Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Thoughts.

Happy Easter!

I spent the morning with my parents at a great church in London-Trinity Church. It was really contemporary, complete with a rock worship band and a coffee bar. Instead of listening to a sermon by the pastor, there was a reenactment of the moments and events after Jesus rose from the dead. And I was able to have communion for the first time in almost 2 years.

And everyone sat on mats on the floor.

Which I loved.
I found myself drawn to the music, the atmosphere, and the parishioners...who were kind and welcome. I felt relaxed and at ease.

Which is actually a big deal.
You see, after my horrific experience doing mission work teaching English in Guatemala with a "Christian" organization (more like a cult...) I haven't had the desire to go to church. I didn't want to be associated with a group of "Christians" who acted like the people I worked for. If those people called themselves Christians, I wanted nothing to do with it. They were judgmental,  Biblically legalistic (living by the law of the Old Testament), and downright hypocritical.
For example,(and this is just one of MANY) one day I was called into a three hour meeting with the organization's "Church Leader" who proceeded to tell me how immoral my tattoo was. MY BIBLE VERSE TATTOO. (It says Philippians 4:6 and I got it after a rough period in my life so it has great significance to me).

He opened the Bible and for THREE hours read me verses about tattooing ones skin and prayed for my great sin. Over and over again.
What was I supposed to do about the PERMANENT tattoo located on my wrist? COVER it of course, at all times. In scorching heat. He didn't want the kids to see it and think it was OK.

After 6 months of being emotionally broken down day after day and feeling like the worst Christian in the world, I left Guatemala early and returned to the United States. Even though I knew of Christians who were good people and even still considered myself a Christian, I was so turned off by anything associated with it after that experience. I left broken, disheartened, and empty. 
And I wanted nothing to do with the Church.

But today, three years later, I realized I miss it.

I miss going to Church, the worship music, and the atmosphere. The community.
 Today was the start of something good, I felt it.

"…just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4

Newness of life.

One step at a time.

Friday, April 6, 2012

England Adventures-Portsmouth & Bath

My dad and sister throwing rocks into the water. Dad first...

 I know I'm a few days behind but I haven't had internet! These pictures are from our time in Portsmouth and Bath.
then Mary...

Dad brought in the BEST coffee to wake us up!

Walking along in town and found this little guy.

The boats outside of Portsmouth

A GORGEOUS castle outside of Portsmouth-Portchester Castle.

Oh Harold and Linda.

The Fam outside of Portchester Castle.

The gift shop was great.

View of the church from the castle keep.


Traditional English Breakfast!

The Roman Baths. (In Bath...)

The Bath Abbey behind the Roman baths.



Some ducks enjoying a nap near the heated water.


The ride from Bath to Painswick

Country Roads (Cotswold)

The gang!

The Cotswold.

This plant is called Rapeseed. Lovely.

Monday, April 2, 2012

England Adventures-Part 3: Stonehenge & Portsmouth

 Stonehenge and Portsmouth are amazing.

Here is a little preview.

Still can't believe I was there!

Add caption

Sunday, April 1, 2012

England Adventures Day 2-LONDON

Today we woke up early and had a traditional English breakfast of baked beans, bacon, toast, and eggs. Then we hopped back on the tube heading towards the city. 

Our plan for the day was to hit the London Tower, the Tate Modern (incredible art museum built in an old factory building), the Globe Theater, and Saint John's Church.

We made it everywhere but the Globe Theater (instead opting for the Tate which was about to close) and we couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. The weather was sunny and gorgeous and we were even able to eat lunch outside facing the river. 

Day 2: Success!

Our first view of the Tower of London!

From inside the Tower, you can make out the Tower Bridge behind the trees.

Our tour guide, Rob, an official "Beefeater" for the Queen who lives at the tower with his family.

The Tower.

The original iron gate that weighs over 2,000kgs.

Harold by the White Tower, where the Royal family used to live.

The Tower Bridge.

Where the Beefeaters live on the Tower compound with their families today. Gorgeous.

Oh hey.

One of the 6 official "Tower Ravens". The Ravens have lived at the Tower since the reign of Charles II (1660-1685) and legend says that if they Ravens ever leave the Tower, the Kingdom and the Tower will collapse and return to dust. The Ravens are fed 6oz of raw meat a day plus bird biscuits soaked in BLOOD. Lovely.

Wish I could have taken pictures of the jewels but believe me-they were AMAZING.

Torture chamber! Although many people associate the London Tower with torture, only 86 people were actually tortured over hundred and hundreds of years. However damn...the rack!? Horrific.

Our new friend, a Tower Judge.

Sign me up. Looks comfortable.

The hole led straight out the second floor window to the "Dead Pit". I bet more than a few people were surprised by falling waste...not quite the same as "good luck" bird dropping on your shoulder.

Still obsessed with the pubs and hanging plants.

Hello Picasso. Definitely check out the Tate Modern Art Museum if you ever get the chance. Amazing works from Picasso, to Lichtenstein, to Warhol, and even Monet.

The view of Saint John's Church from the Tate.

The Family. <3

Saint John's Church. HUGE.
They never get old to me...
The plan for tomorrow is to head to Stonehenge and then onto Portsmouth for the night!