Friday, 18 August 2017

Fun Things.

So this is how my week went. I spent part of 3 days on the mainland looking after The Child ~ the grizzly, cold~ridden grump, then 2 days recovering from the trauma of it all & another day on the mainland to celebrate The Girl's birthday...& pretty cheerful about it all because I wasn't supposed to be preaching this week & I figured it has been so long since I had a week of I could afford to be a little laid back. I should never suppose anything.

I got 48 hours notice that my preacher had been unexpectedly called away & I would have less than 24 hours to come up with something!  This does not make me happy ~ despite the fact I regularly terrify those in the know by writing sermons @ the last minute.  Wonderful for the concentration ~ like the quip that the imminent prospect of death really focuses the mind!

Just the same there are some sermons that require a little more cooking than others. OT, who arrived to put in the microwave unit & the phone shelf, was most unsympathetic.  As a preacher himself he considers all one needs to do is pull out a bible passage & expound on it for 45 minutes ~ only that's not how I work!

 I have a 3~fold gift & one prong of that is teaching.  I am chronically incapable of simply expounding a passage until I have pulled it through the mangle of the actual Greek [or Hebrew], looked at what it is really saying & then looking at ways & means to apply this to everyday life.

I had the jump~off point several weeks ago [Romans 12:2] & as so often happens for me I had found some excellent teaching that would be very helpful from a practical point ~ only I hadn't listened to all of it, & a great little story illustration ~ I swear, this stuff just lands in my lap! ~ & hadn't stressed because I was supposed to have another week, wasn't I?

Even so, I got up Saturday morning & wasted several hours on Skype with my wonderful American friend, Seeking, then pottered round making coffee & considering my Farmville2 disaster, while I let the Holy Spirit percolate the whole concept of renewing one's mind on the backburner of mine.  No stress.  Seriously.

Once I get going I then just steam ahead because the Holy Spirit gets in there & just starts plonking it down: bing, bang, bong! I was getting along great guns & feeling pretty happy with how it was all going.  I'd got all my definitions sorted & was halfway through, heading into the more difficult aspects when our internet dropped out. No immediate panic.  I always save my work as I go.  At the worst I would only lose a line or so & probably easily recovered.

I don't know what happened but the whole blooming thing disappeared on me!  It was not on the clipboard.  It was not in *recover*.  Undo did nothing. After 5 minutes I realised I was in dire trouble. In 10, I wept.  All my work was gone & all to be done over again, on a day when I had a limited number of hours to pull this whole thing together! And despite everything I had just learnt about neurological pathways, about the way the brain is wired & the cause & effect of our thinking in purely physical ways.  Ouch.

Then, naturally, the printer refused to print & I spent a frustrating hour replacing ink cartridges, cleaning heads & nozzles & aligning things before it would even consider following commands.

Of course the other thing is somebody does not want me getting up & preaching this. The niggling, *not sick sick, just a little unwell* feeling that has plagued me all year suddenly bloomed into a full blown* My throat!  My throat!* of raging germs. I need all the spare prayers I can get.

Now that the sermon is safely finished, printed out & safely ensconced in my little black folder I think the whole thing is hugely funny.  It always is after but just at the time...well, I can think of more pleasant things that might have happened.


I don't see a lot of my girl these days.  Even when I go over to babysit the Little Man ODD is invariably working.  It is rare that we get to spend more than a few minutes together so Friday was special.

Her birthday was nearly a fortnight ago but for 10 years ODD has worked on her birthday & so we opted for the first free day available for all of us & took her to The Courthouse.

This is a heritage listed building with lovely views & very pleasant surrounds ~ & depending on your view of life considered to be *classy*, though as ODD quipped, it was a lot less classy with her in it!

Ok, so we weren't dolled up like the really elderly couple who were obviously going to make an afternoon of their dining experience & were dressed to kill, but neither were we as yokelfied as the women sculling red wine; just somewhere middling & looking forward to a really nice meal.  

Brisbane, especially the outer suburbs, is not as cosmopolitian as Melbourne or Sydney & I knew from experience vegetarian choices would be limited but what there is is very nice & I thought the girl would be ok with the stuffed capi ~ which she was.  I had the entree of fried Camembert with a side salad of rocket, pear & walnuts as my main & the Man opted for seafood.

The courthouse is renowned for its service.  They always ask if you are celebrating anything special & of course we were.  ODD's sorbet berry basket arrived with a fizzing sparkler.  She loves sparklers!  I thanked the girl serving us & she was delighted we got so much pleasure from it.  Sometimes ODD reverts to being about 3!

And then we took selfies ~ not something the girl is enamoured of doing & as I gave her the camera the results are a little disturbing ~ to say the least. ☺

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Weirdness of People.

It's no secret; I find people difficult.  Nothing personal.  I find
me difficult ~ which is what you get when you have a difficult & complicated personality.  I learnt long ago most people don't get me & that makes social interaction hard.  I mean, what do you talk about when no~one has heard of Skara Brae & could care less about which strange book you are finding particularly fascinating @ present ...& did you know NASA...? I am generally woefully ignorant of the island gossip but Christians should be different ~ shouldn't they?

Sadly, the brothers & sisters in Christ have been the worst of the worst. Now that should, perhaps, bother me more.  I should, perhaps, have worked to mend fences & build bridges but as I don't actually like these people & have nothing in common with them [sadly I don't recognize their Christ, which is terrifying] & I am not by nature social, I simply let it go.  I rarely even run into them casually as I am so rarely out & about.

The Church is used to me & they have learnt if they talk about God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, I can actually be quite a good conversationalist.  I can even manage some politics.  History? Certainly!  And so we have jogged along.

Then the Spirit began on the MOTH about how this all looks ~ because oddly the MOTH is actually out & about more than I am ~ not me.  I mean, it's hard enough to get me to engage with people I actually like so the others had no hope.  However as the MOTH dithered we had one of those weekends when the lads arrived, fished & crabbed & prawned until my house was a salty nightmare ~ & forgot to take it all home with them!

