It’s a big ask.

I’ve just spent a happy 5 minutes reading draft Killultales! Some of the blogs seem to be finished but didn’t make the cut for reasons I now can’t remember; others stop abruptly mid sentence so I really don’t know where I was heading with them. Probably for the best?!

We hope you are keeping well, and we’re really looking forward to seeing some of you when you visit this year. Thanks for remembering us when you’re planning your holidays!!

With the ongoing impact of COVID and Brexit, and the eyes of the world turning to the atrocities in Ukraine, it feels like we are in unfamiliar and scary times. That’s before we truly appreciate the difficulties so many are already facing as the dramatic increases in the cost of living kick in.

I’ve been reading from the book of Job this week. Timely, as there’s one or two daunting and tricky (work related) situations I’m seeking to navigate just now, and it’s quite pleasant to be reminded each morning how much worse life could be*… Anyway. Job is a book of the Old Testament, and it’s a kind of poem about wisdom. There’s some interesting dialogue in there, as Job’s friends basically kick him while he’s down, but yesterday morning I was reading chapter 28 which is part of Job’s reply to them. Here is the link to it if you’re interested.

As I read the first half of the chapter I thought it was a great illustration of how we really have to work hard for worthwhile things. It paints a vivid picture of the effort those miners go to; the fears they must face and obstacles they must overcome to get their treasure.

The text goes on to point out that, despite their search, their hard work and the glittering prizes, the miners don’t find wisdom in the confines of the earth. While this might sound a bit topsy turpy, it is encouraging for me to know that I simply don’t have what it takes to tackle the challenges I currently face – I have to rely on God to equip and enable me every single day.

And I’m not just busy praying to be equipped and enabled while I’m at my desk – I am doing the same thing in my leisure time!! I’m training for the Belfast Marathon on 1 May.

A couple of years ago I spent 12 months as an apprentice with the Board of the N.I. Ambulance Service, learning about governance in action. During that time the helipad at one of our Belfast hospitals was completed and opened so that the Air Ambulance could land on site. Much of our country is rural, without good road networks, and the Air Ambulance team save lives that would certainly otherwise be lost. Every time the red helicopter flies over us on its way to the hospital I am thankful for them.

Obviously, that’s not of much practical use – so a while ago I decided to try and raise enough money to cover their operating costs for just one single day. The only thing is, that’s £5,500, which is clearly a lot of money!

Anyway, I signed up for the Belfast Marathon in 2020, thinking that would be a great fundraiser. But COVID arrived and the 2020 marathon was cancelled. Phew, narrow escape! In 2021 the event was postponed until autumn, by which time I hadn’t roused myself from lockdown inertia so I didn’t take part… Then just before Christmas, I had an email informing me that 2022 was my last chance to take part under my 2020 entry fee.

The real reason I’ve entered the marathon is for the preview text that appears below my justgiving page on my phone’s browser.

So it’s time to rise to the challenge! At the moment, it’s even harder than I expected because the weather keeps being windy, with the odd hail shower thrown in (not that you’d know it from the various pics I have taken on recent runs, below!).

BUT, it’s a worthwhile cause and if you’d like to encourage me by showing your support to this wonderful team of emergency medics, I’d be so chuffed. Here’s the link if you want to donate or just find out more. Also, all prayers for pleasant weather conditions on the day are appreciated. That’s dry and cloudy, with a bit of a breeze, please.

Thank you!

*I appreciate others might choose to watch Eastenders for similar reasons.

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