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Monday, 24 October 2016

Princess Bride Reference Alert!



Do you remember watching the Princess Bride?  If you do, you probably remember it fondly.  My friend in high school’s family watched it so many times they could recite it word for word. And probably still can today.  

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The Daniel Diet



As a child who grew up going to church and as an adult who taught Sunday School; I am very familiar with the question which has been asked by many a child about the story of Daniel “Why did Daniel and his friends choose to eat veges and bread when all the other guys got to eat the good food?  Why didn’t they want to eat it? It doesn’t make sense!” This is a perfectly logical question for kids because being children they can’t understand why you would give up the best sounding food on offer!  I never felt like I gave them a very satisfactory answer and have never heard one… until now…

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

I'm so anxious right now



I don’t know if any of you cats out there struggle with anxiety but if the statisticians haveanything to say about it then there’s probably quite a few of you.  I have mild anxieties about the kids, life, money etc; the usual cast of characters, but it manifests itself in a little bit of an odd way for me (which I’ve heard is fairly common for anxiety).  Confession time:  I have to check the front and back door are locked twice before I go to bed and usually the same amount each time I leave the house.  This “tick” provides a fair bit of amusement and confusion among my family members but they go pretty easy on me and for the most part leave me to my oddity.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Yeezus vs. Jesus



As usual I’m a little behind the game in celebrity news.  A few weeks ago it was reported by the man himself – Kanye Westthat he was begging Mark Zuckerburg [facebook] and Larry Page [google] for 1 billion dollars to pay off his debts of *gulp* $53m.

It was a brash move which induced much eye rolling the world over but the more I pondered it the more I liked it!  I liked Kanye!  Whaaaa?  If you haven’t clicked away yet shaking your head slowly at the degeneration of yet another blog then allow me to explain…

Remember that story Jesus told about the prodigal son?  You know the one about the son who took his inheritance, blew it on fast living and came back to the father on his knees for forgiveness [and further support] whilst the other son despised his boldness and the father’s grace?  I think in the case of Kanye we were all too quick to be elder son, looking down our noses at Kanye’s begging instead of seeing our own position in the cosmos.

Because as Christians we must identify with Kanye on some level; for we are all as Luther would say “…beggars, this is true”.  Meaning that all we can do is come to God with empty hands of faith, hoping to receive his grace and mercy.  And the good news is that he is ready and will fill those hands with love and forgiveness and daily bread.

I doubt that Kanye will receive much from Mark or Larry but I hope that one day he also receives an inheritance without measure from our Lord Jesus.

sorry about the delay folks...

... my offline life has interfered a bit with my blogging lately.  Hoping to get back onto a monthly schedule :)

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The mystery of the John 3:16 placard



I was first introduced to WWF in my pre-teen years by my cousin Mark.  He also introduced me to Michael Jackson’s Bad album so it must be noted that he’s a decent bloke.  I had heard the boys at school discussing WWF at length but had largely ignored their fanboy fervour as I believed myself to be far superior to such nonsense.  Well, thanks to me Cuz I now had a secret love.  Was it the spandex outfits?  The outrageous makeup?  The mania of the stadium?  The over the top spectacle?  The fact that my book-loving cultured parents would not approve? Answer = D: all of the above.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Undefeated

Today we start with the people of Israel; with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  They live their lives and they are given the promises of God: you will be a great nation, you will have the land of Canaan and you will have an offspring who will bless the nations.  Knowing all of this; that God has chosen them for his purposes and has made promises to them which he will keep; will that change them?  Well, sort of.  But mostly the book of Genesis is the story of the people of God not trusting in God and His promises, of them going after their own desires and making a mess of things.  And of God bringing them back to himself again. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Wall-E cleans up



Following on from the hot mess post I was rewatching Wall-E during the school holidays and appreciating what an awesome movie it is.  And then the scene happens where Eve gets taken away to the repair ward on the spaceship after the plant has mysteriously vanished from her chest cavity; is followed by Wall-E who rescues her, accidentally releasing all the broken robots and causing mayhem in the process.  I was instantly struck by its parallel to the church.  Well of course! Hahaha!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

I wheely want to be more sanctified!

