Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I was recently challenged to consider the following questions...

Who am I?
Where am I?
What am I doing?

Although this seems simple enough at first glance, these questions have challenged me.

Who am I? Not "who do I what people to believe that I am", or "who do I wish I was" or "who will I one day become". What defines who we are?
Where am I? Not geographically, but in life, with regards to progression and growth. How do you measure where you are?
What am I doing? Who am I influencing, where is my energy spent, how am I making a difference?

Tonight we saw the new Hillsong movie "We're all in this together" and through the images and stories of a world in need I kept thinking of those three questions. We watched images of people hurting, struggling, fighting to survive. We heard stories of slavery, sexual exploitation and violent oppression. We saw the damage of hatred and the power of love.

As I begin to process the message of social injustice from the movie my thoughts have naturally turned to what I can do, where I could go and where I could start to make a difference. I can't help but consider how that affects my answers to those three questions...

Who am I?
Where am I?
What am I doing?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

So...visiting the colonies

I am currently in Australia enjoying golden beaches, warm ocean and avoiding all the hugely deadly creatures that this enormous island has to offer.

I have been to Australia before but prior to this visit I have lived in America for nearly two years which has given me a slightly different perspective on my trip. Australia is much more British in nature than I realized...
  • They use a lot of coins rather than banknotes (we do this in Britain too and think nothing of it but, when you're used to Dollar bills, carrying around large quantities of wagGon-wheel-sized pieces of gold bullion gets a little tiresome)
  • Eating out or even buying coffee forces you to ponder your financial buoyancy and makes you consider whether or not you ought to sell a kidney in order to enjoy a tasty treat (much like eating out in Britian). It's still worth noting that I have visited every coffee shop in this beach town and am recognized by the proprietors of at least 2 of them from my frequent visits.
  • They drive on the left (as they should)
  • They serve "chips" instead of "fries" and to enjoy them with a condiment such as tomato ketchup you will need to reach for more gold bullion
  • A soda is not refillable and ice is rationed in a way similar to eggs during World War 2 (Britain also has a habit of serving soft drinks in small glasses with a single ice cube but Australia has a hot climate so much less of an excuse)
However unlike Britain...
  • The ocean is warm
  • The beach is clean
  • The roads are NOT packed bumper to bumper with cars desperately trying to find a route to work that avoids "the trouble spot around the M25"

Overall this has been an awesome trip and there's still a few days to go...perhaps I'll head out to buy another coffee.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So...this was odd

I was looking through today for a cash box to use at an event we have coming up.

I realize that many local stores sell cash boxes but we already own 5 and it goes against everything I believe in to buy ones that don't match. In fact one of the 5 we have doesn't match but I was going to use that one in a different area, so it has a different purpose and therefore is allowed to not all makes sense really...sort of.

Anyway, amazon told me this piece of retail trivia to help me with my decision...
So if I understand this correctly, people "frequently" buy a cash box along with a Black Satin sheet set! Does that seem a little awkward to anyone else?!?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

So...back in the Motherland

My first thought as I arrived back into London was how strange everyone's accent seemed, have I really been gone that long? I'm guessing so, nobody can understand what I'm saying! I'm used to getting that faintly confused look form Americans but not Londoners!

To my relief, however, many things seem much the same.

Brits are still obsessed by the weather either commenting on current weather, predicting future weather or discussing in great detail the weather pattern over this summer compared to previous years. I have been in the country for about 3 days and have counted 5 conversations regarding some element of meterology.

Brits are still genuinely excited by the concept of a bland cookie* and a beige colored milky hot drink.

Gas** is still ridiculously expensive

This year we have opted to follow the cricket coverage on the radio rather than the television. This is more like people merely having chat after a dose of NyQuil than it is about sport commentary. Here's a few moments that I listened to today
"here comes Trot, short cover, extra cover, mid shot on the short side and he's just scored 4. Great shot but marginal change of feel, 189 for 4. He goes again bowls on a full leg and just spooned of the outside edge, not the normal drive much more like short extra. They just can't hang balls on the off stump. Here comes Clark outside the off stump, it's a dire battle at the moment."
I'm sure being British I should be able to follow all this but it makes no sense to me whatsoever.

*british readers read "biscuit"
**british readers read "petrol"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

So...Mystery Mobile Mission

Today we took over 40 Junior High students on a Mystery Mobile Mission. It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like. We go to a few mystery locations and serve the community.
Today we spent some time serving the elderly
being a registered nurse working with the elderly isn;t particulalry daunting to me (though it has been a while) but to a Junior High student it takes a little more work.

My favoUrite observations...

A group of students were playing cards with some of the elderly residents and I asked what game they were playing...the students replied that they started playing "21" but one of their opponents fell asleep mid-game so they started playing "war". The sleeping opponent never noticed.

Apparently old people enjoy guinea pigs...apparently guinea pigs enjoy peeing on students.

