Trampoline coaching…

I have started for the past couple of weeks to do my trampoline coaching again. I passed the assistant coaching a few years ago but have never really used it more than in the adult classes while I attend to help out. I wanted to do more with it.

On a Monday night now, after work I help out at two of the classes. I’m still re-learning how to teach, a refresher in it all but it seems to be coming back quite fast. I’ve been unable so far to find my coaching booklet but watching people start a move seems to remind me of the progressions and I can advise on how to improve them.

I started the coaching course initially not to help others but to help myself. I had difficulty understanding what some of the coaches were describing me to do and wanted to understand from their point of view so I enrolled on the first course. It took me about a year to complete it, and the exam although scary and nerve wrecking, was not so bad as I had kids and others that worked well with me to get through it.

However after the course and exam and passing, I didn’t use the qualification. I’ve been on the refresher courses, and child protection courses so seem to have lots of certificates for things but was not helping anyone with it all. I wanted to help but never had the time, I needed to make time somehow but that didn’t happen either but since breaking up from university, I had extra time so have started to use it.

After a few more months of experience and getting back into the swing of it all, I would like to train for my level 2 qualification in it and see how I go from there. Level 2 would open doors to do a lot more in trampolining, there seems to be quite a lot of that level in Billingham Trampoline Club – they do seem to like to get as many people trained up. I’ve been told that I should be able to apply for funding towards the costs and the club can help support/pay too which would be great.

I think it is something I could work on alongside my university work as it is a completly different type of learning, it is a lot more about action than theory but still should be an interesting diversion from university work. I didn’t think I would go for any further level, but now, after a couple of weeks of coaching, I want to do more.

Free time, what free time

University finished at the end of may, and I got my results recently to find I had passed which is good and I felt I had a lot of free time suddenly. After months of university and blocking out time to do all the work, I now have all these extra time blocks to do something.

I have evenings from 5pm on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday that used to be filled with time for tutorials, and classes that are now free, a sunday afternoon free that I used for reading and trampolining with the university. In all, I have gained around 20 or so hours each week to do things again.

I’ve taken on more hours at work, just a couple on the end of each day and taken to go swimming after work Tuesday to Friday now. I’ve restarted my trampoline coaching on a Monday night to help out at Billingham Trampoline Club. I passed the exams years ago, and been on the refresher courses but not really used them as never had time.

I’ve now blocked a monday evening out to do that and when uni starts again can still do the tutorial time again after. We have been given the timetable for next years classes already so can prepare time management.

I don’t know if I would have got back to trampoline coaching without the constant contact from the club. I was included in the coaching meetings even though I’d not coached in years and was a part of the running even if not active. But being included made me feel a part and I wanted to help out more. Such a little action on their part really got me to feel for the club.

This extra time, I see it as an opertunity to do things I’ve wanted to do all year but not got around too. I’ve worked on some projects and completed ideas that I never thought I would. I often think up things and they never get past the design stage and live within the piles of paper that grow and duplicate. I often have the same idea about 5 times before its put into a complete action. So far this break, I’ve completed about 5 of them including updating a lot of my Websites.

I’ve taken up reading for leisure, previously I would maybe get through a fiction book maybe once or twice a year, now its been closer to a week per book. I got a kindle with vouchers I got from a program named “Better than Banners” – Years ago, they asked you to put some code on 3 static webpages and they would pay you £5 of amazon vouchers per website and £10 per referral. We of course referred each other and setup lots of websites. Some sites have died and we lost the income but a couple of us still get £5 every month or so from them. We joined in 2006 so thats been a lot of free vouchers. Shame they do not accept new registrations, it would be easy to setup a lot more sites now and gain the vouchers.

Anyhow, I’ve got a kindle with the vouchers I saved up from them and have been reading many books it feels like. I really enjoyed The Hunger Games series and for the next week or so after felt in my dreams I was running around the forests and game lands. I’ve worked through a few books now and look forward to the next ones in their series, but some are not published so I’ll enjoy that when they are.

For the first month after my exams, I wanted to relax. Release myself from all studying and just stop but couldn’t completly – I had my job to do and got on with it. It came to evenings and I felt lost, and empty for a while. I watched a lot of DVDs – I managed over the course of a month to watch the entire series of Firefly (+ movie serenity) and Stargate SG1 and movies along with many other ones that had been on sky. I thought about how people could just sit and watch and it felt like a waste of time although I enjoyed them, at the end of it all, I felt I got nothing worthwhile out of it.

While studying, I felt I got a lot out of many classes, from friendships to education and challenges. I feel I need challenges in life and thats where my projects come in.

