Thursday, December 09, 2010

It's been a while...

Sorry about that!

Lots has happened in the last few months. Robert and I are now married to start off with! We got married on 13th October at First Baptist Church, Lithia Springs.

I suppose I had better tell the story of what happened, as I know it the best.

We applied for a Fiance Visa in mid September, which to our dismay was denied. From there we had two options, apply for the visa again and risk the money (which is a lot) or tranfer my ticket from thanksgiving to early October and get married and apply for the visa again.

As you could guess, we went for the second option! Here is a photo of us just married.

We had a really good day. Robert's family and closest friends were around and we even had a little reception where we put cake in each other's faces! It was really brilliant to have Mum and Dad around too. They flew out especially. It wouldn't have been the same without them.

We applied for the marriage visa as soon as we could, and a few weeks later Robert moved to Luton! He's now been here a month, and it's really great having my husband with me. I still can't believe how crazy the last few months have been. I have a husband!

Oh and this is the ring...

It's it beautiful?!? I couldn't quite believe it when I saw it for the first time. It fits me perfectly and every so often I look down at it and think 'oh my word, that's a diamond and I'm married to my best friend who is awesome and he brought me this ring, which is a diamond...' and the whole process starts again. It's brilliant.

And on the first day we were married this happened...

Robert'll tell this story much better than me... but the first time I was in ATL I DIDN'T want my picture taken with the polar bear. So we take Mum and dad to the World of Coke and Mum drops me in it. She quite innocently says 'Karen, why don't you have your photo taken with the polar bear?'. Robert bursts out laughing and I concede. 9 weeks after I refused, I'm having my photo taken with the bear. I love my husband very much.

We are celebrating out marriage with a wedding blessing on 2nd January. That's the day for suits and big white dress as well as all my family and friends. We'll have some special guests from America too. I'm just as excited about that day as I have been about every day since I booked the tickets to fly the first time.

The last 5 months have been epic, but lots of fun. God has definitely been working in the both of us and now we are together! It's still crazy. But here we are approaching our first christmas together.

Thank you to every one who has prayed with me, supported us and just been there from before the word go. You guys are amazing. We vaule your support more than anything.

And here we are as of last night...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Big news!

So as you may have picked up from Robert's, Dad's and Liz's blogs, Robert and I are getting married. This is exciting news for us and everyone who knows us.

My American Adventure has turned my life around and upside down. I never thought that I'd marry my best friend, that God would be so generous and gracious to me. robert and I have known each other for 5 years, ever since Cardiff. He has some stories about the time we spent together, I have very few memories (a great way to start!). Since then we have kept contact via email and skype.

I'm getting married! All the years I've prayed and prayed and got impatient and prayed some more. It's finally happening. I'm so excited! If you want to find out more there is a website. I'm really looking forward to the day. Please keep us in your prayers.

Monday, September 06, 2010


There were lots of celebrations going on this past weekend.

On Saturday we celebrated Kirsty and Ed getting married. A brilliant day was had by all. The bride looked beautiful and the groom was smiling so much his cheeks hurt. There were lots of people around to help them celebrate. I think that's how weddings should be, family and friends around all laughing and smiling. It was a long day. My favourite moment was being able to pray for the couple during the ceremony (and dancing with the bride's half sister to Justin Beiber, but don't tell anyone else that - it's one of my guiltiest pleasures!).

Then on Sunday I went to Essex to celebrate Mike turning 21. It's really hard to believe he's turned 21, it makes me feel quite old. In time old tradition, we were retelling stories of past family gatherings, especially ones which involve everyone, but mostly the boys telling stories of nights out. We also have new stories to tell. Especially ones that involve injury to one or more of the parties telling the story! We are an accident-prone bunch. I shared my news with them. They all were very excited. It lasted about a minute, and then moved on to talk about much more recent events. I'm happy that they know now.

