Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Teamwork

We make a great team, Boyo and I.

I know it, yet I totally take it for granted. I forget that we balance each other out so well.  His optimism.  My realism.  His vision, my step-by-step process.  His strong muscles, my organisation.

But then I take him for granted too!

My beloved husband is currently out at nine thirty at night collecting a (hopefully large!) pile of boxes.

We move tomorrow.  Bit of a whirlwind adventure, this.  More on that at some future date...not quite sure when, I guess that will depend on how long it takes to unpack, but suffice to say we are very pleased to have found somewhere nice to move to, but also very busy doing the all important work of moving.  As we've only known a week we needed to move, things are a little, ah, hectic.  A triffle disorganised, perhaps?  For our usually organised household at any rate.  There's been no time to pack ahead, or clean ahead, or even spray the weeds in the garden.  It is all go.  By late Sunday, we hope to have left this (our old place) clean and tidy.  Not quite sure how long the settling in at the other end is going to take!

Today, Boyo has spent the afternoon taking car load after car load of boxes to the new place.  It's just down the road.  I am SO grateful!  Meanwhile, I packed more boxes for him!  Just in case he didn't have enough already.  Grin.

Earlier, he called our internet/phone provider and Studylink.  I called our power provider and insurance.

We've been taking turns with Munchkin too (not that it's unusual for us to do this, but the effects have just been more obvious as we've each done moving/packing stuff when the other is with the boy, rather than our usual study!).  It was my turn this morning while Daddy was out and again when Munchkin woke from his afternoon sleep (Daddy needed a rest after taking all those boxes round, so Munchy helped me with some shopping).  Then Daddy and Munchkin played this evening while dinner (pies!) cooked and Mummy did some more packing.  Then Daddy took yet another load to the new place while I got Munchkin ready for bed, then I headed over to do a few bits there while Daddy held the fort here.  I suspect Munchkin will need some good crazy Daddy time by the end of tomorrow.  There's something about Daddy time.  It reaches heights that Mummy time never seems to get near (at least for us this is the case - Daddy is far more daring than Mummy in the 'fun' department!). 

We make such a great team.

And I'm SO glad that we started packing as soon as we knew we needed to move.  What a HUGE difference it is making.  Boyo came home with like thirty chippie boxes last Thursday.  They've all been used.  Hence the trip tonight, as we've still got heaps to pack up yet.

Tomorrow is the big day.  Munchkin gets to visit a friend (horray for friends, horray!).  I go and vaccum and wipe the new house.  Boyo organises 'the gang' of volunteers helping move the furniture from the old.  And we see how things go from there!  Hopefully by the end of the day we will have moved everything.  Hopefully.  But you probably wont' hear either way, because we have to get (yet another) new modem as our (only twelve month old) current one apparently doesn't work on the new network plan or something (GRRRRR).  I'll be in touch.  Sometime.  Maybe next week, maybe in a few more.  I've got my Teaching Experience coming up too, another reason I'm so glad we can move right away (much better just before than during placement).  Another reason I'm so glad we make a great team.  Boyo will be doing a lot more cooking during Prac.  Not a task he relishes at all.  I usually tell people my husand cooks once a week under cooercion, pain of suffering, or some such thing!  But he is wonderful, and taking up the challenge regardless.  I'm so proud to be doing life with him.

And now I have a chicken to shred for our chicken roll lunch tomorrow.  Then I think it is time for some sleep.  Early morning tomorrow!  I am going to pray for non-moving related dreams tonight.  Or better yet, none at all!

Amy

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Upside Down and Inside Out

My world has been turned upside down.

Eloquence fails me.  I just can't seem to find the words to tell you how I feel.

We have to leave our beloved walkway, our sunny lounge.  We have to move.  The shops, the convenience of my parents being just up the road, the familiarity of streets that I've walked down a hundred times.  It has been thrust upon us, and I just don't feel ready to go.

The silly thing is, we aren't even leaving town.  Just need to find somewhere else to live, that's all.  Our unit is being sold so we have to find new digs.  Not that big a life-changing event, one would think.  But I swear we live in the best suburb in Tauranga.  I can walk to a supermarket, the post shop, chemist, fruit and vege store, fish n chips, or dvd store.  I can walk to my parents.  There's a park at the end of our road.  One that's fenced and has swings and a slide for littlies.  A good friend (really good friend!) lives within walking distance too.  I feel more grief than when we left Townsville.  We were there for three years.  We moved countries to return here, not knowing where we would end up.  But that didn't even come close to what I feel when I consider having to move suburbs now.  I just feel so rooted here.  This is where I belong.  And I don't want to try anywhere else, thank you very much!

