Wednesday, 26 March 2008


Today has been a sad day. I have only just found out that Dennis Kearns, a man whom I looked up to fondly, and cherished, passed away a few weeks ago. No-one told me, and I missed the funeral. I am shocked and upset, and I guess a little unable to adequately describe the scary emptiness that I have begun to felt inside myself.

Dennis was one of those folk who I thought would live forever. His death has reminded me of the harsh reality of the human cycle; that we are born into a world where disease, violence and greed reign, and then we spend our whole lives trying to impact the world in the hope that when we are gone we will not be forgotten - and then we die. And we become a mere memory in the minds of those we leave behind.

I was never a close friend of Dennis'. But his presence, his calm nature and warming smile, always made me feel as though the world could be a better place. No matter how rubbish I was feeling, when I went to church and saw him smiling at me, pleased to see me, it made me feel better. He was someone who was sent by God to be a blessing in my life; a rock; a silent angel whose presence I would never appreciate enough. Until now.

Now, he is gone. And although I did not get a chance to say goodbye, nor to experience his welcome one last time, the world goes on. And I continue to live my life, appreciating the impact that he had on it. And right now, I grieve. Because I am sad that he is not a part of my life anymore, that he will not share in any more of my achievements, that he will not see the person I have become. That I never really got the chance to make him proud of me, and to show him that I made something of my life. And part of that was thanks to him. For his belief in me at all times. For his ability to know when a gentle word was needed. I grieve because I will miss him. And although he may never know the impact that he had on my life, I know. And I rejoice, because I know where he is headed.

Right now, its the dusk. The night has come, and its the time to look back to the things that have happened and watch them as they fade into the darkness. But tomorrow, a new day must begin. A new light shines afresh on the horizon, making the darkness of yesterday fade away into nothing. And although yesterday is gone, it will not be forgotten. It has been written on the heart. It has made an impact on the soul.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


N.B. Just over a month ago, I posted a number of items that I felt I needed to assess and work at in my life, things that needed prayer and attention. As time moves on, I feel the need to look back and thank God for the many answered prayers.

Being Confident: I was facing the challenge of talking in front of groups of people, something I find particularly hard because I struggle with being 'on show' with people looking at me. But since then, I have done a school assembly, led the story/ children's talk in church, and shared something in an evening service - three very big things for me. Praise God for his faithfulness!

Accepting Myself: I have realised that although human acceptance would be lovely, the only person I need to be accountable to is God. Whether I accept myself as I am is irrelevant, because God does, and if I trust in his amazing love, for me, then I can live as I am supposed.

Adjusting To Changes: Things have settled down. Although they will probably change again, and again, as the future unfolds. But I'm learning to take one hurdle at a time, each day as it comes and goes. Life goes on, you know.

Letting Go: My past is the past. God has forgiven me. Those things in my life that I am not proud of have no power over me because I know I am Christ's. And although there are those awful times of temptation, and the sometimes painful realisation that I have given in to that, each day will start afresh. Today is the first day of the rest of my life!

Fear: Still struggling with this one a bit, but God has been faithful, and some things have changed.

Next Year: I have been made an offer. And I am accepting it. I am happy. So God's will it is!

Good Leader: I cannot be responsible for my young people's actions. I can only show them the way, and pray that they will find God for themselves. They will make mistakes, as I will make mistakes, but being a good leader isn't about always getting it right. But learning to deal with the consequences of each action, and learning from the times you got it wrong. I want more than anything to be present to these young people, in the times when they get it right, and in the times when they get it wrong, a loving presence, an accepting presence, unjudging and unreserved. I press on.

Sacrifice Of This Year: I have spent some time with friends. They see in my face how much this 'job' means to me, and they like that. Its probably a welcome relief for my friends, to see me happy at last, cause over the last few years, they probably haven't seen a lot of that. So although they may not all understand the reasons behind why I do what I do, they can see the passion, and the love that I have for it.

Tiredness: God gave us enough hours in the day to do everything that needed to be done. I just needed to prioritise my work a bit more. All is good.

So there you go. All those things that I spent the last month worrying about have been more or less solved or sorted. Isn't God faithful and good? And so the next month is almost ready to begin. And there will be new challenges, and new things on my mind, I have no doubt. But I shall take that as it comes. Because life is a continuous journey, and we must not dwell too much on what is behind us, for that has gone, nor what will come ahead of us, for the challenge is not in path ahead, but in the momentary step.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:34

Monday, 24 March 2008


N.B. Don't stand too near a car when someone is jetwashing it - you'll get wet!

