Thursday, February 28, 2008

Coles, Woolworths and anyone else involved in the production and transport and sale of tasteless food... eat your heart out, cause I'm eating this! Straight from my garden! Ha.

(Excuse the insect nibbles here and there...)

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

unravelled in the supermarket

I know we all have buttons and sometimes people push those buttons and we burst into tears or fly into a rage, but I would not have thought the supermarket checkout lady asking to look inside my bags qualifies as sufficient excuse for a little tanty. Nevertheless, when the checkout woman asked to look inside my bags I threw a little tanty.

I'm not talking stomping my feet or falling on the floor screaming. I didn't even poke her in the eye or spit at her. I just felt furious, and in my fury I glared a little, snakily informed her my bag held fruit and vegetables from another store, and fairly threw my purchases into my backpack.

I don't quite know what happened. I know supermarkets claim checking my bag as a condition of entry; many years ago I worked as a checkout chick and politely asked to check people's bags myself; usually when I am asked to reveal the contents of my bag I feel quite smug about their failure to find any stolen products stashed therein. So what happened today? Why the indignation at the implication I might be stealing?

I suspect the source of my angst can be found in the recent transformation of my thinking on a number of issues. Starting with my horror at the planned construction of a pulp mill not far from my place of residence... no, probably starting way back in high school when I collected newspaper articles on climate change for a geography project (yes, that's 16 years of warnings we've ignored), I have become increasingly concerned about what we have done to this beautiful planet. Gradually I am becoming more and more conscious of the way my lifestyle contributes to climate change. I walk wherever I can, purchase food in glass containers to cut back on plastic waste, grow my own vegetables, open car windows rather than resort to the air conditioner, compost and recycle any waste I can and am becoming better and better at purchasing only what I need. I also use and reuse environmental green bags (only mine is purple) rather than accept plastic bags. Small steps, but with each day I am becoming more and more deliberate in my attempts to reduce my carbon footprint.

At the same time I am reading 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle' by Barbara Kingsolver and becoming increasingly interested in farming practices and the effect they have on the environment. Apparently (not according to Kingsolver, I heard this from an acquaintance in the industry) Australia has one of the highest rates in the world of agricultural land destruction, where paddocks are no longer fertile and food can no longer be produced due to poor practice, or more specifically, due to mass production and profit making. This is shameful. In addition, modern agricultural practices are destroying the diversity of plant and domesticated animal species in the world. More than that, Monsanto (with the support of the US government and to a degree the Australian government) is producing 'terminator seeds' with inbuilt, genetic engineering that causes the resulting plants to destroy their own embryos in order to prevent 'copyrighted' crops from being resewn year after year. In addition, companies such as Monsanto have steadily reduced the types of seed available to farmers so that as a global population we rely on fewer and fewer crop varieties over which Monsanto et al exert full control. This has scary implications for our future food supply - think disease or pests destroying the few remaining species we possess, while the world goes hungry, deprived by the loss of crops that were resistant to disease but no longer in existence. (Also not forgetting that mass produced food available to us in the supermarket has been bred for long travel and durability, not taste)

With all this in mind I have become more and more passionate about my vegetable patch. (We are not having a great year, but I still haven't needed to buy salad supplies for a few weeks) I am also attempting to stick to foods that are in season or preserved, rather than purchasing food that has travelled long, carbon-fuelled distances to reach me. I shop at my favourite green grocer because I know they choose flavour over mass production. All in all I attempt to be a thoughtful consumer.

So after walking to the vegetable store to purchase my local vegetables, selecting organic milk from a nearby supplier and using a backpack that won't end up in a water way, I was nothing short of insulted when a snippety checkout operator asked to see the receipt for my vegetables, implying my bags might be full of stolen supermarket fruit and vegetables!

How dare she! How dare Coles, who peddle mass produced fruit and vegetables from across the country, and indeed the world, suggest I might have sneaked a few of their tasteless offerings into my bags! How dare they suspect me of a crime when they themselves are caught up in criminal fruit and vegetable practices!

And so my buttons were pressed. Now I'm going to go and research my statutory rights in relation to refusing inspection of my bags.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

nabbed by the bank

OK, so it wasn't the smartest thing I've done to assume the best of a bank, but I thought if I paid out a loan their computer system would be onto it and consider the loan automatically closed.

