Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Farewell, Adieu...

It’s all said and done, it’s real, and it’s been fun.We are experiencing the backwash of some extremely busy & emotionally exhausting days. To help things along our weather spat the dummy & rained & blew all over the parade.   

Sunday was D~Day. We woke to rain bucketing down in great dollops ~ & it continued to rain like Noah's flood as we loaded the car, negotiated the ferry & drove to Liddy's church. We were soaked, cold & ratty before we began. Star wanted to know why she couldn't have stayed home in bed [A: because I needed her to navigate home! lol] Dearest was in pain & naturally his spare medication had been left behind. The ferry was late. Liddy got no last glimpses of her island home because there was zero visibility & the ferry did the 20 minute trip slowly, by radar. It was completely miserable & we were late for church.

I appreciate the irony but I do not appreciate being wet, cold & miserable. Thankfully by the time church was done a thin, watery sun was poking tentatively through the clouds & we headed to Toscani's for lunch with my mother. Well fed & watered & considerably warmer & drier everyone started to feel more their usual cheerful selves & we had a lovely meal, great service & good chat as mum shared about her recent trip to the Cook Islands.

Then it was drop of Dearest [ who had reached his pain threshold & needed to return home] & head out to the cricket final, which the team was in the process of losing decisively. By then it was blowing like the clappers & the rain had returned, hammering horizontally like nails! We didn't stay too long. Mum said her goodbyes [it was rather traumatic all round!] & headed home to her cat & we headed off to pick up the bag Liddy had dropped at a friend's for safekeeping & beyond the reach of her own cats! It had been a wise decision as Saturday night both cats completely lost the plot & raced round the house like demented things howling & crying & generally being quite psychotic.

Then it was meet the car pool heading out to the airport & the inevitable parting drawing ever closer like the apocalypse. There was quite a crowd. Kids showed up from soccer & Teen Street as well as church & naturally her whole GAP team showed up to hooray her on. So much for me wanting a quiet family departure! Lots of hugs & little gifts that needed last minute stowing away, a last minute rush to the ATM...did you know the airport ATM's have multiple curriences?! Modern technology! Last hugs all round at the customs gate ~ & having done pretty well up until that point Lid & I both lost it & Star hovered around me anxiously from that point on. We crossed to the observation deck & as Lid came through customs into the departure lounge looking very small & lost & a little woebegone a great shout of LIDDY! LIDDY! went up. We turned heads as everyone looked round to see who the celebrity was! Liddy glanced up into a sea of waving hands & smiling faces then turned away to board her plane & there was nothing left to do but head home through the wet dark streets.

Monday I did it all again to put Theo on his plane, & he decided the hour trip into the airport was the perfect time to have a deep theological discussion with me ~ which is all well & good but I now feel like a washed out rag & all things being good am anxiously awaiting the FB message or email that let's me know all is well, Lid has arrived safely in Amsterdam for the GO conference & I can relax a bit.

Thank you all you dear people who have messaged us one way or another assuring us of your thoughts & prayers. All muchly apprciated. We have internet provider issues so am limiting my on~line time so if I didn't get back to you ~ that's why. Now Star & I need to get on with the business of sorting out her neglected school work. *sigh*

Friday, August 19, 2011

Time & tide...

Yesterday.  Yesterday was traumatic ~ to say the least.  Liddy left early with her broken computer.  Devastating.  Completely.  She is already minus the camera she was at such pains to purchase & having gone to great lengths to shorten the distance between us once she's gone it was more than ironic that her computer should fail her before ever leaving these shores.  Still, here was the best place for it to happen & she is now back up & running again.

Dearest was on a boat also, chasing a new printer for his computer, but Dino, who should also have been on that boat heading for the wedding he is to be best man at today, was beside himself because his dress pants were missing & nowhere to be found but before he could head overseas to the friend that he thought he'd left them with his boat needed dealing with. The shackle pin that connects the anchor to the chain had worked free in the night & the tinnie had drifted.  On investigation the stern was wedged under a mangrove & high tide was after mid~day.  In desperation I agreed to move the boat & put Ryan on a ferry ~ minus, as it turns out, all the cricket stuff he needs tomorrow for the Grand Final & which I now have to find & lug to the jetty tomorrow!  Then Star missed her boat!

Now when I agreed to move the tinnie the bay was like a pristine sheet of glass.  Not a ripple of wind anywhere.  I was assured the rubber ducky rowed like a dream.  All I had to do was tow the tinnie out off the mangroves & drop the anchor.  I know!  I should know better & never agree to these things!

