Essentials on the Plane

If you’re like me and do long haul flights maybe over a couple of days and anywhere from 10 – 16 hours, it’s important to take a few essentials with you to make it comfortable.

If you would much rather watch the video of this rather than reading it, check it out HERE.

 

  1. Noise Reducing Headphones

I would suggest going all out and purchasing a pair of Bose headphones. Some people have got the cheaper ones but according to travel buddies, they are nowhere near as good as Bose. You can buy wireless ones, but for $100 less you can get the ones with a cord. I’ve done a lot of trips with mine and found the AAA batteries last longer than what I was told.

heads.jpg

  1. Neck Pillow

Don’t go and buy the cheap ones, go for the memory phone neck pillow. They last longer and you won’t regret the investment. The pillows on the planes just don’t do the trick and are never thick enough.

neck pillow

  1. Eye Mask

You can get freebies when you do long hauls on airlines such as Emirates, or you can spend a few dollars at the airport. They block out the light and help with the much needed sleep.

mask

  1. Contact Lenses

I hate wearing glasses, but it’s much more comfortable than your eyes drying out on a flight when you wear contacts. You can always put your contacts in at the airport toilets. Make sure you fill your contact lens case with lots of solution as it tends to leak on flights. Take a small bottle of solution with you on the plane, it doesn’t count towards your liquid take ons.

lens

  1. Socks

Kick your shoes off as soon as your flight takes off, it will help with keeping the swelling down. I tend to wear ballet flats on a plane and put on a pair of cheap socks for the flight. That way when I go to the dreaded toilets I just wear my socks, which I leave on the plane or put in the garbage after the flight. I find that my feet tend to get really cold on a flight so even if it’s hot outside, I wear my socks on the plane.

 

  1. Jumper

Call it a sweater, hoodie or jumper but definitely take something to keep warm on a flight. On one of our long flights from Abu Dhabi to Sydney it was so cold on the 14 hour flight that people had blankets over their heads and around them. For the life of me I don’t know why they didn’t turn up the air conditioning but it was the worst flight ever. From now on I’m even taking one of my Masai blankets as an extra precaution.

 

  1. Little Items

Hairbrush, hair tie, toothbrush, toothpaste. They all make a difference to your flight. At the airport you can buy (if you don’t get one on the flight) in the toilets a small toothbrush and toothpaste. It’s well worth the $2 investment. Most airplane toilets have hand moisturizer in them – use it. At least after a long haul flight you can walk off the plane feeling a little refreshed.

tooth

 

What essentials do you take on your long haul flights?

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4 Things I Don’t Think God Really Cares About

I know God cares, but I think there are some things He doesn’t really care about at all. When I say ‘care about’, I mean He doesn’t mind.

 

1. What Type Of Music You Play In Church.

Pentecostal churches like it loud, more traditional churches like it, well, traditional. Sometimes they are quick to criticise the way they do worship. I don’t think God really minds at all. He’s more interested in people’s heart attitude and whether they connect with Him or not. Nothing must bore God more than some songs thrown together where people come in and go through the motions of ‘church’. He also doesn’t mind if you sit, stand, wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care or even prostrate yourself. You can have your hands raised and be thinking about the football.

 

2. If You Live In Africa Or America.

Jesus wasn’t blue eyed, blonde nor spoke in English. Actually, I know God is colour-blind. He reacts to people the same wherever they are. He doesn’t go ‘Oh, those poor people in Africa, I think I’ll love them more than the Brits because they’ve got more’. That wouldn’t be fair now would it? God loves everyone, full stop, no doubt. His love is not based on our need, but Him. Therefore, He cares about multimillionaires, those who live on the street and everyone in between.

Homeless in Hawaii

Homeless in Hawaii

 

3. About Your Age.

I’m not sure why people of mature age think that they are ‘more spiritual’ or in a better position to be used by God. God can use whoever He wants, however He wants. If we wait until we’re spiritual enough, old enough, rich enough or knowledgeable enough – we might be dead and in the grave. It’s about being obedient in the small things, regardless of your age. It’s not about how many years you’ve got but about who you serve. I’ve heard amazing things come out of the mouths of little kids and those well advanced in years. We need to get over ourselves and drop the whole generation gap thing.

old

4. Whether You Have Dreadlocks Or Look Like A Goth Or Skinhead.

Yep, God doesn’t care about your hairstyle. People do, but I doubt that’s high on His priority list. We live in a country where those who have dreads are looked at as druggies and ‘from the Coast’ – rebels. Personally, I’m not sure how on earth people with dreadlocks can keep them clean but each to their own. Even Nairobi has a Goth shop – imagine wearing leather pants in 30 degree heat! As humans we are quick to judge by the outward appearance. Once you get to know the person you find out what they are really like and often we are surprised by what we find.

tommy

Tommy Kyllonen – pastor in Florida

brian

Brian Welch – Jesus follower and founding member of Korn

Read THIS quick article about one woman in Adelaide, Australia and what she encountered on a train.

