Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Irish Idol


I'm so glad Damien Leith won Australian Idol on Sunday night. After four series of Idol, finally there's a winner that appeals to me and I would definitely buy his CD (yes, I know Guy Sebastian's a Christian and seems to be a top bloke but his voice is far too nasally in my opinion).

I went out to dinner after church on Sunday night and got home in time to see the winner announced (after hearing James Mathison say "after the break" a gazillion times). I wouldn't have minded if Jess won; she has a terrific voice but I'm kinda over the diva sound. Traditionally, the winner's single has sounded like something off The Lion King but I really liked Damien's version. I can't wait to hear his album.

I just hope his newfound fame doesn't hurt his marriage and family.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Emma!!!

My dear friend and housemate is 23 today!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hey! Check out my Blog - Part 1

Since becoming a blogger in June this year, I've inevitably started comparing myself to the 'gurus' in the blogosphere. You know the ones I mean - the people who seem to have a readership of hundreds and commonly get up to 50 comments on a single post. They can just say "hey I had spaghetti for dinner tonight" and suddenly people are crawling over each other to comment. "Was it nice?" "You should try out my recipe." "I find your life so incredibly exciting". Blah blah blah. Then a new blogger posts on a controversial topic, hoping to spark up some debate....and gets 0 comments. Can you relate? I honestly feel sorry for some bloggers. I read some blogs regularly and find what they have to say very interesting, yet not many others seem to. Then they feel like giving up because the whole point of putting something on the net is so others will read it.

I'm not having a go at people who have large readerships. Many are fantastic bloggers and I read their blogs myself. What I want to raise for discussion is the fact that having a lot of comments doesn't mean they are the best writer. Good writing is often a matter of opinion anyway. Sometimes it's who you know/who you are and not what you know. If Tom Cruise starts a blog, he's bound to get lots of readers simply because he's Tom Cruise and not necessarily because he's a certainty to win 'blogger of the year'. So if you have a blog and aren't getting many people commenting or maybe even reading, take heart. Even the kings of the blogosphere had to start somewhere and probably stared at '0 comments' on the end of their posts for quite some time before their readership grew. Persevere!

My blog turns 5 months old on Sunday and sometimes I get disheartened because of my seemingly small readership. I am greatly encouraged by others' comments but sometimes I wonder, "what's the point?". Am I boring? Then I read this article which gives ways on how to attract readers to your blog. The fourth one is Comment on others' blogs. This lets others know that you have started a blog and they may like to read it. I think many of the people who comment on my blog, first came to read it because I first commented on theirs. I also told some of my friends about it and I know some of them read it, although some haven't commented. Now, you don't need to comment in the hope of 'luring' others to your blog so you can boast about the size of your readership. I only comment on blogs that I'm interested in and feel I can contribute in some way. There are also a great number of blogs that I read that I haven't commented on yet.

Which brings me to my next point. Why do we (myself included) become regular readers of certain blogs yet NEVER comment? I know sometimes it's because they're the blogs of people I know or sort of know and I'm afraid of exposing my blog to them. I'm not sure why this is when I haven't written anything greatly offensive or sordid. I could comment as an anonymous person but I prefer to use my blogger ID. Some people genuinely think they don't have anything interesting to say - which isn't often the case. Sometimes I don't comment because all the other people commenting seem to be friends/acquaintances of the blogger and I feel stupid being the only stranger. Also, if you don't know the blogger personally, is it weird to be a regular commenter on their blog? Is that stalking? Some of the people who comment regularly on my blog, I haven't met or perhaps have seen but not met properly. I love the way they keep coming back as it gives me motivation to write. Yet, maybe some people see it differently and the purpose of their blog is more to keep in touch with their circle of friends and not to meet new people as much.

I'm going to make an effort to comment more regularly on blogs, knowing that it might just encourage someone to keep blogging, that what they write is worthwhile. How about you? Do you comment on the blogs you read? Why/why not?

Lastly, just to inflate my own ego, I'd like to give you all a challenge. If you are a regular/semi regular reader of my blog, please leave a comment on this post, even if it's just to say 'hi'. I'd especially like to hear from you if you've never commented before. I'm not that scary - really ;)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Goodbye Belinda

I am still sad over the death of Belinda Emmett from cancer early on Saturday morning and from reading other blogs, I can tell I'm not the only one. I remember watching her on Home and Away in the late 90s and when she took a break from the show to have treatment for breast cancer, another actress filled in for her until she came back. Over the past couple of years, she has been looking more frail and gaunt and about a year ago, a magazine said she was dying. I didn't hear anything else about it until I heard the sad news on the radio on the weekend. Belinda was only 32.

