Tag Archives: studying

Oops to the lack of blogging

As the regular(!) reader will notice, there isn’t so much to read on my blog these days. I so rarely log in, let alone think of anything to write about but as I log in today I discover something in my ‘draft posts’ folder from March. Being so efficient, and with that as such recent news I’ll have a go at finishing that post before starting the one I’ve actually logged in to write.

So… Local Preacher Training (originally dated 9 March 2010!)

I’ve been chronicling my journey throughout my Local Preacher Training and it wouldn’t seem appropriate to let Sunday go unmarked. It was my service of recognition so I’ve officially finished (even if I do have to present my project still)! (Come September, strangely it has now been completed and was accepted – I’ll stick a note on about that too).

A group of friends gathered to share in the special evening – someone from university who has journeyed with me throughout; friends from SCM who have challenged, critiqued, encouraged and supported; local friends as well as a good collection of people from the local church, and the circuit. It was a really special occasion. The sermon was something to be beheld, by virtue of the length and the enthusiasm and exuberance of the preacher.

It was a really lovely way to celebrate the end of, at times, a gruelling course. It felt like a fair end to the journey through my time in Birmingham – I started the course within 6 months of starting my permanent job in Brum and was accredited during my period of notice as I prepared to move out of the area.

After the service, we gathered back at the Community Flat (and finished the feast we started before heading to church). A few celebratory drinks were shared before people headed homewards – all except one good friend and the Mrs. It led to the most fun conversations, and entirely unrelated to local preaching. This friend wins the award for most laid back bride to be: “Well, it took a while for me to work out why there aren’t more 11am wedding ceremonies. The other brides faff on with things like hair and make up… well, I *might* brush my hair!”

(Well, come September it’s hard to keep much more of a focus on the event than has now been reflected on. Eh, well…)

Since the service of recognition in March, a couple of noteworthy things have happened. My presentation on my project went well, even though I was 45 minutes late (horray for buses). I reflected on the things we, as preachers, can learn from artists who use words to make and form their art. Whether poets, creative writers, sculptors or painters, artists use words to form things beyond what is immediately expected. My sister’s artwork inspired me to consider this, and her work can be seen on her website. I reflected that, as wordsmiths, we should be encouraged to practise, to seek new and unexpected inspiration, to seek to improve skills and undertake training. I can’t remember what else I reflected upon, but I got some good feedback and provoked some interesting responses. The Local Preachers Meeting formed the final of my preaching duties in Brum and it seemed a nice exit. My final services were led jointly with a good friend and colleague, at work. Again, it was a nice place to share the goodbyes.

As my job changed (in July/August) I started exploring getting my local preaching fully recognised within my new home denomination. That led to a fascinating series of reading and essays but I now (still, in September) am awaiting a(nother) assessed service. Hopefully once that is done, all the assessed services will be done for the time being. So preaching is very much a ticked box for now and it’s nice to have all the written work out of the way.

So now those studies are done, what shall I do next?

Notes on My Spiritual Journey 2 – University Church

After taking up the offer to be put in contact with the chaplain, the Free Church Chaplain got in touch with me as soon as I arrived, and we met in the first week or so of University. He was a marked difference from the ministers I had known at church for he was someone I would describe as ‘normal’ and ‘human’ rather than pious. For me it was still something of a revelation that these things could be mixed, and the requirement to be Christian was not to be completely alienated from the world. This realisation started a huge change within my understanding of what it meant to be a Christian. In the chaplaincy church, an LEP and the place I first discovered Methodism, I found a very questioning approach to faith and a commitment to do something as well as just be something.
During my time in the church, I found myself going through various personal challenges associated with leaving behind the familiar. Many university students will have had similar experiences, but the people in the church made me welcome and helped me work through my challenges. It was during this time that I felt I wanted to make the commitment of being baptised, something subsequently conducted by the chaplain. It is an experience I still remember and am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to do as an adult.

It was also during my time in this church I became more interested in leading worship. Unlike in my home church, members were encouraged to lead the intercessions and the student group was asked to lead an evening service once a quarter. In this environment I found myself reluctantly willing to engage in these acts, and subsequently became comfortable in doing them. There was great encouragement from the fellow congregation to explore these feelings further but the minister suggested that I wait. He pointed out that I had a time of uncertainty ahead, and more than enough to worry about with a degree to do, so to consider it in the future but wait until life was more stable. His advice proved to be very helpful, as it is in a time of stability that I have felt myself responding best to the call to preach and being most enriched by the experience.