Rental prices have gone up significantly in the past few years.  So part of my stress is around the increased cost.  Even though we do receive help through our student allowance scheme, it doesn't cover it all so our already stretched budget has to stretch further, plus there's the large bonds now required, and for many places a letting fee that is worth about three weeks worth of groceries!!!  Then finding somewhere that has what we need, well...fenced for small son, warm and sunny, right area, not a loud neighbourhood, and the list goes on.  Hence why we are needing to look outside our suburb.  Prices here are higher than other areas.  But we have only one car, so we're having to be careful where we choose, so that we can do the car-swap juggle thing, or utilise our feet or our bikes.  It's cheaper over the other side of town, near Polytech.  But there's no shopping hub like we have here, and no walkway just across the road either.  How I will miss my walkway.

The timing is a factor.  I start a full-time, four week teaching placement in just two weeks.  Our tenancy now ends before Practicum (teaching placement) does.  Stressful!!!  I was just getting into the 'prac' train of thought, and now instead I've got to pack.

Our house is filled with boxes.  We don't know where we are going yet, but we figure we have to go somewhere, and soon, so we may as well make the most of what time we have available now and pack whatever we can.

My bigget issue at the moment is the grief.  I feel grief at having to leave.  I'm not ready to say goodbye.  I like where we live.  Love it, in fact.  And while I know it's not perfect, it has been our home.  I walk on our walkway and it feels like it is mine.  This street is mine.  These are my neighbours.  This is my home.  My garden, my driveway.  My space.  So saying goodbye is really hard.  At the same time I'm really grateful.  We've had three years here, three years in which we didn't have to pack a box or clean a kitchen out!  Three years to just be.  We needed it, believe me.  But I still feel angry.  Very angry, to be honest.  It's not that I blame our landlords.  This is the best decision for them and they have been good to us; I know they didn't do this lightly and in fact when we knew they might be selling we asked God to make it really clear whether we were to move or try and stay and hope for new landlords.  Well, we are to move as someone else wants to move in!  So that's been clarified at least.  And I don't blame God, really.  I sometimes wonder if we blame him for too much...putting at his door what is actually just the ramifications of either our decisions or those of another human being.  But I am angry, still.  Angry that here I am, about to launch into a daunting Practicum, after not having done one for two and a half years, and I was actually looking forward to it.  Now I'm concerned about how I'm meant to juggle it with house hunting, packing, cleaning, unpacking, doing mail redirections and all the miriad of other things that come with moving house.  I just wanted a Prac that I could be "present" at, you know?  My first, I was heavily pregnant and spent the time rolling around the classroom on a wheely chair.  My second, I had a six month old waking 4-5 times every night because he was stressed by it all.  Now, they both went well, all things considered, and I'm grateful that Munchkin didn't have to go to daycare (he was stressed enough by the change in routine as it was and he spent his days with Daddy and a grandparent!).  This Prac, I just wanted to enjoy being a trainee teacher.  That's more than enough to focus on.  Well, that and remembering to be nice to my parents, my husband, and (particularly) my son (as he is around the same age as the children I will be spending all day with!).  I just don't need this right now.  I was honestly, truly hoping for an 'easy' year.  I even asked for one.  Yup.  Hasn't happened.  And I do know that we don't grow in 'easy,' I know that we need tough things to deepen our faith and develop our character, but I sure as heck would just like a little break from character development please!  So I find myself wishing that HE would have wrangled things so it didn't fall right now.  We've got Mother's Day, plus Munchkin and Boyo's birthdays thrown into the Prac mix already.  Frankly, I'd prefer to move at Christmas.  I can at least decide to skip Christmas this year.  I can't skip Prac.  I can't change it at all.

Well, Boyo is waiting to talk about the various houses we have shortlisted today.  Better get onto it.

Amy

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Going Bush

I like going bush.  I'm an outdoor kinda gal.  I wonder if people can tell that looking at me (just a thought I had right now, hmmm)?  We had a whole heap of plans for this weekend which all sadly fell through due to illness (not ours, but those we were to be with).

Boyo had already booked holiday leave from work.  I'd already rearranged to be free this weekend.
So we decided we'd better still make the most of a Saturday together as a family, as these are such a rare occurrence.

We went bush.  Ahhhh.  I really miss heading out into the bush.  Even with our young fella jumping and chattering and asking for piggy backs, it was so nice.

