Tuesday, 22 November 2005

I got really miffed at the supermarket this morning. They have installed LCD screens at all the checkouts, which broadcast ads at you while you wait in line. I got really grumpy thinking about it. It seems very Minority Report to be advertising at the checkout where, presumably, you have already made the decisions about what you will purchase. So are they there to just make you dissatisfied and want to come back for more?

It seems like everywhere you go someone is trying to sell me something. Even on the back of toilet doors!!! What frustrates me is that at the supermarket and in the loo at the movies I have no choice about whether I let the advertising bombard me. At least with telli I can mute it or change the channel or even turn it off. With billboards and LCD screens in supermarkets I have no choice. I am just a sitting duck. And I thought that free market economics was all about choice? Seems I may have been mistaken. The choice seems to be only for companies about where and how they market but I have very little choice about whether I receive it.

Monday, 21 November 2005

It was one beautiful weekend! On Saturday I went to my first big summer BBQ. As we pulled up outside I thought "I am going to savour this!" And it was truly lovely. great company and food. One thing I did notice is the role reversal that has occurred as I have grown up. IT was a 60th Birthday BBQ and all the older people there who are in the glories of the third age all were lying resplendant on the grass in the sun. Meanwhile all their kids and their significant others were sitting around the table. I still remember many Christmas's where the adults would sit at the table the kids would sit on the grass. Now these adults are coming into their second childhoods where they can do whatever they like without being interupted by kids or trying to keep up an image of authority and responsibility. So what does it say about us, that we felt more comfortable sitting at the table?

On Sunday I watched my hubby check the beehive he has installed at his parents place. It is amazing what bees can do. After only 2 weeks they were already making honey. And beside the beehive is the chicken coop where there were fresh eggs for the taking and over in the paddock are new lambs. All the flowers are out and I felt completely surrounded by new life. Summer still feels energetic rather than the dried out and tired feeling of February. I love newness!

Friday, 18 November 2005

Money, money money... it has been on my mind recently. My husband and I are nearing the unknown territory of double income. This has made me slightly paraniod. I have been worried that our new found wealth next year will be squandered because it will be so wonderful to have cash. So in an effort to be responsible I bought a book yesterday. Now I am not usually one for financial books and I have a special aversion to them because they so often have a promise of massive wealth and that makes me uncomfortable. So I chose a kiwi book called ummm...I will have to get back to you on that. Anyway it is a basic book on the different financial goals people may want to achieve at various stages in their lives, in order to have a comfortable standard of living. Apparently I should have started collecting furniture to move out from the time I was about 12. Mmm missed that one altogether.

The book has some really sensible advice but I still feel uncomfortable about the whole thing. The definition of financial success according to the author is being able to do the things you enjoy with financial security for the future. There is no mention of giving money away and also it is just assumed that accumlulating wealth is desirable. Now this is no book for people who want to be millionaires and she isn't even that positive about tertiary education and having a well paid job. The author thinks her advice is practical and sensible. But there does not seem to be any awareness that even being able to make choices about your financial situation is something that 2 thirds of the world does not experience. Or that the priviledge of being above the poverty line comes with certain responsibilities.

Which gets me back to my moral dilemma. It seems awfully selfish, if sensible, to be protecting my future financial security when others cannot. However by being wise with the money I have I can avoid being a burden to others and free up my own money and others' to be given to those who need it. So as Christians we know storing up treasure on earth is futile and should not be our first priority and like the rich man, we should be prepared to give everything away. But with the blessings we have living in NZ what should our relationship with money be. I don't think I should give it all away just because the responsibility makes me uncomfortable and I don't think poverty makes you necessarily holier. However materialism, trusting money not God and not caring for the poor is wrong.

So I am left back in the place that I often find myself in. There does not seem to be one external model for what Christians should do with their money but there does seem to be an internal model through Jesus which will have a variety of external expressions. The question I have now is, which way am I called and what is motivating me to move there? Is it worldly wisdom which assumes there is not a God who provides the lilies and the sparrows with their daily needs? Is it in the direction of the wise servant who invested the talents (not neccessarily a financial parable)? Or is it the way of the disciples who followed Jesus and took only their cloak and staff? Or is it the way of those who offered support and hospitality to those apostles of the early Church? I have a funny feeling I am not the first to wrestle with these issues and I think the wrestling may continue for much of my life.

Thursday, 17 November 2005

Someone stole my life! My hubbie alerted me to another blog which looks identical to mine by a woman living my dream life, minus the homeschooling! I was thinking this morning about how for God all time is occuring simultaneously. So maybe my life is being lived by someone else. The life I would like in about 10 years! It is actually quite exciting.

Here's the link to the blog. Check it out!

Wednesday, 16 November 2005

I'm bored! (imagine a teenage whine!). How can I possibly be bored? I have a new job for next year. I don't know if I have told you that actually. I am really excited about it. It is still teaching but in a school which I think will fit with who I am and what I care about more than where I am now. So that should be exciting, and it is but I still feel bored.

I think it is because this year feels done, and slightly overcooked. I am ready for 2007 to begin and I am feeling rather impatient. Also the work I am doing at the moment I will not see put into practise next year so it feels like paperwork for the sake of paperwork.

Symptomatic of my boredom has been crazy explorations on the internet. Yesterday I searched for homes to buy, knowing that buying a home is at least 2 years away. I also found a great website for travelling round Europe on a budget. I have no idea if we can actually afford to go and if we really want to but my feet are definitely itchy.

What do you do if you have an itch you can't scratch and the things that were making you excited one morning just don't? My usual way of dealing with it is starting too many projects, saying yes to people and then as the mania reaches a pek, colapsing in a heap from exhaustion. So I will try not to do that.

Monday, 14 November 2005

I am usually rather suspicious of popular Chrstian books, especially those recommended for whole Churches to read. It always seems a bit like braiwashing to me. However I have had to eat my words a little withthe book I am reading at the moment. I decided that after all the hype about The Purpose Driven Life, that I better read it before I criticised it. And I have been pleasantly suprised.

This year has been marked by confusion for me about what it really means to be live as a follower of Jesus. I am finding the book so helpful for me as I try to remind myself of the central parts of being a Christian. I have had a few issues with it as I have read but overall it has really awakened in me a renewed excitement and passion for my faith and for my relationship with Jesus. It is so easy to focus on issues or the Church and forget about the relationship with God which is supposed to be the foundation of it all.

I have been really challenged about some aspects of my faith. I have always struggled to understand how I can have a loving relationship with the creator of the Universe. I like the idea but the reality has always escaped me. I am finding myself no longer thinking that it is a cheesy notion and instead embracing the comfort of a loving relational God. And it is not as if I haven't been taught this all my life, but for some reason it has never really hit home. Unconditional love is not something I have felt much of in my life and the idea that God offers it to me is quite mind blowing.

