Wednesday, 11 February 2009

It's sure been a while...

I think I leave longer and longer gaps between posting on here! To be honest, I love the concept of blogging, but lacking an exciting life, interesting hobbies or an impressive job, there's not all that much to write!

Still, I will be graduating in exactly 5 months and 2 days, and will be starting out in the real world...big, huge, scary place that is is. So maybe I'll have more to write about then.

For now, I really should go and do some reading - this article on non-native speakers of English understanding the Miranda warnings in the US just won't read itself...

Perhaps a better blog post soon :)

Monday, 24 November 2008

An anniversary

Today marks 7 years from the day that I was baptised. I can’t even remember the name of the church off the top of my head, but it was a fairly local one that my home church had held services in a few times.

It’s always interesting when I tell people that I became a Christian at about 11, around 2 years before I was baptised. Sometimes it seems to decrease my credibility amongst non-Christians, who believe that I am a Christian purely because my family are, because I’ve been to church my whole life, and that in some strange way this means that I don’t quite understand *real life*. Somehow there seems to be credibility given to those who have suffered greatly, who have rebelled, or who have otherwise risen from overwhelming circumstances to find God. Perhaps my story will never be quite as dramatic as that, but it has nonetheless been an eventful story so far. At 11 I had little idea of how cruel your peers can be at school, and indeed in later life. Didn’t know what angst teenage hormones would bring, nor how long I would wait to feel any inkling of what to do with my life. I certainly didn’t really know what it would feel like to sit in a room full of non-Christians and say “actually, I’m a Christian.” I’ve said it so many times since then, and the circumstances are always interesting. It starts great, thought-provoking conversations and total stereotyping in equal measure. I don’t really mind any more. In some ways, the squeaky clean image is a funny and fairly innocent one. In a lot of ways, it represents just another kind of out-grouping. I’ve found over time that it is far easier to upfront and happy with my affiliations (as it were!) than to hang back and act as if I’m ashamed of it.

The thing is, we humans love to identify ourselves in comparison to others. Like I said, out-grouping. We identify much of who we are in terms of who we are not. I guess that’s why non-Christians often see me in terms of what they don’t believe in and what I’m ‘not allowed’ to do in comparison to them. But, you know, I don’t really see it like that. My struggle to be the best person that I can be is so individual, so unique, that I never want to reduce it to the concept of “I’m me because I’m not like them”. I was created by a great and awesome God and most days I do not even wake up and remember that. I count myself as doing well when I wake up 1 day in 10 and remember the fact that a life lived for God is a beautiful and precious one. Too many days it is more a case of ‘a life lived as a Humanities student is frustrating and tiring’. I am so very far from having all the answers and to being as graceful and assured as I aspire to be, like the Christian role models that I have. I just hope to manage it sometimes, and that perhaps over time I will make changes that support my efforts to manage that more often.

It’s been a crazy 7 years since I made that public commitment to Christ. My dreams that day of showing Jesus’ light to everyone I met for the rest of my life have unsurprisingly been far off the mark! I have met plenty of people who have no doubt thought I was a little quiet, a little unsure of myself, and not all that happy. But I hope I have also met some who got to know me and who have felt that my faith changes who I am. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time thinking more than I should about things that don’t deserve overthinking, and not thought enough about some things that I should. I have struggled to negotiate my identity in an adult world, particularly in the context of being a student. I have felt constantly challenged with what society says is right and what my faith says is right. I have experienced over and over again the joy of being in a stressful situation and thinking “oh, wait a minute, God’s in control of this”. I have laughed at myself many times for how long it often takes me to reach that moment, and I hope to reduce that! I have learned what it is to love fiercely and loyally, and to occasionally (!) admit that someone other than myself might be right. I have even experienced what it is to trust God that he will make his will clear to me in all things.

Looking back, I sometimes wonder whether finding God made all that much of a difference to the years that have followed. I look back and see so many times when I distanced myself from his promises and securities and tried to do it on my own. But then I think of all the times that were different because of his presence, and I know that I can’t deny the difference he has made in my life. For all my stubbornness, there have been so many times that I was that little bit happier and more confident because of the faith that I have. At times like this, when I stop and think about what it means for me to be a Christian, I am awestruck by how many more of his promises I have yet to fulfil, how many more dreams of his that I have yet to experience. I realise that I have so many things to be thankful for and that the future will only add to that number.

