Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Op Shop Til You Drop!

I have a fabulous idea!

Are you into op-shopping but don't often get the chance?
Are you tired of shopping with your bored husband/partner in tow, rolling their eyes at you and hoping you'll get the hint and leave soon?

How about joining my Opshopathon....

The Opshopathon will involve keen female op-shoppers meeting up and raiding the opshops in a particular geographical area. Say for example, we choose Perth's western suburbs, look up all the op-shops in those suburbs, make a list and spend a day cruising them. A chance to find bargains, make other people's trash your treasure and support charities.

What's your fetish? CDs? DVDs/videos? Books? Clothes? Boardgames?

I'm excited just thinking about it!

Who's with me? :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Marriage 101: You Are Not Single Anymore

I hope you enjoy my latest series on the highs and lows of our first year of marriage. And in case you were wondering, yes I do have 'permission' from Duncan to share with you all. When I asked if he minded, he didn't seem to care, he was thinking more along the lines that this series may be a bit 'boring' for married readers. Well, we will see who can relate....

The title 'You Are Not Single Anymore' may have caused you to think well, duh but I think single people seldom consider that their lives WILL and MUST change after marriage. You see, you cannot bring the single life into marriage. You are not one anymore, you are two or rather two who have become one. I think a lot of singles who complain about their singleness and dream of it one day ending with a trip to the altar have not realised that marriage will cost them the advantages of singleness. Now I know when you are single, it's hard to think of any advantages but when I was single, I just took the 'freedom' that singleness brings for granted. When you are married you cannot do what you want, when you want and with who you want. There is now someone else to consider.

Duncan and I have struggled with the loss of our singleness in different ways. Now I'll be honest here, I am a very selfish person. I like my space, I like things a certain way and I'm quite happy with my own company. I enjoy catching up with people but if I spend a day alone that's certainly no tragedy; it's a blessing. I was worried that I would struggle being married because of this. Not only would I no longer have my own room, I wouldn't even have my own bed! Due to God's grace I have adapted in these areas better than I though I would but I doesn't mean I don't struggle with others.

I think Duncan struggles more with his loss of 'social freedom', that is he can't just make plans to see whoever he wants when he wants. His house is no longer his own and he has to take my feelings into account. Often while I cook dinner, Duncan will come home from work and ring up to three people just for a chat. I can't do this, I'm not a big fan of talking on the phone and I find one in-depth phone conversation enough for one night. Otherwise it's just too draining. In short, Duncan is more of a people person than I am and at times this has caused tension.

It really got my goat a few times last year when other people casually mentioned to me about plans that Duncan has made but neglected to tell me. If there's one thing that really annoys me, it's situations when I'm the last to know about my own business. Whether it's been inviting people to stay without checking with me or making plans for the house and then mentioning them to others first, this has proved to be a sore point.

I was talking to one of my married friends and she said that she and her husband are the same; she is the 'social' one and her husband is the 'loner' one. She loves having people over but her husband likes to plan it first and if you ever just 'drop in' on them, you better have a good reason. I joked that maybe we should have swapped partners but after thinking about it, I realised that God is using these differences into our marriages to make us more like his Son. If I didn't have Duncan, I would probably be a hermit. And if Duncan didn't have me, he may wear himself out with all his socialising. We really do need each other.

Marriage makes you realise that there ARE advantages in being single. Not that I regret being married by any means but I do grieve the loss of some freedoms. I struggle with serving Duncan domestically. Sometimes I just can't be bothered cooking, cleaning and washing. When I was single, I was more slack in this area because I only had myself to worry about. But now I'm finding myself striving to be more creative and varied in my cooking, to make sure the house is clean because I know it makes Duncan happy. I regret not practising hospitality as much when I was single, busyness seemed to constantly be an excuse. It's a constant fight against laziness and selfishness.

If you're single, I advise you not to expect that marriage will suddenly change you. It won't. Marriage will show you up for what you already are. So if you're selfish and inconsiderate towards your parents, siblings or housemates, then don't assume you're going to be able to automatically snap out of it if you marry. The Holy Spirit is at work in all Christians but we need to co-operate with his leading.

