I simply want everything I do to be an act of worship to God. ********************EVERYTHING******************** like a spider's web, intricately woven, the threads of our lives are entwined, making us who we are, where we are, at this time in history.... here's a small record of one family's journey to love God

Monday, April 30, 2007

warms both heart and body

I've been knitting up winter woolies for ER (11 mo).

These pants which you may have seen before to go over her cloth nappies now have a poncho and hat to match. I made up the poncho pattern as I went along and so it's not perfect - if I did it again (which I probably won't, because it was dead boring knitting round and round and round in circles), I would increase more slowly to give the shoulders some shaping rather than just being *boofy*. But it looks fine on and will fit her for years to come!!!!

I had a tiny bit of the wool left over so paired it with some velour-y feeling synthetic to make a cute wee hat which fits a newborn-sized-doll right through to MissT3.
YAY for s--t--r--e--t--c--h--y 2x2 rib.

Anybody want it?

These pants are my most favourite ever! Picking up a gazillion stitches to make the ruffles was absolutely not my favourite, but the end result was worth it. And she'll be able to wear them all winter as long pants and then next summer as capris. The hat above matches these pants too.

They make me think of portabellopixie on needles!

Some of this knitting has been done in public - at the playground, with friends, at a cafe, at the library. I love the sociability that knitting in public entails - invariably someone comes over and comments. They reminisce about how they used to knit for their children, they might sadly inform me these same kids don't want knitted items for the grandchildren, they extol the virtues of making things with your own hands, they tell me about how they would unravel sweaters after they'd been worn by all the family and then make something new, they tell me about knitting socks for the servicemen, they confide they would NEVER have the patience to knit anything, they share their frustrations at trying to learn and never mastering the art, they explain to me that it's really too expensive to knit. I don't put a price on it. Yes, it might cost as much or only a little less than a sweater from a shop, but there's something special about making something yourself. Plus there's the advantage of knowing that no slave labour was used in its manufacture. And I've never had anyone stop to chat with me and share their stories when I've been shopping in a mall the way they do when they plonk down on the park bench beside me!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Favourites #4


My knitting bag.

Knit in the round with a complete hank of Utiku Oceans and an extra ball of navy.

Felted (actually, overfelted - my plan was to leave it tall enough to fit my knitting patterns in, but that wool shrinks FAST - and I'm not making another one!)


Embellished with buttons and bell.

Handles made from bright wooden beads I painted and then threaded onto an old coathanger. These are twisted onto spare knitting needles. Father Bear has promised to help me attach them so they don't look "huckery".

Pockets galore to hold measuring tape, ancient tin box of tiny stitch markers and darning needles, handmade-by-Sharon-zipped-bag with gifted big stitch markers, scissors, pens, notebooks, patterns and in the bottom an old wooden box of my grandfather's to hold my circulars.

Bags of blue hold individual projects so they don't get tangled.....you can't work on one ting at a time now you know! There needs to be an easy project for tkaing to chat with people, a tricky one that needs full concentration and another just for fun!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007



Today's post should really be a thoughtful number about freedom and history and the red poppy we received in exchange for a donation! Or at least a foodie post with an Anzac Bikkie recipe.

But that will have to wait till next year.

Coz today Dadda was home (yay for public holidays) and watched the kiddos for a good part of the day while I got through the whole mending pile and finished knitting a cute wee hat. On my next DAY OUT in a couple of weeks I'll drag the sewing machine to father-in-law's place and sew the four pairs of trousers, three sweatshirts and one vest that I still need to do. If by some miracle I get them done before then, I don't know what I'll do on *my day* ;-)

This past summer the kids have all shot up, but not out so their clothes from last winter were plenty wide enough - just too short.

Not any more. One of J11's sweatshirts was put to good use patching and lengthening jeans lengthening a couple of sweatshirts aswell. Dadda's not too sure about the look, but M4 loves them!

J11's *new* old shirt:

K8 grew taller and skinnier too - a pinafore Grandma bought her will be able to do another winter with its extra layer on the bottom.

We had fun "beebeemod-ing" it too, though in a much more restrained way than beebeemod does her bright funky designs.
K8 chose the beads (I wanted to use some that matched!!).

