Thursday, March 31, 2011

5 Things I'm Grateful for in Kojonup

It’s harder to go from more to less than it is to go from less to more. After coming from a much smaller community, these things seem like novelties:

1. Two supermarkets
2. An ATM
3. Several cafes
4. A sports store
5. A pharmacy

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quote of the Day

I must be living under a rock or just not watching enough TV because I had no idea until two days ago that Elizabeth Taylor died last week.  In her youth, she was one of the most strikingly beautiful young girls in the world.  Here's a quote from one of my favourite movies of all time, and the one that made her a star.

That'll be a dispute to the end of time, Mr Brown: whether it's better to do the right thing for the wrong reason or the wrong thing for the right reason.
– Mrs Brown (Anne Revere) in National Velvet.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Votes Are In

Only five people voted in my poll....five.  I think I'm going to cry :(

But seriously thank you to those five.  The results are in and I was somewhat surprised as some posts I didn't think would score anything got a vote, and others I thought would attract votes ended up being voteless.

There was a seven-way tie (voters could vote for more than one post):

Marriage 101: Date Night
The Pendulum: Predestination and Free Will
Don't Worry Your Life Away
Not When, But If
Friday Focus: But Even If He Does Not
Sarah Wants Her Groove Back

Friday, March 25, 2011


My poor Russell rooster has had no bum feathers for months and months now (way before we moved).  The hens keep pecking them out and I have no idea how to stop them.  He just lets them peck them out.  I reckon he should peck them right back, but he's so compliant.  Now I know where the term 'henpecked' comes from, the poor bloke.

My dad met him for the first time last month and asked, "What's that?  A new breed of bare-arsed rooster?"

There seems to be lots of remedies out there on the net, but since I don't have net access at home yet, I would like to hear from anyone who has any tried and successful cures.

Any chicken experts out there?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Residents of Cluckingham Palace

I would like to extend a big welcome to:

Gwendoline (aka Gwen the Hen)
Rose (in honour of my Nan who loved chooks)

We wanted four hens to replace the ones we lost. The handyman, who has been working on our house, gave us eight. We’ll never be short of eggs now.

Yes, I can tell my birds apart. The first four girls have white bands on their ankles. The next three have pink ones. Rose doesn’t have any.

Russell Crowe is enjoying have many wives…except when they peck his bum (which is another story).

Princess Layer does NOT like the newcomers. They peck her and she has had to deal with other girls stealing her rooster’s attention. When I feed them she follows me around everywhere and tells me about it. I think she considers herself to be my special hen.

Here’s a group photo:

They were very happy when I finally allowed them to stop posing and eat their dinner.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Get On Your Soapbox #17

I’m SO over city people complaining.

Seriously some people need to get a grip. They whinge because their internet is not quite as fast as usual. They whinge that all of their download has gone. They whinge that there isn’t good enough coffee. They whinge that they broke their phone. They whinge that they have no food in the house and that the shops are so FAR (grrr when some people live in Victoria Park, I get really annoyed…there are OODLES of shops there and in the surrounding suburbs). They whinge about doctors. They whinge about schools. They whinge about churches. They whinge about the price of petrol. They whinge that the power’s gone off in a bad thunderstorm.

Yes, I’m just repeating some of the stuff I ranted about in Get On Your Soapbox #15.

Ok, spoilt city slickers, let me put things into perspective for you.

I have a mobile phone I can’t use. I can’t switch it on at home because I get no signal and it just drains the battery. I can’t call or text or receive calls or texts. I have to go to town (about 20 minutes away) just to use this basic service city people take for granted every day. We had to buy this special aerial to plug our phones into just to be able to get one bar of reception so I can send or receive texts. But then that kind of defeats the purpose of a MOBILE phone if I have to stand in one spot. Sometimes it decides randomly not to work. When I hear about people whinging about their iphones, I get very annoyed. They have an iphone. Enough said. That’s not going to be an option for me because no model of phone will work out here. We are in a massive black spot and I’ve reported it to Telstra numerous times but they don’t want to know about it.

