sabbath week day 1: fruit and burgers

(What is Sabbath week?) 

2013-04-29 22.56.41This afternoon, my wonderful and generous friend, having read yesterday’s blog, brought round some oranges, flowers and a pineapple. After my initial protest (going something along the lines of “Hey! Stop bringing me things when I’m trying to empathise with the poor…”), I accepted the gift and relished the thought of having fresh fruit beyond, maybe, Wednesday. Not sure what her thinking was behind the flowers. Perhaps the vitamins would come in handy, should we get desperate when the weekend comes. Anyway, they’re currently looking rather beautiful (albeit a little nervous) on top of our TV cabinet. Love my friend. (And yeah, we have a TV cabinet – so what? Flatscreen, schmatscreen.)

Dinner on a Monday needs to be quick. My gorgeous Belfrey group hang out till at least 5pm, and if the kids don’t eat by 6 – nay, 5.45 – they start to grow horns and colour in the carpet. Hubby’s out till late, partying (sorry, working) with the students, so it’s a one-lady show. Tonight my quick fix was burgers from the freezer but made by moi a couple of weeks ago. After a nasty incident with some shop-bought meatballs a little while back (I’ll save you the description, but think gristle and you’ll just about get there), I vowed that neither me nor my children would ever eat shop-bought meatballs or burgers again. Then I discovered, fortunately, that making burgers was actually stupidly easy. Here’s what I do – bear in mind it’s a very rough recipe with amounts of things, I usually just chuck stuff in, so do alter my quantities according to your taste preferences.

Easy peasy burgers (makes 8-9)

If you have a food processor, blitz together 500g mince, 25g fresh/frozen breadcrumbs, an egg and 1-2 tbsp of whatever fresh herbs you need to use up. On this occasion I used thyme, but mint works well (especially with lamb mince), as does parsley or chives. You can also add 1-2tbsp of pesto or curry paste, if you have them lurking at the back of the fridge (hey everyone, it’s Sabbath week), and half an onion adds a bit of oomph too. Season well. Shape into burgers and grill for about 5-6 minutes on each side – or freeze, layered between greaseproof paper and wrapped well in cling film. Defrost thoroughly before grilling as above.

If you don’t have a food processor, you can mix it all with a strong wooden spoon, but a good old blitz does help to break down the mince and combine it with the other ingredients, preventing the burgers from falling apart when you shape them.

In my humble opinion, these burgers are massively economical as they make a small bit of meat go a long way. You can make it go even further by adding greater quantities of onion, beans, cheese, breadcrumbs or whatever. Go crazy. And, because they’re so yummy, one is usually plenty, as long as you put it in a tasty bun with nice bits and bobs on the side. (My tasty buns, thank you for asking, were 18p for 6 at the Co-op. Get them cheap when they’re at their ‘best before’ then freeze them for a rainy day (or a sunny day, and a BBQ).)

I served these burgers with peas (from the freezer) and sweet potato chips drizzled with sesame oil and seasoned with Special Seasoning (aha! you’ll want to know what it is now!) before roasting at Gas Mark 7 for 30-40 minutes. Yum!

sabbath week

The fridge at the start of Sabbath week. Not overflowing, but considering it's usually at this stage that I do our weekly shop, our over-consumption is pretty horrendous.
The fridge at the start of Sabbath week. Not overflowing, but considering it’s usually at this stage that I do our weekly shop, our over-consumption is pretty horrendous. There’s plenty in there which will feed us.

Very soon I will stop talking about Jen Hatmaker’s Seven. I will – I promise.

But indulge me a couple more posts – after all, it’s not every day I read a book which changes my life. In fact, it’s not every day I read a book.

After reading about Sabbath rest in the final chapter of Seven, I read Leviticus and was reminded of the ‘Sabbath year‘. The Israelites were to work the fields for six years, then during the seventh year they were to kick back and live off what God had given them, through their hard work for the previous six years. It was an exercise in trust, mainly – could they rely upon Jehovah Jireh (the God who provides) to fulfil their needs? But it also gave them a break, which God knew was important for them – after all, He’s made human beings and knows how we best function. The one-in-seven rule seems to work: it keeps us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy.

Our savoury cupboard - tins galore. Enough to make a starving family weep.
Our savoury cupboard – tins galore. Enough to make a starving family weep.