In the last wee while I had given up any hope of feeling that passion for me faith that I used to feel as a teenager and that made me sad. I would not give up the maturity I have now for anything, however my spirituality had developed a rather cynical and shriveled appearance. I do feel refreshed again and excited about the reality of Jesus. That it is real and tangible and true rather than a struggle where I have to live up to some impossible standards.

So next time someone recommends a Christian book to me I might not be so dismissive. The Bible is a pretty good read so not all Christian books are brainwashing!

Saturday, 12 November 2005

I have trouble knowing my own mind. I am often so impressed and excited about other people's lives that I think I want to do what they are doing. I do think this can come from a healthy desire for role models. I guess Jesus is an example of a healthy role model. However, I often find myself lost in confusion as I look at other people and the directions they are heading in and think " I want to do that too". Then I lost perspective on what I want. I used to be so clear about things and so sure of where I was heading but in the last year or two I have become more and more unsure. I guess part of it is that I have been working for a few years and things in life have been somewhat settled for the last year or so and I am in the "Now what?" phase. So many things look tempting but my greatest fear is regret and that I will choose the wrong thing and then regret it. No-one teaches you about this when you are little. Should I make decisions based on feelings, the practical details or somewhere in between? Also when things have been settled for a while it is easy to make change for changes sake. I want to be inspired by others but still remain in touch with my own sense of direction and purpose.

Thursday, 10 November 2005

I just read a few of my friends blogs and I feel so inspeired and also privileged to be let into a little of their lives. For a while I have been thinking about why I blog and whether it is rather self involved. But I do think it is so important to hear and read about other people's life journeys. I know I lose perspective so easily and need to be reminded of the common struggles we all face as we learn to live. I especially am inspired by other women who share their wisdom via their blogs. So despite all the flack that personal blogs attract, I love them. They are democrasy in action and help to alleviate the lonliness and isolation of 21st century living.

Thursday, 27 October 2005

I have had a couple of profound thoughts in the last little while but just at this minute they seem to be escaping me. What I am loving at the moment is this beautiful weather. It is so refreshing and energising. I am finding that the daylight peeking in through the blinds in the morning quite early makes me feel like each day is full of possibilities. The reality of my days at the moment is that they are really busy, but a glance outside seems to renew my hope and enthuse me to get on with living and not waste time feeling glum or stressed. Praise God for the prozac effect of a sunny day.

Wednesday, 19 October 2005

The last few mornings I have been getting up and going for walks. Very close to our place is a wetlands which has been replanted and now has heaps of birds and is a little bit of paradise in suburbia. Walking through it as the sun comes up and the mist is still over the water is absolute bliss. It is a heady mix of being reminded that my life is really not the centre of the universe but also testament to the way God cares for his creation.

It has also been wonderful to be active. This has been the winter of sloth for me. My energy levels have been at an all time low and I have not been eating very healthily. So with the coming of daylight savings, my enthusiasm for being healthy has been reinvigorated. I love that it really is true that when you do some excercise and eat well you actually do feel better. Who would have thought?

Monday, 17 October 2005

Superwoman syndrome seems to be a rampant disease and one which I am struggling with at present. I have recently begun to accept that I can't do everythink I think I should. This results in me feeling like a failure. I am always sure everyone else is coping and fine and I can't understand why I can't keep up with everything.

I read an excellent column about the issue which stated that women who suffer from superwoman syndrome are often people who seek affirmation and approval from others, who have had to take on responsibility in their families or have had high expectations placed on them as a child. They are often plagued by guilt and fear if they don't meet their own high expectiations. I could see myself in the description straight away.

The columnist gave some interesting advice. He suggested facing up to the trauma that you cause to others and the people you are supposed to care for by saying yes to too many things and burning out. It was also suggested that despite the internal voice which accuses you of laziness and makes you feel guilty for not doing everything, to just push on through and embrace doing less.

One thing I have realised recenlty is that trying to be perfect adn seem perfect is a very selfish way to live. It means that everything you do is all about feeling good about yourself adn not really about others. It also is a recipe for mental and emotional trauma because you can never meet your own standards and always feel inadequate and ironically everyone around you has to make space for you to be so tortured.

The tricky thing I find is working out what realistic expectations of myself are. Sometimes you do have to work hard and be tired but when is it required and when is it because of my need to be perfect? I also think that society today almost reinforces the superwoman mentality by promising everything if you just work hard enough.

I must go and try to be a not so perfect teacher to my very much less than perfect students!

Sunday, 9 October 2005

I was marking some research by my students today. They has to research the life and works of a New Zealand writer. I was reading through the brochures they had put together and was so imspired by the careers of these well known writers. Many of them came to a realisation at some point that they wanted to write seriously and be published.

When I was quite young I used to go sailing with my family a lot. There isn't much you can do when you are sailing except look at the view. I used to stare into space and come up with all these ideas for stories. I still remember on quite vividly. We were sailing from Coromandel Harbour up towards Moehau and there are quite a few islands dotted about. One you can sail very close to. It was a grey day and gusty and I could see cattle dotted about on the hills. I thought it would be a great place to use as a setting for a kids novel about abandoned buildings, with mysteries and lone cattle left by a family who had abandoned the island. I went for a walk on that island and thought about the story even more. But I never wrote it.

I heard an interview on the radio with an author of teenage fiction and she also inspired me. She had a successful career which she had put on hold while she had kids. When her kids were school age she was looking for something new to do. She went to a seminar and a well known author asked her what she wanted to do with her life. She said she wanted to write. He replied by telling her to get on with it, so she did.

So I might get on with it. Even if the writing sucks, at least I will have had a go. Bit scary really, actually doing something. It is much easier to have a perfect dream rather than an imperfect reality.

Friday, 7 October 2005

I have really been enjoying my holiday and hence my absence. I haven't done anything much but what I have been doing has been well with my soul. But now the new term is looming and I am trying to work out how I am going to deal with it. I have been feeling rather luck lustre about teaching. But I have decided to keep at it for another year. I don't want to drag myself kicking and screming back to school and I would love to recapture the passion I has when I first started teaching.

I think I have lost a great deal of self confidence this year. I have felt unable to measure up to my own standards as a teacher and therefore I have felt a bit of a failure. Teaching is rather a conundrum really. If you do heaps of work it is often very exciting and enthusing, but you just can't keep working at that pace so eventually you crash. However, if you work in a way which is purely about self preservation there is very little satisfaction and in the last term I got into a rut of feeling that the job was too impossible and why would anyone bother so that I really felt like a victim of my job. So in order to try to solve this dilemma I think I have come up with a solution.

