Monday, 13 December 2004

Yesterday Nick and I spent the day visiting a number of couples we know. They are all very different and are all choosing to live their lives in different ways. Some are staring their own businesses, some are starting families, others are enjoying just being a two some. By the end of the day I had really been struck by the freedom we have in life to go with our gut, to use our gifts and to create our own lives for ourselves. I think sometimes I worry too much about what I am supposed to be doing as if there is one right way and recipe for life. I think what really matters is that you live your life in a way where you can sleep well at night, you stay connected to family and friends and you are honest with yourself. I am hoping that as I have some time to reflect over the next few weeks that I will feel more comfortable and confident in my own skin and the gut instincts I have about how to live life. I hope that I will develop greater courage in my convictions and be ready to stick with them into the New Year.

As next year looms before me I have to say that going back to teaching does not fill me with glee. I am hoping that after a relaxing holiday I will feel more enthusiastic. But I do feel that in the next couple of years I really need a change. I haven't ever really left school, I went straight from college to Uni and then straight into teaching. So maybe I need something to give me some perspective and to try something more unfamiliar and less comfortable.

Wednesday, 8 December 2004

This is the last day of school for the year. Last week I was away on Year 10 camp. I chose to go because I wanted a week away from school dramas and end of year madness. Things always wind up before they wind down. The camp consisted of lots of tramping adn high ropes activities. I am definitely not that courageous when it comes to heights. But the tramping was so good. I had been a bit nervous about whether I would be able to keep up with the students. I needn't have worried. Many of them puffed their way up the hills at my kind of pace and some I believe thought they were having near death experiences! I enjoyed tramping in the soft rain, enjoying the bush and thinking about life. It was so lovely to have some space to think.

So today ends my first half year at my new job. I have to say I am really enjoying it. I have had som many new challenges as well as making some wonderful friends. However I feel burnt out. Too much getting up early, holding it together all day and then staying up late just because I don't want the process to begin again. I think I am just palin tired, like most people at this time of the year. I desperatley want the energy and motivation to get more organised for next year. And maybe I will have that when I am choosing to spend my time on school rather than being forced to. However I must count my blessings for thsi wonderful job of teahing. Not many people get to work in such a dynamic and interesting job with wonderful people, both staff adn students, and have such great holidays! And on top of that, in some small way I could possibly change the world!

So here's to holidaying well, reflecting on the year and getting back to the things that really matter. May I not just survive, but live again!

Friday, 26 November 2004

I am not a details person. I like the big picture, the overall view and I get bored very easiliy. I am also quite a pragmatist. If I know I don't have enough time to do something the way I intended at the beginning I get over it pretty quickly. Hence it would seem strange to put me incharge of the school magazine!

However I am beginning to embrace this lack of attention to detail. It makes me very flexible and if things don't go as planned I don't stress too much. But what I am relaising is that people's expectations stress me out. It might be fine for me not to care about the details too much but if someone else does and I am responsible for the thing they care about I don't want to disappoint them and most of all I don't want them to have a low opinion of me.

So I guess I am an attention to peoples opinions person adn since, unlike the details of inanimate tasks, I have know control over what people think of me, this can be highly stressful. So I may sing the praises of my big picture attitude but I am still at the mercy of other people. I guess that's the way it goes. We can't protect ourselves from ourselves and the things we like about ourselves always have a potentially darker side.

Friday, 19 November 2004

I played hockey last night. I have joined a summer hockey team and I am loving it. I played at school and it is so much fun to get out there and run around. Unfortunately I had a bit of a collision with another player last night. No permanent damage but a rather impressive bruise on my leg and a bit of a headache.

I was moaning about it this morning and my husband said that you have to expect to get hurt when you play sport. I explained to him that I was fully aware of that and was not complaining about getting hurt but that what was the point if you couldn't have a little (or a big) whinge? There is something wonderful about minor injuries. It shows me I am getting out there and doing things, body on the line and all that stuff. It could be sign that I am getting clumsy but I like the first idea better. I might not be the toughest girl on the block but it is nice to feel like that sometimes.

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

I am very proud of myself today. Not only did I go for a walk this morning, I have a letter published in the Herald today. Usually I just get really annoyed about things but do nothing. This time I did something almost before I thought about it.

I am a Media teacher and have been really suprised by Filpside, a teen news programme being cancelled. I use the programme in my class and the students were really upset to hear it had been cancelled. I guess it was one of those situations when they realised that just being commercially successful is not enough. Someone with a big desk and not much vision decided it was a threat and so got rid of it. It is another example of teenagers being fobbed off and losing a voice.

But I did something. It probably will not make any difference but at least they know that people are annoyed and can't pretend that no-one cares. I hope I will be able to be more of an activist in the future. I've always thought Sue Bradford was pretty inspiring!

Tuesday, 16 November 2004

Making decisions is so hard. Very few of them are black and white. I have been struggling with a decision for the last week or so. It involves time, family, money, travel and energy and I still don't really know what to do. I could make the decsion based on being cautious, but then I feel that I am living a small life, ruled by fear of what might happen. However I could also be using wisdom in being cautious and wary.