Now I don't eat seafood so this was beyond a nightmare in my books.  I hate things to have died for no purpose so as the MOTH filleted & called the lads unmentionable names the Holy Spirit whispered: You know who should give this to, don't you?

I have an extremely wicked sense of humour & a fine sense of the ironic, so I was highly entertained as I passed on this revelation to The Man. I was not required to do anything except relay the information. The MOTH, who also has a delightful sense of the ironic, was also highly entertained.  What's more, it was the sort of doing thing that really amuses him ~ so off he went to deliver packages of seafood to all these people who have been very vocal about how much they hate our guts.

Now, they are all completely untrustworthy but it seems the Lord would like the visible barriers mended.  One group is prepared to do that, the other...well, they started to & then we did the Goodbye for John's dad. Like I said: I go nowhere, I see no~one ~ but John does: on the boat when he goes to the doctor; @ the doctors; when he does the mainland shopping; in the car while waiting for me...& people talk.  What they have been talking about is how brilliant the service for John's dad was.  Even the mainland doctor had heard about it & asked questions.  It seems the green~eyed monster, Jealousy, has once again reared his ugly head.

It extends, sadly, right down to a family level because our kids are mostly serving the Lord & even the ones not are doing great things ~ & because people gossip that does the rounds & adds more fuel to the fire.

Then our friend from the park ~ yes, that one, the one who screamed @ us, informed us roundly that the whole island hated us.  The whole island? Over 3 000 people? Most of whom have never met us & probably don't even know we exist. Surely you exaggerate, sweetheart...?

Meanwhile I am standing @ the checkout waiting to pay for my bread & milk, which is taking forever because of some holdup or other, when the chappie behind me, whom I actually particularly like despite the fact he is married to an avowed witch who is less than fond of us [& you wonder why I have people problems?] starts up: Had I head the news?  Trump is about to start WWIII.  Really? And hearing the real fear being expressed all around me I merely said I was glad I had something far greater to rely on in this sort of a crisis ~ & to chappie, if anything actually happens, well, it's been really nice knowing you...

And that is before we mention the elephant in the room~ aka marriage equality.  What a misnomer! Impossible to have a civil debate to express the Christian viewpoint without being howled down.  Beyond me how anyone @ all can support the madness but they do.  They are.  It was distressing me seeing Christian after Christian being vilified despite every attempt to express their viewpoint lovingly & respectfully but I think I have got a grip on it because it could have been anything really that has caused this Great Divide.  The issue is not marriage.  Not really.  That is just the rock this wave of rebellious man has chosen to break on.

So there are some things that I am holding on to.  No matter what happens Jesus is still Lord.  We have not lost till the law is changed. This is the clash of 2 world views diametrically opposed to each other & there is no way to reconcile them.

What's more, the Lord told me years ago, before Rhema, that He was going to shake everything that could be shaken & He was calling out His remnant.  I am seeing that now.  The Liberal church is in grave danger because the remnant, by its very nature, is always small, always counter~culture, always called to holiness in a wicked & degenerate generation. I do not think this is going to be a fun ride. I do think Jesus meant exactly what he said when He said He didn't come to bring peace, but a sword. And people think we're the mad ones...

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

How I Spent a Long Weekend.

 One of the drawbacks of growing older is that quite simply you don't bounce as well as you once did.

 T1 asked if I would come over after church & help out.  As I haven't seen my grandson in over 5 weeks [because he has been away with his mumma visiting his other GPs] I could hardly refuse.

 However one night became 2 ~ & would have been more if T1 could have swung it.  Seeing as my cats were most put out & misbehaving for the MOTH that was not really an option.  Besides, I really, really hate the mainland.  There is a reason I live where I do.

The Little Man had a cold ~ & we all know how much fun that is & how they so love having that long stream of snot wiped ~ but I am never quite sure that I'm all that much help.  Just one more person in the house not getting any sleep.  However I am usually up early & can take the Little Man while other things get done ~ though that would be easier if the child didn't scream @ the sight of me.  I know this will change as he gets older but just @ present it doesn't make me feel wonderful.

However colds make for grizzly, clingy children & so I walked ~ a lot.  Out of the house &  away from his stressed parents the Little Man was fairly amiable & happy to be entertained by the passing traffic.

In between I did get all the washing either off the line or on it ~ depending.  With 4 adults in the house, all of whom do their own washing, there is generally a full line, a full machine, a pile of wet clothes piled on the floor to be hung out & another in the tub waiting because whoever manages to snag the line seems to be chronically incapable of bringing in their washing once it has dried.  OT, for example, just gets what he wants to wear off the line rather than bringing everything in & putting it away.

T1, like the Chile Girl, really needs his sleep.  Without it he gets stressed & cranky, which probably accounts for his: I don't suppose you'd like to move in permanently, mum...? you all to bits, son, but ...No.

Meanwhile OT spent His extended weekend in my home & on my computer! *sigh* No, I don't really mind but I wish he would leave things as he found them rather than me having to ring to enquire where my lovely green alpaca rug ended up & why my computer screen is now in giant mode ~ plus there were 3 alarms set on it, which he had forgotten to mention to anyone!

So I haven't bounced well.  I have been sooo tired & my back is full of wonderful little knots that feel like I have been walloped by a 4 by 2 & bruised to within an inch of my life.

Home is a funny thing.  Ours is half finished & old & run down but it is where I happily potter.  I have my cats, my garden, my books ~ & I'm really not all that keen on being elsewhere. The curlews have arrived with their newly hatched chick. My cats have been lavish with their affection for how could I possibly abandon them like that & leave them with *That Man*, who obviously doesn't know they once were gods & treats them like... well, like ordinary beings!
Two days back & I am starting to feel normal again.  Just in time to head back to the mainland again as we are taking ODD out to lunch for her birthday on Friday. *sigh* I know it will be lovely but I sometimes feel like a hamster in one of those wheel thingies: running to no purpose.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Don't Tangle With the Holy Spirit.

