Dear World (it's unlikely my audience will be as large as that, but I like to think I'm optimistic, if not ambitious),
Although it's true that I have my doubts about this, it's much more amusing to see if I can actually win that fiver off you-know-who-you-are by keeping up with this at least 'til Christmas. I won't be blogging every day (my life isn't that interesting), but often enough to fulfil the contract. And if any of those reading this is raising an eyebrow at the thought of all that effort for five quid, let me tell you something: you have, quite evidently, never been an FP'er.
I've added this image because I haven't yet flung myself from an aeroplane, and I think it my duty to point out to potential FP'ers that this is misleading. There will be no flinging from aeroplanes, unless you decide to break the pressure seal on the tiny cabin which we'll probably be in at some point on our way to Portugal (which, by the way, is physically impossible). And unfortunately, it's unlikely your year focus will be skydiving. Pity.
That said, I have felt like I've been flung into open air at speed a couple of times so far this year. God has definitely stretched me, in areas I didn't even know existed until they needed to be used. I have access to many books, which I read in my non-existent spare time and study periods (whoop!), and although it may not show, I've actually become more responsible. My capacity has sprouted (and is looking slightly healthier than it used to, to murder a metaphor properly), and my knowledge of God's Word, which was one of the things I really wanted to focus on this year, has grown rapidly.
New city. New people. New church. New project. Hallelujah that my Father is the same! I'm so grateful that the church has been so warm in welcoming me and making me feel at home. We have so much on - I was completely wrong in thinking that we might have the odd bit of time to spare here and there. Pfft. Ah well, I'm wiser now. Two and a half months have zipped past me without my noticing, and now comes the Christmas Organising. With capitals, because it's just that big. Student events, youth events, carol services, outreach, whole church events... You name it, we have it. I've just started heading up OAPs (*wince* I really need to think of another name), and we're strengthening relationships with a particular residential home.
The elderly in our society are particularly on my heart. What's wrong with our culture that we don't recognise their value as people who have lived lives we're only beginning, and instead shut them away? Surely, surely, we should honour and respect them, both for their achievements and their individual lives. Historically, the older individuals of most people groups were their leaders!
Sorry, rant over. Anyway, we're having what our youth have dubbed the Ultimate Rave at the Home, which will include live carols, a raffle, gift bags, christmas cards, quizzes, games and a break for mulled wine and mince pies. I'm really hoping that this will lead into more people coming to our coffee mornings (with real coffee, delicious home-made cakes, pastries and biscuits, and a good cup of tea - the latter courtesy of rigorous FP training) on a Thursday. It's tripled in size, technically, but I'd love for other homes and elderly people to hear about them. Advertising in the past has been unsuccessful, apparently, so I'll wait to see how things go until Christmas and continue to pray.
Anyway, my never-particularly-impressive enthusiasm for blogging has waned for today. I'm aware you will be awaiting my next installment with unabated breath, but I wouldn't advise it. It might be a couple of days.