Soon we will celebrate Mum and dad being married for 27 years. I think I'm home that weekend as well. Mum pointed out that two years ago when we were celebrating their Silver anniversary was probably the last time I saw my other cousins. I'm gonna have to rectify that one. It's hard having family scattered all over the place, but a time will come when I will be more than just a car journey away, that should be interesting!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All in time

I don't often blog, so I often get out blogged. Dad always does a pretty good job of blogging about events in our family, before I get the chance to switch my archaic laptop on and wait for it to warm up (no - I will not buy a Mac). so he has already talked about the weekend's events.

On Sunday Mum, Dad and Liz met Robert for the first time via the loveliness of Skype. At this point in my life I really love technology, it keeps me in touch with the people I care about the most. I especially love it when it works.

This was a momentous occasion, and probably one of the strangest in my life. But it was really, really good. We had a good meal at a pub recommended by a friend, Dad's written about that too. And the joys of google maps helped us find the place. I could have found it without a map, but better to have dinner than be lost!

We are all back to work for a short week this week, ending in Mike turning 21. Which is scary. Yet again a reminder that we are all growing up and moving on with life. I'm looking forward to celebrating with them and seeing family again.

But before that there is time for one last fun thing as the summer comes to a close. On Tuesday we visited Adventure Island on Southend sea front. This is a place me and my siblings were taken to as a treat. I love it. It's a small theme park, packed with rides and loads of people, with hardly any queueing time. We were on and off rides like you wouldn't believe. The girls i was with managed to get me on Rage. I was terrified! I'm not doing that again any time soon. I had some of the best conversations of the day strapped into a rollercoaster, it makes you a captive audience.

The summer has been full of adventure! Not least this one: this is it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The last two weeks have been particularly busy, first week was LCET camp. If you haven't heard of LCET before click the link and find out some more. They do amazing work with young people across Luton.

I went on their summer camp for the first time this year. We took 60ish young people to Alton Castle (that was a fun part of being in America, getting to tell everyone I was staying in a castle) which is near Alton Towers. So near that you can hear the screams from the rides! It was a beautiful castle, lovely grounds and great young people. We had a very good week, listening to the LCET staff talk about the young people, you can hear their passion and empathy. God is really working through them.

Then young people from St Hugh's headed off to Soul Survivor for the week. We had a few success stories throughout the week, young people becoming Christians, hearts being broken for new ministries and me being able to mass cater for 16 hungry people! It was a brilliant week, St Hugh's family really does tranplant to wherever it is taken. We had a very family based week, which most of the young people responded to well.

It's been a long two weeks for a number of reasons. Time for some sleep.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

A Little Adventure

I love a bit of adventure. And I can make an adventure out of the tiniest thing as well (like driving in London or putting on a Holiday club). If you enjoy a little bit of adventure ever now and then, it makes life a little better.

So I went on a little adventure last week. All the Way to Atlanta, Georgia and back. "What's in Atlanta?" I hear you ask. Well, I'll tell you! My best friend is in Atlanta.

Here's some pictures from my first (but not last) trip to the States.

Penguin up close and personal
The Sea turtleThe "Finding Nemo" part of the Aquarium
Jelly Fish
The CNN centre and it's vastness. Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it! I literally gasped. I'm in the bottom right corner. It's a bit mental for something to be that huge, but then that's my general impression of America anyway!Here we are at the end of the Atlanta Braves baseball game. The Braves lost, but it was a good first experience of baseball.
Sweetwater Creek State Park. A very beautiful placeMe and my best friend!
I really liked my first experience of America. It was lots of fun and an eye opener in many ways. And there are many more adventures to come, but more about that later!

Friday, July 23, 2010

end of term

Well, the academic year has come to an end for children in English schools. We are now on summer break. And when I say break, I don't mean for the youth workers, nor the teachers.

While this year has been a challenge, we've also had some amazing things happen. I won't bore you with the details, but my young people always surprise and encourage me. They are brilliant and well disciplined. They turn up to events, pull out all the stops to welcome others and become more of who God created them to be each time I see them.

We have natural leaders, preachers and the faithful. It's an excellent mix.

So here we are. I've been at my job for 4 years this August. And as visions go, I'm pretty clear for this year. But God can change those things too.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

done and done!