I wondered if our family could adopt – or at least experiment with – a Sabbath week. For six weeks we shop for food as normal, but in the seventh week we buy no food at all. We live on what we already have. We find inventive ways of using leftover food – or eat plain rice and remember those who get no variety in their diet. We save the ‘best’ meals for when friends come round. We prioritise the kids, even if it means that Al and I have to go without – and, as we fast, we pray for those who regularly sacrifice food so that their kids can eat.

Baking cupboard. I have a feeling we'll be getting a little creative this week.
Baking cupboard. I have a feeling we’ll be getting a little creative this week.

This idea was born during the week commencing March 18th, so that means we’ve had six weeks of normal food shopping, and our very first Sabbath week begins tomorrow, April 29th. It will be an exercise in trust, and will give us a rest from the (often time-consuming) jobs of planning meals, writing lists and buying food. It will also give our bank balance a rest – an important chance for our finances to ‘breathe’ and perhaps be released for other uses. It will reduce unnecessary food waste in our household.

Not gonna miss out on carbs during Sabbath week, methinks.
Not gonna miss out on carbs during Sabbath week, methinks.

Here are a few guidelines. They’re not ‘rules’ as such but bear in mind I’m Queen of the Get-Out Clause. If we had no boundaries, within a day I’d be buying Double Deckers by the multipack, and claiming they didn’t count as ‘food’. I’m also an avid list-maker, so bullet points kind of make my day.

* apart from milk and a joint for Sunday, both of which we bought last week and froze, we haven’t deliberately stocked up on food, either by buying more or batch-cooking (the joint might seem a little extravagant…but in my year of celebration, Sunday roasts are becoming very important – look out for a future blog post on them!)

* if there’s not enough for us all, Al and I will go without – but we’ll never let our kids go hungry. If we actually have no food for them, we’ll buy some.

* Al’s job includes lots of coffee drinking with students. We’ve agreed he can still buy drinks if for work purposes, but no food.

* we can eat food bought for us (and will try our hardest not to go round begging at our friends’ doors like paupers)

I spy some marshmallows and popcorn! Hoorah!
I spy some marshmallows and popcorn! Hurrah!

I’ll be blogging our experiences!

* Are your kitchen cupboards groaning like ours are?!

* What are your views on over-consumption? Is it a problem, or should we just relax and enjoy ourselves?

And if it all goes horribly wrong, at least we have a good supply of booze. Liquid week, anyone?
If it all goes horribly wrong, at least we have a good supply of booze. Sabbath week = liquid week.

stay-at-home parenting: where’s the intellectual stimulation?

 

(There’s still time to enter the giveaway! Free book, anyone?!)

2013-02-14 15.37.44This is not an advert for stay-at-home parenting. It’s not even an argument against those who might suggest that parents who stay at home with their kids run the risk of becoming bored. It’s actually just me asking myself a question: How is it that I don’t feel bereft of intellectual activity? Because on paper it looks like I don’t have much of it – and yet, three-and-a-half years in, I don’t feel intellectually inactive as a stay-at-home parent. So here’s me trying to figure out why that might be.

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1. I’m still me. It sounds obvious, but I have the same kind of thoughts and ideas as I always had. My brain, albeit a little slower and more forgetful, still runs through discussions and arguments in the same way. I’m interested by the same news articles, the same ethical debates, the same life philosophies.

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2. I’ve met a wider range of people. Parenthood, for me, has been incredibly social – I’ve not made this many friends since Freshers’ Week. And I meet new people every week. When I was in a paid job, I had many colleagues – but, largely, my work was independent. And the colleagues I socialised with were from a similar background to me – mainly white, middle-class, university-educated. As a mum, I’ve met others from all around the world (Japan, Korea, China, America, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Romania, to name a few places). I’ve met people with PhDs, and people who left school at 16. I’ve met people who were raised in a whole variety of different situations – and who are raising their kids in a whole variety of different situations. This has made my life and conversations rich in diversity and, I believe, intellectual interest, as I’ve absorbed a whole new set of ideas about life, as well as other countries’ histories and ideologies.

