Monthly Archives: November 2009

reading list

Every year after I have finished essay’s and uni I go into a reading frenzy.  During the semester I have little time to read anything I ‘want’ to as opposed to what I ‘have’ to.  And while most of the time my text books and required reading is not too bad (the geek that I am), not having the time to dedicate to books of my choice is maddening.  And so as the semester progresses so does my list (and pile) of prefered reading material.

My reading list for this summer is the following:

Cannery Row, John Steinbeck (to be honest, I have nearly finished this amazing book, Steinbeck is undoubtedly one of my favourite authors and CR is proving to be another brilliant Steinbeck offering)

Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates

One Hundred Year of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera (my brother’s favourite book)

The Reader, Berhard Schlink

The Brothers Karamazov, Fydor Dostoevsky

 

It is going to be a good summer!


to do list

 

 

 

 

 

 

My ‘to do list’ for today is so odd that I felt the need to share it.  It is as follows:

Read Dracula (for Book Club. I am very behind but that’s because I haven’t had time to read it not because I don’t want to, it is a brilliant book).

Practise wearing high heels (for the wedding next weekend. I don’t normally ever wear heels – so this could be interesting/humourous) (sadly, the girls are more apt than I am at wearing heels – even when they are on the wrong feet!)

Eat pear, speck and gorgonzola pizza at my favourite restaurant with some of my favourite people (needs no explanation) (although this isn’t really a ‘to do’ if I don’t write it down, I will probably forget)

Hide/destroy the awful ‘electric drum kit’ that my 2 year old has decided is her favourite toy

Comment online re John Stott and the World Missionary Conference (for uni)

Reply to an amazing email from an amazing friend (thanks J – you are the best!)

and finally

Thank the lovely lady who made these gorgeous skirts for the girls.


high’s and low’s

It has been a strange week.  A week of highs and lows in the extreme.  I hesitate to spend time talking about the ‘lows’ …except to say that life is like that, droughts and storms, pain and joy. 

So instead let me tell you about one of the ‘high’s’…my darling daughter turned 4 this week.  It is hard to believe that my ‘little girl’ is 4.  She is beyond beautiful and her ability to state the truth and observe grace is astounding.  Celebrating her and her life is a joy and privilege.  It is also a lot of fun. We gave her a keyboard for her birthday and ever since we have been graced by concerts and performances (partnered by a 2-year-old dancing).   It also explains the birthday cake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have also noticed this last week or so that when things are confusing and painful, quickly followed by hilarious and fun, that I tend to gravitate to those things around me that are solid and familiar (even more so than normal).   Coldplay’s ‘Parachutes’ is getting serious air time, old books are being dusted off and re-read, Amelie is getting worn out and old friends are receiving late night text messages (sorry!).  While life is about the highs and lows, it is also about the things which bring comfort and consolation. 

I have been trawling through the bible looking for some answer, some insight, some of this comfort and consolation, and am yet to find anything concrete…apart from this… Who I am, what I feel and what I experience does nothing to change the fact that Jesus is Lord.  His Lordship is not dependent on my beliefs or my recognition. He simply is Lord.  I am beginning to understand that Christ’s Lordship is both static and dynamic–- it simply is, and that it also moves, twists and turns to influence every part of life, and part of life is committing to finding it.  It is not simple, nor is it a complete answer…but it is a start.                

 

All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the centre of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence. (Ephesians 1:20-23, The Message)

 


happiness is…

…a 4 year old’s birthday party.

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…or fredrick

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Weep all the tears you have in you to weep, because whatever may happen next, this has happened. Something precious and irreplaceable has come to an end and something in you has come to an end with it.

 Fredrick Buechner


when i have no words, there is always clive

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God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pain.

CS Lewis


mum

I was told, before I was a mother, that to be a mother, was to spend your life on your children. That life revolves around them, through them, for them. That being a mum is a ministry of the highest form. That when you have kids your job, ministry, life and all becomes about raising them.

My experience of being a mum is more varied, more emotional, more painful, and more brilliant than I expected. My girls are two of are the funniest, wittiest, creative, beautiful people I know. They make me laugh more than anyone else and they make me cry more than any other anyone else. I love being a mum.

But I have struggled with the idea that my primary and majority role/identity/meaning for life, is as ‘mum’. In one of my lectures this weekend the lecturer talked about the idea that not only is it possible, but even Biblical, to find a healthy balance between raising children and being involved with a ministry. While I had seen this modelled, I had never heard anyone teach this specifically, particularly in reference to being a woman.

This taps into so many issues: women in leadership, identity, priorities, social and personal expectations.

There is a lot to think about.

This concept did two things for me: it whispered freedom and shouted confusion.