By the time the tide looked like it was high enough to float the tinnie the wind was whooshing down the channel from the north but having dealt with boats all my life I donned the gumbies Ryan had assured me were small enough to fit a dwarf [they didn't & were at least 2 sizes too big] & clomped down the hill in a slip~sliddy fashion to investigate the rubber ducky that Ryan salvaged weeks ago & is still waiting for some yachtie to claim. 

The rubber ducky was fine ~ for one person doing nothing more but go for a leisurely row around the bay on a calm summer's day.  As I discovered, using it for delicate maneuvering of a larger, heavier vessel rendered it both useless & dangerous.  The rowlocks were inadequate.  Once I was dealing with more than just me the oars escaped the rowlocks sliding randomly up the oar & making everything so lopsided we tended to want to spin in circles!  However they do not ship all the way in either making it difficult, if not impossible, to pull alongside another vessel.   I know why so many sailors swear so fluently! 

Next I discovered there was no central anchor point for towing, which meant I had to tie the tinnie to one side or another ~ which aslo tended to make us want to spin in circles.

Finally I discovered that the tinnie wasn't quite floating but rather bouncing happily up & down on a jagged shard of rock, which meant I, in my overlarge & cumbersome gumbies, had to clamber out of the rubber ducky onto a tumble of slimy rocks & miniature breaking waves that hid surprise potholes & other underwater hazards!  Once precariously balanced on this uneven foundation I had to hold the rubber ducky's painter while bodily hefting the tinnie up & over, but not with enough momentum to wedge it under another mangrove or tear the dubiously tied painter free!  I then had no stable point to hang on to while I clambered back into the rubber ducky, tied the tinnie's painter firmly to an available stanchion, & negotiated the tangle of mangroves heading for open water ~& that was the easy bit!

By this time the tide was flooding in propelled by the northerly & not only am I small [5'5"] I don't have enough weight to make way against a good head wind & incoming tide.  Not in a cruddy little rubber dinghy with the oars escaping the rowlocks towing an 8' tinnie.  Even keeping the towline as short as possible the tinny was drifting across my course & anyone who has negotiated a mangrove forest knows there is not a lot of manoeuvrability through them.  Once again I found myself clambering in an ungainly fashion all over the rubber ducky to untangle the tinnie.  Worse was to come.

Once I managed to poke my nose out of the mangroves the full force of the northerly hit & I found myself in the strongest part of the current.  Making no real headway against both tide & wind I shot into the small channel that leads to our beach & wrestled the tinnie into our little sheltered cove, threw out the anchor, put out a stern line [scratching my head a little because it's been some time since I last had to tie a bowline!], secured the rubber ducky with a clove hitch & 2 half hitches & scambled back up the hill to find Liddy had found Star, Star had passed her license, the computer had yet to go to the computer man, Theo was due in any tick of the clock & needed transferring to the friend who was transporting him to the wedding ~ & once again Liddy had run out of time to do some necessary shopping.  At some point tomorrow the boys need picking up to see Liddy & my mum ~ but no~one has yet given me details!  We leave home early ~ & absolutely everyone leaving the house together, with bags, what's more!, is sure to send both cats into a psychotic meltdown!  I felt like an anchor myself yesterday.  It's a madhouse here!
If everything comes your way, you are in the wrong lane. ~ Anon

Back in the Distant Past Liddy studied for her Learner's License.  It took her several attempts to attain it ~ & having got it I had a hairy few months while she translated her mother's visual instructions into her kinesthetic understanding.  Meanwhile Star rode shotgun in the back seat issuing instructions, unable to decide whether it was worse trying to calm her nervous mother or endure her sister's obsession for speed while steering the car at whatever she was happening to look at.....She sniggered while a mortified Liddy sat in the middle of intersections trying to get her stalled car going again, or eventually hissing under her breath after I banned her from commenting, that trying 1st gear might help!  Naturally Star's massive self~confidence was galling & Liddy really wanted to be here when Star first started to drive.  Naturally Star cut things fine!

Life has been busy so despite Star's birthday coming & going we hadn't got into the transport department to sort Star's paperwork out.  This morning Liddy offered to pick Star up & take her in before going on to the airport to meet Theo's plane.  Firstly Star missed her boat.  When I finally managed to get on to Liddy she was only just leaving her meeting & would not be on time for the 2nd boat either.  Star got on a bus & Liddy met her at  Queensland Transport.  At which point a great many people would have assumed good money was about to go down the drain.  It never pays to underestimate Star.  All her life that child has learnt while seemingly paying attention to nothing!

