Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Well, it's 16 days till my interview for the Manager's job at work, and I pleasantly discovered yesterday that I had two days off this week!! I completely forgot that I had planned in to the rota a lieu day that was I owed next to my day off. So, I have had today off, and tommorow. I've strategically planned that today and tommorrow, I shall be working on notes for myself for the upcoming interview, as the last interview I had, about two years ago, as part of the feedback I was told I gave a very good interview, but because I hadn't mentioned certain things they knew I'd achieved and had exoperience in, they didn't give me the job at the time.

Obviously I'm glad now that that didn't work out, but I want to make sure I don't do the same thing again, so am producing myself some notesto refer to during the interview. i think last time I forgot to say or bring up certain things because I was nervous, so I want to make sure I don't do that again.

I don't plan on reading from it, as that would give a very bad impression from an interviewers point of view, but I intend to use the notes as a kick start to my memory, and in case I lose my train of thought through nervousness. I'm actually looking forward to the interview, as strange as it sounds, because I'm preparing fully for it and I get to tell them what I've learned and about my vision for the future of the shop. It's not often you get the chance to give your vision on your place of work, and such a direct input on where you feel things are going, and so I think it's a good opportunity to shopw them that I think they've underestimated me so far.

I am rfeady for Management and have been for a while, but for some reason they've never seen that potential before, maybe because I hadn't learnt to express myself properly and my ideas.

yesterday I had an informal interview for a new part-time role within the company I'm also being considered for, and it went very very well. the person interviewing me asked me to explain the role that they were considering giving me to her, and in the end she took two pages of notes based on my knowledge of the subject, which I was very pleased about, not because I have an enormous ego, but because she obviously thought my ideas had merit, otherwise she wouldnt have written them down. It showed she was taking me seriously, and that gave me more confidence in putting my ideas forward.

In thinking of the title for this blog "preparation", I've been pondering whether or not God has been working all the things in my life out over the last couple of years to prepare me for this moment in my life. I know that sounds dramatic, and I don't mean it to, but I'm at the point currently were it feels that my life is about to undergo a massive change for the better in terms of personally and work-wise. I'm getting married in August, deep down something that I never thought would happen to me, and I've got the opportunity (if selected) to start a new job, encompassing also two new roles within the shop and within the company, both of which full utilise my gifts and my passions. It seems almost too perfect to be true, and I'm excited to wait and see what God is gonna do in the next few months, both with my life and with Megans.

It's exciting to look back and see all the times I've struggled about being alone, and about feeling powerless in my job, not utilising the gifts I believe I've been given, and then to have this opportunity in work come up with two roles and the chance to stretch myself and realise my potential, and to finally find someone I can be myself with, who accepts me as I am and loves me. It makes me wonder whether all the times I've struggled were to prepare me for this point?

I realise that sounds a bit dramatic, and you're thinking "come on, you haven't got the job yet, and it's only getting married!", but both of these things are going to be life-changing for me, in the sense that they're opportunites for me to grow and develop as a person, and in my relationship with God. I'm amazed God's even given me the opportunity to apply for these roles, even if I don't get them! (obviously I do want them though!)

It's almost as if, for a long time I've believed that my life was just stagnant, not going anywhere, I was doing the same job I always had, feeling the same lonliness and lack of purpose, etc. It feels as if God has turned me round, patted me on the shoulder, pointed to a seemingly beautiful but far-away horizon, and said "...go on, go for it! I know you can!..."

Please pray for me at the moment those of you that do, I feel that I'm on the verge of becoming a different person, and it's an exciting, fretful, worrying, brilliant time!! :D

Thursday, November 22, 2007


So it's Thanksgiving, a day that i don't normally celebrate, but I find myself sitting here pondering lot's of things to be thankful for this year, and one of them is that from this year on, I will be celebrating it because of one of those things!! (if you understood that last sentence, email me and I'll send you a smartie!)

