Weepy Wednesdays

About six months ago we started a tradition, a sort of pre-menstrual/bad-day cure where a group of us would go to the cinema on an Orange Wednesday discount to watch a chick flick. We'd buy obscene amounts of food before hand and carry at least two packs of tissues in our handbags. Our first film was 'Dear John' which provided the necessary catharsis, 3 out of the 4 sobbed throughout the entire film and I came out of the cinema with soggy hair. The ritual continued with films such as 'The Last Song' which made us cringe with it's tacky romantic plotline then cry incessantly because the ending was so sad. Then there was Sex and the City 2, the cinema was packed and we'd really outdone ourselves on the food front, again the story sucked but we had a great time. Our last Weepy Wednesday wasn't actually on a Wednesday, we broke the rules and paid extortionate prices to see a preview of Eclipse on a Saturday evening. It broke our banks and it wasn't even good! Little did I know that it would be one of my last precious moments with my dear friend Annie.

This evening was our first Weepy Wednesday since her death. We saw Eat, Pray, Love - it was pretty good, not anywhere near as brilliant as the book, but it wasn't awful. She was on my mind the whole time. In fact, she's been on my mind a lot this week. All her old clothes have been worn and washed with my fabric conditioner so they no longer smell like her, now they're packed in my suitcase ready for Bristol, all the photos have become so familiar and static - poor substitutes for the real thing. I stare at them for ages just wanting to feel something, to feel close to her again. The other night whilst I was on the way home from London, I had such an urge to talk to her. I would always tell her about London, describe every detail of my evening, tell her how desperately I wanted to be on the stage and she'd always be interested, she'd always tell me I was born to be an actress. So I decided to text her, I pulled out my phone and sent her a message knowing full well she would never receive it. Yet for one small moment I expected a reply, the universe shifted for a second and it was like old times, like she was still here, still alive and it made me smile. I sat there on the 11:30 bus to Mortlake grinning like a loon because I felt connected with my dead friend. I guess tonight it's the same. The whole evening has been glazed with her presence and whilst it's comforting to be reminded of her, it makes me miss her terribly. Tonight marked a new series of Weepy Wednesdays and whilst it'll never be the same, they will still serve their purpose. Girls will always need to cry, eat and watch cheap movies on Wednesday evening no matter what situation they find themselves in.

Autumn Leaves and a Very Long-Term Friendship

There is a garden wall at the end of my road that is covered in leaves and every Autumn the whole thing glows a gorgeous red and every year I tell myself to take a picture of it, but I never do. Yesterday however, my friend Emma came round for a cup of tea to say farewell and I realised that I didn't have a recent picture of the two of us which I could pop up on my wall at university. I, of course, knew the perfect place for a photograph. So we ran down the road whilst the kettle boiled and my lovely brother Sam took some snaps of us up against this beautiful autumnal display. Emma is my oldest friend. We went to the same nursery, attended Rainbows, we phoned each other and wrote letters whilst I was living in Germany, we walked to school together everyday for 3 years sharing the trials of adolescence and listening to the music blaring out of Emma's super-cool sonywalkman phone. We were separated at sixth-form but we continued to pop round for chats and tea - lots and lots of tea. Emma is one of those friends who I know will be with me for the rest of my life. We don't talk or communicate regularly, but we don't really need to because when we see each other it's like we've never been apart - we just pick-up from where we left off. Whenever something big and scary or huge and exciting happens in our lives we always share it with one another and I'm pretty sure that's the way it's always going to be. I'm so lucky to have such a long-term friendship in my life!

On Monday I Said Goodbye and Missed the Train

I missed the flippin train by 30 seconds. SO ANNOYED. Clearly haven't got the train from Reading to Bracknell for a while - I forgot that they put the train times forward 2 minutes in the Autumn, some stupid excuse like 'leaves on the line'. Pathetic. Missing the train is always expensive because you have to console yourself with chocolate or coffee because the whole situation is so incredibly frustrating. So here I am sat cross-legged on the dirty floor of platform 4 because, naturally, all the benches have been taken by mums and their noisy children or greasy businessmen *shudder* Oh lovely, it just started to rain...

