Monday, May 21, 2012

It's been a long time coming, and such a time it's been

It's been one year since I've "blogged", and while I find that hard to believe, when I look back on how busy and event filled the past year (+) has been I'm not surprised I've had little creative energy to type my thoughts. I haven't had the desire to write, let alone share my journey with others who keep me accountable to being honest with what I share. I have missed though the opportunities to verbally process,  analyse events in my life and share things which I myself find encouraging in retrospect.

Thank you to those who have read my blog during this time of silence! For those who have (and know me on the other side of the keyboard), thank you for your encouragement to keep going and start to write again.

... so, to pick up where I left off...

I was listening to Nicky Gumble this morning on my way to work. He recently shared a sermon at Holy Trinity Brompton on the subject of "Friendship". It was an incredibly insightful talk, and one which got me thinking a great deal. One of the comments he made was that church shouldn't just be friendly, it should be a place where we can make friends. Growing up in a church where we were encouraged to be friendly to new people, this quote resounded within me, because being friendly is easy (or at least most of the time it is for me) what isn't as easy though is actually being willing to befriend people. We do need to make more of an effort to be people who are inclusive in our relationships. We need to be people that create environments where deep, lasting and meaningful friendships can occur. This is a thought I'm going to ponder more in the months ahead, especially as I seek to grow areas within our church where friendships can flourish.

Also, a quick update. I have my puppy back (who is quite content as he snoozes on his mat as I type), I have a new home, I'm glad for the opportunity to investigate teachings on the Holy Spirit away from a church which considers this the norm, and I'm learning to be vulnerable with more people. Life still isn't perfect, but I'm also glad it will never be.

Oh, and even more of a big update, as I type this my husband of eight months is working steadily away in the next room. How blessed I am to have married this man (who incidentally is the first man I ever blogged about :). Happy days.




Thursday, May 19, 2011

adrian plass's cat

I'm doing a Leonard Thynn this afternoon and borrowing a friend's dog (for those who aren't familiar with the reference, it's from Adrian Plass's diaries where one of the characters (Leonard) would borrow his cat).

I miss my puppy, I miss my home, I miss people I can go to for prayer. I never thought I'd say it, but I'm missing going to a charismatic church (as much as I love my current one, no church is perfect).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

contentment vs complacency

I've been a bad blogger recently with a huge delay in posts - often writing them in my head or down on a piece of paper rather than typing them out. My reasons for this are many, but boil down to one thing - I've been working things out in private, but am now ready to start writing again.

Earlier this year I moved to Sydney, Australia after living and reviving in my home town for three years. In the past year before I moved the line between contentment and complacency was my struggle (along with many others!).

The past 6 months has been incredible. An amazing man has come into my life in a new way - an incredible friend for ten years has finally stepped up to the plate and said how great he thinks I am :), I've had a trip to New Zealand and have started a job, left a job, and am now about to start a new one. I've joined a church to which I sooo look forward to going to each week and am learning more and more about life. I'm also flatting for the first time in my life! (so add to the list before house hunting)

The past 6 months has been filled with unexpected challenges. Along with getting to know someone in a new way, I've walked the journey of being open with my folks in a new way about how I/we are going. I've started to struggle with anxiety at times again and dealing with other medical issues has been an expensive enterprise.

The past 6 months I've been carried. I feel incredibly taken care of by God during these past 6 months especially. With two 12 hour car rides, an international trip, a job search (x2), a job in which I faced ethical issues, new relationships, a new city and the building of love there is a lot that could have gone wrong... and it hasn't. Yes, there's still a big journey ahead, but I am astounded by how well things have gone with apparently little effort.

The now is full of goals. I want a mentor, an older spiritually wise woman to develop with. I want to be a great example and worker in my new job. I want to be an awesome girlfriend until that transitions into something more. I want to find a hobby to be creatively fulfilled in. I want a sport that doesn't hurt my knee. I want to enjoy each moment. I want to grow more in my knowledge, love and devotion to Jesus. I want to make friends and be a good friend.

The line between contentment and complacency is likely to always be a journey, although for me the journey of trust is likely to be greater. I'm glad though, so very glad, that I made the move to Sydney and moved out of complacency towards contentment. I want to be content, but never complacent.

(a shout out to my most regular follower here - I hope that this post is less disapointing than my last one!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Shortcuts to losing integrity

In a month’s time I start work again as a PA, with the added role of Director of Administration. This is pretty cool, however, I’m learning in my current role that administrative short cuts have long term consequences… especially when it comes to audits.



I started to have queasy feelings about my job in my first week, wondering if things were all above board or not, and as the months have progressed I’ve come to see that all is not as is required. The interesting thing is that this is not because of any wilful decision, rather, a set of circumstances that have happened because corners were cut. Paperwork not done because it was too hard to figure out what needed doing, getting one person to do something instead of two because while checks and balances were required two staff was more hassle and things like that.



All of these things could be rectified with time and effort, but they haven’t been and now there is a mess. A mess which I am gladly leaving behind!



I’m challenged and thankful for this series of events and the administrative nightmare I find myself in. Thankful because it’s a great lesson to learn when I am not at fault before I start taking over administrative processes within an organisation and challenged because I can see how easy it has been for this to happen. I notice the things inside of me changing and thinking that it’s not as big of a deal as it really is… Losing integrity is a slippery slope that often you don’t know you’ve been sliding down before you hit the bottom.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Harlot Within us All

In the modern world, one of the most horrendous and soul shattering things to have happen to you is your partner cheating... the violation of trust, the breaking of bonds and the emotional fallout is mammoth. Even just to try to comprehend what it must feel like is almost impossible for me - and I'd rather not think on it for too long.

In tonight's home group we looked at Hosea and the unfathomable story of Gomer and her continuing abandonment of their relationship. We discussed the meta-narrative. We discussed the context, intention and text. We discussed grace that is given within difficult situations, incomprehensible from the outside. We admitted that there are somethings we'll never completely understand...

What struck me though in summing up the story is this: I sin. There are some areas where I continually sin and think "oh no, not again!". God views sin as sin, to Him areas where I fail, time and time again, are no different to the sins of Gomer - all of us have fallen short, and all of us will continue to. "But by the grace of God there go I" etc.

The book of Hosea is a book speaking of God's unremitting love for Isreal - it personally though shows me that I can always come back to God and say "I did it again, and I'm sorry - please forgive me." Furthermore, like Hosea taking back Gomer as his wife (not just slave etc. . . but in full as his wife) and the Father welcoming back his son (the Prodigal Son) who expected to be a servant in the household, so he too says to us "my child".

We are all harlots in different ways, we all have areas where we fail, and when we stop failing there the chances are we'll fail somewhere else. . . none of us are perfect - but it's our imperfections which help us to admit we need God.

For this revelation I am very thankful tonight.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Opportunities and Energy

I have six weeks until I finish the role from which I've resigned. Six weeks to finish well, cement friendships, apply for new jobs and consider what's next. It's a very daunting period in my life... something that I have been surprised by though is the levels of disappointment that I find myself going through.

It's been a long time since I've been a job seeker. To be honest, I haven't found it too hard to get a job thus far in my life and so the experience of applying for jobs is a daunting one. I've given one job application a really good go - and didn't even get an interview! There's one for the humility bank let me tell you... I find myself needing to get out and give more things a go - thus more applications, more time, more energy.

What's cool is that every now and then a job pops up that I'm actually quite interested in... but then it's the energy that's needed to give it a good go, with the knowledge that there's a lot of other people out there hunting too.