No such thing. Last week I received a letter advising me that the repayments on the loan I have with them (that I paid out in November) have increased by $10 a month. Hello, I've paid out that loan, didn't you know? So I phoned them and was informed (rather condescendingly) that I would need to visit my local branch to formally close the loan.

And pay off the $37.58 of accrued monthly fees and interest. Right.

I've been NABbed!

Rest assured the loan is well and truly closed now. And I won't be paying monthly fees and interest on the monthly fees for the remaining five year life of the loan. What a relief!

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

i'm not threatening to leave this time

Church issues just go on and on and on. But I'm not threatening to leave. That's childish. Related to my family of origin. I will stick this out.

A helpful quote for the sticking it out:

[There is a] grounding, earthiness, and necessary pain that only real involvement within a concrete, parish-style family can give you. In parishes, as we know, we do not get to pick who we will be standing beside as we worship and celebrate various things together. A parish-type family is a hand of cards that is randomly dealt to us, and precisely to the extent that it is truly inclusive, will include persons of every temperament, ideology, virtue and fault. Also, church involvement, when understood properly, does not leave us the option to walk away whenever something happens that we do not like. It is a covenant commitment, like a marriage, and binds us for better and for worse.

Accordingly, if we commit ourselves to a church community and stay with that commitment, we will, at some point, have the experience that Jesus promised Peter would befall every disciple: Prior to this kind of commitment you can gird your belt and go wherever you want, but after joining a concrete church community, others will put a belt around you and take you where you would rather not go. And Jesus is right. What church community takes away from us is our false freedom to soar unencumbered, like the birds, believing that we are mature, loving, committed, and not blocking out things that we should be seeing. Real churchgoing soon enough shatters this illusion, and gives us no escape, as we find ourselves constantly humbled as our immaturities and lack of sensitivity to the pain of others are reflected off eyes that are honest and unblinking.

We can be very nice persons, pray regularly, be involved in social justice, and still not be fully responsible. It is still possible to live in a lot of fantasy and keep our lives safe for ourselves. This gets more difficult, however, if we start going to a church, most any church, especially one that is large enough to be inclusive. To be involved in a real way in a church community is to have most of our exemption cards taken away.

Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing. The Search for a Christian Spirituality, p 61,62.

That's right Cecily. Stay because you will grow. Stay because you'll learn how lumpy and bumpy you are and you might even change. Stay because it is right and good. Stay. Just stay.

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is this ridiculous? i think it's ridiculous

I've started a new job and with it comes a new email address. Or I should say 'another' email address, since it brings my total to six.

1. yahoo
2. nurse blog email
3. shared yahoo email with frank
4. uni email
5. department of health email
6. department of education email

There may yet be another one or two I haven't thought of.

Yes. That is ridiculous.

How many do you have?!


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Frank found this in the hall just now.

There was some screaming (on my part) and a mad chase up and down walls and across the floor (on Frank's part) before he was caught...

... and returned to the great outdoors!

Thank goodness he (because all scary spiders are male aren't they?!) didn't run across the bed as happened last year.

I'm wondering if maybe we shouldn't close the front door after all.


more creativity!

I know. I can't quite believe it either! Two cards in two months.

What might the rest of the year bring forth?!

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

i couldn't help myself

I love recipe books, a trait I have no doubt stems from my mother and her rich collection.

Not long after we got married Frank humoured my recipe book obsession and bought me a small bookshelf which has gradually filled with a collection of yummy books.

When it came to Christmas 2007, Frank was as stumped as ever at what to buy me. I suggested a fancy recipe book and pointed out a some of the fine specimens that could be found at a local book store. Frank (secretly) settled on Nigella Express and I duly received it on Christmas morning. Thankyou lovely Frank.

And then my recipe book cup did run over, for following on from Frank's present came a plethora of recipe books from my Mum, my brother and sister in law and a friend. (the barbecue bible was a gift to Frank, but since he doesn't cook I'm counting it in) Ah, recipe book heaven.

Then while we were travelling in South Australia in December, and in particular on Kangaroo Island, (yes Mum, I will get to blogging about the trip, I promise) I spied a cute farming recipe book and added it to my collection.

So now my little recipe shelf is pretty well full up. But I just can't help myself. When I noticed a 1800 number promising a free recipe book from the Tahini jar I had to phone up and place my order.

And now my recipe collection is complete...