She blitzed her test.  The one question she got wrong was not because she did not know the answer but because she doesn't take enough tests & misunderstood what she had to do!  Joss has only just learnt to drive now he's 26 & the army taught him ~ in a tank!!!  Liddy tried half a dozen times before she passed.  Theo took over 20 attempts & Dino's still on his Ls.  Star is the first of ours to pass first time around!  It is amazing what she can achieve when she is motivated & wants something!

Liddy has  visions of revenge.  I think she is going to be disappointed.  Star is going to be a pretty good driver I suspect.  She is calm & unflappable, & unlike her sister, not a risk taker.  And she has the benefit of this being her second time round!  The first time was while Liddy was learning. 

When my cousins learnt to drive my aunt sat in the back seat with a blanket over her head.  I know the feeling ~ so who made it illegal?!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A little conversation about sin.

"Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell;

     I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of hell." ~ C.T. Studd
Something has happened to Christianinity. 

 I am old enough, just, to remember the Billy Graham Crusades, old enough, just, to remember a different sort of Christianity.  Not perfect.  Harsher perhaps ~ & lacking in the expression of God's grace to sinners.  Just the same, human beings seem incapable of balance & in the effort to correct a misdirection the pendulum has swung so much the other way something important has been lost: the conviction of our sin.

These days of political correctness & falacy in the name of Tolerance you don't hear much discussion of sin ~ or the correlations: Hell, repentance & holiness.  The emphasis has been on God's love, God's grace, God's mercy rather than God's wrath, God's judgement, God's holiness.  The truth, of course, lies in the tension, the balance, between the two extremes.

In our efforts to reach people we have watered down the truth & thus misrepresented the gospel.  I have scratched my head for years wondering why so many churches are so insipid when they claim to be the servants of the living God, the Creator of Heaven & Earth & all that lies therein.  I have wondered why so many Christians claim to love God yet walk like the world, talk like the world, act like the world.  I have come to the conclusion that many have lost the correlation between sin & holiness.

Yep, they get John: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. They understand they have to repent ~ & about here the whole sticky mess starts unravelling.  Repentance is more than *missing the mark*, as is all too often taught.  It is a complete about face in mindset, exchanging the thinking of the world for God's thoughts.

Scripture is welded together.  We must renew our mind, bring every thought under the control of Christ.  Why?  Because this is the way to holiness. This is the way we know God's thoughts ~ & thus our sin.  For this purpose we are given 2 tools:  Prayer & scripture.  The word of God is a sword.  It shows us our sin.  It shows us God's truth.  This is why the law should never be ignored.  Here is God's standard.  It shows us His expectations.  It shows us how far we miss the mark.  Only when this foundation is firm & sure is it possible to raise God's grace, His mercy, His love.

There is no contradiction.  God hates sin.  He cannot look upon it.  Even when His own son became sin for our sakes, God turned away causing Christ to cry out, "My God! My God!  Why hast thou forsaken me?"

When we soak our minds in God's word His truth scours our minds & hearts  ~ if we allow.  Unfortunately the truth tends to terrify us.  To look full into the face of our own iniquity is overwhelming & so we potter round on the fringes of Christianity, unable to enter into the fullness of life in God, unable to command the power Christ promised, castrated, weak, disabled, clinging in preference to the known grot of our sin rather than exchanging it for the garment of righteousness.

Thus we have a powerless & ineffectual church.  Thus we bear so little fruit.  Thus we fail to see others enter into the kingdom ~ or even want to enter in.  God does not choose to use a dirty vessel, or to bless that which is unclean.  Repentance is foundational to a close walk with God & a close walk with God is a walk filled with the might & power of Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit.  It is through Christ & our walk with Him, & Him alone, that we are enabled to enter into God's rest: His mercy, His love, His grace.

So that's where the meditations of this fast have taken me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Last Things, Other beginnings.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~Thomas Edison

 Now are the days of Last Things: last soccer game, last training session, last youth group, last regular Sunday worship, last Kid's Club, last bible study.  The days are moving inexorably forward to that moment in time when a plane lifts off over Brisbane airport taking my Liddy with it.

Life, however, is a funny old mix.  I went with the girls to Lid's last soccer match [2 all draw & she didn't score] then came home while the girls went on to Lid's farewell party & Sunday church, staying overnight at a friend's.  They came home late Sunday night, Star, who had got least sleep, buzzing like a fly in a bottle.

