For too long …

The problem:

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been feeling a little off for a while – last term felt really long and a bit brutal.

A lot of the people I’ve spoken to recently feel the same way. Maybe you are waking up in the middle of the night with your heart racing, you might wake up and worry about things, or you might be afraid …. You aren’t alone.

We know the demand for counselling and psychologists is only increasing…

According to some stats in Forbes Health:

Worldwide: [Since 2020], the number of anxiety and depressive disorders grew. 

Depressive symptoms grew from a base of about 193 million people worldwide to 246 million, which is about 28%.

Anxiety disorders grew from about 298 million people affected to 374 million, which is about a 25% increase.

Now because I’m a person who reflects a bit (overthinks) I’ve been attempting to find the source of my decline in mood. While I like to look inside to find the source of things, problems etc, there are professionals who can help with that, and I highly recommend that you seek them out if you are feeling at all like I’ve discussed. In fact, I utterly recommend it. – If you feel you are one of the 246 million people or the 374 million people suffering at the moment one of the crucial things you need to do is seek professional help.

Now I am a Christian, which I hope doesn’t come as news to you, and so after too much introspection once again I remember that I should also seek answers from God. And so, one morning on the way to school when I was having a bit of a read of my Bible app (I was not driving at the time) I came across this verse – which really stood out to me. I was doing a bit of a word search for peace.

Now, all the familiar ones were there and I skimmed over them and then there was this one … and instantly I felt that it addressed where some of us might just find ourselves right now.

A cause:

Now you know what I’m going to do right – break this up … into a few key terms.

Soul can be defined as: your mind, your emotions, and your will, the spiritual part of humans. The essence of who you are, the part of you that lives on after your body passes away, the part of you that will remain, the part of you that loves, the part of you that thinks and feels ….

Dwelling can be defined as where you live or where you are a resident.

And I think we all know what the difference between hate and peace is.

To put it simply  – hate is something that is destructive, and peace is restorative.

Who you are sitting with, where you and your thoughts, your mind and your soul dwell will either contribute to your peace or it will rob you of your peace.

Tim Keller said: Our character is mainly shaped by our primary social community – the people with whom we eat, play, converse, and study.

I think we can paraphrase this to relate also to the soul, and certainly to your peace: Your family, your friends, your church community, your sporting community, your school community, your online community, your social media community, and your gaming community, will shape or steal your peace.

In case you aren’t sure what it is that steals your peace – it’s probably most likely to be connected to the thing that wakes you up at night. The thing that keeps you from rest. The thing that keeps you from peace.

I’ve spent too many hours over the years on social media, reading comments made by strangers and sometimes friends that steal my peace.

Too long my soul has had its dwelling on social media with those who want to argue, name call and bully.

In the past, I have enjoyed more than my share of good ol’ true crime, unsolved mysteries, inside the mind of a serial killer docos …

Too long my soul has been dwelling with serial killers on Netflix ….

I want you to think about what you would put here to fill in your own statement.

Too long my soul has been dwelling with …

And it honestly might be that you are living in parts of the internet you don’t want: your family, your friends, your church community, your sporting community, your school community, your online community, your social media community, your gaming community, to find out about.

The solution:

To put yourself in the presence of those who love peace or better still those who bring peace. You know who they are.

I think that is a great start but there is a longer-term solution.

The first step and most important step is of course – a relationship with Jesus – the source of our peace, which begins with:

  1. An acknowledgment of who He is: The only sinless, and the only perfect, person ever to have lived. The most peace-filled and peaceful person to walk the earth.
  2. An acknowledgement of who you are: a sinner in the sight of God – someone who is not able to able to create or bring about your own peace.
  3. An acknowledgement that His perfection and your sin means that belief in Him and His death is the only way to bridge the gap between you and God which will bring you present and eternal peace.

Then there’s another step you can take:

Now some of you here have taken that first step – and yet you find yourself still in the position that I was saying I’m finding myself in at the moment from time to time. That weighed down, tired, fearful, sad, worried spot, that waking up in the middle of the night with your heart-pounding spot. Maybe you know that Jesus, the Prince of Peace is with you, but you still wake up in the night … the solution is found in Philippians 4: 8,9

Maybe it’s time to stop doing some of those things that you know steal your peace. For example, I’ve stopped watching serial killer docos … for now. Because I’ve run them through the filter – are they true – well yes … but from that point on they fail, they are not honourable, or right, they are not pure or wholesome, they are not lovely, they do not bring peace and they are not admirable.

