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Yep. It’s true. I am definitely edging closer to the big 3-0 by the day. Yesterday was the anniversary of my birth, and to be honest I wasn’t expecting much from it. The weather this week has been proper MINGING and BALTIC (as we say in this Northern land). A lot of my friends were away. The builders are still in, and we can’t remember what colour the remaining carpets used to be. I’ve been locked out twice this week as builders have left our spare key in the front door so our keys wouldn’t work and I think all our staff and volunteers at the centre have made a mass Easter exodus!

The day began with my Mum bursting into my room singing Happy birthday and scaring the builders by pretending to be in labour (a tradition she started when I was 14). She points out that they were laughing about it. I point out that she is the one paying their wages right now. ;) And the builders played the ‘Guess what age you are’ game. Apparently I don’t look old enough to be my age.

But I knew that already.

And it’s great when you like to act like a big kid!

The sun shone all day. The sun was shining even as I de-iced my car to head over to my doctor’s surgery, where (thankfully) I was greeted by the friendly non-crazy nurse. And sooo thankful that this was not one of the days where I had to get my blood pressure and weight checked before I got my tri-monthly injection!

From there it was Sainsbury’s where my Dad amused and confused me by ringing and hanging up a number of times before finally getting a grip on the technology so he could play this tune down the phone to me. Let’s just say here that my Dad coming through with a card for me the night before my birthday and then calling on my birthday is some kind of miracle in itself. I haven’t heard from my Dad on my birthday since I turned 24 and it was days before he left the country without leaving any kind of forwarding address. So that was special. Even if it was while I was standing in the vegetable aisle at the time.

In the afternoon I headed over to my friend’s house. I was expecting a wee catch up, but hiding behind her kitchen worktop were our friend Vicky and her daughter (Miss S) and son (Mini Kahuna). They had made me a huge chocolate birthday cake with cream and raspberries in the middle, homemade biscuits and Kathy’s A-MA-ZING chocolate brownies. And they’d hidden mini Lindt bunnies all around the house for me to find. So I hid mini chocolate easter eggs around the house for them to find while I was searching for bunnies.

And then we danced on the Wii, and threw easter eggs around Kathy’s living room because the Mini Kahuna thought it was fun game.

And if anyone asks, it was totally the Mini Kahuna who started the game.

I would never do such a thing.

Obviously.

Ahem.

(It was my birthday!!!)

In the evening a few of my friends and my Mum went for a meal to a restaurant that doesn’t serve pasta. Because I’m suddenly remembering that automatical response I had to pasta when I was pregnant again. I am now so sick of pasta that the thought of eating it makes me feel sick. Seriously.

I think it’s going to be a while before I’ll be able to eat pasta.

I came home and opened gifts from my friends – I’m not a person that expects gifts at all. I always feel guilty accepting gifts – I don’t know why, and it’s one of the things in life I’m ‘working’ on. Beautiful flowers, favourite chocolates, vouchers for the shops I most often shop in (I love getting vouchers!), funky books, gifts that I think travelled all the way from India and the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook (bring on our new oven!!!).

But perhaps the best gift ever was a text that came in the afternoon announcing that my friend had given birth – a little girl who shares a name with me (coincidentally – I know it was a name her Mamma really liked!!) and born on 5th April too! Yay!

Tomorrow, I’m spending the day with my favourite April baby – my godson  – and his little brother (he’s my favourite February baby) – and we’re going to watch Cars 2. Appropriate as my godson is getting a Lightning McQueen themed dressing up outfit for his birthday gift from me. But apparently I need to learn who Francesco is. And I’ve been assured that my honourary nephew is going to be able to introduce me!

Meanwhile this godmother is trying to work out how I fill my spiritual parental duties by somehow linking Cars 2 to the Easter Story…

:)

My Jesuversary

I didn’t realise until I was writing the date numerous times in our call log book at work that today is the 8th February.

