Friday, 18 December 2009

Iona for Christmas

So all of you lovely people, I'm off again to Iona, this time for 10 days over Christmas. I'm uberly excited as I get to pick dear Auntie Rosie up from the airport and then enjoy a nice, possibly snow covered journey, to Oban. Yay!! I'll try update this when I'm there still :)

Thursday, 17 December 2009

16th December 2009 - What An Amazing Day

OH MY WORD - the concert was better than I could have dreamed!

We were hanging around for ages waiting for it to start and nothing was happening, until Kris Drever came on the stage and said that Heidi Talbot had hurt her leg and had to go to A&E and John McCusker had gone with her. So Kris Drever and Boo Hewerdine (only THE coolest guy ever) came on and played some stuff which was really cool coz it wasn't their usual set :) They played for quite a bit, and then Kris, Boo, Roddy Woomble and John came on and said that Heidi was ok and back from the hospital but in pain so she was sitting down for a while with her 'friend'... it just so happened that her friend who rushed to the hopsital to see her was EDDI READER! So the gig carried on and they did an AMAZING set together, Heidi hobbled on stage with her crutches (and her new baby bump!) and joined in and it carried on really well :) They are such amazing musicians and click so well together on stage. And then Eddi Reader appeared and sat in the audience... she got called up to join in on stage (still in her jacket, hat and scarf!) and made the night ever better.

Oh, but did I mention the bit after the gig, the bit when I spoke to Boo Hewerdine (my musical hero just now!!) and got his autograph on his new cd...?! Oh, and did I mention the bit when I then spoke to some lovely woman about how she sent my mum a card, how she wants me to raise a glass for her at christmas, how she loves that her music has been passed down to us from my mum and how nice it would be to live on Iona...?! Oh yeah, that was EDDI READER!!! Oh, wait, I also got her autograph, and a hug!!! She rocks!

So, overall, a great night. And you know what made it better? Friends...amazing friends.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Journey Planning?

I was having a wee look at the Iona Community website, as I do occasionally, and noticed that the newest post was a Journery Planner saying:

'Planning your trip to Iona by Public Transport? This useful tool from Traveline Scotland might help.'

However, this tool may not be quite as useful as you may think. I know for a fact, and because I have done so before, that you can happily (depending on how much chocolate you have with you, and how much mist there is to spoil the stunning views) travel from Edinburgh, leaving at 7.15 am and arrive on Iona at 2.25pm. This so called 'planner' is not so useful after all, seeing as it does not realise this time of travelling. Hence the reason, I'm sure, many guests think they can only arrive on the 6.10pm ferry to Iona, which makes dinner at 6pm a right pain to for the staff, making many of them late, or even have to miss, staff choir every Saturday night. I now blame Journeys Planners around the world for ruining my Saturdays night on Iona by making them rushed. Technology fail from Traveline Scotland I think.

Rant over.

Monday, 14 December 2009

What is Christmas to you?

As we are now well in to Advent, I am in my annual stage of 'what is Christmas to you?' thinking.

Is Christmas about shopping, over indulenge, lights, presents, money spending, overeating, partying, commercialism...?

Is Christmas about Jesus being born, sharing, the nativity, loving, Advent, giving, celebrating God's presence, being guided, friendship, family...?

Is Christmas about something entirely different...?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Singing in the car...

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey, you never know dear, DEER, how much I love you..."
That's what road trips are all about... perfect timing for giggles... real deer in a field as singing the word 'dear'... so simple, yet so amusing...
Happy days with awesome friends :)

Thursday, 3 December 2009


So, today I was thinking about quotes and picking up new quotes...
There are many I could share with you, but for now I shall share one I found in a song by Nickel Creek today...
"Sometimes I pray for a slap in the face, then I beg to be spared 'cause I'm a coward... Oh, me of little faith."

Comparisons - Interesting? Useful?

NIV - The New Jerusalem

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

5He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

THE MESSAGE - Everything New

1I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. 2I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. 3-5I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: "Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone." The Enthroned continued, "Look! I'm making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate."

6-8Then he said, "It's happened. I'm A to Z. I'm the Beginning, I'm the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this. I'll be God to them, they'll be sons and daughters to me. But for the rest—the feckless and faithless, degenerates and murderers, sex peddlers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars—for them it's Lake Fire and Brimstone. Second death!"