I am going to downsize my job. Middle management in teaching is a nightmare. Too much to do and not enough time so the plan is to go back to purely being a classroom teacher. I want to get back into creating interesting and challenging lessons for my students, having time to give good feedback and the energy to be creative and improve my teaching practise. I am hoping this down shift will reignite my passion for teaching. I also plan to just teach one subject rather than the two I teach at the moment so that I can focus on one thing and hopefully do it well.

This simplification of my work goes totally against the grain of where my teaching career was heading. I am very much a big picture person and I can always see improvements and changes which I think should be made across my whole school and become very frustrated when people don't seem to be able to make those changes. So I thought by moving into middle management I could be a part of those changes. Well I was mistaken. For some people I think it definitely works but it seems the further up the ranks I have moved there further I get from the students and the teaching, which is supposed to be what schools are about. I have very little patience with school concerns about PR and politics. I think schools should be places where the management serves the teachers so that they can do the best job they can in serving the needs of their students, unfortunately it usually goes the other way round.

So by returning to my classroom and the kids hopefully I will remember the reason I wanted to be a teacher in the first place and will be able to stop just surviving each day at work and instead be excited about being there and what I can offer.

Tuesday, 20 September 2005

Women have so much choice but is that just an illusion or a trap? I have been reflecting a great deal about the huge array of models of womanhood which women can choose for their lives. When my Mum was my age there were only three careers for women; teaching, nursing or secretary. It was assumed that you would get married young, have kids and stay at home. Today there is no such expectation. I am so grateful to the feminist movement that I do not have to deal with the prejudice so many women have experienced in the past but I don't think women have it very easy now either.

You may have heard of the "supermum" syndrome. This is the condition many women suffer under where they want to have a high powered and successful career, equal to their male colleagues while also being the perfect wife and mother. I believe for most women, this is actually impossible and certain compromises have to be made, usually in their personal lives in order to meet the demands of their careers. This may explain why so many women are starting their own businesses in order to work from home and be closer to their kids. Now don't get me wrong, I would consider myself to be strongly feminist, in the sense that I believe women are capable of doing anything they set their minds to. However I think the reality is often women try to fulfill and traditional roles of men as well as women and these women then end up being plagued by guilt and frustration.

I am not very career minded myself. I have been in the past and I do love teaching but I find the stress of work very difficult to deal with. I am useless with money and maths so I don't think I would be a very successful business owner. I am also quite young by today's standards to be considering having kids. Twenty years ago it would have been normal for me to already have three kids. These days that would be seen as highly irresponsible behaviour or at the very least, be seen as missing out on opportunities. Instead I am still paying off my student loan and have no assets of any real value. Oh the irony!

I guess what I am getting at is that women still cannot do everything. I know no man who could manage to be successful in their career and manage to fulfill the traditional mothering role without things going seriously amiss. So why do women expect that of themselves?

I have decided that I will have to sacrifice either career or kids at various times in my life in order to be happy with how I am doing one of those things. So I am so grateful that I can choose. But there is still a choice to be made and trying to do both brilliantly seems to me, a recipe for dissatisfaction. It is not that I am anti working Mums. I think I will want to work, at least part time, while having and raising kids, but if I can hardly manage my work load at the moment, having a bunch of anklebiters to care for won't exactly make that easier and I want to feel like I am doing something well rather than lots of things, but not well. So I guess it it a mental wellness choice. Women are doing it for themselves but they don't have to do everything!

Thursday, 15 September 2005

I have a sore brain from thinking too much and a sore neck due to navel gazing. But I can't seem to stop. As the end of the year approaches I feel more and more urgency to work out what I am supposed to be doing with my life. That may sound overly dramatic but it feels slightly life and death to me.

I have had a year of struggling to feel motivated in my work. This is my 4th year of teaching and though I still love the learning and the kids it really isn't doing it for me any more. I know that most people believe teaching is one of those jobs where you must have the whole "changing the world" thing covered but it really doesn't feel like that to me. I feel like a bureaucrat who injects knowledge into kids so that they can vomit it out during exams. What I really care about is helping them to deal with life and think about their place in the world and to realise the privilege they experience in New Zealand and the responsibility that comes with that. And also, teaching just exhausts me. Some people can do it but the job is structured in such a way that I just survive and I feel like I have forgotten how to live. The classes I love, the paper I don't.

I must remind you that I am still young and slightly wet behind the ears so it is all possibly me not being able to deal with the real world of work. But if this is all there is then it is not good enough!

So I am now left with the quesiton mark that is next year. For some people this would be a time of great excitement and expectation, for me it is very difficult. I love change but I am also a planner and a dreamer. I need to have concrete realities to plan my life around and to attach my dreams to. So far 2006 lacks any concrete anything. This is creating the navel gazing and obsessive questioning which I referred to earlier. But I am realising something rather profound. There is no one right or clear answer for me. No-one can tell me what to do.

I can either stick with a career orientated life where I make a clear career change and keep working like I have been doing, hopefully with less paper or I can change my whole approach to life as I know it. Both options are scary. With the first I risk depression and dissatisfaction again as well as general numbness, while with the second I will definitely lose my security and risk getting very hurt and disappointed. So I think I have worked out a key to making the decision.

I have to do what I believe in, not what makes me feel safe or sure. But I have to use what has already been given to me and not ignore the past. In a sense I think I have to follow the prompting Jesus has given me with the dissatisfaction and tension I feel but not forget what He has already done in my life.

But what on earth would that look like? So I am on the hunt for some models on how I could do life. I have found some pretty good ones and the time is coming where I will have to take some steps and stop just thinking...

The other thing which complicates everything is that it is not all about me. Since getting married I have not been in such an obvious situation where my decisions and my husbands decision's about out personal direction are so intertwined. I cannot act without knowing where he wants to go and in a sense neither can he.

So what now? Where to from here?

Back to the thinking I guess...

Friday, 9 September 2005

"We too often forget that faith is a matter of questioning and struggle before it becomes one of certitude and peace. You have to doubt and reject everything else in order to believe firmly in Christ, and after you have begun to believe, your faith itself must be tested and purified. Christianity is not merely a set of forgone conclusions. Faith tends to be defeated by the burning presence of God in mystery, and seeks refuge from him, flying to comfortable social forms and safe convictions in which purification is no longer an inner battle but a matter of outward gesture."
- Thomas Merton

This quote sums up how I have been feeling and the issues I am wrestling with at the moment. I used to yearn, and still do, for a sure and certain faith, where I knew where I stood and could put everything in little boxes. Over the last wee while I have been thinking more and more about how uncomfortable it is to question and critique but that the option of not terrifies me even more. And now I am beginning to realise that there is a very small amount of my faith which is certain. And there is a great deal that I struggle with every day.

