Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Things that upset me....

I did my degree in Literature with a minor in drama ~ which should tell you several things: I am enamoured of language; I know how to use it; I know when it is being abused.

Some people are really, really smart but may not be linguistically clever & may struggle to put their ideas together in a coherent format.  This doesn't make them wrong.  It can make them appear stupider than they are.  As an exhomeschooler I immediately think *different learner*.  Here's someone who is not primarily an auditory or visual learner.  Probably a hand's on kinesthetic who is practical & thinks mathematically, 3D visuals, like a businessman or architect. They are unlikely to be the touchy/feely sort.

For a long time I have avoided the mainstream media.  Here is why.  It is biased. I know emotive language when I read it.  I understand the use of emotive imagery to elicit a particular response & sway public opinion .  I know when I am being presented with only one side of an argument & I find it hugely offensive to being treated as if I am a grade one idiot. I am gobsmacked that the media has the gall to say they are being treated unfairly when someone has the gumption to call them out on their bias.

Now I'm Australian & I thank God I wasn't an American in their last election faced with the sort of choices they were left with but we watched the election.  Like it or not America has a huge impact on the rest of the world & the result was going to affect us. We had been praying for the election & believe that God had told us all that Trump would be the next American president.  This doesn't make any of us pro or anti Donald Trump.  It just means we believe God told us His choice ahead of time. Then we watched the election.

If it wasn't so horrifying it would have been funny. The mainstream media was so blatantly for Hilary they mocked & denigrated Trump until even they could no longer deny that Hilary had lost the election & their attempts to backlflip & achieve some sense of impartiality were painful to watch.

Sadly it has not ended there.  I am not interested in the media's opinion about anything.  I couldn't care less what any of them think about any issue at all. Let's be very clear about this. Their job is to report the facts: impartially, without bias, minus preconceptions, free of emotive language &/or imagery & then let people weigh the facts for themselves & make an informed decision. The failure to do this is called propaganda.

As this has not been happening for decades & the media has taken upon itself to be the social conscience of a nation they can hardly cry foul when people no longer trust them! They are not trustworthy.  All it takes is a slight misrepresentation, the cutting of one word from a speech, the taking of a sentence out of context & the whole slant on a report changes.

Let's look @ the Calais jungle ~ widely reported as having appalling living conditions; which was true. However nearly every news article I saw showed images of children, giving the impression that the camp was mostly made up of the most vulnerable of refugees: women & children.  This was not true. According to fact file, In October 2015 the camp only had roughly 100 women & children.  The other 4ooo residents were mature males.  Another 300 women & children were located nearby but by no stretch of the imagination were the majority of residents in the Jungle children!

Similarly we have seen photos of dead children from the boats landing in Greece but not the images of angry, single men swarming over border fences, threatening local residents or abusing & throwing back at volunteers the food & water they offer. The mainstream media is strangely silent about the raping of white women by immigrant men across Europe.

Or take our own media.  SBS is presently running a segment on racism ~ but you have to be Indigenous, or Muslim or black to qualify as being discriminated against yet I can cite from experience cases of reverse discrimination ~ & that's before we query how much of what is being shown has been staged by *actors*.  One of the muslim women was an *actor*.  In other words our media is staging lies. This is not the Truth by any stretch of the imagination!  This is manipulation. This is a blatant attempt to manipulate people's perceptions of what is happening in our country & how we should think about it. Does racism happen?  Yes!  It happens to Indigenous people.  It happens to Muslim people.  It happens to black people, Indian people, Asian people & white people! It happens to homosexual people, straight people, single people, & married people, people with kids & people without.  No one is exempt because there will always be some people who think it is ok to be rude & disrespectful to other people.

Our media is biased.  I do not trust our media.  If you are smart you do not trust yours either. The only way around this is to do your own fact checking.  Read & watch arguments for both sides of an issue because the Truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.  Don't believe anything you're told without checking. Look for emotive language, emotive imagery.  What are you left with if you cut that out? Look for what is not being said. The things that get left out are as important as the things that get included because that is how to skew the content. Remember sensationalism sells. Sensationalism is never the whole story; not even part of the story, just the bit meant to obscure your critical faculties enough to swallow a larger lie. Yikes, but I dislike the media!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Irony of it All.

The further a society drifts from the Truth, the more it will hate those that speak it. George Orwell.