One team of students were given the "opportunity" to sing while an elderly lady accompanied them on the piano...she was a strict taskmaster and they did not meet the standard nor the dedication she was apparently looking for...even after she made them spit out their gum...but at least they now know the words to the "Sound of Music" soundtrack.

One lady told me she needed to be served corn bread about as much as she needed a hole in the head.

After playing chequers with a student for nearly an hour an elderly man asked the student if this is what he would normally play for fun...the student replied no...thank goodness the man said, I hate this game!

It's funny when old people cuss at each other...that's all I'm gonna say.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I do enjoy the odd awkward moment or picture so couldn't resist this one that Ryanne pointed out last weekend.

As part of Mother's Day we offered free family portrait pictures at various locations around the church campus. There was one in front of the waterfall, one by the baptismal, one in front of the palm trees and then there was this one... We have a multi-million dollar building on a landscaped campus and this was the best backdrop we could up with? An awkward pose just seemed appropriate!

So...another car post.

This week my car reached a has driven over 250000 miles! It was such a poignant moment I had to pull over and take a picture! and just in case it was hard to read from that distance here's another...
I think this is pretty impressive, especially as it one point I wasn't sure that it would get that far!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 thought that was good

Last weekend Lisa, myself and Zack were featured on the church bulletin. Here is the picture for you to enjoy, it was at the beginning of the sunrise service on Easter morning.It was such a treat to be on the bulletin we thought we would recreate the moment at work todayWe sent our new picture in to be considered for the bulletin, I think it should make the cut!

And yes we are very cool and yes that emotion you are feeling is probably jealousy.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

So...famous at last!

If you happened to see the front cover of the Saddleback Church bulletin this week you will see why this weekend was the best ever!! A few of us have a little competition to get our picture on the service bulletin. So throughout the week I take every opportunity to be in photographs taken by our "Pics" ministry. I particularly look for those "money shot" opportunities: I stand with minority groups, I shake hands with the elderly, face the camera while helping up children who have fallen over and smile and cheer around the baptismal. Every week I scan the bulletin to see if I made the cut.

This week over 22,00 people took the bulletin home with this picture on the front...Lisa, myself and Zack were rewarded for attending the sunrise service on Easter morning (complete with unbranded coffee cups).

I like to think there's a little something for everyone in this "amuse-bouche" of photographic delight.

Saddleback Church...You are welcome

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So...for some people rides are concerning

While in line for the Toy Story ride at California Adventure a man wearing an overpowering amount of cologne turned to us and asked about the ride.

First he was concerned that we had been waiting f0r 35 minutes when the estimated wait time was in fact 25 minutes.

Second he was very concerned about whether he would have to walk at all during the ride, this fear was heightened when he saw people climbing stairs in order to exit the ride (we had to talk him down at this point)

Thirdly he was concerned exactly what the ride might entail

Then the cycle would start again!

So I did the only thing I thought I could do....I took a picture with my phone! So if you see this guy around be aware, he's a Chatty Chatterson!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 surgery

This week my car is undergoing "surgery". My car is very old and has driven 249100 miles in it's lifetime. I'm not sure that he'll make it through the procedure, it may be his time. I have already signed the "Do Not Resuscitate" order, and requested that no heroic attempts should be made to prolong the life of my 1995 Toyota Tercel (I think car years are similar to dog years so that's pretty old).
Now I know how George O'Malley felt last week when Izzie Stevens went into surgery: Did he really take the chance to say goodbye? Did he promise to be there when she showed instant recovery from the most impressive brain surgery I've ever seen? (not only did they not need to shave her head they also had no requirement for Nasgastric tubes, central lines or pretty much any other monitoring equipment - take that UK National Health Service).The difference is that if my car passes on to the great scrap yard in the sky it'll probably be a good thing.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

So...apparently dogs eat dessert

I felt like an ice cream treat this evening and found this gem in the freezer...For a moment I considered eating it until I looked a little closer...Not sure beef ice cream is really my thing!

Monday, March 16, 2009's a thing...

Many women wear makeup all day yet still have to reapply new makeup every day - it doesn't permanently stain their face. So how come when I wear face paint for a few hours (see previous post) I now have a permanent red band across my eyes!?! According to Bethany it looks a little like I got sunburned whilst wearing a ninja mask!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

So...are you ready for School Wars?

Meet one of the "Gladiators"
That's right, you can be impressed.
Our Junior High series "School Wars" starts this weekend!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

So...yet another communictation error

I was getting changed in the locker room at the gym (trying to be a little quick so I wouldn't be late for my Junior High small group). There was some form of Body Combat type class well underway in the studio adjacent to the locker room being led by an overly exuberant trainer who kept shouting obscure phrases like "till the turkey's done".

I was just thinking how this seemed a little weird when a guy turned to me and began a conversation about the loud trainer (which included a number of swear words that I have chosen to omit).

