Friday, November 10, 2017

Like A Queen

I'd been wanting to get my hands on this book for a while when I found it in an opshop last month for....the grand total of 20c.  Bargain!

For those of you who don't know who Constance Hall is, she is a blogger from Perth, who shot to fame a couple of years ago when her post about 'parent sex' went viral on social media.  She could be classed as what you would call a 'mummy blogger', but she is more well-known for being a champion of the sisterhood, uniting mothers together and encouraging them to support each other, rather than tear each other down.

I realise this book will not be everyone's cup of tea, but there were some great things I gleaned from it.  Part biography, part opinion, there structure of the book is frustrating as it seems to leap all over the place.  I'd much prefer some kind of chronological order when she is talking about events in her life.  And she has had a very interesting life!  The saddest thing was that I read the book in hindsight....since it was published last year, she has split with her husband and is now engaged to someone else.

There are many opinions of hers that I don't agree with: I don't think it's necessary for every second word to be a swear word, and while there are many ways to parent, I don't think having an abortion is one of them.  These differences come from having such contrasting worldviews.  While some may be offended by how she writes openly about bodily functions, I have no qualms about it.  I live in a house with all males...talk about bums, farts and poos (from the four-year-old) doesn't bother me.  I loved out loud at some of the stuff she writes.  She is a brilliant writer.  Easy to read and her honest descriptions are hilarious.

Even though I don't agree with everything she says, I have always admired the way she focuses on what brings us together and that she practices what she preaches in trying to create better communities of mothers.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Quote of the Day

Drop the competition, forge a oneness between women, break down the barriers, stick it to society by saying: "No. I will not tear down other women anymore, no matter who they are or what they are doing. I will not be a part of this vicious cycle of mum shaming, bitching, stepping on a fellow woman to make myself feel valued or worthy. Because I am valued and I am worthy. I do not need to validate myself with other women's hardships."
- Constance Hall in her book, Like a Queen

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Time to Get Away

After a stressful few weeks, we really needed our weekend away visiting Duncan's parents in Dunsborough a few weeks ago.  Despite all the hassle involved with holidaying with kids, I'm glad we made the effort.

At the amazing playground in Donnybrook

Duncan's dad's handsome Rhode Island Red rooster and his wives.

Posing

The other rooster - an ISA Brown crossed with something.

Oh, how we've missed dipping our toes into the sea.

Preparing the peas with Grandma


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Kindy Sports Day

The two kindergarten classes at Rory's school held their own sports day on the 12th October.  While the rest of the school battled it out for medals, the kindy kids dressed in their faction colours (red, green or yellow) and had a taste of what faction carnivals would be about in years to come.  There were no prizes; everyone was just encouraged to do their best.  I was so proud of Rory, because he gave it a go. He's come a long way this year.

Relay

He wasn't too keen on the sack race and needed
a bit of help.

Egg and spoon race

Ooops...dropped it

He has a hopper ball at home, but this one was
bigger.

Stacked it

Tug-of-war against the other kindy class (Rory's class won).

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Pendulum: Social Media and Me

I'm in a bit of a quandary about my usage of social media at the moment, so I'm wondering what others think about this?


Do you just post whatever interests you on social media?  Or do you 'tone it down' so your 'friends' don't become annoyed or offended?

I'm usually a firm adherer to the rule that your blog, your Facebook page etc. is YOUR chunk of cyberspace, and how you express yourself is up to you.  I'm not advocating ungodliness here, rather that if you want to post one hundred photos of your cat, or share articles about gun control, or funny memes, then it's YOUR page to do it on.  If someone doesn't like it....well....they need to suck it up.

But lately I've noticed that the trend to unfriend over the slightest thing is growing.  People being unfriended because they post too many photos of their kids, or are honest about their fight against depression, pose for too many selfies, are too political, share too much about their weight loss journey.  It's not only a difference of opinion that's causing the unfriending, but a difference of interests.  I'm sick of the way you post about motorbikes all the time, so I'm ending the online friendship.

As much as people might say unfriending is 'not personal', it IS personal.  It is a rejection in some way, and sometimes over the pettiest of reasons. So many people seem determined to only have a friends list who affirms their opinions and shares every interest.

I don't want to post deeply sordid things, but I do want to share articles and quotes that I am passionate about.  I don't want other mums to feel like they're the only ones struggling.  But I've been a victim of unfriending because people simply don't like what I post. These aren't people I don't see anymore; these people I see regularly.

