What a week (and a bit)

Since my very extravagant look after me day on my last day work for 2008 I have continued to have a pretty relaxed and blessed holiday.
Saturday: Hung around at home with Martin and we went for a wander into the city to look at lights. We stumbled across the Carols in the Domain and watched for a bit and came back to Glebe for pizza.
Sunday: Minded Hannah and had lots of fun with her at the pool.
Monday: Jo and Victor arrived and I went to the airport to meet them and then had a scrumptious breakfast in Newtown and sat around at the bushy French house with my amazing friends. Fi and Mike came with their baby Evie and she is so cute.
Tuesday: Leila (Martin’s cousin’s friend from Ecuador) arrived and I went to the airport again to pick her up. Mum and Keith arrived too so I went to French’s again for dinner there with them and others
Wednesday: Had a Christmas Eve lunch at Kat and Tom’s and played some serious Badminton. Gemma arrived and I had a great Japanese meal with her and mum in Newtown. Then we attended the Christmas Eve service. It was a very special service great music, great atmosphere, people taking and drinking champagne after. I did the prayers.
Thurday: Christmas Day. After a relaxing morning we went to my grandparents place. Spent and hour or so on Collaroy Beach (as they live there) and then had a dinner at their place. Grandma as always excelled in her cooking especially the prawns and the Christmas pudding and custard.
Friday: Boxing Day morning spent at the Lady’s Pool at Coogee and then back to Hornsby for coffee with Jo and Jem while the others watched a movie. In the evening we went to Brooklyn for Christmas left overs.
Saturday: Toured the city with Victor and Leila. We walked from Milson’s Point over the Bridge to the Rocks markets and had lunch. Then through Circular Quay for coffee and then through the Botanic Gardens to Woollomolloo (spelling) for a beer. At that point it started to rain. We eventually gave up waiting and walked through the Domain, past St Mary’s Cathedral, through Hyde Park and took a bus back to my place for dinner.
Sunday: Church, a long much needed quiet time then back to Collaroy for some time with mum and family on the beach. Keith and mum came home and had dinner with us. Much talk about Alice Springs was had. Exciting.
Monday: Drove to Wollongong through the Royal National Park and over the Sea Cliff Bridge and had the best Vegie Burgers in Coledale. In Wollongong we went to Jess’s local Lee and Me’s for coffee and then wandered down the the light house.
It’s been really great to hang with everyone (especially Jo and Victor) and I have had sooooo much fun. However tomorrow I am ready for a bit of an alone day before New Year’s Eve.

It’s all about me

Yesterday I decided that I would spend the day with myself, doing things that I like doing and just caring for myself. It was my last day of work and I thought I would reward myself for some of the good things I’ve achieved this year and offer myself some kindness and grace in an effort to let go of some of the crappier things.

So I finished work at about 1.30 and went and had a salad roll at my favourite (yummy and very cheap) salad roll place. Then I went and got an eyebrow wax and a half hour massage. The wax sucked, it was painful and not well done but the massage really hit the spot. Then I came home, grabbed my swimming stuff and walked to the Ian Thorpe pool. I did my usual 22 laps and it felt good and then had a sauna just in case I wasn’t relaxed enough. From the pool I went and had dinner at the sushi train and read my book. I am a bit obsessed with sushi trains and my book. Then I went to the movies. I saw Twilight. There wasn’t anything else on and I was hoping it was going to be like Buffy, (you know vampires and stuff) but it wasn’t. In fact it wasn’t very good at all and certainly went against everything I had been reading about (I am reading Passionate Marriage which is all about differentiation, the concept of holding on to and validating yourself in your relationship and I can assure there was nothing differentiated about the relationship in twilight). However I didn’t care that much I just love seeing movies on my own, it feels so liberating. And I enjoyed the champagne and the choc top. After the movie I came home and went to bed feeling very relaxed and all prepared for my holidays.

Economic Crisis?

If you venture into Chatswood at the moment all the people in the shops buying up big certainly leaves one a little confused about all the concern and drama that people won’t be spending enough money this year. If this is what an economic crisis looks like I don’t think we have much to worry about. Well only that nothing seems to stop us from spending and consuming in a time where we really need to. And that a slight downturn in our incredibly luxuourious lifestyles cause such anxiety.

Busy Me

40 more (out of the 150) Christmas Card to send
15 messages on the answering machine
5 more reports to receive and send
2 introductions (the volunteer and their friend)
1 interview
1 friendship ending (very messy)
As well as the general stuff that comes in
All in three days of work.
Yay for 15 days holidays!!

P.S. Due to some misunderstanding I wanted to say this is all work related, ie not cards for my friends and family but volunteers etc (so don’t be offended if you don’t get one, no one has really we didn’t get to it again this year); not 15 personal messages but for work; and not one of my friendship’s ending but one of the volunteer’s.

