Friday, 20 December 2013

Happy Christmas

I'm on holidays! Yah!
We have an ancient cottage set at the base of a beautiful mountain near Mt Barney without phone or internet. And we have it for six days. Now that's a real holiday!
However we did venture back as far as Beaudeserert today, so it's my chance to say Merry Christmas.
I do home you have a wonderful time celebrating Jesus, Gods great gift to the world.

As my gift to you, please read the poem below.

Love and blessings from Steve and I

Peace Application

Here is a Christmas greeting for your newsletter if your haven't printed it yet.  If you have that is fine.
Peace Application

News flash! Message just in!
Special Christmas offer on Peace
Just click here to download.

Peace. Ah! That elusive place we seek
That trouble free state where sickness doesn't exist
Where fighting is banished and worries are caged.

Life is a whirl of activity, a swirling mass do concern
A battle against overdue bills, illness and other enemies.
Is peace really available? It is this a scam.

No harm in looking!
For more information click here.
An application? It's an application!
A heart application?

Installed by the Father, on request
Activated by users choice. It features
A father to shoulder all the problems
A freedom brought by Jesus
A wisdom downloaded by the Holy Spirit
A safe place to rest in the midst of turmoil.

I warn it! Can I have it?
At what price, what cost?
Wherever is it? How do I get it?

It's available to all who seek it
A life time supply, unlimited stock.
Extravagant, yes, but paid in full by the Giver.

To download....
Sit quietly
Lift your hands and wait.
'Father, I accept your peace!'

Jo Wanmer 2013

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Grati-roo-ed, not grati-poo-ed

Again I'm counting my blessings. Being roo-thless. Or wishing I was roo-thless.
Let me explain.
Last week I was struggling to be thankful for poo, puppy poo and lots of it. (See last week's post if you don't know the story.)
Sunday night I fell into bed at 11pm. It had been a busy weekend, but a wonderful time with our friend Danny Steyne from the States. Last week we dealt with five Epipen episodes in five night and I hadn't yet recovered from losing sleep  Three of those nights I spent a large chunks of time in the Children's hospital. But in every episode I am grateful; grateful for epipens that arrest the swelling which threatens to close her airways, grateful for Ambulance teams, doctors and nurses. I'm grateful for free medical services that we enjoy in our amazing country.
But I was talking about Sunday night. My phone summoned me at 1.10am. Trying to waken after two hours of sleep, I drove through the country roads leading to my daughter's house. It was my night was to stay with my grand-children. I could go back to sleep. About five minutes out of town a wallaroo jumped in front of me. I braked, crossed to the wrong side of the road, trying to avoid him, but he crashed into the front of my car. Bang! I drove on, thankful my lights weren't affected, thankful I'd been awake enough to keep control of my vehicle.
Daylight showed considerable damage to the bumper bar. I'm grateful this repair, which will be covered by insurance will also fix the spot where I hit a rabbit at 2 am about three months back. It will also cover the rub where I drove too close to an un-moving object about a month ago.
Yes, a lot is going wrong and at times it is hard to handle. But this much I know. God is good, and we will climb out of this deep narrow place rejoicing! Until then I will continue to express a bit of grati-roo-ed with you all. :)

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Gratitude or, on this occasion, grati-poo-ed

   Pushing back waves of deep slumber, I struggled to surface.
   'What is that noise?' Tears and angry voices identified my grand-kids arguing. Nothing unusual about that...except the time. 1.30 am
   My brain ground into action. I was in my daughter's bed and the kids were my responsibility. Like a drunken sailor, I heaved myself off the bed and bounced off the walls, trying to find my feet.
   The  lounge room lights were on. I blinked, trying to focus.
   Miss six is wailing. 'I have dog poo between my toes.'
    A cranky Miss Twelve is standing near a pile of crumpled toilet paper. 'Stop yelling. I've cleaned it up!'
   Was this a silly dream? I tried to shake the crazy images away.
   No, I was awake.
   Are the girls acting out a nightmare?

