Sunday, December 10, 2006
This is the front gate at Dachau concentration camp. Arbeit macht frei means 'work brings freedom' but sadly it did not for the tens of thousands who passed through this gate between 1937 and 1944. We went there on our first morning while the others slept in. I felt it was important to go. I went to Auschwitz (in Poland) when I lived in Lemgo, Germany which had more of an impact for me than this one because it is more intact but it was still harrowing to see. I firmly believe that the propensity to commit this kind of evil lies just below the surface of everyone. It made me thankful that I have been saved, that had it been me who had done these things that God's grace could still reach out to me, and it made me thankful that so far in my life I have never had to experience war or the breakdown of society.
On to happier things, this is one of the many squares in Munich and the tree was pretty. Enjoy.
This is us on the subway on our way to the insane fireworks. Note the dixie cups of champagne. In Europe you can drink alcohol in public. It is still a little weird to see teenagers chugging beer on the subway, but there you have it. There is no central firework display in Munich, instead, everyone brings their own and they just light them off in the street for about an hour around the midnight countdown. They were going off everywhere, I got hit in the leg with a rocket that fell over before going off, there were bits of firecrackers fall from the sky everywhere. It was a health and safety nightmare but really quite fun. Definately not one for the kids.
Here you can see a few rockets going off, the amount of smoke in the picture should give you more of an idea about how many there were.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Okay, scratch that. I just tried numerous times to upload my picture onto blogger but it was having none of it. Sorry! I know some of you have been waiting with baited breath for new pictures for ages.
Here's what I was going to put up: A picture of us at a deleriou5? concert, my sign on the boards at the hockey arena, us at Rachel's work christmas dinner from last night and a funny one of the so-called large pumpkins that they have here that I mentioned in blog back at halloween.
Oh! We got one photo up. You can guess which one it is...
As Rachel mentioned below, we'll be on our way to America in 5 days and I can't wait to hit the slopes, see friends and family, and generally relax and eat too much. I'm sure we'll have time to blog then. Till then, we love you all.
Month in reflection- work work work! And a few fun things. I've been working a lot because, well, there's lots to do. Occasionally (today, for instance) I think about finding a different job. Ironically I was talking to my co-workers at our team meeting this past Monday about the rewards of commitment. Ha. I'll stay with the company at least through next July. I've also been working a lot because I find I get more done when everyone else has left the office and the phones have stopped ringing. Most importantly, I have been working a lot because I am taking off work next week! We leave next Friday for the States! Woohoo! School doesn't actually get out here until Wednesday the 20th, but my last day will be Thursday the 14th. Yyeeessss! I can't wait. I generally don't mind/semi-enjoy my job, we're both just really looking forward to a break =) Now for the fun things... a baby shower for a co-worker who is due in January! A Black-Tie Chamber of Commerce dinner (Mark looks HOT in a tux!). A few ice hockey games. A visit from our Malawian friend Henderson who is now living in Leeds. Thanksgiving dinner with some Canadian friends. **My brother Reid and his wife Laura making a whirlwind visit!** And... basketball practice! That's right. I am now practicing with the Hull University Women's team twice a week! Don't be too impressed. They haven't grown up with b-ball, and it's only the university's second year of having a ladies team. I don't mind rockin' the court though =) It's a fun way for me to get exercise, and I anticipate it to be a good area of ministry. I hope to help coach the team at some point, but I'm also happy just practicing with them.
Friday, November 03, 2006
The final products. Pumpkin carving (scooping, as they say here) is quite a no-no here amongst Christian circles. Little did I know... I invited a bunch of church friends over for the event! They came, and happily carved away, but they didn't take the pumpkins home. Guilt by association I imagine.
Oh, the fun. We then watched a not-too-scary movie afterwards: Shawn of the Dead. Seen it?
This is from Liverpool. I went to a little club/pub three stories undergrounf called "The Cavern Club." It's apparently where the Beatles got their start! I had a really nice evening there. The bands performing were doing a benefit for Oxfam (calling the evening 'OxJam') to help fight poverty. Yah!
This is a photo of me and my former Starbucks boss, Mark. We got on really well. He's the manager of the second store I was at here. Mark and I are working on developing a good friendship with he and his boyfriend.
And finally... this is a photo of our church plant! This was taken on the first Sunday we met together. We had a big lunch together afterwards. The church plant is going well, but please keep praying for us. You know the devil will always try to work his way in somehow.
