My Nanny Daisy

So just over two weeks ago I lost one of the greatest women I had the honour to know, my Nanny Daisy. Honestly I was heartbroken, I was lost. After never not having my nan close by she left a massive gap, a massive loss. For two weeks though I held my tears in, I felt separated by the oceans and so separated myself from the grief, from the reality. But then reality struck, I crumbled, I couldn’t breathe, I cried two weeks of tears in two hours, I felt desperate, I felt alone, I felt broken.

For 24 hours I kind of checked out to cope, I walked through my day but didn’t really pay attention to it, I chatted with people but didn’t take it in, I sat a lot. And then I slept …

I woke up and it was like I suddenly remembered God was there, I wasn’t alone, yes I was sad, but I had a choice to make. I could sit and wallow, or I could give my grief to God and choose to celebrate – to celebrate my nan’s life, to celebrate the life i’ve been given and to embrace every day. I had 28 wonderful years with my Nan, a true gift from God, so i’m choosing to thank God for those memories, to embrace them, to find the joy in them, but not get caught up in them, not let the grief take over my life because thats not what my nan would want and its not why God has bought me here.

So this post is just to share some of my memories, to share some of the joy and love my nanny daisy bought into my life, to celebrate, to laugh, to engage with the past but not get stuck there. Its kind of a public therapy session, maybe some of you would like to post your memories in the comments (on here or Facebook), and we can find joy together…

 

My nanny Daisy:

Daisy the artist – Nan was a very creative person (I like to think I get some of my creativity from her, definitely didn’t get it from my mum). She loved to write and draw. We often found drawings or doodles, and lines of poetry in her paperwork. When me and Jenny were little we spent countless days cutting and sticking from catalogues, writing stories and making paintings into books. She taught me to knit and she didn’t go far without her crochet bag, she could crochet a blanket without paying attention, and her artistic individuality came out in her sometimes quirky choice of coloured stripes. She also showed her creative side in her constant need to rearrange her furniture, quite often we would pop around and catch her with the sofa in the middle of the room, the table blocking the doorway and there she would be trying to push an armchair by herself (in her eighties).

Daisy the dog lover – My nan introduced me to my love of dogs. My first dog wasn’t actually my dog, she was my nan’s – Kirsty. When nan moved into her flat in Wimborne she wasn’t allowed dogs so Kirsty moved in with us, and I loved her! Then when we moved to Wales and had our dogs they became nan’s as well. Scampa used to run outside and wait for nan to play football with him, and she loved telling everyone how great he was at it, and Oscar always jumped up on to the sofa, knocking nan backwards and gave her kisses all over when she came for Sunday dinner, and he doesn’t do that to just anyone.

Daisy the gymnast – we all have memories of nan showing us that even at 80 years of age she could still put her legs behind her head and doing exercises whilst lying on the bed with our legs in the air. I’ll always remember how after nan’s heart attack she came home with a booklet of recommended exercises and a giant elastic exercise band – and no matter how many times we tried to tell nan that they were mostly exercises for people that could do those exercises prior to their heart attack, nan was convinced she needed to be able to do them all, and try she did.

Daisy the walker – nan loved a  good walk (and a good car ride). All my life I’ve been on walks with my nan, walks through the New Forest, Upton Country Park, Moors Valley, Scotland, Sandbanks, Mumbles, Cadoxton, the Gnoll and Aberavon to name a few. When nan couldn’t physically do the walk anymore we got a wheelchair and took turns pushing her, although nan was hesitant to use the wheelchair at first she soon sat back and enjoyed the ride as she got to go to all the places she loved, and even some new places. Last summer we went to Burry Port for the first time and after a lovely walk had fish and chips, one of nan’s favourites, then after another walk enjoyed watching nan eat an ice-cream, another of her favourites. Nan loved Aberavon, and would go at every possibility – she loved having a little walk and then a coffee, or an ice-cream. Another great memory from last summer was taking nan down to Aberavon, which turned out to be the hottest day we had so it was packed, after fish and chips we pushed nan down the ramp and then sat her in her wheelchair on the edge of the sand – what I love about that day is that she got to watch Scarlett have her first summer beach day, and she loved every minute, especially the ice-cream on the way back to the car.