Here are some ways I think singles can practice serving those they live with:
  • Stick to your share of the chores.
  • Clean up after yourself.
  • Don't just invite a mob of people over without checking with your housemates. It's their house too.
  • Be considerate noise-wise of housemates/family who need sleep or do night shifts.
  • Practise hospitality.

Marriage has indeed involved many conversations and struggling to explain our points of view in a way that the other can understand. It often means that we have to relinquish plans that we could have just gone ahead and accomplished if we were single. I realise I've only touched the tip of the iceberg with this post; the whole journey of marriage is learning to not be single. But I know I have learned that being with Duncan brings such great joy. I love sharing life with him and I'm praying that will only increase as the years pass.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mexican Fiesta

Last month, we went down to Perth for Mully from calvins-urbanreform's Mexican-themed birthday party.





Posing with the very impressive 'taco' cake.











The piƱata.













Bye bye piƱata!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sisterhood Award

Thanks Amanda for nominating me for the Sisterhood Award which is for female bloggers who are considered inspiring and encouraging.

This is what she wrote about me on her blog:

Sarah at Sedshed is another deep thinker who always seems to give a different perspective on many areas of life.

Now I need to nominate five other blogs to share in this award. I am actually going to cheat and only nominate three because most of the blogs I read are by men. I think we need more consistent female bloggers out there.

Bek from Longfur. She has a baby now so she can't blog as often as she used to but I really miss her posts just about following Jesus in everyday life. Come back Bek!

The ladies from GirlTalk. They have their comments section disabled, probably because they'd be overloaded with comments, their blog is that popular. I really appreciate their thoughts on biblical womanhood.

Robin from Desperate For More Of Him. I have only been reading her blog for a few months but have been both encouraged and convicted as I read her honest thoughts about her walk with God.

Thanks ladies!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Calling All Theoblogians #6

Ok, I know I'm opening a HUGE can of worms with this one but I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I'm just getting more and more confused.

I want to ask about......women in ministry!

(I hope I'm not hearing any claws being sharpened ;))

To me, the question 'Should women be in ministry?' is misguided. Of COURSE they should be in ministry, of course they should teach, encourage, lead etc. God has given women these gifts for service of his church and for mission to the unreached.

I think a more appropriate question is: 'WHO should women minister to?' In what context?

Since I've been a Christian I've met highly opinionated people from both sides. Some say women should only teach children or other women. Others don't think it matters at all, if God has gifted a woman she should be allowed to lead. But when I probe further, I've found it rare for these people to back up their views from Scripture. Some come from conservative churches and have just accepted that teaching no questions asked. Others have been brought up to hold their family's position. Some believe the 'end determines the means' and that we should be thinking 'missionally' so if women preaching will get more people into the church then we should go for it, that anyone who thinks differently is a sexist bigot.

You see I think it matters greatly how God wants his church to be run. It doesn't matter what we think would make the church more 'successful' or 'trendy', we need to be asking whether God cares about the gender of his church's leaders and preachers. If he does, then we must adhere to his guidelines regardless of how 'backward' this may seem in the eyes of some. If he doesn't mind, then we have freedom in this issue.

So my next question is: what DOES the Bible say?

Those who have used the Bible to back up their views, have pointed me to 1 Timothy 2:12 where it says I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. Therefore, they have come to the view where woman can preach and teach to children and other women but not where men are present. They say this is because God created Adam first and then Eve and Eve was to be Adam's helper. This does not make her role less important but if she were to lead, then it would be a role reversal which is against God's created order.

Yet I'm convinced that neither of the two churches I've been a part of have got this right and their positions have left me more confused than ever. At my old church, women were not allowed to preach or become elders or service leaders. Yet, they were allowed to lead the congregation in prayer during the service, lead music and lead Bible studies in mixed groups. During my time there I was a Bible study leader in mixed groups and no-one had a problem with this. When I asked why women were allowed to teach in Bible study but not during the church service, I was told that leading Bible study is not really leading, it is 'fascilitating', that is Bible study is more of a discussion and if I were teaching heresy, there were men there who could quickly correct me whereas sermons where not usually interrupted. I never understood why women weren't allowed to lead services as it's an MC role rather than a teaching role.

