Monthly Archives: June 2012

Quote Quiz- Answers

Okay, it’s been five days and no one has even attempted the quiz 😩 There were no comments for me to moderate and no messages in my Facebook inbox. Slightly disappointing, but I’ll live. So, just in case any of you out there were guessing away quietly and didn’t want to send me your answers here they are:

1. Oh yes, the past can hurt. –  Rafiki to Simba, Lion King

2. You’ve got a friend in me. – Woody (song), Toy Story and reprise in Toy Story 2

3. That’s our lot in life. It’s not a lot, but it’s our life. – Queen, A Bug’s Life

4. Life’s only worth living if you’re being loved by a kid. – Buzz Lightyear to Woody, Toy Story 2 (apologies for mistake in original post)

5. You think you’re very grown up, but you have a great deal to learn. – Wendy to her daughter Jane, Return to Neverland

6. A photograph can take you back in time to faces and embraces that you thought you’d left behind. – Tigger, The Tigger Movie

7. I am always with you. Even when you can’t see me I’m here. – Bambi’s mother to Bambi in a dream, Bambi 2

8. Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. – Winnie the Pooh

9. Faith, trust and pixie dust. – Originally Peter Pan, Peter Pan in a slightly different format but also Jane, Return to Neverland in this format.

10. What do they have against people who are different, anyway? – Esmeralda, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

I hope some you got at least some of these. Future posts will continue to have Disney quotes as titles so look out for them and see if you can tell which film/character they’re from. There may be another quiz for you to participate in.


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Pooh: Where are you going? Piglet: That’s what I’m asking myself. Where?

In just over three weeks I finish as a Parish Assistant (intern) at my church. I’m coming to a crossroads, one where I can’t afford to go back and spend half of every week helping to plan and lead my church children’s work.

If I want to marry FiancĂ© 41 weeks tomorrow I need to find paid work so I can contribute to the cost of that. Looking at the different aspects of a wedding can be daunting, especially when I don’t have a job.

I am trying to follow God’s leading in the search for employment. It’s not an easy time to be looking for a job. So many people are in the same position. Every vacancy has hundreds of applicants and it is easy enough to see that some people have more qualifications, experience and confidence than I do.

I don’t know exactly what I will do with my time after the next three weeks are up if I don’t get a job. I have a Christian summer conference to go to and help with the kids there and perhaps some time away with FiancĂ©. Aside from that I don’t know what I will do if I don’t find a job soon. There are options. I can do a limited amount of voluntary work. I have stuff, lots of stuff, that I could sort out and maybe sell. I know that the work involved in wedding planning will take up a lot of time as will doing all the D.I.Y aspects that save money on the detailed stuff.

I know I have skills, knowledge and experience to offer and employer. I believe God can open the door to the employment where my skills, knowledge and experience can be used best. I don’t know when or where that will be, I have to trust that God does and keep trying to push doors. One door will open and I will find the right place to work.

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Quote Quiz :)

As this is my 13th post I thought I would do something a little different with it.

For 10 of my previous 12 posts I have used Disney quotes. I will list them below and if you know the film or the character (or both for extra kudos) let me know either by commenting on here or by messaging me on facebook. In post 15 I will give everyone the answers and name the ones who did best (pseudonym with answers if you don’t want your true identity revealed on here) 🙂 Happy guessing, have fun and take care one and all 🙂

1. Oh yes, the past can hurt.

2. You’ve got a friend in me.

3.That’s our lot in life. It’s not a lot but it’s our life.

4. Life’s only worth living if you’re being loved by a kid. (I mention the answer in this post)

5. You think you’re very grown up, but you have a great deal to learn.

6. A photograph can take you back in time to faces and embraces that you thought you’d left behind.

7. I am always with you. Even when you can’t see me I’m here.

8. Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.

9. Faith, trust and pixie dust.

10. What do they have against people who are different, anyway?

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What do they have against people who are different, anyway?