I hate like poison to find myself embroiled in any kind of conflict. I do not like angry, aggressive people & under normal circumstances will go to great lengths to avoid any sort of conflict.

Hence Church~in~the~Park has always been problematic for me.  I believe, absolutely, we are called to do this.  At the same time I get why people get upset with us but of course the Tolerance Brigade has never been very tolerant of anyone but themselves. Legally we have contracted with our council to use the park for 2 hours each Sunday.  We are not always there due to weather, illness or other commitments but we are fairly regular during the good weather.

We have missed about 6 weeks but were right on track to return last Sunday.  It is still winter weather so a little chilly out of the sun & absolutely no good for swimming. We rocked up & began to set up to find that a single woman had highjacked both power points with the sole purpose of denying us power ~ with the intended purpose no doubt of sending us home with our tail between our legs, unable to deliver our message.  Normally I would have  been only too happy to head home but we had had a wonderful morning service ~ powerful & very anointed & obviously to prepare us for the park so I was in no mind to go anywhere. Nor was the MOTH.

This woman ostentatiously perched by the powerpoint ~ that we did not dispute despite our legal right to it ~ while we gathered round the table.  The MOTH is usually right into this stuff so he just opened his bible & began his standard preaching prayer from Romans 10.

The funny thing about people is they always know when they are in the wrong & she sooo knew she was in the wrong she was in fight or flight mode & literally shaking; shaking & backed into a corner.  We had not gone away as she intended. She could only get her ipod so loud ~ easily drowned out by Amazing Grace ~ about the only hymn or chorus I know multiple verses off & can sing without music~ & the MOTH's voice.

By then I was itching to get up & preach, which is so very unlike me, but itching I was because, boy! Did I have a message for her! What's more the Holy Spirit popped in some little extras about abandonment, both being abandoned & doing the abandoning & she began yelling & screaming @ me ~ so I just lifted my voice & went over the top of her.  Such a lot to be said for being drama trained. I refused to engage.  It was her problem, not mine, & if the Holy Spirit had something to say to her it was nothing to do with me.

The irony is, if she hadn't made such an issue of hogging the power she could have packed up & left any time she wanted but fuss she had & so she was stuck until we decided to end it. What's more she got a male with a good strong voice & a drama trained preacher so even when she got on the phone she couldn't drown us out.  We know the person on the other end could hear us too! She had backed herself into a position where she was forced to listen to a sermon discussing Lordship & sin.

 I know it hit home.  When I began on everyone serves someone or something, whether they know it or not, she got even angrier & ...well you can image but I just blithely went on pointing out we all have to obey the law of the land ~ drive on the right side of the road, get educated, do all sort of things we mightn't otherwise do because the law is our master ~ & that is not something you can really argue with.  Not logically anyway.

She was fuming with anger when she got on her phone & so we could hear quite a lot of her conversation ~ jailbird; lost her partner; lost her kids; denied access to her kids; due back in court ~ so sad.  So unnecessary. It really doesn't pay to tangle with the Holy Spirit when you don't know what you're doing. As the MOTH said: Captive Audience  ~ & all her own fault.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Goodbye, Farewell, Adieu.

On Sunday we had the Island Farewell for my FIL. We went from thinking there would only be about 4 of us to having to put out more seating & there was sooo much left over food ~ as always~ that it would all have been more than a little overwhelming if not for Sister C.  She got everything nicely under control, packed plates for the needy ~ & knew where to send them!

We had planned a short & very simple service, focusing on the positives.  The MOTH welcomed everybody then we all sang Peggy Sue because my FIL shared his birthday with Buddy Holly & was a big fan.  I'd managed to download a version with lyrics so everybody joined in ~ though no one actually got up & danced, which I thought rather a pity.  Peggy Sue is meant to be dance to. ☺

Then John led us in prayer based on Romans 10 before I did my thing. We are used to each other & creating a flow. Standing up in front of a crowd is not a thing that fazes me.  I know I read well & most people love a story ~ though I'm pretty sure I hadn't realised quite how confronting that story really is... Could have heard a pin drop the entire time.  We then had a minutes silence so everyone could say goodbye in their own way ~ an extended minute as I hadn't realised the computer clock stops when the music does!  Oops! Amazing Grace ~ which saw a whole heap of people dissolve & head out the doors to sob uncontrollably in the car park.  Missed that but my MIL mopped up ~ because it was less about my FIL than unresolved grief they were carrying. Then the MOTH thanked everyone for coming & pointed them towards the food.

The service itself was all done & dusted in about 1/2 an hour.  The socialising lasted about 2! *sigh* So we all know I'm not the social sort, don't we...

And all these people who have known us by sight for years as the Twin's parents, or CG's parents, or the Musical One's parents were flabbergasted to find we're pretty good public speakers ~ which I find terribly, terribly funny because I did all those years & years of drama ~ not because I wanted to act but because I wanted to be able to write good dialogue.  The spin~off, of course, is that speaking in front of crowds just doesn't bother me. But of course, no~one else knew that so we got lots of compliments on the whole thing.

What was lovely for me~ & why should I have been surprised after the Holy Spirit went to all the trouble of waking me up in the middle of the night & dropping the whole message in my lap?!~ was the really strong anointing present. Everyone sang both songs.  Put their whole heart & soul into it.  They were respectful & for so many, that is the sort of send off they themselves would like.  Simple.  Joyful. Mindful.

My MIL was delighted.  It was more than she hoped for.

The word going round in the prophetic realms for some time is that God is about to reverse all the hindrances, the blocks & the people holding others back.  I haven't paid a great deal of attention ~ you know, general prophecy.  Could mean anything really.  However we returned to the hall the next day to pick up an electrical lead the MOTH had forgotten & the office staff let us know in no uncertain terms that that had heard about the work we were doing for the community & wanted us to know it was appreciated.  After years of attack, slander & gossip it seems we finally have some credibility!

Waiting now to see how that plays out!  ☺

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Gone Walkies.