Cycling is over!!! Wohoo! And a few days in advance as well, very proud of myself!

I cycled 400 miles in 35 days and last night I had a dream that if one person reposted this I would get the money for it!

Later I'll put a picture up of the moment I finished, though it won't be of my face, because I was far too hot and tired!

Please sponsor me

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Schools Work

It's that time of year again where I spend most of my days in school working with younger children. This year I'm going on the church trips, the river trips and going in to teach year 8 about Christianity.

It's really good to see the children working together, behaving well and actually learning while they are going. Museums Luton do a brilliant session at the River Lea which is on my home patch, so I get to spend the day hanging out at the river and enjoying learning about it all. I think if i ever went into formal education, I really wouldn't mind schools work with a museum.

I'm not massively looking forward to teaching Christianity this year, but I was encouraged yesterday that even by being who I am, accessing the authority given me by God and being real, I can and will shine the light of Jesus to the children I come across. it's time to take a deep breath and run into the arms to God, knowing He'll carry me through, be standing up with me and working by his spirit.

I am no loved more or less, and I'm glad that love from God is unconditional. Here we go again...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

JM Pics

This is my desktop picture. It is lovely. And a testament to modern technology! Enjoy!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Seaside Rock Holiday Club

Yeay! Only one more session to go of Holiday Club, which takes the form of Sunday@11 at St Hugh's.

I'm so glad it's over, but sad at the same time, all that we have been working towards over the last 3 months was done in 6 hours!

The theme was Peter's encounters of Jesus. We took on the drama in typical St Hugh's style, doing our own thing and being really relevant whilst doing so. It seemed as though the drama's went down really well. We had about 30 children, half Reception age, the rest up to year 6.

I've a lot to learn about running a holiday club, but also I've learnt a lot. It's been a good week. I'm pretty exhausted, but really looking forward to tomorrow morning.

JM Wembley Arena 27/05/10

Well, what can I say? As always John Mayer is never one to disappoint. I don't really like Wembley Arena as a venue, it's not at all intimate, but somehow Mayer just pulled the whole crowd up on to the stage as if he was just playing to me.

He opened with Why Georgia, and it just got better from there on in. We had Your Body is a Wonderland and Slow Dancing in a Burning Room. There was one point where he stopped and got a girl in the front row to sing Edge of Desire with him, and the whole of Wembley Arena was silent for a minute while they sang. It was incredible.

He closed with Half of my Heart and encored with No Such Thing and Gravity.

I have never been to a better gig. Definite 5 stars.

As a support act Ellie Goulding was good, though not as big a stage presence. He music passed and there wasn't a lot to it. Though she can play guitar and drums! Pretty fun to watch.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

400 mile challenge

Cycle 400 miles in 40 days? Easy! Done it before, but can I do it again?

This time Liz is joining me, we're in a competetive twin mode!

So here's my fundraising page

And where I'll be mostly talking about it - twitter

And who I'm raising money for - The Chilli Children Project.

Massively gonna enjoy this and hoping to get £1/mile. sponsor me please!!!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Worth blogging

The rise of twitter is really having an adverse affect on my blogging skills. And since I no longer write essays, I am really out of practice with writing.

But something comes along that is definitely worth blogging about.

My young people are amazing. There's nothing quite like sitting back on a Sunday morning and having 3 young people preaching, one leading worship and the average age of everyone talking is about 16.

And it really was nothing to do with me. As well as being proud of the young people, I'm also really proud of my co-worker. He's an encourager, and so pro-active. He's done so much with the boys, I'm really impressed.

God's still doing quite a lot with all of us and we are all trying too.

I should be lookng for more things that are worth blogging about.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's all over!

April has been a long month of celebrations!

Here is my mum at her birthday celebrations.
The boys brought her the delightful hat! We had a really good time, just the family and extras.

Lades and Gentlemen I present to you, Mr and Mrs Campbell!