It was a birthday yesterday. And not one of the sisters. One of my housemates celebrated her birthday by going out and getting drunk, and obviously she wanted company. We had a great time, drinking cocktails and things. We got back at gone 2am and apparently didn’t disturb anyone which was a relief. The problem was when my alarm went of at 6.30 because I’d randomly decided to go to work this morning. I think this was a very daft plan. Four sleep followed by four hours work then 6 hours house duty is not a good combination. Speaking of which I should probably go to sleep.

This week has been quite mad tho. I successfully submitted an essay, but that’s already been mentioned. I also sent off a job application form and I really should send off the other one. Filling it in would be a good start. Tuesday was my complete day off from everything, so did I use it sensibly? No. I went to a meeting which took all morning, then I went and did my volunteering, then I went swimming. By Wednesday I was knackered. Wednesday I kinda forgot to leave work on time and stayed a whole ‘nother hour so missed supper. Fortunately they’d saved me something, then yesterday I was told we were having special supper so to make sure I was home on time. One of those BVM days and all that, along with a birthday, but I hadn’t told anyone I was going to be there for supper so I nearly didn’t get fed. Also earlier in the week I was probably the least popular person in the house as I managed to wake a sister up – not once or even twice but three times. It wasn’t my smartest moment really. Today was my quiet day in terms of house duties and as I said I volunteered to work this morning. My next day off isn’t until Friday because I’m changing days at work next week. By the time we get to Friday I’m sure I’ll need picking up off the floor and pointing in the right direction.

Still haven’t submitted the essay from January, or even looked at it in months. It needs doing. On the positive side I got proof of achievement from my old university this week. It did look very strange seeing that I’d passed the year bearing in mind I thought I’d failed so spectacularly. What is also strange to think is that I’ve averaged 60 credits a year for the last three years and I still am no closer to graduation. Oh well.

I’ve found another job I’m interested in so I’ll have to get in touch with the folk involved. Lots of the people in the house are keeping their eyes open for me which is nice and one of them said that she’d found a job I might be interested in. She gave me the magazine and it’s not one I’ve come across before. I’m not sure I’ll come across it again either. It’s very scary and I’m not sure that I’d want to work for the kind of church that advertises in it. I think I’ll give that one a miss.

Anyway, I’d better go sleep, and try not to disturb any more nuns* late at night.

*Repeat after me ‘They’re not nuns, they’re sisters!’


I’ve been volunteering for things again. It leaves me no time to just be. Went to office today tho which was progress.

Even went swimming. Only 34 lengths today. Oh well.

Back to work again tomorrow.

I’ve submitted an essay tho, and I’m almost ready with one of the application forms. It will be a relief when it’s gone now.

Curses and Swearing will be omitted (or at least hidden). Honest

If you’ve heard me rant about housemates before, please switch off now. The events are different but the person is the same!

I really wish some things would be left to lie. Some of my house mates I was sad to leave behind at the end of last year, others I was hoping I’d never hear from again. Even to let me know they were dead, assuming they ever are. Since then some I’ve wished to keep in touch with, I don’t ever get round to talking to and others who I don’t want to hear from are still trying to talk to me. Do they not get the message.

Last night I decided to go swimming. A good move, and I swam 40 lengths and then waited an hour in the snow for the bus. Brrrr…. That’s why I didn’t blog last night. I was frozen. It was a good session, and hopefully next week I’ll manage 50! It had been a long day at work and I was bleary eyed from filing over 1000 sheets of paper, so I went swimming to help me sleep. When I got back I collapsed in front of the telly. It was the first time I’ve watched it in ages (although I watched it again tonight – shock!).

When I came up to settle down for the night I saw that I’d been phoned, and didn’t recognise the number so texted to find out who it was. This was my stupid mistake. The ******* started playing silly bees with me and wouldn’t give me a straight answer. Saying that it only took two replies from the other end to let me know who it was, at which point I denied all knowledge of myself. We’ve had big problems via electronic media twice before and I NEVER EVER want to see this person ever again. I tried to convince the person at the other end that they had the wrong number but it didn’t work at all. I received all sorts of horrible message and the phone wouldn’t stop ‘ringing’ (how can a silent phone ring?) until well into the morning. I know that this is a convent and we go to bed (comparatively early, honest) but I’m hardly going to be able to talk at that time of night! We have a time at which silence is required, and it’s definately BEFORE midnight.

As a result of this **** I contacted the service provider to try and get the number barred from calling me, it upset me THAT much, but apparently they don’t do that. They advised that I report the incident to the police but that seems something of a harsh response when the person was probably drunk or stoned. Anyway, the git would probably have even more of a go at me if the police got involved, so I’m left with the hope that I never hear from them again. I can dream.

