Tuesday, 31 January 2012

There is something amazing about BIG groups of people all getting together for the same cause, all saying the same thing.
Yesterday in church we were so privileged to have Israel Houghton as a guest. He's a world famous worship leader who really knows how to get his groove on whilst pointing to how good God is. The Dominion was packed at the 3 o'clock service! Standing amongst all these people lifting their hands and singing "Jesus, be the centre of my life" for all they're worth was a pretty cool experience. Imagine all those people really meaning those words and allowing Jesus to be the centre and boss of their everyday lives. It's an army of world changers!

I love the great teaching and worship at Hillsong but what's impressed me the most are the people and their way of welcoming others into their fellowship. Each Sunday I leave with some new contacts on my phone. Yesterday I went to church with Kristina, my really cool Norwegian friend who I first met last Sunday. She introduced me to two of her friends Lucie and Dori who immediately made me feel welcome and a part of their group. Relationships are such an important part of church! Its all about people in everything we do. Being new once in a while can be good. It reminds you of what its like being a visitor and how much you appreciate people seeing you and stopping to talk.

Today's been a good take-it-easy day. I've been working, reading, writing, drinking coffee, thinking (not too much mind you) and enjoying the company of the people around me.

Todays tips:
Book: The screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, Lioness Awakening by Lisa Bevere
Music: Bon Iver, Mumm-Ra's "She's got you high"
Film: 500 days of Summer, Shadowlands 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

this week's highlights

Tonight I'm babysitting which basically means waiting up and listening out for any noises from the kids. Hopefully it'll be a quiet night and all will sleep well.

Alot has happened this week and I thought I'd let you in on some of the highlights;

Wednesday was my first connect group night. I ended up taking the wrong bus and walking all the way through Putney which took about 45 minutes but it was well worth it when I got there. There were eight of us meeting at an Italian guy's place and he cooked us all a delicious pasta with mushrooms that could have been straight out of an Italian restaurant. We introduced ourselves coming to the conclusion that all eight of us have moved to London from different countries and that all five of us girls are working as au-pairs or nannies. So we have alot of kids' stuff to talk about! All of us are living away from our families so being able to share openly and support each other is something I'm sure we will all really appreciate. It was a good night and I feel blessed to have such great company and food to look forward to each Wednesday.

Thursday I had most of the day off and was able to open an account at the bank and meet up with some lovely friends. Kristina, my new friend from Norway, took me out to a Scandinavian café for "fika" and then to Foyle's, probably the largest book shop I've seen. It has 5 floors with books on just about everything. Both of us love reading and writing and so were quite consumed with looking through the shelves, judging each book by its cover (how else is one supposed to judge a book?). So much knowledge under one roof!

Friday night was a fun but rather odd night out. After work I hurried off to the other side of the city for Hillsong's young adults party at a club called "Cable". A group of us were meeting up at London Bridge station but ended up spending about an hour trying to find each other. So many exits and so many people! Finally we got there and had a good time of dancing and meeting new people at one of London's most popular clubs. Who says Christians don't know how to party?!
By the time the party was over the tube station had closed. Why oh why?! A group of us decided to see London Bridge by night and then being hungry (after all that dancing) set off to find Burger King and a way to get home. London suddenly seems so big when you have no idea how to get from one side to the other and walking isn't really an option. Thankfully there were several of us all heading in the same direction so we eventually worked out which night buses to take and got out from the freezing cold. On the bus some really drunk guys were having a blast falling over each other and trying to get the whole bus to sing along with them. Nobody did but it was an experience I won't forget in a long time.

Today I woke up feeling pretty tired but I wasn't going to stay in on my day off. No! I was going exploring with Laura and Jessie from my connect. We started off with a much needed coffee each before venturing out into the unknown world of Brick Lane's vintage markets and food stalls.    
So many things from different times and places! 

This week has been full of great experinces and people but I think the highlight that warmed the most was when the two year old I'm living with sweetly told me she loved me. That makes it all worth it! 

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

a typical Tuesday

Today is Tuesday, I think... this week is going fast and its not always easy to keep up with the days.
Its been a good day, a pretty ordinary, calm but good day. I made a yummy sallad with sweet potato and goat's cheese, betrayed my Starbuck's latte for a cappuccino at Café Nero and sprinted to kids' club to retrieve the beloved baby born doll that had been forgotten and couldn't possibly be left alone for the night.

