Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Other Side!

Now that I am done with my London blogs, I just want you to know that I also visited Portugal. It was a beautiful place. Artists should go there and paint.The towns and scenery are fabulous.
But the reason I liked it the best was that I GOT TO TOUCH THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ATLANTIC OCEAN!!!

Speakers Corner- Part 3 of my London trip (What Would Jesus have Said?)

One of the most interesting moments of our entire trip to London was visiting Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park.Hubby had left me alone there while he tried to rent us some bikes (see previous post if you are curious as to how that turned out.)

While I waited for him, I wandered through the crowds of people heckling five different speakers. The first "speaker" wasn't actually speaking. She was sitting in a folding chair reading her Bible. Behind her were signs that said things like "The Messiah has already come" and "Jesus is Lord". She didn't actually have anyone around her, but she didn't really seem to care. She was letting her signs do the talking.

The second speaker was also a woman. She was actually an older woman, grey hair, bun on top of her head, almost mennonite looking. She had a tight crowd of people around her. I couldn't actually hear what she was talking about, but what ever it was, she had some very intense responses happening just inches from her face. I was feeling a bit bad for her, but she didn't seem to mind.

The third one was a man and he was loud. I arrived just in time to hear him answer the question "Does God hate homosexuals?" with a very loud "Yes!". And I, little timid Linda, responded with an astounded "No, he doesn't!" the man and I argued back and forth for a few minutes with a few comments tossed in from the crowd. I asked him to show me where it said that in the Bible and he responded with the fact that children are a blessing from the Lord. I agreed with that. And then I waited. Then he said that it takes a man and woman to make a child. I agreed with that. and then he said that proved that God hated homosexuals. hmmmm. We tossed around the phrase "love the sinner, hate the sin", but I wasn't really getting anywhere. So I moved on to the next speaker.

This is the speaker that affected me the most, but I'm not sure I can write down the conversation because it was even confusing while I was there. The man was a Messianic Jew. He was accusing everyone around him of everything that he could think of. I finally just asked him why he was doing that, and did he really think he was going to change anybody's mind by yelling.

That's when he turned on me. He told me I needed Jesus. I told him I loved Jesus with my whole heart. He told me to look at what I was wearing. ( black jeans, pink short sleeved shirt, with a white longsleeved shirt.) He stopped that vein of conversation very quickly and then and said that I think I'm better than Jewish people because Christians think that now they are God's chosen people and have taken the Jew's place. I told him that I didn't believe that. He asked if I knew of any time that the christian community tried to befriend the Jewish community. I told him just the week before, my church had a service together with a Jewish congregation in the city. He yelled back that he didn't mean for me to make them all feel good but that I needed to tell them about Jesus. I responded that you needed relationship for our words to mean anything... He just kept yelling.
I finally just shook my head and started to walk away. He kept yelling and said that not to walk away and was I afraid...
Meanwhile, my hubby had come up and started to defend me by arguing back. I appreciated that a lot but by that time, I was done with the noise and adamant attitudes...

I pulled him away and we continued our wonderful sightseeing in London.

I really did enjoy the experience but also went away with the knowledge that if someone believes something strongly enough that they will get up on a stepladder in Hyde Park, that you will not change their minds by arguing.

I also wondered how Jesus would have reacted to the whole scene. I could just see him walking from speaker to speaker, showing love and speaking truth.... What would their reactions have been to Him? Some would continue with their diatribes, but maybe some would really hear, really see... and follow Him.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tears in London (Part two)

If I told you right away where the next place was that I cried, you would think I was a nut case, so let me ease you into the story.

My mother was a wonderful woman who loved to jump in mudpuddles and play in the backyard with her kids.   She baked chocolate chip cookies for us for our afterschool snacks. She and my sister Cindy, ate ice cream for lunch on a regular basis. She was fun!  She had an unlikely hero in her life... Peter Pan. The idea of never growing up appealed to her a great deal.

It seems that there is genetic dispensation toward this attitude. I have been accused of living the same motto and it seems like my eldest daughter is also prone toward being child-like (notice, I didn't say childish. :) )

Years ago, we found out that there was a Peter Pan statue in London (through watching the movie, "Hook"!). Needless to say, with that history in our family, we were going to try to make the statue one of our stops, but first we had to find it.

We got really close on the second day. Late in the evening, we were walking through Hyde Park. We were tired and our feet hurt. We decided to head back to our hotel. As we were going, I glanced up at a sign and saw the words "Peter Pan" with the arrow pointing the opposite direction. We decided that the next day we would begin our day there at the park, rent bikes, and go find that statue.

So early (Okay, not too early.) the next morning we arrived back at Hyde Park and tried to rent a bike. This process, which should have taken about 5 minutes, took us about 45. After putting our credit card in and out of the machine about five times, getting two codes and attempting to take the bikes out of their racks, we finally were riding. We rode for about 10 minutes trying to follow signs to the Statue. We finally figured out that it was in the Kensington Gardens, the park right next to Hyde Park.

We headed that way on our bikes and then found out that you can't ride bikes in most of Kensington Gardens!  So we got Off our bikes and walk them through the park and finally (about 30 minutes later and after asking directions numerous times) found the statue. What I found out while I was there was that Barrie secretly erected the statue in the middle of the night so it appeared "as if by magic". I love that!

 A little girl was visitng the statue at the same time we were. She circled that statue, touching each little animal that was part of its base. As she did so, she told her dad who they were. I don't know if she was making it up on the spot or if she knew more of the Peter Pan story than I did, but it was so very sweet to hear.

