Nov 30, 2007

Amazing Grace

We finally got around to watching this movie last week. It is great. But even greater are the resources on the website for discussion and action.

We watched the DVD at homegroup/bible study group/whatever you want to call the group thing last week. I had noticed that there were some study resources on the website, so I figured we would do some of those questions this week as a kindof follow up. WOW. We used the Faith Guide (UK edition), thinking that would be more relevant for our Commonwealth context, so I don't know what the US version is like, but the questions were thought provoking and intelligent. We ignored the "conversations over coffee" questions which weren't as good, and went straight for the themed questions. There's a study on each of the themes: Courage; Friendship; Community; Belonging; Work; Action; Transatlantic Slavery; Modern day Slavery; Guilt; and Grace.

Figuring that we have 3 weeks of studies left before the end of the year, we'd have a crack at 3 or 4 themes each night. We got as far as Courage. Using a scene from the movie as a spring-board for discussion, there were questions like "What motivated Pitt's courage? Wilberforce's?", "Do you think W and P's age influenced their desire for social change?", "Are we limited by our idealism in our attempts to make a difference?", "How does one obtain faith?", "are our fears reflective of the way in which we understand God?". We found plenty to talk about and pray about!

Highly recommended!

Nov 29, 2007

big brother is watching

Facebook has a new feature - not only does it track and on-sell the actions you take while within the Facebook site - it monitors your off-site browsing, keeps that data and on-sells it too. There have been several cases of people just going to Amazon, buying a book and seeing that information appear in a friend's Facebook newsfeed etc. This new application is called Beacon - and beware!

Now, we should all be aware that the whole point of facebook is to trick us into having a good time, divulging way too much personal information and then making money out of us. I have no problem with this so long as we are all aware of the risks. However, I do have a big problem with Facebook monitoring what I am doing when I am NOT on the Facebook site.

Fortunately there are things we can do.

The first thing to do is to download a little plug-in for your Firefox browser (I am assuming you know the goodness of Firefox and the badness of all things Microsoft). This wee beauty was written by someone specifically for the facebook/beacon application. Read about his experience with and opinions of the Beacon here (worth reading!)

Secondly go to MoveOn and sign their petition to Facebook to improve the privacy protections around this new application

Thirdly, and least effectively join the Facebook group Petition: Facebook, stop invading my privacy!

Fourthly, and MOST importantly - remember that Facebook is not a secure system - it is not private it is not like sending private emails to people - every single thing you do while on the Facebook system is logged, tracked and sold. There have even been cases where people have been able to open bank accounts etc etc in the names of other people by using information provided on Facebook, in combination with other publicly available information.

Right. I have installed the plug-in, signed the petition, joined the group, and now I'm off to facebook to have a closer look at my privacy settings...

More stories about Facebook privacy breaches here

Nov 28, 2007

what summer is all about

We are heading into summer here, and although today's weather has me scurrying for the thermostat and a jersey, last week we had some lovely days. This photo was taken on Sunday morning before we headed out to church.

This is what summer is all about.

Nov 26, 2007

a gift for your geek

Stuck for what to get your geek for Christmas?
Try Think Geek. For all things geeks love.

especially check out the t shirts

Nov 25, 2007

The Miss3 isn't sleepy and wants to be tickled instead song

Miss3 made a song request tonight as she was being put to bed. She came up with the title and I got to improvise the words (and actions).

"The Miss3 isn't sleepy and wants to be tickled instead song"
There was a young girl called Miss3,
who was in bed getting ready to sleep.
She laughed and she giggled all over the bed
as she got tickled from her head to her feet.

She wriggled and slid all over the bed,
and laughed as she was tickled all over.
For tickles and rumbles are lots of fun,
coming from a dad or sometimes a mum.

Nov 23, 2007

The Experiment - last day, the day of reckoning

The moral of the story is to not have a family crisis when in the midst of important scientific research.

So... if you don't give plants any water at all for several weeks and leave them in the hot sun... they die! wow. groundbreaking stuff.

Here are the links to what this experiment was all about...
Is Microwaved water safe?
The Experiment - day 1
The Experiment - day 7
The Experiment - day 15
The Experiment - day 23
The Experiment - day 32
The Experiment - day 33
The Experiment - day 41
The Experiment - day 48

Nov 16, 2007

Sloth is green

A list of the ecological benefits of the 'deadly sin' of slothfulness.

