Some of my homegrown tomatoes from January 2003, including the Russian Black. Clicking on the picture will increase the size.


spring is here, the grass is riz...

Spring certainly is here today. A lovely Saturday, quite mild and with a beautiful clear sky. I spent the day out in the garden, planting out some heirloom tomatoes. we grew some Russian black last year and had a wonderful yield. When I tried to get more, I could find nothing, so I bought several more plants this year. This year, I'm going to try to save some seed for next year. These are large, and very dark purple, almost black, although they taste like any homegrown tomato.

In a world where many technologies are basically out of date as they get to market, it's good to know that some things not only remain the same but are good to start with. None of this "new, improved..."


I've had the interview which I anticipated here. I don't think it was entirely satisfactory. Howeever I knew that I did not want to be beaten down as there were points I raised which were also bothering others. I hold a position of leadership and felt I needed to speak out both for my own and their sake. I would not accept that these were "minor," a term which had been used of the concerns of an older woman, very shy, who eventually left the church because she felt her concerns and questions were considered unimportant.

I was accused of a lack of trust because I raised the issue of control. Because of past experiences, my control antennae are very finely tuned. Perhaps too finely, but that is something I need to look at. My reply that if I had no trust, then I would not still be around was only grudgingly accepted. I tried to clarify some terms, such as "effective," but the journalist in him is still too strong.

What I did find interesting was that my co-leader of our group had raised basically identical issues with him the day before. This without a discussion on our part. She had told him there had been no discussion and I said the same at the beginning of the conversation. I find it odd that it seems only our particular group has concerns. Not sure if all the others meekly accept it. I could say a lot more, but really don't want to get into a slanging match or sound as if all I am trying to do is criticise. That's not so.



Yet another blog...Federal Election 2004. The Poll Vault Election Weblog. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is running a somewhat tongue in cheek election blog.


I've got no financial backers: Hanson - Election 2004 - www.smh.com.au So speaks Pauline Hanson who must be a masochist. Disowned by the party she founded, gaoled, standing again for the Senate. She appears to have been great at running a fish and chip shop. However, she can't seem to make the grade in politics. What a shame!! Pardon, my cynicism is showing.


The Chaser News offers the government some suggestions for those detained in our woeful refugee camps, while also making fun of the usual Anthony Robbins hype.

Perhaps a children's course could be developed for those children of refugees who have nothing better to do in the camps, as they have no access to schooling.

Anything must be better than courses in lip sewing during hunger strikes.



different approaches
I know that we are all different and that we each have different gifts. I've lost track of the numbers of times I've spoken about how we should work together, combining our gifts and talents. I've spoken about the glories and challenges of diversity. However, just now I wish we could at least express ourselves in the same manner, that way of course preferably being mine!

What brings this on? The pastor of the church I attend is seeking to implement some changes which I oppose and which I know are opposed by quite a few others. It's not about change and tradition but more about changes in timetables etc. These override what is suitable for many but as leaders we would be expected to not only follow them but to encourage others to do the same. I know a few of the younger ones have spoken up and unfortunately have been put through the wringer for their views. (This in itself is unfortunate and shouldn't have happened.) When I received an email attachment that was sent to all the leadership team, I went through it carefully, making notes and planning a response. I then put it aside for a few days, partly because I was ill some of the time and partly to distance myself from it a bit. I then wrote my response after some prayer and sent it off. I gather it hasn't been well received. That doesn't surprise me because I had the same reaction when I spoke about some emerging churches in Melbourne a while ago. "Ah, but where will they be in a few years time? Exactly as they are today," was the comment made. As if growth is the be all and end all of church life.

I've been looking back over what I wrote today and see that it comes back to differences again. I'm a student. I would love to call myself an exegete. I love exegesis and technical terms and pinning down the meanings of words, usages, tenses etc. Exegesis assignments used to give me a thrill to do as I researched for them. Seeing something new through this gives me a real lift.

The pastor on the other hand, is also an educated person. However, first and foremost, he is a communicator. Before becoming a pastor, he was on the editorial team of a large newspaper and was the editor of another large paper. He's not interested in the minutiae which fascinate me.

I queried his non-qualified use of the word "effective." What did he mean? Effective to whom? How would we know? How can we tell that a small evening service is not effective? There were other instances like this.

It then ocurred to me that he was allowing his readers to assign their own meaning to the word. Now here I am obviously making a generalisation, but it seems to me that much journalism operates like this. Perhaps someone like BeneDiction could shed some light on this. I read the morning paper with the bombing of the embassy, Howard's release of some obviously dodgy intelligence about this, possible capture of Australians in Iraq, not to mention the Federal election campaign and I could see this sort of thing right through. Emotive words were used to draw pictures-a little girl wounded in the blast, called for her mama who had been killed. I could pick techniques even in the always slightly cynical Column 8. Many of these, particularly about the election and the bombing were obviously deliberately done to influence opinion.

I re-read the attachment and could see other instancesof the same technique of 'empty " words. These sounded great but had no real meaning except what was supplied by the reader. That meaning of course would vary from reader to reader.