“Spiral Speirsy.” “Specky four-eyes.” “Tell us that pirate joke again.”

I think I was six when it started. The name calling, the teasing, okay, let’s call it what it was, the bullying. We had a fancy dress day for Children in Need and I coloured the patch I wore for my lazy eye black and went as a pirate. The joke flopped and the teacher, Mrs Taylor, defended me against the jeers of my class mates. That was the day they noticed – the glasses for the lazy eye, the lack of confidence and the reliance on the teacher for approval and acceptance. I played almost exclusively with two other girls that school year and didn’t really push to try to make other friends. Bryony and Amy were enough for little me, although one other girl, NameFriend, who shared my middle name did try to build a friendship.  Come Easter though Bryony had moved away, her dad was in the R.A.F and if I remember correctly it wasn’t long before Amy said she too was leaving. I never was much of one to push myself forward so when I looked around and the others were in friendship groups already I didn’t know where I would fit when we went back to school after summer and I didn’t have Bryony or Amy any more.

Then when the new school year started our class was spilt and my half, the older half, were in a class with the younger half of the year above. The older kids noticed me then and they seemed to decide I was the one they would pick on. For a while it was just the occasional ‘Spiral Speirsy’ and a selection of other choice phrases including the really original ‘Eurgh something smells around here, oh it must be you’. Things that I soon learnt to shrug off.

For a while I didn’t realise that this even was bullying, innocent little kid thinking it was what we would probably term ‘banter’. I realised later in life that no, that wasn’t what it was at all. At the time it was attention from my peers and somehow I thought that must be a good thing.

Then my life changed, got flipped right round, when my baby brother died.

“Your brother died because you didn’t look after him properly.” Words another child said to me on the day my parents, family and family friends went to the church to bury my brother. I had, apparently, chosen to go back to school.

The words people had said before were nothing compared to that one sentence. I knew absolutely that what this older girl had said was not true; I had sat and listened as the men from the coroner’s office explained to me and my parents that David Martin had died because he had a hole in his heart. I knew it was nothing to do with how well he had been looked after, but we had looked after him brilliantly, thank you very much. I got so upset and Mrs Dixon, the dinner lady had to look after me and take me back in to my class teacher as it had happened as we lined up at the end of lunch break. Of all the things that have been said to me those words are the ones that have stuck in my memory.

As time went on I guess I gave up really trying to make friends, even with the people who didn’t bully me. Brother was there in the playground most days and I could always chase NameFriend around the playground when she was in a grump. With my next teacher, Mr Eldridge, when I was 8 almost 9, I really wanted to impress him and do my best. He was a fun teacher and although that first year in his class was mostly my year of daydreaming the second year he was my teacher I did everything I could to impress him and, I guess, to make up for the first year. The other children noticed and they started to call me ‘Teacher’s Pet’ and to pick on me because I would always get good marks in tests and ‘Harry hedgehogs’ on pieces of work. The other thing they had started to notice was that I was ‘chunky’ and although the cheers on sports day when I was last in the race, again, were endearing the comments about my weight the rest of the year were not. Throughout my time with Mr Eldridge some of the older children had been bullying me too, some were older siblings of my class mates or lads from across our estate but some just picked on me because I was the fat kid that couldn’t run.

My last couple of years at primary school were marked with bullying. I was constantly teased and called names. Some of the lads started trying to trip me if they were ever in line behind me and in those years the physical stuff started too. We had eggs thrown at us one ‘Mischief Night’ and pebbles thrown. A certain family moved into our village and had started to spell trouble not only for me, Brother and our family but for others too.

Secondary school seemed worse. I walked into the classroom the day I started, two days later than the others and by lunchtime it was fairly obvious that some of the kids who knew me had been telling the others about me. It didn’t even take until Christmas for these new classmates in this much bigger school to start with the names and comments. Before too long it felt like my year was split into three groups, the ones who bullied me, the ones who didn’t seem to know I existed and the much smaller group, the ones who tried to be friendly. The split happened in the first year and the groups were pretty much defined from that point on.

