27 Jun 2012

Jesus mints

Recently my Dad went to USA and while he was there he picked me up a present which he said would aid my attempts in talking to people about Jesus...

Now I don't know how many of us Brits have seen something like this - our American friends seem to have thought of how to make literally EVERYTHING holy! This tin of mints not only contains mints in the sign of a fish (an ancient symbol used by Christians who were being persecuted to communicate meetings of believers), it also has a Bible verse inside AND they are sugar free... 

In addition to all of that it also has some ancient greek in there too just incase that comes in handy whilst speaking to someone about Jesus. I am really tempted to try to start a conversation with someone using these just because I want to see if it will work. My actual favourite thing about them is the fact that they are wintergreen flavour which is similar to the taste of listerine (my favourite)...which for some reason many other people don't actually like...of the 8 other people to try these mints from me only 2 have actually liked them...

I have to say that I think this is fairly ridiculous, but then I am curious that I am reminded of the verse in the Bible which says:
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." Colossians 4:5
Maybe I need to be less cynical and use any opportunity I see to be bold in speaking for Jesus, whether that is using these mints or not.

25 Jun 2012

Phone Miracle

So I've had a couple of days to unwind from blogging life and there have been a number of things that have struck me that I want to blog about...but I'm going to take one at a time.

Today, something that happened to me yesterday.

I was on the train on my way back from Islington having visited my friend Luffy, and going on to meet my friends Ian and Emma in Forest Hill to watch the England game. Now I got off at Forest Hill, walked across the road to the pub and saw my friends weren't there yet so made the standard trip to the bar to dabble in polite conversation and get a drink to distract me while I waited for my friends. The barman was plain weird. Normally I like to make excuses for people as to why they are as they are, but this guy was genuinely really weird and maybe he has a reason, maybe not but he didn't endear me to conversation at all so having got my pint I thought I would text Ian to find out how near they were....

....shock horror....I had left my phone on the train! 

At this point it is worth mentioning I actually have 2 phones, a work one and my one. I had managed to leave my work one on the train because I was meeting work friends...grrrr. Anyway I had my other phone in my hand about to ring my work phone to see if it had been picked up by anyone and at that moment Ian and Emma walked in with the good news that someone had picked up my phone and rang Ian (he was the last person I had spoken to). This lady lived relatively close by and we had her address so I could pop over and get it whenever. WIN!

So I decided I would give this wonderful lady a ring at half time and organise going to get my phone back. Halftime rolls around and Ian gets a text from my phone saying that the lady was in The Hob...the exact pub we were in and if I wanted I could get the phone then. 

So I rang my phone and retrieved it from this lovely lady from the same pub we had been in all evening...

....I lost my phone on a train and I didn't even have to go anywhere to pick it up. God is good.

22 Jun 2012

Your Choice DAY 5

Two main themes today...sleeping and music.

Are you a snorer?? Can you sleep anywhere?? Can you sleep through someone ringing your phone when your phone is in your hand??

If the answer to all 3 of those questions was yes then you might not find this amusing but today in the XLP Office I was casually working in a room called "The Snug" (it's like the room we chill out and eat lunch in with sofas etc). My desk was a bit of a mess because people keep leaving their things on it, and I was just replying to emails. So I was working in the Snug and this man came in (I think he had a meeting with someone booked) and he sat down and within 15 mins he was snoring...pretty loudly.

Now generally I like to respect those who are sleeping, but this was funny for 2 reasons a) it's an office and so people are expected to work, I was in the room...I would never go to sleep at work if someone else was there watching me! b) his phone went off twice like full on ringing and he didn't even flinch. In fact when he actually was woken by the person he was meeting with he looked quite disgruntled that he had been woken up! 
So anyway after reading a facebook status I posted, a reader of the blog asked me to take a picture and blog about him... so here is snoring guy.

