8 November 2010

The medicine maze

Almost 2 years ago we went to the doctors to begin the process of finding out why we weren't getting pregnant. After some initial tests we were told that Jon was fine, but that my progesterone levels were low & that I was not ovulating.  Because we found this out 2 days before we flew back to Ukraine, it was impossible to complete any follow-up here in NZ.  I was advised before we left that I could take a drug called "clomifene" which would help me ovulate.  I was also alerted to a natural alternative "chaste berry". Considering my options I decided to buy some of the natural pills before we left.
Since then I have taken those tablets, then turned to clomifene, also tried a naturopath, measuring my temperature etc, changing my diet and a myriad of other things, all to no avail really.  The only one I am really thankful for is changing my diet.  I am now back at my ideal weight and feel a whole lot better for it, and  know my body appreciates it too.
We then came back to New Zealand, and have again pursued two different options.  We have pursued the natural path through a clinic in Tauranga.  They too told me that my progesterone levels were very low.  I have been taking stuff from them for the past 6 weeks.  Jon also had a test done there, but based on the fact that we thought it was my side that needed addressing, we decided not to pursue it any further.
Alongside this we have also been having appointments with a fertility specialist.  After the initial visit and some tests we went back to him to be told that my test results are fine, but that Jon's count is low.  Talk about a bit of a bomb!  I was really sure what to think, aside from confusion and frustration, I then found it hard to know what to believe.  We had been living under a whole different perception for the last two years! We then thought to ring the clinic in Tauranga to get Jon's results and they confirmed too that his count was low.  The specialists only suggestion to us was to pursue IVF, which we could get for free,  but on a waiting list of at least a year.
Lots to think about, sift through and pray about.  It gets you thinking though...what was the first doctor doing when he interrupted our test results, and who are you suppose to believe.  How much are doctors driven by pharmaceutical companies??  If I got the same advice from a builder, he would be back to fix his job or refund my money. From now on I will be asking for all of my results on paper and interrupting them myself.  Its a pity we cant just pay for the services we want, and not for the doctor to tell us what we already know or can find out!

1 November 2010

Self Sufficiency

One of the newer lifestyle changers that we are wanting to implement is "living off the land" or self-sufficiency. There are many parts to this, and without owning our own property over here, some may be hard to start.  But we can start with food and in regards to eating, our aim is to eliminate as much stuff as possible from our grocery list and only buy bare essentials from the supermarket. Sorry Pak 'n' Save:-(
My grandparents would be proud of us!

Here is our draft list of what we want to do, or have all ready started to do...


Veges (Total cost $300)
Herbs -- Planted – perpetual
Salad Greens -- Planted – perpetual (cover in winter)
Tomatoes -- Planted (greenhouse for winter)
Capsicums/cucumbers -- Planted (greenhouse for winter)
Potatoes/kumara -- 2 crops a year
Corn -- Summer crop only, pick & freeze
Peas/beans -- Summer crop only, pick & freeze
Pumkins -- Planted – store for winter
Cauli/brocolli -- 2 crops a year
Carrots -- Perpeutual planting
Beets -- Perpetual planting

Cabbage, garlic, onions -- Buy

Fruit (Total cost $150?)
Passionfruit -- Plant vines (freeze)
Avocado -- Plant 2 trees
Plums -- Already planted (freeze)
Apples -- Plant a tree (dry for winter)
Grapes -- Already planted
Pears -- Plant a tree (dry for winter)
Mandarins -- Already planted
Lemons -- Already planted
Berries -- Plant some canes (freeze)
Fejoias -- Plant a small hedge (dry for winter)

Bananas, nectarines, olive oil, juice -- Buy

Meat (Total Cost $1000?)
Chicken -- Construct a coop/buy chickens
Fish -- Go fishing
Beef -- Buy a cow???
Lamb -- Construct a small pen/buy

Eggs -- Same as chicken

Yogurt -- Use yogurt maker
Milk (& products)  -- Buy a cow???
Icecream -- Buy an icecream maker?

