Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
After reading Psalm 13, I was struck by David's honesty where suffering is concerned. He openly prays his fears and his sorrow. He is so bold as to cry out to God for answers and asking to God to act and defeat his enemies. In Psalm 3, he prays for God to strike his enemies on the jaw and break all their teeth. I have to say, I feel uncomfortable praying that. I want evil to be defeated yet I also want God to have mercy on many people. What David prays is what so many of us are thinking and feeling regarding sorrow and suffering. But we never admit it. When people ask us how we are, we say "Good", when we're not. I think many people at church were struck by the fact that David, himself, identifies with us as he lived an often difficult life with much opposition. And that's it's ok to cry out to God in times of distress. We can have confidence that God listens and cares for us. How awesome is that? I forget it all too often but it is something great to reflect on.
Many of the psalms have a similar pattern to them. They start off with the psalmist crying out to God about his suffering yet end in him giving praise to God with a heart of gratitude about all he has done. That's how I want to pray - asking God for help, yet remembering he is a good God and a faithful God who has already given me so much. I am so thankful for the psalms and that they were recorded for us. David stuffed up badly at many times in his life, yet God still called him "a man after his own heart".
On the topic of gladness and praise, I asked for prayer once that I would have an attitude like Pollyanna. For those of you haven't seen the movie, you can read reviews of it here, but basically it's about an orphan girl, whose father was a minister, who is sent to live with her rich but cold aunt. There are many problems in the town they live in - divisions and generally just people who are bitter and angry. Yet, Pollyanna, always finds a reason to be glad and slowly the townsfolk begin to be transformed by her "glad game" and her kindness. When something terrible happens to Pollyanna and she can't find a reason to be glad, they rally around her and she can see just what an impact she has had on their lives, even though she didn't purposely set out trying to change everyone.
I've had a pretty bad week this week but I still want to find a reason to thank God for his many blessings, even when they are difficult to see. The weekend before that was brilliant, the best one I've had in ages. I didn't ask God for a good weekend - in his mercy and kindness, he just gave it to me.
* It started on Friday night (18th). At work, Emma smsed me asking if we could go and look at some bridesmaids dresses she'd seen the night before and wanted to buy before they sold out. The other two bridesmaids are Jennifer (Emma's sister) and Amy (Emma's friend from her church). Since Jennifer lives in Albany; Emma, Amy and I went to Intangible in the city to check out the dresses. They were lovely and we bought/laybyed them. It was great seeing Emma so excited.
* After that, I went to my friend Craig's house to watch Munich with him and some other friends from church. The movie was pretty powerful and gruesome (full on nudity and violence - not one for the little tackers) and was based upon the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Great night though with lots of yummy food - pizza, Pods, M&Ms....(healthy aren't we?)
* On Saturday I went to the Perth Women's Convention, which was full of great teaching and fellowship. The topic was Following the God of Promise with talks from Numbers and Hebrews.
* After that, I went home and then Emma and I went down to Mandurah to visit our good friend Rhianon (aka Fizz) and her husband Linton who moved there a few months ago. We went out to dinner at the yummiest Italian restaurant, Paparazzi (Italian is my favourite cuisine). Then we went to their new house and us girls, stayed up late eating chocolate and reminiscing about all the fun we used to have in high school. The three of us don't get to catch up together all that often so it was great to be spending time all together again.
* The next day, Emma and I drove back to Perth and I went to a course called Sharing My Faith which is being run by my church.
* The Eagles whipped Brisbane's arse by 62 points.
So as you can see, I was VERY happy. This last week, however, has been a frustrating 'walking in the desert' week.
* I've been sick with a lingering cold and sore throat all week. I've gotten a bit better but my nose still feels like a running river (sorry if that grossed you out).
* I've had to teach quite a few classes at work and there has been no-one to cover me, so I've worked hard all week, despite being sick. One class was particularly frustrating to teach - there was a lady in it who had very poor computer skills. I tried to help her but my patience was tested.
* I am going to be moving desks at work because I'm now working with Health students instead of Business students. I'm a bit sad about this because I enjoy sharing a 'pod' with the three workmates I sit with. They are so much fun and we make each other laugh.
