End of Year

It is coming up in less than 12 hours now, a new year, the end of 2008 and the start of 2009. Is it a fresh start, an oppertunity to do all those things I just never got round too this year, to make “new year resolutions” that are rarely kept, or to continue life the same as normal?

I’m trying to think what I have I managed to do over the past year and the main things that come to mind is working in different Christian groups like Just 10, and Harvest aswell as the Salsa dancing that I’ve come to love.

I’ve learned a lot this past year but not sure how to write it all up as yet. I took a different approach to things in life than my usual do as expected and follow what others do and try to fit in. I decided I wanted to try and find new things where I could meet lots of new people, make friends, find things I could enjoy and be generally happier.

Overall, I think i’ve managed the aim with better results than I thought would happen.

Changes really started around April / May time where I got involved with friends in a stewarding team at Just 10 North East and saw so many people coming together from my local area to listen about God in a different way, and worship and enjoy. Seeing so many (over 5000) from the local area was good in one place, and was glad to be a part of it all. I’ve seen large groups of youth upto around 2,000 in total in previous years of events i’ve helped with and the atmostphere was great.

Harvest was a good time, I learned a lot about myself in a new place and made a whole new set of friends that meet up reguarly and enjoy each others company. Harvest moved to a new location – almost rained all of the time, in a larger field with a nice big barn instead of a windy tent – I made great friendships and re-discoved my love for dance that I lost many years ago.

I started doing different dance things… I wanted to do dance for a long time. I’ve not been bothered too much in night clubs but enjoyed it while out with friends but never been sure what to do except sway in random movements to the rhythem of the music and enjoy. I wanted to know how to dance for more traditional means so tried some classes.

First set of classes – I tried Ballroom dancing… Which to not much suprise is very difficult when your on your own. I was lucky and got the dance teacher to help teach and correct me when wrong… I don’t remember much more than the dance position but then again not been in a situation when needing it so maybe it’ll come back to me if needed… I enjoyed it and was suprised at how energetic little moves were.

Next I tried salsa dance, also gone on my own which was fine this time. I love it, I really enjoy it more than I thought I could. Its like a new passion of mine and try to go to events where I can learn more and dance. Its a strange thing salsa… The guy has to lead the girl in almost every move directing where and how she is to move. This took a lot of adjusting too but is interesting and fun.

I’ve been doing salsa now for about 3 months in total (12 weeks) and feel like i’ve done it much longer. I’m only a beginners level and can see there is a lot more to learn. It has helped my confidence with talking to people, dancing, and generally interacting with others. It is helping my fitness and always something new is learned whenever I try.

It scares me to ask the girls to dance, I don’t know most of their levels (Beginners, improvers etc) but they just go with it and its really enjoyable. Most of the time they will say “yes” to a dance, and i’ve only had 2 say “no” over the 3 months i’ve done it. Its quite pleasing to get a “yes” and relaxing too. I can not imagine looking forward one year this time last and seeing me even trying this… Its one of those many things that I put on the list that “i’d love to try but…” type and always have an excuse.

I wanted friends to go with me to the dancing, but everyone decided they were busy or would drop out and that put me off for a while then I decided i’d just go for it and if it all went wrong then no one would know who I was so it wouldn’t matter… In actual fact – I’ve loved it and made a lot of new friends through it all and very thank ful I just went for it.

Other things I’ve tried: Trampolining Assistant Coaching – Something I thought i’d not get through… started around May time – completed and passed in december with a week or two of little sleep.

I wanted to better understand why I was told to do thing a certain way and to be able to help out the club if need be. I learned how to be more assertive, and how to handle situation in teaching and demonstrating how to do things on the trampoline. I better understand what people have told me over the last few years and why and can better word for others to do what is needed.

I’m really glad I went for it and passed. I wasn’t sure how to feel at the time of the exam… we got there early and told we could start right away… it wasn’t until about half way through I stopped reading my “exam checklist/session plan” and just got on with it relaxed and helped people… It was a lot easier then and then got off, finished up and thankfully passed.

Bad News of the year: Family cat died at the great age of around 19 and a half – A loved moggy that is missed and remembered.

Overall, the past year has been quite amazing and although there doesn’t seem much mentioned above I feel i’ve achieved a lot, pushed many bounderies for myself and set a few new targets to reach for. I’m thankful for the great support from friends new and old, and quite happy seeing this year end and the new year come in.