This weekend there is a big push in the Make Poverty History campaign as the UN World Summit begins. In a world where more than two thirds of people live below the poverty line, and many in abject poverty, what does my faith in Jesus say about that and what will be my response? In the wake of the destruction of New Orleans what will be my response? As New Zealand prepares for the elections how will my faith guide my vote? Now I don't have any easy answers but I do know that I am called to be an incarnation of Jesus, who loves everyone and weeps for those who suffer and who acts in response to suffering. Therefore, though it may be tiring and uncomfortable, I must do my small part to show Jesus in my responses to these important events and issues.

I used to think I could choose how I wanted to live my life but I am realising that I have no choice. I have to do something to make a difference for the poor, the marginalised in the world or my faith in Jesus is nothing more than a hobby or a philospophy. It has to be more than that otherwise I don't know what there is to have faith in in the first place.

Thursday, 18 August 2005

I love reading Next magazine. It is my treat each month. I have a bit of a magazine fetish you see. Anyway usually I love it but this month one of the articles really ticked me off. There is an article about Trelise Cooper and the point of it is to publicise the campaign against domestic violence which she is supporting through pyjamas which she has designed and which will be sold through Ezibuy. In the article the writer tries to show what a huge problem domstic violence is in New Zealand byt quoting the satistic that domestic violence costs the country over $1 billion each year. I find this really disgusting. You cannot put a price or cost on people's personal safety in their own home. If even one person was unsafe on their own home because of violence that would still be one too many, despite the fact that it woudln't 'cost' much. Statistics like this allow people to forget about the real people involved.

It also reminds me that the only way to make people take notice of an injustice or problem is to prove that has an economic impact. The same is true for enviromental sustainability and the like. If businesses see it as a way to increase profit and the reputation of their brand they want to be environmentally friendly. But maybe caring for people and the environment is of priceless value adn cannot be measured and maybe there are things which are bigger, more important and outside the economy and maybe the economy should serve people rather than determine the values of our society. So there!

Wednesday, 3 August 2005

It's a blue dome day. There is nothing like it. As I sit in my classroom typing I have a beautiful view of the sunshine streaming down and only a couple of small clouds seemingly stalled int eh sky. I love days like these. They are like therapy or a happy pill. On days like this spring is just around the corner and if ittakes a little longer to arrive winter doesn't feel that bad anyway.

A friend used to say to me that when she was woken up by her alarm, if the song on the radio was a good one then she would have a good day. In the novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime the main character, who is a young boy with Aspergers, uses the colours of the cars he sees on the way to school to determine his mood and behaviour for the day. I am sure I am like that too.

This morning I slept in and loved waking up as the sun came up instead of in darkness and driving to work with the sun warming my face. A sunny day covers over a multitude of reasons why I could feel grumpy. It is not suprising that my spirits and the spritis of others are lifted by the weather since we are part of creation. The sun brings new life at this time of year and those who don't get enough tend to suffer from the winter blues.

Not that rain is always a problem either. It is life giving also and there is nothing like heavy rain on the roof while you are snuggled up in bed or a sudden downpour which drenches you and awakens the child within and reminds you that you are not the master of your environment and your life.

I gues what I am saying is that I love weatherr. It makes me feel alive adn reminds me that I am not the centre of the universe and there is definite reflief in that. If what I am and what I do is not always that important I have the freedom to experiment and make mistakes without the world colapsing around me. I guess it is the freedom of the ant!

Tuesday, 2 August 2005

This week at church I was really challenged by the sermon. It was about community and the way the work is often bandied around but that real community is often difficult to find. One of the ideas we were encouraged to consider was to operate from week to week using the principles of BELS.
Bless - try to be a blessing to others, in specific ways and not just for people in your church.
Eat - try to share food with people at least 3 times a week. This could include a coffee, not just a three course meal.
Learn - be open to learning something new each week.
Send - each week at church consciously send each other into the week as a light and hope to others.

I found these ideas really encouraging, especially since in my present state of mind it easy to become addicted to naval gazing. I am realising that I am quite an action atations person, at least at this time in my life. I want to see things happen and change and I don't want to just talk about it. The tricky thing is wandering where on earth the energy for all this hope will come from.

So God close the gap between what I hope for and what I feel I can do. Move me towards hope and reality and away from dispair and apathy.

Tuesday, 26 July 2005

I am back at work and feeling so much better. Work still seems like too much for one little person but I feel better about that. The feelings of anxiety, like butterflies playing rugby in my tummy, have almost disappeared.

One of the amazing things I have found over the last wee while and in the past is that prayer has this unexplainable effect on my anxiety levels. After praying, for no rational reason the physical feelings of anxiety seem to fade. This doesn't always happen but recently it has been more frequent. Often I am praying as a last resort because my own will power and thinking skills seems unable to calm my sense of panic. I do believe that the anxiety I have been experiencing has a subconscious explanation which I am not fully able to understand.

I have never thought of myself as very prayerful and I have always thought that the supposed power of prayer was a nice idea but hadn't personally felt any physical effects. But these last few weeks the impact has been very tangible and real and seems to have nothing to do with how I pray such as the words I use or even my sense of "being spiritual" at the time. I do think it is an example of a miracle for me and more importantly, a sign of God's grace on earth.

So despite not having a superhuman transformation over the holidays so that my job is more managable, it doesn't matter as much now because the sense of anxiety is diminished and I have my sanity back, however incomplete and fragile...

Thursday, 21 July 2005

I've just come back from a wonderful 10 days in Melbourne. Being a tourist is a wonderful thing, flying in over a city and having no idea what you are looking at but being so excited about exploring it. We stayed with my sister in law and their 3 kids. Every morning we were woken up by a 2 year old and a 4 year old. There is nothing like it. One of the wonderful things in life. Kids get up each day and they are so excited about the day and all the possibility it holds. They are such an excellent example for hardened adults.

The whole time we were in Melbourne I felt totally disorientated. It took me a while to work out why but then realised. In Auckland we navigate by volcanic cones and the sky tower. So wherever you are you always know what direction you are facing. In Melbourne there are no obvious land marks, especially in the CBD. I have always thought I had an excellent sense of direction but no sooner had my eyes left the map then I would be completely lost again. We even caught a tram in the completely wrong direction!

We loved the city though; the Victoria Markets with the amazing deli and passion fruit in July no less! We loved the trams and trains. It is so obvious that Auckland needs to sort out its public transport after a visit to a large city like Melbourne. The shopping was pretty cool too.

So overall I loved Melbourne and we even talked about what it would be like to live there. We agreed that it would be fantastic for a time if you lived in the city but that the burbs are the burbs wherever you are in the world. We also realised that having family there makes all the difference and that we would only be prepared to move overseas if there were at least a couple of people who already knew us. So that when it all seemed too big and strange there was someone who could understand who you were without translation.

