Wednesday, 1 October 2014

1 year later...

So I'm home sick from work with a stomach bug, reflecting on this last weekend away with the youth group from church. Long story short I found myself reading through my old posts from my original and very first blog ( Lately I keep battling with this feeling that I've lost something in my spiritual walk- something of my passion, faith, & worldview. However, I was comforted to find in reading my old posts - things weren't as perfect as I think I remember. Following Jesus was always a struggle, it is and always will be. Jesus said the gate is small, the path narrow, and only few find it (Matt 7:14). The rewards are for those who overcome (Rev 2-3) - so that must mean not everyone does. But the truth is you can never be stagnant. Either you're moving forward or moving backwards. Anyway.... that's another blog for another day.

What I really wanted to say here today is that I am grateful I kept a blog. I can always think back & remember my experiences, but I won't be able to remember my thoughts - uuunless I record them. So today I am happy I did....which made me realise I have missed a whole year of recorded thoughts I can never get back. I also realised that while my previous blog was all about reflections and theological thinking.... there weren't very many life events.... like my whole relationship with Simon was never mentioned (minus the only reference - we're getting married in 4 days)! Probably THE biggest thing going on in my life at that moment in time. In contrast, this blog is very much all events and next to no reflections. SO here is my attempt to turn things around and get back to both recording, but also reflecting on life.

I last left you with a post about us getting our first apartment together and Simon starting a job that would have him in London. Well a whole year has gone by aaaaand he's still in London. That is CRAZY to think. At first I found it very hard. I didn't like coming back to the apartment, I didn't like cooking for one, I didn't like being alone. Can you blame me? Up until that point in time I had never EVER been on my own. From growing up in a house with three girls, to going to college and having a roommate every single year, all school breaks spent with family or camp or Simon, when we finally got married to give us time to figure out where to go/what to do we moved in with Si's parents which ended up being a two year affair (where Simon's sister and her whole family lived with us for 2 months straight) - so for the first time in my entire life.... I was alone.

So I made a plan - it helped being in full time employment (cause most of your day is eaten up by work). That just left four evenings to fill (Mon - Thurs) and fill them I did! I started teaching online and set weekly dinner dates. It was a God thing - I know. I ended up meeting this other woman who works at Lancaster Uni too. She had just moved into town on her own, going through a divorce. We both met when we needed it the most. We ended up hanging out each week, cooking together, watching shows, sharing life. It felt like I was in college again, the nickname grew - my weekday friend.

So the weekends were reserved for my handsome hubby. For the most part we made it work - we were both happy and made the most of our time together. However, nearly all church events are on weekends and friends & family want to see him too (can't keep him all to myself unfortunately). So it means we've had to sacrifice either time together or relationships with others. But honestly.... it became the norm. It wasn't weird or hard for us, just life! You adapt and before you know it you are content.

The news is we are now buying a house. Hopefully, if all goes well, we'll get to move in by the end of October. There is a new project that has started in Manchester and Simon should be put on it in November. Which means it's close enough so that he can commute from home! So we are very excited about this change - which will finally allow us to have a conventional marraige :)

Lately I've been thinking a lot about our future. I've not done that in a while. I don't know if that's because of the house & feelings of finality it brings. In truth up until now we have been in transition- year 1 of marriage I was studying & commuting to Durham, year 2 Simon was studying, year 3 we finally were able to stand our own two feet, move out and get grown up jobs. I was on fixed term contracts so I was focused on that indefinite contract which came in April, Simon only just got his beginning of September. So we begin year 4 having achieved what we set out to do 3 years ago - security, stability, a place to bring up a family. But why I am now unsure of what I want? I keep thinking about my dreams as a teenager, as a college student, I never cared about stability or security - I just wanted to do God's will and make a difference in this life. Not that I can't do that in my present context. I don't know - but what I do know is that I'm thinking about it again. And I'm drawing back in, extending my ear... and hoping that God will whisper.

Bring it on year 4!

Monday, 30 September 2013

10 Reasons Why I Love My Wife.

My Wife is definitely one of my greatest heroes and this post is really an expression of the increasing wonder, gratitude and love that I've been feeling for her lately. This isn't an exhaustive list, but simply the first 10 that came to mine.

  1)     Hard Worker: Gina is THE hardest worker I've ever met! She works two jobs, teaches a young girls life group, helps at a youth club, teaches a Sunday School class and has a significant role in the worship team. Somehow, she still manages to excel at everything she puts her hand to and does it all with a smile on her face.

  2)     Loved…By Everyone: One of my little nieces is an extremely wary little girl; she often clings to her mum and rarely leaves her side. However, within minutes of meeting Gina she was playing and laughing with her like she had known her forever. Gina is now firmly rooted at the pinnacle of the pecking order with all the girls. This extends beyond children to youths, adults and the elderly. I've lost count of the all the dear old women that que up after church to give Gina a hug and thank her for her Piano playing.