Yeay! Rob and Mandy got married on Saturday. Brilliant ceremony and party afterwards. All the preparations and plans well laid, we finished dancing late in the evening, and the photographer was still there! Looking forward to all the pictures and honeymoon stories.

Here's Buff and myself in our roles as bridesmaid and supporter of the bridesmaids.

I think you'll agree we look gorgeous. Especially since she dragged me out of bed on Friday to do crazy exercise, which actually set me up for the day. Just enough strain to get the blood pumping and work up a sweat.

After all the certainity of April, I look to May with no idea what is happening! I even forgot we have a bank holiday next week. Definitely gonna enjoy that!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

All My Ladies

This is the lady of the moment, right in the middle of everything. Mandy's getting married at the end of the month and at the weekend we all went out to celebrate her last moments as unmarried!

I had a really lovely time, we sang, played games and generally enjoyed the company that surrounded. We were in a casino, but I didn't gamble, I was far too busy chatting to the ladies who came out.

I'm really looking forward to the wedding. It'll be a lot of fun, and nice to be part of a wedding with some very friendly faces we haven't seen for a while. It's lovely to see two friends who I've known for a long time tie the knot and make a whole new family (And I'm mostly looking forward to wearing a handmade dress).

It's been a really good April so far. I expected to be quite tired, but I don't think it's gonna be too hard.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Easter Celebrations

All of St Hugh's Easter 'stuff' (services, reflections, sleepovers and dawn time gatherings) were well attended. We had a good time hanging out with the young people on saturday night and getting up nice and early to watch it get lighter.

I've always enjoyed getting up for the sunrise at Easter, and it much more exciting when you have a bunch of teenagers to encourage to be awake at such an unearthly hour! We didn't see the sun until later in the morning because it was pretty cloudy again this year, and it just started to rain as we got back to church for breakfast.

Our 11am service was really busy this year, but with some lovely small children making themselves at home, it still very much felt like we had a great time. We read through Luke 24 and stopped at the appropriate places to worship and share communion. The staff team did really well putting it all together.

I haven't had the chance to think a lot about what I thought of the Lent course and our whole Eastertime, but I'm sure I'll have a chance now that I'm not feeling fantastic and am hiding under a duvet! Easter is a lot more hard work than Christmas, that's for sure.

There are some pictures here.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


I think we should extend Advent... having 6 weeks to prepare for Easter makes it feel as though you SHOULD be prepared! Or maybe we should put all the pressure on Easter and not Christmas?

I've not been hugely involved in Easter prep this year, preferring to be running around London and being in and out of school. It's just been an incredibly busy term. I've almost stopped, and the prospect of a long weekend away is still a way off.

The good news is that all the hard work is paying off, with different projects being awarded funding and the church being fully aware of all the work we do... I just proof read the annual report and we're mentioned quite a lot, which is good. Apprently I'm "excellent" at my job. Wohoo!

I've felt quite the professional this week. What with signing contracts for funding, talking in an assembly and making contacts with family workers for the schools in Lewsey, it's all been pretty good really. The benefits of being in school for 90mins a week are brilliant.

Yes, I'm looking forward to a break, but I'm really looking forward to seeing the sunrise on Sunday morning and the thought of all that is to come for the summer term.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Life is somewhat routine right now. As much as it can be anyway.

I've been backwards and forwards with work and made a few new partnerships with projects whilst doing it.

It's the calm before the exciement and celebrations of Easter. I'm not paricularly fussed by all the preparations for Easter this year, as I have a pretty practiced plan. I'm just waiting for a spanner to be thrown in the works!

April is gonna be a busy month... I'll be in Essex for quite a bit of it, with lots of family celebrations. I hope there will be lots of pictures.

Apart from the mammouth amount of driving I've had to do, I'm really quite enjoying the routine. It's nice knowing that there is one specific night of the week that all I have to do is watch tv!

So I'm pretty settled as it goes, I know where I am, what I am doing and how to go about it. Doesn't stop God shaking me up daily with the verses that appear on my phone for the Challenge.