I could make the decision based on warm fuzzies and day dreams about what might happen but I have been around long enough to know that things never happen just the way we would love them to. So which ever way I look at it I am taking a risk, either to do too little and be too scared or to create an unrealistic dream of what the results of this decision might mean.

And after all that wrestling around, the decision doesn't even seem that big anymore. Hmmmm. Perspective is so hard to get when making descisions for yourself. It is much easier to give advice to someone else!

Wednesday, 10 November 2004

Yesterday I had a bit of a reality check. My Dad had a "bit of a turn" which truned out not to be too serious but could have been. I t made me think about the fact that I am at the age where my relationship with my parents is starting to turn. Most of my childhood I took the existence and immortality of my parents as a given. Now I am at the age where our relationship is more equal. I am independent from them in most ways and and we are sharing adulthood together. But when I think about my Mum's relationship with my Poppa, as he has grown older he has become more dependent on his children.

I guess it is a natural part of growing up but it again highlights for me the fact that you don't know how wonderful something is until you can see you will lose it. The security and stability of my childhood is something I cannot take for granted. I have had the privilege of being able to depend on my parents and I hope they will be able to depend on me when they need to.

Tuesday, 9 November 2004

Last night I saw a fabulous film. In My Father's Den is based on the novel of the same name by Maurice Gee. It is beautifully shot as well as gripping and thought provoking. Often it has been said that New zeland film is "cinema of unease", that often film makers focus on the dark underbelly of apprently 'normal' and nice New Zealand. Films such as Rain and the Piano fit into this category.

After the film last night I started wondering why so many NZ films look at the dark side of life, the hidden underbelly, people's fatal flaws which wreak havoc on those around us and the stumbling and futile attempts to fix things which just makes things go more horribly wrong. Why would directors and writers focus on these themes in a country which has been relatively peaceful, has such beautiful scenery and does not seem to be characterised by the strange or the weird?

Part of it I think, is a disbelief that things can be as good as they seem. New zeland is defintely picturesque but it also has the power to make you feel miniscule, to get you lost in the bush, caught in a storm or drowned in a raging river. Also there is something about small town rural life, everyone knowing everyone else and few opportunities for those at the margins of the community which lend a sense of unease and twistedness. At first I thought Nz film maybe focussed on this aspect because happiness and beauty doesn't really make great film, however I then started to think about whether my life and the lives of those around me has a dark underbelly?

It absolutely does. There are various degress of brokeness and deception and hurt between families and friends. There are secrets and lies, some which everyone chooses to believe until something happens to make us face ourselves. I think Jesus does the same thing. He doesn't let us get away with secrets and lies and the whole reason for a relationship with him is because of the dark underbelly we all have. The wonderful thing about faith in Christ is it doesn't always have to get worse as we fumble around in the dark, holding onto our wounds. Instead there can be healing and freedom, not in some cheesy way but instead in a way which allows us to face reality and face those around us as totally human and whole.

So NZ cinema is doing us a favour. It is making us realise that we are all twisted. Unfortunately we all hide this from each other when it is the fact about humanity which could actually bring us the freedom we seek.

Monday, 8 November 2004

Again I continue to be a slack blogger without even having comments on the blog. I will get around to it at some point. I had a rather profound experience at church last night. The sermon was about Zachias up the tree and the rich young ruler; generally about two rich people with different attitudes to Christ and money. As the sermon began I felt really angry. It seems as if in Church we all just talk to ourselves. I knew everyone in my Church would be to some extent sympathetic towards the idea of simplicity and giving up our possiessions even though it is a very hard and as someone put it, "an unreasonable" request. So then I thought who is supposed to be hearing this, who needs to hear this?

I swallowed my sense of frustration and tried to listen adn hear myself becasue often when I get a sense of what I think is righteous anger it turns out to be an issues I need to deal with myself. And it was. Am I really prepared to give up all I have, really? Not just in some metaphorical, Hillsongs surrendering my emotions or soul or something?

Once I had thought about that I still came back to the fact that chuuches talk to themselves. WE go to a certain chruch because we have things in common with the people there, they hold similar theological views so therefore we just tell oursleves what we already think over and over again. Jesus prayed for unity inthe church but if there is no diversity in our chirhc communities there is no struggle for unity. We are just avoiding communicating with those who disagree with us by sticking to our own kind. I don't know what the solution is but it makes me frustrated that radical and revolutionary teaching is always heard by the people who already believe in the revolution.

Friday, 22 October 2004

I need to get into the habit of being inspired to write and thanks to a former Prime Minister of New Zealand, I have. I visited which is a collection of blogs, including Russel brown, a well known media commentator. THey have publicshed the transcript of David Lange's speech at Oxford aginst nuclear weapons which he devlivered in 1984. THis resulted in the distinct cooling of relations between New zealnd and the United states. It was inspirational.

I would be the first to admit that I am an irrational pacifist. I would rather be over run than fight. I guess this is because I have never experienced an occupation. However it seems to me that Lange is right. Threatening destruction upon others as a form of defence is no defence at all. My hope is that New Zealand will not forget its courageuos and independent past and will not give up the right to choose peace rather than aggression.