My prayers go out for Rove and the Emmett family. Whatever people think of Rove and his show, I don't think anyone can question his love and devotion to his wife. That's not to take away anything from people who aren't in the public eye that have faithfully cared for their ill spouses. Nor does it take away anything from the many cancer sufferers who fought just as bravely as Belinda.

*The picture is from the Unofficial Belinda Emmett website.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Thank You God!!!

I just have to share a MASSIVE answer to prayer I received last week. In June, you may remember, I mentioned I had asked my boss if I could work part-time (4 days a week) so I could spend one day a week working on my novel. Working full-time, being involved at church and having a social life while trying to write an epic story as fat as the Harry Potter books was just too hard. My job involves sitting in front of a computer all day and the thought of spending my nights/weekends staring at a monitor while I wrote, made my eyes sore. If ever I could work part-time and write, then this was the time in my life to do it. No kids, no mortgage and no desire to join the sleazy backpacker culture. I didn't know if I was ever going to be published, but I wanted to find out if it was God's will.

My boss wanted to help me but the bigger bosses said 'no'. At first I wasn't so disappointed and I knew God had it under control. But as time went by and I became more dissatisfied with my job, I started wrestling with doubt. Should I give up? Was God saying 'no' or 'wait'? I didn't hate my job but I just didn't want to spend 5 days a week there. Should I try again?

I had my yearly review at work a few months later at which I told my boss I still wanted to work part-time. She hadn't forgotten this and told me that my best chance would be at the end of the year when the workplace was going to be restructured. So I waited. Then I started questioning God. Why did he want to be stuck in this job and there were no other jobs out there (trust me I looked)? Why did he say 'no' to everything I asked? I then realised that God was telling me to trust him no matter what, that he knows best and is working everything out for my good. It was a very hard lesson to learn. God was no genie that gave me whatever I asked for. I had to learn to say that 'God is good' even when he didn't say 'yes'.

A little while ago, an email was sent around my workplace, asking for expressions of interest from people who wished to change their working hours or move to another department. This was my big chance. I put in my request and waited for a couple of weeks until the lady in charge of this came back from leave. I still didn't hear anything. I prayed about it but found this time I wasn't overly worried. But I began to tell myself that if I got another 'no', I would seriously keep looking for other work. Then I got an email from the lady in charge of this area and she asked me to come to her office. I was a bit nervous and expected her to say 'no', so when she said 'yes', I couldn't believe it! Not only that, she said I could work part-time for a year and then if I didn't like it, I could change back to full-time (although I don't think I will). Also me working part-time will help others who are on contracts get more work.

I cannot thank God enough. I just hope I will use my day to write diligently and not waste time. I have a friend who is keeping me accountable and wants me to show her how much I have written each week. While I waited, I wondered if sometimes God wants us to kick down the doors ourselves or wait for him to open them? I always used to look for 'open doors' but this experience made me not so sure. If I hadn't approached my boss, then how could I expect them to read my mind and know what I wanted? Also, if I'd gotten another 'no', does that mean I should have given up or kept trying? In this case, I'm glad I kept trying and waited for 6 months. But we still need to prayerfully seek God's will and I was still dependent on him to open the door, even though I kept knocking.

God is good. I want to say this all of the time.

As for why I want to write and what my book is about - more on that later :D :D :D

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mad Hatters!

On Tuesday, I attended my first Melbourne Cup lunch. My workplace has one every year. It's held up in the staffroom, we get far too much food, go in the sweep and have a mad hat competition. Over the years, I have been very anti Melbourne Cup and last year I didn't attend the lunch. Despite being a big fan of National Velvet, I don't generally like horse racing (whipping is cruel, I don't care what anyone says), and all it is is an excuse for people to get drunk and spend far too much money on outfits and betting. Millions are wasted and that could be used to help the poor and needy. It's disgusting! Yet, I was challenged by Rodney Olsen's post to actually DO something with my money, instead of sitting on it and self-righteously condemning others who waste theirs.

So why did I attend this year? The mad hat competition of course! Two years ago I made a crazy hat for Jane's mad hat party for her 21st. It consisted of an upside down straw hat filled with straw and sitting in it was a chicken. No, not a live one. I got an old stocking, stuffed it with newspaper, shaped into a chook and put black tape all around it. Then I bought some feathers from Lincraft and superglued them all over the body, made a beak, eyes, comb and wattles out of cardboard and superglued them on too. Lastly, I stapled a big red ribbon to the hat that would tie under my chin. My fingers were covered with dry glue and bits of feathers but it was worth it. The hat made its second public appearance in March this year for Tammy's 30th. The Melbourne Cup seemed a perfect excuse for the now somewhat decrepit looking hen to sit on my head once again.