... for a while.

I'm still working my way through the new books and discovering our favourites, but here is a recipe we enjoy quite often from cool food:

Brown rice and puy lentils with pine nuts and spinach

200g (1 cup) brown rice
100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
185g (1 cup) puy lentils (or green or brown lentils)
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
3 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
90g (2 cups) baby spinach leaves, washed

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the rice, and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan and add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until softened, then add the put lentils and 375ml (1 1/2 cups) water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain well, but do not rinse. Combine with the rice, tomato, coriander and mint in a large bowl.

Whisk the remaining oil with the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice, and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour over the salad, add the pine nuts and the spinach, and toss well to combine.

Serves 6-8

Bon Appetit!

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

ruined (forgive the melodrama)

I forgot my bow yesterday. I was running late for a violin lesson and I stuffed the violin in its case, grabbed the tuner and rosin and ran out the door. Only when I reached for the bow at my teacher's house did I realise it was still perched on its stand. So I politely asked if I might borrow a bow from amongst her collection.

And I fell into heaven. Her bow was incredible. My violin sang with the most beautiful tone it has ever produced - and that despite only a smattering of practice during the previous fortnight. I know a poor worker blames their tools, but my violin became putty in my hands under the touch of that bow.

In wonder I asked hopefully if a bow matures in sound over time like a violin does. No, she didn't think so. It might produce a slightly different tone when it was rehaired, but there is no significant improvement in the sound of a bow over time.

My next question was how much her bow was worth, since mine cost $300 (expensive in my mind) but it didn't come near the sound of hers. She couldn't quite remember how much it was valued at most recently, but maybe $1500 or $2000.

Yes. I typed that correctly. $1500 or $2000. Is it any wonder it sounded like heaven?

It was the best lesson I have ever had. But now I'm ruined for practising. My bow just doesn't compare! I guess I'm saving for a new one.

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how slow can she go?

2008 was is my year of going slow. Taking time to smell the roses. Living in the moment. If you've been around here a while, you know that already.

Well that was the plan until February began. I know I'm trapped within time but I don't quite know what happened to the last two weeks of my life. They disappeared. And took every ounce of my increasingly slow and reflective momentum with them. Right now I'm trying to rein in the craziness and get back to taking time to appreciate life and develop the best response to the circumstances I face.

In my efforts to embrace slowness I ordered a book from Amazon called 'In praise of slow' by Carl Honore. Well I thought I ordered it. By the time the various segments of my carved up delivery arrived I discovered that I had in fact not ordered the book and I decided perhaps I would be better off finding a second hand copy locally. Or at least the environment might be better off without yet another book flying across the Atlantic consuming fuel and contributing to climate change.

With this in mind I tootled into one of the numerous second hand bookshops in town and enquired as to whether they might have a copy of 'In praise of slow'. Nope, he'd never heard of the book but it sounded interesting, so he took down the title and the author's name and promised to try and trace a copy for me. All I needed to do was pop in every now and then to check for progress.

Now hang on a minute - that's all good and well and very nice I'm sure, but I want this book right now! I don't want to wait. This service is so slow! The situation is complicated further by his obliging demeanour and our lovely conversation about developing a more reflective, deliberate lifestyle. I feel constrained not to visit any of the other bookshops in search of an alternative copy. And since he snorted so derisively at my mention of Amazon, I dare not return there for my order. (Which, incidentally, may be no quicker than waiting for a copy to be traced within Australia's golden shores, since Amazon seem to have discovered the slowest planes on the face of the earth. Or maybe their boxes are just so big Australian customs hold onto them a little longer just to make sure nothing untoward is about to contaminate our fine citizens)

The long and the short of it is this: if I desire to read a book espousing the benefits of slowing down, would it not be helpful to adopt an attitude of calm patience in the waiting? Does it not fly in the face of the very philosophy I wish to explore (and perhaps adopt) if I run to the next shop or dash for the internet to hastily obtain a copy of the very words that might help me. just. stop?

And so I bide my time, sitting on my feet, twiddling my thumbs, reading all the other books I just bought while I wait.

And wait.

And wait. Until the book arrives in its own good time and I can begin to ponder at leisure the joy of living slowly. Ho hum. This real life lesson might turn out to be more character developing than reading the book itself!

