Thursday, 29 April 2021

Camping on Waiheke

Over ANZAC weekend, Martin and I headed off for our second ever bike camping adventure: four nights camping on Waiheke :-)

Here we are at the local train station, about to start our adventure.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Fun at Oakley Creek

Today has been my 'sabbath' (something I usually take on a Monday), where I take the whole day to rest, relax and 'be'.  My only 'have-to' on such days is generally to take a time of reflection, and ideally I also do something fun.

For reflection, today I took myself, my Bible (aka my phone with a Bible app) and my journal down to Oakley Creek.  As well as reading and praying, I spent some time wandering around on the grass barefoot, noticing what was around me.  There was a strong smell of onionweed and also, puzzlingly, a salty smell like the sea.  I heard two kereru flying high overhead, various song birds I couldn't identify and, I think, a riroriro.  I nibbled on the leaves of some kind of radishy weed.  And here is some of what I saw.

A clump of some kind of mushrooms.  I took a couple home to see if I could figure out what they were (and if they were edible!), but still have no idea what they are.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Lockdown 4.0

The other week Auckland spent a week at Covid Alert Level 3 - which, from my point of view, mostly means no buses, infrequent grocery shopping (with everything getting washed or put in quarantine) and Martin and Sarah working from home.  This time it also meant really not leaving the property for a couple of days, as I had a bit of a sniffle so had a Covid test on the Monday and we were told to not even go out for a walk till the result was back.

Still, I had quite a fun week.

A house on our street was knocked down that week to make way for 6 townhouses.  On the weekend (before my sniffle) Martin and I went scavenging and came back with these glorious flowers.

Monday, 8 March 2021

The story of Naaman's healing

Today I read the story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5:1-19.  I won't write it out here as it's long, but what I say below might not make sense without reading it.

I was really struck by two things:

  1.  Naaman, the king of Aram (where Naaman lived) and the king of Israel (where he went to get help) all assumed that anyone powerful enough to heal Naaman of leprosy would be, at least, known to the king.  Presumably, they would be someone in the control of the king - so that asking the king for help was the way to get their help.  But Elisha wasn't anything to do with the government hierarchy.  Perhaps he was somewhere close to it (as he knew that the king had gotten super-upset at receiving the king of Aram's letter), but maybe not - that could have been widespread knowledge, after all.  And the king certainly didn't know enough about Elisha to know to send Naaman to him.
  2. the servant girl (who was Jewish), knew that her God would help her master, if he just got to the person God worked through.

I find the second point particularly interesting.  We often act like God provides specific material help to Christians, but that non-Christians only get the generic help of 'the rain falls on the just and the unjust'.  Which means I'm often uncertain how to pray for non-Christians in need of actual help.  This story encourages me to pray for them in the same way I pray for Christians.

But the first point is also interesting, too, in terms of how God's agents are primarily in His control, and may or may not otherwise occupy the positions we expect.

I'm also fascinated that Naaman asks for a large quantity of earth to take back with him.  I presume this is to do with the idea that gods are associated with particular locations.  Now that Naaman wants to worship the God of Israel, he wants to take a bit of Israel back home with him to enable him to do that!

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Fun with foraging!

Over January and February I've been reading Hiakai (which means desiring kai, i.e. hungry).  The first half of the book is an exploration of pre-European foods in New Zealand and the second half is a recipe book, using some of those ingredients in pretty fancy ways.  Many of the recipes are too fussy for me, but I still gleaned heaps of good ideas, plus the book has inspired me to learn to identify and use more New Zealand native herbs!


Sunday, 24 January 2021

Visit to Ōtaki and Wellington

Straight after Christmas, Martin and I headed off with his parents to Ōtaki, a bit north of Wellington (where his sister lives) then on to visit some university friends in Wellington itself.  We were away for two weeks, getting back two weeks ago.  It was a bit of an exhausting time, as we don't get down that way very often and there were a lot of people we wanted to see, but it was fun, too :-)

Us celebrating a belated Christmas with Martin's parents, his sister Sandra and her grown-up kids Michaela and Nathan (our brother-in-law, Chris, is taking the photo)