So, two months to go before university starts again. Maybe it will soom be time to find books for pre-preparation for the course of the next year – some reading to understand the topics a little ahead of time. It would be good to find the books I require before the rush at the start of the year and while I have some time, to actually read them.

I’ve a few trips planned over the next month or so to see friends and visit London. I am not sure why, but disappearing to London for a few days allows me to totally relax. I think its to do with a totally different life style – I relax anyhow, this time going with more friends. I’ve not got a holiday of going away planned but love seeing people around the country and taking time out from my normal stuff – that in itself is a perfect idea of a holiday.

so… that free time I thought I had. Easy gone, but at the same time, I’ve filled it with things that can be put aside when university starts again. Most things will be put aside, but I am hoping to keep on with the trampolining coaching. After a few more months of experience, I’d like to train for my level 2 qualification in it and see how I go from there.

First year down, several more to go

Last week I got my results for my first year of university. I was pleased to discover I had passed all my exams and the year, no resits for me. It did not give a complete breakdown of my results but the one I enjoyed most (contract law), I got the lowest marks in and the one I disliked the most (legal foundations) I got the best marks in which feels a little strange.

When I did my exams I was not well, I got very anxious and nervous beforehand and was quite ill on the weekend before they started. I had done my revision and had worked throughout the year so was prepared for them. When I sat down to the exams, I read the questions and could see similarities to the many tutorials we had done and felt I could answer the questions which was good.

I sat, I worked through them all and at the end of it, I felt I had done well. Looking at the grades, it looks like I need a much better exam technique. Although I could remember the information, I did not express it as best I could it seems and I need to work on that. My course work however seemed to pull my marks up good – maybe why I passed legal foundations so well as that was all course work.

I’ve always had difficulty when it comes to exams, my mind does not seem best suited to it. Throughout the year, and in course work, I would answer well and get the majority correct but in exams, everything seems to drop.

My parents have suggested that maybe I should look into something like hypnotism or counselling if interested to maybe try and find the root cause and aid learning and expression within exams.

Its an interesting idea, to re-program the mind to aid learning, and something I’ve thought about myself before and read a lot about it online. There seems a lot you can do through meditation and hypnotism to help to give yourself more confidence and help change attitudes.

I know a few people who have used it to remove fears such as spiders, and others to help stop smoking. They have said that it doesn’t seem to change things completely but they are a lot more relaxed in the situation and are a lot less likely to react as they used too.

I start my next year in October. I am looking forward to it again although not so much the amount of reading that will be involved. I hope to get some of the books on kindle, but so far none of my law books have been. I find it very easy to read books on that thing, I make the text quite large and can fly through books and seem to absorb the information.

I used to remember my dreams long enough to…

I used to remember my dreams long enough so that I could write them down, it has been a long time since that has happened. I only remember what feels like small fragments of them now, and they don’t make much sense (not that dreams often do after waking up)

I used my dreams to base up stories that one day I hoped that I could re-write and make into small stories or books to be published or at least shared with other people. I often have such great adventures through my imagination that I want to share it with others.

Last night, all I can remember is getting a new job – a job where I was in a high tech location with lots of security around. I was new so did not have the required passes to get in, but someone found me and got me through security.

I went through to a place with a lot of very large monitors and people quite busy, but also quite socialable too. My team leader wanted me to write, and asked me to create a couple of stories that would demonstrate my writing and descriptive abilities although I could not see how that could help me in that job, I could suddenly remember so many stories from my dreams. I felt conflicted, I could have written so many down and developed them, but also wanted to keep them for myself.

It was very strange, as at that point, I could have wrote so much but then I started to awaken to this world. All I can now remember is that the information was there and available to develop and now, I can not seem to remember or access it. It is really annoying but comforting to know that it is there and maybe, that dream will become a reality and I’ll be able to share my stories one day.

Congratulations, it was a great day

Today (Well saturday 16th) has been an awesome day, I saw a friend I’ve known since 1997 get married and it was an awesome wedding, and party afterwards. I know that I’ve had many drinks and it was a good time without getting to the stage of drunk but seeing many others get there.

The wedding was at St Giles Church in Northampton, its a real church building which I’ve not really been in one of those for a long time. It was a nice church, it felt quite welcoming. The music seemed a little too loud for the amount of people, but otherwise the service was good even with the preacher/guy doing the service going on about Love a lot. At one point it felt a game to count how many times a minute he could say it. The great passage about Love in 1 corinthians 13 was spoken and it was well placed.