A friend had told me about a nice short loop walk, easy enough for a three year old.  Also close enough to drive there, walk, and be home for lunch and afternoon naps.  And it even had toilets.  Excellent.  It sounded just right for us.


And it was.









We stopped partway along our walk to eat some morning tea.  Chocolate thin biscuits, a special treat for today (we don't normally have bought biscuits).  Then afterwards, we each had a flavoured milk, another treat.  Slurp, slurp, slurp.  Those two simple things, costing $5 in total, helped make it feel like a special occasion.  Yay for treats!

We were visited by a little robin on our chocolate thin break, and then had the delight of seeing a Tomtit back at the picnic area.  Such a delightful little bird.  I so wanted to run and get my camera, but I've learnt from experience that if you so much as breathe with many New Zealand birds, you will miss any chance you just had of watching them.  So Munchkin and I stayed and watched as the little bird tweeted and fluttered around for a minute or two before disappearing again into the bush.

The robin - best photo I could manage in the dark under-story of the forest

Next time, I'm taking the 'big' camera...we got some rather interesting shots on the little Cannon as it struggled to cope with the lower lighting of a bush walk!  Some of them unintentionally quite amazing - this one makes me think of an impressionist painting!

It was a beautiful morning.  I'm sad that we didn't get to do our planned weekend, but really pleased we could have something so nice as a substitute.

Amy

Beat That!

Got our Mercury Bill yesterday.
Boyo's words:  "Beat that!"


And well he might.  We are feeling a little virtuous and rather chuffed.  Not so much because our power use is low.  That's terrific, and awesome, and plenty of other splendid words.  More than that, it's how consistently low it's been.  See the last six lines there?  That's the last six months.  Every month pretty much the same.  Nice and low.  Even.  Very orderly.  Satisfying.  Very satisfying.  It is satisfying knowing that this means we've not had a month in which the air-conditioning unit was used much.  This despite it being a pretty hot summer for around here and our lounge windows facing north.  We've manged to use fans in the bedrooms and sometimes the lounge, with the occasional short burst of aircon in the late afternoons.  It is satisfying knowing that low power bills mean we got to spend that money in other ways.

Of course, we are not anticipating our power use to stay this low in the coming months.  I'm hoping that maybe April will be.  After that, it's going up.  How far up depends on how cold it gets, and also how wet.  If we have a sunny month, even though cold, our power use will be lower.  The sun heats our lounge late morning so we can go without the heater during most of the day.  But if it's cloudy or wet, we might not manage that.  Last winter we kept power use low by wrapping up in blankets in the evenings instead of using the heatpump, saving the power use for the panel heater in Munchkin's bedroom (necessary as he was getting asthmatic wheezing).  It will be interesting to see how this autumn, winter, and spring go.  I think I'd better get walking more regularly soon, I'm probably going to need the circulation boost!  Plus those fingerless gloves I've ordered.  Grin.


Amy

Friday, April 12, 2013

Getting Creative!

Munchkin and I have just completed a successful craft activity and I'm so excited I just had to share it with you right away!!!

*Note to self: Successful craft activity at this stage in our lives means at least thirty minutes of Mummy prep, and a ten minute activity before the Munchinator has had enough and gone to play with his cars (as he is currently doing)!  Must remember to keep things short and sweet like this so I don't get left to finish everything off.  Grin.

I have been reading a bit about Invitations to Play/Create/Learn online recently, and been impressed into doing something myself, but realised that while we are amply supplied with cardboard and colouring in utensils, we actually lack good preschooler craft materials (you know, things like coloured iceblock sticks, pom-poms, glitter, pipe cleaners and chunky beads).  They are now added to the birthday wish-list.  To be honest, up to this point it has been hard to keep the boy's attention on craft things.  While he has very good fine motor hand skills, he's just too interested in things that move or being outside.  This is not a bad thing, in my mind, so I've just followed those interests.  But being a bit older now, he's showing more interest in drawing and creating (as I write, he has taken a large cardboard box that was lying around in the conservatory and backed his wooden train into it as a garage, then requested some sellotape to close the 'garage door' - I can hear the sellotape being opened and closed, opened and closed!).

Munchkin has had two capes since his second birthday, made for him by me.  But he's shown almost no interest in them.  Until this week.  This week, the three of us (Munchy, Daddy, and Mummy) have been wearing the cape.  And Daddy made an impromptu pretend crown out of a square of cardboard from around a new grater we just bought.  That made me think, what if we make crowns?!  That could be something easy enough to enjoy.

