Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chamonix '09 begins...

Im off to Chamonix today for a week of fun in the snow! I was there in 2006 and so i know the resort is amazing! I've never been anywhere else that has had so many pistes to keep you entertained! The sno conditions all across Europe this year are fantastic which makes me very excited!

We only booked this trip last week as we wanted to get a good price. The trade off has been that we are unsure if there will be room for our snowboards on the plane! Sadly they didn't tell us this when we booked which has made this week a littel more stressful but thankfully we have managed to negotiate a plan B should the boards not make it to France!

So really i can't complain, life is good and i have a week ahead of me where all i have to worry about is getting from the top to the bottom of the mountain without breaking anything!

I'll try to post some pics during the week!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lent, take-aways & the Wing...

So after a day of pancakes yesterday, Lent begins today! That period of 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday where we remember the time that Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights and was tempted by the Devil. We often choose to deny ourselves something during Lent as a way to realise our own weaknesses and grasp the intense significance of the crucifixion. It also gives us a deep and powerful longing for the resurrection and a joy on Easter Sunday.

Easter can often sneak up on us but by observing Lent we take a chance to remember the dark before the dawn, the sin that sent Jesus to the cross.
Lent helps us experience our part in the Passion (or suffering) of Jesus. We face our humanity during Lent: we learn that sin still dwells in us, that we still carry darkness. We learn that we, like his disciples, would likely have fallen asleep as Jesus prayed for deliverance in the garden, and, also, that we would likely have denied knowing him as he silently accepted his death sentence.
This Lent I have been challenged (and so have challenged teh young people under my care) to consider denying myself some pleasure as a means to remind me of Christ’s sacrifice and prepare for the celebration of that at Easter. However, as well as NOT doing something, I also feel motivated by the challenge of Christ to DO something or GO someplace this Lent and stretch myself in my SERVICE to Him.

So for Lent i have chosen to give up 2 things i love very much - take-aways & the West Wing! The former will be a challenge to my weekly lazy eating habits and the latter will be incredibly difficult as i have just acquired the entire DVD collection and am currently in the midst of season 2! It was never meant to be easy! I'm just wondering has anyone else out there given up anything for Lent this year?

Monday, February 23, 2009

I got soul but im not a soldier...

What a great weekend! It was the 1st birthday of my niece and nephew, James & Anna and so we marked the occasion with a party in Malahide. Hope you enjoy the couple of photos here!

Then, lo and behold i got offered a last minute ticket to see The Killers at the Odyssey. Being a big fan of the band i couldn't say no and so made haste up the road from Dublin to Belfast! I think i missed the first 25mins of the gig but it was still AMAZING! 'All these things that I've done' was definitely a highlight as was 'Human' and 'Mr Brightside'!

Friday, February 13, 2009

So the gauntlet was thrown down...

Given that we had begun a theme of music videos for the weekend we decided to challenge the young people in their teams to make their own on the weekend. So they were each given a popular song and about 45minutes to film! Some of the leaders and young people then edited the videos for the next day! Three of the videos are shown below. Can i just state that my team won with an excellent rendition of 'Spice up your life' by the Spice Girls! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Winter Retreat 2009...

I've just recovered from our annual Winter Retreat at the weekend - spent the whole of yesterday in bed with a thumping headache - could this be a symptom that i can no longer stick the pace of staying up to 4am (a rhetorical question so please don't feel the need to answer it below!)?!?! We had a fantastic weekend at Castlewellan Castle. My hope for the weekend was that everyone would leave with the knowledge that God had spoken to them personally. As such, 2 of the 3 sessions were centred on reflection & experiential learning to allow the young people space to listen to God. This seemed to be received very well by the them and the addition of small groups allowed the young people to discuss their experiences of what God was saying to them.

On top of all that we had the best banter ever with music videos forming the theme for the year. The leaders produced 3 music videos in advance of the weekend which you can enjoy below!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Exploring the Jewish World...

Been quiet on here for the last couple of weeks because I've been studying! I decided after Christmas to sign up for a short course being run at Belfast Bible College by Desi Maxwell (Xplorations) titled 'Exploring the Jewish World'. The 2 week course of mornings finished on Friday by which stage i was mentally exhausted! I haven't really engaged in any third level study since i finished my MA in 2004 so my brain was feeling the pain of exercise. The course, was fascinating and yet very hard to put into a succinct blog what i learnt! Much of the content was looking at the bigger picture of the Hebraic way of thinking, contrasted with the Greek mindset that our Western society is completely influenced by. When you come to look at the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament it is enriching and truthful to be able to apply a Hebraic lens and in some way enter the mindset of the writer and the narrative.

I would certainly recommend this course to anyone and Desi Maxwell is a fantastic teacher with an energy and enthusiasm for Hebraic thought that is infectious. Have a look at his Xplorations website to discover other upcoming study opportunities!