Sunday, 30 August 2009

Reason to Believe

For as long as I can remember, I've struggled to believe in myself, but I have no recollection of ever struggling to believe in God. I was raised in a Christian family, and made the decision to become a Christian at the age of seven. Even when my life hit rocky ground during my teens, I still prayed every night, aware that God was there with me and knew of my struggles. Of course, doubts are only human, and I have experienced my fair share, but they've never swayed me from my faith.

However, I don't believe my faith really matured until I was about sixteen. I read the Bible cover to cover for the first time shortly after my baptism at the age of seventeen, and began to read books by other Christian authors. It was then that I finally began to see how God was shaping my life, and continues to do so. Suddenly, I saw God's responses to the prayers I had once thought unanswered. Ever since I have always been aware that God has a purpose for me, one which He is fulfilling through me. I am beginning to see the potential He has for me.

I'm still not entirely sure that I believe in myself, but I can say for certain that I believe in what God can do through me. He has given me a reason to believe.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Parting with an Old Friend

Yesterday I deleted my old blog, after spending some time copying my better entries into a word document, and I have to say, it wasn't the easiest thing I've had to part with in life. I wasn't sad enough to tear up, and I did not even reconsider my actions, but I still felt a slight discomfort as I deleted the 106 entries I have compiled during the last eight months, and then finally deleted the blog itself.

Blogging is something I really enjoy doing, and I like having my own space to publicly say what I want. Ever since I first set up a blog, I have worked on it with an enthusiasm that has never died. I just felt ready for a change. In some ways I felt I put too much of myself into my last blog, and wanted to work more anonymously. I think unconsciously I knew my first blog was a trial to see if it was something I wanted to continue doing. Now I've started over to search for my own style. I hope that the content of the last 7 entries is of interest.

All the same, yesterday when I deleted my old blog it felt very much like I was letting go of a small part of myself, and saying goodbye to an old friend.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Consider Yourself One of the Family

Spud and I have been going out for two years now. I'd say ours is a fairly unique relationship, as we met through the internet, and have always known, even before we met face to face after a year of correspondence, that we wanted to aim for marriage. It is my belief that the long distance has driven us closer, and enabled us to retrospectively spend more time together than many couples who live nearer to one another.

About this time two years ago I met his family for the first time. They knew nothing of me until Spud and I had officially met and started going out, so I think it was a little strange for them too, although as former foster carers, his family are used to having new people in the house for long spells. I am sure on my first few visits I gave off the impression of being very quiet and timid. In fact, I am sure it wasn't until Spud and I had been going out for about a year that I really came out of my shell, and began to grow used to his lifestyle and routines, some of which are very different to what I am accustomed to.

These days I feel mostly at home when I visit, and I'm treated like one of the family, which I suppose I almost am. I already think of his parents as my mother and father-in-law, and his siblings my sisters and brother-in-laws, even though Spud and I are not getting married for another three years. I've learnt a lot from each of them individually, and over time they've all grown on me - not that I'm implying I didn't like them all in the first place. I've always been very fond of them all, and think of them as my second family!

Very often, in-laws are portrayed as loathsome, but I can say this is not the case for me. I just hope I prove to be a pleasing daughter-in-law.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Boogying with my Brother-in-law

My youngest  prospective brother-in-law is just two, and it is such a fun age! He is learning to talk now, something that hasn't been all that easy for him but he's getting there now. He can more or less assert what he wants now, and in other areas he is quite advanced. He can name various body parts now, which I think is pretty impressive.

It struck me recently how unselfconscious young children are. I remember being like that, larking around in front of my parents' friends without any embarrassment whatsoever when I was little. I forget what age I was when all that changed. Perhaps it was a gradual, but constant process that took place throughout my childhood. I think this happens for everyone but only to a certain extent.

For example, I remember a time when I loved participating in class assemblies and school plays. These days I rarely even contribute verbally in a seminar, simply because I am too shy and hesitant. I know others though who don't seem to feel self-conscious at all, participating regularly in class discussions, and marching boldly onto a stage without a fear in the world.

One day my brother-in-law might change too, but for the moment he remains innocent and fun loving, oblivious to the attention he draws to himself when out in the public, whether he is throwing a rare tantrum or simply smiling sweetly and chattering away on the bus. I find he takes away some of my feelings of self-consciousness too, when I am with him. Like the other day when I was sitting in the back of the car beside him I was entertaining him by chatting with him, playing 'peekaboo' which he loves, and teaching him how to high-five!