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3. My kids stimulate my mind. It might sound mind-numbing to hang out with pre-schoolers and do nothing but slot shapes into holes or read picture books – but the development of my children is fascinating, and requires a good deal of thought. I don’t tend to do a lot of reading on parenthood and child development, but I pick up bits and bobs, and simply how my children respond to things causes me to form ideas about what will be beneficial for them in the future, and how I can encourage their interest in different areas. I’m not a ‘natural’ when it comes to parenting – I’m pretty slow on the uptake, and so it takes a lot of brain-power to keep my kids alive…or that’s how it feels!

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4. There’s a lot to do if you’re available. Society can’t function at its best unless some people do things voluntarily. There just seem to be a lot of things needing to be done which can’t be paid. I’ve been in the fortunate position of being able to engage with a bit of voluntary stuff since being out of paid work, most recently running a toddler group. In the last few months I have: worked in a team, led initiatives, chaired meetings, organised rotas, communicated with a variety of people by phone and email, used social media for publicity and negotiated discounts. It’s intellectually stimulating to have an idea and see it take off, regardless of whether or not you’re being paid for the work. Yes, these jobs do eat into my evenings, as I try not to short-change my kids by doing them in ‘their’ time, but these other commitments do help me keep my brain active in different ways.

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5. Work wasn’t always that stimulating. I need to remember that, much as I enjoyed my paid job, it didn’t stimulate me every day. In every job there is the humdrum routine, the tasks you repeat over and over, the lack of variety and the days which drag. Likewise, some aspects of my life now are dull. Some days seem really long, and sometimes I get fed up. But, overall, if anyone asks whether I’m bored since leaving paid work, I’m confident in answering with a resounding ‘no’!

What stimulates you about the time you spend at home with your kids, whether all the time or part of the time?

Do you empathise with any of my feelings about being at home with kids? What’s mind-numbing? What’s interesting?

Oh, and did I mention the giveaway?!!

seven – not a review (but a giveaway – yay!)

One of the degree modules I chose was entitled ‘Not Opera’ so, as a fan of things which aren’t what you think they’re going to be, here’s not-a-review of Jen Hatmaker’s Seven, which I mentioned recently.

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THIS IS NOT A REVIEW.

Why? Firstly, because you can read the reviews everywhere. They’re. All. Over. The. Web. Secondly, because perhaps more interesting than me telling you what the book is about would be for you to actually fork out nine quid, buy the book, read it, and instead let me tell you how it’s affecting me.

The deal is this: Jen Hatmaker is a NORMAL gal from Austin, Texas. Not normal in the sense of being in any way sane (for in the arena of sanity she is weird and eccentric and quirky) but normal in the sense of not Shane Claiborne. Now don’t get me wrong – I was massively influenced and challenged by The Irresistible Revolution, and strongly recommend it if you haven’t already flicked through. BUT – he’s a radical. The world I inhabit is millions of miles from his – I found it a struggle to apply his life to mine. So Jen is a mum, writer and speaker, in her 30s, living in middle-class America. I can relate to two-thirds of that, which is good enough for me.

For each of seven months, Jen cut back her life in one of seven different areas: food, clothing, possessions, media, waste, spending and stress. She ate only seven foods, wore only seven items of clothing, pledged to give away seven possessions each day, eliminated seven media types, adopted seven green habits, spent money in only seven places and finally, in the last month, adopted seven sacred pauses to her day. Whilst many have criticised the gimmicky nature of this experiment, what stood out for me was the thinking behind it: the theology, the research, and Jen’s thoughts on it all. It made me think. (I also quite liked the experiment bit, if I’m honest. I like that kind of thing. But my advice is: if you don’t, then don’t dwell on it. Get to the meat of the book.)

Here’s a selection of my thoughts after reading Seven. I’ve again contemplated my over-consumption, challenged by the knowledge that there’s enough food/money/clean water/education potential for everyone in the world – but that I am guilty of consuming more than my fair share. This has led to new commitments about: buying less, reusing more, buying Fairtrade wherever possible, using less packaging, wasting less food, practising self-discipline when it comes to spending. Essentially – trying to share out the earth’s resources.

I’m thinking about my media usage, whether my use of the Internet is wise or not (hello, blog), and what I’m filling my head with. My phone alarm is set to ring at various points during the day reminding me – if I choose to embrace it – that I have an opportunity to commit that part of my day to God.

I’ve realised that my musings about the Sabbath really need to be clarified, so am having a think-through that one, particularly as t’other half works Sundays.

I’m wondering whether we’re investing our money into the right people/organisations that will seek to let God’s will be done across the earth, in terms of justice and provision for all.