The inspiration came from the buttons on the back:

And once all the kids' gear was done I did a little shortening of some trousers for me. Only I couldn't stop at just taking them up. I had portabellopixie visions in my head and decided they're not just good for toddlers! I was also thinking about something I read on Nikki's blog last week...she said, "Wow, to actually be myself and not feel afraid, or hesitant, or weird, or whatever. It's not even about *not caring* what others think, but just having a knowing that I am OK as I am."
For me and this pair of pants it translated to: it's not that I don't care what others think (coz deep down we all want to be liked if we're really honest), but that *I* like them, so I can wear them whether they are "fashionable" or not (they're not *insert big wide grin* ).
And I don't need to worry that everyone will think I'm having a mid-life crisis just coz I wear something that they haven't seen before *insert even bigger grin*

Monday, April 23, 2007

how organised is this?

All my RL friends will be rolling their eyes and saying "That is so Rach"....but I'm going to put it on here anyway! Even though I have always bought whatever clothing we need a year ahead in the end-of-season sales, I've never been quite *this* organised before;-)

A few weeks ago I had sorted the winter clothes, but somehow between then and yesterday, all the trousers had disappeared so I had the kids drag everything into the lounge, I got out my faithful spreadsheet and filled in the gaps....this served two purposes.
1) it made sure nothing was hiding anywhere
2) it meant my list of things "to make" diminished rapidly, because I changed the spreadsheet from "four complete sets of clothes for each person" to "let's see if the list I've written for travelling is going to work" (ie considerably fewer items for each person).

I was on a roll and dragged the kids back inside to bring down all the summer clothes aswell and I sorted through them for NEXT summer. Clothes that are still in acceptable condition were noted on the spreadsheet and immediately packed into this box, not to be touched before the sun warms up again. (The pile beside the box is stuff to be refashioned - all op-shop finds coz I haven't gone near any Brand New Shops this year - those things are highlighted in blue on the spreadsheet - LOL, go on, you know you want to). The frayed-stained-don't-wear-this-out-where-anyone-will-see-you clothes have been kept out, along with one nice set Just In Case it warms up again before winter sets in.

All I have to do come springtime is buy two shirts for J11 and sandals for most.

intricate simplicity

(but right now I'd better get sewing those blue-highlighted winter items....especially as the ones with a box drawn around them I have to sew from scratch!)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ready to Risk

I've been mulling over these two quotes this past week:

“In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.” ~ Robert Heinlein (1907-1988)

“Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don’t. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever.” ~ Philip Adams

Then I went to church this morning and the pastor spoke about how our culture is so conditioned against taking risks, how we value and esteem "sensible" decisions and security.
(he talked about other things too, but this bit stood out for me!)
I was challenged at the thought that we might be persuaded to take risks for ourselves, but certainly not for others, especially if we stand to gain *nothing*. Isn't this true?

This sermon came on the heels of a couple of exciting risky emails.....one from Poland, one from Mongolia.
Don't expect too many *sensible* posts from now on!!!!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007


"all my troubles seemed so far away"

Can you believe it? Me quoting lyrics of a song???????!!!!

Yesterday was one of those perfect days.
The four big kids went fishing before the little ones were even up.
That left the 2, 4 and 6 year olds thinking they were the big kids.
They made breakfast and the did the dishes afterwards.
(all this instead of the usual skiving off and getting into trouble before breakfast even starts!!)
T2 (oops she's T3 now isn't she) came to me out at the clotheshorse and said "Please may I help you hang up the washing". L6 and M4 put away everything that was out that shouldn't have been. The sun was shining so we settled down on the driveway when ER(11mo) went for a nap. The kids played beautifully together in the sandpit - I was nearby and ready to help them out when they needed it, but they didn't need me for that. They spoke to each other nicely, they helped each other, they cooperated. It was just like the old days!
M4 showered me with hugs throughout the morning.
When ER got up I put my knitting needles down and we read some stories together - still outside in the sun. L6 and M4 made lunch for the little girls and themselves and we had a picnic on the drive. After lunch and another play the three smallest ones went up for bed. By the time I had put ER down, the other two had put themselves into their beds and were asleep. Honestly. It was a dream. A friend came over and we chatted while I knit and she used my sewing machine. Still the kids slept on. In the end I had to wake them up!
We headed back outside - when you get such a beautiful day at this point of the year, it pays to make the most of it, because the rain might arrive tomorrow. More play, a few puzzles, more knitting for me. Then we brought the washing in and were preparing dinner when Dadda arrived home with the big kids. There were fish stories to be shared and clean-up to at least be commenced before friends turned up for dinner. Thanks for the chocolate brownie Jess - it was scrummo!
We had a wonderful evening - after an adults-only dinner the boys did the dishes and watched rugby or cricket or something (heehee, who knows?). Jess and I chatted and dreamed and compared latest projects and played with fabric and wool and even got the knitting needles and crochet hooks out.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Favourites #4