Bread -- Buy breadmaker $300
Pasta -- Buy pasta roller $50
Baking -- make

Flour, sugar etc -- Buy

Honey  -- Get bee hive $200
Relishes/jams  -- Make using own produce


18 October 2010

Square Foot Gardening

One of the new resolutions we had coming back to NZ was to grow our own vegetables -- hopefully all year round.  As much as I like fresh veges, I really hate digging and weeding.  Anyway, we were going to give it go.  Armed with a stack of books from the library, I started my customary "reading up" of a new hobby.  This is where I came across the book "Square Foot Gardening".  It was exactly what we were looking for -- all year
round crops, no weeding & digging.  What a revolution!  So we thought we would give it a go.  We drew up the plans, worked out the costs and then dived in head first.  We couldnt find any old wood lying around, so bought it rather cheaply at Mitre 10 for about $50 in total.  We did a rather pathetic search for free or cheap compost, but through inpatience decided also to just buy it from Mitre 10.  The special mix of soil that SFG recommends consists of 1/3 each of vermiculture, (we couldnt find this, so bought pumice -- the expensive part!) peat & compost.  I think in total we paid $240 for all the soil mix -- rather expensive, but when you do the math of the cost of vegetables each week at the supermarket and that these boxes should last us a lot of years, then we figure we will all be square in about 2-3 months.  We then chose our seeds and seedlings, spent about a day or so putting it altogether & heres the final result...

We are so looking forward to fresh potatoes, peas & sweet corn at Christmas, plus plenty more.  I'm sure there is lots to learn along the way, but we think this is going to be a managable and sustainable project, not to say yummy & healthy! :-)

14 October 2010

Open Letter to Amazon

To whom it may concern, 
Change is inevitable, and unless you want to remain stale, you need to change to keep up with the times.
I would consider myself a person who does attempt to try new things and move and grow with the times.
Lately I have started using Amazon Kindle on my Iphone and really enjoying the ease of purchasing any book from anywhere in the world, and being able to read anytime and anywhere. It is an amazing piece of technology and has allowed me to enjoy reading so many more books in the last few months.

My only gripe is this; books are meant to be shared. Almost all the books I have read lately on Kindle, I have wanted to lend to all my friends and family. I find myself telling them about the good books I gave been reading, but not being able to lend any to them.

I don't have a problem paying for books at all, but I don't really like paying for things twice. My suggestion that I believe would help to solve this dilemma would be for Amazon to meet us halfway -- if I purchase a book on Kindle, then I can purchase it in print form for half price, or vice versa.

I would love to keep using my Kindle, but as it stands, I feel torn in two between it's huge benefits but also the inability to share what I have enjoyed. I love reading and firmly believe that readers are leaders, Amazon your consideration on this matter would be much appreciated.

Yours sincerely
Ruth Ellen Pirini

16 September 2010

Singapore & Safely home

I'm not sure I can understand why every time you get on a flight, not matter the crazy hour of the morning, you are always served a meal!!  Our flight left Bangalore at 11pm, and yes we were served a meal at about 12am, or 2:30am Singapore time.  Needless to say we arrived in Singapore a little bleary eyed at 6 in the morning.
Found the shower room, and after some breakfast felt a little better.  We then stored our hand luggage & booked ourselves for a free tour of Singapore.  Although it was difficult to keep ourselves awake in the bus, once we hopped out and walked around near the river, we realised what a beautiful city & country Singapore is.  The tour guide gave us some interesting history, and it seemed that its like a middle of the road Dubai kind of city.  We really enjoyed it.
Once back at the airport, we wandered around, using all the free stuff, enjoying surfing the web, and basically filling in time until our 9pm flight.  It is definitely the best airport we have spent time in, and we appreciated the "normalcy" of things after our rather long journey home!
We arrived back in NZ safely with all our bags.  Great to be home, even though it is a little on the cold side.  Slept like a log last night for almost 12 hours and spent today looking for and buying a car -- loving driving again! It is a Mitsubishi Lancer 2006, and we are pretty happy with it.
We are also trying to sort out problems we have with our bank account (we found out while in Singapore that $4000 was taken from our account at some ATM in Poland!)
Heading down to Tauranga to catch up with everyone there on Saturday...