   Then I see it. A trail of diarrhea puppy poo, camouflaged by the cork tiles, runs from the middle of the dining room down the hall. Pooey, puppy footprints lead off into the distance. Reality hits me about the same time as the smell.
   Watching every footfall to avoid brown puddles, I located a wet rag and cleaned both little feet, being careful to clean between the toes. She was still crying and refused to move.
   Miss twelve explained that there had been an accident. Her bed (where they were sleeping together) was wet. She was not happy.
   I sighed. 'Go and sleep in Mummy's bed.'  I'd been asleep there a few minutes ago, but I wouldn't be returning in a hurry.
   'C'mon.' She pulls at her little sister. Even in her tired frustration she still tried to care for her distraught little sister.
   'I'm not going anywhere until my Mummy comes.' Its tough on little kids when their Mummy is pulled off to hospital, without warning, for the night.
   'Whatever!' Miss twelve heads to bed alone.
   I surveyed the damage. My fuddles brain had no idea where to start.
   'Can't sleep in Mum's room.' The twelve year old returns. 'There's dog vomit on the carpet.'

   I'd preached that very morning, about fourteen hours ago. Since then I'd weathered one major family       disappointment, my beautiful grandchild had administered the epipen and gone to hospital by ambulance. On two hours sleep, I was now faced with a puppy poo disaster of epic proportions!
   The words of my own sermon rang in my ears. 'Is your cup empty? God wants to pour out His Spirit so you will never thirst again.'
   I had related the story of how the Lord stripped me of pride and self sufficiency so I could encounter more of Him. Brave words, spoken from a pulpit, mocked me from gleaming, smelly, brown puddles of poo.

On my hands and knees, with toilet paper and spatula, I had to return to basics.
'In everything give thanks.' I knew that was the road to victory, but it took a while.
'Lord, I thank you that  this poo is on tiles, not on carpet. I thank you Lord, that I can do all things.I thank you for your strength that never runs out.'
So in grati'poo'de, I cleaned the house.
As for the great Dane puppy? She's still alive but now sleeps outside at night.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Its been a while

    Sometimes life dips deep into the unknown. In these places I hang on to God, close my eyes, pray for supernatural strength and grace. Then I wait in faith for the ride to level out again. And level out it will.
    But on the ride my brain seems to recede - or maybe it is over used? So the body protects it. I watch very little television, read less books and more of the Word, and write seldom! So I apologise for not communicating with you for so long.
    But I've been clawing life back in a few areas.
    My legs became very weak, due to drugs for high cholesterol. I replaced the drug with coconut oil and have been rebuilding strength in my muscles, with the help of a dear friend who regularly massages the knots from my hips and calves.
    Little by little, I have increased my walk from a slow kilometer to about three kilometers at medium pace. This morning, I decided to try my favorite route, the one I had followed most days of the week, until my legs made it appear impossible.
   I did it quite easily! What an adventure!
   I paused on the little wooden bridge to absorb the reflections, watch the ducks and marvel at dragon flies. 
    Walking further, I saw this koala, one of many in the trees along the creek. They are always well camouflaged. Fellow walkers on the track exposed this fellow's perch. Doesn't he look unsafe? They sit on the thinnest branches!

    The creek is bridged by our local shopping center. Here I met a group of local walkers who feed eels, water fowl, and ducks. I watched the baby water fowl, chasing their parents on long gangly legs, their little red beaks flashing in the sun. Leaving there, my attention is drawn to the big black crow flying across the car park, a helpless mouse hanging from his beak.
     Heading toward home, I'm alerted by a familiar thump on the ground. I scanned the bush until I spied this little wallaby. (Can you see him?) His family lives in this tiny bit of scrub that is bordered by a road, the shopping center, creek and a park, but rarely do they allow themselves to be seen.
    Although it is only a kilometer to walk around the narrow strip of reserve, from my house it is a three and a half kilometers circuit. But I arrived home invigorated. I feel so fortunate to live in such a place. However there about a six hundred homes within a kilometer of this miniature wildlife wonderland. 
    How many people know? Have they taken the time to explore?
    What about you? Where is your closest nature retreat? It may be closer than you think.
    As for me, I think I'll go back again tomorrow. Be strong, legs!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

