Published August 27th, 2014 by

In the middle of my mourning
Sits joy like a happy child
In the middle of this death
I must cry with life for a while

And death is great
We are in His keep, laughing and whole
When we feel deep in life
He dares weep, deep in our soul

How great is His concern for us. How high. How good. How deep.

(lyrics from ‘Dresses’ Sixpence None the Richer)

Life Words

Published August 6th, 2014 by

I am currently the butt of a facebook joke (of my own creation really) about the choice of where I do my grocery shopping.

A few months back I decided to introduce more regular meal planning and a consequently a more regular grocery shop in order to save money. After first getting married, Geoff and I lived in a little town house (still one of our favourites) that was just behind a main street and within walking distance of an interesting IGA Supermarket. We also had no pantry. It was great – lots of disposable income back then, but it taught us some bad habits. Because really, the more often you visit the supermarket, the more you tend to buy. What’s another $5 on this and that? It adds up fast. I also have more recently been looking at how to buy fruit and veges in ways that aren’t buying them from the big chain supermarkets. I love the practicality of the big chain. No seriously – it makes it easy but it’s not always that nice or that cheap. A few facebook competitions later of winning free fruit and veg from my local shop inspired me. I now try to do a shop at a fruit and veg place and I go there first. If you are eating reasonably healthy meals (meat and veg) then you can do almost ALL your shop at a decent place like that.

What I do.

Sunday nights I meal plan. Sometimes it’s vague, sometimes it means we eat less variety especially because I build in a few meals that can be made in double and frozen. This is wildly convenient because I am a lazy cook and adding extra ingredients to a meal is much easier than cooking another meal. I only meal plan four nights, because realistically our Fridays through Sundays are all over the place. We go out to friends/have people round etc. There are always things in the freezer if desperate or good old b’rinner… takeaway. I try to make meals that overlap somewhat in ingredients (eg. herbs… who ever uses and entire bunch in one dish?) or that will use up things I have in the fridge.

On Mondays I shop. I go to a fruit/veg and then a supermarket and sometimes a butcher (if there happens to be one nearby) – I still haven’t really worked out buying stuff from a butcher -don’t pay enough attention to meat prices and I try not to let meat make it into every meal anyway – too expensive and so not necessary.

I don’t love grocery shopping, but it’s better now. I shop with a list and rarely deviate. I shop on a regular day. My mother thinks I’m mad, but hey she’s not especially grand at organisation. And I try not to go other times during the week.

The change in cooking habits and shopping has helped me save money. How do I know this? Well, I used to spend closer to $150-$200 a week on the ‘big shop’ and now I can do in a well planned ‘cheap week’ for $70-80.

I still buy chocolate and things I shouldn’t have. I still often opt for the nice yoghurt (at least then it gets eaten) and the nicer bread. But hey you do have to start somewhere and know your limits.

As for the butt of the joke. After our move I have been looking for somewhere that is a) not too far from a decent fruit/veg place (if you can get 85% of your stuff there you save A LOT) b) is easy to get in and out of. I have a two year old who doesn’t like riding in trolleys and I don’t want to stuff around with crappy car-parking or walking too far because quite frankly I don’t love groceries and I have better things to do with my time. The better organised and bigger the shop is (in terms of chain supermarkets) the easier it is, the quicker it is. The more likely I am to cook to freeze because I have more time at home. I appreciate well organised things and dingy supermarkets don’t do it for me.

And that friends is why I am still in reconnaissance mode.

This has also been a slow but achievable part of aligning life with being a bit more sensible with where our money goes – there is still a long way to go.

Experiments House Life Money

Published August 2nd, 2014 by

To follow up on two posts before this one, a day later I heard we had been approved for the new house. So much yay. So much insanity.

Today our neighbours introduced themselves (which is the nice way of it happening if you are the newbies).

I really like this place. I find it easier than the last house in many ways despite my reduced ‘study/work space’ which was the biggest downsize. The location is completely super. We still have to go hunting for a new church and if a closer excellent job came up for Geoff, possibly that too, but hey, maybe I’ll just wait on that other stuff and have a baby first.