Pretending this is a review for a minute, let me offer two warnings: the book is very American, and very girly. These are not criticisms – I can’t criticise an American girl for being what she is – but more aspects which might irritate some. I couldn’t see hubby reading it, for example, as he’d soon get fed up with the style, much as he appreciated (I think) the huge chunks I read to him just before bed each night. And the American-ness just requires a little mental altering, to translate to the situation here in the UK. This is most noticeable in the chapter on ‘Waste’, where the lack of compulsory recycling in Austin seems very distant from our own experience.

Do you have to be a Christian to get something from this book? No, I don’t think so, as long as you’re sympathetic to where Hatmaker’s coming from and don’t mind the Bible quotes. I think anyone interested in social justice would find the book stimulating.

OK, this was a review then. Dammit.

But here’s the thing: this blog is nearing 10,000 views – something of a milestone, I feel. And what better way to celebrate a milestone than with a giveaway, a thank you to anyone who has ever read this blog? Write a comment below and when the blog has hit 10,000 (sometime mid-end of next week I estimate), I’ll pick a name from a hat, send the lucky winner a copy of Seven and he/she can write his/her own review and ignore mine. Agreed?

you scratch my blog…

I am a naive blogger.

The morning after my first blog post, I checked email and couldn’t believe my eyes. People in America had read and liked my blog. I was reaching THE STATES??!! Nervously, I peered round my bedroom curtain, unsure as to whether I would find hordes of journalists camped outside, waiting for the first words from an overnight Internet sensation. Had I gone viral?

In a word – no. I had not.

Over the next few days I began to realise that this was what happened in the blogosphere. You blogged, others liked you, you looked at their blogs, you liked them, and on it went. But this sat uneasily with me. I didn’t have time to read, let alone engage with, 100 different blogs – and, I suspected, other bloggers didn’t have time to engage with mine. I suspected that many were hitting ‘like’ or ‘follow’ without actually reading anything in full.

blog

This bugged me because it had taken at least a year to start my blog. What held me back was the time-wasting aspect: people are so busy – did I really want to add to their busyness by throwing yet more words into their lives? Did I desire to be the source of people’s procrastination from things that really matter? And yet here were people wasting their time on my blog when they weren’t really interested, just so that I would waste time on theirs.

I would honestly rather people didn’t read my blog if they weren’t finding it interesting or thought-provoking. My own husband doesn’t regularly read my blog – and I’m fine with this. I don’t want people to feel obliged to read my thoughts; instead I want to connect with those who find it helpful to engage with the issues I write about. So, if you haven’t found this blog useful, please stop reading. You have my permission. Go help the poor instead.

However, I’ve become less cynical of the ‘you scratch my blog, I’ll scratch yours’ approach. Not that I do it myself, but I’ve realised that blogging is a means by which to create community, and if this is how people find their online community, then that’s OK. Many bloggers are isolated in one way or another – perhaps they’re travelling or working overseas; maybe illness prevents them from getting out and meeting people face-to-face; it might be that they work from home and rarely see other adults; or, like me, they might be parents, who rarely get the chance to finish a conversation with another adult.

I realise that my initially sceptical attitude to other bloggers was arrogant and negative. But I’m also not up for paying lip-service to other bloggers for no good reason. So here’s my idea: a small selection of hand-picked recommendations from a small but diverse community. To participate:

1) If you like desertmum, please consider telling one friend about it – someone you think might be interested.

2) Please leave a comment below, with a link to one other blog you really enjoy, saying why you like it. In return, if you have a blog, I’ll reply with what I value about it and who I think would enjoy reading.

Sound good? Please participate below!

parenthood and church

Where do I start on this one? Perhaps by acknowledging that everyone’s experience is different, and I can only speak of my own. So excuse me if some of what I say is stuff you can’t relate to. But I’m willing to bet that for every factor that has made my experience of church difficult since having children, there is an equally unavoidable factor that has made your experience equally so. The point of this little series (see here for the other posts) is to open debate, so please do share your different experiences in the comments section (or on Facebook).

