Monthly Archives: September 2010

happy weekend

My family does not do things in half.  Last weekend my little sister got married, and my brother and his partner gave birth to a gorgeous little girl.  All within 10 hours of each other!  My sister and her lovely husband were married in Sydney, which is a long way from country Victoria where my bro lives…so needless to say,  my bro and his family were not able to make it to the wedding (very sad), but had a baby on their bedroom floor instead!!

I know I am ridiculously biased…but, my sister’s wedding was one of the best I have ever been too.  It was so ‘them’. A combination of beautiful outdoor setting, Dr Seuss, great food, all night dancing and a spectacular couple, made it perfect.

It was an amazing weekend for our little family.  I was so proud of my sister and my brother (and their respective partners!).  But more than that, I felt incredibly privileged to be part of their lives at such important moments.

Such good things for such good people – love you L & J, A, E & J. xx


italy…again

I have been thinking lots about Italy lately.  More specifically our time in Napoli and what we saw and experienced there.  It change my life, my theology, my priorities.

It changed my mind.

So in the midst of my day dreaming of Italy I remembered that I had written down some of my thoughts about being in Napoli and the impact it had on me.    So indulge me if you will, as I continue to day dream and wish and hope to return one day.

Napoli, Southern Italy:

in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius,

to the north of the Amalfi Coast.

Camorra territory,

saturated with drugs,

overwhelmed with crime.

Poor, overcrowded, dirty.

Surrounded by broken, marginalised, desolate people.  Difficult and frightening, constantly confronted with the realities of a culture tainted by the Camorra and plagued with drugs.

But Napoli is also a place of great beauty.


On one of my days off I travelled south through Napoli to the Amalfi Coast, very aware of Vesuvius always hovering somewhere in my peripheral vision.  Mount Vesuvius is daunting and intimidating; yet it is a beautiful part of Napoli’s landscape.

The Amalfi Coast is spectacular by any standards – sheer cliff faces dropping down to the water, picturesque little towns and rolling hills of lemon groves and olive trees.

It is stunning part of the world, riddled with beauty and contradictions.

After spending a good part of the day wandering through the little towns, chatting with locals and drinking a lot of espresso, I walked down through Sorrento to the sea wall. The place where the water hits the land along this part of the coast is not particularly impressive, but the combination of the hills, the cliffs and Mount Vesuvius in the background, combined to generate not only a beautiful place, but a suspended moment in time.

Perhaps God only became obvious

in that moment in direct contrast

to the horror we were encountering

every day.

Perhaps it was the enormity of the surroundings

or just the simple fact that it was quiet.

But the presence of God was tangible and definite.

Every day God was necessarily and actively present in the lives of the people around us, but His presence was intimidating and intertwined in what surrounded me at the bottom of that cliff face.

In the vastness of the geographical features, the enormity of God became a glaring and concrete concept.  There was no doubt that the Creator God was present, not only amidst this place, but that He was this place.  It was a startling realisation, clawing at my fundamental understanding that God loved humanity while only being vaguely concerned with our geographical context.  I was confronted with the idea that the image of the Creator God could be found in places other than humans.  It was not just an awareness of God being present; it seemed more like a declaration of His influence on what surrounded me and his intimate involvement in it.  God wasn’t using the environment as a means to an end or as a tool to get my attention.  Where I was, was the point.

I caught a moment of God’s vastness. He was immense, and He was present.  And in light of the everyday dealings with drug addiction and Camorra related crime I was exposed to, that’s what I needed to see.


change

Lots of change (potential and definite) to confront and consider at the moment.  Most importantly, a baby.  But our oldest is off to school next year (which I am already freaking out about), possible new church community (eek), lots of family changes – baby’s, weddings and interstate moves.  Hubby and I are both looking at further study options.  And there are some things which are best left unsaid until they actually happen!!  – so we will leave it at that!

Normally I am not so good with change.  I like plateaus and cruising.  And I think that if I stopped to think about some of these things some more I would be panicking.  But I don’t have the time!  Two little girls and a difficult pregnancy kind of take up all my time and energy! And that is a good thing.


van gogh vs. barbie

I have had few awkward moments at Kinder drop off and pick up lately regarding what toys the girls are in to.  A number of other mum’s have been asking me if the girls are into Polly Pockets, some Pet toy (can’t even remember the name of it) or the ubiquitous Barbie.  I have had to say no, the girls don’t play with any of the above.  But not because we have been militantly deliberate about what they are not allowed to play with.  It mostly has to do with what I can put up with and what is not going to do my head in!  There are some things we have avoided, Barbie is one of them, and anything with an excess of pink is another. But really it has been more about consciously exposing them to other options – ‘my’ music (the girls know David Grey’s ‘Draw the Line’ and Mumford and Sons ‘Sigh No More’ off by heart), galleries, the museum (the Melbourne Museum is amazing for kids, we go regularly), farms and farmers markets.

And it stands to reason doesn’t it?  Wouldn’t you rather listen to ‘The Sundays’ than nursery rhymes? Go to the Museum rather than Maccas?

At Kinder a couple of weeks ago, our girl was ‘star of the week’, which means that she got to do all the speical jobs that week, go first at activities and bring in some special toys and treats from home.  One of her special toys was a cube which flipped in on its self and had a different Van Gogh painting on each side.  It is a very clever and fun ‘toy’.  She stood up in front of everyone and showed her class the cube, explaining that Van Gogh was a painter and these were his pictures.  I was shocked and excited.  We had always wanted our girls to grow up aware of bigger things and ideas, not for knowledge’s sake, but so that they knew what was out there and what they could achieve (if Van Gogh can do it, why can’t one of my girls?).

However, I have also noticed that our eldest is sometimes the only one not to be privlege to certain information regarding the latest toy/show/character, and that has put her on the outside of conversations and playing opportunities (at Kinder).  It’s hard to be ‘Harmony the Fairy’ when you have no idea who or what that is.  Is it a price I’m willing to pay?  I think so.  She certinaly knows who Big Ted and Dora are, but she also knows who Van Gogh and Bono are too.  Ultimately I think that the girls will not feel the loss of pink and fairy’s in their lives, but perhaps they will feel better equipped for life with a knowledge of the world outside of ‘plastic, kid land’.  I think so.  I hope so.