And so maybe from time to time, it’s not a bad idea to do a purge of your socials.

I’ve started to alter my online algorithms a bit by skipping some reels and watching others. At the moment to be honest what I’m being fed is people slipping on the ice, cats doing something funny, inspirational quotes and a couple of comedians. You’ll notice I’m not saying stop gaming, delete your socials, and throw your phone in the pool. Just be mindful of where your soul is dwelling.

Now for those of you in the audience: who’ve skipped the Jesus step, because you aren’t interested in the Jesus stuff. We are truly sorry. Because as long as you choose a life without the Jesus stuff it will be a life in which you will never truly experience peace. 

And so Christians, if you like me, are from time to time awake at night – I want to challenge you to look more closely at where your soul has been dwelling that day, and run your thoughts through this filter. This filter works in two ways.  Simply looking at it helps you to do exactly what it tells you to, think the verse through and you’ll find yourself focused on what is true. Then you get to focus more on being a person who dwells in peace and who brings peace to others.


This was originally written as a chapel talk for senior school students.

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Christmas time is here *again

Hello dear reader,

Well, a quick look back in the archives and you’ll see it’s been a while – a long while since I last wrote.

It’s Christmas eve and once again I’ve been reflecting, maybe even a little more than usual. If for you Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and you never have that nagging, niggling feeling that there’s something more, I’d say this one is not for you.

Merry Christmas and I’ll see you later.

But if for you Christmas is complicated, this one might be for you.

As our lives change, the lives of our families change, and hopefully we do too and often how we do Christmas changes too.

A number of people I know are going to be having a different Christmas this year.

For some, this is your first year with children who’ve chosen to “Christmas” elsewhere, for some this is your first year outside of a key relationship, for some Covid has struck and you’ve chosen to spend it away from family – not because you want to, but because you believe you should. For some, it’s your first Christmas without a loved one, and for others, your 10th, and the sense of loss, and sadness remains. For others of us, we feel something too but we can’t pinpoint what it is that’s making us feel this way.

And I think the truth is, that is what Christmas is really about.

The void.

The aching void that wasn’t filled by the new air pods, or the Gretsch, or the GoPro, or the puppy …

The aching void has marked mankind for millennia.

While commercialism and materialism have led us to believe that filling the void is all about finding the right thing, the best gifts, and having the whole family together, the reality is that it’s actually about what we have been given for free.

I’m going to dip into a few clichés for a bit here. Almost every Christmas movie you’ve seen tells you the gift is recognising what you already have … isn’t it?

It’s not what’s under the tree, it’s who’s gathered around it?  

Now, excuse me for being a little Grinchy or Scrooge-ish here – but what if what you have isn’t that great?

What if what’s around the tree is dysfunction, trauma, and hurt? This is true for people all the world over. This Christmas there will be countless people in very difficult sometimes, traumatic situations. This is where our approach to Christmas comes up short – and I think this is why more often than not most of us, whether we want to admit it or not, after Christmas still feel like something is missing.  The new watch, though exactly what you wanted, didn’t quite fill the void, and the cash to go towards your next holiday didn’t quite leave you feeling as though it was enough for the upgrade you wanted.  Before you start to think “my goodness I didn’t realise she was so anti-Christmas” let me just reassure you that I’m not. I have been blessed with people who do Christmas very well – but I am coming to realise more and more that this is not the case for everyone – this might be the exception and not the rule.

I’ve spent quite a while – months at this stage musing on C.S Lewis’ thoughts regarding the three types of people. In one of my favourite books Mere Christianity – he tells us that there are 3 types of people in the world when it comes to hope and happiness.

The Foolish, the Sensible (or disillusioned), and the Christian (or hope-filled).

Let’s be honest what we are looking for in Christmas is hope and happiness.  And for some reason, I think this is what we grapple with every year.  

The first two approaches to Christmas ultimately leave us feeling empty and dejected, but I think the third might be the answer. The third is perhaps the way to view Christmas rightly. The third is about what we have been offered for free.

