June – Embracing restoration

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It’s quite something when you’re given permission to embrace a season of restoration. When life has thrown you a season of difficulty, acknowledging that it’s ok to get back to ‘normal’ and stop worrying about what might happen next is liberating. March for me was all about recharging the soul. It was a time that was really needed and so refreshing but until these past few weeks, I hadn’t actually stopped holding my breath, waiting, fearing and preparing myself for what might be around the corner.

In June we spent a lot of time doing Church. By which I mean more than just attending Sunday morning services. We took students punting, we had students over for a picnic lunch, I hung out with some of the girls and made bunting for our Church Fun Day, we had the Church Fun Day, we went to our old Church to listen to a great friend speak there for the last time before he leaves and I led the second Ladies Prayer Breakfast at our Church.

This month we’ve stopped using our lack of perfect kitchen (which will be transformed in July!) as an excuse not to have friends over for dinner and as such have opened the doors of our home to hospitality once again. It’s been good to return to what we as a couple feel so called to do. We have been blessed with so much and I have learned this month that practicing hospitality is more than just food, it’s sharing our home, our time, our space, our finances and building relationship. It’s real.

Speaking of which, I also attended a women’s conference this month called ‘Real’. It centred around a theme of courage and there were some superb speakers encouraging us to be women of faith. When we allow others to see ‘the real you’ we open ourselves up to vulnerability but we also open ourselves up for deep and meaningful relationship that we may never otherwise have the chance to experience. The conference was great and I shared it with two women who I admire hugely, which made it even better.

In between all of these events and activities, we celebrated Father’s Day with my family, spent a weekend with my hubby’s family and went to see Minions the movie!! It hasn’t been a month that has been filled to the brim but it has been populated by people (in a manageable level for this introvert) and speckled with meaning and it has finally given me permission to embrace this season of restoration in our lives.

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Going to the pictures

I love going to the cinema. From a young age, you’d catch me at the end of the movie sitting quietly watching the screen, wishing my friends wouldn’t nag me to leave just because the movie had ended. I was waiting for the names of the people who had produced this piece of entertainment. From the director and producer to the composer, script-writer and trailer-maker, I was enthralled. I wanted to be a part of this world, not to star in it, but to be a part of telling the story.

It’s strange how things work out. I have spent time working in all areas of media production but I have never once spent time on a movie set or on any aspect of film production. It is still something that sits on my bucket list. When we were in LA I was more interested in visiting Universal Studios than I was in Disneyland. There is a magic to the movies. I’m not sure it’s the so-called glamour of Hollywood because the dresses and majesty of the premier hold little interest for me. I think it’s something about how words, sound and image can combine to evoke emotion and express ideas or hope that nothing else can. There are so many movies from which I have a favourite line or a favourite moment that represents a perfect coming together of all of these components.

It is something I’m as yet unable to put into words. The closest I’ve heard are the words of Arthur Abbott in the movie ‘The Holiday’:

I came to Hollywood over 60 years ago, and immediately fell in love with motion pictures. And it’s a love affair that’s lasted a lifetime. When I first arrived in Tinseltown, there were no cineplexes or multiplexes. No such thing as a Blockbuster or DVD. I was here before conglomerates owned the studios. Before pictures had special effects teams. And definitely before box office results were reported like baseball scores on the nightly news.

The only way I can sense the unexplainable wonder of movies is by actually going to the cinema. The clever writing, the use of music to enhance a moment, the beauty of a well-lit shot and the incredible skill required to weave it all together in a way that allows viewers to leave their seats and this world for a short while and enter into the story, are all magnified on the big screen.

There are a few movies that are coming out in the next few months I’d like to see:

  • Mr Holmes
  • Inside Out
  • Minions (seeing next week!)
  • Jurassic World
  • Spy

‘Going to the pictures’ is one of my favourite choices for date night. If I figure out what it is that makes my heart skip a beat and my eyes light up, I’ll let you know. If you don’t hear from me, I’ll be lost in the world of the pictures.

Countdown to 30

For the first time recently, I said these words: “I’m quite looking forward to turning 30.”

Granted I’m still a couple of birthdays off that age but I cannot deny that I am in my late 20s and most of my friends have turned or are turning the big 3-0.

The reason I’m ok with marking three decades of life is because I am more content in myself now than I ever have been. I know myself so much better. I know who I am, I know what I like, I know what I want, I know what’s important to me and I know who is important to me. I know what to do when I’m feeling rubbish, I know what I enjoy in my free time, I’m starting to know what I’m good at at work and I am more secure in what I believe and why, with a mind that challenges and questions more in order to find truth and meaning.

I’m not about to create a list of things I want to do before I’m 30. I don’t know what life will bring tomorrow let alone in a couple of years so I’d rather take life in the moment rather than tie myself to a list defined by an age.

What surprises me in all that I have written is the one thing that I haven’t mentioned. I haven’t said: “I’m proud of what I have achieved for my age.” I could have declared that I have an incredible husband who I’ve shared almost 5 years of married life with, a great job that I love, a beautiful flat that we own, stable finances and amazing potential for all of these things to grow. To me, these things are blessings, not achievements and they don’t define my success. When I look around at my family and friends who are approaching or have embraced this new season, they don’t all have the same accolades as I do. They have lived their own paths and they are successes for themselves, not based on a societal scale of success.

The final reason that I am starting to look forward to 30 is because I’m finally slowing down on the comparison game. I’m not looking around me at what others have achieved, I’m just looking right next to me at the smile on my husband’s face that tells me he is content and excited about life and that’s all I need, to know that we’re doing just fine.