Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Potholes. Glasgow is riddle with them. I feel like I am on an adventure off-road driving challenge just getting to work, less than a mile away.

The weather has taken it's toll on the roads in town. Snow, gritting, snow ploughs, ice, flooding have all increased the size of potholes anywhere where there are roads.

As I was battling to dodge holes today, I reflected on how potholes appear in our lives and if we don't get the maintenance team out quick, they get bigger and have the potential to require a bigger resurfacing exercise and also cause damage to others as they fall in.

We should make that phonecall for help getting our own potholes filled in, before it becomes a major re-roading that's required...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

NEW year 2011

So the bucket list was just to make me remember there are things to prepare for this year and beyond. That it is good to keep dreaming and good to realise that there are new challenges to be faced at the turning of the year. But really living is not just about doing, but about being, it's about being the person that actions dreams and not just being a dreamer that counts for me. It's about believing they are possible, even if everyone thinks not and even if they have been done a million times by other people. It's about being connected to the people and land of a place that makes a dream come true.

Happy dreaming. Happy being in 2011.

Bucket List

1. Climb Ben Lomond.
2. Climb Mt Kilimanjaro.
3. Sail "doon the watter" on the Waverly.
4. Make a scrapbook.
5. Visit Russia.
6. Do the Sound of Music tour in Austria.

More to be added later...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's almost time to go home...

This year was set to be something different and now as I reach the end of it I realise I am something different. It's difficult to say how I have changed, but I know I have. There have been times of deep, dark soul searching and times of going with the flow. I have adventured with an open heart and mind and am returning home ready for the next adventure.

So what am I taking home with me? The knowledge that, with God, all things are possible. That something old and broken can be made into a new thing. That even when it gets dark, God can shelter me under wings of protection. That however far from home you go, you are never really far from home.

It has been a time of listening, of much silence, a time of rest and revival. For all the space that I have had to reconnect with where I came from - I say thank you.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Getting to the finish line - 5k 10th April 2010

Here are the runners, me, Brenna, Becca and Anne. All first time runners except me, who was returning to the track...slowly.
Brenna "three biscuits" transformed into Brenna 33.01mins for her very first 5km!! Great achievement!!

It was a lovely run in Liberty State Park, New Jersey. We ran with views of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and a gorgeous sunny morning along the Hudson River. Perfect.
I had run 5ks before and I knew I wasn't ready for this one. I was in the grumpiest of moods and as the announcer reminded people who were not six minute milers to get away from the front lines, I moved as far back as I could go. I met a man who explained that he didn't think he even drove a six minute mile! I had barely crossed the start line and I was all for just turning around and heading back to the car. Just at that point this woman came up behind me with some encouraging words. So I decided I would run up to her and run with her to keep me going.

Her name is Jackie and we got each other through the race. I watched those who were at the front of the race run past us as they looped back to the finish line. None of them looked happy, they all looked like they would do anything to be first and I realised that those of us at the back were glad just to have turned up and would be even happier to cross the finish line. So Jackie and I set each other small goals and stuck with it. We built a little community for the race and exchanged words of encouragement as we went. Just when one of us thought we could go no further, the other one would pull us on.

At one point I exclaimed that the back of the race is where Jesus would be, then turned to her and said "for all I know, you could be Jesus!" And for that morning she was. She was the gentle encouraging voice, the supporting voice that valued me and not my achievements, and she was running with me, so I was not running alone. Sounds like Jesus to me.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


There is so much to blog about in these past few months on my return to Princeton. The most exciting thing is the bulbs that were planted in October are bursting through the dark soil and into the light - which signifies spring is here. I have been warned that New Jersey can have snow in April, so not to pack away my winter stuff yet, but the days are lighter and I feel in sync with that. Funny how life marches to the beat of the earth's drum. I feel like things that were planted in me and have sat in the darkness are now coming to light and new things will blossom in time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Checkpoint 300

Checkpoint 300 is the name given to the checkpoint at the entrance to Bethlehem. Everyone who wishes to enter must show their legal papers - for foreigners their passport - for locals their ID cards which state whether they are Palestinian or Israeli. A simple ID is not enough to go in and out of their town - permits are required to go specific places. Some people have special permits - like "religious worker" that allows them to attend work at their Christians place of work.

Having been in and out of Bethlehem all week, since it is in walking distance of our accommodation - each experience was pretty similar. I was largely ignored, as an obvious foreigner, and in some cases did not even get my passport out of my bag. The times of day I had been in and out were quiet and there was rarely more than a handful of other people in the building. Today, as we were leaving Bethlehem, after having lunch with friends, there was a long queue of people waiting to get out of the checkpoint. The line moved slowly and unpredictably sometimes allowing a few people through and sometimes no movement for a while. What had previously taken 5 minutes from start to finish took us 50 minutes. This is still fast for the many Palestinians who wait sometimes hours and sometimes are not allowed through at all.

In order to leave Bethlehem on foot first you walk up a fenced walkway, along the side of the 8 metre wall (twice the height of the Berlin wall) and then through a 2 metre turnstile. At this point you are caged in from all sides, another turnstile ahead, controlled by the duty soldier or security officer. Then walking across an enclosure, which I can only liken to a prison exercise ground, you enter another enclosed walkway that takes you into a large shed.

Inside the large shed it is not particularly clear where you should go, but the crowds suggest you should stand in line. A zig-zag line stops people from pushing in too much and allows for only one person width of the line. It reminded me of how animals are channeled when they are waiting for things, so they can't kick or move any way but forward. The next full height turnstile has a green and red light above it and it will only turn when the light shows green. Often only one person will be allowed through at a time, forcing families to be separated. Beyond this, there is an x-ray machine where all your possession much be placed for inspection - very similar to airport security. Next you walk through a metal detector which is set so sensitively it goes off with every person who goes through it. At a whim those on duty can search anyone they like. This is rarely anyone but Palestinians.

Only one more check to go, where if you are foreign you wave your passport and walk through another turnstile. If you are Palestinian your hand gets scanned (again similar technology as is used in prisons like Barlinnie in Glasgow - the highest security prison in Scotland) and your papers are inspected. At any of these points Palestinians may be sent back.

One last prison like walkway and you are out of the West Bank and officially in Israel. One Palestinian said to us earlier in the week "You can taste the free air", when she got through the checkpoint.