Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman

This has to be one of my favourite 'church songs' except we don't sing it at my church up here which is a great shame.  Based on yesterday's Bible verse from Job, it highlights the reality of following Christ in this world, and shows me that I both fail to praise God in the good times and the bad.  We had this song at our wedding because it emphasised our vows to each other as well as to God....to follow and praise him and stick with each other whatever may come our way.

Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in
Lord, still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bible Verse of the Day

.....The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.
Job 1:21

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's Baaaack!

Yep, Round 1 of the AFL season started last night.

Someone said to me a week or so ago, they reckoned I must be excited and counting down the days.  I was like, "Huh?!?  To what?"  Yes, I've been a little distracted, especially since I'd resigned myself to a long (and BORING) summer of cricket.

Duncan is not so overjoyed that his wife will be preoccupied for three hours every weekend.  Not that he can talk.....I had to amuse myself while he was busy watching cricket!

I hope to see a lot more moments like these in 2010.


Images are from http://thelittlefish.blogspot.com/2006_09_01_archive.html and http://www.theage.com.au/news/afl/one-with-the-lot/2006/09/30/1159337389973.html and http://www.smh.com.au/news/afl/eagles-down-fighting-swans/2006/09/30/1159337382150.html

Thursday, March 25, 2010

KFC For Me

It's no secret that I miss my KFC since moving up here.  So much so that one night I decided to make my own.

Well, it almost looked the same.  Alas, it didn't taste the same.  I wish I had the Colonel's secret recipe.

I wonder if he'll sell it to me.....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Marriage 101: Guys Only and Girls Only

In the last post in this series, I wrote about the importance of having a regular date night.

In this post, I'm going to tell you all to leave hubby or wifey or partner or random other and go and let your hair down with your same sex friends.

Many single people accuse marrieds of being like an island....separate and liking it that way.  However, I'm here to tell you that no matter how much it may appear that way, married people need their friends.  Not just other couples, but friends of the same gender, the friends you had before you were married.

You see, no matter how much I enjoy being with Duncan, there is one thing I am very aware of......he is not a woman!  Well, duh!  That means that he doesn't 'get me' the way other women do.  We have had COUNTLESS conversations where I'm trying to explain the female point-of-view to him, and he just can't understand (not that I 'get' men that easily myself).

Not only are there differences in opinions, but there differences in interests.  Because it's a well-known fact that most men don't enjoy clothes shopping or similar activities, married couples tend to do more 'blokey' or at least neutral things together, like camping or fishing.  These are fine, I enjoy these things, but I also need 'girl time'.  And blokes need to be blokes just as much which they can't always do in the company of their wife.

Since being married and having moved away, I've found it harder to maintain close relationships with my female friends.  Our catch-ups tend to be fleeting and, due to the limited time we have when in Perth, it's often easier to see people in a group.  Marriages need a lot of time, love and energy poured into them in order for them to flourish, which means you need to be super-organised to catch up with others as well.

Last year, Duncan had his brother and two of their mates up for a blokes' weekend at our place.  I took this as my cue to leave and spent the weekend in Perth with a close friend, whose husband was up at ours.  It was a GREAT weekend.  Sometimes I think it's good for couples to spend time apart and rekindle other relationships.  In April, Duncan and the same group of blokes (plus a few others) are having a similar weekend in Guilderton, and, this time, I'm staying home and have invited the same friend to come and visit.

When I was living with Emma, she got invited to a girls' weekend by one of her friends from church.  They had a big girly sleepover and some pampering, and the girl who was hosting the weekend had one rule for everyone.  Contacting significant others or answering calls/texts from them was banned!  The reason for this was that she didn't want the single girls to feel excluded.  The whole idea of the weekend was to get away from couples and concentrate on just being girls together and having fun.  Fair enough, I say.  I've been to women's events before when I was single, and some of the women did nothing but talk about their husbands and kids the WHOLE TIME!

Couples need date nights, but they also need guys/girls only nights.

