Monday, March 28, 2016

Childhood, disrupted - adversity in childhood and adult illness

I found this a fascinating and somewhat disturbing article, on how bad experiences in childhood lead to adult illness. I'd actually like to read the book, by Donna Jackson Nakazawa. (The article is long, but there is hope of reversing the deleterious effects near the end.)

Weekend projects

So, it’s been a really quiet weekend. (Even my DIY plans were somewhat hijacked on Saturday by some kind of migraine. I got up and went out for a jog, but then flashing around the edges of my eyes started while I was getting dressed and it wasn’t long before the urge to throw up got the better of me. But from then on it eased and I decided to risk driving mid-afternoon to run some errands. Strange.) There’s no pretending that it hasn’t been horribly lonely, and what I wouldn’t give sometimes to have someone to talk to and someone who was committed to including me in their plans to just spend time. But I am thankful for Christ’s death on the cross to deal with my sin, and for what it demonstrated of God’s love for me and the price he was willing to pay to reconcile the relationship, and for the subsequent hope of an eternity without loneliness.

I have completed some DIY projects though. Indoors it was mostly painting picture frames.

The two above both got a new coat of a Porters Chalk Paint called Milk. The frame on the right was too white, and the frame on the left was a grassy green. I liked them both with the actual paintings but they just weren't working in the room or working together. I end up doing about three coats of whitish colours, so it can take a while with all the drying time in between but we got there in the end.

This print off an old glass slide also got a Milk painted frame. (All the frames are from old paintings gathered in second-hand shops. I haven't actually decided on the hanging configuration or location of everything yet.)

Then I did one frame in green, to match all the other green things. After a somewhat ridiculous quest for the perfect green, this one ended up a completely wrong bluey colour, and in the end I decided that the original colour was better. It now has a ridiculous number of paint layers on it, but I prefer it like this.

One thing I haven't fixed up yet is this table. I found it for $5 in the green shed (the shop attached to the tip) and just plonked some plants on it, but I quite like it. It just needs sanding and restraining. I don't think I'll paint it.

Easter Monday poem by Christina Rossetti

I have posted this one before, but here it is again for this Easter Monday.

Easter present to myself from the Handmade shop, made by RJ Crosses.


Out in the rain a world is growing green,
   On half the trees quick buds are seen
       Where glued-up buds have been.
Out in the rain God's Acre stretches green,
   Its harvest quick tho' still unseen:
       For there the Life hath been.

If Christ hath died His brethren well may die,
   Sing in the gate of death, lay by
       This life without a sigh:
For Christ hath died and good it is to die;
   To sleep whenso He lays us by,
       Then wake without a sigh.

Yea, Christ hath died, yea, Christ is risen again:
   Wherefore both life and death grow plain
       To us who wax and wane;
For Christ Who rose shall die no more again:
   Amen: till He makes all things plain
       Let us wax on and wane.

~Christina Rossetti

Sunday, March 27, 2016

A horribly beautiful Friday

And I pinched this off someone's Facebook wall and just want to park it here:
... The very worst thing that could happen was at the very same time the very best thing that could happen, and only God is able to do such a thing. The same God who planned that the worst thing would be the best thing is your Father. He rules over every moment in your life, and in powerful grace, he is able to do for you just what he did in redemptive history.

God takes the disasters in your life and transforms them into tools of redemption. He takes your failures and employs them as tools of grace. He uses the "death" of the fallen world to motivate you to reach out for life. The hardest things in your life become the sweetest tools of grace in his wise and loving hands.

Be careful how you make sense of your life. What looks like a disaster may in fact be grace. What looks like the end may be the beginning. What looks hopeless may be God's instrument to give you real and lasting hope. Your Father is committed to taking what seems so bad and turning it into something that is very, very good.

Need proof? Simply remember Good Friday, where the most horrible thing to ever happen in the history of humanity became the most beautiful thing to ever happen to the human race ...
Paul Tripp - A Horribly Beautiful Friday

The Easter Day poems of Christina Rossetti

Picture from here.
~by Christina Georgina Rossetti

Words cannot utter
   Christ his returning:
Mankind, keep jubilee,
   Strip off your mourning,
Crown with garlands,
   Set your lamps burning.

Speech is left speechless;
   Set you to singing,
Fling your hearts open wide,
   Set your bells ringing:
Christ the Chief Reaper
   Comes, His sheaf bringing.