Last night I did some Mummy prep.  I have finally worked out that if I try and do this while Munchkin helps or watches, it makes the activity take too long and he gives up partway through.  Or I want to scream.  Neither being very helpful, last night's efforts were well rewarded.

I set up the table ready for this morning, as an Invitation to Create.  I just used whatever I could find that might work for small hands and a crown, making circles out of coloured foam, strips of paper, etc. after realising that we are seriously lacking in bling!  We don't even have any stickers left!


He noticed as soon as he got up, and came to investigate.  I managed to get him to wait until after breakfast (just) before we started.  A genius stroke was putting the glue into a jar with a brush, instead of trying to pour from the not-so-helpful container it came in.

What we got out of this:
Great coordination required practice...
Wiping the brush against the side of the glue jar to remove excess glue
Holding the brush
Carefully placing items on spots of glue
Collecting up all the little bits to return them to their containers afterwards
Writing M for Munchkin (he holds with my hand over the top)


Chances to talk about patterns (which we will do later when we wear our crowns as I made mine with patterns).

A nice time creating together.



Future times of imaginative play as we enjoy wearing our crowns and capes and pretending to be Kings and Queens.

Now, the only thing I'm wondering is how I get my son to leave all the nice things stuck to his crown!?  He has this tendency to pull them all off again afterwards. Grin.


Services required to help sellotape garage door again.  He has just appeared at my side with a ball of sellotape, asking me to fix it.  Haha, there are some things even a Mummy can't fix my boy!

Amy

Wait...distracted by the package sitting on my desk - he is now opening it for me!  Birthday is going to be fun this year!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Material

Look what delightful things arrived in my mail box recently!!!


FABRIC.

Oh, how I do love fabric.

The feel of it...I just love that fabric can feel so different, from soft and fluffy to gritty and course, smooth and slick, to knobbly and wobbly.  Fabric feels delightful.  I really mustn't shop for fabric with my son.  I am a very bad influence.  Do not touch, I tell him.  All the time.  Yet what do I do, just as soon as I step into a fabric store?  I touch EVERYTHING.  I stroke.  I rub.  I just let my hand glide over as I walk past.  Ahhh, the feel of fabric.

And then the look of it.  So many patterns.  Some tiny and intricate.  Some patterns defined by their near absence while others almost scream at you, "Look at me!"

This little stash was sent to me by a fabric lover, of course.  A fabric lover who has undertaken the difficult task of culling.  Ah, such a hard thing to do, as any lover of fabric will well know.

But I am glad.  Glad that she was able to do it, to free up some space and let go.  But mostly, I'm glad because I got to have it!  Hehe.  So while one person creates free space, another now has a little stash waiting on the sewing desk because I haven't worked out quite where to put it in the cupboard yet!


I do, however, know what I will be using it for.  Bags.  And maybe skirts.  Lots of bags.  Big bags for books.  Little bags for marbles or hairties.  Bags with polkadots and bags with flowers, bags with stripes, and bags with swirls.  Possibly even some patchwork bags, a mix of a bit of this with a bit of that, stripes here and spots there.


They will be loved, whatever their pattern and texture of that I am sure.  Loved because they will probably be the only bag their owner possesses.  I am making bags for Operation Christmas Child.  And if I happen to find some matching fabric on sale (or via donation!), I might make a couple of gorgeous little skirts.  I know how to now, having made myself four...very easy to replicate that, and the only other thing I'll need is some elastic for the waists.  But all this creativity is going to have to wait.  I have study to do, lots of study.  Study which I enjoy, so I don't find missing out on sewing too arduous.  I will simply find a spot for my delightful new stash in my sewing cupboard.  And dream about the bags I will make come summer.  Lots and lots of bags.

Amy

ps - A big THANK YOU to my fabric giver, you are awesome and your delightful fabric will be well-used and well-loved!

Autumn


Last week it was summer.  The very last week of summer.  An amazing, long, sunshiny, beautiful summer.  The kind that kids remember for years and years to come, that will be raised as the pinnacle of what a ‘good’ summer should be.  Days at the beach.  Iceblocks for afternoon tea.  Sprinkler play on a hot afternoon.  Lots and lots of sun and hardly any rain.  After all, kids aren’t too worried about the farmers crops, they just lap up the idyllic feel of a seriously hot summer.

Last week was the end of summer.

But today?  Today is Autumn.  I’ve been waiting for it to arrive, expecting it for some time, wondering how long it would be before the air starts to turn crisp and the leaves change from green to hues of red, gold, and brown.


Today.

Autumn is here.  The leaves are starting to turn, the breeze is definitely southerly, and suddenly (thanks to daylight savings changing back), the evenings are shorter.