So, just as with relationships I must enter the same state of mind with my job search - "well God, if not this then you have something else - right?"

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Standing

After an incredible day out with my best mate, we came back to my place for a cup of tea - in doing so I checked my email and was shocked by an email that was sitting in my work account. It was, without a doubt, an email out of the blue from someone I haven't had contact with in at least 7 years, and haven't been in a relationship with for 10.

I was glad that my best mate was there, she read it - went "this can't be real" and promptly rang her dad for him to read the email and ensure that I didn't reply in haste. Even now, after some time since reading it I still feel like I'm reeling - not only because it's something that has left me feeling like I'm 17 again with all the angst of an event I blamed myself for, but because I wonder if I'm fit to have any relationship in light of my relationship history.

In a service tonight though I heard the hymn "my hope is built on nothing less" and I currently have Delirious's version of it on repeat in the background on my iPod. The words remind me that it's not about me. He has taken away all the shame I felt about that relationship, how I didn't handle it well and that I can stand in Christ, redeemed, sheltered and loved. Most of all, loved.

Yes, voices from our past can come back in real time, but I'm thankful for the voices of friends that keep reminding me of the truth. I'm also just praying for a person that was once very close to me and has been through some very, very tough things.

I am also thankful that while I don't feel like much else can happen at the moment or many more rugs pulled from under me, I'm dancing on the shifting carpet much better than I used to...

"My Hope is Built on Nothing Less"
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874

1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Hymn #370
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: 1 Timothy 1:1
Author: Edward Mote, c. 1834, cento
Composer: John Stainer, 1873, arr.
Tune: "Magdalen"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Being Fed

Sunday nights at one of the Irish pubs in town is $6 porterhouse steak and chips night. A really, really good steak, cooked the way I like it and with $2 veggies that are enough to share with three people a very, very nice feed. What makes it so great though is the company in which I share this meal on Sunday nights - my folks. It's becoming a regular thing to head out with them and chat while we eat over our pints of Kilkenny (me), Guinness (dad) and glass of red (mom).

One of the things that we chatted about tonight was the sermons which I listen to on a very regular basis from HTB (Holy Trinity Brompton). These sermons, (which I'm sure I refer to often!) are an amazing source of encouragement, challenge and edification to me. What I love so much about them though is the perspective and life which they bring from so many areas. The vastness of the HTB ministry brings a depth which is truly unique, without losing track of the main thing being the main thing.

HTB sermons for me is also such a huge need in my life right now because I've been very irregular in my own church attendance. This is something that I find very difficult, because I believe that we do need a community in which to live our our Christianity. Yes, I'm very regular at my home group - but Sunday church is becoming a once a fortnight affair (and sometimes less than that). The reasons behind this are clear to me - and something that I'm working on - but again, what is so great is that I can talk about this with my folks... and be released by them saying "it's ok - we know it's just for a season".

On this Sunday night I'm feeling very well fed - in body and spirit.

p.s. the soundtrack to this post is Powderfinger's live concert from the other week :) It was awesome that they recorded the concert and sold the cd at the end of it!

Friday, October 22, 2010

C-Day

Today was my C-Day, also known as "the day of confrontation". I went to bed last night praying that today would be skipped and that I would wake up in time for running class on Saturday.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I woke up as per usual this morning and whilst I lay in bed longer than is good when one wants to get to work on time, got to work. Work wasn't the hard thing about today, the hard thing, the C thing was an appointment I had partway through the day where I needed to ask someone for a few thousand dollars back because a specialist had seen the work that they'd completed on me and said a) it was shoddy and b) it needed to be redone c) more work also now needed to be done.

The thing which gets me is this: while I've been praying (and others have been praying more than I have) maybe what God wanted to do in me was deeper than just the healing we've been praying for (although, still praying for that...) maybe the work that God has been doing on my character has been, to him, that's been just as or more important.

On wednesday, the day I saw the specialist, I read the following from Holy Trinity Brompton (and it sums up what I'm getting at better than I could!):

Hard Times

Smith Wigglesworth was a remarkable man. He was born on 8 June 1859 to an impoverished family in Yorkshire. As a small child, he worked in the fields pulling turnips alongside his mother. He also worked in factories. During his childhood he was illiterate. In 1882 he married Polly, who taught him to read. He often stated that the Bible was the only book he ever read.

He was a plumber by trade but had to abandon it after he became too busy with an amazing ministry of preaching and healing. There are even accounts of people being raised from the dead through his ministry. Yet he said on one occasion that he would rather see one person saved through his preaching than ten thousand healed.

Life was not always easy for Smith Wigglesworth. He went through hard times. He wrote, ‘Great faith is a product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.’

The Bible is very realistic. We live in a fallen world. Everyone goes through hard times. Some people find themselves in circumstances that make life hard pretty much all of the time.

1. Affliction and smears

Suffering is never good in itself, but God is able to use it for good. C.S. Lewis said that ‘it is [God’s] megaphone to rouse a deaf world’. The psalmist says, ‘Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word’ (v.67).

The fact that he was going through hard times did not make him doubt God’s goodness: ‘You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees’ (v.68).

Criticism is never easy to receive. Unfair criticism is even harder. He writes, ‘Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart’ (v.69). The attack has come from the arrogant, those whose ‘hearts are callous and unfeeling’ (v.70). Yet, in the midst of this, the psalmist finds ‘delight’ in God’s words.

He is able to see that God has actually used his affliction. ‘It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold’ (vv.71-72).

God sometimes uses ‘affliction’ to build our character. One image used by the New Testament is that of disciplining children. The writer of Hebrews says that ‘Our parents disciplined us for a while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness’ (Hebrews 12:10).

Peter uses a different image: that of a metal worker refining silver and gold. He writes that his readers may all ‘have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials’ (1 Peter 1:6). He goes on to explain why God allows this: ‘These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed’ (v.7).

Lord, thank you that as we look back on our lives we can often see the way in which you have used the hard times. Thank you that we do not need to be concerned when we are ‘smeared with lies’. Thank you that we need not be surprised by the arrogant, whose hearts are callous and unfeeling. Rather, they should drive us closer to you and cause us to delight in your words. Thank you Lord that the words of your mouth are more precious than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Second Opinions

Today I got a second opinion. An opinion from someone who was a specialist in an area which I needed advice on work completed, and direction as to what steps needed to be taken. While the advice provided was good, the follow through action is difficult. It involves confrontation, an explanation of why something isn't barely adequate and confidence.

I'm not great on confrontation - when it's on behalf of someone else I'm comfortable, and at times even calculated - when it's personal, I'm not so good.

So when we have an event where we do need to step up to the plate, how is it best handled? When one has sought to act with integrity and trusted others through a difficult process, how does one best behave when that trust is broken and compensation needs to occur?

I don't quite know... all I know is that life seems to be getting bigger with every day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Carried in the moment

Over the past week I've really felt "carried". There have been some big things going on, and big days too - for example tomorrow, in addition to starting the day with a 6am training session I have a specialists appointment and a meeting with my course coordinator regarding a 300 hour subject I've started (to finish in 7 weeks while working full time...). Days are currently filled and work has more to do than time to do it in.

I'm very much aware of needing to keep my eyes in the now, because if I don't, I'm swamped in a feeling of an overwhelming thick cloud.

The coming months will bring huge change in my life, and, the possibility of more change! All of this known change is good (and so too is the possible change), I've resigned my job, am moving and will be looking for a new church, new home group, new job and place to live (with my lovely dog!). Add into that all the things that need to happen prior to moving, like finishing well at work, packing and at some stage having a holiday...