I had a bit of a look at the blog today and noticed that there's been a bit of talk about sanctification lately.  All good stuff but there seemed to be something missing... ah yes!  The trusty ACME patented "Super Sanctification Multi-tool".  Or Sanctification Circle for short. 

This simple tool will help you navigate the sometimes stressful topic of sanctification with peace and clarity.  OK, OK enough sales pitch... I present to you the Sanctification Wheel/Circle/Multi-tool:


Feel free to print it out, distribute to neighbours and loved ones etc etc if you find it helps you as much as it has helped me.


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Quitline and quitting sin



I reckon that Quitline deserve a medal.  Not only are they trying to help people to quit smoking but they nailed what the church is supposed to offer sinners too!  OK we, the church probably don’t need to be handing out nicotine patches or gum, we’ll leave that in Quitline’s capable hands, but the concept is there.

Let me explain:



Wednesday, 15 July 2015

You're a Hot Mess!!



I first heard the term “hot mess” on cult TV show Arrested Development.  Then reading craft blogs I noticed the term popping up again and again often referring to craft fails or the state of the crafter at the end of a project.  The Urban Dictionary defines the term “When ones thoughts or appearance are in a state of disarray but they maintain an undeniable attractiveness or beauty” although there are an array of different meanings for this term ranging from just completely unorganized and/or attractive to the not safe for work definitions.  For the purposes of this post though I’m going to go with the Urban Dictionary’s above definition because when I think about sanctification these days I think of it as a hot mess.  

 I used to think that when you became a Christian you started getting more holy, from the bottom all the way up in a straight line up to the clouds as you got better and better and in a few years I would be so holy and sanctified I would be amazing!  And nothing would go wrong!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Home is where the heart is


 About ten years ago our house was diagnosed with “leaky house syndrome,” which means that most of the framework of the house was slowly rotting away due to water leaking through the  cladding and not being able to escape again.  As a consequence last summer we had to move out for 6 months while it was stripped back to the framework, much of the framework replaced, and then re-clad again.  We were very fortunate to have a kind relative who had a small apartment in the city which we could camp in during that time.  

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Some of the Best "shirt under sweater" action you'll ever see

a repost from my old blog: Law and Grace in an Unlikely Place

Who wants to die right? Not me. What makes death bearable for a lot of us is that we don’t have to think about it most of the time. It always seems so much further off than things that are happening day to day and we can put off thinking about it. I’ve often wondered if people who are closer to death, like people in their 70 and 80s, do mental calculations about the short amount of time they have left and if it frightens them. I wonder if it will frighten me when I reach there (if I reach there).
In the movie Stranger than Fiction Harold Crick is a man who’s like most of us, just going through life and not really thinking about death, until one day his life is invaded by a voice from the heavens that begins narrating his life. The voice is scarily accurate and he wonders what is going on. One day his watch stops at the bus stop. He resets it to the time on one of his fellow commuter’s watches and the voice says “Little did he know that this simple seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.” Harold yells “What? What? Hey! HELLOOO! What? Why? Why MY death? HELLO? Excuse me? WHEN?” 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Shorn the Sheep



A little while ago we had good friends around for dinner; the husband is European New Zealander and the wife is Japanese.  We were reminiscing about our childhood, chatting about watching TV in the 80’s when the subject of the Dog Show came up.  Basically The Dog show was a show about sheep herding.  We only had two channels in those days so when the dog show was on prime time Sunday night you can bet your biz that most people were watching it (and discussing it in the playground the next day).  Well our Japanese friend just couldn’t believe it! and when you watch the clip below you probably won’t either but that was entertainment for NZ’ers in the 80’s. 

  

Another farming show started in the 70’s (which I still watch with great nostalgia) is Country Calendar.  I used to watch it with my grandparents and every time I watch it now it brings back great memories.  It’s along the same lines as the Dog show – showcasing NZ farmers and their lives.  Good Grandma TV you might say.  Anyways, last night’s season finale struck me at one point as worthy to talk about here.   