Monday, 11 October 2004

Well it has been a long time since I last blogged. Too much going on in my head to be able to think any profound thoughts to share with anyone else. Over the last little while I think I have been hitting my quarter life crisis. I have been teaching for almost three years now and the shine has definitely worn off. I am no longer motivated by my teacher training adn trying to the 'best'. I want to do more than be a glorified entertainer adn adminstrator which is what this job feels like a lot of the time. I have had a few experiences recently which have reinvigorated my passion for lliving a radical adn counter cultural life. I don't want to believe that the vision and hope I had for my future while I was at University was only a phase and that I am doomed to disappear into suburban malady. So I want to blog again adn to try and figure out what I can be adn do to make more of an impact and to live a life worth remembering and telling my grandchildren about.

P.S. I actually feel lighter knowing Dick Hubbard is now mayor of Auckland!

Thursday, 29 July 2004

Well, long time no write. It has been a long time and a lot has happened. I got the job and am now working at a Catholic girls school. I had never pictured myself in this kind of teaching position but I am really enjoying it. I guess you can't really predict the way things are going to go in life. It has been a steep learning curve but both the staff and the students are lovely. I have found it all very intense though. You learn so much about yourself when you move into a new situation with new people. Insecurities come to the surface and you have to change so much about the way you work because you are working with different people and in a different environment.
I am hoping that this change and the challenge of extra responsibility will keep me enthusiastic about teaching, at least for the next couple of years. My husband keeps joking about training me up to be a Principal because he thinks that would mean he had a life of leisure. I don't think that is where my future lies. However I am slowly realising that you can't plan everything. I need to enjoy where I am at and the new things I am doing now rather than wanting to sort out my entire future. Maybe I can have an attitude of contented openness. Here's hoping!

Friday, 25 June 2004

I thought I didn't take my health for granted but this week has reminded me that it is so easy to do. I have had mysterious symtems with possibly serious ramifications. The most awful possiblities have been crossed off the list but I still don't know hwat is wrong. It never happens like this in E.R. The doctors always solve the mysteries. So I am feeling frustrated and a little worried. I guess there is nothing you can do in a situation like this except sit tight and hope that it will all become clear.

I think modern medicine lulls us into the false belief that we understand the human body. But there is still so much we don't know. It reminds me that God is an amazing Creator and we should contiue to be in awe of his handy work. So this weekend I am aiming to be in oawe of my body and not annoyed with its misbehaviour. Hopefully by next week all will be revealed and it will be another adventure in the past, not the present.

Tuesday, 15 June 2004

Long time, no write. The other night I wished that I could have the faith I had when I was a teenager. It was a simple, God is in control, trust God in all parts of my life faith. I feel like all I do now is question and doubt. I want that real and dynamic relationship with a person called Jesus but it feels like it is always out of reach, pushed aside by over analysing and political or philosophical views.

But I refuse to turn my brain off or my convictions because they are part of the me that God created. So where do I go and what do I do to have an authentic faith but one which is full of passion where I think of Jesus and God's involvement in my life every day?

I always come back to the fact that it is me that matters in this whole dilemma. It is not external things like Church or books or a new revelation from some wise person. I think it is having the maturity and commitment to make it happen, to commune with Jesus every day and let him show me how to truly be me with a genuine faith, not just a culture or a philosophy.

Monday, 7 June 2004

I have been thinking for a while about bridge builders. It seems that often Christians are divided by so many different preferences and view points that it is difficult to feel like the unified body of Christ. I have been to many different types of churches in my time; pentecostal, conservative baptist, anglican, presbyterian, emerging churches. I have enjoyed a great deal about all of these styles of doing and being church. Some have been difficult to adapt to and I have settled in a church which suits my intellectual and social persuasions as much as spiritual. But I am often struck by what a blessing these experiences have been. When I am in a multi-denominational setting I don't feel out of place or that how things are run is foriegn to me.

I wonder whether in the next while, with so many people choosing churches based on other reasons than denomination, whether people like me who have experienced lots of parts of the body of Christ will need to be bridge builders between those with different perspectives.

It is sad when we write one another off as 'wrong' because we personally don't like how they do things. I can think of many criticisms of the church I attend. But I don't think being right is the most important thing, as often the need to be right creates division and conflict between Christians. So I hope I can help to remind people of the other perspectives out there so we are not so quick to judge those who are from the same family.

Friday, 4 June 2004

Wow, I am changing jobs! what a huge thing. My interview went really well and they offered me the job afterwards. Now there is going to be all the changes and the grief of leaving my present school. I love the place and the students but I needed a challenge.

So that's it. I woke up i the night so many times. Each time it was a realisation about what this decision was going to mean. There will be tears shed and stress to be ahd but I am excited and I know this is right for me.

It is so easy to follow the paths other people assign for you. For me this decision is about making my own life and following my deeper desires rather than surface, career aspirations. It will be good for my career but will also feed my whole self.