I'm learning a lot of new, useful things at this job. Like how to potty train a two year old,  make baby food and negotiate with a five year old who loves his computer games. Its a great experience but takes a lot of patience and a washing machine that never breaks down. I truly admire Mums! When my hours are up I can take a break and leave the house but Mums have to be around pretty much the whole time and deal with the one o'clock morning wakeups. Working with kids and living with a family is often rewarding and has many funny moments to laugh about. Like this afternoon when the two year old sat on the potty for ten minutes talking excitedly about a very cute looking 11 year old boy who is her major crush right now. I had no idea it started so early in life!

As happens when living together with people, we have had some misunderstandings between us but have talked through them and worked it all out. Communicating isn't always easy but I've realised how important it is to say what you mean and mean what you say, but also to listen. Every person is unique and sees things from a slightly different point of view than I do. Its so easy to think we know what someone is saying and be so preoccuppied with voicing our own thoughts that we don't really hear what they meaning to say. In the end we are all human with our faults and feelings, hopes and fears and we need each other.

Sunday at Hillsong was great! Brian Houston, the senoir pastor from Hillsong Sydney, was visiting and gave a great message about dreaming big and not settling for a life that is lacking. I was in the connections team for the first time, welcoming people who most of them have been in the church a lot longer than I have. It was a great way for me to meet people and why wait to be a part of all thats going on?
After church I was introduced to a Norwegian girl studying in London and she brought me along with her group of friends to an Italian restaurant for dinner. I love how easy it can be to get to know lovely people and feel welcome!

On friday Hillsong's young adults are having a party at London's best voted club, Cable. That is going to be a lot of fun I'm sure! Things are happening and I'm enjoying my life here. Change can be pretty scary but how else are we going to keep learning, growing and moving forward?

Before I go to bed I'de like to say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Dad who is turning 50 today and officially reaching the age when he can enjoy life and use his age to get out boring obligations. He's a great man who has taught me so much and been a great role model. Lots of LOVE to him today!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Being happy

I recently saw a book that was all about how its the small things in life that make us humans happy. This could mean reading a great book, buying yourself flowers, enjoy a latte with extra froth, having a lie in or getting your nails done (these are all pretty girly examples but I'm not exactly sure what guys enjoy doing). I've found that to be true for me. Spending some time just taking care of myself for a bit can make me feel totally recharged and ready to get on with whatever I need to do. I'm also usually alot happier and easier to be around so its not totally selfish.

Take today for example, its been a pretty tiring week and I wasn't my happiest self yesterday, but this morning I went out in my break, walked round the corner and (very surprisingly) went into Starbucks to buy myself a latte. I sat there with my diary and a good book and just enjoyed the peace of not having to do anything. After my break I was back to work but with a smile on my face and new energy, probably partly because of the caffeine but also because I had taken care of myself. I thouroughly enjoyed the rest of that day.

Another thing that makes all the difference is people. It really ends up being all about people and relationships whatever it is we are doing. Having great people around me who are encouraging and friendly really gives me energy but being alone for too long just makes me feel as if I'm going mad (thats when I start talking to things around me).
On Wednesday evening I went to Hillsong's young adults big connect night where all the different connect groups met up at a bar for some serious mingling. It was a great place to meet new people! I love the fact that this was part of church, lots of people having fun and getting to know each other in a bar in the middle of London. I traveled back with a great American girl who is also taking care of kids in London and we had a nice chat.

Like I said its the little things in life that make all the difference. My tip to you for the weekend is to write a list of little things you really appreciate and enjoy doing that make you happy. Then whenever you need (or simply just want) some taking care of you have plenty of easy suggestions. If you get a bit stuck here are some that might just work for you:
  • Leaving ten minutes earlier so you don't have to rush
  • Smiling at a stranger and getting a smile back
  • Eatin a peanut butter and jam sandwich
  • Listening to great music and not doing anything but listening
  • Eating your favorite food
  • Buying yourself a little present (don't spend too much money coz that can have the opposite effect)
  • Not doing anything in particular for a while
  • Watching a film that makes you laugh
  • Wearing your favorite clothes and looking good (or just thinking you look good)
  • Hanging out with a close friend or my lovely little sis