I know this Star all too well.  This is one of the primary reasons we homeschool.  It's like trying to whistle the wind, harness the sea, hold back the tide.  Never going to happen.  Star wafts on her merry way regardless. Which apparently she was doing at the ferry terminal, belting out her recent favourite with no regard for her potential audience. It happens.  A lot. We're used to her but she  does get some funny looks.

Opportunity came knocking at her door.  At that time of night the only other passengers are shift workers & the Artsy~farty lot.  There are a few Musos & at least one Elvis impersonator.  The musos you can always tell by the violin cases looking like Mafia weapons, the guitar bags & amps, the big black boxes looking like something just reclaimed from the lost & found department that hold things like Saxes, trombones, trumpets.  We know them all by sight, if not by name.  Invariably we're the people scrambling for the very last boat; so Star barely batted an eyelid to find herself suddenly bailed up by the sousaphone player next island over ... & informed that she had been on pitch her entire song.  Insert eye~roll here.  Star would jolly well hope so!

At which point Liddy arrived looking StrangerDanger at Star & the poor woman whipped out her Blue card to prove her honest intentions!

Sousaphone player plays with a Big Band swing & jazz ensemble; would Star like to sing with them?  It's as if God handed the child the sun, the moon & the stars!  Music is being e~mailed through for her.  She will take that to her next private lesson & work on the music with Alison.  One rehearsal only required ~ which means she will have to work her butt off herself. I think the performance is fairly local & not till next month but guess where the rehearsal is?

Yep; Dutton Park.  Right in the middle of Brisbane!  Right in the middle of freeways & highways & overpasses & intersections.  Should I melt down now or save it for later?

I just gotta say...

The time is always right to do the right thing. ~ Martin Luther King jrEvery Australian knows the face.  Every parent knows the fear & the terror of a child gone missing.  All of us hoped Daniel would be found, alive & well ~ & did not expect it, not after 8 years. 

Now, after 8 long years  a man has been arrested for Daniel's murder & the one thing that apalls me more than what was done to Daniel is the ignoring of something that is a fundamental right in this country because that is the way our judicial system works~ & that is that you are innocent until proven guilty.  The onus is on the law to provide evidence, beyond reasonable doubt, that the person has committed the crime of which they are accused. 

And not only am I hearing ignorant kids on FB declaring the man guilty, before he has even stood trial, our media is just as bad!  I have yet to hear the evidence ~ even Daniel's parent's are yet to hear the full testimony against this man.  Whatever I personally think, whatever I actually believe, even whether this man is in fact as guilty as, the law declares him innocent until proven otherwise.  And the rest of us should respect that so that he gets a fair trial ~ not because he deserves it; he probably doesn't, but because it is the right thing, the biblical thing, the fair thing ~ & because mistakes happen.  Innocent people have hung for less.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Don't think that I'm silly for liking it, I just happen to like the simple little things, and I love cats! ~ Michelle Gardner

When we brought the boys home their carers were very anxious they would not only be well loved but very well taken care of because they had been inside cats only.  I have only ever confined my cats to the house at night ~ more for our wildlife's sake than the cat's!  And any half determined cat could certainly escape from our house if they put their mind to it.
When we arrived home we carried the cat cages upstairs because my bedroom is not only a nice large room that was fully capable of accommodating litter trays, food bowls, water bowls & two spooked cats; it is a quiet room tucked away at the top of the house where the boys could get over the trauma of moving.

We opened the cages & Marlow promptly disappeared under the bed, deeply traumatized.  Kirby rushed to the widow & his eyes just got bigger & bigger.  Our windows run from floor to ceiling across the full width of the bedroom & they give a spectacular view across Ooncooncoon Bay, down the hill through the ferns & soap trees, & into the twisted treetops of the Ironbarks.  You are right at bird level & you can see everything that is happening in the trees, down the hill & on the water. 

 Kirby was enchanted.  You could practically hear the cogs of his brain whirring:  Really?  I get to live here?  All this is mine?  He couldn't wait to get outside & for the days we kept them carefully confined to the house Kirby prowled from window to window [& we have a lot of windows!] staring out goggle eyed.  Just the same, when we began taking them outside, carefully chaperoned, every moving shadow, every dropped leaf, every screeching bird had both cats flat to the ground, tails down, worried eyes enormous & Marlow would shoot back into the house quivering with fear.  Kirby quivered ~ but stood his ground & gradually he worked his way round a very large territory.

