Saturday, September 19, 2009

New Blog!

I have a new Blog.

It's for a new journey I've not long started.

You can find it here.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Day 3 - Selfishness

Today's passage talked about how the opposite of love is selfishness. It talked about the type of person who is always consumed with themselves, their own thoughts and opinions and basically their own little world. 

Today's theme was all about thinking of your spouse ahead of yourself, putting her needs above yours and living in a way that says meeting her needs is more important than your own.

Today talked about being satisfied by meeting her needs rather than your own, and finding your fulfillment in that, rather than living in a way where your own needs must constantly be met. 

A few questions were posed to ask today, which I found helpful and very challenging:

  • Do I truly want what's best for my spouse?
  • Do I want them to feel loved by me?
  • Do they believe I have their best interests in mind?
  • Do they see me as looking out for myself first?
I found these very challenging, as they are not only checking my motives towards my wife, but also examining how I actually feel about my motives, i.e. the reason behind them.

Very often I can do things because I know Meg will like them, but if I really am honest about it, because I have an ulterior motive, or so that I can use it later as a negotiating point; i.e. "I did so-and-so for you last week, why can't you do this?..." 

That is not service based on love and unselfishness, that is called manipulation and inducing guilt.

So often I do things because I feel I should, but not because I want to. A heart of love should compel me to do these things, not a devotion to duty, like a worn-out soldier following orders. Does my wife really believe that I want the best for her? She'll only decide that based on how I've treated her and acted around her up until this point in our marriage, if I haven't given her reason to trust me and trust that my decisions are based on love for her, then she won't be convinced of my love for her...

She needs to see that I have her best interests at heart, that I put her first in everything I do.

My Dare? To buy her something that says to her "I was thinking of you today"...

I bought her some flower pots and seedlings, one for the kitchen, lounge and bedroom, as I know living now in a city, she misses the natural beauty she was so used to seeing every day. In fact, I got her to choose the flowers she wanted to plant.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Day Out!! :-D

We're off to Tatton Park this morning as I have a Saturday off!! Check out here. This will tell you all you need to know. It's about an hour on the train roughly, and then a two mile walk. It'll be a nice day.

Hopefully, the weather should stay good, it's sunny at the moment, but rain is forecast later, so we'll see! I'm gonna bring the brollies just in case!

I'm making some Brioche bread in the breadmaker, and have added some raisins, let's hope it turns out! We've got a party at Graeme & Kathryn's house this evening, and I said I'd bring some Brioche, but forgot to buy chocolate chips to put in it, so raisins will do! 

For those of you who don't know, Brioche is the slightly sweet bread that is made with milk and easy to tear and share... It is niiiiiiiice!!

Anyway, I've done the dishes from last night, (we had friends round for a meal) and I've started the Breadmaker off, so I think I'll go get a shower and get ready to go out. Meg's ready, and has gone to get some nail polish remover while I get myself ready.

See you later, we're taking a camera, so hopefully we should be able to post lot's of good photos of lovely plants and flowers on Facebook later! :-D 

Day 2 - Kindness

This just gets harder!!

How kind am I as a husband?

Do I really show genuine kindness to my wife?

I mean... GENUINE kindness?!

The kind of kindness that shows careful thought and planning, yet no bragging? The kind of kindness that just is, that expects nothing back?

Do I ever do things for my wife because I know she'll like them, or do I always have an ulterior motive? Is it for my best or hers? 

All questions I've been forced to ask today as I've looked at the subject of kindness and how it plays a huge part in marriage. The kind of attitude where nothing is too much effort, nothing is not worth doing to bring that smile to her face. 

It's an attitude that I have occasionally, but not often. Mostly I'm very selfish and my first thought of every day is not "how can I make her happy?". I'll admit, it feels almost impossible to live like that, but surely God is in all this too? How can I say I follow Him if I'm not showing kindness to my wife? 

Do I look for ways to ease her burden, whatever that burden might be? It could be something as complex as helping her work out a math or work related problem, it could be something as simple as making the supper/a cup of tea for her when she looks tired. It could be taking her out for a meal when she looks a little down. It could be going out and getting her meds when she's feeling unwell, it could even be just being willing to sit there and offer a hug, or a kiss, or lifting the hair out of her eyes and telling her that I love her. All ways of being kind to my wife.

If I'm being patient, kindness will follow. It's the next stage of treating my wife with respect. If I'm patient, I'm putting time in my schedule and my day to be kind to her. 

Again, although it seems complicated, it really isn't. It's all about small actions and responses that say "I love you, and you're worth spending this time with in this moment, despite what I have to do today".

