Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hello there girls! My name is Audrey, and I'm here to help. I care.

I'm 50 years old and I live on my own with my 7 cats - Jack, Chad, Brad, Harry, Hank, Rupert and Alfie - in an adorable little flat in a small town in Texas. Howdy! Haha, Rupert says I'm such a hoot. I also enjoy jigsaws and the penny whistle.

Anyway, because I care about you girls, I want to share with you some pearls of wisdom about the stronger sex - men! Yes, that's right, you ask me questions, and I will answer them! I know your "hip" magazines and your "super fly" friends aren't giving you results, so here I am. As an expert in the subject, I'm here to tell you how to snare yourself a suitable husband to have many babies with. Lets begin!

Dear Aunty Audrey,
Guys won't even give me a second look! There's this really cute guy that I am totally in love with, but I'm too scared to even say hello. Help!

From Kylie, 15 years old.

Well, Kylie, that's where you're going wrong! As the submissive sex, women should never approach a man. That's infringing on their territory, and men don't like that! Kylie, you need to learn your place. They key is to be as approachable as possible, to make their job easier.

I'm not saying be a hussy, just be approachable! It's really easy. Just concentrate on giving him every opportunity possible to talk to you and realize what a good, submissive wife you will make! For example, don't hang out with a big group of friends - that is so intimidating for him, and after all, you don't want him to think your social needs are fulfilled by your female friends. No, let him know you need him! You might also want to try pretending you're not strong enough to open the classroom door - all guys love a girl who's too weak to open a door on her own! His heart will be filled with manly compassion and he will rush to help you, and a beautiful romance could be born! Also, when you walk past him in the corridor holding books, maybe consider crying and looking lost and weak - he'll lap it up!

Dear Aunty Audrey,
I've become good friends with this really adorable sophomore called Puck. The problem is, I think he sees me just as "one of the guys" - he keeps on giving me wedgies and noogies. The thing is, I think I'd like to be his wife some day! How can I make him see me as something more?
From Mary, 16 1/2 years old.

Thank you for your lovely letter Mary! I especially liked the photo of Puck with that chainsaw - he looks such a man! I can imagine him building a ranch with his own two hands!

What a good question! How do we set ourselves as women, in the most attractive way possible? Lucky you Mary, because I have the answer!

A good starting point is to start with the outward appearance. Us women were created to look different from men, and we need to remember that when we dress. Always wear a skirt or a dress! This is very important girls. Instead of liberating us, trousers condemn us to a life of manliness - not so useful when we're trying to attract a man! Try and make your own clothes if at all possible, or at least cut out the label and say you did, to make sure he knows what a domestic goddess you are! Make up never goes wrong either!

If you've been friends for a while, you've probably fallen into the trap of teasing and "mucking about" with him - don't! When his guy friends tease him for missing a tackle, instead, praise him for every time he hits or kicks the ball! Go watch all his matches AND his practises, just so he knows you care. Whenever he touches the ball, make sure to shout out "Go Puck! You're brilliant! I affirm you! You're my hero, Puck!" It will warm his heart.

Make sure your cooking is up to scratch! Men love food, and they love wives who make good food. Spend as much time as possible - when you're not with Puck! - with your mother, letting her teach you family recipes. Find out where Puck lives and come round at every opportunity with some freshly baked cookies wrapped in a big pink ribbon, just for him!

He will be proposing before you know it!

Now girls, I want to be here for you! So if you have ANY questions about men, just get in touch - though the comments on this post for example - and Vickie will forward them on to me! She's a little sweetheart she is! Anyway, bye bye for now!

Lots of love and wuffles,

Auntie Audrey xxxxxxx

Monday, August 21, 2006

Because I'm a product of netgen and oh so technologically minded, my blog now has music.

Check it -->

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Ok, so my stupidity strikes again...

My hair was dyed purple/pink this week. I like it. I think its cool. Anyway, just after I dyed it, I had a big splodge of dark hair dye on my right cheek. Like most people, I decided hair dye had no right to be on my cheek, so tried to get it off.

Soap and water didn't work. I was at work, so didn't have rows of face wash at my disposal. So I'm digging through the drawers in my desk, and I can only find one thing - turps. Paint stripper.

So, I gave it a go. I wiped turps all over my right cheek. It didn't work, my skin peeled, and it now looks like I have toothpaste encrusted all over me when I dont (I think.). I am dumb.

I'm going to Soul Survivor tomorrow, so I thought I should practise putting up my tent. Its pink and cheap - I like it. I was putting it up in my parents bedroom - it was cold outside! - and I managed to make my wrist bleed somehow. I'm not sure whether my tent has a good sense of humour, whether its jinxed or whether I'm sleep deprived and making a personality for an inaminate object. Either way, I need to go to bed.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

It's hard accepting grace. It's hard believing I'm forgiven.

