Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Funny

Hehehe I love the looks on these babies' faces.  I hope our baby's facial expressions make me laugh, too.







Thursday, November 29, 2012

Frocked Up

It's rare for me to get really dressed up these days.  Apart from the occasional wedding, there's not a lot of reason to when you live on a farm.  When that rare opportunity comes along, it is really exciting for us country folk.

The big boss (as Duncan refers to him), who owns the farm, held his bi-annual staff 'extravaganza' on the 22nd September at the Perth Convention Centre.  Not only does he own two farms, he also owns a number of building, electrical and plumbing companies.  So, yeah, we were expecting it to be posh.  We even got to stay at a hotel...woohoo!  All we had to pay for was our tickets to the event.

This meant I had to find a nice frock...which I got in Melbourne.

Ta-da!

I was 23 weeks at the time.


 Some of the farm blokes.

The farm girls minus one.

We were supposed to be doing sad faces because Rachel couldn't come.
Obviously I missed the memo.


The ballroom looked amazing with the circus theme.  I was very glad NOT
to have organised this event though.

There was a dance floor.....oh yeah!  Unfortunately dancing is
getting a tad difficult these days.

The most fun part of the evening....the photobooth!

Yep, I stood up at the wrong time.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wedding 1 2012

It looks like there will only be one wedding to blog about in 2012.  I miss going to stacks of weddings.

We attended Rachel and Dan's wedding ceremony in Perth on Saturday 8th September.  They had a very quirky powerpoint playing while everyone was waiting for the bride which detailed how they started dating and got engaged.  I loved it.


 
 
When I was 21 weeks
 
 


Monday, November 26, 2012

Diary of an Incubator: What's in a Name?

With only seven and a half weeks to go, I realised Duncan and I needed to sit down and have a serious discussion about what to name the baby.  We didn't find out the sex at our 20 week scan (much to the astonishment of so many people - it must be a given that everyone finds out these days), so we need to have a list of names for each.

We first discussed baby names waaay before we considered having kids, and we discovered that we didn't agree on anything.  I thought some of the names Duncan suggested were downright bizarre, or sounded like old man names.  He thought names I liked reminded him of people he knew at school who weren't very nice.  Or he'd say, "No, we can't have that name.  My cousin's kid's dog has that name."

It took a while to name Maya and Gypsy because we couldn't agree.  I thought if we were that bad with dogs, what are we going to be like with kids?

This time, we both made a list of names, exchanged lists, and crossed out names that we definitely didn't like.  I felt a bit sad that Duncan was whittling away my reasonable list.  But then I practically massacred his much shorter list haha.  However, I was surprised that we were actually agreeing a lot more.  Our tastes had changed a bit and moved more towards each other.  Some of my suggestions which Duncan had rejected a few years back, he decided he quite liked now.

A few days ago, Duncan had a rare day off work and we sat down and reduced the list even further.  We now have a short list of four girls' names and two boys' names (with middle names to go with each one).  We decided to leave it at that and just wait until we meet the baby.  I've always been sceptical when people say, "Oh I had this name picked out, but then I met the baby and he didn't look like a John; he looked more like a Sam."  I thought, how does a baby look like anything?  He/she just looks like a baby.  When I meet people and they introduce themselves, I don't think, They don't look like a Bob.  They're just Bob.  All Bobs look different anyway.  But at least our child won't go weeks without a name.  If one of us changes our mind, then we have backups.

Choosing a name is fun, but also hard.  You have to make sure it goes with your surname and the middle name, and that it rolls off the tongue.  People have told me they're intrigued at the sort of names I might like.  They've said, 'We're not sure if you'd go for hippie names or normal names."  One person thought I'd be likely to go for weirdo names, and Duncan for Matthew/Mark/Luke/John type names.  Haha if only they knew.  I keep things close to my chest.  I don't want to tell people our list of names and have them try to change our minds.  Plenty of friends and family have chosen names for their kids that I think are hideous, but I keep my mouth shut.  It's none of my business.

