Monday, November 29, 2010

Week 3: second opinion

Well I stepped on the scales and my heart sank - it looked like I had regained those 2 pounds!

Still, I comforted myself with the fact that I had been successfully elected as a parish minister yesterday!

Then I realised I hadn't visited the bathroom and also hadn't accounted for the weight of a vest and tshirt (well it is cold today).

Voila - 15 stone 1. At least I'm at 'evens' for the week - and given the week it has been, with preparation and nervousness about Sunday, I reckon that's not bad.

However, getting to 15 stone by the end of November was the target. I'll have a weigh-in on Wednesday morning to see but 'I hae ma doots'!

Maybe it was too many cakes yesterday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Week 2

15 stone 1 - hurrah!

It looks like I've lost 2 pounds of weight. I'm not entirely sure how accurate our scales are (though i do use them on a hard floor) and it depends if I shift my weight on my feet, but it certainly looks like I've lost something.

It may be down to the fact that I've had a cold bug this last week that has affected my stomach (though normally I eat more and exercise less when I'm ill!) but I'll take whatever comes.

Next time we buy cereal I'm going to go for Sultana Bran too, and I'm also planning on getting in dried apricots as snack food.

Target is still to get to or below 15 stone by the end of November. I'll probably be feeling stressed this week due to my big gig on Sunday so that may either hinder or help - due to greater input but maybe greater output too!

I've also got my second set of Pause for Thoughts on local radio to record for next week, and a number of other things to polish off.

Busy as ever.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Attempting to lose weight

I achieved a relatively significant birthday this month. Not one with a zero at the end, but suffice to say I am one-third of the way towards being 105. (Somehow that sounds better than being half-way to 70).

This fact, along with reading John & Deirdre's blog caused me in a fit of enthusiasm (again) to decide to lose weight.

Step 1: What weight was I on that fateful day? (Helpfully it was a Monday morning, and I had not had breakfast).

15 stone 3. 15 STONE 3!!!!! Argh! I know in the grand scheme of things this may not be too terrible but it's possibly the heaviest that I've known I've been (allowing for the fact that I haven't weighed myself often in recent years). I'd just about accustomed myself to the idea that for the last few years I was hovering around about 14.5 stone, maybe a bit more.

In fact in my 'Learning and Serving Covenant' (a kind of Personal & Professional Development plan for ministers in training) I have had the goal 'Improve Fitness' sitting in the 'Personal' section for the last 2 or 3 years. Largely undisturbed, it has to be said. And as a goal it is neither Specific, Measurable, nor Timebound. As for being Achievable or Realistic... well that remains to be seen.
My supervisor this year has constantly joked and joshed with me about 'outcome number 3', often as I have taken a (second) biscuit. And biscuits are certainly one of my many areas of weakness. I could hoover through a packet in an evening given half a chance. (Though not too often, hopefully - but still it's not unusual for my better half to not have realised a packet had been open only to find that it is fairly well down). On top of that my regular consumption of chocolate, and lately a return to eating crisps and coke (other fizzy black drinks are available) are not good signs, especially having watched this week's Panorama in which John and Deirdre feature. I wish them well, and hope that they can soon rename their blog 'two tenths of a ton couple' or whatever figure relates to their target weights! (Yes I realise it's not a very snappy title...)

So, I thought to myself, I know I don't always have great willpower, and I don't like the idea of paying to join a club to lose weight. How about blogging for accountability. (Leaving aside the obvious that I haven't blogged here for over a year and am unlikely to have any readers at the moment). It's taken me 10 days just to get round to this initial blog post.... not a good sign.

So, I further thought to myself, don't try and make any radical changes straight away, just try to be a bit more sensible. And perhaps I was, maybe not eating as much junk as I might have done. Unfortunately I then went to a lunch/afternoon party my mum threw and ate masses. So much so that I felt ill and indigested, having to wait a bit before feeling able to drive home, and only really feeling better by not eating any tea, and waiting until the next day. Not a particularly good start.

I then failed to remember to weigh myself before the following Monday breakfast. However I did manage to on Tuesday morning and stepped with trepidation on to the scales...

15 stone 3! That's right, I had managed not to put on any weight despite my Saturday binge! I felt a bit pants at the time but with a couple of days retrospect I can claim that as a WIN! It doesn't get me towards my initial target of 15 stone 0 by the end of the month, but I think that is still reasonable and achievable - if only I can resist the idea that the best way to diet is to finish off all the bad foods in the house first.

Wish me luck or pray for me as you feel able...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

More blogging?

I'm thinking of returning to blogging. In fact, since I am writing this post, I guess I have returned but it could easily be a one-off (again!). My thoughts are that I could start a new blog with a theme of 'worship stuff'. Yes, I know there are tons more out there on that theme. No, I probably won't be posting world-class material that will outshine everyone else. I probably won't even be very adventurous or 'alt-worship'-y.