Okay so things are no longer so desperate, I'm now sat on the train. ARG this is going to take forever. I just said goodbye to Fiona, she's off to Iceland next week to be an au pair and work in a coffee shop for a year. She's so elated by the idea of living in the North and learning an eclectic mix of languages like Tolkien that she constantly emits this happy radiant glow. In Buddhist terms, her aura is very good. Anyway, I love seeing my friend in such a positive frame of mind because some of her shiny happy dust sprinkles itself my way. WOOP. We met at the Starbucks on coffee corner and, for the first time ever, managed to grab the two armchairs by the window. I can't believe I'm not going to be able to hug her for 11 whole months! Thank goodness for skype and Whittard's post-tea which I intend to send her regularly, student budget permitting. She gave me an extremely early birthday present - a collection of Kafka's stories IN GERMAN. So perfect. Now I can have twisted German nightmares!

We spent a good time catching-up and squealing at how exciting our lives are going to be this time next week. This summer has been life-changing for both of us in different ways. We are not the same two girls who, 12 weeks ago, set off for a week in Germany. One of us has been released and soothed and the other has been battered about until all her stuffing spilled out and is now in the process of being re-stuffed. We did the usual spree around the shops, bought make-up and tweezers, lusted after boots that are completely out of our price range and then found and AWESOME photo booth by the oracle toilets. Our last stop was Waterstones where Fiona succeeded in buying £30 worth of books: a Virginia Wolf collection, a children's story collection and a book of Russian poetry. We then said a hurried and rather flustered goodbye as she ran for her bus and I for my train.

I hate saying goodbye, there's such an overbearing finality associated with it and it just doesn't seem an appropriate word for what I'm doing. For example, I said goodbye to lots of church people on Sunday even though I know I'm going to see them again at Christmas. I much prefer the phrase Aufwiedersehen which translates directly as 'until we meet again' it's much more open and flexible. It makes it sound like you want to see that person again but you're not quite sure how long it will be, maybe you won't see them until next week, maybe you'll see them again in heaven. The word itself sounds unfinished, like you should say 'Until we meet again be safe' or 'Until we meet again have fun, be happy'. There is much more hope and expectation in the phrase 'Aufwiedersehen' because there is an inbuilt assumption that when you do meet again you will be even more beautiful, even more special, wiser, older, better and more interesting. And so to Fiona and all my friends I would say 'Aufwiedersehen' because no matter how far apart our bodies, minds and hearts are, I know that I will see you again soon.

Gardens, Goodbyes and a Cactus

Sunday was awesome. I woke up from a really good sleep, the kind where your body has become one with the mattress and your cheek has created a semi-permanent dent in your pillow. Heavy, deep, refreshing sleep. Yummy. Last Sunday at home, last family meal, last evening meeting. Part of me can't quite believe it's time to leave Bracknell and the other part has waited long enough for this departure! We had vouchers for Pizza Express but we decided to make a trip out of it, disclaimer: I decided to make a trip out of it. I didn't want to just pop into Wokingham or skid along to Reading, I wanted to go somewhere special. So we went to the Pizza Express by Kew Gardens in London and it is the sweetest little yummy place - I felt like I was eating delicious food in someone's kitchen. We had a bit of a mare getting there, Sammy had to wip out the GPS on his phone whilst my parents yelled at each other and Ben and I made unhelpful but amusing comments, but the point is we got there and it was good. Dessert was a particularly special moment for me, Pizza Express have clearly made this just for me: coffee gelato topped with a coffee bean and a coffee flavoured chocolate tick + a cappucino. HOW AMAZING!? I could feel the caffeine humming in my veins. After lunch we pottered around the very cute independent bookstore (after all what would a Jackson family outing be without a trip to a bookshop?!) Dad clearly wanted to buy the lot, I bought a postcard. Happy days. Just as we were about to pop into the car Mum caught sight of the Kew Gardener, a flower shop across the road. For some reason we'd both got it into our heads that I needed a Cactus for uni and we were planning on a trip to Longacres this week, however buying a Cactus near Kew Gardens was such an idyllic idea that I ran over to have a look at them. I decided on a flowering Cactus because I like pretty things and the spikey ones looked like willies. So here it is. I've decided to call it (plants have no gender) Myshkin after the character in The Idiot, partly because I doubt I'll finish the book because it's SO long which seems a shame because the character of Myshkin (the idiot) is so adorable and because, no offence guys, none of the name suggestions on my facebook appealed to me.