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Way People Are (June '09)

Is it just me, or are people fascinating? To watch, to listen to, to communicate with, to live with, to learn of.

When sitting in a cafe, do you ever play 'people' games? Guess the profession? Guess where they are from? Guess the car they drive? Guess how many kids they have? I love to play these games; to observe people and ponder on what they are like, what type of person they are, and how much you can tell about them just from the way they look, walk, talk, act. Fascinating.

There are people I unerstand. There are people I don't understand. And today has been a day of not understanding. Hands down your tracksuit trousers (especially in public); what is the need? High heels that you clearly can't walk in; why wear them? Going out for lunch with a few friends and hardly talking to each other; do you really want to be there? Swearing at people you don't know as they pass you by in their cars; why be so rude? I don't get people.

I guess that's why my friends are my friends; they are the people I understand.

The 5 Sides Of The Church (June '09)

So, according to John this morning, the church needs to have 5 sides to it to make it pleasing to God, make it a whole community, a living church, a church that makes a difference and engages with the world.

What are those 5 sides?
Apostels - those who like to explore and who dream the dreams.
Prophets - those who like to be alone with God and are creative.
Evangelists - those who like to talk about their faith.
Pastors - those who care for others, are good at listening and speaking the truth.
Teachers - those who like to study and share their knowledge.

These gifts being brought together brings unity and fullness of life to a community, and makes the body of the church whole.

You can have a base gift; one of those 5 in which you are most likely to be, which you are most likely to live out. But that doesn't mean you stick to just that base gift; you can also explore those other 'phase' gifts and discover what else you can get involved in, outside of your comfort zones.

So, if any, which one are you?

"What you are is God's gift to you. What you do with yourself is your gift to God."

The Art Of Tea Making (June '09)

I've been thinking about tea. Tea tastes. And I have come up with a question to ponder on:

How does every person manage to make a cup of tea taste so different even if they use the same type of tea bag?

Is it the mug? Is it the milk? Is it the sugar? Is it what gets put in the mug first? Is it what gets put in the mug last? Is it for how long it's stirred? Is it for how long its stewed? Is it the temperature of the water? Is it all of these put together?

After spending a lot of time on Iona, and having an awful lot of tea made for you, you learn to appreciate lots of different tastes of tea, even though everyone uses the same tea bags. And after sitting at a craft fair today and having someone make me a cup of tea just after I've finished one I made myself, it made me again realise how different it's made. And after Sarah's mum making me tea and Sarah's dad making me tea (from the same tea bag box) I realised that they really taste very different. It's not just that one cup of tea, it's that persons tea making. Alison's = strong, a bit thick tasting and boiling. Nick's = sugary, middle strength and warm-hot. Dad's = (usually missing sugar!) strong and really hot. Sarah's = sugary and somewhere between hot and really hot. Eilidh's = not too sugary, quite milky and a good drinking temperature (but not so good if you forget it's been made!) Elizabeths = strong and hot. Davids = drinkably hot and good strength, not so sugary. Heather - not so sugary and not so milky.

See, all people make tea differently and I am (yes, I really am sad) so able to tell who made me that certain cup of tea. But why is it? Why is everybody's tea making so different? Answers on a postcard... or just a comment!

Who Says I Have OCD? (June '09)

My friends (is that what you call people who wind you up about things?!) have a wee song that they like to sing to me which goes something like this ... "OCD, OCD, She's got OCD".

Do you think they are trying to tell me something?
Is it something to do with the fact that I like to make sure the hymn books, abbey worship books and information leaflets are in the same order in every chair in the Abbey?

Possibly that I'm a bit picky about how the soup bowls are stacked, with the handles facing the same way and the same type of bowl in each pile?

Maybe that I like the big mugs to be on one tray and the smaller mugs to be on another? Possibly that I think the plates at each dinner table should be the same type, and that the knifes need to be of the same kind (not some fat handled and some thin handled on the same table)?

Maybe that I'm a bit picky when it comes to the order in which paper work should be kept? Possibly that I like to organise things, anything really, in my spare time?

