Thursday, November 19, 2009

i've moved!

well, it's just a virtual move. i won't be posting any more to this site. please visit me now at

hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

the UK by car

this trip to the UK i have yet to be in london. when i arrived, i went straight out to the soul survivor events and spent 10 days there. then i headed to eastbourne to stay with friends. over the weekend, we went to greenbelt & to grapevine, two other festivals. we also stopped off at my friend's mom's in cambridge before heading back to eastbourne. it was quite the road trip. here's a little map to give you an idea:

View Larger Map

A: london heathrow, where i started
B: the royal bath & west showground, home to soul survivor, weeks b & c and momentum
C/G: eastbourne, where my friends live, and home to christian music & publishing
D: cheltenham race course, home to greenbelt
E: lincoln, home to grapevine
F: cambridge, where my friend's mom lives

it was fun to get to see so much territory by car & i love that it's really green here. san diego is fantastic, but there's not much green. the best part was the people of course. lots of time to chat with a friend, and opportunities to meet new people plus see friends from the states.

Monday, August 24, 2009

UK Update

i am having a fabulous time hanging out with my friends at soul survivor. soul survivor is held on the UK version of a fairgrounds and the exhibit hall is in a cattle barn. most delegates camp but i'm in a b & b, which is lovely and has fantastic breakfasts. my typical day has been: wake up, have a lovely breakfast (when i haven't hit the snooze & opted for toast), head over to the event site, hang out with friends, go to part of the morning session, get some lunch, help on the spring harvest exhibit til tea time. have tea, go to part of the evening service, back to the spring harvest exhibit, then back to the b & b for bed. so, this morning i'm missing the morning service to catch up a bit on email & blogging.

i realize this isn't loads of details, but here are a few random thoughts on my UK visit so far, in no particular order, some of which i'll unpack later & some are just here. if for some reason you, dear reader, have a wish for me to unpack a specific one, feel free to comment and i'll do my best.

  • i think choosing a marriage partner might be as simple as saying, 'you are someone i can love, respect & who i have fun hanging out with and whose faults & foilbiles i can live with on most days without it driving me nuts.'
  • hope is often hard, but worth it.
  • the church at large is most likely failing to recognize in kids ages 8-11 the ability to begin understanding God at deeper levels. which in turn likely means we're not giving our young teens and teens enough respect and challenge in discipling them.
  • and the previous thought leads to the thought that if in youth ministry (and this is a sweeping statement i realize), we were better at discipling our teens in a way that allowed them to feed themselves spiritually, we might be spending less time scratching our heads at how to keep 18-25 year olds in the church.
  • how possible is it in current youth ministry models to use the training model of 'i do, you watch; we do it together; you do, i watch (& coach); you do for someone else'?
  • in the UK, there is an event volunteer whose sole job is to sit amongst a huge stack of fire extinguishers with a radio, a phone & a megaphone, just in case a fire should break out. it's a UK safety requirement.
  • it is possible to run a large scale event without a minute-by-minute for the plenary session, but it seems to require a production team with quick reflexes.
  • people from the US speak American and people from the UK speak English and there is a difference.

Friday, June 12, 2009

girls & violence & youth ministry's response

i've been wondering lately if teen girls are becoming more violent. the thought started last week, when in my small group of 7th grade girls, one of the girls shared she'd missed the last group because she was suspened from school for beating up another girl. her revelation opened the proverbial can of worms as the girls started sharing about the fights between girls at their schools and i was a bit surprised at the number of fights they talked about and the violence level of them. i ended up scrapping the lesson i'd planned on women of the bible and switched to an impromptu one in conflict resolution. we talked about turning the other cheek, letting things roll off us instead of reacting, where we find our true identity and how, when and where to get help. it's been a little over a week since that small group meeting and it's been something i've continued to pray about and ponder.

this morning i saw this segment on the today show:

it reinforced my concerns about increasing violence between young women. i hadn't considered making sure that conflict resolution was in a regular rotation of teaching topics, but i'm certainly planning for that now.
and it made me wonder, as a youth worker, what other biblical life skills in i should include in my curriculum planning? i hit the traditional biggies: parents, friends, dating & sex. what life skills do you regularly include in your teaching?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Top Ten Things I Love about the UK

so i've been asked repeatedly just what it is i love about london/the uk, usually with a laugh that it must be the accent. and while i do find the accent charming (of course when i'm there, i'm the one with the accent), here is a list of 10 things i love about the uk. there are more, but this will be a good start.

10. broader world view: the national news there consistently carries more stories that are global in nature and considers the story's impact on the globe.

9. public transport: with an oyster card, you can go anywhere in london by tube or by bus and you can catch a train to anywhere else you want to go in the country. also, love that it's easy to walk most places in the center of london.

8. the history/age: i'm completely fascinated by the history and how old things are. in the states, 200ish years is old. in the uk, i think it has to be at least 400 years old to start being old.

7. going to the cinema: i went to see a movie in theatre in leicester square. it reminded me of what it was like to go to a movie in a 50's movie in a way; it was somehow more elegant. first, choice of popcorn--sweet or salty--brilliant to have the option. second, assigned seats. i'm sure not every theatre was like that but i really did like it.

6. the authors: i know this next bit is geeky of me, but i'm okay with that. i love shakespeare. jane austen. chaucer. and then there are modern authors there i love: katie fforde, marian keyes & maeve binchy (technically irish, but closer to english than american), nick hornby. one of the trip highlights was picking up marian keyes' new book in paperback & katie fforde's new book, both before they were available here.

5. manners: the vast majority of everyone i encountered in the uk were terribly polite. well-mannered. and chivalrous. men opened doors. lifted my luggage up stairs in tube stops. i hear people complain about the british being stiff and reserved, and i think that while that can be true, more often than not it's just people being very polite and proper.

4. the museums: i hate to admit it, but i'd never seen a da vinci painting, a vermeer, van gogh, picasso, or botticelli or reuben in person until i visited the national gallery. totally amazing art that has literally endured centuries. this trip i also went to the national portrait gallery and the churchill museum and cabinet war rooms. all incredibly fascinating and places i look forward to visiting again.

3. the food: americans complain about not finding good food in london & i have absolutely no idea where they're going. whether it was curry take-away, wagamama, paella from a street vendor, sandwiches at pret, or nutella & banana pancakes, or traditional fish & chips, everything i ate was yummy. oh, and then there was the chocolate. galaxy bars, rose & violet creams, vodka truffles. and then the food halls. for someone who loves to cook & bake, the food hall at harrods is a bit like heaven i think. if it hadn't been for the walking, i'd have gained 20 lbs.

2. fairtrade products: along with being a little more environmentally sensitive (all the grocery stores charge for plastic bags & encourage the use of reusable bags), there is also a higher demand for fairtrade products at reasonable prices. tea, coffee, chocolate, and clothing seem to have a particular demand by consumers on fairtrade. for example, cadbury dairy milk, the uk equivalent to america's hershey bar, will be made from fairtrade cocoa by the end of the summer. and you can purchase fairtrade t-shirts at marks & spencers 2 for 8 pounds (us 2 for $12). okay, if m & s can offer that deal, surely old navy or target could offer it here in the states.

1. the people: the dry sense of humor, the propriety, the warmth paired with reserve, the "stiff upper lip", i could go on and on, but i do love the brits.

editor's note: i wonder if the uk tourism board is hiring. i might be really good at marketing the uk. :)