I need to start with a disclaimer: I am not blaming my church. Welcoming families is what my church happens to do really, really well – they have a long heritage of doing so, and were something of a market leader during the 1970s and 1980s, trail-blazing the concept of all-age services, the use of dance, drama and contemporary music in church, and the idea that maybe Jesus was serious when he said that children understood the Kingdom of Heaven more than most. At my church, people pretty much give you funny looks if your child isn’t throwing a tantrum in the middle of the sermon. (“What? Why isn’t your child trashing the pews?? What kind of parent are you???”) But, regardless of the set-up, I believe church with young children is still difficult. It just is.

The main factor which initially made it hard for us was clinginess – a trait of Mister’s that lasted well into his third year. The well-staffed, well-resourced church creche may as well not have existed as there was no way Mister was going to part company from me. Another factor was the heavy involvement of his Dad in church services (a hazard of working for church), meaning we couldn’t take turns with being responsible for Mister – the onus was on me.

Now your child may not be clingy and your spouse may not be involved in church leadership. Perhaps church cuts across your child’s nap or mealtime. Perhaps you work all week and resent leaving your child in the care of others during the weekend. Perhaps your other half doesn’t come to church, and you’re torn between spending time with your church family, and spending time with your natural family. Perhaps your child has additional needs, and just doesn’t respond well to your church’s way of doing things. And there are myriad other reasons that make church awkward for young families.

But then again most things are awkward with small children. Going to a restaurant is awkward. So is going out for the day. So is going on holiday. We still do these things because – presumably – we believe there is some worth to them, that it does our family good to spend time together in this way.

So does it do our family good to stick at church, even when its difficult? I believe so. For when will our children get into a pattern of regular, corporate worship if not now? How will we stay connected to the wider family of believers if we don’t show up to worship with them? Do we believe we can raise our children without the support of other Christians? Is it enough for our children just to have us as Christian role models? Are we the only Bible teachers they need?

Two primary thoughts have been running through my head regarding church since becoming a desert mum. One is questioning the value of church for my family. I’ve always been to church, so I’ve never really questioned why I do so. I mean, I’ve questioned my faith and accepted Jesus for myself – but I’ve never really questioned the importance of church until now. For the reasons alluded to in the paragraph above, I’m more convinced than ever of the need for me to stick at church for the sake of my family. We teach our kids about Jesus at home – through books, play, songs and, their current favourite, the bible on CD (which I highly recommend!) – but there are deficiencies if this approach isn’t partnered with a regular, corporate worship time. If my children grow up in the wider church family, they’ll make Christian friends who will support them when we become too uncool to do so. They’ll find other adult Christian role models who love and care for them. They’ll be taught by other Christians who model aspects of Jesus’ character which we don’t, teach areas of the Bible we’ve left out, and help them to understand concepts about which our explanation has left them confused. In addition to the benefits for our children, we will find ourselves much more supported in raising our children if we remain connected to an active family of believers.

But, as usual, all of these benefits are not the reason we stick at church. They are merely some of the reasons why the Bible commands us to prioritise church. Ephesians 1:22-23 states that the church is the ‘fullness’ of God. Relating this to our experience as parents, we cannot hope to be all things to our children. Raising them in a church ‘fills the gaps’ in our own parenting – which, as Christians, we must admit is flawed and lacking – so as to display more of God’s fullness. (Check out Ephesians 3:10-11 and 5:25-32 too.)

The second area of thought has been an awareness of the deficiencies in my approach to church previously. If I’m honest – although I would never have admitted it back then – I used to go to church for the opportunity to worship to a live band, the input of a challenging sermon, the getting together with friends, the trip to the pub afterwards. I would never have admitted it – but I went to church for purely selfish reasons. Like a typical consumer, I exploited church for all it could give me, and if I didn’t feel like going then I didn’t go. Although usually I did feel like going, because back then going to church was easy.

Is this what church is about? It’s not wrong to want decent Bible teaching, to enjoy worshipping with others, or to develop friendships with other Christians. But if that’s all, then why go with young children? I don’t often get to worship or hear a sermon without interruption, and I don’t have limitless time before/after services to chat to everyone I’d like to chat to.

I’m starting to understand that church is about being. I need to be in that place of worship, with my fellow believers, regardless of what I personally gain from the experience. I might not get to hear the sermon, or sing any of the songs. I might be chasing my kids round the building, or even stay out in creche for the whole service – but there is value in being with God’s family (and that includes the under 3s, no less a part of God’s family). I can listen to sermons online, I can worship to CDs and YouTube, I can meet up with other Christian friends through the week – but church is important because it consists of being with the corporate body of Christ, celebrating together, allowing God to transform us into a beautiful bride preparing to meet its love. Sometimes this will feel easy and we’ll feel the benefits; sometimes it will feel sacrificial and we won’t; but it’s always something worth sticking at.