I've been listening to this song quite a lot

The words are below - I've highlighted the ones that I have been really moved by:

May my prayer like incense rise before You
The lifting of my hands as sacrifice
Oh Lord Jesus turn Your eyes upon me
For I know there is mercy in Your sight

Your statutes are my heritage forever
My heart is set on keeping Your decrees
Please still my anxious urge toward rebellion
Let Love keep my will upon its knees

Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You

[Verse 2]
To all creation I can see a limit
But Your commands are boundless and have none
So Your Word is my joy and meditation
From the rising to the setting of the sun

All Your ways are loving and are faithful
The road is narrow but Your burden light
Because You gladly lean to lead the humble
I shall gladly kneel to leave my pride

I will seek You in the morning
I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

I think music quite often is a good way of connecting with God and I think the lyrics to this song speak to me because I can relate to wanting to talk to God like this. It encourages me to sing that I want to always praise God - may you be encouraged too.

21 Jun 2012

Your Choice DAY 4

I was asked a couple days ago to blog about my best XLP moment/experience so that is the focus today. You may have noticed that I don't tend to blog too much about work on here, that is for two main reasons a) this is an open blog so anyone can read it if they want to, including the young people I work with; so it's always a bit tricky to talk about specifics even if I change names because people might be able to guess who it is...b) to me my job is my job and even though I am lucky enough to have a really fun job that I enjoy, I also get used to it and it becomes normal routine so I think it's fairly boring to blog about.

But ANYWAY, today I have come up with 3 of the top things about working for XLP and you can choose which one you think would be your best if you were me.

#1. Seeing the little changes in young people - so the kid who comes to the lunchtime club that I run who can't sit still and is always trying to start fights, seeing them actually helping to set up, or engaging with the talk and discussion, seeing them be friends with someone who's by themselves...that's pretty special - seeing the transformation

#2. Meeting EVERY Monday morning with the whole staff team to pray about things that have happened and are due to happen. Such an encouraging time to be able to hear and share what God is doing (alot).

#3. Taking kids away from their normal settings and seeing how some quality time will totally change your relationship with them. I took a load of pretty challenging girls from one of my projects away for a weekend before Easter and the impact that it has made on the relationships we have has been huge...all because of some effort and time.

There are loads of reasons why I love working for XLP though - most of them revolve around the people I get to work with because they are all a pretty class bunch of people. We keep each-other laughing and come up with the best (and worst) ideas for youth work. They are all jokers too (for evidence read the first paragraph in this post). 

If you want a bit more of an idea about what XLP does why not come and do Urban Mission Week with me and the gang?!

20 Jun 2012

Your Choice DAY 3 aka Starkers?!

So today I have been trying to think about something nice I can do with my team as a "good work" on everything they have done on the year. So as you do you go onto google and type in fun activities for evenings in London...
and this is what came up 

If you scroll down on that page something grabbed my attention...STARKERS?! Apparently there is a naked club in Vauxhall - ha! The blurb made me laugh a lot. 
Would I ever take my team there...no! I think they would actually cry and try to kill me. It's weird because I would actually never consider going to something like that even though I am pretty alright with nakedness (you may have noticed from this post). The thought of being in a club where everyone is naked just seems very scary and like clubs can be pretty sexual places when people are wearing clothes, let alone when people are naked! 

So I am still thinking of ideas of nice, fun things to do with my team (I have a couple in my head) but if you have any brain waves please share because it would be good to make sure that I do something really nice for them as they have put up with me as their boss since September. 

Come back tomorrow to hear what my highlight of XLP this year has been...

19 Jun 2012

Your Choice DAY 2

Ok so after Day 1 I had some more feedback on what people wanted to hear about...namely more stories about my friend Tom, and just day to day things...so here goes some musings to fill day 2.

