Wednesday, August 30, 2006


If this blog is anything to go by, spring is taking forever to arrive! I've written about daffodils, increasing length of days, and now spring blossom! Not only will I be glad when spring comes, but so will all of you - then I'll be able to move on to writing about summer!

It really is beautiful here at the moment though. All over the city the trees are covered in blossoms. Just driving down the street is breathtaking.

These blossoms are from a peach tree in our backyard and now that they have been transported inside, I walk around the house in a perpetual state of breathlessness.

(Question - if peaches are peach coloured, how come their flowers are pink?)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

smashing through utter exhaustion

I have been so tired lately. And I don't know why.

This isn't normal "I need more sleep" tiredness (well it might be that too!) - it's whole body, dragging tiredness that leaves me wanting to escape life completely and enter a vegetative state until my energy levels are restored. Since that is quite simply impossible - and if it wasn't I would most likely be bored to tears - I need to find another solution.

This week my solution hunt has focused on increased exercise. This is no easy task, since I (like the rest of you) hardly have a spare second in any day. So it's all about capitalising on the moments I do possess. Like walking to work. It takes me about fifteen minutes to walk to or from work, ten if I walk very fast, and forty five if I walk to the shops and then home. I figure if I walk faster, it wakes me up more. So I've started walking faster to and from work. Unfortunately that also tires me out more. A no-win situation! Walking to the shops on the other hand, did put a dent in my wallet, but it left me feeling more energised. What price energy?!

Experiment number two. Jogging on the spot inside the house - no time taken getting to an exercise facility, no equipment necessary, just a few minutes of focus and intent. Yeah, sounds boring doesn't it?! It was. I gave up after something between five and ten minutes. It did warm me up, but this is not a long-term option.

Tonight I tried a different approach. Forget boring jogging - try dancing around the room to your favourite music! It's much more fun. Make that dancing around the room to classical music and you've got even more fun.

Frank was humming and whistling a Tchaikovsky tune from "The Nutcracker Suite" tonight and I just couldn' resist. I put the music on (I love it!), pumped it up loud and went for it, dancing, jumping, spinning, swirling, clapping, kossaking, bumping, laughing... a flash of whirling colour around the room (in my dreams anyway!). It was exhilarating for both Frank and I, since he laughed himself silly while I jigged around the room.

I think this might be the solution I'm looking for! Dancing around the room to cherished music puts the zing back in my veins! (All welcome to join me for the fun!)

Addit: My alarm rings out at 6am... and now when I wake it is to the sound of gentle birdsong and a soft light in the sky. Soon, very soon it will be beautiful summer and I'll be full of UV-induced beans. Yay!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

warm fuzzy reflections

I've been trying take time to reflect on life. It races along at breakneck speed, and before I know it - another day has gone. Into the ether. Never to be seen again. Ask me tomorrow, and I probably won't remember half of what I did today. (Especially as I'm a walking zombie at present) Thousands of moments lost to memory.

I don't really want to let my life disappear into the abyss of 'forgottenness'! I'd like to think that each moment I live builds something good into me, grows and develops me into a better person. So I'm trying to take time out to reflect. I've gotten into the habit of getting up early each morning, and sitting quietly to read, think, pray - to take in all that is happenning and let my soul catch up with my body.

This morning I thought about a few things...

One, I talk too much and need to learn to curb my tongue! (Mental note to self: there is no need to voice every thought that flits across my brain)

Two, I loved the tea I cooked last night! I bought a slow cooker recently, so yesterday saw corned beef and vegies simmering all day long. The aroma permeated through the house and triggered many memories of the delicious meals Mum used to cook. And not only a pleasant smell - this meal tasted good too! Salty and satisfying.

Three, I know God and that's amazing.
I was walking past the Christadelphian Hall last week when I noticed the sign announcing the topic of their next meeting, "What is God really like?" My mind moved down its time worn path of 'humph, what would you know anyway?' that it usually follows when reading Christadelphian signs. Suddenly it hit me - I already know what God is really like! I know him! And as that truth danced around in my mind, I felt a warm glow as if God was enveloping me in a big hug. Love, truth, mercy, justice, beauty, holiness - at which point I gave up listing his attributes and just basked in the glow of knowing and being known. I walked the rest of the way home with a skip in my step and a lift in my heart. I know God, the great one of the universe - how good is that?!