The weather didn’t seem to want us to take pictures and was very windy but we got a few all the same before moving to the next venue. There was some pictures taken before the rain started and we all went inside. There didn’t seem to be a lack of drinks, and we were provided with many if we wanted them.

We had a wager (£1 each) for our table, to guess the length of the speeches put together, it was around 14 minutes fifty something, I’d guessed 14 minutes and was closest so won that round. It went towards the drinks for the next round – We got a pitcher of cola and had been given a bottle of vodka – it didn’t last long and was quite nice.

I’ve had invites to stay at peoples houses, and reconnected with friends I’d lost and caught up with many too and even made a few new ones along the way. The day has been awesome, I’ve really enjoyed the friendship and seeing him actually go through with it and wish him and his new wife an awesome life together.

I got some free transport home from my friends aunt who lived in the area, I really appreciated it as was not sure how to get back and was assuming a taxi however my phone had died and I didn’t have a number either so was working on the assumption that it will all work out, and it was great because it did.

I have to say congratulations to them both, and to my friend, you’ve been an amazing friend – you will be an amazing husband to her – Best wishes and God Bless.

And… Thank you for having me be a part of this amazingly special day.

While avoiding revision

I’ve been doing what feels like a lot of revision covering a whole variety of topics for my uni course. I’m glad I started weeks ago, as I’m sure it wouldn’t all just work in the 3 remaining days.

I went outside, and it was raining – it was pouring down in reality but for a few seconds I had to just look up and appreciate the rain coming down upon me. I didn’t know why, but it gave a great joy inside as I stopped, waited and enjoyed the water upon my skin.

I soon remembered how wet I was when I got to the car some 20 metres away from the door. Drenched I went home, but had a great feeling of happyness at the same time. Was it the distraction from revision, or the refreshing feel of the moisture – I don’t know but it was nice all the same.

I’m going to have extra time… I could actually rest?

I’m coming to the end of the first year of my university degree and notice of all the extra time I will have available to me and one thing that came to me was “I can eat more tasty and healthy meals again” – I know that sounds quite a sad thought really but for the past 8 months of university my days tend to start at around 8am and me not getting back into the house until about 9 or 10pm due to being at work, or at university.

The thought that I can eat a mixture of stirfry’s with fresh ingredients again. I can bulk buy the chicken from Makro (About 5kg batches for one person is a bulk purchase) and get the fresh ingredients from the local farm. I like getting the ingredients from there, they often have only picked it in the last few days if not few hours. Really fresh stuff and often not as expensive as the supermarkets. I’ve not gotten there recently due to their opening hours mixed with my hectic time table.

As I stare at the calendar and see after the 16th May that my calendar is looking very empty from about 6pm each day, it seems so strange. My plan would be to have around a month off from all uni stuff and then start the reading for next year – we have already been given the plan of classes but no other information yet… and thankfully not really – not got through the exams yet for this year.

I hope to get a lot of projects completed, one I’ve worked on alongside university that is near completion but I’ve so many ideas and I’ve been writing them down and putting them aside as I know that I can not do them all, and if I start now with them, I’ll never get through the uni work I need to do and I plan to pass this degree. I’ve worked hard this year to get this far – I’m not stopping now just 10 days or so before all exams are complete.

So, I’m sure that free/extra time will be filled with something very quickly but its a nice thought to see a break even if it will vanish quickly. Maybe I’ll get fitter, do some gardening, write a book, actually complete reading non uni books, or just see a lot more friends again. I’m looking forward to the change, it should be fun!

It doesn’t get easier… and Thanks Guys and Gals!

This past university year has been a lot of fun. A great challenge and exams are in a couple of weeks. I’ve passed all assignments so far, and am preparing for the 2 remaining exams.

I have made a lot of new friends through classes and especially in the social side. I’ve been involved with the Gym and Trampolining group a lot this year. It’s something I enjoy I’m not very good at it but enjoy it all the same.

I’ve made a lot of new friends in it, and only realised in the last week or so that many of them are leaving as it is their final year. They will be missed, they included me in their many events, celebrations, and group things even though my schedule is quite hectic and made me feel a true part of the group and encouraged me. I am very thankful for them all.

This past evening, we had a mini awards night where we all got an award necklace with macaroni round some elastic and a badge. Mine was for Quietest member, as I am so quiet unless annoyed, angry or ecsyatically happy (or need to do a presentation) – I’ve always been quiet although when I get talking, I do tend to keep talking.