After seeing all that can happen when the attitude changes a little from “what if”, to “lets try and see” – I look forward to what could happen this next year… Maybe at some point i’ll get round to writing up the dreams for life i’ve had… Who knows… Lets see.

Christian Life… Is it easy?

I have difficulties in my Christian life, I don’t stop believing – often questioning but never stopping – I truelly do believe that Christ died on the cross for my sins and all but I find that the defined church as an organisational building an awkward thing. I find the way that a lot of church services just depress me, or state the obvoius as the preacher tries to speak and teach. I understand but its just not interesting and I find my mind wanders more than it listens.

Where I am at the moment – its a nice church place – great music, enjoyable worship, lots of people, and I know many of them and they know me but only as a name and a face, there doesn’t seem to be anything more. Its quite welcoming and nice, but I often sit alone and no-one comes and says hi… I occasionally go over to the groups of my age range and its as though I’m not there so I go.

I find it strange that so many in “the church” as an organisation state that church is like a family… for me it is not, I love my family and like to spend lots of time with them all – parents, siblings, and pets. My extended family is my friends and I’m thankful for the many I have got.

When younger I only had a very few friends and in set groups, now I seem to have friends in all sorts of areas in all sorts of places in the world and thats not including people i’ve met online. The church has brought me a lot of those friends – we all never really fitted into the groups that were set out and althou we participated in them we always met together aswell. Some of my closest friends were made via church groups and now I count them as extended family.

I have great difficulties in sitting down, and doing the daily readings – I have the booklets that i’ve collected, and friends send me but loose them easily and not sure why. I’ve thought about trying to get an audiobook version – maybe that I can have in the car to listen to while I drive to work but not sure i’d keep that up either. On my own, I have little success at keeping things up, in large groups (church size) I have difficulties too.

I seem to grow the most in my Christian life through friends from past CU and uni, aswell as old church friends talking with them and small meetup groups – be it just for games, chilling out or talking / studying – I find this much more beneficial althou does not give an opertunity to meet new people. I think I learned the most through CU times many years back with the small groups that we used to have.

Past year… Just 10 North east – Amazing to see so many people coming together in pouring rain, and gorgeous sunshine in a giant tent in Preston Park… Followed by many IXth hour events, and Harvest – where I discoved a lot about myself but not at the time – it has only been afterwards looking back I see so much I can not explain and still am sorting through in my mind.

At work today I let something out I didn’t expect or mean to say – I’m not sure what was said but I know my reply “Just because people don’t belive in God, doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist” – I felt it quite strong to say, and got a few responses. Many of which confirmed suspicians I had but dared not ask while at work. I see there I could do a lot more in my Christian life than I do now… I try the witnessing by actions, but think there is more actions I could be doing to show my God through me.

I seem to section life a lot – I have the Work me, the personal me, the Christian me, the play time me, among lots of other me’s but need to work how to mix them to be just me. I’ve realised when i’ve mixed in the past people have still accepted me as who I am even if to start with they questioned why I was acting one way or another.

I have a good feeling for the new year thats coming, a lot will change – Not sure how, or why but think good things will come out of it. I’m glad I don’t know everything – I think the suprises in life help make it more interesting. Why open that secret santa pressie early – keep it for Christmas. I’m glad I did – I really enjoyed reading what I got.

Good Christmas

I’ve had a great Christmas break – 4 days long weekend from work. Started by picking friend up from the town centre, finished by dropping them off at the train station.

This year was different to every other year… this year I was cooking dinner, and friends came over to stay for a few days. A good, generally relaxing and very enjoyable time chilling out, playing games, talking, cooking and eating. We all managed to see family and althou dinner was late on (next time much earlier in the day) it was enjoyable and afterwards we chilled watching movies.

I got a lot of stuff, much of what I was not expecting and is really good and will be useful to me. Many cook books on topics i like aswell as clothing, dvds and other stuff. All in all, i’ve been very fortunate and had great friends to enjoy the Christmas festivities with.

Not saying much more than I hope your all having an amazing Christmas time, and wish you all a Happy New Year for 2009.

Amazing night of Salsa

One amazing night of Salsa I’ve had. I’ve danced with so many girls I’ve lost count. I’ve had so much fun I don’t exactly know how to explain it.

