Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Focus - But Even If He Does Not...

Last weekend was mostly very pleasant.  Duncan and I had spent the weekend in Perth, celebrating his birthday, and by Sunday evening we were about two-thirds of the way home.  That was when Duncan's mobile rang.  He struggled to retrieve it from his pocket and by the time he had passed it to me to answer, it was too late.  I looked down at the missed number and saw that it was my dad's mobile.  We pulled over so I could call him back, knowing that if we kept driving, we could soon drop out of range.

It was the phone call I had been dreading for many years.  I know it's not healthy to panic every time the phone rings, or to have to your heart freeze when you listen to a message on the answering machine from your parents, asking you to call them immediately, but giving no explanation why.

My nan, who is 97-years-old and has lived with my parents for the past 18 months, had been experiencing some problems with her right foot.  When she told my parents she had had no feeling in her foot for a few days, they rushed her to the Albany hospital where the doctors did a number of tests, and declared that her foot was almost certainly dead.  The only 'cure' for a dead limb is amputation, but the Royal Flying Doctors flew her to Perth where they thought there might be a slim chance a surgeon could save her foot.

I couldn't stop crying for the whole of Sunday night.  I was grieving more for her spiritual state than her physical one.  My nan is not Christian.  At times she has been hostile towards my faith.  She grew up in the church, but later drifted away.  Now, she believes she will go to heaven because she has been a 'good person' and it is impossible to persuade her otherwise.  To her, sinners are murderers, rapists and dictators, and she often expresses extreme confidence that on the day of her death, God will give her a 7 out of 10 and accept her based on her works.  In fact, she often states how she is ready for death.  She even refuses to get new glasses, saying, "What's the point of spending all that money?  I'm just going to die soon anyway."

The doctors were going to try and operate to remove the clot by making an incision in her groin and having a wire travel down her leg to remove it.  Since the foot had  been 'dead' for several days, they weren't hopeful.  If the operation failed, she was given two choices: to have her right leg amputated above the knee, or to do nothing meaning which she would certainly die within a couple of weeks.  When she was given this choice, she apparently told them, "Oh well, I'll just have to have my leg off then."  My dad wasn't so sure she was understanding the ramifications of this. 
He told her, "You know you won't be able to have a prosthetic leg, don't you?" to which she replied, "Well, how will I get around then?" 
Dad told her, "You won't.  You'll be in a wheelchair or a bed.  And you won't be able to live with us anymore.  You will have to go to a nursing home where they'll be able to care for you." 
Nan said, "Oh," and sat and thought about it, but still wanted to choose amputation should it come to that.  Several things struck me as my dad relayed that conversation to me.  She might constantly say she's ready to die, but when death stared her in the face, she wasn't ready to die at all.  I thought, maybe, just maybe, she doesn't have the assurance of where she is going after death after all.

I prayed pretty much without ceasing on Monday as Nan went in for her surgery.  It was a success.  They are almost certain they have saved her foot.  I was terrified she would die on the operating table without making peace with God, but she had a far better reaction to the anaesthetic than many younger people do.  She has some complications for which she will need tests for, but it looks like amputation has been avoided, and she will have to remain in Fremantle Hospital for at least the next fortnight.  This is her first visit to Perth since 1991!

As I searched the Scriptures for comfort, my first instinct was to go to the Psalms.  But God reminded me of Daniel 3, which may seem like a strange passage to some.  For years, I have been pleading with God to work in my nan's heart so that she would be humbled enough to trust Christ for her salvation, and not her works.  Nothing I say can get through to her (as much as I love her, she is a stubborn old goat sometimes).  I don't doubt God can change the hearts of even the most hostile of enemies.  But will he?  In the book of Daniel (for those unfamiliar with the story), the kingdom of Judah is captured by the Babylonians and the people sent into exile in Babylon.  Daniel and three of his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (who were renamed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) are chosen among the young men sent to the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to learn the literature and language of the Babylonians.

In Daniel 3 (part of which I quoted yesterday), King Nebuchadnezzar sets up an image of gold and commands all the people under his control to bow down and worship it.  When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse to forsake the one true God, Nebuchadnezzar is furious with them and threatens to throw them into a blazing furnace.  The three young men are not deterred and they boldly declare, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.    But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
The story ends with the three men being thrown into the fire, and God rescues them in what is a truly amazing miracle.

