Z Is For Zebra

Z is for Zebra

I could have painted some black stripes on my car to make it look like a Zebra, but actually, this post is not about Zebras at all.

Truth be told I couldn't think of anything better and it seemed like a good way to say a bit about my upcoming adventure with my oldest son...

Joel turned 18 in March and as part of the celebrations of this event, we (he & I) will be going off on a three week off-road wild camping trip right around South Africa.

Y is for YouTube

Really, this should be W is for worship, but I only thought of that after the event, so here we are with Y for YouTube.

At The Gathering we're not blessed with any musicians that can lead us in our worship, so we use worship videos downloaded from YouTube, and then we sing along to them on Sundays and any other event where we would like a time of worship.

X is for eXercise

In early January 2019 I made a life changing decision to get fit and healthy and had no idea just how timely and beneficial that decision would turn out to be. In fact, without meaning to be melodramatic, I'd go so far as to say that decision saved my life.

I had stopped all forms of exercise several years earlier, I used to cycle a lot and do a few other bits, but for a number of lame excuses gave it all up and became a couch potato piling on the weight. Because I'm quite tall I appeared to carry the weight well and no one ever said anything about my expanding beer gut.

W is for Washing Machine

Why do washing machines do this?

I guess I should be happy because at least there's one sock that's not gone missing, but seriously, with all the tech that is packed in to the humble washing machine these days, why does this nonsense still happen?

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This post is part of a series in the Blogging From A To Z Challenge, April 2021.


V Is For Vinyl

V is for Vinyl

I love vinyl!

I think my main reason for loving it so much is the fact that playing a record is an occasion in itself. In our digital world it's too easy to pop some music on as background noise and then skip through songs without really giving it a second thought.

U if for Upside Down

Before I started this year's A to Z Challenge, I did say my theme would be random, so just in case things haven't been random enough so far...

Several nights ago I woke up just after 5am needing to wee, but for a moment or two as I lay on the bed I was a little disoriented because as it turned out, I was upside down on the bed. Apparently I had been that way since at least 1am when Paula got up to wee (oh the joys of being in our 50s!).

I have absolutely no idea how I ended up in that position on the bed or why, but it got me thinking about being upside down.

T is for Thankful Thursdays

I know it's Friday today, but sadly April hasn't been too cooperative with its alignment of days and letters.

Ever since we planted The Gathering we have encouraged the church to join in with our Thankful Thursdays in which we focus on giving thanks for all that God has done and is doing in our lives.

S Is For Spine

S is for Spine

Knowledge is power goes the adage, and the whole point of having an MRI was to gain the knowledge needed to make informed choices for treatment and prayer.

Today we know definitively what is wrong with my back, and now we can make informed decisions about where to go from here.

Firstly though, the good news is that I have no cancers or other unwanted tumors etc lurking in my abdomen, my spine is in good condition with good bone density and good alignment all around. All my internal organs appear sound with nothing untoward going on with any of them, so I'm very happy with that news!

R is for Resources

Or rather the lack of them. 

Jesus told his disciples in Luke 10:2 that: "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few".

Q is for Question

I have a question...

What if all this bluster about the European Super League is actually just another of the big clubs smoke screens to get every one wound up so that when they announce it isn't happening we all pretend to like them and don't mind when they demand a bigger slice of the Prem's riches in return for binning the idea?

P is for Philip

Anyone who knows me well will probably be a bit surprised by this post given how anti-royal I am. 

I'm not going to rant about my feelings on the matter here (there's a time and a place for that and this isn't it), but rather doff my cap to someone I actually have a bit of respect for in one aspect of his life; his marriage. 

Philip married Elizabeth in 1947 and would remain married for 74 years which is an amazing achievement for anyone. On Elizabeth's accession to the throne in 1952 Philip renounced all of his own Royal titles and patronage in order to be subservient to the one true love of his life; his wife. Philip was a man with a stronger royal lineage than the woman he married but he was a man who chose to give up his name for hers and follow two steps behind her for the remainder of his years. 

O is for Outreach

The gathering has been running a Homework club for a few years now and it was an effective programme in terms of assisting local kids with their mathematics and seeing their grades rising across all subjects. Most teachers and educationalists will readily admit that when a pupil is confident in Maths it generally reflects on the rest of their schooling, so it has been great to be helping some of the local kids. It was also an effective piece of outreach in that it allowed us regular contact with their families and we loved serving the community in this way.

N is for Numpty

Paula & I were away for a few nights sans enfants (they're big enough and ugly enough to fend for themselves!) and were really enjoying the long overdue break when we got a rather desperate call from son #1.

M is for Marshmallows

I was hoping that M might coincide with Monday, because these little marshmallow chicks seem to capture the essence of a Monday quite nicely and I would have had two Ms for the price of one, but never mind, they'll suffice on their own for today's M post.

I first saw this pic on FB where a friend had posted it, and it genuinely made me chuckle, so I hope you enjoy it too and I hope it brightens your day a little.