I don't want to bow to people pleasing, but if the whole point of social media is to be social, should we care what others think, to an extent?

So, has someone's rejection of your online presence made you reconsider what you post?

Or do you continue to post what you want, saying it's my way or the highway?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Funny

After this week, I need a Friday Funny...


STRANGE THINGS

1.  Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks, or it will digest itself.
2.  A female ferret will die if it goes into heat and cannot find a mate.
3.  The dot over the letter 'i' is called a tittle.
4.  During the chariot scene in Ben Hur, a small red car can be seen in the distance (and Charlton Heston's wearing a watch).
5.  Donald Duck comics were banned from Finland because he doesn't wear pants.
6.  If one places a tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion, it will instantly go mad and sting itself to death (who was the sadist who discovered this?).
7.  Charlie Chaplin once won third prize in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest.
8.  The Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from public libraries.
9.  Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space, because passing wind in a spacesuit damages them.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sometimes You Just Have To Cry

Sometimes crying makes you feel better.

On Friday, I ended up in the emergency department in Albany hospital. The boys and I had been staying with my parents for a few days in the school holidays.  I woke up with shocking abdominal pain.  It started between my chest and my belly button, went through to my back, and then up to my chest, and I started wondering if I was having a heart attack.  The pain was second only to my labour with Flynn.  I couldn't keep still and couldn't stop crying out in agony. 

What really distressed me was not the pain...it was the reaction of my own parents.  They literally didn't care.  My dad yelled at me to stop disturbing everyone.  He told me to take Panadol, put a heat pack on and be quiet.  My mum told me I was scaring the kids (I wasn't; they were totally distracted by the TV) and that I need to learn self-control and be quiet in pain.  I yelled at her furiously, asking if she'd been quiet when she'd hurt her back nine years ago and ended up in hospital for a week.  My dad told me he'd take me to the hospital as long as it didn't make him late for work.

What the heck?!?  They are not usually this horrible and I'm still hurting from it.  I confronted them later, telling them how much their attitude hurt me, that I was in a lot of pain and couldn't just be quiet because it was inconvenient for them.  But they still don't get it.

Then today I was in tears because a friend of mine unfriended me on Facebook.  If it was someone from high school that I hadn't seen since then, and had no 'real life' relationship with, I wouldn't care.  But this friend is someone I see regularly, am on good terms with (or so I thought), can talk about all sorts of stuff with, and Rory is best friends with her son.  I asked her, via private message, why she unfriended me and said I was sorry if I'd inadvertently hurt her.  She said she didn't agree with some of the stuff I posted on Facebook, but that we could still be friends in real life.  I asked her if she could clarify what sort of things she disagreed with and she said she'd tell me in person sometime (I saw that she'd also unfriended Duncan and another mutual friend).  Then, she messaged me this evening, explaining that she finds it too overwhelming reading about friends suffering (like when I posted about my abdominal pain).  I'm glad we have sorted it out, but the whole afternoon has left me somewhat drained and emotionally fragile. (I will do another post on the nature of real life/online friendships later, as it is a subject that has often fascinated and perplexed me.)

Just when I thought I'd been doing so well recently, too.

Side note: I am fine, physically.  The hospital did tests and an ultrasound, but all were clear.  It is not related to my recent surgery.  They thought it might be my gallbladder, but it doesn't seem to be.  After some heavy duty painkillers, which left me very drowsy, I was home a few hours later, and the pain has not returned since.

Related posts:
Facebook 'Friends'

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I Can't Call Him 'Bubba Flynn' Anymore

Flynn turned two last Saturday, the 23rd September.  Although he's been 'toddling' for 10 months now, I guess his second birthday also officially marks toddlerhood and the 'terrible twos' (the 'terrible ones' have been bad enough).

We headed to Perth for the long weekend, but, sadly, his birthday wasn't all that happy.  He's been suffering from an ear infection (he's had a fair few) for the past couple of weeks and will be requiring grommets.  His birthday involved screaming, a visit to the doctor, and yet another lot of antibiotics.

All that aside, I can scarcely believe it was two years ago I met him and saw his red hair for the first time, and remarked, "Hello, Bubba.  Where did you come from?"

I love him so much!