It wasn't what I expected

   Its part of the family really. Papua New Guinea is only about 150 kilometres, as the crow flies, from the tip of Australia to land fall. Whereas the same crow would have to fly 200 kilometres to reach Tasmania from the Aussie mainland.
   When I went to school, PNG was part of our nation. I've always imagined it as being Australia's beautiful foster daughter who grew up and left home; independent  but still part of the family. So I jumped at the chance to go and visit this long lost sister.
   With great excitement, I left about a month ago with six others. Our destination was Lae. Our aim was to spread the love of Father God as far as we could reach. But, unlike many who have gone before us, we weren't blazing trails through impassable jungles or climbing high mountains  No, my trip was very civilised and organised. We'd been invited by a local church in Lae to teach their leaders and pastors. We travelled in cars, buses and planes. We ate good food and slept in comfort.
   I was prepared for the heat and humidity, for the red gooey stains of chewed beetle nut, for dark-skinned sisters who could understand English, but would prefer to speak in Pidgin. I also knew that the Australian government recommends that one only travels to PNG if necessary. But I was only going to the two main cities, Port Moresby and Lae, so I felt confident - then surprised!
   I found a sister that has let herself go. She hasn't followed the Australian way of life. Everywhere the taxi went, I could see evidence of of her temporary Aussie influence in the form of roads, bridges and infrastructure. Yet the massive potholes, broken footpaths, and decaying rubbish was evidence that she preferred her old way of life.
   At night we slept secure, knowing that there was an armed guard outside, twenty four hours a day. When we asked if about going to the shops, someone always accompanied us. Our handbags were locked up in our units. It wasn't safe to carry anything that didn't fit in our pockets.
   When we drove over the bridge (on the right), our driver told us of witches being burned at the stake, recently. He pointed to the hills and told us about witchdoctors.
   We wished we could stop and explore these colourful markets (left) until one of our new friends in our school told us the facts. These markets are the drug and gambling markets. No wonder everyone there had vacant eyes.
   The house on the right belongs to one of our students. Her family carries all their water from the river, and washes their clothes in the flowing water. All their food comes from their gardens. The stables are taro, other root vegetables, bananas and coconuts supplemented with a little canned fish.
   One day there was a tribal march down the street in front of our church.  Trouble was brewing. A man had been killed. The other tribe were looking for retribution. For our new friends this was normal activity. No big deal.
    In the midst of all this, I was delighted by a nation of lush green trees, vibrant flowers and warm, generous, colourful people. Everywhere we looked there were wonderful mountains, flowing streams, contrasted with dust and dirt. And lots of people, travelling on foot, or loaded into the back of lorries, going shopping. After I preached at one of the churches, I was showered with gifts of fruit from wonderful loving people. This church was overflowing with worshippers, hungry to know more of God.
   Why has such beauty become so corrupt? Why has PNG fallen back into a third world economy? Why aren't they enjoying the abundant blessings of our nation?
   I believe the difference is hidden in those mountains. The people we met know God Almighty and worship Him. However most of them belong to tribes. Many of their relatives still practice witchcraft.
   The Bible is very clear. We can choose blessings or curses. Its our choice. Worshipping the Lord, and no other god, brings blessing. Serving any other power brings curses. Never before have I seen such compelling evidence of this spiritual law.
    I returned home humbled and subdued. What about Aussies? Is Australia still a Christian county? For generations we have reaped the blessings from seeds of faithfulness sowed by our forefathers. But soon we must start to feel the consequences of abandoning the one true God. As a nation we worship false gods like sport, addictions, comfort, abortion.... We can not flirt with our gods and stick our heads in the sand in denial, pretending there won't be consequences.
As part of the Australian church, I am challenged to humble myself and pray and seek His face so we will turn away from our wicked ways. Then He can come and heal our land.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

It seems like yesterday...

   Forty-two years!
   It seems like such a long time, and yet it doesn't seem long ago. But life is like that. It passes by at such speed, yet often days seem to drag.
   But as I was is forty-two years today since Steve and I were married. Forty-two years of shared happiness, sorrow, joy, tears, frustration, arguments, devastations, surprises and yes, sometimes even boredom. We have experienced most of what life can dish up and now we embark on our future years with all that experience and commonality.
   I was married as a twenty year old. My expectation was for a family with lots of kids, maybe five,  leading a normal, always happy life, for ever after. It never occurred to me that one day I'd be old, or that I'd be married to an old man, though I did expect in years to come that I'd have a bald husband. At that time, I thought anyone over forty was ancient!
   And I never expected to have to wash windows, or clean the loo, or wipe up vomit in the middle of the night. As I said...I was young!
   Once married, we soon discovered we had different expectations. I thought a husband always bought his wife a cuppa first thing in the morning. That's what my Dad did. Didn't that happen in all marriages? He expected long cosy mornings, sleeping in as long as possible and couldn't grasp the concept of a wife who wanted to get up early enough to see the sunrise! By the end of the honeymoon some realities were beginning to set in!
   Then, despite our plans, children didn't come either. Adoption bought us our two wonderful children, but there was no hope of three, let alone five. (Steve was secretly relieved about that!)
   So forty-two years later I look back. Has life been easy? Has marriage been all joy, love and laughter? No, but its been good...very good!
   I'm thankful for an amazing husband who understands everything about me - well the basics anyway! I'm grateful for his steadiness and steadfastness that has been an anchor stabilizing my impulsive and crazy ways. I'm pleased that my impulsive and crazy ways have stretched him to greater adventures and achievements than he ever dreamed possible.
   I'm thankful for the really hard valleys that have trained us, strengthened us and led us into a deeper relationship with God. When I look back over my life together, the stand out memories are those times when we have helped each other get through the seeming impossibilities that life has thrown at us.
   And I'm thankful for eight wonderful grandchildren! What a privilege it is to be a grandma.
   But mostly I'm thankful for a marriage covenant that has melded two people together; the commitment that held us close through the storms and trials. Its the tough places that produced our oneness, a unity that's only possible when two individuals have been tempered by life's fire.
Now, leaning on each other, we can walk into the most exciting years - they are just in front of us. Yes, we are privileged. Not many are as fortunate as we. We count ourselves blessed!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Suddenly the evening changes