Just a side comment, though. There is no scriptural basis, to my knowledge, for the Seven Deadly Sins to be considered any more deadly than any other sin. From my understanding, although the bible has much to say about idleness and the refusal to work, there is also warning about pointless busywork - God ordained a whole day of rest each week, afterall. So with that in mind, I can't really consider waiting for a full load in the dishwasher to be sinful.

So, on with saving the planet by doing less! Read more...

Nov 15, 2007

funeral today

I'm too exhausted and drained to talk about this today, except to say that it was a lovely service and I'm really grateful to everyone who has passed along their condolences and given support etc etc. Thankyou. Read more...

Nov 11, 2007

the end

My Mum died peacefully this morning at 8am.

Oh how I will miss her.

it's 5.30am Sunday morning

I just phoned the hospice and Mum is resting peacefully with Dad beside her holding her hand.

The last few days have been awful. Mum has deteriorated so very quickly. Last Sunday she was up and dressed and spent several hours reading Miss 3 her story books - a perfectly normal Sunday. On Monday she was walking around the supermarket. By Wednesday she was not really getting out of bed anymore. Thursday morning when I went to visit she was just very very sleepy but having trouble remembering whether she'd taken all her pills or not and starting to worry that she didn't know what was best anymore. Friday morning she woke very disoriented and was admitted to the Hospice about lunch time for, at that stage, a few days to get her pain meds etc under control. I saw her Friday evening and, although she recognised me, she struggled to say what she was really trying to say and would get lost in the middle of the sentence.

Yesterday (was it really only yesterday?) I picked my brother P up from the airport and after dropping his bags at Mum and Dad's we went straight to the hospice, our sister Sh getting there from Christchurch only a few minutes before us. Mum spent all of yesterday just sleeping, although sometimes when we spoke to her she would 'hm' in response and her eyes would open. About lunch time I came home to give the baby a milk feed and get some food and cuddle Miss 3 and Dad went down to the lounge for a break. P was with Mum when she suddenly sat up and asked for a drink of water. He helped her have a drink and when he told her he loved her she looked at him and said "I know, I love you too". Sh came back in from getting a drink in time to get a kiss too, and then they let Dad have some time alone with Mum while she was awake. So that's really really good that they got there in time to actually connect with Mum.

Then yesterday evening about 7pm we got a 'get here now' call from the hospice, so we all rushed in (Dad and my aunt were already there) and said our goodbyes, but she was quite peaceful and just kept on breathing. The Pastoral Assistant from our church came and spent some time with us, which was really good - the right thing at the right time for my Dad who had been anxious that Mum would die before the minister arrived. (Our vicar is on holiday this week. The Pastoral Assistant is a lovely santa-claus type man who had met Mum several times through her work). Dad stayed in the hospice overnight - they are absolutely marvelous there and set up a bed right beside Mum's for him. Today our other sister Ch and another brother T are driving through from Southland and Central to spend the day. Our brother E is in Oz and was over only a couple of weeks ago, and will be again at Christmas, so won't be over again this week. It is so so good that E and E got to spend some good time with Mum while she was well. I think that's much more important than being here right now.

The grief comes in waves and I'm learning to just roll with it when it comes. I am going to miss her so very very much.

But under it all I have a strong current of peace. The concept of heaven is all very intellectual until someone you love dies, and then it becomes very important indeed. As i saw in a wee poem in the sanctuary at the hospice - "It does us no harm to believe this". And, more than this, I know that Mum loved Jesus and that she's safe wherever she is. As for praying for healing, i realise that I have prayed for that for months and months, and that Monday's thing was about me coming to a point of letting go and leaving it up to God. I may go into the whys and wherefores of this at a later date but it's not important for me to do that now - what is important is that I go and cuddle my children and husband and get started with the day Read more...

Nov 10, 2007

The booster seat label is LAW

I was coming home this evening at about 7.30 pm with both girls ready for bed. handymum was staying with her mum for a wee bit.
Miss3: Are you going to carry the baby into the house?

Me: Yes.

Miss3: I want you to carry me in too.

Me: Ok. I'll carry her in and then come back and carry you in.

Miss3: You see this label? (pointing at a safety label on her booster seat). It says "don't leave child in the car alone". That means you should carry me in before the baby.

Nov 9, 2007

mum is in the hospice

I may be a bit erratic in my posting over the next wee while Read more...

Nov 7, 2007

I love my slow cooker

For our homegroup tomorrow night we are having a potluck diner. Mmmmm yum. So today I cooked up some chickpeas in the slowcooker and tomorrow I will make curry. fantastic.