Peppa Pig cake he took to daycare on the Monday before his birthday.
Or maybe it's George...not sure (Duncan said it can be a 'gender-
neutral pig').

He didn't want his photo taken.


Nope, still not keen on a photo.
We had a small party for him in Perth.  He also loves dinosaurs,
so I made this cake. I got the idea from here.




Thursday, September 21, 2017

Marriage 101: When Art Becomes Life

It's been a long time since I updated this series.

Recent happenings in my local town have prompted me to write this post.  A few weeks ago, I was considering auditioning for the latest play.  As I read through the script at home, I mentioned to Duncan that the two female parts to which I would be suited both involved romantic overtures, including stroking the face of a much older man, or wearing 'suggestive' outfits.  Duncan immediately told me he would feel very uncomfortable if I were to play one of those roles, even if it is 'only acting'.  I respected his wishes and did not audition.

Now I have found out that the two people who played the leading roles in last year's pantomime went on to have an affair!  The twist is that although he is single, she is a married mother, who I'm guessing is probably about fifteen years older than him.  The result is the ending of a marriage, children in a broken home, a devastated husband, a school community in conflict.  Both parties have left town....and aren't even together.  So, was it worth it?

This was a huge wake-up call for me.  Duncan was right to have reservations, even before we heard this scandal.  I might think it's 'only acting', but I have to be careful.  After all, how many Hollywood couples got together after playing on-screen lovers?  A lot!

This isn't just about acting.  I'm guessing most people reading this aren't involved in amateur theatre, but a heck of a lot are married or in relationships.  We need to be careful about how we spend our time with people of the opposite sex who are not our spouse.  I'm not saying don't have friends of the opposite sex, but be wise.  If you're single, respect these boundaries.

It's not worth throwing away your marriage for.

Related posts:
Lesson 9 from Sarah's School of Dating
From Head to Hand: Being a Christian Writer (just as relevant to being a Christian actor)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Gossip or Fair Warning

I like to take people at face value.  One of the negative things about living in a small town is that you inevitably hear ABOUT some people before you hear FROM them.  It's hard to give some people a fair go when your ears are ringing from warnings by the town gossips.  But, nevertheless, I do try.  I would hate it some people had made their mind up about me because of something (potentially) untrue that someone else had told them. That has happened because we are Christians and some locals don't like the church, so they therefore decide not to like us.  It's also happened because of where Duncan works.  He works for a corporate farm and some locals don't like the fact that farms were bought by a big businessman in Perth (never mind that he has brought heaps of young families to the town, but....I digress).  Duncan has had to put up with a few rude comments from some old codgers.

I remember receiving a warning from two (rather gossipy) people about another woman I had got to know.  As I got to know this woman, I found out that the gossip was untrue.  But, after a while, when the only interaction I had with her was via Facebook, I saw a different side to her.  She was quite rude to me online and I ended up unfriending her on Facebook.  I realised that what the gossips were saying had some merit.

That's the hard thing about friendships.  Sometimes people are nasty and start rumours that aren't true.  But sometimes they are just wanting to warn people not to become friends with a toxic person.  To be honest, I've wanted to warn others NOT to be friends with some people because of a negative interaction I've had.  At the same time, we're all different and attracted to different qualities in our friends.  A person I think is rude, you might think is lovely and vice versa.

It's a tough one.

Friday, September 08, 2017

The Pendulum: No-one is an Island

One of the key arguments for the 'Yes' side of the same-sex marriage debate in Australia is that gay people getting married doesn't hurt anyone else.  If it doesn't affect us, we just need to mind our own business.  (This article begs to differ)

That's the argument for many decisions people make every day....it's none of your business, it's not hurting you.  In a way, I agree.  Some of my decisions are mine (or mine and Duncan's) to make.  Why does it bother people if my child still has a dummy, or isn't toilet-trained by the time they think they should be?  Why does it bother someone else if we're against using the 'cry it out' method for sleep training?  Their sleep isn't being affected.

But that's not the case with all decisions.  No person is an island.  Some of our decisions DO affect others.  For example, I might decide that disciplining my children is wrong and they should be 'free spirited'.  It's all well and good to say that this parenting philosophy doesn't affect anyone....until my children go to school and their teachers have to deal with them, shoppers and diners have to deal with their unruly behaviour in public, other parents have to put up with trashed houses and disrespect during play dates.

