Thursday, October 31, 2013

I'm going to say I'm busy

I know we’re all supposed to ease up with our carrying on about how busy we are, but at the moment I consider myself busy. Actually, I’m going with hectic, which I consider one step down from frantic.

I have a resurrected plan of sorts, which involves moving next week. I haven’t had the moment to write that down yet. I returned from Melbourne and the baby visit yesterday (spent another night on the bus!), and next week is press date at work, so I have had to hit the ground running there to get huge amounts of material ready for the printers. On the home front I am madly packing my belongings, which at the moment looks like a phenomenal mess. Then there’s a personal matter generating more stress than it all. So, I’m just doing what I can, warding off the meltdown by telling myself I can do this and get there.

Life was feeling rather dull, I was ready for that 'inciting incident', then, as is want to happen, everything came at once.

So, I wanted to post a poem, but have now spent so long reading through poems to find one that I should go and get back to wrapping things in paper. But I shall return when I can.

Friday, October 25, 2013

This afternoon

Introducing baby David

So, here is baby David Alaistair. He is named after my sister's (and thus mine obviously) father and my brother-in-law's father, who are both long departed.

I had to put this photo in, because it's an hilarious face and finger placement from the nurse (after his first bath).

My sister went to the obstetrician on Wednesday, they were concerned that the baby didn't have enough fluid around it, so they decided to induce my sister that day. They broke my sister's waters sometime around 11pm and he arrived at 3:39 am on Thursday. He's super cute, was 2870 grams and 48 cm long, and he's doing well. 

The neonatal cardiologist came around yesterday to the echocardiogram on his heart. He does still have a slight narrowing of the aorta, which they will watch but are not presently concerned about (it seems that if that was going to be a problem, it would already have been a problem), and he does have a "medium-sized" hole in his heart. This is also a "wait and see" scenario for now, as it might shrink as he grows, but if it doesn't and he appears to get breathless during feeding, they might need to intervene. But, all possibilities considered, this is relatively good news, and we are very thankful to God for that. He can leave special care, and probably come home next week, which is great. (I spent yesterday loitering around the special care nursery, with twelve of the littlest littlest people around ... so tiny and sweet.

I got on a bus out of Sydney at 7 pm on Wednesday, which got me in to Melbourne at 6:30 am. That wasn't my best night. I thought I would have the seat to myself but we picked up two extra passengers in Liverpool, one of who was seated next to me and tried to sleep sideways in her chair and crossed her seat boundaries. But it's quite convenient really because I just went from Central in Sydney, and got in to Southern Cross Station in Melbourne, and it cost me $60 (couldn't believe it was so cheap actually) without all that airport palaver. Then I walked around the train station mystified over how and where I could actually get a train ticket, till I asked a cafe guy who sent me to the right place, where they explained this Myki system. Dear State of Victoria, this is a very un-visitor friendly public transport system. I caught a train to Clayton, picked a friendly looking local and got directions to the hospital and was there before 8 am. (Suitcases on wheels are the world's greatest invention, are they not?)

Here's a couple of pictures I Instagrammed. I got sick of trying to do things on my phone yesterday and gave it up. But this is my first cuddle of little David, and when he meet his sisters.

So, thank you for all your prayers! He's such a blessing.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Baby action! - and some blinks

For those who have been following this story sister went to the obstetrician today, and now has to have this baby today! So, I am off to Melbourne, on a bus (yes a bus - it's easier to get on at this point, and takes me right into Melbourne instead of to the inconvenient airports). So, thanks to those of your who have expressed your concern and let me know you are praying. I greatly appreciate that. And if you would like to say one more, that would be appreciated too.

Meanwhile, when I wrote that Guess Who's Coming to Dinner post I said I was intrigued by families of collective genius, so I liked this article on literary siblings, featuring the Rossettis and the Brontes, dispelling the notion of lonely genius. Also, I loved this collection of quotes Jean posted from CS Lewis's letters to Arthur Greeves.

And then Michael Jensen writes a good article on chastity, and hurrah for someone writing that it isn't about waiting for marriage (some of us have well and truly given up waiting, and we need a better reason).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It is not finished

The poem I recently posted, by G.A. Studdert Kennedy, found in an article by Bruce Smith in the CASE Magazine, sent me off after this Mr Studdert Kennedy. So, here is another of his poems.