But I think we have the travel bug and we plan to make the most of all the opportunities in our own fair city before heading overseas again to sample someone elses.

Thursday, 7 July 2005

I am off to Melbourne for a holiday tomorrow. I am so excited. I think it is just what the doctor ordered. I haven't travelled overseas since I was 15. The fact that we are going has reinvigorated my faith in the fact that life is full of posibilities. I want to see the museum and art galleries, go to the markets and just remind myself that there are so many opportunities in life and i want to make the most of it. And hopefully when I return I will be ready to make some changes so that my life can reflect those possibilities.

Wednesday, 6 July 2005

Thanks to the wonderful HR woman at work I have been given the rest of the week off. It is wierd but the moment the pressure is off I keep thinking to myself "Why was I feeling so stressed?" but then something little happens and I realise that I am not feeling better, I just don't have to perform like I do at work. It is amazing how much the little things help though. I cleaned the house today and it felt like it was the most amazing accomplishment. I just felt a bit more in control and a little less useless.

I heard from a friend that anxiety can be a symptom of frustration or anger. I can relate to that. I am not easily satisfied with life and I can lose objectivity with my own situation. I am determined to get to the bottom of this. I am realising that I need to work with who I am and not feel bad about it. I never thought I would have to deal with something like this but when I think over my life so far and some of my behaviours it isn't all that suprising.

My Mum said something very interesting to me yesterday. She said I have always taken responsibility for things which are not my problem, such as how my parents feel or problems at work. It makes me deeply empathetic but also means there is a very fine line between myself and other people and I often don't know how I actually feel or what I think about things. So these little insights are helping me to understand myself better.

I don't want this bol to turn into a diary of my own angst but it has been a bit like that already so I guess this is just a twist in this blog's identity!

Sunday, 3 July 2005

Welcome to July! You may have noticed the generally negative posts I have been making over the last little while. Well, after a week or so of being in tears and not really keeping it together and months of feeling down, I went to the doctor. He was fantastic and listened to all my symptoms and diagnosed me with mild depression and an anxiety disorder. He was really encouraging about dealing with it and we are going to hold off on medication at this stage. The first step is easing my workload and then some lifestyle changes such as more excercise and eating healthier. I also want to invistigate seeing a psychotherapist. The doctor said that quitting my job would lead to more depression and I am sure he is right. I know that my personality and thinking patterns are responsible for a lot of how I am feeling and leaving my job would not actually deal with it at all. That is a pretty scary thing because it would be much easier to blame external factors rather than admit that I am my own worst enemy.

I have had a lot of friends deal with mental illness in the last few years and I have always known that I am prone to depression. However it is wierd being on the other side of the fence. I tend to be the friend who gives advice and listens to problems but it is impossible to do that for yourself when you aren't well. I am having to face the hard truth that it is very difficult to fix yourself and stay in control. I need to accept that I need help and support. Part of me feels like a failure but another part is excited about the freedom in recognising something is wrong and that I can't cope if nothing changes.

So tomorrow I am seeing the HR person at work to try and reduce my stress at work. I am hoping that I can keep it together and also explain clearly what the problem is. It is awful feeling that you have to prove how you feel and I know that all teachers are stressed. But I have to do what is right for me. So prayers would be welcomed that my hope for the future would be renewed and that I won't feel like a failure. It is a poerful thing to take control of your situation and that is how I want to feel.

Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Who came up with the working week anyway, that's what I want to know. I have realised that I don't actually believe in work. The idea of going to the same job everyday so I bring home a pay check so I can buy things at the weekend and then go back to work on Monday seems rather depressing. I freely admit that I am a very people person and rather idealistic so the reality of the need for money is not as immediate for me. That is not to say that I don't worry about paying the bills but my paycheck does not motivate me to do my job. I feel like the financial system we are working in traps us. How can we do what we are passionate about, spend time with family and friends, be servants to our Churches and communties when the working world seems to have such a rigid view of what work is? Job sharing, glide time and contracting can offer some flexibility but not everyone has those options. I think there needs to be greater recognition of the rythms of life and a holistic approach to employment. I know that it sounds like pie in the sky, especially for those who are self employed but we have choices and the economy is a human system, even though it often seems to work against us. Paid parental leave is an example of what is possible when people demand that their real lives are recognised and supported.

For me, I dream of being able to work hard in what I am passionate about but still feel like I can participate in non-paid work which is important to me. Now I need to have the courage to risk moving outside a mainstream way of doing work.

Tuesday, 28 June 2005

Expectations are tricky things, expecially when they are of yourself. I tend to have really high expectations of myself. Not necessarily in the the things that matter. I tend to expect to be able to fit everything in, to be totally organised and to have everything under control. As is probably obvious these expectations of myself are completely ridiculous. There is no way I can fulfil them. And you know what the strange thing is, if I had to sum up what I really think is important in life, being organised just wouldn't be very high up the list. But actions do often speak louder than philosophy.

What I find scary is the possiblity of changing the ecpectations I have of myself. I feel that if I expect "less" in the way of quantity of work, organisation and how people see me I will be lowering my standards and being lazy, or even worse, that people may think less of me. And I think that's what it really comes down to. Caring what people think instead of what I know is important in life. I know that the only way to combat this form of self oppression is to look to God's opinion instead of people. The trouble with that is that I have no idea what God thinks of me. I know it in the general sense, I know I am loved and that God desires me to grow to be more like Christ through the Holy Spirit. But I don't know how Jesus would say "No" in a work situation or cope with the stress of deadlines, multi-tasking, family and being "healthy".

So I guess I come back to the fact that maybe I need to recognise I am only human and I stuff up a lot and maybe humility is really the answer to it all. Let me know if you have worked out how to be humble but also maintain good self-esteem which is not based on what you DO but who you ARE. I think I have been working on that for most of my conscious life and it still has me completely stumped!

Mmmmmm no answers here...

Monday, 27 June 2005

Hope you like the new look. I just looked at my last few posts and the titles are a little frightening. So many say that I feel stressed and too busy to post and that I feel guilty for not posting. That is so silly. I choose to blog and I want to get my thoughts out there. Not because they are that profound but that I like the idea of shared insight into life. So much of Western daily life is so individual and it is wonderful when you realise that everything about the human experience is shared. Shared pain is so much better than pain alone. Sharing pain may not fix it but it helps lift the weight a little. I have had a few experiences recently which have really showed me this.

On Sunday a friend knocked at the door with a care package of goodies because some of the women at Church knew I was stressed and understood how hard that is. I am really holding onto that at the moment and it was absolutely fantastic to remember I am not the only person who struggles with work stress.

