Saturday, 16 August 2008

Introducing the new Mrs Allman ........

Well what a wonderful wonderful day! Everyone was so calm. The weather was perfect (it was sunny until all the photos were done and we all went inside to have our meal - then the heavens opened!) The ceremony went perfectly and was beautiful. It was so good to see lovely friends and family.

We had a wonderful honeymoon to Los Angeles first, where we went to Disneyland, Universal studios and Hollywood. Then we went to the Maui which is one of the Hawaiian island. It was beautiful there - not quite how we imagined but it was still lovely and relaxing. Then finally we went to San Francisco which was lovely. However, by the time we got back there had been that many time changes that our body clocks were all over the place. We only now seem to be getting sorted.

It's been all go since being back. We've said goodbye to Richard, Heidie and Lukeyboy who have gone back to Zambia - just for the year. I'm sad they've gone back but I understand. They have done such an amazing job out there and God has used them so much - they needed to go back to ensure that the work done wasn't undone. Hopefully, the army will find someone to take over from them in time for them coming home next year because I don't want my hopes being raised to be dashed again!

Now we're trying to get into the routine of married life. Ade and I have both lived on our own for so long so working out living with someone else is interesting. We seem to be coping ok and have not come to blows yet. When we're at home together it's strange getting used to it being ok being in different rooms getting on with different things. When we were together before being married we wanted to spend every moment with each other and make the most of the time because it was so scarce. I can't get used to the fact that we are now spending the rest of our lives together and so it's ok for him to be in one room doing something and me in the other!

Portsmouth North Corps is lovely. Everyone is so keen and wanting to make a difference. We have already ordered a Skip and filled it with stuff that's been hoarded. On Monday the holiday club starts. We are expecting about 25 children. The club is from 10am -3pm Monday to Friday which should be fun but tiring I reckon. Somewhere in that time I've got to find some time to do some reading for a 3000 word assignment due in at the end of the month.

So for both Ade and I we knew in theory that this year is going to be a hard one, what with him doing two jobs and me jobbing and studying but when the reality kicks in, so does the emotions and all the fore-knowledge in the world doesn't properly prepare you for that because you don't ever know how you will react to something until you are actually facing do you?

However, what I am clinging to is that in the early days you want to do so much and you need to get to a more level and realistic plane. I'm also clinging to the fact that I'm sure this is part of God's plan. I know he doesn't promise to take away the hard times, but he promises his resources of heaven to help us through the hard times. Next week the theme for the holiday club is champions, and what it means to be a champion for God. We are looking at 5 words: determination, direction, distraction, dedication and decoration. I'm keeping in mind the memory verse for the Direction day which says, 'Let us run with determination the race that lies before us. let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus in who our faith depends.' (Hebrews 12:1-2). I think that might be my memory verse for the year, let alone the week!


Monday, 7 July 2008

The Final Countdown

Only 4 more days to go - I can hardly believe it. A whole year has passed. I have got through the first year of training. It's been hard work but really good. I have been challenged in so many ways but that's good because I feel a lot more confident about what God wants me to be and have a lot more confidence in God helping me to do what he wants me to do.

Anyway, 4 days from marrying my beautiful. Someone asked me if I was excited and I think I am but I'm not quite sure how to feel as I've never been in this position at all. At this moment, I think I feel more excited about getting my haircut the day after the wedding! Perhaps it's just that I feel very content and happy about it all. I've waited a long time to find the man of my dreams (actually he far exceeds those dreams) and no amount of rain (which is forecast for the day) is going to spoil it or put me off!


Friday, 4 April 2008

14 Weeks today ....

Okay - I'm going to try not to do a weekly countdown on this blog - even though I have one in my diary but I am so excited and this coming week is going to be a week of wedding plans! Zapping for the gift list, page boy and flowergirl outfit sorting, mother of the bride outfit sorting and my first dressing fitting! Once this coming week is over I shall endeavour to keep my excitement a bit more to myself and my beautiful!

So I have just come back from my week long Corps Placement to Bedford Congress Hall. It's been a busy week but I've really enjoyed it. It's brought me back on track and reaffirmed my calling which is a good thing!

I've not been a comfortable christian this week which has made me happy - I've stepped out of my comfort zones. I've relied on God lots and that's made me happy. I've been with some quality officers who are very lovely and funny which has also made me happy.

