Start of a Beggining

This is the start of a beginning. That sounds grammatically incorrect but, I believe, with God we are given many beginnings. 

I am already on my journey with Christ and last Wednesday marked the beginning of me helping others with their journeys in faith. A seed that was planted within me is no longer a sapling but a blossoming tree, reaching far and wide but always towards the light. Still vulnerable to the weather but strongly rooted and most importantly still growing underground and in the open air.

This past week I have been camping on a field with 20 leaders and 50 girls for Girls Brigade camp, and what a privilege it has been. Since the age of 13 I have attended this particular camp every summer and with age, graduated from girl, too squad leader, too young  leader and, for the past two years, leader. Every year camp has helped me on my faith journey and camp 2013 saw the moment I let Christ into my life but this year was different. I felt different. Not different in myself or the environment but a difference in purpose. God hadn’t sent me too camp to learn and benefit me, as previous years would suggest, but instead He was using me to help others build a relationship with Him. 

For me this is a break through, over the last two years my faith has grown enormously so this difference in purpose cements that my life has changed for good. 

That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.

Philippians 2:13


Forgiveness is a funny thing.

Always talked about and suggested by people offering advice but very rarely achieved. We all drag the weight of grudges and resentment around with us. And not necessarily because we do not want to forgive but because it is so damn hard!

Earlier this week I found myself in a situation in need of me being forgiving. My boyfriend abandoned plans for a night in together and went to a gig instead. Which is fine, apart from the fact that he failed to inform me of the revised arrangements and left me to spend the evening alone.

As it worked out I had a rather nice evening but in this day and age communication isn’t hard at all, which is where I held my grievances. Now you may be thinking this sound trivial. If so, yes, you are correct! But I still spent a good two hours fretting and being generally annoyed by his actions (or lack of, as the case maybe).

Eventually I set about seeking Gods help, as he is the King of forgiveness (among many other things)! And of course my boyfriend is now forgiven and life moves on. But my point is that it took me a good few hours and Gods support for me to find forgiveness for someone not sending a text. So it’s no wonder it takes longer for a more serious situation requiring forgiveness. However even in this trivial situation I felt a weight disappear when forgiveness sunk in. Imagine the glorious relief after forgiving something more!

That is easier said than done. An analogy I heard recently changed comes to mind;

Not forgiving is like pouring a cup of poison and instead of handing it to the other person, you drink it yourself.

I have this image of the poison frothing and curdling inside my stomach and creeping up around my heart. And forgiveness is the only antidote. By not forgiving we prevent ourselves from moving forward. By no means am I suggesting that it will happen immediately. Allow yourself time, pray about it and do it for your own sake. And when it comes to forgive&forget maybe we should leave that to God!

But I, yes I, am the one
who takes care of your sins—that’s what I do.
I don’t keep a list of your sins.

isaiah 43 v 25

Chinese Whispers

Never, till today, have I fully understood why gossiping was considered an awful thing to do. But it turns out I didn’t actually understand the true meaning of gossiping. Apparently it isn’t just having a little whisper to your friend to get it off your chest; in fact it’s the other end of the scale. It’s spreading rumours, and interfering with not only people’s private lives but also they’re professional ones. Criticising and judging them for something you think they are guilty of or have heard about, but never saying anything to their face. Essentially it’s Chinese whispers but we are not on the playground anymore; this is people’s self esteem, livelihoods and relationships hanging in the balance.

Since September I have been working in a large primary school and from the word go was warned by a few people to ‘watch my back’ because of cliques that have often turned nasty. But I took it with a pinch of salt and went in open minded. With my general attitude of getting on with everybody and forming my own opinions. If you had asked me of those opinions last week, the answer would be very, if not entirely different to now.

Recently I began working more closely with another member of staff. And we became the centre of the wide spread gossip. From what I can gather snide remarks and disapproving comments were heard amongst the lowest pay bands all the way up to senior leadership. I am not going to insult anyones intelligence by denying it all. We get on well, with good banter and flirting became a regular occurrence. However with an imminent move to London on the cards I did tell myself to keep a distance, I suppose in an attempt at self-preservation. But there was something about him and I liked who I was around him. One thing led too another and I suppose you could say we were ‘romantically-entangled’. No labels, no public displays of affection… Unless sitting next to each other in the school canteen counts as a romantic gesture, your call!

Maybe we spent too much time together and were asking for trouble but I can’t help feeling the gossip is more petty than that. Two good looking, young teachers assistants, not meaning to sound vain, cheerily spending time together is bound to attract more attention than some middle aged teachers who go round with faces like sour plums, who are just downright miserable in their working environment. And other factors such as an age gap of over 5 years and me being the daughter of a senior member of staff, evidently caught the interest of many. Not to mention two people of the opposite sex communicating (God forbid!).

So maybe it turns out gossiping is a distraction from looking at your own life, and the more I write the clearer it is becoming. Yes, it’s ridiculous that people don’t have anything better to talk about than my ‘maybe, maybe not’ love life. However it is 100% ludicrous that I would ever let these opinions effect my decisions or feelings.

What does sting though is what feels like an attack on my strength of character. Like the minds behind the whispers think I simply don’t understand what I’m doing and can’t stand up for myself. Maybe it’s because I’m blond or the youngest in the entire staff body, I’m not sure. They however are mistaken. I know what I believe when it comes to the plans for my life:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)

My faith will not be shaken, I fully intend to stick to my guns and I am not a damsel in distress.