At my current church, I have never seen a woman get up in front of church for anything except to sing; everything is done by men bar morning tea, music and Sunday School. I'm not sure if that's the church's 'official position' on the matter or if it's a country church thing but I've only heard one female ever question this and she, like me, moved up here from Perth and is fairly new to the district. Duncan has told me about other churches he knows of where women are deliberately kept from getting up the front during church for fear they will become 'power-hungry'. In my view, this is terrible because it is legalism. I'm not talking about teaching/leadership here, I'm talking about the fact that women are being banned from things that Scripture does not warrant for fear 'girl power' will invade the church. This is a shocking thing, putting fences in front of sisters in Christ a lot of who have no desire to 'take over', they simply want to serve God (like Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2). While I was at uni, the Christian Union held annual elections for their committee and while I was in second year, a girl took over as president. One of my female friends was most unhappy about this because she had this staunch view that Christian males should always lead in all contexts even though in this case no guy wanted the president's job. The president's role was not of spiritual leader but rather an admin leader and encouraging of other Christians at uni.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no hardcore, bra-burning feminist. I'm not asking these questions because I have a burning desire to preach at my church (everyone will probably sigh with relief). I love public speaking but if I never preach that's no skin off my nose. I trust the guys who are leaders and want to encourage them in their roles. Rather I don't like meaningless traditions and fences being put up (in case of women being banned from everything) and I think church practices should always be questioned and drive us back to the Bible. This may make us realise we were right all along or we need to seriously change how we do things.

I'm also confused about what is 'preaching' and what is 'teaching' and if there is a difference between the two. Duncan and I spoke with someone recently who is of the view that women can preach in churches (give a sermon) as long as it is ok with the elders. He mentioned the 1 Timothy verse but said it does not refer to women in general, rather to wives submitting to their husband's leadership. He said the NIV translates it badly and we need to look at the Greek (this is opening up a whole other kettle of fish on Bible translations which I'll post on another time). What I don't get is that why would God want me to follow Duncan's leadership outside of church yet in church it is reversed? That doesn't make sense. This guy also said that women are allowed to 'preach' but not 'teach' because teaching is more in-depth expounding of Scripture but he never explained why he believes this and offered no verses to back it up. Then I was even more confused when he said I would be allowed to preach as long as Duncan was present but then he seemed to change his mind and said I could preach but Duncan would have to be absent because I am not meant to teach my husband. To me, this makes NO SENSE. It's like I would have to plan for Duncan to be absent from church weeks in advance so I could plan my sermon. This guy, while being an advocate for women preachers, said that a woman should never be given the title of 'Pastor', that is a man's title, even if she is a children's pastor. Again, I have no idea where he got this from and my head was spinning by that stage.

The issue of women teaching opens up more grey areas than we realise. One example is books. If I write a Christian book explaining Scripture, then is a man allowed to read it? Or does that only matter in church contexts? Duncan and I study the Bible together on our 'date night'. A couple of weeks ago, he didn't understand something we were reading and I had a better understanding so I explained it to him. Is this wrong? Duncan didn't have an issue with it.

Part of me thinks I am never going to get the answer I crave. That either the Bible is too obscure in this area or nobody will want to give up their cherished traditions or already formed views to see what it actually says.

Anyone out there want to have a stab at this?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Funny

MAKING A BABY

There is not one dirty word in it, and it is funny.

The Smiths were unable to conceive children and decided to use a surrogate father to start their family. On the day the proxy father was to arrive, Mr. Smith kissed his wife goodbye and said, 'Well, I'm off now. The man should be here soon.'

