Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Living Word of God

Standing under the bold and rather obscure sign 'Beliefs', I kept looking.  I honestly thought that a book on Mother Teresa would have been found in the biography section of the library, but I had been duly informed by the on-line catalogue that it would be here instead.  As usual, I was having trouble finding the exact title.  Suddenly, I caught my breath.  I hesitated as my fingers, skimming over numerous titles and authors, brushed over three beautifully bound books all headed The Holy Quran.  Cautiously, I reached into the shelf and pulled one out.  My heart was beating and I had the distinct sensation of a naughty child indulging in something strictly forbidden.  Opening the book, I was amazed at the beauty of it.  Each page was stunningly decorated in colours and patterns.  The text was divided into two parts: down the right hand side of each page was a script that I took to be Arabic.  The left hand column was most undeniably in English.  Hastily, I closed the book and placed it back where I had found it, hoping I had not been caught with my hand in the candy jar.  


I don't know why I felt like that.  With my wordview studies, I actually have read and analysed quite a significant portion of the Quran.  There was something much more present about holding one though.  (All the texts I have read were actually in my text book on my Kindle, so it really wasn't the same.)

I think my hesitation, nervousness, and - yes, awe even - stemmed from something else.  I don't quite know how to describe it, but I think it was a fear of some kind.  All my life, I have been taught that the Bible is the one and true Word of God.  All other religions are false teachings and their scripts and writings are definitely on the taboo reading list - right up there with Twilight and The Golden Compass.  When I held that copy of the Quran in my hands the other day, I felt as though I had seriously crossed the line and would have to do some intense heart-examination.

Isn't it incredible what feelings and emotions just holding a book brought me?  In essence all I was doing was holding a bunch of paper and dried ink that formed dead words in line after line.

Why doesn't the living, breathing Word of God stir up such feelings in us??  We have the Spirit of God inside of us.  When we read His own words, shouldn't our soul just start jumping with joy, ache with anguish, and burn with shame inside of us as He convicts us cleanses us and releases us into new life with Him?  As we are sanctified by the scriptures which came straight from the mouth and the heart of God, shouldn't we be filled with awe-struck wonder at His graciousness in giving us Holy words to live by?

I'm sorry to say, I often do not get as into the Word as I should.  I read it each morning, and then I go onto what I need to do next in my day.  We have the key to all eternity sitting right there infront of us every day - something many believers are denied - and yet we treat it lightly as nothing more than words on a page.

I was struck recently by a quote I read by Mahatma Ghandi.  He was not a Christian, but I think if He had been shown what true Christian love and faith is, he would have become one.  His views on Christians and he astute assessments and comments really strike home.  This is what he said:


“You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilisation to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature.”


I don't really have anything left to say.  I shall just close with another quote and a scripture.

“What do you hold in your hand then? A literary masterpiece? A collection of ancient and beautiful stories?" asked the pope. "In that case, we must tell all those Christians who are prison and tortured for the Bible 'How foolish and unwise you have been. It is only piece of literature!' No, with the Word of God has come the light, which shall never be extinguished.
“You hold in your hands something truly divine, a book that is like fire, a book in which God speaks. Therefore, remember that the Bible was not written to be put on a bookshelf. It was written to be held in one’s hands, to be read frequently, every day, either alone or with others."
-- Pope Francis


All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:16-17

Monday, 30 November 2015

The Auditions

Yesterday was the day Joy and I had looked forward to with excitement, fear and anticipation for months - the auditions for the Wizard of Oz.  They ran from 10:00-1:00, but because we went to church first, we didn't get there until a bit past 11:00.

When we did arrive, they had done the Dorothy auditions and were at the tail end of auditioning for the Scarecrow, Tin man, and the Lion.  Obviously, none of those roles would suit either me or Joy, but the directors knew that we were wanting for both try out for Dorothy and I also wanted to try out for Glinda.  Because The Wizard of Oz is a musical, for a part, you have to present both singing and acting skills.  Not long after we showed up, Joy was asked to read for Dorothy.  The scene was right at the start when Miss Gulch is arguing with Uncle Henry and Auntie Em about Dorothy's dog who allegedly bit Miss Gulch on the leg.  Dorothy is tearfully pleading to be allowed to keep her beloved pet.

To an extent, it was hard to put heaps of emotion into what you were saying, because you had to constantly be reading the script to make sure you didn't miss where you were supposed to say something.  There was one scene I had to play Dorothy where the Wikard Witch of the West and Glinda are discussing the death of the WWOTW's sister and the possession of the Ruby Red Slippers.  It was quite a long scene, and I only got one line - "Oh it's my fault!  I'm so sorry - my house dropped on top of her!"  Or something like that.  But there was a lot of acting for me still because I had the WWOTW screaming at me half the time to hand over the slippers and condemning me for killing her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East.

The second scene I got to act for was when Dorothy and the Scarecrow find the stiff and rusted Tim Man in the forest.  This one was heaps of fun!  Someone I don't know played the Scarecrow, but our friend Jeremy played the Tim Man.  There was quite a bit of dialogue between the three of us as Scarecrow and I oiled down Tim Man with the oil out of the oil can ("Oil can what??"  XD)  I then had to pretend to bang Jeremy on the chest to hear how hollow he was as he related sorrowfully to us that he had no heart.

The directors were really lovely and kind - there were four on the auditioning panel all up: the two production directors, the vocal director, and the music director.  They 're-wound' the program so that Joy and I could sing for Dorothy.  Predictably, the song was "Over the Rainbow" and so we have been practising it for weeks.  Joy was the first to sing it.  She sang it beautifully, I thought.  She was very nervous and sang softly, but she remembered all the words and stayed in pitch.  :)

Then... it was my turn.

I wasn't feeling particularly nervous, but I stood up the front and promptly forgot the words to half the song.  The vocal director was feeding me the lines and I still forgot them.  Doh!  Needless to say, the acting was much more fun.  XD

I did also sing the Glinda song, which went much better ironically seeing as I had never heard it before or practised it.  I heard two other ladies sing it before me, then a very kind lady (who actually ended up getting the part) gave me her music and I sight sang it.  It was very fast and very high (most of the song was above C5.  I'm am soprano, so I don't find that to be that high if I have practised before hand... which I hadn't.)  Anyway, I think they forgot afterwards that I was auditioning for Glinda because I didn't get to act any of her talking parts, but that's ok.  :)

There were some wonderful actors there.  There were some terrifying women in that room when they started screaming abuse at Dorothy, but it was wonderful to watch - and we haven't even started rehearsals yet!

Early yesterday evening I got a phone call from the directors.  They thanked Joy and me for auditioning and said we both really suited the part of Dorothy and were very lovely and feminine, however this tie they felt they needed to choose someone with a bit more experience for the role.  We had expected as much, but the directors did double check that we both still wanted to be in the chorus - munchkins, trees, flying monkeys, poppies, etc - and we very gladly said we would.  We are both thrilled because, even though we didn't get a main role, we will be working with some wonderful people and musical theatre is something we have been wanting to do for quite some time.

You are probably wondering who did get the roles to Dorothy and the other main characters.  I do know - and I am terribly excited about it because I know these people - but I don't want to say yet as the news is still fairly fresh and they may want to share the news first!  ^_^

The rehearsals start the first first week of the first term in January/February and we have two (later three) rehearsals a week until the shows in May/June.  

Thursday, 26 November 2015

This Whirlwind We Call Life



Whirlwind is the only appropriate word I can think of to describe life at the moment.  I know I say it every time, but life is busy.  It has been so busy I wonder sometimes if it's all really worth it.  (Of course, I know it is, but you know, when you're tired you ask yourself silly questions.)  I have been intending to blog for some time now, and it just hasn't happened.  Well, it's happening now, and I shall attempt to sum up the last few weeks and the next few so as to update you on this whirlwind we call life.  

