she brought her a teddy bear just to see the expression on her face when she opened it. The love she showed this virtual stranger was incredible, she leaned in to give her a cuddle and a kiss, explaining that showing and receiving physical affection was Irenes favourite thing to do. Chrissy was the first to recognise the indescribable worth in someone like Irene who the world has deemed worthless.

We ended the visit with my just out of chemo friend comparing cannula scars with a woman so bashed around by life that her very aliveness is a miracle. There is something so beautiful in the way that Christine and Chrissy have dealt with their suffering and illness. Both have made a decision to love others, to trust in a God they can't see but could no more deny than they could the raging Sheffield wind.

I saw Jesus first hand today working in and through a drug addicted ex prostitute who he loves and values more than I'll ever be able to comprehend. And I was left with the distinct and terrifying feeling that this is what citizens of heaven should look like. Messy and unafraid or perhaps just unable to hide our brokenness. Known only by the earth shaking love we show for the vulnerable around us.

I firmly believe that God sees people very differently to us and I am praying that he will open my eyes too.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

A Story Worth Telling

I've recently been re-reading Donald Millers ' A Million Miles in a Thousand Years' where Don as ever, writes beautifully about the truths of God and life. He's thinking about the idea of life as a story that each of us tells..

'If I have a hope, it's that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.

I've wondered though if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don't want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgment, we don't want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage.

I've noticed something. I've never walked out of a meaningless movie thinking all movies are meaningless... I wonder then if when people say life is meaningless what they really mean in their life is meaningless,'


Today I realised that no one wants to read a story about someone who watches an episode of something and then checks facebook. So I took my story firmly in hand, put on my wellies, and went out into the almost spring. I made friends with the worlds nicest dog, chatted to a fellow walker and eventually found some solitude in a new spot which I think God had reserved just for today. An amazing view of where city turns abruptly into countryside, as if the builders got fed up and went home for tea. I looked at the setting sun until my eyes hurt and remembered what it feels like to be peaceful. Later I joined the team doing homeless outreach like i've been meaning to for months. It was not comfortable, I faced questions and conflict and I felt like my eyes were opened again to suffering. I think sometimes to live a better story I just need to get out of my own way and just get on with it.

the end.

Monday, 10 January 2011


I’ve been thinking about the desert place recently. A time of life where it feels less like skipping in a sunshiny field of daisies and more like…well a bit like this dream I once had where I was trying to climb a mountain made of pavlova whilst gail force winds blew all around me, a tasty snack it was, an easy climb it wasn’t.

In Psalm 95 the psalmist writes about ‘the day of Massah in the desert’ ‘Massah’ means testing and I think that’s where I’m at the moment. The psalm goes on to recall the faithlessness of the Israelites who failed to trust God’s purpose in that season, apparently forgetting completely about his impeccable track record of miracles. The psalm ends with an oath spoken by god ‘They will never enter my rest.’

It seems to me this is the only thing that could possibly follow a season of distrusting God; an inability to enter the heavenly rest he offers us.

Whilst its pretty easy to point a finger at the Israelites (who to be honest really did drop the ball a bit here – I mean I’d like to think that if I had seen God rain food out of the skies and blaze ahead nightly in a visible pillar of fire I wouldn’t forget it in a hurry..!)

Sadly, the truth is that God has provided for me in equally amazing and miraculous ways all through my life yet I still get my knickers in a twist daily about the future.

So I have to accept that this Psalm applies pretty clearly to me

And I really need to enter his rest…

…I mean really!

So I’ve been breathing deeply and trying to be content with where I am, as Babs Hughs writes in her slightly sanctimonious but very useful book ‘Disciplines of a Godly Woman’:

‘we naturally long for what we don’t have’ and ‘Godly contentment is independent of circumstances and conditions.’

After all, what better place is there to learn contentment than in the desert of Massah?

picture via fffound