I'll let you know when it arrives.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I'm not usually one to indulge in day time television and I've certainly never taken the time to tune into a televised parliamentary session, but today presented a suitably significant moment to do both when our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, offered a bipartisan apology to the Aboriginal people of Australia for the actions taken against them in the past.

Oh beautiful moment, wonderful words. It delighted my heart to see Aborigines sitting proudly within our Parliament House and the sound of sorry was sweet music to my ears.

Not that the past is all forgotten, or the pain expunged or the present trials of the Aborigines magically removed, but these words go a long way towards helping us achieve reconciliation in Australia. They signify the willingness of white Australia to acknowledge the wrongs committed against Indigenous Australians, and to humbly accept the role we played in the decimation of Aboriginal pride and culture.

There are of course those who seek to detract from the importance of this moment, suggesting the floodgates of compensation claims will now be opened and for this reason a formal apology should never have been given. Others believe there is no need to give an apology, as history has been distorted and the atrocities we hear of were fabricated tales. Furthermore our forebears knew not what they were doing. Still others resent the call to say sorry for a deed they did not personally commit.

To these people I would say that no relationship can move forward if we will not be genuine and real in our acknowledgement and regret of the past. Compensation or no compensation, today's words will go a long way towards healing the wounds of Indigenous Australia - observe the tears shed by both indigenous and white Australians today. Consider how you have felt on receiving a longed for apology.

Every historian adds their own bias to the retelling of the past. No matter what the degree of wrongdoing committed by early Australian settlers, we cannot deny wrongs were done. We should therefore apologise for even the slightest wrong. This is the right and decent thing to do.

To those who consider they have not personally wronged an Indigenous Australian, I say look at your wealth. We live off the fat of the land because we took the land from its original inhabitants. We could not be where we are today without the injustices of the past. You may not have killed an Aborigine or wrested the land from their tribe, but your prosperity comes care of those who did. If you do nothing to achieve justice and equality for the Aborigines of today you are surely as tainted as those who committed the original sins.

I for one have been deeply moved by the events of today. I am not in close contact with Indigenous Australians, but I join with my Prime Minister in expressing a deep and heartfelt 'sorry' to the indigenous people of Australia.

May we now all work together to achieve greater parity between white Australians and indigenous Australians, that we all might enjoy the prosperity of this beautiful country.


Thursday, February 07, 2008


I shouldn't be surprised - that's how life goes. Someone even captured it in a silly little ditty:

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Mary with a baby's carriage.

Or: first comes love, then comes shacking up, now here's Myrtle with a baby's carriage.

Or: first a one night stand, then a baby's carriage plus a whole parcel of accompanying dilemmas.

Whichever the route, male and female match ups frequently result in children. This is not news. It is not shocking.

But still, I was shocked. So shocked I felt winded. As if I had been punched in the stomach.

Friends unwittingly informed me of three pregnancies in three sentences. And why wouldn't they inform me? How could they possibly be aware of my secret pain when I was barely aware of it myself. I had no idea how I would be affected by the unexpected news. They might even have thought my lack of immediate response could be attributed to concentrating on driving rather than sitting in stunned silence.

I thought I was doing alright with the whole 'we can't have children right now' thing - I've been working on a positive attitude and sometimes I can sense circumstances changing sufficiently that children might happen for us too.

But I was completely unprepared, and I am not alright, and my head is spinning and I feel my world has crumpled a little and I want to cry because my situation seems hopeless while others remain blissfully unaware of the inordinate blessing of being able to conceive without difficulty, because as the ditty says, it just happens.

I'll catch my breath and stop feeling sorry for myself soon. I'll remember the incredible blessings that shower my life. I'll find strength to choose to appreciate the beautiful moments without mourning the empty space where a child might sit.

Just breath Cecily, breath. In... and out... in... and out...

Catch your breath honey, it will be alright.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

oh ok, if i must

Initially my plan was to start studying a Masters of Counselling in semester 2. Then they told me I didn't have enough counselling experience to enroll in the Masters, but I could look at studying a Grad Dip in Counselling if I liked. And since the government is willing to pay half the cost of a Grad Dip (as opposed to none of the Masters) and it was all the same subjects as a Masters, meaning I would have to study less for a Masters later and I could even take a break before starting the Masters if I wanted, I did like and accepted a position in the Grad Dip.

Just one problem, I had to start in semester 1 with 18 credit points. Ha! No way.

