December Miscellany 2016

img_6275There seemed to be only one week plus one weekend in December – everything else was just a big soft-focused blur with a lot of present shopping, food shopping and house cleaning, (plus going to work of course…). The weekend was Christmas of course. The tree was put up and decorated with a team effort. Extra decorations in the living room were very festive. I’m keeping them on for a few more weeks!

The one week in sharp focus was the 10 + 1 glorious Carols by Candlelight services in Jesmond Parish Church and St Joseph’s Benwell.

Many of you would have heard my story from last year – an enormous amount of courage had to be summoned before I mentioned Carols by Candlelight and gave out invitation at a team meeting at work. I was encouraged by and thankful for people’s responses. This year even BEFORE I mentioned it again, people started to ask me about it. Nearly 20 colleagues and their families and friends came over the week. I was SO happy.

Singing in the choir. I used to prefer the other version of In the Bleak Midwinter but I can’t even remember how it goes now. And I’m sure Ding Dong! Merrily On High was the background music of my dreams for many nights. Love Came Down at Christmas was way too short. I could go on singing it forever. I love the piano music! One day I will be able to play it (maybe in 10 years’ time as Chris the Organist said!). Chris also said, you’ll improve faster with a teacher (it was learning piano he referred to, not organ). Hmm. I have this nightmare from childhood where a certain lady waved a long sharp pencil in front of my eyes and knocked my fingers with it when I made mistakes…


My husband and I had a day trip to Manchester for some serious business (passport renewal), during which we visited a friend who moved away from Newcastle a few years ago, and with whom I used to do weekly one to one bible studies with for a long time. She is probably the toughest girl I know, who would survive and thrive in any environment and life situation, always loving and joyful (and super organised!).

We also came across a lovely café run by Christians in Manchester, Anchor Coffee House. It took us a few minutes of detective work to find out it was a Christian business (text on the wall, worship songs in the background, cross on the necklace, determining factor: church event flyers on the shelf). I was really impressed by their publicity materials and bought the first suspended coffee in my life. I had a thorough study on the website of the café as well as the church after I got home (brilliant websites). It seemed to be an excellent example of what Timothy Keller talks about serving the city. I’ve put its name on the brainstorming page of JOURNEY #03  in my notebook – watch this space!


img_6299I got many books for Christmas from friends and families. Even from work! I think I made it clear that I like reading…

I continued reading Centre Church. Most of the reading was done during my daily commute and breaks at work. So far it has broadened my understanding of the gospel (I thought I have known it for eight years), improved my knowledge of culture (I thought I learnt enough of it at degree level) and completely challenged my ideas about the city (I don’t hate it anymore!) – and I’m not even half way through the book yet. What an adventure.

I finished reading the original screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I can’t quite match Tina (the heroin) in the book with the actress in the film.


Intern – love the inspiration of young people embracing their gifts and working hard in various creative fields.

Boat – love both the front covers! I only heard of the Faroe Islands this year because of the non-Google sheep view. You can find some short films on Boat‘s beautiful website. They are entirely shot on an iPhone! There’s really no excuse to not do creative things and blaming it on a lack of decent equipment!


Voortuin – the most creative in terms of format. Love it! I’ll have to copy the idea at some point.

If any of these magazines ask me to work for them, I’ll pack and go tomorrow (especially Boat!).


December was way busier than I expected. Good job most of the articles have come back to me. So if the new issue comes out late, it’s entirely my fault (so why did I say “good job”??) The aim is mid-January! Please pray for me if you pray :)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!


P.S The feature photo is a silver birch under my macro lens.





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