So the supposedly white Easter we were getting didn't last did it? Down here in sunny Southend it was more sleet, and the "snow" that fell on Sunday was rubbish. Didn't even settle for a little bit. What a disappointment.

Not that I am that fond of snow anyway. It makes me cold, and I do not like to be cold. So I can't really say that I'll be disappointed to leave behind British weather for two weeks and 3 days. Not in the slightest. Cause that's right, you've guessed it. The Philippines trip is just over the horizon. :D

In the early hours of Friday morning, 9/10 of the English half of the team set off on an adventure. (Jo will have been far-flung for a few days already by then, and the rest of the team are Filipino) An adventure that will challenge us, upset us, and will leave us unable to ever be the same people again. There will be times of excitement, times of anticipation and of course, times of exhaustion; this is not a holiday. Its a chance to change lives, for the better. To have an impact on the world, on the individual worlds of individual people that we will meet and work with. A chance to take Christ to people who don't know where their next meal will come from, or what challenges the next day will bring. And most of all, it will be the chance to experience Christ in a new place, to experience the God that is present amongst suffering and pain, amongst poverty and hunger, and that mourns for those that the world has turned its back against.

Please pray for us all, as we go. There will be lots to do, lots of people to meet, to help and to be helped by. There will be situations when it seems like we are not making a difference, times when we just won't know what to say (well, excluding Jo in that one... ) But there will also many times of sharing, and seeing some fruit of past efforts and work, and continued efforts and work, and moments of complete happiness in the faces of those who notice our love.

This story will continue... so keep watching. And learn with me as I grow, and as I change. Don't be afraid to ask me questions, to experience some of that with me. Sometimes I will be happy to share, and sometimes not quite so. But we will work through that, as it comes. As each challenge rises and falls, as the sun dawns and sets. Tomorrow is a new day. The world is changing.


Keep an eye on The Philippines Blog for all the latest news from the far flung places!

Friday, 14 March 2008


N.B. Excuse this blog for being a bit long and all over the place, I have had a quiet few days and the lack of human contact sends my brain into overload on the thinking front. I have also just watched three emotional films.

Over the last few days I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a human. What defines us from any other species or group of beings. Is it our ability to feel or to think rationally, or to recognise our emotions and change them? Or maybe our relationship with the Creator God, acknowledging his power and authority over our lives. To be honest, I don't know. But there is one thing that I have realised over the last couple of weeks.

Everyone is an individual. I know this sounds pretty obvious, but just stick with me here, okay? Every single person - whether young, old, male, female, fat, thin, English, Irish, American, Filipino, Kenyan, or Eskimo - has the ability to feel, to think, and to recognise God in their own situation. Everyone. There are no exceptions, no boundaries and no rules defining who has the right. Because everyone has it. Because every person is an individual, with a brain, a heart, and emotions and feelings that guide them through their lives.

And yet, why are we, as individuals, all too quick to put people into caterogories, into groups, and then judge them on their belonging or not belonging to that group? I am not exempt from this. But now I have recognised that I do it, I can work to try and challenge those assumptions in my mind as they come up. And I too, am subject to that judgement. People may look at my age, or at my clothes, or at my face, and make assumptions about me that I wish to challenge. Assumptions that are helpful to neither me, nor the assumptionee (is that a word?).

There have been a number of occasions that I can recall has led me to this realisation. Whilst at school this week with Phil, Jo and Aileen, a pupil got dramatically upset over a minor incident towards the end of the lesson. My initial reaction would have been to laugh, but before I did, I felt compassion to the boy who was feeling grieved and hurt, and that made me stop and think.

Another time I was waiting for the train (a regular occurrance) and I got chatting to a lady who was travelling to London for her mother's funeral. She was not the kind of person that I would have glanced twice at when passing in the street, but we talked all the while we were waiting for the train (which was a long time, naturally...) and I came away from the conversation happy that I had been able to share for a while in that lady's life, if only for half an hour.