So, seven years on, I hope that I am a little older and wiser, but just as excited about everything the future has in store.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


All I can say to this is kudos to Stop the Traffik for their impressive and original campaigning efforts...

...though I couldn't help doubting, as a 20 year old female, that 200 small bars of chocolate does not a 5 month chocolate supply make.

Just saying :)

Oh, and speaking of campaigns and stuff, I was thinking randomly the other day (can you tell it's essay time?!) and I think for Lent next year I might do the Thirst for Life thing where you give up alcohol for the whole 40 days. I tried it one year but didn't really stick to it, to be honest. I've never really seen Lent as something I *have* to do, so haven't ever really bothered. But it's a pretty powerful statement and a very important issue, given how crazy the UK drinking culture is. Right ray of sunshine, aren't I?

Wish I had more time to post...

Friday, 7 November 2008

By way of explanation

In future, when people question why I'm so cynical of student culture sometimes, particularly the drinking aspect of it, I'm simply going to direct them to this Flickr album:

I really like the style of the pics - the photographer's obviously very talented and does capture a few funny and sweet moments - but the messy scenes are way too familiar. It just ain't pretty! Need I say more?

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Dealing with things 'manfully'?

Story from the BBC about a heroin addict who died after jerking the steering wheel out of his wife's hands when she wouldn't drive him to buy drugs.

The BBC reports:

The coroner said Mr Grindley was a young man who had grappled "manfully" with heroin addiction and his death was a tragic loss.
What I would like to know from the coroner is how exactly one grapples "manfully" with an addiction? Does it mean bravely or courageously? If so, perhaps one of those words or one of their synoyms would be more appropriate than assuming that to be strong and brave is to do things like a man.

Also interesting to note that the reporter feels it necessary to mention Mr Grindley's private school education and his introduction to drugs by a former girlfriend, all in the same sentence. Given that two clauses in a sentence are usually linked in some way, what is the connection here? Are we supposed to infer that he had a private education but his aspirations for happy, well-behaved middle class life were ruined by his rebellious former girlfriend? Who knows.

Dear me, I seem to be having a very critical afternoon. Think I'm just still angry after reading about the recent Johnny Vegas incident where he may or may not have taken advantage of a young woman onstage. Nice one.

Friday, 25 April 2008

You don't say

Trying to finish up my computer-mediated communication coursework at the moment. In going back through my notes on further reading, I have just been amused to find that I wrote this without any irony at all:

Morahan-Martin (1998) Putting CMC research into context – suggests that women find online flaming, sexual harassment, and porn alienating, while men tolerate or encourage all of them. Women are thus discouraged from joining in online and men (according to demographics) dominate.

You mean that women don't like stumbling upon dodgy porn pics when they forgot to put Google SafeSearch on? And they dislike being sexually harassed in online gaming environments just because their profile says that they're female? Shocking, that.

And yes, I learnt the SafeSearch thing the hard way recently. In a moment of bored procrastination, I did an image search for Michaela Strachan and didn't realise that SafeSearch was off until I reached the somewhat graphic naked image purporting to be of her. Well, thanks for that, anonymous person with too much time and photoshop expertise on their hands, I do enjoy being reminded that dodgy porn is alive and well on the internet and appearing on a computer near you. Pffft.

n.b. I should probably note the reason why I happened to be doing the aforementioned image search: I recently discovered that the 30 something male crowd was very much in love with her when they were young (see the Scouting For Girls song Michaela Strachan broke my heart when I was 12). Given that she presented a wildlife programme for kids, I was a bit curious about why she was so sexy to them all! I don't see it, personally.

But then, I'm not an impressionable 12 year old boy. Thankfully.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Convenient sizing

One of the advantages to having small wrists, as I've just discovered, is that you can change your bedroom light bulb without having to remove the paper globe thing first.

Sadly, being generally a bit small means I still can't reach high enough when standing on my bed to be able to readjust the globe so that it's as high up as before. So, er, we're going for the funky, low-flying globe look at the moment...

Small joys, eh?