Petrol? Don’t you dare complain until you see the prices we pay. And we don’t have the option of public transport. Unless you want to be a hermit, travelling is part of life…and you have to pay for it.

Oh my goodness, when slackers whinge about how they have no food when the shops are just down the road, I seriously want to strangle them. Come here and complain. Or better yet, go to Dally. Yep, that’ll really give you something to complain about.

Your internet is slightly slower than usual this morning? Boohoo get out the violins. We’ve waited for months and been stuffed around my two companies just to get any sort of connection. And now we’re supposedly online and it’s dodgy. When you read this post, I’ll be at someone else’s house just to use their internet. Bigpond keep fobbing us off and won’t return our calls. They sold us a dodgy modem and now we have to wait for them to send us another one. No, it isn’t our choice to go with Bigpond. They are money-scabbing morons, but we don’t have a choice. We have paid hundreds of dollars for modems, aerials and half the stuff doesn’t work properly. City people plug in their modem and away they go. We’ve just about gone broke trying to get this basic service.

So, your power’s gone off in a thunderstorm? Well duh, it was a thunderstorm. Come to Buntine. The power goes off for no obvious reason. In summer. In 43C heat. At least you city folk have Western Power crawling over themselves trying to get it back for you. We’ve had to wait for a few days and that’s not uncommon. They don’t give a toss about the country.

Still complaining?

But don’t feel sorry for me. Honestly, don’t. I have it good in comparison to the rest of the world. I’m glad I’m not in Africa where I might get one hour of electricity a day and not know when it’s going to come on. I didn’t write this post to get sympathy despite what some people may be thinking. I’m just writing to let Perth people know they have it really, really good. The best in the world maybe.

One thing I will never understand though is why city Christians seem to look down their noses at the country, but then say they’re willing to go anywhere to serve God. I’ve heard so many people say this and it really annoys me when they don’t literally mean ‘anywhere’, they just mean a city or somewhere with a nice view of the beach and lots of wineries and Christian schools nearby. Don’t say to God that you’re willing to serve Him anywhere if you don’t mean it (who knows He might just take you up on your vacant blank offer). Don’t say you’re willing to serve God in a developing country if regional and remote Australia is beneath you.

There are many days I seriously consider what it would be like if we moved back to Perth. I would lap up the super-fast and reliable internet. I would rejoice at being able to stay in touch with friends more easily. Even now when I go back, my jaw drops at the prices and the choice. People there get mail everyday (we get it on Tuesdays and Fridays). It’s such luxury.

If only city people realise how good they have it. But Duncan says that if you’ve been spoilt your whole life it’s difficult to go from more to less.

Perhaps only anyone who has lived in the country will understand...

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Pendulum: Church Shopping

I’d never really been in the position of choosing a new church before now.

When I first became a Christian I went to one of the churches that met on my university campus. I guess I chose it, but I wasn’t really aware of the choices out there. I went to that church because I knew a few people who went there, I could walk there (I lived on campus and had no car), and it was non-denominational (I didn’t know which denomination I was supposed to be). I stayed at that church for six and a half years until I got married and left Perth in April 2008.

When I moved to Buntine, there wasn’t much choice in regards to which church I was going to. I went to our church in Dally because Duncan went there and it was the only church in the district that met weekly. To me, it was either go to that church or stay at home.

Now, we are in Kojonup, we have choices. Not many, certainly nothing like in the city, but choices nevertheless. We could go to church in Kojonup, Cranbrook or Frankland, all of which are within relatively easy driving distance from our house. You can see in the previous post that we have chosen Cranbrook, but Duncan and I have certainly discovered during our marriage that we have very different criteria when it comes to ‘church shopping’ (for want of a better phrase).