* I did the City to Surf , despite being still sick and not doing much exercise in the lead up to it. Yes, doing a 12km walk was a bit dumb and now my muscles are telling me all about it. I am SO sore. I justified my decision to do it because a) I'd already paid and registered b) I thought the fresh air would be good for me and c) It's helping disabled people. Well, now I feel like a disabled person - walking hurts.
* The Eagles put in a woeful performance against a rampaging Dorkers outfit. They didn't even fight. And then I had cop flak from their pesky supporters. Maybe God was punishing me for writing my scathing post about the Dorkers and also because he wants to show me that HE is way more important than football.
So that's the bad stuff but, like Pollyanna, I want to give praise to God so here goes. And I am genuinely thankful about these things.
* I had to teach less students than I thought because a lot of them didn't show up (slackers!). It was much easier for me though cos my voice was practically gone and I didn't have to shout to lots of students. The ones that came were very understanding and thankful for the session.
* Bible study was held at my house this week cos Tammy was over east. So I didn't have to go out in the cold.
* I MADE IT to the finish line in the City to Surf. And the brunch I went to afterwards was yummy!
* I'm slowly getting better...slowly.
* I've had a bit of time to rest and recuperate.
* God has showed me how I've been neglecting him and his word. He had lead me to start reading the bible and praying more regularly. It's amazing that he wants us to spend time with us.
* He has also showed me that I have been focusing far too much attention on worldly things (ie the Western Derby). While he wants me to enjoy football, I have been placing too much hope in the Eagles and not enough in him.
I've tried writing my own psalm. A psalm of Sarah. It may be corny but it's not going in the bible ;).
Lord, I cry out to you,
From the depths of my physical and emotional pain.
On every side, I see Dorkers fans laughing at me,
I walk in the desert but see no streams (except from my nose).
I make plans for my life.
Why do you thwart them, O God?
You closed the door,
But somewhere you have opened a window.
Though I walk among thousands, I am alone.
Yet, you are with me.
You comfort me and pick me up,
In your strength I will keep walking to the finish line.
I wake up and go my own way,
Then I realise how much I miss you.
I try to read your word, but I don't want to listen.
I try to pray, but my heart is elsewhere.
Forgive me for my sins, O Lord.
May you be my greatest desire.
Free me from the things of this world.
Show them as worthless compared to you.
I thank you Lord for your faithfulness.
For your many simple blessings I give thanks.
Though the Eagles may fail,
You are my hope and my gladness and will be forever.
Whoa, long post, eh? Is it a record?
Friday, August 25, 2006
Finals time is fast approaching for the AFL and I think Middo's post pretty much sums up my feelings - excitement and nervousness at the same time.
I've also been told that a lot of my blog seems to be about football so what a perfect topic to rant about.....my least favourite topic.......the Freo Dorkers. How appropriate with the next Western Derby less than 48 hours away.
When I heard they were entering the AFL, I groaned loudly. I was only 11 but I thought straight away that this state was not big enough for two teams. The Eagles were the kings of the AFL at that stage and the Vics were scared. Why ruin everything by dividing the state?
I could go on all day about the insipid Dorkers and their bitter and twisted supporters (I know heaps of Dorkers fans and we have a peaceful rivalry ;)). Here are my main rants in distinct dot point form ;).
- It's quite simple really - Dorkers fans are bitter about their lack of success. That's why they love to rub it in when they win a derby. No I might be anti-Dorkers but I feel really mean about gloating over an Eagles' derby victory. So I don't say anything. But would the Dorkers fans return the favour - oh no, they love to gloat.
- They reckon they're real good cos they've won 6 derbies. Hello? How many have the Eagles won? I think it's 17?
- Many Dorkers fans laughed when the Eagles lost the grand final last year. Well, Dorkers how many times have you made the finals? Once. In eleven years. And you lost. At home. Enough said.
- Booing Chris Judd after he won the Ross Glendinning Medal this year was disgraceful. You won. You should be satisfied. Who cares about the medal?
- It was in a newspaper article last year, that Dorkers' fans don't like Eagles' fans wearing their colours in Freo cos it's THEIR turf. Well, if you want Freo as your territory, fine. But we have the entire west coast as OUR turf, including the rest of Perth. It'll be a bit squashy for you all down in Freo, don't you think? Haha.