My favourite four-year-old ;-)

It's coming up two years since you got sick. You were down for months, with fevers and headaches lack of appetite and taking yourself to bed for hours every day. Eventually it turned out you had had glandular fever (even though the first doctor we had seen had said that was not possible). But even when you were supposedly over that you still kept getting those fevers up to 41 degrees and dreadful lethargy for two or three days every two or three weeks. You contracted every little bug that was going round - when the other kids vomitted for 24 hours, you went on for five days. You got all mannner of rashes and spots and lumps and stomach hardness and enlarged lymph nodes and various swellings. You had blood tests and scans and more blood tests and more scans. We discovered you've got one oversized kidney - bonus! A stange growth appeared on your cheek and grew and grew - because of everything else going on, the doc wanted it removed. It turned out to be fine.

Then this summer you went for longer and longer stretches without any fevers or sickness at all.

A month or so ago you changed overnight.
You woke up *silly* one morning.

There was a new crazy boy running round the house. You were full of fun and laughter. It was so dramatic a change that people commented on it! I thought perhaps you were now just *well*, driving on all six cylinders. Then you got sick again this week. But it hasn't knocked you like in the past. And apart from a runny nose, you're fine already. This is more like a *normal* childhood ailment.
We thank God for your good health and your crazy nature. We love you.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

This is not about charity, it's about justice

Here's part of Bono's award-acceptance speech (which award? I'm not sure! But it's a great sermon!)

True religion will not let us fall asleep in the comfort of our freedom. Love thy neighbour is not a piece of advice - it’s a command. And that means….that in the global village we’re gonna have to start loving a whole lot more people…..Where you live should not decide whether you live or whether you die.

So that bit wasn't the sermon, that was just Bono getting warmed up. Then he (in his own words) "climbs into the pulpit for just one moment":

God has a special place for the poor. The poor are where God lives. God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is where the opportunity is lost and lives are shattered. God is with the mother who has infected her child with a virus that will take both their lives. God is under the rubble in the cries we hear during war time. God, my friends, is with the poor. And God is with us if we are with them. This is not a burden, this is an adventure and don’t let anyone tell you it cannot be done. We can be the generation that ends extreme poverty.

I keep wondering about this, wondering what the answers are. It's constantly mulling around in the back of my mind. But my actions betray a stronger interest in what to feed myself today or what to clothe my children with this winter.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

my fridge door is white

There is nothing on my fridge door. No kids' paintings, no notices, no rosters, no real estate agent's advertising, no pizza vouchers, no magnets, nothing!

I like things to be simple and the clutter of layer upon layer of precious papers on a fridge door is something that I haven't learnt to live with!!!! I know for some people it's their favourite filing system. Others love fondly reminiscing through the treasures. For me, it just messes my mind!

