Saturday 28 January 2012

A whole week without posting - how remiss.

Well, the good news is that I seem to be effectively over that last round of cold etc that started at the beginning of December. It more or less wiped out 3 weeks of work and required me to convalesce over Christmas, so goodbye and good riddance to those bugs! I am so grateful to be better!

This has been a week of gearing up for 2012 for the business. At the end of last year changes were made to the diagnostic assay for which I sell controls, requiring that all the values for that kit were re-analysed to establish new ranges, and, together with some additional testing in the current kit, I have been doing that work. This will also justify sending customers and potential users a mailshot to stimulate interest.

On top of that it is always good to service and calibrate equipment when there's a quieter patch, so I've been servicing and calibrating the pipettes I use. This means I can be sure that they will deliver the (tiny) volumes of liquid they are supposed to with known accuracy and precision, and also confirms the work that has already been done is valid.

And finally, having moved on from my previous employer, I'm doing work for them for one of their clients which will hopefully be ongoing, so I've bought certain bits of kit and additional materials that will be needed for that - ended up spending a couple of hours researching and purchasing bits and pieces Friday. This week has also been VERY spendy!

So what else is happening?

Monday night we saw Ian B from Heyford Park licensed to work in Bicester and particularly for Emmanuel Church Bicester. My good friend Rachel who heads up the worship there invited me to come play for the band and I was able to get Mark from Heyford Park along to sing too - he's a great singer and fitted in really well. She'd asked me to play electric, but after the last 3 1/2 years here I nearly couldn't do it - in all honesty I've felt completely crushed over worship, and while God has been gracious in that time, it's felt so difficult. Chris was good and encouraged me to go for it, and Rachel was wonderful with her encouragement too, before and after. It feels like now is a time for restoration and healing, and that's where my expectation is.

I'm speaking again tomorrow, this time off Ephesians 2 1-10. It's a mixture of encouragement, theology and gospel message, and will hopefully be more than just words. I'm getting a little faster, but still seem to have to invest a lot of time to be thorough enough and to ensure I don't say anything overtly stupid or disconnected. Chris is also good for a sanity check.

At the moment, particularly now the lurgy is over, it feels like the time has come to take up the slack, start working, planning and above all, to not just give in to wishes and desires of self-entertainment and sloppy conduct. This is a partial success so far. I just need to spend much less time on the internet and more time doing other things - almost anything else that won't cause problems.

And there's more study for the licensed lay ministry to be done. Next weeks episode is dealing with apophatic prayer, which sounds like something with a carbon ring structure and a few amino groups and a Chlorine stuck to it.

There you go - a week in one compact-ish post.

Saturday 21 January 2012

20 years ago today

My father died, aged almost 52.

There's no grieving, and I'm pretty sure that he wouldn't have wanted any, certainly not by now. There is, however, a certain sense of sadness, that he has not shared in our family life together, seen Ben grow and become able in so many ways. At the same time, I think Sarah would have broken his heart, and I'm glad he didn't have to cope with that.

But most of all I feel for my mother, having been a widow 20 years now despite marrying a man 7 years her junior: she had a sense that they would not be together a long time, and they made the most of all the time they had. She has been incredibly brave, enduring all the physical suffering as well as grief without complaint or grumbling, and with incredible graciousness.

Respecting the dead is a silly thing for the sake of the dead - it cannot make any difference to them. But for the sake of the living, there may still be a benefit. It just makes me so aware that, as people, nearly everything we do is about us, regardless of who we *say* it's for.

Friday 20 January 2012

Please don't tell me about 'the good old days'.

Ever heard of the Swiss contract children - verdingkinder? Neither had I until seeing this.

It seems that around the world, children have been shuffled about as if no more important than any other basic unit of trade. Even up to the 1970s children were being sent from the UK to Australia in a way not so terribly different. This, along with the emerging stories of physical and sexual abuse within religious institutions, makes me wonder what kind of past people must have had to consider this reasonable? One thing is obvious, that the mis-treatment of children was widespread and considered normal at every level in society.

I wonder what skeletons the previous generation have managed to keep tucked away, to make the last generation think like that?

Last year I resigned

From my part-time job. I've been working 2 days a week (nominally) for another science business doing R&D for their customers. Back in the summer I realised that I was bringing far too much of the writing up and analysis work back, and it was compromising both their work and mine. Combined with the fact that we finished last year with (a little) more money in the bank than we started plus quite a bit of prayer it seemed right that I should resign.

So it should have all finished in December, but with my cold etc I just couldn't make it in for that last week's work and hand-over of all lab books etc. That finally happened today, and although there are bound to be questions etc about things that were done, I am at last free. It was good, and I really liked working with the guys, but there is now a huge weight off my mind, and I can focus on doing some things well instead of watching stuff fall through the gaps from time to time.

This year's aim - to generate enough income that I can start repaying us the money that we used to start things going.

Thursday 19 January 2012

I never used to not post stuff.

If it was worth a thunk & writing down then it was worth posting. Now I'm cautious: how things have changed.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Please don't read this blog today.