Despite the overwhelm, I'm so glad for the journey and am looking forward to the days to come. I'm encouraged to make time to get away, "be" and focus. To enjoy the simple things and yet keep "the main thing the main thing". So, if I'm not blogging (and have been slack on blogging) it's not because things are bad, it's just that things are big.

I definitely feel "carried in the moment" but when I start to look ahead, like Peter, begin to drown. Here's to keep on focusing on one step at a time... or even the step I'm taking?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

which path

The end of this year will be the beginning of a large transition in my life. What is both daunting and exciting as I start to think about this though is that I'm not sure what is next...
  • Do I make my role a profession and enter a higher up role within a larger firm in a big city
  • Do I move to something not for profit with beliefs and visions which match my own, and provide a base for things I'd like to do later in life
  • Do I change roles and enter something in training and developing adult learners
  • Do I...??
I'm at the stage where I want to know which path is right, but in the mean time am just knocking on all of the doors to see which one opens!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"It's coming round again
The slowly creeping hand
Of time and its command
Soon enough it comes
and settles in its place
Its shadow in my face
Puts pressure in my day

This life well it's slipping right through my hands
These days turned out nothing like I had planned"

These are some of the lyrics to a band that I went to see on Saturday night. It was a brilliant concert, but I can't get these lyrics and tune out of my head at the moment.... because they're so true. These days are turning out nothing like I had planned.

I have no other words than those this evening.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Anger

Almost every day I’m invited through various means to indulge my carnal lusts through internet activities and viewings – in fact, this blog is written because of my most recent invitation.

I’ve heard that the pornography industry is America’s largest industry, and just like junk food I can blatantly see the marketing:
a) flood the market
b) get people to think that it’s ok and won’t hurt them and
c) get them addicted.

Junk food of the mind can be just as addictive as junk food of the body – all the sugar which leaves us ill, bloated, corpulent and lazy.

I’m really very thankful for the teaching I participated recently in regards to the Theology of the Body which has helped my own journey in the desire to be pure, mind, body and action – but I’m angry at those who wish to corrupt for their own gain and who ruin some great people’s lives because of the devastation their “un-harmful” habits create.

Anger

Almost every day I’m invited through various means to indulge my carnal lusts through internet activities and viewings – in fact, this blog is written because of my most recent invitation.

I’ve heard that the pornography industry is America’s largest industry, and just like junk food I can blatantly see the marketing:
a) flood the market
b) get people to think that it’s ok and won’t hurt them and
c) get them addicted.

Junk food of the mind can be just as addictive as junk food of the body – all the sugar which leaves us ill, bloated, corpulent and lazy.

I’m really very thankful for the teaching I participated recently in regards to the Theology of the Body which has helped my own journey in the desire to be pure, mind, body and action – but I’m angry at those who wish to corrupt for their own gain and who ruin some great people’s lives because of the devastation their “un-harmful” habits create.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The power of bad experiences

I have in front of me the possibility of something in which to really sink my teeth. Something which would require a great deal of commitment, drive, passion and vision - but two experiences such as this in the past are hindering my current view.

I've fully committed to something twice in my life - and twice have walked away broken and hurt and doubting myself and doubting God.

Yet, this situation is completely different to either of the ones I refer to above. Even though, as in the past there's the similarities of being excited about the possibilities and also seeing a huge purpose in giving it a huge go.

So, how does one learn, yet not be held back from a completely different experience by past endeavors gone wrong? Not to be too scared to give something else a try and to put all your energies into it knowing how its affected you in the past when you've done the same and it's all hit the fan.

I don't have the answer. But I do know that I need to look through new lenses at the future and try to learn from the experiences without being influenced by them.

To actually grow.

Friday, September 10, 2010

When our strengths are our biggest weaknesses.

By trade I’m a person who organises others – in particular, organises one high level professional and runs a ship shape office (in her own quirky way – I’m no Debbie Fiderer though!). Organization is a skill which I’ve cultivated and one which has also grown within me – professional organization that is. Its tendrils slip their way into my personal life though – often in an annoying way - I like to know what’s what, where things are heading and what I’m doing and what others are doing – I’m sure it’s a pain to my friends, but while I like to be phlegmatic at times my normal work way of doing things takes over!

It’s interesting though that my one of my current “biggest” strengths is also my current “BIGGEST” weakness. I’m struggling with trusting others with the organization. Primarily, but not exclusively, trusting God in the organization. The organization of my life, the organization of my relationships, the organization of my peace.

It’s a journey I’m really struggling with to be honest. I’d like to have all the pieces of the pie together and all of the bits of string untangled, actually, I’d settle for not having the ball untangled and just knowing what each of the different pieces of string are…

So the question is – how am I dealing with this huge weakness? Not as well as one may hope unfortunately! However, through prayer and loads of it – but also through asking others to walk the journey with me and pray with me, for me, and for everyone affected by it.

It’s an odd combination – half being phlegmatic and wanting to go with the flow, the other half struggling against the unknown and knowing that rest will not happen until I just let go.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Juggling

Quite some time ago I made a poster with all of these pictures of people juggling. You see the thing about juggling is this – your eye can’t be on what’s being juggled, but must be at the highest point. The poster has the caption “where is your focus”.

As I look at that poster now, bluetak’d to my wall at work, I’m thankful for the reminder. I have a lot of things right now which are clamouring for my focus – one in particular pulls at my heartstrings like nothing else – but my focus can’t be on that. It can’t be on next year. It can’t be on relationships. It can’t be on what’s going to happen which I can’t control… it MUST be on God.

Jesus, be the centre, be the source, be the light, my Jesus… my Saviour.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Sharing the Sunshine!


So wish I could share the sunshine of spring with everyone right now - the sun is shining, the birds are singing and my heart is dancing. It's a grand day.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Pull over, stop and let's pray

These were the words a friend said tonight and it reflects not only what we did (or she did as she drove and spoke to me on her phone) but also what I feel I need to do - now, and for the next little while.

Pull Over: Slow down, check your lanes, see where you can park. Assess the situation. Know where you're at.

Stop: don't do anything

Pray: Invite others to be part of the journey. Most importantly though, ask God.

As someone who tends to jump into things wholeheartedly, going slow can be an issue, especially, going slow when there's no sight of speeding up any time soon! However, one of the first scriptures I ever memorised was Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" and I think now is the time to start hearing those words again.

(I also liked some of the quotes I read on this page: http://www.christians.org/grow/grow02.html)

Monday, August 30, 2010

The best day...


Last night I fell asleep to Taylor Swift’s “The best day” – a song which completely summed up how I felt… and feel : “I had the best day, with you, today.”

For the past 3 weeks my brother closest in age to me has been staying with us, on summer break vacation from his studies in Canada. It has been amazing to have him as part of our “every day” lives again. What stands out so much though is how natural it all was – and for this I’m even more thankful! I’m outstandingly proud of him, not only what he’s doing but who he is as a person – and it was great just to “chill” with him again, as once we did so often.

Taylor Swift’s song has a line in it: “God smiles on my older brother, inside and out he’s better than I am”. I can’t agree more – not only with this brother, but all of them. Each are different, but each are amazing (you can’t hardly tell I’m a little sister can you?) No – not perfect, but pretty darn great.

Yesterday was the absolute cap to his time with us. We had a family brunch in the morning and finished the day with playing Dominion late into the night. With two of my brothers, my incredible sister-in-law, my parents and I just enjoying each other – enjoying the time together – enjoying the fact that we are family, and together we had the best day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Over Time

I'm in the process of backing up my 5 year old laptop to wipe and restore - hopefully making it a wee bit faster and prolong its life somewhat. In doing so, I've come across a project which, 2.5 years ago took considerable time. It's a photo book filled with events spanning 4 years.