8th February is special to me, because it’s the day that I got ‘born again’ as they say.

It’s the day I realised that

1. I did believe in God

and

2. I could be a Christian even though I’d had an abortion (due to religious pro life campaigners, I believed that you weren’t allowed to be a Christian if you’d had an abortion).

and

3. Asked God to take all the crap in my life and turn it into something good.

Someone asked me today how I could remember that date.

Well, all I can say is – if you can remember the date you started going out with your partner, I can certainly the remember the date I started ‘going out’ with God. ;)

The last 10 years since I made that decision have not been easy. I’ve faced friends pushing me out their lives. I’ve been teased and ridiculed. I’ve had people mistrust me because they’ve made assumptions on what my values and beliefs are about other things because they know I believe in God and go to church.

But I know how much I’ve been saved. I know what I’ve been saved from. I know how much my faith and my God has helped me. I know that though not easy, it’s also been so fulfilling to live life for God instead of for me.

It freed me from my past, and it freed me from an addiction to cutting myself. It made me a calmer person.

I’ll never forget that night.

And I’m glad that I have this picture (above) as a memento from that evening – this was taken at crazy o’clock in the morning after I’d got back from a night of rocking out to metal music in the student union, when I told my friend (pictured) that I’d decided I did believe in God. :) She’d been praying that I’d become a Christian for quite a number of months by this point so she was pretty excited. Tee hee.

8th February 2002 was the day I made the best decision of my life.

Happy Jesus-versary to me! :P (as Stacey wished me earlier!)

and Happy birthday to my lovely friend Rebecca! (please head over to her blog to wish her Happy birthday. She’s 23 today, and I realised she’ll be 23 when she goes to Australia just like I was. 23 was my favourite age!)

24 days of Christmas: Happy Birthday (by Scott)

Whilst Scott likes Christmas he doesn’t like the over-abundance of glitter that this time of year brings. He is slowly retroactively realising his own blog is on hiatus.

Happy Birthday

I love Christmas.

I really love it. It is, after all, a birthday party for the greatest, bestest gift giver of them all. Yes, the guest of honour and praise was born thousands of years ago and probably some time in late spring rather than darkest winter and hasn’t been corporeal in almost as long but it is still a birthday party.

It makes me a little sad that the marketing folk of high-end products and supermarkets are hijacking the party. I remember when adverts just sold the features and benefits of the product and not the idea that it would fill the empty hole in your life; at least then it was less manipulative.

Let us ignore that part though, cast away any feeling of stress about buying the right gift. Let us think more about the things we can give that can’t be bought from catalogues and department stores.

When The Birthday Boy had a brief post-death jaunt on this earthly plain he met up with his friends and had a special lunch. The food itself, though a miraculous catch, was pretty simple: flame-grilled fish. The special part was the people he shared with.

That is perhaps the crux of it. Christmas is not about giving or getting but sharing what we have with the people we are with. And no slowed down cover version of an Eighties pop song will change that.

*******
Scott’s post is part of a series of posts over the Christmas period. Please feel free to comment on what Scott has shared, and haste ye back for more guest bloggers who will be sharing over the next 24 days. You can find all the posts so far by clicking here.

18 again?

I think my friends have picked up on the fact I love chocolate.

But there’s a wee story I thought was kinda funny about the chocolate heart in the middle right there bought for me by 2 of the guys I went to high school with. In built into me is this rule that I don’t open presents until the day they were meant for – mainly because even at 27 I still fear the wrath of my mother if she finds out. 8O

The boys however insisted that I look inside the bag they’d given to me so they could see my reaction.

I laughed, because I thought they’d done it to make a joke about how I could be ’18 again’. However it was even better story.

When walking through Fort Kinnaird retail park earlier that day (they were getting birthday cards for me & our friend Kate) something caught their eye on the display window at Thorntons. A chocolate heart with the message already written ‘Happy 18th Laurie!‘.