13 September 2010


On arrival in the airport, Bangalore appeared more relaxed than Delhi & cleaner with beautiful plants and a greener landscape.
We arrived at our accomodation to find it very basic and not really worth the money we were paying. We decided to stick it out for the night since we were leaving early the next morn anyway.
After 2 days away in Thrissur we arrived back on the train and searched for different accomodation which we found near the bus station so we could easily bus to the airport on Sunday.
We then slept, showered, watched TV and went to an internet cafe to catch up on things. In the evening we hired an auto rickshaw to take us to a mall where we looked around and then had dinner. Dinner was an interesting experience --we never got to order -- it was a set menu that they kept bringing more to you. All vegetarian and all very interesting and nice flavours. A cool experience.
Next day we wanted to catch up with Dave & Jodi (friends from NZ who are living in Bangalore) but we had problems contacting them, so just chilled out on the internet and watching TV.
Towards evening they rang and arranged to come pick us up. We went back to their place for dinner, then we went for an evening walk in their neighbourhood to get some fresh coconuts and this stuff callled "paan". Jon spat his out, I managed to swallow mine...
They dropped us back to our hotel, and arranged to pick us up next morn at 11. We then spent Sunday with them & their family, having lunch at a restaurant, then wandering the markets for souveniors etc. It was a great time of catching up and really glad it worked out to see them.
They then dropped us at the airport for our flight to Singapore.
I enjoyed being in India, especially because of the people we could meet. I didn't enjoy at all the bargaining & overcrowding everywhere. I don't think I could face another curry for at least a week or two.  


10 September 2010

Trip to Thrissur

With our train leaving at 6:15 it was a rather early taxi ride to the Bangalore train station.  We found our 2nd class seats ok, and then said to each other that we now appreciate Ukrainian trains...
With 10 hours ahead of us, we entertained oursleves with reading, sleeping and playign cards.  The scenery along the way was mainly small towns and farms.  It was interesting to see the different crops, including rice paddies, which I had never seen before.  There were also a few interesting rock formations and mountains we went past or over.
We arrived at 15:15 and it wasnt hard to find the other white fave who was meeting us.  After a short taxi ride we arrived at Rehoboth.
Phyllis Treasure greeted us -- she has been working there for 53 years and was the person who first planted the seed in my heart 20 years ago when I was 11.
After a cup of tea, we were taken for a tour, which started with the Bible School.  This has been going for about 8 years and now has about 80 students.  They were preparing for a sports day by making a cricket pitch and slashing grass.  Jon joined them for their daily game of volleyball before we headed back to the house for dinner -- curry and rice!
Every evening they have prayers at 7:30 and if there are visitors it is a bit more special.  As we arrived the girls were all sitting on the floor and singing.  It sounded beautiful.  We were invited to sit at the front, and introduced and then presented a beautiful fresh lei to wear.  Jon taught them a few songs, I shared why we had come, they prayed and then no one wanted to leave so Jon did some more songs with them.
We then had a good chat with Phyllis and Sarah over a cup of tea before a much needed sleep.
Next day we were down for breakfast at 8, which was a flat rice bread/crepe called "up em" with short sweet bananas.  Tasted yummy.
We then went back to the Bible school were we spent the morning in 2 different classes talking to them about our journey, listening to some of their testimonies, singing etc.  We then finished off there taking an assembly for the whole school, again with a few songs and both Jon & I sharing.
Back down to the house for lunch -- curry and rice, before we went to the primary school for the afternoon.  Jon took a year 2-3 class for music, then I took a year 4-5 class for sport.  We then got shown around the rest of the school and met most of the teachers.
Going back to the house we lay down for a rest and promptly fell asleep.
We then spent about an hour at the orphanage playing with the children and seeing around.
Then dinner and prayers with the older girls.  Which was again a few songs, I shared a story and Jon prayed for them.  We then only had time for a cup of tea and farewells to everyone before we were driven to the train station to get our overnight train.
Such an inspiring trip, to be able to fulfill the dream that God placed in my heart 20 years ago and also just to hear the testimony and witness the faith of how God is at work in that place.  It was very encouraging to hear their big dreams and visions.  We want to keep in touch and partner with them in prayer and any other ways that may be possible.