Both of these experiences have left a dent in my thoughts this week. It has made me realise how important it is to recognise each person as one, before associating them with the majority. Or in some cases, the minority. Everyone feels something, whether it be the satisfaction, peace and love of knowing and following Christ, or the stark painful reality that life is not going so well, and that no matter how much you cry out for love, deep down you believe that no-one is there to help you. That you're really all alone. That no matter how much people say they love you, their actions make you believe different. That you could shut yourself in your room night after night, and hurt so badly inside, but no-one really cares enough to ask you the right questions.

Every person, as a 'one' on their own, will be lonely. Every person will fall flat on their face. But with help, with God's love, the 'ones' become the people that the world needs to change. Don't let the one's stay as one's. Each person has a right to know and love Christ, and to realise His amazing love for them. Cause 'one is the loneliest number that you'll ever know.'

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


N.B. Yesterday was a good good day, for so many reasons. =)

So I attempted to fast yesterday in order to spend some time in prayer about next year, but I also wanted it to be a secret, but it ended up not that way, so I broke it. I want to make the decision pretty soon about next year as I don't want to have it hanging over my head for ages. I've been in two minds about it all along, wanting to stay here, where I am feeling accepted, loved and comfortable, and yet desperately wanting to know that I am doing what God wants me to do. Because of this, I was going round and round in circles in my head about what I should do. But then this week has made me realise that I have been looking at it all wrong.

For some reason, I got it into my head that maybe Southend was NOT where God wanted me next year, and so even though there was loads of signs that suggested Southend is the best place for me to be, I was constantly looking for signs that I should be somewhere else. And attempting to get to a place in my head where I was able to emotionally prepare myself to potentially leave this place. And all the little hints that I should stay here I brushed aside, putting them down to my longing to stay. But then after a fair few chats with a few fairly wise friends of mine, I realised that actually, I had completely been thinking about it the wrong way.

If Southend is where I am right now, then thats where God wants me to be. And when He wants me somewhere else, He'll make it quite clear where that is. And until then, there is plenty of work to be done here. There have been loads of things that have made me want to stay, and that is a good thing. Because those things enable me to do my job the best I can. And God wants the best for me. So if I am truly happy here, then this must be what God wants for me... oh, I hope so.

"I know what I'm doing.
I have it all planned out;
plans to take care of you, not abandon you,
plans to give you the future you hope for."
Jeremiah 29:11 [The Message]

------------------------ UPDATE ------------------------

After writing this I went to bed and did my evening devotion, and in the back of my bible was a prayer that we were given by good ol' Stevey T at the church weekend about 2 years ago. It's been in my bible all along, but last night was the first time I read it and really thought about what it said:

My LORD God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

THOMAS MERTON (1915 - 1968)


As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before him?
Day and night I have only tears for food,
while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
“Where is this God of yours?”

My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
amid the sound of a great celebration!

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again - my Savior and my God!

Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you -
even from distant Mount Hermon,
the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar.
I hear the tumult of the raging seas
as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs,
praying to God who gives me life.

“O God my rock,” I cry, Why have you forgotten me?
"Why must I wander around in grief,
oppressed by my enemies?”
Their taunts break my bones.
They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again - my Savior and my God!
Psalm 42

Monday, 10 March 2008


N.B. "Its okay to do stuff scared." - Wrong. Its GOOD to do things scared. ;)

So yesterday I ended up doing the Children's talk in church. Well, not so much a talk as I had to read out a story and do some actions. But still. Talking? Ami? In church? NO! And I was still just as terrified as I would have been if I was doing a real talk. The fear comes not because of what I am saying. But because I am on show, the centre of attention, all eyes focussed on me, and I hate that. (I cried at my own 18th birthday party because people were singing and looking at me...)

But there is one thing that I have learnt from doing the talk yesterday, and my assembly last month as well. And that is to rely on the strength of God to carry me through. When doing things that I believe I am good at, I do not always give God the glory as I should. Because I think I have developed the talent or skill, and so I take the credit. However, when doing things like talking up the front, I know I am no good at that. And so when I do have to do it, and it goes well, I know that I cannot take the credit for that, because I CAN'T do it! And so I give it to God, because it was only through him that I were able to do it.

And I've found that the things I do through God's strength go an awful lot better than the things I try and do on my own. All I have to do now is give to God the things that I attempt to do on my own. Because they do not always go so well.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
Ephesians 3: 20-21 [NIV]

Friday, 7 March 2008


N.B. I have realised how much I change my ideas and opinions day to day, and how sometimes reading this must be pretty confusing, as I tend to go around in circles half the time.