Thursday, 3 June 2004

I have a job interview this afternoon. It is wierd to think about goign and 'selling' myself to someone I hardly know. I don't know whether I want this job but I think I will have more of an idea after the interview. I am a very 'gut' person and make decsions based on instinct. THe right decision is not clear to me yet but hopefully it will be soon.

Monday, 31 May 2004

I had a wonderful weekend of lovely little things happening. A great meal with friends, a window shop and chat about meaningful things, a wedding, a birthday, some poetry writing and very stimulating conversation. Generally a wonderful weekend that felt much longer than it was.

And today is Monday. Hmmm you never know what you're gonna get with a Monday. There is always a suprise, or something unexpected. Not always the best suprises. It is suprising that life just starts all over again after a fabulous weekend. I feel like the world should have stopped in recognition of a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, 27 May 2004

I had a weird experience this week. I was labelled a fundamentalist in a large, public situation when I wasn't there after expressing views which encouraged people not to judge Christian kids at school too harshly and to recognise that whether you agree with their beliefs, they are just as worthy of respect as anyone elses.

I view being called a'fundamentalist' as an insult. It does not describe me and has very negative connotations. I would say I believe in the fundamentals of the Christian faith but I am not a fundamentalist in the stereotypical sense. I have had it with sanctioned prejudice against Christians while prejudice against other groups is treated very seriously.

I tossed up whether to take the matter further but either confronting the person who said it or making an official complaint. I decided that I don't think people would realise the distinction or the offense and what would be done about it anyway? But it doesn't stop me being very annoyed!!!

Tuesday, 25 May 2004

I have been feeling rather convicted of late. I have spent time with some friends who have made me feel like a rather poor example of a Christian. My liberal and lefty views have often caused me to be interpreted as less than committed to my faith. But I have decided that having a committed relationship with Jesus should be more of a priority in my life even if I have a tendency towards a more cynical and questioning sort of faith.

I think it is easy to turn faith in a real person into a set of philosophies to live your life by. I guess what I have been challenged by is other Christians who I may not agree with on issues related to faith but whose personal faith life is real and rich.

However what I interpret to be their faith and what reality is really like for them may be two different things. There goes my suspicious side again!

But I have realised that if my relationship with Jesus is the most important thing then I better act like it. Tune for what that could possibly mean!!!

Thursday, 20 May 2004

This morning I read a bit in Genesis where Jacob gave up his birth right in return for some dinner. The point made in the devotional was that Jacob was prepared to give up something which was valuable in the long term for immediate gratification now. I identify with Jacob. It is so hard to ignore your immediate feelings and struggles for bigger but seemingly urgent priorities.

For example when I feel tired it is difficult to avoid the chocolate even though I know it will ruin my appetite for dinner. Another example many people relate to is the decision to get a radical haircut while going through a personal crisis. Been there, done that. Pink hair! Won't do that again!

The devotion discouraged making decisions out of lack, loneliness, boredom or frustration. I don't know about that. I don't think decisions should be rushed at those times but sometimes they are the times where you have to really work out what you want and are pushed on to new things, new challenges and exciting new possibilities. I guess the most important part is being honest with yourself about your motivations. Are you escaping or moving forward?

I am looking forward to some more big changes in my life and I know they will be positive and really grow me. Yes, boredom and frustration have triggered this decision but the decision about where to go to from here came from hope and excitement about the future. I am just not prepared to spend time going no-where or backwards but I have a funny feeling that patience will need to be the next virtue I work on!

Monday, 17 May 2004

This morning I went for a walk. It was wonderful to remember I have muscles and they are good for something. I really believe exercise is necessary to remain sane, especially when life is busy. I haven't really done any excercise for months and I hope I can stick to my new lifestyle adjustment!

I realised this weekend that since getting married I haven't been spending enough quiet time reflecting and writing in my journal. It had begun to feel like I was a body wandering around detached from my mind. I was feeling numb because there was so much I hadn't processed with all the changes in my life.

I know that I have to make time to think otherwise I live my life unconsciously and then become depressed that I don't seem to have any direction or be achieving anything. I think I also need to take time to pray, not just as an after thought or to think "Oh well, God knows everything I am thinking anyway." So I want to work out how to have time by myself while I am married. Sounds simple but it is strange when for so long I couldn't wait to share everything with him and now we need time apart to actually be healthy together.

Thursday, 13 May 2004

There was such thick fog driving to work this morning. I love weather! I love storms, heavy rain, strong wind, hot summer, any weather which shows the extremes of what our climate can do. I love the power in it and it reminds me that I am so small and God is so big. The earth and all the natural processes which are happening will continue on despite what is happening in my life. It helps me to keep things in perspective when it is so easy to become self abosorbed.

It also reminds me of all the people whose livelyhoods depend on the weather and no matter how much hard work they do they never have full control of the end results of their efforts. Often I try so hard to keep everything in control, a friend recently told me that I like to have all my ducks in a row. However, where weather is concerned even the best predictions are often wrong and we just have to be prepared to accept and work with whatever happens.

Thanks God for teaching things through what I see around me everyday.