We don't really have to worry about traffic.  We've got hardly any traffic, hardly any neighbours &, thanks to Issi all, the local dogs are terrified of our cats.  Our biggest problem is ticks & every day I work my hands through both cats' thick fur checking for the tell~tale lumps.  We have watched with amusement & amazement as Kirby has rustled his sooky brother out the door, encouraging him to enjoy some time outside with him, enjoying the sunshine, the rich smells, the huge variety of movement & something has happened to Marlow.  The kitten that was so neurotic I was concerned about his psychological health has gained confidence & become a much more secure cat.

If anyone pokes their head out the door both cats suddenly materialise from wherever they've been, delighted beyond words to have their people outside with them, twinning round ankles with happy chirrups & deep rumbling purrs.

Just now the days are absolutely glorious!  Kirby is one smart cat.  Why wouldn't you want to be out in a day like this?!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Today's Thinks.

There is only one thing that keeps most churches from prospering spiritually; They have yet to find God. ~ Chpt:2

I said I would share, so...& I'm only up to chapter four!  I am forced to read this very slowly even though I could zip through it in an hour or two.  Somehow that would defeat the purpose.

God works in very strange ways.  Up until I went to pay for my items I was actually carrying round two other, very different books!  But this & the Franklin one on fasting, seemed to be the two the Lord wanted me to have & so, here I am, slowly wading my way through two books by very different authors that seem to belong together.

I will try & be very honest so I hope that doesn't make you uncomfortable. 

Firstly fasting.  Something I have tended to be a little erratic about until the last year or so when I agreed to fast with my friend, who fasts regularly on Wednesdays; that's my Thursdays.  Knowing someone else is on the same journey, however many miles apart we are, is very helpful for me & helps me to stay committed to the practise of fasting regularly.  Fasting is something our Lord assumed we would do, along with giving & praying, but somewhere along the way the modern church got out of the habit & now doesn't even understand the spiritual purpose of the fast.

Anyway I had been feeling the Lord wanted me to do a slightly longer fast for some time.  I usually stick to a 24 hour fast though I think that is the most difficult fast to do.  Occasionally I venture into a 3 day fast but rarely longer for a couple of reasons.  Doing without food is the easy part for me, strange as that may sound.  I often accidentally miss meals because I am far more interested in what I am doing than I am in stopping to prepare something to eat.  Food preparation is the bane of my life.  I really hate it & it puts me off my food because food is only fuel & I have very little interest in it otherwise.  If someone cares to plonk something in front of me I'll happily eat but if I have to go to the trouble of preparing it myself I would rather do without, so given that mind set ignoring a grumbly stomach I can do.  The problem is I have a great many inground ways to distract myself from my stomach ~ & ignoring a grumbling tummy is not the main purpose of a fast!

Secondly my energy level tends to be low naturally.  On a fast it can plummet alarmingly & I think it's dodgy driving on the mainland like that which limits my available days for fasting.  So I have been looking for a window of opportunity for the longer fast, which occurred unbeknowest to me this week, which is EKKA week, & I have no driving on the mainland.  Naturally as soon as I even thought about purposing in my heart to fast all sorts of things started happening to prevent it!

Now the main purpose of the fast is not prayer, though prayer is the tool; it is entering into closer relationship with God.  Enter Holiness, Truth & the Presence of God.  Along with my bible this is what I have been studying on this fast.  All the reviews I have read on this little book warn that if you are serious about God it will strip you bare so I have approached it very cautiously indeed.  I am no fonder than anyone else of being stripped bare & exposed! Hence only being up to chapter 4!!!

I have said all too often that God has lead us on a very peculiar dance, moving us outside the mainstream church time & time again, & I have never understood it.  The church is His bride so surely we should be part of it...but then there is church & then there is The Church.  They are not necessarily the same thing.  And there in chapter three Frangipane nailed it for me.  He says bluntly we are all addicted to the familiar, however awful that may be.  It is why our jails are full of repeat offenders, why women marry men just like daddy & why most people, worldwide, live within 50 miles of their birthplace!  And it is why Christians stay in dead churches!  "These things may not necessarily trap us in sin as much as keep us from God."

God does not want our religion, however comforting to us that may be, or however wonderful we think our church is.  He wants us ~ & in order to get us He will often move us outside our comfort zones because that way He is sure to get our attention!  It is not necessarily that mainstream church is a bad thing ~ it is where we stand with it because it may be bad for us, lulling us soporifically rather that urging us into a more intimate relationship with Christ.

Now why am I reading this while on a fast?  Good question!  One of the benefits of fasting is that it gives clarity of vision.  Seriously, I like writing when I'm on a fast because the inner eye is so uncluttered, the mind lucid & the images sharp as crystal. Ember, have you ever tried this?  Anyway, the fast alone tends to reduce everything to its essentials & so reading this little book while my outer life is less cluttered & my inner world cleaner & clearer means I should get maximum benefit.  Yes?