- I don't even think of the Dorkers as a true West Australian team. When I think of WA culture, I think of tough blokes and beer and John Deere tractors. I remember watching Eagles games' in the early 90s and during the ad breaks there were ads for Con's Liquor, Vic Bitter and John Deere tractors. The Eagles' blokes back then were tough hard men - Mainwaring, Worsfold, Wilson and co (I'm not getting into arguments about current players and hair gel). The Drokers don't represent WA, just Freo, and they wear PURPLE. Enough said (go the Glory though).
- A lot of Dorkers fans boast that they are the second favourite team of people who support Victorian teams but live in WA. Well, of course you are, Dorkers. The Vics hate the Eagles. We stole their cup twice. We're feared and successful. You're not. They don't see you as a threat.
- Many Dorkers' fans are actually ex Eagles' fans who have been sadly lead astray (including my brother). I can almost understand people changing teams to support a more successful team, but the Dorkers? Delusional!
- Perth news readers are extremely biased towards the Dorkers. They openly display their delight when the Dorkers win a derby. When the Eagles win they're not nearly as excited. It's like Eddie McGuire commentating Collingwood games. I think it's part of Australia's obsession with supporting the underdog. At least support a good underdog.
- I remember the Dorkers thinking they could actually win the first derby in 1995. The Eagles put them in their place and they'll do the same on Sunday.
So now I've had my rant. Do I feel better? Yes. Was it mean to the Dorkers? Yes. But everyne loves a friendly banter. I'm sure there are anti-Eagles sites/blogs out there. I aint gonna shout 'kick 'em in the head' like some little kids were are at the Melbourne v Richmond game I went to last month at the G. Violence solves nothing, people. I want a good, clean match with no brawls or anything. We'll hit 'em hard on the scoreboard and I have three words to say to the Eagles - SHOW NO MERCY!
Do I love Dorkers' supporters? The answer is YES. I may be disgusted at their choice of football team but many of them are still my friends, family and workmates.
I know many people may be cringing and shaking their heads, thinking this is a rant about nothing, what's the big deal about football anyway? Well, only a fan would understand.
Rant over :)
(I got this poster for free in the Sunday Times in 1995. Someone is now selling it on ebay for $500! Some nostalgia for Eagles' fans *sigh*)
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I wish I could go to the match. But sadly all the tickets went to members and I'm not a member. I briefly considered ebaying but I don't want to pay a rip-off price. A lot of the radio stations are having competitions to give away tickets but the comps are always on when I'm at work.
Maybe I shouldn't be going because the match goes until 5.30 and I have to be at church at 5. I'm not rostered on for anything this week so I COULD go to the match if I had a ticket. But I'd feel so bad about skipping church for football. I don't want footy to become an idol and take my focus away from God.
Maybe it's better that I watch some of the match from the comfort of my loungeroom and then go to church. There's no way I could get a ticket anyway.
But I still want to go.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
This is cool, Golden Retrievers are my favourite dogs. Do this quiz everyone - it doesn't mean you're a bitch :)
You Are a Golden Retriever Puppy
Sunday, August 20, 2006
The world just seems to be getting faster and faster and faster (hence the title of this post). It's scary. And the more sophisticated and so-called time and labour-saving devices are making life more and more hectic and complicated.
As we try to cram more and more into each day, frantically trying to beat the clock, we no longer have time just to chill or spend catching up with people. So the more busy we get, we realise we need faster ways of communicating with each other. Snail mail is just too slow now, so we email our letters. But what if they don't check their email in the next hour or so? So we chat with them on Messenger - at least they'll get the message instantly. But what if they aren't home or using a computer? We'd better SMS them and if they don't respond immediately, we ring their mobile. And if we still can't hold of them... Dammit. Why are they so uncontactable???
In the olden days, people got up and went to bed when the birds did. Now with the invention of electricity, people can become nocturnal. We can work insane hours and drink as many coffees as we need to stay awake. And of course it's all for the money. If we work harder and longer, we can get more money and finally have a life. Too bad we'll never have time to actually spend it. I watched the movie Just Like Heaven a few weeks ago (read a review here). The main character faced this problem - working and working and working....and nothing else.