So...have you organised your next blokey or girly adventure yet?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Flat 24

Here are a couple of photos from the bogan student housing flat I lived in during my first year of uni in 2001.  Unfortunately I never got any photos when it was at its worst (too upset to even THINK of getting my camera probably) but here are a couple.  As you can see, the flat itself was actually quite decent (it was only built in 1998), but it was the people who lived in it who made it into a squalor.

I just had to take this photo.  One of the guys actually doing dishes...a rare sight!  Note the Holly Valance poster above the sink and the stolen shopping trolley advert posters next to it.

The guys' bathroom.  It ended being so disgusting, they kept using the girls' which annoyed the heck out of me.  The photo doesn't actually do it justice....the floor and wall tiles are covered in mould and grime, and, yes, that is a drinking funnel on the floor.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Funny

I received the following text message from a friend a couple of weeks ago about a funny conversation she had with her boyfriend.  I had a good chuckle.  (Note: Names have been initialised to protect identities). :)

How's this for a mere male?  I told T I had just bought a 4 Ingredients cookbook so we could make some quick healthy meals together.  He replied, "Yeah sounds okay, but we'd probably get sick of the same four ingredients."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Avatar Review

As I mentioned in my last post, Duncan and I saw Avatar in 3D when we were last in Perth.  We bought our nerdy (and rip-off) 3D glasses and went to see a film that all we knew about was that it starred some funny-looking blue people.

In a nutshell, I loved the movie!  I get into movies that evoke some kind of emotion.  I cried in Avatar.  Any movie that can bring about that kind of response in me is a good movie, in my opinion.

I've read a blog posts that discuss the pantheism in the film, but, to be honest, that was not the first thing I noticed.  While watching it, I was strongly reminded of colonialism...the kind that has haunted our own country's history and many around the world where native people are invaded, stripped of their land and basically any dignity.  It made me furious when this happens in the film.  I found myself despising the humans and siding with the Na'vi....and I am a human!

As I think about the plight of invaded people groups around the world, I can't help but think the only good thing that came out of what our ancestors did was that the gospel message went out to many peoples and nations.  Unfortunately, many of the horrific and barbaric practices were done 'in the name of Christ' which makes me very ashamed, but I rejoice when I see people in countries with little more than the clothes on their backs praising and following Jesus wholeheartedly.  They put us materialistic Westerners to shame.

However, I was strongly aware during the movie, that I was being positioned to see the Na'vi as inherently 'good' and the humans (bar a handful) as inherently evil.  I believe there are positives from all cultures, but no culture can be described as inherently 'good' just to avoid being seen as racist.  All cultures have practices that are detestable in God's sight.

In regards to creation and the environment, I disagree with pantheism that God is in the creation.  I believe God created and the creation is there for our enjoyment, but I do not worship created things.  I worship the God who created them.

Some people I have talked to have played down the hype.  Others have detested the degree of violence in the film.  Overall it is a film well-worth seeing.  Allow yourself to swept away, but remain objective at the same time.  And, just think, you get to pay $3 for a nerdy pair of glasses.

Have you seen Avatar?  What are your thoughts?

Image is from http://www.madtomatoe.com/avatar-trailer/

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Avatar: Starring Ben Cousins?

Duncan and I went to see Avatar the last time we were in Perth, and I couldn't help but notice the uncanny resemblance between the lead actor, Sam Worthington, and Ben Cousins.

What do you think?


Friday, March 12, 2010

Don't Worry Your Life Away

It's one of those lessons I never seem to learn.  God wants to bear my burdens, wants me to discuss my worries and concerns with HIM, yet I continually take it all upon my own back and allow myself to be crushed.

Over the past week or so, I had a major opportunity to experience God's peace and control over all situations.  One of my main roles in my new job is to help organise events.  We have several 'field days' per year and the behind the scenes part involves lots of phone calls, emails and chasing people up.  When I first got the job, this was my main concern.  Event organisation is not my cup of tea at all!  It reminds me too much of organising our wedding, and the frustrating and often painful process that was.  Some people thrive on those things; I'm not one of them!  I've had too many instances in the past where people have let me down...and others wonder why I don't delegate enough!