   My iPhone dings. I jump. At 10.10 pm it makes me nervous.
   I grab it from the coffee table. 'Epipen given. Can you come?'
   Typing a quick reply, I turn to my husband and our visitor. 'I'm sorry. I have to go'. My granddaughter is having another anaphylaxis episode.
   Within a couple of minutes I'm driving, trying to watch the speed limit, hoping I can get to my daughter's house before she has to board the ambulance with her thirteen year old.  I know her tongue would be swollen, threatening to fill her mouth. The swelling in her throat would be trying to close her wind pipe. I also know the Epipen would lessen the reaction, but I pray as I drive. For now my role is to stay the night with the her two smaller sisters.
   When I arrive, there are two ambulances. A local one that responds quickly and a resuscitation unit that follows up and will transport her to the Children's hospital. There are four uniformed people surrounding her bed. She is sitting up. To the untrained eye, she looks fine.  On arrival they administered an injection of adrenaline and now her air passages are clear again.
   One of the ambos, who hasn't been here before asks, 'Do we really need to take her in?'
   'All the way to the Children's?'
   'But she can walk to the car?'
   The guy who has attended her on other occassions explains. 'We walked her up the drive way once. It took us nearly an hour to stabilise her on the street before we could leave. This girl may look fine, but she rebounds without notice.'
   The rookie goes to get the stretcher. They pack up and go. I cuddle her twelve year old sister, check the sleeping five year old and settle into my daughters bed. I've lost count of the number of times I've done this. Sadly, we are getting used to it, but tonight is a little more challenging. Tomorrow is Mother's Day.
   The next morning I hold a little girl as she sobs. 'This just shouldn't happen on special days. It's wrong! I want to give my Mummy her presents.'
   'Yes, darling. It's wrong.'  I agree. The whole illness is wrong!
   Together we get dressed and head into the hospital. Our patient should be discharged by the time we get there. But today doesn't go as planned. They have to treat her at 9 am and then again later that night. We celebrate motherhood, in the hospital, with a bar of chocolate. The other girls find places to play for the day. Hospitals are boring!
   That night, I gather them home and ready them for school in the morning. My daughter tries to sleep in the hospital on a dodgy recliner, for the second night running. My granddaughter has a bed but she's unhappy. Her body is now filled with adrenaline  It saves her life every time, but it leaves her full of energy, confusion and frustration.
   This week is Food Allergy Awareness week. The organisers suggest everyone wears one painted fingernail to draw awareness to the problem. Now one in ten kids are allergic to one or more foods.
    What is my granddaughter allergic to? They tell us she is allergic to her own hormones. The doctors are trying their very best, but, in reality, they don't know how to treat it, let alone cure it. (See previous blog)
   There are two other girls with the same condition.     We often run into them in the Emergency department of the Children's hospital. One of those girls has had over 200 doses of adrenaline. She has been affected for two years.
   So can I encourage you to paint one finger nail, and tell others about the affect of allergic reactions.
    Look up anaphylaxis on the internet.
Share this blog and .... pray for a miraculous respite for these girls.


Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of allergic reaction and is potentially life threatening. It must be treated as a medical emergency, requiring immediate treatment and urgent medical attention.
Anaphylaxis is a generalised allergic reaction, which often involves more than one body system (e.g. skin, respiratory, gastro-intestinal and cardiovascular). A severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis usually occurs within 20 minutes to 2 hours of exposure to the trigger and can rapidly become life threatening. Taken from

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Truth or TRUTH - which will you listen to?

   I wont accept it!
   I don't care what the internet, or the doctors or anyone else says. I won't accept it.
   No, I haven't got my head in the sand. I can hear what is being said. I understand the evidence and to the world it may look like the truth.
   But there is truth and TRUTH. There is perceived truth and there is God's TRUTH.
   Let me explain.
   Years ago we listened as a Psychiatrist delivered her prognosis. 'If she survives, she will need counselling every week for the rest of her life. She will likely never marry, drive a car, have a job...'
I tuned out. Yes, this was the truth as the doctors understood it. In other words  they were admitting they couldn't really do anything to cure her. They could try and help her live an existence far short of her potential and her destiny.
   However, several months earlier, a young man of God had given us a higher hope. 'Though the bud be bruised there will be a flower'. This was God's promise. After we left the doctor's office we made a choice. We would not accept the doctor's truth. We understood they would operate through that paradigm, and we would work with them where possible.
   But we would cling to the TRUTH. God had promised a flower. We looked for a flower. We prayed for it, waited for it and focused on it.
   Was the road easy? Did we see an instant miracle? No. But God proved himself to be faithful. We saw a beautiful flower. (You can read all about it the in the book 'Though the Bud be Bruised'.)
   Now I find myself in a similar place. Our granddaughter has now had more anaphylactic episodes than I can count over the past five weeks. Twice on Monday ambulances silenced their sirens outside her home. They stabilised her, and then transferred her to hospital.
   Her problem is fickle. One moment it is threatening to shut off her airways. An hour later she can look fine, as though nothing happened. Six hours later it can rebound for the whole process to be repeated.
   Doctors believe she is allergic to her own hormones. It is like trying to avoid an invisible enemy that lurks constantly within you. Medics are trying to get permission from the Governor General to administer drugs that may or may not help her, but come with nasty side affects.
   However, I have a promise for this battle; a simple promise. "Nothing was missing." Before David was made King, the enemy raided his town and took everything; houses, possessions, wives and children. But he pursued the enemy relentlessly. They marched and fought until they were beyond exhaustion. They recovered everything. Everything.
   And as a vile unseen enemy tries to rob, kill and destroy within our family, we will fight. God has promised me victory with 'Nothing missing.' Everything will be recovered.
   I choose to believe the TRUTH. After all Jesus gave His life so we could walk in victory. To accept anything else would be dishonouring to my God.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

How much do you love me?

How Much do you love me Lord?

I was told to ask the question and then write. Would He say anything? 

"As vast as the ocean
As high as the sky
As long as the rivers
My love for you knows no bounds
It has no beginning and it has no end
It is unfathomable and un-understandable to your mind.

It is thicker than honey
and freer than air
Flowing like water
It seeps everywhere

My love for you caused me 
To come to the earth
My desire to know you
Drove me to die 
And if that wasn't enough
I would give more
For I want to spend eternity with you
Cause I love you, I love you, I love you."

Yes, He loves me and He loves you!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Midnight prunings promise more fruit