Eat, Pray, Love

Okay this is my final Eat, Pray, Love post, primarily because the whole concept is getting a bit boring and also it's practically the end of September anyway. So fear not all you people who saw the title of this post and yawned and groaned and foamed at the mouth Elizabeth Gilbert's influence on me is waning. I would also like to apologise for the lack of posts and further apologise for the prospective bombardment of posts that you are likely to receive over the next two days, or even two hours! I have so many ideas, thoughts and memories smooshed into my head and I've finally found the words with which to express them. YAY. It is super convenient that last couple of weeks have held a lot of eating, a lot of prayer and a lot of love. So to round it all off I'll provide you with some of my highlights :-)

IKEA - For those who know me well and I guess those who read my blog, you'll know that Ikea holds a special place in my heart. Our relationship stems from my time in Germany when us kids were often piled into Ikea daycare (a terrifying prospect when the only German you know is 'Guten Morgen' and 'Ich komme aus England') because we had a huge house and no furniture so my parents spent HOURS in the marketplace buying beds, units etc. whilst we attempted to play with german children but usually ended up huddled at the back of the sofa area watching cartoons in a foreign language. Despite the trauma, I never once hated or blamed Ikea. I knew that the moment our parents picked us up we would go to the restaurant and have meatballs, chips, gravy and an odd assortment of soft-drinks then potter round the showrooms and the toy section. At the exit we would collect our goods and buy red liquorice whilst I stared longingly at the Pippi Longstocking books desperately trying to decipher the German language. For some reason every time I enter Ikea I am consumedwith nostalgia and comforted by the simplicity and colour of Swedish interior design. I LOVE IT.

So anyway, two weeks ago Laura and I took the long-awaited journey to Wemberly Ikea to buy all our uni stuff. This time we ate first and, this is another reason why Ikea is amazing, their DIAM cake is gluten-free! I have never enjoyed a slice of cake so much in my life. Laura and I then walked through the showroom all whimsical and broody because the children's rooms were so adorable and I really wanted a book-filled living room. The market place was where the real work began and our poor exasperated mothers helped us pile cutlery, bedding, pillows, scented candles and other essentials into our trolleys: we left Ikea like warm dehydrated zombies at 9:45pm, hugging bottles of water and cans of ice-cold cider for the ride home.

Soup - About two days later Laura and I met on the terrace of South Hill Park to eat soup and chat before she went off to uni on the Saturday. Laura is an AMAZING cook, she's so passionate about food it's insane, everyone should check out her blog (see my list) because she's starting to post all her yummy recipes on there. We sat in the sunshine whilst Laura sniffed off her cold and her hangover and I jabbered on about drama and music eating piping hot bean and chorizo soup (I LOVE CHORIZO. YUM) The whole episode lasted approximately 20 minutes but it was just gorgeous to spend time with my beautiful friend. I always feel strengthened after speaking to Laura because she's so wise yet so normal. Our friendship is deeper and stronger than ever.

London - I spent most of last weekend either IN London or on the train to and from Waterloo. Saturday night was another failed attempt at an NYMT reunion - 5 of us arrived at Nandos in Covent Garden, I got hideously lost and got a massive bout of hay fever tears so everyone I asked for directions thought I was very distressed and sad which was incredibly annoying, I then arrived at the restaurant only for 3 people to leave after half an hour. So Rob and I legged it to the 'Nash' (otherwise known as the National Theatre) to pick up some stand-bys for Danton's Death. Interesting play with a very convincing guillotine! We then spent the rest of the evening chatting on a giant green armchair just outside the theatre. It was really rather lovely. However, next time I would LOVE to see the WHOLE Hired Man cast together in one place! Please.

On Monday I met up with the incredible Jessie Cross for a repeat of last years' LAAAANDAN event. We went to Primark and bought matching brogues in different colours then headed to Starbucks UNDERGROUND (yeah mate) to read the papers and give in to our caffeine cravings. We continued up Oxford street (I bumped into Alice!) looking at all the pretty things, chatting about anything and EVERYTHING and eventually made it to Covent Garden where we bought student-priced tickets for Oliver! some gingerbread latte syrup from Whittards and ate at Pret a Manger. After a chocolate spree in Marks and Spencer we headed to the theatre for 2.5 hours of musical bliss :-) It was super! Jessie is one of my favourites, we never run out of things to talk about and she's always up for taking posey photos. I'm secretly glad that she's home from China because it's WAY easier to skype without the time-difference and I just love hearing her voice and chatting and chilling and just being cool. Yeaaaah mate.

