Friday, May 29, 2009

In Da Club by 50 Cent

ONE MORE SLEEP and then it will be the 26th anniversary of the day I was born. I have a cold at the moment and feel like crap so I'm not sure how much partying will happen. I'll see....

Here are some lyrics which I thought were appropriate.

It's your birthday.
We gon' party like it's yo birthday.
We gon' sip Bacardi like it's yo birthday.

So tomorrow it will be........happy birthday to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Not Ready To Make Nice by The Dixie Chicks

I'm NOT a fan of country music but I really like and can relate to this song. It became one of my 'theme songs' during that difficult time I wrote about in Lesson 8 from Sarah's School of Dating. For me, it highlights just how difficult forgiveness is.

Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything,
But I'm still waiting.

I'm through, with doubt.
There's nothing left for me to figure out.
I've paid a price,
And I'll keep paying.

I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down,
I'm still mad as hell and I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell,
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should.

I know you said,
Why can't you just get over it.
It turned my whole world around
And I kind of like it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Birthday Wish List

It's me berfday....on Saturday :)

Despite the fact that I'll be 26 and closer to 50 than 0, I'm looking forward to it.

I jokingly put on Facebook that I expect everyone to get me a present. I was KIDDING :) But if you must......I won't complain ;)

So here's my wish list:
  • Jewellery's always a winner. I like colourful, unusual stuff rather than gold bling.
  • Massage vouchers.
  • Gift vouchers to anywhere are good. I don't see them as impersonal. We don't need any kitchen or house stuff so books, clothes, department stores, music....anything like that is good.
  • I recently got hooked on Momento photobooks. Vouchers to there are good too.
  • A ticket to an Eagles' game (a winning one preferably).

I find it amusing when someone I know well gives me a gift that's really not me (I appreciate the thought though) and say to me, "I got this cos it's so you." Ummmmm. I reserve the right to sell it on ebay haha.

I think I appreciate people remembering my birthday rather than the gifts themselves, although they are nice too. If Duncan gets me a present it shows to me that he has remembered it's his darling wife's birthday and that he's not turning into one of those husbands who slack off in doing nice things for their wives.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO GET ME ANYTHING! A kind smile or a hug will do just fine. Because of the distance that smile and hug may have to be virtual ones. Obviously this list is for people who know me well and not for randoms in the blogosphere who wouldn't know me if they fell over me.

This post is setting off the raging battle in my mind between two versions of me. One who thinks it's my birthday and presents would be cool....and the other who reminds me that God has already given me everything I need and more and I lack nothing.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Easter in Albany

Here is some pictorial evidence of what we got up to in Albany over the Easter weekend.
Mum and Dad at their anniversary dinner.
Tim and I.
Me and my sexy man.

My friend Rachel and I. She's moving to New Zealand in August. I'm gonna miss her so much.
Maya playing with Rachel's dog, Stevie.
Stevie is part Jack Russell, part Daschund, part Chihuahua. Maya loved her.
At the dog beach.
The view from Jenny's Lake B&B where we spent our anniversary.
The resident peacock greeted us in the morning and left a few calling cards.
My parents' old house.





Their new house.






On the way home I just had to get a pic of my ram with the father of all rams :)




Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Someone Stole Your Pyjamas?

Last week, I was doing some ironing. I love ironing, there's something strangely relaxing about it, it must be the steam. Anyway, I ironed a pair of my pyjamas and left them in a neat pile with some other clothes. I was only about halfway through the basket when it was time for Duncan and I to go to fitness class. When we got home, I got changed and decided to finish the ironing before I went to bed.

When I went to put the ironing away, I noticed the pyjamas were gone. Everything else was still there but them. I hunted everywhere; in my wardrobe and drawers, in the loungeroom, in the laundry. I even checked the dirty clothes basket in case I'd absent-mindedly chucked them in there again. Duncan helped me look and he couldn't find them either. Eventually I could only come to one conclusion.....

I said to Duncan, "I think someone has been in our house and stolen my pyjamas."
He just laughed at me.
I wasn't panicking or anything and I knew this suggestion was as ludicrous as it sounded to Duncan but what else was I supposed to think? Why would anyone want to take my pyjamas? They aren't even good ones, they're just an old t-shirt with a goanna on it that I got in Coral Bay in 1996 and a pair of old pyjama shorts that are stretched and faded.

I went back into the bedroom and finally I spotted something lying on the floor and just poking out from under the bed. It was a pair of pyjamas! BUT they weren't the ones I was looking for. They were the pyjamas I was wearing that week. But hang on.....I was wearing them, wasn't I? I'd got changed into them when I got home, didn't I? Obviously not because there they were on the floor. SO what was I wearing? I looked down and sure enough I was wearing the clean ones that I'd just ironed and was meant to put away.

