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.