Half an hour later, just by chance, a door-to-door baby photographer happened to ring the doorbell, hoping to make a sale.
"Good morning, Ma'am", he said, 'I've come to...'
"Oh, no need to explain," Mrs. Smith cut in, embarrassed, "I've been expecting you."
"Have you really?" said the photographer. "Well, that's good. Did you know babies are my specialty?"
"Well that's what my husband and I had hoped. Please come in and have a seat."
After a moment she asked, blushing, "Well, where do we start?"
"Leave everything to me. I usually try two in the bathtub, one on the couch, and perhaps a couple on the bed. And sometimes the living room floor is fun. You can really spread out there."
"Bathtub, living room floor? No wonder it didn't work out for Harry and me!" "Well, Ma'am, none of us can guarantee a good one every time. But if we try several different positions and I shoot from six or seven angles, I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results."
"My, that's a lot!", gasped Mrs. Smith.
"Ma'am, in my line of work a man has to take his time. I'd love to be in and out in five minutes, but I'm sure you'd be disappointed with that."
"Don't I know it," said Mrs. Smith quietly.
The photographer opened his briefcase and pulled out a portfolio of his baby pictures.
"This was done on the top of a bus," he said.
"Oh, my word!" Mrs. Smith exclaimed, grasping at her throat.
"And these twins turned out exceptionally well - when you consider their mother was so difficult to work with."
"She was difficult?" asked Mrs. Smith.
"Yes, I'm afraid so. I finally had to take her to the park to get the job done right. People were crowding around four and five deep to get a good look."
"Four and five deep?" said Mrs. Smith, her eyes wide with amazement.
"Yes," the photographer replied. "And for more than three hours, too. The mother was constantly squealing and yelling - I could hardly concentrate, and when darkness approached I had to rush my shots. Finally, when the squirrels began nibbling on my equipment, I just had to pack it all in."
Mrs. Smith leaned forward. "Do you mean they actually chewed on your, uh...equipment?"
"It's true, Ma'am, yes.. Well, if you're ready, I'll set-up my tripod and we can get to work right away."
"Tripod?"
"Oh yes, Ma'am. I need to use a tripod to rest my Canon on. It's much too big to be held in the hand very long."

Mrs. Smith fainted.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Follywood

I was very sad to hear yesterday that Mel Gibson and his wife Robyn are divorcing after 28 years of marriage and seven children....and shocked to learn that they have already been separated for two and a half years. Story here.

Amidst Hollywood's frequent partner swapping and string of divorces, theirs seemed like one of the rare stable marriages.....obviously not!
Perhaps I shouldn't be an optimist when it comes to Hollywood....or as I call it...Follywood!
Picture is from ninemsn

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"I'm a Big Girl Now!"

Last month, our Maya puppy turned one.....and she says she's no longer a puppy, she's a big fierce dog now. Woof! Woof!

But I told her that even though she can now swim, jump on the ute by herself, eat adult dog food, and is continuing her sheep dog apprenticeship, she'll always be my baby. Even when she's old, grey, blind, deaf and senile, she'll still be my puppy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

365 Days Later

Those of you who bothered to guess the special occasion on my last post, you guessed correctly.

Yesterday, on the 12th April, Duncan and I celebrated our first anniversary with a night away at Jenny's Lake B&B in Walpole. I highly recommend it. Lovely place, lovely hosts and only $90 for a night and this includes breakfast.
Yep, after a year of marriage we're still alive :)

I'm planning an upcoming series on this blog called 'Marriage 101' where I will share what we have been learning throughout our first year (and probably for the rest of our lives). I'm expecting it might be a bit 'been there done that' for a lot of married readers but I guess everyone has different experiences and it will be interesting to see who can relate.

Happy Anniversary to my ram. Love from your ewe xoxo

Happy 13th Anniversary to Amanda and Michael (they spent their 12th celebrating with us). AND Happy 35th Anniversary to my parents for today.
The beginning.
A year later.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Special Sunday

Duncan, Maya and I are heading off to Albany tomorrow morning for the Easter weekend. We'll be spending some of the time helping my parents start moving into their new house. They have been renting their current house for nearly five years but a couple of months ago they bought a house with my nan which ironically is just three doors up the street. Dear old Nan is now 96 and has realised that while she's in remarkably good health for someone her age, living alone has become too much. So she's sold her unit and is moving in with my parents and I told my dad he's a very brave man for being willing to move in with his mother-in-law ;)

I'm especially looking forward to Sunday. Not just because it's Easter and we'll be celebrating that Jesus' death has ransomed those who put their faith in him but that we don't worship a dead Lord and Saviour....he lives! This Sunday is also significant and special for another reason.