So them's my thinks for today.  What do you think?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Books, Books & More Books.

One of the blogs I visit had this meme on it recently, and since it’s about books, I couldn’t resist putting it on mine.

Feel free to put this and your own answers on your blog, or leave a comment below so we can all see and perhaps get some new recommendations! (You’re really supposed to list one book per question, but I’m feeling bookish and have decided to list just what I like! per question.☺)

One book you’re currently reading:  Fasting by Jentezen Franklin & Holiness, Truth & The Presence of God by Frances Frangipane

One book that changed your life: Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster & The Search for Arthur, Geoffry Ashe.

One book you’d want on a deserted island: The Friendly Persuasion, Jessamyn West.

One book you’ve read more than once:
The Merry~go~Round in the Sea, Randolph Stow.  The Waterlily, Kate Llewellyn.  They're both by poets & simply gorgeous to read!  Monkey Grip, Helen Garner.

One book you’ve never been able to finish: I have a long, long list of stuff that wasn't worth finishing ~ & I didn't. Too long for here! Starting with War & Peace! And James Joyce's Ulysses.  Pity, as I rather like Joyce normally but that was unreadable!

One book that made you laugh:The Pursuit of Love, Nancy Mitford.  The Child Hunt is the most hilarious thing I have ever read!  They're a Weird Mob ~ John O'Grady

One book that made you cry: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown.  Seven Little Australians, Ethel Turner.

One book that was a waste of time in your opinion:  Lord of the Flies, William Golding . Ghastly book!

 One book that stunned you: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Attwood.

One book you keep rereading: The Greengage Summer ~ Rumor Godden

 One book you’ve been meaning to read: The Keeper of Lost Causes ~ Jussi Adler-Olsen;  The Tiger's Wife: A Novel ~Tea Obreht;  Among Others ~ Jo Walton

One book you believe everyone should read: The Bible.

Finally, grab the nearest book. Open it to page 56. Find the seventh sentence:

"For without a love of the Truth, no area of our lives can be corrected."  ~ Holiness, Truth & The Presence of God, Francis Frangipane

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks. ~GoetheAnimals teach us a lot about ourselves.  The boys are brothers from the same litter & they are bereft without each other but however much they love each other they are also beset with a natural tendency to compete for my time & attention, to outdo the other, to be jealous.  It is the sort of unhappy mix that creates insecurities. 

The Lord is so good to me.  All my life I have loved wonderful music ~ the difficult sort; the sort that tends to make most people roll their eyes & wonder about me.  I have the sort of nature that would happily belt out a tune from the roof tops but alack & alas I was not blessed with the sort of vocal chords capable of such an exercise.  And ever since I ran into the scripture that talks about gifts being redistributed in heaven I have joked about putting in an order for Meatloaf's voice.  I desire not only to make a joyful noise, but also a tuneful noise: deep & strong & LOUD!

Now I grew up with a cousin I love deeply, passionately, & whom I envy from the depths of my everlasting soles because she can sing!  Oh my, can she sing.  My Star is just like her ~ in more ways than make any of us comfortable~ & listening to either of them hit a note with effortless ease turns me green. So not fair!  I am just like my cats, busily eyeing of the other's bone instead of concentrating on my own.

The Lord has promised to grant us the desires of our hearts ~ but I wasn't expecting any miracles in the music department ~not in this world.  I live with Star.  She is more than a little disparaging about my vocal abilities.  Big miracle required.

In the course of commenting about how lucky the QPAC choir is to be getting skills training just now I have been made an offer, one I am seriously considering because Alison seems to think she can work a minor miracle.  And so I have chatted to Star, who is always more than a little mortified when I sing with the choir, & we have reached an agreement because Star tells me she is a very good teacher indeed.  We shall see.  Star is going to give me singing lessons & once Liddy has departed & the car becomes available Thursday nights we shall think about singing with the QPAC choir.  Both of us.

We shall kill two birds with one stone because Star can do the driving & rack up her hours in record time as well as extending her C.V.  The Lord in His goodness & mercy is also knocking off two birds at once, giving me plenty to take my mind of what I am deprived of while giving me a challenge & something I have said I want.  More rehearsal time.  More performance time.  Brisbane...Here we come!

What I found today.

