‘That Word!’ Blog 26-2018

“Look Doug, there it is again, that word, I can’t believe it, how many times is that?” We were sitting in the reception area of the boy’s school when I saw it. The word ‘Perseverance’ was written in bold letters, across the covered beam, in the passageway above our heads. “That’s perseverance not persistence,” Doug remarked. “Well! It’s all the same to me.” I shrugged.

It all started last week when I counted thirty six buds on the rose in our front garden. Originally we had no idea the rose was even there as it was overshadowed by native shrubs. We were surprised when we first saw a yellow bud popping up in amongst the green foliage. We carefully dug it out without damaging the plants around it and gave it away. You can imagine our surprise when the next summer there was a yellow rose in the thicket of shrubs again. We decided that the rose had earned its place with its persistence so we let it stay. This year we’ve cleaned out around it and discovered there were at least a dozen stems coming out of the ground.

The message of persevering and persisting had been coming through loud and clear for about a week. I didn’t want to hear it! By our age so much of our life has consisted of a lot of the above. Most of us would admit that we be happy if everything came easily with as little effort as possible. After all, we have all had to do the hard yards at some point in time.

Noah comes to mind; he was five hundred years old when he started building the Ark which took him 120 years to complete. He lived in an area a hundred plus kilometres from the sea and everybody jeered at him. He was sure he had heard from God and persisted with the project regardless of what people were saying or how he felt. But, as we all know, when the time was right the rains came and the ark floated. Where were the jeerers then?

Sometimes we Christians pray for a miracle of healing or some answer to an issue and when nothing happens immediately we are prone to give up as if prayer was some lucky charm which didn’t work. Jesus said, “Ask and keep on asking …seek and keep on seeking…knock and keep on knocking.” Implying perseverance (Matt: 7:7 Amplified Bible).

It took 4000 years before the Genesis prophesy of Jesus’ coming was fulfilled. It won’t take you 4000 years to get your answer. The apostle Paul said in his letter to the Galatians. “When the right time came God sent his son” and “In due time we shall reap if we faint not.”Gal 4:4 and 6:9.

So! Hang on (persist and persevere) help is on the way,

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‘Gifting!’ Blog 25 – 2018

“I wonder where I was when I heard that General Monash was said to have had input into the career of General Chauvel back in the day?” I asked Doug the other morning. “I have been searching for documentation so that I can share it in my blog.” “I can’t remember.” He responded. “Wherever you were though, I was there and heard it too.”

In their early days long before they were both knighted. It was said that General Sir John Monash sowed into the life of the man who would later Command the 800 Light Horsemen who freed the wells of Beersheba. After much reading and searching I couldn’t actually document this. That was until I bumped into Sandy, (figuratively speaking). It was she who shared this fact in her presentation at church on Armistice Day. Sir John Monash was replaced as Commander of the Light Horsemen but stayed on for three weeks briefing General Sir Henry George (Harry) Chauvel before he moved on. What a gift! To the man and to the allies.

I liked the story so much that I mention it here because in my opinion a good leader is not only in control, he trains and gifts everything he knows into the men beneath him. It reminds me of Moses and Joshua. Joshua had been Moses Aide since he was a young man when finally Moses was told by God to commission, encourage and strengthen Joshua, for he would be the one to lead the people into the Promised Land.

Then of course Paul and Timothy come to mind.  In Paul’s letter to Timothy he tells the young man. “What you have seen and heard in me do and the God of peace will be with you. Paul also commends Timothy’s faith pointing out that it had been gifted to him from first his Grandmother Lois and then His mother Eunice. He also states that he passed on to Timothy what he received as of first importance.

When I was in my early teens I worked in the Classic (Are you being served) Department store in Hobart with a couple of Mrs Slocombe type women. I think their motto was ‘tell her nothing and take her nowhere.’ But, what I did learn was how not to behave with juniors. Though I left department stores behind me, I like to think I made a worthwhile investment into other co-workers over the years.

