Monday, 28 May 2012

Praising God

Sometimes bad things happen. We can’t see them coming, we don’t know why, we can’t explain them and we can’t predict what effect they will have on our lives. But we can trust that good things will come from them no matter how serious things may seem. 
Paul writes to the Church in Rome (Romans 8:28); “For we know that in all things, Christ works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV) And this is what I believe, that despite the bad of life, good will come. The Message version says: “That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”
On Bank Holiday Monday I had a car accident which came totally out of the blue for no apparent reason. I can’t explain what happened or why it happened to me or why it left me with the scars it has done. But some very wise and lovely people have reminded me continually of this verse and that God will work good through each aspect of my circumstances. I don’t know what’s coming next or how long it may take me to recover fully but I know that I can praise God despite uncertainty. 
If you’re struggling with difficult circumstances or something bad has happened to you, remember that if you love Jesus he will bring good through it and from it. We are called to his plan and purpose and this is just one more step on the way.
Keep smiling, forget your worries and enjoy the sun!!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Baptism, buttercups and buddies...

Our very own Sarah had her baptism last weekend! It was such a beautiful service and I felt so proud of her as she reaffirmed her faith. The love she has for Jesus just couldn't be contained within her, it shines off her all the time. She invited us over to her house afterwards for a lovely lunch and we took a walk through some buttercup covered fields.

This was an incredible weekend, and I wanted to take some shots to document it...enjoy!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Why worry?

Someone very wise taught us this song...

It's simple, catchy and so, so, so true. Thank you Kate. I know it'll be going around and round our heads this next year.

Gina x

Monday, 14 May 2012

Ten Steps to Perfect Dafs!

Hello blogging family!
How is everyone? This is a blog that I have been excited to do for a while now, and which the photos for it got buried for a month or two under layers of work, busy-ness, last-term-savouring school life and general forgetfulness. Anyhow, daffodils are still as beautiful in May as they were in March, and I would like to share this blissful memory of our beautifully sunny English Spring...


Find a BEAUTIFUL friend
Choose your vase that desperately needs replacing and transforming...
Find a garden where daffodils grow
Pick a range of varieties (don't forget to pick some leaves too!)
Lay the flowers out with your scissors and vase
(OPTIONAL): Find a nosey cat that doesn't want to be left out
Start placing the stems in the vase.
Make sure you include several different heights to make it interesting!
Keep going, choosing flowers of different ages as well, until...tah dah!

Repeat this process, making small changes according to the vase you use
(here, I filled out the vase more, so that the flowers wouldn't flop over)

Admire your new ornaments!

I hope you enjoyed a taste of Spring.
Sending much love,

Friday, 11 May 2012

A special bucket list...

We're about to leave Monkton. You may have guessed by a few of the highly emotional and nostalgic blog posts that we've been circulating recently. We're determined to make the most of our last few weeks at school, we love the place, we love each other. As a tribute and a last challenge we've decided to create a bucket list of things we must complete before we leave:
  1. Time capsual (leave it somewhere around a wall...)
  2. Leave messages in a library book 11th May 2012 - Kate, Milla, Abbie and I left some messages today...they were humerous and meaningful, filled with advice and challenges. It could be awkward if they were found before we left...haha.
  3. Make Mr Sertin blush  20th May 2012 - I'm going to cross this one off although he really just made himself blush through some blunder of this own...if you let him talk for long enough it's bound to happen really...I wonder why we didn't think of it before...
  4. Quote something in every lesson
  5. Have a picnic we had a picnic by the river after all our exams had finished, was great :)
  6. Play tennis on the grass courts  16th June 2012 - Our (Sarah, Milla and I) last match tennis match EVER got cancelled! :( So we decided to kill two birds with one stone (see below) and play tennis on the grass courts. It was a LOT of fun, Megan D joined us too!
  7. Watch a guys match (see above)
  8. Take lots of photos  17th May 2012We took tons at the a house BBQ and house dinner and just generally around school :)
  9. Play in an informal concert (this applies to Milla, Kate and I)
  10. Inscribe our names somewhere (it could be considered 'vandalism'...ssssh)- On the tree by eddy!!
  11. Watch the sunset/rise - On the last day of school EVER before we went to Cornwall!
  12. Battle of the bands (...gulp...) 1st June 2012 - WOO!! We did it!! So much fun, very scary, such a buzz, loved doing it together :)
  13. Talk to someone new 18th May 2012 - Sports dinner and an arranged seating plan saw this one completed...awkward small talk is always fun!
(I will be crossing off as we go) Blogging this list will make us all the most determined to complete it. Wish us luck! Any other suggestions? Pranks we could pull...? They would be much appreciated!