But if from thence ye shall seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou search after him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.~Deut4:29

When we moved to the island we came from a well established fundamental Presbyterian church that taught strongly from the word to a very small, very eclectic, very struggling church that didn't always have a Pastor.  We learnt early that if we were going to continue to walk with the Lord & grow in grace then much of the responsibility for that growth was going to fall on our shoulders.  There was no *church* church.  There was no minister.  There were no regular services, no bible studies, no prayer nights.

It has taken 20 years to shake of the expectations of a lifetime of establishment church but we have learnt we are the church & the responsibility for our relationship with God is ours alone.  Ours were the only children in church Sunday after Sunday, year after year ~ when we did have a service. 

We devised a collection of *helps*: tapes & CDs, commentaries, radio programmes, Christian literature.  For years I rose at 6am, parked my car just so, so I could pick up the only Christian broadcast preaching that reached the island & for an hour & a half I sat in my car listening to some of the best preaching available anywhere!  Denomination ceased to matter.  A starving man does not question the source of the food before him.  Often it was the only outside input I received for weeks on end & I meditated on it from day to day.  Fellowship was irregular at best.  We were thrown back onto the family ~ as the Lord Himself warned Dearest we would be.  It has made us a little odd.  It has made us extremely critical of any preaching we hear.  We have had to survive a spiritually hostile environment unsupported by strong church structure & we do not tolerate poor preaching well.  It weakens the people of God.  It destroys congregations.  It blasphemes the name of God.

At first our choices were very traditional: the hymns we knew & loved; a few stray choruses we felt were biblically sound.  Later Liddy bought contemporary Christian music.  As  I reverted more & more to my natural inclination towards meditative prayer, I often chose Celtic Praise & worship music.  Then, picking a CD at random on one of our rare trips into Koorong I found Messianic worship music.  That first CD, Ancient Words, changed my perception of worship music forever.  There is something about it that speaks profoundly to my condition.  It is scriptually sound, quoting scripture, the psalms, traditional Jewish prayer & song.  It naturally turns the heart towards God.  So each time we've been into Koorong I've looked for something similar ~ with no luck.  Miles of contemporary stuff.  Miles of traditional stuff.  Hip Hop.  Screamo.  Heavy Metal. Messianic?  I might as well have asked for the moon.

Then today, on the off chance, I scanned the racks of music & voila!  I Am.  And it is as wonderful as the first CD I got. It is a double CD & I have been plugged into the most glorious music all evening.  And preparation of the heart is the first step.  I have been looking for a good book on the practice of holiness for some time.  Holiness, without which none of us will see God.  The most charismatic of Christian disciplines.  So I picked up Francis Frangipane's book Holiness, Truth & the Presence of God.  Not sure.  Don't know Frangipane but scanning the contents I think this will be good.  Will let you know.  And to help along on the journey I got Jentezen Franklin's Fasting

See, there's a number of things going on.  Of course there's Liddy & prayer, closeness to God, is becoming more important the further she goes geographically.  Prayer is the lifeline but there are Spiritual principles that hinder prayer & spiritual principles that aide prayer.  Holiness is an aide.  Then, spiritually I've sort of been on hold.  Things have still been happening but not so intensely.  Now Liddy is almost gone & I sense a shifting of the Spirit.  It is time for the next thing to evolve.  Then I have a son I am disciplining.  This is not teaching the fundamentals.  Those he has but as the Lord begins to work deeply in his life he needs deeper teaching & my vague, well the Lord led me like this, isn't quite going to cut the ice.  I need to be able to formulate my thoughts & ideas better & get a better grip on the scriptural foundations that undergird my thinking. Sharing I'm not so good at.  I waft along going where I think the Spirit is directing & I can get a terrible shock when someone asks me to stop & explain what's going on.

Fasting is a key element also & although I have practised it irregularly on & off for years I feel the need to get a better grip on how to explain why I do it, how it works, why it works as it does.  Yeah, I am excited.  Journeying with God is always full of unexpected surprises.  No idea why we are going where we are but I am looking forward to the journey ~ difficult bits & all because the end result will be so worth it!  So I have something to occupy my mind & get my teeth into besides Liddy's imminent departure!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Taking the boys to bed.

"Books and cats and fair-haired little girls make the best furnishing for a room" ~ French Proverb
I don't know why, but every time I do this my household cracks up. Yes, this is how we go up to bed most nights, with an armful of purr.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer snowstorm.