If there's one thing I learned from last year it was not to overcommit.
Actually I've been learning that my whole life.
One day I might remember.

So I said 'no, I will not study this year, I will defer until next year'. Then a letter arrived in the post today: you have been granted advanced standing for 12 credit points. Which means I might only need to study one unit this semester. Instead of three. Woopee!

I'm still working out how to study half a subject, since they only granted me advanced standing for 6 credit points of a 12 credit point subject. I'm hoping they just made a typo and I really have advanced standing for the whole subject.

Which would mean I could start my Grad Dip in Counselling without opening a single book or doing any study for a whole semester!

And I didn't even ask for this, the course coordinator just figured it all out while I was blissfully unaware! How cool is that?

And, even more exciting, I met someone yesterday who knows of an opportunity to start counselling without jumping through 100,000 loops. I just need to find a supervisor so I don't do anything dangerous! Things are looking up for my counselling aspirations.

UPDATE: It's official. I have been granted advanced standing in both first semester subjects and don't need to study until second semester! I am one happy girl.

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cecily's creation

It's been a long time coming, but I finally made time to create a card today. Still need to experiment a bit more with different types of glues and the effect created by their drying, but I was reasonably pleased with this specimen!

Here's to crafting space for more card making!

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

forest festival

I know we're several days into February and the time for new year reflections has well and truly passed, but I've managed to live out my own personal reformation beyond the first thirty one days of the year so I'm going to write about it anyway.

Recalling 2007 calls out memories of racing from one task to another, the constant motion of busyness, failing to appreciate moments magnificent or mundane, and the ever present taste of panic in the back of my throat. Rarely did I relax and unwind because there was no time to stop. My year was consumed by the tyranny of the urgent.

2008 is the year of reclaiming my time and myself. Consequently I might be find sitting at the beach in the rain, just making the most of the chance to enjoy beauty. Or drinking in the green of nature, enjoying the lavish sprinkling of this calming colour that soothes my soul...

The trouble with noticing the moments of life is there is less time to write about them! I have so much I could tell you, but I'm too busy living the stories to blog them.

One thing I must record however is our weekend attendance at a hippy forest festival as a display of solidarity with those who consider nature worth defending and protecting. On Saturday we left behind the seeming pressing concerns of life and headed for the hills. And the hill billys, because there were a few of them too, with dreadlocks, hairy armpits and unwashed children to boot. It was all rather disconcerting for us straight laced, brushed hair, clean clothed, gainfully employed people!

This was my first festival of any description and it was a little disappointing. Being low on numbers there wasn't a whole lot of atmosphere to get caught up in. Just a small, interesting blend of hippies and city slickers looking for a way to make a meaningful contribution to conservation... and I'm not sure this festival was the best use of our city-slicking time. Maybe when it was birthed amongst the trees twenty five years ago the forest festival was a potent blend of people and passion bent on preserving the beauty of our state. At the time they succeeded in blocking the construction of a mammoth dam that would have flooded an incredibly beautiful valley on the Franklin-Gordon River. Now we're fighting to save the forests from the pulp mill but it seems people are looking for something more mainstream... or maybe something closer to home. Or maybe just a better selection of music, since the head banging heavy metal of the children of the hippies is not to everybody's liking.

As it was, we still had a nice day. The drive to the site was beautiful, the valley setting was lush and comforting and a short rainforest walk unearthed some incredible specimens from old growth forest.

Phewee, those trees were big! We figured this one was a couple of hundred years old when it fell.

This one was big and in perfect condition with barely a torn limb.

Then there was the magical glade of giant man ferns...

Before we stumbled upon the big mama of them all... a tree that stood more than 65 metres (or 200 feet) tall before it crashed to the forest floor.

Yes, that root system is only partially exposed and still more than three times my height! Incredible.

After our forest walk we headed to the kitchen tent where (courtesy of our free entry) we were enlisted to wash dishes and assist with the production of wood fired pizzas... that was actually the most fun of the whole day. Rubbing shoulders with people we had never met before, all finding our niche and working around each other to produce more than 60 little pizzas! What a team! What a moment! Something to savour and enjoy, reclaiming my life, reclaiming myself.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

on taking time out

Towards the end of last year Frank and I came to realise we were putting too much energy into our church with too little return.