Some of my decisions are mine to make.  God has given me freedom and, although others may have a different opinion, I will have to wear the consequences of my decision.

Other decisions have severe ramifications.

Think through your decision-making carefully.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Dwell by Garage Hymnal

I'm thankful for my loving, gracious and merciful God who doesn't treat me as my sins deserve.

I spent time away from you,
Turned my back away from you,
But you drew me near to you, you drew me near.

I hold you at a distance, but you wait so patiently,
Gently whisper, gently tell me what I need to hear,
You tell me what I need to hear.

You say my soul dwells in the hope of tomorrow,
I will trust you, and I will sing only,
Because my soul dwells in the hope of tomorrow,
I will trust you, and I will sing to you.

You spent time pursuing me,
You sent your Son to die for me,
You sang songs of life to me,
You sang songs.

You say my soul dwells in the hope of tomorrow,
I will trust you, and I will sing only,
Because my soul dwells in the hope of tomorrow,
I will trust you, and I will sing,
Yes, I will sing,
Lord, I will sing only to you.

Lord, you hear my selfish cries,
Lord, you read my darkest thoughts,
Lord, you see my foolish ways,
Lord, you sense my deepest fears,
Lord, you know my doubting heart,
And still you long, you long for me.
I hold you at a distance,
But you wait so patiently.

Because my soul dwells in the hope of tomorrow,
I will trust you, and I will sing.


Lyrics from here

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Books and Chooks

Rory's school celebrated Book Week this week, and on Monday, all of the children (plus teachers) dressed up as a character from a book.

Of course Rory wanted to go as Thomas.



Since I knew I wouldn't be able to drive for a fair while after surgery, I needed to get a head start on it.  I told Rory, "No changing your mind."

He didn't win a prize, but had a fantastic day.  Thomas is looking a bit worse for wear though.

Later that afternoon, I made a sad discovery.  Marilyn, my White Leghorn hen, was dead behind the perch.  It seems that she must have died during the previous night and fallen off her perch.



Of course, Rory had to get on the bus the next morning and announce loudly, "Marilyn fell off her perch and broke her neck."

I'm not sure what the bus driver thought....

Monday, August 21, 2017

Quote of the Day

When you say, "There's too much evil in this world," you assume there's 'good'.  When you assume there's good, you assume there's such a thing as a 'moral law' on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil. But if you assume a moral law, you must posit a 'Moral Law-Giver', but that's who you're trying to disprove and not prove. Because if there's no Moral Law-Giver, there's no moral law. If there's no moral law, there's no good. If there's no good, there's no evil.
What is your question?
- Ravi Zacharias

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Funny

WHY TEACHERS DRINK

















Wednesday, August 16, 2017

When God is Removed From the Picture

For any readers who may not be aware, Australia will soon be undertaking a postal vote to determine whether same-sex marriage will be legalised.

This post is for Christians (like myself) who oppose any change to the Marriage Act.

It's tempting to think that if we could just come up with the right argument, we can persuade those who plan to vote yes. But any argument you come up with will just be rebutted.

You can argue that children will be affected, you can cite examples of children raised by gay couples who resent their upbringing. They will just provide examples of happy, well-adjusted (and heterosexual) children who have had two mums or two dads.

You can argue that Christians and other religions will be persecuted for their faith. They will argue that the gay community has been persecuted for a long time.

You can argue that many other cultures agree that marriage is between a man and a woman. They will argue that other cultures also have polygamy and that John Howard changed the Marriage Act.

You can argue that God created marriage when he created Adam and Eve. They will argue that God doesn't exist.

That there is the key point.

Those in favour of same-sex marriage argue that marriage is a human right, that the debate is about equality. Instead of arguing, ask them questions.

What is a human right?
Why should those things be human rights?
Where do your beliefs about justice, fairness etc. come from?
Why do you believe there is a right and wrong?
Why do you think your beliefs are right and mine are wrong?

Many people will say there's no God, but are adamant that there is good and evil, right and wrong. If there is no God then we're just blobs of matter.

The most important thing for Christians to remember is that we cannot expect non-Christians to agree with God's view and purpose for marriage. They cannot see, they are spiritually blinded. I remember when I first became a Christian, a good friend admitted that she'd been frustrated for so long, because I had so many Christian friends and I couldn't see what (or who) they were all about. I just replied, "I couldn't see, I was blind."

