28 April 2010

Garden Tea Party

May 15th is the latest and last woman's event we will be putting on before summer.  Here is the invitation I made for it.  I am really loving using Microsoft Office 2010 -- lots of great features.

It is going to be in our "garden" so we are hoping for quick grass growing & good weather! :-)


26 April 2010

Lest we forget

Last year we had a ANZAC day celebration at our place, this year it kind of crept up on us.  But our mate Gav (from Australia) rang us up with a good suggestion that we come over to his place for a roast, and then a movie for ANZAC day.  So last night after the boys had an ANZAC game of cricket (at the indoor stadium built by Wayne) we headed over to Gav's house.  Gav had also invited another couple -- Altug who is from Turkey and his wife from Ukraine.  We didn't try any re-enactments, although I wanted to do so commondo rolls and pretend shooting, but my maturity got the better of me!  The roast was very tasty -- thanks Gav!  We then watched "Kokoda" and earlier in the day with a friend I had watched "The Hurt Locker." I neither understood, or really enjoyed both of these movies. But I did make a comment after watching, that maybe it is good for us to watch these types of senseless war movies once a year or so to remind us -- "lest we forget."
I think it reminds us of 2 things...
**The courage of the soldiers gone before us, and how they gave their lives for our country.  This is something we need to be reminded of, so we don't take it for granted.
**The relative peace we have in our country, and the huge amount of things we can be thankful for. The fact that I don't have to wonder if the next bullet will hit me, that I can sleep easy at night in a comfortable house beside a wonderful husband.
These things I need to be reminded of when I start to complain about "the little things".  Lest I forget the bigger picture.


20 April 2010

Stirred to do something...

As a child growing up I was fed on books & autobiographies of people in history who stood for what they believed and made a difference in their communities and the world.  For some this even included death, and I'm sure for all, it included sacrifice, because they realized that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

Today I was stirred by this video a friend passed on to me, and it raised a few questions.  I have always wanted to make a difference in my life...maybe this it? I have been given so much, how can I sit and do nothing?  Is this God's plan in us coming to Ukraine?


My brother is an angel??

Last night we had a few friends over for dinner and a movie.  It was a nice evening so we sat out on the deck.  

Then we decided it was time to kick a ball around -- although the rugby ball was flat, and we couldn't find the pump, so cricket it was.  I quickly got the jigsaw out and rustled up a bat out of scrap wood -- it worked ok, but I think we should really buy one!  Max & Cheryl who hadn't played before were outstanding, and even our cats got in on the action chasing the ball.  The pitch and grounds needed a bit more work, and Jon definitely heard about how good his "bunker" was.  (He has since gone & evened out a lot of the lawn today) Gaven was most upset I took a great catch and got him out, and as it got darker and we struggled to see, it looks as though an angel came to help us!! 


17 April 2010


We have booked our tickets (click here for our itinerary) back to NZ and leave in just over 4 months.
As I start thinking about it here's my top ten things that I am looking forward to...
*playing touch rugby
*seeing family & friends
*drinking Ginger beer & LLB's
*roast lamb, corned beef & feijoas
*understanding everbody
*the ocean
*singing at church in English

Coming Home

Here's our basic itinerary...

3 Sept -leave Kiev
4 Sept -Abu Dhabi
5-6 Sept -Delhi
7-12 Sept -Bangalore
13 Sept -Singapore
14 Sept -arrive Auckland

We aim to spend a week in Auckland with my parents, buying a car, doctors and other stuff.
Then 7-10 days in Tauranga catching up with friends.
End of Sept we will head up north to Jon's family and base ourselves there until...?

14 April 2010

Recent books

Well, probably not so recent actually, the reading has slowed down lately, so here's what I have enjoyed in the past 5-6 months.                                                                                                                 

Long Way Gone -- Ishmael Beah 
I found this book very sad and moving.  I was touched by the aid-workers who never gave up.  A compelling read, that opens your eyes and gives you reason to be thankful.  *****

Castaway Kid -- R.B. Mitchell
This book was a great insight into the life of an unwanted child.  His thoughts and feelings were heartbreaking at times.  It shows how the way people can love & help is so important.

A Message from God -- Retha & Aldo McPherson
This book bought me to tears and challenged my thinking.
It is a very personal book that tells the story of how God broke and remade her heart.

Catcher and the Rye -- J.D. Salinger
I persevered with this book because I heard it is a classic and good read, but I fount it very weird and at times a little disturbing.  I'm not sure what the point of it is.

Just do Something -- Kevin de Young
I really enjoyed this book and was also challenged by it.  His ideas and thoughts are "no-nonsense" practical and helpful.  Everyone should read this book.

11 April 2010

Bigger is better?

