Monday, 29 March 2010

Day 175: Up hill slog

Everything feels like an up hill slog at the moment... but lets talk about money... I'm not sure why but its just so hard to pay any money off at the moment... it seemed so quick to pay off the first amount and theoretically the rest should be at a quicker pace since I should be paying less interest why am I only just treading water with it?! Its tiring and monotonous and doesn't motivate me to keep going... but basically I'll have to so lets just keep going... but no exciting updates of the money... balance is £8 - payday tomorrow hopefully :(

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Day 174: Done

Here is me in my office. The main task of the day was to write a new song... I'd started it and it was all a jumble in my head and here I was obviously playing on photobooth as I'd got writers block and couldn't think what to do and Beth was off chattering with Kate. However now it is done. A few little tweaks in the scanning and recording of it in the morning when I can sing it properly without waking the children and then I just have to send it off for the verdict. I feel a satisfied almost at completion feeling with it :)
Another completion news is that St Toms have decided to end their prayers for Catherine to be raised...They say "We sense that the time of pressing in for a miracle was entirely right but now it’s time to release Catherine to Jesus. We are thankful for her life. Please pray for us as a community as we start to grieve and remember Ronan her husband and the two families in your prayers. Thank you for standing with us." It is really sad... a really really sad thing to happen but I've never seen a group of people act so inspirationally. The people in that church gave everything to rally round and stand firmly as a real family, showing the most amazing support I have ever witnessed. One of the girls from there just posted this on the facebook wall
"It has been incredible to see how as a body of believers we reacted to this tradgedy. philly will never be the same. i never realised how like a family we are, and i am so thankful to be part of it. catherine will not be forgotten."

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Day 173: Still...

People everywhere seems to be having a hard time...but in hard times friends pull together... and I'm glad to be pulled on.
We're still praying for Catherine... for some reason her death doesn't feel right and people all over the world now have been moved to pray for her. Its a miracle in itself that the hospital haven't rushed the postmortem and are allowing a big delay...and even more unheard of that people from the church have access to go in to pray with the body and the whole place is talking about it. Joel has been in and he only ever met her once! Things do happen in dead bodies and its not uncommon for them to move but I've heard that people have felt flutters of pulse... not strong ones but flutters, there has been heat felt in her body by a few people and 2 accounts of tears running down her face. That in particular is not something that happens. Wouldn't it be amazing...

Monday, 22 March 2010

Day 172: Wierd week

Sometimes I think we can get through life just following simple patterns and getting on with it giving thought to God and saying that He is central but essentially just doing what we hope is the right thing... other times its really clear he wants to intervene and do something that's very much his call - and wants us to know that. I don't understand whats going on at the moment but everything somehow is all very surreal and significant but I can't say that I get any of it. This month has been hard... This weekend has been personally one of the hardest most emotional times I think I've ever had... but for no apparent reason... I just feel broken. Thursday Joel went out to meet some new people... He's been meeting up to discuss some new ideas with a network called the Pioneer network which is essentially a group of Christians who are committed to being pretty radical and living out their faith in ways that reach out to people in the real world... it was a pretty significant day but also for no apparent reason 3 different people during that day gave him a word for our family that were all very accurate but also a bit criptic but all the same. The next day we got another message from someone else to both of us with the same thing... none of those people knew each other or had seen us in ages...2 had never met us before. Also on that Thursday Joel met one of the girls from that group called Catherine... 26 and a full time evangelist... yesterday we heard she had collapsed and died suddenly and for no apparent reason. Tonight Joel's over at their church with loads of people praying we see her raised from the dead. The hospital are holding off her autopsy because of a church full of people believing that's not the end of her life here... people think that alice in wonderland is surreal... seems pretty tame right now... I'm just praying that God does do what I have no doubt that he can do...