7 September 2010

Daring Delhi

This place truly has to be seen to be believed.  After waiting in the airport for awhile for our driver that didn't turn up we opted for a taxi.  It didnt take us very long to realise that the horn is almost as essential as the brake on a car.  Unfortunatley our taxi driver didn't know the exact location of our hostel and we drove around in the pouring rain for almost 2 hours.
By the time we got to our place I was cold, tired and had a headache and sore throat. We went straight to bed and slept until lunchtime.
We then had orgnaised a driver for the afternoon to show us the sights of Delhi.  We were struck by the overcrowding, dirt, poverty and lack of road rules.  We were told there are only 3 rules -- a good horn, a good brake and strong heart (not flustered)!
Our driver took us to the Sunday market were we swapped the car for a rickshaw.  We then went to a mosque, drove through some of the market, got stuck in a traffic jam and enjoyed Delhi hands on.
By the time we got back to the car, I was feeling worse and after seeing Ghandi's grave/park we went home.
We had some good Indian food and music at a local restaurant, although we could'nt eat it all, and then home for an early night.
Next morn at 6:15 we were on the train leaving Delhi for Agra.  We arrived to a sea of taxi hagglers.  We managed to find an Israeli couple who also wanted a driver for a day & after much deliberation managed to make it work. We went to Taj Mahal which was magnificent, then the driver proceeded to take us to all the shops where he got commission.  We saw jewellery being made, amazing marble designs, and spectacular rug making (apparently all the wool is imported from NZ!).  All of this is made by hand because industry is forbidden in Agra.  It was really beautiful and we had to repeatedly tell them we weren't interested in buying anything.
We then filled in time at a cafe with some great conversation with the couple we spent the day with.  Got the train back home and today we are off to Bangalore.
I am getting sick of all the haggling and bargaining that goes on.  It is such an effort and they really want to get as much money they can out of you. 
At least my cold is feeling better -- still blocked up so hope my ears are ok during this next flight.

4 September 2010

Dazzling Dubai

First impressions as we walk through the airport is that of politeness, respect and service.  I was even handed a rose as I walked into the airport.  We managed to get a free coach into Dubai and talked to a very helpful SAF air hostess on the way in.  There is construction, high rises and wealth everywhere.  Our hotel was awesome and we even got upgraded to the executive suite. Enjoyed a meal and cider at the English pub before hitting the sack. 
Next morn we stuffed ourselves with the breakfast at the hotel, and waited for Carina (our good friend from SAF who taught with us in Kiev) to meet us.  She has just got a teaching job here and only been here 4 days.  We spent the day exploring the city with her -- seeing the museum, gold & spice markets, the biggest mall which also had an aquarium, and tried to look at Palm Beach and put our feet in the water but to no avail. 
We managed to arrive during the month of Ramadan, so learned quickly we weren't to eat or drink anything in public.  We paid way too much on taxis (as I write we are in a taxi back to the airport which ended up costing an arm & a leg, plus he got us really lost, we ended up on the side of the road with some other taxi, arguing over money & we were almost late for our flight!!!) and were astounded by the BIGness and heat.
Interesting experience in an amazing melting pot of cultures -- obviously the big reason being that this has been a trade route for thousands of years.

1 September 2010

Farewell Ukraine

Our last few days here, the house is mostly packed, we probably have more than 20kg in our bags, and the fridges & cupboards are looking rather bare!
The last 3 weeks have been mainly really enjoyable.  We have spent time with different people over for dinner, enjoying the view off our deck, made the last few pieces of furniture for our lounge, had our big farewell Hangi party, a emotional send-off from church, and now the last few days of packing etc.

The Hangi was a great success -- started with our friends from Kaitaia, New Zealand (Matt & Andy Dow) making it here as a stop on their Europe bike tour.  It was a special twist, and cool to catch up.  They helped us get stuff ready, and as the weekend wore on we had more people arrive, turn up and help us to peel, prepare food and get the fire going.  I think it would have been the biggest Hanig ever in Ukraine, and the first one I was ever in charge of.  We put 10kg of pork & 10 chickens in, heaps of spuds, some sweet potatoes (expensive, but we found some here) carrots & a special pumpkin that one of my students had grown with seeds from Australia!  I made about 4 batches of Maori bread, 20 litres of ginger beer.

We had the band stuff set up on our deck, the Christmas lights out, tables, gazebos and chairs & the backyard looked awesome!  With about 70 people here, the Hangi was ready to pull up.. It was done to perfection!  I had taken the liberty to give it a spice twist, and put garlic, onion & other spices at the bottom of the baskets to aroma the whole meal.  Everyone loved it, and most of it was eaten!  Matt, Andy Jon & Jono performed the Haka, (watch it here on youtube) and some other Maori songs, including teaching everyone the stick game.
We also had other live music, and as the night wore on, lit the fire and chilled out.  It was such a special night...and a cool way to say goodbye to all our good friends over here.