 

What else do you think God doesn’t really care about?

Church in Kenya

There seems to be a church one every corner here in Nairobi. They go from a little tin shack to the huge 5,000 seat auditorium. Some are in huge marquees, others in buildings without windows to the tabernacles that you can see from miles away. There’s some that have short names, others like ‘The Church of the Deliverance of the Holy Ghost in XYZ’. I kid you not.

Worship at Frontrunnerz

Labels and titles are so over rated here. If you’re a ‘bishop’ you almost have to treat them like a king. A Deacon is a church leader and not someone who helps physically set up the service. On the other hand you will see people in top jobs who are happy to be in the car park making sure everyone gets in. Only a few have services online but one thing they all have in common is that they like their music loud.

Dance Moves

The thing that Kenyans know how to do is praise and pray. Some church services go for 3 hours, then they have other programs in the afternoon. As far as I know there are no night services in Nairobi. Probably because people have been in church all day, but also it’s a security risk getting home when it is dark (around 6.45pm).

We decided before we came that we would got to the International Christian Centre (ICC) where I visited in 2007. One mistake people make when moving to a new place is to try every church out in town for one that suits them. Sometimes you just have to make a decision and stick with it. It’s and English speaking church with mostly Kenyans in it. Some songs are in Swahili so it’s good practise to figure out what is being sung.

Pete, Liz and I go to the 10.30am service which is aimed at young professionals, it’s called Frontrunnerz and led by Pastor Gibson (meet him below). They have 2 services in the morning, with about 600 going to the second service. They do have a Saturday night service but we work most weekends so it’s not always easy to get there.

Meet Gibson

Some people might say it’s a happy clappy church. I figure it’s much better than attending a service that is like a funeral. Sure, there’s time for reflection and quietness, I’m all into that but sometimes it’s just great to enjoy the good things that God has done. Here in Kenya things like getting a job, being able to study, making safely through the week or having food on the table is something to get super happy about.

Not a funeral service

We’ve been to some African churches where they get so excited they lift up the plastic chairs and do a dance with it. There’s been some where all the women get up and do a special dance (a good opportunity to hide behind a camera). I’ve been in ones where Pete gets to sit up the front and me way back (being just a woman of course!).

Dancing up the aisle

What I love about Frontrunnerz and ICC is that they present a relevant message in a relevant way. Sure, it’s not perfect but neither are we!!

It wasn’t our goal to come to Kenya to start a church but it is part of our DNA to be a part of a local church. We’ve all heard how no person is an island but it’s so easy to do. It’s easy to look at ‘The Church’ and point the finger, look at all the deficiencies and things that are done wrong and decide not to be a part of it. That’s the thing though, no one nor any organisation is perfect. We’re a work in progress.

Everyone getting into it

I remember Pastor Simon McIntyre who was with us when we were at C3 Oxford Falls (Sydney) saying ‘This church might not suit you, but there is a church for you, a church for everyone’.

If we stopped complaining about ‘The Church’ and decided to be a part of it, we would see some of the great things that are happening. We would meet some different people, some who would drive us up the wall. We would be challenged to get out of our comfort zones. We might even find a place we can call home and a family that accepts us, warts and all.

Worship at Frontrunnerz

Why I Hate Glee

Millions worldwide are glued to their TV screens each week that Glee is on. When it first came out I thought it was a fantastic show, until the morals started sliding and anything and everything was permissible.

glee

Everyone is entitled to their opinions so I thought as a different type of blog I would express my thoughts and some of the things we can actually learn from the show.

Why I hate Glee:

1. Addiction to it by millions is an understatement

Enough said on that one. Anything young people plan their life around, they have to move their schedule for, or you can’t skype them during that time, is annoying.

 

2. It’s so unreal

Think about it, these guys never go to the toilet, look way too old to be in school, have to do jobs at home or have to do the dishes. It’s escapism to the max! Mostly though, that’s why we like to be entertained, to take us to a totally different place from our every day lives. It would be interesting to see the ratings for National Geographic compared to Glee. I wonder if Sir David Attenborough watches Glee after spending years out in the freezing cold with the penguins?