I learnt to drive in a largish country town, a university town; big enough to have it's own theatre, police department & fire brigade but small enough it was pretty hard to get lost.  Getting lost was something you had to work at. I was in my twenties so up until the point my MOTH bought me a tomato soup coloured VW I had either walked everywhere or traveled by public transport. I couldn't drive & didn't have a licence.

One of the worst things about moving down to Brisbane was the complete  sense of disorientation.  I didn't know where anything was.  I had no reference points.  I had never heard of most of the suburbs & I can't describe the panic I felt one day when I stopped our van, chocka~full of small children, at the petrol station to ask directions back to our general area only to find no~one had ever heard of it. It was devastating & overwhelming.  That is how I feel about our world just now.

I live in a world that quite simply I don't recognise any more ~ a world gone completely mad, a world where good is called evil & evil good & common sense is no longer common.   Common sense says if you have man bits you are a man.  It doesn't matter how you feel or what you think you should be, you are a man.  Your DNA will always declare you male.

I wonder, when this generation finally achieves their Brave New World of gender neutral unisex anything goes conformity, if it will be everything they think it will be in their naivety? Buying into the *we're all one big family & should be tolerant of each other's differences* is to deny certain realities. It is to ask me to be tolerant of evil.

It is very simple if you know your history. Mohammad was a pedophile. He married a 9 year old little girl & many of his followers still marry little girls ~ & not just the so called radicals either.  That is just downright evil. Why on earth should anyone be asked to tolerate this? We have a much better understanding of biology & know little girls' bodies are not ready for sex.

Homosexuality?  Take a closer look at Ancient Greek Culture. It wasn't just grown men who chose to behave in certain ways. Older men groomed teens so they could have sex with them. This was the cultural norm, a way for young men to be mentored & get ahead in their society.  How is this acceptable?  This is what our tolerance will get us.

Now those who don't believe in any religion @ all, I understand. Why should they adhere to a moral code imposed culturally by a religious group's *imaginary friend?*  I don't like it.  These sort of people, in my experience, are often the least tolerant in practice of those who think differently & adhere to a different moral code.  Christians may be vocally anti but in practice extend love & help to those they disagree with. Again, just my personal experience.  The ones I don't understand are those Christians who have bought into this politically correct nonsense. Nowhere in scripture do I see Jesus tolerating the intolerable just to keep the peace. People who want to keep the peace don't upset the people who hold the power.

My society feels like a ship with a broken rudder in the midst of a storm.  There are no life jackets. No life boats, only the certain knowledge that unless the moral storm anchor holds we are headed for  destruction.

 I do not want to live in this Brave New World. Everything I know to be good & decent & moral is being replaced & you know the weirdest thing about that? I used to be far more tolerant than I am now. I am far more likely to discriminate now because that is one of the few ways I can protest what is being done to me without my consent because popular opinion has decided it's best for me.

I see this in our society too.  Australia, despite the White Australia Policy & an unenviable history with its indigenous population, has always had a reputation for inclusiveness & tolerance ~ & rightly so.  We have been a live & let live society but the more minority groups push for their *rights*, the more I see the majority starting to push back & become less tolerant, less inclusive.  It's ironic. Political correctness is generating the very thing it seeks to abolish.

I find it very hard to live in this wrangle with the constant vilification, the hatred, the intolerance on all sides of the political rainbow. It distresses me.  I cling to the small, simple, un~naunced  things: Marlow slinking up the bed after I am asleep to curl in the hollow of my bent arm, rest his head on my chest, & purr contentment; the flush of azalea buds, out of season & too soon burnt by the heat; the little birds dipping in & out of the birdbath, the big ones wallowing; the sound of the surf booming softly in the distance & the sharp scent of summer storms threatening rain.

On the fulcrum of time our rocking world hangs suspended for a moment.  My prayer is that the craziness will be halted, that our spiritual eyes will be opened to our collective, self~destructive insanity & God will grant us mercy before it's too late.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

A Cat Post.

“If we are very lucky, we will have spent some of our life being owned by a cat.”

I have never understood people telling me they prefer dogs because cats are unsociable & unloving.  I have never found that to be the case.  Rather the opposite in fact.

Just at present we are going through some particularly hot, sticky days. The humidity is through the roof & we are all sweltering under the fan. Both cats are generally to be found in the coolest spot available, spread~eagled on their backs, feet in the air aiming for as much cool air as possible over as much of their considerable girths as they can get! There is nothing in the least unusual about this.  However my cats are used to a a lot  of attention ~ & I do mean a lot! It's not just that we talk to them.  They get chucked under the chin as we pass by, stroked & rubbed, commented on, tickled, played with & generally called upon to keep us company ~ though that last is simply because if we disappear from sight they start calling for us! Yet they are not lap cats.  They want to be near us, with us, around us but not necessarily on us. The MOTH complains whenever I go away because the cats expect him to replace my allotment of love & cuddles as well as his share.