I think I've said my cats are nut jobs....? This is how nutty: I put down food for the boys so I could sneak out & go for a walk along the mangroves all by myself ~ which is how I like to settle my mind & grow calm again when I have been deeply unsettled. My FIL's death has been deeply unsettling for many reasons but preparing for his island farewell on Sunday stressed me to the max, mostly because I'm not a techi but had a number of changes that I had to make & check on our church computer ~ a computer that really only works in spasms & with a number of important keys that simply no longer work, like delete & enter.

See if I don't distract my boys they want to come too.  Sadly my ruse was spotted.  The MOTH informs me that I was no sooner out the door than Marlow began agitating so partway along the waterfront I could hear this pathetic mew in the distance. *sigh* Before long my cat appeared, still calling as he hurtled under fallen logs & mangrove roots in search of me. Then it was on!

The presence of my cat flushed all the bronze~wing pigeons.  Their wap~wap~wap as they hurtled out of the groundcover startled other things ~
like this huge goanna, whose swollen tummy suggests that either it was pregnant or had just eaten a large & indigestible meal.
The cormorants draped on the rocks took off in a great flurry.
On my own I like to sit out on those rocks & let the sun & the salt breeze wash away worry & irritation. The mangroves make secret tunnels & amongst the birdsong & the wash of water is always a good place to pray.

With my cat in tow it was not to be.  The waves were a threat to me & he agitated until I followed him up the path to the top of the hill.  Now that this area has been fenced off it has become a sanctuary for wildlife.  I saw, unusual for here, whipbirds, who are shy though their call is distinctive, plenty of curlews & maggies, mistletoe birds, red~headed honeyeaters & to my utter joy our paddymelon. She took off fast & silent so no pictures.  Her joey was nowhere to be seen & should be too big to still be riding in her pouch.

As we pottered about I came upon this melaleuca [paperbark tree] whose trunk was shredded with a deep gorge & all the bark scattered in a wide birth about it. When I checked with The Man he said it was likely a lightening strike that had stripped the trunk without burning it.  Never seen anything like it before!

And then the 2nd lot of yowling began.  Cat number too slid under the fence & make a great commotion about having been left behind.  What is a girl to do?!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Not a Fan.

Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.

I am not a dog lover.  At best I will tolerate a friend's well behaved canine companion but the yappers, the barkers, the growlers & prowlers are not welcome at my place. Dogs are waaay too much work.

Our neighbours have a dog.  I think they were both rather relieved we didn't have a dog [as our properties are far too difficult to fence] & superior because we only owned lowly cats.  They have had to revise their opinion.

Firstly, Marlow & Kirby were raised with dogs so dogs, per se, hold no fears for them. Thus Marlow made it very clear on first acquaintance that pleb doggie was being way too familiar with a well timed swat across the snout that drew blood. Besides which, the rule that doggie must stay on his side of the divide does not apply to my cats, who swagger at will through his territory with great disdain.

Secondly, my cats are super protective of me & my neighbour was privy to witnessing Kirby's cheetah like tendencies in taking down his prey  ~ aka one pug whom he deemed to have upset me.  People who do not know cats are surprised by their fierce loyalty, their protectiveness & their love, which they think only dogs are capable of.

So my cats & neighbour's dog have things sorted between them.  My catz rule!  Then this week my neighbours have a house guest.  House guest has a foxie. Foxie is a yapper. For days we have been subject to this dreadful animal's incessant yapping.  The cats slunk around the house with tails lowered looking for extra cuddles.

At some point I went out to our clothes line, which borders our neighbour's property, & immediately this animal was in my yard yapping & snarling & carrying on.  I am wary of foxies; they're nippers so I growled at it to get back where it belonged. My neigbour, smart man, grabbed the dog & informed it that my cats would eat it if it came over here! lol

The animal bounced along the perimeter yapping constantly until the owner came over, shrugged & said, What can you do? I kept my mouth shut but my look must have spoken volumes because he grabbed his stupid animal & put it on its leash! What I wanted to say was: You could try training it...

I guess he decided I wasn't an animal lover because I made no overtures to be friendly to his animal ~ yet I will happily pet & play with our neighbour's dog, who is extremely well trained & rarely barks at all.  Plus I do my bit by ensuring my cats are inside by dark every night so any callers, yowlers & fighters my neighbours hear are not my cats.

I do wish all dog owners would train their animals.  I can't walk our block without being accosted by aggressive pit bulls, & met by volleys of agitated barking.  It is infuriating & destroys so much of the pleasure of taking an early morning or evening stroll.

There have been numerous recent accounts of dogs attacking & killing people.  The most recent was an experienced dog handler who was attacked & killed by her own pets yet our councils & governments tolerate the dog population much better than they do cats.  The only cats attacking & killing people are way larger than your average domestic moggie!

So, yeah ~ not a dog fan.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Guess What...

For most of the years I homeschooled my life was dictated by the demands of ODD's vocal academy. Which meant our schooling often suffered.  A lot.  Especially performance weeks. And what really suffered was her math.

We hated math.  It was the bane of our lives.  It could reduce both of us to tears. We weren't particularly good at it & we did as little of it as we could get away with. Even our supervisor, a certified math teacher & a truly lovely person, met her Waterloo at ODD's hands & math.

At the time I said, over & over...& over... because I needed to hear it as much as anybody, ODD is a smart, smart bunny.  If she needs this stuff, she'll work it out.

Guess what? ODD is a smart, smart bunny. Having reached the end of the financial year & discovered she was broke, she decided she would do her own tax return rather than going to the accountant as she has done previously.

She put in for exemptions on everything!  Clothing. Make~up. Office equipment. Travel. And she got it all back! It's the best tax return she's ever got.  And people thought she couldn't do math!

The thing with homeschooling, & we are seeing its fruits still, years down the track, is how it teaches kids to think: I can do it ~ I just need to learn how; I can do it ~ I just need to figure out how it works for me; I can do it ~ if I need to learn how. so proud of my girl.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

The But...