So I have a noticeboard in the hallway decorated with Scriptures, which I'm hiding in my heart as they get covered on the board! It has a calendar where all appointments are supposed to be written. Mostly this stops us double-booking! It has a colourful chore chart, which gets looked at every day, even if it's not followed to the letter. There's another "occasional chore chart", which is a really good idea and would make my house run smoothly if I actually did it, but the reality is I do those things when the whim strikes me (which is not often). There's a long skinny piece of paper headed up "The Children's Day". It's nice to know that's there in case we ever run out of ideas of things to do one day. It hasn't happened yet! We always run out of day before we've used up our thoughts.
There's a lovely picture of a run-down dilapidated old farmhouse that my cheeky father-in-law put up there for me to dream about.....he thought it was more realistic than the castle in Poland I was looking at!!!!!
There are some cards with my friends' names on them made by one of the girls as a reminder to pray for each other.
There's a Korean doll......reminds me of all my friends around the world, not just the Korean one who gave it to me.
There's a scrap of paper with a name and phone number......when I get round to writing it in my address book I'll be able to throw the paper away. But it's nice to look at that Polish handwriting and remember the day I bumped into the Polish family who had only just arrived in NZ!
There are vouchers from Father Bear for a one hour massage and a day out by myself and a dinner with him that I really must use soon before they expire!
There's a collection of photo pages....sometimes when one of the children ahs a birthday I make the time to print out some photos from the previous year (or even longer). L6 has been up there in pride of place since October and we've had four more birthdays since then! Might be time to do another one. ER is nearly ONE!
And there's lavender from the garden. I love the smell of lavender. Isn't it supposed to be calming? ;-)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

my favourite blonde

This is an old paperweight, which was originally holding a pad of notepaper and a pen. The paper is gone, the ink ran out writing love notes and shopping lists. But SMILEY-GIRL remains. Now she hugs the clock beside my bed so that each morning I am greeted by a broad smile. She makes me thankful for my serious eldest daughter who lovingly painstakingly handstitched her and stuffed her with rocks gathered from the garden....for me....years ago. She'll still be sitting by my bedside when I'm an old lady.

Monday, April 16, 2007

what are the odds?

My very dear Father Bear made me smile yesterday when he said, “I’ve thought of something for you to blog”.

So to show my appreciation at his interest in my random postings, I’ll nab his idea.

It was prompted by listening to a guy share the story of his life. He was born in Iran into a Muslim family with a totally non-religious father and a doubly-religious mother. Throughout his whole life there were *miraculous* incidents that worked together to draw him to a knowledge of God, from his desire as a young lad to “meet God”, which his mother successfully scared him away from for many years, to his intense desire to learn English (which later enabled him to read the English Scriptures and Koran he was given) to unusual wake-up calls and being rescued from deportation and and and. His story was a long and interesting list of miracles of the grace of God.

Father Bear commented that our kids won’t have a story like that.
And he observed that we perhaps underestimate
the grace of God in their lives
that they have been born into a family
that loves, serves and honours God,
and saturates their lives with a *God-awareness*

What are the odds,”
Father Bear questioned,
of being born into a God-fearing family?

Not that great actually.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

quotable quote

I have thought lots over the years about community, living authentic intentional community. I have even tried to practice this with varying degrees of success. I think I may have come across the reason for the "less rather than more" success. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who we have just been reading about with the children, had this to say:

"He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, through they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, the sinners. The pious fellowship permits noone to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners.....so we remain alone with our sin....The fact is that we are sinners!.....
In confession the break-through to community takes place. Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him......In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person."
As a family we are fairly good at sharing our stuff with others and serving others, helping out when the need arises (though of course there's always more you could do). We don't guard much time at all for *just us*. BUT that's only a small part of community. To be really close to someone there needs to be a transparent humility. And I'm not good at that. But while the thought scares me, it also fills me with hope and anticipation and potential expectancy.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

it's rained every day since then.....

Last Friday afternoon we went down to the waterfront to see a boat that's used for eye and dental surgery in various poor nations that was moored there.......dreaming about going aboard the Mercy Ship in Africa (we've since been turned down - too many kiddos!!!!)

It was such a different world. The waterfront I mean, not Africa. I am not for a moment saying that the people we saw didn't love their babies, but it all looked quite FAKE. The babies looked like fashion accessories. Highly-made-up mothers in label clothing teetering on label stillettos next to partners in more label clothing pushing buggies (that cost more than our van) containing babies covered in yet more labels.....
My baby was attached to me with a long piece of muslin from Spotlight.
I had blue croc-wannabees on my feet ($10 from the Warehouse).
We were accompanied by too many kids to be able to stop at one of the teeny tiny cafe tables for a coffee (not that I drink it anyway!!!).