Duncan laughed at me again and just said, "Oh, honey!"

I'm going to put that incident down to tiredness after fitness class.

Or maybe I am just losing the precious few marbles I have left!

Monday, May 18, 2009

From Head To Hand: Breaking The Rules

One of the hardest things I've found with fiction writing is knowing what the so-called 'rules' are and then dealing with the tension between wanting to obey them yet experiment at the same time.

During my creative writing course at uni, I did two assignments in which I sought to break the rules. Instead of the usual plot outline of beginning, middle and end, I divided the narrative into segments each with its own subtitle to create a newspaperish effect. Although each of the segments were in chronological order and all were in third person, the narrative jumped around to different venues to enhance its fast pace. Some of the segments were indeed bits of fictional newspaper articles.

For another assignment, I decided to play around with the time sequence of the plot. The story started off when the main character was 19, then flashed back to when she was five, then jumped forward to when she was 17 and went back and forth between the latter two. Then it went further on into what happened when she was 17 then jumped forward to when she was 19 and skipped back and forth between two separate incidents when she was that age. Finally it ended back at the time when it started. I had no idea if what I was doing had a name but when I got my assignment back, my tutor had written, This is called a discontinuous narrative and it's very nicely done. So there you go. I didn't even know what a discontinuous narrative was but I had created one without knowing what I was doing.

Beware though. If you're playing around with the time sequence in your story, make sure it is understandable. My tutor said it worked because even though my story was jumping all over the place, he could still follow what was going on. It is probably best to get a few people to read your story and let you know if it makes sense. If they all can follow it, then great. If they're all confused, then you probably need to simplify it. I like what another tutor of mine once said. "If only one person doesn't get it, then they're probably just dumb. If the whole class doesn't get it, then either you haven't done it well enough or they're all drunk."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lesson 9 from Sarah's School of Dating

*Warning: movie plot spoiler alert*

Have you seen the movie My Best Friend's Wedding? In my opinion, it is one of the best movies that deals with the intricate problems with opposite sex friendships. For those of you who haven't seen the movie, the plot centres around Julianne, a single 28-year-old food critic, who discovers she is in love with her best friend, Michael, just days before he is to marry someone else. I also believe it has one of the best endings I have ever seen. Despite her attempts to sabotage the wedding plans and win Michael for herself, she fails....badly. And in the end, she has to accept that she is no longer the number 1 woman in Michael's life. While their friendship remains, his number 1 woman is now his new wife, Kimmy.

I think this movie hits the centre of the potential problems that come with opposite sex friendships. While they can be enriching and encouraging, they can also be fraught with danger. In this post, I'm going to be concentrating on opposite sex friendships where one or both friends are married. No doubt opposite sex friendships between two singles come with their own set of dilemmas but that's not what I'm going to focus on. You see, when a man and woman are both single, they are free to spend time together if they choose (obviously there is still room for misunderstanding in the relationship) but when one or both friends are married, I believe more boundaries need to be put in place.

Opposite sex friendships between married people MUST look different to the friendships we enjoy with our same sex friends. In answer to the age-old question, Can men and women be JUST friends? I say 'yes'. Absolutely. I have been greatly enriched by the friendships I have enjoyed with men. I have learnt a lot about life and about God through their perspective on the Bible and just stuff in general. But my friendships with them are different to those I have with my female friends. I don't generally meet up with them 1-1 unless we have a concrete reason for doing so and it is always in public. I don't speak to them about the intimate topics that I speak to Duncan about. Why?

Well, because I believe that between men and women there is always going to be a certain level of attraction because God has designed us that way. That doesn't mean that I have been attracted to every man I have ever known or even considered starting a relationship with all of them. It just means that often in opposite sex friendships that question arises, Could we be more than friends someday? And just because you may never have felt that way about your opposite sex friend, it doesn't mean they haven't thought that way about you.

When I first became a Christian, I met a few guys who had very strict guidelines on how they would interact with women. At first, their seemingly heavy-handed approach scared the crap out of me and I thought, Far out I'm not interested in you that way. But as the years have gone by, I have grown to respect Christian men who communicate their boundaries in opposite sex friendships in honest, caring ways. While some have come across as abrupt, others have spoken humbly and gently as they communicated their beliefs. And I respect them for it. I do not want to do anything in my friendships with them that makes them, their wife and now my husband feel uncomfortable.

