Wednesday, May 30, 2007

All By Myself

In Genesis 2:18, God says "It is not good for man to be alone."

I agree, especially not on one's birthday.

Yes, I turn 24 today on the 30th May (just restating the date so you can write it in your diaries for next year) ;)

Sadly, when someone asks me my age I can no longer say 'early twenties'. Now I've moved into my mid-twenties. Arrgh!

Due to 15mls of rain up at Buntine at seeding time, Dunc couldn't make it down for my birthday. But he made up for it by sending me 24 red roses - one for each year of my life. Awwww :)

So here I am, all by myself at home with my cat, since I don't work Wednesdays anyway. Maybe I should go into work for the company - actually.....nah! I'm catching up with some friends tonight though so it's not all bad. And I should be able to finish off writing Chapter 17 of my novel (I've been becoming more and more slack lately).

Happy Birthday to me.

That's all.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Get On Your Soapbox #4

Well, duh!

Yes, this post is about sarcasm.

Recently I've become more aware of the use of sarcastic 'humour' by myself and others. And I've realised they don't call it the lowest form of wit for nothing.

This is how the Macquarie Dictionary (2nd ed.) describes it:
saracasm - 1. harsh or derision or irony. 2. an ironical taunt or gibe; a sneering or cutting remark. (emphasis mine) (1991, p.1560)

It's not exactly described in glowing terms, is it?

I'll admit it - I have a real problem relating to overly sarcastic people sometimes. And notice I said 'overly sarcastic' people. That's because some sarcasm IS funny. I'm sure we've all laughed at American sitcoms where this type of humour is often what drives the show. But there's a line where funny stops. I've seen many sarcastic people cross that line and use their sarcastic tongues to belittle and tear down others. Or as the dictionary says - to make 'sneering or cutting remarks'.

There are a number of reasons why I find it hard to get on with sarcastic people. One is because they are so frequently sarcastic, the only way you can enjoy a joke or conversation with them is to be sarcastic back and I hate seeing that in myself. Secondly, you never know when they are actually being serious or being sarcastic so I don't quite know how to take them and I just sit there with a puzzled look on my face. And thirdly, I don't like being around people who just want to degrade me with their tongues to get a cheap laugh for themselves from other onlookers.

It's worth asking the question - why are some people nearly always sarcastic? What are they so insecure about that they must hide it with their acid tongues? It can be used as a form of bullying. I'm convinced that many sarcastic people tear others down because they are jealous and to make themselves feel better. Which is actually the opposite of what we're commanded to do, which is to build each other up and encourage one another.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Frustrations For Young Bloggers

Duncan and I are both young bloggers. By 'young bloggers' I mean anyone who has been blogging for a reasonably short period of time, not young by their age. Since a very low percentage of blogs reach their two-year anniversary, I guess a lot of bloggers out there could be considered 'young bloggers'. So far, I've been blogging for 11 months and Duncan for 3.5 months.

A couple of weeks ago we were talking on the phone about our blogs and the frustration we have with getting people to comment. Yes, I know, it's an all too familiar frustration for many bloggers out there. At first, I hardly told anyone about my blog for fear of what they'd think of it but gradually I'm starting to comment on more blogs and share the URL with friends of mine who aren't bloggers. Duncan has shared his URL with quite a few people he knows and he stated my very thoughts exactly when he said, "I know heaps of people read my blog but they never leave a jolly comment."

Why don't people comment? How do you get them to comment? Why do we as bloggers so often 'live' for comments? I enjoy blogging for the sake of it but often I've scrapped potential posts because I thought, "No-one will ever comment on that." I want to blog what I like and not simply for the entertainment of others (although I Do hope they enjoy what I write). I've found this issue cropping up time and time again as you see bloggers who once enjoyed posting about what interests them end up leaving the blogosphere because of disheartenment over their lack of comments. I can go for patches where I don't care so much for comments but then I look back at the number of posts that have '0 comments' on the end of them and feel a bit dejected.

Perhaps I'd have a huge ego if I had a massive readership and received dozens of comments? Perhaps being a very small dot on the blogging landscape is God's way of teaching me humility? It helps me blog for the right reasons and to really appreciate the readers I do have who comment regularly.

If you're feeling the same way about the lack of comments on your blog or variety of people commenting, remember this - lurkers outnumber commenters. Your readership is bigger than you think. Think about the number of blogs you regularly visit but don't comment on and you'll know that this is true.