Tuesday, 11 May 2004

Last night I had a discussion which got me all worked up. I was talking with a group of other Christians about moral legislation. There were a number of different views expressed but I came away feeling sft and liberal and rather uncomfaortable about appearing that way. I would describe myself as strongly evangelical but suspicious of black and white solutions to complex issues. There are some disturbing catch cries coming out of the Christian community at the moment. "New zeland society is falling apart sue to attacks on the family", "New Zealand is going to be overtaken by Muslims" and "Public eductation is teaching our children immorality", which I find particularly galling. I

I don't know how to deal with these views. I have gut reaction to these comments. THey offend my sensitivity to Christians giving representations of me as if I agree with 'their' views. I know there are elements of truth being expressed but nothing is ever that simple. I just wonder where Jesus has gone in all this panic?

Monday, 10 May 2004

Sometimes life feels overwhelming like it is going to crash down on top of me. Last night I could hear the creaking of heavy objects beginning to move. It is not that I have an impossible amount of work to do, it is just that the list keeps getting bigger and I don't seem to make any headway. I woke up this morning feeling quite panicked. At these times everything seems important and it is very difficult to prioritise but as I was brushing my teeth I thought"I have a relationship with the creator of the universe. Why am I worried?"

I know this seems simplistic but it does help to keep things in perspective and though my life is important to Him there are a lot of other important things happening out there which He is holding together. My life doesn't work because of all my efforts it only works because God is gracious to me in my bumbling and fumbling.

Last night I was struggling with a big decision and was feeling swayed by what other people may think and the loyalties I feel I should have to some people in my life. A friend very wisely said that it is my life, not anyone elses. If I make decisions based on guessing how other people may or may not feel I am actually giving up my life to other people and not taking control myself. As Christians it is hard to accept that it is not loving others to just avoid change and moving on, it is just avoiding the uncomfortability I may feel. I will keep you posted about how it all goes.

Friday, 7 May 2004

Do you ever have very vivid dreams? I have always been able to remember my dreams and at times when I am stressed or upset I often have scary dreams or dreams full of conflict. Last night I had a nightmre about someone trying to kill me and one about hearing some shocking news about my sister. I woke up feeling emotionally exhausted by them and they feel so real when you are dreaming.

Often my dreams involve me becoming very angry and I think it is because I often get annoyed during the day about something and instead of facing it I just repress it because I don't want to annoy anyone and I don't like conflict at all. I am left feeling a bit like there is this crazy, subconcious person inside me just waiting to leap out when I least expect it.

On the other hand, sometimes I have wonderfully inspiring dreams which leave me feeling encouraged about life either because I have done something great in the dream or there has been a sense of hope in it.

P.S. We got all the photos from our wedding the other night. I love them and the more I look at photos the more I love the day we had. So many women I have talked to have regrets about the day but I have to say I loved it all.

Wednesday, 28 April 2004

I am loving seeing photos from our wedding. It makes it seem more real but I don't feel like I am looking at myself. It is almost as if I am looking at an actor who played me on the day. Life is returning to a kind of normality. In my blog yesterday I mentioned that there doesn't seem to be any 'normality' anymore.

I am realising that normality is something you may experience in your childhood but once you leave home nothing is normal ever again. things are always changing and new. I feel like often I am thinking "What would an adult do in this situation?" and then I do that because I don't feel very adult at all. My Mum told me recently that she doesn't feel old at all and feels often that she is making it up as she goes along - doing what she thinks an adult or Mum should do rather than something from within herself. I guess that is what socialisiation is all about - copying and knowing the expectations of certain roles in society.

So this raises the question - what should I be like as a wife? Now I come from a rather feminist background but anyone who knows me well will tell you I love to nest and can be a bit of a Mother Hen. My nick name at Uni was Aunty Marion. So this creates a certain conflict between wanting to avoid traditional gender roles and knowing I actually like making house, cooking and being a maternal person. This is the dilemma of a post feminist (is it?) world. I don't want to deny my own personality but I don't want to unconciously follow a model which is outdated and oppressive. So I will let you know how I get on!

Tuesday, 27 April 2004

Wow, I'm back on line in nore than one sense. I got married two weeks ago and have been away on honeymoon since. It has been a strange but wonderfull time. The day before the wedding was awful and I didn't sleep at all but by the time I was getting ready the next day I was loving it. THe service was fantastic. I can't remember the vows at all but I remember the message. I really appreciated that it focussed on keeping your relationship real especially on such an 'unreal' kind of day.

The honeymoon was great. We went away to an island in the Hauraki Gulf and ate great food, went for walks and read books. It is probably the best holiday I have ever had where I trully relaxed to the point where I couldn't quite wake up at all each day.

Settling back into 'normality', whatever that is, has been quite scary for me. I am a very proficient worrier and I have been afraid that we wouldn't be able to get things together. But things are good. We are all settled into our place and went for our first real grocery shop yesterday. strange how mundane things like that are exciting to me at the moment.

I am back at work today which is strange. Not feeling that motivated and very detached but as my collegues predict, it will probably only last 1 hour and I will be back into it.

