Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Funny

1.  How do you decide whom to marry?

You've got to find somebody who likes the same stuff.  Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
- Alan, age 10

No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry.  God decides it all way before, and you find out later who you're stuck with.
- Kristen, age 10

2.  What is the best age to get married?

Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
- Camille, age 10

3.  How can a stranger tell if two people are married?

You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
- Derrick, age 8

4.  What do you think your Mum and Dad have in common?

Both don't want any more kids.
- Lori, age 8

5.  What do most people do on a date?

Dates are for having fun and people should use them to get to know each other.  Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
- Lynnette, age 8

On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
- Martin, age 10

6.  When is ok to kiss someone?

When they're rich.
- Pam, age 7

The law says you have to be eighteen so I wouldn't want to mess with that.
- Curt, age 7

The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them.  It's the right thing to do.
- Howard, age 8

7.  Is it better to be single or married?

It's better for girls to be single, but not for boys.  Boys need someone to clean up after them.
- Anita, age 9

8.  How would the world be different if people didn't get married?

There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there?
- Kelvin, age 8

9.  How would you make a marriage work?

Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck.
- Ricky, age 10

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Diary of an Incubator: Pregnancy and AS

Those of you who have been reading along here for a while will know that last year I was diagnosed with a form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis and adopted a low starch diet which helped to manage the pain.

I was on the diet for just over a year when I found out I was pregnant.  By then the diet had become a new kind of normal.  At first, cutting starch out of my diet seemed like food hell, but then it just became part of life.  Cutting back or completely avoiding certain foods (bread, pasta, rice, cereals etc) seemed like a better option than not being able to sleep properly at night because of back pain.

My doctor (who actually has AS himself, which was why he was so quick to diagnose me when others had no clue) had said last year that sometimes AS can go into remission during pregnancy.  When the morning sickness started at around 6-7 weeks, I realised I would have to trust his word.  While some people are repulsed by meat when they are pregnant, for me it was vegetables.  During my year on the low starch diet, I ate large quantities of salads and cooked vegetables.  But now my body just couldn't hack some vegies anymore - namely broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum and sometimes celery.  It was like my body was screaming, "No more!"  I found broccoli so disgusting I would start to feel sick even while I was cooking it for Duncan.  Even if someone mentioned the word 'broccoli' I would envision a head of broccoli coming towards me.  Yuck!

So I broke the diet.  All I wanted for a while was toast or dry crackers.  Then the baby decided he/she wanted large quantities of chips and pies.  People asked me if I was having any strange cravings, but I had nothing interesting or weird to share with them.  All my body wanted was what it had been denied for the past year.

Guess what!  The doc was right.  The AS is in remission and I can eat whatever I want (bar the foods that are not recommended during pregnancy).  It's not all smooth sailing.  Even when I was on the diet, I would still have the occasional bad back day.  A couple of weeks ago (at 21 weeks), I had back pain so bad I could hardly walk.  Sometimes it seems like I have swapped one kind of back pain for another.

I still need to do some research about what to do when the baby arrives.  Do I go straight back on the low starch diet?  What if I'm breastfeeding?  Drastically changing my diet plays havoc with my digestive system.  I don't want to do it unnecessarily.  It took ages to explain to people why I was on the low starch diet.  They were just beginning to understand and now I'm telling them I'm not on it anymore...but may have to be again in the future.  Ugh, no-one is going to want to have me over for dinner soon.

But for now, I'm just enjoying having all of those foods that were considered naughty while I was on the diet.  Mmmm pies.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hey! Check Out My Blog - Part 4

One of the questions I had when I first became a blogger was, How do I get people to read my blog?  How do I promote it?  Other than commenting on other people's blogs, I've found entering posts in blog carnivals to be really good way to get the blog 'out there'.

Here are some sites which I have entered posts into:

1.  Christian Blog Carnival
2.  Best Posts of the Week
3.  Photo Friday

Check them out and see if they appeal to you and fit with your style of blog.  They may bring a little extra traffic your way and introduce you to some new blogs.

Friday, September 21, 2012

We Have A Winner!

The random number generator thingy has selected a winner in my competition to celebrate this blog reaching 1000 posts.