I got great comfort from reading this story again.  While God did rescue the three men, they did not know that when they boldly declared their faith to King Nebuchadnezzar.  They were determined not to 'sell out' on God, even if cost them their lives.  They fully recognised God's capability to do more than they could ask or imagine, but they knew, in His sovereignty, He may choose not to rescue them.

As I pray for God to change my nan's heart, I am fully confident in his ability to do it.  He can do anything.  But I know He may choose not to, and then I am faced with a choice.  Will I keep trusting Him the way Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did, or will I walk away, angry that He did not answer my prayers in the way I wanted Him to.  This is when I really have to 'live my own posts' by looking back to the cross and reminding myself of God's character.  If my nan dies without turning to Christ, it will devastate me.  I know I cannot know what is in her heart; that is only something God knows.  For years, I have pleaded with God not to take her until she has trusted in Him.  But I know I cannot make those kinds of deals with God.  I just have to do my bit of sharing the gospel with others, and trust that the rest is His work.

Duncan and I are going to Perth on Saturday night and we plan to spend Sunday with her in hospital.  We are praying for opportunities to speak of Christ to her, and that God would be pleased to work in her.  But even if He should not....I will continue to follow the Lord and trust in His goodness.

Celebrating Nan's 90th birthday.  January 2003

If would like to participate in Friday Focus and share what God has been teaching you lately, click here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bible Verse of the Day

Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?  Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?"

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
Daniel 3:13-18

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Something to Crow About

Although we have six new hens, our chookyard remained incomplete without a patriarch.....a rooster!

Duncan was not keen on acquiring a crower....he reckoned Randolph was annoying enough.  However, after hearing our local vet had a few too many roosters on her farm, I begged him to let me get one.

And so, in early July, Russell Crowe arrived at the fowl fortress.  His name came courtesy of a brainwave by my friend, Rachel.  The vet was only too keen to find him a new home.  She thought him to be a very handsome fellow, but if he remained at her farm, he would have been destined for the pot.

Russell has been busy strutting around his yard and trying to sleaze on to the three pullets while they are on their perch at night.  The old girls seem to escape his attention somewhat. Yes, he likes them young, and is every bit as arrogant as his human namesake...and highly inconsiderate.  He crows in the middle of the night, and although I can hardly hear it from our bedroom, I do feel very sorry for the hens.

Since Russell's arrival, the egg production has gone into overdrive.  Perhaps they are trying to impress him ;).

And now, here he is.  A handsome, young Light Sussex.

Haha I like this photo.  It looks like Reebok has her head stuck up Russell's bum.

Russell Crowe and Winnie.

So many girls to choose from.


Paparazzi!  How dare you!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Favourite Things

I was tagged by Iris from Double Half or One Ten Without Ham to photograph my favourite things from around my house.  I couldn't work out how to make a collage of photos like she did here, and they aren't very exciting, but here they are nevertheless.

Top to bottom:
1.  Jewellery tree.
2.  Giraffe picture.  I love giraffes.
3.  Ikea lamp.
4.  Bookcase full of books, DVDs and videos.
5.  Fly zapper.  Much appreciated in summer.
6.  Year planner.  Helps us organise our lives.
7.  Kitchen rack thing.  Space savers are always good in a tiny house.
8.  Chocolate fountain.
9.  Slow Cooker.  He is my friend.
10.  Laptop.
11.  Tupperware jar opener.

If you're reading this and have a blog, I tag you.  What are your favourite household things?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Get On Your Soapbox #16

It's Friday!  Time for a rant!

Since when did hens nights become an occasion for Christian women to cease living for Jesus and indulge in the world around them?