So the farmers had brought their sheep to the shearing shed and as the shorn sheep were exiting the shed the narrator said “freed from their woolly burdens the sheep go back to the pastures” and as he said this the sheep were leaping and “gambling” away.

It struck me that here was another aspect to the image the Bible paints of us; as sheep.  Yes we are foolish, going every which way.  Yes we need good shepherds [Jesus] with good dogs [pastors] to lead us into the right way [perseverance till eternal bliss] and yes we can be lead astray easily by wolves in sheep's clothing [bad pastors].  Life can be a struggle and burden for us sheep, as hard for us as a Japanese person trying to understand NZ culture.

But on that day when Jesus leads us to the shed from which none of us will return [death] and frees us finally and completely from our woolly burden of sin then we shall indeed enter the eternal pastures leaping and gambling for sheer joy.  Come Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

AIM pt 7: The Born Identity



 I’ve heard some women comment that they found having a baby hard because their identity changed or got completely swallowed by this new thing called “motherhood”.  I can understand that struggle especially in those first six months of all consuming baby nurturing but I feel that now that my kids are older I have recovered some of my former identity.  However there is one place where my motherhood reigns supreme.  

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

I like to ride my bicycle



One of the wonderful thing about living in an island nation is having a beach, no a number of beaches, on one’s doorstep.  The other day we went to Maraetai for a beach day and on the way we were passed by a gang of bikers; proper bikers with patches and everything.  Half of them were wearing shorts and tee shirts because they were on their way to the beach on their motorbikes.  Makes sense, cut out the middle man leather-wise, but ummm, what’s going to happen to you if you fall off your motorbike bro?

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Always wear sunscreen



Something happens when you hit 30; you look down at your body and wonder, where did all this sagginess come from?  And these lumps and bumps? And my skin!  It’s all wrinkled and discoloured and freckly.  It looks awful!  Ewww, I must be old or something.  What happened?  Well, like most others my age I had a wonderful childhood out enjoying the New Zealand summer, under the hot NZ sun.  In those days we were pretty ignorant of the sun’s destructive power and didn’t even wear sunscreen much of the time.  It was pretty common to come in after 4-5 hours of fun nursing sore red skin.  But now?  Not possible!  We now have a burn time of 7 minutes!  7!  And if you are a whitey like me and you stay out for more than an hour without sunscreen you will be nursing third degree burns.  It’s ridiculous.  Don’t even bother with sunscreen under 30SPF.

So I was saddened when we went holidaying with our extended family last summer that my nieces were enjoying the sun to it’s fullest; talking about how tanned they were getting and how their aim for the day was to get an even brown all over.  Now, granted they have olive skin and it tans a lot better than mine ever did.  They don’t burn and peel like I do but nevertheless they are still getting the same damage I received in my youth.  I’m thinking to myself “girls, don’t do it!  If you carry on this way you’re going to look like me!  Like me!  Noooooooooo!”  But that’s not enough to stop them.  As [teenage] human beings they live entirely in the moment and it’s almost impossible for them to see that they need to do things now which will pay off years in the future.  Just like I couldn’t see either and I live with the not so attractive consequences.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Au-some love...

Unconditional love: affection without limitations
      Love without conditions
      “Mothers/Fathers” love