It's about showing her how much I love her through small things, something I'm not good at and need to be. How is she gonna know that I love her if I'm at work and can't ring? I could leave mementos, things that express how I feel, little notes, scribblings, things that show her that even though we're apart, I'm thinking of her. 

I could send her more texts during my day.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Love Dare - Day 1


Something that you wouldn't think a 40 day journey on improving your marriage would start with, but it does.

Even though I'd read the novel and seen the film, and was therefore familiar with how the central character started his 40 day journey, I was surprised to find it starting this way.

At first I thought I would be great at this, after all (without wanting to sound like I'm blowing my own trumpet) I have the reputation of being patient! Patient with strangers in the shop, who usually have issues and hurts and problems and just want someone to talk to, being the type of person who can stand there and listen to people and talk with them for hours... All that is actually true about me, and yet...

Those I love (particularly my wife) often get the short end of the stick when it comes to my patience. It's not a case of waiting for things, it's actually a case of waiting for her. Something as small and as simple as waiting to let her finish the train of thought she was on, letting her fully express what she wants to say about how she feels about something, whether good or bad, not telling her off like a child when she makes a mistake or does something I don't like...

All these and more are ways in which I show a huge lack of patience with her, and all ways in which I fail her every day as a good husband. I'm so quick to jump in, to comment, to volunteer an opinion, to tell her how I think it should be done. I don't wait for her to finish anything. When I read the passage before the particular dare for today, it talked about the kind of person who's impatient, not just in their opinions but also in their actions, and how they can be a nightmare to live with. 

That person has been me, and I felt such a sense of shame in how I'd treated my wife, almost as if she was a silly schoolgirl, as if my opinion mattered more. Ok, not in obvious nasty ways, but in ways that were much more devious and subtle, ways that actually long-term could undermine her and not build her up as a person, make her think that she has to respond to what I think all the time.

I really am so impatient as a person. I shout at the computer when it goes slow and doesn't do what I want, I can sometimes belittle what she thinks and feels by just not being present to hear what she has to say because I'm somewhere else working out an answer and a response in my head before she's finished speaking!! 

It's opened my eyes today to just stop and look at how many times a day I give off impatient vibes:

When she spills a drink by accident, instead of tutting and moaning, to laugh it off;

When we're discussing something and I know she's going to disagree with me, give her time to finish and honestly listen to what she has to say BEFORE responding why I'm the one who's right;

By listening before giving advice;

By giving her time to repeat herself when I didn't hear what she said, instead of irritatingly saying "WHAT?" 

Loads of things I've learnt today, just by trying to keep my mouth shut and not be the first response. 

And the dare?

It was to NOT say anything negative about or to your spouse today, and if you can't say anything positive, to keep your mouth shut. 

I didn't keep my mouth shut in either case unfortunately. I had to rush out in the rain because I knew I'd blown the dare already, and buy her a Chai Latte as a form of apology, because I know she likes those, and a promise that I'd try harder.

Lot's of things I've learnt today about patience, and being patient with my wife.

Roll on Day 2!

The "Love Dare"

Ok, I know it's been a while since I've posted, and those 2 or 3 of you who still read my blog will be frustrated that I can't give you anything on my "Big News" comment since I last posted...


I'm now starting a 40 day journey called "The Love Dare" , based on a book of the same name, featured in a recent film called Fireproof, starring Kirk Cameron.

Meg and I got the novel for Christmas, and read it together in january, and it made such an impact on us that we decide to watch the film, and then start the "Love Dare". (there... enogh links for you?!!)

Anyway, we wanted to start it together, but I have only just started it, due to my inherent laziness, and am a day behind my lovely wife. This'll probably work better, as we'll be looking at different subjects on different days.

I've been married now for, let's see...

6 months and 17 days, and you would think that I'd be pretty happy about my marriage, considering that we're technically still in the "honeymoon stage", but reading the novel and watching the film made me realise that I've alot to learn about being the best husband I can be for Meg. I have to shamefully admit that I cried through various parts of the film when I watched it, only because the central character (Caleb) reminded me of me so much. Not so much that our marriage is on the rocks or anything, but the fact that I get impatient and lose my temper over so many uneccesary and silly things, and it's Meg who bears the brunt.

I started today, and I'm gonna commit to posting at the end of each day, how it's gone, what I've learnt and what I need to improve on. It'll be personal to me, but I'm obviously n0t mentioning personal stuff about Meg. This is my space and it'll be about me.

So, here we go.

Forty days to study how I can be a better husband and hopefully a better follower of Jesus.

I'll post later tonight on Day One!

Tarrah for now!

Friday, February 06, 2009


I'd just like to say before my wife reads your comments and has a heart attack, NO!


It's something else, though I should have guessed that's what people would think!