It is not finished, Lord.
There is not one thing done,
There is no battle of my life,
That I have really won.
And now I come to tell Thee
How I fought to fail,
My human, all too human, tale
Of weakness and futility.
And yet there is a faith in me,
That Thou wilt find in it
One word that Thou canst take
And make
The centre of a sentence
In Thy book of poetry.
I cannot read this writing of the years,
My eyes are full of tears,
It gets all blurred, and won’t make sense
It’s full of contradictions
Like the scribblings of a child,
Such wild, wild
Hopes, and longing as intense
As pain, which trivial deeds
Make folly of—or worse:
I can but hand it in, and hope
That Thy great mind, which reads
The writings of so many lives,
Will understand this scrawl
And what it strives
To say—but leaves unsaid.
I cannot write it over,
The stars are coming out,
My body needs its bed.
I have no strength for more,
So it must stand or fall—Dear Lord—
     That’s all.

From The Unutterable Beauty, by G.A. Studdert Kennedy.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Girls rising

Last night I sat in a picture theatre almost entirely full of women for a private screening of Girl Rising. It’s quite a film/documentary, and if you have an opportunity to see it, you should. In some ways I felt like it was preaching to the converted here, because the message is the value of educating girls, to a county’s economic prosperity, health and just about every other index of flourishing you could invent.

We are privileged to live in a country where it isn’t even a question whether you will educate your daughters as well as your sons, and even though I finished my schooling some time ago, I not felt once felt there was any difference in opportunity or choice between me and the boys in my classes.

But in many places of the world that is not the case, and those places are where these stories come from. Girls from nine different countries were paired with a writer in their own language to tell their story. I didn’t agree with every worldview and attitude it was presenting, of course (presenting the rather disney idea that you have the power to be anything you want to be and fulfil all your dreams etc irks me), but the film served its purpose in showing us what it meant to be born in girl in many countries, and what a difference it made if those girls could simply go to school (especially to their health outcomes, which we don't always think about when we think of education).

The main way presented to us to support the education of girls was to give financial resources, as is to be expected, but I did leave feeling more disgruntled with my job, with nit-picking my way through documents moaning when someone opens more parentheses than they close. And I walked to my car with another girl who was thinking similar things and said 'my dinner conversation was all about where I’m going to mount my flat screen TV'. But it can be hard to know where to channel your “white man’s guilt” when stirred in such a way.

Before the feature film we also saw a short film made by the BUMP mentoring program for young Mums, and few tears might have slipped down my face in the dark over that one also.

Then on Friday someone is coming into my workplace from the A21 Campaign, to talk to us about human trafficking in Australia. I don’t know who here is responsible for that, but I intend to go along.

So, by the end of this week I might let out a roar or two, before I charge off into the sunset the change the world.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Art as Therapy

I have been amusing myself with this little tool/app that accompanies the release of Alain de Botton’s latest book, Art as Therapy. They have created a website where you can click on a particular feeling or mood, and it will take you to a work of art which they deem has something to say to your condition. It might be a long bow that's drawn in some cases, but it's fun.

So far I particularly like this one, for when you are feeling fragile, and this one, for when you long for others to take the time to truly understand, and this one, for defensiveness. Go play. (Note, if you click that right arrow more will come up - eventually!)

The plan that failed

I mentioned that I had a vague plan for altering my life and was waiting for confirmation. Well, after living on tenterhooks and waiting and waiting, for meetings and the powers at be to have their say, sadly, my plan failed.

I tried to present a case to my current employer that I could do my job remotely and only come into the office for one day a week, which would allow me to live quite a distance away. My manager was unfazed and quite amenable to the idea (initially when I asked about the possibilities of working remotely, his response was that coming in one day a week should be enough), which gave me reason to hope. But when it went up the chain of management, the least I could reduce office time to was three days a week. This is not so useful. I can’t live so far away if I have to commute for three days a week. So, I came home and cried, and called my Mum and cried. My dream shattered and the perfect plan I had created for living how I want to live crumbled in a heap.