So that's when I got teary. I thought about my mom, my sister, my daughter, and the creative genius of J M Barrie. I know that it seems like a little thing when you think about our entire trip to London, but I have to say that it was a major highlight to our trip.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Why I Cried in London: Part one (and all about my grandparents.)

First of all you need to know, I very rarely cry. So the idea of me crying three times while in London (and while having a wonderful time!) was a very strange thing.

Here's what happened. We woke up on our first morning and headed out to see the sights. We took the underground and ended up somewhere near the London Eye. (Actually, I can't remember exactly how we got there.) We turned a corner and all of a sudden, I saw Big Ben and the House of Parliment, my first real 3-d look of the London I have always wanted to see.

As I gazed across the Thames at these beautiful ancient buildings, I suddenly realized I was really, really there; a place that I have wanted to go since I was twelve years old, a place that was a special haven for my grandparents, a favorite painting spot of my Dad's, and the setting for a dozen of my favorite movies. And the tears came.

I explained in my last blog that my grandparents and my Dad took my older brother and sister to London when they were sixteen. I didn't get to go because my grandmother died when I was fifteen and the trips to England stopped for a while.

My grandparents weren't my real flesh and blood relatives. My Grandpa, Frank Rice, a brilliant man, was my Dad's shop teacher in middle school. He was tall and skinny, and from my earliest memories, carried a cane. (He had many to choose from! canes with parrot heads, canes with swords and guns built into them, dog heads, too many types to recount here!) When he sat down he would cross his right leg over his left and wrap his right foot around the back of his left leg. That always fascinated me.
He was married to a wonderful sophisticated lady named Anna who worked as a switchboard operator for the phone company when the phone company was young. There was never a hair out of place and she was always impeccably dressed.
My dad became their "yard boy" during his teen years, and they developed a great father/son relationship. My grandfather taught him all about stocks and bonds and saving money.

When my dad married and had children, Frank and Anna Rice became our grandparents, as real as any flesh and blood ones could be. They were part of every holiday growing up, and many days in between.

I have no idea when they started taking their trips to England, but I know they took many, and while they were there, they made friends. That's just the way they were, talking to people on the street, at historic sites, and in the castles, sharing their knowledge and learning more by asking questions of the people who lived the history, so to speak. They became particularly close to someone at Windsor castle, I can't remember who. (I'll have to ask my siblings- they may remember).

Every time they returned from England, they would bring us something. I had forgotten that until I was searching for souveniers in a shop one day while I was there. I saw "tea towels" with all sorts of british regalia on them and remembered that we had gotten a number of those over the years.

So, I'm telling you all of this to try to explain that when I walked around the corner and saw Big Ben, I was looking at a place that had been in dozens of family photo albums my whole life.... and I was really, really there... and I cried.


Monday, May 16, 2011

I Have Finally Been to London!

"To London to London to buy a fat pig, home again, home again, jiggity jig!"

My Older sister and brother were taken to England by my grandparents and father  when they were each sixteen years old. Sue went in 1973 and Carl, in 1975. It was becoming a great family tradition and I looked excitedly toward the year  that I would go. Unfortunately, my grandmother died the year before I turned 16 and my trip to England was postponed indefinitely.

Ten years ago for my 40th birthday, my husband handed me a styrofoam cup filled with birdseed. On the cup he wrote "feed the birds". It took me a minute, but then I realized that he was making a reference to one of my favorite movies (Mary Poppins)  and telling me that he would take me to England!

Fastforward ten years, and we finally made it! Why did it take us so long, you ask? Well, one month after my birthday, 9/11 happened. And then other things cropped up... four missions trips to Siberia and two to South Africa. A move from NC to GA and going from two salaries to one,  relegated the trip to the "Someday" file.

But "Someday" finally came! Whooee!

My husband, who is a missionary for Global Teen Challenge (more on that later)  and I were training some Teen challenge staff in Portugal (also a beautiful place, but not part of this story...) and because we were already on that side of the pond, decided to visit London at last.

I can't tell you how fabulous this trip was for me. I'll go into more specifics in my next blog, but suffice to say that we saw more in three days then most people would see in three weeks!
Big Ben
Parliment building
Westminster abby
Peter Pan statue
Kensington Gardens
Hyde Park
Speaker's Corner (I'll tlak more about that later too!)
The Underground!
Double decker buses
Madam Tussauds (sp?)
Beatles store
St. Paul's Cathedral
Tower bridge
The London Eye
The Millenium bridge
The London Bridge
The Globe Theatre

That's all I can remember without looking at my journal.... and you would have to add the fact that we got lost three or four times too! :)

A special thanks to my sweetie for making it happen!


Friday, May 13, 2011


I haven't written anything since the last day of the A to Z challenge! I did want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed writing the daily posts and reading other people's blogs, although I didn't get to read as many or as often as I would have liked.

Now to the reasons that I have been so delinquent in my musings...

During the month of March, I was asked to be interim children's director at our church. Since then, I have been VERY busy. I've enjoyed myself tremendously teaching on Sundays, making sure that the sunday school teachers  (oops, I mean Life group teachers!) and Wednesday night discipleship classes have everything they need. I was able to help to orchestrate a community Easter egg hunt, work in the after school program, assist in planning the summer daycamp,  in addition to homeschooling my children, and completing the A to Z challenge! I also had a personal challenge that I was trying to complete- reading the entire Bible in 4 months time. (Didn't quite make it. I still have to finish Romans. Ah well- four and a half months is pretty good.)

I'm not sure what the next few months have in store, but I do promise to at least try to post something every few days!

So until then, have a wonderful, exciting, fun filled, fabulous week!