Tonight I was at a meeting with other teachers and just by chance we all started sharing about how many times we have cried at work and in front of classes in the last little while. Heaps of us had and we talked about the fact that we cry and then think "No-one can help me with this. Pull yourself together" and just get on with it again. I guess it is worrying that we could all relate to tears at work but it was comforting to know that I am not going crazy and everyone finds it tough.

Last night I had a phone conversation with a friend and we agreed that we are both having mini-breakdowns, or at least personality/work/who am I crisis. So again, I am not alone.

Tomorrow I still have to go to work and keep it together and keep on top of stuff but at least I do that with a whole lot of others who are barely getting by, just like me. So I don't know how to make things better yet but I hope that together we can work it out.

Saturday, 4 June 2005

I am at work and it is a holiday weekend! Hrumpf!
But I have had an epiphany about work and me and my attitude to it.

It all started earlier in the week when I was reading "I have a dream", the Martin Luther King Jnr speech, to one of my classes and I just broke down in tears. Now I have to admit that that speech often leaves me a tad weepy but this was ridiculous. I was a sobbing wreck and had to get a student to take over. This turned out to be quite funny in hindsight as there were so many words the student couldn't read but since they didn't want to disturb my sobbing they had to skip over them which meant much of the meaning of the speech was lost. At the time I wasn't really seeing the joke though.

It was one of those weepy moments when you doubt your own sanity. I had no idea why I was crying and was not really sure if I could get it together to teach the rest of the lesson. After a quick trip to the bathroom and a stern "pull yourself together" look into the bathroom mirror, I returned to my class and carried on the lesson, telling the class I was "a little overtired". My students were great and just let me get on with it. I realised afterwards that my tears were the result of hitting the wall. Work had been piling up and so had the pressure. I have been saying yes to things which I really don't have time to do. Also my lack of motivation and doubt about whether I really want to be teaching had resulted in cumulative procrastination so that I felt as if I was drowning under it all. It is amazing how your body just says "Enough is enough", and lets you know you need to deal with things.

So I am at school this weekend so that I can get on top of my work because, though I am not sure how much longer I want to do this, I am doing it now and I am going to do it well. No more saying yes to things just because I am unsatisfied with what I am doing now because that just results in awful stress and enotional colapse. I am trying to get back into being motivated just because something needs to get done and not expecting to necessarily have much fun while doing it. I feel that I am being taught another one of those "how to be a grownup lessons" about followining through with something I have committed to and learning how to persevere. Again I am learning not be ruled by how I feel about things. Instead I want to have greater integrity and not to be so fickle.

And I am actually enjoying feeling like I am doing what needs to be done adn I am not in denial any longer about it all. I hope that I can manage the demands of work and the time I need with friends and family and myself. But for now I am redressing an imbalance so it might just be work, work, work for a little while.

Monday, 30 May 2005

I am having a rather full on couple of weeks at work. Exam marking, report writing and a filming and editing a video. Making the video has been fantastic. It is so satisfying to create something from scratch and it was really nice to just sit still and focus on just one thing for a couple of days. I know most teachers feel like they never really have time to focus on anything for very long. It seems like continual multitasking, which can feel very frustrating and draining.

I have always struggled to deal with how busy it gets at school sometimes. I just feel overwhelmed by everything and feel helpless to do anything about it. But I am getting better at just breaking it down into small parts and just knocking away at it. Every deadline is pretty flexible in teaching and it is really easy to sweat the small stuff. So here's to keeping a lid on the stress and surviving another crazy week at work!

I had a lovely coffee with a friend today. She really challenged me about taking on too much. Her Grandma once told her "a need isn't a call". I feel often at work that I see things which need to be done and I feel like no-one else is going to do it so I should. Sometimes I even feel like I would do a good job! But often a I say yes because I think someone should do it. I have always been a good starter but a rather useless finisher and I always take on too much. My friend challenged me on my plans for later in the year. I want to reconsider whether I should be taking on more work towards the end of the year. But when the issue is service to others rather than work it is hard to draw the line and make some boundaries.

I spent every summer of my teenage years at these wonderful horse riding camps. I credit these camps and the leaders who sacrificed their time for them, with me being a Christian now. So now that I am older I want to keep giving back to the organisation. But my job involves kids all year round and do I really want to spend another week in my holiday with kids? It is a tricky issue because if everyone who has been involved decides they are too busy or stressed no-one else will benefit from the blessing these camps can be. However a need is not a call and I need to decide whether I am being called.

Boundary setting is such an issue for me and when I am to lead an intergrated life without faithless spaces it is hard to know where to draw the line so that I can actually be healthy, in the most holistic sense.

Wednesday, 18 May 2005

I have had an inspiring day with my work colleagues. We had a day of thinking about how things have been going and where we want to go from here. Sometimes my job can get quite depressing. You never feel like you finish anything and never quite do enough and could always do better. But I do think it is true that without a vision the people perish. One of the women I work with told us why she came to teach at my school. It was inspiring and liberating to hear the hope she has and the exctiement she feels about facing challenge and being part of change. Often these kind of days are very airy fairy adn nothing practical comes out of them but we came up with a whole lot of practical ways we can use to improve the way we do things.

Yesterday I felt that there was nothing I wanted more than to walk out the front gate and never come back. It was one of those gloomy, wet and humid Auckland days where the school smells like only schools can and everything seems dreary. I was walking up the stairs for about the 5 th time that day and I just thought "I've got to get out of this place"(imagine the sound track of Good Morning Vietnam). But today has given me fresh energy and enthusiasm. I know why I am here and there are things I can do and offer that could change the future for the department and the school. I also feel the need to grow up, to move on from needing everything to feel exciting and to be prepared to persevere even though I don't really feel like it. I am going to try not to talk about leaving teaching and focus on the things I want to do here in the near future. Though I know there are other things for me in the future I know that right now is not the time to find out what they are.

So I am going to stick it out and dig it in and any other expression for keeping on keeping on that you can think of. It is just another example of me having to accept the reality of being an adult!

Friday, 13 May 2005

I think I am becoming co-dependent. It is one of those very "now" pop psychology terms which basically means I often feel like I am dependent on others helping me to get the stuff I need to do done. A basic example: the other night my husband was out. So I sat in front of the tele for the evening. He was rather late. I kind of just waited for him to come home and tell me it was time for bed. Sick eh!

But to put this all into perspective, I am a pretty extreme people person but need alone time and I tend to set pretty high standards for myself. So when I do relax I tend to turn into a passive blob, lethargic and unable to make even basic decisions, like that it was time to go to bed. It may sound like I am blowing this totally out of proportion but yesterday I had another wakeup call about my co-dependency issues. I am going to a Media teaching conference in October. Our accomodation and transport is paid for. A collegue from school is going also and she has lots of friends she can stay with. I don't. Therein lies the problem. The idea of staying in a hotel by myself for about 4 nights fills me with dread. I know it is irrational and to many people an opportunity to be alone is absolute bliss. But for me my first reaction is panic and intense loneliness.