I didn't see because of witty, clever arguments. I came to see because God opened my eyes.

By all means, keep standing up for marriage to be protected. But don't forget to pray.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bible Verse of the Day

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Post-Surgery Worst Nightmare

My worst nightmare post-surgery nightmare was getting gastro. A friend visited me in Perth while I was recovering, and told me how gastro had ripped through her family recently. I thought that if I were to get gastro now, it'd be beyond horrible. Throwing up with a painful stomach...gah!

Of course, that's exactly what happened.

Late Friday afternoon, I went to have a shower in preparation for going out for dinner at a friend's house in celebration of another friend's birthday. I had had my dressings changed twice by a nurse, but this was to be the first time I'd done it myself. He nurse had recommended I do it in the shower. It was a bit painful and, while I was in the shower still, my vision started to go and I felt very faint. I called out to Duncan and he caught me before I fainted. I came to on the shower floor, dressings half off, wondering what had happened. Duncan said I'd been out of it for about 20 seconds. He helped me out of the shower and onto a chair. After a little while, I felt well enough to complete the dressing change, put on my pyjamas (having decided that as much as I was looking forward to the dinner, it was just a no-go after what had happened) and sat on the couch before going to bed. I just didn't feel well.

Then the vomiting started. It finally finished at around 1am.

Surprisingly, it didn't hurt my stomach. Coughing, sneezing and laughing had been much worse. Duncan called our local hospital to check whether he should bring me in, but they said, unless I was in pain, or the vomiting was going on and on, I should be ok.

Of course, I was completely wiped out he following day and my mum arrived to help.

Then on Sunday, Flynn got it.
My mum went home on Monday morning and Bethany from our church, who's been helping me at home arrived.
In the early hours of this morning, Rory got it.
We heard from my dad that my mum had it, too.
Now, Duncan, the man with the immune system of a mallee bull when it comes to gastro, has even succumbed.

We've all been knocked over like dominoes.

May this bug leave my family and never return!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Me Before You

I finished this book during my 'sabbatical after surgery' in Perth.  With euthanasia still a much-debated subject, this book is very relevant.  I'd also heard a review of it and thought it sounded very interesting.

The plot centres around Will, who is 35 and has been a quadriplegic for two years after being hit by a motorbike.  Feeling very depressed about all he has lost, he tries to take his own life before asking his parents to take him to a clinic in Switzerland where he can end it.  Devastated, his parents hire Lou, a 26-year-old woman, to be his personal carer and companion, with the hope she can cheer him up and show him life is still worth living (I will not reveal the ending).

While I am a Christian and strongly against euthanasia, this book helped me see just how difficult life is for people like Will, or those who are in chronic pain and terminally ill.  The last few years have been so dreadfully difficult with my mental health that I have longed to end it all on numerous occasions.  On of the upsides of my suffering is that I have become more compassionate and able to see other's viewpoints in these matters.  I agree that the argument to let someone 'die with dignity' makes sense in a worldly point of view.  To be honest, if I was in Will's situation, I would struggle to want to live, too, and I'm a Christian with the tremendous hope that Jesus brings.  Will doesn't have that hope, so I can see that his life looks bleak to him.

This book led to some...ummm....'interesting' discussions with my mum after I told her what the book was about (she is reading it now).  She is not Christian and said that if she was dying and in pain, she would ask me to take her to an overseas clinic, too.  I told her that although it would devastate me to see her suffering, her life is not mine to take, or to assist in taking.  She said, "Fine, I'll ask Tim, then."

I'm hoping to read Joni Eareckson Tada's biography to hear about how a Christian person has dealt with becoming a quadriplegic and how the hope they have in Christ has made a difference.

Ultimately I'm still very opposed to euthanasia...but I think Christians can be so and still understand why people like Will would consider it.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Recovery and Results

I'm now two weeks and three days post-surgery, and I'm pleased to report that everything went well.

My abdominal muscles were repaired and I had to have mesh inserted to hold them together.  The hernia has been repaired.  It's frustrating not being able to do a lot of things, but I am so, so thankful it's done.