So, let’s view what C.S Lewis says through this season’s lens. Let me just say though, I’m not having a crack at anyone, I personally get excited about giving, and receiving gifts, I love getting together with the people who matter to me, and I have been known to get carried away and overspend. I loooove my mum’s trifle …(hope you are reading this Mum!) I don’t mind cranking some Christmas carols (though I do skip Mariah – soz MC).  I have been the first two types of people every Christmas ever… and I hope to more often than not, find my way to being the third. So what follows is more of a reminder for me than for anyone else.

The first type of person is the “foolish” person:

This is the person who hopes that they will find satisfaction in things or people. At Christmas time I’m assuming they have a list of things they want that is a mile long. To be honest as a kid this was me – I’d helpfully write a list of all the things I wanted and put it on the fridge.  

This is the kind of person for whom a good Christmas is defined by what they got, was it the best brand, is it better than the neighbour’s or school friend’s or sibling’s, was it the colour they specifically requested?  And whether or not the whole family was there – did we get a good photo?

Sometimes by Christmas night despite your best attempts, all you have is a mess to clean up. Everyone seemed happy with what they got – but were they really? The aftermath is weariness, the scent of perfectly popped Christmas bon-bons still hangs in the air, wrapping paper is distributed throughout the house as are discarded dishes, half consumed drinks, you have a gift tag stuck to the bottom of your foot, and you’ve just stepped in something someone dropped on the floor. The cheesecake you took hours to make has been demolished and you didn’t even get a taste. The new things you so desperately wanted you have, but now you have to find a spot to put them. And maybe it doesn’t look as good as you thought it would after all. And as for the family photo – well it’s going to need some serious work because even from this distance you can see that this was taken after your sisters had their annual Christmas argument, the one they’ve been having for the past 20 years, and your nephew was still sulking about the gift he received.

If our enjoyment of Christmas comes only from people and things, then it will be a disappointment.

Just to clarify, it is not foolish to give and receive gifts. The foolishness lies in the belief that once I have the GoPro (insert appropriate gift here) I will be happy.

To further clarify enjoying time with family and those important to you is not foolishness either unless you believe that once we’re all together under one roof we will all be happy. If your hope is in things and people, you will be disappointed. This statement leads me neatly to the next type of person.

The second type of person is:

The Disillusioned – or the “sensible” person. Probably from the description of the end of Christmas day you can tell which camp I tend to land in more often than not. Lower your expectations and then you can’t be disappointed.

This is the person who has realised that things aren’t going to satisfy and that people will let you down … and so as a result they repress the part of themselves that hopes. This person is the cynic.

Think Scrooge and his “Bah Humbug”.

The Grinch and his regime:

4:30, stare into the abyss.

5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one.

5:30, jazzercize.

6:30, dinner with me—I can’t cancel that again.

7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing… I’m booked.

Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness.

This person has the same aching void to fill but they know it won’t be filled with the new watch. And so, they sit in unhappiness and disillusionment.

The third type of person is the hope-filled person:

The person who knows Christmas is more than what you give and more than the gifts you receive; it’s more than the people you do or don’t spend your time with.

For these people, there is more to Christmas than egg nog, fairy lights and well wishes.

For these people, Christmas is about the turning point of time.

Christmas is about the Light that shone into the darkness.

Christmas is about Hope

Christmas is about Peace.

Christmas is about Joy.

Christmas is about a Child born and a Son – given.

Christmas is about outcasts.


Shepherds working.

A promise fulfilled.

If your family aren’t with you – I think the people who were there at the very beginning of Christmas get it.

If you are away from home – I think they might get it too.

If you are feeling like a stranger in a strange land …

If you are feeling like you have to make do with what you have and are worried that it isn’t enough – I’m pretty sure we have ample evidence to see that you my friends, are on the right side of Christmas and maybe, you are in the exact spot to grasp it as it should be grasped.

The dawn of hope, the day spring has appeared.

If you are already feeling dissatisfied, I encourage you to look for something different this year – Hope. Instead of hoping to find the happiness which so many of us seek – we should look for the Hope.

The Hope is the answer to the aching void.

The Hope presented to us so many years ago.

In the birth of a baby.

The gift of God.

The Son of God.  

God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.

Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

C.S Lewis

Christmas, at the risk of repeating a cliché, is about seeking Christ.

The wise men knew it, the shepherds knew it.

We know it, but so often forget it.