My friends from high school have only ever known me as Laurie (except for Craig who liked to call me by my full name very fast – middle name included). Laurie is not a common name in Scotland at all. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever met another girl called Laurie from the UK. People often think I’m American when they learn of my double barrelled first name & its diminutive form.

Until they hear my accent.

When my friends saw it, they apparently looked from the chocolate heart, to each other and said ‘We’ve gotta do it!’ and purchased said messaged chocolate from the window display. I mean seriously? What were the chances of them choosing such an uncommon name for their display chocolate?!

It made me smile. I don’t think I’m going to eat it. I have eaten some of the chocolate truffles that came with it though. :)

Thorntons had only just started writing personalised messages on chocolate around the time I was born. When my Grandad came to visit his new granddaughter in hospital (me!) he saw this new thing they were doing on easter eggs, and decided to get an easter egg with my name written on & brought it into the ward. It was totally uncharacteristic of him to do something like that, and we still have pictures of that easter egg. My Mum kept it for several years (ick). So my heart shaped chocolate has reminded me of that too.

Piñata Fun!

Because I was away down in London town on my actual birthday, my friends surprised me with a special birthday tea at the weekend. Poor Bringonthejoy and Miss S have been fighting a TON of bugs lately, and I’ve been busybusybusy with work so we’ve not got to see as much of each other as we’d all like! It’s funny to think that this time last year, the Mini Kahuna was still just a bump – he’ll be turning 1 next month. Anyway, Miss S was really excited for the grand finale to the evening which was Piñata!

Rather than the one that you have to beat up, they had got a rather more civilised ‘pull the string’ version…

Miss Sweetroot was the one who managed to break the piñata open, but it did take us a while to loosen the loot!

Through some girl-power teamwork me & Miss S got it sorted. But how to gather the loot? We just didn’t have enough hands…

So being the super-smart chicas we are – we used our initiative. You see a dress, we see a basket! (Plus Miss S’s dress had pockets, very useful!)

Miss S also shared out the loot equally (?) between herself, me, Bringonthejoy & TheStateThatIamIn. I put a question mark there because it seems her Daddy seriously lost out – his pile seemed a lot smaller than mine, Miss S’s & BOTJ’s!

All in all, a fun evening was had, enjoying ‘smallgroup’ style food outside on a lovely summery evening together. I love my friends and wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. :)

Happy 70th birthday John Lennon

One of my favourite albums of all time is John Lennon’s Imagine sessions. I would have loved to have been able to go to his gigs, and sat down and talked songwriting with him. Today would have been his 70th birthday, and I imagine (no pun intended) that there are many gathered in Strawberry Fields gathered around this very memorial in Central Park.

Happy Birthday John.

Even though someone ended your life prematurely, your legacy lives on to inspire so many…still.

A trip down birthday memory lane

Yep, it’s happened. Spinsterville is arriving. Tonight. Oh dear. But we have found some blast from the past photos – as we discovered that our attic must have been leaking and ruined some of them – which of course ended up with me & my Mum going through all our photos!! Soooo funny!

My birth day – It was late. My Mum wanted a chippie have not been allowed food for over 24 hours. Sorry about that Mum.

My 1st birthday – Don’t remember

My 2nd birthday – We had a party with everyone round at the house. I couldn’t decide which pair of shoes to wear, and I loved balloons!

apparently at age 2 I was kept in the cupboard under the stairs...or so it would seem!

My 3rd birthday – Everyone seems to be wearing knickers. Maybe I don’t want to be a nappy girl anymore after all.

My 4th birthday – Don’t remember much, but I had a really pretty lemon coloured dress. My cousin Julia got it later and wore it to my Mum’s wedding in 1996!

My 5th birthday – I actually had a day at nursery so I FINALLY got to make a birthday cake there. I also got a cool keypers school bag, and a Sylvanian Families School plus the Treefellow Family (they’re all owls, and the Dad (Aristotle) was the Headmaster of the school). Because a few months later I FINALLY got to start primary school.