A friend of ours is keen to go to Bible college one day and be a part of what he calls ‘restoration ministry’. When I asked him what that was, he explained that he has a deep desire to go into a church torn apart by divisions and conflict and be involved in restoration – to help relationships be restored so that the church might have unity in the things that matter, namely the gospel. Some might say he is an idealist, others might say he is a fruitcake, but I can empathise with his passion. So many people my age and even older are all about what church can do for them. As I wrote in Me, Myself and an Online Sermon, I know many people who go ‘church shopping’, but then stop going to church at all because they can’t find one that perfectly suits their needs. They treat church like a shopping centre or a product that they need to test and critique to see if it’s the right fit. I certainly agree that we should carefully examine a church before being part of it; I don’t want to have anything to do with a church that isn’t on about Jesus and His gospel. When I ask people what they’re looking for in a church, it’s nearly always good preaching, a good Sunday School, a good youth group, music that suits their tastes, people their age. Rarely do I hear someone say they’re looking for a church where they can make a difference, where they can serve, where they can commit to a body of people (Christ’s body) for the long haul, working towards a common goal – that people might hear the message of Christ crucified and resurrected and come to trust Him for their right standing before God and salvation. That’s why I admire my friend. He’s not looking for a church to suit his needs. I have no qualms about going to church that has a shabby building or a small congregation or doesn’t have a weekly schedule bursting with programs. I wanted to visit Frankland for this reason. Apparently it’s a small , struggling church plant with only half a dozen regular attenders, mostly middle-aged or older. I could see the opportunity of being a part of something small and watching it grow. For this reason, church planting really excites me.

But Duncan doesn’t feel the same way. Now, first of all, I’d better clarify that I’m NOT trying to say Duncan is a selfish person who wants a big comfortable church while I’m the unselfish one who just wants to serve. Far from it. We both have very different backgrounds. Duncan was raised in a small conservative church with hymns where for a few years he felt like he was the token young person. Once he left school, he started attending a young people’s Bible study in Busselton for fellowship with people his own age. For this reason, he was not keen to go to Frankland. He didn’t want to be a part of a church where we would be seen as the token young people and shoved onto rosters (although I’m not sure how much of a roster you can have with six people). Cranbrook has a lot of young people around our age. I can understand where he’s coming from.

My story is very different to Duncan’s. I was raised non-Christian and the church I attended in Perth was planted to be a ‘student church’ (although now it’s more of a ‘family church’). I’ve had plenty of fellowship with young people. To be honest, having lots of people my own age in my church isn’t one of my prerequisites. It’s nice, but I’ve seen its downsides. Having a church run by young people with only a handful of people over 50 means that there are often a lot of ‘pie in the sky’ ideas and people end up burnt out. Many a time I’ve wished for a few older folk to join the church and say to the young leaders, “Buddy, slow down, you’ll burn yourself out, sometimes you need to let God be God.”

While I have a keen desire to join a struggling church, like my friend, I realise that idealism needs to be mixed with a significant dose of realism. Some people are stubborn and unless God does a mighty work on their hearts, they will continue to be resistant to good, needed change. I think it’s unwise, and even dangerous, for a Christian to deliberately go to a church where they know false teaching is rampant. They may have the best of intentions, but if the leaders of that church will not listen to the truth, it is best to get out of there and look after your own spiritual health. Look for a church that speaks the truth, where its members want to live godly lives, and are keen for others to know Jesus.

I’m torn when it comes to church shopping. I want a church that is keen to move forward, but is committed to the truth of God’s Word. It doesn’t matter whether that church is thriving or just trying to survive – what matters is whether they’re striving. I don’t care whether my church is full of young people or not. I’d like to be a part of something new and exciting like a church plant or a small church that needs a helping hand. But on the other side, I can see it can also be beneficial to join a church that is moving forward rapidly where you can instantly say, “Yep this is my family, and I’m keen to get involved in what they’re already doing.”

Ultimately we chose Cranbrook for the latter reason. It’s a group of people that are keen for others to hear the message of the Lord Jesus. Compared to city churches they look rather pitiful. The congregation would be no bigger than fifty, they don’t have a big music team, and the building is not aesthetically pleasing. But we saw their heart is for Jesus and they don’t seem to be on about things that divide rather than unite which is what we want to be a part of.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Church Camp

Well, we’re at a Baptist church again but Duncan and I definitely don’t consider ourselves Baptists by any stretch of the imagination. We’re Christians over and above all, and following Jesus is what unites us with other believers, despite our differences of opinion on some matters.

