Monday, 20 May 2013

Hem


I wonder if we are the hem of his garment
The tip of his royal robe
The segment that sweeps along the ground
As heaven dances upon the earth
Splendor meeting soil
Stirring up the dust

Bound to be a little frayed
Bound to bear the marks of a journey long and hard
Bound to unravel a little at times
But even the thread is golden
And there is a master seamstress

And you would think the trimming would lose its allure
That the filth it sails through would ruin it beyond recognition
But in this upside-down kingdom
It is the stains that make it more beautiful
And in this upside-down kingdom
The gown glows most brightly in the dirtiest of places

And because it is an upside-down kingdom
Perhaps we are not hovering on the distant margins of the heavenly One
As he hangs loftily high above us
Perhaps here, on the boundary
Between
Seen and unseen
Lost and found
Despair and joy
What is and
What is yet to come
Is where
He is most present
And so perhaps this fragment
Of a breathtaking garment
Is actually
The most glorious

Katrina Quinn May 2013

Penzance


The town I spend most time in at the moment is Penzance.  It's just a 10 minute drive away and is where my job is.

Penzance is the end of the line.  Literally.  The South-west trains go no further.  Apparently this means that quite a few people who are at the end of their tether wash up here.  Homeless, job-less, hope-less.  We met this guy who'd ended up in Cornwall and was ready to kill himself.   He had nowhere left to go.  Thankfully, in his case, he was rescued by a Jesus-loving, kind-faced mother and daughter.  The daughter is called Grace.  And he is still alive.

There are parts and people in Penzance that do seem kind of forgotten.  There's a lot of drinking and angry shouting.  Penzance isn't breath-taking pretty like the other town we live near: St Ives.  In a lot of ways it's a fairly average small market-y town with your New Look, Peacocks, Boots, Weatherspoons and Pound-stretcher, etc.  I often hear people dissing it.

But there's also loads of churches - one in particular with the most beautiful graveyard I've ever seen.  There's pretty parks and tropical gardens.  Dog-walkers galore.  There's the camp guy with pink and blue hair and two tiny dogs who walks past the cafe every day.  The lady with the the two Labradors.  There's hidden backstreets and tiny alleyways to explore.  Friendly faces in the the shops and cafes I've been in.  A sea-water swimming pool and St Michael's Mount hovering in the distance. There's palm tree studded driveways and tiny cottages.  Every corner reveals a different view.

it's not beautiful, but

I like it.


  

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

What do you see?


Just playing around trying to be a bit more creative, and make the most of having more time on my hands...

Monday, 13 May 2013

Tornadoes


A wind blows
It moves the branches that have been hanging heavy for too long
Moves them until the trees are waving and dancing their praises
Them that thought they could not be moved
Them that believed they could not dance again
The wind will even shake the rocks
Will move the things we thought would never change

But do you know what will do more damage?
Tornadoes
Tornadoes of a different kind to what you’ve seen before

Because the wind stirs hearts

The wind starts picking up the dead leaves and whisks them away to uncover forgotten ground
The wind echoes off shards of broken glass and a new song rises from what was once deemed hopeless

And the wind stirs hearts

Stirs them to remember
Stirs them to dream again
As they catch a scent on the breeze of something ancient as the stars
And promising as the dawn

Stirs them to move
Stirs them to believe that the surroundings could look different
As they begin to move and move and move
They spin through the streets
And they run through the dark places

And the wind causes embers to throw off sparks
And the sparks cause creativity to catch alight
Light where before there was none
Streams in the desert
And LIFE and colour and music and newness and rhythm and rescue and refuge and places of safety and restoration and healing and peace

Hearts like tornadoes
WE are the tornadoes
Fiercely gentle and
Unafraid
Spinning and spreading the breath of God out into homes, streets, villages, towns, cities, nations
In workplaces and walkways and supermarkets and studios and gyms and gardens and schools and pubs and clubs and beaches

And what can remain the same once a tornado has passed through?

Saturday, 11 May 2013

How to become a British Citizen

Becoming British

Attaining that coveted maroon passport

It's easy.

All you need to do

is to fill in about 100 hundred forms

submit evidence numerous times to prove who you are, where you live and have lived, where you've worked, where your mother was born, where your grandfather was born, who got married to who

i.e. track down birth certificates and marriage certificates - ORIGINALS MIND YOU - this task becomes even more fun when your family is spread out over four continents.

Pass a citizenship test - where you will be asked to learn all sorts of information that no average British person knows, like the percentage of ethnic minorities and religions that make up the UK, how parliament is run, etc.