There are a number of highlights from the week - beating an armed robber at Rummy three times in the homeless drop-in. Mashing the potatoes with the worlds biggest masher at the Luncheon Club. Watching as a drunk man stood up in the evening meeting and shouted with his hands held high "I love Jesus, Stand up if you love Jesus" and then watching him as he then passed out! But it's also been a bit of a deathly week. On Monday morning, the CO had to lead a funeral at the Crematorium and afterwards we had a tour around the back from Jim. Did you know the incinerators need to be 850 degrees to be hot enough and it takes on average 100mins to do the "job"? Many people who work in this profession really see it as a vocation and it was lovely to walk around with Jim and listen to him tell me all about what he does and how he treats the job with dignity. Good on Jim. He loves his job - not in a weird way but a lovely caring way. Anyway, the only way to ensure the job is done is to turn the burners off and ensure that all the embers stop burning. To get an idea of how things are going there is a little spyhole into the incinerator - and I got to look in it! I was a bit nervous to start with but once I looked once, I couldn't stop! It was fascinating - to actually see a body burning! I saw the skeleton! wow! The next day, a lady from the funeral directors came to talk to the Over 60's Club - I wasn't sure how sensitive this was but it was actually a good afternoon and they all seemed to enjoy it. It made me laugh when the leader asked them if they felt a lot happier after the lady had spoken! I certainly learned alot - especially in light of the previous day's experience. Then the next day I spent the morning at the local Funeral Director's! I found out all about what they do - it was very interesting. There is a coffin called The Last Supper. This is their most expensive one and it has a carving of The Last Supper on the side! I was taken for a tour around. I felt distinctly funny when I went into the embalming theatre though - and my tummy still turns at the thought of it! I felt the colour draining from my face and was rushing the man to move out of that particular room before he noticed or before something happen which made it really obvious! I was ok in the mortuary though. I borrowed a College Zafira to go on placement which is a fairly long car - afterwards, I checked to make sure they hadn't mistaken it for a hearse - I did not want any little 'surprises' or whacking great human surprises when I opened the boot!

Anyway, to balance the death stuff out, I did go and see a newborn baby as well - he was beautiful - although he must have known I was coming as he decided to give me a nice 'present' as I held him! What does the song say:
'how sweet to hold a newborn baby, and feel the pride and joy he gives'
- no mention of the smelly parcels he also gives! Ah the joys of being a CO!

So now I've got a week off which I'm muchly looking forward to.


Thursday, 27 March 2008

It's only 15 weeks ....

and 107 days until we get married! Yippee! and I don't even care that I'm counting! I'm excited!
I'm excited about being able to see my beautiful everyday!
I'm excited about talking to him face to face instead of over the phone.
I'm excited about not trying to squeeze everything we have to do into one day.
I'm excited about being able to spend the day doing nothing and not feeling like we've wasted time together.
I'm excited about working together with my beautiful again!
I'm excited about setting up home with him.
I'm just excited!!!

College has been so good for me in many ways. I have learned so much from being here but I am so looking forward to putting it all into practice now. Which is good because I'll soon be able to do that. I have now received details of my summer placement and in fact my placement corps for my 2nd year where I'll be a distance learner. I'm going to help my beautiful at Portsmouth North corps. Another thing which I am excited about! Everytime I visited the corps before I used to think how good it would be to be the officer there - now I'm going to experience that and that's cool!

College is challenging. Assignments, sermon outlines or meeting plans to hand in every week is challenging. Spiritual Formation is challenging. Trying to work people out is challenging. 39 people living together and working together is challenging. But hey, God didn't say he wouldn't stop me from experiencing the hard stuff and I know that's often when I learn the most about myself and who God is shaping me to be.

On the odd occasions we get out and about in corps or on our Personal Initiative Projects PIPs) I get glimpses of what it's gonna be like and that's challenging, scarey but exciting!!!

I'm still trying to be a bright star shining. It's blooming hard at times though!I'm in the process of becoming. I'm always in the process of becoming!


Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Joyfilled Christmas!

Happy Christmas from Zambia everyone! In my blog last year I said how every year Christmas is just a wee bit different – the tradition in our family seems to be that there is no tradition! This year is no exception. This year is a Christmas of first for me: the first in Zambia, the first with my first ever nephew, the first with my fiancĂ© and the first without mum and dad!

Getting here was a bit of an experience. Because of Adrian’s air miles we were able to travel in World Traveller Plus which meant we both could have extra baggage allowance so we each had two bags to check in. I was very excited about being in World Traveller Plus – there was loads of room and the entertainment was on demand. However, my excitement was short lived when a family got on the plane and the boy then sat for the beginning of the flight with a sick bag up to his face! Now those of you who know my fear of sickness will understand that this was not nice for me at all! However, as soon as we got up in the sky and the in-flight entertainment started he was ok so I could enjoy the flight.

So we arrived in Lusaka airport and waited for what seem liked ages to get through customs, we went to get our bags. Only to find that there was no sign of one of the bags on the carousel – and it just would be the one with all the Christmas presents in wouldn’t it? So we queued to speak to customers services and in the distance I could see Rich, Heidie and beautiful Luke but couldn’t get to them because of the stupid missing bag. Anyway, the girl said they’d had notice from Heathrow to say that they had left the bag there and it would be on the next flight over! Praise the Lord!