Friday, April 13, 2007

who are you?

I have been thinking recently about how I am so different to many of my friends. For a long time I think I tried to be like all of them, but then the realization slowly dawned that I need to be me.

I don't need to be foodie-Kate. I can't think of Kate without thinking of the kitchen....from hot sticky buns when I first knew her to more recent rich chocolate doofas that I couldn't pronounce even before I'd forgotten what she called them! Kate loves you by filling your tummy with delectable yummies and filling your mind with probing conversation at the same time. And thankfully she loves me enough to drop by and be satisfied with plain ol' homemade baked beans not sporting any fancy ingredients from my kitchen.

I don't need to be jumping-mad-Michelle. She jumped off a bridge only attached to a little piece of elastic. I would NEVER do that!

I don't need to be tri-athlete everybody. It seems all my friends are busy having babies (even twins) and then doing triathlons six months later or at least taking part in FUN RUNS (now there's an oxymoron!!!!!)

I don't need to be mall-trawl-mother. My mum likes to wander round malls and chat to people. I can't stand being in those big pumped-air piped-music windowless enclosed spaces that feed discontent and generally sell products that exploit at least someone in their manufacture.

I don't need to be a people-person-jess-people-person! So this one could be Kate too! These girls like to have people around all the time, every day. It energises them.....in my head I understand this, but I just can't see how it can be possible - heehee.

I don't need to be like Sharon who likes knitted tea cosies and floral teacups (for the record, she's my age, not old enough to be my Nana!).

We are all different and yet we all connect. We all have a part to play, we can learn from each other (thanks Kate for turning me into a Washing Queen), we each have a work to do to serving God and others around us.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

the 39-piece wardrobe

I read somewhere recently (can't remember where sorry) about someone who limited their entire wardrobe to 100 pieces. I've also been reading about the 100-mile wardrobe where you try to buy all your clothes from places within 100 miles of where you live (just like the 100-mile food thing)....and while I'm not quite ready to make that jump, I warm to the concept (in fact I like the idea of MAKING *all* my own stuff, but I'm not quite there yet either).
We are thinking of travelling a bit round the world in the next few years. And that means taking only what can fit in a backpack. Having already travelled with Far Too Much Stuff and barely been able to stagger through London from one lamp post to the next, we will take far less next time. If we were only going for a few months, we'd stick with a couple of pairs of pants, three tshirts and a sweatshirt each......but I'm hoping we'll be gone for much longer than that and so we will take more. But when I itemised everything I thought we'd need, I was surprised to find it only came to 39 pieces.

01. skirt
02. skirt
03. trousers
04. trousers
05. jeans (heavy and slowdrying, but I love them!)
06. short-sleeved buttoned shirt
07. short-sleeved buttoned shirt
08. short-sleeved t-shirt
09. short-sleeved t-shirt
10. long-sleeved buttoned shirt
11. long-sleeved t-shirt
12. long-sleeved t-shirt
13. fleece vest
14. handknit woollen cardigan
15. fleece jacket
16. rain jacket
17. undies
18. undies
19. undies
20. undies
21. undies
22. undies
23. bra
24. bra
25. bra
26. handknit socks
27. handknit socks
28. handknit socks
29. ankle length sports socks
30.thermal skivvy
31. thermal skivvy
32. thermal long johns
33. handknit winter hat
34. handknit mittens
35. sunhat
36. togs
37. crocs
38. sandals
39. leather hiking boots

Today I packed it all into my pack and discovered it only weighed 12kg (including sleeping bag, towel etc). I could carry that on the road....especially as I would actually be wearing some of the clothes!
This is very encouraging because I have been wondering how we would manage the little kids' gear....now I know I can fit two little kids' clothes in my pack (they'll carry their own sleeping bag, toiletries and eating utensils) and I'll have both hands free.