Consider getting a site tracker installed on your site so you can see how many visits your blog receives and where you readers are coming from. Duncan and I both recently installed SiteMeter on our blogs and I've been astonished at the number of readers I actually DO have. Sure it's not many compared to some blogs but it's more than I thought. Not only do I have readers from Perth but I've also had visitors from the U.S., Canada, Bulgaria, France, Mauritius, Germany, Iran, Portugal and New Zealand. To any lurkers out there who are afraid of being exposed as my visitors - don't worry! I can only see what region you are from and your Internet Service Provider but I cannot find out your name so I can't track you down ;) But thanks for visiting.

Expose your blog to more people. Not just by word of mouth but join some blogging communities where other people you don't know can find your blog. A lot of traffic to my site comes through Photo Friday. Consider taking on the Photo Friday challenge if you haven't already. It's a lot of fun!!

Lurkers and commenters - thank you for visiting my blog. And lurkers, can I encourage you to leave a comment? Even if it's just to say 'hi'. Although I intend to blog about what interests me, I want to put a anonymous poll on my blog at some stage to see what my readers like best about my blog. Being a technologically-challenged person, it should be interesting getting it up and running ;)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Photo Friday - 'Large'

Here's a photo I took of the Super Pit gold mine in Kalgoorlie. It sure is large!!

If you look at the photo closely or click on it to enlarge it, you can see the trucks looking like little ants scurrying around the pit.
This photo was taken on the 5th July 2005 when I went with my now ex-housemate Emma to Kal to visit our friend, Rhianon who had got married nine months earlier. It was our second trip there and we went to the Super Pit hoping to see a blast which was meant to take place at a scheduled time. Unfortunately, it didn't happen but as you can see, the pit is both spectacular and ugly. And the desert sure is cold in the winter!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lesson 4 from Sarah's School of Dating

Its been a while....

But it's back!!!

My half serious/half light-hearted attempt to be the next guru of the dating world is up to its fourth installment. If you missed the first three lessons - where were you?

Here's your chance to catch up
Lesson 1 - How to reject the offer of a relationship nicely and truthfully
Lesson 2 - What to do when your friend likes the same person as you but that person wants you.
Lesson 3 - Should girls ask guys out?

Now onto Lesson 4....

I had a few ideas about what Lesson 4 was going to be about but then I looked back at my posts last week and realised that they were dominated by the 'M' word.....marriage!

Marriage, weddings, couples, love, romance, 'I do', happily ever after. For some, looking at the photos of weddings I've been to this year and reading about my housemate's wedding may have brought joy and delight. It may have made others think, 'well I'm glad those people are so happy and have found their true love.....but what about me?'

I love weddings! I love seeing people happy, the pretty dresses, the flowers, the cake and the dancing at the reception. I used to have such a good time at weddings but after a while my happiness started to sink soon after the wedding was over. Then it became a painful reminder that I was still alone.

Now that I have Duncan, it's not a struggle anymore but that doesn't mean I don't understand what some single people are going through....and the lies single people are tempted to believe.

For this lesson, I want to bring you some encouragement if you're single. If you're married, engaged or dating someone then this post may help you too in what you say to your single friends....and what not to say.

Last Christmas, I received the book Moments for Singles by Leigh McLeroy as a present from a friend. This friend obviously assumed that I was going through the singles blues and that the book would be helpful. What she didn't know was this couldn't have been further from the truth. I HAD been going through a tough time being single but finally I felt content in my singleness and God had changed me, giving me peace that he was in control, he knew what was best for me and he was more than capable of providing a partner for me if it was his will. Then less than two weeks later, I started going out with Duncan.

So I had a book that probably didn't apply to my life at this point in time but as I flicked through it, one bit really stood out and I knew I could use it to encourage other singles.

This is my summary....


1. You must be perfect (or considerably better than you are now) to be married.

What a load of codswallop....but this was one of the very lies I believed when I was single. I thought that when I reached a certain stage of maturity in my Christian walk, then God would bring my Prince Charming across my path. I'd look at other couples and wonder. What was it that they had that I didn't? I came to the logical conclusion that they must be better than me and if only I could become like them, then I'd get what I wanted and life would be better.

Newsflash! Married people are NOT better than single people. I know some lovely single people and some pretty rotten married people (even Christians) so that throws that theory out the window. And it's not a maturity thing either. There are some pretty immature married Christian couples out there too. Just because I'm with Duncan now does not make me a better person than I was six months ago. Although I hope Duncan and I can spur each other on to love and good deeds, you don't need a romantic partner to do that. Duncan is not my reward for being a good person, he is a gift from God because God is kind - not because I deserve it.