Mark and I are off to Bournemouth this weekend to visit Earl (his best man) and Sarah, and their 10 month old daughter! We can't wait to see them.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Sometimes the strangest things happen, this week I had contact again with someone that I thought that I may never see again. Isn't it strange how God allows different people to cross our paths at the most seemingly random moments in our lives? It made me realize that I still miss Canada and the friends I had there. After being away for 6 years I guess I had pushed those friendships deep down because I found it difficult to maintain a real friendship without those shared experiences. There is a good lesson to be learned there, I need to spend quality time with my wife, our future kids, our current families and most of all God. Without going through the experiences that form memories together it is difficult to say that you have a relationship. We can't live in the past and our actions speak louder than words. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology we can all keep a glimpse of what it going on in each others lives.
Monday, October 16, 2006
A few weeks ago I heard a stirring talk-show on the BBC discuss 'aid' to poor countries. At the end they concluded it definitely isn't a long term solution, but it's been ongoing for over half a century in some places. Aid actually debilitates people. What they(the poor countries) want (they had representatives from many poor countries) is to work, to feel pride and accomplishment in what they do, and to get paid appropraitely for their work. They suggested that through trade (not aid), through paying a fair price for what we're getting... we can help bring people out of poverty and give them that sense of accomplishment in their lives.
Then I was blessed in Birmingham to step into a shop that promoted fair-trade items. In this shop I picked up a "New Consumer" magazine and in that magazine I was challenged by my lifestyle/consumerist ways, but then I was actually given ways to live a more God-glorifying life... a life that helps fight poverty through what I buy/don't buy. I've always tried to be somewhat 'fair-trade', but I never felt as though I had all the equipment I needed. I never knew where to look, or what sources to trust. This magazine didn't give me all the answers, but it has put me on the right track. It's given me a place to start and some leads to follow. It also had an article on organic cotton... something I didn't think twice about before. I figured, "I'm not eating it, so I don't care if it's organic or not." Organic cotton is about saving the lives of the cotton pickers in third-world countries (from the chemicals used on not-organic cotton), about taking them out of poverty through trade, not aid, and about preserving the earth. I'll tell you more about this later.
Since then my mind has been reeling about real ways to fight poverty. I think I'd like to go on to get my MBA and use it to assist businesses to be fair-trade.
I'm excited about this, and if you are too, let's talk! Again, I'll tell you all more about this soon.
I'm off to Liverpool now...
p.s. Please email me with your current detaills, including a mailing address for your Christmas card, and your current phone numbers. Thanks!
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Since I couldn't get the ice hockey photos, I hope the ones below will do.
This was taken in Canada at Mark's grandfather's funeral this past August. Despite the circumstances, we had a great weekend being together with Mark's whole family. We also got to see/meet our neice for the first time! She's beautiful =)
This was taken in Arizona. That's right, it's the whole Carlson clan! Reid, Laura, Charlie, Elaine, Rachel and Mark. Notice how tan Mark looks in comparison to the rest of us... I hope he shares that with our kids! My mom spoiled us rotten in Arizona - we were really blessed =)
This was taken at my birthday party in our back garden this past July 28th. Sorry you couldn't make it! We had champagne and a delicious coconut cake that I made. Mom and Dad Colvin-- notice the champagne glasses we're using (an heirloom from grandma Colvin).
In case you haven't seen it yet, this is the impressive double-loft bed that Mark built us with his own two hands. He even designed it himself. So far it's holding strong! We use a step ladder to get up in to it.
I have finally started to feel settled here. I think it's a combination of a steady job and being a part of the church plant. Whatever it is, I'm thankful. My job is going well. It keeps me busy and challenged, and I especially respect one of my bosses, Sue. I also managed to hire two of my fellow church-planters, so it's nice being with them on a regular basis. The church plant is also going well. It's not perfect, and just the other day Mark questioned me about how critical I was being of the church. I just want the best, and I've been at some great churches. I have mellowed out about it. I've started a married women's prayer group on Tuesdays at dinner-time (lunch) (and they call dinner, "tea"). That's going well.
I'm off to bed, but to all of you fellow bloggers, thanks so much for helping us to stay connected! I love reading all of your blogs, and I check them faster than you add in new ones. Keep 'em coming =)
Saturday, September 16, 2006
On another note, our first service as a church plant is tomorrow so we'd appreciate some pray for that. I am really starting to get excited about the whole thing.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
This is the street we live on, St. Mary's Terrace. Our house is up on the left.