*laffs at his own naiveity*

Thursday, February 05, 2009

BIGGGGG Changes!!!

Most people choose a New Year to make changes in their lives and I'm no different...

However this change is SO BIG I can't talk about it yet because it hasn't happenned yet...!!


I hope so!


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Why I'd Like To Apologise For Being British...

Meg and I went to church tonight to hear a visiting preacher I've never particularly got on with. I was looking forward to an interesting sermon, while I may not like him personally, he certainly is entertaining to listen to.

Well, I wish I hadn't gone. The evening ended with my wife being upset because he made comments during the sermon/talk about "american republicans" and "american christianity" that were huge generalisations. Basically he was advocating the idea that you can't be a republican and a christian, and if you're both AND american, you're basically in the wrong.

It's funny, because I think if I ever live in America, I'll probably vote Democrat personally, but the sweeping generalizations he made tonight about Republicans, and American Christians in particular, I couldn't let go. I went to talk to him afterwards and made a polite comment that he might want to think about the generalisations he makes whilst in the pulpit, as he can never tell who's in the audience, as he upset my republican american wife, and he came over to talk to her and asked her what she'd read, as if she was uneducated simply because she was american. He then proceded to try to get her to agree with him, and not once did he apologise that he'd upset her or offended her feelings.

I honestly felt ashamed to be british at that point. It's not that I'm Republican, in fact some of what he said I agreed with tonight, it's just the way he demonised republicans that upset me. Why as Christians do we feel the need to justify our "position" by slagging someone else off?!

I just don't understand it. There's a kind of arrogance that sweeps over us when anybody threatens our point of view, or chooses to disagree with us, that to justify ourselves or our viewpoint, we have to climb over everybody else's, or tell them how wrong "they" are?!

Where is that in the Way of Jesus?

When did the pulpit become an opportunity for us to slag off the people we disagree with? Shouldn't we be teaching what Jesus taught in the way we live, to love our enemies? Surely we can agree to disagree because in the end, we're brothers and sisters who follow our Master?

When did following Jesus or preaching become about scoring points?

I just really don't understand it. Since I married an American lady, it's really opened my eyes to the amount of taunts, jokes and general anti-americanism there is in this country, and I just don't think there's a need for it at all. In fact, it's bordering on racism at times.

So, for all you republican americans out there in britain, I want to apologise. I am ashamed to be British tonight. I might not always agree with you, but I promise not to demonise you. At least tonight proved to me that I do actually really love her, because I'll defend her against arrogant people, even if I don't hold all of her views myself! I'm off to stew in my own irritation now....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's never too late apparently!

Read this.

I'm just speechless lol!


It's early.

I'm off to walk to work now.

(I've been regularly walking to work for the last few weeks to save money. The City Centre is about 3.6 miles away so it takes me about an hour and ten minutes)

Got to pack my suit in my backpack and get going, I've got some good sermons to listen to on the way!

That's it for now.............

Monday, January 26, 2009

Catch Up!

Ok, it's been a long time I know, so here goes.... (deep breath)

I am married (five months now!) and loving it! We're still figuring out our own routine, which is a bit complicated, not because of schedules, but because I'm so, erm... ditzy!

I think we're getting there, but because I'd lived on my own for 3 and a half months before we got married, I'd quickly developed my own routines and foibles, and Meg kinda wrecked them when she arrived!! I'm happy to say that actually, there was lots of very good reasons why they should have been wrecked, and she was absolutely right!

Although I actually enjoyed food shopping and other stuff, (which is generally weird for a guy I know) I actually realised after she started doing it herself that I really wasn't as great at it as I thought surprisingly! Meg has an eye fr bargains and good deals, and I haven't really got the brain for it to be honest. On the few occasions when we first got married that we went together, I kept getting distracted by foods and treats and yummy stuff that looked good, but was actually designed to look appealing, while not being that great a deal! We eventually decided that she should do the food shopping, and I would only lend a hand when they were heavy things, or she needed to buy a lot. It's worked well so far!

Marriage is alot different to how I thought it would be, but it's so much better!! It does take a lot of work, especially if you're a bloke who wasn't really very used to talking, and who's communication skills resembled a mute rhino. Thankfully I am (slowly) learning to appreciate the art of "talking" and not just making noises to give the appearance of listening to my bride.

My biggest battle so far has honestly been with that dreaded idol, the TV. If you've grown up in a family where it's always on in the background, for a while it seems really strange and almost blasphemous to use the remote for what it's meant for, and turn it off. It was something that took some getting used to, and in a way I'm still battling against it, but I think I'm starting to win now. It just seems to be my default source of comfort and security, so much so that sometimes I switch it on and walk away from it, without even watching!

