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I think it is time to move on from this blog, and this online identity. A talk by Andrew Graystone at Youth Work Summit 2011 started me reflecting upon my use of ‘LastMinuteFox’ as my blog and twitter identity.

This name came from a Dave Pepper’s nickname for me during my ‘gap’ year over ten years ago, presumably representing my attitude to things at the time [although in my defence I would claim this was because I was an early member of The Slow Club]. This is something about myself that I have spent much time trying to change. It could be argued that ‘LastMinutFox’ is a true representation of my identity. However I have come to conclusion that although I originally used this on-line as a joke, this is something that I do not want to continue ‘speaking over myself’ need to let go of this identity for both the sake of the young people I hope to work with and for my own personally identity and development.

I will continue blogging at neilfox.wordpress.com
and can now be found on Twitter as @TheNeilFox

Credit where credit due… There is a pothole in the road outside our house which has been growing over the last few months. On Monday I decided to tell the council. I did a quick Google and found an online form to report road defects and quickly filled it in. Within 24 hours there was  paint on the road, marking the area that needs to be fixed. Impressed how quickly they reacted. Let’s see how long before the fix it.

This last weekend, and the weeks leading up-to it, have been an experience, and an emotional and spiritual roller coaster. I want to capture some of this while it’s still fresh, this seems as good-a-place as any.

Recently things have been spiritually dry for me, I have been very busy and not really given God much time or consideration. A couple of weeks ago we took a break at Les Pa Opton, and this served as a great opportunity to stop, and reflect, and towards the end of the week decided I needed start again, and prayed this through with the speaker.

On our return home, I was nicely chilled out and felt so much better, and in the week we got back managed to spend some time reading the Bible and praying. However things rapidly got worse the following week. Over four days last week I tweeted the following;

“quiet relaxing evening this evening, nicely chilled.” 19/06
“Horrible day.” 20/06
“What a day. I’m exhausted, fed up, demoralized, I could go on…” 22/06

I do not want to go into details about what was going on, but needless to say, I didn’t give God much time last week either.

This weekend was our church Sizewell weekend, and by the time I arrived I was feeling pretty low and fed up. I took some time out to calm down and then asked someone to pray with me, mainly that I would forget the crap from the previous week, and the comments and experiences that had left me feeling as I did. After this I felt so different, happy, relaxed and the previous week became a parked memory that did not need to be thought about.

Saturday brought about a further session, and further prayer time, specifically for more filling of the Holy Spirit, verses were shared with me, and through the rest of the day I felt great.

This morning I when I woke, I was feeling a bit lower than yesterday with memories of the week previous starting to creep in, perhaps in the knowledge that were leaving this afternoon. I spent time prior to the session, going through with Greg the passage he had shared with me on Saturday. Again we prayed, and I felt so much better, hanging on to the promises of God for his protection.

During the first session this morning, Ali & me, in response to Roger’s talk, both felt that we were up for an adventure, and that we were on the brink of an exciting time. We have no idea what this means, but both felt this call on our hearts. Again we were prayed with and left with the excitement and anticipation of what is to come.

I see a generation, Rising up to take their placeThe final session was really moving, as it was led by Izzy & Beth [who we had led when they were younger] and I was challenged by the need to have our hearts broken to see people as God sees them. Following this session, I even spent sometime praying with others , and felt so blessed to be able to do so, and to feel able to do so.

I guess this last three weeks have been a real lesson in God’s ability to transform situations, or transform the way I view and interact with situations – if I only ask Him, and give Him time and space to do so. I have also begun to hear his call on my life, and am excited to see how this will develop. In preparing to write this post I found a post I had [very poorly] written three months ago, where I reflected on seeing God at work but not hearing him personally until we actually stop and listen (Exodus 24:15-18). When will it sink in? I have had some great experiences of refreshment, encouragement and maybe calling, over the last few weeks, at times when I have stopped, spent time praying alone and with others.

If you are reading this, and you know us, please pray that God will start to show us what the adventure will be, that I will learn the lessons from the last few weeks and put effort into maintaining a relationship with God, spending time with him and remembering the promises I found comfort and strength in this morning. Previous experience is that I am never very good at maintaining the good intentions from experiences such as this, and hence I am writing this now, mostly to remind myself of the experience and so that I do not forget the power of God, and his love and protection.

“Because I love You,” LORD You say, “You will rescue me;
you will protect me, for I acknowledge Your name.
I will call on you, and You will answer me;
You will be with me in trouble,
You will deliver me and honour me.
With long life You will satisfy me
and show me Your salvation.”
Inspired by Psalm 91 and a conversation this morning

I have this weekend a completely work free bank holiday weekend, and I intend on spending it with my family and with friends.

Bank Holidays always used to be special, but I never really knew what to do with the extra day. But now working full time, and with my own family, Bank Holidays now have a whole new meaning. Needless to say I need to finish what I’m doing and put the computer away.

With the recent news of GM europe being taken over by Magna, and the subsequent announcement regarding job losses in the UK, I would not be surprised if the Vauxhall brand disappears altogether. In fact I’m sure that in due course current Vauxhall operations will be rebranded as Opel.

Given the support that German operations are receiving from their Government and the apparent lack of support Vauxhall is getting from ours suggests that any moves that new owners make to cut costs across the company would have a positive bias towards Germany / Opel.

My understanding is that much of the company’s product development is done centrally, with Vauxhall (and presumably each of Opel’s regional operations) doing things such as handling adjustments and marketing. Therefore it could be argued that a Opel UK would in effect have a similar role, however I can’t help thinking that the new owners without, perhaps the sentimental attachment to the British brand will consider Vauxhall an unnecessary extra expense. And I can certainly see the argument from a marketing perspective, as a a change to Opel would fit with the new image they are clearly striving for with the Insignia and new Astra.

My suggestion to the company would be to market both brands simultaneously across europe, each with separate brand identity and values, for example as MGRover did. Although perhaps this is not the best example I believe this is a model that could be successful for GM europe.

Coming back to the reality of a belt tightening era, I hope that I am wrong in prediction. Maybe Vauxhall does not present any greater cost implications than an Opel operation, but I can’t help thinking that Vauxhall’s days maybe numbered.

So I’ve started a new blog today. Ok, may not a blog so much as a pointless waste of server space. But I’ve done it none the less. Its called ChinBags and if you are at all intrigued check it out at chinbags.wordpress.com. However I must warn you that if you do look at it you will not get that time back, so think wisely as to whether you really want to waste some time. However if you are bored have a look, actually don’t bother have a look at bbc.co.uk/oddnews, it’s bound to be more interesting!

I found a note on my computer the other day with a list of things I could blog about, one of which was
‘If the door knocker doesn’t work use the door bell’
I can’t remember what I was going to blog about, but it sounds quite deep.