Before my own hens night, I was approached by a fellow Christian who openly told me of the plans she had for me on my hens night and none of them were pleasant.  Excuse me, but the bridesmaids are responsible for organising the hens night unless there is a good reason why they cannot do so (like if they live interstate or overseas).  I did not want people hijacking the bridesmaids' plans without their knowledge.  I fully trusted my bridesmaids that they would not do anything unsavoury to me on my hens night, and now here was this person wanting to dress me up in a devil costume and goodness knows what else.  I stopped them right there in their tracks.  Later on, I had to stop the same person wanting to do the same thing to another bride because I knew that bride, being a committed Christian, would not appreciate it.  She ended up using an angel costume instead.

I know that Satan does not necessarily look like how he is depicted in popular cartoons.  If you've ever watched South Park, you'll know that he is portrayed as a funny guy sitting down there in the flames of hell on his throne with Hitler or Stalin next to him.  How on earth Christians can talk about resisting Satan one minute and then wanting to dress up as him the next like it's a big joke is disgusting.  So what if he doesn't actually have red horns.  It's what you are portraying yourself as that matters.

I've seen pictures on Facebook which other Christian girls have put up of hens nights, and you've got to wonder how they can brazenly think there is nothing wrong with drunkenness and playing penis games....even playing 'Pin the Penis on *insert groom's name here*'.  If someone had wanted to play 'Pin the Penis on Duncan', I would have slapped them.  How can they talk about the importance of purity and keeping sex for marriage, and then play a game which degrades a guy behind his back, I will never understand.  It's also hypocritical; if they heard that guys were playing a similar game based on the bride at a bucks night, they would get on their moral high horse.

Living for Jesus involves living for Jesus at all times and that includes hens and bucks nights.  There are plenty of fun things to do that respect the bride and groom.  Such occasions are not for a holiday from holiness.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fun Times and the Return of the Chocolate Fountain

We had an excellent weekend in late June when our friends Amanda from Amanda's Musings, Michael and their two girls came to stay.

Lambs are always a hit.

Meeting Omar, Hayley's (Dunc's boss's wife) horse.

Sitting in the tractor.

Leftover cake mix.  Mmmm.

Picnicking and bushwalking at Wubin Rocks.

Amanda getting some inspiration from nature for her artwork.

Me and the man.

The 'Shrek cake' I made for Michael's birthday.

Amanda taking more photos.  Next time I shall confiscate her camera muahaha.

Meeting Omar again in his new paddock.

Michael bonding with Omar.

Sunday night decadence.

It's becoming a tradition to get this baby out when we have visitors staying.

Thank you Amanda, Michael and girls for coming up to see us!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sucked In, Spammers!

In my post, Blog Cleaning, a couple of months back, I mentioned that I'd been having some trouble with spam comments.  I know from reading other Blogspot blogs that I haven't been the only one.

So I have made the decision to turn comment moderation ON.  Those of you who have commented recently would have already noticed this.  I hope to publish the comments of valued readers as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately it's due to complete tools with nothing better to do than graffiti my blog with links to dodgy sites, and I agree with Mark from Markedly when he says it gives him great pleasure knowing that no-one will ever see their stupid comments.

So spammers....suffer in ya jocks!  Take your rubbish elsewhere.  No-one will ever see it here. Hahaha!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ooh Aah Mark LeCras

Move aside Glenn McGrath.

Yep, I'm still smiling after Eagles' small forward, Mark LeCras, kicked 12 goals, and the Eagles finally got their fourth victory of the season.

I'm allowed to smile after a season with little to smile about :).

It makes me realise how much times have changed.  In the Eagles' glory years, LOSING four games in a SEASON would have been terrible.  Now getting their fourth win out of 16 games is a reason to have a big grin on my face.

My how the tables have turned.  Losing has become the norm and winning is a rare gift.  Now I appreciate the wins like they were gold nuggets rather than expected.

LeCras is an incredibly intelligent and gifted player.  If we only had 10 of him.....

Picture is from

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Focus - Is The Cross Enough For You and Me?

A little while ago I read a very thought-provoking article titled A Journey To Parenthood in which the author describes her struggles with infertility, and in which she asks the question all Christians need to ask themselves.  Do we really consider the cross enough?

From my own experience, it's easy to be thankful for Jesus' death and resurrection when things are peachy.  But when suffering and unfulfilled hopes wear me down, I begin to doubt God's goodness.  I forget the enormous sacrifice He made.  I start to doubt His character and accuse Him of unfaithfulness, when I am the one whose heart is forever wandering.