Anyway, it was seeming like mission impossible to get everything ready for our first field day of the year, which was last Wednesday the 3rd.  A week before, the printer and the photocopier were playing up while I was trying to get the booklets done.  I had to stay behind until 6:30pm, all by myself, since the others were at a conference in Perth, with no technical support nearby.  I was at the end of my tether and just plain exhausted.  I had too much work to do in such little time, I feared the day would end up being a complete disaster.  This was just before Duncan and I went to Jurien for the long weekend, which I had really been looking forward to, but by Thursday night, I was in such a flap, I began to rethink whether I wanted to go.  I was afraid that I would spent the whole weekend worrying about and ruin our time there for both of us.  Not that sitting at home worrying would have achieved much either, but that's the sort of person I am.  If something's on my mind, I need to tackle it head on and resolve it and can't rest until it's done.  It was so annoying during the wedding planning, when shops and businesses weren't open when I needed them.  All I could do was worry and wait.  And that's why I got so irritated at people who kept saying, "Don't stress" or "Go have a massage" during the wedding preparations.  What I really needed was them to help me solve the problem, not suggest Bandaid solutions.

As you know, we went to Jurien and I still managed to have a good time amidst the worry.  Although when I tried to sleep, I kept envisioning the booklet binder going crunch, crunch, crunch, or myself in a sleeping bag having to stay the night at the office.  All I could do was ask for divine help and try to commit my worries to God's care.

On Tuesday, we miraculously managed to set up the venue in only half a day, despite being short-staffed, and all the booklets were compiled and bound.  I am absolutely certain that this was God at work since my boss said, in the past, it has taken them longer to set up the venue with more helpers!

The day went off pretty much without a hitch.  My job was mainly to serve the food and I think it went ok, despite the fact we had to serve the Agriculture and Food Minister a drink of water out of a wine glass, because we had no other regular glasses available (he probably looked like an alco haha!)  I even managed to relax and enjoy myself, knowing that God had somehow managed to help me and my workmates pull off the impossible.  It is a wonderful feeling when you commit your cares to Him.

God is there and wants to be involved intimately in my life's decisions and cares, an amazing privilege I do not take advantage of.  I'm not saying that God will allow every situation to run smoothly, but nothing can happen without his hand being on the situation.  Worrying does not achieve anything except poorly affecting my health, and I'd like to think I do not worry as much as I used to, but this event showed me my flaws.  I'm so grateful to have a God who offers us such wonderful promises as He does in yesterday's Bible verse.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bible Verse of the Day

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Calling All Theoblogians #8

I don't know if this question is really 'theological' or not...but here goes.

Are married Christian couples commanded to have children?

Years ago, I was talking to a Christian friend and was shocked during the conversation when she announced that she and her husband had decided not to ever have children.  I was single then, and I guess I just assumed that all married couples eventually had kids, providing they could, of course.  When I probed her further, there was no concrete reason given, other than the fact that they just didn't want them!  I was stunned, but it made me think.  Since that conversation, I have met several more Christian couples, who are childless by choice, and intend on keeping it that way.

About a year after that conversation with my friend, I heard a sermon at my former church which was titled, Thanksgiving for Children.  Basically, the pastor's view was and is, that children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalms 127 and 78) and, as Christians, we ought not to be swayed by our world's negative view of children as a nuisance and an inconvenience.  He was under the impression that the Bible commands all Christian, married, fertile couples to produce offspring so that there will be future generations of godly men and women (Malachi 2), and that, when you marry, you are signing yourselves up to the possibility of children.  I'd already heard some people say that the Old Testament generally sees barrenness as a terrible thing, and that big families are a sign of blessing from God. 

I wasn't sure what to make of that sermon.  Perhaps because I'm not exactly a 'kid person' and I resent the emphasis placed on having children by so many churches.  I hate the fact that because I'm a young woman, that everyone assumes I want to go straight on the Sunday School roster whereas it is not my passion at all.  After talking to a few childless people who have also been reluctant to join the Sunday School juggernaut, it seems the main reason is that we feel completely ill equipped and inadequate to deal with ten toddlers, and parents don't seem to understand.  I've really struggled with seeing kids as a blessing because I see so many badly brought up brats around the place (even from Christian homes) and I just want to puke when parents gush about their wonderful little Johnny despite the fact he's been a complete little turd for the time he's been in your care.

