Monthly Archives: March 2006

Secret Life???

My lecture this morning was good fun. But it also made me think – about myself. It was on interpersonal skills and therapeutic relationships. As a class we did a couple of exercises where the rest of the class had to describe each person. When we had been told what we had to do, my first thought was ‘eek! – what do my coursemates know about me?’. Anything?

When it came to my turn, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. They knew I like walking and cycling. They knew I went to church – something I was very glad they knew, because I’m aware I do have a bad habit of avoiding that subject around my non Christian coursemates. They could also say that I babysit, at which point one of the mothers in the group said ‘ooh!!! I didn’t know that!’

But, there was one person in the group, who I would say knows me better than most, who said she thinks I lead ‘a secret life’. And at the end when we had to come up with one or two, summarising words, she said ‘mysteriously interesting’. My initial reaction to these comments was ‘um, that sounds kinda dodgy….’! But, after thinking about it, I know what they mean. I come into lectures, sit with these people, chat to them, and then go home. I lead a busy social life, but this rarely involves my coursemates. Many of the activities I do outside my course, are centred around church and I often feel as though I can’t share this with my coursemates.

So, in many ways, it is a kind of secret life. At least from their point of view. Is that right? I dunno. I do feel bad about not sharing / talking more about that aspect of my life. But, they’re not majorly important people in my life, and I don’t want to come across as if I’m preaching to them or trying to tell them how to live their lifes. Its just difficult, trying to find a compromise – somewhere between shouting your faith from the roof tops and scaring everyone, and not saying anything at all about it.


A friend has just sent me an email which made me realise the power of determination. Over the past week or so, probably brought on by one or two recent events, I have been thinking and saying something, which caused numerous friends to object and tell me off (in the nicest possible way). Their objections were certainly encouraging, but this particular friend worded it in a different way which kind of struck home.

What he/she described was basically self fullfilling prophesy. If you have the self belief and determination to climb that hill, and keep telling yourself that you will get to the top, then you probably will. But if you start off on a hike, look at the hill and think, ‘I’ll never get to the top of that’ and keep telling yourself that, then you are less likely to, because you don’t believe in your own abilities.

I think that self belief, determination and confidence are among the most valuable personal qualities someone can have. And that email has made me determined to be more positive about this particular aspect of my life. So thank you – you know who you are. 🙂

Moving Away

I’ve just found out, this morning, that my next 7 week placement will be ‘away’. The placements office is being annoying at the moment, and not telling us where exactly, but with an educated guess I can narrow it down to two places.

I’ve got mixed feelings about this news. I know it won’t be easy, moving away from my life in Swansea, my friends, my house, etc. I will have to move myself there using public transport, so I won’t be able to have lots of personal belongings away with me. Working shifts is often hard enough, but when you come back from work and there aren’t friends around – or at least people who don’t mind me ranting about my day – then it’s harder.

But, on the other hand, I’m determined to survive. With any luck, the weather should be slightly better by then, and I can have some fun exploring the local scenary. I will almost certainly request to work long days (either 12 or 14 hour shifts), so that I only have to work 3 days a week. That will mean that if I’ve got more than a couple of days off in a row, I will come back to Swansea. I am hoping that I will have access to a phone (either a signal or a landline within the B&B) and I might even have internet access. And of course, He’ll be there.

I have to look at this positively, because otherwise I’d collapse in a heap even before I’d got there! Other people on my course have been away more than I have in the past, so I kind of felt it was only fair that I was one of the 5 or 6 people who were sent away this time. I’ve got just over a month before I go. Wish me luck!

Random Ponderings

Its funny, the way that when you make a decision about something, you don’t know how its going to turn out. Somethings you expect to be fine, and they turn out not so fine. And other things, you think there could be a problem with, and they turn out fine. With hindsight, you can see which life decisions worked out well and which didn’t. But when you’re trying to make the decision, it is often very hard to tell.

On a slightly different subject…. my leg seems to be improving. Its been 7 weeks now since I fell over coming down this path and its only just improving. Last week I discovered a lovely physiotherapist who goes to my church, who said I have strained my tibial collateral liagment and has given me exercises and massages to help the healing process. Its definately helping, but after a physio session (after church!!) my leg tends to hurt lots.

I have got a few more ideas for my lent spirituality theme, but they involve uploading more pictures on my flickr account. And this can’t be done till next week, as I’ve used all my uploading quota. In the mean time, I will try to think of some posts that don’t involve pictures!