I know that part of the reason I have become like this is getting married. There is always someone around now. We do the supermarket shopping, run errands, clean the house, cook etc. together so I am not by myself very much. I am determined not to lose the independence I so valued before by becoming a wimpy heap! So I will try to take responsibility for myself a bit more.

I hope this doesn't sound completely pathetic but even if it does, so there! I don't need you to like it! (supposed to be said with an independent and cheeky tone if there is such a thing!)

Saturday, 7 May 2005

You would think that now that I have internet at home that I would blog more often. But sadly no. I have been very slack about making the time. I have been thinking about a lot of stuff. Here's a list:
  • human rights abuses in Uzbekistan - the US and Britain are supporting the use of torture in Uzbekistan for the purposes of obtaining intelligence. The U.S flies in 'ghost planes' carrying those who have been detained at places such as Guantanimo Bay and uses the fact that torture is legal there in order to gain information. The British government has no problem in accepting this information as they feel that they are not doing the torture themselves so it is okay! The governement in Uzbekistan has been known to torture the children of those who they have imprisoned in order to extract information.
  • It is World Fair Trade weeks from this weekend until the 21st of May. Support free trade by shopping at Trade Aid stores and asking tricky questions when shopping. When in Starbucks next ask why they are labeling coffee produced in the United States as fair trade coffee. It think they have missed the point. For more infor visit the trade aid website or www.cws.org.nz.
  • Dafur - over 3.3 million people have now died. They have the largest number of internally displaced people in the world. I saw a moving and motivating report on CNN where a reporter travelled with a family who had fled the Muhajadeen when they had attacked their village. They travelled to a refugee camp where they waited for 6 weeks before receiving any food or shelter. The men feel ashamed that they have lost their land and have not been able to protect their famlies. Their social structures are in tatters. Where will they go and what will they do? Also many have witnessed unbelievealble violence and brutality. Why isn't the international community intervening?
  • Pentecost - 2 weeks away! I have been thinking about what my deepest passions and heart dreams are for my life and my place in the world. I want to follow that passion that the Holy Spirit has placed in my life even if it seems crazy and risky. Now I just have to come up with the courage! And do it with wisdom from God and not just to ease my own conscience and grow my ego. Hmmmmm! How do you do that?

So that was heavy, but the world is. Heavy with strife but in the midst of it you have people in Dafur who despite their terrible experiences share their little food with each other because if we lose our hope and humanity what have we got?

Tuesday, 12 April 2005

Discipline hmmmm... Well it is a tricky subject and something of an issue which I don't seem to have made much headway with in my few short years here on earth. I tend to swing between the fear of guilt side of my personality who views discipline as something which leads to failure which then leads to guilt so better to avoid it altogether. Then I swing back to the hardline self-flagellating view where the harder it is and the less you want to do it the more disciplined you should be about always doing it. This of course always leads to failure and again the pendulum swings.

I recently finished reading the M Scott Peck book The Road Less Travelled which sets out a "new" psychology based on the belief that all people should be working towards spiritual growth in the widest sense and the enemy of this growth is laziness so by applying discipline and living consciously we can see reality as it is more and more which then leads to growth. Peck argues that all sin is actually laziness and he makes a very compelling case. He also argues in favour of grace, that despite often horrific trauma in a person's life they still seem to be able to function and grow more than people who have had apparently sweeter lives. He discusses the fact that love is also a form of discipline and not just an emotion. Overall a very challenging and invigorating book and I agreed with much of it.

But now I am here. 3 weeks since finishing the book and trying to put it principles into action and I am lacking discipline. The thrill of new ideas and resulting passion is over and I feel tired. It's the end of the term for goodness sake! But I know that this is when it really counts. When you don't feel like it.

I guess what I really need to work out is my definition of discipline. I see it as punishment instead of freedom and in this I do think I need an act of grace to help me to see it in a new light.
While reading the book I knew I needed to learn something from it. Now I need an act of God and a growing of myself in order to avoid falling into the same narrow view of just poopooing the ideas. Saying to myself "Isn't this just an example of people demanding more from me?" or "Isn't Christianity about grace and freedom not guilt?". But I know truly that the problem is with me and my ideas and my issues. So I will nut away at this and I guess where grace comes in is to realise I cannot be perfect and never will be but not to let that gift become an excuse to stop and stand still and say "I've done enough".

So here we go. I will try to mark a set of marking which has been sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks tonight. Not because I want to, or I will enjoy it but because it needs to be done. And I will try tonight to read the Bible and pray. Because I know I need it and I know Jesus loves it and what kind of relationship am I having with Jesus if I can't be bothered to even communicate?

Sunday, 10 April 2005

I am a bad, bad blogger! It has been so long since my last post (last confession). I have been survivng at school adn trying to get work done before I blog but now that we have internet at home I have no excuse!

I have been going through some major ups and downs. Nothing major has happened but a couple of weeks ago I was so motivated to make so many changes and improvements in my life. I am now sick, it's the end of the term and I couldn't care less. If I get to work not naked and can bluff my way through the day i figure I am doing okay for now. The holidays start in one week and they can't come soon enough.

It is our one year wedding anniversary next week. Wow, a whole year! It has gone so fast, and been pretty fantastic. We are just carrying on. Hubby is doing Uni, I am doing school and we are planning a holiday in Melbourne in July. I am becoming more and more content and settled.

A couple of weeks ago I had a breakthrough with my habitual restlessness. I said to someone that I thought God had given us this time for preparation. we are both quite tied down to what we are doing at the moment adn we can't make any drastic changes but suddenly It clicked. There is a purpose to this time. We are not getting "left behind" and there is a reason for this season. Since then I have felt a real peace. It is amazing how powerful verbalising something can be to help you realise it is true.

Since then my attitude to work and life in general has improved and I am thinking about the little things I can do to prepare for whatever God may call us to in the future. I know what my passions are and there are so many possibilities for using them so I want to use this time to explore them and what the future could hold. I am considering doing a mission discipleship course to explore where I see myself and to work through issues still unresolved since I was invloved in leadership in a Christian group at Uni. I also want to find a way of further intergrating my faith and life.

So yeah, I am sick and tired but thinking and looking forward to keeping on keeping on!

Monday, 7 March 2005

What a weekend. The transformation of me continues. I went to the Ecoshow in Auckland at the weekend. There were some very innovative adn visionary people there who were very encouraging. Grat composting methods, rammed earth homes, eco friendly paint, permaculture gardening, the list goes on. THe whole time I was frustrated that I can't do more of this now. tHere was a distinct lack of info for thise of us in urban areas without much land. However I did feel very motivated to make a few more changes on the road to greeny land.

