29 September 2007

Building excitement!!!

I've spent some time this morning going over my Sunday School lesson in my head while also getting packed for our delayed honeymoon: it wasn't half confusing! I'm so excited about getting away, I was reading through all our documents for travelling yesterday and I could feel butterflies of excitement in my tummy as I read and now looking at where we're staying on the website I'm getting more excited! I'm even opening up google earth to have a wee look and see if I can find it there!!! I need to try and focus on what needs done before I go, like packing and making sure we have everything we need with us! Rob leaves on Tuesday morning to go to London for training for work, then I'll meet him in London on Thursday once he's done and we leave for Menorca the next morning! Two weeks of sunshine and reading Harry Potter (I know it's bad.... I'm still finishing book 6 but plan to have finished 6 & 7 by the time I get home again).




It looks gorgeous right? I can't wait!

Choir for sale!!!!

I thought this was a rather funny ebay auction and thought I would share here.



"Reason for sale: The choir have (with extreme sadness) decided that even though they would have liked to have assisted with the future plans for the church, they essentially have no place in the new worship arrangements that will soon be imposed, and that little opportunity for negotiation now exists. "

HT to Ruth Gledhill from the Times Online

27 September 2007

Feeling small

Today was the first meeting for this term of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's Full Time Youth Worker day (aka PCI FTYW day).

I was looking forward to seeing some people who i hadn't seen all summer. Upon arrival though I stepped into a room full of lots and lots of faces I didn't know - i felt so so sooooo small. I wondered if I had maybe I had gone into the wrong room, when behind this mass of strange faces I spotted a group of youth workers I knew and breathed a sigh of relief.

It was rather funny though, as the older youth workers all grouped together while all the newbies grouped together.

The whole thing made me think about how it might be for a young person to step into a situation like that. When we have new people come along to our youth group, do they find their own way or do the other young people intentionally invite them into the group of existing friends?

How do we encourage our young people to be able to spot a new person and welocme them in? How do we stop the cliques? How do we break up cliques?

How do we change human nature?

26 September 2007

Dem bones dem bones

Yesterday at the butcher we asked for a few bones for Stewie and were handed a bag that weighed almost as much as Stewie himself. We got them home and put him out in the garden with the bones.

Check out the size of that!!!!! it's bigger than his head!


These are the rest of the bones he got.


And herer is where he was "smart" enough to hide one today.

24 September 2007

If only everyone saw you the way your dog does

That sunday feeling...

This was so me on Sunday morning after all the activity of Saturday:

Except that I'm not the vicar/minister etc

Catch up

Oops.... I didn't get time to blog over the weekend. Was a crazy time.

Friday was spent in lots of preparation for work on Sunday, as well as some general admin and making out lots of information sheets.

Saturday Rob and I travelled down to Kilkenny and back to visit family, in particular his brother who is real sick at the minute. I'll not go into online, but if you're the praying type please pray for Jason.
Stewie was left up to Belfast for the day and sounded like he had fun with my sister. Initially when we were picking him up he seemed to forget who Rob and I were. Silly dog.
After all that I was doing nightreach in the town. I had a great time, met so many young people and plenty of them with opinions about a rape that was reported to have happened there on saturday week. After all that I was in bed for about 3.30am

Sunday was filled with lots of work. Youth Breakfast, Bible Class, Church, Xtreme Team (Sunday school for P4-7), quick meeting with boss and grabbing random people about all sorts of things.
Afternoon was spent having a little nap, walk with the dog and some very quick chinese before heading out for the youth rally in Clonduff. The worship leader, Jon Batholomew, was really good, he played a lot of his own songs and made the praise a very reflective time. Really enjoyed the speaker (whose name has escaped me), he kept the message of "You are loved" very simple, very clear but very relevant.