I can't even remember where I left off on my last post... *goes and checks*  Oh my goodness!!  It's been over a month!!!  Oops...
At the end of October/start of November, we had our family church camp.  As always, it was wonderful.  Our pastor asked me and another guy,Jeremy, to organize the games for the Saturday seeing as we had both been to kids camp a few weeks before.  We agreed and got together to organize it.  I have to say it was rather amusing as we are both very laid back and organizing isn't a strong point for either of us (although I think I do have the upper hand in that department out of the two of us!  XD)  We sat there for a bit and for the life of us could only remember two or three games from kids camp and we weren't sure how they would apply to a big group.  In the end, we scrapped kids camp inspiration and came up with our own ideas, even taking a couple of games and putting our own twist on them and making up our own rules to make them work for 50+ people.  It didn't go too badly at all.  Capture the flag was the hit game of the day.  We had four teams (Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green) and so there were two colours to a side for each round of the game.  Jeremy insisted on swapping the teams around every round of the game though, so as not to create any animosity between people of any two colour teams.  I have to say, that amused me somewhat.
Just in front of the sand, near the logs on the left
is where we have church by the lake.  Isn't it beautiful??
(Picture from the Generate Church Website)
On Sunday morning, we always have church by the lake at camp.  Because we are down by the lake, we have water baptisms there every year.  This year I decided to be water baptised.  Our pastor asked me if I would share my testimony with the church as well.  I agreed, but I was rather nervous.  I won't repeat it all here, but if you are interested in reading it, I wrote it all in a guest post over at Fullness of Joy.  What you read on the post is more than what I shared with the church.  I did intend to share most of it when I got up, but then I had a microphone in one hand and couldn't open my paper with the other because I was shaking too much!  So I said the main points as I could remember them, and I think it went exactly the way God wanted it, even if it wasn't what I had planned.  People told me afterwards that I spoke well and didn't sound or look nervous at all.  That was so encouraging!!  

The weekend after family camp, I had - wait for it! - another camp!!  This one was the kids camp out for our kids church, of which I am one of the leaders.  we were so pleased with the attendance and participation of the kids (we ended up with seven boys and seven girls.)  I was in charge of the food for the weekend and went shopping with co-leader Christy which was an experience all of it's own as we are like chalk and cheese with completely different personalities.  (Christy will write lists of lists she has to write, and I am like, "Oh, there were lesson plans for that??"  It is quite funny - we crack each other up!) 
The highlight of the weekend for me was on Saturday night when a few of the youth band came and did some worship with the kids.  We were so grateful and blessed to have them come - a couple of them even postponed plans they already had for the evening just to come and minister to the children.  To those of you who did that, I know you probably won't ever read this, but your selfless actions blew me away - your kingdom focus is amazing and I thankyou all from the bottom of my heart.  I know that the leaders and kids alike were incredibly blessed by the way you served us and the Lord.  
While we were all sitting in a circle singing along to the acoustic guitars, we got to the bit in Hosanna  where it says:

Heal my heart and make it clean,
Open up my eyes to the things unseen.
Show me how to love like you have loved me.
Break my heart for what breaks yours.
Everything I have for the kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity.

As those lines started the kids lifted up their voices and sang.  Yes, they sing other times, but this was worship and hearing their young voices singing out to their God to break their hearts for the things that break His, and committing themselves to the Kingdom of God, it brought tears to my eyes.  This is why we - my co-leaders and I - continue in kids ministry.  Hearing them worship that night puts it all in perspective.  When the presence of God comes and responds to the praise and the worship of children, you realize you have the key to changing the world.  Children respond to the presence of God, and God works powerfully  through them.  In our kids church, we have children who speak in tongues, children to have been baptised in the Holy Spirit, children who have seen visions from God and have learned to interpret them correctly, children who hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit and obey it, children who pray for the sick and see healing occur before their eyes, children whose hearts break to the point of tears when they learn of suffering and injustice.  And I don't believe that it is limited to our church - God is moving among the young people all over the planet.  Watch out world - there is an Army rising up who will stand for what they believe in, who aren't afraid of what people think, and who will shake the very foundations of hell.  

I see a generation, 
rising up to take their place,
With selfless faith...


The week after the camp out, I got really sick due to the fact that about five of the children who attended said camp were just recovering from some flu-bug thing.  It was really awful and had me flat on  my back for nearly four days.  Thankfully, I  recovered after that and Grace was the only other person in our house to really get it.  Not that those days were totally wasted... I watched all of the 2009 Emma and most of the BBC Mansfield Park in that time.  Emma  is my favourite Jane Austin - yes, even over Pride and Prejudice.  (I mean, who would want Mr. Darcy if you could have Mr. Knightly???  He is so kind and honourable, and he and Emma and Miss Bates and all the people from Highbury are such wonderful characters!)  

During all this time we have desperately been preparing for the church carols as well.  As well as being in the choir, I am the lead girl in one of the drama skits (we were a little short on people this year and several members of the choir are participating in multiple roles throughout the night!)  I have rehearsed one scene where I have to blow up at this guy who crashes into me by accident and breaks all the Christmas presents in my bags.  I really have trouble with this because I am pretty even-keel by nature and blowing up at people with sarcasm and a blaring temper is actually a challenge.  (Not that I am perfect by any means - I tend to react backhandedly when I get ticked off!)  On top of that, the guy who runs into me is played a good friend of ours and who I get along with really well.  Aaron is a funny man and we make each other laugh when we're not acting... I'm a hopeless case when we are -- especially when he calls me ma'am.  Do I look or sound like a ma'am to you???  No.  I didn't think so.  The other bit that makes me laugh is when I have to correct his grammar as part of the script.  I wanted to leave that part out, but Aaron said we should leave it in because his wife is a school teacher and will find that bit highly amusing.  "Just you wait," he told me. "You'll hear her giggle in the crowd!"
One part of the carols I am really looking forward to is the dress.  We try to theme each year differently, and this year the theme is rockabilly.  I was SO excited when I heard that, because it is my favourite era and style of dress... and it gave me a good excuse to buy a rockabilly dress.  It was a big decision for me because modest dresses are really hard to find for my height and build, and I wanted to be able to wear it again as I actually don't have any dresses in my
wardrobe at the moment.  Joy also wanted one and so we hit Ebay... and found exactly what we were looking for.  And yes, the dress pictured on the right there is mine.  Isn't it gorgeous??  I was so happy to find it!  Joy's is exactly the same but in a light blue.  There was also dark blue and white with black dots, but I liked the purple best which is odd because I'm not really a purple kind of girl.  :)  As of this moment, they are still currently making there way here from Hong Kong, but we are hoping they arrive very soon because we just can't wait to try them on!!  ^_^

Another thing that has been happening the last couple weeks is rehearsals for our nursing home ministry.  Our family joins with seven other people from our church and another girl every term and we go around to the nursing homes in town and entertain them... but it is so much more than entertainment.  We sing a combination of secular and Christian songs, because it is not about shoving the Gospel down their throats, but about being the hands and feet of Jesus and loving those people where they are at.  I always think that nursing homes are sad places... some of those dear old people are so overjoyed that we come and sing to them and talk with them because they never get visits from anyone else.  They get excited when we sing our Rock and Roll bracket because we dress up for swing dance and those who aren't singing dance.  Some of the patients join in as they can,but for others it brings back such precious memories of when they were younger.  Sometimes we sing a couple of old hymns like "Amazing Grace", "How Great Thou Art", "The Old Rugged Cross" and "It Is Well".  It amazes me every time how an elderly person can seem to be asleep, or be entirely unresponsive due to dementia, and yet know and sing along to every word of those hymns.  I have seen some of them break down and sob during those hymns, while others sit with tears running quietly down their wrinkled cheeks.  Others lean forward, enchanted by the thrill of the sweet, familiar lyrics.  These ones often have a glow of complete content and peace on their faces as they listen to words they may not have heard in decades...  
We have one more rehearsal before this round of concerts.  Needless to say, Christmas Carols are featuring in this term's run sheet.  The first concert is on Thursday week, and then the other two and on back to back eight days later.  

Joy and I are doing something very exciting this Sunday.  For the very first time, we are auditioning for the annual town stage production.  Remember how Mum and Dad played in the band for The Pirates of Penzance earlier in the year?  Well, for some unknown reason, the auditions for next year's show are happening before next year.  And the SATS show for 2016 is:  *drumroll please*






Joy and I are so excited, because even if we don't get a main role, we will be in the chorus which will be playing parts like munchkins, apple trees, poppies, and inhabitants of the Emerald City.  However we are auditioning for main roles first.  Joy is auditioning for Dorothy, and I... well... I can't make up my mind.  My plan ever since I learned of this production has been to audition for Glinda, but recently I have been second guessing myself.  I figured I am too tall for Dorothy and too young for Glinda, and so in the end I have decided to audition for them both and see what happens.  Mum says she thinks I suit the role of Glinda best out of the two roles.  I tend to agree, but I have practised the audition material for Dorothy as well, and I think playing Dorothy would be so much fun!  She also gets to sing Over the Rainbow.  :)  If you think of it, do pray for us to be courageous as we are rather nervous... and wish us a bit of luck too.  ;)

So as you can see, life has been crazy.  Between now and when we go away for holidays on the 21st of December, we have so much happening I wonder when we even get time to, you know... eat... or breathe...  I hope to get at least a couple more posts in before then, so fare thee well until then!  And always remember to live fully, give recklessly, love ceaselessly, hope eternally, and strive heavenward.  <3 <3

Friday, 16 October 2015

Spring Already???