Anyway, here's what you can expect when we announce the name:
  • NOT something starting with B.  Our surname starts with B.  Some double-barrelled names do sound good, but generally most B names didn't sound great with our surname (which was annoying since I like a lot of boys' names starting with B).
  • NOT a weird Biblical name.  I know some Christian couples LOVE these kinds of names because of the meaning.  Why is it that so many Christians seem obsessed with the meaning of a name?  Surely the sound of the name has to be taken into consideration as well - the kid has to live with that name, and I'm sure the school bullies aren't going to ask the meaning of their name when they're picking on them.  I've been told, "You need to pick a name with a good meaning (i.e. God with us, God is our light etc) so you can pray it over the child."  Meh!  As long as the name we choose doesn't mean 'spawn of Satan' or something, I'm not fussed.  Don't expect any Obadiahs in this household.
  • NOT something in the Top 10 Most Popular Names.  I'm Sarah.  There was always more than one in my class at school.  Enough said.  Something a little more original would be better.
  • NOT a one-syllable name.  Our surname has one syllable.  I think you've got to have a first name that's at least two syllables when you've got a short surname.
  • NOT a family name (i.e. naming the child after a relative).  I'm VERY glad that Duncan doesn't come from a family where we're expected to carry on names.  A friend of mine comes from a family where the first male is always called John...her grandfather, father and brother are all called John.  I couldn't stand that.  A child needs to have their own identity.  Nobody should be forced to carry on a tradition, or name their child after a dead relative with a hideous name.  My whole name is family names (Sarah is my great-grandmother).  I think often people name their child after a much-loved relative with an underlying expectation that the child will be like who they're named after.  Those kinds of expectations are unhealthy.  Then, if you do it for one side of the family, the rest of the family expect you to name the next child after them.  We might consider it for middle names, but definitely not for first names.  You might have fond memories of a loved one, but if their name was Gertrude, it might be better NOT to pass that on!
There you go.  When I announce the name in late January, expect the unexpected. :)

How did you go about choosing your children's names?

Is there a story behind why your parents chose your name?

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Post I Wasn't Planning To Write

I had planned to do a Friday Funny today.  That will have to wait until next Friday.  I'm feeling too sad at the moment.

Yesterday I found my handsome Light Sussex rooster, Russell Crowe, dead in the chookyard.  There was no obvious reason why he died.  Maybe he was bitten by something.  Maybe he was sick.  Maybe he just had a heart attack or a stroke (which I read online can happen suddenly to chickens, and not necessarily old ones).

All of the hens are fine.

Whatever happened to Russell, I still feel down.  To everyone else, he may have been just a rooster, but to me, he was a much-loved pet.

We will get another rooster eventually when I hear of someone giving away a nice, friendly adult one.

He was a lovely boy.  The chookyard doesn't look right without its king.  I'm glad he was able to have a nice home with us - I just wish it was for longer than two years and four months.

I miss Russell.  That is all.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Daddy's Girl

Ebony is such a daddy's girl.

She's going to get a rude shock when the baby arrives.  I asked Duncan, "How are you going to fit both the cat and the baby on your lap at the same time?" Hehe!

Here they both are on a Sunday morning a little while back.  Duncan woke up when the flash went off and said, "Don't put it on Facebook!"




Nah, I'll just put it on the blog instead. ;)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

And Can It Be That I Should Gain by Charles Wesley

Another hymn I love to sing loudly because it so fits with my experience of being set free by Jesus.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay.
Fast bound in sin and nature's night.
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray -
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light.
My chains fell off, my heart was free.
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free.
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread.
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine.
Alive in Him, my living head,
And clothed in righteousness divine.
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown through Christ my own.
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown through Christ my own.

Lyrics sourced from here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Quote of the Day

It is worth the effort of a lifetime to reach one person with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
 - Charles Spurgeon

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission


If you only read one book on evangelism...read this one!