Work has been really difficult. With plummeting sales and unreachable budgets every month, things aren't looking very positive for the shop at the moment. Last week, I received instructions form my Area Manager that I have to cut my staff budget in half by the beginning of March, which means I'm going to have to make some staff redundant. It's an awful business, and because we're due to gbe moving the shop in September anyway, the future looks a bit uncertain at the moment. I'm trying not to worry about it, as if they don't move the shop but close it in September, I will at least be entitled to redundancy, which could give me a month or two to find a new job. Mind you, having said that, jobs around here are not exactly growing on trees at the moment.

Church is good, but challenging at the moment. We're going through the book of Romans at the moment in the morning, and asking "What Would Jesus Say To...?" in the evenings. It's a series looking at what Jesus might have said to lots of different characters, both fictional and literal. Last night we looked at "What Would Jesus Say To Barack Obama?", and our Pastor suggested Jesus might refer Barack at the start of his presidency to a verse in Micah:

"He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" (NKJV)

It was actually quite a good sermon, and got me thinking on ways of being more practical as a church, to respond to those whose needs are greater than ours. Will (one of our Pastors) reffered to God always telling Israel to look after the "orphan, the alien and the widow", and he's actually taking a sabbatical in April for three months to think through some ways in which we as a church can make a practical difference in our community in the future. It'll be exciting to see what he and God come up with in the coming months.

I actually got to do part of that today, as I had lunch with Liviu, (pronounced "leeve-yoo") a Romanian guy who's been coming to our small group for the last 9 or 10 months with his brother Mercia (pronounced "Mercha") as they'd come to the UK to find work. Mercia came first, and wanted to find a local church, and had seen our website! Mercia actually went home just before Christmas, as he couldn't find any more work at the moment. We became good friends with him in our small group, and since his brother went home, meg and I have become friends with Liviu, inviting him round for supper every Friday for the last couple of weeks. Liviu's english wasn't brilliant at first, but it soon improved as he had to practice before he came round to eat!

Unfortunately, the job offers that Liviu had had fell through this last week, so after staying an extra month after his brother went home to Romania, sadly Liviu had to go today as well. I had lunch with him today, and we talked about how hard it is to fit in when english isnt your first language, and when you don't know the culture, etc. These are some of the things that I've been learning from Meg, because although we both speak the same language, the british and american culture is very different, and from time to time Meg has found it a struggle to come to terms with, something which I need to be aware of and help her with.

It was sad to see Liviu go today, it's been really good to have him in our home group every wenesday, even though at times he couldn't make a long contribution. Hopefully, him and Mercia will be able to find jobs in the next few weeks back home. We'll keep in touch, and maybe they can come back someday.

Anyway, that'll have to be enough of an update for now, as my wife is calling me to go help her fix a duvet so she can go to sleep!!

Bye for now.....

Things I've learnt today...

  1. That rumous start from the simplest comment mis-interpreted
  2. That washing up is actually FUN whilst listening to Coldplay
  3. That the best language to share is not english but friendship
  4. That COOKED celery tastes YUMMY!!
  5. That the best tasting food ALWAYS makes a mess when preparing
  6. That laughter really is the best medicine
  7. That I have zero knowledge of grammar
  8. That I also have zero knowledge of punctuation
  9. That my wife is (nearly!) always right
  10. That I like vanilla coffee
  11. That stuffed toys can be cute AND funny
  12. That I don't like Jonathan Edwards (the theolgian)
  13. That Reading is good for you
  14. That the best condiment with a good meal is good conversation
  15. That you shouldn't have to work at love, but you do have to!
  16. That Bebo Norman is excellent for chilling out to!
  17. That TV rots my mind and my heart when I let it
  18. That dishwater used to wash home-cooking dishes gets dirty REAL QUICK!!
  19. That wherever I am in the world, I want to be with Meg
  20. That sometimes our biggest fear is fear itself.

My Bride & Me...

Well, what can I say?!

It's been five months and 10 days, and I'm still loving every minute of it...

That day does feel a long time ago sometimes, but it never fades from my memory.

I have lot's of memories from that day...

The hot, scorching sun listening to dad preach after we'd given our vows to each other

My face being absolutely covered with mosquito bites, so much so that from one side I looked like I'd been attacked by a swarm!

Your smile as we walked down the aisle afterwards, with everyone smiling and crying and knowing we'd finally done it and got there!

My brothers and sister teasing me on my penguin suit, even though they were wearing posh stuff too!

The glorious sunshine that we thought wouldn't appear that day

Trying to show my nearly 2 year old nephew how to take a picture with a camera

Feeling that it was the happiest day of my life.

I love you Meg! (and I get to keep you!!)