Before I give you my list of things to be thankful for, go here, for some thanksgiving fun!! Click on the acorns, it's hillarious!! :D

This year, i am thankful for:

  1. Megan - who's stolen my heart and who I've found my soul-mate in, a love I've found that will be truly life-changing
  2. A new future filled with possibilities
  3. A God who has done amazing things for me, and created circumstances that have given me endless joy
  4. A new depth of understanding about God and what He's like and lots of other things that I've reached through various writers
  5. A new appreciation that God is good and for me
  6. My health - no major incidents or setbacks
  7. My friends - people who have stood by me, and got excited with me this year as good things started to happen
  8. My Church - for leaders who have vision and are taking us all forward to know more and more of Jesus and how we can impact the world on His behalf
  9. For the beauty I find all around me, in relationships, in nature, and in God
  10. For knowing that however my life changes this next year, I will always be secure in Jesus and His love for me
  11. For custard cream biscuits
  12. For sheets of rain
  13. For the smile of a loved one
  14. For knowing I'm growing as a person, and am not the same person I was last year
  15. For infused tea
  16. For filter coffee on cold nights
  17. For touch and the warmth of a hug
  18. For seeing opportunity for love
  19. For purpose and direction
  20. For Love, divine and human

that's my list, what's yours?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Yes readers, you'll be forgiven for thinking "isn't that obvious?!", but I'm afraid I have no more entertaining ideas for Blog titles at the moment, and that's the best i can do! Incidentally, I have had some deep profound thoughts today, but mostly inspired by this person.

I've been reading the first book he ever wrote, now called "Through Painted Deserts", a winding, conversational part biography, telling of the time he went on a road trip from Austin Texas to Portland Oregon with a friend in a rickety old Volkswagen van.

He's more famous (he would laugh at the use of that word I guess!) for his second book, Blue Like Jazz, which again slightly biographical, tells of his faith journey from his young teens to late twenties, and how his views and experience of God have evolved and broadened and become less and less religious, and more and more personal. The sub-title to the book is "non-religious thoughts on Christianity" and it is very apt, as the topics and discussions he recalls are anything but religious, bordering on the insanely funny and sarcastic and silly at times, and yet always deeply profound.

Anyway, here is what got me thinking today. Don and his friend Paul (who is far more laid back than him) have finally reached the Grand Canyon during part of their road trip, and decide to hike down to the bottom to camp overnight. The evening before they are due to leave, he ponders his life, sitting on a bench, and writes:

"...I was raised to believe that the wuality of a man's life would greatly increase, not with the gain of status or sucess, not by his heart's knowing romance, or by prosperity in industry or academia, but by his nearness to God. It confuses me that Christian living is not simpler. The gospel, the very good news, is simple, but this is the gate, the trailhead. Ironing out faithless creases is toilsome labour. God bestows three blessings on man: to feed him like birds, dress him like flowers, and befriend him as a confidant. Too many take the first two and neglect the last. Sooner or later you figure out life is constructed specifically and brilliantly to squeeze a man into association with the Owner of heaven..."

He writes again:

"...Life is a dance toward God, I begin to think. And the dance is not so grateful as we might want. While we glide and swing our practiced sway, God crowds our feet, bumps our toes, and scuffs our shoes. So we learn to dance with the One who made us. And it is a difficult dance to learn, because it's steps are foreign..."

Reading this really made me think today about my life and the way God has been working in it, and the idea that God delibertaely puts things "in our way", so to speak really grated on me at first. Then, I thought again about the times that I've known God the closest, and they've been the times that I've had to work out where he's going, because I hadn't a clue, I couldn't work it out myself, and I just had to follow.

So much of what Jesus said about the way we should live our daily lives, putting everything in his hands and just trusting Him to work it all out, is so foreign to me. I like to be forewarned, foreplanned and in control. I like to know what's going to happen before it does, and surprises generally aren't a good thing, no matter how well motivated. I need to learn to just sit back, and trust, and stop stressing and plotting and toiling, and just rest in God's plans for me. He will work His will for my life out, as I live it, and it's in the living of it that He will reveal Himself to me.

Just a thought that occured to me today, go and read his books, they're really good for making you ponder and think, and just slow down mentally and take things in, drink Truth up like it was a cool lemonade on a hot day, no fuss no hurry, just enjoying the moment. That's what I need to be doing every day when I spend time meditating on God and His Word, just try to dwell in each moment and stop striving to be something, when God wants me to be a someone.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ok I'll admit it... I'm rubbish!!

Ok, so I haven't blogged for a while, and even when I have they've been sporadic.