It's Iris from Double Half or One Ten Without Ham.

Congratulations Iris.  Could you please email me at seddyed at hotmail dot com with your postal address and let me know which prize you would like.

Thanks to all who entered.  There were some great responses.  Some of you have quite different reasons for reading the blogs you do.  But you also said quite similar things.  Rather than copy and paste the responses, I've tried to summarise the points (I hope I haven't misinterpreted what anyone was saying).

Why I read certain blogs….
I already know the blogger personally.
I have come to know the blogger through their work and so I want to keep reading what they have to say.
The blogger and I are like-minded i.e. both Christian and have shared experiences.
The blog encourages me to press on in my Christian walk.
The blog contains information wrapped up in life experience (not all one or the other).
The blog covers a variety of topics.
The blog makes me laugh, think, feel and consider.
The blog is entertaining.
The blogger is honest about their life i.e. they don’t gloss over life’s difficulties or make out they have a perfect life.
The blog helps me cope with difficult subjects and experiences i.e. death.
The posts aren’t too long.
The spelling and grammar is good.
I learn through the blogger’s advice/opinion and it helps me make decisions about my own life.
I like to read blogs from countries I’ve travelled to.
I like the blog’s photos and historic facts.

Quite a list!

Why do I read the blogs I do?  Well, here's my list.
I know the blogger personally (or know of them i.e. a friend of a friend).

Shared faith (i.e. both Christian) and they encourage me in my faith.

Similar views on some topics.

Same nationality/location.  When I first started blogging, just about all of the blogs I read were by Perth bloggers.  This was because I was a Perth blogger, I could relate to a lot of the things they were writing about (when they mentioned a certain suburb etc, I knew exactly what they were talking about), and there was a strong chance we could actually meet in person one day.  Now I read blogs from all over the world, but I'm still primarily attracted to Australian blogs.

I can learn from them i.e. they are in a different stage of life and have wisdom to share.

The blogger responds to my comments on their blog.  Sounds silly, but I feel a bit stupid leaving comments on some blogs, only to be totally ignored ALL the time.  Sure, you don't need to respond to every comment, but I feel quite unwelcome on some blogs.

Variety.  Some longer, meaty posts.  Some shorter funny posts.  Some photos.  Some jokes.  I don't tend to read blogs that are all about one topic, unless it's a topic I'm really interested in.

A good blogging 'speed'.  When there are too many long posts in a row, I feel like I can't keep up with reading the posts and participating in the conversations in the comments.  On the other hand, I lose interest when the blogger blogs only once every six months or something.

Thanks everyone who participated.  It has been very interesting indeed. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Less Than 24 Hours....

...for you to enter my competition which is to celebrate this blog reaching 1000 posts!

See here for details on how to enter.  You could win your choice of two prizes.

I've had some great responses so far.  Thank you.

I will announce the randomly drawn winner at just after 4pm (West Australian time).

You know you want to.... :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Don't Forget to Enter My Competition

It's really easy.  All you have to do is leave a comment or email me at seddyed at hotmail dot com telling me what attracts you to the blogs you regularly read and you could win your choice of two prizes.

This is to celebrate this blog reaching 1000 posts (see my previous post).

Deadline is Friday 4pm (West Australian time). :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Millennium Giveaway

This is my 1000th post!

It has taken me six years, two months, and 26 days to reach four figures.

I've been wondering why it is that people read blogs, or rather why they choose to read certain blogs and not others.  Why do you read the blogs you do?  Why do you read this blog?

I've tried to brainstorm a few reasons why people may choose to read particular blogs:
  • They know the blogger in real life.
  • The blogger is in the same stage of life as them.
  • A shared faith/worldview.
  • Shared interests.
But really I have no clue.  That's why I'm interested in your answers.  Please leave a comment letting me know why you keep reading the blogs you do?  What keeps you reading?  I won't publish any answers.  Instead, I'll compile a list of reasons, but I won't say who said what. 