I have a confession to make. I don't do daily devotions. You know, those little booklet thingies with a short bible passage, a shorter message, & a brief prayer like Our Daily Bread or... I dunno.  I don't do them.  Not ever.  They drive me to distraction.

Now if they're your thing, that's great.  Terrific. Be blessed & all that but they aren't mine & it's a problem.  Christians are always offering me these things. Do you read...? Oh but you must.  I have a spare...

And sometimes, to keep the peace & get these lovely, well meaning people off my back I take the thing hoping that they never check because I bin the thing as soon as they're out of sight.

Mostly there's this slightly shocked expression when I refuse that gets bewildered as I gently try to explain I don't read them. The wheels in their brains go round & round & I can almost hear the But..but you're a pastor...But you teach...but...yep, but I don't read daily devotionals.

I used to homeschool, you know.  It is a very useful thing for a preacher.  It teaches you about how you learn best.  It teaches you that the way you learn may not be how someone else learns so I know things about me & the way I learn best.

I know I'm a big picture thinker. I know I'm visual ... non~sequential...language orientated...complex & so when I study I don't look for a quick 2 minute time filler.  I start opening windows on my computer: Mounce's interlineal; Biblehub; biblegateway; Hebrew roots...I may, depending on my topic, listen to or read others opinions & interpretations.  I consult with the Holy Spirit. I am liable to think about my topic on & off all week.  I get excited & when I get excited enough I have a sermon.

Now, no~one in the congregation wants to wade through the bru~ha~ha with me.  That's what they have me for.  Equally, I can't afford to expend my time & energy on milk~sop because that's what I would dish up & that's not a healthy diet. Not everyone is going to get everything all the time ~ but that's ok.

The thing is, my brain works in a certain way.  It has been trained in a certain way.  Now I am at that time of life when it is much harder to change the habits of a lifetime.  When I feed I feed deep.  I gorge myself.  I coalesce way more information than I can possibly use but it's there & I know it's there. Then, like a sated bear, I hibernate.

And at some point [just ask my kids] someone will ask the pertinent question & all that information will erupt.  Which doesn't happen with those daily devotional things.  So now you know.  Love them & keep them but please, don't pass them along to me!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Saying Good~bye.

We have been dealing with a death  in the family.  Some deaths are easier than others.  Some families do better.

The MOTH's generally doesn't do well.  They have no belief & so death tends to be traumatic.

For us it is different.  It has been hardest on CG who is in Chile & who has rung & messaged & needed regular updates so as not to feel left out & excluded just because she is so far away. That has been my job.

The MOTH has been in charge of his mum.  Meanwhile his siblings have been spinning wildly out of control organising all the funeral details without consulting anybody else ~ not the MOTH's mum; not the MOTH; not his friends & they chose a *family only* funeral service.

None of this would matter except that GD had a lot of friends on the island & so we must organise a way for the island to say goodbye because this is still a small, tight~knit community & GD wasn't even cold before news of his death had spread like wildfire.  No such thing as confidentiality when it comes to the island.

So we have booked the hall where we have church & I began thinking about what I could, in honesty, say without being nasty.  GD & I were like oil & water.  We had nothing in common.  We never once, in all the years I knew him, had a sensible conversation.  My boys did better.  They took him fishing ~ though that could get hairy.  They were better fishermen.  They caught more.  They caught them bigger ~ & invariably they were right about the best places to drop a line.

In the middle of the night ~ & seriously, I have no idea why the Holy Spirit chooses these times!~ I was woken & what the Holy Spirit was reminding me of was a Katherine Mansfield short story: At The Bay. It is a long rambling short story about nothing much & which is read for literary style rather than plot ~ completely forgettable in many ways except for a delightful cameo wherein the child, Kezia, attempts to get her grandmother to promise to never die. And that was what the Holy Spirit reminded me about. [You can read the story here; part VII is the relevant episode ]

And so this is the story that leapfrogs into a discussion about life & death & the starting point the Holy Spirit chose to lead into a discussion about what my boys discussed with their grandfather during those long hours on the water & what he, himself, finally came to believe. GM is happy with it. The MOTH is happy.  I am happy to have  successfully managed a delicate balancing act between the secular & the religious.

Just the same, we are all going to be very glad when this week is done & dusted.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Some things remain the same.

I had several days on the mainland before the Little Man & his mummy headed to S.A for a month so the other GPs can spend some time & see how much the Little Man has grown ~ & grown he has.  He is walking & has a few words & is now exerting his will to get his own way. Yep.  Mummy & Daddy now need to do a little more than Oooh & Aaaah.

The Friday night was interesting.  It had rained ~ a slow, damp mizzling sort of rain ~ all day.  It was cold & I was missing our fire & my cats, which would have been so much warmer & comforting & the Little Man hadn't slept much so everyone was hoping he would go down nicely that night because they were travelling the next day.  Of course he didn't.  His mummy went early leaving the lad with me & his daddy.

T1 tried @ the Little Man's regular bedtime to put him down.  No go.  He screamed so much His dad brought him back out to the t.v, where he raged.  Tried again an hour later.  Same deal. The 3rd time mum was up, dad was up & I got up again even though I had gone to bed too.  I was pretty sure mum & dad were going to try the same unsuccessful strategies they have used in the past, even though we all know they don't work.

Now @ this point my DIL was saying: He only wants me ~ & while that sounds flattering it was patently untrue.  What the Little Man wanted was his own way with everyone dancing attendance. So I said to my son:  Would you like me to try?

Five kids & all my boys were lousy sleepers so I have learnt a trick or two.  Actually ODD was perhaps worst of all but we had a different household, a different arrangement & a whole different relationship because of it. So I had T1 drag out the stroller.  The little Man's eyes lit up like beacons when he realised he was going walkies & he began bobbing up & down with excitement.  I plonked him in, well wrapped, all bug eyed & bushy tailed, sitting bolt upright with delight.  I figured about then this was not going to be a quick & easy exercise but we headed off into the misty night, the street lights all haloed, & the smell of rain rich & pungent.