One thing I felt afterwards was that I desperately wanted to get dreds and show the world the conversion that was happening within me. That lasted about 2 minutes before I thought through the implications of dreded hair. I think humans tend to do extreme quite well because we want to know where we stand, whose in and whose out and what is wrong and what is right but unfortunately very little in life is that simple. So I will continue to struggle through this stuff without dreds but hoping to make a gentle difference and encourage seemingly normal people to be a bit more radical in the way they live.

For every green issue I think I have sorted in my head another complication arises so I have to trust that my muddling along in a rather meandering fashion is going to make some sort of difference and hopefuly God and creation's grace will cover the rest.

Thursday, 3 March 2005

I have been snowed under at work and it does not seem to be getting better yet but I want to keep blogging. There is always something to keep me from it!

About 2 weeks ago I went to a conference on environmentalism and Christianity. Never the twain shall meet you may say. I have grown up in family where the environment and God were inextricably linked. The creation shouts about God's glory adn love for us as well as revealing hsi character, especially his sense of humour. Have you ever thought about the pelican or the sloth? We could learn a lot from the sloth in the world we live in now.

Anyway the conference brought together a very wide variety of people, from people with degrees longer than their arms to plebs like me who just have a gut feeling that christians should be doing more to care for the environment. Some parts of the conference were very challenging, such as the lessons we can learn from the ecological colapse of Easter Island. How can we just be going about our lives like normal when the reality is that the clock is ticking and many scientists are saying it is too late to save ourselves from our own over-consumtion?

The wonderful thing about the conference is that as Christians we have hope. Not a hope which depends on God transporting us to another world cause we've wrecked this one but a marvellous creator who through his grace has allwoed humans to have some part in the future of creation. There were lots of gifted and passionate people who want to see more action from Christians adn I believe it will happen.

Personally I am feeling all the more challenged ot live differently. to live a radical life which may seem incredibly uncool ot the students I teach. One girl said to me that she felt sorry for my children because she thought I would dress them in home made tie dyed T-shirts adn hemp collotes. Passibly, but isn't that the point? We should be living for the good of all not just the personal sel esteem issues of one. So I aim to challenge my self to embarass myself for the envoronment or at least to try to put the big picture above my own insecurities about the clothes I wear, the food I eat, the house I live in and the other things I own.

Another challenge I felt was the reality that developing coutnries cannot develop. tHere is not enough to go round. For 2 thirds world countries to improve their food supplies, education, health adn overall standard of living the west will have to give up some of its wealth and the process of development may cause the destruction of ecosystems on which people depend. So what should we do? I vite for revolution. I can because I am an irrational dn idealistic woman. But somethings got to give. If we carry on like this it will be like watching a train wreck in slow motion. And when oil stocks start to run out and there is no food at Foodtown I know I would rather be a subsistence farmer than living in an apartment in Auckland central. THe clock is ticking and it just won't stop. as christians we are always aware of this as we wait for Jesus' return but what are our responsibilities now?

Monday, 14 February 2005

I am very irregular in my blogging at the moment. I am trying to be good at work and do work stuff first. And there is always work to do so I never quite get to blog. And also I feel under pressure to have some profound thoughts, which seem not to be coming.

Over the weekend I went to a BBQ and met up with a whole lot of people who I got to know at Uni. It is so good catching up with people. What used to be a daily occurance has become more of a 6 monthly accident when we all get together to celebrate someone's birthday or engagement. I love seeing where everyone is at and what they are doing.

It makes me think about what I thought life would be like after Uni and what it is actually like. I guess I wan't too far off but I thought I would be more radical and that life would move a lot faster. But I'm not and it doesn't.

I think I am gently radical now with an eye to reality and I am still trying to figure out how to live out radical, Jesus centered Christianity in a burbsy kind of environment. I think also I am not sure I want to sacrifice some things anymore and I am probably a little more realistic about who I am as a person and what I do and do not cope with. However I don't want to sell out.

I get the feeling that in the near future (which has become a couple of years instead of a couple of weeks, since I left Uni) I will have to choose between the comfortable and the familiar and where my heart and passion really lies. I think now is the preparation time. I don't want to wait to start living right until that time but I think I have opportunities right now to test the waters and think about where I want to go. So yeah, life is exciting and full of possibility but there are still bills to pay and so somehow God will show me how to live. I hope I can listen.

Friday, 28 January 2005

Me and my big mouth! Gosh I thought I was growing out of it. The other night I said something very unwise in front of a group of people. I meant it very innocently but it showed someone important to me in a bad light. I didn't mean it that way but I was a littlle naive on how it could have been interpreted. I hate that.

I hate that as a very talkative person the probability of me saying something stupid increases exponentially the more I say. And that worst thing about my mouth is that after you've said it you can't take it back and then the humiliation, guilt and regret sticks to you like suffocating glad wrap and I tend to go on a self-flagellation binge where I vow to always be silent when in groups and to listen more etc.

But as my husband pointed out, I am made this way and it wasn't a terrible, cosmic practical joke. So a cone of silence really isn't the answer. Maybe I need to meditate (again) on a bit of James and the power of the tongue but I think then the best thing is to get over it and get on with life. I will let you know how that goes!

Wednesday, 26 January 2005

Well I am back in the real world now. My holiday is just about at an end and I have to say it has been a great one. The weather before christmas, as you well know, was less than perfect and cabin fever had set in by New Years. However there was hope. WE enjoyed 4 lovely days sailing with my parents adn then had 7 days of perfect weather, camping at Mimiwhangata, north of Whangarei. The campsite is reached by walking over a hill and so it acts as a filtering mechanism so that that the people who camp there really want to be there. There are no vehicles, composting loos and a couple of taps. But as far as I am concerned it's deluxe camping. The views are beautiful. My day went: get up (late or when the tent got too hot), make breakfast, stare at the view, read book, lunch, snooze, swim, shower under a pohutukawa, dinner, stare at the sunset, play cards and then a peaceful night's sleep. BLISS!

Now back to reality and it is amazing the perspective having a holiday can give. I have a lot more peace about teaching this year and have renewed motivation to make the most of life. SOmetimes it's best just to get on with living instead of waiting for something to change or something new to come along. Enough of habitual discontentment! My life is fab and I want to live like it!

This Christmas season the tsunami has really given me another realilty shock. Life is so fragile and there but by the the grace of God go I. Again I ask why people who were already struggling to survive have had to face such an enormous disaster? I don't want to take my wealth and security for granted and I want to live more conciously with my heart and actions, keeping those less fortunate than myself in mind in the things I do. But it is so encouraging to see the generousity of people and the courageous volunteers who have given up their time and money to help. They inspire me. And those people devastated by the disaster who are rebuilding and determined to keep surviving when I am often rocked by very minor set backs in my life.