 It was 2005 when I first spied it on a camp bookstall.  I've always liked John Dickson's books, but I feared this would be another guilt-trippy book on evangelism that would chastise Christians for not all being street preachers or door knockers.  I should have known it wouldn't be so after reading some of Dickson's earlier books.








When I first read it, it was known as Promoting the Gospel and it looked like this:



















But it's still the same book!

The tagline for the repackaged version is: Promoting the gospel with more than our lips.  That's what Dickson is on about.  He differentiates between proclaiming the gospel and promoting the gospel by exploring some key Bible verses on evangelism:

Consequently faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:7

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.
1 Peter 2:12

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, when they see the purity and reverance of your lives.
1 Peter 3:1-2

At first, it may seem that Dickson is a big fan of the famous quote supposedly by St Francis of Assisi - Preach the gospel at all times and, when necessary, use words.  Even though I have struggled with telling others that I have faith in Christ, this quote has never sat well with me.  How can anyone know and understand the gospel if no-one explains it to them?  As much as I might not want to speak, speaking is necessary.  Have you ever seen a great ad on TV, but never had an idea what it is actually advertising?  You may be attracted to someone's good life, but unless you know WHY they live the way they do, you will not know what they are 'advertising'.

Dickson is NOT saying, "Don't preach the gospel."  That would mean Peter is contradicting Paul.  What he IS saying is that although we need to preach the gospel with our lips, we also need to adorn it with our lives.  Non-Christians see Christians who don't practise what they preach as hypocrites, and rightly so.  Rather, Dickson is promoting a range of activities that make the gospel beautiful to those around us.  These include:
  • Prayer
  • Godly behaviour
  • Financial assistance to those in need
  • Public praise of God (i.e. in church or through Church Together, Carols by Candlelight or some public Christian activity)
  • Answering people's questions and objections about Christianity (i.e. over coffee with a friend or during morning tea at your workplace)
This was all true for me before I became a Christian.  I was attracted to Jesus by the lifestyles of my Christian friends at high school.  Although I gave them limited opportunities to explain the reason for the way they lived, God was working in me, awakening a desire for Himself.  But obviously someone had to explain the gospel to me so that I could believe it.  That happened when I went to uni.

While Dickson himself is a gifted evangelist, he realises in the book that he has been guilty in the past of pushing his ministry onto others.  He emphasises that there are people who have been gifted in evangelism who find it naturally easier than others, and that these people have a special role in the church (that is not to say that other Christians should not be involved in evangelism).  I was relieved to read that.  I've met a few gifted evangelists who have been bewildered that any Christian could be coy about sharing their faith.  It was nice to know that someone understands and is committed to helping others reach out in different ways.

One of the great thing about this book is that is does not emphasise and promote what Dickson calls the 'gospel download' - learning and memorising a five point gospel outline to share with others during stranger evangelism.  While he acknowledges that courses encouraging Christians to share their faith certainly have their place and can be invaluable when opportunities arise, we do not get many opportunities in our culture for doing this with non Christians.  Australian culture sees religion as a private thing.  Some people are very open with asking questions about faith (especially on university campuses), but most of my friends who have door knockers come by their houses tell them to get lost.  Therefore, most of our opportunities for sharing Christ will not come in the form of 'gospel downloads' but 'gospel bites'.  Someone at work may make a passing comment about Christianity which gives us the opportunity to respond.  But often we won't get the opportunity to share the whole gospel.  Sometimes it will take months or years of being alongside that person, being their friend, answering their questions to get that opportunity to share more.  Other cultures may be different, but that's Australia to a tee.  Therefore, every Christian needs to be prepared to give an answer, but not necessarily a gospel download.

But in your hearts set Christ apart as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect...
1 Peter 3:15

Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Colossians 4:6

This was a HUGE encouragement to me, knowing that I don't have to regurgitate a gospel outline to people who are not interested.  Obviously it would be great to have that chance, but wisdom and discernment (and patience) is needed in each and every situation.