The thing is, he could have screamed his lungs out if he wanted, but neither of his parents would have heard him & become distressed ~ only he didn't.  He was out in the night & it was interesting & exciting & wonderful.  Every so often he swiveled around to give me a great beaming smile of delight. I grinned back because there is something about the regular motion of a moving vehicle that sooner or later mesmerizes sleepless children into a drugged state where they simply must lay their sleepy heads down.  It is inevitable.  Like the sun going down or the tide coming in.

After about 20 minutes I was nicely warmed up & the mist was making things damp so I took of my jacket & hung it over the front of the stroller, plunging the Little Man into darkness & within 10 minutes he was down for the count.

 I turned for home [20 minutes away] & by the time we got in the door he'd been asleep for a good 20 minutes so I advised my son to let him sleep where he was because if he woke then it was going to be an all nighter.

Being me I would have done the stroller routine much, much earlier but the Little Man is not my child & he needs to live by mummy & daddy's rules.  I don't want to be an interfering sort of Mother in Law ~ though I'm pretty sure everyone was relieved to get the Little Man back sleeping the sleep of the truly exhausted.
With his wife & child out of the house T1 reverted to type. Latish on the Sunday night I heard a great thump land on my verandah & immediately thought: Why is there a wallaby on my deck?  I have no idea why I would even think that.  The next thing T1 hove into sight having thrown an esky full of fish up ahead of him.  He was grateful for a roaring hot fire, someone to cook him a meal & a bed for the night.  He will be back.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Plates, glorious plates.

The crockery was so elegant that it was never used.~ anon

The real Blue Willoware is worth a small fortune these days. It was designed in 1780 by one Thomas Minton for 'Salopian China Manufactory' & based on a bogus Chinese legend of eloping lovers. Traditionally it is a blue & white pattern originally designed for the common household crockery but it can be found in black, green & brown as well. I have never liked the other colours & it seems a lot of people agree with me because it has never really gone out of fashion.

Anyway our lot arrived in 2 big boxes because our Woolies, who used to sell individual plates & bowls for a dollar or so each, stopped doing that so I could no longer replace all our missing bits & pieces.

CG is responsible for a good deal of my problem. Originally, because the fake stuff is so dirt cheap, I had bought a set of 6 plates & bowls from Woolies for about a dollar each. At the time geometric patterns were all the rage & I abhor geometric patterns.  They give me a headache.  Ugly.  Ugly.  Ugly. The blue soothed my soul ~ & as I have said my aunt owned this set so lots of good memories.
 I believe it is no longer a *thing* & families no longer do this so much but in our household all our kids had chores ~ & they had chores because I loath housework & am very bad @ it. Nothing too onerous: make their own bed; learn to cook; wash up the dinner things in turn.  We still don't have a dishwasher.

My kids were regular kids.  None of them liked doing the washing up but they understood everyone did it eventually & normally it wasn't much of an issue.

I can't remember what set her off but, this particular night CG took a real snoot about doing the washing up. As she collected the plates she banged them on top of each other until I thought she'd smash them to bits then stuck her nose in the aim & proceeded to storm towards the kitchen in a mighty huff.  I suggested she might like to NOT stack so many @ once but...

They say pride goes before a fall ~ & fall she did. Every dish we owned crashed out of her hands & landed loudly on the floor. I don't know who was more shattered: CG or our crockery!

Woolies was still selling the willoware but the design was slightly different, so we lived with mismatched dinnerware. Meanwhile it kept disappearing.   I was down to just 3 dinner plates & four bowls...who knows?  The girls used the bowls to take lunches to work & ODD admitted to breaking @ least one but as to the other...or the 3 missing dinner is owning to anything.  I suspect my boys.  In which case those plates are probably @ the bottom of Moreton Bay by now.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Bits of pieces.

Some things are necessary ~ & they will never be particularly pretty. Presently they are not even usable as our electricity is not hooked up to the kitchen ~ & won't be for some weeks yet though we have discovered what is taking the lad so long. Having arrived, left, & returned without doing very much @ all the lad confessed the kitchen was a good excuse not to have to sleep @ home.  Apparently here, minus a baby squawking through the night, is far more peaceful.  Plus he gets in plenty of fishing.

Work is still in progress so though I have put the new pots & pans in their drawer  we are still waiting for the final clean up & preparation.  Until then ...

 Meanwhile...Today we went inter island visiting to catch up with church members which was very nice but completely exhausting but we got home in time to collect our big parcel.
 My lovely blue & white willow~ware has arrived!  When everyone is home there are 7 of us before we count in any extras: wives, friends, when the Moth ordered he ordered 2 sets which gives us an 8 seating & a few spare from what is left of the old incomplete set.
So, I'm unlikely to ever actually use the tea cups with their saucers but they're pretty. The little saucers will be wonderful for bible study morning teas & I am so tired of mismatched everything! So there you have it!  Eventually I will have a complete kitchen. ☺

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Of Plates, & Pots & Frying Pans.

 Don't you find family resemblances weird?  Here's the Little Man & the MOTH.  All the Little Man needs is the set of whiskers & he'd be a dead spit for his Grand~dad!

We stopped in on our way to do some kitchen shopping.  As the MOTH promised we are replacing absolutely everything in the kitchen. I have some brand new stoneware pans, stainless steel pots, large cutting boards, cutlery that matches & we ordered the dinnerware I wanted on~line.  Hopefully that will arrive sometime this week.

I have stuck with the same design that I have had forever with the dinnerware.  Firstly I really like the old blue willow pattern design.  Blue & white is my very favourite.  Even so I love it because it is the same pattern my Aunty Shirley used to have.  Everything about her & the Old House at Wellington Point holds good memories for me, so every time I use this dinner set I think of her & good things.

I used to get up quite early always @ Trafalgar House because that was  the coolest part of the day & as the sun hit the garden & it began to steam the aromas were heady. My cousin, 10 years older than I but still the closest to me in age, would make herself a latte before getting ready for work.  Of course I had to have one too.  I adored my cousin & we would sit in the sunshine on the front verandah sipping quietly as the shadows made way for sunshine & the air steamed in the growing heat of the day.