Friday, 2 April 2004

I am feeling exhausted today. The days seem to be going on forever at the moment. I am planning a blobbing day tommorrow. I will sleep in , stay in my p.js and read and maybe watch a video. I have some marking to do but I am trying not to let that turn into the focus of the weekend. I do think rest is a discipline I need to work on. I told my finace last night that my one wish was to sleep, for a long, long time. A bit sad really but also reflects that I am quite satisfied and contented with my life at the moment.

Thursday, 1 April 2004

I haven't blogged for a while. I have had a shocker of a couple of weeks but it has definitely been a faith building experience and I actually feel quite positive and excited despite the distress. My fiance and I have had real dramas over where to live when we are married. We found a place and had an awful time moving in. There was the shocking driveway, the negative nosy neighbour and a generally yucky feeling about the place. I am not one to go in for hyper sensitive spiritual stuff but we definitely felt that it was a spiritually yucky place. So we made the scary decision to give notice after only one weekend. We immediately felt better.

So this last weekend we looked at new places. We found some great ones and I realised how I limit my expectations of what God can provide. so much of the reasoning about accepting the last place had been about thinking we couldn't get anything better. We loved one place more than the rest as it was newly redecorated, quiet and in a block of nice little units with professionals living in them. We also loved the fact that we both know the area really well and feel like it is already home. The landlord is lovely.

So God does provide what you need. I am so glad that we had the courage to leave the yucky place and that we really believed that there was somewhere for us. I kind of feel like we have been too blessed and that sceptical and pessimistic part of me thinks there are other people in need of much more than us. But I don't think God works on a continuum of need, making decisions based on who has greater need in comparision with someone else, only helping those who 'earn' it through their suffering. However there does seem to be injustice in the blessings some people receive while others struggle on.

One of the amazing things is that over this stressful time my fiance and I have grown closer together. There has been no blame laying and we feel even more sure that we want to spend the rest of our lives together. Throughout our relationship we have struggled to work out how to make God the centre and still be genuine and real. The pressure and stress we have both been under has meant we have prayed together and clung to God and therefore our faiths have been strengthened. It feels like when I was a teenager and went on Scripture Union camps. I would have these really intense weeks of being so aware of God but then return to the 'real world' and think it was impossible to live like that all the time. Now I have seen a glimpse of what it is like to have God behind me and before me in my daily life and I am thirsty for more. I feel invigorated and hopeful that as adulthood and all the responsibilities it entails stretches before me, that I can live a purposeful and radical life.

Monday, 22 March 2004

Intuition is a fabulous thing. I am quite a gut person. I get strong feelings about things and tend to make decisions based on intuition. I did a personality test recently which confirmed that I make decisions intuitively rather than by weighing up evidence. The description of my personality type pointed out that if I try to make decisions based on logic I may make the wrong decision and that my intuition is a much safer way to go.

This raises interesting issues. Often intuition has been seen as the realm of women and has often been connected with negative views of women such as being overly emotional, prone to hysteria and irrational. I

I wonder whether the value society puts on being rational is overrated? Maybe we should feel more free to make decsions based on deeper feelings and senses while also considering the facts and evidence. Then we are using all parts of ourselves, not just the parts that have been valued more. Interestingly, my fiance is also an intuitive person, so it is not just women who have this type of personality.

I feel much more confident in my decision making ability now that I know that intuition is a valid way of helping me make a decision.

Friday, 19 March 2004

I start the 40 hour famine tonight. I have a very busy weekend but I haven't done it for a number of years and there is always a reason not to do it. I hope I cope okay. THat sounds so yucky!! there are people in the world who don't know hwere their next meal is coming from and I am winging about not coping? Pathetic! But it does raise some important issues. I have grwon up expecting certain things in life such as being able to eat regularly. It does not enter my mind that that is not actually natural and not really normal for most of the population of planet Earth. I think I have to be careful not to make direct comparisions between my life in a wealthy and peaceful country and the lives of those less fortunate. I want to live with an eye open to those in need and not take my life for granted but I cannot make my life like their's. I think I want to be part of the solution of redistribution but that is such a fraught issue.

I had a really good discussion with a friend yesterday who has travelled through Africa. He has seen terrible development situations where organisations have completely disrupted the local economy and community through their programmes. I argued that that may be the case sometimes but not all organisations are like that. But we did agree that the "development industry" depends on poverty for its existence and much like the police force, their aim should be to make themselves redundant.

I am no expert on this and very aware of my ignorance but when two thirds of the world are poor I guess I want to try to grapple with how to deal with this in my daily life. Hopefully the money I raise, little as it is, will be used to help a community affected by war.

Tuesday, 16 March 2004

When I read through my last few blog entries I realised it is not suprising that I feel on edge and rather stressed. My fiance is moving into our new place on Saturday. We have stuff in three different locations which all needs to be co-ordinated to one location. Big job but I can't wait to have our own space, even if I won't be living in it for another 4 weeks.

I am sooo over being engaged. I am sick of organising stuff. Why does deciding you want to spend the rest of your life with someone equal becoming a manic, diarised control freak?
My relationship with my diary has definitely changed over the last few months. I used to stare longingly at the pages, willing the distance between the present and the future would be shorter. I filled in lists of things to do each week and tried to fill evenings and weekends with stuff.