Last leg now through Dubai & India, then landing in the land of the long white cloud September 14th. The next part of our journey awaits us... :-)

12 August 2010

New Lifestyle Choices

We have been thinking a lot lately about lifestyle changes and choices, so our life reflects intention and direction. We have already started with food and attempting to eat a more healthier, whole food diet.  Now that we are going back to NZ we have also started to think about our time and work choices.  Here is what we have drafted up, I'm sure there will be some tweaking as we start to work it out, but basically we want to intentionally make time for the things you never seem to have time for. We are hoping our week might look like this...

20 hours -- paid work

10 hours -- community work
Volunteer, does not benefit us
Youth, social justice, camps, practical stuff etc

10 hours -- study/up-skilling/reading
Jon--  Music, Bible, Maori
Ruth-- Food/cooking, woodwork, Maori, drums

10 hours -- garden & maintenance
Vege garden, self-sufficiency, caring for our space

10 hours -- exercise
Volleyball, squash, touch, running, softball?

Basically works out to be 1.5 hours a day of each thing  (except work = 4 hours a day, but not Sat)

Sunday = day of rest & family time

9 August 2010

Farewell Hangi

In less than a month we are leaving Ukraine for at least a year, maybe two or more.  We thought we would go out in style and attempt a Hangi, which is a traditional Maori celebration meal.  We had a small practice attempt a few weeks ago, which was successful (& maybe the first Hangi ever in Ukraine!) except for my nephew's ball rolling into the fire and burning! (Disaster!)
Here are the invitations we have made to hand-out.  We are looking forward to having all our friends here, and spending time with them before we go.



It has been awhile...and my excuse is that I have been busy.  With what you may ask?
Setting up camp on an island in the river
Being at camp (on an island in the river) for a week
Recovering from being at camp (on an island in the river) for a week
My sister & her family then came for 10 days -- we did heaps of stuff with them, including...
--the Aquapark
--back to the island for a day
--sightseeing in Kiev
--practice Hangi (see next blog for more details)
--outdoor Ukraine museum
--played in a cricket game

They have just left last week, and we are escaping the heatwave we have at the moment (35+ degrees) by doing not much.
You can catch all of other news and photos at our TEAM PIRINI blogspot

6 July 2010

5th July

Yesterday was American Independence Day...like I really care, but the 4th July is kind of a date you remember.  However, today (5th July) is now a momentous day too.  A lot of things happened today, and they are on a continuum between boring & mundane to life changing.  See if you can figure out where each of these things fit on that line!
Here is the list...
Had a shower
Washed the car
Baked blueberry muffins
Had a green smoothie
Helped my brother put his boat in the water with a new motor
Shaved Jono's hair -- to raise $200 for the new motor
Had ice cream & fresh berries for dessert
Used my new slow cooker for a yummy dinner
AND MY BROTHER GOT ENGAGED!! Wahoo, he is finally getting married and we lost the race between us having children before he got married...well we might still have time I suppose, they haven't set a date yet :-)
We hope they will be very happy and that they will be a great team together.

23 June 2010

Good students!

I was emailed this the other day...provided a good laugh, and I'm sure I could add a few of my own!
 "Why Teachers Drink"


22 June 2010

Why I don't like football...

With Italy's excellent theatrical performance last night against NZ it is time to air again this fantastic ad...

Rugby is NZ's national sport so with our team (the All Whites) making the football world cup (the first time in 28 years) its a big thing and brings the game of soccer into the spotlight.  
We are one of the biggest underdogs in the tournament, and although not expected to get through to the next round have drawn the two games we have played.  Last night it was against the reigning world champions.  Our boys played with a NZ psyche -- giving it their best shot.  "Possession favoured the Italians 57% versus 43%, Shots on goal 23 vs 3, shots on target 7 vs 1 and corners a staggering 15 to 0. And that is without mentioning that Italy can select from a pool of 3541 professional players which New Zealand can count on 25 who earn their living on a football field."
A great game but marred by the "Hollywood conmen" and the ref's biased whistle blowing.  I don't believe this is sour grapes, I just wished the penalties and free kicks were given both ways and not because a player makes it look worse, or wears the ref down with his arguing.  At the end of the day though I am proud of team & their achievements so far.  
Enough about yesterday's game, to the game in general.  According to statistics more children in NZ are now playing soccer as a regualr sport than rugby, although I think a lot then swap to rugby as they get older.  I love soccer as a game, and enjoy playing it. (esp indoor soccer because you don't have to run so far!)  For me the debate is not about which game is best -- that is like comparing apples to oranges.  It is about the spirit of the game and the attitude with which it is played.  While teaching in England we noticed that the general attitude on the football field was prevalent within the school too.  Holding you hands out with the "what about him" look or the ":it wasn't me" or "that's not fair", and general disregard and respect for the person who makes the calls.  You know they wont change their mind, but if you wear them down enough, then the next decision may carry a concession.  
Money makes the world go round, and I don't think it is any coincidence that the huge salaries that go with professional football helps to create character or self-discipline in many of the players.  It has become an arrogant and elitist sport that suffers from old-fashioned status class symbols and has failed to keep up the technological advances in sport. 
I love sport, and soccer is a great game, but professional football is for spoilt little brats, shame really how they have spoiled the game.  Long live the underdog!