The main problem which I blogged about in The Dreaded E Word is NOT not knowing what to say, but having the courage to speak up in the first place...even if it's just a gospel bite.  Too often I've been in a group situation where someone has said what they think about Christians, or about churches (not positive), and I've just sat there.  That is not to say that I should have jumped in and berated them, but I could have asked them why they thought that and tried to gently engage with them a bit more, rather than not wanting to be seen as a freak.  If you're anything like me, Dickson has this encouragement for you:
Whatever the causes, the antidote to Christian coyness is a renewed vision of Christ's lordship over all: as Peter says, setting apart Christ as Lord.  Our bosses, professors, parents, friends, politicians and media do not rule heaven or earth.  If for just a moment, we could lift the curtain of heaven and see 'the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God' (Acts 7:55), then all causes of Christian embarrassment would vanish in an instant. (page 158)

John Dickson is right and the counsellor who helped me back in 2004 is right.  To be able to share the good news of the gospel with others, I first and foremost DON'T just need more training, or be told to be brave, or just get over it.  I need a fresh view of who Jesus is.  He puts everything into perspective.

This is a book I highly recommend every Christian should read.  I am grateful to God for how He used this book to help me.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Before The Throne Of God Above by Charitie Lees Smith Bancroft

This song always uplifts me because it so perfectly describes my experience in my last post.  If you ever see and hear me singing it extra loudly, that is why.

Before the throne of God above,
I have a strong and perfect plea,
A great high priest whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands.
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in heaven He stands,
No tongue can bid me thence depart,
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there,
Who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died,
My sinful soul is counted free,
For God the Just is satisfied,
To look on Him and pardon me,
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself, I cannot die,
My soul is purchased by His blood.
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Saviour and my God.

Lyrics sourced from here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Dreaded E Word

Evangelism.

What goes through your mind when you hear that word?

Fear?  Excitement?  Guilt? 

This is my 'evangelism story' from since I became a Christian.  I've struggled with seeing evangelism as a privilege.  It doesn't help when other Christians go on and on about how if we really love Jesus, then we wouldn't have any fear.  This doesn't encourage the timid and help the weak.  It just paralyses them.

The main thing I've learnt over the years is that I will never love Jesus as I should, but that He loves me - more than I can ever comprehend.  His acceptance of me is because He purchased me with His own blood - not my evangelism ability or lack of.

I've blogged my testimony before here.  In Part 3, I wrote about my family and friends' reaction to my faith.  I had some Christian friends who openly showed their joy and excitement that I was now following Christ.  But some others came across as a bit indifferent.  It was almost like they didn't really believe me.  One person admitted later that she was always so very happy for me, and should have showed it more.

As a new believer, I had this very naive view that my non-Christian family would be happy for me.  That fellow students at uni would be respectful after finding out I was a Christian.  It seems ridiculous now.  After all, I wasn't very respectful of Christians before I became one.  My mum had been encouraging me to go to Christian 'events', but when I told them I was now a Christian and was attending a church regularly, she did not react well.  It made me realise that her aim was for me to keep out of trouble at high school and uni.  She never actually wanted me to BELIEVE it.

I was shattered.  I started hiding my faith.  I feared man much, much more than I feared God.  I wasn't openly Christian.  I decided that if someone asked if I was a Christian, then I would be happy to talk to them about it, but I would never aim to start evangelistic conversations.  I wanted people to like me....even people I didn't really respect or like much.  I only wanted to talk to non-Christians I felt 'safe' around.

Being part of the Christian Union at uni was both an encouragement and a burden.  I felt so much pressure to be involved in stranger/walk-up evangelism...it was as if this was the only way to evangelise.  One guy was a very gifted evangelist and did regular stranger evangelism on campus.  He often invited others to join him, but he was very encouraging about it.  He emphasised that he didn't want anyone to feel guilty if they didn't want to accompany him.  But on another occasion, I was hanging out with someone before Bible study when they said, "We've got some time to kill.  Let's do some stranger evangelism."  When I told this person I didn't want to, they kept pressuring me, "Why not?"