In the mean time, make sure you are never stopped by the police for anything, make sure you don't apply for benefits that you are not allowed to apply for, make sure your visa is always up to date, make sure there's no reason for citizenship not to be granted, worry while your passport (with visas in) is not with you, worry each time you've sent everything off about whether it will be accepted, worry about how to pay for everything, like....

pay for a visa (the type of visa depends on your nationality and your immigration status e.g. ancestral visa, marriage visa, etc)
pay for a solicitor to help you get your visa as laws often change and if you get one thing wrong you'll have to start over again
pay to send your documents off safely
pay to have them sent back safely
repeat above two points several times over
pay to take a citizenship test
pay again for a citizenship test if you don't pass it the first time
pay to apply for permanent residency
pay solicitors to help you apply for permanent residency
pay to apply for citizenship
pay solicitors to help you apply for citizenship
pay your county of origin to let you have dual nationality
pay Britain to let you have dual nationality
pay for a passport

and if you want to you can pay for a special certificate at the end of it.

If you're wondering, that comes to well over £2,000.

See EASY.

Sure.

But, amazingly, thanks mainly to some very generous family members, we have got there.  My South African hubby is now also British.  He can now apply for a British passport and travel around Europe and elsewhere without going through a lengthy visa application process.  The lady at the citizenship ceremony yesterday said his South African passport looks well travelled.  Wrong.  In 10 years he's only been back to SA once, and other than that not left the country.  His passport has travelled more in the post than in his hand.  But now, the world is being opened up.  And this is the main reason he went through the above process.  Lots of people stick with permanent residency, as you can access most benefits that citizens do, and you don't have to pay the extra grand or so.  But we don't think we'll be here forever, so i reckon a British passport will come in handy.  Also, it's not totally random as his grandfather was English. AND he's married to me. I think it would be weirder if there were no connection at all.

The ceremony in Truro Town Hall yesterday was interesting.  It's where about 20 people were officially made citizens, as they pledged their allegiance to the Queen and country.  I'm not sure that many British-born people would be that happy about doing that!  There was a massive portrait of the Queen and of Prince Charles at the front of the room.  Almost comical.  The other people were from all different nationalities - American, Chinese, Philipino, Indian and others.  Many of them were married to British people and had young children, which made a serious ceremony kind of funny, as there were 2-year-olds shouting out and running around throughout!  There was a talk from a lady with a big gold medallion on, who mainly spoke about Cornwall and the council!  But everyone was very friendly and welcoming and it was a positive event. They even served scones and jam afterwards!

We got home to be greeted by Union Jack flags decorating our house which was funny!  But now I'm a bit embarrassed and I think they'll be coming down soon.  Can't say i ever expected to 'be one of those people with flags on their house'!!  Not really that patriotic you see... which is why yesterday was a little odd.  But it's a massive relief for both of us not to have to spend any more pennies or fill in any more forms.

We did it!!! :-)



Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Thoughts on Home from Carbis Bay (for Llewellyn and for Nikki)

Today I did a mini writing workshop with some elderly people in Carbis Bay.  They meet every Wednesday for tea and cake and different activities.  I got everyone to write about a journey they made regularly as a kid, and about a place/person/situation that they would describe as 'home'.  It was great because everyone got involved, everyone wrote and everyone read out what they'd written at the end.  I really enjoyed it!

Home is a something I ponder on a lot.  Even thought I'd set the exercise, it took me a while to decide what/who/where to write about.  And even once I started I kept changing my mind and starting anew.

Anyways, here's a couple of the bits I ended up with, which were both about people:

A South African boy cycled into my Brighton life and slowly, drink by drink, kiss by kiss, awkward conversation by 'braai'ed steak, hug by hug, he built us a home.  A home of arms that encircle me when the world is tumbling down.  Brown eyes that say, 'be yourself Katrina, be - your - self'.  Delicate fingers, that catch my tears and listen to what each one has to say.  A smile that's a window to a better place, a better say.  And a heart that's an open door, inviting me, and others, to come in.

***

Tight blonde hugs and sparkling blue smiles
Sun beam squeals and freckled noses
Grace weaving easy between hearty meals
Conversations flow like Welsh rivers
Light bounces off and we dive in
Deep wells
Fading tattoo or two, a nose ring, twinkling eyes
And wise words
A cup overflowing with tea, wine and stories
Deep wells
Pen and paper and more words
Truth-seeking and mystery-delighting
We dance in firelight
In starlight
In lazerlight
Mother-friend
She
Gathers up the lost sheep
and
There's always room for me






Monday, 6 May 2013

Bank Holiday in South Cornwall

This weekend my sister and her husband came to visit.  It was so lovely to have family down to show around and to spend time with people we know well.  The weather worked out better than expected and we had some fun times exploring.  I still can't believe that this beautiful beautiful place is our home!