The Bible

Today I finished reading Malachi and thus I have now read the whole Bible. It has taken me about three and half years which is a lot longer than I thought it would when I set out but that’s okay. I also set out to read it from beginning to end. I didn’t do this either but’s that’s okay too. If the Bible has gotton anything through it is grace. About half way through the old testamant (Chronicles I think) I was really tiring so I thought I would read some new testament instead and ended up reading it all. And then I went back to the Chronicles but got tired again before the prophets so I read the Gospels again. Then I got distracted by “Sabbabth Ecomics” so I read Exodus for a second time and we were reading some of Paul’s letters with my small group so I think they got read twice too. I finally got to the prophets which I finished today. And so the whole Bible.

Now having read the whole Bible for myself I can truly say I love it. I did find some of it boring, some of it offensive and some of it I didn’t understand at all but as a whole I think it’s marvellous. It deals with the biggest questions of life right to the most mundane and trivial parts of human existence.
I still don’t hold entirely conventional views of what the Bible is but the stories, the letters, the prayers, the poems, the dreams, the commands, the guidelines, the prophecies, the people and most importantly Jesus all give a very full picture of the nature of God. A God who can not be boxed into any neat categories at all. It no longer seems at all possible (although I am sure I will continue to do this, see below) to quote one part of the Bible as some kind of proof or answer to who God is or what He wants (and I am saying He because that is all our language allows for but I am not convinced that God is a male).

However, I will say (and no one will be supirsed to hear this from me) that I think the issue of God’s concern for the poor, the oppressed and those suffering or living on the margins in any way is a theme that runs clearly and powerfully throughout the whole Bible. Just one example from Zechariah chapter seven

“There nothing new to say on the subject. Don’t you still have the messages of the earlier prophets from the time when Jerusalem was still a thriving, bustling city. Well the message hasn’t changed: Treat one another justly. Love your neighbours, be compassionate with each other. Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors and the poor. Don’t plot and scheme against one another – that’s evil.

However, the whole Bible, the story of creation; the freeing of a people enslaved; the commands and guidelines given in the desert to a people learning to be the people of God; the prayers of David and the other psalmists; the people chosen to tell the stories; the anger and the desires expressed through the prophets; the life, the stories, the suffering of Jesus; the actions of the early church; the letters of James, Peter, John and even Paul; and the final images of a life to come all point to a God who loves the poor, who calls His people to do the same and even shows them how. I am convinced that there is still poverty, injustice and suffering not because God wills it or is punishing us but simply because we have not lived as we were called, because we have lived for ourselves and not for others and not for God. But I live in hope…

“But when all is said and done God’s temple on the mountain will dominte all mountains. People will stream to it saying, “Come let’s climb God’s mountain. He will teach us how to live.” True teaching will issue from Zion, God’s revelation from Jerusalem. He’ll establish justice in the rabble of the nations and settle disputes in faraway places. They’ll trade in their swords for shovels, their spears for rakes and hoes. Nations will quit fighting each other, quit learning to kill. Each man will sit under his own shade tree, each woman in safety will tend her garden.” Micah chapter four

Christmas Shopping Done

There are not a lot of things in the world I like to do less than go shopping (retail therapy for example makes absolutly no sense to me) so I was pretty pleased that I managed to do all my Christmas shopping on Sunday afternoon (except for one thing which I bought on the way to work this morning and I knew where I was going and what I wanted so it was pretty easy).

I also managed to buy these things from 6 locations:
Oxfam, TEAR, Hoyts, Kmart, Gleebooks, and Emma’s Secret. Except for Kmart (in which I only bought one thing) I actually feel good about shopping from these places. Oxfam and TEAR go without saying; Gleebooks I feel okay about as it is an independent local shop and; Hoyts and Emma’s secret I feel alright about as I am giving people an experience that they will use rather than a piece of junk which will eventually become more stuff in the tips.

And we even got to fit in a movie for ourselves as well. We saw Australia. I actually quite liked it. While the characters weren’t well rounded and some of it a bit cliche it was enjoyable. It won’t go down as one of my favourites or anything but for the first time in awhile I didn’t leave feeling like I had been violated or with the weight of the world on my shoulders.

How long it takes me to learn!

A week ago I wrote a post reflecting on how blessed I was. Unfortunately though I have found myself over the week beginning to worry and stress about a few things. Then today I went to Manly to have lunch my old friend Jenny. On the way back on the ferry I was praying and watching the beauty of the water and the dark clouds preparing for a storm over it and I was again struck by just how blessed I was. I came home and spent a lovely evening with Martin. We talked and ate nibbles and watched the rain coming down in the light of the sun. It was beautiful. As our discussion wore on later into the night we touched on a subject that has been of some worry and stress to me and things were slowly becoming heated. Then there was a knock on the door. I answered and it was a friend from Glebe. She was crying and very stressed. I invited her in but she refused she just wanted me to pray for her. I said I’d love to and she told me what was going on. We stood on my porch for a bit longer while she regained the strength to go home. I asked her if there was anything else I could do and she no, she just felt heaps better knowing that someone was praying. She went home and I went inside and Martin and I started praying. We prayed and prayed. After all that I had our little worries and stresses in perspective again and again felt really blessed. Gosh I am a slow learner. I really hope that I won’t forget this again any time soon