Monday, today, so far i've been relaxing after all that happened over the weekend. Rob has been having fun this morning though as today our new iMac arrived so he's been playing away with it and getting it all prepared for what we'll be using it for.
The rest of today for me should include walking the dog (hope the sun stays for that), getting the shopping in, cleaning the house a bit and starting to sort what's going on holiday with us. But for now I'll chill out a while longer.

20 September 2007

Congrats Mum and Dad!!!

Today is my parents 27th wedding anniversary! Congratulations! Love you both loads!

(This is a pic of the two of them having fun at my own wedding earlier this year.)

18 September 2007

Youth in need

HT to Tim Schmoyer for highlighting this video. It speaks volumes that growns ups just can't understand about the issues young people today are going through and struggling with, and puts the pressure on all of us to help and support them through this.

Talk like a pirate day


Tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!!!! Yar! And it being that I live in a town called Blackskull I feel further obliged to remind you all of this fact. Hope you remember! Fill me in if you do!

17 September 2007

blast from the past

I came rushing home from Tesco yesterday after shopping for food for our YF, and told Rob the story I'm about to tell you... he thought I was weird and rolled his eyes at me but despite that I still feel the compulsion to share this story with you.....


You know how it can be in Tesco: everyone is in their own little world mostly clueless about what's going on around them as they try to remember what all they came in for. Well there i was at the till ready to pay and go when I looked at the person who had been in front of me and realised i knew her. I looked at her, as she looked back at me with a similar I know you from somewhere look, and said her name. She replied, "Ruth? I wasn't sure if that was you!" Instantly I was back at school, i pictured myself with my bad hair (not that it's any better these days), wearing the ever so glamourous B.R.A. uniform, feeling all nerdy and looking her as one of the "cool" girls again.

(BTW I have no idea who the girl in the photo is, i got it off the B.R.A. site and I'd imagine she's about 3rd year given the uniform and the fact it's from a business class therefore I was never at school with her.... anyways I'm getting off the point).

We chatted briefly and found out that we both were living in Banbridge now and that another of the "cool" girls has just got married and is moving down too. Then we ended the conversation with a "You're on bebo right? We'll have to meet up."

It was all rather odd, I mean neither of these girls would have spoke to me much at school. But people have changed and gorwn up and matured since then. We shall see if the meet up ever happens tho.

Last week's list?

Last week I put up a list of things i'd to get done last week and I thought I'd follow up on how it all turned out:

> a funeral tomorrow where I'm taking care of the sound
> getting the youth news letter finalised and printed for distribution this Sunday.

> Sorting out the leaders for Scouts - Scouts is not starting back for a couple more weeks so it's fine that ithasn't been finished yet
> preparing children's address for Sunday
> Writing letters to young people from Bible Class and those moving up into it so they know we're starting and about some of the changes we're making - I phoned them instead
> Print the Bannside Information Sheets (this is a leaflet that tells you about all the organisations, including contact details) - waiting to hear from the boss if they get the go ahead to print and distribute.
> Prepare a lesson for Bible Class
> Meet with luncheon circle leader to prepare menus, leadership teams, rota, dates etc.

> Preparing parent's letters to let them know what's happening in our Youth Fellowship until Christmas
> Preparing and going to a meeting of worship committee to plan the praise to be sung in church until Christmas
> Go to Junior YF and YF.
> Prepare the Order of Service
> Meet up with a couple of female clergy for Breakfast and prayer time.



All in all not too bad! Feel quite pleased with myself, however lots mor eot be getting on with this week.

16 September 2007

ASBO Jesus




HT to Marko for highlighting this blog called ASBO Jesus full of little cartoons based on church life and Christianity. Full of all sorts of uses for ministry.

14 September 2007

Mustard

I met up with a friend today who had been away all summer on work placements. She has just got engaged last weekend and I couldn't be happier for her and her fiance. Don't want to mention names here because I know they're still trying to tell people the news themselves. But congrats to you both!