   He woke me at 11 pm. I was in a deep sleep and struggled to pull my thoughts through my confusion.
   'I think we need to chop down the guava tree.'
   'You woke me to tell me that?'
   'We need to take it now!'
   My husband is a quiet conservative man, and he never gets drunk. My poor foggy brain knew he was trying to explain, but my body was demanding more sleep.
   'It's breaking the roof and I think it will blow down and destroy the paving.'
   With a great effort I calmed my heaving stomach and followed him outside into the howling gale, the remnants of the cyclone that was covering half of Queensland in water. The offending tree was banging into the roof and breaking the sheeting. As the tree swayed in the wild wind, the root mass was heaving the dirt around the trunk. Yes. This tree was doomed to fall.
   So together we went to work. Reluctant to start the chain saw and shatter the neighbourhood's slumber, he found his best pruning saw and a long rope. Unfortunately the tree had multiple trunks, but none of them were more then ten cms through. Each branch stood about 5\five metres high. To avoid the tree falling on the house, he attached a rope to each trunk and sent me down the back yard to pull.
   I cut a glamorous figure, dressed in shortie summer jammies with my bed hair blown by the gale. But, miracle of miracles there was a break in the torrential rain.
   'Pull harder!'
   'I'm trying, I'm trying!' I wrapped the rope around my waist and pulled. I'm willing but no longer fit and forty. But together we conquered the task, rescued the house and retreated to bed as super heroes.
   The next morning our yard looked like a disaster zone. So many trees broken. The bare stumps were a testament to midnight craziness!
   All the trees and shrubs have been cut and chipped, and every stump, no matter how battered, is beginning to sprout new growth. As I walked the yard last week, after writing my blog, I saw the deeper message.
   'Every branch that bears fruit, will be pruned.' 
   The storm had battered our yard, but Steve had then pruned it - dramatically! But life continues. Under the right conditions there will be fruit again, more fruit, better fruit.
   So whilst I feel battered and bruised by many of life's events (See blog below), the Gardener is busily pruning to help me recover, to bring more out of my life. He promises that every branch that bears good fruit will be pruned to be even more fruitful.
   Once again, I rest back in God's arms in peace. He is a good God. His plans can't be destroyed by a few storms. The pruning saw may grab a bit and bring tears to my eyes but I'm so glad He is in charge.
And I'm excited. More fruit is coming. I can't wait.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Tough seasons don't last, but they sure test you on the way

   ‘And I...and I...’  Miss Five was doing her best to explain the excitement of being confined to a hospital bed in an isolation ward. ‘I can have brekkie, lunch and dinner in my bed! And they moved me from one place to another on my bed!’
   The last few days have been one of those times you’re glad you only have to live it once! In the past six months our family has walked some challenging roads. Five or more times, we've seen the inside of emergency rooms. 
   One time a granddaughter arrived in ambulance in full spinal precaution. Another trip ended in an appendectomy. Then, on another occasion, we were given an appointment for an MRI where they were looking for a ‘space invading lesion in the brain’. And now the littlest one has one arm attached to an IV machine and the other hand lying idle as it is covered with massive blisters. As well as that we've discovered the wonders of epipens. This is a small device that when activated injects enough adrenalin into ones system that it stops life threatening allergic reactions. Three times in eight days they've injected into one of my kids as she is grabbing at her throat, struggling to breath.
   As I tell this story very calmly all appears to be well. However, perchance I had put on my novelist hat and helped you experience the emotion of these last months, it would be a different story! And where was God whilst all this is happening?
   To answer the question, let me tell you another grandchildren story. Some years back, we were blessed with two baby granddaughters in one year. They were born healthy, strong and gorgeous. When the first one was six days old, she was rushed into emergency with raging temperatures. Doctors did a spinal tap, looking for meningitis. They inserted a drip into her tiny veins and poured antibiotics into her for eight days before her exhausted mother could bring her home to her brother and sisters.
   When the second beautiful baby was about three months old, her mother, for some unexplainable reason, checked her in the night. Her skin was burning hot. They raced to the hospital where doctors did a spinal tap and then administered antibiotics.
   I was mad, hopping mad! What was going on that two of my little babies would have to suffer this way. Where was my God? Why wasn't He on the job?
   So I went to God demanding answers. ‘What is going on? These are my grandchildren! We've prayed for them, covered them with your protection. How could you let them suffer this way?’
   In the silence, after my ranting was spent, I heard a little voice. I could sense the pain of one falsely accused.
   ‘But, Jo. I saved them both for you.’
   Those few words broke my anger and humbled me, moved my complaint into worship. Yes, they could easily have died, have become statistics in the cot death numbers, or be among those who succumb to meningitis. God did work on my behalf.
   So as I reflect on these few days of drama, I am thankful; thankful for medicine that is fighting infection, thankful for doctors, thankful for an epipens that save lives. I'm thankful for the loan of my friend’s car. Thankful for countless little things. I'm thankful that God looks after our finances and so there is no need for me to count the dollars as they fly out of my purse. He will meet all our needs.
   I watch and pray as assault after assault hits my family. I know this is a season and it will pass. God does have all things working together for good - for everyone’s good. I'm expecting great things after the battle. All battles do end and I know the plunder will be good.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