We have decided to make Cranbrook our new church home. Kojonup is a bit closer, but Duncan’s new boss and his wife go to Cranbrook, and we were struck by the friendliness of the people and their love for Jesus. It’s also nice that they have a full-time pastor and we know many of the same people. Therefore, we decided to the extra travel was worth it and that this was a church we wanted to be a part of. It’s only just over 30 minutes anyway which is what we travelled all the time to get to church in Dalwallinu.

We took the plunge and went on their annual camp last month, realising this was a good way to get to know many people better. It was a great weekend at Camp Kennedy, west of Albany.

Sunday breakfast

Church service

View from the lookout.

My windswept look.

Please vote in the Sedshed Favourite Post of 2010 Poll.  Click through to my blog to vote if you're using a reader.  Click here for more info.  You have one day left!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Great Expectations

In my last post in this series, I wrote about the differences between friends and acquaintances. True friendships take time and effort, but acquaintance-level relationships survive on infrequent catch-ups, usually in group situations and centred around some sort of fun activity.
This post is about what happens when there are differing expectations in friendships.

Jane is considering asking Susan to be a bridesmaid at her upcoming wedding. Susan is sure to be shocked when she finds out since she considers Jane to just be a casual acquaintance.

Ivy realises that she is the one who puts all the effort into her friendship with Penny – calling her, initiating catch ups etc. Sure Penny is very happy to accept Ivy’s invitations (if she’s not busy with one of her other 800 friends), but not once does she ever bother to call Ivy. Ivy has come to the conclusion that Penny is so ‘in demand’ that she never has to make an effort with her friendships – people seem to be gravitated to her and want her as a friend. Ivy realises if it were a true friendship then Penny would share the effort in keeping it alive.

Terry and Noeline invite their friends Joe and Samantha to dinner. Joe and Samantha accept the invitation but fail to show up on the night. Terry and Noeline sit and wait until the food gets cold, then finally call Samantha’s mobile only to get no answer. When Noeline bumps into Samantha days later, Samantha tells her they forgot all about the dinner invitation. Noeline is annoyed at Samantha’s lack of consideration. She and Terry had been worried that Joe and Samantha had been involved in a car accident or something terrible. Not only did Samantha fail to return Noeline’s phone call, she waited until they randomly bumped into each other instead of taking the initiative and calling to apologise.

Karen found out through the grapevine that her friend, Laura, who lives three hours away, had been in town on the weekend and didn’t call her. Laura explains to an annoyed Karen that her visit was fleeting, she didn’t have time to visit everyone in one weekend, and that she has other friends besides Karen.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? We expect people to act a certain way – the way we would act in that same situation. When they fail us, we get disappointed and consider scaling back or even ending the friendship. Meanwhile the friend who fails us is completely oblivious, or maybe they do know how inconsiderate/lazy/selfish they are being but they just don’t care. After all, they have plenty of other friends who will never call them to account.

Two of my friends went to some kind of relationships course a couple of years ago and came away with the idea that we shouldn’t expect people to behave the way we would. In other words, we need to not expect anything of anyone. I told them I disagreed emphatically. So, we need to have really, really low expectations of each other and be pleasantly surprised when someone acts like a decent human being? This sounds like pessimism dressed up slightly differently. I don’t want to expect my friends to act like jerks and then throw a huge party because one of them decided to be considerate and a good friend. They’re my friends because I saw in them the capacity to be kind, loving, unselfish people.

But the reality is that people, even our dearest of friends, will fail us and disappoint us. Somehow we need to find a way to deal with that without having zero expectations. Having no expectations is impossible anyway – they are so ingrained into us by our upbringing, our culture, our experiences…often we only realise what our expectations are when they haven’t been met.

For example, I will share some of my inbuilt expectations:

• I expect my friends to call if I have invited them somewhere (with the understanding that it’s a set time and not a ‘rock up anytime after 7pm’ kind of event) if they are going to be majorly late or can no longer come. That way I’m not worrying that some harm has come to them, and if someone has gone to the trouble of preparing you a meal, it’s polite to let them know if you can no longer be there.