I'm all for diversity, it makes life interesting. I hope that what was written in that attachment was written that way perhaps because that was the way he has always written, not because he was using words to induce a sense of guilt or to raise certain emotions. I'm just not sure.* I wouldn't want everything to be written as I write technical papers. That's not what I'm after, either. One paragraph of a discussion of the imperfect, aorist and perfect tenses would lose most people very quickly. Just something in between. Something clear, qualified and non-emotive would be a start. If we are left to assign our own meaning in a loose manner as much journalism seems to do, then while there may be diversity, there is unlikely to be any unity.

* He has asked to talk to me about my response. At 9:00 am this morning he rang and asked if this could be at 10:00, subject to confirmation. I've heard nothing since.


I'm still at home waiting for the phone call to say DIL has gone into labour. She was sure it would be last night and I offered to go out early to save being woken at 1:00 am. However, she said no, and I slept all night. This baby will come in its own good time, or perhaps I shoud say his own good time. I've been convinced for months that this one is a boy. I might as well give up trying to make the time more convenient to me!



MIA? Not this time
Daughter in law is due to have her third child any day now. No posts will mean I'm out there minding the other two. They don't have net access at home, so I won't be able to post.

I'm back to feeling enthusiastic about blogging, so will miss those few days. Perhaps tonight she told me a while ago. She's feeling "funny." As it's the third, she should have some idea, I hope.


on sin
In my time away lately, I've not been reading blogs and have had a great time catching up.

I was impressed with this entry at Phil Baker's blog. Phil is the pastor at Riverview, a large Pentecostal church in Perth, Western Australia. He is also a much-in-demand public speaker who speaks worldwide. While I haven't heard him myself, I know of a range of people who have all enjoyed his talks and benefited from them.

When I moved out of the group where I had been safely hidden away from the world and real life for over twenty years, I was amazed at prayer lines. I still am and wonder at them too. I can certainly count some decisive moments in my Christian life where God worked in a definite way to change things with permanent results. However, I agree with the post that life is much more about the long haul, about regular commitment and all those things which sometimes can seem dull and boring precisely because they are regular.

I think sometimes that those who go for prayer, and here I am obviously making some sort of generalisation, are often those who want a quick fix. This is a personal observation. To be prayed for by a visiting speaker seems to be much better than working at eliminating wrong ideas or practices. Paul tells us to put to death those things. Then next week they are back in the line, hoping for better results from a different person praying. As I said, these are personal observations and I probably sound harsh to some. I've been on the road much longer than many people. I still struggle with things. I know there is rarely a quick fix to life.

Further to these thoughts. I quote from a prayer letter which arrived in my inbox as I wrote this post. More quick fixes...

3. Demolish strongholds of greed, pride, unbelief, depression and confusion by claiming victory in the name of Jesus...

To move through these quickly, simply read them out.
Unfortunately, more is needed than claiming victory.


give Howard a rest
At the T-intersection just down the road from my place, someone has propped an old mattress against the fence so it can be easily seen by all coming up the main road. Scrawled across it is the slogan:Give Howard a rest; a sentiment I entirely agree with. He should have gone ages ago.

The only problem is one that I think others of my generation must also face. What else do we do? A friend and I were discussing this on the way to a conference a couple of weeks ago. He voiced what I had been feeling. He'd been a Liberal voter all his life until the last election and the Tampa incident as well as the children overboard furore. Unwillingly he'd voted Liberal again. This time, with more allegations about children overboard and lies about it, not to mention our involvement in Iraq, there was no way he would vote Liberal. I quite agree with him. However, we find ourselves with poor alternatives. Latham is a bully boy from Liverpool, come up through the ranks of a Labor council, well known for dodgy dealings.

AS the contest slogans focus on "trust" we both agreed that while we didn't trust Howard who is a man past his time, neither would we trust Latham at all. So where does that leave us? Greens? Democrats? Independent? We are in different electorates although we live close to each other. I don't think we have any alternatives standing in either of them. To vote informal is, to me, a waste of my vote.

Four weeks to go. Thank goodness our election campaign is only six weeks.



A very senior member of St John ambulance, the volunteer arm, sent me this. Sometimes it's good to be able to laugh at ourselves.


no excuses, but I think I'm back
It's been a long time bewtween drinks as the saying goes. I've had a lot on my plate. The death of my sister in law seems to have opened a whole new set of family dynamics. There's been support needed for my brother and his young son. Also for my sister and my elderly mother who both had quite a large part to play in her care almost till she died. Mum is suffering quite badly from guilt. Guilt that she is glad it's all over now and guilt that she always thinks she could do more.

Mum is also upset that my sister has basically moved out back to her own house which she is preparing to sell prior to divorcing her husband from whom she's been separated for some years. Mum's been pushing this, but now it's happening she's jealous that she is not receiving as much help from my sister as she would like. On the other hand, she loudly asserts her 85 year old independence.

There have been many other things as well that have taken my time and effort. DIL has had more problems with her third pregnancy and I've been helping out there too. That should end very shortly. Baby is due any day now.

Stress has led to several illnesse on my part. I'm usually fairly healthy but have had more than my share in the last few weeks. Just recovering from a vicious gastric bug which has left me feeling exhausted after several days of it.

In all this, I have scarcely looked at a blog, let alone written anything. I usually use blogging as an escape, but not this time. Things are hopefully looking up, so hopefully blogging will also improve. There have certainly been enough events to comment on.