Monday, June 27, 2016

Life as I currently know it

So, I’m pooped. At the risk of entering into the whole "I’m busy" carry-on, life seems to have been a little overly filled-up lately (and I don't like it that way!). I limped into the recent long weekend after a couple of weeks that went something like this: Tuesday night bible study, Wednesday night meeting of a committee I am on, Thursday night meeting after work that went till 9 pm, Friday night book club (that I felt obliged to attend since I chose the book), Saturday niece’s birthday and I stayed on overnight to baby sit, Sunday birthday breakfast and then church etc, Monday night cooking dinner for the 12 people in my bible study (an absolute kitchen disaster as a I didn’t have a big enough pot so ended up with saucepans and pans all over the place and a huge mess), Tuesday night go to bible study and feed the food to the people, Wednesday night pilates after work then spend a long time cleaning up the kitchen disaster, Thursday raging sore throat so I decided to take the Friday off also as time-in-lieu and was basically sick all long weekend with worst cold in a long time with horrible nightly cough, Tuesday dropped car in before work for service and collected it after work, skipped bible study because of horrible cold and on Wednesday had to get up and drive to Sydney and back to see a medical specialist (was awake half the night coughing, coughed half the way to Sydney, arrived and found nearest free park to hospital (because they’d warned me specialist might run late and not to limit parking), walked to hospital, ate a snack in hospital cafeteria, spent an hour waiting in doctor’s rooms, had appt and then drove home again), Thursday Mum arrived from Brisbane to stay at my sister’s house so I went for dinner, Friday night had to just go home and crash, Saturday spent most of day hanging around at sister’s with Mum, Sunday church twice, then followed another week which just seemed to be busy (and I had some extra pressure on it because I tried to catch up with an old friend for lunch Monday, then another friend Tuesday, meaning I had hours at work to make up, and was trying to go to my sister’s some nights to see Mum around bible study, pilates etc), then on Saturday just gone had a meeting for the committee above where we actually wrote some material, collected Mum on way home from my sister and her family in the city and she came to my place, had my Aunt and Uncle over for dinner, Sunday did a few things with Mum (the freezing weather!) then went to church then to Aunt and Uncle’s for dinner and now it’s Monday again and I want another weekend already.

But it has been mostly fine (except that cough!!) and I have been very thankful for such things as the cancellation that got me in to Sydney earlier for an appointment and the specialist who talked to me for 40 minutes, charged me less than the one I saw in Canberra, and de-escalated that scenario (what is the internet for if not to research your medical problems and be informed of better treatment options!). I am now going to go to Sydney to deal with it which is going to be tricky, but I feel so much better about it.

I have actually seen three different sorts of medical specialists recently. They are all for random and unconnected problems (which I didn't necessarily notice myself), there is no cause for one issue, none of the risk factors present for another, but one thing they share in common is a known link to emotional stress, so it has been a realisation to me that I need to manage that. I don’t consider myself a stressed person, and have been told I am ‘easy-going’ more often than not, but there is one situation that has cause me stress over a long period of time, which I have largely internalised.

I’ve started re-reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey again, because that is a book that needs revisiting, and pulled out Growing Yourself Up, by Jenny Brown, and others. Tim Keller's devotional on the Psalms has been helping me along lately. Here is an example:

On my sickly long weekend I did manage to paint more furniture. Here is the before and after of a stool I got at a garage sale for $5. The top is actually quite warped, but it will still hold a cup of coffee upright, and the world wants a small fortune for little tables/stools at the moment.

The local Handmade shop was actually selling off all their shop fittings in preparations for relocating last week and I bought a great little folding table for $5 and also bought their stick vacuum for $40. I’ve wanted a Dyson stick vacuum for a long time, but you know, $600, so I thought I’d try this one, which is an Electrolux. It’s my new best friend. You just keep it charged somewhere and then can pull it out and suck up little bits here and there, like the relentless fluff on the bathroom floor. For some reason I dread vacuuming, but it is really not that bad, nor does it take that long, when you actually get it out and do it. But this will prolong the times between needing to drag the real vacuum.

I did a little splurge on the book buying front recently and bought The Course of Love, because I enjoy reading Alain de Botton and it sounds interesting, and also Hannah Coulter, because I loved Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry, and this is about the same community (and here is Russell Moore writing on why you should read Hannah Coulter, and good fiction), so I am looking forward to that.

And now this post is longer than it should be.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Something for Sunday

Pinching this from elsewhere. I'm not entirely convinced of the use of the word ""fav'rites" (I know the nuance of language changes over time, but I'd say that's unhelpful) but let's just go with the sentiment. I believe it may have been written by Dr Isaac Watts.

A photo posted by Andrew Peterson (@andrewpetersonmusic) on

Sunday, June 05, 2016

The theoretical possibility of a better life

We had a ponder-worthy sermon on Job this evening, and that is what I am going to do later, and I might come back to it here, but for now, I just wanted to post some more Wendell Berry. I have finished Jayber Crow, and loved it. I liked this portion, and the realisation that if you are always looking for a better place too be, you could also always be a better person where you are:
Looking back now, after so long a time, the hardest knowledge I have is of the people I have known who have been most lonely: Troy Chatham and Cecelia Overhold, the one made lonely by ambition, the other by anger, and both by pride clambering upward over its rubble.  
The problem, you see, is that Cecelia had some reason on her side; she had an argument. I don’t think she could be proved right; on the other hand, you can’t prove her wrong. Theoretically, there is always a better place for a person to live, better work to do, a better spouse to wed, better friends to have. But then this person must meet herself coming back: Theoretically, there always is a better inhabitant of this place, a better member of this community, a better worker, spouse, and friend than she is. This surely describes one of the circles of Hell, and who hasn’t traveled around it a time or two?

I have got to the age now where I can see how short a time we have to be here. And when I think about it, it can seem strange beyond telling that this particular bunch of us should be here on this little patch of ground in this little patch of time, and I can think of the other times and places I might have lived, the other kinds of man I might have been. But there is something else. There are moments when the heart is generous, and then it knows that for better or worse our lives are woven together here, one with one another and with the place and all the living things.
I also liked these parts. (There's so much to quote in the book - one might not agree with all of the theology it puts forward, but if that stops a person reading a truly good novel, then I am sorry for them.)
I told nobody. Nobody knew of it but me. That alone was a revelation. I had always made it a rule of thumb that there were no real secrets in Port William, but now I knew that this was not so. It was the secrets between people that got out. The secrets that people knew alone were the ones that were kept, the knowledge too painful or too dear to speak of. If so urging a thing as I now knew was known only to me, then what must other people know that they had never told? I felt a strange new respect for the heads I barbered. I knew that the dead carried with them out of this world things they could not give away.
And later:
People generally suppose that they don’t understand one another very well, and that is true; they don’t. But some things they communicate easily and fully. Anger and contempt and hatred leap from one heart to another like fire in dry grass. The revelations of love are never complete or clear, not in this world. Love is slow and accumulating, and no matter how large or high it grows, it falls short. Love comprehends the world, though we don’t comprehend it. But hate comes off in slices, clear and whole – self-explanatory, you might say ...