This Time its Divorce

    This time it is divorce  I'm determined. I've threatened it before, but never carried through. There is always some excuse, some lame look that makes me run back.
    Why? Why do I go back to the abuse and the lies? Why do I swallow the perception that she is good for me? She is so attractive that I end up succumbing again. When freshly dressed in white, accompanied by her heady perfume I'm putty in her hands. She is so soft to touch and comforting.
    Yet our relationship always leads to abuse. Although my belly is often swollen and sore, there is never enough evidence to bring a clear conviction that she caused it. I feel the pain, but if anyone else notices they don't connect it to abuse by this long term partner of mine.
    I can't remember when this relationship began. I know I was only little, maybe only one. I do remember as a child frolicking extravagantly with her. Even then, I felt the abuse in my gut, but didn't connect the two.
    She arrived every Wednesday and Saturday, just in time for lunch, always dressed in white with that strong, heady perfume. All other friends were pushed aside at the table as she took pride of place, usually with jam and thick cream. I guess what followed was a gluttony of sorts but we saw it as a celebration and I ignored my mothers dire warnings.
    As I grew older, I left home for boarding school and then college. She followed. I distinctly remember spreading Vegemite and jam (yes, together) with her at boarding school. Somehow in those days, the softness and aroma weren't the same. Not being so attractive, I wan't so co-dependant and the abuse was infrequent.
   But in the last twenty years, I've seen the facts more clearly leading to times of total separation. You know the story. "Get out of my life! You have nearly destroyed me! Look at me! Fat, bloated, blotchy and depressed. I'm blaming you. Now, get out."
   And I remain strong, resolute, determined until one day, with out warning, there she is. She walks in beside the grand kids or turns up at my elbow at a public function, unavoidable, soft, fragrant and so attractive. I justify a short interaction, just for old times sake. But like smoking one cigarette, it is hard to say goodbye and walk away. Soon I find her back in my house and I indulge in long sessions of deep intimacy. We pull out butter, cheese, jam and honey and enjoy each others company.
   Then I realise - I've been hoodwinked again. I throw her out! She doesn't resist, just smiles and gives me that  knowing look. 'I'll be back.'
   These days I've done some snooping. I discover that she has been charged with abuse. Yes, an invisible abuse that results in bloating, discomfort and, in the long term, obesity and other nasty conditions.
   So I'm resolute. Here in this public forum I declare: "White bread, I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you! Be gone. I will never commune with you again.'
   I've done it! Victory! She's gone.
   I do hope she takes her relatives with her. Though I will miss Swiss Grain loaf, banana bread and rye wraps. Do you think it is okay to visit her family occasionally?

Monday, 4 February 2013

Floods of water and gratitude

    Just before the Australia day floods a young girl gave birth to a baby boy. No, not these Australia Day floods. The big ones, back in 1974, when the unbelievable happened. The river flooded to heights that we couldn't imagine, but were seen on our TV screen. We were stranded behind flooded rivers and broken bridges and it was days before I could join a mud army. One day, sifting through one china cabinet, redeeming crystal glasses from gooey, stinking mud, was enough for the smell to permeate my memory for ever!
    But I digress. Back then in 1974, during the rain that always precedes a flood, a young girl birthed a gorgeous child. And I will be forever grateful. I imagine she was overwhelmed and frightened by the experience. I hope her home wasn't flooded after she walked away and left her baby for us to raise.
    Over the years as we've watched this baby grow and develop into a strong well balanced young man and then embrace the challenges of fatherhood, I've often thought of her. Does she think of him, her son? Does she think of me?
    I know she is lovely. Her son is a wonderful man. He carries her DNA. I also know she requested her little boy be placed in a Christian home. She cared enough to do the best she could do for him.
I wonder...where she is now? Does she have other children? Is she a grandmother?
I'd like to meet her, to say thank you, to hear her story and give her a hug. But our common son chooses not to find her, and that is his choice. He claims I'm his mother so why should he go looking for another. As I said he's a lovely son.
    But as the deluge of water fell on our state at the time of his birthday, the memories flooded back. I remember again a young girl, labouring on my behalf, bringing me years and years of love, joy and pleasure.
    If you are listening, please accept my gratitude.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Disposing of things that breed in the night.

