One hundred posts

In just under 3 months I have made it to 100 posts. I started posting on October 3rd and now on December 31st here I am clocking up my 100th post. For someone who is not self-disciplined I am proud to have got to 100 posts. Not sure what else to say, and I am sure I will be posting before the night is out with it being New Year’s Eve and all but anyhow here’s to 100 more posts!

Books I have read

Over Christmas I have read two books.

The first was Catching Monsters by David Bright. This book isn’t for the faint hearted. David Bright writes well, but this is not a book that gives you a nice happy glow inside. What is does do is reveal some of the things that he was involved in throughout his career. It was a compelling read and certainly showed me the pressures that the police csn be under.

The second book was A Planet for the President by Andrew Beaton. It is a funny satirical fiction book obviously having a go at the actions of the British and the USA in recent years. At several times it had me laughing outloud, yet also had several good twists. Well worth a read, particularly if you enjoy political things, e.g. 24 or the West Wing.

Goal setting, resolutions and the New Year

New Year can be a great time to set goals or aims, or what seemed to be simply known as resolutions. In the summer I had a go at trying to make some goals and aims for my life and work and after reading various different things, including Marko, Little Alice and a random website, I came up with 54 different things in the following areas:

Children and young people
Schools work
External groups
Strategy and study
Wider church

Relationships and Rest/Sabbath

While, as is fairly obvious, I didn’t manage to complete all the goals, I did fairly well, and certainly found it very helpful to have structured aims, and not just to bumble through life going from one ‘emergency’ to the next. It is certainly something I am thinking about doing again in the next few days, although, partly because of my work pattern being so heavily linked so schools, and partly because I seem to be so task and result orientated I am wondering about making them more short-term and doing it three times a year.

How do you set your goals or aims, what questions do you use to help you evaluate where you have gone and where you hope to go?

Haircuts and money

With us buying our first house Hannah and I have been looking at ways in which we can save money. We realised that if I get my haircut once every month then that costs us £150 each year. If Hannah could cut my hair then it costs us nothing! So today we went to Boots and invested in some hair clippers for the grand cost of £15. It has all the bits – loads of different attachments so your hair doesn’t end up looking too short:
Hannah and my mum had a go on my hair tonight and it all seems great. I am looking forward to regularly having my haircut in the comfort of my own home!

What does the execution of Saddam Hussein achieve?

Maybe I am being controversial here, but I’m not sure that the execution of Saddam Hussein achieves all that so many people are saying it will. I know that it is important that we in the West encourage Iraq to develop and uphold its judicial system, and that a key part of that is in making Saddam Hussein and his supporters face up to what they did, but should life be repayed with life. In other situations we appeal against the death penalty as being unnecessary and inhumane yet we haven’t heard that much this time. Instead it has been heralded as the big step required for Iraq to continue its independence – personally I can see that but I can’t see it stopping his followers carrying on the violent attacks. Who knows.

Christmas and Boxing Days

What a weird set of days – Christmas is great with so much excitement but then Boxing Day so often feels like an anti-climax where everyone is type of unsure what to do, should they just do nothing, but then they get bored, or should they get on with all those jobs they have been meaning to achieve for months?
Anyhow Christmas Day was great, we managed to get round from Brentwood to Croydon fairly quickly and had a lovely Christmas dinner – big respect to my mum as she cooked for eleven! Presents were great, some highlights this year include:
Three blind mice!
Hanckerchiefs and cuff links – I am always losing them.
A white stuff jumper from St. Andrew’s
Bread flour
Jamie Oliver notebook to write down recipes
All good stuff. Boxing day has been spent doing thank you letters, helping my little sister with her RS coursework and being addicted to facebook. Hope you are all enjoying the Christmas break.

Catch up

Well as I have already said it has been a while since I last posted. Christmas busyness really seems to have set in this week or maybe I just did one or two bits of actual work!

Monday and Tuesday were spent sorting and filing. I love the feeling of having tidied stuff and really sorted it out. When I take up my role a year and a bit ago we had cupboards full of stuff but no one was quite sure why we still had it, be it random craft material, useless sports equipment, loads of board games, curriculum dating back to 1989 (when I was 6) etc., etc. I have a volunteer called Tessa who is a retired NHS admin lady who loves nothing better than to sort me out and get everything tidy and in order so that is what we have spent this week doing.

Monday afternoon was cooking Christmas dinner for my Monday Night Chillout group (17-18 year olds) and preparing for the Rock ‘Ard Christmas Party. These were good although numbers were low for the Rock ‘Ard party – we only had 3 out of our 10 young people. Two police community support officers came to chat about the possibility of partnering in some of our work which is really exciting. The longer I work at this place the more there seems to be so little joined up thinking to deal with the various youth issues – I am hoping that the church can be the link point for some of these people and agencies.

Wednesday was the last day of term and I was working in our local primary school. They have 8 classes and I managed to sneak into all their classes for a bit of the parties going on. I was joint winner (with nine pupils aged 7 to 9!) in musical bumps which was a really good result if I do say so myself. We followed this with a trip to the Royal Albert Hall for the BT Christmas Concert which was a really good evening out with some great orchestral pieces, a good concert band and all the fantastic carols. It was a lovely present from the parents of one of our young people for Hannah and my work with their son throughout the year – what a great treat.

Thursday and Friday was a mixture of planning and running events and trying to get preparation for the Christmas services done. Thursday lunchtime was the Lunch Club Christmas meal. I used to spend some time every Tuesday morning with the older ladies in the church but it is something that more recently has dropped off the scale a bit so it was nice to catch up with some of them at lunch, they are always so caring and great prayers. Thursday afternoon and evening was preparing for and then running the Christmas party for our 5-10 year olds, again we had really low numbers, 15 in comparison with the usual 30 or so, but the schools had broken up the day before which may have caused a drop in numbers, as well as the really bad fog putting people off coming out.

Friday was our volunteer leaders social where we had invited everyone who had been involved in Children’s & Youth work in the last year to come to the Manse for drinks and nibbles. We invited just over 50 people and were very surprised to find that we had just over 40 people come for some portion of the evening. It seemed to be a success and well worth doing again next year.

Today I spent sometime with my sister, Jenny, looking at her RS coursework. She is trying to decide between doing a question on abortion or on divorce and remarriage so I was going through my books finding various chapters for her to read up on. It was good to catch up with her. This afternoon we did preparation for the Christmas services, which we followed by watching the final of Strictly Come Dancing and opening our Christmas presents due to the fact that tomorrow will be manic with the Christmas Eve services and a social for our young people, and then we are all going away on Christmas Day after the morning service.

Today I have also joined facebook after various friends kept recommending it to me. So if you have a profile on it give me a shout.

Around the blogsphere

How annoying. I had written a post catching up with some of the best bits around the world and then it was deleted and I couldn’t get it back. How annoying. Anyhow here are some of the best bits, take two!

Kurt has a good post on going off track and allowing your youngsters to lead the way. If they are up for talking on something that is off topic but still has spiritual basis then ditch what you want to talk about and let them lead the way.

Youthblog has a link to a great game killing sprouts.

Simon also has various other links for some Christmas games.