Not that we were engaged in a transaction of service in which one good deed was exchanged for another, but in all the giving with little receiving we found ourselves depleted. So much service combined with so little valuing, understanding or filling on the church's part left us with nothing more to give.

We called a moratorium on church attendance, organising our way out of multitudinous commitments for the whole month of January and simply staying home. (Save for one service early in the month in which I had to play the piano) In the process of taking time out we discovered the joys of lazy Sunday mornings - lengthy sleepins, leisurely breakfasts spent perusing the Sunday paper (in truth we don't buy the Sunday paper, but maybe we should... I like the sound of it), quiet time observing the world, fed by creatures of the earth and sky. In leaving church we discovered church of an altogether different kind, meeting with God under the dome of the world. It was wonderful. Enriching. Restoring.

It was, therefore, with some trepidation we realised January had come to an end. February arrived and signalled the season of return, when we must edge our way back towards the tangled web that is our spiritual family, that wriggling heap of jumbled, unmet expectations, where varied understandings of God and differing forms of spirituality leave us bumping against one another uncomfortably. It was not an appealing prospect and we pondered whether 'the moratorium' could become a 'moving on' in which we never returned.

It's all wrong don't you think? Church should be the place of peace and comfort. One should step through cool, calm doors into the pure presence of God. Love, joy and grace should greet you. Instead we're met by people. Faulty, frail, fragile humanity. And the lumps and grumps and pain of attempting to walk together with God.

Frank and I overcame our reticence and returned to church yesterday. It was not a wonderous, joyous, bountious occasion, but somehow I did find comfort in being back with the people of God. The welcome, the hugs, the knowing looks from people who sensed our struggle (and perhaps are engaged in their own parallel struggle). Faulty, frail, fragile humanity, yet hidden within each one is God. We look out on the world through very different eyes, yet in each of us is a yearning to know God, to experience his pure presence for ourselves.

Walking with these people is not easy, but neither is walking alone. Perhaps the problem lies in my faulty expectations of those who journey with me. They simply can not fill me for they also long to be filled, but if we can recognise our brokenness and need we might journey together into the pure, healing presence of God, offering support to one another as we hobble towards the wholeness that awaits us. This is the family of God.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

incredibly smart or ubelievably stupid?

For a brief moment I forgot my legs are still killing me and ran like a mad woman around the vegetable patch this morning, because one of the sheep got in. Again.

I'd left the 'gate' open while I picked some lettuce and Blackie headed on in right behind me, chomping frantically in an effort to consume as much as possible with each stolen mouthful. As I turned to scare her back out the 'gate', she panicked and ran further into the garden, diving around tomatoes and jumping over pumpkins, with a quick bite here and there on the way through.

We must have been quite the sight, both ducking and weaving around beneath the bird netting while I yelled 'get out! get out!' repeatedly and she bleated afearedly. Next thing I knew, Blackie was trying to dive through the chicken wire in the far corner of the garden, repeatedly stalling when the wire would give no more. Eventually she realised she would have to go back out the way she came in, so with a quick bite of silverbeet and beetroot on the way past, she ran across the patch and out into the yard.

Clive of course found the whole affair enormously entertaining. He watched Blackie's progress with great interest, seemingly trying to decide if it might be worth him coming in for a bit of a nibble himself.

As I set to repairing the increasingly torn and bedraggled chicken wire I started to wonder, was this a plan? A ploy by the sheep, cooked up overnight while their stomach's rumbled? (We've had almost no rain all month and the ground is little more than a dust bowl under the roving teeth of the sheep)

"OK Blackie... if we want to get into those juicy vegies, we have no option but to create an alternative path into them... so when she comes to get the lettuce in the morning (she always comes to get the lettuce in the morning), sneak in behind her, then run around, creating a bit of havoc before forming another entry into the garden... then we'll be set. She won't be able to keep us out."

"Oh Clive. You're incredible! I would never have thought of that. Of course she won't expect me to be so naughty since you're usually the one who steals from the vegie patch... she won't have a clue until I'm in there and have done the damage. We'll be set!"

Either that or she's one incredibly dumb sheep who was not thinking at all in her mad dash to freedom!

Whichever it is, smart or stupid, they both looked decidedly crestfallen when the vegie patch returned to it's rightful owners.

And incredibly only the tomatoes sustained a broken branch or two! We've also harvested 9 juicy cucumbers to date. Way to go!

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