Daisy the traveller – nanny Daisy loved to learn about and see the world. In her life she visited Hong Kong, Dubai, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Holland, France and Germany. Growing up we had lots of holidays with nan in the trailer tent and the caravan, including joining us on our caravan holiday to Scotland. I take peace knowing that although I am separated from my family at this time, nan was so proud and excited that I was going out and seeing the world – especially Australia. After travelling here in her late 70s she came home full of life and love for Australia, so when I told her of my dreams/plans to come to Hillsong College she said GO! and here I am – maybe I get some of my dreams to see the world from her as well. A holiday I will always treasure was in Summer 2014 when me, mum and nan spent a week in Dorset, visiting favourite places, (Poole, Sandbanks, Bournemouth, Wimborne and the New Forest) sharing memories, recreating memories and creating new ones.

Daisy the giver of gifts – nan was so generous, you only had to say you liked something and she’d offered it to you. A favourite on a Sunday was seeing what she would pull out of her handbag for dessert. When she was still getting about she would always pop to the corner shop and pick up a packet of cakes or biscuits, however when she got less mobile she would just bring something from her cupboard, a tin of rice pudding, a tin of custard, a tin of peaches, a tin of sweetcorn, then during the next week mum (who had bought the tin in the first place) would have to sneak it back into her cupboard.

Daisy the mum/nan – Nanny Daisy was all about family. If you sat down for a chat she would talk about family – who she’d heard from, news from a postcard or sharing a memory. Nanny Daisy was blessed with a large family, and we were all blessed by being a part of it. Her flat was full of the latest photos of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, she was so proud of all of us. She loved and cared for us all so much, she would have given us all the moon if she could. She was truly the best nan you could have wished for – she taught me so much, believed in me always and encouraged me constantly.

I am so blessed to have so many happy memories of days spent with nan that I will treasure and stories that I will share with generations to come. So I guess that ends my therapy session – feel free to join in the sharing of joy, the celebration of life and leave your messages in the comments below or on Facebook. Thank-you for taking the time to read, I hope it bought to mind some of your own memories of nanny Daisy. Love you all xxx

Hillsong College – the experience.

So I’ve just finished my second week as a Hillsong International Leadership College Student. First week was enrolement and then this last week has been Intensives week. I thought I would give you all a mini diary of my two weeks of college 🙂

 

Monday 23/01/17. Evaluation Day. First day started with free breakfast which as a student is always a good thing. Then after a brief introduction to college we got split into streams, as pastoral students don’t have evaluations we had an introduction to the different pathways we can choose (kids, youth, social justice, church ministry, pastoral care, events) – it was in this session that I decided to go for kids not social justice as I had been thinking previously. We then had our photo taken for our student ID and that was first day done.

Tuesday 24/01/17 – Enrolement day! Today involved a lot of queuing but was very relaxed! We got our children’s checks and then we officially enrolled and selected our pathway and applied for our practicum! So exciting! Love that when you queue in Australia they make sure you get chairs – it was like a giant game of musical chairs all day!

Wednesday 25/01/17 – Orientation day! We had our first chapel, we heard two great messages from Lee Burns and Catrina Henderson, we watched interviews with other new students, heard all about sisterhood, worshiped together and had free lunch!

Then that was first week done – Australia Day gave us our first holiday, four days off, got to love Australia!

Second week. Intensives week – we have two weeks of intensives each semester. This semester our intensive subjects are Church and Ministry and Communication in Ministry. We will cover the first half of these subjects this week and then the second half in intensives week in April.