Enough warm fuzzies... I'm really getting into this reflection thing, and I'm loving life. There is so much to appreciate.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

guatemala, waxing and the enormous gulf between

I've been at the beautician today, and I'm revelling in the freshness gained. And the nice smell of the creams applied. And the friendly chatter of someone else who has had a brush with fame. And the warm glow of being pampered (she even did my eyebrows)!

Deep sigh of satisfaction - I love life's simple pleasures.

I'm also deeply grateful to be able to simply enjoy life's pleasures.

Last week Frank and I stumbled across a documentary on SBS called "The Cutting Edge". We watched, horrified as the narrator related a harrowing story of murder and abuse in the country of Guatemala.

1,500 Guatemalan women as young as 12 have been murdered in the last four years. Every day another one is kidnapped, raped, mutilated and killed, and their body dumped on the street, dry riverbed, or rubbish dump. The authorities do little - they clumsily destroy evidence at the scene, heartlessly delay investigations, and almost never arrest men and lay charges. In fact they suggest that the woman must have provoked the attack and insist that there is nothing they can do to prevent it.

One woman, a human rights activist, tries to help families find their daughters' killers. This action has placed her own life in danger. She believes that these atrocities stem from years of civil war (incidently supported by the USA) that have resulted in a macho culture that despises women and loves bloodshed.

Frank and I wept together at the needless loss of life, the powerlessness of Guatemalan women, and the absolute miscarriage of justice. We prayed that God might intervene and transform that place as only he can.

How can such things happen in this beautiful world, even as I type and you read this blog? My little trip to the beautician has been placed in an unhappy context.

The luxury of my life is a stark contrast to the awful reality of life for women in Guatemala. In the face of this contrast, may I be a woman who treasures all that I am continually blessed with. May I also be a woman who uses my blessings to make a difference for those who are suffering. And may God help me to know just how to do this!

Monday, August 14, 2006

small blessings

Life is full of small blessings - if I only took the time to notice and appreciate them. Take this for example.

The other day Frank did an amazing job of tidying up the back yard. He made borders from old train sleepers, weeded around the plants, and swept the paths.

He also moved the bins around to the side of the house. The far side of the house. Where I have to walk a long, long way if I want to dispose of any household rubbish. I thanked him for making the backyard look so tidy, and graciously suggested that he might be the sole rubbish taker-outer of our household from now on.

Then last night I discovered that moving the bins has actually been one of those small blessings.

Check it out... if I open the bathroom window and look down - there are the bins right below! No need to walk a long, long way if I want to dispose of any household waste. Simply open the window and drop it into the waiting bins! Perfect.

I must add that at this stage I haven't taken advantage of this small blessing. Truth be told, I'm a little concerned about leaving the bin lid open and ready, since the neighbours cat might somehow jump in to avail herself of juicy scraps and become locked in an unpleasant prison. Not nice. And the recycled bottles might not survive... But I am tickled pink to think that something as silly as the bins being moved could make me feel so happy afterall!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

fabulous fennel

It's been an interesting week with just a few ups and downs. Not that anything major has happened - just the cycle of feelings about life circumstances I guess. I started out feeling quite at peace with the world, happy with my place in it.

Until Saturday.

Then I started to feel miserable about the hand I've been dealt. I decided to skip church this morning so I could take time out to pray and reflect. God didn't provide any astounding answers, just the encouragement to keep on believing, to push through to that place of peace with him. I've tried valiantly not to wallow in self-pity since.

But if you're down - what better way to get over it than to cook!

So tonight I cooked fennel soup!

What's fennel, you ask? (see attached picture) It's one of those odd vegetables I've never bought before. I think I may have bought it because I thought it would make me look sophisticated. I'm not sure. It was a couple of weeks ago. I shop in a small green grocers where the discerning go to buy fruit and vegetables of truly superior quality. The exclusive quality of the fruit and vegetables on offer results in a high proportion of snobby shoppers who ooze sophistication and style. The remainder of us bum along, content in the knowledge that we are amongst the discerning vegetable shoppers of the city. Except every now and then, I want to fit in with the snobs. So I bought fennel. In the hope it would make me look like I was a sophisticated cook.

