It's no Garden of Eden

The television’s on in the background. An episode of Backyard Blitz is just finishing.

The Backyard Blitz team did a makeover on a small backyard for a very deserving family. In the end the result looked wonderful and the team picked up the bill, covering the $31 000 price tag.

I wonder what we could achieve in our backyard with $31 000. I reckon we’d just brick pave the entire area. We are definitely the world’s worst gardeners.

We have a very nicely designed backyard. It’s on two levels with a brick paved area, some grass and some garden beds. The garden beds are full of weeds. Come to think of it so is the lawn. And now that you mention it, there are weeds growing through the gaps in the brick paving.

The plants we’d like to keep alive in our garden die with monotonous regularity. The weeds we could well do without, thrive.

I wish we knew what we were doing in the garden but we’re hopeless. I’d be more than happy to have gardening skills, or the money to pay someone who has, but without either it looks like I’ll just keep trying to poison the weeds in the garden beds and in the paving and mowing down the ones in the lawn.

What a shame Backyard Blitz never decided to play with our little piece of the planet.

Are you a gardener? Do you have green thumbs? Can you keep the right kinds of plants alive at your place?

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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What a welcome

What’s the best welcome you’ve ever received?

The photo in this post shows the most remarkable welcome I was ever given. It was taken in India back in 2003 when a close friend and I were there as guests of the Bible Society.

It was our first visit to India and I’d just finished cycling from Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal , to Delhi. The ride was part of a ‘rally’ for Peace, Prosperity and Harmony in India. I was the only Australian cyclist among a team of Indian riders.

I knew that I was a ‘guest of honour’ of sorts but I didn’t realise the full impact of that until we arrived at India Gate in Delhi to see hundreds of school children waving flags and banners as well as holding up messages of welcome.

The welcome certainly wasn’t just for me or our team. It was the Bible Society’s 50th Anniversary of working in the north of India and so there were many church officials and even the Chief Minister of Delhi there as part of the celebrations.

As we cycled towards the assembled crowd I started noticing a few signs with my name on them. They read “Welcome Mr Rodney Olsen to Peace, Prosperity and Harmony for our Nation.” You can click on the photo to see a larger view of the sign.

Being so far from home and having just completed a rather amazing ride I must say that the event took my breath away.

I was interviewed by local media and greeted by all the officials. It was surreal.

What’s the most amazing welcome you’ve ever received? Maybe you felt nervous the first time you met your partner’s family only to find you were welcomed with open arms. Have you ever been given a welcome you didn’t expect?

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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Vanessa Hudgens' Naked Apology

Disney’s High School Musical brand and one of its major stars, 18 year old Vanessa Hudgens, have suffered a major blow with nude photos of Vanessa appearing all over the internet.

It seems that Hudgens took the photos herself for ‘private use’ but they’ve ended up all over the world.

Unfortunately she is now learning that there are many things that once done, cannot be undone. The damage to her very wholesome reputation amongst her mainly pre-teen fans is immense. She seems to have realised that she made some foolish choices and has apologised but the photos are out there now and there is now no real way to contain the damage.

She has released a statement which says,

“I want to apologise to my fans, whose support and trust means the world to me.

I am embarrassed over this situation and regret having ever taken these photos. I am thankful for the support of my family and friends.”

I hope that she is able to move on from this but I also hope that she can use this instance as a warning not to follow the path of so many other teen stars whose behaviour has spun out of control. Stardom so young seems to be a very difficult thing to handle and there aren’t too many examples of the young and famous who have coped well with the money and adoration that flows from a world obsessed with fame.

My 11 year old daughter is a big High School Musical fan and I’ve just had to discuss the whole incident with her. I know that the news will continue to spread and that she will hear it sooner or later so I wanted to discuss with her before it became playground gossip.

It seems that we often hear of famous people who have compromising photos or videos leaked to the wider world.

I have a hint for all the young stars, starlets and wannabees. If you want to avoid the embarrassment of naked photos or videos of you appearing online, don’t take photos or videos of yourself while naked. Also, don’t allow others to take photos or video of you while naked. Not that difficult I would have thought.

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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