On a more positive note, w*rk is going well. Or at least I think it is. I’ve come up with a cunning plan for not wasting so many trees, I’ll make CD’s instead. This proposal has gone down well. I forgot to take my timesheet to the agency today so I’ll have to go tomorrow. Oops.

I also went to a good alternative worship thing this evening, complete without tv’s, computers and anything particularly complicated. We had a little music, some stones, pens and paper and some sweets. It was nice. It was also in the chapel so I didn’t have to go too far.

Anyway, gtg. Night all.

Done it

I finished a COMPLETE draft of my essay last night, just before 3am so thought I wouldn’t post this at that time. I then had to get up not *that* long later. Phew. I’ll proof read it later then send it off. One down, one (outstanding to go)

They want to keep me.

Work have decided that I’m worth keeping at least until one or the other of us have better plans. This is great news.

I also had my hair cut, and once it was nicely blow dried it looked like a nice granny perm. It’s all fixed now tho. Had an eye test too. Apparently that wasn’t such a good plan but never mind.

I’m still trying to get these essays done with limited success. Oh well,

Off I go again.

I’m not a sister!

Well, ok, I’m a biological sister but not a religious. I answered the door today to a delivery man, and after dropping off the shopping, he said “Thanks Sister”! I know I wear a gert big (at least to me) cross but it’s really nothing like the crosses worn by either the sisters or the novices. I’m trying to work out whether this is a complement or not. I think it is. I mean, I’m barely old enough to be a novice let alone a fully fledged sister. I’m really quite happy not being a sister, but still being here. I do have an official title/role here but it is quite a detached one. It’s still not like being a guest, although some guests plan their stays to me more like my kind of stay.

Had another reflexology session today. It is an interesting feeling, it makes my feet warm and fuzzy and just generally nice. I also agreed to try and clean the ‘horse’ today. I fell asleep instead. It’s good to know I’m still living up to my other internet name.

I appear to be the resident computer expert at the moment, which is something of an interesting situation because I’m never really sure what I’m doing, but I fixed the machine, at least for five minutes. I don’t know what they keep doing to them.

Lately I’ve been thinking that I should start to think about what I want to do when I leave here. I came up with what I thought was a cunning suggestion, at least for a year. This being a typical Jo variety of cunning plan, I have yet to find out the feasibility of the idea and really decide whether I want to do it. I was getting quite set on the last bit. Yes, I probably do want to do this but I need to check how realistic the idea is. I was looking at the paper to see if there were any vacancies for this particular job, and I nearly had a heart attack. There is a vacancy. Good, I thought. Then I read it. Then I nearly had a heart attack. The fact that I would need a degree was very worrying. Why would I need a degree for the job? But what really took me back was the fact that it was both in the worst place imaginable, for the job in question that is.

I’ve also had another idea of an interesting (not entirely unrelated) job but that would be a *really* interesting twist to things, but I’d guess that I’m not qualified enough for that one either.

Having reconciled my studying issues I had pretty much decided for a number of reasons, mostly financial, that I’m not going to be a student full time again. Part time study is always a nightmare as life gets in the way even more than with full time studying. The jobs I’m now becoming interested in require graduates. Typical. If I were to go back to full time study there is at least another 2 years (taking it to 5 years studying and a 1 year break) and if I carry on part time it will take another 5 years. I mean, I wasn’t in a hurry to graduate, but this is just taking the mick. There’s no point saying I wish I could have completed the course the first time round because I didn’t. It’s typical that I’m considering this again. I’m hopeless at following through on decisions. At least on the positive side, if all my searching for jobs leads to jobs which require a degree I might have enough motivation to get a degree by the end of the exercise. Grrr…

Anyway, on the really positive side I’ve been doing uni reading today too, so I’m far less behind. I MUST write at least a first draft tomorrow. I’ve still been keeping my lent things but I really want something sugary and sweet now. At least I can tomorrow. It’s sherry trifle after lunch because it’s a special occasion. I’m sure it’s doing me good. Folks here keep remarking that I look like I’m losing weight and that can only be a good thing. Went to compline tonight. It’s changed a little for lent and I was worried that the hugely extended silence would be a bad thing but it really isn’t. I’m actually really appreciating the silence which is something I thought I’d never say.

Must right essay, but not now. I should do lots of reading then go to sleep. I overslept a little this morning so wasn’t where I was supposed to be on time, but then I also slept this afternoon so I’m not so tired now.

Note for Jellyfer: I’m listening to Moulin Rouge 2 through my headphones. Spectacular Spectacular and the Bolero. Remind you of anything? It certainly reminds me of good times.

Watched Donnie Darko again. Last time I watched it was the first time I’d seen it and it’s really weird. Didn’t do much better with it this time. I think I’ll stick to Shrek or Amelie, both feel good films.