Here's what I'm NOT saying. I don't mean that if you find yourself alone with a member of the opposite sex you run screaming in the other direction or rudely excuse yourself as if they orchestrated the situation. Guys, I don't mean that if you see a woman who is upset, you ignore her. It doesn't mean that is someone of the opposite sex needs a lift somewhere that you refuse and leave them stranded.

What I AM saying is that we need to have a higher respect for marriage. Now, many Christians will say that they respect the intimacy of marriage, that it is an exclusive relationship between two people. But their actions in how they interact with the opposite sex suggest the opposite. The trouble these days is that if you are married and suggest to another person that the time they spend alone with your spouse is inappropriate, then you will probably be labelled the 'jealous type'. I remember a sermon at my old church which dealt with God being rightly jealous for our hearts. After all, he created us and he alone is our God; he will not share us with idols. So in one way, it is ok to be the jealous type. Not jealous of another man/woman who is muscling in on your marriage but jealous of guarding the relationship. One of my friends is fiercely jealous for her marriage and since we think along the same lines in this issue, we have had many good conversations. She told me once that she was annoyed at another girl who had been playfully touching her husband's butt and my friend thought this was inappropriate. Now probably a lot of people would criticise my friend calling her paranoid and the 'jealous type'. Apparently in this day and age it is not good to speak up when another person's actions are making us feel threatened in our relationship, we just have to put up with it in the name of 'fun'.

I read an article that reckoned affairs often start out as innocent friendships. Slowly a man or woman begins spending time 1-1 with someone who is not their spouse. Their level of conversation deepens from social chit chat to intimate topics such as our hopes, fears and dreams. Gradually one or both began to feel disatisfied with their spouse/s. If only they could be as attentive as this person. Often the emotional affair becomes physical. A lot of us think of affairs as purely physical. What we don't realise is that there are such things as 'emotional affairs'. Marriage is meant to be the relationship where we have the deepest relationship possible with any human being. An emotional affair is when we start sharing things with a person of the opposite sex that we should be sharing with our spouse only. It may start off as phone calls or one may suggest that they meet for coffee just to 'catch up'. Suddenly their meetings aren't based around a particular activity such as work or ministry; they are meeting because they are thriving on their illicit emotional intimacy.

I can only speak from a woman's perspective here and I think a lot of men don't realise the effect their actions and words can have on women. For a single woman, life can be lonely. So when a man gives her a compliment or performs an act of kindness for her, it really can make her day. Suddenly, he becomes more attractive in her eyes. Of course, she knows he's married and would never leave his wife for her, nor does she want him to but just that little bit of attention can fuel her need to share her emotional problems. The man listens politely thinking he's just being a good friend but to the woman he is much much more. She wishes she could find someone like him to share her life with and feels special and sexy that he bothers to pay her any attention. Now, I'm not saying that all women think exactly this way but I'm trying to point out that men need to be careful. As a friend once said, a man paying special attention to a woman is like a woman flashing her breasts to a man. Do you get the picture? Probably not the message we intended to send but it was the one that was received.

Maybe that last paragraph made men feel a bit worried. I'm not saying ignore all women or cut off all your female friends. What I'm saying is that we need to see them in different contexts to what we see our same sex friends. Men, listen to your wives in this area. Most women are not the psycho 'jealous types' so if they are worried about your relationship with another woman, they probably have a good reason. Likewise, women listen to your husbands if they have concerns about your interaction with another man. We are meant to be our spouse's emotional confidante, no-one else's. Many men think they are helping a woman by being her emotional crutch whereas it would be more loving to gently suggest she share these problems with a female friend.

Like we saw in My Best Friend's Wedding, Julianne felt a little bit more than friendship for her best friend Michael. I was talking to a someone once who has a close male friend. She was talking about how her male friend had recently got a girlfriend and she was worried about this would affect their friendship and said, "She better not expect me to give up my close relationship with him." I disagreed emphatically with my friend. Their relationship MUST change when he got a girlfriend. What woman would want to share her man with another woman? This situation shows the tendency women have to be possessive over male friends they insist they have no romantic interest in. Too bad. I might have no sympathy because I have no close male friends but I know I would not want to share Duncan with any other woman nor would I want another woman to be sharing intimate things with him that are meant to be kept from me. A friend of mine has the right idea. When a good male friend of hers got married, she sought to befriend his wife and include her in everything they did. There were no secrets and she sought to make sure there was no doubt AT ALL in the wife's mind about her intentions. In My Best Friend's Wedding, we can see that Julianne and Michael's friendship was fraught with danger from the start. He was still sharing intimate details from him and Kimmy's relationship with Julianne. As a woman, I think this is the ultimate betrayal and that's what a man's mates are for.