A few weeks ago, I attended my daughters kindergarten Christmas presentation. Anyone who has been to one of these can picture the scene. Teachers flitting and fluttering, ensuring the children are where they should be, and that microphones are working. Mums and Dads and grandparents crowded into seats, settling extra babies, and making sure that cameras are at the ready to catch their little ones debut on the small stage.
When the production begins, you begin to notice the children. All dressed as wee angels and sheep and wise men. There are the ooohs and aahhhhs and claps for the children who have lines, and who pull them off perfectly. There are the few boys up the front who while the production continues are having their own joke, but who quickly remember to start singing with everyone else when the music starts. The crowd murmurs ‘oh how cute’ ‘they are doing so well’ ‘thats my girl up there, she remembered all her lines without a cue card!’.
Then there is the little girl at the back of the crowd of children on the stage. While the other children sing and wave at their parents, she plays intently with a stick of straw from the baby’s manger. She keeps her eyes down throughout most of the presentation. She looks confused when the other children sing.  When one of the other childrens angel wings keeps brushing her face, she looks agitated but holds it together. Eventually she starts crying, and one of the teachers helps her off the stage into her mothers waiting arms. My waiting arms. You see, this little girl, my little
 Hannah- has autism.
And while watching her on that stage, I felt such love and affection and admiration for my little girl. She may not have been one of the girls with the lines, who spoke beautifully. She may not have been the great singer, or the child who stole the show, or the boys who made everyone laugh with their little game.... but she didn’t have to be. She was my wonderful little girl, up on a stage with everyone else. She was just as excited as everyone else to get dressed into costume, and although it didn’t appear like it, I know there were parts of that experience she really enjoyed. My joy and love in her in that moment was overwhelming, not because she was the best, but just because she was her, and as her mother, my love for her is unconditional.
When I thought about it later, I realised that this is like Gods love for us. No matter how imperfect our performance is in this world, God loves us. It doesn’t matter if we are the kid at the front, saying all our lines perfectly, or the kid who wanders off the stage, God loves us fully and unconditionally.
It doesn’t matter if we are successful in this life, or if we fail and fall crying into the arms of our Father. He will be proud of us, and love us, and comfort us in either circumstance.
But unconditional love doesn’t just end there. It doesn’t stop at a powerful feeling of love and acceptance. Tim Keller, in his book Kings Cross , describes both conditional and unconditional love in a way that helps us understand Gods love for us even further. False love, or conditional love as he describes it is where you give your love and acceptance on the condition that you get something in return. This is a very human love isn’t it? Loving someone as long as they love you back, as long as they need you, and meet your needs and you feel accepted. True love, or unconditional love is loving someone regardless of what they do. It is loving someone so much that your aim is to “spend yourself and use yourself for the happiness of the other, because your greatest joy is that person’s joy”. Unconditional love is sacrificial, because you give of yourself to the other, without needing or wanting anything in return.
Although I was grateful to capture in a moment a glimpse of Gods love for us while I watched my daughters kindy play, I realise that as human I am not capable of the degree of unconditional love that God gives to us.
While I feel love for my daughter with all her good points and imperfections, and while I sacrifice and give all that I am to help her get every tool she needs to help her cope with autism (and am happy to do it), I have days when I despair at the lack of return. When I wish just for once the picture in my head of the two way relationship between myself and my daughter would come to life.
I have come to understand through all of this that Gods love and sacrifice for us is so much bigger than I ever imagined. That as much as I am overwhelmed with love for my daughter no matter what, God loves us more than that. That as much joy I take in the tiniest thing Hannah does, God takes joy in us more. That no matter how much I sacrifice for my daughter to help her on earth, God has sacrificed so much more to help us eternally.
God loved us so much, and so unconditionally, that he sacrificed his own son Jesus, to die for us, so that we would be able to spend eternity with Him in heaven.
While we ignore Him, forget He exists, become preoccupied with the things of this world, stress out about things we don’t understand- God has sacrificed all of himself for us, because of his great love for us.
And he doesn’t need or want anything in return. God has already sacrificed and showered us with his love and acceptance. We don’t need to prove how much we deserve it.
Hannah didn’t need to say all the lines right, or sing the right words, or even stay on stage the whole time. I didn’t love her any less when she cried and fell into my arms. I was just so happy and proud of her just as she was.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, he gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Santa truely satisfies

a repost from my old blog: Law and Grace in an Unlikely Place


I heard a great soundbite by Nick Lannon the other day about the way we celebrate special holidays.  He said that at  Halloween everyone dresses up as evil beings and gets given candy! While at Christmas Santa is keeping a list and checking it twice. If you’ve been a naughty boy or girl Santa knows about it and no presents for you! Just a lump of coal. In this way Halloween is now more of a Christian festival than Christmas he said. This is because the God of the Bible is all about freely giving “candy” (forgiveness of sins) to evil people who don’t deserve it. We don’t get forgiveness from God because we have met some kind of standard (like Santa’s list) but because He wants to give it to us. And He has through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection for us.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

AIM pt 6: Where do children come from?