I don't know why but I devised a new game which involved dancing to the music playing on the radio - well, I suppose you'd call it hand-jiving as there's limited dancing space in most cars, let alone a car as tiny as my in-law's! He is at the mimicking stage and he joined in as best as he could. It was good fun, and I stopped caring what Spud and my father-in-law must have thought! To be honest, I'm not sure that they noticed, but even if they did, I didn't care. My brother-in-law and I were boogying away, and we were loving it!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

So Many Stories

It seems to me that everyone has a story to share. I think that's part of the reason why so many people, myself included, enjoy blogging, or simply journalling. Many of us like to document the interesting things that have happened to us, whether for others to read, or for ourselves to look back on and reminisce.

Let's face it: most of us are interested in other people's lives. Why else do we read gossip magazines, watch reality shows, or personal documentaries? Okay, I can't say I do any of those things, but I read some autobiographies, attend social events where I can chat to people, and listen to interviews on the radio.

Today I saw an interesting exhibition whereby many, many people had been interviewed, and their responses were posted on a slideshow along with a picture of themselves. The picture was revealed before the responses, so we had a brief moment to analyse each individual from the photo before we even knew anything about them. Although their responses were short and limited, it began to dawn on me how many lives there are in the world, and how many stories there are waiting to be shared.

Another part of the exhibition consisted of several photographs of signs and captions, some of which were graffiti. One of these was a child's picture, another a public safety notice, and still another of two names etched into a tree along with a heart. Again, I pondered the stories that lie behind these mere images.

Our lives read as one long story, consisting of a sequence of episodes that add colour and change our day to day existence, taking us somewhere in life. What am I doing on here? I am simply making my story available to anyone who wishes to read it.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Opposite Effect

Yesterday Spud and I were at the bus station, waiting for the coach to take us the 300 miles up to his. Because my parents were away the night before, we had to make our own way to the bus station, and as we arrived almost an hour early, we spent the time sitting in the waiting area.

While we were waiting, I became aware of cigarette smoke wafting into the room through the automatic doors. The room is located beside our required terminal, and nearby is a large sign saying something along the lines of 'smoking is not permitted on these premises'. Beside the sign stood a couple of women, one of which was smoking copiously, and clearly the source of the new aroma drifting into the room.

I commented on this to Spud, drawing his attention to the irony of the act. The woman was seemingly oblivious to the sign, or perhaps simply defying the law. She was there for a while, long enough for a bus driver to approach her, making his disgust known by giving her a hefty telling off! Shortly afterwards she stopped smoking and moved away from the sign. I think her coach was leaving by that point because I didn't see her again.

Just before our coach arrived, I was astounded to see a man approaching the sign and swiftly lighting up! I was rather amused that instead of deterring smokers, the sign appeared to be having the opposite effect! I don't know whether what transpired is a regular occurrence or simply an example of the ignorance of a few individuals.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Why I am Here

For a long time now I have had a fantasy that remains merely that: a fantasy. I've thought for a long time now that it would be quite romantic to walk out of my old life with nothing but the clothes on my back, the shoes on my feet, and the God in my heart, and just start over, leaving the old completely behind.

During my second year studying at university, I commuted in for my lectures, a good hour and a half journey each way, and in the case of early lectures I found myself catching a train that left before 7am. I remember waiting on the platform week after week, in the cold and the dark, and watching the trains arriving at the platform opposite. There was one which left just after mine that went all the way to Aberdeen, and I wondered, just wondered, what would happen if one day I changed platforms and hopped on that train instead...

It's been done. People disappear all the time, sometimes without even meaning to, but I know I could never do that. I could never walk out on Spud, or the family and friends I love more than life itself; or even the life that I am just beginning to love, the life that seems to have just begun for me. I could not leave anyone behind and put them through the agony of not knowing where I am, how I am, if I am alive even.

There is a point to this all, because this is effectively what I have done with my blog. I started toying with blogspot last October, and began blogging regularly in January. My old blog currently holds over a hundred posts now, and I feel it's time for a change. When I begin something new, I always feel I leap into it too quickly, without really thinking things over beforehand. With my last blog I chose a name just for the sake of it, a name I am no longer content with; I put too much of myself into it, and what I wrote was mostly pointless, unoriginal ramble. That is not to say that I won't write personal blogs here, with a little about myself and my life, but it will all be undercover of a new name, an alias if you like, and I want to adopt my own personal style.

My blog is named The Passing Place because no doubt people will pass through here, and maybe read an entry or two if they have a moment to spare, but they might not necessarily stay and become regular followers. This is fine by me. I don't blog because I want followers (although I appreciate anyone who does decide to follow - it is nice to know that what I write is of interest to someone) but because I like having my own corner, my own space to write what I wish.

A French Joke

Q. Tu as un animal à la maison?

A. Oui, J'ai deux frères