That article was a jolt back to reality.  I need to preach the gospel to myself every day to remind myself that God owes me nothing and has already given me everything.

So now I keep asking myself these sobering questions: Would I really say, "God is good all the time," if he had left me a single librarian (and now with glasses....just to add to the stereotype)?  What if I have cancer?  Or can't have children?  Or I lose Duncan or another loved one?  How about if I become poor and destitute?

That's when I need to refocus and remember the awe and wonder of God coming to earth in the person of Jesus, and dying a horrible, agonising death at the hands of His creation to pay for the sins of a world in rebellion against Him as its King.  That he defeated death by rising again so that those who trust in Him may live with Him forever in His glory.

If the cross was all God ever did, would that be enough for you?

If you would like to join in the Friday Focus blog hop and share what God has been teaching you lately, click here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bible Verse of the Day

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Pendulum: Plans and Spontaneity

Are you a planner or a spontaneous type?

I have to admit, I'm a planner...often to my detriment.  At times, my planning has lead to me being inflexible and unaccommodating.

But those of you who read my post Not When, But If may have assumed that I'm anti-planning.  As I've just said, I'm very much into plans.  I write to-do lists, I even make mental lists of what needs to be done on my days off such as book editing, TAFE assignments or even sitting down and listening to an online sermon.  I am a planner, but I believe that unless God wills something to happen, it will not come to pass, and we need to submit our plans to Him.

Because of my tendency to over-plan, I often find it difficult to get on with overly spontaneous people.  Personally, I think some people use being 'spontaneous' as an excuse to be lazy and disorganised (see my post Featherbrained).  Plans are good because they make us motivated, committed people.  I see a planned catch-up with a friend as a sign of seeing the friendship as a priority because they or I bothered to think of how best to catch-up and bless each other, rather than just seeing whoever strays across your path.  I used to really HATE drop-ins, and even now I'm not too keen on them.  If you ever drop in on me, you better have a good reason.  Duncan, on the other hand, loves the spontaneous drop-in and frequently does it, even when I hiss at him, "You should call first."

But when I've actually done things on a whim, I've felt incredibly liberated.  That doesn't mean I get joy out of doing stupid, irresponsible things, but it's lovely to randomly go off somewhere or to see someone you didn't expect to see.  Spontaneity can be very, very good.  I want to be a more spontaneous, welcoming, loving person.

I also don't want to end up like my mum and my nan who are rigorous planners (probably where I get it from).  It is so difficult to see my nan sometimes because she plans her days so meticulously.  When she lived alone, and I'd ask if I could visit, she'd say, "No, I'm doing my ironing then...or my washing...or my sweeping."  Everything she does is on the dot and not a moment late.  I don't ever want to be that scheduled.  I don't think it's healthy.

So as to whether we should be planners or spontaneous people, I have to say a bit of both is good.  We have responsibilities and need to plan things, but we also need to be somewhat flexible and not control freaks.

How about you?  Are you a planner or a spontaneous person by nature, or a bit of both?

Monday, July 12, 2010

5 Books From The Top 100 That I'd Like To Read

1.  My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
2.  Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
3.  Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin
4.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows
5.  Breath by Tim Winton

I have just borrowed #2 and #5 from my auntie :)

Which books are next on your reading list?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Top 100 Books

I was reading Red Dirt Mummy and she mentioned her post here that the West Australian newspaper recently released a list of Top 100 books as voted by their readers, and highlighted how many of those she had read.

I've decided to do the same and my result is 7 out of 100 (the ones I've read are in bold below).  Very poor indeed!  However, I'm part way through two series mentioned on the list (Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis), in the middle of Maralinga by Judy Nunn, and I have The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and Tuscan Rose by Belinda Alexandra in my bookshelf ready.