There's just so many 'once-in-a-lifetime' opportunities. We work fulltime, go to church, bible study and take on a million other ministries, go to TAFE and study basket-weaving or cooking or German and juggle that with a PhD, going to the gym and maybe we can squeeze in a little time to spend with friends and family. All are good things and enjoyable things to be doing but we can't do them all at once. God just didn't make me an octopus - I only have two hands. (I don't do basket-weaving by the way ;)).
Time waits for no-one. So we power walk, push the speed limit if we have to and those annoying Sunday drivers on weekdays - honk them! Curse those lights. If only we'd had an Up and Go for breakfast, we'd have 10 more minutes to spare. 10 minutes! Every second is precious.
Food? That takes far too long to cook. Fresh vegies? Frozen or packet ones will do. We've just worked a 14 hour day and don't feel like cooking. So we can have Maccas tonight and HJs tomorrow night and pizza the next night. Oh no, we're all putting on weight!
We ask "how are you?" to a friend, but don't wait to hear the response. We're already across the other side of the room, asking the exact same question to someone else. Of course our other friend was ok.
And we just can't take the stress - headaches, migraines, strokes, heart attacks, nervous breakdowns, depression. But we don't have time to be sick. Just pop a pill.
Are we ever going to slow down? I hate being really busy. I have met some people who once told me they thrive on busy-ness and having a schedule packed with activities. Even such people have faced breakdowns and panic attacks at the result of such a hectic lifestyle.
About four years ago, I received the following email. It made me think....what are we hurtling towards? And what are we missing out on?
Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down
Don't dance so fast
Time is short
The music won't last
Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask "How are you?", do you hear the reply?
When the day is done do you lie in your bed,
With the next hundred chores running through your head?
You better slow down
Don't dance so fast
Time is short
The music won't last
Ever told your child, "We'll do it tomorrow",
And in your haste not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time to call and say, "Hi"?
You better slow down
Dn't dance so fast
Time is short
The music won't last
When you run so fast to get somewhere,
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift......thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower.
Hear the music.
Before the song is over.
I'm guilty of many of the things above. I don't have easy answers. But I know just one thing....we can't go at this pace forever.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
The number of classes I have to teach at the library keeps growing by the day. Last week I ended up doing an extra class (straight after I finished another one) because no-one else was available to teach it and my boss asked me to. All classes went well which is a big praise point, even the Small Business one, except for one girl who kept asking me difficult questions I couldn't answer and even the lecturer got tired of her.
This week I've had 1st year Occupational Therapists and next week I'm bracing myself for an onslaught of 1st year Nurses. I really respect school teachers. I don't know how they teach all day, every day to hypo little kids or surly teenagers. I sure couldn't do it.
The CCC camp was excellent. I had such a great time spending the whole weekend with everyone and reflecting on the topic "Loving our neighbour". We talked in small groups about who our neighbour is, how and why we love them and how they might respond. One of the big things I (and others) learnt was that there are a myriad of ways in which to love people and do good to them. Also, we shouldn't always expect our doing good to someone will lead to an opportunity to share the gospel with them. Sometimes they may ask us why we are doing good to them. Other times they may react badly and accuse us of having ulterior motives. And other times it may just be a passing opportunity to do good to someone we don't know ie. someone who has dropped all their stuff and we help them pick it all up. For years I've been struggling with the pressure that I can't just do good to someone and that I must give them a 5 point gospel outline along with it. Realistically there won't always be this opportunity and sometimes there might be but we are to love and do good to people regardless.
The Saturday night entertainment came together pretty well (well I thought so anyway) given the limited prep time. We played Chubby Bunnies, Celebrity Heads, Battle of the Sexes, Charades, did two quizzes, had a poetry reading by Sue (one she wrote about CCC people) and did a play Jill got off the net called "Evangelistic Man". Well I had fun!
The busy-ness of my life has not really subsided yet. I still have the Perth Women's Convention, City to Surf and then it's AFL finals time. Woohoo! While I'm looking forward to all of these things, I'll also be praying for lots of sleep.