I have realised, and mentioned before, that 'How are you?' is a question that most of the time, I will not be able to answer honestly. Previously I have said this is because I tend to say 'fine' when I am having a bad day, but now I am genuinely thinking that most of the time, I actually don't know the answer to that myself. I could answer in the moment, 'right this second I am...' But how am I? I really don't know.

I guess maybe I have changed so much in the last few months that I haven't quite caught up with myself yet. There are situations when I am deliriously excited, (any situation in which the Philippines is mentioned...) but there are just as many situations when I am sitting here, thinking, reflecting, dreaming, when the overall nothingness of life seems to get me down. And yet, I am not sad. Life is good, the future is exciting, the past is dead and gone. What's wrong with me? Maybe I am not such good company for myself after all.

I can't seem to find the words to really describe how I feel. Hmm. Oh dear. Been listening to music, and every song lyric seems to kick me in the stomach. Maybe I'm not being as open as I always seem to be. Maybe there is more to me than the things I write down, the things I share. Or maybe this is it. Now that I have started to be more open, this is what is inside of me. This is what is coming spilling out. Confusion. Hurt. Uncertainty. A lack of being, or rather, an awareness of the lack of being.

Oh, I do so hope someone knows what I am talking about.

"I wish we could open our eyes
To see in all directions at the same time
Oh what a beautiful view
If you were never aware of what was around you
And it is true what you said
That I live like a hermit in my own head
But when the sun shines again
I'll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in.

Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole
Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
But while you debate half empty or half full
It slowly rises, your love is gonna drown..."
'Marching Bands of Manhattan' - Death Cab For Cutie


Why is it that I awake every day feeling like utter rubbish? When really, life isn't so bad? It amazes me how much music makes me feel better.

"Amie, come sit on my wall
And read me the story of old
Tell it like you still believe
That the end of the century,
Brings a change, for you and me"
'Amie' - Damien Rice

Wednesday, 5 March 2008


N.B. Yes, that's me. NO, my hair is not ginger.

I've realised since moving away that I am a lot closer to my siblings than I would have originally admitted. When living at home, I barely spoke to my younger brother, and everytime we did communicate it was always an arguement, or a fight. Either way, not very productive. Even the few glimmering moments of peaceful contact would soon end with one of us slamming our bedroom doors.

I guess absence does makes the heart grow fonder. Or maybe I am able now to appreciate my brother for who he really is; a teenage boy, and not "my annoying little brother". He is the age of the young people I am working with, teenagers I have learnt to be tolerant and accepting of, with all their faults and flaws. I love them for the people they are in Christ (even if they haven't found him yet.) And my brother is no different to them, albeit, much more capable of winding me up... and more willing to do so.

But over the last few months, the time I have spent with my brother has been amazing. There has always been the deep sibling love/hate relationship that most teenagers experience with their brothers and sisters. But I can see more clearly now how much we both have grown through each other. I have realised that although our outlook on life is somewhat opposite ends of the spectrum, we can sit side by side on the sofa, watching the same TV programme, laughing and enjoying each others company. Even if it is only for a few minutes.

And my brother is actually amazing. He's been through some hard times in the past, with our parents divorcing, and then our brother leaving, and then me, and he has coped with all that without the support of a church network behind him. And maybe even sometimes without a big sister to help him too. I look back and I am scared of the amount of times that maybe he could have needed me, and I was too busy with my own problems to look after him. But then I also treasure memories of times when he was there for me, even at a young age.

I know Stephen will probably never read this. I just wanted to make a note that I am proud to call him my little brother. And I love him very much. =) xxx


Idiot. That's what I've been for the last couple of months. And not even a very nice one at that. And even though I thought that in my life I'd been doing quite well, not judging people as much and actually beginning to change who I am, and all along, I've been a complete cow to one of my best friends in the whole world. To the extent that I stopped viewing her as a friend. Oh what a donkey I am.

But somehow, through a series of unforeseen circumstances, and a foot in the mouth (by me, again... what a wally) we've made up. How amazing is that. It actually well made me day. It has been the one nagging thing in the back of my mind, and I thought that for once, I had actually overstepped the mark with someone and there was no going back. But I underestimated my friend, and forgot to realise that everyone can change. And just because I think something about someone, doesn't mean they are like that. Oh, how much I have to learn.