• If a friend says they are going to catch up with me at a certain time and place, I expect them to be there and not cancel because a better offer has come along. Sickness and family or work emergencies are legitimate excuses.

• If I’m catching up with a friend or a small group of friends at a cafĂ© or a restaurant, I expect it to be just them and myself – not randoms they decide to bring along without telling me. I hate it when I’ve been looking forward to catching up with someone and they go and bring some other person who’s boring, doesn’t talk, and my friend spends all their time trying to make their other guest feel comfortable rather than talking to me. When I’ve been staying with a friend, I don’t want to gatecrash their social events which they planned well before my arrival. I’m happy to just sit at their house and watch DVDs.

• I expect friends to say thank you and let me know a gift I sent them in the post has arrived.

• I expect good/close friends to be there for me when I’m upset or struggling in some way.

• I expect friends to return emails, SMS, Facebook messages etc providing they are able to. I get mighty annoyed when I have sent someone a private message on Facebook and have not received a reply, yet I can see by my news feed that they seem to have oodles of time to muck around and play games. That tells me (a) they have a computer and internet access and (b) they have spare time.

That’s just a start. I have realised that I have these expectations when they have not been met and I think a lot of them have to do with my upbringing because some of these dot points were what my mum emphasised to my brother and myself when we were growing up. The problem is that I am now encountering adults who were not raised with these values, or they were, but don’t think they are important.

So what do we do when we realise a friend has greatly differing expectations of the friendship to our own? These are a few guidelines I’ve been thinking of following:

• Realise our expectations may be wildly unrealistic and they we are putting too much pressure on our friend. In my case, I have a friend who used to get very annoyed if I did not visit her EVERY time I went to Perth. When I explained that Duncan and I have a lot of friends and relatives to see, that didn’t cut it with her – she wanted me to at least call her to let her know I was in the city. I asked her what the point of that was if I didn’t have time to see her and told her I wouldn’t be allowing her to guilt-trip me this way.

• Realise that friends show love in different ways. While I strive to stay in touch with many people, I am not a phone person. But one of my friends is so I try to make concessions for this and call her because that’s how she likes to communicate when face-to-face is not possible. However this person wanted us to speak on the phone no less than once a fortnight. I told her I don’t think we need to speak that often to keep the friendship alive. It’s not like I’m her only friend. But I do try and call her because I know it’s important to her.

• Confront a lazy, inconsiderate or apathetic friend and if they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong, have less to do with them in the future. Sometimes friends may be showing love in a different love language. Sometimes they are just slackers who don’t care about me as a person, rather just as entertainment value.

• Examine ourselves to see if we have been taking our friends for granted. In the case of Joe and Samantha forgetting to come for dinner at Terry and Noeline’s place, it was just lazy on their behalf to not call when they realised they had forgotten. Forgetting was not the crime (although some people would do well to realise that being more organised can lead to being more loving), but they allowed Terry and Noeline to sit and worry (and let food go to waste) rather than call later and set their minds at ease.

Maybe the answer to differing expectations in friendships is to love God and love our neighbour. How much better would all of our relationships be if we loved others more than ourselves and put their needs before our own?

Please vote in the Sedshed Favourite Post of 2010 Poll.  Click through to my blog to vote if you're using a reader and click here for more info.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Quote of the Day

They are rich who have true friends.
- Thomas Fuller

Please vote in the Sedshed Favourite Post of 2010 Poll.  Click through to my blog to vote if you are using a reader.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Funny

We were watching Shrek the Third the other week and Ebony was so intrigued when she saw Puss in Boots on the screen that she settled down and watched the rest of the movie.

Please vote in the Sedshed Favourite Post of 2010 Poll.  Click through to my blog to vote if you are using a reader.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Maya's Birthday Bone

Our Maya dog turned three last week and there’s nothing more than she likes doing to celebrate than to gnaw on a good bone.

Here she is up in Buntine last year with the mother of all bones (that was only half of it).

Happy Birthday Maya girl. She is becoming such a good sheep dog.