I felt guilty.  I felt ashamed.  I felt like I wasn't a true Christian.  I felt like God didn't love me, that I'd lost my salvation.  Satan got into my ear and I believed his lies.  He whispered that if I was ashamed of Jesus, then He would be ashamed of me before His Father.

This was 2004 when everything really went pear-shaped.

I was afraid to die.  If I died I would go to hell so I had to stay alive at all costs.  I became very depressed.  On top of my workload for uni, it was difficult to cope.  I felt like I had no-one to talk to, no-one would understand.  A lot of Christians admitted they found evangelism scary, but it didn't offer me any encouragement.  They might have been scared, but they didn't hide away like I was.  They loved Jesus enough to be bold, despite their fear.

In the end, I decided to seek out a Christian counsellor.  I needed to speak to someone who didn't know me.

God used that lady to bring me back from despair.  I thought she would just tell me to be brave and bold.  But she didn't.  She opened the Bible and showed me Romans 8:1.  That was the beginning.  I had allowed Satan to chain me with his lies.  Now God's Word was going to set me free.

God helped me understand grace better.  I thought I knew what it entailed before, but now I was coming to a much deeper understanding.  I could NEVER deserve His love.  It was freely given.  He wasn't going to give up on me.  I could come before Him, confess my sin, and He would forgive and change me.  It might be a long and painful process, but He was for me.  He would empower me to live for Him and to speak His lifechanging words to others.

Early in 2005 I got baptised after my housemate suggested it.  It was a chance to share what God had done for me with people who weren't Christian.  Even though my parents and brother were the only non-Christians who accepted the invitation to come, I got to speak uninterrupted about the difference Jesus makes, both now and for eternity.  One of my cousins was quite horrified that I got baptised.  In my darkest days, I would have felt mortally wounded, but now I found myself not being so worried about her disapproval.

It has been a long process and it's nowhere near over.  In hindsight, I can see that, unlike many of my friends who grew up in Christian families, I had to have a 'coming out of the closet' experience as a Christian.  Although every Christian has to explain who they are to non-Christians they meet, it wasn't the same as it was for someone who has always been known for being a 'church goer' or 'religious'.  It probably sounds like I'm making excuses, but I'm not.  I know it is my own sin, the fear of man which is the problem.

The difference since 2004 is that instead of looking for God's approval in evangelism, I look to the cross.  Sharing my faith has become easier over time although it's still a struggle.  Once people know I'm a Christian, it's actually the exciting privilege it should be, and not a burden.  So, if I talk about my experiences of evangelism, rest assure I'm not wanting to brag.  It is God's work.  If you're finding it tough, I understand.

God will not give up on His children.  He will refine and change them.  My greatest encouragement is the apostle Peter.  He went from being someone who denied Jesus and fled to save his own skin, to someone who boldly and fearlessly proclaimed the gospel - even though it led to his death.  That is my prayer for myself - to let the love of Christ compel me to share the good news with others.

The post Gospel Speech at our School by Jean from In All Honesty really encouraged me this year.  Check it out.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bible Verse of the Day

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...
Romans 8:1

Friday, November 09, 2012

Diary of an Incubator: 30 Weeks

Surely I cannot get any bigger!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Facebook Evangelism

Can someone tell me why Jesus was nailed to a cross?

A guy I went to school with had this as his Facebook status last week.  I paused when I read it.  Was he seriously wanting an answer?  Or was he just looking to stir?  You never know with some people.  I've never thought Facebook was a very good vehicle for evangelism anyway.  I've seen too many 'debates' turn nasty while a lot of lurkers were probably having a good laugh.  I would rather sit down in person, or have a private conversation via email.  Should I answer this guy's question?  After a few responses that seemed quite bizarre and way off track, I took the plunge.  But instead of going into a lengthy spiel, I just sent a link to Two Ways To Live as a response.  Two Ways To Live explains the Christian message really well and I'm grateful to have such resources available.