2. Marriage is a merit badge for spiritual maturity.

I fell for this one big time! The trouble is a lot of well-meaning people will say, 'when you finally give it over to God, he will bring you a mate.' Then you get couples starting to tell you how they got to the point of despair and said 'God I give up' and he brought them a spouse. Couples, please don't make finding a mate sound like some special spiritual formula that must be followed and it likens God to some kind of genie. Nobody finally 'gives it all' to God. We are all in the process of being transformed - singles and couples.

3. Your standards are too high.

Another lie I believed. I don't think there's anything wrong with having high standards. The Bible tells us what qualities to look for in a spouse and these are to do with CHARACTER. It becomes a problem if people want a PERFECT spouse or place too much emphasis on the physical appearance they want their spouse to have (ie. tall with short blonde spikey hair, a six pack and a tattoo of a dragon on their left shoulder). I had people who suggested to me I was single because I wouldn't consider a non Christian for a spouse. If you're a Christian and waiting for a godly Christian spouse, then can I encourage you to keep trusting God with this? I'm not saying non Christians are bad but the Bible is clear that Christians are to marry Christians and non Christians are to marry non Christians.

4. There is no-one left worth having.

You're left aren't you? You're worth having. I remember cringing when friends who were in relationships used to say 'I got the last good man.' I almost cried when I heard that and reinforced the lie I was believing that there was no-one left for me. Couples, please do not say such things, even if you are joking. It sounds very insensitive to single people.

5. You're being punished.

I assumed I was single because all the bad stuff I'd done in the past had come back to bite me on the bum. Not true. It's not about karma and it makes wrong assumptions about God. It assumes he is not a God of grace and that married people are married because they've earned it. In Christ, God has withheld what we really deserve and that is punishment by death for our sin at great cost to himself. He has graciously forgiven us.

This was based on Moment Ten: The Ring Game from Moments For Singles by Leigh Mc Leroy. (C) 2004. Navpress.

Be encouraged by Charles Spurgeon - "The longer the blessing is in coming, the richer it will be when it arrives. The blessing which costs us the most prayer will be worth the most."

Pray for Madeleine McCann

You probably have heard about this in the media and on blogs. Story can be read here.

Pray for Madeleine's safe return and for justice to be done. Pray that her family might know God's love and peace at this time.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Photo Friday - 'Amber'

The girl on the right is my friend, Amber, who I've known since high school. The girl on the left is my friend and Amber's housemate, Karen, who I've known since Year 7. This photo was taken on the 28th January this year when I caught up with them for lunch, having not seen either of them for a couple of years.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Last Night

Tonight is Emma's last night as my housemate as she and Peter get married tomorrow at 2pm at South Perth Church of Christ. She is the second of my schoolfriends to get hitched and it's both a happy and sad occasion. Happy of course because she's getting married and starting a wonderful new life with her man (who is a top bloke). Sad because she's been such a great friend to live with and I hope God will provide a new housemate soon.

Today was a whirlwind of last minute wedding preparations and the bridal party got massages and manicures (well the blokes only got massages hehe) and I think we're all set to go. I've chipped one of my new nails already and had to patch it up with liquid paper because I didn't have any white nail polish. That just shows how much I'm NOT in nails and all that jazz.
Sadly Duncan can't come down for the wedding because it's the middle of seeding time at the moment.
Well I better go to bed. I'm SO tired.

Below is a photo of Emma and I posing with my mini TV in April 2004 (three months after we moved in). I've bought a bigger TV since then because people complained they couldn't see it ;)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wedding 2

A week later, on the 27th January, I went to another wedding! This was the marriage of Leanne and Jason (Leanne used to go to my church) and it was held at Bull Creek Westminister Presbyterian Church. Duncan couldn't come down for this wedding so I went with friends. I only went to the ceremony and before the wedding, I kept thinking 'Poor Leanne'. It was over 40 degrees!! Luckily the church is air-conditioned.

I've created another Photobucket album of pictures from this wedding. To view it, click here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wedding 1

It's wedding fever in my house this week. As the days trickle away until Emma and Peter's big day on Saturday, I thought I'd show you some photos from the first wedding I went to this year.

