Happy 2014 – say ‘yes’ more, try and have more fun!

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A new year has come around again and what a year 2013 has been! I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my time at Cranmer Hall. I had some wonderful placements in the Summer:

My husband Paul graduated with a PhD from York University – I’m so proud. Then he went on to get a new job so we are moving to the North East where he will be consultant at St Benedict’s Hospice in Sunderland. I am going to be serving my curacy (I will be a curate for 4 years – that’s a trainee priest) in Houghton Le Spring at St Michael and All Angels – starting in July – I’m very excited, it’s a wonderful community. My ordination as deacon, God-willing, will be on 29th June 2014 in Durham Cathedral.

I am also going to be writing a book for DLT – here’s the blurb:

According to popular culture in Britain vicars are either bumbling (if they’re male) or simply love curlywurlies (if they’re female), Christians are old (usually), stuck in the past, obsessed with sex and always take the moral high ground. This book explores why these stereotypes exist – some are satire, some are pure nostalgia, some are just toe-curlingly accurate! The church has provided a rich seam for comedians to mine, some great characters for crime fiction and nostalgic storylines for soap operas. How do Christians feel about their portrayal in the media? What does it mean when Christians laugh along with the stereotypes or get incensed at misrepresentation?

Look out for it in 2015.

I’m not one for making New Year’s Resolutions but the last couple of years I have resolved to try and have more fun – a good way to start a new year I think!

Here’s wishing you a very Happy New Year!

happy 2014

New Year Prayer

Here’s a prayer for the new year taken from the Loyola Press:

God, thank you for a new year. May we all be willing to begin anew with a clean slate. We know that you are always ready to forgive us. Help us to be willing to forgive ourselves and to forgive one another.

As we begin a new year, remind us of our truest values and our deepest desires. Help us to live in the goodness that comes from doing what you want us to do. Help us to put aside anxiety about the future and the past, so that we might live in peace with you now, one day at a time.

Amen.

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Finally, thank you for reading my blog, it wouldn’t be the same without you!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 23,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Merry Christmas and have a great 2014!

Albin Egger-Lienz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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This Christmas has been a bit manic, what with our imminent move to the North East! I did find time, though, to create a contribution to this year’s online carol service – this time lead not by me but by Kathryn Rose. So here is the reading I produced:

But since this is from the Old Testament I will also share the videos I made from the last two years announcing the good news of the Incarnation of God in Christ.

 

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic 2014!

 

 

 

Albin Egger-Lienz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Gmail’s new inbox – like having a meticulous friend come round to clean your house!

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Google is currently rolling out a new look inbox to all Gmail users. I have been using Gmail for some years now as my main email account. The service is excellent – it has always been very good at dealing with spam, I love the fact that the search bar in Gmail works as quickly and efficiently as Google itself, and it’s also a really easily recognisable address – helps when giving your address on the ‘phone.
There have been a number of updates to the look and feel of the site in recent years but a bigger update has just been released. This video demonstrates quite well what the changes are:

What the new system does is automatically sort your incoming mail into these main tabs:

  • Primary – main messages and conversations

  • Social – things to do with your social networks – like notifications from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

  • Promotions – email newsletters, sales stuff

  • Updates – new blog posts you’re subscribed to, software updates

  • Forums – new conversations on any email groups or forums you’re in – like Freecycle

Gmail phone app

At first I was a bit freaked out – when a software company moves things around it’s a bit like when they move things at the supermarket. When Google changes your email settings it’s more like someone’s come in and cleaned your office and changed your filing system. It felt a little bit intrusive initially. However, after the initial disorientation I am now really liking the new set up. I can see at a glance whether a new email is something I need to pay attention to. If I want I can just keep an eye on ‘Primary’ and leave the other tabs for tidying up at a set time each day.

The phone app has been updated in the same way – although currently I’m finding the web based version easier to use.

You might have to do a little rearranging initially – here is how to move an email from one tab to another in a short film I made:

You can switch the whole thing off if you want but I would encourage you to give it a trial for a week and see how you like it – I’m finding it very useful. It’s like having an OCD friend come round and clean your house!

My friend Lucy agreed with this on Twitter:

Google have made it a little tricky to change the settings on your inbox but you can do it by clicking on the cog on the right hand of the screen and choosing either ‘configure inbox’ or ‘settings’ and then ‘inbox’:

configure inbox

Here are some other articles about the new look gmail inbox:

Will Oremus in The Slate thinks it’s great

Stephanie Meyers says email marketers should be worried (good news for us consumers though!)

And an ever useful piece from Hubspot

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! – jump for joy with these springboks!

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Happy Easter! I’m just jumping with joy at the Good News of the Resurrection! Do head over to Online Praise for a unique online Easter service which I have coordinated with friends. Otherwise, enjoy these Springboks jumping for Easter joy!

Facebook has a spring clean – a quick look at the new look

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Facebook announced today that it is having a ‘spring clean’ of the ‘news feed’ part of the network. This short video explains a bit about why:

 

The new design has a lot more white space and happens to look an awful lot like Google+! I predicted last year that images were going to be the big deal in Social Media in 2012. This is looking like having no signs of abating. Want to get a status update noticed on Facebook? Add a picture. Seriously.

This time, the revamp looks great, not a million miles from what it’s currently like but definitely a lot easier on the eye. I’m hoping, therefore, that this won’t release the avalanche of complaints from the launch of the new timeline back in Autumn 2011. There is also a much better focus on making the platform work well on mobile devices.

What do you think of the new look? If you like it, you can sign up here to be one of the first to get the new look.

facebook new look