Author: Andy

Hymns in the Attic

Hymns in the AtticMy parents come from a generation where you didn’t throw anything away because one day it might come in useful. It is why they have an attic which some would consider a treasure trove, I consider it a dust filled, spider inhabited, sweat box. But it was whilst searching for some thing amongst those dust covered boxes that I discovered they had kept all my secondary school exercise books, not sure why they thought they might be of use some day but there they were. And in the midst of these old exercise books, some of which were quite amusing to read, I discovered an old hymn book from my junior school which back then we would sing from in the daily assembly. I don’t know how I ended up with it as it is technically the property of that school and so whilst I repent of my sins for I presume not returning it at the end of my time there I doubt they would want it back some 35+ years later.

But I tell you what, flicking through this small and extremely battered hymn book brought back some amazing memories especially when I came across hymn 30 which was “Morning Has Broken”. Continue reading

Do they still say The Lord’s Prayer in schools?

I ask that question because I remember when I was at junior school and certainly during the first couple of years at secondary school we said The Lord’s Prayer every day during assembly. Although I am sure like many I only learned to say The Lord’s Prayer parrot fashioned rather than really taking to heart the words, well I was young and more interested in playing marbles at the time.

But the other morning I found myself not just saying The Lord’s Prayer but also contemplating the words. Truthfully it had been too many years since I had last said it and forgot the exact words of one line. But that contemplating of the words led to me digging in to them deeper as I found myself thinking about them over and over again, kind of like having the most beautiful prayer ear worm. So this post is simply how The Lord’s Prayer has ended up speaking to me and what I learned as I delved deeper.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;

Continue reading

My Big Fat Church Family Reunion

My Big Fat Church Family ReunionBefore I returned to church I asked God for a sign as to whether I should return to the church which I left as a young adult or whether I needed to move on to another church for a fresh start. I returned to the church which you could say I grew up in and it had certainly changed in those years I had been away. The pastor’s son was now senior pastor, they had not only moved to a new building but were now using a school for their Sunday service having out grown the building they built. And not only were there so many new faces but it felt like very few remained from those years when I was part of the church and everyone knew each other.

The thing is that the church was not only the thing to have changed in those years as I had certainly changed. Having battled gambling addiction, debt and ill health, which not only led to depression but it also led to me becoming even more introverted than I was as a teen Continue reading

Letting Go of Being a Control Freak

Letting Go of being a Control FreakI have wrestled with not knowing God’s plan for my life for what seems a long time; I have spent days reading the bible and blog posts about discovering his plan which tell you to trust and pray as he guides your steps. And I know I am not alone in doing this because I know that like many I like to live life with an end goal is so that I can plan my next steps and know what I am doing the rest of today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year.

But in truth it isn’t so much about the goal and the plan to achieve it but it is about being in control and in particular it is about ME, I want to be in control, knowing what I will do next in order to achieve that goal. The irony of this is that from my own experiences having a plan and being in control is an illusion because pretty much every time I have a plan for how a day will play out it rarely does. Continue reading

Pity Party for One

Pity Party for OneI am not a huge fan of parties, people doing small talk is a challenge for me, but I use to have quite a regular party, a pity party just for me so that I could moan about life being unfair and so on. Praise the Lord that I have moved on from those days where thanks to wallowing in self pity I could easily waste an entire day feeling bad for myself and moaning about how much my life sucked.

But as with most things in life I have learned a few things about dealing with that life robbing fed-up funk which I want to share with you.

1) Tell the Devil to Do One

That image is a pin I found on pinterest, I don’t know who originated it as it has been pinned, shared and tweeted enough times that it is hard to find the source. But it is an image out of a study bible and it tells you right there what the devil does; he wants you to feel self-pity, he wants you to feel like you deserve better, I could go on but to put it plainly the devil lies and it is those lies which are making you feel bad and indulging in self pity, believing the World owes you something and you deserve an easy ride. Continue reading

Wondering Why Without a Flux Capacitor

Paul Nigh's '' Back to the Future DeLorean Time MachineWhilst not intended this post works as a companion piece to “Don’t Let Your Past Rob You of Now” as they both focus on dealing with your past.

This year marks 10 years since I had major back surgery and when ever I look in the mirror at my back I can see the long scar which is a reminder that I have a few screws and wires in my spine. Whilst the operation has provided me some stability it didn’t remove the pain, lust lessened it a little and I still require a stick to walk with. My back issues are not the only thing which doesn’t seem to have changed a great deal over the last decade; I may be debt free and self employed but I barely scrape through each week just like many do. And whilst I never imagined it would be this way I am still living in my parents’ home.

