Surf’s Up

This past weekend we had a storm that spat out of the deep depths of the Southern Ocean. Or Antarctica. It produced some massive swells or waves. 

Click the link to read all about it   

Surf’s Up.

And more
This weekend we are going to the very southern tip of NZ for a youth & children training event for churches. It will be fun to take Robin & Moana to the southern tip on NZ…. next stop Antarctica. 

Thanks for the job security LaVar, but I don’t want it.

Recently I was tooling around online and stumbled across the story on ESPN about the upcoming NBA Draft. But more importantly the UCLA player Lonzo Ball who is expected to go high in the draft if not #1.

BIG DEAL you might say we get these stories 3-4 times A YEAR… pick your professional sport. However this year this young man is really a metaphor or symptom for perhaps giving people who work with children and youth the best job security in the world.

Not by the wayward choices they might make but by his father LaVar Ball.

It appears that Lonzo has very little opportunity to make decisions on his own, and every decision made is either by his father or for his father and in the name of his father. I’m all about upsetting the apple cart however this “gentleman” is something else. He reminds me of Napoleon Dynamites Uncle Rico in the movie Napoleon Dynamite. Rico never made it past being a famous high school quarterback because of someone else and it appears to fit the description for Lonzo’s dad. Mad at the world I missed my opportunity and so this is how I’m going to make up for it. Lonzo’s dad does it all.

It becomes apparent very early on that “dad” speaks… talks… represents…deals… organizes… maybe he even poops for his son. Almost every time I see the two, Dad does it all. Now admittedly my sample size isn’t great, however I have seen enough to get that picture.

So to my point. 

Thanks for the job security LaVar because its my observation that from this approach I think about the resiliency and coping skills of his son and frankly a whole generation of youth that aren’t put in enough positions to develop those skills through the worlds best teacher… experience all because a parent or parents have literally done it all.

Case in point. A man in a Tennessee bar this week poured kerosene all over himself, set himself on fire and ran into a bar. All because his girlfriend broke up with him.

Man sets self on fire on Facebook

This story is an absolute tragedy. However the focus appears to be on the method, the tragedy and Facebook. Who once again is been held to task for seemingly every evil action and act of violence that occurs on this platform. Its like suing a car manufacturer for a drunk drivers actions.

The story I hear hear is why he did it.

“He believed that suicide would be the ultimate revenge on her,”

How bad had it become for this man that this was an viable option. How unable was he to cope with his mental health that this occurred. This is not a statement about how people had let him down, or how we should have given him medicine, or that his family should have tried harder.

Children, youth & young adults are increasingly expressing their mental health to anyone who will hear and respond. But perhaps the real challenge is where have skills like resilience, coping and problem solving gone. Many of us have been through a bad break up, parents going through divorce or struggling with our or anothers sexuality. However what goes hand in hand with these are the above mentioned skills. Not thats its the gold ticket to jettison us away from pain, heartbreak or loneliness. But there appears to be a rise in younger generation type problems that aren’t meet with skills of coping etc.

Were they not taught? Not experienced? Not allowed to experiment with failure and growth in far more digestible problems in younger years so that where those real storms of life come, like divorce, breakup and sexuality that there is at least some foundations of skills to begin to process and get help.

Its well documented that people die by suicide because of a loss of hope and/or loss of social connection. And I wonder if some of that could be minimized, not “fixed”but minimized by looking for more opportunities to put into practice those life long skills.

And while we/parents everyone continue to not expose our children and youth to manageable challenges of life by speaking for them, making all their decisions, even living vicariously through them we are also providing people who work with children, youth and young adults the best job security in the world. But for all the wrong reasons.



What happens when kid has to make his own decisions

What does that mean when dad isn’t around

Another picture of no coping skills no resiliency

Follow what so what now what model

LaVar & Lonzo

If you stand still you can…

Today was a perfect day. We drove west to the mountains to Lake Coleridge which sits as a gateway to the big mountains along the spine on New Zealand’s South Island. I won’t say too many words as they don’t do it justice.

But I will say this. NZ is usually quite windy most of the time and the mountains of course are no exception. However, today was 1 of those few days where it was perfectly still. Between the views, the blue sky, the peaks, and of course the company if you stand still you can…


Driving time = 90mins

Hiking time = 90mins to the summit, 60mins back down.

Amazing Feat/Feet

You might have missed it on Saturday but the world of athletics was shaken up. Not by a big disclosure of performance enhancing drug abuse but the lowering of the world record for the men’s marathon. And an attempt at going under 2hours for the same race. #breaking2

However if you read between the lines there is inspiration for all of us not just for some of us that geek out over the times, the splits, the speed….

But Eliud Kipchoge, a 32-year-old Kenyan, ran 26.2 miles faster than anybody in history, finishing the time trial in 2:00:25.

Yes it was…

  • A time trail, so not one of the big time marathons from around the world.
  • A bit of a publicity stunt by Nike. (don’t worry Adidas is attempting it soon with its stable of runners).
  • As many of the controllable conditions were controlled.
    • Running on the Formula One track at Monza, Italy (the fastest in the world), with the least amount of turns.
    • Numerous pacers to help the 3 designated athletes.
    • A carefully chosen start time and day for weather purposes.
    • The food and fluid handed to them so they could keep moving.
    • Some new amazing shoe developed of course by Nike.
    • …..