I use my slow cooker at least weekly - and it is totally the best way to cook chickpeas - it only takes a few hours longer and there is absolutely no worry about boiling the blasted pot dry or dealing with froth overflow all over the stovetop. You just chuck in the peas and hot water (with a couple of bay leaves to make it a bit tasty) and turn it on and you can forget about it until the end of the day. You can even leave it completely unattended to do the job in your absence. The perfect domestic servant. Read more...

Nov 6, 2007


I am spending too much time on facebook :-)

Thought this video clip was worth a giggle

Still, the site has its uses - we are having an old friend over for dinner this evening whom we haven't seen in several years and didn't even know was living in the same city as us until her location was mentioned in my newsfeed. Yay. Read more...

Nov 5, 2007

comments fixed

A friend just pointed out that my blog settings weren't letting her post comments since she doesn't have a google id. That should be all fixed now - I didn't even think to check what the default settings were.

This applies only to people wanting to comment in my actual blog. If you're reading this as an import into facebook then it's just the same as usual. (although I really can recommend you coming to look at the source blog - the posts are all the same obviously, but facebook only imports the text - not the occasional video - so especially if a post seems particularly random there may be some of it left behind...) Read more...

mum update

We went and had our usual Sunday lunch catchup at my parents' house yesterday.

Mum is not doing so good. She's turned all yellow since I last saw her on Thursday. Makes sense since the most active bit of her cancer is in her liver, but it was still a shock. When the decline in her health is just gradual - a little more tired, a little more gaunt-looking - it's easy to pretend that we're going to just stay in this limbo place forever. That this is the new 'normal' and we can just adjust and carry on.

But of course that's not the case. Every week she's more tired than the week before. Every week there's a new problem to talk to the doctor about. Her pain is back, and she's back on morphine to deal with it. I asked her the other day if she would consider another round of chemo, just as a pain-relief option, and she finally let her shield down just a crack. Just enough to let her despair show through. She's only got a handful of options and they all suck - nothing is going to make her well.

I don't even know if I have the faith to pray for her healing. Intellectually I know that He can do it. I do actually know people who have experienced miraculous healing. But He doesn't heal everyone (don't ask me why - if I knew that I suspect I'd know all there is to know), and I'm not sure I could deal with the despair of my going out on a limb and then having my request denied.
Far easier to reconcile myself to the fact that we all die in body, and that everyone's got to die of something.

Which also feels like an enormous cop-out.

crappy crappy crappy. I know what's going on here. For those of you who aren't Christian this may seem weird, but I'm not actually in the midst of a crisis of faith. What's happening is that I'm gradually being drawn towards praying for my Mum's healing, and this part of the process is just about positioning the idea in my mind. I always do this - my first response to most suggestions (even of things that I want) is a knee-jerk 'NO'. But once I get used to the idea and consider all the ramifications I usually come around to it - so long as I haven't irrevocably burnt any bridges by then.


well that's enough rummaging around in my entrails for one day. time to go outside and get the chickweed out from around my veggies. Read more...

Nov 4, 2007

The Experiment - day 48

Well, still no difference between the pottles. This is looking more and more like a 'nil result' experiment. ah well. At least I'll be able to use my microwave happily.

Here are the links to what this experiment is all about...
Is Microwaved water safe?
The Experiment - day 1
The Experiment - day 7
The Experiment - day 15
The Experiment - day 23
The Experiment - day 32
The Experiment - day 33
The Experiment - day 41

Nov 3, 2007

the baby has teeth!

Yay! She's 9 months old and has been 'teething' since she was about 5 months. Finally the bottom two incisors have made an appearance. hooray hooray. So that's why she didn't really sleep at all on Thursday night. poor wee mite was having big sharp white things coming through her jaw.

She has slept like a baby since then :-) Read more...

Miss3 and the baby goat

Last weekend Miss 3 and I went out to a farm to pick up some unpastuerised milk (which has it's detractors). Along the way we saw and fed the calves, as well as a wee goat kid that was 10 days old.

When I was recapping her day with her that night, we had the following exchange:

Miss3: And at the farm, there was a billy goat, and a nanny goat, and a baby goat!

Me: What do you call a baby goat?

Miss3: It's a baby goat. That's what you call it.

Me: A baby cow is called a calf. And a baby goat is called a kid. And you are a child.

Miss3: No, I'm not a child. I'm a darling.

Nov 2, 2007



for getting rid of stuff you no longer want but is too good to send to the tip

If you can't find your local group, it might not be officially linked to the freecycle people - just google it and it may appear...

We just sent an old crt monitor and half a dozen big packing boxes to better homes. yippee. I can reclaim my dressing table from defunct computer parts. Read more...
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