Earth wakes her song-birds,
   Puts on her flowers,
Leads out her lambkins,
   Builds up her bowers:
This is man’s spousal day,
   Christ’s day and ours.

~by Christina Georgina Rossetti


The sun arises from the sea,
   And all around his rays is flinging,
The flowers are opening on the lea,
   The merry birds are singing.


The summer breeze is rustling past,
   Sweet scents are gathering around it,
The rivulet is flowing fast,
   Beside the banks that bound it.


All nature seemeth to rejoice,
   In the returning summer weather;
Let us with nature raise our voice,
   And harmonise together.


But not alone for summer skies
   Shall praise unto our God be given:
This day our Saviour did arise,
   And oped the gate of heaven.


To sinful man, if only he
   His errings will confess with sorrow,
Then, after earth's night-misery,
   Shall dawn a glorious morrow:


A blissful bright eternity
   Bought by the rising of the Giver,
To Whom all praise, all honour be,
   For ever and for ever.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Easter Even poems of Christina Rossetti

Let us keep on with Christina Rossetti's Easter poems. The two below are from her Verses, though once again she has also written another Easter Even poem that you can read here. The first below is a strange piece, but I like the last verse in particular.

Easter present to myself from the Handmade shop, made by RJ Crosses.

A Bundle of Myrrh Is My Well-Beloved unto Me
~ by Christina Georgina Rossetti

Thy Cross cruciferous doth flower in all
   And every cross, dear Lord, assigned to us:
Ours lowly-statured crosses; Thine how tall,
   Thy Cross cruciferous.

   Thy Cross alone life-giving, glorious:
For love of Thine, souls love their own when small,
   Easy and light, or great and ponderous.

Since deep calls deep, Lord, hearken when we call;
   When cross calls Cross racking and emulous:—
Remember us with him who shared Thy gall,
   Thy Cross cruciferous.

~ by Christina Georgina Rossetti

THE TEMPEST over and gone, the calm begun,
   Lo, “it is finished,” and the Strong Man sleeps:
All stars keep vigil watching for the sun,
   The moon her vigil keeps.

A garden full of silence and of dew,
   Beside a virgin cave and entrance stone:
Surely a garden full of Angels too,
   Wondering, on watch, alone.

They who cry “Holy, Holy, Holy,” still
   Veiling their faces round God’s Throne above,
May well keep vigil on this heavenly hill
   And cry their cry of love.

Adoring God in His new mystery
   Of Love more deep than hell, more strong than death;
Until the day break and the shadows flee,
   The Shaking and the Breath.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Good Friday poems of Christina Rossetti

It would be too bad not to share the Good Friday poems of Christina Rossetti's from her Verses. (She actually wrote another Good Friday poem also, which you can read here.)


Up Thy Hill of Sorrows
   Thou all alone,
Jesus, man's Redeemer,
  Climbing to a Throne:
Thro' the world triumphant,
  Thro' the Church in pain,
Which think to look upon Thee
  No more again.

Upon my hill of sorrows
  I, Lord, with Thee,
Cheered, upheld, yea, carried,
  If a need should be:
Cheered, upheld, yea, carried,
  Never left alone,
Carried in Thy heart of hearts
  To a throne.


Lord Jesus Christ, grown faint upon the Cross,
  A sorrow beyond sorrow in Thy look,
    The unutterable craving for my soul;
      Thy love of me sufficed
To load upon Thee and make good my loss
  In face of darkened heaven and earth that shook:--
    I face of earth and heaven, take Thou my whole
      Heart, O Lord Jesus Christ.


No Cherub's heart of hand for us might ache,
  No Seraph's heart of fire had half sufficed:
Thine own were pierced and broken for our sake,
      O Jesus Christ.
Therefore we love Thee with our faint good-will,
  We crave to love Thee not as heretofore,
To love Thee much, to love Thee more, and still
      More and yet more.

by Christina Georgina Rossetti

Good Friday

I bought myself this little Easter present from the Handmade shop, made by RJ Crosses, just because I liked it. 
I've since been googling the history of the celtic cross, but some other time.

The Agonie

PHilosophers have measur’d mountains,
Fathom’d the depths of seas, of states, and kings,
Walk’d with a staffe to heav’n, and traced fountains:
But there are two vast, spacious things,
The which to measure it doth more behove:
Yet few there are that sound them; Sinne and Love.

Who would know Sinne, let him repair
Unto mount Olivet; there shall he see
A man so wrung with pains, that all his hair,
His skinne, his garments bloudie be.
Sinne is that presse and vice, which forceth pain
To hunt his cruell food through ev’ry vein.