It may seem trivial but I felt the Melbourne Cup reminded me of my sin. I had been telling my workmates in the week leading up to it about my truly marvellous hat (although I didn't describe it) and how I was a certainty to win the prize for best hat, that NO-ONE could EVER bring a hat that was so creative and spectacular as mine. How arrogant of me! When I arrived one of my workmates was wearing a straw hat with a toy donkey stuffed through it. I thought it could be a potential rival but surely I was to win!

As it turned out, God convicted me of my arrogance and I didn't win. I came second. God was very kind and I got a box of chocolates as second prize. Not a good prize for my diet but I'll eat them slowly. The Melbourne Cup ended up bringing out my competitive streak that I wish I didn't have. But in the end, I found that I really didn't care that I didn't win and was happy for the donkey hat lady who won. Second was good enough for me. I still really like my hat. The whole thing just showed me how trivial I am.

I'm going to go and put my money on a goat!

At Jane's 21st in Nov 2004.

Caroline and I

Rohan, Sarah D, me, Jono, Tamba, Jane and Min

Ali and I at Tammy's 30th in March this year.

Oh Where, Oh Where Have My Pictures Gone?

People perusing this blog! Can you help?

If you have a look at my archives, then you'll notice a lot of my pics have disappeared and all that's left is a little box with an 'x' in it. Right clicking on the box and choosing 'Show Picture' doesn't get the picture back.

I've looked at the online Blogger Help group and there are people experiencing the same problem - but no-one has replied to them.

Can anyone tell me how to fix this?!?

Many thanks!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I can't believe Chris Murphy has been voted off Australian Idol. What is wrong with you, Australia?!?

I'll tell you what's wrong - teeny bopper girls with too much credit on their mobiles. That's what's wrong! They're the only reason Dean is still in the competition.

After I swore I wasn't going to watch Idol this year, I got sucked in by Chris's talent. He rocks! I just love the kind of music he does. He's an Albany boy too but that's not why I was voting. I guess the three votes I sent off yesterday weren't enough to save him. :(

It's good that there have been Christians in the Top 12 in Idol each year but that doesn't mean I'm going to vote for them. I vote on talent and whether or not I would buy a CD by that person. I'm glad Dean's a Christian and I'll pray God will keep him strong in his faith and that he'll be a great witness to other contestants and the viewers. But he is NOT the best singer there and should NOT win based on his looks.

I'm voting for Damien, the Irish guy now. He was my second favourite and he's got a terrific voice. Hopefully the 'Luck of the Irish' will be with him.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Lesson 2 from Sarah's School of Dating

Finally it's back! After a 3 month hiatus, my dating school has been revived (not that it really died, it was more like it was in a deep sleep). I'm no expert and I doubt my opinions represent all women but then I thought I might as well keep it going. You may get a laugh. You may learn something. And remember, like I said before, it's your choice to be here. If you're looking for a matchmaker, pics of single Christians or a dating agency, you're in the wrong place. This is an educational series - for both men and women.

For those who missed Lesson 1 or would like a refresher, go here.

Since I'm a woman, Lesson 2 is going to be all about some behaviour I've observed in different women (although I'm not suggesting all women are like this). Let's start with a (fictional) story:

Susie has realised she is developing feelings for a friend at her church, Phil. She decides against letting one of her female friends know and instead keeps her growing feelings to herself. There are a number of reasons for this:
a) She's afraid one of her female friends won't be able to keep their mouth shut and she'll become the butt of church gossip. Phil will find out and there is a chance she could lose his friendship.
b) She doesn't want her feelings towards Phil to become infatuation. She's been there before - having crushes that have developed into obsessive feelings that have gone on for years, feeling jealous of other girls and seeing them as love rivals, becoming discontent in her singleness and not focusing on what God would have her do now. Susie is aware of the dangers of 'dating Phil in her mind' and instead decides to submit her feelings to God, asking that if it is not his will, to take the feelings for Phil away.

So Susie keeps her feelings for Phil under wraps and no-one has a clue. Then one day, her friend Julie (also from the same church) announces to her in confidence that she has feelings for Phil. She also announces rather bluntly that Susie had better not ever develop feelings for Phil as well. Susie almost smiles at how ironic Julie's statement is - if only she knew. But inside Susie is torn and almost angry. She feels Julie has just squashed any chance she had with Phil. Julie has 'claimed' Phil for herself, even though they are not together, and she has also announced that even if she can't have Phil, no-one else can. Of course, Phil may not be interested in either Susie or Julie so there's no problem but Susie is annoyed about Julie's attitude of 'reserving' guys for herself and declaring that no-one else can have them. Susie also knows that Julie has two other guys from church that she has 'reserved' as potential partners for herself and told other girls to 'back off'.