Today's verse Luke 12:48 "From whom much is given, much will be required"

My initial thought was, oh ok! I don't think I've been given much, then a small child cried on me at Breakfast Club and suddenly I realise all the responsibility that comes with working with young people. My thoughts went from ok to argh. But it's fine because God knows those thoughts too!

Monday, March 15, 2010

More Weekend Stories

It seems I do not need to tell the story of the weekend... my Dad and sister have already told the weekend stories!

You can read their accounts... It was a really good weekend, except for the driving in Central London part.

That's all I have for now (it's Glee time!).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Weekend Away end all weekends away!

It seems that the last weekend wins the award for 'most likely to be anywhere other than home' weekend...

Last year I was at home, 2008 was St Albans, 2007 was Alpha with Liz and Ant in Ashby, 2006 was the farm with gappies, 2005 was St Albans... 2004 I wouldn't have a clue, as I only started blogging the week after! Ha ha, suddenly having an online diary seems particularly useful.

So I think the very long winded point I'm trying to make is, last weekend the youth group I co-lead spent time away. We went to Phasels Wood (for Liz). The last time I was there was 5 years ago with TGI's and St Mary's. Strangest thing to be back there again, this time in charge and ultimately responsible, showing how far I have come in 5 years.

Looking back over the blogs I've written, I realise just how far I have come. But that's for another day.

Last time I didn't do Potholing, and I don't remember my abseiling experience (if i had one). This time I conquered my fear and went down the dark hole (earning me the nick name Alice).

The young people who are part of this group are absolute angels. I can't stress how well behaved they really are. This makes my life easier. The only real problem is my inability to give clear instructions some times.

Liz taught us about Revelation. She did such a brilliant job. Pitched just right, and with amazing insight. I'm proud of my little sister!

No accidents or major problems. All in all I survived better than my colleague, and I have made it to Wednesday without feeling massively exhausted. I think I can chalk this up as a success.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Naturally Supernatural

St Hugh's 16+ headed off to join a conference at Soul Survivor Watford last Thursday. Naturally Supernatural was all about the Holy Spirit. Ken Costa was speaking on the comfort side of the Holy Spirit.

Once I understood the real meaning of comfort, I have really latched on to it as something that gets me through all days. For the rare moments when I feel as though no one is on my side. And for the moments when it's all going swimmingly well. God is there cheering me on. 2 Corinthians 1 mentions the God of All Comfort.

It's good to be in a different place hearing these things, even if Ken was using words I didn't understand, I got the general idea behind what he was saying. I love the way that God takes the words of others and uses them to talk to every one individually.

The Saturday before last was a perfect example of this, the Spirit of the Lord was upon me and He has anointed me! I used my gift well last weekend and got a bit of money from the community for my trouble. It was enjoyable. God using my words and his convincing to get us some money! Yeay!

May the God of all comfort be comforting you!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Going Home

Last week was half term for most schools across the country. Which is a good thing for the traffic. The drive to work takes 5 minutes wth no school traffic. This morning it took closer to 30 cos of the school traffic/heavy snow combination.

It's also good for us youth worker types, because we get to do a different type of youth work. On Shrove Tuesday we had young people in and out of church, wanting hot drinks and pancakes. It was very interesting to see young people and just have the opportunity to sit and chat.

We were busy this last week, but that didn't stop me having some time to go and see my family. And to preach at the church where I grew up. Christ Church is a very lovely place to be. Lots of people of all ages, all very welcoming and I had a good time. I told a joke during my 10am preach, but failed to set it up well, so didn't get a hint of a laugh! Even now I'm still learning!

I'm sure the audio will be up soon, so just keep looking out for it.

I think I left a bit of my heart in Essex this week.

We've started Lent and the new Bishop Alan Smith has set our Diocese a challenge. I'm enjoying it so far... another challenge we've been set is to pray more. Church is gonna be open all day for prayer. So feel free to drop in.

Monday, February 08, 2010


I know a tiny bit about IT, just a smidge, bits I've picked up from Dad since I was old enough to have an attention span of longer than 30 seconds, I can generally troubleshoot, but I still have a lot to learn.