Gina x

Listening for His voice...

Lately I've been thinking about prayer. I feel like so often we except Him to listen to us when we pray. But when I remember His brilliant promises, His faithful and loving nature, the way He is, WHO He is, what He has done... it's hard not to wonder why we're so demanding.

I got thinking that perhaps it's a fault of human nature; in fact I know it is. We all like to talk about ourselves, even the great 'listeners' out their like to natter on about the dream they had last night or the day they just spent. Is this innate selfishness? Is it simply an easy source of conversation? Is it that we feel safe when talking about something familiar?

Whatever it is, and however much God loves to hear from us (which is a lot) we must remember that coming to God in prayer is not coming to God in complaint. Or in demand. Or out of the oh so desparate need for a 'quick-fix'. It's going with complete trust in who He is, listening for His voice, and thanking Him, praising Him, giving Him your worries in a humble, patient manner.

Well WOW that's easier said than done. But whilst writing this I was reminded of a little word-play my mum told me when I was a child, to help remember 'how to pray'- Jesus Others Yourself. Joy. Perhaps a little 'sunday school' I know. But, I feel, worth bearing in mind and in prayer.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

"These are a few of my favourite things..."

My Favourite Thing about... Summer:

KATE: Doing things outside in the sun. There's something about doing things outside that makes it somehow more fun, more worthwhile than doing things inside. You feel closer to nature and (this may sound cheesy but..) closer to God. Out in the sun, sprawled on the warm grass, the heat spreading accross your back. Or picture, playing guitar in the sun, on a beach, with a picnic lunch, with friends all around. Ah... what could be better. I find myself trying to find a way to do everything (within reason) outside, dragging my family outside to have lunch in the garden, drawing and doing little craft projects outside. This summer, I can't wait to draw up my summer reading list, dig out my shorts from the back of my wardrobe, play guitar until my fingers hurt and just enjoy the company of friends and family before embarking on my gap year.

GINA: Sunshine and colour. It may seem obvious (although a cynic might complain that there's not much of it in an English summer) but seriously though, the cold is the bane of my life. It makes you stressed, sad,'re in pain most of the time without even realising it! But warmth...ah! Probably a more accurate definition of what I love is sunshine. It lightens up the world, makes everything seem brighter and full of life, it relaxes me, puts a smile on my face for no reason, enables me to walk slower (something I just cannot do in the cold!) and take life at a more comfortable pace. And the colours that bloom in summer are so lovely and wonderful that they make the whole world look suddenly brighter! You almost forget they exist, but the turn of the season always brings with it the flood of color that is drowned by the greys and darkness of winter and overcast days. It's like the earth has suddenly been saturated or doused in a pot of paint. So there you go, my favourite thing(s) - I was cheeky there - about summer are 'sunshine' and 'colour'... what glorious inventions. Thank you God!

SARAH: The seemingly never-ending stretch of days, occupied with nothing more than what you want them to. I love being able to set myself art projects to do, under whatever topic I want, make something new, create a new habit, or get rid of an old one. Time seems to be somewhat longer during summer, perhaps due to the prolonged amount of sunlight crammed into one day. The earth wakes up at 5am and goes to sleep at ten thirty, yet it never gets tired and it fills me with more energy than any winter day can. The elongated holidays seem to ignite a new creativity in me, and fill my head with endless possiblities. Conjuring up new recipes with my sister, setting out picnics in the long grass by the stream, having a day where French is the only language allowed. I hope that these golden days will never cease - even when my summer holidays may not last so long. There is so much rest that comes from them, my heart is rejuvenated by it. It's an important aspect for me.

MILLA: The Sun. Again- fairly cliche? But surely it deserves recognition. The sun isn't just the warmth that hits us, it's light and it's life. It creates smiles where frowns were, it lifts spirits and it chases the winter out of our side of the world! Yes... I think the sunshine is why I love Summer so much. I love waking up, opening my eyes, bleary, but able to see the dust illuminated by the sunshine. I pull away the curtains and outside the green trees are shining like gold. Immediately, I feel ready for the long day ahead, be it filled with work, revision, or relaxation and recreation. Jesus said "I am the Light of the World", and when I'm lazing about in the grass with it warming my feet and shining on the top of my head, lifting different smells from the otherwise dormant earth- I realise why. It lights the way- Just as Jesus does. It gives life- Just as Jesus does. It creates joy- Just as Jesus does. It removes darkness- Just as Jesus does. Sun-Son- they even have the same name! I take inspiration and joy from the sunshine. God made the sun for us, and I love summer because it lets me enjoy it in all abundant glory.