Friday, 19 March 2010

Day 171: Good making day

Todays been good. I've not earned anything but today we've written 2 new songs and had a good old creative morning. Tonight I'm home armed with NOISE to carry on writing I've created a conference pack all ready to send out and I've had an evening with some interesting networking things...meanwhile Joel is making a cup of tea :) and a mess :( as he came home with a 'sofa cushion to make smaller' so he's hacking up a sofa as we speak with an electric carving knife that he's borrowed from somewhere... So I'm sat playing fuzzy noise and Joels carving sofas like a mad man... just a normal day at the office.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Day 170: Little steps

Just cos we like to keep things moving... squeezed another tenner out of there and we're up to £1356.49 D. Goodo. What is baddo is ANOTHER THREE SCAMMING EMAILS today! They're kind of giving the game away by sending 5 in 2 days all the same. Bad job scammers... you can't have my debt, sorry.
Have many expenses due too though... new golddigger t shirts, vests and hoodies on their way though... so very exciting... plus I get to have a free one of all of those things!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Day 169: Scamming

So what I am annoyed about today is the constant constant attempts from evil HSBC lookalike sites sending me emails in an attempt to scam me out of my log in details. I feel harassed and targetted and they are so very sneaky. I am very careful and I know not to follow links from emails from my bank - HSBC are, despite my previous issues with them, good at telling you not to link from emails and that they will never ask you certain information. But I do click on the links to see how near to being convinced I might be if I wasn't so careful. Last week there was one from a mock up of the site and the url was very sneaky. Today's scam was 2 emails to tell me that my account had been locked due to too many failed log ins... it said...

Dear HSBC Online User,

We regret to inform you that access to your online account has been locked.

This happened because of too many failed log-in attempts.

To restore your online account access you can:

1. Visit your local branch and complete the Unlock My Account form (takes several days)

2. Complete the Unlock My Account form online, by downloading and completing the attached form (instant)

Quality service and the security of your account are of great importance to us.

We appreciate each opportunity to serve you.


Customer Service

Please do not reply to this e-mail.

Copyright © HSBC Bank plc 2002 - 2010

From the email sender HSBC and then 10 mins later one from HSBC Bank saying basically the same thing but slightly more urgent saying

Dear HSBC Bank Customer,

Your Internet Banking security code was entered incorrectly more than 3 times.
For the protection of your account we have suspended access to it.
To restore access please Log In correctly.
Previous notifications have been sent.

Thank you for choosing HSBC Bank UK..
Copyright HSBC Bank UK PLC 2010. All rights reserved.

So the link on the second sends me to a mock up of the site... at not the right address and the other gives me a nice attachment to download where I can enter all my important log in information and send it off to them. Ewwwww. It makes me feel horrid that people are just out there to scam you...and it makes everyone so cautious of everyone else. I hate getting those phonecalls when the bank call you on your home phone but they can't talk to you in case its not you and you don't want to talk to them in case its not them...
Anyway... they're not that clever... If they really did their homework they could find out within 2 minutes that I PUBLISH MY BANK BALANCE here on my blog and THEY WONT GET RICH BY ACCESS TO MY ACCOUNT!!!!!

Tesco card £1366.49 D... I just paid off a nice £200 on it. More to come!!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Day 168: Getting somewhere

So after my rather ranty last two posts it seems God must read my blog... I've just had a wonderful parents evening where Holly's teacher has nothing much to say to us as she is just doing really well in all areas of school. I decided to hang on before I tackle the soup issue with school - I'd rather keep sending her with it for as long as I can before they categorically tell me (again) that I must not do it...and then I'll have the debate...rather than have it now and potentially lose and then I may lose a few soup days. But I did talk to her teacher about the 'negative on the pack lunch issue'. I did say I didn't like the way they were told they were not as healthy and the unfairness that there are loads of reward schemes for school dinner eaters... Holly does not get a dinner sticker ever because they only go to the school dinnerers. So Holly's teacher is taking the issue to the head and is going to suggest they introduce 'healthy pack lunch' stickers for those guys. Great. Came away feeling quite positive until I get in the car and find out that Holly got told off for having soup again today and apparently she told the head 'just what you said, Mum' :S Oh no and oh well! When I asked her what she said to her she did a great job of retelling my whole rant but missed out the bit I told her she should say... the important information being... 'but my soup is not hot' Just as well I don't mind confrontation! I just may be confronted very soon!
Also having said all that in the post before about bookings... we've today just been booked for a nice big national conference that we were hoping we'd get into. We thought if anything we'd get a short slot somewhere among a lot of other bands, that they'd probably ask us to play for expenses and we'd not be able to take the full band... na, they've asked us to headline their main night and are paying the full amount and its that easy! See... God reads my blog!!! ;) and thanks massively to John from Myspoon for his recommendation!
Next months pay cheque that I've just put in for is enough to cover 4/5 of our mortgage! Amazing help and makes life feel more manageable. Celebrating a nice day by getting loads of my work done tonight and making a carrot cake to have my neighbour over for coffee tomorrow...something it has taken about 6 months to get around to arranging! Money update on its way this evening too! :)