LIFE - Last Friday I attended LIFE for the last time before I go to university. It was a very emotional moment particularly as I stood amongst the throngs of people remembering how small our youth group used to be and how incredibly privileged I am to have been part of such an amazing movement. I prayed a lot, mostly quietly inside my head just thanking God for everything he has done and ate a lot of chocolate in the tuck shop (I did pay for it I promise!)

Festival 40 - On Saturday night I attended the brilliant Rosie's 40th birthday party. She had laid it all out like a festival with an acoustic room, a camping ground, a chill and chai room and a bonfire. It was awesome. I tickled my tastebuds with the slightly bizarre combination of olives, flumps and rum whilst chilling in the lava lamp tent, then I spent a lovely half hour toasting marshmallows and have a good old chin-wag with Zoe. It was a BEAU-tiful evening.

So they you have it. The last EAT/PRAY/LOVE post. Ciao for now.

Honour Spotlight: Valerie & Paul Jackson (aka. My Grandparents)

When it comes to grandparents I am the luckiest girl in the world. I am lucky, in that I have a complete set; they are all living, breathing and having a major impact on my life. This post is dedicated to my Dad's parents Val and Paul Jackson. They are two of the most incredible individuals I have ever met and they inspire me so much. When my Mum was sick for a long time, it was Grandma and Grandpa who came over and became our parents for 6 months and ever since Mum's amputation they have appeared everything Thursday to help with the housework. I love seeing them regularly, I love that they are a part of my life. Whenever I am spending a significant amount of time in London I am always welcome to either stay at their house or pop in for a cup of tea and late night crumpet before going on my way.

My Grandma is the most gentle, selfless person I have ever met. She is always so willing to help, to clean, to iron, to cook. Last Summer when I was auditioning and later rehearsing with NYMT she would always make sure I had a proper breakfast and a lunch big enough to feed the 5000! Every Thursday I make her a cup of tea and we talk about my week and my future and I ask her about Sheen and her church. This weekend I watched as myGrandma practically ran the church service, she made the teas, she stewarded and she also helped in the creche. When we were living in Germany Grandma would send us video tapes with Blue Peter and the Tweenies on them because we all complained so much about having to watch German TV. She's also still keeping up with her German and does the crossword everyday! Last night when I got in from the theatre she had collected all the Saturday newspaper magazines because she knows how much I love reading them. When Annie died my grandma sat at the kitchen table and cried with me. She is more than a relative, she is my friend.

Grandpa is a fascinating person. He has travelled all over the world and knows London like the back of his hand. He's taken me to so many auditions and during the NYMT days we had our little routine of walking to Barnes station hopping on the train to Victoria and having a quick coffee in Starbucks before walking up to Westminster under-school. We would often walk back to Waterloo instead of getting the tube and on the way he wouldtell me story after story about London, about his travels, about people he's met and I love it! He inspired my love for Classic FM and we both went to Proms in the Park to see Katherine Jenkins and eat an M&S picnic just to enjoy being outside and listening to beautiful music. He's also a closet actor and can still recite his lines from a production of Macbeth he was in aged 14! Again, he is always willing to help. He is unbelievably kind and ridiculously generous - there are so many things and opportunities that would have passed me by if he hadn't stepped in.

This weekend I stayed with them overnight because, once again, I was up in London being a wannabe thespian and it just made me realise what a privilege it is to know my grandparents so well. They are so excited about me going to uni and today they took me out for lunch just to mark the occasion. I love them with all my heart and it's an honour to be their granddaughter.