I mention it because now, when I go to print it, I realise that the service closed in June of this year. All that work, through my own slackness to finish a project, is wasted. I'm not quite sure what to think!

Of course I'm a bit miffed at myself, but I'm also giving myself a fair bit of grace - there was always a reason I didn't want to print that book - always an excuse to hold me back... but now, well, now I there's no more excuses, unless I do it all again with another provider, its too late.

Time is funny that way. Some things we really do think we can take forever on and it won't really matter. Other things we procrastinate on for reasons we would rather not confess, and still other items we hold off of on purpose.

The first is often incorrect - it sometimes does matter and in cases like this photo book, delay can be death. The second is valid at times, perhaps an awkward conversation we'd rather not have, or thinking about the issue is easier than not - but this too can have it's evils. A sore tooth which we avoid visiting the dentist about, may once have been able to be fixed by a simple filling but in choosing not to think about and action it may then have to be pulled when the dentist is finally consulted. Burrying our head in the sand does not often help. The third and last point is something in full knowledge that we choose to avoid - knowing and thinking through all the consequences. Again the problem is this - we don't know the future and can't always forsee the consequences. One might choose to be angry with someone - and then - that someone may die. Or, one may choose not to tell someone you love them and really, all the time they were just waiting for you to. For better or for worse we live with our decisions.

My point is this: Over time things change - sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and sometimes irrevocably, and our lack of action can have consequences which we don't forsee.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Carry you to Jesus

I will not pretend to feel the pain you’re going through
I know I cannot comprehend the hurt you’ve known
And I used to think it mattered if I understood
But now I just don’t know

Well, I’ll admit sometimes I still wish I knew what to say
And I keep looking for a way to fix it all
But we know we’re at the mercy of God’s higher ways
And our ways are so small

But I will carry you to Jesus
He is everything you need
I will carry you to Jesus on my knees

It’s such a privilege for me to give this gift to you
All I’d ever hope you’d give me in return
Is to know that you’ll be there to do the same for me
When the tables turn

And if you need to cry go on and I, I will cry along with you, yeah
I’ve given you what I have but still I know the best thing I can do
Is just pray for you

I’ll carry you
I’ll take you to Jesus on my knees
Lyrics by Stephen Curtis Chapman

amusing

One would think that every major state newspaper today would be headlining the Australian Election results (or lack there of as the case may be)... one would think. The Northern Territory's headlines today bucked the trend though and have provided us with the following front page. An amusing start to the week:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I was doing some research on the web and in the process checked out my old church in Hong Kong’s website. I got the biggest pang of nostalgia I can remember in a long time.

I really, really miss my church. I also miss Hong Kong – not what I did there or where I worked, but Hong Kong as a place and city to live. Many of my memories are incredibly fond and while part of me is still recovering from aspects of what happened when I lived there, I would live there again in a heartbeat. I even miss the smells walking down a humid street...

I could do anything at the end of this year – there are so many options that are open to me and things that are possibilities. Do I restrict my options to a direction which I’m currently leaning, or do I instead go “yes, I loved this place, and if it happens again that I move there great – but for now – God – anywhere and anything I’m yours”. It’s a matter of trust – and yes, as someone’s recently reminded me – risk too.

I find myself thankful for the journey that I’m walking with God, my parents and close friends right now – it’s not comfortable, but I have to keep on reminding myself that it’s good. It’s very good.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

bliss

"what are you thinking about" "tomorrow" - these are the last words of my favorite TV Series, The West Wing - a series which I tend to watch all the way through, about once or twice a year. I don't skip through to my favorite parts, even though I know it so well, but I love the progression and watch it season by season through from Year 1 - 7.

Tonight, we watched the final episode and it was, if I do say so myself, the perfect cap to a great weekend.

The weekend started on Friday night, having the neighbors over for dinner. A full on, but delightful experience with two very energetic young boys! The next morning started with this:
Breakfast with my mother - french toast, maple syrup, ice cream, strawberries and banana - Yum... with tea of course! The book you can see is James Herriot's fantastic book (or all his books in one I should say) another of my favorite things to go through every now and then.

I bought my niece's third birthday present, went for a 3 hour ride down at the farm, found a lost paper which I sorely needed (!!) and then had a movie night with my best mates, followed by a brilliant late night phone call with excellent and exciting news from a friend.

This morning started with an incredible church service - it was a church that I hadn't been to much before and as I turned up late, could hear the choir singing from outside - as I looked at the building, the stain glass windows and smelling the flowers on the spring breeze while hearing "Then Sings my Soul" it couldn't but be a grand day.

The sermon was on Joshua - and trust, which I thought was an interesting coincidence considering the pondering of my mind lately.... a huge walk with my dog and an amazing find for Sunday night dinners - $6 porterhouse steak with chips and gravy ($2 extra if you want veg) at my fav. pub for which I shouted my parents and I.

As I lie in bed and write this entry of my weekend I am thankful. My mind and heart are still jumping from point to point, wandering and confused about much more than I'd like to admit - but content. Content that I can still enjoy so many little things which make a great thing, and content that when I step back, away from the turmoil of my mind (which is naught but my own making sometimes) and reflect upon the Maker of heaven and earth - God is in control... and he IS worthy of my trust.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Follow up Quote

Quote given by a friend in follow up to the last post:

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear.” Mark Twain

F.E.A.R.

I heard yesterday of a colleague whose new car was slammed into while she was stationery - an awful thing for anyone, but it shot waves of horror through me as my dog usually occupies the back of my hatchback. It would be an awfully painful death for him if that ever happened, and even the thought of it makes me question travelling with him places.

Yet, sides of cars are pranged into all the time - does that stop parents from putting children in cars – no, and the thought of an unlikely situation shouldn’t stop me travelling with my dog either. You weigh up the risks (or try to avoid thinking of them) and in most cases do an action anyway.

Fear is a massive thing. It can paralyse us from doing things - it can greatly hinder our lives.

But fear isn't where it has to stop. As Ambrose Redmoon said "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."

Fear is: Fully Engaged, Actively Risking. Actively risking because we believe that something is more important than the things that held us back, but fully engaged in the moment, reasoning, activity and outcome.

Life can be awfully scary, but if fear holds us back we'll have more regrets than we could ever imagine. Example: I'm not a fan of flying - it holds many of my weaknesses in one action: Saying goodbye to those I love, being out of control, death, and at times loss. But if I let this fear hold me back I'd never have gotten to my Nan's funeral, never experienced amazing cultures and people, never had some unforgettable moments with some very precious friends. Every time I fly I have fear – but it’s the actively risking while being fully engaged which helps me through it.
There’s a lot more things more important in life than fear, and we shouldn’t let it hold us back from experiencing them.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pop, Praise and Protests

This isn't going to be an essay on modern culture, as interesting as that would be (to write at least!) it's more a one sided discussion based on two discussions this morning which have led me to sit down and blog my Praise and Protests.

Praise first:
Has anyone heard Stan Walker's new single "Choose You"? In my opinion it is an exceptional song - lyrics, music, tempo - everything - and if you don't like it while there's no accounting for taste, listen to the lyrics at the very least.

In a culture where love is a feeling and being with someone is to make life better for yourself, Stan's song cuts right across this in an upbeat and encouraging way. I Choose You speaks of the daily act that it sometimes is to love someone - whether it be your partner or even someone within your family. It speaks of the true nature of love in a culturally applicable and relevant manner. People may not sit down and read "the five love languages" but they will listen to this song... Brilliant.

