Spring, mud, museums and Easter

Spring has sprung and here in the Kirkup household things have also taken a swing in the right direction. Adam now has a job! It’s for the ASOS of the furniture world. It involves writing product descriptions for a website, at the moment the staff room is a kettle on the floor but a job is a job. 
 
 

I am getting used to the whole five days a week parenting two children thing. It’s kinda exhausting but lots of fun. I am now just considering applying for part-time work stuff, but aware childcare costs are pricey so there is a lot to weigh up. I didn’t get my dream job which involved community development but have decided to volunteer locally and will be helping put together the annual summer festival here.
Wednesdays at Vineyard53 are going well. We are still currently at the Crowne Plaza (as a venue) and the buzz is good. Adam plays in the band twice a month and I help with baking. We have had a few new people check us out and it’s been great hearing the early vision and values talks on what the church intends to be. We are very excited about this coming Friday where we will be out on the streets of Ellesmere Port giving away free chocolate and hot drinks. We have named this type of thing ‘Love in Action’ as a means to be generous with out time and resources and to communicate that God’s love is free too.
I am slowly falling more in love with Chester. Don’t get me wrong it’s a super cute, quintessential little city but lacks some excitement, cutting edge and vibrancy of Nottingham. However, I feel there are a few new things on the horizon here and the summer will ramp up the FUN! We are currently further up North and spent the day in Newcastle yesterday. Newcastle is another level of what I love about big cities. The fact I get to visit regularly is such a bonus. I love to hear of new projects, cafes and community initiatives which are happening. So glad that we were able to experience Quilliam Brothers tea house and tomorrow shall be visiting a home away from home, Tyneside Vineyard.
‘Magic Worlds’ at the Hancock Museum, Newcastle
In Alnwick, after visiting Barter Books
Lunch treats at Jamie’s Italian, Newcastle
Getting creative at Quay at the Baltic, Gateshead
 
The North West in general is pretty ace though. We went to Llandudno last weekend which is just gorgeous. The valleys surrounding the picturesque coast line and promenade is the stuff which postcards were invented to display. Another beach trip on Mother’s Day saw us throw ourselves on a small piece of sand in New Brighton. New Brighton reminds me so much of my hometown (Great Yarmouth). The same dilapidated arcades, the generational fish ‘n chips shops and the vicious sea gulls. There is a small little fair which is perfect for a carefree four year old. To me it felt like home and as tacky and as well loved as it was we had a great day out.
 
New Brighton
Llandudno
Another weekend jaunt saw us almost call the AA in a field as we attended a very muddy under-10’s kids festival called Big Fun Fest at Dunham Massey. CBeebies presenters took the big top and barn as the kids had the pick of over 12 rides and inflatables to race round. The tractor ride was the highlight and may of fallen short of a few safety checks but totally adds to the adventure. Spiderman, Iron-man, Snow White, Rapunzel and of course Elsa and Anna also performed the latest in all small children wonders.
 
 
So life is busy and we couldn’t be more excited about Easter! Our friends go wild for it! And this year we are on the guest list (as is virtually anyone they meet). We will start off with a champagne breakfast on easter Sunday followed by a sit down roast lamb dinner. There could be around 40 people crammed into the house and at least 15 of them children. But it will feel like one crazy extended family and I am sure resemble something of the loving chaos that the early church must have looked like back in the New Testament. They essentially hung out a lot, shared their money, looked after each other’s families and ate.
Easter hasn’t always been such a big deal to Adam and me. We both have memories of Easter egg rolling competitions with siblings and Easter egg hunts, which are of course excellent. But now it feels like there should be more of a significance placed on the festival. We go massive for Christmas and it’s ace that Jesus was born in a stable and was a very cute baby. But even more central to our faith is the fact he grew up to be man (the Son of God) and transformed the course of human history with his life, death and resurrection. The Easter story doesn’t have the ‘awww’ factor of Christmas and is a little odd to explain to our little one. But her inquisitive nature has lead her to ask some insightful questions this year about the egg and the cross. We are doing our best to field these with integrity but the central message which Esther at four has concluded is ‘Jesus died on a cross but he is alive again’. We understand that in God’s righteousness he he couldn’t look at our filthiness but in his love for us he couldn’t look away from us either. So he chose to send his Son to take all our mess and hurt and put it on him. He wiped the slate clean, settled all the tabs. So now we can start over with God again and have the awesome teachings of Jesus, the Bible and the Holy Spirit to help us. 
 
That wasn’t meant to sound like a preach but after years of trying to think about this type of stuff this is where I have landed with what Easter is about to me.
Stay tuned for an update on all our Easter shenanigans. Have a Happy Easter, everybody.

Sarah

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