In New Zealand we have a Maori term, manaand although it is hard to translate and define, it can loosley be defined as respect.  Or wikipedia puts is as "to have mana is to have influence and authority, and efficacy – the power to perform in a given situation."  
People with mana are leaders, they are looked up to and followed.  Often you perceive this phenomenom when someone with mana enters the room, a conversation or a group.  People stop and listen and they also often 'obey' or fall into line. Sometimes people do these same things though not becase a person is respected or they have mana, but out of fear.  I personally see this as a sign of weakness, or a character flaw within the leader.  I believe leadership and mana is something that is earned.  It is not an automatic right, and if you have to force it then it isn't genuine.   I also think that the act of obeying someone or following them out of fear is so false and kinda makes you want to spew up. 
So my question is...Is mana earned or given???
Wikipedia also describes mana as "authority derived from having a wealth of resources to gift to others to bind them into reciprocal obligations". I would intererupt 'wealth of resources' not necessarily as money, but more about talents, gifts and character. By what you have, do you envoke people to believe, to cause them to want to follow, to hold power over them?  Could this type of mana also be influcence used in the wrong way?
I am intersted in this topic/situation as I ponder why it is that some poeple's 'voices' are louder than others, whether by force or by more intrinsic means.  The pecking order or food chain also seems alive and well within the human sphere and I think especially with men.
Take this children's book as an example...
What is with men's preoccupation of all things BIG?
It seems as though their minds are programmed with the adage 'the biggest man wins.'

What strikes me as character and something worth following, is a man (or woman) who is gracious enough to be a team player.  To step forward when he knows he/she has the goods to contribute, but step back when he/she knows someone else does.  That for me is mana, Ruth-defined!

9 April 2010

AMEN -- I agree

Now am I being that??


Based or Shaped?

Been thinking a lot about philosophy lately.  It seems that to understand person's actions you need to dig a little deeper to unearth their beliefs which as a whole is their philosophy.
Similar to the 'nature v nurture' debate my question is:   Is my philosophy based on something/people/circumstances or shaped by something/people/circumstances?
One of my friends who I went to teacher's college with has recently embarked on a different philosophy/belief system than what he grew up with (read his story here).
I believe that my philosophy is based on the Bible, but also shaped by my parents, things that have happened to me, and other people's influences.  I also believe that my philosophy should also be being continually shaped, and moulded.  If anchored to a strong base, then the shaping is not drastic changes, but a more aesthetic and personal design that makes this world a richer place.
As I ponder this though I have more answers than questions...
Why motivates people to change their belief system, or to shift anchor?
Do we just believe what we grow up with?
Can I believe something for a different reason than anther person but it results in the same action?
Why do individuals hold some beliefs more dearly than others?
And on a lighter note...
Why does this post remind me of my favourite crackers from NZ??


7 April 2010

Really love this...


4 April 2010

Why I celebrate Easter...

 Written script

Everyday numbness doesn't produce greatness

"Everyday numbness" is a phrase we coined when a period of our lives (about 18 months ago) consisted of getting up at 6:15, leaving the apartment in the dark by about 7:15, walking past the same shops, same people, same smelly dogs, squashing on the metro, then past the same overflowing rubbish bins, onto the same mini bus, teaching at school, then back the same way, trying not to miss our metro stop cos we were asleep, and arriving home in the dark to cook, read emails & sleep.  It all just felt a little too like "The Truman Show" but in a dark, cold place.  
Greatness, on the other hand I think is something we all aspire to.  That our lives are not wasted but that we do toil to produce something that lasts beyond the normal everyday grind.  I was reminded this week of some of the heroes of our faith.  People like Amy Carmichael, William Tyndall, Margaret Wilson, and John Huss whose biographies and stories were my childhood food.  I grew up wanting and knowing that my life was to mean something like these people.  Maybe my name won't go down in the annals of history, but beside each person that does, there is another 100 or more standing alongside them that are relatively unknown, but no less great.  
So how do I bring the two together when my outworking doesn't match my potential?  I have been mulling this over for awhile now and have come to the following three conslusions...

Earning money & going to work is a fact of life.  Short of going on a benefit, robbing a bank, or winning lottery most people accept this. But my work doesn't need to define my life.  About a week ago I wrote about some different movies I have watched that inspired me. I was also reflecting on the movies Julie & Julia, and Copying Beethoven, and how that greatness comes from when you rise above your everyday numbness and circumstances and see beyond them. Your job then, can become a means to an end and you can pursue your dreams and visions that make life purposeful and meaningful for you.  So transcend -- float above the ordinary!
Stretching, growing, learning, inspiring and stimulation all help to keep you from slipping into numbness.  As we have pursued extra study, and turning our brain on we have found that growth and change promotes a more positive outlook and healthier perspective.  Life is a journey on which you should never stop learning. A quote someone gave to sum this up... "Dont go through life -- grow with life."
Life has a way of dictating to you, this is the easy road.  We are beginning to learn and see that we need to take charge and dictate our lifestyle.  We are thinking about jobs that don't lock us into a 9-5 mindset, but where we set the times, motives and tones and that it fits into our overall goals and dreams.  
We are veering onto a path/mindset that will see us take seriously the dominion mandate, with a eco-friendly home, growing our own meat/veges, controlling our use of plastic (see "Addicted to Plastic"), the cultural mandate, (see "Total Truth: Liberating Christianity From It's Cultural Captivity") with being leaders in our profession and community based groups, and the great commission where we seek first God's kingdom and purpose to disciple people along this same path. These values require planning, evaluating and decision, we need to dicate life, not let it dictate to us.

God has called us to be wise stewards, so when 'everyday numbness' calls I'm going to tell them I was meant for bigger things!