Protest:
I read my first "christian romance" novel in many, many months last week and was appalled by it. Not the writing per say, and it wasn't a bad book, but nothing about it except for a few scriptures spattered through it was Christian. What is Christian about creating longing within someone for the unattainable and writing in some cases what could be considered "soft porn for the christian woman"? That last description is a quote from someone who I discussed this with this morning and completely agree - guys won't get this statement but I think girls will - some of the descriptions entice you to daydream in an unhealthy manner, to be the woman that "Mr Perfect" is gazing at with a burning intensity held back from passionately ripping your clothes off (as he might once have done, which was explained earlier in the book) only by his recent conversion and respect for your modesty in a public setting... I hope that last sentence raises the chuckle as it was meant to - and for some to appreciate that it's not too far off what's being written in modern "christian" romance books.

I have a friend who, while married, spends most of her life with her nose in one of these books - I'm all for reading, but the unrealistic and harmful expectations this genre is creating is woeful. Yes, there are a few great authors writing some great stuff out there - but others skirt so closely to what is not edifying and justify it by the love interest converting to Christianity at the end of the book is shocking. I should say, a few of my favorite books have been Christian romances, but after my recent entrance back into the genre after a break I'll be a lot more discerning in my choices.

I'm reminded of a speaker who held a session with single girls in 2003 at a conference on Christian World View I attended - she was asked "what is the best advice you can give a single Christian female" - it was this "don't read christian romances". At the time I phoo phoo'd the comment and said "sure, that's true for some, but not for me" I'm starting to rethink that thought.

I also think that an apology should be made by some authors for always "converting" the man - too many women (some of my friends included) go out with non-Christians thinking that they will convert them (after all... it always happens in the books) - it's un-Biblical and rarely ends up as initially hoped.

Enough of my rant - I'd be interested in what you think though.

On a more personal note:
The break in blogging hasn't been because of anything bad - life is good and aside for a few decisions to make on the horizon, all is very well.

I had holidays recently and took the week off for a stay-cation, reading, listening to teaching on JP2's Theology of the Body, cooking and generally doing things I don't get to do whilst working - twas excellent and most enjoyed.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Compose my life and may it be

I've been thinking a lot lately about how choices can impact our lives in ways that we can't even imagine - not so much the Sliding Doors thing where if you get on a train or don't what changes in your life, more so the relationships that we have and how these influence us enormously.

This train of thought was enhanced tonight by a random conversation with a long time acquaintance when I went to read a book in Gloria Jeans. We had a great discussion. We talked philosophy, theology, books and a few things besides. When we talked it was like a different segment of my brain came out to play for a while - the part of my brain which loves these things, but doesn't often get the chance to discuss them in quite this manner... I want to talk more, have more conversations like this, read more, delve more, discover more, contemplate more and let those things change me. When I talk to this person it's like all of this is possible and that part of my brain is very happy for being let out to play.

It made me think about how who we talk to, let influence our lives and what we dwell upon can change the course of our life... in the simple way that that some people can make us feel adventurous - we want to be more physical and do more outdoors stuff after being with them or hop on the next plane to Cambodia just because it's a place you haven't been before - with others you might tap into your domestic side and just want to cook or talk family or knit a scarf - others, like this person tonight, made me want to THINK. All of those things, adventurous, domestic, contemplative are part of who I am, but different people bring different things to the fore.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

IF

Life has a lot of "choose this or that" options, and sometimes we don't get it right. When we don't know which option to choose, or we doubt that we'll make the wise and prudent choice, often we seek counsel of those wiser and more experienced than ourselves. I'm so thankful for the giants in my life who provide advice, (sought or not at times!) and while in the end the choices are mine to make and outworkings of decisions mine to live with, I've more of a blessed life due to the trusted people in it.

Many years ago though I read this poem, IF, by Rudyard Kipling. I've loved it ever since and in some ways have to admit it's been a bit of a compass point with how I handle situations - I'm not a man, but I am a human and seek to be a better one.


IF.....



IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!



Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Sonnet 14

This evening whilst packing I picked up one of my first collectible books, Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It's one of those books I love, not only for the memories and typed contents, but also the exquisite craftsmanship. It's in a hand molded gold case, with the book itself being bound in Italy with a rich red fabric cover, embroidered with flowers. I picked it up tonight, looking for something comfortable and beautiful and read the poem below, a poem that I think many of us would agree with.

Sonnets from the Portuguese 14

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
I love her for her smile ... her look ... her way
Of speaking gently, ... for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day'—
For these things in themselves, Belov├Ęd, may
Be changed, or change for thee,—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,—
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.

I fly out tomorrow to New Zealand and I'm dreading feeling alone. It's the one outstanding emotion I remember from my Pop's funeral, sobbing at the grave site as he was buried - clinging to a cousin who I hardly knew. As we say goodbye to my grandma, I'm sorry my children will never meet her, that she will never have the chance to meet the husband whom for years she has prayed, and that I will never get to tell her one more time how much she's loved.

Every time I think about her death I feel ill to my stomach. Nan's always been there, a constant in an inconsistent world, loving each of her children and grandchildren for who they were, for who we are - exactly what Elizabeth Barrett Browning is speaking about in this sonnet. The love we hope for in a lover is the same hope we have for our friendships and family. It's a theme that's just as relevant today as it was in the 1800's when EBB penned the sonnett, echoed in today's pop culture by Blessid Union of the Soul's song "She likes me for me".

And yet, as I reflect upon these thoughts, I'm reminded that Nan did know how much she was loved, and one day, one day we will all be together and pain and tears shall be no more, and we will all know how very much we are loved.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

a lifetime ending a world away

As I write this post the life of someone very dear to me is slipping away - the only person who calls me Beth.

God be with you Nan, I hope you pull through.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I'm not alright

If weakness is a wound
that no one wants to speak of
Then "cool" is just how far we have to fall

I am not immune,
I only want to be loved
But I feel safe behind the firewall

Can I lose my need impress?
If you want the truth I need to confess

I'm not alright, I'm broken inside

I called a friend from my hotel room last night because I felt like I was crumbling. If you can imagine a person made of sand and the wind blowing hard disintegrating what was once a visible form – that’s how I felt.

At church that morning the pastor shared a word which struck me quite closely on a number of fronts, afterward when I was chatting to him, he offered to pray for me and I gladly said yes.

After church I spent time with a mate and while with him it wasn’t an issue, but walking into my hotel room alone I crumbled and couldn’t stop crying. I would have done anything for a hug, to have somebody with me just at that moment.

I felt broken. I don’t like brokenness. I really don’t like brokenness when I’m alone and it’s just me and my thoughts.

So after an hour I phoned my friend and asked her to pray with me – pray for protection from the thoughts coming off the things that were triggered during the service and the prayer afterward, and things that I came down to Sydney to get away from.

I am so glad that in this moment I was able to reach out to someone and say that I needed help – as my friend said, it’s not something I readily do. But I really needed to ask someone to walk that journey through with me and I'm so thankful for her love, care and prayers.

When I phoned my mom this morning though, she was so thankful that I did break down. That in her mind, the reason I went down to Sydney was so that I could be in a neutral place without the need to keep it all together, which I’ve been pushing myself to do. I’m glad for her wise head saying that it was ok – that I’m ok, even though I’m not.