One of the common objections to a suspicious husband/wife is for the other spouse to say, "You don't trust me enough." I think that's misguided. We should be asking ourselves, Are we showing with our actions that we are trustworthy? In some ways, I don't trust my sinful nature or other women. There is nothing Satan would love more than for our marriages to fail because of adultery. Let's treat the opposite sex with integrity, purity and have firm boundaries.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quote of the Day

It's always greener on the other side, and then you get there, and it's brown and prickly.
- Rocky in Chicken Run.

Monday, May 11, 2009

5 Best Movie Couples

Welcome to my new series, 5 Things, in which I list my favourite...or least favourite....things on any topic I choose. Then I also want you to list your five top things about that subject.

First up....movies. Here are five couples which I think look so suited to each other on-screen, I think they should get together in real life.

1. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore (Robbie and Julia) in The Wedding Singer.












2. James MacArthur and Janet Munro (Fritz and Roberta) in Swiss Family Robinson.








3. Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles (Patrick and Kat) in 10 Things I Hate About You.












4. Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey (Johnny and Baby) in Dirty Dancing.












5. Benjamin Bratt and Sandra Bullock (Eric and Gracie) in Miss Congeniality.










Now it's over to you. Who are your Top 5 Movie Couples?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Christians According To Home and Away

As some of you will know, writing fiction is a real passion of mine. What am even more passionate about is spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ....through fiction.

I'm sure many of you can testify to how badly Christians are portrayed in TV shows, books and movies. Mostly they are either shy, conservative nerdy types or religious wackos who don't have a clue about real life. Then there are the Christian characters who start off weird and distinctive to spice up the plot a bit but end up becoming exactly like all of the other characters in that particular story, compromising their lifestyle so that eventually they no longer seem Christian.

As a Christian, this frustrates me. I'm not referring to storylines where a Christian character goes to a party and has a beer....that's not what I mean by compromising their faith. I get frustrated because although a Christian character might initially stir things up a bit, they eventually become 'boring' for an audience because they aren't constantly bed-hopping or getting smashed at parties or getting into fights. So the writers slowly change them to become like everyone else. Yes, I know the writers are probably non-Christians so that's why their view of Christians is based on stereotypes or a few religious nuts they have come across. But still it frustrates me. Even when a Christian character is introduced in a TV show, there is usually little mention of Jesus or even what faith is all about......to the writers it's all about 'morals'.

Home and Away is one of my favourite shows (don't laugh, everyone needs their soapie fix) and a couple of years ago Christian siblings, Geoff and Annie Campbell were introduced to the show. They were orphaned teenagers who lived with their grandfather on a farm. To say the least, their Pop fitted the Christian lunatic stereotype to perfection. He refused to let Geoff and Annie attend school, instead they were forced to work ridiculously long hours on the farm. When the Education Department intervened and they finally went to school, their Pop still insisted they work the same amount. He went even crazier and pulled a gun on Geoff. Eventually, Geoff and Annie were taken away from him but they made peace with him before he died.

Because of their upbringing, Geoff and Annie were both incredibly naive about life and about the opposite sex. When Annie got her period for the first time, she panicked and thought she was dying. Geoff (who is a good looking bloke) wondered why all the girls at his school kept staring at him and giggling. When he was told that one of them had a crush on him, he was shocked and wouldn't believe it at first. I think this is the way many Christians are perceived....naive and sheltered and very gullible. In some ways this is true; I think many Christian parents try to keep their kids in a Christian 'bubble' - sending them to closed Christian schools, making sure all their friends are from church and youth group so the don't mix with those bad kids from public schools and get into drugs etc. So although the Campbells are extreme cases, I think Home and Away touched on something here.

Some of the characters' theological beliefs are quite dodgy. When Geoff killed some sheep on the farm, Annie told him it was an unforgivable sin because he had killed God's innocent creatures. Another Christian character, Melody, who was Geoff's girlfriend for a while, had a crazy psycho mother who tried to perform an exorcism on her. I have noticed that most Christian characters on TV seem to be Catholic or Anglican or quite 'traditional'...or from some kind of extreme cult.

