Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Summer Shalom

Tomorrow I'm off to the coast to share my life and faith with friends and strangers, and the week after I plan to spend some time in the wilderness. So this little blog here will lie dormant for a Sabbath of its own.

Shalom, friends.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Window seat on the plane, BBQ at Williamstown, drinking magics, yarn bombing in Brunswick, house-sitting with sunflowers and a trampoline, and Christmas back at the ranch with dogs, wine and the local bowling club.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's weapons down this Christmas

Around this time of year Christians often decide to stand up against 'ogres' who, in the name of reason, roar down Christianity and the Christmas story with great gusto.

I have to admit I too feel defensive when I sense ogres breathing down my neck. But I also can't help but feel it's kind of useless defending a spiritual, soul-inclined matter with angry reason. It's especially sad when Christians and atheists alike use the death of someone like Christopher Hitchens to score points.

As usual, though, Marilynne Robinson has already said all this better than I could through her character, the Rev John Ames, in the book Gilead:

“I think the attempt to defend belief can unsettle it, in fact, because there is always an inadequacy in argument about ultimate things.” 
― Marilynne RobinsonGilead

And so, I guess I hope that if you aren't a believer, you might ponder the 'ultimate things' this Christmas and wherever you are, you have time to stop, rest and celebrate.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Anyone for a spot of hipster fishing?

Trout is all from Rolf Nylinder on Vimeo.

This makes me want to go camping so badly. Hopefully I will in a few weeks.

via WholeLarderLove

I'm An Emo Kid Fan Girl

It's no secret that I love the band Wilco. So you can imagine my slightly creepy delight when I stumbled across the lead-singer's son's blog. His name is Spencer Tweedy and he will blow your mind.

At 15, the kid is already reading Emersontaking beautiful photos of his family and making rather sophisticated, and not to mention, catchy, demos.

And then he goes and writes this heartbreakingly honest, funny and beautiful reflection on adolescence, depression and getting older.

I think you should read it, not least because of this illustration.

"Something swooped down and snatched “feeling OK” from our brains. An emotional pterodactyl. An emotional pterodactyl named Puberty."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One of the most beautiful letters you will ever read

A friend pointed me to this today: a letter from a husband to his wife who died of cancer two years ago. He lives in Melbourne and is a Christian, although I do not know him personally.

I read this knowing that my own father is going in for radiotherapy over summer, starting with surgery tomorrow, the day before I arrive home. He is doing okay, but death is always around the corner. This letter reminds me that life is about relationships, with each other and with God. And heaven will be beautiful because it will be full of relationships restored to perfection. Oh how I long for that day.

Dear Jen,
You always wanted more letters from me - in fact I have a box that you left that contained all of them. In my defence of course, the reason I wrote infrequently was that we were never apart for very long. Now it's been more than two years, and I've only just found the necessary words, but here's one more letter for the collection. It's a bit of an odd one, because you're dead and can't appreciate the prose, but I do think we'll talk about it one day. 
Speaking of letters, I do sometimes wish you'd written me a farewell letter to keep, but your final decline was so rapid that it made a mockery of our plans. It was heart-breaking enough watching you write a last birthday card for Secundus as you were fading in and out. I know you didn't get to read 'The Time Traveller's Wife', but I found Henry's last letter to Clara very moving, especially in the way that he wants her to be free to keep living. Instead I can only project what you might have wanted for me, knowing your love. In the end it's all theoretical, and I must go on choosing (as carefully as I can) what seems best for myself and the boys, sticking to our principles but accepting the need for compromise. I can't know if you'd approve but I hope you'd understand.... read more.


Someone snapped me making these cards at Brown Owl last week. Just thought it might bring you some Christmas cheer too.

Monday, December 19, 2011

People Behind Places

My local council has done something really awesome. They've started putting little explanations up underneath our local street signs revealing their origin. It's so whimsical, yet historical at the same time. I love it! Especially the first one. There needs to be more preaching in blacksmiths, I think.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Answering the most asked question of the year

Like the embrace of a familiar friend, it's become a bit of a tradition to get along to Darren Hanlon's Christmas concert each year, to sing old songs and wonder at the way he never seems to age.

This year, despite being basically same as last year's concert in terms of content, was a whole new experience spatially. The venue, rather than an old sandstone church in a graveyard in Newtown, was a bandroom at a pub in Northcote, and the friends I stood next to were not the old gang, but the new. We even talked maths. That would never have happened previously!

But the night took on a poignant note for me when Darren and his sidekick Steph did a cover of Paul Kelly's 1985 classic From St Kilda to Kings Cross. While listening to them sing about exchanging all the land and all the water of Sydney harbour for one sweet promenade (the St Kilda esplanade), I realised I have a strong affection for both cities now.

It is easily the question I have been asked most this year (second only to, "Why did you move to Melbourne?"): Which city is better? And I'm constantly disappointing people by explaining it's like choosing between two very different children whose quirks are equally endearing.

I don't think I can echo Paul Kelly's words with integrity - I do actually love the Sydney coastline more than the St Kilda esplanade. But there is something about Melbourne being the underdog which makes you want to go along with Kelly and root for the "beach needing reconstruction" over the sparkling harbour.

So here's the original film clip from the 80s. I put it here with love in my heart for both cities, and a new appreciation for its sentiment.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Spoken Project launched

It's up and running. Have a listen to the first episode over here. It features my lovely housemate, Kate.

I'd love to hear what you think....


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Spot the Difference

I guess we're both poor enough to need a free Wordpress theme and trying to occupy something (the airwaves in my case)...

If you're interested in knowing when the Spoken Project goes to air and not missing any future episodes, join the mailing list here: Subscribe to our newsletter.

You're also welcome to like The Spoken Project on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.

The Spoken Project

It's probably about time I fess up and tell you that I've been beavering away on another project and another blog for the last six months and it's about to be launched.

It's called The Spoken Project and it's essentially a downloadable/streamable radio show podcast thing that will hopefully inspire you, journey with you, and sing to you of the amazing God I believe has all our lives in his hands.

I hope to produce an episode a month, focused on one or two people's stories. The idea is to look at how God has been working in people's lives through difficult times. On my list of people to interview is a woman who raised three autistic children, a child soldier from the Sudan and a woman who recently lost her husband.

It's a podcast about people just like you, but not quite like you; it's about what God's doing when you're not looking.

I want to share these stories of hope in the way I know how - letting people tell their own stories in their own voice.

I'll let you know when it's officially launched... sometime next week. But in the meantime, have a gander at the website and let me know your thoughts. S