My 6th birthday – I had a birthday party and Scott Lovatt the magician came. He could make the buttons on my dress toot!

My 7th birthday – I think I had a girls-only party in our flat. With pin-the-tail-on-the-dinosaur.

My 8th birthday – Megabowl. Check out the leggings! They scream ‘early 90s’. What you can’t see is the Polly Pocket earrings I’m wearing….oh dear.

My 9th birthday – I had a Rock n’ Roll party. I had basically discovered music from the ’50s (Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry etc)

My 10th birthday – Megabowl. This was also the year that as me, Jennifer, Katrina & Debbie walked along Rose Street to Pizza Hut, a guy was shouting in the street preaching about how we’d all go to hell and “we needed to live in the sh*te of God” (The dangers of being so passionate about what you’re preaching that you salivate too much – I think he meant light…not God’s poo)

My 11th birthday – ?

My 12th birthday – ?

My 13th birthday – Sleepover! And we did makeovers. And danced to the Spice Girls.

My 14th birthday – I was sooo over the Spice Girls, but unfortunately we’d got tickets to see them in concert at the SECC on my 14th birthday the previous year. This was the first birthday I didn’t spend with Jennifer…my antenatal buddy (she was early, I was late so we ended up being born a day apart on the same ward).

My 15th birthday – My Mum still brings that sleepover up, since we dared Fi to dress up and dance in the middle of the street at 3 a.m. The next day we went to Megabowl where some kids from Niddrie got up in our face on the no. 14 bus.

My 16th birthday – Was at school. We coloured in pictures of Winnie the Pooh during Geography (well, me, Eleanor, Kate & Vikki did…everyone else did work). My sister and brother got banned from buying me a giant Winnie the Pooh. Ahhh….16. And I got my 2nd holes pierced in my ears. Because I was 16 and I could – no matter what my mother said! Ha!

My 17th birthday – My friends brought me a tree, their registration teacher thought it was a cannibis plant (uh, no) & I had my first driving lesson. And I got some new navel bars for my latest piercing.

My 18th birthday – Joint party with my friend Kate. And I started getting IDed regularly. Apparently I looked younger now I was older…

yes, that's Kate's blow-up husband. We got some unusual 18th birthday presents from friends!

My 19th birthday – I spent visiting my grandfather in hospital.

My 20th birthday – I held a baby for the first time in over 3 years. One of my friends punched my other friend in the face, I got left alone in the middle of Edinburgh at 1 a.m. waiting for the night bus. Alone. Oh the joy.

My 21st birthday – A few weeks before, friends from CCA threw me a surprise party pretending it was an Easter party. On my actual birthday I was at an antenatal class & touring the labour ward (shadowing the Community Midwives!)

My 22nd birthday – Hmm….more not good memories

My 23rd birthday – I painted tiles in my bathroom & bought Nada Surf ‘The Weight is a Gift’ album. A few days later I went out to Australia.

My 24th birthday – I went to my friend’s wedding!

My 25th birthday – Breakfast with smallgroup (yay!) and most of the day in church.

My 26th birthday – I’ll tell you about it once it’s over!! :)

A huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! to my friends who also have birthdays today: Jamie, Sarah & Sam.

Plus the other friends who’ve had birthdays this weekend: Laura, Eleanor, Richard, Emmet, miracle baby Samuel (he’s now 2!), Kate, Steven, Eoghann, Susan & Jennifer!

AND Happy anniversary to Emily & Mark, Emma & Alan, Nicola & Graeme

British Summertime begins

At the weekend I got a gift – some backpay from work. So as I head into birthday weekend (where 3 of my friends plus me turn 26) I thought maybe I’d replace some of my clothes, and I popped into H&M and saw a summer dress which I bought for £10 (well, £9.99). I thought: “perfect! I’ll buy that to wear to Kate’s birthday night out on Saturday!”