Next was oatmeal done the old fashioned Scottish way, slowly, overnight, & ladled into the breakfast bowls with plenty of brown sugar & cream. We would eat at the long table on the enclosed side verandah that doubled as my aunt's art studio & which always smelled of turps & thinners despite the louvers being wide open.  By then the room was filled with sunshine & the warm air starting to get hot. There were always a variety of paintings in various stages of unfinish to gaze at, & because my aunt always used knives to paint, her paintings were textured.

My aunt's life was not particularly happy in many ways.  She made a poor marriage.  They were ill suited to each other & & my uncle's bedroom horrified me.  His walls were stacked to the ceiling with old magazines & newspapers ~ feet thick!~ & he was a smoker in bed.  My mother declared it a fire hazard. However My aunt was creative & her gardens were wonderful oasis of originality & unusual plants @ a time when that was rare.

When I dream of her house it is with unnerving reality. I loved it more than the modern house I actually grew up in ~ perhaps because I was always happy there.
Meanwhile the rain & cold have meant lit fires & very happy cats!  The terror with which they greeted the appearance of this black monstrosity in their living room has been replace by sheer adoration & if we fail to light it before the cold sets in we are greeted with querulous queries as to why we are being so lax!  Yes, they can make themselves very plain!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

 I guess everyone thinks their grandchildren are beautiful.

 The Little Man is beautiful in every way ~ bar one.  He is not enamored of sleep.  In fact, this is why I am usually called in to help ~ so everyone else can sleep!

However last week was different.  T1 was working.  Dilly wanted to go on a bush walk with the Young Adults. Me, I'd've shoved the kid in a sling & walked with him but that is not how my Dilly thinks so I was asked to pull an all~dayer... on my own.  Everyone else was out.

Do you know how long it has been since I have been solely responsible for a very young child?  Twenty~two years! Yep.  That's how old ODD will be come August.  Yikes!

I was the only one who seemed remotely concerned about it.  T1 blithely proclaims I've raised 5 [3 under 2 @ one stage] ~ what's a lone singleton to a pro like me?

So by 9am The Little Man & I were in sole possession of the house & I was mentally calculating [as you do] the likely number of hours we had to fill in before a parent would reappear & reclaim their protegee because the Little Man is in the process of cutting out one of his day naps...

I have got very sneaky.  If the Little Man suspects he is being abandoned to his Móraí's tender mercies he screams blue murder so I made sure we were out of the house when his mother departed it. We took the mop [aka the Teddy~dog] & by the time we got back everyone was happy to sit quietly for a bit.

When the grizzles started I decided we would walk the other way because there is a little park beside the creek.  Any time we've walked past, the park has been quietly abandoned, the swings hanging still, the slides empty, the climbing frame solitary upon the sand, chooks parading in stately splendour across the grass but Saturday morning there were @ least 2 other children with their grans.  I had already checked so I knew there was a baby swing ~ which promptly put the lad to sleep & not what I wanted @ all just then.  Instead we went up the slide & I popped the lad in my lap for the ride down.  Not the quiet playing on the grass he is used to @ home.

We detoured on the way home as I keep seeing these environmental spaces but hampered by the stroller & a dog had kept passing them by.  This time I didn't.  We humped & bumped over the thick tussocky grass behind the high fences  ~ & very dull it was!  There were no little paths to wander along just this awful spindly malalooka swamp & a heap of dumped rubbish! 
As we walked I noticed the Little Man's double crown [just like his dad's!] & the way his curls swirl in such an interesting way. Then all of a sudden he slumped forward ~ out like a light!

I left him in the stroller & we got 2 solid hours when he slept & slept & slept. Later on we just enjoyed outside @ the front of his house until Teddy decided to be really wicked & went visiting the neighbours!  He is NOT an obedient dog.

I think we had a succesful day.  No real crying.  Lots of outdoor time. And he was in a good mood when his mother arrived home.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Walks, kitchens, gardens.

So I was helping out with the Little Man again.  It is getting to be a regular occurrence every other week or so. I remember why we moved out of the suburbs & into the wild. The Little Man loves being outside, even from the confines of his stroller so that is where we head any time he fusses as his suburban yard is both small & dull.

If we head down the highway we come across a large gate before too long.  There is no padlock, just a council sign saying it is parkland though very odd it is. On one side there is a long row of big fenced yards, then a dirt *road* [wider than a path but obviously not used for vehicles] then a strip of scrub & then the highway.
I unlatch the gate while the Little Man waits patiently  then we head bumpity~bump down the dirt road listening to the birds & the rustling trees until it all gets too much...
They are all cherubs when asleep.
If we walk the other way we come to 3 or 4 small farms where we can watch the horses. Down the bank is a half finished dam full of egrets & if we are still & patient the chooks come clucking through the weedy grasses.  The farms are rather derelict & run down, leftovers from a simpler age & an anomaly buried amongst the brick veneer homes & tidy lawns but we like them.  
All our kitchen benches are now in & I am so happy with how it is working. The stove has moved just a little bit but it is enough to give me 3 good working spaces along the back. It is very workable for our needs.  I will sometimes bake if feeling inspired but I don't used a lot of gadgets or nick~knacks & I am a good plain cook so we really don't need an awful lot of storage.  I didn't want corner cupboards or top cupboards: both are impossible to reach & I'm getting to old to be standing on my benchtops! We are shopping next week to replace our pots & pans & other necessary items & hopefully we can get the electrician in to hook us up.
Then there is the garden.  The MOTH has been hard at work building all his little boxes & after much discussion we finally hit upon something we both like & were keen to grow ~ weeping maples.  Half a dozen different varieties arrived by mail last week, bare rooted & grafted, all needing to be potted up & staked in the interim. We now have one of each variety from here. I think they are so pretty though how much colour we will actually get remains to be seen.

Tonight we are tucked up cosily, the fire ablaze, rain pattering on our tin roof, the cats snuggled close.  All is well with our little world.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Bringing Home the Wood.

