Showing posts from June, 2011


This is my response to this post on decision-making from one of my favourite 'green' blogs, the Green Phone Booth.I'm publishing it here as well as it has stuff in it that I've been wanting to put here about how we decide what's important to us - plus I spent so much time on it that it's just about killed me and I didn't want to waste it!
I hear you!

Around 8 years ago, I developed a neurological condition that means I have very little energy.  I'm literally only out of bed for 3 hours per day max.  The rest of the time I'm lying on my back, doing more or less nothing.  Almost everything* I do in a day - from reading blogs and writing emails to eating and showering - has to fit into those three hours.
*I can push it a bit on reading blogs and emails, and sometimes even on writing emails and blog posts, but not much and not often. I pushed it a fair bit to write this ;-)

Like you, I'm a details person: I enjoy researching things before I make my …

Feeling alive!

Recently I've been struggling: it's been hard to be patient and I've been having to really watch that I don't snap at people.  I've also been very jealous of anything that took Martin away from me (i.e. most things) and have felt irrationally neglected.

I've mostly responded by being cross with myself and trying to be less selfish.  However, the feelings of jealousy eventually led me to ask Martin if we could keep Queen's Birthday weekend (two weeks ago, and a holiday weekend here in New Zealand) as a weekend just for us.

After a lovely weekend of absolutely no walking (for me) and lots of baths, back rubs, talking, exploring, eating good food and general decadence I feel like I've had a respite weekend for a change.  I feel alive like I haven't in ages and the world is a much more copeable place :-)

Turned out I didn't need discipline to make me 'nice': I tried that, but it was decadence and a break from my normal routines that did th…

Being included

The other day a friend dropped by to say hello to me before the others arrived for a meeting at our house.  He told me about stuff going on at his work.  I asked a few questions to keep him going.  As he started to run out of stuff to say, I told a funny story - one that was tenuously related and that I'd told many times before.  He smiled and then the room fell silent.  I came up with another tenuously-related anecdote.  Painfully aware I wasn't 'keeping my end up' in the conversation, I tried to tell him about some stuff I'd been thinking about that I knew would interest him.  I didn't make a lot of sense, and made less sense as I went on.  I started to panic.  Finally, the last person showed up at the door and my friend was called through to his meeting.

I felt like crying.  I wanted to interact with my friend - to be included - but my fuddled head had made that impossible.

As I pondered it over the next few days, though, I realised something.  My fuddled he…

Making yoghurt

This post is a bit different from what you'll generally find on this blog.  It's my response to a discussion on Beth Terry's Show us your plastic trash! challenge.
I make yoghurt roughly once a week.  I like it and it's an easy way to get the extra calcium I need (I have to eat a lot of calcium to prevent my bones from 'demineralising' unduly from underuse).  It also provides one of my twice-daily protein snacks: unusually for a Westerner, I have to work moderately hard to get sufficient protein in my diet as I eat so few calories.  I particularly enjoy a bowl of thick creamy yoghurt topped with a swirl of manuka honey and a sprinkling of milk masala :-)

Over the years I've realised that a lot of people have trouble keeping their yoghurt culture alive batch after batch.  I've been able to use the same culture for around five years now and I believe that the key to doing so is being really careful to keep other bugs1 out of your yoghurt.  In other words…

God speaks through the Bible

While I have questions as to just what the Bible is, one thing I am sure of is that God speaks to people through it.  I am grateful to live in an age and a country where Bibles are readily available to me and to practically everyone I know.  I believe that anyone who reads the Bible carefully and in its entirety will meet God in its pages and will be challenged to respond to Him.

I also believe that God uses the Bible to critique (and judge) the way we live.  In a society where Bibles are freely available and are being read, people can only keep on claiming wrong is right for a limited time: eventually the truth will out!

I was reminded of this yesterday, listening to an episode of Outlook (the BBC World Service's daily 'human interest' show) that I had downloaded earlier.  One of the stories* was of Joan Mulholland, one of the many 'freedom riders' who were part of the US civil rights struggle.  She told how, as a kid, she had ventured into the black part of town.…

Older people

Everyone knows that our youth are our future.  It's seen as madness for any social group (from the local stamp club to the largest nation on Earth) to ignore or exclude them.  But what about old people?  While we generally care about them we don't squander many resources on them: everyone (including the elderly themselves) knows that they would be better spent on the youth.

But is that how God sees it?  This paper made me think maybe not.  It's one of the papers from the International Conference for Ageing and Spirituality 2009 hosted on the website of the Selwyn Centre for Ageing and Spirituality (I can't remember how I came across them but their whole site is well worth a look).

I find myself currently asking one question rather a lot: "do I think/do that because of a Biblical value/perspective or a cultural one?".  So do I think the youth are of special importance due to Biblical or cultural values?

This paper suggests that the elderly are a group requirin…

Mission statements

In recent years I've been trying to put into words what I'm trying to achieve through reducing my use of various resources, supporting Fair Trade, having the neighbours over for a cuppa etc..  I've often lamented that I can't put what drives me into 'a simple, snappy statement'.  And I've recently joyfully celebrated that I'm starting to be able to express it as a statement (although it's more of a paragraph than a slogan...).

Martin pointed out that I'm reaching for a mission statement.

I've always been sceptical of mission statements.  They seem so often to be nice banalities that mean little and have minimal connection with reality (aka the day to day activities of the organisation whose mission they puport to encapsulate).  It never occurred to me that I should want such a thing for myself.

Instead, I've simply been reaching for a way to express some things that have become important to me.  I want a yardstick by which to judge initi…

the Queen's birthday

Today in New Zealand we celebrate the Queen's Birthday (always celebrated on the first Monday of June, regardless of the actual date of birth of the current sovereign).

Presumably this day was instituted as a day to celebrate the British Monarchy.  However, no one I know of celebrates the Monarchy on this day.  Queen's birthday is just a long weekend: and precious as such because it's the last before Labour Day.  It's your last opportunity to snatch a long weekend away while the weather's still sort of nice.  The long grind of winter is approaching and after this it's all downhill till Labour Day.

It certainly doesn't have anything to do with the Queen!

On Waitangi Day we (increasingly) celebrate our  nationhood; on Auckland Anniversary Day we have a massive regatta to celebrate our Harbour - our pride and joy as Auckanders; on Labour Day National Radio, at least, puts on documentaries that draw attention to the fight for the 40 hour week and better labour …