May was a huge month, yesterday a huge day, last night a huge couple of hours. I REALLY don't know what's going on in my life right now and aside from feeling confused I feel constricted by my lack of choice - I feel as though things have been flung at me and I've just got to take it all in, roll with the punches but without the ability to change anything.

I share all of this for one reason: we're all broken, and I hope when you reach a moment of crumbling you can reach out to someone too, and also remember that it's ok to not be ok.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

a child shall lead them... or so we pray

I got home from coffee tonight to find my next door neighbour's son discussing something with my dad on the doorstep. In one hand he held a bible I'd given him, in the other a string of beads that he'd made at school. He wanted to know why they had to kill the ram, and how the cross was involved. (the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac)

We answered his questions and I walked him home. It turns out that his mother was reading him the bible while his brother had a bath and when he asked this question she said "honey, I don't know the answer, I could make it up but why don't you go next door and ask Liz instead" .. so he did, and then she asked me to explain it to her on her doorstep.

This family astounds me. They read the bible to their son more than a lot of christian parents I know, they send him to a catholic school where he learns about God (even though I know a lot of christian parents justify sending thier kids to state schools) and are willing to walk his journey of discovery with him.

I love how they've taken their young son to all different types of churches in town because he wanted to see what they were like. As Christian families we don't often do this! We stay within our closet denomination, not experiencing what else is possible, and often don't ask people to explain simple things which we don't understand because we might feel embarrassed.

This little boy is leading both me and his parents to know God better.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Adoration

Tonight I went to my first Catholic service with a mate from work. It was a service called Adoration and, at his parish, it is a once a week 24 hour service where people can come and go at will, but where there is always someone there praying or reading the bible or in meditative thought.

It was very cool.

We only stayed for about 30 minutes but I was so encouraged during that time. Encouraged by the act, encouraged by the fact that such a service is there, praying in our city non-stop for 24 hours each week, encouraged by the friendship to invite me and openly discuss what we each believe and our journeys to this point.

I was also encouraged by this scripture I read during the time of Adoration:

Psalm 139:

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

when the past rears its ugly head in the mirror of today

I’m very self conscious at the moment and while I detest the reasons, detest even moreso that things are bothering me this way, when for many years now I’ve been rather free and comfortable.

I won’t mention the reasons why I’m self conscious but what I do want mention is this: In an age where so much focus is on the body, clothing and image how often I forget that unless we are careful, these things can become central to how we view ourselves.

When something changes in these respects we get a wakeup call for what has over a time of complacency worked its way into our psyche. It’s not a fun thing. Memories from past events come back to haunt us and long dead spectres of deep seeded insecurities stare at us from the mirror.

Two of these haunt me now, and I detest how both make me question my present relationships based upon memories from the past which are conjured. The vulnerabilities of the past are not the same of today, yet my insecurities rear their ugly heads as if they are. The whispers in my head are much worse than what my friends would say, yet I hear them anyway.

In light of this, I’ve started a devotional on Authentic Beauty – a devotional on 1 Peter over two months reminding us of Inner Beauty and what really counts. I don’t like the reasons I’m needing to rediscover some of this material, but I am thankful that our insecurities can lead us closer to God rather than further away.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

As unto

I've heard a lot in my life about "working unto the Lord". I agree that this should be fundamental in our work ethic, however, recent events have caused me to think a lot about it, and a lot about how I've applied it in my life.

I have, due to what could perhaps be described as an over developed sense of responsibility, recently passed on an amazing job with an organisation I hold in very high esteem. Furthermore, due to previously putting work before health care have canceled numerous appointments which I evidently know I should have kept. The last one in particular has had me on antibiotics for a week and in bed the past two days.

The thing is this, God will take care of us, but we also need to take care of ourselves. Yes, we need to work hard, but it doesn't mean that we should cancel appointments or place things on an uneven keel... in all things we need to submit to God, and in all things we need to honour him - in our body: with what we eat, how much rest we get, how we exercise and take care of ourselves - in work: in doing the best we can, in working hard and seeing things through - in our relationships: by not holding grudges, by looking out for each other, by believing in others and seeing the best in them - in life: by living as unto the Lord.

I'm looking forward to pondering this some more - to find the right balance and to implement it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

and even when

I was driving back to work today from an appointment in town and on my way up the hill I glanced over to the valley beside me and saw this picture. Soon after, I took a photo of it on the way down the hill after doing what I needed to at work and as I look at it now, pray that the impression I had when I saw it was true.

The vista I saw clearer than the photo taken on my camera shows was this - an intense rain storm in one isolated area, one tiny circle of rain, with everything around it being clear from rain.

I felt it showed exactly what I've been going through this past two weeks, and after my appointment in town, am likely to go through for at least the next week too. Three weeks of emotional and physical pain - three weeks of rain, but that there's a limit to it. I certainly hope I'm reaching the edge of the storm and that it will soon be but a memory - but for now, I'm happy to hold on to the thought that "this too will pass".

Before my appointment I had on Matt Redman's song "you never let go" and put it on repeat so that when I got back in the car, no matter what happened during the appointment I'd be encouraged by the words - I'm thankful that I was, and I'm thankful that they're true.
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know You are near

Sunday, May 09, 2010

well... not exactly, but I enjoyed it while it lasted :) and Happy Mothers Day!

I got serenaded today, mind you, it wasn't for a whole song.. it was just until the men realised I wasn't the mother of my niece and then solely directed their singing to my amazing sister in law. However, it was pretty cool while it lasted - and fun to be included in for even a little while.
We were having a picnic in the park for Mother's Day and it really was the most completely random moment with men in bright orange shirts coming up, giving me a rose (and then taking it back to give to my sister in law who was the actual mother of the delightful girl sitting in my lap) and breaking into song - it was fantastic.The whole day was pretty great - after they left to go and have mother's day with my sister in law's mum (not the men in orange shirts, my brother's family) I took my rug to another park and watched clouds for a while. I've decided that no one needs to have answers when watching clouds. At least, I don't.
Last night was the first night in almost a fortnight where I didn't wake in the middle of the night due to pain - which is another reason why today was so great... but the real reason is this. Although my mother is on the other side of a great big ditch of water I'm incredibly glad that she's my mom. I told her about my lack of waking up last night, to which she replied, I thought so - it was the first night since it all happened that I didn't wake up in the night praying for you. This, along with so many other things hallmarks my mom. I know you read this - so as you didn't get a card this year: "Happy Mothers Day" I love you.... and so does Jake grandma ;)

Saturday, May 08, 2010

count your blessings, name them one by one


I know a lot of people say that they have the best dog in the world.. well, I really do.

Sure, he's allergic to grass (no, seriously he is!) but that's about it (well, other than the put puts you sometimes smell when watching TV.. :(). He lets the neighbour's kids jump all over him and put him in a headlock, he puts a HUGE smile on my face when he plays in the park each day, he has the best bark which even scares me from time to time (he scared the bejeepers out of me the other night when we had a power-out and it was pitch black - I was fine until he started barking and growling as if there was someone else in the room) he gets more compliments then I ever have or will... and he is content. Mind you, he also has a pretty fantastic mum!

Yup - still glad I got him instead of a house or jewelery :)

living others lives

The weeks just keep on getting better... and thus, to be honest I've been getting a little discouraged.

I've been finding it way to easy to be introspective, and at times paranoid, but I'd say that would be the pain medication and antibiotics which are currently flooding my system, and due to the fact that physical activity is currently making me feel worse I'm sitting at home a lot!

All of this to say, Brother Andrew and his book "The Narrow Road" have been my solace. That and falling asleep at night listening to HTB sermons. Both the book and the amazing speakers at Holy Trinity Brompton take my mind off of me and place it back on a simply amazing God who cares deeply about intimate details of our lives - whether we can feel it at the moment or not.