But do you know what, all this; my history with gambling, the debt I ended up in, the back issues and other health issues I have contended with are no longer baggage which I drag around but are part of my story and are blessings. Yes, I really did say blessings Continue reading

Movie Review – The Bouquet (2013)

Kristy Swanson as Terri in The Bouquet (2013)
Kristy Swanson as Terri in The Bouquet (2013)

Terri Benton (Kristy Swanson) is busy with her job in the city, so busy that when ever her mother, Bonnie (Nicola Cavendish), calls asking her to come home to see her father she always fobs her off. Terri’s sister, Mandy (Alberta Mayne), is not much better as whilst she only lives 20 miles away she is always busy with the latest cause she is championing. But when Terri and Mandy’s father suddenly dies it leads to both girls coming home only to learn more bad news, the florists that he ran with Bonnie, assisted by their friend Sam (Michael Shanks), is in dire straits and in need of a miracle to survive. What Terri hasn’t told anyone is that shortly before her father died she was let go from her job and so throws herself in to saving the business, bringing it into the 21st century. Trouble is that she plans to return to the city as soon as she gets a job offer, which means leaving everything to Mandy to keep going whilst spurning any advances from Sam.

I like all types of movies but particular like those movies which deliver an inspirational message whilst also enjoying those movies which are inoffensive and family friendly. “The Bouquet” falls into that second group as it is an inoffensive movie which is sweet and charming. Continue reading

The Middle Step of the Stairs

The Middle Step of the StairsWe all have our routines from the way we wash to the way we prepare a meal. But I have a routine which I wouldn’t be surprised if it causes God to shake his head in bemusement and say hear we go again. It is a routine which comes from when there is some thing on my mind which I can’t shake and which begins to disrupt my day.

So it starts with a thought; now it may be a situation in my life surrounding some thing I have been asked to do, it may be some thing to do with my own psyche as I deal with issues of self-esteem and it may be some thing which I think might happen even though it probably won’t. But as it starts I find myself unable to focus on what I was planning on doing, be it trying to study my Bible, writing a movie review or preparing social media posts. And of course that struggle to stay focused leads to frustration and often a session of walking around, staring out of the window and generally trying to do some thing to take my mind off of what ever it is which is bugging me, trust me food does not help this matter. Continue reading

Don’t Let Your Past Rob You of Now

Don't Let Your Past Rob You of NowIf you have read my testimony, and if not why not, you will know there are one or two things in my past which for a while I let define me, having once been a former gambler who ran up massive debts is not some thing you shake off and deal with over night. But thanks to the grace of God I have moved on from those times and rather than seeing them as something I should keep hidden like a dirty secret I see them as something which happened which God has not only used to grow me as a person but will use to help others who might be going through similar times. Yet this blog post isn’t about those things from are pasts, those things which we have dealt with and moved on from, but the other things which end up robbing us in the now, keeping us a prisoner of the fear of failing.

The best way to explain this is to give you an example from my own life. As a teenager growing up in an evangelical church we were encouraged to share our faith with people, yes we were called to evangelise. Now I never felt comfortable doing that, not that I didn’t believe it was something we were called to do as Christians but I simply never felt confident enough to talk to strangers, not just about being a Christian but basically about anything and as for talking to groups, well I would find any excuse not to. I will blame part of that on the effects of negative “what if” teaching by those who should have been empowering me Continue reading

Movie Review – Have a Little Faith (2011)

If we tend to the things that are important in life, if we are right with those we love and behave in line with our faith, we will never wallow in the agony of I should have, I could have – Rabbi Albert Lewis

Martin Landau as Rabbi Albert Lewis in Have a Little Faith (2011)
Martin Landau as Rabbi Albert Lewis in Have a Little Faith (2011)

Whilst on a tour to promote his latest book, sports journalist Mitch Albom (Bradley Whitford) is met by his childhood Rabbi, Albert Lewis (Martin Landau), who has an unusual request, he wants Mitch to write his eulogy. Despite his reluctance Mitch ends up agreeing which means regular trips to see Albert at his home to get to know him more in order to write his eulogy. At the same time Mitch comes across Henry Covington (Laurence Fishburne) a former drug dealer who had done time but who not only now is a minister of a run down church but is providing shelter and food for the homeless. It leads to Mitch going on a bit of a spiritual journey as he questions whether a man like Henry can really change his spots.

I suppose techincally you could say that “Have a Little Faith” is a sequel to the wonderful “Tuesdays with Morrie” but for me it is more like another season in the life of Mitch Albom. As such I should say right away that whilst “Have a Little Faith” is a little similar in some ways to “Tuesdays with Morrie” it doesn’t quite have the same sparkle yet still delivers plenty of life lessons and has a motivational aspect about it. Maybe part of the reason why it doesn’t quite work so well is that Hank Azaria didn’t return to play Mitch and instead we have Bradley Whitford Continue reading