So anyways we met up today and got some subway to take to the park and eat there, then walk wee Stewie. We arrived at the park and found as we were looking for a bench that we had a stray labrador following us. He and Stewie played for a while and we noticed that there was no one else around and looking for this dog. I called the dog warden and it ended up that we had to walk the dog with us (fortunately Stewie's collar fitted the dog seeing as he didn't have one and we had 2 leads to walk both dogs on) until the warden came. This dog was great walking on the lead, didn't pull or anything, meanwhile Stewie who's used to being let loose in the forest was pulling and yanking on it and pulling my arm out of it's socket. We ended up nicknaming the dog Mustard because of the colour of his fur (and yeah I know what you're thinking, wouldn't Goldie or Honey be a better way to describe the colour, but we liked Mustard). Eventually the warden came and picked the dog up.

Hope Mustard finds his way home, if not that, I hope he ends up in a good home.

13 September 2007

New links 2

A few new blogs are linked in the "Blogs I read" section of my wee sidebar over there ----->

Debs Erwin works as the Preparing Youth to be Peacemakers Co-ordinator for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland on the Youth and Children's Board...... wow that was a lot of links in that sentence!

Sarah (soon to be Sarah Patterson) Reid is a friend of mine whom I love dearly and am gla dot see she's joined the blogging world... especially seeing as she's awesome in the kitchen too! Hope to see more recipes and ideas!

Robin Todd studied with my hubby in University so it's good to be able to catch up and hear what he and his girlfriend Lindsey have been up to.... just don't get to see them that often these days!

That's all for now but will continue to update any new links for you as they come.

First month review

I have been blogging faithfully now for one month and as i said before quite proud of this achievement.

For those who are interested here are some of the stats (obtained via Google Analytics) from the last month concerning this blog:

1. There have been 291 visits.

a) 193 of those have come via referring sites including blogger.com, bebo.com, marramgrass.org.uk, twitter.com, colinforeman.wordpress.com and Alan in Belfast
b) 90 of those visits are direct traffic
c) 8 of those visits are from search engines
2. Google searches (unless stated otherwise) that have brought people to this site are:
a) babes portadown
b) banbridge babes
c) bicycle babes
d) e babes
e) http://ruthebabes.blogspot.com
f) lurgan babes (via aol)
g) mom2 6pack blog
h) ruth elkin

It's interesting how many people are looking for babes in Northern Ireland

3. 269 visits came from the UK
19 visits came from the USA
1 visit came from Trinidad and Tobago
1 visit came from Brazil
1 visit came from an unidentified source


I find all this quite interesting as to how people have come to find my blog or how many people are lokoing at it etc

Could I be a good DJ?


We have a local radio station in Banbridge called Shine FM, described by the directors as "secular radio with a Christian ethos" and with Sunday's being filled with Christian music. Two of the directors for the radio station are members of my church and have been asking me to become a DJ for the station. I have been apprehensive about this feeling that really I'll not be a good radio personality and have no clue what to talk about.

So I need an opinion... for those of you who know me, do you think I could be good as a radio DJ?

12 September 2007

Police are too busy?

I've heard so much recently about the police being too busy to do things. For example a lady in church has called the police several times about vandalism taking place in her street. Another example is a member of the police who was speaking at the Nightreach AGM last weekend who was expressing her thanks to the Nightreach volunteers for what they do because crime has reduced because of it and now they can get to following up on crimes like burglary, vandalism, violence and more because they are so busy.

Well today I decided that I don't buy it. If they're really so busy how come three police officers were walking round Hillsborough lake today at quite a leisurely pace.... in fact Stewie and I had 2 laps done in the time it took them to do almost 1 lap. So next time I hear a police officer say they're too busy, I'll tell them to move to Hillsborough Police Station, they seem to have a lot of time on their hands. I might just apply myself!

Johnny Vegas's Guide to..... Evangelical Christianity

I caught the end of Johnny Vegas's Guide to..... Evangelical Christianity last night as I was in bed and I found it quite fascinating. Johnny Vegas went to America to experience the Evangelical church there. He discusses the faith he had in his youth and how when he was younger he had planned to go into the priesthood.