Sometimes God's answer is no, but He still answers. On a range of fronts I'm praying for the grace to accept the "no" and be thankful for all the things I do have.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Whom Not to Marry: Time-Tested Advice from a Higher Authority



On Saturday I bought and read Father Pat's Connor's book Whom Not to Marry and really, really enjoyed it. I'm not a great lover of self help books, and have really grown to detest books on singleness, but this book was different and so I took it to Gloria Jeans and read it while sipping my mocha (until the building alarm went off and I decided it was time to leave!) The theme of the book is simple - when we want something a great deal, we can overlook things we shouldn't and this book points out in a sensitive, humorous and applicable way some of those things.

Each chapter is based on a part from 1 Corinthians 13 and what I found so encouraged by is that it wasn't about being married - it was about the qualities involved in making something work in an area where over 50% of those that start off in the journey fail. Yes - I do want to be married - but there's things which are a lot more important than that. Becoming and being a person of character is one of those things.

"Patience is the ability to wait without complaint for what we desire - and what we know in our heart we deserve. Patience gives us the strength to face what is in front of us, while waiting for what may like beyond us."

...still on pain killers - and sooooo over it. My whole body is tense :(

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Dwell

At Easterfest I heard an awesome band called Garage Hymnal - I've been listing to their album quite a lot, but the folowing song "Dwell" has been echoing through my head, echoing the hope which I saw in the painting I bought (and still haven't got!...)

The past couple of weeks have been really interesting. This past week has been up there "toughest weeks of my life" - in addition to an incredible opportunity being presented to me, contemplating and planning for the change that this meant and then realising that what I wanted wasn't possible, I had a dental visit (on the same day that all hit the fan with the other thing) which didn't go according to plan and have been on pain medication since. So Tuesday of this week was in the top 3 worst days of my life considering all that happened within it... but as I write this, my soul dwells in the hope of tomorrow and I'm glad He's still pursuing me.

I hold you at a distance, but you wait so patiently
Gently whisper, gently tell me what I need to hear
You tell me what I need to hear

You say my soul dwells in the hope of tomorrow
I will trust you, and I will sing only
Because my soul dwells in the hope of tomorrow
I will trust you, and I will sing to you

You spent time pursuing me
You sent your Son to die for me
You sang songs of life to me
You sang me songs

You watch me from a distance
And you wait so patiently
Gently whisper, gently tell me what I need to hear
You tell me what I need to hear

You say my soul dwells in the hope of tomorrow
I will trust you, and I will sing only
Because my soul dwells in the hope of tomorrow
I will trust you, and I will sing
Yes I will sing
Lord I will sing only to you

Lord you hear my selfish cries
Lord you read my darkest thoughts
Lord you see my foolish ways
Lord you sense my deepest fears
Lord you know my doubting heart
And still you long, you long for me
I hold you at a distance
But you wait so patiently

Because my soul dwells in the hope of tomorrow
I will trust you, and I will sing

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Desperation

My favorite church service of the year (Easterfest's City Celebration where over 10,000 believers meet together from all denominations in an open air amphitheater) was interrupted tonight by a lady that yelled a question at the speaker from the base of the stage. The speaker stopped what he was doing and asked her a question, it turned out that she was requesting prayer for her husband Philip. The speaker then asked everyone to join with him in prayer for Philip, and afterward asked people to continue to pray for him.

I don't know what she was specifically hoping to have happen in her husband's life. I doubt I'll ever know - but like the woman who out of desperation touched the hem of Jesus' garment, so this lady acted in desperation. She interrupted the attention of ten thousand people to ask for prayer. To ask people to intercede on her husband's behalf... and they did... and some still are.

The situation could have been handled very differently - the speaker could have discreetly ignored her while security or some sensitive lady quietly let her away from the stage... chances are we wouldn't have noticed... and to our shame we wouldn't have. Or we would have thought "ooohh.. there's a crackpot... glad she's now out of the way so we can focus on what he's saying again", but instead, in actions reminiscent of Jesus whom he was speaking about, he stopped, he cared, he invited action and he recognised a desperate heart.

That I might be so sensitive - to both God's will, and others needs.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Passion

Passion is an incredible thing. When we don't have it about something we can either not realise it, realise it and then forget, realise it and become apathetic/disheartened or realise it and do something about it. Tonight was a bit of a wake-up call in that area for me.

At the beginning of this year I knew I didn't have passion about life. About work. About much in general, especially direction. I knew that things were really good - but that they could be a lot better. As the year has gone on with its highs and lows, in the past few weeks especially, I've lost my passion to do something about it. To make sure that I'm on the right track.

I listened to three mindblowingly good bands tonight. Bands who were passionate about what they did, about life and about God. They had found something that made them buzz - but were very honest with the struggles of life. They were honest that they weren't perfect. That marriages struggled. That they need each other. That they had and continue to have tough times. That life sometimes sucked.

All three of the bands were "BIG" but they spoke with a bareness of the soul that was challenging and provoking. However, they brought hope and fun and life because they shared out of a place and through a medium that their passions and skills met.

Hearing and seeing people who had found where they fit for this section of their lives and were moving in that but staying honest and humble was a huge kick in the pants. What I knew at the beginning of the year hasn't changed, even though it has been covered up with leaves and debris - remnants of challenges. God has something more for me and as comfortable as life can be where I am... comfort doesn't inspire passion, all too often it inspires apathy.

I'm a bit aprehensive about moving forward, but that's also because I don't know what's ahead... I feel a bit alone in it all to tell the truth. However, that's also why I need to get away and know the comfort of the one who does know all things.

I also know though that the desires of my heart for family and love can confuse my thoughts and my prayer is that whatever decisions are made would be God honouring, God believing and God comforting - that is, that I wouldn't do anything out of Obligation, Guilt or a sense that I'd miss out on anything - but that in 20 years time I'd look back and have no regrets - regardless if I'm still single.

Passion. May it capture our hearts when we see it and remind us to examine our lives and hearts for what they have been called to do.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tired eyes

Being a person of rather eclectic hobbies I get rather excited when I am close to "tying off" something that I start. The weekend past helped me in one of my current and long continuing endeavors, as, for quite sometime I've slowly been collecting the "Billabong" books by Mary Grant Bruce and I was able to add three more to my bookshelf. They're an older series and best read in an early edition format as they were re-printed later on in life to be more politically correct... and I'd rather not read that edited tosh! Being older books they've been a bit hard to find and I'm glad to say that I now only have two more of the 15 books in the series to add to my bookshelf - quite a feat if I do say so myself.

One of my favorite things is a book that my brother gave me on stories of collectible books and this journey is part of my own sojourn... I've always had a thing for books with history (which is why his gift was so thoughtful), and it's nice to have almost completed a collection to add to my collection. The end is in sight too - I know where the other two can be found :)

The reason for my Title though is this, I've never finished reading the series. I've made myself read book by book through the titles, and until I can buy/find the next one I can't move on. So, after finding three more books (which opens the possibility of 7 more) I've been reading in many of my quiet moments, just dying to find out what happens with Norah, Wally, Jim and Mr Linton. And my eyes are tired because I've been reading so much!

It's also helped me keep my mind off many other things. You see - I've been a bit of a turtle recently and reading has helped process things subconsciously when I've had no idea about how to get through things otherwise. I haven't cried recently, even though I know that a big cry would probably do me good - but thinking that Jim had died made me shed a tear. Wally has made me hope and dream and feel. Norah has made me think of others and Mr Linton has made me wonder how I can give more generously. Books can be an escape, and these books are a healthy one for me right now. They're pure.

