Saturday, January 31, 2004

wow, what an eventful few days I've had. As I cycled into college on Wednesday morning, the predicted severe weather decided to turn up. I cycled along the canal towpath to Selly Oak in a blizzard. Managed to avoid falling off this time, but turned up to college looking like a snowman, and with an 'ice-cream' headache. As I sat trying to do my Hebrew test I couldn't help but stare out the window as the world turned white. Wow, this was proper snow, we never get proper snow these days. I was already kind of excited 'cos Rachel had phoned first thing in the morning to let us know her 'waters' had broken during the night, whatever they are, I'm sure she could get some new ones. Anyway, she seemed excited, so I was as well.
Su texted me 'cos she was worried I'd try and cycle back in the snow (as if!), so after college I decided to go round to Rachel's and wait for Su to come and pick me up after work.
Rachel had been having mild contractions on and off all morning but wasn't ready to go in yet. The snow stopped and started to melt pretty quickly. We spent the afternoon watching movies and listening to music. Later in the afternoon, it started to snow again, heavily. Rachel's contractions were getting stronger, but no more regular. By the evening she was getting really fed up and a bit teary. When was baby James going to arrive? It was difficult to see her in pain and so frustrated, we felt so helpless. But we prayed and waited, and Karl was a pillar of strength. Meanwhile poor old Su had got stuck in the now gridlocked Birmingham traffic. Dad was trying to get over from Coventry, and after being stuck on the Aston Expressway for 3 hours, decided to give up and turn round. Trust Rachel to go into labour on the worst traffic day in Birmingham's history. Su finally got to Rachel's by 10 o'clock, having left the office at 6.00. We all went to bed, but at 1 am Karl took Rachel into hospital with irregular but painful contractions.
The next morning I woke up with a migraine. Tried to go to lectures, but couldn't cope and had to leave early to go and lie down. Finally at 2.30pm we got the phonecall from Karl to say that baby James had arrived, both him and Rach were fine, although obviously knackered (and somewhat drugged up!). At around 4, we all went in to see them. James is amazing, at 8lbs13, he has quite a long body, perfect skin, punky hair and cute features. He has none of the new-born mankyness that I've seen with other babies, and he looks very tranquil and at peace with the world. Talk about joy coming out of pain!
It turns out that 5 women had babies in their cars stuck in traffic on the way to hospital! So in the end I guess James knew what he was doing by staying in as long as he did. God bless them all!

Monday, January 26, 2004

OK, so I'm supposed to have been keeping a weekly prayer journal type thing for one of my courses at college. In my ineptitude and crapness I think I've managed one entry so far this year. So I thought I'd maybe try and blog at least once a week and try and count that for my prayer journal. The course is called 'theology in action', but it is basically a discussion group where we are supposed to try and pull together all the different strands from the courses and apply them to our lives. I think its meant to be a sort of safety valve to make sure our heads aren't being screwed up by all the 'high filutin' theology we are studying.
For the discussions we are reading a book called 'To the Usual Suspects' by John Goldingay, each week we read a chapter which has a one word title on a different subject. This week was joy. As I reflected on the chapter, I realised that for the most part, I have been blessed with the gift of joy. I also realised that I quite often feel guilty for feeling joyful because I am aware of many people, some near to me, some not, who are in great pain and suffering. Somehow it is possible to experience joy and sorrow almost simultaneously. We are told to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, and unless we don't know many people, these things must overlap. So I pray that God would continue to keep me joyful but make me sensitive enough to express compassion in practical ways to those who are suffering.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

One of the highlights of 'The Story We Find Ourselves In' for me was this creedal poem - We Believe :

We believe that You created all things
In all their beauty and mystery.
We believe we broke the boundaries You gave
To keep this world in harmony.
We believe You called a family,
Blessing them to bless all families.
We believe You spoke and listened through sage
And prophet, priest and poet.
We believe.
We believe You walked among us in
Human flesh, to share our history.
We believe You reconciled us,
Upon a cross, brought hope from agony.
We believe You raised Jesus
From death to life, for our salvation.
We believe You send us out with saving love
For all creation.
We believe.
We believe Your Spirit dwells in us now
With power for life and mission.
We believe Your Spirit makes us one
In purpose, hope, and vision.
We believe You'll banish evil and fill the earth
With holy glory.
We believe You call all people to life
Forever in Your story.
We believe.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Well, that wasnt very soon was it? A 3 month blog gap. Like so many diaries I have attempted to start over the years and then given up before the end of January. To be honest I haven't had the time or the inclination. But as I've got a new toy I thought I'd have another bash.

Yes, I've seen the light and gone Apple, and so far I'm loving it. Spent about a week putting my entire CD collection onto the iBook and now I'm compiling playlists to my hearts content, a bedroom DJ's dream. (although I can't help feeling I've betrayed my vinyl collection).

College has been going well, although far too quickly. I have posted some of my essays in my iDisk, although it's only on a 60 day trial on .Mac so then I'll have to think again.

What else? Oh yeah, I got my new bike stolen from outside college on Tuesday afternoon which was a bit gutting, but thankfully it was covered under our house insurance. They have replaced the bike and all the fittings and it was delivered yesterday -2 days after the theft! amazing. I take back everything I ever said about insurance companies.

My sister Rachel is about to pop! She is due anyday now, and then I'll be Uncle Jon. Can't wait!