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A reflection: 15 years in the making

The children of Israel as they journeyed through the wilderness were instructed on various occasions to build altars, place stones, dig wells, at one point in the journey they placed stones in a river, these visual reminders were placed in locations of significance so that in the years to come they would serve as reminders. 

Anniversaries are important – they show us who we were, who we are and hopefully, how far we’ve come. 

Today I’ve been thinking a bit about what this particular day means to me. Some years I forget it completely, other years I feel a bit off and then remember why. 

This year I remembered and thought maybe it’s time to write a bit of a reflection. 

It’s been 15 years since my life took a dramatic turn, I’d say it was a 90-degree turn from where I thought it was heading. 

What I really want to focus on though, is not what happened but a few things I’ve learned through that experience:

1. At no point in your life are you actually the one in control of where you are heading. We certainly can make plans but it is up to God whether those plans are realised or not. 

2. When He says no weapon formed against you will prosper .. He means it. God will deliver you from situations that are going to harm you when you don’t know that’s what you need. When you pray for His direction and guidance He will answer. When the time is right, He may do it in ways that may shock and surprise. But He will surround you and sustain you. 

3. He is sovereign. That’s something to take comfort it. It’s something you need to recognise when your life does take a sudden, and for you, unexpected turn. He is not surprised, He is a loving father, He is not in the business of harming us. He is in the business of perfecting us, He is able to use anything to bring that about. “In your book were written all my days even when as yet I had none …”

4. When Joseph said, “you meant it for evil but God planned it for good.” And when the verse in Romans says “all things work together for the good of those who love him” that means all things. He means all things, He means sins committed against you can be transformed into goodness in your life… which seems unbelievable. I think it does require us to give those things over to Him. We can’t forever sit and stare at the sins that harmed us. I think one of the things I learned fairly quickly is that while the sin another committed did impact me, did change me somewhat, and did cause pain to me and others … ultimately all sin is against God. And all sin ultimately highlights who we are without Christ as our Lord. 

5. It would be easy to sit and stare at events in our lives forever, but as Max Lucado points out, in Great Expectations Charles Dickens shows us what we become. We become Miss Havisham. Consumed with a wrong done to the point that we become embittered, trapped in one moment decades ago, focused on making others suffer because we have.

The mad, vengeful Miss Havisham, an elderly wealthy woman who lives in a rotting mansion and wears an old wedding dress every day of her life, is certainly one of the most memorable creations in the book. Miss Havisham’s life is defined by a single tragic event: her jilting by Compeyson on what was to have been their wedding day. From that moment forth, Miss Havisham is determined never to move beyond her heartbreak. She stops all the clocks in Satis House at twenty minutes to nine, the moment when she first learned that Compeyson was gone, and she wears only one shoe, because when she learned of his betrayal, she had not yet put on the other shoe. With a kind of manic, obsessive cruelty, Miss Havisham adopts Estella and raises her as a weapon to achieve her own revenge on men. Miss Havisham is an example of single-minded vengeance pursued destructively: both Miss Havisham and the people in her life suffer greatly because of her quest for revenge.

I do believe the desire of the enemy is that we do this. We focus in on ourselves, our hurts, our pains, how we’ve been wronged – rarely do we dwell so intently on how we’ve wronged others, hurt others. 

6. When we look at these things that have hurt us, correctly we should see Christ – who suffered for our sins and the ones committed against us, so that we don’t have to. I don’t deny that lives are changed and impacted. But … if God is sovereign, and He is … what good might He bring about, for us, through this? 

7. To allow bitterness to creep in rather than betterness we must have overlooked the sovereignty and the nature of God.

8. Forgiveness is something that can be granted without the request for it ever being made. You don’t have to wait for it – Jesus hanging on the cross didn’t wait for it. He prayed “Father forgive them …”

9. Difficulties do not necessarily end when you want them to – but God will sustain you through them for as long as they last. (Joseph was wrongly imprisoned for how many years?)  

10. The experiences that shape our character and cause us to walk closer to God have not, in my experience, come from the cloud-free, sunshine-y days. They have come from days of sorrow, they have come from pain, these are the days that I learned valuable lessons. 

11. Sorrow endures for a season but joy comes in the morning. It might not be the next morning … but it will return. I, or you, might say “Well, I haven’t experienced joy since the early 2000’s” I think that might be more about you or me than it is about God.