When I'm incessantly busy I know that there's something not quite right - this is now... but I also know that if I can push through for another week there's rest ahead. And I'm thankful too for the knowledge that I can Lie Here and God's grace will carry me through and provide me with things like Billabong to help me be a bit more like Galatians 5:22-23 and not 5:19-21 (which I'm afraid I tend more towards :(

I've been listening to the following song quite a bit and it's a nice thing to ponder as I close the computer lid and head off to the land of nod to be a viking (Simpsons quote that a friend shared with me and still makes me smile) (and yes, I tonight, like my hobbies, have been rather eclectic and scattered in thought! - the truth is I was hoping I'd be able to write about something else I've been pondering but this came through my brain and out my fingers instead (!)

Can I lie here in Your arms
Can I lie here in Your arms
My only calm is You
Save me

Can I lie here in Your arms
Can I lie here in Your arms
My only thought is You
Save me

Can I lie here in Your arms
Can I lie here in Your arms
My happiness is You
Save me

Oh how lovely this place
To be with You
To be with You

Oh the brightness of Your face
Here with You
Here with You

Oh my only calm is You
Oh my only thought is You
Oh my happiness is You
Oh my happiness is You

To be with You
To be with You
Save me


(Lyrics by David Crowder: Can I Lie Here)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bitter Sweet End

For the past three months more or less our family has journeyed through some pretty tough times - perhaps tougher because it was "closed door" and unable to be shared with those around us - or at least for me unless they lived outside of where I do now and weren't connected to anyone here.

It culminated in an event this morning and which left me feeling exceptionally proud of my family - parents especially. The reason is this: When one goes through times which are bitter and tough, to share of them with a large group not giving vent to that pain but bringing release and sweetness of words instead is an incredible thing. This is what my Dad did.

I'm very proud of him, very proud of my mom and very thankful to God - He gives joy when least expected. For example, this morning before stepping out the door I went to fix my hair and noticed that my mom had muck all through hers - my expanding mousse was mistaken for hairspray and it was everywhere! In the carpet, on her shoes - expanding away. It was good though, because while she wanted to look fabulous, instead she was given something to laugh at whenever she felt otherwise and so was I - especially when her hair turned stiff and straw-like :)

God is the God of the ironic, laughable and joyful - and once again tonight I am very thankful for that. We have a choice in these moments - it could have been a crying day, instead though, we're all smiling.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Equine Angels

For the third Saturday in a row I left my bed before 5:00am, today to help out at a Horse Show and Sale. The requirements were that to sell your horse you needed to show them before hand, and as I've been so busy lately, my help unfortunately came with the problem that I couldn't handle the horse beforehand - just turn up and show.

While I've had a fair bit of experience with horses, I can with an unfamiliar, inexperienced, young or nervous horse become quite skittish myself - unfortunately - this horse had all four qualities. While usually very quiet, the experience of being in a show/sale environment got to his head (I can imagine moreso considering the float was hit by a car on the way there, jack-knifing the float and causing them all a great deal of fright, but thankfully no injury). Well, after we led the wee one away from his friends he went "ape *&^%" - rearing and having quite a few issues.

So, I prayed. I prayed that angels would be with us as we were in the ring, calming him and helping me not make it so that prospective buyers would be put off buying him. He usually is a quite horse and he was young and just very over it! I was incredibly thankful when we came out of the ring with him not disgracing either of us.

The other angelic moment was when one of the guys there went in and walked a horse around before sale for another one of the guys. He saw a need, stepped in, offered and helped. There was something in that awareness and care for others, along with the ability to help that deeply impressed me.

Our three horses showed (at well below what they were worth, but to competitive homes which offsets the price) and to my great delight the two geldings who had been raised together as paddock mates and stable mates and all round good mates went to the same home - which in an auction situation with 100 other horses was an awesome thing. I was a bit emotional at the thought of them parting and when I found out that they were going to the same home I must admit that I was much relieved.

Oh - and for people that were interested - the artwork I'm purchasing will look something very much like this: Click Here

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No Clothes and Happy

No, I haven't joined a nudist colony or any other such thing... I've bought a painting - the price of which will greatly restrict my purchasing of clothing for the remainder of the year.

After coming home from Canberra (note: very, very thankful for that time and while there were challenges of which I wrote, there was also some extraordinary moments and new friendships which were formed - and for which I am very thankful) I developed a cold :( starting with an extraordinary sore throat. Considering the woman's camp I was speaking at was that weekend I was tired, sick and perhaps a little worried.

On Saturday we went to Mooloolaba and popped into an art gallery. It was there that I saw "Glory" a painting of a sunrise over the ocean. The artist in his description of it speaks of the hope which is in new day, even if we don't see the sun rise and how the colours changed so fast he felt God laughing at him "see if you can keep up with me David". The painting has joy and life and expression.

The original was out of my price range, however, the Curator noticed my interest and asked me if I would be interested in commissioning a smaller work of the same subject. "Yes!" was my reply, but that I would think on it overnight. I'm glad I did. I watched that evening a DVD of the Author and read more on his works - he uses some symbols within his artwork - one of them being a trumpet. The trumpet is a herald instrument and he uses it to symbolise the call which each of us have on our lives and the things which we are passionate about. In this stage of my life this was a very meaningful symbol, so when I went back to confirm my commissioned work, I asked if the artist could paint a trumpet where he signs his name. She called, he said he loved the idea and thus I will get it in my painting. Every new day there is hope (regardless of whether we see or feel it) and the call on our lives is still there. There's a lot more to this painting and the layers of meaning that I won't share here but I'm rather glad I won't be buying any more clothes this year!

The women's camp and talk went well too :)

I am now home for the day though with my contagious cold drinking hot lemon, ginger, cinnamon and honey tea with english muffins - maybe being sick isn't sooo bad???

Monday, March 08, 2010

change of plans

Sometimes we can have romantic illusions as to what servant-hood is. I’ll be able to do “___” or “_____” or such and such will think so well of me we think with rosy and perhaps tainted glasses. Then... we find ourselves in a true place of humility where what we want falls to the wayside and what we need to do comes to the fore.

In the midst of an extraordinarily busy month I was really looking forward to coming down to the Conference I am now at – to sit and listen at the feet of people whom I greatly respect and help out here and there (where I choose to of course – my boss after all said I could do as little or much as I wanted). I had thoughts of in my spare time writing up some things that are in my brain and in the hecticness of the moment haven’t been able to write them out yet. Bits and pieces from things I’ve read but haven’t worked through fully... I had plans.

On Saturday night two of my brother’s good friends and I had just poured three amazingly tantalising glasses of red wine from a bottle. There they sat, and there they stayed... untouched, untasted, unappreciated. The night ended very differently with a late night trip to the hospital which changed the outlook for this time away for me.

I’ve struggled with this change, even though I see God’s hand of providence that I came and am able to assist in the shoes of the staff member who is ill. Sometimes we need to ramp up and serve in a different way to meet the needs that are evident, even if that means making cups of tea for others when you want one desperately yourself or readjusting the framework of your planning to lend a hand... and trust that God will take care of you.

I still have so many questions I really want to ask these guys. I want guidance from them – I want to learn from them – I want to listen to them... but I also need to get my thoughts in order and be less than the emotional wreck that I feel inside to do so... but again, neither of these things are possible.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Colossians 4: 5Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

This was a cool scripture to be reminded of tonight.