Well, folks, spring is well and truly upon us.  For those of us in Aussie land, anyway (and if you happen to live in the southern hemisphere)... for those of you up north - I envy you.  You get winter soon!!!  *insert sad face* )

But even I'll admit that there are some wonderful things about spring.  Take away the wind, and the pollen and the allergies :P  and there is incredible new growth and new birth happening all around us.  In Australia, we have Easter in autumn, when everything is winding down and dying.  I can see why you people in the NH have it in spring.  New life is amazing.  There are daisies all over the park next door, and the wattle trees have blossomed in different shades of pink, red and yellow.  From where I sit, I can see the gardens of our neighbours.  Flowers are coming up and starting to show off their beautiful hues of purple, pink, and white.  Even the trees seem to have taken on a new sheen of green.  
Birds seem to be everywhere.  In the park next door, we always have a pair or two of magpies that nest in one of the trees.  (Never fear!  They like us, and let us in the park with no swooping in sight!!)  Yesterday, Elise got some sausage out of the fridge and sat under one of the trees with the meat in her hand.  The magpies were intrigued and came to investigate.  They hopped up a bit closer, and a bit closer and when they both were only a foot away from her hand, they threw back their heads and began to sing.   I don't think American and Australian magpies are the same... if you don't know when an Aussie magpie sounds like, check out the video here:
It's only a very small selection of what they can sing, but once they get into full voice, their song is so pretty!  Its one of my very favourite bird calls.  :)


With the thought of spring comes the realization that the end of the year is nearly upon us.  We are into Christmas rehearsals at church - I am in the choir this year which is proving to be rather fun, albeit amusing.  Most of the female singers in the choir are altos which leaves Joy and Me (and sometimes Elise) to sing soprano.  My problem is that there are some funny people in the choir who make me laugh whilst I am trying to sing a rather important melody.  My comfort is that the others singing said melody (Joy and two tenors) usually dissolve into laughter as well, so while it doesn't do any favours for the song, I am not the only one ruining it!!

We are also doing some drama for the Christmas production this year, which is exciting.  I did a bit of drama for it last year (I was a Disney shepherd and a Shakespearean Wiseman)  and so I am looking forward to seeing what I may be able t do this year.  Because our team for both choir and drama is not as large as we could wish, there will be some double-ups and some swapskies to get everything in.  But that's ok - it's why we call it creative arts!!


I thought I would share with you a picture taken at the end of August of me and three of my sisters.  It was taken at the women's conference that our church hosts every year.  The theme this year was "Imagine" and it was amazing to see women daring to dream and God giving people vision for the future... He is so wonderful!!  Anyway, I like the photo (although we had a hard time getting Grace to agree to come and join us!  XD)  From left to right: Joy (15), Jess (19), Grace (17), and me.  :)  

A couple of weeks ago, Jess and I spent a week at Tahlee to help cook for a youth camp.  Tahlee has a program for English immersion students and so currently they have six Koreans and two Bolivians staying at Tahlee to learn English (or learn to teach English).  They are such lovely people.  Jess and I got to know them quite well over the week.  On our last night there, the students invited us over for a movie night.  They told me to bring the movies so I borrowed a few from our adopted grandparents who live there, and went over after dinner.  We decided on Ever After starring Drew Barrymore.  It is really interesting to watch a movie that you know almost off by heart with 1) six Koreans who have never seen it before, and 2) two Bolivians who have only ever watched it in Spanish.  The first thing I noticed was how fast and what a thick British accent the characters in the movie speak with.  The reason I noticed this is because I had spent all week talking to students on only learning English - suddenly I was very aware of the English they would have more trouble understanding.  After the movie, one of the Korean girls asked me, "Was that a British accent?"
"Yes, it was," I replied.
"Do you understand it all?" she asked, awe creeping into her voice.
"Yes," I admitted.
"Ahhh!"  She cried in exaggerated frustration.  "ENGLISH!!!"

Koreans are very expressive - something happens in the movie and all six of them cry out, "Oooohhhhh!" at the same time and escalating to the same pitch at the same time.  Jess and I thought it was quite funny.
It was amusing too when the stepmother in the movie says some horrible things to Danielle, and my sweet Bolivian friend exclaimed, "It is even worse in English!"

Ever After is about a two-hour long movie and finished at about 9:45.  Most of our group (including Jess) said goodnight and went to bed, but one of the Bolivians and two of the Koreans informed me that they had never seen "The Sound of Music" and begged me to watch it with them, so we did... all three hours of it... starting at 10:00 pm.  I have to say I don't think I would do that again - start a movie of that kind of length at such an hour, but how often do you get to watch "The Sound of Music" with people who have never seen it before???  It was fun - everyone got quite tense towards the end, with my Bolivian friend talking to the screen in Spanish and holding onto my hand rather tightly.  I found the hardest thing about it was that none of them seemed to understand the enormity of Hitler's movement or what he stood for, and seemed to think that it would be better for Captain von Trapp just to do what he was told... I tried to explain best I could without talking over the next scene.  They really enjoyed it though, and it was a lovely time with them.

Sorry this post has been a long time coming - life has been in the way lately!!  Actually this whole year has been so incredibly, insanely busy... but it's good - we wouldn't really change it!   Hopefully I won't be so long in posting again next time!  Hope you all have a very blessed weekend!  :)

Friday, 11 September 2015

Mary

I lay in the straw, overwhelmed, afraid, peaceful.
In my arms lies the Child I have been waiting for.
The Child the entire world has been waiting for.
He could have chosen anyone.
He chose me.
Insignificant little me.
As I shift my position to get more comfy against the stone floor,
I can see a star through the window.
That is, one specific star.
There are lots of stars up there, but one shines brighter than the rest.
Like this Child, I suppose, among the prophets.
He stirs as I stir, and I wonder why He would chose to put Himself under the direction of my heart and mind.
But deep inside, I already know the answer.
I wonder if I trust myself to love Him too deeply.
Will I be brave enough to give Him up when the time comes?
I have delivered Him into this world, but He is yet to deliver me.
I have sustained Him and given Him life.
In time - when His time comes - He will do likewise for me.
Messiah.
To think I hold the Chosen One - the Saviour - in my arms!
And look at His bedroom!
I had always assumed that the birth of the Messiah would be sort of special somehow.
Glamorous.
It wasn't.
It was dirty.
It was smelly.
It was so painful.
My body aches yet from the exertion.
But when I look down at His little face - the face of my powerful awesome God -
My heart melts, and, holing Him closer, I close my eyes to sleep.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Seasons

If life were a summer of waving grass
And sunny, riverside days
We'd laugh a lot and dream a lot
Under the warming rays.

If Life were winter, long and dreary
Wet outside and cold within
We would never get the respite we get
With the coming of the spring.

But Life keeps always moving forward
From season to season, height to height.
And we move from strength to strength
In seasons of rest to those of fight.

Some seasons are long and dark and grey
Like winter's ever ending night
But spring will always come again
And there will come a tie of light.

If Life were a Summer of waving grass
And sunny riverside days,
We'd never learn to fight and pray
And through God's hope our spirits raise.

There's a time for everything under the sun
A time to laugh and a time to mourn,
A time to plant and a time to plough,
A time to die and a time to be born.
There's a time to hug and a time to withhold
A time to search and a time to cease,
A time to love, a time to hate;
A time to hold captive, a time to release.


Thursday, 6 August 2015

Catch-Up Post

So last week I let you all have a peek through my windows, and posted each night a diary entry of that day's events.  It was fun - I enjoyed writing it, and I trust you enjoyed reading it.  :)  Now for those who were following my week, you'll know that I got through Monday to Thursday but then Friday, Saturday and Sunday just didn't happen.  I shall attempt to fill you in on those three days - it won't be in so much detail though - and share a few things that have been happening since then.

Friday I spent flitting around in excitement, tidying up in preparation for Elizabeth to come and stay.  In the end, I didn't get everything done that I wanted to before I got a phone call from Elizabeth saying that she was at the bus stop, ready to be picked up.   It was a funny conversation...