I spent three nights in hospital in a shared room.  The first lady I shared with was lovely, although we had to talk to each other from opposite sides of a curtain for a while.  It was nice to finally put a face to the voice.  Then she was discharged and I had a room to myself for just over a day before another lady came in.  On the morning I was getting ready to be discharged, this lady was getting ready to go in for surgery.  Suddenly, she started vomiting everywhere and hearing it just made me want to be sick, too.  I felt very sorry for her, but watching/hearing other people being sick is one thing I struggle with.  This surgery was my first with wound drains.  Duncan was grossed out when I told him I had two tubes coming out of me, and blood and gunk was dripping into two containers.  It sure was awkward walking to the bathroom, having to carry them all the time.

I stayed in Perth for five days after discharge, returning to the hospital once to have my dressings changed.  My mum took care of me and it was a very peaceful week, just watching TV, resting, reading and colouring my adult colouring book - a very strange experience without the little fellows, although I talked to them every day via FaceTime.  I think Duncan has a new respect for stay-at-home mums after he took a week of personal leave to care for the boys while I was away.

Now I've been home for nine days and my peace has been shattered.  Since we couldn't find an au pair, my mum has been staying with us as I can't lift or drive for six weeks.  We managed the school/daycare routine without killing each other.  I was especially nervous about the arrangement as when the fellows were born, things did not go well between us.  But, praise God, we have a young girl from our church coming a few days a week to help me, which is a massive blessing.  It's tempting to do more than I'm supposed to, but then I remember what this surgery cost us financially and I'm determined to do what the surgeon said.  There's no way I want to have it done again.

I'm in a bit of pain and discomfort and I'm still walking a bit hunched, like a little old lady.  Thankfully I have a support garment I wear around my abdomen and it stops me feeling like my stomach is going to fall apart.



Friday, July 07, 2017

We Survived the First Semester

Rory survived and we survived the first semester of kindergarten.

Term 1 was more of a challenge.  There were quite a few mornings that he screamed about having to put on his uniform and get on the bus.  We didn't back down and eventually he settled and enjoyed going to school.  He was an angel at school, according to his teacher, but on his 'home days' he was horrid.  I think the tiredness of school and the bus trip, combined with the effort of being on his best behaviour all day meant that Mummy copped all of the pent up frustration.  He threw some of the worst tantrums I've ever seen him throw during that first term.

Term 2 went a lot smoother.  He made two friends in particular.  One lives up the road from us, is on the same bus and at the same school, but is in the other kindy class.  The other is in his class, but lives in town.  During the term, the speech therapist he's seen off and on since he was two, came to the school regularly to help him with a slight stutter.  He's also had visits at school from an occupational therapist to assist with his fine motor skills.  Unfortunately, Rory doesn't have a lot of strength in his upper arms, so he needs to work on that, and that will help with his cutting, writing etc., so his arm doesn't get so tired.

I found him a few activity books for his age group on some of my opshopping adventures, and he loves nothing more than working his way through the different literacy and numeracy activities.  He keeps asking for more books!

I loved seeing his portfolio he brought home on the last day of term.  This is my favourite.  He told me very excitedly, "I'm a rabbit, Mummy."


Monday, July 03, 2017

Under the Knife

In 11 days I'll finally be having surgery to repair my abdominal diastatis.

Unfortunately, although I fought hard, we will still be forking out $15,000 we don't have, thanks to my family.

I ended up getting a referral for an ultrasound and they found a small hernia near my belly button.  However, since it is only small and the main surgery is the abdominoplasty, I'll be getting peanuts back from Medicare.

Despite all of this, I'm beyond excited to finally be getting some of my life back.  I'll be able to exercise, lift heavy things, be free of abdominal discomfort and pain, be able to fit into my old clothes once I've healed and the swelling has gone down.  I'm actually looking forward to the little 'break' I'll get in hospital.  I just hope they give me good drugs!

Duncan will be taking a couple of weeks off work to care for the boys while I'm away and after I get home.  My mum will be accompanying me to Perth since I won't be able to drive for at least a few weeks after the surgery.

Now we just need to find an au pair from the end of July until the end of August as I won't be able to lift Flynn or do much at all really.  All of our attempts have been fruitless so far.  We've spoken to four different ladies and they've all decided against it (although one we're still chasing up).

Please pray we will find someone soon.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

5 Things I'd Say to My 18-Year-Old Self

Do you ever wish you could go back in time and talk to your younger self?  Tell them not to worry about some things.  Warn them about hardships to come.  Encourage them that, although the present may have its challenges, good things will come.