Who knows not Love, let him assay
And taste that juice, which on the crosse a pike
Did set again abroach;1 then let him say
If ever he did taste the like.
Love in that liquour sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as bloud; but I, as wine.

George Herbert 1633

In the fog

I have wandered away into the fog for a time and returned. There have been things, though in comparison to some I am sure not so many things, and aren’t we all trying to avoid the “busy” talk?

One of the things was to attend two days of training, through work, in Mental Health First Aid. I really enjoyed the opportunity to be able to do this course. In it we looked at Anxiety Problems, Depression, Substance Abuse, Psychosis, and the variants that fall under those headings, and what to in situations ranging from a crisis to a general concern. Some of those actions one might have done in any case, but it was good build your own confidence that they were the right things to do and you won’t be making a mess, and increase your understanding of the experience of people under these afflictions, as I think uncertainty and no small amount of fear is what prevents many people from stepping in to the mental health arena. (It’s a good thing that there is now so much information in circulation around what not to do and say to those with mental health afflictions, because it’s very UNhelpful, but all that coming at you on social media can be paralysing and deter folks from doing or saying anything.)

I also recently went to a Saturday conference on Infertility, IVF and Pregnancy Loss, run by Canberra Christian Conventions. The day was for those facing these circumstances and for those around them to learn how to comfort them well (obviously - with sessions on the grief of infertility, the ethics of IVF and comfort for those in pregnancy loss), but I was also pleased when one of the presenters listed “social situation” as a cause of infertility, particularly for Christian women, which further justified my attendance. (I do feel like I am circumstantially infertile, particularly so because I am a Christian, as I just didn’t meet a Christian fellow, who took me seriously as a woman and pursued things into meaningful relationship, at the right time. And the truth is, I feel like I wasted a lot of my child-bearing years on passive men who were never going to initiate or lead a relationship anywhere, and I regret that a lot. After past trouble and shame I don’t say hello to single Christian men if they don’t say hello (and if that makes them see me as aloof or unfriendly or disinterested, I think the same of them), so as you might expect there is not a lot of potential for anything to change. I see social infertility as the given state of my life.) It was a good and beneficial day.

Other things have included being a tourist with an old friend who is new to town and making time to catch up with my sister and her gorgeous kids. Good things, though they have meant less time at home to read or ponder or write or be the crazy plant lady.

I was quite looking forward to staying home for Easter and yet having my sister and family in town to catch up with, then they decided just last weekend to go to Victoria to catch up with my brother-in-law’s brother and his wife, so that was a trifle disappointing and the weekend is now looking very quiet, though that is perhaps appropriate for the end of Lent. A few weeks ago a friend who is going to Katoomba Easter convention with her own kids and other friends and their kids had one of the other women and her children in their house pull out and so asked if I would like to go, but the accommodation alone was going to cost me $420, plus registration, food and petrol ... and with some recent unexpected medical expenses (and those services in Canberra being so expensive as a result of the high median income level here!) that was too much money. But I have a lot of DIY projects to do around the house, so I have made a list and am going to derive some satisfaction from getting those done in the extra time. If I don’t feel the urge to spend hours reading and writing ...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The non-rewritable discs of our childhood

This is a post for the Growing Up Fatherless archive. It's an article from The School of Life on the The Non-Rewritable Disc: The Fateful Impact of Childhood. I quite like some of the School of Life's newsletter articles. I know it's considered pop-philosophy or pop-psychology, but at the very least it can alert one to things that they can then get all much more serious and academic and less accessible about. I liked this part:
But this impatient brusqueness with the patterns laid down in childhood, though deeply understandable, causes us a raft of problems, for it means we can be neither compassionate about where some pretty odd behaviour may be coming from in others (especially when one is in a relationship with them); nor, in our self-understanding, are we careful enough about interpreting our impulses. It may simply be wisest to accept that there will at points be a furious, unhinged inner five year old who will take charge, refuse to cede the controls and attempt to cause mayhem.

We have to be aware of moments when we misread situations and unleash difficulties on those close to us that a mature adult would never consciously want to set loose. We should know that we may be enduringly and deeply wounded and must, therefore, when we can manage it, find words to warn those we care about what living with us will mean.

... It’s a sobering situation that calls for humility, forgiveness, constant vigilance over one’s own conduct, polite warnings to others – and a very black sense of humour.