I have lots of thoughts about many things tumbling through my head, and lately it's been difficult to just pin one down to write about, so tell you what...

I'll tell you what I've been thinking about today!!

(Read at your own risk: the owner of these thoughts does not take liability for any mental illness that may result.)

JM's Thought List For 19/11/07:

  1. Bother!! I've run out of shaving gel! (7:03am)
  2. Where are my socks? (7:35am)
  3. Have I got time for a cup of tea?! (8:10am)
  4. Bother! I'm late for work!!! (8:15am)
  5. Should I be worried that I'm thinking about money all the time now?
  6. Does God know how stressed I am?
  7. Will I cry at my wedding?
  8. Does God know what it feels like to be lazy?
  9. Is fire in the context of talking about Hell, more of a picture of refining, or is it a picture of punishment?
  10. Will God enjoy torturing people? If so, do I want to worship a God like that?
  11. Am I being blasphemous thinking this?
  12. Am I going mad?
  13. Is God laughing at me with all these questions, or am I making Him mad?
  14. Will I ever stop this incessant talking to myself in my head, or will I drive myself terminally insane and just murder someone with a large rubber axe someday?
  15. Why does my sister have (sometimes) bad taste in music?
  16. Why does my Boss get all het up about stuff that really isn't important?
  17. What does it feel like to have no hope?
  18. Can I get away with eating four twixes without anybody noticing they're gone from the biscuit tin?
  19. Will my bladder ever work properly?
  20. Howq come I prefer tea over coffee now? Is it just because of megan's influence, or is it my mothers?
  21. How can I lose more weight?
  22. Could I ever take the plunge and move to the states?
  23. What will my wedding be like?
  24. Will the weather be good?
  25. Will I be boiling hot in a suit?
  26. Can we get it all organised and ready before Aug 16th?
  27. Will I get this job?
  28. Am I insecure?
  29. When will I have kids of my own?
  30. Is my life ordinary?

These are some of the crazy random thoughts I had today...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Deck The Halls...?! - More Like Deck The Customers!!!


The weather is getting colder, the nights are drawing in, old ladies are hardly seen after 5 pm out on the streets, and a horrible dehumanising illness has gripped the general public, turning every man, woman, and child into a zombified, grasping, egotistical version of themselves...

That's right, it's nearly Christmas.

Speaking as a person who works in retail, I utterly utterly detest this time of year. It marks the greatest event this world has ever seen, the height and culmination of all of human history and longing, and it brings out the worst in us; the worst kind of selfishness and greed. I just don't get it. How can something so good be turned into something so bad?!

Before some of you say "ah he's talking about the blind unbelievers", actually I'm not.

The longer I work in a Christian Bookshop, the more I have to rely on God's strength and goodness to help me escape cynicism. Every year I see people who claim they follow God, and who I'm sure earlier in the week have been praising God, and yet using that same breath, use it to moan because somethings not exactly the way they want it to be, or the wrong colour, or not enough choice. In the same minute that a child is orphaned by Aids, or a single mother struggles to find food to feed her children, or a Pastor prays to God for the money to come from somewhere, anywhere so his village can have clean water for once; in that same moment, these people moan, and consume, consume, endlessly consuming.

Yeh I know I'm part of the problem, because I create the market and the demand for some of this stuff, part of which is, if I'm brutally honest, just kitsch disguised as Christian product.

And yet...

What i think of kitsch can be used to encourage someone, I know that, I've seen it happen. But something satill niggles at the back of my mind amidst all our back-slapping and egotistical self-encouragement. Are we missing something? Are we so comfortable with our lives that we've forgotten what it is to suffer? Are we so wrapped up in having "stuff" that we've forgotten who gave it us in the first place, and where it came from?!

The good news of the coming of Jesus I celebrate, I dance with joy at in my heart. My eyes well up when I realise that the Kingdom is now finally here, on earth, in Him. This festival of consumerism, this excuse to forget others, this small reason for hedonism doesn't match what i read in the Bible. This "christmas" I don't recognize at all anymore.

I know, I know I'm being harsh. But am I?

What does it mean for me, here and now in November 2007 that Jesus came? Does it change me, invigorate me, cause me to feel others pain, long to meet their needs, long to show them a God who loves them who lives in my flesh and bones?

I don't know, I just don't know.