Monday 30th January (first day of classes) started with a morning session entitled how to maximise your college experience, in this session we were introduced to the college vision, the rules, whats expected of us, tips on applying for a job, dealing with homesickness, college timetables and portal and loads of important contact numbers and emails. This was my favourite slide from the morning:img_1116

After lunch we had our first afternoon of intensives – three hour-long sessions on Church and Ministry. In the first two sessions we broke down the mission statement of the church and then the last session was entitled what makes church church? Very interesting sessions and not too intense!

Tuesday 31st January – can’t believe its the last day of January already! Our day started at 12 with our first ever college chapel – its crazy! The college fills the Hub Auditorium, the worship was amazing and then we had another incredible message from Catrina Henderson. After lunch we had another block of three hour-long sessions, this time on Communication in Ministry. In this session we learned all about Healthy Communication skills, the importance of written communication and creative writing, and then communication that builds culture. This was another lovely and relaxed session, with a great lecturer.

Wednesday 1st February – Our first full day (9:00-5:15). Started with a session on our Practicum and our Passport. Then we had another hour on Communication in Ministry, which was with Michelle and she talked all about Cross Cultural Communication, it was really interesting. Then before lunch we had another College Chapel, where Lee Burns preached an incredible message ‘You are Empowered’. Then after lunch we had another three hour long sessions on Church and Ministry with Duncan Corby, the sessions were The House of God, The People of God and The Body of Christ – more incredible teaching.

Thursday 2nd February – another late start. 11am we had another Church and ministry session, entitled Weekend Services that Work – all about the elements of a Hillsong service and why they do what they do. We then had a lovely relaxed lunch. Then came our last block of intensives – four hours with Robert Fergusson – this was where intensives week got intense. He spoke about 10 languages we need to understand (although we didn’t get through them all), they included the language of the heart, the language of Adam, the language of light, the language of the prophets, the language of the spirit and the language of leadership. It was incredible, it was emotional … we all went home to process, it was an intense end to intensives week.

Friday 3rd February – started with a meet the pastors breakfast, where lots of the pastors put on a breakfast for all new intake. It was lovely, relaxed – with pastries and muffins. Then we had two safe church sessions – we found out all about health and safety and child safety. Then we got in a queue to have our children’s work interviews. Remember Australians sit when they queue, this time we also watched movies – I got through High School Musical and the Lion King. Inside out was just starting when I moved to the last queue …. it was getting late and it was getting obvious that we weren’t all going to get seen. Then it happened the queue was closed and we were asked to leave 😦 only I didn’t leave, I hung around in the last little group and thank-you God I was the LAST person interviewed that day!

End of intensives week 1!

This weekend the Children’s Work moved into the epicentre (church/college moves in next weekend). And I got to serve for the first time at Hillsong. I started at 6:30am (early early start). I blew up balloons, then I crashed the Kids leaders tour of the epicentre – the rooms are beautiful, the treasure chest rooms (special needs) are amazing, the facilities are going to be such a blessing to the children – then I served on welcoming, where I signed the children into there group and then helped direct them to the right room. One good thing about the epicentre being new is that everyone is having to learn there way around not just us newbies. Then I got to serve in the All Stars group (don’t actually know how old they are), it was so much fun. I can’t wait to get my placement on Wednesday to find out where I will be serving this semester.

This Sunday I attended the end of the 11:15 service and caught another fantastic message from Robert Fergusson. Then we had Bethel leading worship at the 6pm service and Pastor Brian preached for the first time since I’ve been in Australia. It was a fantastic Sunday!

 

Today is Monday and I have another long day – a one hour meet your tutorial session at 10:30am and that is all – so now its 12:30 and I am done. This week is lecture week, so I have the first lecture in all my other subjects. Full timetable starts next week when I will have my practicum placements and lectures and tutorials. This semester my subjects are: Church and Ministry, Communication in Ministry, Mission and Culture, Old Testament Introduction, Personal Leadership, and Public Speaking and Presentation.

So yes, I still don’t know what a normal week is going to look like, should have more of an idea on Wednesday, so will fill you all in then. Thank you for reading, I hope your enjoying a little glimpse into life at Hillsong International Leadership College.