  • I am going to admit something to you...I have an addiction...to the game tetris. I play it A LOT. Like if I am on the phone to someone but sitting at my desk i'll start to play tetris with my other hand. I recently joined "tetris battle" on facebook - MISTAKE. Honestly I don't think I have wasted so much time in my life just playing other people online...so I am going to remove myself from it before it takes over my life! 
  • That leads to a slightly more serious point; I find procrastination really easy...don't you? I could easily see a job that needs doing and it could be weeks before I "get around" to doing it. But honestly now why is procrastination such a big part of my life? Why is it that I don't just get on with things when I see they need doing. Prime example - emptying the bin in my room. It requires tying up the bin bag and taking it downstairs, outside to the wheelie-bin...approx time required: 3mins. Will take me approx 3 weeks depending on how much is piling up around the bin. What is it though that stops us from doing what we know needs to be done? I think it comes down to the fact that I am lazy. I only want to do things when they are convenient to me...which to be fair is nearly always when it can't wait any longer. Not sure this is a good thing so going to try to be less lazy.
  • Today we had our weekly team meeting. I really like team meetings because it's a chance for all 6 of us to get together, have a little reflect on the previous week and get prepped for the coming one. We also pray for each other and for young people. Now today Jen from my team led us in a creative prayer task that I LOVED. It was really simple but actually really effective. So all she did was put on some Christian background music, and then gave us a topic and asked us to just pray out sentence prayers. E.g. Who is God...creator, faithful one, worthy, glorious etc. What are our worries...money, job, motives, acceptance etc. I really enjoyed this way of praying because a) people were really honest about things they were worrying about or needed, b) I like prayer that isn't quiet...I like it when we can join together in talking to God. A lot of the time prayer is portrayed as quiet and reflective and if I'm honest it sounds boring....but talking to my creator should be something I can't wait to do. I liked this activity because it made me want to talk to him. 
  • TOKEN TOM POINT: On Friday I went to see the Lion King with Tom (read more about him here) and it was ace. We were sitting in one of the boxes really close to the stage and one of the performers actually came into our little box for the opening song! Was insane. We both love musicals and have been to see a few now...in fact if you want any musical music talk to Tom because he has loads of soundtracks that he bops along to. 
  • I have been trying to teach myself guitar for a while now and I've got the chords down now (kind of) but the bit I'm really struggling with is strumming. How do you strum in rhythm? Anyone got any tips?
That's it for today - remember there are 5 days left of you telling me what you want to hear so comment on facebook or here :)

18 Jun 2012

Your Choice DAY 1

I find it a little weird how my post yesterday had 102 views and yet 2 people left comments saying what they wanted me to blog about...what happened to you other 100?!

I'm guessing you either are not too bothered about what I say and read this as procrastination, or you just couldn't choose between all the options...

Anyway so the two things I have been asked to blog about are the random things that happen in my life and the inner workings of my brain. So here are a few thoughts about those two topics...

1. I have always thought of myself as an automatic analyser - like I analyse a situation or my own actions without really thinking about it. E.g. I see someone crying, my automatic response is "they are crying, I should see if there is anything I can do to help them", so off I go...I thought this was a perfectly good way of living and acting until my Mum mentioned that I should reflect more on my actions. Now I respect my Mum and listen to what she says; so that is what I have been trying to do - reflect on why I do the things I do. So far this is what I've got

  • Is it that I want people to like me - probably 
  • Is it that I like helping people - definitely
  • Is it that I have a little bit of a Saviour complex - potentially. 
  • Is it that I like to get involved because it makes me feel important and needed? - partially
  • Is it that I don't know how you live a life that points to God without getting involved? - most likely
2. My next big problem is what do I do with all this reflecting matter? How does it affect my day to day life? Still working on that one...

3. Random things that have happened to me lately:
  • I saw a guy sitting on the bus with both his trousers and pants BELOW his bum...so his BARE BUM was on the seat!
  • I got given a space command hamster cage for my hamster Lewis - it is VERY cool - will post a photo in a later post
  • I asked this girl at my Church if she had come to pick up her son from the Youth Classroom and she was actually a youth...

If you want me to blog about less deep things or different topics let me know - this is your week to choose.

17 Jun 2012

Over to you

Sometimes I feel like there is too much to blog about. Like what do I focus these blogs on? Events, feelings, work, interests, music, dreams, God...on a daily basis there are loads of little things I could write about but then if I don't write them do I just pretend like they didn't happen or do I write briefly about everything?

Having thought about this I thought that for a week I would give YOU the reader the choice as to what you want me to blog about. Every day I will write a blog (some might be very short) on whatever theme you guys choose.

The choices are:
  1. Day-to-day events
  2. The inner workings of my brain
  3. Work with XLP - the adventures we get up to
  4. Social life activities and interests
  5. Music that I am loving
  6. Dreams that I think about for the future 
  7. What God says/challenges me about
So you can vote by commenting below or by commenting on this post status on facebook. It is THAT simple. 

Over to you.

16 Jun 2012

International Viewing

One of the things I like about using blogspot is that you can see the countries that people have viewed your blog from.