Please vote in my poll.  Click through to the blog if you are using a reader.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I'm Sorry, Your Application Was Unsuccessful

A few weeks ago I applied for an admin job at the Shire office in Cranbrook.  Cranbrook is a small town just over half an hour's drive from our home.  The distance didn't bother me in the slightest since I used to drive from Buntine to Dalwallinu all the time for work, church and everything else, plus Duncan and I are now going to church in Cranbrook.

The position was full-time, but I phoned them and asked if they would consider job-share.  They said they would so I applied and a couple of weeks later they phoned me and invited me to come for an interview.  I thought the interview went as well as it could.  The two staff members conducting the interview were very friendly and put me at ease.  They assured that my request for job-share would not disadvantage me.

Unfortunately I found out last week I did not get the position.  They said they were impressed with my interview, but ultimately I was not chosen.  I felt a bit despondent and wondered if what happened in Dally was going to happen all over again.

The good news is that I do have a casual admin job working from home for the equivalent of one day per week.  A lady from a grower group (the same sort of group I worked for in Buntine) had heard about me and asked if I would like to work with her.  This group is just getting off the ground so they don't have an office yet.  I met the lady for a coffee in town and she is lovely.  I can see myself working well with her so I accepted her offer.

It's a start!  Still, two days more work per week would be nice so it's back to the cold-turkey resume drop-offs.  Maybe God's will is for my book to be published and my time will be taken up with that...who knows?!?

I'm trying to take each day as it comes and enjoy unemployment.

If you're using a reader, please click through to my blog to vote in the Sedshed Favourite Post of 2010 Poll.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Sedshed Favourite Post of 2010 Poll

This is a poll more to satisfy my own curiosity than anything else, but I would love to see what my readers enjoyed most at This is what Sed said in 2010. I have assembled a list of approximately two posts per month from last year, and I would like you to tell me which post was your favourite by voting in the poll on the right side of the screen (if you’re using a reader, please click through to my blog to vote). If none of these posts was your favourite, please leave a comment with the title of the post that you wish to vote for (anonymously if you prefer).

You don’t have to be a blogger to vote in this poll. In fact, I know many of my readers aren’t bloggers themselves so I would love to have their input.

Here is the list:

January 2010
The Lonely But Not the Only
Marriage 101: Date Night

February 2010
The Pendulum: Predestination vs Free Will
Growing Up Non Christian – Parts 1-3

March 2010
Calling All Theoblogians #8
Don't Worry Your Life Away

April 2010
A Love Story – Part 1 and A Love Story - Part 2
Get On Your Soapbox #15

May 2010

Not When, But If
Host Etiquette

June 2010
Friday Focus: From the Inside Out

July 2010
Something to Crow About
Friday Focus: But Even If He Does Not

August 2010
Friday Focus: Mourning With The Mourning
The Pendulum: Honesty and Negativity

September 2010
The Pendulum: Sinful Nature and Personal Responsibility
Me, Myself and an Online Sermon

October 2010
Kiss the Cheek, Stab the Back
Friday Focus: Jaded

November 2010
Sarah Wants Her Groove Back
Friday Focus: Cat and Dog Theology

December 2010
Lone Ranger Blogger

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Just 'Like' It!

I think it’s true that most blogs have more lurkers than commenters. I’m always astounded when I found out people have been secretly reading my blog for ages. My first thought is: What on earth makes them want to keep reading? Obviously there must be something about my blog that keeps them coming back.

Sometimes I’ll be reading a post on another blog that I really enjoy, but I feel a bit silly just writing ‘Good post’ as a comment. So, in June last year, I added the ‘like’ feature to my blog. This enables you to let me know anonymously that you like the post without having to write anything else. If you’re viewing this blog directly from the URL, you can click the ‘like’ button underneath each post. Or if you’re using a reader, I think there is a like button there also.

Even if you have nothing profound to say, letting me know you ‘like’ it would really encourage me.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Christmas 2010

Two days after arriving in Kojonup, we left our house in a mess and escaped to Dunsborough to spend Christmas with Duncan’s family.  Christmas Day included a very relaxing lunch at his auntie and uncle’s house.  It was just so nice to get away for a few days.