The Top 100 List

1. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
2. Harry Potter 1-7 by J.K. Rowling
3. The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
7. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
8. Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris
9. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
11. Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard
12. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
13. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
14. 61 Hours by Lee Child
15. Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb
16. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
17. The Silent Sea by Clive Cussler
18. Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin
19. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
20. Tuscan Rose by Belinda Alexandra
21. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
22. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
23. The Pacific by Hugh Ambrose
24. Ransom by David Malouf
25. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
26. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
27. Magician by Raymond E. Feist
28. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
29. House Rules by Jodi Picoult
30. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
31. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
32. Marley & Me by John Grogan
33. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls Jane Austen & Steve
34. Breath by Tim Winton
35. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
36. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
37. The People's Train by Thomas Keneally
38. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
39. Truth by Peter Temple
40. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
41. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
42. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
43. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
44. The Book of Emmett by Deborah Forster
45. Ice Station by Matthew Reilly
46. The Road by Cormac Macarthy
47. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
48. Persuasion by Jane Austen
49. Jessica by Bryce Courtenay
50. Atonement by Ian McEwan
51. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
52. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet
53. The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
54. April Fool's Day by Bryce Courtenay
55. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
56. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
57. The Pact by Jodi Picoult
58. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
59. Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
60. Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox
61. Seven Ancient Wonders by Matthew Reilly
62. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
63. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
64. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Burrows
65. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
66. Solar by Ian McEwan
67. Fallen by Lauren Kate
68. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
69. P.S. I Love You by Cecila Ahern
70. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
71. Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody
72. A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey
73. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult
74. Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon
75. Dirt Music by Tim Winton
76. It by Stephen King
77. Hourglass by Claudia Gray
78. Tully by Paullina Simons
79. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
80. Shantaram: A Novel by Gregory David Roberts
81. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
82. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
83. Requiem for a Species by Clive Hamilton
84. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
85. Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs
86. Animal Farm by George Orwell
87. The Six Sacred Stones by Matthew Reilly
88. The Five Greatest Warriors by Matthew Reilly
89. Maralinga by Judy Nunn
90. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
91. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
92. Worst Case by James Patterson
93. Once in a Lifetime by Cathy Kelly
94. The Stand by Stephen King
95. Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes
96. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
97. Temple by Matthew Reilly
98. All That Remains by Patricia Cornwall
99. The Slap by Christos Tsolkias
100. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Maybe one day my book will make it onto that list.  I can only dream...

How many have you read and which ones?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


It's safe to say that my dad is not an animal person.  It probably stems from being a property manager, but he has certainly not been an easy person to convince when it came to acquiring pets.  In fact, my mum and I bought a kitten behind his back when I was 12.

When he came to visit a month ago, I couldn't resist putting Ebony in his lap to see how he'd react.  The look on his face is priceless.

He had to admit that she was a very good lapwarmer on a cold winter's night.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

My Namesake

Our friends, Isaiah and Harriet, who live next-door to Duncan's parents, had their first child on the 4th June.  Guess what they called her..... :)

Well, no they didn't actually name her after me.....but I'd like to think I inspired them.

Here's a pic of the new family of three which Duncan's mum took and emailed to us.  I'm looking forward to meeting my namesake later in the year.  My name seems to have died off a bit in popularity since I was born.  I was one of five Sarahs in my year when I graduated from high school.  This little one might have the fortune of being the only one in her class.

Friday, July 02, 2010

How Can They Not Know This Stuff?

Ok, I know I've blogged about Featherbrained people before, but I really don't get this...

How can people not know:
  • Their address.
  • Their mobile number.
  • Their birthday.
  • Their kids' ages.
I'm not talking about people who have just moved house, changed numbers etc either.  Honestly, how can people not know this stuff?  Don't they ever have to fill out forms?

Another thing I don't get is how people can spell other people's names wrong when the person's name is written RIGHT THERE.  Fair enough if someone said their name over the phone and the other person wrote it down incorrectly, but I see people spelling their friend's names wrong on Facebook when their friend's name is written right there on their profile.  And you can tell it wasn't just a random typo either since they consistently spell it wrong!

I've sent emails to people with my name on the bottom, and received replies saying 'Thanks Sara'....and they keep spelling it 'Sara' or 'Sera'  or some other random spelling.  It's written right there on the email, for goodness sake....S-A-R-A-H.

I don't get it.  Please explain....

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Bible Verse of the Day

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8