Our calling may not be as leaders or teachers but we all have the opportunity to invest in others, regardless of our situation. I have a daughter who had the desire to help children who were falling through the cracks, scholastically. Now, some years later she has seen a hundred plus students graduate and function well with the gift she has given them. As parents, Grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends, no matter how small our contribution is, we all have a wonderful opportunity to lead by example and gift into those around us.

After all, we would be following the example of God himself who gave us His greatest gift, Jesus!

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‘Summertime’ Blog 24-2018

“You should look out the window Mum it’s a Ballarat winters day out there.” Yvette was standing in our bedroom doorway early the other morning, “It sure is.” I remarked after taking a look. For those who live on the other side of the globe I should point out that Ballarat is 435M (1427ft) above sea level and subject to quite a bit of cold and rain. In fact we have a saying in our family, whenever someone says they are not going out because it’s going to rain. Our response is “Well we come from Ballarat and we don’t dissolve in the rain.”

We are on the last throes of spring here in Melbourne with summer only days away, but after some lovely spring days we have lapsed back into winter temperatures and have been getting some of that spring rain we have hitherto missed out on. That’s Victoria for you, it can be 12 deg here and 32deg in Mildura, (in the north west of our little state).

Some years ago when we still lived in Ballarat, my cousin Eileen came out from England on holiday.  We took her to Melbourne on the train where we planned to join a Coach tour. As the train pulled towards the suburbs the announcer said something like. “Good morning folk we are coming into Sunshine.” Eileen beamed at me and said, “Oh you have the weather forecast on your trains too.” We had to giggle; Sunshine was the name of the Suburb we were approaching.

They say it’s a very British thing to talk about the weather but from what I have observed it’s a very Aussie thing to do also. As you are huddled up walking into the wind a total stranger will often make a friendly remark about the weather. There is almost a sense of camaraderie.

Christmas is around the corner and a lot of Melbournians will be hoping for mild weather so that they can have the traditional Christmas dinner whilst other Aussies will be looking for hot weather and ‘prawns on the Barbie’. Obviously not all of us will get our wish. A chorus from my early childhood in England comes to mind, I recall it being sung by a Male Voice Quartet, it was either part of a song or in a medley of choruses.

Its summertime in my heart, its summertime in my heart,

Since Jesus saved me, new life He gave me,

When its wintertime its summer in my heart.

No matter what the weather let’s celebrate this Christmas the wonderful Miracle of God breaking into history by sending Jesus to give us new life and indeed change our lives forever.

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Australian Summer of Cricket

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‘You are my Sunshine!’ Blog 23-2018

“A lady teacher, whose name I can’t remember, held a class concert, at school, when I was about eight, everybody had to participate.” Doug conjectured. “I have no Idea what I did but I remember there were twins in my class, Pearl and Adelaide, and they sang, ‘You are my Sunshine.’ It was the first time I had ever heard it and I thought it was beautiful.” Doug was reminiscing about the 1939 song released by Jimmy Davis and Charles Mitchell, which has been sung by many a performer over the years. The year would have been 1943.

Some years ago when our little four year old grandson Peter was still with us I heard this wonderful story of a little boy who sang ‘You are my Sunshine’ every night to his baby sister while she was still in the womb. The baby was born early with complications and was slipping away. After much insistence from the little boy who wanted so sing to his tiny sister, the Mother defied the Intensive care nurse and took him into the ward. On hearing the song the baby’s breathing immediately settled down and within hours she picked up to the point that the next day they were allowed to take her home.

I shared the story with my daughter and the song became Peter’s song and he loved to have it sung to him. Peter went to be with the Lord some months later but not before he had heard that affirmative song many times over.

Recently our Sydney family threw me a surprise birthday party and my granddaughter Shannen made an amazing playlist for the occasion. Her well chosen songs brought back so many memories and I couldn’t help smiling when one of the melodies played was Peter’s song.  ‘You are my Sunshine.’