The idea that I can be a mum, a good mum, and also find a way to respond to the things in my heart that I believe God has birthed and grown, is startling and revolutionary. To a large degree I had resigned myself to being on the periphery at my most involved. But what if there was more?

For so long my identity was tied up in ministry and what I did in under the banner of ‘serving the church’. And I have spent a long time and travelled a lengthy distance to discover who I am apart from what I ‘do’. And now all of this needs to be addressed in light of the idea that pursuing the ‘God things’ in balance with the stage of life I find myself in (ie. being a mum) is possible and ok.

This, I am sure, is going to be an ongoing dialogue…. (and now back to listening to my lecturer…!)


x

Over the last couple of weeks two very dear friends of mine (in two totally separate, unrelated situations)  have been going through some difficult, heart wrenching stuff.  And at the risk of reducing their lives to a ‘blog post’, I just want to say: if I could fix it I would, if I could love you more I would.

Sometimes all I have to offer is a plagiarised prayer, but it is a prayer nonetheless.  Thomas Merton sums it up pretty well.  And I think that I have shared this before, but it is worth sharing again:

Our Eden is the heart of Christ

Let grace come, Jesus.

Your name is on my heart.

Your Holy Name is on the tower of my heart.

Let grace come and let this world pass away,

Jesus, You who are living in my exhausted heart.


dear friend

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This week is going to be all about my dear friend…coffee.  My final essay is due in by Friday, so its late nights, early mornings and coffee fixes for me.  Ahhh dear friend, what would I do without you?


reflect

We just got back from spending the weekend away with the guys from our church.  We are all exhausted – but for all the right reasons.  It was a lovely time away, very relaxed with little to do but chat, drink coffee and get to know each other a bit better.  There are lots to think about and process as a result of camp, which I am sure will end up here at some stage, but for now I thought I would put up what I did for the mediation/reflection time when we arrived on Friday night.  It was simply a time to focus us on why we were there as a community and help us put aside some of the busy-ness of the rest of our lives to hear from God over the weekend.   

 

My to do list is long

It is itemized and categorised

It is necessary and it is overwhelming

It is growing in length and urgency

People, places, jobs, and commitments are allocated times and designated importance

People, places, jobs and commitments are ticked off the list

It sounds callous

It often feels callous

 

A steady rain

A dripping tap

The pesky voice that compels me to turn on the computer, to pick up the phone, to get in the car

 

I am not fond of the idea of my life being defined and dictated by ‘to do lists’. 

Surely it is more than that.

And it is…

 

Life is about tea parties with 2 little girls, 3 stuffed bears and a toy dog called Princess Coriander.

It is about book clubs that spend more time choosing books than reading books

It is about coffee being the first thing you smell in the morning.

It is Betel gardening services

It’s about smiling at the checkout chick and asking her how her day is.

It is Ricky Gervais on the iPod

Josh Rouse in the stereo

Mickey Mouse in the DVD player

 

It is admitting to liking old school British TV dramas, to seeing Andy Warhol’s point, eating chocolate covered pretzels, wandering aimlessly through large shopping centres on hot days, needing study plans and watching foreign movies without the subtitles.       

 

It is dance concerts, cupcakes, books, photos, movies, freshly picked rosemary, the first mangoes of the season, new friends, old friends, wine, food, and family.

 

It is spending the weekend away with friends who believe what you believe, who speak the same language, whose values parallel yours, who for spending the night eating and drinking constitutes a night well spent, and it is choosing to know them and to let them know you.

 

It is choosing to come away for the weekend with new friends and old friends and to focus on the things that are important and life-giving. 

It is choosing for an allegiance to be more than a word.  For it to become a way of breathing and living.

 

C. S. Lewis about community says, ‘He works on us in all sorts of ways. But above all, he works on us through each other. Men are mirrors, or “carriers” of Christ to other men. Usually it is those who know Him that bring Him to others. That is why the church, the whole body of Christians showing Him to one another, is so important. It is so easy to think that the church has a lot of different objects – education, buildings, missions, holding services…the Church exists for no other purpose but to draw men to Christ. To make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose’.

 

So Jesus, I, we, pray:

There are things in life that are necessary.  But let us major on the things that are optional.  The things that make us more human, more divine, more like you.  The weddings, the babies, the dinners, the friends, the lost. 

Let this weekend together be about being a student of your ways and your heart.  May we get it right, and choose to be students; hanging onto every word you speak.  To sit with you, to sit with each other. To laugh and to giggle. To teach and more importantly, be taught.

Jesus, let us learn what it means to be a community, to be friends, to be family.

Jesus let us learn of the Spirit, its gentleness, its determination, its necessity in our lives.

Jesus let us learn to be carriers of Christ, to old friends and new friends.

Let this weekend be about life, not ‘to do lists’. 

Amen