My seafood risotto this afternoon included this little fella :-)


On Saturday night I stumbled through the door at about 11:30. Not exactly hardcore, especially when my next move was to trip over my new second-hand Henry VIII 750 piece jigsaw, consequently scattering tiny pieces of puzzle all over my room. Yeah, I'm cool. I'd spent the whole day being flanked by anger and sadness, those little grieving companions that come now and again to punch you in the face and remind you that everything is not alright and that deep inside this body of mine there's a tiny borrower-sized Ellie hugging her knees and rocking to the rhythm of her tears. When in this melancholy state of mind, I often find it hard to be around people because my emotions are so unpredictable and I would hate to say something I'd regret later. However, a group of us from church had planned to go to the beach as a 'lantern-launching-goodbye-uni-people' sort of thing, furthermore I hada whole day of respite to endure and so, lucky me, I had no choice but to be smothered in company for a good 12 hours solid.

We didn't go to the beach, but that didn't really matter. Respite wasn't so awful and when it was over my lovely friends Zak and Stu provided me with an hour or so of Glee, Tea and interesting conversation. Then the beach goers all gathered in Laura's living-room to eat pizza, mock the X-Factor contestants, laugh at recently uploaded facebook videos and photos and just enjoy each other's company. The evening's entertainment continued at the pub where we played musical chairs, without the music or in fact anyone noticing that the game was being played, and one boy decided to pocket a tankard found on the grass. Great Hollands wreck saw the boys pretend to be Jason from Twilight and certain reenactments from Lord of the Rings, we swung on the swings, got dizzy on the roundabouts (and various variations of roundabouts), the stars smiled on us as we sung 'Be Glorified' at the top of our EVER so tuneful voices and then we all returned to Laura's to be packed into matchbox cars and waved goodbye. A very ordinary yet very extraordinary evening. It was only when I got home, after I'd picked my way through the obstacles which lay between my bed and my door and reached the comfort of my duvet that I realised how incredibly privileged I was to have had every moment of that day. This is my community, my family. The events of the Summer have secured a divine, eternal bond between us all, no matter where our lives take us, we will still be able to share and understand the emotions that have consumed us over the past few months. As we EAT, as we LOVE and as we PRAY I understand the significance of a church community and I am eternally grateful and proud to have been, even a tiny, part of Kerith Community Church.

EAT/PRAY/LOVE: Moments to Share

This week has been so much fun. I have been spending my days being a general helping-hand around the South Hill Park education office, sitting in on meetings about Edinburgh and The Caucasian Chalk Circle, updating data bases, writing parts of education booklets, having lots of lovely chats with the other people in the office and singing-along to Jo's wonderful musical theatre playlist. Every evening after work, I go for a walk in the grounds to soak up the September sunshine. I see couples learning to waltz, Mum's feeding the ducks with their children, I run through the woods and cry when I reach the top of the hill because everything in that moment is so beautiful. I sit on the bench and watch the ducks perform their little synchronised swimming routine to Tschaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, then I skip along the bridge and lean back on the swings in the park till my eyes can see nothing but sky. My soul is still healing from summer's sadness but by appreciating the beauty that's around me I feel alive again.

I also had one of those awesome people moments today. You know when you talk to someone for less than five minutes and you can tell that if it wasn't such an impossibility that you would see each other again you would be bosom friends, kindred spirits like Anne and Diana in Anne of Green Gables. Well today I met Kerry, short, sweet, funny and incredibly fiesty Kerry. She used to work at the park but is now a full-time illustrator - how awesome!? Anyhoo, one of the ladies in the office had an allergic reaction so I was sent to by some Clarytin and Kerry offered to drive me to Sainsburys in her very awesome, very tiny smart car. As we were walking downstairs she asked me what I was doing with my life and I unlocked the little life-plan monologue in my mind and rattled on about uni and languages. The first thing that made me realise the awesomeness of Kerry was the fact that she loved Bristol and said that she was incredibly jealous of me because I would no doubt return all cultured what with studying Italian and living in such an awesome city. Our conversation continued as follows:

K: That's so cool! So have you studied German and Italian before?
E: I've studied German but I'm starting Italian from scratch. I was going to do russian, because Russia is awesome!
K: Oooo and you'd get to wear those awesome furry hats
E: Yeah and become a spy
K: Well of course!
E: Then I guess I decided that I'd rather spend six months of my life warm and caffeinated than cold and inebriated.
K: True, cos the only drink available in Russia is vodka.
E: exactly
K: I mean, I hear they even bathe and brush their teeth with it. Did you know that vodka is made from potatoes?
E: No way! I should totally try it out
K: Excellent idea. Grow yourself some potatoes and make vodka
E: My Dad once had a ginger-beer plant but I don't think you'd get much street cred for that.
K: Are the rest of your family into languages?
E: My brother wants to learn arabic. He's also incredibly sneeky so we're pretty sure he'll end up working for the secret service.
K:You're always going to be suspicous of him then?
E: Oh defo. I'll be like 'I know who you REALLY work for
K: And he'll say 'Natwest'
E: Whatever. That's not your REAL wife is it? You don't fooooool me brother!
K: No seriously I work at Natwest
E: Yeah in Vietnam
K: No, in Reading
*car arrives at Sainsburys*
E: Well thank you for the lift
K: No worries. Have a nice life. Shame I probably won't see you again, cos we'd totally get on like a house on fire
*giggles and waves*

I may never see Kerry again but that random conversation on the way to Sainsburys will stay with me forever. It was one of those 'aren't people awesome!?' moments. It's these things that make me smile like a loon.

Eat/Love/Pray: Jesus and Christians

I love Jesus. I love him because he knew how to love, I love him because he hung out with ordinary people rather than the religious crew, I love him because he had an awesome connection with his father, I love him because I believe he gave his life for me and I love him because he isn't a phonie.

But sometimes I really dislike christians...

Now you might be thinking, hold up a sec Ellie, you're a christian, what gives you the right to 'diss your own peeps? So, before I go any further I must state that I know plenty of awesome christians and many of them are like family to me. However, I can understand why people are so disillusioned with us. For example, this week, a church in America decided to have a 'Burn the Quran' Day - how does this show love for our neighbor? Not only is it incredibly disrespectful but it is also unkind and, in my opinion, ungodly. I know christians who help out at soup kitchens but won't invite a homeless person round for dinner, I know christians who oppose a National Health Service that will provide free health care to some of the poorest families in the United States, simply because it will allow abortions and treat homosexuals. There are christians who still get hot under the collar about mixed-raced marriages.

And it's not just in America, I see a lack of love in my own home church. Many people will give generously to outreaches in Africa but insult and judge the poor on their doorstep, I see us smother vulnerable non-christians with jargon and resources, essentially bible-bashing them into the kingdom without attempting to befriend them. I see us preach love from the platform but send bitchy texts late on a Sunday evening, I see teenagers being dissuaded from attending university and certain sixth-form colleges because they will be mixing with people who drink and sleep around without thinking that it's in those situations that Jesus, the man we all want to be like, thrived. I see people becoming so consumed with church life that they have become irrelevant in the real world. I know people who no longer socialise with people who aren't christians and prefer to dwell in the safe christian bubble rather than face the challenges of our secular society.

Before you go away thinking that my experience of church and christians conforms to the typical stereotype, I must insist that many of us are aware of these issues and are doing what we can to change them. My friend Liam recently talked about loving people rather than consistently trying to convert them. He really spoke what was on my heart. I know there are times when I mess up too but I'm confident that God is gracious and that my heart is generally pointed in the right direction. I'm pretty sure that most of my non-church friends will tell you that I have never forced my faith onto any of them and I hope they would say that I have loved them with every fibre in my being, not because I was told to, but because I wanted to. In that way, I believe I can be Jesus to them. I often say that I have a faith rather than I'm religious because I can't stand religiosity. I am more concerned about a person's soul than their sexual orientation, I would rather a person got drunk every saturday but was deeply passionate about loving Jesus than them be teetotal and completely heartless.

I am proud of my relationship with Jesus but I am not always proud to be a christian. But I guess at the end of the day, christians are, like everyone else, human. They make mistakes, I make mistakes, we all make mistakes; everyone strays from their moral compasses from time to time and, as you can see from this post, I tend to judge christians more than I judge any other group of people. That in itself isn't a particularly positive character trait of mine. In some ways I'm rather like the protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye: I'll put up with any sort of crap as long as it's genuine, but I really don't want to associate myself with phonies.