12. I know I’m very capable of choosing to be miserable at times, but that doesn’t mean God’s word is not true. 

13. Some days it’s very difficult to not give in to the old nature when the enemy is levelling those fiery darts at you. But those days pass and can be used to grow you. 

14. God will use your most painful experiences to bring hope to, and minister to, others.

15. He will most certainly bring beauty from ashes, breathe life into dry bones and turn your mourning into dancing.

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Nostalgia: a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past.

It caught my breath yesterday. 

More than once.

The year 12’s locker area is a bit too quiet and empty, a little like a ghost town. 

Macbeth is back on the shelves again. The tomorrows await the next cohort.

It happens every year, when the year 12s are meant to leave, they leave. 

This year though, it’s different. 

Never before have I felt quite so much like I was being left behind. 

Never before has this joy-filled rite of passage, hurt. 

Never before have I been left with what feels like a little hollow sitting in my chest. A little hole that’s at once empty and full of nostalgia. 

But then never before have two of our own children been among the leaving.

2020 though a difficult year has become the repository of some of my happiest and “achiest” memories.

Fellow parents, please tell me you are also feeling this ache. 

Even better — tell me the remedy.

Tell me that you know how to do the journey from newborn to adulthood without the bittersweet ache almost overwhelming you.

Tell me that you’ve found the way to hold all the different versions of your children in your heart at once so that it doesn’t engulf you.

It’s true, we won’t see them in their school uniforms again. 

He won’t nod at me on his way into the classroom. 

He won’t sit at that desk anymore. 

Yesterday she didn’t wander by, they didn’t wonder “when are we leaving” …

The school chapter has ended – as it should. 

I guess, much like the rest of the parenting path that has led to this point, we have never truly felt prepared for the next step. 

The next step for me, and maybe you too, might just be to walk through the nostalgia. 

I spent last week trying to avoid looking too closely at it, for fear I’d spend the week crying and missing other moments.

Yesterday I decided it was time to look into the void. And so started to process by writing but halted unsure of how to proceed — then this morning, this clip (below) appeared in my inbox. And all of a sudden I felt better.

Nostalgia means not only did you have good moments but you remember them. 

A life without nostalgia, is a perhaps a life that has not known happiness and joy, and to me that sounds worse than the present discomfort.

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It’s almost time …

As I followed him down the hallway last week, I was struck by the difference a few years can make. 

He’s much taller than me now, by at least a head. That same head that used to rest in the hollow of my arm. 

Day by day, the shoulders are becoming broader and stronger, and it becomes clear to me that the shoulders that once shook with sobs over small injustices, are built to carry loads all of their own. 

The feet now so many sizes bigger than my own, that once fitted neatly into the palm of my hand, are about to make their own way in the world.

If I could turn back the clock, just a little, I would.

Not for his sake – but for mine.

If I could wake up in the middle of the night to the cries again – I think this time I’d be more patient. 

I’d probably read an extra story or two each night, with the voices as requested. 

I’d sing a few more bedtime songs, and I’d probably even go and fetch more, much needed drinks of water. 

I’d definitely play with Lego more often. 

I guess the important thing now is to live these moments as they occur.

The school days are passing just as they are meant to, maybe a little too quickly for my liking. Wishing the earlier days back just means I miss now and now is beautiful too. Did I ever imagine I’d be discussing “Macbeth” or “King Lear”with that little guy who was requesting another reading of “The Gruffulo” with the voices ? I’m not conscious that thought ever crossed my mind! Yet here we are.  

That essence of that little guy is still there – he’s just older now, he’s wiser, but he’s still kind, he’s still joyful, he’s the things I’d hoped and prayed he would be. 

Maybe as parents we don’t realise that in order for them to become the people we hope they’ll be, we end up feeling a little left behind.

I didn’t realise that one day I’d be the one popping into his room for a chat. I didn’t realise I’d be wishing that time would slow down just a little. 

I’m beginning to understand the sentiment behind those “it goes so quickly, enjoy every moment” comments I heard as an exhausted, overwhelmed parent of a newborn.

But, it’s happening the way it should. He’s ready for the next stage – the school days are nearly done. 

It’s me who isn’t quite ready … but I’ve got a few weeks and I’m working on it! 

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It’s September already …

In a few months – two of my favourite people will be graduating from high school, in this, the year of Covid. 