The next day, he wrote back:
So the man himself was tied to a stake not a cross and paid the ultimate price for other people's sins. (Silly little bugger wasn't he?) so where was his parents? Are they accountable for neglect?
If we accept Jesus is God incarnate then on the metaph
orical cross God himself died, how does that work?
So the modern day JC would be crucified (murdered) by lethal injection, I suppose it would look a tad bit silly if a miniature needle replaced the 'cross' on all those necklaces.
So what makes a Christian different from Buddhist, Jewish, etc?
Then, what's the difference between English, Dutch, African, Chinese etc?
Isn't there only one JC? And one GOD? But they're the same so that's only one, but there's two present........
Oh this is all too much


I thought, well, he's serious, then.  He actually watched Two Ways To Live.  In previous comments he wrote about how he didn't understand anything from Scripture lessons in primary school, and was confused about all the different Bible translations there are.  I went to school with him for years.  Although I haven't seen him recently and he doesn't live nearby, he's a nice bloke with a bit of a dry sense of humour.  Therefore, I didn't take anything he said as a personal slur on my faith because I could see that he must be genuinely searching.  And he had so many questions!  Oh my!  How was I going to respond to them?  Should I respond to them?

But then I thought, I'd rather try and help him find Christ than not do anything.  Again I sent him a link saying it might help with some of the tough questions he was asking.  It was a link to the Christianity Explored Tough Questions page.  I didn't hear back from him after that.  But there are a lot of questions on that page so it would take some time if he was watching all of the clips.

I wasn't sure what to do after that.  It wouldn't be appropriate for me to meet up with him in person (it would be better for him to meet up with another bloke).  He lives in Albany so I was trying to think of someone I could ask if he wanted to go down that path.  I prayed.  I prayed he would not give up searching.  I prayed God would open his eyes to who Jesus is.  I prayed he would go to a good Bible-teaching church.  I prayed that he would accept Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

What started as fear gave way to excitement.  I saw that Facebook can be a great tool for evangelism if used wisely.  I'm still cautious about jumping straight into debates.  I want to be wise with my words.  Maybe God had used me to plant a seed and would send someone else to water it.  For it is God's work after all, for His glory.

This post has been entered in the November edition of the Christian Blog Carnival.  If you're a Christian blogger and would like to enter one of your recent posts, submit it here today.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Bible Verse of the Day

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow.  The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labour.
1 Corinthians 3:6-9

Friday, November 02, 2012

Ben Cousins


Recently I read Ben Cousins: My Life Story.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I sure couldn't put it down.

It is much, much better than the documentary.  It goes into a lot more detail for a start.

If you're a footy fan, it would be hard to approach this book without any sort of bias.  Most people have already formed an opinion on Cousins and if they already think he's a loser, the book probably won't change their minds.  As an Eagles' supporter, I came to it expecting to be quite saddened by what it revealed.  I couldn't help but reflect on all the years his performances brought me such joy, and it is kind of heartbreaking to read the details of what became of him.  Like many photos, I found it hard to look at the photos he includes in the book.  It is hard to believe the cheeky-looking 18-year-old who won the Rising Star award in 1996 went on to live a double life.

It is a fascinating look into how the mind of one addict works.  He is certainly an interesting character.  Organised, driven, and dedicated, he explains how he managed to live two lives for so long.  He would train harder than anyone during the week, put 110% into his matches so he wouldn't let his teammates down, then reward himself with a 'bender' which he timed specifically to avoid the drug testing.   After he'd come down, he'd start the cycle all over again. (Be warned: he goes into very specific detail about his drug-taking.)

I had kind of expected the book to be a sweeping overview of events, rather than a detailed account of this thoughts and feelings.  There I was very, very wrong.  I was surprised about how honest he is about himself, his flaws, his insecurities, and his feelings.  I would have been too embarrassed to put that sort of stuff in a book.