So, I am now right back where I started with trying to come up with some other idea. But, I have to trust it to God that that wasn’t how it was all meant to work out and there will be some other way.

In all this decision-making and re-evaluating I have decided on two things:

(a) I don’t want to live in Sydney any more
(b) I don’t want to live in share housing any more

It is probably best I have come to both those conclusions because living in Sydney and not living in share housing are more or less mutually exclusive, and they each influenced the other.

When I tried to write a list of reasons why I stay in Sydney, given the cost of housing, there were not too many things on it. (I don’t have any family here, I have few good friends left that I see with any kind of regularity (and some that I do are leaving themselves), I am not involved in any ministries this year at church to which I am indispensable and which I couldn’t do elsewhere, I am not rapt in my current job, the rent is too expensive (and buying is all but out of the question), there are no men here who are asking me out ... and that is about all the reasons I can think of.) When I think about how I spend my free time, which is largely pottering around by myself, I don’t need to be in the most expensive city in the country to do it. And having now reached the age that I pretend people don’t know I am, I am too old to continue trying to find random flatmates, and I want a real home for myself. I don’t want to go on living holed up in my bedroom like a teenager reading books because the TV is on in the living room. I want to live in the living room – to sit on my couches and play music, to do crochet and read books and leave books and crochet scattered about, to invite people over when I would like to invite them over.

So, there is my internet catharsis and reasoning. And I now need to find some other way to make these life alterations.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday: How to create chocolate out of nothing

OK, so there has been nothing between Fridays, but this is very cool. Maybe I need to buy some chocolate so I can try it?

Friday, October 04, 2013

A little Friday afternoon music

I’ve already posted this song, but have been watching the film clip, which went up yesterday. It’s nice – and decent and interesting (there’s letter writing and old books and Paris (which I hope to go to one day)).

Thursday, October 03, 2013

On dating non-Christian men and Psalm 84

Simone has written a great post about non-Christian men and Psalm 84. If you’ve been reading here a while you will know that I have been there. I particularly liked the concluding discussion about how we might not necessarily feel as we ought at the time (which is also why I like this portion of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte).

While you’re over there, read her poem too.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

A prayer of confession - by Stanley Hauerwas

Gracious God, humble us through the violence of
Your love so we are able to know and confess
our sins. We want our sins to be interesting, but,
God forgive us, they are so ordinary: envy,
hatred, meanness, pride, self-centeredness, laziness,
boredom, lying, lust, stinginess, and so on.
You have saved us from "and so on" to be a royal
people able to witness to the world that
the powers that make us such ordinary sinners
have been defeated. So capture our attention
with the beauty of your life that
the ugliness of sin may be seen as just that -
God, how wonderful
it is to be captivated by you.
Taken from the end of this article, which would appear to be the full text of the second lecture he gave at New College on How to Write a Theological Sentence.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The inciting incident plays itself out

I’m currently still dealing with that inciting incident thing. I could hit the pause button a while when my flatmate decided she wasn’t going to look in earnest for a place till she returned from an overseas holiday, which she is currently on. I’ve since tried a few things, pondered some other things, and had moments of panic about what I was going to do. I still don’t have a definite plan. I do have an unconfirmed idea. Only one doesn’t post unconfirmed ideas on the internet.

But I have started packing in any case. Well, last night I packed one box, but I now realise that I really should get cracking on that. I have been attempting to get rid of some things though. I even took two old cameras from the top of the wardrobe to a shop and got some money for them (they weren’t really vintage, they were just film SLRs: one didn’t work anymore, and the other one I bought at friend’s garage sale when the first one didn’t work, and I like film photography but it’s too expensive nowadays and you can’t keep everything), and decided to get rid of books I found under the bed that I received as awards in school (I was a nerd, and clearly I am sentimental). I’ve filled up my car boot with stuff I am going to give to the op shop my Aunt volunteers in (they support missionaries), but the aim is to keep evaluating and purging as I pack. I realised that I have lived where I live for nearly six years. Boy. That is why stuff has gathered around me.

So, forgive me for any distraction while I sort and relocate my life.