Monday, 15 March 2010

Day 167: Slightly outraged... and then motivated

So pay cheque arrived trhough the door yesterday - YESSSSSSSSSSSS That means I can get this show on the road and start climbing the debt mountain again.
Annoyed that as I spent all of yesterday afternoon cooking and prepping for this week Holly told me at breakfast that she'd been told off again for having soup in her packed lunch last week as she's not allowed it in case there was an accident.
I'd understand this if I were sending her in with a mini gas stove... but I'm not... I'm sending her in with a small pot of tepid soup... no, it's not something many children would be willing to eat but if I happen to have an amazingly good child let me use her! What I am livid about is that today as Holly sits there with her homemade leek and potato soup (containing red onion, garlic, leek potato and water and a bit of boulion) with a slice of homemade wholewheat bread with sundried tomatoes and mixed seeds in, a drink of water, a pot of blueberries and apple and a small carrot, apple and raisin bun... she will be told categorically that the kids eating their school meal of pasta, cheese and rice with sponge and custard are eating more healthily.
We don't go for school meals because they cost more than we can afford. £1.85 a day adds up to a lot and given the choice I'd also refuse to pay that for a pile of carbs with side portion of carbs... and a pudding of carbs. Carbs are healthy... if balanced with other things... but also it seems evident that carbs are cheap and eaten up by fussy children. I don't need to feed Holly with sponge with jam in just to get a portion of fruit in her... that seems like the long way round. I do understand the general principle as most kids do turn up with cheese strings, cheddars and a ketchup sandwich and will site off that its nutricious because of the tomatoes and the cheese. Thats because so few people actually understand anything about what they eat... Nothing makes me madder than hearing a preacher come down heavy on the values of keeping their life in order and being good stewards of their finance, their characters and their homes but then make reference to drinking coke or eating mcdonalds... esp if they've clearly eaten far too many. Coke is used to clean up blood after road accidents - how is putting something so errosive in your body being a good steward of what you've been given? I just don't get why there is such a lazy attitude towards nutrician. You can invest into giving generously, the work you do, the relationships you have, the home you can share with people and everyone seems to be united in attitude towards doing those things... but don't invest into your own body and you cut your own life short meaning you fail at investing into all those other amazing things to. If we've truly given over our lives as living sacrifices why do we not treat them as they need to be treated... not treat our greedy nature that likes the taste of things even if they're harmful to what we've been given. Do we give a petrol car diesel? no. Do we add jam to the petrol? no. Do we process it and put a cartoon character on the front? no.
I think I may head up to school early today and have another chat about the soup issue.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Day 165: Mothers Day