Can't believe I've been forgiven. Thank you baby, you're a star. =D

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


Ha. I've just read through that list again, and not only am I weirded out by the extent to which I have changed, and grown, and in effect, managed to achieve some of the things on the list, but I am also strangely blessed by the things that I wrote. At the time, those were the things on my mind, in my heart, things that I longed to be able to do. And now, looking back in maturity, I can see that actually, there are some things on that list (many things in fact) that actually, I can't do anything to change or achieve. Things that must be left in the hands of God.

But I suppose that is a good thing. We yearn for things, and eventually, we learn to let them go. We learn what our place on this earth is, and what our journeys are meant for. We learn to strive towards the right things, and not pursue things that are unhealthy or unachievable. We learn to live our own lives, and not the lives of others. We learn, from disappointments and from achievements. And at the end of it all, we learn that there is so much more to learn. Mmm.

Monday, 3 March 2008


N.B. I don't know what I want to get out of writing this. Maybe its a sign of what's to come.

So that's it isn't it. The real truth. I only show half of myself to people, and that's if they're lucky. How ridiculous is that? How can people actually get to know me, if that's all I'm giving. Oh dear.

I realised this the other day. Talking about WHO I was, and HOW I was before I moved to Southend. Ask different people and you would get many different answers. "Helped out a lot in church" - yeah, sure I did, because it was a hell of a lot easier than being at home. "Well Emo." - yeah. I was. Depressed. And not really doing all that much to change things. "A strong Christian" - no. That's where people got it wrong. Maybe that was my fault. At church, I was never me. I was the Ami that people wanted to see. 'Into things. Enthusiastic.' Thats what everyone expected, and thats what everyone got. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy being that person. For a while, I probably did. But it didn't encourage me to grow. Encourage me to change who I was. So who am I now? What have I become?

Well, the honest answer to that is, I really don't know. But to appreciate who I am now, you probably need to know who I was then. The way that Christ has changed my life, for the better, because he has. And that probably means sharing with people parts of my life that are really difficult for me. Parts of my life that I am mighty glad are over. I'm not going to write it all here, because, well, it wouldn't explain things adequately enough.

I mentioned to someone the other day that before I came to Southend, I had another blog. That I had been posting in for years. And I have. When I moved to Southend, I stopped blogging on the forementioned blog, and started a new one, because my life has started again, with a fresh start. (Which I was mighty glad of.) However, the posts are still there, on my other blog (Note - posts have now been moved over to this one.) and if you really want to know who I was. Then go, look. I'm not stopping you, I'm not hiding anything. Thats me. Who I was, with all the stages in between to how I got to where I am. Please don't judge me, just listen to what I had to say, and learn from it. If you don't want to look, then don't. But there you go. I've got nothing left to hide.

Saturday, 1 March 2008


About a year ago, I posted this list of things I wanted to do with my life, and said that I wanted to have achieved at least 5 of them by the time the year was up. Now that I look back at the list, I see how much I have changed in the last year or so. Its pretty scary actually. But I can now be glad of the things that I set out to achieve and have actually managed to do so. *sigh*

The List...
~ Write a song that actually means something.
~ Spend time working with orphans or street children.
~ Spend time fasting and then donate the money to charity.
~ Affect someone's life in a positive way.
~ Give some more time to those who really need it.
~ Pray more for my friends.
~ Have an actual time of being with God.
~ Feel good about the person I am.
~ Stop taking things out on myself
~ Be grateful for what I have.
~ Learn to get on with my family.
~ Learn to forgive people without holding grudges.
~ Talk to more people about God in a way they will understand.
~ Be a good example to my non-christian friends.
~ Accept people for who they are, and not what I want them to be.
~ Have a conversation about next year without getting upset or scared.
~ Be more diplomatic when discussing with people.
~ Read the bible more than once a week, when forced.
~ Pray more than once a week, when forced.
~ Live a week without wanting to be with a boy.
~ Not look for the negative in situations.
~ Give more time to helping the poor and needy.
~ Find a way to make my parents get on.
~ Make my mum happy/proud.
~ Accept forgiveness.
~ Be less judgemental.
~ Accept compliments and praise, and believe them.
~ Love, unconditionally.