Sunday, 15 January 2012

More about trafficking
  • Today there are more than 30 million slaves in the world
  • Thats more than at any other point in human history
  • Half of the slaves are children
  • The selling of human beings has become the 2nd largest crime (after drugs and weapons)

30 million people is a huge ammount and its easy to get discouraged and not do anything. But it all comes down to ONE person. Each and every person matters and we can all do something to help.
I love what the "not for sale campaign" says on their page about using your gifts and passions to make a difference. Keep doing what you love but if trafficking is something that makes you angry tell people about it through whatever it is you are good at and enjoy doing.

The A21 Campaign lists 21 ways to help make a difference on their website. Here are some of them;
  • Write a letter of encouragement to some of the survivors (more info on thea21campaign.org)
  • Donate money through a one time gift or as a regular giver
  • Get social and spread the world on twitter, facebook, youtube or just by talking
  • Get smart and learn more about it through the web, books, films (more info on thea21campaign.org).
  • Pray about it
Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

the world around me

I thought you all might like to see some pictures of where I live and some of the things I've seen...
So, this is my road. Apparently its one of London's prettiest to live on, that is if you like pretty white houses.
Taking a walk down New King's road...

Putney Bridge

  • I've just discovered Ben Rector's nice sounding music
  • I'm reading a great book called "Lioness Arising" by Lisa Bevere
  • I now have a tv in my room for the first time in my life!
Today is Saturday and I have thoroughly enjoyed having a day off in London!
Last night I went out with my new friend Lo, who I met in Cirencester, and she took me to a great bar in Putney. Arriving there she was greeted by all the guys in the bar and I figured she had been there quite a few times before. A while later her Mexican friend joined us and the three of us had a blast, trying to hear each other over the loud music and watching how all the drinks were made. When the bartender started pounding tuna and mixing that in with a drink we were very surprised and tried to work out what that would taste like. We asked him about that and he looked quite puzzled. Then he brought out a bowl of brown sugar and we felt pretty silly but in our defence brown sugar really does look quite alot like tuna in the right lighting. We had a good laugh about it!

Today I decided to explore North End Road to do some serious shopping. Yesterday I had some time off to look around King's Road where all the celebrities do their shopping. It was on a totally different price range to the shops I like to spend money in so I ended up just buying food (as usual) and looking in the windows. North End Road was quite different! Charity shops, lots of people from all over the world bustling about, Morroccan restaurants, the smell of fresh fish, cars beeping their horns, lots of shops selling cheap rubbish and a fruit and veg market. It was like heaven!

I was in and out of the charity shops, buying bits and bobs that I wanted for my room (I found a lovely rubbish bin) all for great prices!
Then I saw the fruit market and got really excited. A big bowl of bananas for 1 pound! and strawberries, mangos, nectarines and pomegranites! Ok, maybe not all of you can understand my excitement but I was HAPPY. Bought a lot and had to carry it all back but it was so worth it.

Friday, 13 January 2012

thoughts from Starbucks

Today has been a bit different, a nice break from the normal routine. I spent my morning break at Starbucks with my latte and my diary. This has become my new favorite thing to do. I used to think it a bit strange going out for a coffee by myself but it is surprisingly nice. After lunch I did a big heap of ironing (I am so going to become London's best ironer!) then had the evening off to go out to dinner with a great girl. Remember the girl I met at the airport who spilled coke over her? Well this was the friend she was visiting in London. Anyway, back to Starbucks. I wrote down some thoughts that I'de like to share with you all:

God, you want us to leave the judging of people up to you, but what when we are faced with great INJUSTICE? What should we as your people, your church, do?
We are ment to LOVE like you LOVE.
You gave your LIFE for us, to buy us out of slavery. You paid the price for us to have FREEDOM, hope, life, peace and you ask us to do the same. That isn't about judging but loving, in ACTION.
How can we offer people freedom and life AFTER death but not do anything to bring about FREEDOM in THIS life? Why should people believe us if we don't SHOW them here and now?
YOU spent your time with those looked down on by others. You ate with them, spoke to them, partied with them and shared your life with them.
You also tell us to bless those that curse us but when do we bless and when do we scream "ENOUGH!"? Cunning as snakes, gentle as lambs...
You can get extra skim milk with your latte here, shoot I missed that!
We need to MIRROR you.
You're the head, we are your hands, feet, arms, smiles, in the world... but not of it.
I'm not that smart just trying to get my head around all this...
Its all about REACHING out to the least of these.
Doing what we CAN do.
Expecting YOU to do the IMPOSSIBLE.
Living with you on the INSIDE.
Its ALL about PEOPLE.
What about the people involve in the actual selling of others? You freedom is for them too...