In the last week of summer what did we do?  Nothing much.  You’d think that such a long and glorious summer should end with celebrations, acknowledgment of the sunshine, the beach, the evening song of the blackbird.  But no, we just carried on with our lives, as we are prone to do. 

We bought clothes, had haircuts, visited with a couple of friends, and spent time with family.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  We didn’t even spend much time outside in this last week of summer.  I think we were a little bit jaded by the sun.  Three solid months was enough.

I think we’ve been waiting for autumn.  Waiting for better sleep.  Sleep under a blanket, perhaps.  Sleep without a fan. 

And yet, autumn has never been my favourite season.  It heralds winter, and I don’t like winter much at all.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like clean, crisp air and snuggling up under a dozen blankets with my hotwater bottle and my “Hottie” (aka Hubby!) at night.  But I hate being cold almost every day.  My internal thermostat is a little bit wobbly and requires external sun-support.  Grin.

But still, I am bored with summer.  It is time for autumn, time for change.  Time to dig my garden and rake up some big, crunchy bags of leaves.  Time to put away our sunhats and sunscreen and fish our long sleeved tops out of storage.

Autumn is here.  It's time.

Amy

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Consumed


A couple of months ago, I lost the help of the folks helping me run the ministry I started at my church last year.  They need to move on, and I’m okay with that.  We each have our own passions, callings, and priorities and it’s important that people are always free to follow what they believe is right for their lives.  The timing, however, is pretty atrocious.  Starting study, I need to be able to focus on when my assignments are due and on settling my son into preschool.  I am instead finding myself trying to juggle these with needing to make some big decisions regarding the church ministry.

Consumed, obsessed, passionate, zealous, crazy, insane…
Some of these things have been said about me recently.  The others have most likely been thought, even if not voiced directly to me.  Heck, I sometimes say them to myself!

Have you ever thought about what Thomas Edison’s friends thought?  Even those in the scientific circle.  “Thomas, you’re obsessed with a light bulb.  You moron.  Like anything’s ever going to come out of that.”  He tried thousands of times to get electricity to run a lightbulb.  Literally thousands.  And didn’t give up.  Today, we applaud his dedication, his zeal, his passion.  But back then, people probably just thought he was a little cook-coo.   A little over the top.  Try, sure, but why give your life to something so mundane, so weird, so socially uncool.

The thing is, if I was consumed by study or overly passionate about my son that would probably be okay, wouldn’t it?  But because I am zealous over a ministry started to help the poorest of the poor, somehow it feels like that is too much.  Sigh.

But sometimes I think people don’t always get just how much time a ministry takes (or anything new for that matter).  If you don’t get it right, it will die out by default.  It has to have just the right amount of regular contact, exciting news, etc without overloading people with too much.  And when you’re left carrying most of the burden of it, yes, it does become all-consuming.

I am really pleased to have found the thing which I was made for after years of wondering.

But also scared.  And I find myself wishing sometimes that I could just ignore it, and have it all fade away.  Live a normal suburban life.  Indulge in those little luxuries, be a little obsessed with my own life instead of something that doesn’t fit our societies standards so well.  But I can’t.

If I don’t do this, no one else will.
If I don’t speak up, who will raise their voice?
Who will cry out for the destitute, the desperate?
For those of us who call ourselves Christians, how are we possibly ignoring this HUGE issue?  The Bible refers to alleviating poverty over 3,000 times. 
Yet we carry on with our daily lives, completely overlooking one of the single biggest commandments of Christianity.  To release the captives, share our food with the hungry, champion the down and out.  Perhaps even to give until we have nothing left to give (that’s what the New Testament church did).
I cannot in all conscience claim to be a follower of Christ if I do not love my neighbour as I love myself.  I cannot follow the one who poured out his life, gave his everything for me if I am not prepared to sacrifice at least a little of my free time, my resources, my compassion.

If it was my son starving to death, I’d want someone to speak for him.  I’d want someone to compel others to help us.

But what if I fail?  What if it folds, doesn’t work?  I’ve already given hours and hours to this.  A whole year of planning and praying and talking with people and launching and running this ministry.  There are plenty of other things I could have done instead.  More personally fulfilling things, easier and less costly. 