    Where does it all come from? Does it breed? Do ghosts add to the piles in the middle of the night? And why my place?
    I've seen pictures of other desks that are tidy, clean and attractive. Why is it always my desk that is covered with untidy piles of paper, containers of hand cream, various dead pens, old Christmas cards, shopping vouchers, crumpled receipts... Isn't it my turn to be pristine, to have an office that would look charming in one of those glossy magazines?
    Then it hit me. "This desk could to be faulty. Maybe I need to buy a new one."
    I raised the idea with Steve. He laughed, pointing out that only my side seems to be malfunctioning.
    We share a desk. It is old, antique even, and very large. It is configured with two towers of drawers on each end of the desk top. One set of drawers faces his side, one opens to my side. We sit looking at each other - well we would except I have a very high, wide computer screen that blocks his portion of the desk.
    Walking around my screen, I surveyed his side. It didn't quite fit the glossy magazine image, but it seemed to be functioning much better than my side. That would be right. His part of our joint world is always more ordered.
    Returning to my chair, my shoulders slumped. I considered dropping my head upon my folded arms in the magazine posture of despair. But...there is no room on the desk for my arms.
    Then, in a flash of inspiration, or was it frustration, I understood! The problem is I!
    Why can't I be more like him? I marched outside and wheeled in the rubbish bin.With the broom I could sweep it all away, and then my desk would be clean.
    But, I couldn't. Everything seemed too valuable. There was the recipe for Peppermint Coconut Bark, the BAS forms, addresses that must be kept, unpaid bills,  invoices to be entered in MYOB, CDs of old sermons, and grand-kid's paintings. There were the sketch drawings for the book I started over a year ago, the character sheets for the one I started last year, the notes on another. The more paper I moved, the more treasures were disclosed.
    After returning the unfed wheelie bin, I sat in my chair and developed a plan. I will deal with a bit each day. I will use the filing cabinet. I will dispose of the eight A4 bound copies of early versions of Though the Bud be Bruised. I will!
    Is the plan working?
    There is definite progress. Now the mouse can move! That's a great help.
    Tonight I found a card. Opening it, I read, "To dearest Jo - writer of wonderful, soul-searching books".
    And I remember. I'm unique, made in His image to do the work that only I can do. I walk to the beat of a creative drum. I'm spontaneous rather than ordered. I enjoy being innovative rather than tidy.
    Now, if I can only find that piece of paper....

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Not this girl - I'm not addicted

    I'm not an alcoholic! Nor am I addicted to nicotine or and kind of drug. No vices for this girl.
    I started smoking in my teens. I remember the day I purchased my first packet, telling myself that a few smokes wouldn't do any harm. By the time I had smoked half the packet, addiction was wrapping its tentacles around my throat. The fear of my mother made me quit. I balanced the remaining filthy weeds on their filters, lit them all and watched the ashes of my smoking life.
    For years I've walked in that self righteousness that comes from escaping the snare. But, if I'm honest  my addictive personality is exposed in other places like the bathroom scales! Recently I've discovered that some people can become addicted to carbohydrates. I didn't know such a thing was possible. I mean, you don't hear carbohydratics talked about very often.Where are the support groups? Weight loss groups you suggest? But they spend all their time discussing new and innovative ways to eat more carbs. I know. I've been there.
   Surely I'm not an addict. I can control my eating. When I wake in the morning, I give myself a pep talk. You can do this. Only two pieces of fruit (sob) and two pieces of whole grain bread. Easy.
    Well it is easy-  until I finish the first piece of fruit, or toast. Have you ever noticed that one piece is never enough? My body demands more. So I come up with some clever justification and have another. Then the chocolate jumps out of the pantry and assaults me. With a great struggle I push it back but not until a couple of slabs have accidentally fallen into my mouth. While in the pantry, I pull out the savoury biscuits. Feeling smug now because I've beaten the sugar, I spread crackers with butter and Vegemite. This is better. I need the vitamin B.
    I settle in my chair with crackers and that little oblong device that helps me while away time. I won't play long. I have things to do. Soon the plate is empty. I finish this game of Sudoku and grab a few more biscuits. Luckily I've left the spreads on the bench. I'm hurrying now. I need to try and better my score at Sudoku.
To free my hands, a whole biscuit jumps into my mouth at a time. Two hands are more efficient and enable me to get a better score in the game. I push away the empty plate. I don't want any more. See I can say no to carbohydrates.
    My fingers punch numbers into the grid on the screen. I watch the score. This may be a record. Just then the home phone rings. I pause. Oh, no. I've let myself become distracted! I pull my attention back to the task at hand. I'm relieved when the phone stops ringing. It was interrupting my concentration.
    A little later hubby comes in from the garden looking for lunch. Lunch? I'm not hungry and and I'm too busy. I think he has a problem. Maybe he's addicted to food. But, I can't be worried about that. I have a new level of Suduko to conquer.
    As previously stated. I don't have any addictions.