…and ten things i’m looking forward to about cambridge

When people ask me how I’m feeling about The Move later on this year, my response is always the same: “I’m sad to be leaving York – but if we have to leave, then I’m glad we’re going to Cambridge”. Seeing as we spent the last four years in York and the three years before that in Cambridge, this is a handy way of ensuring I don’t offend either my York friends or my Cambridge friends. Besides, it’s true. There’s an awful lot I’ll miss about York, but I’m looking forward to Cambridge. Here goes with my list, punctuated with punting photos:

1. Playgrounds. Cambridge parks seem to have better play equipment. Not sure why. They just do.

2. Dojo’s. Amazing noodle bar, where you can pick up a mountain of noodles at a tiny price, while you sit authentically squished together on benches.

3. Wok ‘n’ Grill. Those of you thinking that I can’t have more than one Asian restaurant on my list have misunderstood. Dojo and the Wok ‘n’ Grill are entirely different establishments – like a screwdriver and a hammer, you’d use them for totally different things. If you want a quick, cheap, tasty meal in town before going on somewhere else – Dojo’s is your place. If you want a reasonably-priced, delicious Asian meal and time is no object, you go to the Wok ‘n’ Grill. Styling itself in the typically Asian ‘all you can eat’ vein, it stands out for the range of freshly cooked meat and fish dishes which you can put together yourself, choosing vegetables, noodles and protein component, as well as sauce – before it’s all cooked in huge, sizzling woks before your very eyes. The place is a gem.

2007: Negotiating a pole.
2007: Negotiating a pole.

4. Punting. Water, boats, big sticks – what’s not to like? Also, the weather is constantly 30 degrees in Cambridge, so punting is always pure pleasure – never cold or windy. You’d never sit shivering in a boat waiting for your trusty punter to get you out of a weeping willow – never. (Are you hearing me, Alistair Rycroft?)

5. Cycling. I know I could have cycled more in York – but somehow it’s much easier in Cambridge. The cycle paths are wider and more plentiful – and (the crucial factor) drivers know to watch out for you. I’m thinking of getting me a pretty strong bike and trailer combo to cart the kiddoes around…it’ll be just fine, you’ll see. This time next year my thighs will have disappeared (pretty much).

2008: Winter punting. How pretty is Cambridge?
2008: Winter punting. How pretty is Cambridge?

6. John Lewis. Don’t tell Al – we’re meant to be boycotting JL because of an incident with a sofa, a crack and a non-existent guarantee. But it’s too hard to resist forever – I’ve stayed away for the last couple of years, surely that’s enough of a stand? (And staying away has nothing whatsoever to do with the lack of JL in York, obviously.)

7. Weather. See ‘4’ above. Always nice. OK, I admit to perhaps a teensy tiny little white lie here – but it’s become something of a standing joke between the hubbie and I because whenever we visit Cambridge the weather is fab.

2009: Pregnant punting - work leaving do. There's a Thai restaurant that will serve your meal on a punt. Amazing!
2009: Pregnant punting – work leaving do. There’s a Thai restaurant that will serve your meal on a punt. Amazing!

8. Proximity to London. Is this a bit of a cop-out in a post supposedly about Cambridge? I’m really looking forward to being nearer family and friends in/around London, as well as being able to nip into central London on the train and show our kids the sights.

9. Church. We’ll be heading back to the church we were part of when we lived in Cambridge before, so it’s lovely to have a ‘known’ in a sea of ‘unknowns’. Things will be a little different this time, and I know much has changed – but it’s still a great church to be part of, with lovely people who seek God through word and worship. I’m looking forward to being challenged by some great teaching, inspired by uplifting worship, and motivated to live out whatever God calls me to while we’re there.

10. Friends. Oh dear, I’m obviously running out of things if I have to resort to copying no.9 and 10 off the York list… But genuinely, I’m very excited to be returning to old friendships – some of which have been growing since we moved away – others of which will be reignited when we move. Some friends have even moved to Cambridge since we moved away, so that’ll be fun too. I already feel very blessed to have such an incredible support network there. 🙂