Elizabeth: I've just arrived!
Me: Yay! Well, Mum and Dad have just ducked down town but they'll be back any minute now and we'll come and get you.
Elizabeth: *laughs* Ok.  That's all right - I can wait.
Me: Um, so where are you?
Elizabeth: *confused* At the S--- bus stop... Isn't there just one?
Me: Umm... no.
Elizabeth: Oh. Right.
Me: What is there around you?  Are there any fuel stations or anything?
Elizabeth: Ummm... there's an Agricultural Hotel.  Does that help?
Me: ... ahhh... no...
Elizabeth: Ok... um... I can see another hotel... the Albion??
Me: Ah right!  I know where you are now!  See you soon!


She made it here in the end.  XD  We spent most of the evening chatting, giggling, playing board games, looking at pictures on Pinterest and so on.  Finally we got ready for bed one by one and then each lay there reading with the lights on until about 11:30...

Saturday dawned, and we lay there sort of dozy for a while before jumping into talking and giggling again.  Mum came down stairs to our room and said that she thought she would drop us girls off at the book fair and then go grocery shopping.  That sounded fine to us, so Elizabeth and I went and had some breakfast (everyone else had already eaten) and we got ready to head down town.

Now whenever I go to the book fair down at the show grounds, for some reason, I seem to expect engilding rays to be flooding the books with heavenly illumination.  It's not like that... at all.   The fair is held in the big shed at the show grounds.  Rows of tables run up the middle of the room and against the walls.  Every table is loaded with boxes and boxes of books.  The room is not dark, but it is not exactly glowing either, and in the background over the clatter of conversation and whining children is playing old classics like Abba... (ok, admittedly, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do just happened to be the only song I recognised, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most of the music played was from that era... :P)  

When we were dropped off, Elizabeth, Joy, Elise and I all went our separate ways.  Book finding is kind of a personal thing.  Oh, of course we touched base every now and again, but when you are looking for books one must be able to wander at one's own sweet pace and run one's hand over the books, feeling the thrill of bibliophilia run up fingertips, arms and into the soul.

We spent about two hours browsing, collecting, revelling.  The fair had a deal happening that you could get a plastic bag of books for $5, or a cloth bag of books for $10.  When we all met back with our books, we decided that we were going to stuff all of our books into one bag and get them all for $10.  While we were working on this worthy achievement, a short little man with a beard and a camera stopped and asked if he could take our photo for the local paper.  We agreed and he took it right then and there.  After taking our names, he moved on.  Elizabeth started giggling.  "My first time here, and I get a picture in your paper!" she laughed.  We finished packing all our books in a single bag and went and paid for them - thirty-two books for $10.  ^_^

After lunch, we decided to watch a movie, being rather tired and not feeling like doing anything particularly vigorous.  We put on The Princess Bride because it is one of our favourites and Elizabeth had not seen it before.  After that, Elizabeth and I walked over to the shop near our place for the sake of taking a walk.  We got a milkshake each (chocolate for me, and strawberry for Elizabeth) and walked home again.  The milkshakes were really nice until we got to the bottom and there was a good layer of syrup coating the bottom of each cup.  We left that bit in the cup.  ;)

That night, after dinner, we drove Elizabeth back home.  We were tired, but it had been a wonderful weekend.

Sunday consisted of church in the morning, and in the afternoon we went to Tahlee to visit Jess.  It was a bit sad to leave her there, but it was nice to see her.  I also visited my Korean friends who are just seven weeks off welcoming their first baby!  It was only a brief visit, but it was lovely to see them.  They got me to try a Korean tea which was like a creamy nutty milk, only it didn't really have milk in it, and it had little nut bits floating in the top.  They also got me to try some of their dinner (even though I had already eaten with the family!) which was a spicy pancake.  They didn't think I would like it because it was spicy, but I don't mind a bit of punch or burn, and it certainly wasn't the hottest thing I'd ever tried.  I quite liked it.


This week - I can't believe it is nearly over! - has been busy and interesting.  Joy has been quite unwell, but is so much better now, praise God!


This week, I finally finished my cross stitch that I got for Christmas in 2012.  It's not a fantastic photo, but you can kind of get the idea.  I'm quite happy with how it came out, but I do need to put the French knots in for the eyes... I can't do French knots.  I think I need some expert help.  I also need to find a frame for it.  I'm not sure whether to buy a new frame, or to try and find a revitalised vintage frame.  What do you think?

I think I mentioned last week that I have recently re-joined town band.  Last Monday's band practise was quite amusing and I got a new nickname.  Nine senior flautists showed up that night.  (By senior, I mean, they are in the senior band, not the intermediate band.)  Because there were so many of us, we had to share folders and music stands.  I was sharing with a girl called Anna.  Next to her was Ruth, a lady my family knows from the Pirates of Penzance production and gets along with really well.  The conductor announced that we would play a piece called "Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy" and so we all flicked through our folders to find it.  When Anna and I found the music, we noticed that at the end of the music was written in lead pencil Running Bird Seahorse.  Needless to say, we had no idea what that meant.  Anna asked Ruth to see if she knew.  She didn't.  So, with the sheet of paper in my hand, I flagged down the conductor.  (Being in the front row is such a handy thing!)

"What does Running Bird Seahorse mean?" I asked giving him the music.  He gazed it for a moment.
"Umm... I think it's your Indian name," he said, handing it back to me.  Anna and I giggled.
"Great!" Ruth said.  She gestured to first Anna and then me. "You can be Running Bird, and you can be Seahorse."

I have a feeling that's going to stick... I don't mind, but it's pretty funny.  If you are ever down at our band hall, and you hear someone mention Seahorse, it's probably me.  XDD

Well, it's very late now, and I'm tired, so I'm going to sign off and go to bed.  Goodnight people!!  :D

Thursday, 30 July 2015

This Week: Day By Day - Thursday



Thursday is the day of the week that always strikes me because the week is nearly over.  Every week without fail, I will get to Thursday and think, "Wow!  It's Thursday already!  Where did the week go??"  Today was no different.

It kicked off with Mum waking me up again (you know staying up until midnight does not do any favours for my getting up habits...) and reminding me that we had a chiropractor appointment at 8:00.  We always like the early appointments because then it is out of the way and we can move on in the day.  I had been looking forward to this appointment for some time because it was a fortnight after the last one and I had been quite sore in my neck and back for about a week and a half but was determined to last out the fortnight.  I was also having some weird nerve twitching in my left foot where my toe would just start moving on its own accord.  Creepy, right???  I couldn't wait for Dr. C. to fix me up.

Dr. C always begins by sitting you in a chair and feeling your shoulders and neck with his hands to see what muscles are tight, or if there is anything out of place.  He spent a long time on my left shoulder today around the shoulder blade.  It was SO sore - Mum was sitting there laughing at the faces I was pulling.  She told Dr C that he needed a mirror on the opposite wall so he could see what expressions his patients were pulling.  "Oh no," he replied, "I can feel it."  He then felt in my neck and poked and prodded at the base of my skull.  That was really sore as well.  Then I had to get onto the table.  The thing pictured on the left is a chiropractic table, in case you didn't know what one looked like.  You stand on the platform-shelf thing at the bottom, and when the chiropractor pushes a button, it tips forward until you are lying flat on your stomach.  Then the Chiropractor uses his hands to feel where your neck or spine might be out of line and adjusts it all back to where it should be.  Because the table moves when he pushes down, he doesn't break anything - it just sounds worse because the table makes a terrific crunching noise with each push.  The I felt really good walking out of there today, but I have got really sore again since... will I last another two weeks until my next appointment?  We shall see...

In our Bible reading today, we read Joshua 14, about how Caleb went to Joshua to claim the lands that God had promised to him forty-five years beforehand.  It was really amazing just to see that Caleb - even in waiting forty-five years for his promise - was still confident in God.  His faith had never been stronger and although he was now eighty-five years old, he had not retired from God's work.  Oh that we would all do the same!

I got another email from Elizabeth today saying that she will be arriving on the bus tomorrow.  I am so excited!!  Apart from having a couple of families to stay where we have planned for a couple of weeks where to put people, etc., this is the first sleepover we have ever 'hosted'.  I am very much looking forward to it.  Now I have to recruit a few sisters to help me tidy up the bedroom so it is presentable for guests.  ;P  Just kidding (sort of).  It's not too bad, I guess, but it's the little corners that get out of hand and need attention now.  And it needs vacuuming.  And I will have to strip and remake Jess's bed so Elizabeth can sleep in it.  And the list is growing.  XD

 had piano students again this afternoon.  I love how God orchestrates things - I have a dream of one day adopting internationally, and here I am with three of my four students being Indian, Filipino, and Chinese!  The two Thursday girls are ten and eleven years old, and are progressing pretty well, but are still relatively at the beginning stage of learning piano.  I was really pleased with their progress this week, even if Miss-10 will forget to listen to her CD.  Grrr!  I keep telling her that it will help, but she forgets.  Every time.  Miss-11 made wonderful progress this week - I was so proud of her!  She earned two songs 'off'' and got two new ones to practise.  By the end of the lesson she already had one of them going quite well hands together, so I don't think it will take her long.