  3)      Strong: It’s not easy being a consultant’s Wife, If I work on Projects in London then I'm away for most of the week and it falls on Gina to do a lot of the stuff I should really be doing (this week for instance - fixing the boiler).  She has never complained about it but soldiers on, taking it all in her stride.

  4)      People Magnet: Gina is the only person I know who can talk to another woman on the train for half an hour and come away with a business card and a request to hang-out sometime. She has a great enthusiasm for life which is infectious to all those around her. I’d rather do nothing with her than something with anybody else.  

  5)      Dancing: Gina has a dance for just about everything. The most recent 3 I saw were “I got Jelly Belly’s dance, new flat dance, and the Suits theme song dance”. Never fails to make me smile.

  6)      Go-Getter: Gina might not say she is ambitious but she really is… and I love that about her. She, like me, wants to be the best at what she does and always strives to do better – amazing each employer she has had in the UK. When she knows what she wants she makes it happen and that inspires me.

  7)      She laughs at my jokes: Gina gets me, I can be myself around her and enjoy making her laugh with my quirkiness. She is definitely my number 1 fan.  

  8)      She likes to talk: This woman can talk a lot about anything and though she might not know it, I love to listen. It’s too quite when she is away and I miss the frequent late night discussions on how our future could pan out or how we will start exercising and dieting tomorrow.
  9)      She’s beautiful: Gina’s a stunner and I stare at her all the time, even when she is not looking. She does not need makeup or designer labels to look amazing… She’s simply a natural beauty!

  10)   Because, for some inconceivable reason, she loves me: I've never doubted my Wife’s affections for me, even during the rows we have. She always lights up when I walk in the room. She tells me every day. She proves it with her patience and shows it with her actions. She loves me.

During these last two years of marriage I have had an ever-increasing sense of luck and gratitude to be married to Gina.... I love her.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Happy 2nd Anniversary

I have much to be thankful for today. My heart is glad. I will share them with you in pecking order:

1)  Today Simon and I celebrate 2 years of marriage. To be honest, this year seems to have flown by quickly! It feels just yesterday we celebrated our first (actually, I think the blog post for it is only a few down! haha) It's been a year of waiting and preparation. Get that grown-up job, finish up that degree, save the pennies. Uneventful, but good all the same. Lot's of family time (Stevie and Michelle moved back from Australia with their three princesses, my family came over to visit us in the UK). It's been good. Here's a picture of us to mark year 2:

We decided to dine in this year, bought some steaks and lit up the room with candles. It was lovely.

2) We ended up celebrating a day early, because Simon had to travel down to Reading today. Yesterday he handed in his dissertation and tomorrow is day 1 of his new job! I am so grateful and proud of this man I call my own. He has worked hard and it has paid off! I'm excited to get our weekends back (no more extra hours spent in the library!) It was bittersweet seeing him off at the train station :)


3) Today we put in an application for our own apartment! Ah! Yes, the time has finally come to move on from Calla Drive :)  Hopefully, if all goes well, we'll be moving in in 2 weeks time. Unfortunately, there are no pictures yet, but surely those will follow in due course. 

So all and all a big day for the Ramsdens. Thank you Lord for the good times ;)

Friday, 23 August 2013


I'm afraid this lovely vacation to Greece has come at the wrong time! Well, when I booked the flights, the August dates seemed perfect for several reasons: 1) I'd be able to catch a few days with my dad before he left for America; 2) I'd get to spend the entire trip with my sister Kali, who will be in America all of September; 3) I'd get the extra day off work, due to a national holiday; 4) the flights turned out surprisingly much cheaper than I expected; 5) I'd catch a bit of that August summer heat!

However, I get back on the 29th August and Simon leaves on the 3rd of September. Leaving us with four days (two of which I have to be at work for and one is a Sunday), practically one day to get things sorted. And by "things" I mean our new home.

At first we thought we'd wait till October time to start renting our own place. However, before coming to Greece, we scheduled a viewing of an apartment (since we wouldn't have many chances to look at potential homes together). We were both really excited about it, & then they rang up to cancel it (due to short staff) and reschedule for Wednesday (but I had left for Greece by then). Simon went to view it on his own.

Since then, he has viewed two other places. On the one hand, I feel the rush and understand that he wants to be around to get it all sorted before leaving for Reading. But on the other hand,  I want to be there too! But by the time I get back, there won't be enough time for it (unless I do it on my own without him after he has left). I've left for vacation at the busiest time! Suddenly, these dates don't seem so perfect anymore.

We've waited 2 years to get our place, do you blame me for wanting it to be special? For us to take our time to find the right place? To make it home together. I hate feeling rushed.

But this is our predicament and I'd rather it be this way, then have no job at all. So here I am in Greece and I don't get to be here often. I will not worry, for all will happen in due course.

Change is coming soon! Tis exciting and scary, all at once!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Back again...

Wow! I seriously can't believe it's been 7 months since I last wrote on here!! That's ridiculous! I guess it just shows how little time you have to yourself when you work full time.