9 June 2010


It at long last has started to warm up here...about 25-30 degrees this week, lovely stuff.  It gets even better that yesterday I handed in my last 2 assignments.  I am now completely study free, and have theoretically completed my degree.  Today is my last day of teaching, just 1 more report to write, and then I close the book on that too.
Not quite time to relax though, I have about 3 days to get this house cleaned up & ship-shape with the last few DIY bits n pieces before next week my brother & I head to Poland. We will meet my Mum & Dad there, and stay for 5 days showing them around a bit and getting Mum a visa.  Then they will be coming back here to Ukraine to stay for about 18 days.  Jon (poor boy) still has a few more weeks of school, but things are winding down for him too.

The last week of June we will be playing in a cricket tournament (it would be safe to say I will be the only girl!) so that will be a good start to the summer for Jon.  The British Embassy and others are trying to get Ukraine registered with the ICC (International Cricket something) before 2020, so although we have been playing cricket here in Ukraine for about 2-3 seasons (not regularly) things are just starting to pick up.  This article in the local English paper tells what they are trying to achieve, and mentions our friend and captain, Wayne (whose indoor "stadium" we train in). It will be interesting to see how it develops.

Also to report...we have changed our diet a lot lately, eating a lot of fresh veges and cut down on meat & processed food.  I have been running twice a week, regular with Wii Fit and playing squash and have now officially lost 5kg.  I am halfway to my goal and feeling better for it.  We have also been watching & reading a lot of stuff lately about food, where it comes from and ethical choices.  It is really eye-opening and something I am becoming more & more passionate about, and have even started a blog dedicated to those issues.  We really enjoyed watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution series, (check out his video here) I would love to start something like that...a cafe with cooking classes.   We'll see!

4 June 2010

A bizarre twist

We have been overseas now for 4 years (half of our married lives) - the other 4 years we spent in Tauranga and we were youth pastors there in a church called "Lifezone".
While living here in Ukraine Jon got involved in a band called Kroke.  One of the backing vocalists became a good friend, and also ended up working at the school we taught at.  She was interested in our country and culture, and ended up learning "E te Ariki" a beautiful worship song in Maori.
October 2008 she sang that sung un-accompanied at a conference talent quest.  You could have heard a pin-drop, it sent shivers down my spine to hear her sing.  Her voice was too good to do nothing, so we then started looking into ideas and places that would help further her singing and also set her up with some life skills.
I happened across Excel  School of Performing Arts website not long after that, and to cut a long story short (after documents, visa etc etc.) she was winging her way to Auckland, New Zealand to study for 9 months there in 2009. You can listen to E te Ariki here as it became her audition song.
But that is only half the story...the actual course is 2 years long, with the second year being a performance tour of the whole of NZ, if you got picked to go.  Although she did get chosen, there was only enough funds for the first year, so October last year she was on her way back to Ukraine.
2 weeks into January this year she gets the email of her life saying that they will offer her a scholarship for the next year and can she get there ASAP!  3 trips to Moscow later, and a visa & ticket finds her back in NZ.
Tomorrow night (4th June 2010) she will be in Tauranga performing at Lifezone for the Highlife youth service!!
It is amazing to think that the youth we were are part of will now be blessed by a person we sent to NZ from the country we are living in!   God is good!


24 May 2010

New Blog

I have been blogging lately about food, weight, faith, environmental issues & social justice.  Because of the plethora of documentaries, links and other information, I have started another blog called Everyday Faith dedicated to the issues, resolutions, and links toward a more authentic lifestyle.  The question I am asking myself is...Is my faith a core part of my life or an appendage?
Check it out for more info or RSS to keep up with my journey...www.everdayfaith.blogspot.com


20 May 2010

New addition...