It was a good night, a dinner at Joe Rigatoni’s in Middlesbrough followed by drinks out. With many of us attempting a game or so of pool. I’ve realised its a very bad idea to play pool when you have a bad back. I’ve regretted it for the pain, but did enjoy it at the same time. Not something I should repeat until my back is better. Its been bad now for just over a week, maybe I should see someone about it – Red Tiger Balm seems to relieve it quite well for a while… I’m just running out of it now.

So… It doesn’t get easier – I’ve had friends from university leave now for many years, and although I try to keep in contact with as many as possible, it does not get easier to say goodbye knowing that they won’t be around for those random points of encouragement, and smiles and laughter or the great advice that they can share in just the way you need to hear it. So, guys and gals – you will be missed and Thanks for all you’ve brought into my life 🙂

Journey of Belief: Chapter Three: The story so far

A few years ago I joined a church in Yarm, after hearing about some of the people that went there and what was happening. I went for a sunday morning, not letting anyone know I was heading there, and what I found was a suprise. A lot of old friends that I’d lost contact with through the churches I’d been involved with in the past. I’d got on with one or two people while searching for a home church and went to many different churches. So many of them have ended up here, in one place at a vineyard based church named Yarm Vineyard Church and has since been renamed “The Vine – The Vineyard Church on Teesside” and this is now my home church when I go and now based at Stockton Riverside College.

The Vine - Teesside Vineyard Church

It seems to be a church in more of a sense of getting people involved and in a community of sorts rather than a place that you should always be going too. There is no feeling of guilt if you don’t go and you can always catch up online if you want too as they put their services online as podcasts. Its usually a short service of about 60 to 90 minutes, with a mixture of worship, chat, and sermon that doesn’t tend to last longer than 20 minutes with some sort of donuts or cake with drinks afterwards. If you want to be involved with things, you are encouraged too but if you say “not interested” – you do not get badgered into it as I’ve seen in a lot of places. I like it.

Harvest - Five day Christian Festival for young people

I have always been involved with harvest since about 1994, first as an attende and then as a steward as I got older, and then onto the ministry team and now in the background. Harvest is a five day Christian festival held in the North East of England, that exists to help young people engage with God, each other and to go home better equipped to live out their faith. I have wanted to help with the continuation of the event for a long time and in 2011, I’ve got my chance and now see that there is a lot happening in the background to organise and run the event.

In 2009, I started stewarding at spring harvest. It was very different to the stewarding at harvest – there was a lot more work, and much longer hours. A typical day started around 7am and finished around midnight and involved a lot of moving chairs, health and safety, and looking out for people and hazards.

When I attended spring harvest, I did not know anyone beforehand and that was a scary idea – to go somewhere in the country I didn’t know to work with no-one that I had worked with before. I had been to spring harvest once with the Christian Union and not really enjoyed it, I kept wanting to know what was happening in the background and couldn’t be involved – this was my chance and I went for it. I’ve now stewarded for about 4 years (2009 to 2012).

For the first two years I had no preference of where to go, but really enjoyed the venue for my second year and have helped run that venue since. It is the 11 to 14’s venue. There is a lot of sillyness that happens and is loud and fun. I think I like this venue as I was around their age when I first started to understand what being a Christian meant, and in myself believe that they too can comprehend what they are taking on. I work with a group that often come from the Youth for Christ North East Team so I know them quite well and have worked with them on events such as Harvest, IXth Hour and a few other things over time.

Spring Harvest stewarding is not an easy job, but it is not really a hard job either. It involves taking time out for others, and caring as well as a close eye on safety hazards. When doing a 11 to 14’s event – there are always lots of hazards such as water/sticky messy games, mixed with electrics (never a good combo), racing games with hundreds of people around, general cables everywhere (for the great visual/sound effects). Its a lot of fun though, even with the cleanup afterwards and masses of chair movements. I’ve made some awesome friends there, and keep in touch with many still.

We all come from around the country, and it doesn’t matter where we came from in life, or what church we came from or no church but that we all came to serve and help. For that one week, normal life is on standstill, there is no judgement of what you do in life just a positive attitude to help and be a part of the effective team is really wanted. If you are down, people are there to talk. Its a mini community for a week – we meet up as a whole team at least once a day and usually meet during the days too. I really enjoy the weeks and get the chance to listen to what is said and meet with God at the same time. I find it amazing and encourage others to get involved.

Spring Harvest Holidays

After my first spring harvest, I got in a pack some information about a holiday away at a Christian based site run by spring harvest. There is one week called the The French House Party (Now just The Houseparty) based at a resort named Le Pas Opton (LPO) in the Vende Region of France. For one week, the resort has no kids allowed on site and the general age range is mid 20’s upwards. I went for the week, it was not cheap but very enjoyable and made even more friends. Going on my own, again I think stepping out in faith that everything would be okay, I made friends that I still have now in 2012. I returned in 2010 for a second year but have not had the available time to go again but hope to make it for 2013. I still keep in contact with people via facebook

I’m not sure what the next chapter of this journey will be but I look forward to finding out.