In the last month I have had reads from:

  • Colombia
  • Belgium
  • The Isle of Man
  • South Africa
  • Australia
  • France
  • Russia
  • USA
  • Germany
  • and of course the UK
Now I am quite intrigued as to who you readers are! Like do I know you or are you people who have just stumbled across my blog randomly? I'd really like to know who my international readers are so if you are one of them could you leave a comment or get in touch through facebook please- http://www.facebook.com/naomi.allen.16

Many thanks :)

14 Jun 2012


I know I haven't blogged for about a week so apologies but a) how do you follow such a ridiculous post as the one before (read it here), and b) I feel there have been lots of things I could blog about and it was kind of hard to choose.

I have decided though to give you a brief list of things that I have done or that have been on my mind:

  • I went zorbing on Sunday with my friends Bethan, Jon and Rhiannon...

...now what is zorbing you might be thinking...well it's basically rolling down a big hill in one of these...
now I have to confess that this photo is not any of us in that ball. We did take a LOAD of photos but they are all on the other 3's snazzy iphones which they have yet to upload so you can't see the beauty of a place we did it in (back of beyond somewhere near Neath). Anyway the experience was ace! Think of a cross between a rollercoaster and being swung in the air and landing on a bed every few seconds....
  • I went to my first cricket game at the Oval. Now I am quite a cricket fan (if you want to read more about that maybe read this) but I have never been to see a proper live game apart from in Barbados when I was on cricket tour and we went to see England VS West Indies in a 20:20 match. Well yesterday I saw Essex VS Surrey at the Oval with my friends Ian and Emma. It was another 20:20 match and it was great. Surrey scored 128 runs and I thought Essex were easily going to beat that but they only actually got 112 - it was a really fun game to watch. 20:20s are easier to watch than test cricket which lasts for days - this was done in about 3 hours and had a clear winner. 
  • Lastly, I feel like God is doing quite a lot with me at the moment. Like he's really challenging me and testing me which is good but quite hard and painful at times. I am clinging to this verse:
"My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline 
    and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves, 
    as a father the son he delights in." 
Proverbs 3:11-12

9 Jun 2012


I don't know how many of you have ever gone for a massage, but on Thursday I went to have an ayurvedic massage and facial I had bought on Groupon for a bargain price.

I was really looking forward to it as I felt like I needed a bit of "me-time" - I'd had a massage before when I was in Aber because I had had a bit of a stiff back and just found it hugely relaxing so my hopes were that this would be the same. 

So anyway I turned up at this place in Thornton Heath and met my massuese lady and she led me down into this basement room which was pretty dim and had a sheet covering the one window...the room had a massage table, a little gas cooker with one ring and cabinet and a chair. 

I think I had been basing what this massage would be like on the one I had had before where I was left to get undressed and then got on the table, placed a towel strategically over my bum and then the lady came back and got on with the massage....that's not exactly how it went here....

So I got into the room and was asked to undress right then and there....so stripped off (she seemed like it was really normal!) and was amused that I then had a piece of string tied around my waist. So yes at this point I'm naked with a piece of string around me...then I was asked to sit down and had a load of oil poured over my head and then a head massage...it was pretty nice but pretty weird considering I was naked...

So after this she got a strip of cloth and tucked it into the front of the string and through and then tucked it into the back...new meaning to the word loin cloth! Have to say at this point I was thinking this was the most surreal experience I had ever had. Anyway moved to lay down onto the table and was pretty amused when she untucked the loin cloth at the back to massage my buttocks! HA! 

So I had an hour of this lady massaging literally everything (boobs and all)...not 100% sure how relaxing it was but defo a new experience. 

It was funny because I was asked to write a comment at the end and I read one of the ones above that said "a new experience, not sure if I enjoyed it, felt very exposed". Surprisingly I didn't dislike it - it was just a bit of a shock.

Anyone ever had anything similar? Or had a good massage?

7 Jun 2012


In the last few days I have had a similar conversation with a few people and it's got me thinking. 

When the world's problems seem so big, what is it that we as individuals can do to change anything?

The world has a lot of problems...you might think of:
  • Poverty
  • War
  • Climate Change
  • Persecution
  • Injustice
  • People trafficking
  • Corruption
  • Child abuse (or any abuse for that matter)
  • many many more...
and any one of those can make you feel like instead of doing anything you would rather just ignore it, pretend it doesn't exist, or else you might be overwhelmed by the issues.