The rest of the evening just happened like normal.  I spoke to Jess on the phone.  She said it was a really busy day and she was really tired.  Please keep her in your prayers - she does tire very easily and the camps aren't always easy.

So it's another nearly midnight post!  Mum and I finished Sister Act about twenty minutes ago.  XD  One of my favourite quotes from that movie is when Deloris (aka Sister Mary Clarence) says to the nuns, "Remember, when you sing, you aren't just quacking - you are rejoicing!  You are singing to the Lord!"  (Note: in case you get the idea that Sister Act is a Christian movie, it's not.  It's set in a convent as a pop-star singer tries to hide after she witnesses a murder and awaits the time when she will be called upon in court.  There are adult references and some language, but the reason I love it - apart from the music! - is that is took a secular movie to show what the role of the church should be in the community!  It really touches my heart every tie I see it.)

I am cutting Thursday fine, aren't I???  (It's five to twelve...)

Here's a challenge for you... Or I guess it's actually one for me:  Leave a comment with a word I have to use in tomorrow's post.  I'm sure I'll regret it tomorrow, but I'll do my best.  :)

Hae a wonderful Friday y'all!  God bless!  :)

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

This Week: Day By Day - Wednesday




Thinking back to the morning at the end of the day hurts my brain.  I said a few posts ago that things tend to slip from my memory, and honestly there can be whole chunks of my day that I cannot account for until something triggers something else in my head and association leads me to memory.  It's weird.  However, now that I think of it, this morning's events are returning to me... now.

Mum was in a hurry to get us all up and going this morning as it was a rather busy day.  She left us all eating breakfast to go and get her blood test done straight up so she wouldn't have to do it later.  I made myself potato cakes for breakfast this morning.  I am rather obsessed by potato at the moment.  I would happily eat it every meal, but I think potato cakes are my favourite.  I shall attach a quick recipe at the end of this post so that you can partake of the goodies too.  :)

When Mum got home we got tidied up and I had a snuggle with Annie.  Poor darling!  She still wasn't very well at all.  I could see it in her eyes and her cough was getting worse.  I took her to Mum and asked if we could try to get her on my doctors appointment.  Mum rang and they slipped her in at the same time as me.

We were all a little sad this morning because Jess, Joy and Elise all had orthodontist appointments.  That wasn't sad - the sad thing was that Jess wasn't coming back.  As you would probably see on her blog Dreams Really Do Come True, Jess regularly goes over to Tahlee, a Christian camp site, to help out with the catering when the camps come in.  She had to go again today.  We all miss her so much when she is gone.  She doesn't know how long she will be staying this time either.  Last time she stayed for eight days.

I got a lovely email today though that made us all excited (except for Jess, because she won't be here.).  It was from my friend Elizabeth (not her real name) who is working about an hour away from us, but is currently living six to seven hours away from her family.  We had invited her to come and stay with us at any time, and she sent me an email this morning to say that she is coming up this weekend.  I am really looking forward to spending some more time with her.  This weekend is our town's annual Lion's Club Book Fair, so Elizabeth and I are planning to go and get some (more!) books.  We also plan to play board games chat and maybe watch a movie or two.  I think we might have a long night ahead of us on Friday night!  XD

When Mum took the girls to the orthodontist, Grace, James and I stayed at home to get some book work done.  I lit the fire, and then settled down with some chemistry and biology.  I am finding the anatomy of a crayfish harder to memorize than the anatomy of an earthworm, but then again I have never seen a live crayfish before either.  Maybe if I had seen crayfish as often as I played with earthworms as a little girl,  would have more idea... then again, maybe not...

Mum called me as she left the orthodontist and asked me to put the left over lamb and veggie soup on the stove to heat for lunch.  At the appointed time, I did so.  Because of all the fat in lamb, the soup was nearly completely solid when I got it out of the fridge and put it on the heat.

It burned.

In my defence I went to do some more chemistry while it heated.  I thought it would take longer than that to get warm, let alone burn.  Thankfully, it wasn't too bad and I was able to tip out the soup in a different pot and scrape out the bottom of the blackened pot.

After lunch Mum took me and Annie to our doctor's appointment.  We got there and sat in the waiting room, which was well named because we waited... and waited... and waited... ... and waited.

Finally we were called in and Annie was examined.  She put on her I'm-a-little-angel air and let the doctor look in her ears and mouth, and listen to her breathing.  He said she had a cold and would get over it soon.  Mum and I aren't convinced that it is just a cold, but at least it is nothing serious.  Then it was my turn.  He examined me and then gave me a script of antibiotics for a sinus infection, which (interestingly) he said would not be contagious.  That is always good news, especially when you live with nine other people, and you are out and about and have people coming and going at your house a lot of the time.  It was rather satisfying actually, in a sort of odd little way.

When we got home, Mum's piano students were already there and not long after that Dad arrived home from work.  I told him that Jess's laptop was ready to  be picked up from the repair shop, and so he and I went down town to get it.  I asked Dad if on the way back, we could stop at a chemist to fill my script.  He decided to go to the chemist in the middle of the main street.  This may not sound like a problem to you, unless you live in my town in which case you already know what I am going to say.  Our council decided that our main street could do with an up grade, and so, as a result, no one has been able to drive down the main street of our little town since January because of road works.  Eight months on and it's still going.  Dad found a park as close to the obtrusive fence as he could, and then I had to get out and walk nearly two blocks to the chemist.  It's not really a big deal, I guess - just sort of annoying and kind of pointless that nobody can use the street while they up grade it so that people can use it.  It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.  We are a small mining town with a lot of small businesses.  All of those businesses have suffered because of this up grade (because people can't get to the street-front shops) and some have even closed down.  With the mining economy down as it is, I think it is useless putting in fancy new street lights when the small businesses that help support the town are making less than half their money because of it.  Besides, the new street lights look really silly.  XD  Rant over.  :P

At the chemist, I found a table of nail polish that was half price.  I kind of like nail polish if it isn't too bright, so I bought a bottle of Natio nail polish.  The colour is called stardust.  I have put a picture of it here - it's not a great picture, though... it's a bit more bronzy than what you see there.  I brought it home and tried it on.  It's really nice.  In fact Mum liked it so much, she put it on too!  :)

Dad and James had a church men's bowling and pizza night tonight, but they weren't home late and everyone went to bed early... except Mum and me.  We decided to stay up and watch Sister Act.  Which is why I'm still up at ten minutes to midnight typing.  But I'm just about done in... I was going to share the recipe for potato cakes with you, but that might have to wait for another time.   I am now going to post this so that Wednesday's post is posted on Wednesday, not Thursday.  Goodnight y'all!!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

This Week: Day by Day - Tuesday

I decided not to add to yesterday's post as I realized that by tomorrow - not to mention the end of the week! - the post would be terribly extensive.  And so, here is post two instead:



Tuesday:

Everyone slept longer than me this morning.  I love early mornings when its just me and my thoughts.  It's so peaceful.  My mind is not cluttered by events and issues of the day and I just have time to process and think.  I might not think about anything particularly, but it's refreshing.

It wasn't too long into this early paradise when Annie got up.  She wanted to go and change into clothes right away but I called her to come down stairs and give me a snuggle.  She came bounding down and snuggled in at my right before she was up and away again looking for a tissue, an activity she kept up most of the day.  And yes, it was necessary.  (Was that a bit TMI??  Sorry... XD)  Annie was quite restless right from the get-go today and she kept wanting to head upstairs and get changed.  I know she's so keen to dress herself in the mornings - she figures that if she gets in before hand, she gets to pick her own clothes and won't have to wear what anyone else thinks she should wear (i.e. jeans or trackpants... don't worry about being too cold, love!)   I also knew however that there was a very good way to keep her centred and settled - breakfast.  She managed to stay in the kitchen while I prepared my quinoa porridge, and then I put her in her high chair and set the precious bowl of wheat flakes in front of her.  Eventually everyone made it to breakfast, and Grace volunteered to have toast thus diverting a crisis with the last of the milk.  