That is how we roll ~ except when it is hot & humid.  When it is hot & humid no~one wants to touch the cats because cat hair sticks to everything like glue. It is far too hot for cuddles ~ & our cats, as you can see, are semi~long haired cats who generate plenty of heat of their own.

We were out yesterday, leaving the cats in charge of the house. We got home rather more hot & bothered than when we left but dutifully said hello to both cats, who were anxious to reconnect with their humans after such a long absence!  I took my glass of ice cold water & went to sit in the breeze on the verandah.

 Within moments Kirby had lept into my lap for head butts, chin rubs, kitty kisses & big smooches. *sigh* Cat hair stuck to my damp face & the rim of my glass, my glasses, my hands & my damp T~shirt. Nothing quite like breathing in lungfuls of cat hair.  I rubbed my thumb along his jawline in the way he loves thinking he would hop down soon enough but no.  He had missed me & having  rubbed his scent glands all over me to ensure I  smelt just right he curled up in a ball in my lap.

Ummm...it was like cuddling a fire pot. Thankfully he thought so too & quickly hopped down again but for the next hour he kept trying, as if the outcome would be any different. His need to love & be loved outweighed being uncomfortably hot.

Marlow, is another story.  He hovered.  He gets stepped on constantly because he is constantly underfoot, getting as close as possible without actually getting on me. When it gets close to bedtime his eyes never leave me, waiting anxiously for that moment when I scoop him up in my arms & cart him up the stairs to bed. If he thinks I have forgotten him a most anxious pacing around my ankles begins.

Cats are territorial so our bedroom is divided between the two.  Kirby likes the windowsill on my side of the bed.  Marlow sleeps at the bottom corners ~ in summer more on the MOTH's side of the bed because that's where the fan hits but not last night.  Last night he slept on my side & as so often happens when Marlow is feeling especially loving he draped one paw over my foot & gently just hooked his claws onto my leathery sole. It is not unusual for me to wake to find that cat gently patting some part of my body, just like a mother would pat a baby to reassure them. To say Marlow is a little odd is an understatement.

The scientific community informs me that in the wild cats don't vocalize. That is something they developed uniquely to communicate with their humans. They are pretty good at it too.  I know the difference between  Hello. I've missed you & where have you been? Where's my food? & Look what I've caught you! Kirby is particularly vocal chattering away in long paragraphs.

 Just like humans they want & need to reconnect after any absence but they do not have the effusiveness of dogs.  Kirby will wait, sitting upright & straining towards the sound of our voices waiting for us to notice him & greet him. Marlow will come sauntering towards us, tail plumed & carried high, waiting for his greeting. I feel so blessed to have always known the love of good cats.

A Post About Kitchens.

Today we went & paid for our new kitchen.  In a perfect world my kitchen would be a pristine white with pale robin's egg blue, teal & aqua accents, a marvelous marble benchtop & glass fronted cabinets to display lovely willoware china.

Alas.  I do not live in a perfect world.  In no time at all we would smash the glass fronts from banging them shut too hard, stain the marble with beetroot juice & break all our glasses dropping them on the bench. *sigh* I would be gripping about how hard the glass was to clean & how the white showed up every little stain. I know.  I had a lovely kitchen but after 30 years of my children & my children's friends ~ all of whom learnt to cook in it~ it hardly deserves the name kitchen anymore. It is warped & buckled & most of the doors are missing. I had short children; they stood on drawers & cupboard doors in order to make themselves taller so they could reach. *sigh*

And I've learnt some things about myself over the years.  I hate housework.  I really, really do.  I am prepared to sacrifice *pretty* for practical, functional, easy maintenance if it means less work.  Besides my idea of *decorating* is random jugs & jars with sprigs of this & that growing wildly in them. Sometimes I scare me by how like my Aunty Shirley I am. Books & plants. Very little else in this world matters.

So.our basic layout remains the same. No overhead cupboards to tempt those of us who are vertically challenged to climb to unprecedented heights. No corner cupboards for things to disappear in & die. This will give us dead corners but I can live with that. A proper oven tower with space for a microwave ~ which we also bought today. Three big sets of draws & a cabinet under the sink. No dishwasher.  I think they are filthy things. Ick! Our present pantry will be slighlty altered to save on cost but as there is nothing really wrong with it I can't see why we should spend money on a new one.