When I was a kid (and not Christian), I wanted four kids - a boy, then identical twin girls, then another boy (yes, I had it all perfectly planned).  But by the time I was about 17, for some reason, I was completely turned off kids and was planning to be sterilised.  Now I'd say, I'm somewhere in the middle, but I have struggled off and on with this issue.  Personally, I think I'd make a terrible mother, although I know it's all about God's grace, and some people have been less than encouraging when I've confessed my doubts.  I've gotten replies such as, "Well, don't have kids, then," as if it's purely my choice, and what's worse is when it comes from childless people....what would they know?

I know quite a few Christian couples who waited for six or more years after being married to have their first child.  I wonder, was it a choice? (I'm guessing so since most managed to have multiple children in reasonably quick succession).  Why did they wait?  Was it for career, travel or ministry?  Did they doubt whether they should have children at all?  I'm most encouraged by couples who have doubted their ability, and then went on to be fantastic parents.  It gives me hope.  I was talking to one married lady who doubted whether she wanted to have kids, but went on to have four of them and is a great mum, from what I can see.

The main crux of this post is that are children a choice or a command?  I don't know about anyone else, but I want to really love my kids someday, and not have them because I felt obligated to.  There are all sorts of wrong reasons to have children.  Does the Bible say anything else about this?  I feel very uncomfortable about judging those couples who have chosen not to have children.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Beautiful Jurien

This is where we spent the long weekend.  We stayed in Duncan's cousin's holiday unit in Jurien amidst STINKING HOT weather (45 degrees on Saturday when we arrived).  We had to go to the beach early in the morning before it got too hot and we spent the rest of the weekend sweating inside, despite the aircon.  Still it was nice to get away for a couple of days for my first ever visit to Jurien.

I miss the beach!  These photos make me wish I was back there.

Duncan's very creative photo of us.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Wedding 1 2010

On Saturday 30th January, we went to the wedding of Rohan and Kym.  I've known Rohan for years from my old church and Duncan knows both of them (Duncan either knows or is related to EVERYONE!).  The ceremony was held at Scarborough Church of Christ where we got married, and it was a surreal feeling to walk back into the church for the first time since we said our vows 21 months earlier.  During the ceremony, I couldn't help but marvel at the kindness of God.  Both the bride and groom were in their early thirties and had waited for a long time to find their life partner.  Yes, all weddings are special, but when the couple are older, I think they are even more so, as it is a testimony to God's planning and sovereignty, which we can't see ourselves while we are struggling with singleness.

Us before the ceremony.

Ali and Jen.

Rohan with his men.

Kym and her dad.


Ooh lala

Rohan had a big smile on his dial all day...and why not.

Jen and Bek.

Bek and I.

Dunc's bro, Clayton, and his cousin, Liz.

Lunch reception at the Perth Town Hall.

Craig and Sarah.

Jason and Leanne.


We met up with some friends for breakfast the following morning.

Ali, Bek and Jane.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

2009 Visitors' Honour Roll

This is becoming a new tradition on my blog.  I did it for 2008 and last year we saw some new faces join the honour roll.

Jill in April and October

My dad in May and September

Sarah in June

Amanda, Michael and their girls in June

Emma and Peter in July

Lee and Tracey in July

Dunc had a boys' weekend with Craig, Clayton and Dave in July/August
(I went to Perth!)
Duncan's parents in August and September

My mum in November (we didn't get a pic though)

Joel and Sam in December

If you would like to join the honour roll, you know what you have to do.  Drop us a line and suggest a weekend.  Preacher-types are especially welcome since our church has been without a permanent pastor since March 2007 (although we had an interim pastor from January 2008 to May 2009).  Although, this is a no strings attached offer ;)