Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Today was the first day of the term 3 holidays. I love that I only worked for 5 weeks this term!! We're having friends around on Saturday for the Grand Final, so this weeks plan is to get some cleaning done around here so that our friends still want to be our friends once they arrive at our house on Saturday!

Halfway through the morning though I got side tracked while I was hanging out some laundry when I noticed the resurgence of some serious weeds in the lawn.

A while back I went crazy one Saturday afternoon digging up all the weeds and prickles out of the grass. I was quite proud of myself. There had been some nasty suckers that took some hard work to pull out.

I thought I was done with them that day. I didn't expect them to pop back up.

Some of them don't go down very deep, their roots are shallow and I can dig them out easily. Others have big, deep roots that require much more effort for me to get rid of.

Then there are the ones with tendrils that shoot out in every direction and turn into a big tangled mess.

Anyone got any of those?

Sometimes we have to dig deep to rid ourselves of some of the stuff in our lives that hampers our growth. Some of the stuff that we carry goes down deep, has big thick roots in our hearts and has started to shoot out tendrils into other areas of our lives.

There are things in my own life that I have allowed to take root, and not just a little. Things I have allowed to settle in for many years, sins that I didn't deal with right away, and because of that I allowed them to take root.

Then there are times too when I think that I have dealt with it all, but then it unsuspectingly makes and appearance, and I have to do a little more weeding to get rid of it again. Sometimes I have to do a lot of weeding, and dig right down to get to the roots, and it isn't always pleasant.

But you know it's not so bad once you rip those suckers out. It means that something else will be able to flourish.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Food in America

During our 7 weeks in the US of A we got to sample quite a bit of the good old American fare. Admittedly, American food gets a pretty bad rap here in Australia. Of course, there are the stereotypes (supersize anyone?!), but there are a lot of rumours that the food isn't as fresh as we have here in Australia.

I am happy to report that, yes there are A LOT of fast food chains, (which we did partake in!!) but there are also a lot of great places to eat where you can (shocker!) get some really tasty, healthy and fresh food! I thought I'd share a few.

Breakfast at Denny's

The BEST sandwich EVER: Capriotti's

Food at Yankee Stadium

Chili's Yum!

Dinner in Sedona, on a balcony with stunning scenery. Great food too!

Sweet Cece's frozen yogurt. Sooo good!

Cafe du Monde. New Orleans
Pei Wei's in Nashville

Dinner on our balcony at the Grand Canyon


Our final USA meal: In-N-Out burger

Sunday, September 11, 2011

St Paul's Chapel, New York City; Remembering September 11

The very first place we went after getting off the ferry on our first day in New York City was St Paul's Chapel.

St Paul's is actually directly across the street from where the World Trade Centre used to be. On that September day in 2001, ten years ago today, this little church remained undamaged, despite the destruction that occurred just metres away.


Though the back of this church was directly across the road from where the twin towers collapsed, it stood tall and defiant on that day, it's spire standing out in the dust, smoke and debris.  

 St Paul's chapel became a beacon of hope, a place of respite, and a space to mourn for thousands.

"God's Love was triumphant over hate"

We each have memories of that day in September 2001, where we were, what we were doing when we first saw the television footage (or for some, standing, right there, helpless to do anything) of the first tower, smoke billowing out. And then watched, horrified and disbelieving, as the second plane flew into the other tower. In that moment, realising that the world as we knew it was changed forever.

And while the western world raged, disgusted that a group of people could feel such hatred for another as to very deliberately and accurately cause so much destruction, pain and heartache, we also came together in a way the likes of which is rarely seen.

As the world grieved with New Yorkers and Americans, we also banded together in a mass outpouring of fellowship. Rescue teams from around the world converged on New York to lend a hand. People traveled from far and wide to volunteer their time and their shoulders at St Paul's Chapel. Gifts and notes of sympathy flooded into New York and into St Paul's.

I have never been anywhere more moving than that church. Grief is still palpable in that place, and more than once I had to wipe away silent tears that poured down my cheeks.

Yet that church also holds hope and a lesson that we would be well advised to heed. What was offered at St Paul's Chapel was a ministry that took every aspect of the person into consideration.

There are still scars in New York, that will perhaps never heal. Maybe they shouldn't. Maybe we need a visible reminder that when disaster strikes, that is when the true heart of God is revealed, in the small things. The sandwich given to the rescue worker, the hand on a grieving mothers shoulder as she wept at the alter, a place to sleep when rescue workers were on the verge of collapse, hope that the photo someone placed on the wall might help find the missing loved one.

The heart of God is that we love like this every day of the week. That we would pour out his love on those in need no matter how they came to be in need.

Friday, September 9, 2011

New York City Day Two

Our second day in New York City began really, really early.

We woke up at 5:30 so we could take our car to the ferry parking, and actually get a park! We couldn't take the hotel's shuttle because it wouldn't be running when we returned that night and the $7 parking fee was a lot cheaper than catching a taxi from the ferry back to the hotel!

It was totally worth the early morning for this spectacular view of the city shrouded in fog, with just the tiniest hint of light peeking through.

As we were about to dock, the skies opened up and said good morning.

We spent the morning wandering around the streets, taking in some more of the city's sights.

The Wall St Bull

The building from Friends

Washington Square Park

The Flatiron Building

The Empire State Building

And Times Square

We spent the afternoon in Central Park!

We finished the day at a Yankee's game at Yankee Stadium!! We only purchased our tickets the day before so our seats were actually one row behind the other! We were sitting near a few people who were good fun to talk with during the game, and we had a really great night.