Monday, August 07, 2006
* I'm teaching several classes at work, including one on Thursday night. That one I'm particularly nervous about as they're 3rd year Small Business students and I don't have a business brain. I have to show them how to find books and journal articles for their major assignment so I hope they or their lecturer don't ask me difficult questions I can't answer.
* Tennis starts on Wednesday night.
* I have my singing lesson then bible study on Tuesday night.
* Church camp starts on Friday night down at Baldivis. A few months ago, Jill (who is organising the camp) approached me and asked if I would like to do 'entertainment' at camp. I thought she meant would I like to do an act, like tell lame jokes (something I probably do well) or be involved in a skit or whatever. I said yes and she said she'd get back to me later with more details. Last night she approached me and asked me if Saturday night was all under control. I said 'What?!?' and it turned out she meant for me to organise lots of people to be involved in entertainment but hadn't got back to me so I had no idea. So tonight, we're having dinner and doing an emergency planning session. Hopefully it should all come together ok though.
I don't have a single night to myself this week which sucks cos I feel that at least a couple are absolutely mandatory. After camp finishes on Sunday arvo, I'm having a LONG nana nap.
Please pray I don't get stressed out this week and get plenty of rest. I hate going to camps when you're already tired from the past week and I'm really looking forward to this camp.
Also, if you know of any games/skits/activities that have worked well at any Christian camps, please let me know. Nothing that requires too many props or planning though. Ta :)
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Look out Vics. WE'RE BACK! :D
Now, bring on the Dorkers.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Do this quiz people. As you can see I got my exact age. Yay, I'm still young :)
You Are 23 Years Old
13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.
20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.
30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!
40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
On Monday, I worked out with a personal trainer which I haven't done for six months. Either because I felt there are other, more worthwhile things I should be spending my money on and also because I was always so busy. But I finally got to do a session with the PT and now my whole body is letting me know. It's not an agonising pain where I can't walk at all; it IS kind of pleasant in a way, like I've used muscles that I haven't used before. At one stage on Monday he was getting me to lift weights and I felt like I was about to die, then when I finally put them down, I felt really lightheaded and had to lie on a mat with my feet propped up until the blood came back into my head again. Meh! At least I'm a lot fitter than 14 months ago when I first joined the gym.
I've also been asking myself - why do I go to the gym? I like to ask that question about anything I spend money on. After being at uni for four years, then starting work last year, it can be tempting to spend money on crap, just cos I can. This is a list of reasons for my going to the gym:
* It motivates me to exercise. Having someone take money out of my bank account every month is a sure way to want to at least get something for it. I like to get what I pay for and I don't know how some people can join a gym and pay so much money but never actually go to the gym, or maybe go once in a blue moon. They're not getting any fitter or healthier. When I was in student housing, I had a flatmate who joined a gym and when he went there he just sat in the pool or the spa or swam a few laps really really slowly. Kind of a waste of time and money I reckon.
* I DON'T want to be mega muscly with veins and stuff popping out everywhere. That's gross. When I did my first personal training session and the trainer asked me what I hoped to get out of it, I replied "I don't want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger". He laughed and said there was no way that could happen with women and that I'd have to take steroids and work out obsessively to even remotely look like Arnie. I just want to be toned and stronger. I couldn't even lift anything when I started and I'd get puffed after a couple of minutes on a cross trainer.
* I DON'T go there because I'm impressed by all the meatheads there lifting weights. There are groups of guys who arrive at about 5pm and fill the weights area with their groaning and puffing then looking around to see if anyone just noticed they'd lifted 100 kilos with their neck. Well, in the words of Shania Twain, "That don't impress me much."
* Without going to the gym, I WOULDN'T exercise. Before I started going I used to play tennis a couple of hours a week and it wasn't nearly enough. Now I feel heaps healthier.
* When I was in high school and younger, I had an extremely fast metabolism so I could heaps of junk and not put on any weight. Sadly, that isn't the case anymore. If I want cake, I have to make room for it ;)
So there are my reasons for going to the gym. I don't always enjoy going, usually because I don't know many people so I work out alone and it's difficult to always be motivated. I find classes a great way to exercise with others. Here's to many more gym sessions :)
But man, I DO feel like an old woman today.