Positive Comments

In my lectures yesterday, we were playing games. There was a reason behind it, I promise. But it was a good, more informal day. In one of these games we had to write our name on a piece of paper, and this paper was passed around the circle (in rotation with everyone else’s papers) and the other people in my group had to write a positive comment about me on the paper, and then fold it over so no one else could see it. After everyone had written on everyones peices of paper, we got our own back to read, whenever we were ready.

It was quite interesting reading what my coursemates had written about me. My coursemates know me well enough considering I’ve had lectures with them for the past 18 months, but outside my course I don’t tend to socialise with them. Several people had said I was ‘sensible’ (ERG doesn’t come out lots in lectures….). And a few other people said I was kind, generous, friendly or helpful. The kind of broad spectum, compliment, you could say to anyone you don’t really know very well.

The comment that really stood out though, was ‘seems genuine’. I was touched by that one. I worked out it had been written by one of the mature students, who sits on the other side of the room and I’ve never really spoken to her. But it seemed like the kind of comment you wouldn’t make off-hand. Its one that requires more thought and observation than, ‘is nice’. And I suppose I had never really thought about coming across genuinely before. I try to make an effort to be ‘friendly’ and ‘helpful’, but I don’t really think about being ‘genuine’. I’m just me.

Psalm 46

Last night, thanks to a teepee, I discovered Psalm 46.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. and so it goes on.

How amazing it that?! No matter how many mountains spring up in front of you, or suddenly shake beneath your feet. Or no matter how big the avalanche of stressors and problems, which results in being buried under lots of cold, wet snow. He is there. He will help you. He will carry you up the mountain. He will lift you out of the snow drift. He is amazing.

I love teepees. 🙂


As regular readers will know, i have had some problems with my knee over the past 6 weeks or so, ever since falling when I was climbing down Pen y fan. Well yesterday, thanks to fabulous church contacts, I received some physio on it. I have strained a ligament in my knee, but if i rest it and perform an incredibly painful massage on it regularly, I should be back to normal in a few weeks. I am trying to rest it as much as possible, but there are some things that just have to be done. Trying to find a balance is proving difficult.

On the life in all its fullness question I asked last week – i do think that disabled people can have a full life. I think it depends on their support network, the professionals dealing with them, the extent of their problems and their own personal strength and determination. But it can be done. Some of the achievements that disabled people have made, really are amazing – if you sit down and listen to their life story. I mean, look at the para-olympics. Thanks to those who contributed own thoughts and opinions, and Jo – I will talk to you about my personal experiences in 2 weeks time.

Life in all its Fullness

The SCM theme for the year is Life in all its Fullness. One of the issues that was brought up at the weekend, was whether or not you can enjoy life to the full if you have a disability. In the past few days, I have been able to have some greater understanding of disabilities. My knee has been worse since this weekend – it now aches more frequently, especially if I don’t wear a bandage on it. By no stretch of the imagination is it a ‘disability’ as we are familiar with, but it has affected my day to day activities to a degree. I can’t walk for any length of time – after a 10 minute walk to uni my knee isn’t particularly happy, and anymore than that I am trying to avoid undertaking. Before all of this, I would walk everywhere around Swansea. Walking and cycling are usually my sole means of transportation within the local area. Now I struggle to do either. And to be perfectly honest – its a bugger.

But, it has made me have some degree of empathy for the people I have cared for with severe disabilities. Until you have some experience of a health problem with affects your day to day life, it is incredibly hard to appreciate how much of a pain it is. How much it can get you down. How easily a physical problem can affect your mental health. So, is it possible for a disabled person to experience ‘fullness of life’? I mean, when I’ve worked with disabled children, our aims often involve enabling the child to play/explore/express themselves, in whatever ways they can. Finding ways around their disability. Using technology and equipment to empower these children and to make their lives as enjoyable as possible. So, with the right care and support – with a multidisciplinary approach – can disabled people enjoy ‘fullness of life’?

Comical Spirituality

The worship that we prepared for the SCM weekend was based around bread and water. I have already shared some of the water stuff with you. For part of the ‘bread stuff’ we printed out lots of pictures of bread, and stuck them up with SCM cartoon images of different people (geek, chaplain, whovian, etc). The idea was that just as you get lots of different types of bread, you also get lots of different types of people. But we’re all valued and treasured in His eyes. Just as all types of bread are all still bread. We typed out the text ‘Though we are many…’ to try to get this point across. Last week, one of the things I had to do towards this worship, was to find pictures of bread to use in this collage. As Sarah commented, one of the images we found to be rather amusing. I did think about making a replica of the whole collage here, but I couldn’t find an easy way to show the cartoon pictures. But, I did decide the comical bread picture did need to be shown. So here it is. Comments are welcome. Is it a good image of the Bread of Heaven?!