I always fancied dancing in different ways – its always amazed me watching people move so much like fluid through so many postures and enjoying it too. It looked easy but whenever I tried it rarely worked.

Salsa Dancing

I think i’ve always loved to dance, but was always afraid of what others may think. While at school we were to do country dancing, I always loved to do it but would never own up to it then. Until a few months back I wouldn’t do dance, althou I know it makes me happy. I didn;t see how much it makes me happy.

The turning point I think was around Harvest time when I tried to do street dance and althou not any good at it, I really enjoyed it and kept going for it.

One year back if I saw myself now doing what I do, I would not recognise myself. I am really pleased I chose to stop waiting for others to join me and go for it. I started on my own, and now have made a lot of new friends there. Still a begginer but enjoying it so much.

Its not really yesterday anymore…?

On a totally different note to what I often talk about althou often random and probably nothing anyone wants to read about.

Anyhow… I’ve had a mental block for a project I’ve been working on for myself. I wanted a shopping cart system kind of thing for my website with paypal accepted payments. I’d tried using several open source ones and well.. they say they give you the ability to customise but I could never figure out how to make things work the way I wanted so in the end decided best idea would be to try and make my own.

I’ve read through multiple websites online on how to do them, many of which seem to use each other and a templating engine named smarty – no good for me, but useful for other things.. I could see in my mind how I wanted it to work, but been unable to work out how to draw it or write it down.

That was until today… or yesterday… After looking at the close and seeing it pass 04:19am – its not really yesterday anymore. Anyhow started drawing it down and writing it up – I always forget how long it takes for doing forms in PHP right to blockout stuff like mysql Injection and XSS stuff… a pain but unless I want to loose a site i’ve just taken time to make its worth doing.

So now its started, and will hopefully be at least initially finished by friday. I can see that it could be good… when it works as expected. I’ve tried to set it up so you can have as many categories as you want and as many products as you like in each one but we’ll see what happens.


30 Soon

If I look back in life to when I was little I saw my life in my late 20’s to the age of 30 quite differently. I thought that I would be married, probably with children in my own house working full time supporting family. I thought I could be running my own business with friends and all of us working well together earning enough to enjoy life. I would have travelled all over the world with friends and would never loose those friends from school but just get more and have lots of fun. I would work in IT of some sort but never knew what and would be happy.

A lot is different, for one major thing – there is no wife, and family. I do have the mortgage, and a job (although 2 part time jobs making one full time) and not in my own business althou its still a possability. I still have a few good friends from school time that I see most weeks and many new friends.

I’ve managed to do a lot more in life that I thought I could: Going to uni (never thought i’d get into college nevermind uni) and working, now trampolining and helping as assistant coach, i’ve ran for polotics, helped out in many campaigns, been involved in numerous events in the area and seen so much changes in life and made some awsome friends along the way. There is so much, I can’t explain it all.

Overall I’m quite happy in life, I have many great friends that support me and I can support. I have quite a diverse set of things I do from my work life in IT, and Web Development to the different leisure activities including Salsa Dance, Trampolining, Swimming, Cinema, and random Gardening in my little front garden.

I turn 30, on Friday the 13th February 2009 – No idea whats happening but I hope to go out with friends and have a good time. But I guess we’ll see what happens – all in all, I’m thankful for where I am – and believe its a lot to do with the amazing friends that I have so thanks 🙂

Up, Down – Where am I now?

Over the past 7 days I’ve had such a mixture of thoughts, feelings, and emotions I am not totally sure exactly how I feel or what I should be feeling.

Last sunday, I passed my assistant coaching exam for trampolining and from being nervous to calm, and completing it all I was full of joy for the next day or so. It felt like nothing could go wrong.

Then the moggy got more ill, and now has gone to moggy heaven. I will truelly miss him, He had been with us for 19 years and a half. Equivillent cat age apparently around 96. So a good age. He had heart problems, and now kidney failure so was put down – he seemed so unwell on tuesday when I went round. I fussed and hugged him for a while before home feeling he wasn’t going to last but didn’t want that to happen either.
I think that on wednesday when I found out, I was kinda expecting the bad news and had started to prepare for it. I still don’t know what to do with that part of life. It doesnt seem real – I go round my parents place where he lived, and look for him or listen and then remember – things just look so big now, places where his stuff was and is no more – so bare. I often think of him from being a little kitty to playing only a few months ago.