Two things he said in closing struck me, not so much in the fact I didn't realise it, but more in the way that the church in general doesn't realise it. Please note it's not a quote word for word as it was late and I was tired but it's the general gist of of what he said.

1. He said that he loved what they (they being the Christians he had met on his journey) had, however he wasn't envious enough of it to go and make a step of commitment to Christ.

I'm really not sure what to make of it. We have such a great faith and a great God on our side, which should be making people "envious" and make them want that for themselves, however I feel that the church in general doesn't express itself or show that it has a living faith as opposed to a dead irrelevant faith that has nothing to offer. It's like Sunday morning in church when we sing about how much we love God and are thankful for what He has done, but at the same time we have a sad depressed face on us. I'm not saying I'm perfect at this myself, but it's definitely something we all need to work on - we need ot be more excited about our faith and excited about what it has to offer other people.

Looking back to my post on If you can catch them at that age you keep them and reflecting on what Johnny Vegas said, I still don't believe it's our purpose to entertain and attract people to Christ, but to allow Him to work through us to draw people to him.
I heard someone say recently (can't remember where but have a feeling it might have been summer school) that we are to allow God's light to shine through us without us distorting that light.... however the only person who did that perfectly was Jesus, the point is we have to let Him shine through us and work through us.

2. He also said he wasn't sure how he could have faith back home in England compared to what he expressed in the states

It's true though isn't it? How often have you been on a retreat or a trip where it was so much easier to express your faith and talk about what you believe because you're in a "bubble" and that's the way life is there, but the real test comes when you are in the real world and living out that faith. Generally when it comes to the real world we are left on our own to deal with it. Community is vital to our growth socially, emotionally, developmentally, personally and spiritually. I'm glad that churches are Christian communities, but how often does that community only exist on a Sunday? When it comes to the nitty gritty of everyday life do you find your Christian community encouraging you, supporting you and building you up - and vice versa! If not I encourage you to build that community in your church.

I'll be praying for Johnny as he continues to explore his spirituality, that he will find his way back to faith in Christ and that he will find Christians who can help him to grow in his faith too.

10 September 2007

How cheap am I?

Coppied this from my cooking blog

For dinner tonight I made some curry.... and I use the word made in the loosest way possible. I fried chicken, added Sainsburys Basic Curry Sauce, threw in a chopped chilli, chopped apple, raisins and chopped fresh corriander and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so. Served with rice and naan for me, mash potato and naan for Rob. I love this curry sauce however I worry a little about it because the jar cost 8p.... yeah that's all 8p..... I wonder where people are being ripped off, or what is being skimped on, or what quality the ingredients are in it and even how healthy it really is.... I really gotta make it from scratch sometime, just hope what I make will be as nice!

It's kick off time

Well it's official, the summer is over.... lots of our church organisations are starting back this week, meaning a whole new type of busy and lots to get stuck into.

This week includes:
> a funeral tomorrow where I'm taking care of the sound
> getting the youth news letter finalised and printed for distribution this Sunday.
> Sorting out the leaders for Scouts
> preparing children's address for Sunday
> Writing letters to young people from Bible Class and those moving up into it so they know we're starting and about some of the changes we're making.
> Print the Bannside Information Sheets (this is a leaflet that tells you about all the organisations, including contact details)
> Prepare a lesson for Bible Class
> Meet with luncheon circle leader to prepare menus, leadership teams, rota, dates etc.
> Preparing parent's letters to let them know what's happening in our Youth Fellowship until Christmas
> Preparing and going to a meeting of worship committee to plan the praise to be sung in church until Christmas
> Go to Junior YF and YF.
> Prepare the Order of Service
> Meet up with a couple of female clergy for Breakfast and prayer time.

Fat weekend

Recently I've been trying to eat healthier and exercise a little more to try and lose a little (emphasis on little) weight. However, this past weekend has been filled with a LOT of eating.... grrrr.