It’s hanging on the edge.  It would be so easy to give up now.  I tried.  I really did.  When I first launched this idea, people said it was amazing.  We could go national, have a website, do all these amazing things, they said.  It’s a good thing I did at least take the enthusiasm with a good dose of realism, because now those same people are too busy, too tired, too strapped for cash, too everything else.  And I’m left with my ‘fabulous’ ministry, six months in with no one to help run it.  And I find myself evaluating the cost.  Is it worth it?  Am I really making a difference?  If I just wanted to raise money for the poor, I could have done that by doing carwashes.  Or working, and giving what I earned.  Seriously, with the amount of hours this has taken, that would have been a more productive/efficient way of raising funds!  But I don’t want to just raise money.  I already give quite a bit.  I want to encourage others to give, to find God’s heart for those less fortunate than us, to realise and remember that we are some of the most blessed, prosperous people on earth.  And that with privilege comes certain responsibilities (to borrow a quote from the movie Ever After). 

But I can’t be at church every week, or even every month promoting it.  I cant’ be chasing after other people, trying to make them do something they might just not be ready for.  And there’s a thousand little things behind the scenes that have to be done to keep things running.  Emails, phone calls, photo editing, texts, tracking donations, talking with supporters, working out what to present next…the list is almost unending.   And it’s sucking away at my down-time.  Down-time that I do actually need.  I live a busy life, I do need some time that is not frazzled and rushed.


I could lose friends over this.
I could lose sleep.
I’m certainly losing free time.

When do you reach the point where enough is enough, where you say you’ve tried and it just didn’t work out?

And how do you tell whether something is worth it?

I really hope this is.

Because someone has to do it.  This issue simply isn’t being raised in my church, or in the vast majority of other churches around our country and the Western world.

Ever watched Amazing Grace?  It’s an incredible movie about William Wilberforce using his gifting and his passion in politics to fight for the abolition of slavery.  But what hits me hard is the personal cost.  He lost friends.  His health was bad his whole life long.  He lived in terrible emotional torment because he chose to open his heart to the call of God.  Would he say it was worth it?  Was it worth the personal torment, the hours of work, to see slavery banned?  To know that it was no longer okay to treat humans as working collateral, cattle to be used and abused?  I think he would say that it was.  He did what God asked of him.  But it came at great personal cost.

Am I prepared for the cost?  Am I willing to give to this?  Sometimes I’m not.  Sometimes I decide to watch TV instead.  But still, it sits there in the back of my mind.  I am compelled to do something.

The thing is, just as clearly as I know that I’m called to champion the poorest of the poor, I also know I’m meant to study this Early Years Degree and I’m meant to be Munchkin’s Mummy.  So there has to be room for those other two equally important things.  My life has to have some balance between the vying needs of the three.  Let alone my poor patient husband!  We’ve been talking about it a lot lately, trying to decide what to do.

Right now, I’m wallowing in exhaustion and wondering why on earth I’m trying.  The big question is when as an individual do you decide that you can’t carry it alone any more.  Someone said to me this week that if you’ve got too many rocks in your wheelbarrow, if they are too heavy, then you need to leave some behind.  That’s hard.  I find myself wanting to give my rock to someone else.  But what if they’ve already got too many themselves?  Well then, could I carefully wrap my rock in a blanket and tuck it into a little hillside cave, a little note attached “Very important rock, please carry for me!?”  Would someone come and pick it up?  Or would it simply be forgotten?

Where is the fine line between commitment and burn-out?  I don’t want to live a mediocre life, blaming circumstances or other’s actions for not doing what I’m passionate about.  But neither do I want to do it to the point that I lose even all the passion that got this started.  Sometimes people say to leave something like ministry.  Leave it for a time, and come back to it when you’re older, when things are more settled, when you have more finances (you know, just add when……whatever the thing that would help the most in here).  But I get the feeling that we do this too often.  Too often we delay things, waiting for the ‘perfect’ opportunity that never actually comes.  We spend our lives finding excuses for NOT doing what we believe in, for leaving it for another day.  I don’t want to do that.  But neither do I want to put everything into this, and then wish I’d spent that time doing something else.  After all, that’s about as pointless as the first option, isn’t it?  And despite what people might sometimes think about me, I do actually know that there are only so many hours in a day, and I am only capable of doing so many things in them (usually about half of my to-do list for any given day, hehe!).  And I’m concerned that in all my efforts to DO SOMETHING for God, even something he is this passionately concerned about, that I could end up missing out on GOD HIMSELF.  Because I could end up too busy to actually spend time with him.  That would be tragic.

If your passion becomes a burden, then what?  Can it turn around, and come full circle back to being a passion again, or does it end up dead?  What do you do when something becomes too heavy to carry alone, and there seems to be a scarcity of helping hands?
I’m really not sure.  I guess I’ll keep asking God.