Because our birthday weekend is always the first day I wear ‘summer’ clothes. I tried it on today…


Yes folks, that’s my nice new floaty summer dress. And my festival wellies. And some snow.

Do you not think Mother Nature, is just soooo hilarious?!

Last night there was much texting and tweeting from Edinburgh tweeples, and when I told Ruth about my purchase I’d made on Day 2 of British Summertime, as now we were on Day 4 of ‘British Summertime’, and we had both got to our homes having battled 30mph winds, rain and sleet.

And now this is what people in Edinburgh could see out their windows…

Yes, my friends in the southern hemisphere are having to get the ‘winter’ pyjamas out now that it’s ‘cooling’ off as Autumn begins heading into winter. I have NO sympathy if this is what ‘heading into summer’ looks like for us.

At least I’d bought a cardigan (£10) and some leggings (£6) in the sale at H&M and I still have my fluffy earmuffs. Even if the combo of leggings, summer dress, knitwear, ear muffs & wellies is a little bit strange…and not all that warm…

My pale ‘cantrememberthelasttimeitsawsunshine’ Scottish skin just sets off this interesting outfit so nicely too.

:(

Aging, spinsterhood & cats

In 3 weeks time I’ll be teetering on the edge of my late 20s.

Not only am I still single (those ladies in church LIED…that guy was not just around the corner…), I’m still living with my mother.

In other words, I’m not only teetering on the edge of my late 20s, but also teetering on the edge of tragic spinsterhood. I fear that I’m on a steep and slippery slope onto a path that will inevitably lead me into being a crazy cat lady, and will one day be found dead, half eaten by alsatians like Bridget Jones feared.

I now have evidence that I’m gradually turning into a crazy cat lady…

Exhibit A: me, showing my friends how to do an impression of a cat’s bum.

I wish I could blame alcohol or something, but um…nope…I was 100% sober, but maybe a bit hyper on adrenaline from a busy couple of days at work. Credit for this goes to Mairead for catching all the Cat’s bum impressions on camera :?

Quote from friend on seeing this as my FB profile pic: Love how much of a complete spacker you look in your facebook profile pic. It made me smile :D

Glad to provide some entertainment for you friend.

Exhibit B:

Miss Sweetroot, when I tried to leave her house to go home on Friday decided that she would start meowing then full on pretending to be a cat to get me to stay.

She knows!! 8O She knows that I’m on the path to crazy cat ladydom and therefore being a cat will soon be the only way to communicate with me.

So moving swiftly on…

The potentially nice point on my birthday this year: thanks to Jesus’ ressurrection, we have this lovely bank holiday called Easter Monday in the UK*. And oh yes, that’s when the anniversary of my birthing falls this year.

There really is only one thing I potentially need right now. But if there is something I really, really want it is more funding for pregnancy crisis centres in Scotland. So we can do more to meet the needs of our communities.

So whether it’s because you feel sorry for the fact that my future as a tragic spinster crazy cat lady is getting closer, or because it’s Easter Monday when up from the grave He rose again & you want to do something to remember that Jesus saved us all and he was the product of the world’s most famous pregnancy crisis situation (from Mary & Joseph’s point of view at least) would you consider donating to the JustGiving page I’ve set up?

The money goes straight to the charity, if you are a UK taxpayer, JG can claim Gift Aid on behalf of the charity too. It’s also safe and secure (ie not a dodgy website).

Thank you.

Laura Anne

Future Crazy Cat Lady ;)

*just to clarify, Easter isn’t good just because I get a day off work every year for it. I’m very thankful for Jesus ressurrection saving the world. Thought I’d better make that clear. Also, we’re ‘ressurrecting’ the gospel choir for Easter. I still don’t get to be Whoopi Goldberg but it’ll still be cool. Sunday 4th April @ 11.15 a.m., Braid Centre – you should totally come along and celebrate Easter with us at MBC.