Please don't read this blog today. Consider it blacked out as part of the response to SOPA and PIPA in sympathy with our friends across the pond.

Monday 16 January 2012

What was that I didn't hear you say?

I have been wondering about the things we say and don't say. The title is something I read in an article about outreach, but in this context it's much more to do with how, and particularly what we communicate.

There's more to is than just being either cautious or conservative, although that's also powerful in controlling what we say & keep private. Sometimes there's a fear that we'll gossip, sharing bad things about people not present and unable to defend themselves, and sometimes we'll 'know' something inside and yet find it hard to identify what and why is wrong.

There are things I want to talk about, want to pour out and work through, reach an understanding of and come to terms with, to learn from. Yet I can't, and I am uncertain enough as to whether I'm right to hold back.

I was thinking about this earlier in the context of marriage preparation, while I was out walking & praying a little while ago. When people are prepared for marriage, do those helping them speak frankly and openly about how things really are, or do they speak in ways that suggest possible meanings, yet are ambiguous enough to leave room for interpretation? And what will happen when those who have a badly broken understanding of marriage hear us: they'll nod in agreement, knowing that their expectations have been confirmed by our ambiguous hints.

And here I am, hinting instead of speaking plainly.

Sorry to not be plainer. There's also a small hint of Mark Twain's quote about "better to be thought a fool than open one's mouth and remove any doubt".

Sunday 15 January 2012

Need to change interenet usage

With my recent ill-health I've realised I've spent far too much time on the net, and really need to get it back in proportion. I plan to go net-light for a while, re-prioritise, spend time in prayer and generally re-focus instead of wasting time or even having useful discussions with people.

We'll see how it goes.


Felt very 'spacey' this morning, icky & migrainous this afternoon. Bluergh.

Saturday 14 January 2012

NEVER delete your original photos

I've collected a lot of images over the last 8 years of digital photography, using a variety of increasingly acceptable cameras, processing them using software that has improved enormously over the years. At times I have given in to encouragement to delete the original images for taking up space (and I'm sure I lost some in a HDD crash some years back). For whatever reason, many original images are no longer available to me.

This is a big deal because I would really like to go back and re-work some of those pictures, saving them as larger files for printing, straightening horizons and verticals and generally cleaning them up now I have both the tools and experience to do a better job. Sadly, for many, it's too late.

So let me encourage you - NEVER delete the excess images you have on your hard drive - you never know whether you'll need them again.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Cold still here

Head fuzzy, though face hurting less as the sinuses have mostly drained.

Worst now is the cough - my father used to cough terribly, even to the point of sickness as I remember from being small, but it passed me by until I was in my late 30s. Guess it's good that I've managed to push it back 10+ years, and hopefully Ben will do the same again or better.

The other thing that's a drag about this is lack of sleep. We were out last night for a PCC meeting, got home before 10, watched an episode of star trek next gen, then went to bed. after 2-3 min gentle snores from next to me. I saw 12.30 go by, eventually sleeping, but waking for Ben getting up at around 4.40am (starts work @ 6) and drifting in & out. The last few nights have been like that too, not sleeping well, and I think I'll be on the settee again tonight to help sinus drainage.

Meh, as they say.

I miss the city in the spring.

While preparing breakfast I was thinking about Paris, springtime and the way a city is so nice. Out in the country the air is usually cold, ground still muddy from winter rain, but in the town the air feels pleasantly cool and there are parks to walk around in. I have memories from all kinds of places in the spring, and the city is one of my favourite places in that season.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Well should I stay or should I go?

Not stop blogging, but should I give this site a facelift?

I'm no luddite, but I also don't appreciate change for changes sake, and as far as I am concerned the basic presentation of this blog has been entirely function as a place to present thoughts, ideas and images to the world. Some blogs seem to change more often than a child would voluntarily change their underwear, seldom actually being better for it.

However times change and new devices come along. It's not the most friendly place for the silly widdy screens on smartphones and even laptops, and although I did do some design work that got left on the back burner because it didn't make things better, it's more or less been unchanged since the first 6 months. So this begs the question - should this little haven of sense and stability leave port and risk being tossed on a stormy sea of alteration or does it still work OK for everyone? What, particularly, would you like improved?

C'mon you lurkers - this is your chance!

Monday 9 January 2012

The cold is back.

Apparently it enjoyed the Christmas break and, now the holiday is over, has come back to 'work' in my lungs and head. Would like to curl up in a ball and sleep this morning. Maybe that would make up for the last 3 nights.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

A new year - a new start?

I wasn't thinking for me, so much, but for the church.

Without wanting to discuss details particularly, Sunday in church left me with a sense of lightness, of how that was how church was meant to be. This is probably the first time I've felt that since we became part of Heyford park - an awareness of the church being family a little, just like Bicester Community Church was family. Chris seemed to feel the same lightness.

It's really important not to read too much into this, but I do very much hope it will continue. Situations change, but God is always there in them, and we do have a hope for the future.