Sarah and Craig, good friends of Duncan's and mine from church, got married on the 20th January at St Matthew's Anglican Church in Shenton Park. The reception was held at the Royal Perth Golf Club in South Perth. It was lovely wedding and, as you can see in the photo, Sarah looked very beautiful. The only lowpoint was that I got gastro at the reception and spent the last half of it lying down and doped up on drugs for the nausea. Thank goodness I had Duncan and a friend from church who is a doctor to look after me.

For more photos, visit my Photobucket album here.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Photo Friday - 'Smoke'

I think I've interpreted this Photo Friday challenge a bit differently than many other entries I've seen.

This is my friend, Christina and I performing a scene from A Streetcar Named Desire for a Year 12 Drama Studies assignment in March 2000. Obviously the cigarette is fake (a rolled up piece of paper) - so don't worry. I've only smoked once and never again!! I can't believe how short my hair was back then!!

To any kids reading this - smoking is bad mmmkay!

To any smokers - Quit!! You can do it!!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Changes and Challenges

Last December I posted about how much I was looking forward to 2007 and how it would surely bring new and exciting things (read it here). 2007 has certainly delivered on its promise - it has brought a flood of new things, both expected and unexpected.

Expected changes
  • I've been to two weddings so far with another three more to come this year in May, July and November.
  • My role at work has changed. I now work part-time (four days a week) and spend Wednesdays at home, working on my first novel.
  • My housemate is getting married in nine days so I'll be living with someone new and quite possibly in a different place if I don't find someone to move in.
  • I started going out with Duncan. Yes, I'm putting this in expected things because it seemed in late 2006 that things were heading this way (and if he hadn't said anything, he would have got his butt kicked hehe ;))

Unexpected changes

  • I adopted a cat - my beautiful black kitty, Ebony.

I want to blog a bit more about the unexpected things as that is mainly the whole point of this post. On New Year's Eve, I had big plans and dreams for 2007. Things have not quite turned out the way I thought they would.

Don't get me wrong - all of these new things have been fantastic. Duncan and I are going well, the book's going well, Ebony's going well and I'm much happier at work. But the challenges have mainly involved adjusting to these changes. By the middle of the year, my life will look quite different to how it did six months ago and despite the excitement this involves, changes are not always that easy to take. I've found myself eagerly looking forward to change only to be almost paralysed by fear and uncertainty when that change came about. The last few months have involved coming to terms with that and with God's grace I feel I am able to now enjoy what I was looking forward to so much.

2007 has been challenging especially where personal relationships are concerned. It seems that God has brought no end to the stream of 'difficult' people that are either already in my life or who have recently entered it. This test has stretched me to the MAXIMUM as I feel like I am constantly battling my sinful nature which whispers to me that the only way to deal with it is to disembowel the offender. It is especially difficult when those people are Christians. And I'm tempted to listen to my sinful nature but Christ has taught us a better way. Right now, it feels my 'love meter' is on empty and while I still love my family and friends very much, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to love and be godly towards those who hurt, betray, belittle and ridicule me. The result is that I've often ended up stressed, depressed, guilty and angry.

Through this God has taught me many painful and hard lessons about myself and others. I find it very difficult to forgive. I dislike confrontation as a rule but I'm finding I need to be increasingly confrontational when people are being ungodly and hurting myself or those I love. I still have a long way to go but God keeps using these experiences to chip away at me and make me more like Jesus.

While these past few months have been challenging as well as rewarding, you know what? I wouldn't change any of it. A while ago, I complained to God that if I'd had these past few months over, I'd change this and that. Now he's helped me to see that without these people to deal with, I would have missed out on all he has taught me and the work he is still doing in me.

If I can encourage any of you, look back at anything difficult you have faced and rejoice that God not only brought you through it but that he has a purpose behind it. Sometimes you won't be able to see it but trust in the one who loves you, who sees and knows all and the whole universe is under his control.

Throughout the coming months, I'm going to post more on topics such as love and forgiveness as I wrestle with what it looks like to follow Christ.

Things are going much better now. We're not even half way through 2007 and I'm looking forward to what's in store.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Photo Friday - 'Relaxation'

I'm a bit late responding to the Photo Friday challenge this week. Forgive me - my scanner at home doesn't work so I have to use the one at the library.

This is me relaxing by a pool at a Kalgoorlie caravan park on the 2nd October 2004. Emma and I made our first trip to Kal for our good friend Rhianon's wedding as she was living there at the time. I was in my final semester of my Grad Dip in Information and Library Studies so this was one of my few chances to relax before the next onslaught of assignments and exams.