Monthly Archives: September 2009




My in-law’s are moving to the country next month and we are putting on a little ‘au revoir’  afternoon tea for them.  So these are the practise choc-orange cupcakes. 

I have two little girls (and one big boy) who are awfully glad I do practise batches.


Some exciting news. 

AJ and I spent some time in Italy and Spain with an organisation called Betel.  Their primary focus is as a drug rehabilitation.  But the way they ‘do’ rehab was unlike any that we had seen or heard of before.  A great deal of their energy, program, momentum, everyday life is committed to restoring dignity to people who have been stripped of all sense of self respect.  One of the ways they do this is by insisting that any one who lives in a Betel house goes to work everyday.  They get up, they go to work, they learn a trade, they learn to serve …. they learn.   And slowly they realise that they can contribute, they have worth and skill, that they are needed and necessary, that they have dignity.

One of the most important moments in my life occurred in a Betel owned op-shop in Valencia, Spain.  The manager of the store had been an addict for a long time, he had lost his family, friends, everything he owned or loved had been destroyed by him and the drugs.  He had gone into Betel 5 years before we met him.  He had been working and running the op-shop  for nearly the 5 years he had been at Betel.  He welcomed us in and showed us around the store and warehouse where they restored much of the furniture before they sold it.  To this day I have never seen such pride.  He was so proud of his shop and of what he had achieved.  The op-shop was immaculate and clean, beautifully laid out and organised.  This man felt such incredible pride in his work and yet was humble and kind and sweet to us.  In Australia, the manager of an op-shop would not be given a whole lot of credence by others and I’m not sure they would have the same sense of achievement as our Betel friend did.  It stills brings me to tears to think of this man and what he had achieved.  He taught me much about humanity and dignity and hard work. 

Dignity is incredibly powerful in a person.  As is the lack of it.  That day in Valencia I got a glimpse of both and it has instilled in me a  sense of justice that changed me. 

So back to the exciting news!  Betel has been here in Melbourne for a little while now, sadly their property in Marysville was destroyed in the Black Saturday fire and tragically one of their colleagues died in the fire.  It has been a hard beginning for Betel in Melbourne.  But today, in our letterbox(!!), we got a pamphlet advertising for Betel gardening services!! So they are up and running and people are working and getting one step closer to wholeness.  Hooray! 

If you need any gardening, mowing, weeding, landscaping, fencing done – let me know and I will pass on the details to you.

#’s 5 & 9

At a dear friend’s house the other night, one of her teenager daughters was reading a ‘Girlfriend’ magazine.  I haven’t read a Girlfriend or Dollly or whatever, in a long time, probably since I was a youth pastor and I was trying to keep up with the girls I worked with.  And as a rule those magazine confuse me or bother me, so I’ve tended to avoid them (even when I was a teenager they confused and bothered me!)

Anyway, they had an article about Facebook which was quite interesting.  My friend and I had just been talking about Facebook and how you are (often) exposed to information which is either unhelpful or unnecessary.  It is a strange medium to use to communicate and relate.  It is also difficult to know people’s motivations and intentions, like any medium that is not face to face (email and sms included) it can be difficult to ‘get’ the truth behind a comment or update.

The article was called ‘The Eleven Commandments of Facebook’ and it was mostly humorous sprinkled with some truth.  I quite liked #’s 5 and 9.

# 5 Thou shall not list every single movie/book/album you’ve ever heard of in your likes and dislikesWe get it: you’re a well-rounded culture vulture, but a clever half-dozen picks showcasing the many sides of the wonderful you is  a gazillion times better than an encyclopedic rant.

#9 Thou shall friend someone in order to snoop  through their photos and defriend them 10 minutes laterWell, we’re not saying  you SHOULD do that.  We just know that you will, and there’s really nothing wrong with that…it’s Facebook – it’s designed for the stalker in us all.

I think #9’s declaration of ‘the stalker in us all’ sums up a great deal of people’s commitment to Facebook.  And let’s be honest, probably my own too.  It is a useful tool, particularly in light of many of my friends being overseas, but I think that, for me, less is more when it comes to Facebook.  And really, if a relationship is based on snooping through Facebook I can probably live without it.

father’s day

All my husband wanted for Father’s Day was to go for a big ride on his mountain bike.  He is currently in training for a big race in two weeks time and needed to do a 5-6 hour ride this last weekend in preparation.  And because I couldn’t think of anything else to give him –  the afternoon off to ride is what he got.

Sadly, the ‘big ride’ didn’t turn out quite the way he or I hoped.  He called me after about two hours and told me that he had been hit by a car and needed to be picked up.  He is fine, badly bruised and grazed, very sore and nursing a badly sprained hand.  He was incredibly lucky.  The car (a 4WD) hit him front on and he flew over the front, off the bonnet and on to the other side of the road.  There is no doubt, by hubby, or driver, or witnesses, that it was 100% the driver’s fault.  

My husband is an incredibly safe rider.  He wears a bright red jersey, he looks vaguely like a Christmas tree with the amount of lights he wears and he is always aware of where he and others are on the road.  So for him to be hit is hard to take, particularly when it could have been so easily avoided.  

His bike did not fair as well as he did.  Nor his helmet, shoes or jersey.  At this stage he doesn’t think he or the bike will be ready for the race in two weeks. It is very disappointing for him.

I recently saw a facebook  group dedicated to ‘hating’ riders on the Mountain near  where we live near.  I understand that there are some riders who are not respectful of others on the road and take unnecessary risks.  I also understand that it can be frustrating when you live on the Mountain and you are constantly driving around riders (we use to live on the mountain too – we get it).  But the flip side is when safe riders get hit by dodgy drivers…that is unacceptable.  And facebook groups committed to fueling the antagonism between riders and drivers is not humorous, appropriate or helpful…. 


…and off my soapbox I get.


Happy Father’s Day AJ. xx



Watching a little girl chase her shadow (and then offer it a glass of water!)…is the best way to spend a spring morning.