That thought is a mind boggling one though, because surely if the cause for concern is great enough to be shared with others then doesn’t that deserve a rescue attempt? Are my work colleagues stood back, watching me run into an ocean of man-eating hippopotami or do they deep down know they rely on speculation and possibly even enjoy these self-integrity-damaging past times? In this instance the latter seems more likely but the fact that I considered the previous demonstrates just how much damage gossiping can do. Often resulting in planting seeds of doubt in vulnerable minds.

Now I look at it the term ‘Romantic entanglement’ makes it sound like a meaningless fling but that’s not true. If I’m honest at the beginning there was an element of danger that was my main attraction to him but that soon changed. And I am yet to see a side of him I don’t like. Moreover I know I care because my main concern when this issue arose was what effect it would have on him. How it would effect his work life, reputation and what he felt about me. The way that the gossip went, he came off badly. Which, I’m not going to lie, I feel guilty for. Because there is nothing worse than feeling like you have caused unnecessary complications for someone you care about.

Apparently everyone’s main concern is about his past reputation but I couldn’t give a monkeys and honestly have no desire to hear the details. People change, I need look no further than myself to see that. This may sound naive but it’s not, it’s true. Many of us would be written off as ‘bad eggs’ if our histories were written down in black and white, I know I certainly would be. But people aren’t black and white, there are many shades to a soul, you just have to mix it up a few times to find the perfect match. Equally I believe we make the decision of who to let close enough too hurt us. And if I do get hurt by this person being in my life, I have no doubt all that the gossipers will have their ‘2 penny’s worth’ then as well. But I think we choose who burns us and if I get burnt I will not regret my choices, it will have been a privilege.

Because people don’t just randomly appear in our lives, they are there to teach us something, to learn from us or more commonly, both! Therefore those who gossip should feel guilty for potentially denying others the opportunity to to grow as a person. The one thing I am guilty of is having too much faith in the human race. But I don’t think that that will ever change. There is too much good in the world. But equally so much good waiting to be done. I know who I am, where I’m heading and who I want in my life. But it’s a shame that some people are so lost and stuck in daily routine, that they have lost sight of who they are and the purpose they were placed here.

We come in peace :)

If a stranger smiled at you, how would you react?
This is something I occasionally try out, and most people look at me like I am a three-headed unicorn with spaghetti for hair. Or a fish with four legs doing the Cha-Cha slide.
It’s funny because I could go anywhere in the world and the universal meaning of a smile would need no explanation. A friendly greeting, I suppose it’s the human equivalent of ‘I come in peace’.
Yet if someone smiles at somebody on their own street or in their local community it’s branded as ‘weird’ if not crazy!
But occasionally you will get a smile back and that could be the best moment of somebody’s day. Last week I was waiting at the bus stop and there was a mum whose toddler was having a complete melt down. There were also various other people stood around doing that ‘semi-watching- whilst pretending not to notice the screaming child’ thing. Can you imagine how much better the situation would have been if everyone had smiled at the mother!
I genuinely think that we can improve the vibe of our communities by smiling more. Okay, so you are probably now thinking ‘she’s a crazy hippy’ but hear me out; how many times a day do you send a ‘smilie’ emoji? Whether whilst texting or posting on social media, now imagine if every time somebody used a ‘virtual smile’ they also gave a real smile to someone who just happened to be there. That’s a beautiful thought, the thought of so many waves of happiness being sent out into the world for no particular reason, just simply ‘because’.
We may not have the most sunny summers here in the UK, but we can send out our own little glimpses of sunshine. So next time you’re out for a walk, in a queue or on the bus, try sharing a smile.
Go on, I dare you!

Theresa May: the woman who hates education, love, and my girlfriend

That Hopeful Stage

The idea of this blog is for me to chart the journey I take in applying to drama school.  So it feels dishonest not to mention the biggest roadblock in that journey.

There are obviously obstacles to choosing acting as a profession: it’s financially perilous and so oversaturated with talented, beautiful people that it’s hard to get a foot in the door.  You need a solid financial base to get through the years of training and unpaid work experience that might not actually lead anywhere.  It’s an unstable and unpredictable career.  That really would be enough to be going with – but no.  The biggest roadblock to me managing to become a Real Life Actor is Theresa May.

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A to B

What is it about travelling and watching the world go by that’s so peaceful?
I don’t know whether it’s the tranquility of the rolling hills or the time alone with your own thoughts. Maybe it’s the idea that’s nobody is home, everybody is temporarily a misplaced person and waiting for their correct destination.

Now living in Yorkshire, I found myself contemplating this whilst travelling back from Cardiff, where I have lived for the previous 11 years. And even though travelling is considered stressful, I have never felt so content. It was a moment to breath after the chaos of Christmas and New Year. And I knew as soon as I returned a wave of applications, auditions and timetables would hit me.

I’m a gap year student; in my parents opinion I should be using this time to earn money and decide to study a ‘sensible’ degree. However I completely disagree, this year shouldn’t be entirely focused on my next step in life when there’s lessons to be learnt and sights to be seen! Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% dedicated to getting into drama school but I’m not there yet. I’m working in a primary school in central Bradford, teaching performing arts. It’s a chance for me to share my passion with children who otherwise wouldn’t ever act, sing or dance. And you know what, already I can feel myself becoming more determined to gain a place at drama school because our goals shouldn’t just be about ourselves but with others held in mind. See, I’m learning already! Even though this year is a break before uni and I don’t know exactly where I’m heading next, I have to embrace the now as these opportunities will never come again.

We spend to much of our lives focused on moving from A to B. Sometimes we need to chill, absorb the blessings around us and bask in the joy of the present moment. Yes this year we all have targets to meet but I also want to learn more about myself, God and this awesome world around me. By taking time along the way to glance around us, help others and realise what we have to be thankful for: not only will we achieve our targets but we will smash them head on!

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