But somehow it seems like putting worship materials (sermons, prayers, meditations etc) out here is a safe(ish) thing to do. By that, I mean that one of my reasons for stopping/pausing blogging almost a year ago was the concern that as a minister, you have to be very careful about just what you write and publish (with deep and grateful thanks to those who gave helpful insight to that discussion and thought process!) And if that applied in 'placement-land', it certainly goes double for probation.

But worship is public material anyway. I will either have delivered it or be going to deliver it in some sort of public setting. And feedback on the content (albeit text descriptions cannot do justice to something that may look very different when delivered) would be useful, to hone, prune and generally sharpen up my act!

So the new blog can be found at:
but it's only just started so check back for updates!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's that Archbishop again

Dr Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) was involved in a public discussion with Prof Mona Siddiqui at Glasgow University today (well, yesterday if you're being picky).

Watching it on webcast on a machine with insufficient memory that kept stopping to buffer, and watching it over the tea table was perhaps not the best way to experience it, but among many interesting points was one particular comment.

Regarding the Humanist Society's Bus Campaign, Dr Williams commented on the use of the word 'probably' in their slogan as being a typically English approach (or words to that effect - I don't have a transcript!).

Or a Welsh one, your Grace?

PS My blogging, never as regular or dependable as even a (bendy) bus, may become even more sparse for the next while, as I try and get to grips with this year's academic and other work, and perhaps even re-think what my purpose, motivation and approach to blogging is or should be. So in the meantime, thanks for reading, now go and do something less boring instead.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In memoriam

I heard this morning that Ted passed away last night around midnight.

I don't know what to say.

I'm shocked but not surprised. The shock still comes from the suddenness of the onset of his cancer - about six weeks since diagnosis, I think. And if it affects me (and others connected with ICC) how much more so will it affect his family? The 'not surprised' part comes because I was hearing/reading updates over the last few days that simply made me think - this can't go on, this has to end one way or another quite soon - whether by miraculous healing, or by death.

Yet as Ted said himself in the messages (see previous post) - why, what's so bad about what happens next? (He, like me, is a Christian and in particular a believer in a heaven where there will be no more tears or pain) It's a 'no-brainer'! The hard part, as he acknowledged, is for those left behind.

Ted's family, a couple of months ago, had they even thought about this, would have had reasonable expectation of having him around for another 20-30 years. Now what? His children are adults, yet I know that had I lost my dad when I was 20 rather than 28, I would have missed out on a whole lot. A developing relationship between two adults, not between a child and an adult. Even now, I miss my dad, regret not being able to talk about my training and progress (though he wasn't a churchgoer), regret him not knowing his grandsons - our son and our nephew, though he did know our niece. I regret him not having a reasonably active and healthy retirement, or the fact that he had to retire just as he felt 'on top of his game', workwise.

And yet... we could have lost him when I was 8. Or 9. Or various times in my teenage years. At least we had 'bonus time'. Anyway, this wasn't supposed to be about my dad.

I urge you again, please pray (if you do) for Ted's wife and children, and the wider family.

And remember ICC, too. A whole new intake of first years may only have met Ted on an open day, or just heard the second of the two messages below, yet many more continuing students, graduates, and of course the college staff past and present will also miss Ted, as a person, and also for the key role he played in the operation of the college. Of course there are others who play key roles too, of course the institution is bigger than any one person, but nonetheless this will leave a big hole that will never be filled in quite the same way. Adjustments will need to be made, and will not necessarily be easy.

Ted was someone I first knew through my wife getting the job as afternoon receptionist, right at the beginning of ICC (formed from the merger of two previous colleges). Then I came to chat to him when I was considering coming to the college. Then, of course, I took O101, the famous 1st year Old Testament course, with 'Ted's Tests' (interestingly he told me they weren't his idea - he inherited them from a previous lecturer!). Obsessed with what a guest lecturer once called 'the fruitless pursuit of perfection', I did manage to achieve high scores, even with the 'word on the street' that Ted was very particular about the answers. Yay for my good memory. But boy did it make us read the set texts, since we knew we would have a test every other week for a whole term!

He was simply always there, doing probably far more than I knew about for the college - certainly in the process of seeking accreditation to train Church of Scotland ministers, in gaining validation by the University of Aberdeen, and in so many other things. Once he even took a Greek class for us, self-deprecatingly suggesting that he was the fourth or fifth down the list to stand-in (I can't remember now why the NT staff were all unavailable).

He was interested in everything, sat with students at lunches, played TT like nobody's business... what a guy. Maybe I should have said all this last week, and passed it on via his daughter. But anyway, it needed said, so here it is. Probably not the last or the most complete word, but an honest word from a former student.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dr Ted Herbert

An inspirational man from an inspirational college, ICC - ok so I'm biased, I studied there and I still work there. But check out these testimonies from him - in advanced stages of cancer.

First, in person to a prayer meeting at his church.

The second covers similar ground to the first, but directed to students of the college. It was done as a recording, less than a week later.

If you pray, please pray for him and his family and the wide circle of friends, acquaintances, colleagues and students who are affected by this. Healing, relief from nausea, I don't know what else to pray but please do.

If you don't (or if you do) - I hope it inspires and moves you as much as it does me.