Him....."Only in America"
Me....."Perhaps he can't hear what he's saying" (the 1st lighthearted thing that came to mind)
Him....."He couldn't get a real job if he tried"
Me....."I suppose it's kind of a fun job, at least he doesn't pay for gym membership" (trying to sound fair yet non-confrontational - he was bigger than me)
Him....."I can't believe that people stand for it"
Me....."Each to their own I suppose" (this seemed a little over the top so I tried to sound diplomatic)
Him....."I don't what will happen to the country now"
Me....."haha" (nervous laughter - I thought this was totally over the top)
Him....."It's a complete joke, the economy is just going to get worse"
Me....."hahaha" (confused laughter - perhaps he's trying to be funny)
Him....."He doesn't write anything he says himself, he probably can't write"
Me....."ah well" (totally confused at the relevance)
Him....."it's the most important job in the world and he's messing it up, along with the country"
Me....."huh" (I mean this guy clearly holds exercise as a higher priority than I do but seriously?!?!)
Him....."what's he saying now?..."

At this point he walked over to the TV set that I hadn't even realized was on and turned up the volume to hear what President Obama was saying (the person he had been referring to all the time).

Having realized my mistake at who was the subject of our conversation I did what any other self respecting person would do...I ran away!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

So...I thought this was ironic

Whilst walking through Target today I saw this on the sale rack....can XXL really be athletic fit?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

So...another communictation error

I was speaking at our Junior High services this past weekend and as part of my intorduction I wanted to use some classic British snacks so I made my way to the nearest British food store (which is in Laguna Niguel incase you were wondering). It is not the nicest place to visit but does provide some classic British treats such as "crisps", "sweets" and "biscuits".

I was specifically lloking for "Ready Salted Hula Hoops" which would have gone extremely well with the talk but when I looked I could only find "salt and vinegar". I asked the guy in the store if he could help but ironically he couldn't understand what I was saying!! I checked, and yes, I was speaking english.

I tried to rephrase my question a few times but without luck! I can concede that my accent is a little tricky to understand in California but surely I should be understood in the British store!! I mean, there ought to be some kind of special handshake or sign (possibly that of a teapot) to enter the secrets of the store!!

I left deflated with my less than ideal salt and vinegar hula hoops.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

So...I got my haircut (again)

I have posted about getting my haircut before (here). This time was a little different but a little less successful.

Firstly it was the same person that has cut my hair the past 3 times (the first time was as I have previously described). It would seem that on the 3rd visit we are now so well established in the client/hairdresser relationship that I am considered family and greeted with a hug. Which is a little odd in itself as our total contact time must account for around 60mins (I've had longer conversations with people that I still regard as relative strangers). Regardless of this, the experience has led me to offer some advice to any up and coming hair stylists...

Please, please, please learn what "a quarter inch" means (a little less than this poison dart frog)My hairdresser did not and now my hair is unnecessarily short. As a result I don't trust my own reflection at the moment, I look shifty and strange. Perhaps I should send her one of these frogs so that she'll have a point of reference in the future.

So...a new day has dawned

The inevitable has finally happened...
My supply of Starbucks giftcards has run dry. I will once again have to pay for my coffee like regular people (well not regular people - I still have a goldcard). It's a sad sad day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Most mornings I wake up to an irregular loud engine noise. It is not a constant engine, like a car running, and at first I thought it was a motorbike revving. I discovered it was one of these... So my initial thought process on most mornings goes like this: Did I sleep on the freeway? Did I join a gang of Bikers? Why is someone using one of these so early? Why do they need to undertake this job every other day? Are they being deliberately spiteful? Why on earth is it called a "Weed Wacker" when it is clearly a "Strimmer"?

So...a request for the new President.

Dear President Obama,
I realize that you may be very busy at the moment moving house and everything but could you have a word with people at Chevrolet. I recently drove the Wildside Suburban and on my return I bought a Starbucks drink. As I also bought one for Bethany I used the handy dual cup holder. It would seem that this was a huge error as a Grande Tea Latte made a break for freedom and launched itself through the passenger window. At least that is what would have happened if the window had not been closed. Instead it hit the glass and exploded all over the inside. I did not enjoy cleaning it up (please note the coloUr of the foam on the upholstery foam can and cloth which was originally white) I also do not enjoy the stagnent, stale dairy smell that now lingers - similar to the smell of vomit in an elevator*. This only compounds the irritation that the door handle on the inside of the driver's door broke making a quick escape from the putrid smell extremely difficult.
Please advise Chevrolet that their cup holder design is ineffective and far below the standards that I am sure you wish to uphold in this country.
Many Thanks.

(*UK translation - "lift")

Friday, January 9, 2009

So...language barrier.

Last night the Wildside Team played "Celebrity".
It would seem that my British background does not lend itself to play this game in America. This became obvious when some of my chosen "famous people" turned out to be unknown to the rest of the group. However, the nail on the coffin was my attempt to remember the name of the rap artist from Jaime's description resulting in me shouting
" littlie? smallie?!??".