It's hard enough believing God is merciful enough to forgive someone like me day by day, but sometimes I really screw up. Sometimes I believe I'm out the reach of grace.

Do you know what I mean? When you really mess things up, when you shock even yourself with the weight of your sin, it's harder to believe that things can be ok again. You can't imagine thinking of Christ as your friend, or of living without the weight of your sin on your shoulders - at least not for a while. Surely this time, God won't be so keen to forgive us. Surely this time I've gone too far.

The guilt is crushing - you carry it wherever you go, whoever you speak to. You pray for forgiveness, but without much faith. Nightmares come at night, of swooping demons and staring faces. You want to scream and you want to cry. You try to pray, but are afraid to listen for fear of condemnation. Things aren't ok.

The sin is fresh in your mind - you battle to erase it, but it replays again and again. The more you think about it, the more you see yourself as a wretch. Your intentions weren't close to honourable - things can't be excused by ignorance and innocence this time.

You want to leave it behind, to be over it, but you say you don't deserve to be. We must suffer first - we don't deserve to be ok. Not yet. Maybe not ever.

Romans 8:38-9
"I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

There's nothing that can distance us from the love of God. There's nothing we can do that pushes the boundaries of God's grace too far.

Christ died for sinners. And not just for the nice sinners, who just fall short, rather than fall flat on their faces. He died for the rest of us too. For the worst of us. For dirty great sinners like me.

I can't believe it, really. Especially when I've been really bad. I don't deserve to be forgiven, but I am. Grace isn't just the pigment of an enthusaistic preacher's imagination - it's real, and it's for me. The wretches like me. I can do nothing that will make God stop seeking me with open arms. I can go no where that will stop me being God's daugher.

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me!
From life's first cry, to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand.
'Till he returns, or calls me home;
Here in the power of Christ I stand.

I don't need to feel guilty anymore, I don't need to feel unworthy anymore, forgiveness is mine. Hebrews 4:16 says I can boldly approach the throne of God and receive grace and mercy - because that's what God wants! He wants me back. He wants to be close to me - he holds no grudges against me. Isaiah 1:18 says that even if my sins are as red as crimson, they can be made as white as freshly fallen snow.

In one of Wesley's hymns - "And can it be" - it ends with these words.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

And that's what I must do. Boldly approach the eternal throne.

Forgiveness is mine.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Today I visited Lowther Show.

Lowther Show is a huge country fair held near me. Its filled with sheep dog trials and competitions to see who has the most impressive looking chicken. There's also lots of stalls selling wellies and land rovers.

The best part of the show by far though was the entertainment. As I was making my way slowly but steadily back to the food court, a flash of velour caught my eye. Two men were in the middle of a ring, hugging each other, while a crowd looking on expectantly. Obviously, I went for a closer look.

It turns out that the men were doing something called "Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling." Being an old sport, most players still wear costume for it. The costume is the coolest part of all - its white leggings worn underneith embroidered velvet panties and an embroidered vest. I kid you not - young men about my age wore it. One of them winked at me, but I laughed in his face. I feel sort of bad about that, but its really hard to take a man who wears velvet underwear over his tights seriously, you know?

The wrestling itself looks rather fun - you kind of hug your wrestling partner and without losing your hugging grip, throw them to the floor. From what I can gather from being aware of the sport's existance for a whole 6 hours, anyway.

It is my new favourite sport. Just watch my video and join in the velveteen fun! I like the little hopping dance they do best of all.

I have never been so proud of my Cumberland heritage as I am today.

Friday, August 04, 2006

This week I've been getting ready for college. I've so far:

  • Purchased scatter cushions. They're all flowery and pretty and I love them so much.
  • Decided on a room decor theme - "shabby chic." Also purchased expensive can openers which coordinate with the colour scheme (pastels.)
  • Redesigned my myspace layout.
  • Gone to the gym alot, then balanced it out by eating alot of takeaways. Lost half a stone despite this.
  • Gave in and ordered an Ugly Doll. I ordered Uglydog in pink, I think.
  • Bought things I will actually need, like a duvet. And decorative hat boxes.
  • Read alot of cookery books and had several near panic attacks. Think I will live off takeaways.
  • Ate my first piece of fruit in 17 years. It was melon and it was really weird.
  • Started to clear out my room, which brings me onto my shoes.
I love shoes. I used to just adore Dr Martens, but my tastes have now widened to include more girly brands like Irregular Choice. Over the years, I've managed to collect a bigger collection than I like to admit.

I used to keep them all in one of those handy, space saving shoe racks under my dresser, but I ran out of space there about a while ago, which is when the Shoe Pile started. Some shoes stayed on the rack, but most were balanced on top, vying for air and general attention. The pile started off fairly structured - ie, shoes stayed, for the most part, in pairs. However, a few months ago, something snapped and I started just throwing shoes on the pile and hoping for the best. The best didn't happen - the pile turned into more of a slum, with a strange shoe hierarchy of paupers and lords going on. Several spiders set up home amongst the dress shoes (I found a baby one in the toe of my favourite heels the other week and totally freaked out...) and I lost alot of flip flops.