Amy

The Greatest Gift


At Easter we like to remember what Jesus did.
In our family, that means one evening we have hot cross buns with grapetise.  It’s a bit of a variation on the Lord’s Supper I guess, contemporary Easter style.


This year we read Isaiah 53.

And I realised again that God gave the greatest gift.

All the things he could have given, he didn’t.  Things like fame, or wealth.  Easy platitudes on his part.  Useless cover-ups on ours, they wouldn’t solve a thing.

Instead, he gave himself.  His family.  The person he loved the most, he hurt the most.  His son.

“Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?”  Isaiah 53 (The Message).

And yet it does.  It defies logic.  It challenges fairness.  It is simply crazy, that the God of all, the King of all, would give up his son, even harm his son, so that we, miserable us, could know him.


“We looked down on him, thought he was scum.  But the fact is, it was our pains he carried – our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us, We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures.  But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him – our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.  Through his bruises we get healed…
Justice miscarried, and he was led off – and did anyone really know what was happening?  He died without a thought to his own welfare…Even though he’d never hurt a soul, or said one word that wasn’t true…Out of that terrible travail of soul, he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.  Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many “righteous ones.””  Isaiah 53 (The Message).

The greatest gift.

It cost the most a gift can possibly cost.  It cost someone’s life.

The greatest gift.

Because it meant the most.  It means OUR LIVES.  Eternity.  Hope.  Freedom.  Fearlessness.  Joy.  Excitement.  Purpose.  Eternity.  Now.

What we couldn't do for ourselves, Jesus did for us.  The burden we are unable to carry, he carries, every day.  The scars that are too deep for us, that pain us so much, he will take those too so that we can be healed and whole again.

The greatest gift.

Himself.

Chailicious

It was good.


No one asked for the little chocolate.  I got to eat it all by myself.  There were no requests for some foam off the top.  The tissue around it didn't end up screwed into a ball.  There was no drumming with a teaspoon on the table.

I had a few minutes of peace, sipping my warm, spicy drink, watching 'the world' go by while I had a (far too brief) moment of rest.  I did not miss my son.  I did, however, rather relish the big hug I got when I picked him up from kindy.  And I enjoyed reading a favourite book before bed.  I even managed not to feel too irritated when he emerged from his bedroom a few minutes ago needing the loo and a Mummy cuddle before  he is now succumbing to sleep.  Sometimes, a bit of alone time really helps one enjoy the together time more.  I highly recommend it.

During my travels today, I learned two startling things.

I apparently have feet the size of an 8-10 year old.  Yup.  That would explain why it is so hard finding anything that fits them!  I wasn't sure whether to laugh at this revelation or just feel annoyed.


My son, on the other hand, has feet that are in a size 7 already.  I'm guessing for a boy, size 7 is probably around a four year old (give or take a year or two either side, right?!)?  He has been in a seven for nearly a year I think.  Long feet, like his daddy's.  This, however, is not my second startling piece of new information as I did already know that.


This is:
My son is no longer in the 97th percentile in height or weight.  He is, in fact, closer to the 85th.  Hubby checked today.  Interesting.  Very interesting.  After being in that bracket from around 8months old until he was two and a half, it is fascinating that his growth has slowed.  The weight isn't such a surprise.  Our 'solid' little boy (that's what people used to call him - drove me mad!) has turned into a bean pole.  All legs and he'd be lucky if he's more than half a kg heavier than he was at fifteen months old!  I now have trouble clothing him for the opposite reasons I had a year or so ago.  Back then, it was finding something big enough.  Now, I'm trying to find something long but narrow.  Not an easy feat.  I've had to stop buying second hand clothes.  I am disappointed, but resigned.  We did really well out of them.  And it's not to say we won't buy them ever again, just that at the moment at least, almost anything that has been worn by another child is already stretched too wide for Munchkin.  Buying new is horrifyingly expensive, even on special.  Only $10-13 for a pair of pants is pretty good really.  But I had to buy five.  Ouch.

So, our boy is no longer as tall as he used to be.  Or rather, he is no longer that much taller than his friends as he used to be.  I'm wondering if we are due for a growth spurt soon though...feels like it has been awhile.  Grin.

Amy

Study break

My son is at kindy, and I am not studying.

Do I feel guilty?
Heck, yeah.

Do I need a break?
Absolutely!

It is study break, and for the first time in the course of my degree, I am actually getting a break.  A real, live break from study.  No assignment due the day classes resume.  How this has happened, I do not know.  But I am grateful.