After I did my job - vacuuming this week - I went up stairs to the study to do some music practice.  A lot of my mornings are now filled with music practises, what with flute, piano and my newly acquired violin.  I usually start with violin, but since I got new music for flute last night at band, I decided to do that instead.  I thought I would start with the 'easy' one.  It was amazing how difficult I found it.  I think I just don't keep up with the pace at band so that I hadn't really taken in some of the rhythms and runs.  And just saying, runs are quite difficult on flute - it isn't just dependant on fingering the keys - some notes have the same fingering - but as the pitch changes, so does your breath pressure and the way you have to purse your lips.  Hopefully I can master it before long.

After our reading time as a family, it was piano practise time.  I am currently practising from the Suzuki piano book three, as I really want to know the pieces I will have to someday teach.  That piece at the moment is a sonata or sonatina by Clementi.  Of course I have favourite pieces that I always play through as well, just because I can.  Those pieces are Fur Elise by Beethoven, Prelude in C number 1 by Bach, and Prelude in C minor by Chopin.

After Piano it was time to hit the violin.  Ok, not literally, but I did get a lesson from Joy as she is the one teaching me.  She informed me that "Song of the Wind" was going well, but "Lightly Row" really did need more work.  She also gave me "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" and another song that I can not remember the title of right now... it has something to do with children.

Stir-fried curry sausages and veggies on rice for lunch - yum!  ^_^

After lunch, my not-so-great feeling started to get worse.  I had been hoping that it would turn out to be hay-fever from the windy weather, but by the time afternoon rolled around, I was pretty sure I had a cold - again.  We have had a real hard time trying to shake this bug.  Whenever we start to get better, it attacks again.  Mum convinced me to get a doctor's appointment, and so I am booked in for tomorrow afternoon.  I kind of hope he finds something that is treatable with antibiotics, because then he won't just send me home under orders to rest.  That always seems kind of useless to me.  Because I wasn't feeling good - at all - I snuggled on my bed with The Book Thief and even dozed off for half an hour before I had to get up and get ready for my piano student.

My Tuesday student is new - she is only seven and had her first lesson last week.  Her family is Indian and she and her little sister are absolutely beautiful.  She is picking up what I am teaching her very quickly.  She is proving to be an absolute blessing and a delight to teach.

After they left, we had our nightly routine of dinner prep/end of day laundry while watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Family Feud.  

So that was about my day... What did you do today?  I hope you had a blessed one!  I leave you tonight with a very timely verse sent to me by a dear friend.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Monday, 27 July 2015

This week: Day by Day - Monday




Monday

I was rather sleepy this morning... Mum ended up waking me a bit past seven.  I am usually up by that time but I can account for this morning.  Poor little Elise was rather unwell during the night and kept me awake with her coughing and shivering.  Eventually (a bit past 2:00 am) I got up and realized she was running quite a high fever.  This is not unusual for her when she gets any sort of bug, and it always hits her very hard in the form of high fevers, back aches and extreme headaches.  And it is usually in the middle of the night.  This means that I have to help her upstairs to the couch, take her temperature and wake up Mum to offer comfort to the little sufferer.  I don't mind too much (after all, I'm the one who's planning to do nursing...) but it does make me rather tired... and tired me can result in one of two versions of me:
  1. The crotchety, cranky me; or
  2. The giggly crazy me
The concerning thing is that not even I can say which version is going to come out throughout the day.  It can change.  I must admit that when I got up with Elise, it was cranky me.  I tried to be the sweet nurse I can envision, but maybe it takes three years uni to master that... (I wish... LOL!)

It took a cup of tea and a chorizo sausage with a couple of eggs to get me going.  That and this morning's breakfast music.  I sat down at the table next to Annie's high chair, and she asked, "Can we listen to Annie??"  (Now do remember that her name is not really Annie, so this makes much more sense in it's real context.  What she was referring to was the new movie of Annie released at the end of last year.  We love that movie - the soundtrack is awesome.  I have a movie review coming soon.  :D)  So we kids all sat around the table and between mouthfuls sand songs like Tomorrow, Easy Street, New York City, Opportunity, I Think I'm Going to Like it Here, Maybe, and so on, and so on.  It's so much fun singing together - those of us who can pick out parts do so, and it sounds really nice.

But all fun and nice things come to a close eventually and before we were ready to stop singing our little hearts out, it was time for us to all disperse and tend to our duties for the week.  I am on vacuuming this week and so I did a quick tidy of the lounge and dining rooms and vacuumed them.  In winter it is also my 'job' in the mornings to get the fire going.  James would gladly do this for me (the little fire-bug!) but it never gets going for him.  I have tried to tell him that piling the kindling on top of the logs will not ignite the logs, but never mind.  When he gives up I enjoy setting it up (properly!) and getting the house nice and warm.  This morning I got a bit of a scare when a burning stick rolled out of the fireplace on to the hearth, sending a spray of shattered burning coal bits onto the carpet and my skirt.  Thankfully, nothing actually ignited.  The carpet is somewhat scarred now with ugly black pits, but I am rather thankful that we still have a carpet and it didn't go up in smoke.

At 9:30 is our come together time where we read the Word, pray and read our read-aloud book together.  This morning's Bible reading was Joshua 11 where a whole gang of kings come together to fight Israel but in less than 24 hours, the Lord helps Joshua and his army wipe the entire lot of them off the face of the earth.  It's amazing.

Our Read aloud book at the moment is Jonny Tremain.  It is the story of an intelligent, arrogant boy whose dream of being the best silver smith in the American colonies is shattered when he is permanently injured by a spiteful practical joke.  He eventually finds himself swept up in the emotions and politics of the Revolution and meets some of the high up persons that shaped America to what it is today.

Our reading time lasted about an hour and then everyone went off to do their book work.  For me, this means biology and for this module, that means memorizing the anatomy of a crayfish.  I know.  Go figure.  A crayfish.  Last module it was the anatomy of a an earthworm.  I can't wait to get to vertebrates.

Lunch.  Lunch is getting a bit tricky for me as I seem to have become (to some extent) gluten intolerant.  I usually go digging through the fridge for some left overs.  Today that came in the form of a chicken drumstick and beans and a bit of pumpkin.  I made a mushroom sauce to go on the chicken (because if you can add mushroom to anything, why on earth wouldn't you??) and I must say it was really yum.  ^_^

Mum decided that Joy would help her do the lunch clean up today, and so Jess and I took Rosie and Annie to the park next door.  Our version of minding the girls in the park is to let them run where they want (within reason of course - they are not allowed ANYWHERE near the road) while we sit under a tree and read, glancing up every now and again to make sure we know the whereabouts of our little sisters.  When we came inside again and Mum put the little girls down for their afternoon rest, Jess, Elise and I all sat around the fire and read for a good half hour.  It was lovely.  I am currently reading several books (as you would know if you follow me on Goodreads =P) but I am concentrating on The Book Thief.  It is an amazing book.  The imagery Zusak uses is astounding.  I am really enjoying it, and am proud of myself for being well over halfway through it.  This may not sound like such a wonderful feat except that it is more than 500 pages long.  XD

At 3:00 mum had a 'music meeting' with our pastor and the other music leader (Mum being one music leader and Curtis the other).  She dropped Joy and me off at the library on the way down as we meet with a lovely librarian friend of ours every month.  And so, after hanging at the library for an hour, and then chatting with Lee for an hour, we went home with a few more books than we returned.  (Please tell me we are not the only ones who do this!!)

By the time we got home,  Grace had dinner on and before long, it was ready.  There is something rather homey about meat and veg.  Add to that the lively chatter of a family of ten and you have one of the most beautiful things in the world, in my opinion.

After dinner, we were on the go again (I told you this week would be busy!).  Mum, Dad, and Joy went to music practise at church (Grace and Elise weren't well enough to go tonight) and I went to town band.  Town band is a 'new' thing for me, as in I used to go but last week was the first time in five years.  I am really enjoying it and having an outlet for my flute playing gives me an incentive to practise.  I know a lot of the people in the band, and most of the flautists.  Tonight there were six flautists but I am under the impression that all up - intermediate and senior band combined with no people away - there would be 17 flutes.  Wow!  That's quite a number of shiny metal tubes, I can tell you!  The people down at the band are really lovely and I love playing with them.

So here I am now, typing this out for you all to read - a bit of a window into my day.  I am the only one up now and my eyes and head are begging me to put away the bright screen and go to bed.  So I think I will.  But I am going to leave you with a verse from my personal Bible time from 2 Corinthians.

Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
(2 Corinthians 2:10-11)


Goodnight all, and God bless!  :)

Sunday, 26 July 2015

This Coming Week... Stay Tuned!!

Yup - stay tuned.

Isn't that a strange expression??  Stay tuned.  I suppose it comes from the days where folks would tune into their radio show or programme.  Stay tuned.  