The boy (mine-ours)

The girl (his-ours) 

To be honest I’m not sure how to process all that this year has thrown at us and them. 

It has been a year of lasts and a year of firsts. There was the obvious first of the disruption of Covid and then the challenges associated with the final year of school and being the first cohort through the new senior system in Queensland. 

While the year has been challenging for all of us – it has been a big year for our senior students. 

As parents of seniors we’ve been poignantly aware of the firsts and the lasts in the climate of a pandemic. But then as I reflected on it, I guess every year is a series of firsts and lasts, whether we are aware of them or not.  

It’s September already and so: 

one day soon we will have our final drive to school as two teachers and two yr 12 students. 

one day soon he will drop into my staffroom to borrow my keycard because he’s left his at home for the last time.

one day soon I’ll hear her, and her friends, laughing in the classroom next door, for the last time.

some time soon I’ll see him wandering to class with his friends, for the last time. 

some time soon I’ll ask “is your uniform clean for tomorrow?” for the last time. 

one day soon she’ll pass by my classroom giving her trademark peace sign, for the last time.

some time soon I’ll receive the last “when are we leaving” text message. 

one day soon I’ll see her face appear at my staffroom window, for the last time. 

one day they’ll both perform on that stage, where they both now appear to be at home, for the last time.  

and …

some day soon I’ll hear “Hello Mum” from a taller than me man-child in school uniform, for the last time …

It’s been a massive blessing to have driven to school with him almost every day for the past 13 years, and with her for a lot of the past 8. It’s been a great joy to be there and know that he’s there every day. We’ve come a long way.

In all of the bittersweetness, this year has also brought us an overwhelming pride that these two have made it. 

The two who are graduating have certainly both survived some challenges – especially in the past two years. These two are incredibly strong young people. Stronger and more resilient than most would give them credit for. They are two young people who have risen up and out of situations that would crush most. 

As far as I can tell we haven’t even begun to see what these two have to offer. 

I’m certain that everything they have been through will be used for good. I’m sure it already is being used for good. 

After all that’s what the God we serve does. 

He takes what was meant to harm us and uses it for our good. 

He takes the prison experience of one and turns it into the salvation of a nation.

He takes a desert experience and he brings about the redemption of his people. 

He takes weakness and pours in his strength. 

He takes scars and uses them to heal others. 

He takes hurts and turns them into blessings. 

He takes loss and converts it to eternal gain.

He takes mourning and fashions it into dancing. 

He takes ashes and transforms it to beauty.

He takes the lonely and settles them in families. 

He takes dry bones and breathes life into them.

He takes deserts and reshapes them into streams. 

He takes heartache and remakes it into a song.

the song

I guess that’s the way we look at the year as we move forward — it’s not the year we were expecting but then — when can we ever say that a year has been what we were expecting? 

All I know to do, is, to expect that there will be joy, there will be sorrow, there will be loss, there will pain, there will be growth. Each year we will hopefully exit wiser than we entered it. 

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Two expressions I’ve grown to appreciate a little more this week:

Keep Calm and Carry On

(til they tell you to stop)

This week I think I’ve started to realise what “Keep Calm and Carry On” really means and the importance of this axiom. With each new piece of advice from the government, we adjust and we continue on. As teachers, we are kind of tone setters for a significant number of people who are in our care each day.  And I think we are doing okay, the feeling of uncertainty and anticipation is a little exhausting … but calmness is the overarching theme.

Calmness, like panic, seems to be contagious, as are gratitude and joy. This is coming from the woman who this morning launched a full-scale cleaning assault on her nightstand in an attempt to regain some sense of control over things!  Of all the areas to focus on! So I’m clearly still in the learning phase.

Give us this day our daily bread

(or panadol, toilet paper, pasta, Ventolin)

With things as they are: the Planner (control freak) in me is working over-time. She’s seeing people stockpiling and wondering if she should, then remembering, of course, she shouldn’t be, the stockpilers are causing others to stockpile, which is causing panic … and remember we are going to “keep calm and carry on”. Then she sees someone stockpiling … repeat cycle.  She’s totally exhausting the part of me that wants to be laid back and calm who keeps repeating “the main thing is to be calm” …