MEGAN:  The flowers. I love how the earth comes alive for about 4 months each year. It's so wonderful to see the cold darkness of winter coming to life: blossoming. I love sitting with friends making daisy chains and acting like we have nothing better to be doing with our time. I love picking daffodils and putting them in a vase on our kitchen table. I love walking around the fields where I live and reading among the tall grass and wildflowers which are enveloping me. I love watching the blossom trees flourishing and picking cherries. Summer is the epitome of beauty, which is really just the face of God. 

ABBIE: family and friends. Love time where my brothers come back and it's just like old times, sure they pick on you with their endless 'banter' but despite our quibbles its great to have the house full again! Then there's the crazy summer trips with friends where you create memories that last a life time.

EVE: freedom. I ususally thrive on routine. Without a schedule I literally collapse! But for some reason, the freedom of endless rolling days in the summer doesn't freak me out. It just fills my mind with endless possibilities and allows my heart to relax. My emotions and my ideas are no longer confined to 9-5 walls, but rather, they're free to roam in fields and lie in flowers with good books and warm smiles. I feel the strength of God's presence in the freedom that he blesse me with in this time. I can spend days with him without the restraints of work and lessons. With no routine to be accountable to, I can dedicate my days to God's plan for the here and now. Bring on the holidays!

Monday, 7 May 2012


Don't you just LOVE that feeling of 'belonging' somewhere? It's like a delicious warmth that trickles down your spine and reverberates with comfort and joy. Here's a couple of earthly things that give me this feeling:
Jon Foreman's voice - I just love the depth of his voice, the twang of his accent and the rich throaty quality that plagues every one of his songs.
Morgan Freeman's voice - ah! When he speaks, I feel safe (sounds weird - but it's like a comfy blanket!)
Tea - oh yeah! The soft, sweet taste giving me a familiar buzz somewhere from deep within.
West Wing - give me some white house banter any day - I love the characters and the dynamics they have with one another - Aaron Sorkin's a genius - and Joshua Lynam is.... well.... (enough said)
Great books - I'm talking about the kind of books where your imagination takes over so much that you are no longer living your own life, you are in another world. I fall so deeply in love with characters, that they feel like my friends. And when I finish I feel terribly sad, lost and bereft.
Great music - in a word 'Switchfoot' - okay so I do love other music - but I have yet to find songs which resound within me so deeply. It seems that they take the stirrings and longings of my heart and fuse it with music that reflects the very essence of that emotion. Amazing.
My room - I love the feeling I have inside my room whilst I'm getting ready for bed, my lamp exudes a deliciously warm,  yellow light making soft shadows dance over my walls. Whilst the room radiates with memories - from the hand-made Switchfoot poster we brought to the concert, to the incredible bunting my friends made for me. It is here where I can snatch a few moments to reflect, to pray, to praise.
My friends and family - this is most noticeable when I've been missing them. There's a nagging hole which rips open when I have prolonged times away from my friends or family. Yet when I see them again their smiles give me such a resonation of joy and relief - like the feeling of gasping down air after spending too long underwater - reminding me of the amazing gifts from God that they are.
Laughter - It's such a beautiful thing, the way it escapes from the very core of your being, reflecting your intense hilarity at something. Whenever I laugh - and I mean properly LAUGH - I feel at home.

These are all amazing things - gifts from God - but I also want to reflect on feelings of 'belonging' that surpass all of them. Times where the soul and the spirit soar with the knowledge that we were created to glorify our God:
Worship - the surrendering of the soul. Times where I can praise him with songs - and simply stop caring about everything else except for shouting about my King. Where the Holy Spirit ignites the truth of the gospel within my soul and I can't help crying with the pure amazement of it.
Reflecting on the Word - whether its through teaching, doing a Bible Study with friends, or just my own private reflections. There are these incredibly times where I read a passage (maybe one I've read a thousand times before) and it makes something within me leaps with a resounding 'YES' and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, I break out in goosebumps. My whole body resounds with the realisation that I'm not just reading some words on a page, I'm reading the Word - God-breathed - utterly life-giving - TRUTH.
Prayer - Pouring out my heart to the father makes me realise how incredible God is - not only has he the power to answer my prayer, he has the tender love to listen to every utterance! There are times where I've seen prayer being answered right before my eyes, other times I can look back and see how he's answered my prayer in such breathtakingly beautiful ways! I also love times of listening, taking time out just to lie in the silence, and reflect purely on God and what he is doing in my life. I find that the more I search, the more I find, and my whole being becomes overwhelmed with His gracious love which floods every part of my life.