I follow Turia Pitt's Facebook page.  For those who don't know who she is, Turia suffered burns to more than 60% of her body from being caught in a bushfire while competing in an ultra-marathon in the Kimberly region of Western Australia in September 2011.  She is an incredibly inspiring person and I'm looking forward to reading her autobiography.  One post on her Facebook page particularly caught my eye.  It was a letter she had written to her 18-year-old self for the Business Chicks website.

That got me wondering....what would I say to my 18-year-old self if I had the chance to go back in time?


1.  Your life is about to change in the most dramatic way anyone's life ever can.  Many of your life plans will go out the window.  This is a good thing.  You will meet someone.  It won't be who you think.  It won't be the type of relationship you're hoping for.  Your friends already know him and have tried to introduce you to him.  I think you really do want to know him, even if you say you don't.  I'll give you a hint: His name begins with J....

2.  Don't stress so much about finding a man.  He's out there.  Just wait and make the most of your life until then.  No, it's not the one you're fixated on.  The right one is not quite ready yet...and neither are you.

3.  Your high school friends are keepers.  You'll meet other great friends, too.

4.  Don't give up writing that book.  Don't slack off.  You're single.  Now is the time to write, trust me.

5.  There will be a time in your life that will be incredibly dark.  You will need great strength to endure, but that strength won't come from yourself.  You will be ok.


What would you say to your 18-year-old self?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Quote of the Day

Your wound, your weakness can become your strength.
- Turia Pitt 

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Shack

When I first finished it, I honestly don't know what to make of this book.

Like no other Christian fiction book I've ever read (although I haven't read many), it's interesting, but not the amazing work so many Christians rave about.  I've had friends say it's the first book they'd recommend to non-Christian friends wanting to find out more about Jesus, particularly if their objections to Christianity centre on the issue of why God allows suffering.  Personally, there are many other books on Christianity and suffering I'd recommend before this one.

The Shack tells the story of a man called Mack whose youngest daughter, Missy, is abducted and brutally murdered.  Mack has had some experience with church etc., but was largely doing his own thing, while being consumed with his grief, when he receives a note, supposedly from God.  The note told him to go to the shack in the middle of the wilderness where some of Missy's belongings had been found stained with blood and God would meet him there.

One of the things that I felt most uncomfortable about was how God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were portrayed.  God is represented as a jovial African-American woman called Papa, Jesus is a carpenter (which is the truest to Scripture out of the three), and the Holy Spirit is an Asian woman called Sarayu.  The issue I have with these representations of the Trinity is that not once in the Bible are they described in this way.  Why is God depicted as a woman?  Is it to make a particular point?  To be controversial?  It's easy to say that it's just fiction and it doesn't matter, and that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe portrays God as Aslan the lion, so what's the difference?  But the difference is that Scripture does describe God as like a lion (and many other things).

I think the book does a reasonable job of portraying the close relationship between the three beings of the Trinity.  The three in one concept is not easy for any human mind to grasp, but it does display the distinctiveness, yet the unity of Father, Son and Spirit quite well.

While the book is sad, given the deep pain Mack is dealing with, I didn't find myself feeling overly emotional while reading it.  Some people have told me they were moved to tears.  Maybe I am just an unfeeling sort of person, or maybe it was because I was focused on analysing it for its biblical faithfulness and theology.

I think the main flaw of the book is that it focuses on Jesus coming to end our pain, rather than Him coming to save us from our sin.  We are not innocent victims of sin, we ALL are sinners in need of a Saviour.  Our suffering may not be the direct result of our own sin or someone else's, but the state of the world is a result of all of us having turned away from God to rule our own lives.  The book does address Mack's own need for a Saviour towards the end and his need to forgive the man who murdered his daughter, but it should have been a more central theme as that is the gospel - a God, who came to earth Himself to die and rise again to reconcile us to Himself.

It's not enough to just say that The Shack is fiction and it is not intended to replace or sit alongside Scripture.  That may be true, but the writers of Christian fiction have a responsibility to ensure their theology is grounded in Scripture.  The Shack is enormously popular and now there is a movie version.  As I intend to write Christian fiction, I would hope that people would be wise and discerning in reading my stuff, not just swallow it blindly because it's what their itching ears want to hear.  I think The Shack shows the intimacy of the relationship with God we all crave and it is by no means evil.  It's not my book of choice.