Sorry the photo is sideways. This is our house (just the middle window and blue door)! We rent the bottom floor. The window you see on the bottom is our living room.
Around the corner and up the street you will find the Westwoods, a pasture for cows and a nature preserve/forest area. This is what it looks like inside the Westwoods. It's never crowded with people. I always manage to find a little hole where I can enjoy the trees and meadows in quiet and peace.
Friday, September 08, 2006
These are photos, in no particular order (because, despite my efforts to put them in an order, the computer uploads them any which way it wants to) from the recent wedding of my dear friend Eric Meyer. The wedding was held in the Inyo National Forest, just outside of Yosemite, near Mammoth Springs, California. At the end of the wedding Eric and his new bride left for their honeymoon...walking in to the forest. They went backing through Yosemite for 9 days! Notice their appropriately decorated backpacking backpacks.
Mark and I had a wonderful time. It was even just like old times, for a few carefree moments. Our highlight, besides simply being with cherished friends, and being witness to the covenant of marriage, and spending time with some of my best friends' son, and being in the great outdoors, was slipping out into the night to relax in a natural hot spring with our good friends Jess and Tim. It was located in the middle of a big field. Around us was a bowl of darkness, lined with a mountainous rim. Above us, a million stars twinkled and sang and dazzled us by shooting here and there. We sat in silence and soaked up the beauty and wonder. *sigh, smile* After California we then headed to Arizona and spent a lovely time with my family (photos to come). My mom spoiled us! Now we're back in England, back to reality. Sorry it's taken me so long to blog. We both started work the next day, and have worked every day since. It's now Friday night and I have forfeited hanging out with some girlfriends just so I can write to you! I actually wasn't dreading coming back. I was even looking forward to it, which suprised me, considering the difficult time I've had here. This time, I had something to look forward to. The church plant has officially started, and so has my new job! The church plant has brought renewed purpose for being here, as well as a load of much needed and wanted friends. The job has brought fulfillment and worth, and I actually am really enjoying it, and it pays well! My official job now is: Secondary Recruiting Consultant/Business Development Executive/Office Manager. Basically, I work for the substitute teaching agency I was teaching for. I now interview and hire teachers to work for us, as well as liase between our teachers and all of the secondary schools in the area, as well as provide training and development for our teachers, as well as support schools in any worthwhile projects they are undertaking, and as well as wine and dine our clients and teachers. The 'managing the office' part will come in due time (a lot of changes within the office just occured). So, there you have it. Scratch off all of those other jobs I told you about. None of them really worked out. This has come at a good time, as there are now issues with Mark's job. He hasn't been seeing enough patients as his boss would like him to, and his boss told him nicely (honestly) that his patient numbers have to increase or Mark is basically out of a job! Mark has three months to improve, so we would really appreciate your prayers in this area. Mark is an excellent chiropractor, he is just struggling with the management side of things (as he wasn't really taught how to properly manage his patients). His boss is now taking the time to go over manangement issues with Mark, and we hope that that solves the problem.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Life is an interesting series of ebbs and flows. A week ago we buried my grandfather. A slightly strange and somewhat surreal journey back to where I grew up. On the one hand I wanted to spend as much time with family as possible, on the other I wanted to show Rachel every detail about where I grew up and what I did and with who. I was weird to run into people that hadn't see me in 15 years, or not consistantly at least. I tried to think about what I was like at that time and what they would remember me for. These people were still intimately connected to my family but I had no connection to them.
It was great to finally see my beautiful little niece, a million pictures can be viewed on other links to this blog. It was good to be with family and I was surprised at the little pang of homesickness that I felt for Canada. I guess most of the time I just stuff it down inside since there is nothing that I can do about it. I'm pretty sure that we will end up in either Canada or America at some point in the future but I'm not exactly sure when. It will take a bit of financial security and the right open door for it to happen.
Last night we went to our favourite restaurant with Keith and Anna, and Jon and Abby. We were able to have some great discussions and I realized that I need to pick Keith's brain more on theology. He has some great things going on in his mind. More later on, we are really looking forward to our vacation in Cali/Arizona this week.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Last night we went with three other couples and Guy's wife Louise to see a movie. The movie wasn't good, but the chemistry with all of the people, christians and non-christians, was great! Last night was the first night in a long while I felt like I was surrounded by a decent sized group of people that both Mark and I really get along with. Two of the couples are here for the church plant, one is coming over tomorrow night for dinner (I've been impressing a lot of people with my cooking lately). Another couple who we just really like, non-christians, is having us over for a BBQ and Settlers on Friday (and we've let them borrow Carcasonne so they can teach themselves and play that with us soon!). And we're continually thankful for how well we get along with Guy and Louise... Louise in particular, for me, is a joy to have around. I love her personality. Thank you for your prayers for friendships for us.