I did think about taking Munchkin out of kindy.  Mummy guilt and financial pressures combined to make me entertain the thought for a brief moment.  But only a brief moment.  He has just come through the "you are abandoning me and I'm going to scream my heart out" phase.  The staff commented earlier this week on how happy he was: the happiest they have ever seen him, laughing, smiling and playing with everyone.  There's NO WAY I want to jepardise that.  He is settled.  It has taken six weeks.  To all you parents out there hoping under your breath that it will be different for you: it probably won't.  I'm sorry to say it, but kids just seem to need a bit of time to get used to being away from us...Munchkin was okay for a few weeks, then terribly upset being left for a few, and is now back to okay - but even better.  It is as if Kindy is now HIS place.  He owns it, and he loves it.  But we had to come through the hard stuff in order to get to this great place we are now in.  So I'm definitely not messing with that.  Even though today is costing us $25.  $25 which I could quite happily spend in any number of other, perhaps even more urgent ways, than having my child looked after by someone else today.  But I am choosing to spend that money because it is good for him and it is good for me.  My entire existence since having Munchkin has been one huge juggle of Mummy-guilt and study-guilt, with swirls of Wifey-guilt on the side.  I hardly ever have time to myself that I can actually do what I want with...there's usually a VERY long list of things that need to be done, from study to household maintenance, and on and on and on.  Today is no exception.  Today, while I am childfree, I hope to accomplish:
Call Studylink (DONE!  Horray!  Sad that we are not entitled to more childcare support, I was hopeful, but good to confirm that things are as they should be and I can get extra help when on Practicum if needed...just need to find the extra $25/day we still have to pay!!!).
Call to arrange visit to local Christian school we are interested in putting Munchkin on the waiting list for...it has a two year waiting list.
Sort Munchkin's newly bought clothes for winter.  (Just DONE!)

The clothes being sorted.  Front left = too big, keep for later, back left = too small now, pile on handbag = swap at store, red basket = to wash.  
Return three tops that really are too big, and exchange for a sweatshirt as I've realised we actually need one of those more.
Visit Farmers and look for socks for Munchkin, Mummy, and Daddy.  Ahhhh.  A store visit without my preschooler.  Seriously, have I told you about our visit to T & T yesterday???  Munchkin's attention span lends itself to happily trying on about two and a half pairs of trousers per visit.  I made him try on at least eight.  Maybe ten.  He ran from the store, in his underwear.  At least twice.  Arggghhhhh.  Embarrassing.  He hid behind the clothing racks.  He looked at tops that we couldn't buy (too expensive or too big or too small), before finally discovering a toy basket.  About the time I was ready to pay and leave, of course.  Note to self:  T & T has a TOY BASKET!  Make use of this next time, you duffer!  And try, try, try not to make the poor child try on so many pairs of pants in one sitting.  It's just that he has turned into this bean pole.  Size two pants are of course too short. But many size threes are too wide.  Not a good look, having your three year old with their pants down past their bum.  And ties, why do they insist on putting ties in pants for three year olds??!!!  Do you actually know a three year old who can tie a bow???  I don't.  Elastic, people, good old fashioned elastic.  My son can then at least pull his own pants up and down without mishap.  But I digress...Back to my list for today.
Visit Kathmandu and look for one or two sweatshirts for me.  I have one that has been a favourite for about ten years or so, and is finally starting to look a bit tatty.  Big sale.  Very hopeful Amy that there might be something in my price range...kids stuff perhaps??
Treat myself to a chai latte while I am in town.  Sit and enjoy the taste of every single sip of warm, milky, sweetly spiced chai.
Return off meat to Pak N Save.  Ugh.  Disgusting.  Nearly fed it to my family.  How gross.  Also return very cool yoghurt container that's chiller pack has a hole that is leaking gooey blue stuff into the container.  Not impressed.  Really hoping they have another blue one, as the Munchinator will be somewhat upset if I come home with a different colour!
Top up petrol with a 25c off voucher before it expires.
Go to Mega 10 and look at materials for Munchkin's birthday present.  Maybe return home with them, depending on whether they fit in my car and whether I can make a coherent decision today.  Building will commence (and hopefully conclude!) next week.
Find out where my Practicum placement is.   Hopefully today is the day.  Then I have four weeks to organise childcare, etc, etc, etc.  Breathe, Amy, breathe. 

I did want to go for a walk, but I'm no longer so sure seeing as it is actually raining today.  I might stroke a guinea pig or play the piano, or just sit and do NOTHING for a few minutes.  What luxury!

What are you up to today?
Amy