The Planner is currently in check, she’s not stockpiling, but she is low-key planning ahead and raising questions like How am I going to cook bread? The Planner then gets Keep Calm me regretting my life choices .. why wasn’t I one of those “bread making” wives and mothers?? Why didn’t I ask for a bread maker at Christmas time in case this situation ever arose … (Pun because of the bread) In fact, requesting a bread-maker is actually the yeast I could have done for the family to avoid the bread shortage that is just around the corner. (It’s not really happening — Planner me is getting carried away again.) Before we go on, however, to my family reading this, neither Planner me nor Keep Calm me wants a bread-maker … or a Thermomix. That’s for those Thermo mixers out there who are about to attempt to sell us one. Yes, I know your Thermie can do everything… and yes I know you mean EVERYTHING. Yes, you can probably even make toilet paper in it if you pick the right setting. In fact, I expect once we are all in the inevitable isolation period yet to hit us full scale in Australia – your trusty ol’ Thermomix will whip up a few extras rolls of tp and then get right on to teaching the kids quadratic equations.

Seriously though, this thing isn’t going away and we need to be wise and we need to take it all day by day. That message here is for me by the way. The most confronting thing this past week for me has been realising how often in my life I actually believe myself to be in control, and I’m not. What I find myself being reminded of yet again is the perceived level of control I have over my life is little more than a single-ply toilet-tissue thin veneer …

That’s why the prayer Jesus modeled for us is about daily bread … necessities … not enough to stockpile, but enough for the day.

So, that’s just about it, my return to the blog is short, well because I have bread-making techniques to research.

Just to clarify there is no bread shortage … Planner me just trying to preempt one. I think what will happen is after the first attempt at bread, Keep Calm me will decide that maybe we can live without it for a while! Then the Planner will move on to other more serious considerations like; should we have bought chickens like our friends did?  We do eat quite a few eggs … and bacon … maybe we should have acquired some pigs?

Before I go some thoughts from Keep Calm me — a few gems to meditate on:

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We don’t need bread, please don’t give us bread … or chickens … or a pig … or a bread maker or a Thermomix … it’s hyperbole.

If you need anything friends, let us know .. ask or tell someone … there are people out there who will help and share!!

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It’s December the 24th … again.

If you watch enough Christmas movies you know what is meant to happen at Christmas. There’s meant to be a Christmas “miracle” of some sort, everyone is meant to receive that one thing that will complete them. The amazing toy that was sold out everywhere is found wrapped under the tree, the true love who suddenly appears in some miraculous way, the return of the wandering child.  At the end everyone is laughing and happiness is all around and Christmas is revealed to be a truly magical time for all. 

What we do know to be true is that Christmas is about redemption, it is about grace, it is about mercy … now for some of you that might mean, for you, Christmas is going to be difficult. 

For some of you all those Christmas movie expectations leave you feeling a little disappointed because for you, your Christmas is more akin to the Costanza’s celebration of Festivus. Perhaps the Ebenezer Scrooge in your life does not repent of his selfish, miserly behaviour, the grinch you know has a heart that continues to shrink and he follows through on his intention to make everyone suffer. 

For some I know this Christmas is the first without a dear loved one. We are praying for you. 

For some I know this Christmas comes at the end of a tough year, not just a “I didn’t get what I wanted” year — a year in which you were betrayed, let down, disappointed, abandoned, disregarded and ignored, a year of massive pain, massive heartache and hardship and one that has left you altered. This year you may have discovered that the ones who always swore they had your back didn’t, the ones who you were meant to admire and aspire to be, turned out to be mere mortals, or perhaps worse.

Your life is not a made for television Christmas movie. 

Your life is more like a gritty reality tv show.

The reality we need to remember is that Christmas is about a gift given. 

A gift that can be received gratefully or can be discarded callously. 

A gift that came in the form of a baby. 

A birth. 

The birth that we celebrate was a lonely one. 

It was a “far away from home” birth. 

It was a birth that was at once celebrated and despised. 

That baby born was the Light of the World.  

Maybe this year your Christmas is a lonely one – maybe you’re Ebenezer, maybe you are the one on the outside of the family, the one who has done the letting down. Maybe you’ve put self first so often that you are all you’re left with, maybe you are the one who has caused the pain, maybe you are the one whose actions have set a whole mess in motion and now you are paying for it. 

Maybe it’s time for you to look at what this time of year is actually about. 

It’s about the light entering the darkness, it’s about peace coming into a weary world, it’s about hope for the hopeless, it’s about joy replacing sorrow. 