All in all, very sad and upset. I talk/write a lot more when I’ve strong feelings as its the only way I really know how to get through them.

Friday was a great night, I made a lot of friends from people i’ve seen for weeks. I went to a salsa social night – at first it looked to be an awful night but got better and better. The weekend so far had been quite relaxing and i’m starting to get things done that I’ve wanted.

The week has definitly been a mixed week, I’ve had a LOT of Great Joy and Great Sadness – now, it just seems normal but with memories and feelings mixing it all up – one sec joy, then sad. How will the rest of the week be… I honestly do not know. I am glad I don’t really know everything already – I think life would be boring and tedious if I didn’t get to learn anything.

Dancing Friendship

Last night was a fun night… A night of dancing fun.. I went to the Arc in stockton, for a night of salsa dancing, to try and relax and learn and have some fun at the same time… I’ve come to love the dancing as i do trampolining.

Salsa Dancing

The night started very slow, 7pm was the initial start and there was only 2 of us… Very nervously I was encouraged to dance, very anxiously I got up and didn’t do much, over time more people came. By 8:30pm there was a nice sized group – not a lot but nice sized. We got on very well…

People we’ve seen for the past 6 to 8 weeks, but never really gotten to know – dancing together, having drinks, talking and relaxing. I’m really glad I went although at around 7:30 that night I was quite unsure. As there was only a few of us, we got personal tuition in the dance – something I’m glad for… Many things I’ve struggled at for the past few weeks clicked and are a lot of fun.

The salsa social ended around 10:30 I think and we continued into town, very windy, quite cold and a little wet but we got to a pub quite quickly. Lotsa drinks and random dancing there too, chilling and chatting – great fun. Drinks didn’t seem to expensive and almost all of us won double drinks by guessing the toss of a coin – maybe why not so expensive.

It was a full moon last night, some say a night of power. I say it was a night of fun, laughter and great time of new friendships. I was unsure if alchol would help me relax.. I thought alchol amplified your feelings which in some senses it does but it also helped relax for me to dance and stop thinking about how to do things and just do it.

I tried meditation to memorise the feeling and memory of how to relax in dance subconciously – i’ve managged to learn things like that before but unsure as if it works – i’ll see tuesday when i’ve had no alchol – see if I can relax and do it so much easier. Should be interesting…. Saturday should be fun – its another social night of salsa and my brothers birthday so will be out til early or even late hours of the morning then.

Christmas is coming

Christmas is about here, well its coming in 13 days time, and am I organised… Of course not. I’ve sorted all the presents, still need to send the cards – writing them will be a good start and wrapping presents… Bought some selotape – its strange coming to wrap with nothing to stick together… kinda pointless unless you manage some interesting folding origami that actually stays closed but that makes it too easy for people to get in.

I need to sort out a food menu, i’ve got a load of drinks: alcholic and soft drinks but food is a necessity.. for at Christmas we all eat as much as possable or at least in my experience I always remember lots of food over Christmas.

I’ve to prepare Christmas dinner this year… I’m having friends over – one person is a vegitarian which slightly complicates things but otherwise all seems good. What is on a Christmas dinner – I know turkey, and veg and stuffing but need deserts aswell and so much to organise. I’ve not got a cake or christmas pudding yet but intend to have that too…

I think we’ll put up the decorations this weekend, if we can find them all that would be good. I was looking for window sticker snowflakes but not found them anywhere but ebay. Been told their in £Pound shops but not found any there yet.

I’d like to get a real wreath for the front and back door aswell, I can get them locally to add a little more spirit. I’m looking forward to the break over Christmas althou this year i miss half the bank holidays as wouldn’t be working a Thursday anyway but will be a good time I think.

Dodgy Shower

At present we have a dodgy shower at home, it will start to seem to get warmer and occasionally it will get warm but generally just when you accept its warm it decides to go Cooooollldd.

Its an old shower, think its from the 80’s or something – all in all its been good to me and no real problems before this. How do I get a shower fixed… I may need a new one, no idea of costs of plumbing it in or the cost of a shower… Its just one over the bath but to get showered at the moment can be a truelly refreshing event.

I tried the insurances you get with things like Homecare but they cover everything up to and not including the actual shower which is kinda useless… but nevermind i’ll need to keep looking.

Until then, I’m taking nice toasty hot showers at my parents – after the chilling ones in a morning thwy are very welcome.