From a Christian viewpoint, there are some good things about having the Campbells on Home and Away. One Easter, Geoff and Annie were passionate about inviting their school friends to church. But slowly they are changing from extremely religious to conforming to the soap world and other characters around them. When Geoff was interested in a girl at school, Annie told him off saying that she wasn't Christian and he should try to find someone who shares his faith. Now Annie is obviously a hypocrite because she is with Jai who isn't Christian. Geoff eventually got a non-Christian girlfriend in Nicole and he slept with her. I commend the writers in the way they showed that Geoff regretted what happened and was determined not to let it happen again but eventually he and Nicole were shown to be too different and they broke up. Now he is with a new girlfriend and has already slept with her. His desire to be a minister when he grew up has faded. These storylines echo what many seem to think about Christian characters, that they might be interesting for a while but eventually they become boring because they don't do anything naughty so they eventually lose their saltiness and conform to the patterns of the world.

What I am passionate about is writing about Christian people, REAL Christian people who aren't sterotypically self-righteous, moral pigs nor easily persuaded to quit following Jesus nor complete crazies. People who stuff up, who sin but are determined to keep going in the race, who have a proper understanding of what the Bible teaches and doesn't teach. We need more Christian writers out there who want to communicate the gospel through fiction. If we don't, who will?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Panic

I'm a bit worried.

On Saturday night, I had what I can only guess was an anxiety attack. And it hasn't been the first time. Before Saturday, the last one I had was in February after my surgery was cancelled. I had several last year before the wedding and another couple late last year when our computer erased my book...twice (I got it back eventually).

Trying to describe it is hard because unless you've had an identical experience, it seems like I can never quite put it into words. Basically it's a feeling of terror and of powerlessness. I'm panicking over a situation I feel like is out of control, I can't breathe properly, I'm screaming or yelling and I feel like I can't relax.

I guess it's logical to assume that such a reaction is from something really bad happening. But it isn't often the case. Yes, some happened due to stressful situations (the wedding and losing my book) but the others have been caused by problems that could be easily fixed.....I just assume they can't be when I'm panicking.

Saturday, for example, was an average day. I spent the morning creating our wedding photobook (we received a Momento gift voucher as a present), then watched the bitterly disappointing Western Derby and afterwards went for a walk with the animals to walk off some of my annoyance. When Duncan got home from golf, we had dinner then watched a DVD and then I continued to work on the photobook. But when I went to order it online, it wouldn't accept my gift voucher and it ended up charging the full amount to my debit card. Then I had an attack. Everything is a bit of a blur about what I actually said but basically I was freaking out that they wouldn't understand when I rang them and wouldn't give me my $100 back because I realised I had typed in a wrong digit and that's why the website wouldn't accept the voucher.

After it's over, I can look back and think that I was a complete fool with no sense of reason whatsoever. But that's the thing; when I have one of these attacks, I lose all sense of reason. I can only see that it could easily be fixed when I'm feeling better. And it doesn't always happen over either an everyday situation or a really stressful situation. It is really random, may not happen for months at a time during which I feel completely fine and I can only be thankful that it has never happened in public.

Because I was so anxious and couldn't calm down and go to sleep, I had to take a sleeping pill...which meant I was a zombie the next day and felt quite unwell.

Duncan gets really worried because he doesn't know what to do but he thinks it is a reaction I'm having to the Pill. At first, I doubted this when he told me but he pointed out that all of the attacks bar one (which happened when we were experiencing opposition when we were first going out) have happened since I started taking the Pill. I have never experienced any physical side effects and have never heard of the Pill causing anxiety attacks. A friend told me the Pill made her really moody though so it's making me think.

I'm planning to see my doctor in Perth soon hopefully to sort this out once and for all.

Has anyone ever heard of the Pill doing this?!?

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Ultimate Weekend Getaway

While some friends were visiting us last year, one of them mentioned that we should start up a bed and breakfast at our place. We just laughed; there was no way that was ever going to become a reality. While we love having friends up to visit, the thought of strangers constantly staying in our little cottage would drive me mental. Not to mention that Brad and Hayley own the house and it would just be wrong for us to make a profit out of a place that they are letting us live in rent-free.

However, just for fun, I have made an ad that we could use if we really were serious about running a B&B. If you would like to visit us for a weekend but haven't got around to it yet, then this may be the temptation you need ;)



Quaint accommodation.











Charming hosts.











Friendly animals.









Beautiful scenery.









Serenity.











Wildlife.








Meet Farmer Brad.









Sheep.













Including randy rams.









Lambs in winter.















Have a ride in the machinery during seeding....












....or harvest.







Go on one of Duncan's 'farm tours' and hear all about the different crops.





Wildflowers in August/September.







Would you like to come up and visit us? You'd be very welcome, just give us a call and we'll arrange a time. Don't forget your flannel shirt and your Rossis and we'll bootscoot the night away ;)