L is for Lie Back And Think Of England

L should actually be for MRI but tomorrow's M is already taken and this seemed to fit quite well, despite the coarse nature of the original meaning of the expression, so apologies for that.

On Monday I went for a Lumbar MRI and after all the prep for it I had a panic attack and had to be pulled out quite quickly.

I was quite cross with myself for my reaction, especially once I had calmed down about an hour later and thought rationally about it. I realised that my head would be going no further in the tube than it had been at the beginning, so there wasn't anything to get excited about, I just needed to calm down and lie back and think of England.

K is for Kilograms

Actually, that would be 6000 of them as The Gathering took delivery of six pallets of the peanut pastes we've been busy giving out lately.

Once again it was a total blessing to be able to receive such a huge food delivery and it's an even greater blessing knowing that we have already allocated all 432 boxes and they will be gone by Friday afternoon. 

J Is For Jesus

J is for Jesus

Well it be rude not to given that we've just celebrated Easter and I am a pastor.

So Easter has just been and gone and I had the joy of speaking to our church on Easter Sunday about the evidence for the resurrection and picked it up again this Sunday just gone, but looking more at the evidence that Jesus was physically/clinically dead, which really underpins the resurrection. After all, if he wasn't really dead then the resurrection didn't really happen. Only he was dead and it did happen and the evidence is overwhelming.

I is for Indecision though arguably it should be for Déjà vu.

I couldn't come up with anything for I so I'll go away and hope that J might come along to rescue me.

I is also for I'm a few days behind and trying to catch up. LOL!

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This post is part of a series in the Blogging From A To Z Challenge, April 2021.

H is for However...

After yesterday's post, today I had a rare day in that I took the entire day for myself and simply hid away. I ignored my phone, stayed off social media for most of the day and went for a long walk on the beach before finally re-emerging and joining my lovely wife for a drink in a local wine bar followed by a curry.

So occasionally I might feel like giving up, however, I carry on because such moments are rare and times like this evening are what make life worth living.

G is for Give Up

Actually that's wrong, G is for Don't Give Up.

This is not a pity post or one of those FB posts seeking attention, rather it's just an honest expression of the fact that occasionally, despite the encouragements and amazing things we experience in our ministry, there are times when I feel like giving up.

Thankfully I haven't so far, and I don't intend to because I love what I do, but also, I'm only human at the end of the day

F Is For Farts

We get some real crackpots associating themselves with the church here in South Africa and the competition to see who can push the limits the furthest appears quite intense at times.

One recent crackpot was labelled the "Prophet of Doom" because he sprayed his congregants with Doom (a local fly spray) in the belief it would heal them. He was later found guilty of assault. Enough said!

But now we have a clear winner in Pastor Christ Penelope who according to a local news article "farts on people to heal them".

E is for Encouragement

Life can be tough at times and quite often it's hard to see what impact we might be having on the world.

So today it was such an encouragement and a blessing to be approached by a well respected member of the community where our church meets and be thanked for all we do for the community. I particularly loved it when he said "I know you're not full on Sundays, but what you do during the week is really appreciated".

I've always believed that church is about what we do from Monday to Saturday so it was great to hear it's working in practice.

D Is For Dams

D is for Dams

Ever since the first drought we experienced here in the Cape back in 2004 I've kept a regular eye on the levels of Cape Town's dams. I like to note how much the levels have gone up or down and get a feel for what might be happening with the next round of water restrictions. Our latest drought began back in 2016 with a normally dry summer followed by a very dry winter, a pattern which repeated itself right up until winter 2020 when the local dams finally hit an average level of 100%.

C is for Cartoons

A friend posted this one on FB the other day and it made me chuckle and reminded me just how much I love cartoons.

I love them in all their forms, from static one off jokes like this one, to Tom & Jerry whacking each other, each cartoon has so much to offer and I just love them.

If I had to nail down my favourites then Matt from the Daily Telegraph and Larson's The Far Side win along with almost anything by Warner Bros (but especially Pepé Le Pew) and Disney's full length cartoons, especially Treasure Planet, a completely underrated gem of a classic.

B Is For Boxing

B is for Boxing

Tomorrow evening I have my second white collar boxing match in a rematch with my good friend Conrad.

Last time out we were the first fight on the bill, I don't think anyone took the two old guys too seriously, however we were declared the 'fight of the night' and so this time we're the last fight before the headline fight which is a charity match.

Just over two years ago when I decided to take up boxing I would never have thought I would actually step in a ring, but I have to say that it is a lot of fun and the sparring before hand leading up to it is brilliant.

I also can't think of a better way to get fit.

My first post of the 2021 A to Z Challenge is a bit of a cheaty one. I didn't want to do A is for AtoZ, so rather I've chosen to use *absolution* in that I absolve you of any guilt should you not wish to read the 26 posts that will be coming this month.