Chris, our thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you for caring for Grandpa so well.
Monday, August 07, 2006
I was encouraged on the identity side of things. My job slinging espresso and nervously awaiting substitute/supply teaching calls in the morning does not define who I am. I am an instrument of the most high God! I was also somewhat discouraged though... I've known all along the importance of Christian community. I've longed for it especially since I've been to England... so has Mark. The pastor confirmed our need to be around other Christians like ourselves, yet we ask, "Where are they?" We continue to hope and pray we will connect with people in the church plant. In the end however, this world is not our nest, it is not our home. Our home is in heaven and there reside our soul-mates who have gone before us. We will one day be with our true family. That's something to be excited about! It's a reason for me to hold my head up.
I really love working with my hands. If I had been a cabinet maker I would have been fine with that too. I'm planning on one day building a dinning room set for us. My old pastor Greg built one with a skil saw, a jigsaw and a drill. It was really impressive. I like his idea and I've already got the picture in my head of how I'd like it to look. I built the bed that Rach and I have now, I'm sure I could do a table. Like all things, it would require a few tools that I don't have but I'm sure that I could arrange it. I'm going to wait until we are back in North America so that we don't have to try and ship it when we eventually move back.
I've been dreaming of the Okanagan again recently. I'm sure that I have rose-tinted memories of the place due to the fact that I worked there at camp for so long. Recently I saw a picture on a blog of my sisters friend andrew of his dock that goes out onto Lake Okanagan and it made me jealous but content to know that I had my time there too and someday I may return.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
These are photos from our lovely first-year anniversary trip to Brugge, Belgium! We ate Belgium waffles for breakfast, took a canal boat ride, walked around the city centre for a bit, and then went on a 4-hour countryside bike tour. The bike tour was the highlight of our time in Belgium... the weather was gorgeous as we biked along canals, in tall tunnels of trees, alongside picturesque little villages, and down country lanes. Enjoy!
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Apart from that, Rachel is having toe surgery (again) tonight, so I'm staying home with her. Tomorrow we at home group, Thursday we are having Kevin and Sarah around to play settlers. I won last time and Kevin wants a rematch, and Friday we are hanging out with Matt and Nadine who have just moved to the area to be part of the church plant. I think that we are going to get along with them pretty well.
Monday, July 31, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
This is pretty cool. Concentrate on the 4 small dots inthe middle of the picture for about 30 secsThen look at a plain wall and start blinking.Who do you see?
I'm really fascinated by optical illusions. There must be so much more that we don't know about how the mind works.
So we read and we watched all the specially selected news and we learned so much more 'bout the good guys. Won't you stand by the flag? Was the question unasked. Won't you join in and fight with the allies? What could we say...we're only 25 years old? With 25 sweet summers, and hot fires in the cold. This kind of life makes that violence unthinkable, we'd like to play hockey, have kids and grow old.
Fighters for Texaco, fighters for power, fighters for longer turns in the shower. Don't tell me I can't fight 'cause I'll punch out your lights and history seems to agree that I would fight you for me that us would fight them for we."
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Now that I have your attention, I might as well have your help. As mentioned below, I don't have a clue with all things computer related. I would like some help with the following: Change and update my profile page, change my background, learn how to post other things (like some people I know have cool background music when you log in to their blogs) And yes, both of you can link me to your blogs. If you tell me how, I'll do the same for yours.
Anyway, here's the update for the week. Last night we had people over for dinner. Rach met this guy at the library who is from Minniapolis and he and his partner are both living and working in Beverley for the next 3 months. We had them and Ed and Lesley over. Ed is a british boat pilot, and his wife Lesley is from California. So, we had a big ol' America fest in our backyard last night. We made great food. Starters was garlic bread but try this next time. Crush garlic, add butter and add pesto. Add in liberal amounts to fresh french bread and grill. Mmmmm. Then we had a split pea and sausage soup that Rach made up with Raspberry Mojitos that we invented. Try it next time you go out. Have them make you a Mojito and ask them to add some raspberry puree. Mmmmm. Then for dessert we were going to have Pavlova but it got too late so we had coffee with Timtams. If you've never had a timtam, you've obviously never known any real australians. They are a chocolate covered biscuit that you bit opposite corners off and use as a straw to suck coffee up into it and then shove the whole thing in your mouth as it melts. Hmm. I'm obviously going to have to take some pictures and post a sequence of how to do this.