We have pine paneled walls.  Almost anything goes with that so although I adored the rich European Cherry benchtops with their warm, deep hues practically had to win out as the cherry was 10 X more than the Alder.  The Alder is sort of like this:

The cupboards are plain, unadorned antique white & I am assured they are really practical & easy to wipe clean. I have chosen discreet grip handles to discourage our newest little addition who promises to be more like his father than not & his father climbed everything climbable & quite a bit that wasn't!

I am not looking forward to the rip, tearing, bust but a working kitchen again will be absolutely wonderful!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

One hot summer.

We are in the middle of our summer.  Being subtropical & on the coastal fringe we expect it to be hot & muggy.  We expect our afternoons to be electric with approaching storms & sudden torrential downpours, for lush steamy days of languid heat & the heavy, drowsy  somnolence that drugs the senses & dulls the mind. We get a *wet* season.  Not quite the equatorial months of water falling from the sky but rain, yet each day I find myself filling our birdbaths multiple times & the number & variety of the birds I see is increasing.

I have had birdbaths longer than I have had a garden. Water brings the birds & over the years you learn who to expect perched on the rim & when they are likely to arrive. Our regulars are the little dusky & olive backed honeyeaters.  They are always around, winter & summer, & they arrive first thing in the morning & late in the afternoon.  They are noisy & aggressive.  They know about the cats & they post a watchman who shrieks & screams if a cat so much as twitches a whisker.

We have noisy friar birds, butcher birds, & blue~faced honeyeaters who sometimes come & loll, until all the water is gone & the little birds scream in protest but there are birds we never see at the birdbath: robins; flycatchers, finches. These are hawkers, shy insectivores who prefer the top of the canopy or the hidden places of the bush.  They stay away from humans yet this year I have seen them all at the birdbath. They arrive in the heat of the day, have a quick dip & dab & flit away.

We are in drought. Even the little double barred finches have come for the water. Everything in our garden is stressed, even our big well established eucalyptus. Along the foreshore we are seeing wallabies & paddy melons travelling between water sources & we find the birdbaths tippled by the roos trying to reach the water. The curlews have floundered in & out of the waterlily pond; the bandicoots were not so lucky.  They got in but not out again.

In the midst of peaking heat waves & exorbitant, record breaking temperatures we are waiting... there hasn't been a spate of big cyclones in some time. The signs are all there.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Not of God.

It has been coming for some time. Bit by bit I have been culling my FB friends list.  Finally I have
reduced it to just family & Church ~ with just one or two others.  No, I haven't closed it completely.  I have our church page, which must be linked to a private account, & there are ministries I follow but the vitriol, the partisanship, the lack of logic along with purely emotive pictures & language, horrify me.  Enough is enough.

What I am seeing is a complete lack of balance coupled with venom for anyone who disagrees. This is not of God.  It is satan who seeks to kill, destroy & steal, who enjoys seeing the church divide like the Red Sea over 1 man.  The *Social Gospel* is not the gospel at all.  The gospel is Christ crucified to return us to relationship with God the Father & nowhere in scripture do I see Jesus expending His energy fighting for change.  Yes, in His relationships He was radical ~ but he led by example, not by rallying the troops to fight social injustices ~ which is rather interesting because the Jews were certainly looking for that sort of a Messiah.

Deuteronomy 32:8 has this to say: When the Most High assigned lands to the nations, when he divided up the human race, he established the boundaries of the peoples according to the number in his heavenly court.

God allocated land to the different peoples of the earth ~ with borders! This free flow across open borders is not of God. God is orderly. Governments, leaders & authorities are given to us by God ~ He raises them up, He takes them down. We get the governments we pray for ~ or fail to pray for.

Yes, there are terrible social injustices.  Yes we are to help the poor & downtrodden but we over~ride other biblical principles regarding the government of our countries at our peril. Our loyalty to a cause should  never over~ride our loyalty to God. Jesus lived under Roman government.  Rarely has there been a more corrupt, power~hungry, globally minded government yet Jesus still said to render unto Caesar that which is Caesars, & unto God that which is God's. That so many Christians seem to think marching in the streets alongside people who smash in windows, riot, litter, scream obscenities, disrespect the government, the police, the very process of democratic government is somehow more godly that those of us who retreat to our prayer closets & petition the One who can actually effect change boggles my mind.