Hearing every day that you’re fat, smelly, stupid, being called some of the most derogatory names I had heard, it doesn’t really boost your confidence much. I joined the junior choir, the bullies told me I couldn’t sing. I became a librarian and the bullies laughed and called me names because it was ‘sad’ and ‘nerdy’ being a librarian. My sporting prowess never appeared, my artistic skills were never given the space to bloom and being good at English, Maths and Science meant you didn’t fit in. I liked my teachers and always tried my best. I could often be found at Mr Tibbits office waiting to talk to him in my first two years at secondary school. Sometimes when other kids would see me outside Mr Tibbits office they would tease me for that and they definitely still teased me for being ‘Teacher’s Pet’. After Grandma died when I was 13 I would spend a lot of time talking to Mr Tibbits, Mrs Wood or Mr Kershaw about how I was doing, about my school work and also about the bullying. They never managed to do anything effective about the bullying. I had some older friends who I knew because Mum worked for the parents of one of them and they were my ‘best’ option for company at lunch time. A younger girl who caught the bus with me and who was probably as much of a target for bullies as me once asked me why I was bullied so much. I told her I didn’t know, maybe it was because I was different.

The bullies never really got all that physical with me but there was an incident once where my brother was beaten up by bullies and the police were involved. There were also incidents where Brother got physical with bullies. One time boys in the lunch queue behind him were giggling and because he had been bullied all through school he assumed it was him they were giggling about and pushed a pizza in one boy’s face. The other time I remember was on the bus when we were in foster care. One of the lads on the bus was being unkind about the way I was holding my in-ear earphones in and Brother saw red, quite literally after the scrap left him with a broken nose.

Bullying made my entire school life seem like Hell. On Sunday Fiancé and I were in the small market town where my secondary school was and he asked if I would go back to my school days if I could. There are so many reasons I would go back, the lack of responsibility, the learning new things (not that that has stopped), the opportunity to actually prove myself academically instead of letting a teacher I trusted convince me that I should let go of my best chance at GCSEs and A levels because my attendance the year after Grandma died was erratic at best. The main thing that would have stopped me was… wait for it… no, not the school dinners, the bullying.

Unfortunately for me when I sought out a nursery nursing course at college to try to bump my future back onto my choice of track I couldn’t escape the bullying. This time only two people with any prior knowledge of me were in my ‘tutor group’ and they had not been bullies. I walked in there hoping I could start with a clean slate. The problem was my confidence was shot, I was shy, quiet and from the country so not streetwise enough to fit in with a group of rough and ready girls, oh and when I did speak what I said was often peppered with talk of church. The advice the child psychologist had given me just over a year earlier failed to work. I didn’t  make friends easily although there were 2 or 3 girls I would have given that label to in the first year. Again I was bullied because I actually listened to everything the tutors said and tried my hardest, I was bullied because of my faith and, when my first placement failed me after about four weeks because I ‘never spoke’, I was bullied because of that too. It was awful when we had music appreciation and I didn’t have an angelic voice or a sense of rhythm because they all wanted to know how I could say I was a Christian when I couldn’t sing. These days I would tell them I ‘make a joyful noise unto the Lord’ but I didn’t have that one in my arsenal then.  Many times I would be in tears because of things that had been said and I would tell the tutors, then feel let down because they had made idle threats to chuck any bullies off the course. I stuck it out for as long as my patience let me, and my patience can stretch for miles. My patience stretched almost to the end of the two-year course. I had missed an assignment from the first year that I could have caught up and I had quite a few observational studies to complete, as well as placement hours to make up, but I thought it was still possible for me to complete the course. The bullying had continued and, had the tutors been true to their word when they said bullies would be thrown off the course they would have only had one student, me. I remember one lesson maybe three weeks before the course was due to end when Meg, one of the nicest tutors, had us all in the art and craft room and she gave the others a lecture on how hard college had been for me because of them and their bullying, I never did find out how it ended because I left the room in tears. A week later I was in floods of tears again. Because we had been told that if we didn’t all finish together everyone would have to wait for the last student before the work went for moderation and we could qualify the bullying got really bad and they were all really nasty about the fact I was behind the rest of them and because I wouldn’t finish on time I would hold them all back. The last controlled test was on the anniversary of David’s death and that added another factor to my decision to leave. I stood in that classroom and told my favourite tutor that I couldn’t take any more, I knew I was close to the end and even she said I would be able to finish, but my mind was made up, I was going to walk away from the college that afternoon as an unemployed person, not a student.