To celebrate the millennium here at the Sedshed, I'll be having a giveaway.  If you leave a comment with your answers, you'll go into a random draw to win either of these two prizes (winner's choice):

A copy of The Trellis and the Vine which I reviewed here:

or this beautiful Dusty Rose Pink Pendant designed and made by Amanda from her shop Polyclarific:

Even if neither of these prizes really appeal to you, consider entering anyway and think about who you could give them to as a gift. :)

This competition is open to anyone around the world.  I will announce the winner next Friday at 4pm (Australian Western Standard Time) so you have a week. :)

If you would prefer to email me your answers, you may do so to seddyed at hotmail.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Quote of the Day

Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier.
- Kathleen Norris

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

From Head to Hand: Lessons Learned From Enid

Whenever I'm sick, I inevitably end up watching more daytime TV.  I never usually watch it normally, even during my days at home.  When Duncan and I were both sick and channel surfing, we came across a midday movie that was definitely worth watching.  Simply titled Enid, it was a movie based on the life of Enid Blyton - one of my all time favourite childhood authors.

What started as excitement soon turned to horror.  Although the very versatile Helena Bonham Carter puts in a fantastic performance as always, the way Enid Blyton is portrayed was absolutely shocking.  She is made out to be a malicious, adulterous witch who is trapped inside her own fantasy world.  She drives her first husband to the drink and neglects her two young daughters, instead churning out over 6000 words per day on her typewriter.

Now, you never know how accurate biographical movies are.  How much of it is true and how much is sensationalised is anyone's guess.  I know I would be outraged if a movie was made about my life and I was made out to be a monster.  I did some Googling and found interviews with Enid's two daughters, Gillian and Imogen.  The now late Gillian said her mother was a wonderful mother.  Imogen, on the other hand, saw it very differently.  She apparently came on set while the movie was filmed and gave tips on how to portray Enid.  There was no love lost between them.

Apart from the shock of seeing one of my childhood heroes shown in such a negative light, what did I learn from this movie in regards to my own writing?  It can be summed up in one sentence:

Don't give up your day job!

I don't mean 'day job' necessarily as a career.  Most writers need other income to support themselves.  While I've written before about needing to be proactive in creating the necessary time to write, it's important to know that writing isn't everything.  I need my current job for the income and to get out of the house.  But while Enid didn't have other employment while she wrote, she did have two very important roles - wife and mother.  There is one scene where she invites some of her young fans over to her country manor for a tea party.  When one of them asks why her own daughters aren't invited to join in, she replies, "Oh they see me all the time anyway."  I thought, Rubbish!  They are always stuck with the nanny.

As I approach parenthood, this was a huge wake-up call to how I balance raising a young family with my desire to write.  While I still feel the urge to write, I don't want my kids to feel that I love the characters I created in my own head more than I love them.

Friday, September 07, 2012

News Sharing Etiquette

While it has many positives, Facebook often really bugs me.  It has become a vehicle for people to just dump important news out to the hoards without any consideration for their family and close friends.  It's fine to announce to your 200 friends that you're eating a nice piece of cake, but I really don't want to find out that a close friend or family member is engaged, pregnant, has given birth, been diagnosed with cancer, or dead via Facebook!

I know I'm not alone in thinking this, but I often feel like I am.  When I casually mention to people that it's polite to notify those closest to them by means other than Facebook before throwing it out to the general public, I get puzzled looks.  But Facebook is so much easier and more convenient, they say.  That is until they are on the receiving end.  Suddenly they don't like hearing about the birth of their niece or nephew along with everyone else.  Suddenly Mother's excuse that it was easier to announce via Facebook that Granny had died rather than call the family individually just doesn't cut it.

I've felt hurt that I've found out things from people I used to consider quite good friends via their Facebook status.  Whereas in the pre-Facebook days they would have sent me an SMS, email, called me, or told me in person, now suddenly I'm just lumped in the same category as that person they went to school with and haven't seen for 10+ years.  Even a private Facebook message would have been better than a status!

So, Duncan and I have been faced with a dilemma: Do we just plod along with the way society is going and stick all our news on Facebook?  Or do we swim against the tide and continue to notify those important to us via other means BEFORE sticking it on Facebook....whether they return the courtesy or not?