Journey of belief: Chapter Two: Exploration of faiths

I have always been interested in what people believe and why it makes a difference in their lives and some friends were in a group that a Christian wouldn’t usually be involved with. I name it Tea & Biscuits but it came under several other names officially, most recently “Mind, Body & Spirit”. We meet up, drink tea/coffee, eat biscuits and chat about life and what we believe in. I’ve had many good discussions in it, and many arguments too. We also do meditation which is usually a story that you allow your mind to follow and relax too.

I’ve always as far as I can remember believed there to be an energy in everything, some call it nature, I like to believe it as the spirit of God as it is in everything. I wanted to know why people believed things, how and why and although it went almost against everything in Christianity, I wanted to speak to people about God from their stand point, to be able to relate my belief to their own so I started looking at the pagan, and wican roots of belief. I had many friends that believed that point of view and wanted to understand more.

I reguarly attended and still attend the T & B (Tea and Biscuits) group and talk about my beliefs as well as general life. I listened to how they followed their lifestyles and got involved a little. I went to their groups, and they seemed harmless enough to start with. They were just talking, some spoke of spells and rituals they would do. A common one was a circle of protection before they would attempt anything further which made sense in one way, but to know you needed protection for something you were about to do also made quite strong warning signs.

I mixed with people doing some things with energy, and my senses detected that something was wrong, but I couldn’t put a finger or a real description of what was happening more than a feeling inside me to say “no, don’t do this”. I ignored it, and it felt great at the time but very quickly afterwards, I felt quite depressed wanting back that feeling. I didn’t know what to do about it all, I was happy yet something inside me felt broken, an emptyness. I wanted to fix it but had no idea what to do about it and it just kept on going. I prayed about it, but still it didn’t seem to fix it. I ended up talking to people at church about it, and we prayed together and the feeling seemed to pass. I still can remember the pull, it was so easy to get that Good feeling but the downside was so strong, I don’t want to go through that again.

My friends seem to mix with wicca, witch craft, paganism and play with magics or mess with the spirit. A lot of the time it seems safe but I’ve seen the bad side, and really want no-one to go through that. I find it difficult to explain, as to express a feeling is quite difficult sometimes.

The best way I can say about looking at the life within paganism etc was that I was on a giant bungie. I dived strait into it, and at first could feel myself falling into things, I could see the dangers of what I was doing but believed that the only way I could relate was to live through it so I continued down. I would push through the storm clouds as I fell down through it so the point where it was enjoyable. It didn’t seem that bad and the more I did the better I felt, but could feel a battering every so often. I didn’t know what it was and just wanted away from it. I pushed on through to the point where I forgot I was falling, it was just life and then suddenly the rope ran out. I felt a tug, a word of “Enough!” and I looked back. I could see a long rope with a hand holding me there. I was pulled back, I can remember all that I’ve done and can relate a little to those that believe those things but at the same time was aware that I was a Christian, I believed in God and that He was my father in heaven. He was pulling me back to him fast and the comfort came, the calmness and peace that I used to know.

The travels in belief into this world lasted for over a year, and I did keep looking, and my reasoning to keep going was… I want to understand, and be able to relate. At one point, I forgot what my aim was and fell into the lifestyle – it was strange, as I never stopped believing in God but for a while, it felt that I wanted me time, rather than God time.

I will always remember one day in particular where we had met as a group to “practice” a spell of some sort. Someone wanted to connect with the spirit world. They began with a protection circle, and then something felt very wrong. Prior to this, they had tried things but it had never felt this wrong. It felt dangerous and the room was filled with an energy (I could remember the feeling as surrounded by the spirit) but it did not feel right. I spoke out, and said “You must stop, there is something wrong – you are not meant to touch this sort of energy”. It did not stop them from trying, they told me, “Its OK, this is what happens”. I said “No”, and I prayed. I don’t think I’d every prayed so feverently with my heart, I was truelly afraid. They stopped, and asked “WHAT did you do!” as the energy seemed to disappear from the room and they could not restart it. I said, “You should not be touching this energy, and I prayed against what you were doing.” – I believe God was there protecting me. He gave me the awareness of understanding and reading what was wrong there and gave me the option to ask for help of which I took. I got asked a lot of questions about my faith over the next few days. Some people were annoyed with me, but I’d always said from the beginning what I believed in.