Decisions I have made in my life have been influenced by other people more than once and I have let the bullies have things their way. My life could be very different now if I hadn’t bent and broken under the peer pressure of the bullies. Maybe then I should be grateful for what the bullies did in some ways, my church, FiancĂ©, wedding plans, dreams for the future might be positive outcomes of the bullying, but I don’t really think they are (although they are fantastic things). You see God has a way of taking us to where His plan was leading, even when we divert our own paths. I would have been in the right places at the right times still, but perhaps with a job, a car, smart clothes, maybe even my own flat. As it is I’m unemployed, I usually wear clothes that are at least 5 years old if not older, don’t drive and as soon as I finish my internship at church I’ll move back in with my parents. I sometimes wish that the me who Fiancé proposed to had been the ‘better’ version, one that had totally learned to be confident, to stand on her own two feet and not rely on things so much for security. One day I will be that person because I know she’s inside, hiding still, but for now I’m glad Fiancé loves me for who I am today.

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Faith, trust and pixie dust?

So, for about two weeks now I have been feeling challenged to think about my faith and how much I really trust God.  It kind of started really when I was helping to plan our mid-week children’s small group material. We’re using the ‘What’s in the Bible?’ DVDs by Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales, for the second half of every term. We have just finished writing the material up to the end of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, and the DVD looks at how the Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years because they did not trust that God would give them the land he had promised.

Through the ‘object lessons’ we are using with the children in the small groups we are teaching the children that our relationships with God can be like that, sometimes we don’t trust God even though we believe that He wants the best for us. We try to work things out in our own way rather than trusting God to be in charge and doing things his way.

The things we are teaching the children are things that I have struggled with myself. I have been working as a Children’s Ministry Parish Assistant (like an intern) with my church since September and this has made me look at my faith in new and challenging ways. The things I have learnt myself and been teaching the children over the past nine months have made me stop and consider what I believe, why I believe it and what my relationship with God is really like.

One night in November I had a revelation about my relationship with God. I was at a Kids’ Leaders Training event and I was there with my new colleagues, people I had seen at church and wanted to get to know better, but didn’t really know at that point. I was feeling beyond myself and wished that my best friends were there with me to talk to. I figured maybe God was trying to teach me to depend on him and that was really difficult for me. All I could see was the brokenness and the bad things that had happened in my life, the things I thought I had dealt with but had only locked away. It felt like the grief and anger of my losses were locked behind a door inside me but were emitting a gas that seeped under the door and through my life.

It was after midnight when the penny finally dropped. I couldn’t put my dependence on God because I didn’t trust him implicitly. I felt betrayed by the God I believe in. My God was a god who could wrap great joy in the same package as devastating heartache and make that package a tiny baby boy I would call David. The same God gave me a loving, supportive grandmother and then took her away when I needed her more than ever. How could my head and heart trust that the blessings God gave would not be taken, that every good thing would not have a sting in its tail?

Luke 11:11-13 says: ‘You fathers – if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?’

It had felt like I was asking God for eggs but getting scorpions, which would kinds of suck, so there was no wonder I was a little cautious about what God had given me since I asked Jesus into my heart. I can see now though that the main ‘scorpions’ in my life were before I had a real faith and the poison from their stings was still in my psyche. I had to adjust the way I look at things to stop the poison affecting the good gifts God gives me now.