I bet you can't guess why! I reckon Amanda can though....

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Bit of a Smack?!?

This post is the first in my new series called 'I Don't Get It' which is about.....well.....things I just don't get.

First up, there has been something that has really irked me about the 'culture' up here for a while now. You see, ever since moving here, I have heard more domestic violence jokes than I have in my whole life prior.

I remember a few conversations Duncan and I have had with various people and then suddenly they feel the need to crack a joke about domestic violence. I can't remember the exact words but someone once said to Duncan, "Just give the wife a bit of a smack if she's being naughty," referring to me of course. I was standing there gobsmacked, too shocked to offer a rebuke. I mean, hello, I'm the wife....and I'm standing right here. Another occasion someone said to me, "Duncan's being beating you up, has he?" I can't remember the context and there have been other instances where I can't remember exactly what was said but the whole thing just astounds me. Is that how this guy treats his wife? I hope not!

When on earth did domestic violence become funny and something to joke about? What is it about Dally people? I think people must do it because they know that Duncan would NEVER beat me up so that makes it ok to crack jokes. But the point is, we DON'T know what goes on behind closed doors in other people's lives. I would hope that no-one I know is being bashed by their spouse but it occurs more than we realise.

Some things just aren't meant to be joked about. And that includes a woman bashing up her husband. I was watching an episode of All Saints recently where a man was admitted to hospital badly beaten and told the medical staff he'd been mugged. He later admitted that his wife bashes him up and he was deeply ashamed about it. We might think that's laughable but some women use weapons so it does happen.

It's not just non Christians who joke about it either, it's Christians as well.....they should know better. The next person who does it to me will be getting a sharp rebuke...I don't care who they are.

I don't get it. Please explain.....

Monday, April 06, 2009

A Brilliant Weekend

A big Eagles' win.

A big Dorkers' loss.

Now that's what I call a GREAT weekend :D

Friday, April 03, 2009

Photo Friday - 'Grandmother'

Following Amanda's example, I've decided to post a picture of my late grandmother for this week's Photo Friday. This is Grandma, my dad's mum, who passed away in July 2001 while on holiday in England. She was 83.

Here is Grandma with some of our English relatives while on a previous UK holiday in 1996.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Jill's 30th

Last month, Duncan and I went on a daytrip to Perth for our friend Jill's 30th. It was a lunchtime barbecue at Churchman's Brook near Roleystone and the theme was come dressed as something to do with Jill. She got this idea courtesy of yours truly and I have now realised I can't actually have this idea for my own 30th. Oh well, I have four and a bit years to think of another topic. I digress....

Jill is an enthusiastic poultry keeper so I decided my costume would pay tribute to her four hens and I'd come as a chook. Duncan was very reluctant to come as anything (he doesn't share my passion for costume parties unfortunately) but I told him I'd make him a costume and that was that. On an earlier trip to the big smoke, I did some op-shopping and managed to find a white sheet and a yellow pillowcase and I was set. He was going to come as a fried egg.

Hayley came over to help me make his costume. We had to cut the sheet because there were little pink flowers around the edge of it and I decided to make into the shape of a poncho. The pillow case was cut into a circle and glued onto the front of the sheet.

I couldn't find anything to wear as a chicken so I hired the body and these enormous feet that felt like I was walking in flippers. I used yellow and red cardboard to make a comb, wattles and a beak and had a headband and elastic to hold it all together.

Voila!
Duncan is a very sunsmart egg.



Sarah and I. This is our friend Jen's photo.
Bek and Jane. This is Jen's photo too.
The birthday girl. She came as herself.











The wind played havoc with the candles.




Celebrating 30 years.