:) Its back to being the best time of year... I just love how nice and bright our lounge is in the summer with the garden doors open on a nice day. Our family tradition on each of our birthdays is to have croissants for breakfast in the garden... I love it. Yesterday in the sunshine it reminded me how much I really do love that.
I'd discounted a huge bunch of mothers day flowers. I thought they'd be too expensive and extravagant spending. I don't normally get any but this year they all looked so pretty and I just for a few minutes thought about how nice it would be to get a really beautiful vase of flowers to put in the lounge and tidy up the coffee table so that it wasn't covered in Holly's class lists that she insists on writing a hundred of every day. So then I realised that actually if a big bunch of flowers was going to make me happy for at least the week it would be better and actually cheaper to do that as my mothers day treat rather than do the traditional thing everyone else seems to do of going out for a meal. I'm just not a foodie - so I hate how much a meal out spends on food. I don't enjoy a good meal any more than I'd enjoy some homemade bread and soup so whats the point in going somewhere dark and dingy to pay loads for a meal when actually what would be the best thing in the world right now is flowers that I love looking at and the kids to make us a snacky lunch (with help from Dad) so thats what we've done today... we treated ourselves to bagels and wensleydale with cranberry - for a change from full flavour value cheddar - salad and fruit. Had a picnic in our lounge with the flowers close by :) Happy day.
Its also a happy day as I am totally blessed to have the most amazing and beautiful children ever... as well as a wonderful mum of my own who now has moved on from knitting hats (now that we have about 500 wooly hats too many) and now can make cardigans for the children too - for that I am grateful... and she too has some new nice flowers.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Day 164: The politics that snuck in...

... Politics are a funny thing... you kind of know lots of places you're affected by them and they are in every situation but sometimes its a bit harsh when you realise you're goverened by politics in places you through you shouldn't be. As Golddigger we try to escape certain Church politics by the fact that we're not linked to any one Church. Sheffield churches have a history of disunity... and though there are so many great people working against that it still happens and we've done quite well to work to have good relationships with any and every church and they seem happy to work with us as we don't officially belong to any one Church. Beth and I go to different Churches and that seems to help things. Our values are kingdom values and we exist as a band to promote a message and to resource schools and 'the Church' in its entirety.
We've ended up having loads of conversations with people in the last few days through wierdly that all end up on the same topic... how its impossible to be an independent Christian artist. Well... maybe not impossible... but its like climbing a travellator thats going very fast in the opposite direction maybe. Now's the time of year we need to get festival bookings. While we love managing ourselves and having the freedom to direct our own work it does mean we have to do all of that side of the work ourselves... What we're annoyingly coming up against is that artists on labels get all the slots and its impossible to get a foot in of you're not coming from one of the big manufacturers... Its a bit like what happens with X factor and the Christmas no 1... which I don't think is all that right and certainly shouldn't happen in the Christian music industry should it? We've just spent the day with the boys from Myspoon... who've 'officially' split up now but we're leading worship with those guys at Spring Harvest next month so had a practice day for that. Having established themselves as one of the only independent acts to have pushed through that rubbish ceiling they were telling us about how they'd tried to get after hours slots at various conferences and were never allowed them even though there was demand for them from fans. One conference they were given one slot and packed out a venue with over 800 people while another artist was given 3 different slots (being signed to the right label) even though they only pulled a crowd of 25 to each venue. How is that fair?
We've been waiting on a conference for a slot and have recently found out we can't have one as they've now been taken up by the label artists. When you look at who's taken those slots its somewhat frustrating that 4 of them are splitting up and finishing this year and one of which finished over 6 months ago... but they are pulling back old members to use the slot to probably shift a load of left over albums from the warehouse... Another of the artists has been launched in the last 3 months, has about 3 songs to perform and no fan base... but being launched by a nice well known label means the right contacts to walk into big opportunities... minimum work required. Whatever happened to the ethos of grafting and having integrity? I don't get how the Christian music industry gets away with such unethical values.
Grrrrr...anyway... lovely Myspoon boys are trying to help us get a good slot at another conference... not because they have label loyalty to us but because they know us and they know what we do... and are legitimately reccomending us... THATS what it should be all about. And yes this post may be a bit angry and bitter but I'm not really... when it comes down to it I wouldn't trade having integrity over opportunity. I just think its sad that in an industry that should be teaching good values (and having spent the last 3 months touring and challenging young people that the stuff they get fed from the media is a lot of fake rubbish) The prime slots taken up in Christian conference gigs are taken up by artists that have been chosen and launched in undercover Simon Cowell style, don't write any of their own music and worst of all MIME... How is that any different to airbrushing, cosmetic surgery and media manipulation exactly?! I think I'm starting to feel as passionately about this as my hatred of McDonalds.

Disclaimer: A lot of these people involved are very nice and I have no beef with any individuals.. I have what is called 'rage against the machine'.