God doesn’t give gifts with a sting in the tail, all his gifts are good. I’m trying to trust God with the little things in my life more, because I can see the time coming, just around the corner, where I have to trust Him with the big things.

Having realised this and tried to learn the lesson for myself I feel more comfortable that  I am one of the right people to be teaching this group of amazing kids about trusting God. I still have more to learn, but I think most people do. I just know that I’m trusting God more and trying not to lean on my own understanding as much these days.

I’m having to trust that God knows what my fiance and I want for our wedding and will help us to achieve those things. It’s an exciting time and although a little scary knowing that I have God to trust makes it seem less daunting.

This evening I’m going to be one of two leaders in  our group. I have spent almost three hours drying out a quantity of play sand that I bought at a pound shop so that we can all make sand timers to remind the children of the Israelites in the desert and how they were there because they didn’t trust God. I’ll be holding onto mine after so that I have a reminder too.

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Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.

Today I should be singing ‘Happy birthday’ to my youngest sibling, my second brother. I still could I guess but standing by a grave and singing ‘Happy birthday’ always feels a bit odd. On the day he would have turned 22 I will remember him as always and the memories will, albeit briefly, bring me solace. We had precious little time together but I will always remember my brother and love him deeply.

Dear Davy boy,

Today is your birthday. If you were still here you would be 22 today. I don’t know what you would have been doing because in the two weeks we had there was no time to get to know you. We’re left with the memories of a little baby boy and the tears we still shed because you had so little time to live.

When Daddy came to Grandma’s to tell us you had been born I imagined being your big sister, helping to look after you while you were still a baby, reading to you and teaching you our games as you got older and being there for you to talk to every day of your life. When I met you the following day I knew that I would do all I could to always protect you and keep you safe. You were my baby brother and at eight I thought myself grown up enough to protect you from all the bad things in the world. I would love you the way a mother loves her baby and protect you the same way. You filled me with pride and joy and I would never let anything take that away.

When you came home I helped Mummy with you. I decided you should have a teddy so I stood by your pram one afternoon with Sister beside me and cut the whiskers off Nurse Cat so she could go into your pram with you. I made that sacrifice for you and it was a sacrifice as Nurse Cat was one of my favourite toys, I never got her back. I loved being your big sister and having you there. It was the most amazing thing ever. I had loved you and wanted you from the day Mummy told us she was pregnant and I suggested calling you David Michael. Mummy and Daddy didn’t like Michael so Brother suggested Martin and there you were, David Martin, from that day on.

I often think of you and I wonder what you would be like. Would you have been clever like me? Would you have been the one that actually went to university and really made something of his life? When I was younger I used to imagine what you would look like. I think you might have kept those beautiful blues eyes and had the dark hair that the rest of us have, even if you had gone through a blond phase like Brother did. I was always sure you would be handsome and would never be short of a girl or two to ask out. I hope you would have been friendly and popular and never felt alone.

Twenty-two is a great age, you would have loved being twenty-two I’m sure. I watch young men I know who are around that age and I wonder where you would have fitted in. I guess you would have been fairly easy-going and probably a bit of a joker as Daddy is a complete wind-up merchant. Brother is quite like Daddy in some ways and I think you probably would have been too. I know that Brother would have liked being able to take you down the pub for a few drinks and last year, being at Conversations on your 21st birthday, was difficult for us as we could imagine having you there.

I still remember the day you died, but this is your birthday and I don’t want to dwell on the memories of the heartache that came that night. I will say that we had a chance to show you off that day and I could not have been a more proud sister.

I will always remember the two weeks when we had you, you will always be in my heart. I love you always David Martin.


Two of the three pictures we have. One taken before David was born, the other after he had died. We unfortunately have no photos from the two weeks he was with us.


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