The list goes on. And from that the haters, doubters and purists were everything from skeptical, even mad. The old record, set at the Berlin Marathon back in 2014 of 2:02.57 might/will still “stand” and the IAAF hasn’t decided if it will ratify this record yet.

BUT…. all the explanation aside, this is an amazing feat. Kipchoge managed to hang on and while not smash the 2hrs mark (which experts predicted that humanity wouldn’t reach this time for another 75years) showed what is and can be possible.

And while he didn’t reach the sub2 goal, look a while and what he did do. He smashed the old record. All because some people got together and said lets try this, we won’t know unless we try. And if they didn’t start with that thought of lets try this they would be still sitting on the couch now talking about it. The old record would still be there and not a revised goal of 2:00.25. Sure they didn’t get there but they got somewhere and closer.

Makes you wonder how much we sit around and wonder but then don’t even try. If we don’t get to ‘our goal’, we got somewhere and that was better than where we were.

In case you are wondering thats 4.34mins/mile. Try doing that once. Then repeating 25 more times… IN A ROW.

The New Normal

The New Normal is a expression that has gained some attention recently. Whether it’s the days getting shorter (or longer) depending on which hemisphere/country you live in. Or a new way of doing business from a Trump Administration. Or perhaps getting outside more with better weather to improve ones health though fitness. The New Normal is what notice and adapt to in light of something we were previously familiar with.

For Robin & I our new normal exists on almost every level. Even down to driving on the left-hand side of the road. Ones opinion on a new normal can create a range of emotions. And sometimes new normals don’t last. For a couple of weeks after we arrived home in NZ Moana was waking up at around 400-430am…. UGH. We wondered if this was our new normal. Thankfully she has adjusted and sleeping is quite regular now.

Some people have asked us why we left the US to move to NZ (my home). The easy & shallow answer is to humorously say there were 10 reasons at 10%. While there is some truth in that, part of it was to find a new normal.

We face multiple new normals and most people have new normals forced on them. Like driving on the left. We signed up for a new normal because our old normal was not working long term. As we prioritized and confirmed that family, faith, & a balanced life were important (& those are in no particular order) we realized that our then current normal was not consistently having those 3 topics at or near the top of our priorities. We aren’t afraid of hard work, but our normal was not normal by any stretch.

There is a story that tells of 2 frogs. 1 frog is in a pot of water and the heat is slowly turned up. Each time the heat is turned up the frog realizes but justifies it and remains in the pot of water thinking its got time to escape when it gets “really hot”. The water temp continues to increase but each time the frog acknowledges the temp increase but remains. Until eventually the water reaches a temp where the frog is too weak to escape because the water is too hot. The 2nd frog is thrown into a pot of hot water and instantly recognizes the high temp and immediately jumps out.

What happens when the normal isn’t exactly a healthy normal? And what about the future of this normal? Who decides when its no longer normal or becomes something else?


Do we ever…

After safely arriving back home in NZ we have (or what we thought was…) completed a big time of DISCERNMENT for both Robin & I. The “conclusion” of that has led us here. I say “conclusion” because I have sense that the D word never ends. Or do we ever…?

While I won’t go into the timing, when and exact moment of starting to discern a time to return home, because that’s not my point. I suspect the D-word is an insatiable beast. And one that is never fully satisfied. And actually that’s a good thing.

We often in our faith jump on the journey bandwagon. Journey this… and journey that… And that is true, however we at times get sidelined, freaked out, intimidated by the whole thought of discernment, like it’s some ugly jacket we have to wear for a while because all our other clothes are dirty and we need to do laundry.

I mention all this because now for us we find ourselves D-wording topics like… where will we live, and what ministry opportunities will we follow. Robin has several at this point and we want the… ahem… discernment to be “right”. Uh-oh that means we need to put on that ugly jacket again and wear it around for a few days or weeks until we magically strike the answer through the next traffic light being green and being the clear sign we needed or…. WRONG. Well at least as I see it.

What if we embraced discernment as…, well its always there and lets not get all freaked out about it. That while discernment as it is often defined as prayer & patience is true, we have all God’s children and God cares for us.

This definition or understanding shouldn’t give us the opportunity either to ‘switch off’ and become willows in the wind-blown in every-which-way direction. However see it perhaps as underwear that we put on everyday (hopefully). That something we are glad we wear, but aren’t always conscientious its there.

Or put another way, how we have moved to a place where we now see for example recycling as normal and not something we have to go out of our way to do. our life carries on and we have incorporated recycling into our everyday life. Paying attention to those moments when we get a glimpse of reality, clarity and dare is say it discernment.

Our Backyard

Today was a good day! After spending the week in Wellington for meetings with my new co-workers it was nice to get back to the South Island for the weekend.

Today dawned a clear day so we headed up into the mountains. Only about 1hour from my parents place, where we are staying for now.

We will be spending lots of time here. I grew up playing in these mountains. And now this is in some ways my office, in July I get to run a camp up here in these same mountains.

So to introduce Moana this her new backyard was… well you decide.