 Yes, it is winter. You wouldn't know it during the day because it is warm enough in the sunshine for just a T~shirt or a light jumper but our house is cold in winter.  The angle of the sun just doesn't catch any of our downstairs rooms & as the MOTH & I feel the cold we do not enjoy winter.  Not our winters, not anybody's winters.

Consequentially last winter we finally put in the fireplace we had always wanted but could never afford & it was sooooo lovely!  Toasty warm! Bliss.

The drawback, of course [there is always a drawback] is that fires need fuel. We have a wood fire because wood we have in plentiful supply.  It falls out of our trees all year log, washes up along the beach & our big storms bring down whole trees.  All we have to do is cut it up & lug it along to the house. This is easier said than done.

Quite often we do a scrub bash somewhere we can pull up the car but our next~door~neighbours have a lot of fallen timber along their foreshore they want removed so the MOTH has been gradually cutting it up & we lug it up our rather steep hill piecemeal.

This is what I went to do yesterday afternoon before the cold set in so that when I actually got around to lighting the fire I had plenty of wood. Ha!

Unhappily both cats were on hand to help!  Kirby peered  around the corner of the house as I passed & followed as far as the first post where he sat & yowled! Gotta love that yowling.
Meanwhile Marlow arrived, shot between my legs & hurtled down the steps at a frantic pace. He loves going walkies with me but as he constantly gets underfoot he is not my most favourite companion when I am working.
The steps are steep.  I had to negotiate them with my arms full of wood, a yowling cat & one twinning between my legs. This is how I know there is a God.  We all survived. ☺

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Still Keeping On...

It has not been a good week.  The world has gone mad in so many ways.  I can only watch in disbelief at what it is spewing forth ~ & as the MOTH likes to point out, it hasn't even really begun yet.
Just the same the world continues to toddle along & us with it because we are to continue doing His work until He collects us to take us home. For us that means working on our house so that it can be used for His glory. I spent last week oiling our timber benchtops ~ a stinky, sticky job but one that would save the lad heaps of time so he could focus on the things we can't do ~ like actually lifting the things into place & gluing them down, drill all the necessary holes & reconnect our water...

He still has the breakfast bar to go & some fiddly work on the tower then it is just easy stuff like the handles & trim.  I have been told I can start moving things back into my kitchen ~ so another cull I expect.  No point in keeping anything I don't actually use.

I mentioned this front garden that the Little Man & I pass regularly on our walks some time back so I took a picture so I could show you.  Most of the gardens look like the one below.  Seriously. Given I actually believe lawn should be banned in this country [we are water deprived & grass is a heavy  water user] they do not impress me in the least so this nautical theme at least has that in its favour ~ but what were they thinking?

And in case you're wondering, no, we do not have grass anywhere.  The pavement is our council's doing [we don't own the nature strip] & I have been trying hard to kill it off, if only because it wants to invade our garden beds.  Horrible stuff!

 Meanwhile I have been having one of those quiet chuckles to myself that is a Móraí's prerogative because my DILLY has visions of a quiet, indoorsy little boy when T1 draws him like a magnet when the Man Stuff comes out.  It's hysterical. Like father, like son! The lad was trying to wind line onto his reel & I think his little helper was more of an impediment!

Despite the fact that winter has officially arrived according to the calendar our weather continues mild for the time of year & after a fortnight's downpour all the bromiliads decided to flower.  Even the MOTH was charmed.  We have a haze of mauve under our palms.  So very pretty.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Some Mothers Do 'Ave Them.

I have been blogging for a long time & for a good bit of that time I was a homeschooling mama with an elite sportsman & an elite musician still living @ home.  I ran.  If I wasn't @ a soccer game I was enroute to Brisbane for rehearsals or a concert. If I wasn't doing that I was scrabbling to finish school work before the end of term & there were never enough hours in any given day & I was fraught.  Brisbane is not my most favourite place.

Almost overnight that all changed.  My girls grew up.  Once ODD was fully licensed my services were no longer needed & my life became much quieter ~ much, much quieter than I ever expected while I was running. It revolves slowly around church & cats.  I am pretty sedentary because my work now involves a lot of study & while I don't miss the running & the time constraints & the angst I do miss the music & just being with my girls.

CG, of course, is not here, being in Chile & all that but ODD is only across the water on the mainland & she organised for me to come over on Friday so she could take DIL & I out for brunch to celebrate Mother's Day.

She chose the Arabica ~ which we know quite well having first discovered it when ODD was singing @ a local church & we needed a quick, light meal in between performances. It does really good cafe meals for a reasonable price & we have always been very happy with our meals there.  The service can be a bit dodgy as it is popular & when they are busy, as they were Saturday morning, they are definitely understaffed & our meals came in relays.  We didn't linger, as we otherwise might have done, as people were starting to queue up for a table & rain was threatening.

ODD & I have always been quite dreadful when we go out.  We generally eat reasonably healthily if @ home but out we can almost be guaranteed to choose the unhealthiest option on the menu ~ in this case freshly made waffles with icecream, cream & maple syrup.  Definitely yum!

 Bonus was spending some time with the Little Man, sort of crawling now & full of smiles. His hair is dark but it has a real ginger tinge to it & with big, dark blue eyes he is rather striking looking.
 My DIL had sent over a Mother's Day present early.  I suspect ODD helped choose as the socks have been very welcome as our days chill.  The cup is exquisite.  I love the colour, the shape & the feel but it is a little big for every day use. MOTH refers to it as *The Bucket*.

Meanwhile the girl added Googly to my surprise.  Seriously? Love the colour but not sure what to do with him.  I'm not a nick~nack person.  Dust collectors are way too much work.
 As just about everyone in our family is involved in some sort of ministry on Sundays everybody was celebrating Saturday.  ODD got left holding the baby ~ literally.  I had to get back to the island so I was on hand for Sunday & T1 was taking DIL out for dinner in Southbank.  Am wondering how that went as it rained & they were training.