Anyway, that is not what this post is about.  I was thinking about how, whenever I go to do a 'life post' I can never remember what has been happening and what I'd love to share with you all.  It's a terrible thing I have - things slip my mind so easily and I can never think of what I want to say when I want to say it.  Also, I love reading blog posts about the little things in people's lives, and I though others might like to see the same here on Amity.  (I could be wrong... if I am... well... sorry... :P)

I thought that I would do a week long post, updating it every night with the day's events, quotes, reading updates, Bible readings, and so on.  We have an incredibly busy week ahead of us, so it should be rather interesting.  After I add each day's entry, I will re-share the post on Google Plus, if you follow me there, or you can just check each day to see if I actually remembered to update it.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Rahab - A Simple Faith

 Rahab was a woman of questionable qualities.  It seemed she lived with her family - brothers, sisters, and parents - in the wall of Jericho.  Her house would have been notorious in the neighbourhood for one reason:  Rahab was a prostitute.

Then again, perhaps it was not so much notorious as it was well known.  After all, Jericho was far from having moral standards.  It was one of the cities on God's destroy-them list for Israel.  Which was why the spies were there in the first place.

In those days, is was not uncommon for a prostitute to run an inn along side her harlotry business.  If the spies wanted information, a public inn was the obvious choice.  All the news from the city and the surrounding cities would have come floating in throughout the day, and streaming in once the city gates were closed and strangers needed somewhere to stay for the night.  There would doubtless have been any number of such hotels available, but the spies picked Rahab's.

Rahab would have been startled to see these men walk into her inn.  They were not from the local area, that much was certain. She went about her usual welcome, testing the waters to see what the men really wanted - a room.. or something more??   It became clear right away however, that the men just wanted a room.
"So, where are you from?" she asked, as she led the men up the stairs to the room where they would lodge for the night.  You are not from Jericho."
The men hesitated.  "We are nomads," the taller one replied cautiously.
"Oh?  I don't get many 'nomads' in my inn - they are usually content in their camps."  She eyed the men suspiciously.  Letting them into their room, she followed and closed the door.  The men glanced at each other and back at their hostess.  Rahab  quickly drew close to them and lowered her voice to a whisper.  "Are you spies?"
The men stared at her in astonishment.  This woman was not one to be trifled with, or double-crossed.   Rahab took their silence for confirmation.  "Where are you from?"  She asked the question, not with the sternness of someone determined to get answers, but with almost an eagerness and innocent curiosity of a child preparing herself for a good story.
Finally, the tall man replied, "We are from the house of Israel, which is camped at Acacia Grove."  Rahab sprang back from the men as though their words had stung her with all the venom of forty cobras.  She was shaking.  "Israel..."  She whispered.  Quickly, and without another word, she left the room.
It took some time to recover from her shock.  She paced back and forth in her room, oblivious of if there were any other guests downstairs.  Her soul was disturbed and she could hardly breathe.  Suddenly, as though waking from a dream, she realized she had to get dinner on to cook.  While she scrubbed the potatoes and chopped the meat, her mind raced with all she had heard concerning Israel.  They had a God fighting for them, it was said.  A God who had destroyed Egypt.  A God who allowed His people to walk through the Red Sea.  A God who destroyed the kings of the Amorites.  Rahab felt her heart begin to pound again, and her hands began to shake so violently, she had to put down her knife.
Finally, the stew was ready, and she was about to serve the stew and call her guests to eat, when a young boy - her nephew, Lehagad - burst in the door.  "Aunt Rahab!  There are soldiers coming!  From the king!"  Lehagad dashed out the door again to view the spectacle.
Rahab dropped the platters the was carrying and ran up the stairs as fast as she possibly could.  There was no certainty that the soldiers were coming to her little inn, and yet Rahab was certain that they were.  She burst into the room of the Israelites without even knocking.  Startled, they looked at her and took in her white face, her lips moving silently.  The tall man who seemed to do all the talking, stepped to her quickly and grasped her shoulders.  "What is it?  Tell us, quickly!"  The shorter man, Rahab noticed, was on guard and had his had on his sword.
"Soldiers," Rahab gasped.  The men tensed.  "Come with me."
Rahab led the men at a running pace up two more levels until they came out into the open air.
"Where are we?"  The short one spoke for the first time.
"You didn't notice?  I live in the wall of the city - this is the top of the wall.  Now get down - both of you!"  The men obeyed and dropped on their fronts.  Quickly, Rahab arranged some drying sheaves of flax over them.  In the dying light, they were barely distinguishable.  Rahab glanced over the edge of the wall and saw the the soldiers were turning into her street.  "I'll be back," she murmured, and ran downstairs.  She took a few deep breaths and arranged her scarf over her head.  Her hands were still trembling.  Then, on an impulse, she threw back her head and stared up at the ceiling.  "Oh God of the Israelites!  I don't know you, or what you require of your people, but I know that you are powerful.  You are a God of strength.  Give me the strength to face these soldiers and protect the men from your camp."
Just then, there was a harsh rapping at the door.  Going to the door, Rahab came face to face with a group of soldiers demanding to know the whereabouts of the the Israelites that came to her inn.   Rahab felt a flood of peace and strength flood over her and she answered the soldiers calmly.  "Oh yes, they were here," she said, sidling up to the general, shyly fluttering her eyes at him from under her scarf.  Her voice was low and seductive.   "I fed them, then they left the city."  Suddenly, she grabbed the general's arm with both her slender hands, allowing her scarf to fall to her shoulders.  "Go quickly!  Perhaps you can catch up with them before the gates close!"
The general hesitated.  He looked down at the beautiful woman who was still clutching at his arm and looking up at him from under her lashes.  He fancied that he'd rather stay... but if his commander fond out that he had allowed the Israelite spies escape for the comforts of a mere woman, beautiful though she be... no.  He shook his arm of her touch.  "Thankyou, ma'am.  Your contribution to your city will be duly noted and rewarded.  Until next time, ma'am."
Rahab cocked her head and watched as the soldiers jogged towards the city gates.  She chuckled to herself.  Poor fellow.  Did he not know that she did not allow soldiers in her little inn?  They were vulgar men, in her opinion.  She was glad to have diverted them.  She chuckled again as she heard the city gates closing.  Satisfied, she walked gaily in the house, humming a little tune to herself.  The general would not be back, not tonight at any rate.  With a light heart she skipped up the stairs to where the men still lay hidden.
"It's all clear," she said.  She sat up and brushed stray stalks of flax from their clothing.
"We cannot thankyou enough for your protection," the tall man said, sincerity evident in his voice.
"Why did you do it?" The shorter one asked.
Rahab paused and pondered for a moment before answering.  "We have heard of your God, how He parted the Red Sea, destroyed the Egyptian, and the Amorite kings.  Everyone was filled with fear."
"Which was why you looked pale and startled when we told you who we were."
"Yes, I was afraid, but I have come to a conclusion, and that is that if your God is all powerful and all satisfying, I would rather follow Him.  And this is what I propose.  When Israel takes Jericho, you will remember me and my family, and you will come for us and we will live with you and learn to follow your God."
The men glanced at each other.  Then the tall man reached for Rahab's hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.  "Agreed."  He pulled a scarlet cord from his belt and handed it to her.  "Leave this in your window until we come for you."
Rahab took the cord and nodded.  "Now I will give you some food and we will get you out of here."
"How?"
Rahab grinned.  "I live on the wall, don't I??  I'll just let you down with a rope!"  The short man looked worried, but the tall one laughed and followed Rahab down to dinner.


---------------------


Seven years later, Rahab stood in the door of her house, waiting for her husband to come in from the fields.  Baby Boaz began to cry and she went to sooth him in his cradle.  Tenderly, she began to whisper to him.  "Don't you start to cry now, baby.  You have a strong, strong God on your side if you are willing to follow Him.  Hear, o Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One..."

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

New Poem For Review - My Poppies

So, just under an hour ago, I posted a poem (which you can read HERE, if you feel so inspired) because I didn't like it and wanted some critique for it.  Guess what??  I still don't like it, so I wrote another one that I like so much better!  If anyone can come up with a good name for it, let me know.  :)  Here it is... oh!  And thank you for being so patient with me.  :)



With the ring upon my finger
And a kiss pressed to my lips,
My Tommy went away to war
Upon those ugly ships.
He promised he’d return to me
We’d share all we possessed
And his last gift that he gave to me
Were poppies for my bedroom chest.

I keep the flowers fresh for him
He’ll me as he left
His bright eyed girl, just seventeen
His love none can bereft.
The letters come in regularly
His love for me professed
I read them o’re and o’re again
With the vase of poppies on the chest.