On Saturday, after a delicious lunch at the restaurant where I work, (aaaand an unfortunate puncture caused by trying to let another car pass on one of the crazily narrow roads in these parts...oh dear!), we headed to Porthgwarra, which is in between Porthcurno and Land's End.  My great aunt recommended it and I thought the name of the place was especially interesting.  We had to make our way through even narrower roads, but  it was totally worth it.

We discovered a tiny private cove, plenty of rocks to clamber over and beautiful views of the coast and a stunning blue sea.

 I climbed up as high as I could to see what was around the next corner...
I can't wait to walk more along this coast!


Yesterday (Sunday), we joined the tourists and walked round St Ives and discovered more of its 5 beaches!  Mr Q had his pasty stolen out of his hand by a gang of seagulls... we thought we'd left those greedy birds in Brighton!  


In the evening we had a BBQ, as you can see our front garden is the perfect place for it!  Was lovely to enjoy a sunny evening with friends.


Today we went surfing at Gwythian.  It was amazing!  Up till now I hadn't wanted to go in the sea as it's been so cold, but the weather was warm, the waves were big, so we decided to give it a go.  I'm so glad we did.  It definitely makes one feel alive...But very tired now!  My body's going to take a while to get used to it I think.  But that's OK... :-)  So hooray for a lovely weekend.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

money money money

I've referred to our... uh... how shall we say it - lack of funds? - in recent posts.  At first it was kind of fun, seeing how long we could go without spending anything and seeing how long we could make the food in our cupboards last (and it made us even more grateful that usual to be invited for dinner!). We have tried to keep positive, but lately, I gotta admit, the stress of wondering how we were going to pay the rent was getting to both of us.

We certainly didn't move to Cornwall to climb the career ladder or to make money.  We knew it wasn't going to be easy financially.  Knew that some would see our decision to move down without jobs lined up for us a little bit stupid.  When I told someone about us moving to Cornwall and the fact that we didn't yet have jobs he was like 'ah that's cool man, long as you got money saved up to keep you going for a few months you'll be fine... you go for it!'.  I didn't tell him we didn't have any savings.

Maybe it was a little bit stupid.  We have definitely taken a risk.  But we wanted to.  We wanted to step out and be a bit uncomfortable.  We didn't want to wait and wait and wait until everything was 'safe' to go ahead.  I don't think that adventures ever feel safe.  Don't think they're meant to. We wanted to take God at His word a bit more literally and trust Him for provision.  I don't know if that's testing God.  I hope it doesn't sound flippant.  Leaving steady jobs and moving to the other side of the country probably isn't always the wisest idea and probably isn't right for every body or at any time.  And when I say 'trust God for provision' I don't mean sit around doing nothing and expect money to fall into our laps.  We're doing some cleaning, I'm doing some waitressing, and Llewellyn is applying for jobs every day.  But there's a couple of things we want to learn, and we're definitely getting some intensive lessons right now: 1) not to make money our primary concern and 2) not to be defined by our paid work.  The second point is part of a much bigger journey for both of us in different ways, and I'm sure some of you are on it too.  I'll probably write more on that another time.

The reason why God is a big part of all this risk-taking and my thinking is that if there really is a God and if He is Creator of everything AND if He has good plans for our lives AND if He likes to be involved in our lives if we let Him - all of which He says is true, then money, or lack of it, shouldn't be the main driving factor in how we live out our lives and what kind of people we are and become.  I figure He's big enough to provide for our needs.  And to know what we need.  I'm not saying money isn't powerful and money doesn't affect things because of course it does.  It is hard not having a lot of it.  And I know that things don't 'always work out' for people money-wise, whether they believe in God or not.  So again, I'm not trying to sound flippant here.  I just want to learn to have a healthy perspective on it.  Or perhaps a 'Godly perspective' - which might appear a bit ridiculous sometimes but I'm trying it on for size...

And, on the first part of this journey, I want to give a reason to celebrate.  Yesterday all-in-one-go we got enough money put into the bank to pay for all the rent, bills and to have enough left to not have to worry about feeding our guests this weekend beans on toast for every meal!  Hooray Hooray Hooray.  I nearly cried when I heard.  What a relief!

And you know what, the money hasn't come out of nowhere, it's money earned and it's some benefits come through.  Nothing miraculous in that sense.  But, for us, considering the timing and considering the amount we got, and considering the amount of praying we've been doing... it is a miracle.  And we are thankful.