Friday, August 11, 2017

So many good things to look at right now!

I'm loving all the flowers I have in my room at the moment:

The cyclamen my friend Haley gave me a week or two back

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Boldly asking God for my needs

At the moment our church is doing the New Zealand Bible Society's Six Month Bible Reading Challenge, reading through the New Testament section of the Bible over the course of six months.  At the moment I'm most of the way through Mark, the second book within the New Testament.

As I've been reading, I've been struck by how often Jesus seems to commend people for boldly asking them for what they need.  The first time I noticed it was this:
but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him [Jesus], and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”  Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
 Mark 7:25-30, NRSV

I'm familiar with this story but have always found it a bit distasteful, to be honest.  I don't like the way Jesus refuses to help the woman because of her ethnicity or that, in framing his refusal, he compares her to a dog.  Some people argue that Jesus only did that because he knew it would prompt her to answer in this way.  He pretended to hold the views common to those around him in order to allow the case to be made that his 'good news' wasn't just for the Jews but also for the Gentiles.  I haven't worked this properly through for myself, but I do hope they're right!

Regardless, what impressed me this time was what Jesus' response.  For saying that...  The great teacher has come, a 'nobody' woman has asked for his help and he's said no.  But the woman won't leave it at that and boldy pushes back against his 'no'.  For saying that, Jesus gives her what she wants.

That's just not how I've been taught to approach God.  I've been taught to ask for what I want, yes, but then to accept whatever answer he gives.  But here Jesus commends bold and shameless asking - asking that wouldn't accept a simple 'no'.

Monday, July 17, 2017

My disability isn't only a social construct

I keep on coming across comments like the following:
Disability is a social construct. It exists due to the society in which the person lives and not because of the impairment someone might have.
Such statements are kindly meant and are true to a point; but they greatly overstate their case and, in doing so, make me feel like a freak.  Yes, society can be structured in such a way that certain impairments cease to matter.  But in my case, no matter how the society around me was structured, my disabilities would exclude me from most of it.  By denying that reality, this statement about inclusion leaves me feeling seriously excluded.  If someone asserts my disability only exists because society hasn't accommodated it, yet I can think of no accommodations that could overcome my disability, what does that say?  That my disability is just in my own head and I need to get over myself?  Or that, even in the world of disability rights, no one has realised that people like me even exist?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Have I accumulated too many 'have tos'?

Recently I've been finding it really hard to fit everything I want to do into my schedule, and doing anything spontaneous has become well-nigh impossible.  Grump!  I think I know what the problem is and I'm one week into a trial to test my theory and see if I can improve things.

I think the heart of the issue is that I've accumulated too many 'have tos'.  I have too many regular activities, meaning that there's no space for anything else.  An easy mistake to make when you only have four hours a day to get everything done, but a highly problematic one!

What should I do about this?

In the first instance, I've come up with a fairly simple plan.  I've listed out all the things I do regularly and had a think about what I can stop doing.  My idea at this stage is to cut out as much as I can, with the expectation that I'll later add back in anything I'm really missing.   I've come up with an 'a list' of things that will be fairly easy to cut out and a 'b list' of things I could probably cut out if I had to.  The 'a list' basically consists of things that don't really need to be done, whereas the 'b list' has on it things that do need doing but could be done by someone else.  My hope is that I can fix my problem without increasing anyone else's workload, so for the moment I'm simply stopping my 'a list' things.  That should save me just over 15 minutes per day.

I started trialling this a week ago, with the expectation that I'll try it for 6 weeks and see how it goes.  One week in I'm hopeful :-)  It's hard to tell as it was a week in which I was uncommonly ill, but I really appreciated being free of the mental work of trying to fit everything in.  That was probably worth at least as much as the actual time saving.

In case you're interested, I've listed below my A and B lists of activities I could give up, as well as the full activity list.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Papier mache bathroom bin

A bit over a year ago I realised I found our bathroom rubbish bin rather ugly.  I decided to replace it with a colourful home-made papier mache one and started collecting supplies.  A few months ago I made a cardboard form and then started the actual papier mache maybe a month ago.  Yesterday it received its final coat of varnish and this morning I installed it in the bathroom.  That's a crazy amount of time to wait for an new rubbish bin, but I'm really pleased with the result :-)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Bicycle rain poncho for Project Glow Wear

I've just finished a huge project: a rain poncho for Martin to wear whilst cycling :-)

It was prompted by Project Glow Wear: a competition put on by the Greater Wellington Regional Council to encourage people to make clothing and accessories that include reflective elements.  They provided reflective fabric to all entrants (something I'd never even thought to investigate how to buy) which was definitely what tipped me over into deciding to enter.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The bears are back :-)

Last year I wrote about the many hours I spent engrossed by the activities of the bears at Brooks Falls in Alaska.  I've been keenly watching the feed in recent days and weeks, waiting for them to reappear.  Today, there they were!  There don't seem to be any salmon yet, but I have seen a mum with three cubs checking out the possibilities :-)

Click on the image below to join me in watching (if you don't see an image, try here instead).