We’ve spent a few days in Livingstone where we had breakfast on Livingstone Island which is just on the very edge of Victoria Falls. There are only 3 months a year when you can go over to the island so that was a real treat. Luke also experienced the falls for the first time.

Yesterday we celebrated the Danish Christmas for Heidie and today we are celebrating a small British Christmas but we are waiting for mum and dad to arrive on Thursday so we can celebrate Christmas for real, which we are all very excited about.

The run up to Christmas for me has been a bit non-existent and I’ve been complaining a bit because with being at the training college and doing all the assignments I was worried that I had lost the joy of Christmas because I haven’t been involved in much Christmas activities and have hardly any decorations up. But I have a card on my wall which I believe God used to remind me that joy is not in things it is in us. This joy which is in me is a beautiful gift from Jesus who when he was born brought glad tidings of great joy on that first Christmas and ever since then for those who choose to accept him.

Have a joyful Christmas!



Thursday, 25 October 2007

An enlightend day

I am contentedly happy for 5 main reasons:
1. I have ordered my wedding dress - although I am nervous that it might be the wrong one even though I feel that it is the right one. It's a big decision!

2. I have just had a very enlightening Old Testament Class and like the fact that Abraham put his hand in the hand of God and stepped out in faith (I knew that before but it blessed me again today!)

3. My Beautiful now watches CSI and enjoys it - apart from the gory bits. He's a bit of a wuss! (is that how you spell it?)

4. I am able to get emails on my Salvation Army address again after a 3 week drought!

5. My Beautiful took the plunge and gave me my favourite snack - toast with tomato sauce on it. That shows a lot of love. My cousin Caroline and I started having tomato sauce on our toast when we were about 5yrs old and I have continued to have that since then. It's so lovely! My mum and dad will put it on for me without too much grumbling. My brother makes a big song and dance about it if he ever does it. My Beautiful just put it on - and what's more - he even tried a bit and quite liked it! There you go! RESULT!!! See we are meant to be together! That's for anyone who may have had any doubts!


Saturday, 20 October 2007

Sweet Chariots and Fairy Tales

So My Beautiful and I are supporting England in the world cup:

Well actually the truth of the matter is that I was supporting them until I finished eating my tea which was about 10 minutes into the game and then decided I'd had enough and so am now on the puter writing this and checking out some wedding stuff. Thing is, I can't be seen to support England too much as I do have some Scottish allegiance

We did sing "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" at the beginning and recorded it on my phone for prosperity and so I could send it to Suz and her Rugby party - apparently it brought tears to their eyes!

Can you remember what you were doing last time England won the Rugby World Cup? I was staying in a hotel in Bournemouth because I was on a course: Understanding Sex Offender Behaviour. It was November and I had only been doing my job as Divisional Children's Officer for only a couple of weeks at the most I reckon. Funny the things you remember eh?

Anyway, I now have a few study days at college. I found out on Friday that I am going to Dublin (to Lefroy House) to do my week long Social Placement in November which I am excited about. When I told mum she started spouting off all these tourist attractions I needed to see to which you just hear my dad shouting the background "Jean she's going there to work!" So I must get my need for a Jolly in all situations from my mum - she's always ducking and diving!

Anyway, it's been a strange old couple of weeks really. I think this college is going to turn upside down all that I have believed - in particular about the bible and then place it back round in the right place. It was revealed to me the other day that The Bible might actually be made up of fairy stories! I mean apparently all these stories I've have longed believed in and loved may not be even true but the authors using poetic licence! And all these books probably weren't written in the order we find them in the bible. The Gospels were written after all the letters for instance! And you think one person wrote one book but actually it could have been a whole load of different writers for each book! Do you want me to go on???? Was Luke a Doctor? possibly. Was Luke a disciple? Apparently not!!! That was news to me and Alison who has now placed the 12 disciples up with Santa's Reindeer's and the Seven Dwarfs - names you think you know all of but actually you realise you don't. I've come to the conclusion that these writers were like journalists who like to write their interpretation of things which is not always the truth - but it's a good old story and makes someone look bad and someone look good.

But anyway, after chatting it through with My Saviour from Numptiness I've come to the conclusion that the Bible - the word of God - is meant to be a living word. If God is a living God and if the word is a living word then He's going to look after it and ensure that it reflects the truth about Him and His greatness. I still believe in it even though I've found out this crazy stuff. I believe it because it's words are true in the way we live it out in today's world. The words are true in so much as they have been a living reality for me, a source of comfort, a source of guidance, a source of joy and a source of challenge to me in my life as I try to do be all and do all that God wants of me.

Plus I've been shopping today with My Beautiful and that always makes me feel better and view life and things more logically!

Well, I might go back and see how England are doing - My Beautiful is clicking his finger which means he's getting excited/frustrated about it all. "Swing Low Sweet Chariot ....."