Saturday night, Rob and I went to dinner at Rob's Dad's house with his stepmum and my parents. To start there was crisps, carrot and celery sticks and dips... those crisps were addictive. Then dinner was BBQed chicken breast, potato wedges, green leaf salad, potato salad, coleslaw...... so yum, but think I had too much of that. Then dessert: strawberries, marshmallows, chocolate dipping sauce, lemon roulade, chocolate cheesecake..... i thought i was gonna explode, but again dead yummy.

Then Sunday night was a meal with the church music group seeing as I ocassionally play or sing with them. We all met at Christine's house (she organises the group) where she had put on an amazing spread:
lasagne, quiche, green leaf salad, waldorf salad, orange salad (grated carrots and mandarin segments in orange jelly), green salad (chopped apple, celery etc in green jelly), sliced ham, pineapple, prawns (with thousand island dressing), crisps and dips, scotch eggs, pork pies, bean salad, peanuts, morrocan salad, potato salad and lots more which i'm struggling to think of right now. I had filled my plate and cleaned it then went back for some more..... not realising there was dessert to come too! Dessert: fruit salad, pavlova, bannoffee and pecan roulade. Then there was tea and coffee with little tray bakes and the like! Again I thought i was going to explode.

It was all very impressive, however now I'm feeling the guilt of all that eating after trying to eat sensibly and healthily.... I fear I'll be eating carrot sticks this week lol

07 September 2007

Watching grass grow

For the last few months Rob and I have been watching the grass grow in our front (and back) garden, moreso in the front garden though. We didn't have a lawnmower until today (I took my dad's old one out of his hands) and really there is supposed to be a gardener for our square who cuts the grass in the front gardens of the 15 houses looking into the square, however since we have moved in (last Christmas) it has been cut once by the gardener. And now today once by me! Here's some kind of before/after pics:



First post review

I just looked back at my first post on this blog and felt strangely proud of myself. In the past I've been useless at keeping a blog up to date or regular and I said in the first post "I'd love a new post every 2 or 3 days but really i suppose i'll be happy with a new post each week." Now looking back at my posting since then I think I'm doing really good, in fact this past week I've posted 11 times, last week 9, the week before that 7 and the week before that 2.

I feel I deserve a little treat now. :o)

New links



I'm just copying Mark here and highlighting a few new links I've added to the "Blogs I read" section on the sidebar.

Mark Goody is the first new one, I met him a year ago at Summer School and am glad to have been reaquainted with him online now!

Colin Foreman I met this year at Summer School and had a great time getting to know him and learn along side him.

Both great guys with great insights, recommend you to have a read.

God pie



I came across this video quite some time ago, and I can't remember how I did, but it stuck me how much we try to fit into our lives and how little of it we give back to God.

06 September 2007

"If you can catch them at that age you keep them"

I've heard that phrase used so often recently with regards to various ages of children and young people. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I disagree entirely with the statement, but I do think there is something wrong with it.

Firstly, in a context of children or young people coming to faith and knowing Jesus, it is Jesus who does the catching. They are not a prize for us to win or something for us to bring to God and say "hey look what I did". It is a phrase that implies that we have to catch their attention and keep it by any means possible. And yes I suppose we do have to catch their attention but we are doing it to the glory of God, and to introduce them to Him by telling them the good news of the gospel: not to entertain them and keep them in our organisations and churches.

Secondly, it seems to be assumed of lots of age groups.... 7, 8, 9 and 10 year olds starting to fall to peer pressure, children moving into secondary school, young teenagers going through puberty, older teens getting into a new social scene, the 20s, the 30s, the young families........ the list goes on. So really if you have to "catch them" at all these ages should the phrase not be "If you can catch them you keep them"? ......... but like I said before we don't do the catching.

Thirdly: "you keep them"? This follows on a bit from what i said in the firstly bit in that they are not ours to keep: they are for God to keep.