Although we are still waiting to say those words in a very real sense about our family...yesterday our cat Dumpy had 2 little kittens.  They are very cute, small and I think good-looking.  With the help of one of my students we have named them Hank & Felix.  Dumpy is coping well as a Mum considering she is not much more than a kitten herself!  And I was very relieved she had them in the prepared box, as opposed to behind the couch or some other strange place! Before we leave in September we are wanting to give both the kittens & Dumpy to good home(s).  


18 May 2010

Drink concrete & harden up!


Food Glorious Food

I love to cook and I love to have people over for dinner.  Food is a huge part of culture & community.  It seems that in the past few months I have been reading, watching and thinking a lot about food & our bodies.  Here are some of the things that have really got me thinking. Click on the links-- its food for thought!
You are Fat
3 posts by Tall Skinny Kiwi (1 for each part of his name)
Jamie Olivers Food Revolution & his TED speech
Food Inc (great documentary)
Series of Choices (my personal health)
The vulnerable are unfortunately always exploited and abused.  You will have heard of emotional, sexual & physical abuse, but what about food abuse??
From Oliver Twist' tasteless and insufficient tale of food, and now today's fatty, processed rubbish, children and adults are not getting a fair chance.
Today's problem is mainly through a lack of education. Knowledge is power, and ignorance keeps people in the dark & under control.
I want to be a part of the food revolution.
I want to get myself & family eating healthily, and exercising regularly.
I want to grow or buy seasonal fresh fruit & vegetables, and produce our own meat.
I want to help educate my community so they have the choice to do the same.

12 May 2010

Interest based or issues based...

Been thinking a bit lately about my faith and how I want it to be an integral part of my life, not just an appendage.  This not only affects my buying habits, my eating & exercise habits, but what about church...
I came across this video today

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Funny? Or true..especially for those who attend church, or who are caught up in this routine & ritual and have to feed the beast every week.  Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a good/professional service that has been put together.  We just attended Passion Conference in Kiev on Monday which was great.  But I think it was great BECAUSE it doesn't happen every week. It is a BIG event that we look forward to.  It would be nice if it was about 3-4 times a year.  But when we try to reproduce that kind of thing every week we are quickly heading for burn out, and not only that but we lose the opportunity for relationship and community.  The old adage that "People don't care what you know until they know that you care," I think is very true here.  I want my faith to be outworked in relationships, people and community, and social justice, not meetings, events & entertainment. (Check out this for an example)  This I think is the faith that stacks up with what God requires of us.
PS: Check out Creative Worship Tour's take on this video


11 May 2010

Time to visit New Zealand

For all those people who keep saying that they want to visit, here is your reason, invitation & welcome...


6 May 2010

A series of choices

I have started reading a book called "Everyday Justice"  which has sparked off for me a fire that was already getting ready to burn.  I have been thinking a lot lately about my faith.  And that I want my faith to be the core of my being & life not an appendage that is added on and useful sometimes. This book really addresses this issue in regards to our shopping and other lifestyle decsions.  It talks about the impact our decisions have around the globe.  It is easy to read and I thoroughly recommend it if you are serious about your faith affecting all the decisions in your life.
In addition to this I have really been challenged about how I care for and look after my body.  One of my pet hates all my life is people who pick holes in the obvious mistakes or sins, but either ignore or cover up the not so obvious (but just as sinister, if not more) faults or sins.  Take for instance smoking and obesity.  Very often you will hear people espousing their views on how bad smoking is, and that it is a vice, yet on the other hand overlook the just as drastic health problem of over-eating, gluttony and obesity.  I used to be of the belief that 'oh well I have one life, one body, may as well make the most of it, use and abuse and enjoy, it will return to dust.'  Just lately I have come to realize that if my faith is at the core of my being, then lifestyle choices such as healthy food and exercise decisions should also be governed by my beliefs.  I need to demonstrate self-control and care for my body.  It is the temple of the Holy Spirit and should be maintained. Check out these posts (1) (2) by "tall skinny kiwi" that have challenged me.
I am overweight (never used to be a problem until I got married!) and so I am taking steps to be more active in my lifestyle choices and also control the intake & choice of food.  And with the help of MyFitnessPal (online & on my Iphone) I am keeping my intake lower than my output.  My goal is to lose 7-10kgs, and I already can't find 2.5kgs. :-)
Life is a series of choices, and I want mine to add up to "Well done good & faithful servant."