Alright, let's get you up to speed! I got the temporary job at Lancaster, which did get extended in the end (6months total). I really enjoyed working there! But unfortunately they were unable to promise a job (due to funding) & the person I was covering for was probably coming back (if funding was approved, which it was), etc. So I kept my eyes open for other jobs going at the University. Eventually, something came up in Research Support & I went for it. Even though I had very little experience, they took me on! I started July 1st & it was quite a steep learning curve. But I love it & am happy to be working there. Just last night the whole office went out for a meal & it was good fun ;)

Other news, Simon's nearly finished with his masters & has been offered a job with Oracle Corporation, as a Technical Consultant. The first year they will train him up & then place him within the company. He's super excited for the opportunity & I couldn't be more proud of him :) Thankfully, they've told him he doesn't have to relocate because they'll be sending him all over the UK. So we've decided to stay in Garstang for now, if he is going to be away I'd rather stay near family & friends. It's a new chapter in our lives, which begins Sep 4th.

I'm off to Greece tomorrow! My very first ever paid vacation!! Meaning, I still get paid even though I'm not working. But I'm mostly excited to spend time with family!! So I really should get out of bed & get packing!

I'll try & make a better effort to stay active on here- add to the blogs titled "Married to a consultant..."
But there's still a couple weeks left before that madness begins. & I get to fill them with sunshine!

Chat soon xx

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Moment of truth...

So... I've been avoiding writing on here.

Since handing in my last assignment and cutting my ties with Durham I've been seeking a job. The search began with excitement and energy. The thrill of getting an interview stuck with me for days. Yes, I would be teaching an online course for SAU, but that wouldn't start till 6 months later. Mattersey Hall was unfolding, but I already expected it would bring more experience than income. So I needed an office job to help pay the bills and allow me to pursue online teaching. I remember feeling SO busy mid September even till mid November! I was getting plenty of interviews, but the rejections were okay at first. It was all about putting in the effort and waiting for the right one to come along. Surely enough, I was offered a job mid November and would be starting two weeks later. However, it turned out to be a "shady" job, in the sense that they wanted me to work long hours for less than minimum wage. As I began poking around and speaking with work rights representatives, they decided to not hire me in the end. The rest of November and especially December was quite difficult, mostly because I lost motivation. I felt there was no point putting so much effort and applying to so many places, when it brought forth no fruit. I couldn't understand why God was leading me in such a way. Because you know, if he wants something, it happens!

Well the good news is that I was offered a job today. It's only a 3 month temporary contract, but it's a way into working at Lancaster University. It's full time, best pay, grade 5 (quite high responsibility) and the same place Simon studies (so we can car-pool!). It could potentially be extended. If nothing else, I have a good job to add to my Resume/CV. Plus, the next door neighbor says they always get you more work after working there once. Things are looking up!

So I've been avoiding writing on here.

In these last couple months I have often felt like a failure. No one wants to write about that. And I don't only want to always write about the good things that happen. But I guess, you don't always understand why you are in a situation, or God's timing, or what the lesson is. Often when you're in it, you don't feel like you've learned anything at all. But I do want to praise Him even when things don't seem to be going right. He's been so good to me for so long, I'm sure this is another measure of goodness. Patience is a virtue after all, and virtues don't just develop over night.

So here's to a new job, which I'm quite terrified to start. Here's to change. May I write more frequently and follow Him more closely.

Ps. Simon is doing great with his masters. He got some results back and is doing pretty dang good. I'm proud of him. He's a hard worker :)

Till next time ;)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Wow... I just realized its been over a month since I last wrote. Time has flown by. It feels like yesterday that picture of us was taken.

Anyway, to give you the 4-1-1.... I finished my work in Durham and joined the club in the hunt for a job. Maybe I have been avoiding writing because there's no victory post, but I think for the most part I've just been busy. I've joined this UK benefit system that helps you find work (which is nice) but they also demand a lot of your time (not so nice). Also, the youth weekend away at church just took place (a week ago) and the preparations for that were also time consuming. I've done some work for Mattersey and have been practicing driving ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD! Crazy, I tell ya!

To be honest with you, I expected to be able to get a job much sooner. But it just seems to be really difficult times at the moment and jobs are scarce. Degrees mean next to nothing. It makes me all the more thankful for the work experience I gained whilst studying at SAU. The future is still fuzzy... there are ideas and desires (much wishful thinking) but things don't go according to plan... or shall I say, they take longer than you would like ;) It's alright, always good opportunities for growth.

On a brighter note: Simon has begun his Masters and is really enjoying it! He was a bit worried going in, but very quickly has gained confidence. I love seeing him study! haha, how weird is that! He has a group he'll be working with the whole year: a guy from India, a girl from Romania, Indonesia, Taiwan, and a couple Chinese people. He's one of the two British people on their whole course! So it's quite interesting to hear the stories he comes home with. I'm very proud of him. I'm excited to see where this leads him.

I miss you guys. I'll try and stay on top of things and share, even if things aren't going as hoped. It's all part of life :) Cheerio!