Time goes on and Susie doesn't dare tell Julie that they like the same man. Julie is her friend and there seems no point in having a conflict over a guy that neither of them might end up with. The one day, Phil approaches Susie about starting a relationship. Their friendship had been growing closer recently and they'd been spending more time together, much to Julie's obvious jealousy. Susie is immediately torn. She genuinely likes Phil and considers him potential marriage material. She's not liking Phil simply to spite Julie and badly wants to say 'yes' to him. Yet, she knows that Julie won't speak to her again. What should Susie do?

This may seem like a Christianised version of Mills and Boon or Neighbours but, if you're a woman, I think we've all known a few Julies in our time or maybe we've even been Julies ourselves. This behaviour is common in high school but sadly a lot of women don't grow out of it. It's not that Julie's a bad person - she wants to get married and she's attracted to a good man. This is a good thing. But she's taken it too far - she's made claims on people who do not belong to her, she's envious and she's depriving both Susie and Phil of a chance to see if they could be married - people who are both supposed to be her friends.

My opinion is that Susie should go out with Phil and then tell Julie as she tells everyone else. If Julie reacts badly - tough. Sure, Susie should be gentle with Julie but if Julie cannot accept it and move on, then she's not being much of a friend to Susie. And Susie should pray for Julie, that she'll find satisfaction in God. Chances are that Julie will marry someone else anyway and she'll later wonder why she ever had feelings for Phil. If Susie had said 'no' to Phil so she wouldn't upset Julie, what would that achieve really? Does Phil really have to stay single until Julie decides she's over him? I talked to someone who faced a similar dilemma and ended up marrying the guy. Her friend who also liked him eventually ended up marrying someone else.

Women, let's all have courage when we're Susie and repent when we're Julie.

As I said before, not all women get insanely jealous and carry on like seagulls squabbling over a dropped chip. Men, I'm interested to hear what you have to say. Do men get jealous like this? How would you feel if you were Phil and you found out what had been going on?

That's my two cents worth ;)

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I went to Allen's funeral on Monday. My parents came up from Albany for it. My bro Tim decided to stay home and look after the animals. He doesn't like going to funerals and I can't blame him. We joined a couple of hundred people in saying goodbye. Allen was a well-liked bloke.

People asked me how the funeral went. I didn't know what to say to that. 'Good'. 'Okay'. 'Sad'. Something along those lines. But I know they were only asking because they care.

Allen was buried at Freo cemetery with his wife, Lyn who died in February last year. I thought Karen (their daughter) held up pretty well during the service. The service was very 'Christian' ie. lots of bible readings and prayer. Allen wasn't a Christian though and that's what I was most sad about. We Christians tell others to trust Jesus and that he is only way for salvation and eternal life. Yet when a non Christian we love dies, we don't like to think that our loved one is not in heaven. I think death is a taboo topic for both Christians and non Christians.

Suddenly my parents and their friends have realised that life is short and they are frantically making plans to catch up more often. I hope they don't suddenly go crazy the way some people do when they realise that life is short ie. buying ferraris and going on expensive holidays etc. I know God can bring good out of this and I hope that they all question what life REALLY is about and find that life in Christ.

I know this is a pretty morbid post and I promise my next one will be much happier. Maybe it will be the long-awaited Lesson 2 from Sarah's School of Dating.

Stay tuned ;)

Allen is on the far left. This was taken at my birthday in May this year.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My First Letter!

On Friday, I came home from work to find some mail for me from Compassion. It contained my first letter from my sponsor child, Rayssa. She's six (nearly seven) and is from Brazil. I've sponsored her since the State Youth Games in June this year and I wrote her a letter and sent her a photo of myself a few months back. The letter I received was written in Portuguese by a monitor since Rayssa can't write yet and was translated into English (obviously since I can't understand Portuguese). But it was fun trying to match up the Portuguese words with the English words. She sent me a very colourful drawing as well. It really brightened my day :)

I wanted to sponsor a child for ages but after finally getting around to doing it this year, I can honestly say if you've ever thought about it, it's a truly worthwhile thing to do. Although it was hard choosing one child out of so many that need our help, I would love to have the money to sponsor them all. Compassion is a great organisation - they are Christian and teach children about Jesus as well as providing them with practical things to help them beat poverty. I pray that Rayssa comes to know and trust Jesus and that poverty will be made history. It really makes me think about all the material stuff I have that I really don't need and how tempting it is to always want more.

I'm encouraged by the verse that Compassion use on their brochures - 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40. Every person matters to God and it's such a privilege to make a difference in one life.