Friday, March 27, 2009

cabin bags

So I'm heading back to Grenoble tomorrow for the first time in almost 2 years. I'm going to have to carry all of my belongings in my 55x40x20cm cabin bag (£50 to add a bag on 2 flights, I tell you!!!) which will mean wearing a week's worth of clothes during the journey. I need room in the bag for taking nice Scottish things over and (more importantly) for bringing nice French things back! Anyone know if you can take cheese in cabin luggage on a plane?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

On belief (or rather lack thereof)

I've been feeling pretty short on faith in general lately... There are two main reasons for this (though I could probably find more if I tried hard enough). First there's my limited mind capacity - the inclination to expect things to happen in a certain away and for God to act in a particular away. Putting God in a box. It takes stretching in order for my mind to expand and stretching tends to require stepping out of my comfort zone... hmmm... therein lies the problem.
Then there's my capacity to mess up, again and again and again - it leaves me feeling fed up and empty and despondent and utterly useless. This results in a lack of belief on my part in God ever changing me.
This lack of belief isn't something I've just noticed. I've been encumbered with it for as long as I've been a Christian, though only started realising and wrestling with it over the past year. See I've realised that, in theory, having belief would result in me praying more, would result in me trusting God more, would result in me stepping out of my comfort zone more, would result in me behaving and doing in a completely different way, would result in God acting in massive ways in and around me. But this shortage of belief, though it doesn't stop me, it stunts me, stunts all of these things... Ridiculous is the only way I can describe it! Actually Ridiculous!

But God... - I don't think I've ever fully understood this - grace. There are times when I think I've got it and then I forget it again. But it's not from me... That whole section in Ephesians 2 reminds me that I am rubbish, but God... He's what I need, He can give me what I need. He wants me to come and ask him to give me what I need. Because He freely gives.

Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Isaiah 55:1-2

That food and drink - that could be wisdom and righteousness and hope and love and belief... all we need do is ask!

Friday, March 06, 2009

On voice neurocognitive psychologists and diagrams

On Tuesday, my sort of supervisor showed me what she'd done to my data the other day to put in her own paper. It was this intelligent and beautiful rainbow spectrum of a graph, all blue, red and yellow, and where data overlapped it became purple and orange... it was preeetty! And it was the data that I'd collected! Sadly I won't be using it for my own project cos that would feel too much like cheating. Turned out she wasn't the only working on pretty diagrams. That same morning, one of the other francophones in the lab also showed me his crazy complex multiple graph diagrams that he'd been creating. And then yesterday (after a right cuffufle of forgetting the right usb stick with the version of my project that I'd been intensively working on over the last couple of days) I got some highly useful feedback from my actual supervisor.
At least half of what he said could be condensed into this:-
- "Put in some cool diagrams here and here and here and here"
(it may have been a summary of what he said but I assure you, the word "cool" made an appearance on several occasions). So I had a go at some "cool" diagrams today. I made a reasonable effort I think, but none of them come even close to the rainbow spectrum graph I saw on Tuesday :( siiiigh...

Lessons for the week:
- Programming matlab is a useful skill to learn
- Voice neurocognitive psychologists like "cool" diagrams
- Never put your usb stick in your jeans pocket so you don't lose it. You will inevitably forget to take it out the next day

Man am I becoming geeky... see what final year is doing to me!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

fear of silence

I don't think I've got any less busy and yet at the same time it feels as though life's quietened down a bit. Perhaps it's because that voice of constant alertness that has accompanied a year of responsibility as gucu vp has been silenced for good. I miss the committee dudes but my head certainly feels a lot clearer for things that I'm needing to put more energy into right now like work and family and even just for hanging out with people. And for some reason, I'm finding it easier to grapple with silence. I go through phases of actually being somewhat scared of silence. Sometimes because I think I don't have enough time for it, or because it can leave me vulnerable to thoughts or fears or stresses that I don't have to think about when I'm busy. It's utterly ridiculous I know. Silence, especially silent acknowledgement of God is as beautiful as it is bread and butter to a Christian, I love how Coralie puts it here. Anyway I ended up writing this...

I like noise.
At multiple frequencies, high amplitude
in toing froing, hereing going,
in hustle bustle, constant doing,
in clutterclatter, chitterchatter,
the thrill of milling in a crowd.
I like it loud.

And I see You in everything
in all the constant toing froing
leaping out of action, chatter,
sparks in peoples' eyes

But in the silence... it's another story.
I have to strain so hard to see, so hard to hear,
to listen even.
Please don't be so quiet God!
Too much cramming, crowding, perpetuating...
I've lost the art of waiting.

And yet... You tell me to be still
quieten my heart, and know You're God,
that in trust, that in quietness, therein lies strength,
that in still still waters, therein lies nourishment.
How could I forget that breath-taking beauty
of just being with you...