Then I hear nothing for a while,
And then some news arrives
That he’s been sent to Gallipoli
Where only one in two men survives.
He tells me that he loves me –
I crush the letter to my breast
Oh God! send my Tommy back to me
I see the wilting poppies on the chest.

This cursed war!  The mail is slow
I leave no newspaper unread
Until the black edged telegram comes
And tells me that my love is dead.
Tis cruel to think of my Tommy bright
Without me to be put to rest.
If only I could kiss him once
And lay some poppies on his chest.

I wander listless to the bay
My tears down my cheeks find course.
I sit and read Tommy’s words again:
His new found mates, his military horse.
And there come his words of love
Full of passion, ne’er suppressed.
I rise and scatter on the waves
The dried, dead poppies off my bedroom chest.

Help With Poem - Please!!!

Here's a poem I was intending to enter in the eisteddfod this weekend... there's one problem - I don't like it, and I don't know why!  Maybe it's the rhyme scheme, or maybe because I didn't write it from emotion (which is how I usually write).  Anyway, I would very much appreciate some constructive criticism, so please tell me the brutal truth or reassure me if it really ok.  Thanks everyone!




The stage is a bubble where things always go wrong,
But all is resolved by a speech or a song.
Time and real life are put at a stand still
As all pass into a separate world.
Where nothing foreign can penetrate until
Back to reality one finds himself hurled.

The set is a doorway to a fantasy land
Where speech is a song, and one’s wish a command.
The rocks, or the towers, whatever it be
Are the windows into that realm so distant
Though you’re so close you can hear and see
The land that’s so real and yet non-existent.

The actors are puppets that live, breathe and speak
They are shadows that carry an air of mystique.
Who are the people behind the layers of paint?
Are they anything like the figures they play?
Is he really laughing?  Is she really faint?
Or do they find sweet relief in their playact display?

The curtains are a cruel jolt back to reality.
They kill all the characters with one foul sweep of finality.
And with empty seats, empty stage, empty hall
We leave until we can do it again.
And so we return to life, quiet and small
Until we come once more to entertain.

For if the stage is a bubble with no link to real life
Why do we go through the stress and the strife
Of every show? There’s one link, you know,
That all of us stage-show people can claim:
We’re entertainers, and so for every show
People’s laughter or tears is to our gain.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Pirates, More Pirates, Camps, and Eisteddfods

I am long overdue for a general post to tell y'all about how life is going.  So here it is now.  :)

As a lot of you would have known, Mum and Dad were involved in the local production of The Pirates of Penzance this year.  It was all rather exciting, as none of us have been involved with our theatrical society since Beauty and the Beast six years ago, and Mum and Dad have never done one together.  There is a consequence that must be realized when you commit yourself to being in a musical show, and that is that - while everyone involved is a volunteer - everyone must pay by being semi-tortured with the same songs going around and around your head day and night for months on end.  Thankfully, torture is only torture if you don't enjoy, and I think that, on the whole (in our family at least) we enjoyed the show and the music so much that we are only now beginning to wish we could forget it.  For those of you who do not know the story of The Pirates of Penzance here is a synopsis from The Utah Shakespeare Festival website:

On the coast of Cornwall, a gang of pirates play and party as Frederic (a pirate apprentice) reminds the pirate king that his obligation to the gang is soon over. He was apprenticed to the pirates only until his twenty-first birthday, which is that day, and he is leaving them. Ruth (Frederic’s nursery maid when he was younger) explains that Frederic should never have been a pirate except for her mistake: She was told to apprentice Frederic to a pilot, but she misunderstood and placed him with a pirate instead.

Frederic tells the pirates that, after he leaves the gang, he intends to destroy them, not because he doesn’t love them, but because he loathes what they do. He is a slave of duty and, when no longer a pirate, it will be his duty to destroy them. The pirates understand, and also complain that they cannot seem to make money. Because Frederic is a slave-of-duty to the pirates until noon, he tells them why: Because they are all orphans, the pirates will not rob another orphan; and since all their potential victims are aware of this, they all claim to be orphans!

Because Frederic has spent his entire life with the pirates, he has never seen another woman; thus he thinks he may want to take Ruth with him as his wife. He asks Ruth if she is beautiful, and she responds that she is. Frederic, a very trusting young man, says that he believes Ruth and he will not let her age come between them.

At this point, however, Frederic hears a chorus of girls in the vicinity. He sees a group of beautiful young women, realizes he was betrayed by Ruth, and rejects her. Frederic informs the girls that he is a pirate, but not for long. He asks if any of the girls will marry him, and the youngest, Mabel, agrees.

The pirates enter the scene, and each grabs a girl. Major-General Stanley enters and identifies himself as the girls’ father, demanding to know what is taking place. When the pirates tell Major-General Stanley that they intend to marry his daughters, he objects, saying he has an aversion to having pirates for sons-in-law; the pirates respond that they are opposed to having major-generals as fathers-in-law, but that they will put aside the objection.

Knowing about the pirates’ weakness, Major-General Stanley tells them he is an orphan and, thus, disarms the pirates and takes his daughters, along with Frederic, away to his family chapel and estate. The major-general, who actually is not an orphan, soon feels guilty about the lie he told the pirates. Frederic, however, has a plan to lead a squad of zany policemen against the his old gang.

Before he can act, however, the pirate king and Ruth arrive to tell him that he is still obligated to the pirates. Because Frederic was born on February 29 of a leap year, he has served only five birthdays, not the twenty-one required by his contract. A strong sense of duty forces Frederic to relent, and, because he is a member of the pirate band again, to reveal the truth that Major-General Stanley is not an orphan. The pirate king vows that he will have revenge on the major-general.

Mabel enters and begs Frederic not to go back to the pirates, but bound by duty, he leaves. The police ready their attack on the pirates, while the pirates creep in to take revenge on the major-general.

The pirates defeat the police. However, when Ruth divulges that the pirates are really noblemen and they swear their allegiance to the queen, the tables are turned--and the police take the pirates prisoner.

However, because the pirates have never really hurt anyone, they are soon forgiven. The ex-pirates win the girls, Frederic wins Mabel, and everyone lives happily ever after.


Quite frankly, I don't get tired of it - it has become one of my favourite musicals.  In fact, I went to see it five out of the ten shows that were playing here in town!  XDD  It is a very funny show.  Below are a few videos starring Jon English and Simon Gallagher that make up my favourite sequence in the whole thing (although, now that I think about it, it probably won't make a whole lot of sense if you don't know what's going on. XD)  Oh, and as an extra note... *giggles and whispers it* ....  I think our show was better!!!  XDD  But don't tell Jon English or Simon Gallagher that!  If you want to see photos of some of the characters in our show click HERE.  A lot of of these photos seem to be of the senior patrons who support the shows each year, but you can kind of get an idea from some of the pictures.  Oh, and if you look at photo number 10, that's my dad in the foreground with the parrot on his shoulder.  (He played bass.)  =D












Other than Pirates, I have been doing a few different things.  This weekend coming, Jess and I are going to a leaders training camp in preparation for Tahlee kids camp in September.  (It's the same camp I wrote about here.)  We are really looking forward to it.  I have been hanging out for kids camp since I had to say goodbye to my six little girls last year and send them home.  

This week is also the closing date for the region writing eisteddfod that I discovered we have last year.  I only entered two sections last year, but this year I am entering all three - short story, poetry, and a letter to the editor.  I did not enter the short story category last year as fictional prose is not my strong point when it comes to writing.  However I decided to do it this year and I am happy with the results.  Oddly enough, it is the poetry that is eluding me this time.  I kind of know what I am going for, but the right words are evading me at present.  Hopefully they come before the closing date.  We shall see, we shall see!!

Guess what??!  I am (attempting) to learn the violin!  I have sort have been interested for a while, but did not really want to start right at the start with Twinkle Twinkle.  My sister Joy offered to give me a lesson, and so I agreed, provided I could start with the second song.  She agreed.  Actually I don't think she particularly agreed with me, but she decided to humour me anyway.  So now, I have struck up a race with James.  I asked him who would reach performance level of the last song in Suzuki book 1.  He - of course! - is convinced it will be him.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we shall see, we shall see!  XDD

Talking about music lessons, I now have three piano students and am meeting with a potential fourth this week.  (Wow!  It's all happening this week!  O.o)  I so much enjoying teaching.  My three students are all ten years old, but apparently the little girl I am meeting on Thursday is only seven and has no musical training so I will be starting from scratch, so to speak.  I am rather looking forward to it.  :)

I think that is all I have to report for now... So long, farewell!