The problem is the fennel has been sitting in the fridge growing mould ever since, while I've been rueing my sophistication driven buy and pondering what on earth I would do with it!

Tonight I resorted to searching the internet for fennel recipes (found some good ones, so I might have to buy more fennel!) before discovering a recipe for Creamy Fennel Soup in one of my very own recipe books. I cooked it up and yum yum, a creamy, slightly licorishy soup was the happy result.

I feel bouyed by my culinary success and shall sleep happy and long tonight, at peace with the world and happy with my place in it. (hehehe)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Spring is in the air

These fine daffodil specimens are from our very own garden - no credit to us though! The bulbs just keep doing their thing each spring. Gorgeous.

I did give them a small helping hand - they are in the shade most of the day and while other daffodils were blooming around the city, these were definite slow starters. So I lopped them off as buds, plonked them in a vase and they burst open in the next couple of days with the help of some artificial warmth. Frank and I just look at them and sigh. Ahhh, they soothe the soul and I just had to share the joy. Perfect.

So the mornings might still be icy, the snow caps still cover the mountain (a little!), the sunlight still filters delightfully through the fine mist, and many trees remain starkly naked. But the daffodils are blooming, the cherry trees are blossoming, the sun is up before I leave for work, and the birds just can't stop singing.

Not long now and spring will be in full bloom! Yay!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

engaging with the real world

Sometimes I wonder if I don't walk around with my head buried in the sand! I know this is a big, bad world where lots of big, bad things happen, but - my own dysfunctional family aside - not in my town, not amongst my friends.

So it's been something of a shock to discover over the last few weeks that I live and move amongst people caught up in big, bad happennings. Like one-night-stands that break a heart and crazy one-night-flings that break a relationship. Or all-consuming longing for someone to walk through life with and walking away from a once-loved partner. All here in my very own neighbourhood, amongst my very own circle of friends.

I feel as if I'm playing a computer game where I have to dodge flying objects that threaten to hit me in the face. Bad news keeps flying at me from every direction and I'm ducking and weaving in an effort to avoid the fall out of other people's tragedies.

Only I'm not really ducking and weaving to avoid their pain - I genuinely want to help and support them, to offer love and acceptance, to hold out hope. But how? I'm one little person - how can I ever make a difference in the face of such overwhelming pain?

It strikes me that the only way to make a difference is in the small things. A smile, a hug, a phone call, a card of encouragement. I need to stop trying to take in all the pain and hurt of the world and engage with the person right there in front of me. Offer help one day, one interaction at a time. Be with a person, hear them, feel their pain and respond appropriately in that moment. Share love in the everyday, small incidents of life and watch hope blossom (in the best case scenario!).

The words of a song by Nickelback keep playing through my head:

If everyone loved, and nobody lied
If everyone cared, and nobody cried
If everyone shared, and swallowed their pride
Would we see the day that nobody died?

Unlikely that everyone will ever love, care or share... but if I do, I just might make a difference for somebody. That's my plan anyway! May God make me an instrument of his love and peace.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

brush with fame

Shhh, I'm at work and really shouldn't be spending time on my blog... but this is huge!

Brant and Shelly Webb (think Beaconsfield gold mine for 14 days) have just been sighted by my very own eyes. I kid you not!

Even more impressive, I recognised them from behind as I followed them along a corridor. Her hair gave it away. (Before you think this is all a figment of my imagination, let me assure you that I saw his face and have made a positive identification)

I'm trying not to get too carried away about this brush with fame, but I missed the whole thing when he was here before, so I have to write SOMEthing now!

The only reason I haven't bowled up to them and said a cheery "hello" is because, well, you know... it must be awful to be famous and have everyone whispering quietly behind your back as you walk past!

So I'm not talking about this with the other girls (we're all being very discreet here) - just whispering to you my online friends instead.

But please don't tell anyone!