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colours, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.  ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Now the men are on the mend I am busily throwing anything that doesn't move in the wash with loads of disinfectant but for  the second year in a row we have so much gum blossom the brick paving below our line is white with fine feathery stamens & feet roll on the myriad of tiny gumnuts scattered like floral stars across the ground.  The bats & white cockatoos have torn whole bunches of gum blossom away from the trees to lie in untidy bunches everywhere we look & like chaff the tiny threads itch at the back of the throat.  Summer is on its way.  The days are getting warmer, the nights nowhere near as cold.
I swept my front path yesterday.  Today I will do under my line.  By tonight it will look like a fall of floral snow has dusted everything again.  Everything has to be well shaken before it can be folded & brought inside.

Anyone else experienceing a floral snowstorm?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"I always knew looking back on the tears would make me laugh, but I never knew looking back on the laughs would make me cry." ~ Anon 

Several years ago Star bought me a flowering hyacinth for Mother's day & every year since, despite apalling negelect, it has duly flowered during the winter months.  The flowers never last long.  By the time the bulbs have decided it is cold enough to spurt the weather has already turned & become warmish.  Still the sight of the bluey flowers gives me a warm & fuzzy feeling, reminding me that I am loved.

So I have been turning over in my mind, because the cats have gone quite psychotic around Liddy, [they know something is up!] what I can give my very practical daughter to take with her to serve a dual purpose: something practical; something to remind her that she is loved.  I have had no mind boggling ideas yet.

She has bought the very fancy rusack required ~ 10% off & a jolly good thing too!  She has gone through her clothing & decided what she wants to take & what is to go in the thrift bin.  She is slowly working her way through her room packing away a life.   It's a bit like it was going through my dad's stuff after he died.  Some stuff no~one is going to use any more!  None of it will be required here again.

Meanwhile the wog that very nearly shut down the school hit our house.  The men succumbed quickly & painfully.  One landed in hospital, the other at the drs surgery.  Both have been down for the count for over a week.  I, who don't have a business bone in my body & am Queen of Disorganization, have been battling to keep some sort of order in Dearest's little business.  I can not package anything; I know absolutely nothing about stamps or the system he uses to keep track of anything, but I have been issuing invoices & addressing envelopes during a week when, naturally, our sales went ballistic! I cannot believe people like to buy little pieces of coloured paper ~ some of it very boring to my eyes indeed~ but it seems they do.

So it's not that I don't love you, people.  It's just we're a little preoccupied around here & going down for the third time.  School?  What school?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Birthdays are good for you.  Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest. ~Larry Lorenzoni

Yes, she really is that random.  And now she is 16!  If she can pass the test the powers that be will let her drive.  On the roads no less.  Real roads.  With real cars.

The days are rolling inexorably on.  Like the tide they can't be held back.  Liddy is here for Star's 16th, as she wanted to be, but will not be here for her own birthday in October.  Her last few weeks are proving exciting.  My youngest nephew landed in hospital. Then  Dino landed in hospital.  Now Dearest is down with the lurgy & I'm seriously hoping that I don't have this choice wog as Liddy & I have a lot to do in the next few days! 

Star's special day was very quiet due to the number of sick people in our house but the girl is easily pleased.  She actually got her main present some months back as a laptop for the girl was part of the deal Dearest wrangled when he negotiated for mine.  He is good

Due to her dysgraphia typing is a far more sensible option for school than actually writing & while sharing is not usually a problem November is fast approaching when we both  do NaNoWriMo ~ & the fight is on for all the computer time we can get.

NaNo was my response to a certain young & very foolish teacher who so got on Star's case about her writing the girl refused point blank to put pen to paper.  I may be a little strange but I never saw why the girl shouldn't write in every colour of the rainbow if that's what struck her fancy. [Who in their right mind wants to write in boring old lead grey anyway?] Happily for us our next supervisor, different umbrella, saw no reason why not either & Star is far more orthodox these days ~ mostly~ being all grown up & that sort of thing.  NaNo, done on the computer, sole goal as many words as possible in 30 days, seemed to overcome the last of her inhibitions & awoke in her a delight in creating her own worlds & characters. [If Liddy really knew what went on in that pretty red head of Star's she'd totally disown her!]

I did pick her up a couple of small things: ear plugs for her i~pod because the old ones were broke; Avatar ~ long version with all the behind the scenes stuff both Star & I would rather watch than the movie itself; & a new watch because the band was gone on the last one.  Nothing fancy but enough to make her day a little bit special & appreciated because Star really wasn't expecting anything else.  Ma's pressie was duly delivered via Liddy, who was so overwhelmed with affection from Kirby on her return she has wisely decided that cat cannot be allowed to see a packed bag proir to her departure!  I foresee more drama, drama, drama.