It’s about you and the one you really need to know – not just Jesus the little baby, but Jesus the man. 

The One who was born to die for the pain you’ve caused, the wrongs you’ve committed, the damage you’ve done, your shortcomings and your failures. 

This year is different for us yet again – we’ve had some different ones in the past, this one is set to be different yet again. 

We will spend time with some of our loved ones, we will invest in the ones we are with and we will pray that the Light of the world, the One who we are celebrating will shine into the dark areas that are in conflict with goodness, light, life, grace, mercy, peace and justice. 


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Waiting … on or in?

Perhaps it’s because teacher me is marking and drafting at the moment or perhaps it’s because I’ve reached the time of year when my focus on things turns towards the hyper – but I’ve been thinking about the difference between waiting on and waiting in. What follows should not be considered a foray into some unchartered area of lexical discovery, nor should it be considered of academic value – it’s just one of the things I’ve been thinking.

The Christian life is one of waiting in God.

While waiting on God is what we are told to do, I’ve been thinking the way some of us talk about “waiting on God” seems a little passive. It sounds a bit more like wishful thinking. It often relates to the things we want … I think it rolls off the tongue too easily.  Comments like, “Oh well we’re waiting on God” are so often repeated and heard that they begin to sound a little empty, like platitudes. It’s difficult not to hear a bit of a negative tone to it – almost as though God is falling behind my plans – His timing is a little slack on this “thing” … and I’m waiting for Him to catch up with me.

I’ve been thinking that waiting in God perhaps has a better tone/connotation to it.  It seems less passive and more like a place of security,  a place of peace,  a place of comfort, a place of shelter, more like an act that is associated with relationship. In this case “in” is where you belong, where you are at home, where you are known, where you are a member of the family.

Waiting in God conjures the imagery of being surrounded by Him, the visual of being so close and so completely enveloped that neither of you has fallen behind the other. One is, in fact, carrying the other through the storms, trials, sorrows, and joys of life. The two are bound together, one is abiding in the other. In John 15 – there are some fairly clear guidelines regarding the life of a Christian – Abiding in the vine …. that has somewhat informed my thoughts around this idea – on the vine is something a passing beetle might do for a period of time.

Waiting in God through circumstances requires trust, you need to know Him to wait in Him. You need to know something about who He is,  and also something about who you are. It’s not possible to wait in someone, who you feel is inferior to you, and as long as you think God owes you something or God needs to work according to your time frame; whether or not you want to admit it, you view Him as inferior to you.  You won’t wait in someone who you feel has let you down, someone who has failed you, someone who is at your beck and call – that’s someone who is easier to wait on than wait in.

One more thing I have realised is when I am waiting in Him, the enemy can still take shots at me. In fact, you can guarantee the shots will keep coming. If I am in Him the shots aimed at me are absorbed by One who is greater. And maybe if they are really getting to me, I’m on the outside, like a passing beetle, instead of being inside — a member of the family.


Maybe all I’m suggesting is that as we wait on Him, which we all do, those times afford us the opportunity to examine ourselves as to whether we are also waiting in Him.


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Scarred …

Scars are incongruous with the life of ease we desire.

A life of ease does not include scars or pain.

A life of ease is one where self is satisfied

A life of ease does not lend itself to compassion.

A life of ease does not need a Saviour.

A life of ease does not need a Mediator.

A life of ease does not need a Redeemer.

A life of ease needs no Creator.

A life of ease needs no Sacrifice.

A life of ease is not the life of Christ.

The closer you draw to Him, the clearer your vision of the hands that are healing and ministering to you becomes, and with that clarity you see those hands are scarred.

Scarred because of your shame, your pride, your fears, your wrongs. 

Some days we forget that we have been called to follow one who suffered.

One who suffered






False accusations,





Scars are a sign of suffering, a sign that something went wrong – but they can also be a sign of reparation.

The life of ease you long for does await you.

It has been fought for and won for you. The scars He now bears are the scars He earned in that battle.

When we have difficult days that cause us to long for that life of ease, we need to remember that the difficult days are days that will be used to grow us more into His image. And the more we grow into His image, the more we have to recognise some of the most defining moments in our experience of being conformed to His image, result in scars.

After all, that’s how we truly came to know Him and His heart – through His scars. And it is our scars that draw us closer to Him.


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