So the next step was to work out if what I have chosen is a sustainable mix. So I went through my wardrobe and set aside the items I want to take away and then just worked with what was left and tried to pare it down to the above list to use this winter. I had to make some substitutions (I have lots of skirts and only one pair of trousers), but I've essentially ended up with what's on that list....minus the thermals and hat coz it doesn't get cold enough here...plus a denim jacket, corduroy jacket and full length woolen coat, any of which can take the place of the as-yet-unbought-goretex jacket while we're still here. I don't have my hiking boots yet, but I've got a pair of brown suede boots....as well as my pink No Sweat hi-tops, a pair of fancy sandals I only ever wear to weddings, running shoes, "nice shoes" and a pair of slippers, none of which would come on the road. Falling into this category are also PJs and a dressing gown! Even still, my item count remains below 50. (I am guilty of holding on to a little pile of "just in case" things until I'm convinced that what I have is plenty).

As an aside, I find it intriguing that I should consider having 50 items of clothing to be "limited". To many people in the world it would be an inconceivable extravagance to have so many things. I am reminded of Jesus telling us to give away our second coat if we've got two......my extra gear is off to the op shop....and hopefully the just-in-case items will make their way there too soon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

lurking round da world

That little map in my sidebar shows at least a few people all over the globe are popping on here every so often.....would you like to "de-lurk" and introduce yourselves? I'd love to know who you are!

Who are you?
Where do you live?
How did you find me?
What is one thing even your close friends don't know about you?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Following is a snippet (OK, so a fairly long snippet!!) of a piece I wrote over five years ago. What had started out as a response to the statement "Having experiences needs to be balanced with caring for the poor", turned into a treatise on travel, education, life purpose and the welfare state!!!!! I'll spare you the bulk of it

What is wrong with deciding you want to be inspired by people in the past and study their paintings ~ and so spend money going to art galleries on a Sunday afternoon?
What is wrong with wanting to learn about the origins of food (its life prior to arriving in a supermarket) ~ and so spending a year living with a farming/self-sufficient family?
What is wrong with taking a dead-end survival job (teaching English for no apparent purpose, for example – 24 hours a week) and thereby giving yourself, and your family, the opportunity to live in Mongolia or Madagascar?
What is wrong with understanding you connect with God when out of the city ~ and so take a hike through the bush on a Sunday morning?
Is there anything wrong (and this is not rhetorical) with doing something for a year and then doing something else? Should everyone have a longterm life mission that they relentlessly work towards?
Would it be wrong/bad/unwise to go and spend a year or just six months working in an orphanage simply *loving* children, if you didn’t intend to stay for the longterm? Is it better not to go at all?
Should we only spend what we absolutely *need* to survive and give all the rest away? We could look at “causes” to give to as a family, using the experience to teach the children. Could we decide to do that for a year, even if only to intentionally over a slightly prolonged period challenge our ideas of what is necessary and to make a conscious effort to consider the poor and our response to them (instead of just feeling a bit guilty every so often that we have so much and not actually doing a lot about that)???
Should we go and live in an apartment in New York or London and spend our days visiting science centres and museums and art galleries and old buildings and… “drink from a fire-hydrant of mind-blowing experiences” only available in the city? (quote John Anderson from unconventionalideas.com)
What about living with a nomadic tribe in a yurt for a year?

These things are all “education” in the broad sense of the word. Are they valid ways of learning? Or would flitting from one experience to another just produce shallow adults who cannot be faithfully committed to anything for any length of time, who have no roots and bail out when the going gets tough?
I tend to think not – not if we work hard together wherever we are, not if the children see parents committed to each other and them in spite of inevitable difficulties, not if their roots and identity are firmly planted in Christ, not if we all seek to serve whoever we come in contact with along the journey. No it needn’t be a selfish existence, even if it is very different to the “norm”.

Who said we have to be NORMAL?????????

Isn’t it a good idea to let children see different ways of doing things, different ways of living, different people who need God? Living in a time when travel is so fast and relatively cheap, is it not just living in the times to make use of such opportunities? Maybe the children will be inspired to set up a sustainable community when they get older, maybe they will make lots of money and have seen lots of projects/people to give it to, maybe they will design a system for purifying water that does not cost a lot to make or run, maybe they will adopt an orphan, maybe they will dream dreams and make visions a reality because of some of the experiences they have had as children.

Sure, you don’t *need* to travel to discover these experiences…you could simply turn on the computer and have the world at your fingertips. But reading internet articles, watching reality tv (not that there is much *real* about that!!!!), and dare I say it, even reading books is in part simply living vicariously.