Enter my latest 'mistake' - purchasing Norton360 with out consulting the IT gods (aka Dad). I only just noticed how it's little icon in the taskbar had a orange ! and when I tried to open said programme all I got was a blank screen.

So you find me mid re-install just 2 months after purchase. Whilst Windows Defender (on Vista) works against the clock to complete a scan it's been stopped from doing (by norton) for over 700 days. Poor thing, it'll never make it, I've downloaded so much rubbish!

I didn't notice how slow my laptop had gotten after the download of said programme, it seems that my laptop is in fact still speedy. But because I have patience I hadn't noticed how much it had slowed, til now.

So even though I'm mid re-install on a programme which cost a bit of money, I'm still considering petitioning the IT gods for a new an improved (preferably free) antivirus software.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Compassion Fatigue

I do not cope very well with international natural disasters. I do not really know why, but as soon as I've heard the story once, I do not need to hear it again, nor can I cope with all the pain and the horridness that comes with it.

Of course, I'm heartbroken when it happens, but after a day, I can't face it any more. I give money, I know that it can help a little bit. But the thought that I'm not doing a great deal, leads me to think less about it and more about my own work and my own area.

I love that the world is now doing all it can for Haiti. I just wonder, how did it get to the point where there is no real army/police, no road signs, no real government? How did the island fall into such poverty? That's the saddest thing to me...

Of course we will continue to pray for Haiti, but compassion fatigue has hit.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Loyalty and Priorities

Sticking with the Revelation theme... we'll be talking about the book on our weekend away in March. And whilst I'm thinking on it and have literally a moment to spare in a chilled Sunday (I realise the paradox in that) I was thinking about the positives and negatives of realising a truth, or gaining clarity on an issue.

I have had a few revelations this past week, so I'm starting to not only see the other side of the argument on somethings, but also seeing that I have to make some changes if I want certain things to improve.

We were talking about the 12 year old Jesus in the temple this morning, the boy who knew his priorities (Luke 2v41-end). I had one 12 year old in my group this morning, who's priorities were very different from the others.

I really wanted to encourage them to know that God can be our top priority, we read one of my favourite Psalm, no.84. "Better is one day in your courts, than a thousand elsewhere". We'd also spoken about the gospel over lunch, we should be in awe of it, not think we know it all. God as my top priority makes my life look so different to what it could have been, and here's today's revelation for me. God's slipped down my list a bit, my own fault. I'm not perfect, I find myself prioritising meaningless things.

Working on putting God at the top of the list.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Quiet moments allow for revelations, travelling is a great chance to think through things. Much like Paul travelling on the road to Damascus, though I haven't been blinded, I guess sitting in your car in the snow and horrendous traffic, gives you chances to think.

I was thinking how long the newness of a new year lasts? A day, week, month, six months? So I'll keep waiting for the revelations to find me!

In other news, it's been an interesting week for the building of St Hugh's, we are currently coping without any heating for the church part of our building. Something broke and tripped the electricity, so the whole boiler needs replacing. Pray it happens quickly and the parts arrive and get fixed. We were pretty cramped in the hall on Sunday.

I'm looking forward to this term, as it panning out nicely and I feel prepared for all the things that could happen. We're really busy, and it means I have to miss a few things, but I'm sure there are bigger plans at hand.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year, Old Me?

Christmas and New Year's celebrations have been and gone, and it was a great end to the year. At home with family for most of it. So, no, I didn't get snowed in, and in fact it wasn't even a white Christmas. By the time I got home there was no snow on the ground.

I got back to Luton today, and it's been sleeting abit, but not enough to cause any trouble. I will be enjoying Sunday catching up with church family and thanking them for the presents given me.

I haven't made any resolutions this year, but am praying for revelations again. It could be a year of change and a year of new attitudes. Holding on to hope and laying any plans (which are few, normally I have a lot) before God. I think I'll be guided through the beginning of this decade more than ever.

Hope you had a good Christmas and New Year wherever you were. many Blessings for this coming year.