However all that said we do need to have a sense of responsibility for our brothers and sisters in teaching the good news and discipling and encouraging. It's just very important to remember that none of this is for us! And that we need to be relying totally on God for his strength, guidance and His timing in it all.

You know I feel like I've just spent a lot of time waffling and not making any sense but I hope I have. I also feel like I may have just sounded quite controversial too. Please let me know what you think!

We wish you a merry Christmas? Already?

Walking through Tesco last night trying to pick up a few bits and pieces I come across the "seasonal" aisle..... filled with Christmas cake, tins of chocolate and advent calendars! What?!?!?!?!?!?!

Back up! The day before I had also passed that aisle trying to find stuff for work and it was full of books, dvds and bbq stuff..... I was in shock, I actually think my heart stopped momentarily. Mind you I did end up walking over and admiring one of my favourite cakes..... Christmas Cake! It's just awesome! It was quite a battle but I resisted!

It's way too soon for Christmas cake and the like!

05 September 2007

Odd conversation # 1


Had an odd telephone conversation today. I had called the College opposite the church in reply to a call they made me. It went as follows:

College: Hello Southern Regional College Banbridge
Me: Hi, I'm wondering if I could speak to **** ****
College: She's not here right now can i take a message?
Me: Yes would you tell her that Ruth from Bannside Presbyterian Church called?
College: Ok who called?
Me: Ruth
College: From Banbridge what?
Me: From Bannside Presbyterian
College: Presbyterian? Is that a school?
Me: Ummm no it's a CHURCH
College: Oh right, where's that?
Me: Across the road from the college
College: There's a church there? Is it new?
Me: Been here for 140 years now.
College: Oh................ well I'll leave that message for **** ****
Me: Thanks, bye.
College: Bye.

Are people just that oblivious to what is around them? Or in front of them for that matter?

04 September 2007

This ain't daft.... punk

I saw this a while ago and have been trying to do it ever since.

It takes a wee while for it to get going, but stick with it... i promise it's good

are you one of THEM?

I'm quite intrigued to see what becomes of this from the BBC.

16 weeks

I was out at the butchers with Rob this morning, where he noticed a sign for their Christmas club saying "16 weeks til Christmas"

16 weeks? Not too far away but far enough away to start thinking about what to be getting for people. So I'll need to make a wee list of who I'm getting presents for and start thinking of what to get them, because I find that is more than half the battle.

03 September 2007

Dancemat mania!

Ages ago I said "I think i'll resurrect the dance mat again today" and failed ot actually do so, but today ti is all plugged in and up and running. I don't know what notion came over me but I'm having a bit of dancemat mania tonight.... I'll be dreaming about this tonight.

However I don't throw my arms about like the girl in the pic.

02 September 2007

Home again



Wow, the past few days have been amazing, I've learnt and heard so much.... in fact so much that I haven't even had time to think it all through just yet. However we have been given CDs with the audio recordings from all the maina sessions and I've made loads and loads of notes form Summer School, so I'll spend some time over the next few weeks thinking what's next in the youth ministry and what needs to be changed and developed. So you should expect some update on that gradually.



Mind you one little thing I learnt that is totally irrelevant to youth ministry or anything we were learning about is that I seem to write much neater with a fine biro as opposed to a medium one..... I'd always preferred medium because they write much smoother but seeing as I ended up with a fine pen this weekend I rather like them now because I can actually read what I've written! Anyway I'll stop talking nonsense now......

Quick note about the teaching though: Duffy Robbins, Chap Clark and Craig Mawhinney were incredible, they spoke with such clairty and knowledge in their subjects and made it so easy to listen for hours. Thanks guys!



I've also had a great chance to catch up with old friends, meet some new ones and mend some friendships that had broken down a little. So the trip was a success in that respect also. I did miss Rob and wee Stewie though so I'm also glad to be home again and spending some time with them.

Well shall update soon.