I read a book not too long ago by Max Lucado called Outlive Your Life - the intro is all about how a lot of the time we live, like a tortoise, in shells. When something gets messy, too intense, or overwhelming we simply retreat into safety by pretending that our shell is the real world. We like to be safe. We like to feel like we are in control and that we have answers. Or at least I do. I get really frustrated when I don't have the answers to big questions or problems...I think we like things to be black and white, right or wrong, simple; when really, life is a rather bright shade of grey. 

Take for example the crisis going on in Syria. Having studied politics at uni I like to keep one eye on international conflicts and see how they are responded too. How is the international community supposed to respond to Syria when no one is 100% sure of who is in the wrong and who the victims are? History tells us that diplomacy should be pursued as far as possible in conflicts, but when is the cut off point? In situations like this when not even the experts don't know what to do I can quite easily feel like I have nothing to add to the debate. Like my voice doesn't matter.

However I have been challenged by this website from TearFund, especially this little video. It talks about how actually engaging with the issues and seeing what we can do, is better than pretending that they don't exist. I guess we each need to work out what that means to us individually. I think for me I want to be someone who is passionate about justice for people. I want to use my voice and brain to think about ways I can support some of the work already going on, but also about how I can help other people to live in the real world. Yes it is sometimes really painful, I find it really hard knowing what to do when you hear about teenage girls being raped in illegal brothels, but I guess I want to be someone who feels those emotions rather than blocks them out and becomes numb to the world around me. 

I am reminded of people like Mother Theresa or William Wilberforce who for them didn't do anything huge, Mother Theresa loved people and she was known and loved around the world, William Wilberforce worked for 26 years on the same anti-slavery laws until it was passed. For me, even if all I do is add my voice to petitions that seek to highlight the treatment of people in situations completely different to my own...that's something. 

Edmund Burke said: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"

I want to do something.

If you wanted to look at some ways you could get involved in making your voice heard you might want to look at some of these websites:
Christian Advocacy - http://www.csw.org.uk/home.htm
Poverty/Climate Change/Corruption - http://www.tearfund.org/

many others...please add others in the comments if you know of good ways to get engaged with world issues. 

5 Jun 2012

Jubilee and Boobies

Yes so you may have noticed that there has been somewhat of a patriotic theme for the last few days and I for one LOVE IT. 

On Saturday Evening I went for a walk with my friend through central London looking at the various Jubilee sights and it was really cool to see all the MASSIVE flags up. Check out Regents Street below...

There is something special about London all being united about one event....and it's not just London! It was the whole country. Having now seen all of the celebrations and the response to every event I have been pretty impressed. The Queen is a very popular figure. I've been trying to work out why people love her so much. This is what I've got so far:
  • Many people have only known Britain ruled by her - know nothing different
  • She has been a constant in a world which is ever evolving
  • She has a weird mystique which means people don't know very much about her but when she does share anything she always leaves you wanting more
  • She's a trooper - serving as Sovereign for 60 years, standing in the rain for that Jubilee Boat Parade...
  • She seems to take a genuine interest in the people she meets and she is proper clever!
That is all I have so far...but even still that is a pretty impressive list. To have been in the public eye for that long and to be so well respected and honoured has got to mean something. I was thinking today that to be a public figurehead you have got to have a heck of a lot of wisdom and it seems that ole Elizabeth has a good stash. I wonder if that is because of her faith?

I actually have spent most of the weekend outside of London visiting my friend Ralphy in Norwich (which is a very nice place by the way!), but was watching bits of the celebrations on the TV. I came back today and found out my brothers girlfriend is currently working in St Paul's and totally saw the Queen today. 

This evening a group of people from my Church and I entered our local pub quiz. There were 11 of us so we entered 2 teams and I was surprised at how high the standard was! My team actually came last (out of 8) and the other team came about 4th I think. However because we came last we did get the booby prize...(this is where the boobies part of the title fits in...)

That's right this weird not-quite-key-ring-not-quite-attachable-to-anything thing was ours! It does fit the Jubilee theme though as it's a big fake diamond and it says princess and has a crown attached. It was a really fun evening - good to do something social with Churchy folks.

Tomorrow my Church is hosting a Sing-a-long Sound Of Music...CANNOT WAIT!