Life Out of Home

Published August 2nd, 2014 by

This is the Sixpence None the Richer song that began my fascination with the band – rather a long time ago now. It is one of those ‘instrumental through my teenage years’ things (the band) and yet it still carries weight today rather than being an embarassment (except perhaps ‘Dancing Queen’ cover which I’ve always detested). The first time I heard this song I did not like it at all and thought it was a bit wishy, but well written words have a power that pull you back in and deeper towards greater meaning even in their simplicity.

My heart is as dark as the soil, sodden with winter rains
My soul is as heavy as the peat, freshly dug from the bog
My thoughts swirl like willow branches caught in autumn winds
My body is as tense as a cat’s as it stalks its prey

Help me open my heart to You
Help me open my heart to You
Help me open my heart to You, oh Jesus
It’s what I long to do

My heart is as dark as the soil, sodden with winter rains
(Lord, brighten my heart)
My soul is as heavy as the peat, freshly dug from the bog
(Lord, lighten my soul)

My thoughts swirl like willow branches caught in autumn winds
(Lord, still my thoughts)
My body is as tense as a cat’s as it stalks its prey
(Lord relax my body)

Help me open my heart to You
(Help me open my heart to You)
Help me open my heart to You
(Help me open my heart to You)
Help me open my heart to You, oh Jesus
It’s what I long to do

Help me open my heart to You
(Help me open my heart to You)
Help me open my heart to You
(Help me open my heart to You)
Help me open my heart to You, sweet Jesus,

(Help me open my heart to You)
I want to open my heart to You
(Help me open my heart to You)
I want to open my heart to You
(Help me open my heart to You)
I want to open my heart to You, oh Jesus
It’s what I long to do

 

Christianity Life Music

Published June 24th, 2014 by

It has been a very frustrating few weeks. At the start of the week (a few weeks back) we made the decision to move back ‘east’ closer to family and friends at the end of the year. This decision was two years in the making (I kid you not) with many competing factors both sides. It means starting again. It’s a big call, it was a big call to move out this way in the first place and we might’ve said we weren’t every going to move back that way. It’s leaving stuff we like and love a lot. It is hard.

During the week we had a random opportunity to look at a house to see if we wanted to take over a lease – 6 months ahead of schedule with 48hrs to make the decision. Not in the plan. I was going to look by myself and then someone ran into my car so Geoff wound up coming with me. We like it a lot. We applied. If Geoff hadn’t been there we probably wouldn’t have made the call.

And then things stopped. It’s been over a week. The agent cannot reach the landlord and as the clock ticks so does the overlap of rent with a fixed move date and the inability to give notice on where we are currently until we know for sure.

It’s driving me crazy.

And yet God is throwing random bits of work my way that seem to match the cost time that overlaps. He’s got that bit. I hope. God is also talking to me about house and home and what I want that or what that could look like. It’s infancy stuff. Nothing concrete more a, ‘Hey, get this on your radar you!’. Pinterest is house deep and thats super fun (seriously I’m a tad obsessed) but what other elements make up home? What do you want home to look like? What can you do with a new opportunity?

Here is an opportunity to start again. Yet again. Go again you say. Go again. It’s terribly Dr. Suess. New place, new church, maybe a new job? Back again to where we started in the first place but in a new way.

And I read the story of John’s birth. New things. Not following old paths or traditions or names.

Luke 1:59-66

On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, ‘No; he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘None of your relatives has this name.’ Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, ‘What then will this child become?’ For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.

Is God in this? Yes. Will we even get approved for the house? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. I hope so. I like it. I hope too this is an opportunity of beginning. As we roll in through the next few months with a new baby (oh yeh there’s that too – besides possibly moving in two weeks, throwing a 2 year old birthday party, shooting one more wedding whilst being 34 weeks pregnant… ah crap), a new life  -I would like things to pan out in a more deliberate sense where we stop and ask God, what is home? What do you want that to look like? Blow our conceptions.

Because he sure as hell is working in a different way this time.

Christianity Life