Now I feel like I don't have enough time. Everything has suddenly gone mad with busyness. Not just our wedding but other people's engagements, work stuff and moving. I never used to use my diary much but now it feels like the line between sanity and chaos is held in that small, spiral bound notebook. Now I dream of a boring life, of an empty social calendar and weekends where all there is to do is sleep and do housework. I would get bored after a week but at least I wouldn't be having anxiety attacks!

At the weekend I baked a batch of cookies. I don't think I have done anything more therapeutic in a long while. Yeah for being a homemaker, at least for an hour. Don't know how I would handle it full time. I wonder whether Martha Stewart being jailed has reduced the pressure on women to have a perfect home, family, marriage and life? I hope so. Maybe we can reclaim the home as a home, not the domain of stress and inadequacy.

What a bumble of thoughts!!

Friday, 12 March 2004

Thought I was having a heart attack yesterday. I had bad chest pains on the left hand side of my chest and down my left arm. Turns out it was an anxiety attack. I find it interesting that I don't consciously feel stressed but I must be. Maybe I have become so used to the stress levels I feel that I am unaware that I am stressed. I wonder whether our modern lifestyles actually trap us into a high stress way of life which we then accept as normal? I think once I am married I want to be more aware of my stress levels and to more actively manage them. I don't think avoiding all stress is realistic or even that healthy but continued stress is a recipe for disaster.

Thursday, 11 March 2004

Last night I had a rather real encounter with domenstic violence. The woman living next door to my fiance has been having problems with an exboyfriend. He turns up under the influence of a number of substances and yels and threatens. Last night I heard someone trying to get in. All the lights were off in the house. He was yelling. She had asked that if we heard anything we would call the police. So we did and they arrived and she promptly lied to the police and said everything was faine. I guess that's what's called battered woman syndrome. We could have been entirely mistaken about what was going on but I don't think so.

It is so sad that this woman doesn't love herself enough and is so frightened that she feels powerless to change the situation. What can we do about men who treat women like this? How can we help boys to enjoy and respect women?

It is such a vicious cycle.

Wednesday, 10 March 2004

Had another migraine yesterday. Sooo frustrating and it puts everyone out at work. You can't just leave 30 kids with nothing to do! Hopefully when I go to the doctor they will give me some kick ass drugs and can shed some light on what is triggering them.

This week has felt like swimming through porridge. No matter what I do a can't seem to get ahead. The list of jobs to do at work just keeps growing and I can't even knock the first ones off the list. Time for a late night at work I do believe

Tuesday, 9 March 2004

Homemaking, nesting. Oh so anti-feminist but it is what I yearn for at the moment. We have just found a flat to live in once we get married. Under a house which is surrounded by bush. One side is dark and against a bank so when you look out the window it feels like you are in the kiwi house at the zoo. However the bedroom and one side of the lounge are light and have a peaceful view down into a bush clad valley. It is about a ten minute drive to work and close to the ferry. Very quiet.

I want to make a home for myself. I am sick of staying temporarily. Even quite stable flatting situations are just temporary and at least with getting married we will have a home which is our relationship where-ever we go. Hopefully this place will be home for about 2 years.

Oh and it looks like we can go away for the weekend. It is so wonderful that time and space is given to us just when we need it. Sometimes God is suprisingly generous with foolish people like me who burn the candle at both ends and then moan about it.

Sunday, 7 March 2004

Well 6 weeks to go till I get married. I can't wait. I'm not really nervous at all. The logistics of moving and things are what worries me. I am excited but also aware that this is such a big step in my life. The thing I am not happy about is the exhaustion. I am stuffed. With work and organising things and a lot of driving I haven't had much time for sleep. I feel like I need to get away but that is an impossible dream. Too much on between now and the big day.

I have been thinking about the whole 'bride' phenomena. I do think it is a really special time for me but also for my fiance. People are often saying to me that this is my time and that I should let other people do things for me and pretty much that I can have what I want. I don't really subscribe to that but I do think it is a really special time of transition. This is especially so because we haven't lived to gether yet and so we are not just getting married but also moving in and starting our life together rather than just as boyfriend and girlfriend. THis is something which wierd to so many people. There is also the important step of leaving Mum and Dad. I have been faltting for the last couple of years but I moved home to save for the wedding and also to spend some time with Mum and Dad before it is no longer possible. It feels like the reight thing to do, almost a tradition even though very few people do that now.

I am finding being at home with them tricky but it is helping me to realise that I am different and plan to do things differently in my life.

This week I have helped organise the 40 Hour Famine at my school. I am really excited about it and have decided to do it myself this year. Many people believe development organisations are problematic. I understand that feeling but I believe World Vision and other organisations like it are doing an amazing job at helping people take control of their lives. It is inspiring to see how passionate the students are. If only I could be so enthusiastc and react to need in such an open and generous way.