We decided to go with the latter.  With the impending birth of our baby, we decided to put our convictions into action.  We either phoned, texted, or told people in person (if we happened to see them) that I was pregnant.  By the time we announced it on Facebook, most people already knew.  Sometimes it feels like people announce things on Facebook straight away so they can get lots of comments/likes.  Other methods of communication may be more expensive or inconvenient, but I know when people go out of their way to tell me things, I feel valued.  We wanted our friends and family to know we value them.

My other gripe with news sharing is when people share OTHER PEOPLE'S news for them.  Things like announcing the birth of other people's children on Facebook before they get a chance to do it themselves! "I'm so happy for my friends Bob and Sue who have just welcomed little Bobby-Sue. Love you guys!"  In the pre-Facebook days, I found out some friends were engaged because another friend rang me before the engaged couple got a chance to.  It's just not on.  It's someone else's special moment.  They should get the chance to announce it.  Excuses like, "But I was just so excited," don't cut it.  I honestly think people do this because they want to look important and 'in the know'.  They want others to know that they knew first.

When you've got some news to tell,
Share with those who you know well.
Before you spread it far and wide,
First swim against the tide.
Make an effort for those near and dear.
Think how you'd feel if you were to hear,
Something via the grapevine,
You'd expect to hear via another line.
Let people announce their news.
Remember the social cues.
It's their time in the sun,
Don't let your tongue spoil their fun.

What do you think is good news sharing etiquette?

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The True and Living God

In light of the recent Olympics and current Paralympics, I thought a review of this book would be appropriate.

At times, I found myself getting disappointed in the performance of the Australian athletes during the Olympics.  Great Britain (the country I most wanted to beat in the medal count) did so well.  I read that the British government has been pumping stacks of money into sport and it was obviously paying dividends.  When it was suggested that the Australian government do the same, I was all for it.  Yep, our athletes need more funding.  We need more gold medals.

Then I realised just how screwed up my thinking was.  What does that show about my priorities?  Success?  Fame?  Sport is a fantastic gift from God that we should enjoy, but money is more desperately needed in other areas.

The True and Living God by Kim Hawtrey is one of those books where you go, Yeah, yeah, I KNOW all this.  We KNOW we have idolatrous hearts.  We KNOW we have forsaken Jesus for the man-made, false gods of this world.  The trouble is that we all need its message to seep down into our hearts.

The book examines the passages in Genesis where Adam and Eve first rejected God and how that is the root of all idolatry.  In my opinion, the best chapter in the book is Chapter 3 of Part 1 which is called Modern rivals to God.  This really fleshes out which idols permeate Australian society and Christian culture.  Idolatry is subtle and we often need each other to point out our blind spots.  This doesn't mean that we can't enjoy things in this life, or that we should have an attitude which despises God's good gifts.  It doesn't mean that if someone enjoys golf then they have made it an idol.  But too often we say, Oh we don't worship statues, so we're ok.  Things like money, family, relationships, others' perceptions of us, TV, career, and sport can also be idols.

As Duncan and I are about to step into parenthood for the first time, it was good to re-read the section starting on page 76 entitled Worship of Family: The noblest form of atheism.  Too often in churches, the 'family way' is promoted as the 'Christian way'.  After all, how can sweet as pie families be anything but Christian?  So often I hear Christian parents say, "My children come first."  This section is a rebuke to that notion.  Jesus warns us that an absolute and overriding devotion to family as our 'everything' can actually keep us out of heaven if it displaces God from first place in our lives (page 77).  A single Christian I know said she was shocked when a Christian couple she knew separated and later divorced.  She told me how this made her realise she had placed marriage on a pedestal as if being married would ensure ultimate happiness and an end to life's problems.

I've also realised that I can be tempted to idolise other people's lives, even some celebrities.  When someone I saw as 'good' does something wrong, I feel like I've been ripped off in some way.  Their halo has slipped when I should never have been seeing them as wearing a halo in the first place.  There is a difference between being thankful for someone's example and 'following' them.

The True and Living God provides a lot to chew over so it's worth reading slowly. 

This book is available from the Matthias Media Australian store here.

There is also a US store here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Bible Verse of the Day

My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
Jeremiah 2:13

Monday, September 03, 2012

Diary of an Incubator: 20 Weeks

I can't be that big surely!  The camera lies.

Haha how evil does Ebony look in the background...