Some people I know who have read the book have criticised him for not revealing who his dealers are, or for painting certain shady figures (i.e. John Kizon) in too positive a light.  To be honest, I can't blame him for not putting that information out there.  His life certainly wouldn't be worth living if he did, although I can understand why people would want him to.  Cousins says he has always taken people as he finds them and doesn't worry about their reputation.   He has a 'I know they're supposed to be dodgy, but they've always been kind to me' attitude.  In fact, he even credits Kizon with trying to get him off crystal meth when he became addicted to it in 2006/07 (what led to him no longer being able to 'control' his addiction).

This is not a book I could come away from thinking I either like or I don't like Ben Cousins.  He does many, many stupid things in the book.  I couldn't help thinking that if I was his girlfriend, I would have left him a long time ago.  But then I thought about how I'd react if Duncan had a drug problem, and I'm really not sure.

But there are a couple of things about him that made me respect him as a person.  Firstly, he never blames anyone else for his addiction.  In a time when people refuse to take responsibility for their actions, he never casts the blame onto his family and upbringing, his football clubs...anyone.  He especially praises his dad who, as his confidante and best mate, has stuck with him, yet always made him face consequences for his actions while growing up.  Even though he was diagnosed with ADHD while in rehab in the US, he never uses it as an excuse for his drug-taking.  He labels himself as a 'self-confessed ratbag'.

Secondly, he showed great respect for the faith of his Christian teammate, Mark Seaby.  It was a tradition at the Eagles for new guys to the club to get up in front of their teammates and say a bit about themselves.  The team would then ask personal questions such as, What's your best sexual experience? and When was the first time you had sex?  When Mark Seaby admitted to being a virgin and Troy Wilson made a wisecrack about it, Cousins describes how Michael Gardiner (another ratbag at the club) went in to bat for Seaby:
But Troy Wilson made a smart-arse comment, something really ordinary.  And then Mickey Gardiner did one of the things that I loved him for.  In his time in Perth, Gardy would manage to upset everyone in the city about three times each.  But he would not tolerate teasing.  He grabbed Wilson by the scruff of his neck and said, "Pull your head in or I'll give you a slap."
I remember leaving the meeting full of new respect for both Gardy and Seaby.  And I was ashamed that I wasn't the one who stood up and grabbed Wilson like that.  I went up to Seaby and said, "For what it's worth, I have a lot of admiration for what you did, because I know myself that if I was in that situation I wouldn't have the balls, or the courage, or the dash, to stand up and say I haven't had sex.  Mate, I admire that.  You have a rare quality that virtually none of us do, and I hope you're proud of it."
A football club is a tough place to be different.  They've improved a bit since then, but the mentality is still there.  It never sat well with me that a bloke couldn't feel safe standing up and saying who he was.....And what Seaby said made me think back to how I'd been in such a hurry to do things only because I'd felt inadequate.  When I saw his sturdiness of character, I regretted my own rush as an adolescent... (pages 135-36)

I liked the way the book was written.  Authorship is credited to Cousins and Malcolm Knox.  It is written very much as if he were speaking to you, telling his story.  The 'voice' is very Aussie male.  There is a fair bit of swearing (be warned) in the book but that's because it's written much the way many young Aussie blokes speak.  It felt like we were sitting down somewhere and he was having a yarn to me about his life.

I came away from reading this book feeling even more sceptical about the media.  I also felt sad because I was reading the book in hindsight.  It was published in 2010 and gives you some hope that he was on the right track.  Earlier this year he was arrested for drug possession, and now has a young son to consider.  Knowing this made me realise his battles are far from over, and it cast a different light on the book.

I couldn't say I 'enjoyed' the book because it is a sad story, but it's definitely worth a read if you're an Eagles or Richmond fan.  Even if you don't like Cousins, it's still an interesting story.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Pictures of You by The Last Goodnight

This song fits with my last post.

Pictures of you, pictures of me,
Hung up on your wall for the world to see.
Pictures of you, pictures of me,
Remind us all of what we used to be.

Pictures of you, pictures of me,
Hung up on your wall for the world to see.
Pictures of you, pictures of me,
Remind us all of what we could have been,
Could have been, we could have been.


Lyrics sourced from here.