Maybe it's that I like things to be in an order of come kind; colour, height, size, price? Possibly it's something to do with the annoying little things that I have to do repeatedly; counting colours of stripes on bags, counting window panes on doors, tracing lettering on posters with my eyes, folding clothes and towels, straightening my necklace, retyping things even though it was right the first time?
Ok, so I admit it. After easily making such a long list of things, I have OCD in various bits of my life. I hope this makes it clear to those certain unnamed people (Eilidh and Sarah!) who like to sing me my OCD song that I don't mind, it's ok, I admit that I have it, so them singing the song is just the truth after all. The singing of the song will not take my picky-ness away from me! And it won't make me love them any less either!

Laura's Sermon/Iona Thought Number Two (May '09)

Laura's sermon brought me many thoughts and is well worth a read if you have the time at

These thoughts are going to come out very jummbled so please excuse me and feel free to give up reading as I ramble nonscence.

"Where are you from?" What is home?

Iona. Still a different place, just as in my last blog. So not only different in it's time, in the way it passes by, but in the way what happens during that time affects you and what it makes you. Does it bring out who you really are? Does it make you cover up who you really are? Is it a home? Is it a cover up home? To me I know the answers to those questions. But for anyone else? Everybody is individual so everyone will have a different answer, a different opinion.
Being born somewhere, being brought up somewhere, going on holiday somewhere, visiting friends and family somewhere; it all adds up to make us who we are. Being born in England and having an English dad makes me party English, fair enough. Being brought up in Edinburgh and having a Scottish mum makes me party Scottish, fair enough. Having a large Irish family makes me partly Irish, fair enough. But are any of these places and roots my home? And is being from 'my home' where I am from?
For me, home is no one place in my mind as being home to me is being comfortable and belonging with where I am at that time. I don't often keep my two feet in the same place for very long so shouldn't I be comfortable at home wherever my feet land me? Some find this odd, not natural, just a bit wierd. Some are rooted in one place and will always come back to that as their one and only home. And as much as Edinburgh is my home and I know I am likely to keep bouncing back to it, does that mean it is my one and only home?
Any of you reading who know me will know that I count Iona as my home. Even when not there, it is my home. Just as even when I'm not in Edinburgh, it's my home. But where my heart is is where I am also home. Around those people who I love, and who love me in return and with God. I belong with those people and I belong with God. And isn't home really just a belonging?

A belonging that we all search for and need.

Woomble/Iona Thought Number One (May '09)

"Every line of a long moment written down in my handwriting
It makes me feel free to do anything
As I look out across the wall
Look out across the wall and into the Atlantic
Look out across the wall
Look out across the wall and into the Atlantic"

Roddy Woomble. - Every Line of a Long Moment.

After being back on Iona for a week I have decided that Roddy Woomble (re-introduced to me through Eilidh) is amazing and that some of his lyrics sum up various moments of Iona.

"Watch time stop and start again"

Time stops. Time starts. It doesn't seem to flow the same as anywhere else. Not on Iona.

One moment it's Sunday morning and all is manic. The next moment all is calm and it's Tuesday lunch time. The next moment it's Tuesday evening healing service madness. The next moment you know and it's Friday evening, the guests have left and the staff are together again.

Time does not work on Iona as it does in the rest of the world. Time elongates ifselt. It shrinks itself. Days are eternal. Days are invisible.

How? I don't know. I never have known and don't think I ever will. But it's comforting. In a strange way. The times to treasure are always there, whether short or long. This strange way of time enforces the fact that it's the big and the small things in life that make life what life is. No two moments are the same. You can be doing the same thing, following the same routine, filling the same candels, washing the same dishes, having the same 'where are you from?' conversations, eating the same meals; yet those same moments are never actually the same. They are oh so different. Each moment a different breath of life, different things to experience, different people around, different smells and sounds, different thoughts and moods.

As the famous quote says, Iona is a thin place. Yet it's time is even thinner. To me at least.

Swapping My Blog

This is my second attempt at a blog! My other blog address was full of spam and adverts, so I have joined the world of Blogger instead. A step up in the world I feel.
I shall re-post some of my older posts that may be worth keeping and then will hopefully learn to actually update this one... maybe.
Me x