What does it mean to really LIVE?

Monday, April 9, 2007

Idyllic setting, wonderful friends

Yesterday was Easter Sunday....and Annual Chocolate Easter Egg Hunt aside, it is always a day that calls for thankfulness as we remember the awesome gift lavished on us by our Creator and Sustainer.....*life* to be lived forever in the presence of God Himself.

And yesterday we were extra-aware of the blessings God bestows on us, even though we actually deserve nothing. We went out to Karekare, one of the rugged west coast black sand beaches and climbed a big cliff (well, it wasn't exactly Everest, but the first hour was straight up up up and the half hour return trip was an effort in bringing your upper torso down at the same rate as your feet!) J12 thought my toes were going to pop through my sandals as I scrambled down down down!

The view from the top was spectacular. We could hear the waterfall away in the distance on one side and the roar of the ocean rolling in on the other.

When we got back to the bottom we thanked God for giving us such a beautiful place to live and for the picture-perfect sunny autumn day.

If you want to know more about this adventure and see more pictures, there's a full account on the kids' blog.

Then we zoomed over to the Angove Seniors' new place for a delicious lunch, inspiring conversation and generally relaxing afternoon - thanks guys - we love you! Your hospitality, your interest in our family and your authentic openness constantly bless us.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

I don't step on the scales....

at least I didn't used to! Now I step on every single Sunday morning before breakfast and wearing no clothes at all! I even got my hair cut short - heehee.
I wrote a wee while ago that I needed to start exercising again and that I needed to lose more weight.....it's going not too badly. OK, so last week was a shocker on the exercise front - I only got out twice, but up till then I'd been managing four or more "proper walks" each week.
The weight is dropping off (YAY YAY YAY). So far I've lost 16kg, and still have another 8kg to go. If I make it back to that weight, I'll probably be tempted to drop the final TWO and be what I was pre-babies-post-living-on-cabbages-in-Eastern-Europe-for-two-years-stick-thin. But that just might not be feasible!
I used to say "I don't worry about my weight, I just go by how my clothes fit". And that was all very well when I was not seriously overweight. But when you jump three dress sizes you find comfort in watching the kilos disappear!
I used to be 56kg (yeah yeah, I'm tall and that was pretty skinny, but it's just what I was)
At Christmas I was 82kg. I celebrated when I went below 80;-) Next celebration was 75...then 72 ("I've lost 10kg now!")....then "I've made it to 70, I'm halfway there"....then (and it was only one week and one kilo later - heehee) "Now I weigh what I weighed when I was nine months pregnant with number two"...then I lost another three and made it to 66 where I am today. 65 will be cause for another celebration because that sounds like a milestone....by 62 I've noticed in the past people start saying "You're looking good"...when I get to 60 I'll be almost there....58 is the goal.
I've been very disciplined with my eating and want to keep the momentum of exercise going. It's still at the stage of Going To Bed Too Late and having a Mental Struggle each morning that I wake early enough to get up and walk! Need to establish the habit so I don't have to fight with myself in the morning!

(By the way, this is not so much about *what I look like* as wanting to be a good steward of my body....when I breastfeed I put on weight even though everyone says breastfeeding makes you lose weight! I weighed more when ER was 6 weeks old than the day before she was born! Now that she's not feeding I feel I have a responsibility to get back into shape and be physically fit. And I feel so much better for it.)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

vicarious travel with Picasso

I have this little bug in me that grows stronger every so often, calms down and diminishes slightly for a time before returning with renewed avengence! It's a yearning for adventure.

It's been slightly appeased recently with reading a few travel blogs,websites and fora (doesn't that sound pugnacious!! shall I just say "forums"?)
Or maybe "appeased" isn't the right word....perhaps "fed" or "cultivated" or "tortured" would be more accurate. Either way, I'm adding a sampling of my favourites to my sidebar....

On one of the sites, I came across something attributed to Pablo Picasso:
“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
That is so true of me....and making this blog gave me the confidence to design a complete website....I'm hoping to win a sponsorship deal to get it up and running.....in the meantime, I'll just stick with the discipline of blogging most days and taking walks around the block.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Total Intestinal Aganglionosis What?