Anyway, we had good food, new friends and a good time was had by all.
Monday, July 17, 2006
It got me thinking as to what else is the black stuff in my life spiritually. What little things do I not even notice that I let into my system that affect my health? The only time I notice is when I pray and I blow a load of gunk out. It's funny how I'm perfectly willing to walk around with my spiritual nose full of junk, affecting my ability to 'smell' but I can't stand to have my real nose dirty. I guess the answer, as always, is to spend more time in prayer.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
It seems that when guys get together the way that they determine a pecking order is through the demonstration of knowledge of a particular mutual interest. Musicians do it, sports nuts do it, poets, doctors and even guys that just sit and watch tv do it. I just can't get excited about computers. Obviously I'm using one right now, I get the irony, but if walk into a group and they are talking processor speed or which phone is the best I just tend to nod my head and look for someother people to talk to.
There's nothing worse than being stuck in a conversation with someone who wants to prove their worth to you by displaying their vast knowledge of a subject that you are completely uninterested in. I catch myself doing it sometimes. The other person answers you with an "uh,huh" or just nods. The more excited you get about finding someone who finally agrees with you about why Macs rule, or why the canucks can't get their defence together or how Josephine's Aramaic text is flawed but still superior, the less the other person engages and they get that eyes-glazed-over-i-wonder-if-I-can-pull-the-fire-alarm-and-get-away-with-it-look.
We have a friend who whenever he talks to Rach and I at church launches into some really exclusive obscure rant that leaves Rachel completely out of the conversation. At first, I didn't even recognize it but now I recognize that this guy doesn't know how to talk to women so he talks at me in an attempt to open a conversation. The only way I've found to include Rachel is to interrupt and explain what he's trying to say and have him explain to her what he's trying to tell me. More and more, this guy will actually try and start a conversation with Rachel if I'm not around and she has been patient enough to try and listen to his techno-ramble. What a wife.
Anyway, I guess the whole point of this babble is that be aware of your audience. Don't mistake shared mutual interest as friendship and don't be afraid to be the one in a group where you might know the least. You may actually learn something.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Hmm, maybe the reason so many people blog is that it seems to be theraputic. I've never got on with journalling. It always seemed like something that really spiritual christians did, but I just couldn't get into it. Maybe something about the fact that other people might actually read it and sympathize with you has something to do with it.
Apart from that, Rach and I went to a wedding this weekend which was fun. English weddings are different from American weddings and apparently this was an atypical english wedding but it was still fun and both sets of parents were really happy. The bride and groom looked suitably both happy and nervous which I think makes for a beautiful day.
On a sad note, France lost the world cup yesterday. One of my alltime football heros (don't call it soccer) Zinedine Zidane ( how's that for a cool french name) played his last game and ended it with disgrace. About 10 min before the end of extra time he got into an arguement with an italian player and ended up headbutting him in the chest. This is the first time I've ever seen anyone do this and it knocked the other player clean off his feet like he'd been hit with Rocky's uppercut. It wouldn't look out of place on a Don Cherry's Rock 'em Sock 'em Hockey Highlights reel. Now instead of being remembered as one of the greatest players of all time it will be as the guy who headbutted a player in the world cup final. Could you imagine if Gretzky hacked down a player in the stanley cup final, or Michal Schumacher drove someone into the wall on the last race of the season? I'm really disappointed.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
My 'now' is life here in Hull, UK. I'm not really that keen to stay here for too long. I think that I'm just sick of england in general. Sure, it has the history, and sometime it has the culture and that dry English wit, and it's close to mainland Europe, and so on. But life is basically the sum of your experiences and I want my experience to include more adventure, more travel and less rain.
Hull is not the worst place to live. In general, the people are friendly, the air is pretty clean but it's far from spectacular. Most of the city looks depressed. It just looks like things were built without any consideration for what they would look like in 30 years. It is very flat. Holland is hillier than Hull. The water of the Humber river is always brown (it is a tidal estuary) In short, I would like to live somewhere that is pretty again. I've lived in Canada (amazing), Germany (pretty, and very efficient), Nigeria (not an experience to be repeated) and now England (like your grandma's house, nice to visit but you wouldn't want to live here)
Well that's enough rambling for now. I'll be linking some other cool blogs with this site. Hope you can stick around for the journey for awhile