Something had to change.

So, I started the long and labourious process of matching shoes with their respective shoe mates. I lined them all up on the floor in neat little rows, and didn't stop until every shoe was accounted for. I have way too many. I couldn't fit them all in one photo, even when I stood on my bed.

I also found my old diaries/prayer journals. There's some pretty amusing prayers (I was thankful one day that a weird man took me into a pub, because if he hadn't I would have been in trouble with the police?? I have no recollection of this instance at all.) but the kiddy diary is the best. I kept meticulous records of the growth of all my sunflowers. I write a blurb of myself at the very start. Check it.

Daer timmy I am 7 yaus old. my best frend is katie. katie has a pet rabit. my pet is a dog. i clectd lot of stons. and I am intrestid of shals.

Incase you cant translate that, 7 year old Vickie collected stones and was interested in shells. Seven year old Vickie was a nerd. I also wrote all my diary entries to my pet poodle, because he could totally read. Obviously all was not well in my friendship with Katie, as evidenced in my first entry, on my birthday. I write "I had a great time. I got alot of toys. Tom popped Katie's balloon but I didn't mind!" Haha Katie! That'll teach you for having a rabbit, while I just have a crummy dog. That sure showed you!

There's also a touching entry displaying what a truly bangin' time I had with my older sister.

Dear Timmy. It started when I went to school but I had a lovely day. After that I went horse riding with Gilly. The horse did a poo and it was a big poo. After that I got my helmet on and I got on the horse. Just then it started to rain. Mum got wet but I didn't because I had my hat on. Love from Vicki.

I still remember the horse doing a poo. It was obviously a very memorable occasion. At this point in my diary, my spelling gets so bad I can't actually translate it. I will write it out as best I can here and you, dear readers, can try and translate it yourself.

Dear timmy. tith is what happand to my today
I am goinntg wayt a list
of what I did
1 lhuck at my sunflare.
2 go out to lay.
3 go to dinar.
4 big acktivatys
(ok, that lookers clearer typed out. Translating it from my backwards handwriting is much more difficult. Anyway...)
5 qut the chres uq
6 go to alt
love from Vicki

Thursday, August 03, 2006

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Sometimes I wonder why God doesn't answer my prayers like he used to. I'm not saying he doesn't answer them, or that I'm doubting even - things are just different.

When I was younger, God used to show himself all the time. When I was hurt, he'd comfort me straight away. When I was fighting temptation, he gave me strength. When I had a slight niggle, he showed himself. My prayers were answered very quickly and obviously. Faith was handed to me on a plate.

Now its not. I pray for God to show himself to me, give me reassurance, and I hear nothing. I wait and I wait, but there's nothing. Suddenly, I am receiving less blessings. Things are getting tough and God doesn't seem to be there. I pray for reassurance, a feeling of forgiveness, help with fighting temptation, spiritual growth, healing (and for "my heart to feel strangely warmed", when I'm feeling particularly Wesleyan) and nothing happens. Some might call it a desert time, some might call it a time of waiting, but whatever it is, its tough. It's weakening me. It's hard to see where God is going with all this.

Philip Yancey sums up grace by saying, "There is nothing we can do to make God love us more and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less." Romans 8:38 says that there's nothing at all in heaven or earth that can seperate us from how much God loves us.

That means that whatever we do, wherever we've been, God doesn't change how he feels about us. So when we're feeling guilty and ashamed, God doesn't turn his back on us. Romans 5:8 says that while we were still sinners - still bad! - Christ died for us. He didn't die for us while we were holy, while we were cute and fresh faced and well intentioned. He died for us when we were at our selfish worst. That's what grace is - getting what we don't deserve because God loves us.

I mention this, because even though life is tough at the moment, and God seems far away, I still have grace. God still forgives me - I may not feel like I've just been baptised everytime I come begging for forgiveness, but I know I'm forgiven and loved deep down. The faith I had spoon fed to me in the past is proving useful in that respect.

And maybe, just maybe, the whole point of these "low points" in our faith is that God uses it to teach us that grace is enough. Grace is all we need. We don't need blessings, we don't need certain people, we don't even need healing - grace is enough to sustain us. We need to be weak, to be brought to our knees, to have these thorns in our flesh before we can see how amazing, how extraordinary, how incredible grace is.

I always thought that as far as my relationship with God went, my next lessons would be discipline, resisting temptation, witnessing, the list goes on... I suppose it wasn't really my place to guess. And I also suppose that before any of those lessons can happen, I need to learn to rely on God totally and fully. Not just with my mouth, but with my heart and my mind.

Grace is enough.

"Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come.
'Tis Grace hath brought me safe thus far
And Grace will lead me home."