Have you noticed the cute little picture of Aria in my sidebar?

Aria was born with a very rare condition of the bowel known as total intestinal aganglionosis or total Hirschsprung’s disease. There is no cure and it means she will never be able to digest food.....unless she has a bowel trasplant, which can only be performed in the US at a cost of $1-2 million dollars. Aria's family is part of The Nappy Network and as a community we are all pulling together to try to give her a bit of a break.....

Pippa from Snazzipants is running an auction at her shop opening on Friday the 20th of April.

You can purchase this cute little newborn soaker and hat set knit by yours truly if you turn up at 145 Kitchener Road, Milford at 4pm. All proceeds go to Aria's family. There will be lots of other things for sale too;-)

Monday, April 2, 2007

Productive with a capital P

I love days like today when you get lots done. We may not have done any reading, writing or 'rithmetic, but boy oh boy do we have a tidy house tonight.
We rearranged all the kids' bedrooms - we had been having a wee problem with children playing with toys well after bedtime, so I decided to take *everything* downstairs to the "workroom". Now the bedrooms have nothing apart from beds with a favourite teddy, a box each for clothes and a couple of Very Important Treasures on the windowsills. They look so simple and tidy!
My room looks just as simplistic, with every non-essential item removed. We had been storing my fabric stash and boxes of Papers To Be Sorted and Items To Sell On Trade-Me in there, but now it is back to its almost-minimalistic feel. Even the wardrobe has had an overhaul. I went through my clothes again - very excited to say that the pile of "too small" has shrunk. I can fit into most of my "pre-latest-baby" gear....I'm still aiming on shedding another 8kg - and will then be brave enough to try on a pair of jeans I used to wear pre-any-babies-at-all. I had kept two pair....one has been donated to daughter number one this last week. The other I still like enough to have hopes of wearing once more!
But that's not all we've done. We totally tidied and rearranged the games and toys and stationery and art and craft supplies. Now they are all in One Room. Hopefully it will be easier to keep them tidy (I have my doubts!)
As we prepared dinner I zipped through the kitchen drawers....this was not a big job, because I keep them pretty much in order, but I'm always surprised to discover broken ladles and stray bamboo skewers.
After dinner I attacked the hall cupboard, which houses all our linen and togs/wetsuits/beach towels and phone books and dusters and medicine boxes and spare lightbulbs (you get the picture - it's a big cupboard!) It is now a big tidy cupboard!

Tomorrow's Plan:
Find the forgotten corners in the bathroom and laundry
Wipe down kitchen cabinets
Tidy cupboard under the stairs
Straighten "outside toys" in garage
Bookshelves (this is no small task ~ we must have over 2,000 books)
I'll pair the kids up to work together and they should be able to complete the first four jobs while I do the books. They are loving their rooms tonight and so I imagine they'll be keen to finish everything off tomorrow. I hope so anyway!

Then there's just the study to attack. That will be my free evening time this week *sigh*....and next week....and the week after....all my craft gear has been plonked in here, all my papers, all my photos, in fact, everything that has not found a home elsewhere in the house. If you have long legs, you can step over the piles and plant your feet in the footsize spaces of clear floor to get to the computer! Although he would have been more than entitled to, Father Bear has not complained, but I don't want to presume too long on his very laid-back-good-nature!

But right now I think I'll go and dish myself a big bowl of icecream and read a couple more chapters of "Church Without Walls" before heading to bed.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Bloomin' Winter

This is what's been on my needles for the past week:

100% wool longies for ER10mo to wear over her cloth nappies and under her little pinafore Grandma gave to T2 two years ago.
Although I churned out gazillions of knitted items last year, this is the first one I am truly totally 100% happy with. There are no mistakes at all, the short rows didn't leave holes at one end and the gusset even looks professional. Fortunately I wrote down the pattern as I went - now I can do it again and make "Hot Chocolate with Marshamallows". This pair is being affectionately known as "Bloomin' Winter";-)

Now I'm using up the rest of the ball of wool I bought for the embroidery and am making a hat to match. I think I've got enough of the longies wool to make a little jacket too. Anyone got a simple pattern?