Thursday, 19 February 2004

Here's another "I've been thinking"! Yesterday I was struck by the fact that I really don't like competition. I would love to beleive people are promoted and rewarded on the their own merits not because of what they do to others or how they manipulate to get what they want. Last might someone told me "there are no nice people in the worls". There point being that you have to stop being so naive and start fighting for what you want. I refuse to believe that despite the fact that many people are not very nice. I refuse to believe it because of what it does to my hope and faith in other people. Sometimes I would rather just roll over and let someone else win. How do you find a balance between knowing you are the best for a job or want the opportunity and getting involved in underhanded behaviour?

Wednesday, 18 February 2004

Change. I have been thinking about that a bit over the last few years. Change is normal I have decided but for the first 18 years of my life I have had very little change in the my life. My only move was ten doors down the street. I went to one primary school and then one secondary school. University was a change but I didn't move out of home until I started working full time 2 years ago. I am the oldest so the only other chnage in my family was my sister going away to University. Sometimes I yearn for the good old days when everything was predictable and you could have 5 year blocks where not much happened.

Usually I am envigorated by change but I think I nearing change overload at the moment. My sister has just got married. There are 8 weeks till my own wedding. I am moving again and a large number of my friends have moved overseas or are getting married themselves. I am realising that life will never again be as it was when I was five and school and play lunches stretched out before me.

I guess I just want a still and quiet life for a while. Maybe I need to reevaluate my expectations.

Thursday, 12 February 2004

Migraines. According to recent statistics it is one of the top 20 disabilities in the world. Everyday in New Zealand 5000 people are not at work because of migraines. Since I was about 13 I have had migraines on and off. They seem to be triggered by stress or sudden relaxation so i can't really control whether I get them or not. On the continumn of migraines they are definitly not the worst you can get but I definitly cannot work and have to go to bed until it passes. For about a week afterwards my brain feels very fuzzy and I am really tired. I hadn't had any for about 2 years until Christmas eve and since then I have had about three. Interesting that my engagement has triggered them!

The reason i am writing about this is that it raises issues with illness and how I cope with it as a Christian. I have had prayer about the migraines and didn't have any for about 2 years after that. I would like to say it was God but I also think it was a very settled time in my life. so I don't know. How do we deal with the loss of control of being ill? We all have things to do in our lives which benefit others and it often seems a senseless waste to spend a week out of action. Why does God allow it?

Of illnesses to deal with, migraines do not compare to the suffering of many others due to illness or injury. I have read quite a bit on why God allows suffering and that definitely helps me to come to terms with it. The trouble I have is with the views of Christians. There seems to be a group of Christians who believe illness is a sign of sin in your life. I do not hold to that unless you are actually causing the illness with your own lifestyle or behaviour. There are also those who believe in prayer for healing which I also believe in but I know so many people who despite the prayers of many are still suffering.

There seem to be no easy answers except that I know God loves us and wants good things for us. Maybe our attitude to our sickness is the most important thing. And our compassion towards those who are suffering.

Wednesday, 11 February 2004

It has been a long time since my last blog. I friend of mine gave me a challenge to keep it up. It is amazining what we can waste our time doing or how time each day just disappears so quickly.
I am back teaching after a busy holiday. It is great to see the kids again but it is strange that in my third year of teaching I do have much greater emotional distance. I want to continue to care for the kids but I am developing my teaching as a craft. Also you realise that though a class of kids are really special to you another class will be there the folowing year who are just as dyanmic or challenging. It is interesting that as I get older things don't seem so immediate and I have more of an ability to see my life in years and patterns rather than the day I am in right now.

Anyway on another unrelated topic, I watched Destiny T.V for a short while this morning and it got me thinking about my view of Brian Tamaki, his theology and way of doing church. I have never been to a service at a Destiny church so my only real experience has been through the media's portrayal and their own t.v programme. He was talking about being strong and growing and said that often people complain about being tired or having struggles in their lives and are not strong enough to deal with it. He was talking about this in the context of spritual warfare and overcoming attacks by Satan. Interesting because my recent church experience has focussed on compassion for others and facing up to our weaknesses. My understanding of Jesus is that he became tired and was not 'strong' all the time such as when he needed to be alone. Thsi understanding has really helped me to learn how to relax and let God be the strength. However I could see what Brian was getting at. I guess he was encouraging people not to dispair and to belive in the power of God. So often I find that hard because I can see so many situations where is seems people are not experiencing 'victory'.

He finished by talking about the passage in Acts where the demon asks "Who are you?". Brian argued that if you are a child of God and planted in a Church (he specifically named Destiny) then you have spiritual authority. I agree to a certain extent however I think being part of the body of christ, the entire family of God is the important thing and which church you go to is slightly irrelevant. I did wonder where Brian was planted and whether he recongnised the rest of the Church, not just his own brand as aprt of the body of Christ.

I guess when it comes down to it sometimes I wonder why God allows churches who seem to have some questionable values and practises to thrive? But during his sermon he directly talked about violence, alcoholism and financial matters as areas which are spiritual battles and challenged the congregation to trust God and to be strong in these areas. So he must be relevant to some people and give them hope and strategies for life. It seems that few things are fully good or bad just like I am neither completely good or completely bad. Who am I to judge?

That leads me to my final thought. When as Christians should we correct each other is we believe some teaching or practise is not biblical or does not reflect Christ? when can we say we know that something is wrong?