Today we are going to talk about making babies.  But don’t worry, we aren’t going there.  We are going to talk about the mysteries of the gene pool; take two people’s genes, mix ‘em up and let’s see what’s gonna’ pop out!  Boy or girl, strong willed, passive, fearful, shy, happy go lucky, outgoing.  It’s a kinder surprise!

My husband and I would consider ourselves to be “give it a go” kind of people.  But thanks to the mysteries of the gene pool and God’s sovereignty we have been blessed with a girl who is very cautious and fearful.  Whew!  It’s a challenge!  Every time she learns a new skill we go through the same phases: complete and utter terror, followed by giving up at the smallest disappointment, followed by being told to try again, followed by crying and drama, and repeat; until slowly, very slowly she learns how to do it.  We haven’t managed to conquer bike riding yet though.  Perhaps when she’s 23 we’ll try it again…

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Beware your farts will find you out



We at Cross-Eyed are not above appealing to the lowest common denominator and no greater example of this scraping the barrel is fart jokes.  Watch the video below; it’s short and it’s totally not true (I think), but for the purposes of this post, let’s assume that it is true.  So suspend your disbelief…

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Everybody hurts... sometimes...




When you are sure you’ve had enough of this life, hold on…

Hold onto what?  Brian Wolfmeuller teaches us to hold onto Christ; who loves us and matures us in times of suffering, in this excellent Issues Etc episode.  Essential listening Christian!!  You have been told! ;)  

If you feel like you’re alone
 no, no, no
you’re not alone.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Come to the Dark Side... we have cookies...



https://p.gr-assets.com/540x540/fit/hostedimages/1380422443/840534.pngBefore I realised the extent to which the fall of man (you remember the Adam and Eve fruit scandal) had affected me I considered myself to be a pretty average Christian who was doing OK as far as pleasing God etc.  This would lead me to become very frustrated when talking with other Christians who (unlike me, I thought) struggled with sin and continued to struggle.  I was sinfully tempted many times to throw my hands up in despair and yell at them “would you just get over yourself and move past this?  Can’t you do that?  This very little thing?” (like I didn't struggle with things that I couldn't get over!! But I wasn't ready to admit that yet) and certainly the logical thing for them to do was say “of course!  Thank you for pointing that out, I’ll get on it right away!” then give up the thing they were struggling with and move on with their lives.  If only it were that easy… 

Luther talks about this struggle in the life of a Christian by using the Latin phrase simul justus et piccator - we are at the same time saints and the same time sinners.  We have been bought by God through his precious blood and cleansed from all unrighteousness; we are perfect in God’s sight and we have a new heart with new desires and yet, we have this old heart left over from the fall.  This “old man”Paul says, is still a sinner and he still wants to chase after these things which are evil and foolish and bad for us.  Being a Christian doesn’t make us functionally perfect and good; we are declared that way by God; functionally we are still sinners, we are still in this body of death.  

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VuqXbpDgGyU/Tbl2pvnx-CI/AAAAAAAAQrY/rxEMQLseydU/s1600/11755136a.jpgI think one of the greatest traps a Christian can fall into (and this is the one which I was living in for many years) with regards to their heart is to underestimate just how wicked it is.  Lord Vader’s warning; “you don’t know the power of the dark side” has never been a truer statement when it comes to the “old man” lurking in the shadows of our souls.  Paul warns the Galatian Christians that they have the potential to “consume one another”!!  I concur.  It only takes the slightest aggravation for me to turn from “sweet Christian wife and mother” (a rare moment believe me) to a “snarky, naggy, snapping at the kids and husband, hypocrite”.  I don’t seem to struggle to be that contentious woman I see in the mirror each day but I sure as heck struggle to be the good woman I want to be; a saint if you will.  

http://www.thefinancialblogger.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/a-new-hope.jpgPraise God that the way I get to sainthood is not by my own struggle.  It was already achieved by the struggle of Another.  He has given me “a new hope” that the war going on in my body has already been won, even if I won’t see the victory till my body has passed through the gates of death to life everlasting.  As Paul would say “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

For more food for thought (if our cookies weren't enough) go here.