Maybe these aren't the usual thoughts buzzing around Starbucks a Thursday morning but I think I kind of got somewhere, at least in my own mind. Maybe I just got more confused....

This evening I took the tube to Covent Garden to meet up with this girl and decided to take the stairs up instead of the lift. It wasn't until I was halfway up the stairs and getting really tired that the speakers announced there are 196 steps to get out of the tube station. I will NOT be taking those stairs again!
She took me to a great Italian restaurant in SOHO where we ate some lovely, big sallads and talked. I'm still full up now, but it was a really nice evening and I look forward to meeting her at Hillsong on Sunday.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Today, the A21 campaign against trafficking starts something they call BECAUSE. Its an effort to bring awareness to what is happening in the world today when it comes to trafficking and lasts until january 21. I can't do much right now to prevent trafficking but everyone can do something. I've decided to spend these days reading about trafficking and blogging about it (in my spare time of course).

So what is the big thing about trafficking?
Well, the selling of people as slaves is today the second largest global organized crime, bringing in about 31.6 billion USD each year. There are 1.39 million victims of sextrafficking in the world, 25% of them taken from Southern and Eastern Europe. Sadly, only 1-2% of the victimes of trafficking are rescued and only 1 in 100,000 of the Europeans who are involved in trafficking are convicted.

A big reason that so many of the victims come from countries like Greece, Albania and Ukraine is because of the poverty and unemployment there. The women are promised well payed jobs abroad and not seeing any better option take them, then are often smuggled out of their home countries and sold. Many women end up working in bars and being forced to have sex with 10-40 men a day. Trafficking is not something that just happens in some countries though, every country in the world is affected by it in some way or other today. Many slaves are brought to London, the same city in which I live my everyday life. It is happening so close to me yet I don't see it.

My lunch break is just about over but I'll be back with more facts tomorrow. Check out http://www.thea21campaign.org/!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Happy New Year everyone!
Its been a while but life is busy around the holidays. I spent Christmas day at my Aunt's in England with a lovely Brittish Christmas dinner and lots of crackers and party poppers to pull. It was great hanging out with family, seeing my Grandparents again and not having to do anything for my stay. Early Boxing day morning I took a coach to the airport and flew back to Sweden for a few days of great company, Mum's cooking and chilling out. I have some really great friends and a super sis whom I really enjoyed spending some time with.

At Copenhagen's airport on New Years eve I sat down to have a banana (of course) and watched a young woman opening a bottle of coke that started spraying everywhere. Having decided I want to be more social to the people I meet, I offered her a tissue and we started talking. Turns out she was on the same flight as me so we sat together and had a great conversation. She was on her way to meet a friend living in London who goes to Hillsong Church like I do and she had some really cool stories about what God has done in her life, healing her from serious back problems. It was so encouraging to hear and now I have another contact in Hillsong Church. God is so cool the way he coordinates little things like that with a bottle of coke and a tissue!

New years eve was spent with my Aunt, Uncle and cousin Claire watching "Amazing Grace" (a really great film) and taking it easy. My Aunt knocked up another great dinner for New Year's day which we enjoyed with more relatives. Later, back in London, I went to a great worship evening at Hillsong. Don't know many people there yet but enjoyed focusing on God a bit and listening to encouraging words. Good times! 

This week I've been back at work and am beginning to get into the routines. Its been nice becoming better friends with the children and feeling more at home in London. For the weekend we have all gone to Cirencester to stay with the Grandparents whilst the parents are away. Its a pretty town out in the country with some pretty good shops. I will most probably seek out Starbucks tomorrow and enjoy a latte and some people watching. Cya!