So, what am I trying to show through this blog? Well we have 'homes' on earth - safe havens, but they're often vulnerable and fleeting. There will be times we have to leave the nest, leave the bubble of our comfort zones.
However - we have a home which does not fade, a sense of 'belonging' that comes from being children of God. And the greatest thing about all of this - one day we will enter our true Home - and never have to leave. We will race through those pearly gates and look on in amazement at His face - shinning like the sun!

'This world is where I breathe let it never be called home' Jon Foreman
'In this life you're the one place I call home, In this life you're the feeling I belong' Switchfoot

Where are the places you feel you belong?
The smell of the lavender bush in my garden mingled with my mother's perfume.
The cool summer breeze, dancing on my skin.
Gentle hands working through my tangled hair.
Being carried by strong arms after falling asleep on a long journey. 
The sound of out of an out of tune violin played by an 8 year old.
The hours spent snuggled up to my sister watching old films.
Pillow fights that lasted until all that was left was feathers and depleted pillow cases. 
The sound of laughter ringing through the house, filling each crevice.
Squeals at 6AM, because it's Christmas day and it's allowed.
The fractured feel of branches and the instability of my balance as I climb trees and wonder how I will get down.
My Dad's smile travelling to his eyes and resting there for a while. 
Being tucked into bed every night, with a kiss and a whispered 'I love you.'

The days of making dens, running, falling, laughing, seeking. 
The days in which I met my saviour, grew to love him and to know him.

And now I am sitting, looking into his eyes as he takes my hand and leads me on.

Saturday, 5 May 2012


Surpressed laughter
humming in the air around us
we smile instead, and crouch down
careful not to let ourselves be seen
waiting, breath baited
someone slips
muffled laughter
a tell-tale footstep
intakes of breath...

Gina X

Never forget that

In a few weeks' time everything I know will simply be a memory. The place that I've called 'home' and  the people that I've called 'family' are going to violently ripped away from me. Put slightly less dramatically, School will be finishing... Forever. And ever. And. Ever. (I lied about the 'less dramatic' part!)

I don't know about you guys, but I love my school. I love the 'quintessential' grounds, the teachers who feel like friends, the atmosphere that just screams 'God is present', but most of all the people who I have gradually come to know as a part of me.

I can't walk around school without remembering a thousand different memories.

This is the library where we decided to smuggle in a picnic one day and where have got to a stage of having 'our' seats. This is the classroom that holds so many memories of GCSE English and too many laughs to count. These are the toilets where we locked all the doors and I fell in the toilet after breaking the lid that I was standing on. This is the dining room where we have sat for hours eating, laughing, praying, foot stomping, shouting, and frequently getting told off for doing so. This is the stage where I met a person I shouldn't have, as well as having an oodle of laughs with the 'Hot Box girls'. This is the art block where 'under pressure' was sung in the last 5 minutes of an exam, we have been a bit 'in the dark', we never get a computer, we didn't get a cookie, but we have done some pretty ridiculous stuff for our grades. This is the Hockey block where we were threatened with a 'sitting plan' every week and crawled on the floor doing gun drills (for CCF, I hasten to add!). This is the bridge we hid under during a 'latin treasure hunt'. These are our 'preferred' toilets which we daily frequent, even when half of us are actually only keeping the other half 'company', which sertinly amuses some people. This is the room where I'm never lonely, we stay up until the wee hours of the morning, we watch endless movies, we strum guitars, we write songs, we occasionally do some work, and we get to share each other's company. This is the house that always has an open door, always warms our hearts, lights our smiles, calms our troubled minds, provides props for our photography, quenches our thirst with endless cups of tea, and can be called none other than 'The Tea House'.

For anyone who thinks several of those memories were ridiculously weird, then you would be excused for thinking so, but I think we've all got to a stage now where we can embrace our insanity. It stems from being in the company of good friends, and my friends are simply wonderful.

As we come to the end of our time together, I want us to remember the laughs, but also the tears. We have all faced troubles in one way or another but with amazingly comforting friends and a glorious God, these times have shaped us to become the (Dare I say?) 'women' of God that we are today.

The constant in our relationships has always been God and although the rest of our lives look utterly terrifying, as long as we have Him, then we will always hold a tiny piece of each other.

Right now, I want to look at these few short weeks ahead and cherish the present. It truly is a gift.

Whatever the future brings I want you all to know that in this moment, I love you. Please never forget that.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline ~ 2 Timothy 1:7