EAT/PRAY/LOVE: Comfort Eating vs. Comfort Praying

Last night as a I tucked into my second helping of gluten-free crumble I realised that comfort eating is a myth. Food cannot comfort it can only sustain and provide energy. So why do I eat when I'm feeling melancholy, stressed or have PMS? It only makes me feel guilty and fat. As I was eating and despairing at my lack of self-control I felt God whisper to me that he was the source of all comfort and that I shouldn't try and replace his divine solace with earthly cravings. I then started to think about my little motto 'A cup of tea solves anything' and it occured to me that it's not the scrummy taste of tea that makes me feel better, it's the process that goes into making and enjoying a cup of tea. I allow myself sometime to stop, sit and either talk someone through my thought process or to sit in silence and give my busy mind a break. So, in light of this revelation, I have decided to go on a fast from all comfort foods etc. consequently whenever I feel low or depressed and think that I'm in desperate need of chocolate, I'm going to get down on my knees and pray. I'm pretty confident that God will restore me in a way no amount of Ben and Jerry's ice-cream will.


I'm reading this book by Elizabeth Gilbert called EAT PRAY LOVE and it's inspired me to theme all of my September posts around these three concepts. Enjoy, comment and buy a copy of her book because it's awesome.

A New Season

I woke up this morning to a cool breeze blowing through my window, you know that late summer, early autumn chill that tells you to get ready for school, make a packed-lunch and prepare your head for a new academic term. Except my term doesn’t start for another month, I have no train to catch, no uniform to buy and no books to rummage under my bed for. Instead of filling me with dread and sadness because it’s the end of the summer holidays this breeze gave me real hope and the energy to get of bed. For the past few weeks I have woken up to that awful, heavy feeling that life is hard; there has been a deep sadness that has permeated my heart everyday at the sound of my alarm and has refused to shift.

I'm going through what I expect every prospective undergraduate is experiencing: the fear and excitement of the unknown v. the comfort and frustration of home. My life is currently one big juxtaposition. I recognise that I am not the only one person trying to decipher this confusion, but my foundations are fragile and consequently, what might have been a merely difficult, uncomfortable process is occasionally harrowing. I'm going through an identity crisis in the midst of massive change and unbelievable grief. My emotions are more of a tea-cup ride than a rollercoaster, they just go round and round, making knots of air till I feel queasy and end up vomiting ugly, exhausted bile everywhere.

But this morning I felt the atmosphere begin to shift, a lightness began to settle in my thoughts and emotions. I'm excited about the future! I cannot wait for this new season of my life. Plus, I love Autumn, it's my favourite season by far. It's so poignant because it's beauty is so fleeting and slightly foreboding because no one likes naked trees and longer nights and I love poignancy because it's so evenly balanced. Feeling happy and sad at the same time is such a profound experience. Did you know that I have been alive for 6864 days today? How precious and wonderful life is :-) I also got my accommodation through and I'm going to be raving it up in pretty Clifton. So if you're ever Bristol way be sure to stop by Manor Hall for acup of tea! Isn't a grand building? I love it already. Ahhh positivity is pumping through me - I cannot tell you how much I've missed feeling happy. YAY.

The beautiful Manor Hall :-)

Honour Spotlight: Ed Garton

This honour post is bittersweet. Last week another cherished member of our church community died and it is this man's life and attitude that I want to honour. Ed Garton has been described as a 'rough diamond' he wasn't posh or well-spoken, he came from a tough background, he always wore his heart on his sleeve and was without a doubt one of the most geniune people I have ever met. He loved Jesus with such an excited passion, I'll never forget the way he would pray so openly in church meetings, how he used to call God 'Daddy', how he would greet me with ''Ello sweetness' everytime he ordered a coffee at the coffee bar, his dedication and commitment to the church drama ministry, I remember once he phoned me up and talked me through his thought process and character development of the Roman Centurion he was playing in our recent production of The Vigil - he took every opportunity to perform very seriously! Ed was always willing to serve, I remember him directing cars in and out of the Kerith Centre dressed in one of the big highlighter jackets with a pen in his mouth because he was trying to give up smoking and who could forget the warmth of his smile when he served on the welcome team?! What I loved most about Ed is that despite his difficult circumstances, even though to the rest of the world his life would seem an unhappy one, he radiated joy. He believed wholeheartedly that Jesus had saved him and therefore he was more than willing to dedicate his life to following him. His attitude to church and life as a christian was beyond inspiring. I can just imagine the look on his face when he realises that he's arrived in heaven and I can't help but smile.