 

3. The kids rule the parents

There doesn’t seem to be any sort of boundaries put in place or repercussions for when the kids play up. It gives the kids watching the show the impression that’s how life should be. People actually believe that what they see at the movies and on TV is real. Just ask my students.

 

4. Teachers have no self control

Either they are complete Nazi’s like Sue Sylvester or a total walkover like Will Schuester or the flaky Emma Pillsbury. There doesn’t seem to be any balance in between. They’re busy dealing with manipulation, affairs or break ups. If the teaches have no self control how do they expect the kids to. What happened to teachers specialising in education to ensure a good future for our kids?

 

5. Kids have no self control

I know the show is about the kids and not their parents or lack of them, but my goodness, if every single child in the world acted like these kids, I might as well give up my job. It’s true, the average age for a young person to have their first sexual encounter is 17 (for many, much younger) and we all know how hormonal driven young people are but do we really need to relive it on the screen? With all the sexually driven advertising, pre-schoolers being sexualised and full on sex scenes in movies, do we need to hear about it all again? Why can’t we be talking about commitment, sticking in there when times are tough, give and take, relationships and strong marriages?

 

6. The writers wanted to have something for both adults and kids to watch

You must be kidding? Sure, as a parent I really want my kids watching a teenager losing his/her virginity and a whole show dedicated to it (NOT). The show is so well packaged and marketed we have to ask ourselves – what values as a family do we hold? Does what we’re watching support those values?

 

Lessons Learned

  • Parents, keep an eye on what your kids are watching
  • Talk to your kids about their choices in life, in a Biblical perspective
  • Your kids might not tell you, but they feel safe when you put in boundaries and keep them
  • Limit their TV time (when was the last time you read with them?)
  • If you’re an educator, you need to carry yourselves responsibly because young people are looking up to you

 

Why I like Glee

  1. They sound great when they sing

The actors do really well at fitting in their lines, choreography and songs that go into the show. The sound good, they look good. That is it.

Lessons Learned

  • We should learn to sing more, enjoy life more and hug our kids more

Each episode costs 3 million dollars to produce with 22 episodes per season. I leave it up to you to decide if this is the best investment of that amount of money.

I Don’t Support Piracy

Over here in Kenya you can buy very few legitimate DVD’s and CD’s. For Christmas we bought our daughter a CD and they physically showed us that it was a new one and that it wasn’t just burned off a computer. When we put it in the first time, iTunes wouldn’t recognise it and said it was empty. ‘What a waste of $6’ I thought. The second time it worked but wouldn’t bring up the artist of song name. That was bought was a real music store.

Anywhere on the side of a road there will be people selling all sorts of things from kites, to DVD’s to fruit. When Skyfall came out at the movies within a couple of days the DVD also came out by a very friendly salesman not far from home.

For most people, they think nothing of spending $6 on a pirated DVD or illegally downloading something off the internet. To them it seems okay to photocopy whole books for their schooling. We had two overseas students living with us for 2 years in Sydney and they saw nothing wrong with spending $10 at a shop downtown photocopying an entire book. Neither did they mind copying and pasting stuff off the internet without giving reference to the author. In one assignment I saw that they hadn’t even bothered to change the font from the source to what was in their assignment!

I don’t support piracy because it’s stealing, just wrapped up nicely. One could say that it’s keeping people employed. Do we then buy drugs because it keeps people employed?

Stealing is stealing. I’ve told my girls off several times for illegally downloading things via sources like Torrent. You can justify it as much as you like but it’s still taking something and not paying for it.

I tell you who pays for it. It’s the artists, musicians, writers and actors who have put their time, effort and skills into creating something we love to watch or read. I was watching the making of Inception (on a genuine DVD) and the writer took 8 years to create the story. Eight years of developing and sacrificing to bring forth a story that entertains millions, only to have it sold illegally for a couple of dollars.

It’s also the buyer that pays for it. Why do you think they cost so much?

As a Christian, I refuse to buy illegally made software, DVD’s, CD’s etc no matter how ‘real’ they appear. It’s against the rules people!

I have plenty of musician friends who I am proud to support by paying for their songs. As a photographer nothing grates you more than when people use your photos without permission, and don’t give credit for the source. Sure Instagram has given a lot to the photography world but it doesn’t make you an artist.

While lots of people say there are no copyright rules in Africa, that’s simply untrue. Everyone complains about corruption but here it is on the ground level. If we continue to support piracy we have no right to complain about officials who are doing the same thing but in a different form.

Pay the price and keep your conscience clean. Support our artists and show people we don’t have to scoop to illegal acts just to get what we want.