Tired rant after a very long and busy week over.

Day 163: Deleted post

The blog for the 12th March has been written in my head and then deleted... the only thing I ranted about was a situation today involving people that made me angry and shocked at utter incompetence. I must stop explaining right there. However we had a gig tonight... performed our best and the young people that came were brill.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Day 162:

I've not written for a good few days. After my last post I feel somewhat disillusioned with a few things and have also been really busy a long side having a few sulky days and falling off the wagon a little. Needless to say I have a new coat, dress, shorts and top.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Day 161:

Sometimes you just feel led in a certain direction, you follow it, where you have been crumbles away from you and there's going back. Then the open door you're heading for slams shut in your face. Then there's no where to go and nowhere to be other than stuck in front of a closed door. Defeated and sad.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Day 160: Update

Well cheques have almost cleared... some have and some have not but I've re paid off the petrol I had to put on my overdraft and paid off a nice £300 onto the medium credit card... taking us from £1,903.49 D to £1,603.49 D... not bad in one day (although actually its a bit depressing that if that 9 had just accidentally spun round all by itself I would have got there much easier ... it doesnt LOOK as exciting a change as £300 should do really does it!)

So the other thing on my mind is that I'm deciding whether I might now end my clothes buying fast. I've actually done 7 months... I could carry on but I'm just not sure if I want to. The only thing keeping me going is that fact that I said a year... I was only challenged to 6 months... but that's the battle of wills that I'm dealing with... do I want to aim too high and fail that... but have got further than I would have? or do I want to succeed in what I set out to do...? Tough one. Its the same thing as deciding to try to pay off 7,000 in 100 days... lets face it... its unlikely (although not impossible) that I'll manage the 6,500 or whatever is left in the next 40 days... but I'm glad I aimed for it. I don't think I mind if I lose... it's the taking part that counts.
So with the clothes thing... I can't afford any anyway... but I like the idea that I could if I happened to come across something amazing then I would be allowed to consider it. Its just no fun thinking 'no I can't have that' and I'm not sure the enjoyment of getting to the end of the year will give me as much enjoyment as I get from thinking about whether or not I can afford something. Eg. Yesterday on the disney website - amazingly cute alice in wonderland dress for £60... Holly would love it for her party. NO WAY would I spend £60 on a child's dress... but I DO actually enjoy that thought process and the freedom to decide no. And here's the other thing... My black boots are knackered... so I started to wear my brown cowboy boots instead and yesterday I noticed a big hole in the side of them :( Now I will get it mended... but I don't want everything I own to fall apart :( I've owned those boots for 6 years and I bought them from asda. I'm not the sort of person with hundreds of shoes... for a posh dress occasion I have aprox 2 pairs of shoes... I NEVER would buy I pair of shoes for a wedding or something... If I had, say, a purple dress for a wedding... well I have burgandy shoes or gold... so neither of them go... so I'd accessorise the dress up a bit and make some sort of gold or burgandy belt just to make the shoes match in a 'this dress is a bit miss matchy and clashing is good' sort of way. In fact for the last wedding I went to I wore my 'hole in the side' cowboy boots and some designy type commented on how she loved how I'd put them together with my dress as though she thought I'd purposefully left my fabulous wedding shoes at home and opted for these as a cutting edge fashion decision. So its not as though I'm just embarrassed to be walking around in 'last seasons shoe' but that if these fall apart then I'm stuck. Also all my shoes (that don't come from asda) are from ebay. This is my shoe rule... find a good shoe wait a month or two... find them on ebay... done! My staple gig shoes are a pair of boots I got as an amazing ebay find just because I knew the shoe, I'd tried them on at £70 in the shop and knew them well... up they come in a really bad photo on ebay and I knew them well enough to recognise them... mine for about £8. I miss savvy opportunistic shopping and I am so good at it!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Day 159:

Well today I paid in £600 I was owed and there's another £300 to come so that will hugely help out... but also indicates just how much I've had to cover on expenses! So all I need now is for that to clear and I can pay off another chunk of debt. Hurrahhhhh.
But... I might end my clothes fast...?

Monday, 1 March 2010