As I think of the line ‘You’ll never know dear how much I love you’ I realize that this is actually the message from God to us. No matter how hard we try we will never know the depth of God’s love for us. His love is incomparable and incomprehensible to the human mind. But He did, He does and He always will love us beyond our imagination and ability to fathom it out. As we approach Christmas once again let us remember that “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”John 3:16

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The past has nothing new to say to you Blog 22-2018

“You know what today is?” She said as I sensed the sadness in her voice.  For a moment I was puzzled and then it came back to me. It was at this point that the quotation a friend had shared with me earlier this year came to mind. It read “Don’t revisit the past; It has nothing new to say to you.”

How true that is! Now before you shoot me down in flames, hear me out. I know that we can have wonderful memories of the past which we all enjoy revisiting. There have also been times when we have learned valuable lessons from reviewing our mistakes. That’s not the ‘past’ I am thinking of.

This ‘past’ is when we revisit things we cannot change, or maybe never could. Questions come to mind. Why did I do that? Was I a good enough daughter? Mother? Sister, or brother? What could I have done to stop that relationship failing? Sometimes we beat ourselves up over the craziest issues. We worry whether we could have been more considerate, compassionate or more helpful. It’s not that we can’t learn from previous failings but mostly we spend more time than we should trying to re-examine them instead of moving on.

Occasionally you will hear some poor heartbroken mother or father on the ‘News’ who will say something like “I hope he/she rots in Hell, I’ll never forgive them for as long as I live.” Whilst we can understand their grief, we know that if they never let go then they are the ones who will suffer most. Not the perpetrator of the crime.

The quotation ‘The past is another country’ comes to mind as I write, attributed amongst others, to the novelist L P Hartley and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It seems it was written originally as, ‘The past is a foreign Country.’ Either way it doesn’t really matter because it still implying that we don’t live there now.

Peter writes In 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. Amplified Bible

So, let’s be kinder to ourselves and remember the past has nothing new to say to us!

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Money, Money, Money! Blog 21-2018

“I remember the days when to access our money at the bank all you needed was a passbook.” I grinned as we were out walking in the sunshine. Doug and I were laughing because a certain third party, whose name will not be mentioned, was having all sorts of trouble accessing the ‘app’ for phone banking. After security checks and etc we finally got it sorted.

Do you remember the days when your pay packet came in the form of cash? (For those who don’t know, cash is that folding stuff that people sometimes use in exchange for purchases at the shops)

I recall calculating wages and penalties and allowances at the building company for which I worked. I would assess the amount of various bank notes I would need and take the cheque to the bank. On my return I would count it into 100 plus pay envelopes.

Within a couple of years things changed and we were required to get the employees bank account details so that their wages went straight into their own accounts. I recall some workers complaining because they didn’t have a bank account and didn’t want one either.

Just a few short years and we were no longer taking the cheque to the bank we were just depositing the wages straight into the bank accounts from the comfort of the office.

Then came teller machines, personal PC banking, and pin numbers and security codes, ID and passwords and before we knew it we were all doing our own banking online and via mobile phone ‘Apps’.

This morning the problem had been that something had happened with the App and there was no way the account could be accessed. So we went through the rigmarole of getting it sorted with the bank with me as the third party.

As Doug and I walked and talked the thought came to me that you don’t have this much trouble with the Bank of Heaven, No ID, no security number, no password. Anyone anywhere can call on God at any time and he will hear and answer. You don’t need to even identify yourself because He knows who you are (Jeremiah 1:5 “Before you were formed in your mother’s womb I knew you.”). It’s the best kind of bank of all.

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Cornish Pasties Blog 20-2018

“A traditional pasty from Cornwall, I am told, is something that’s made with Swede, Potato, onion and skirt steak.” Annie Smithers, the Gardener/Restaurateur/Chef, declared on Gardening Australia the other Friday night. Needless to say I was all ears. “Well that’s the first time I have heard an Aussie mention the correct ingredients for a Cornish pasty since I’ve been in Australia.” I remarked to Doug.

Just after WW2, we shared a house with another family in the Cornish Tin Mining town of Redruth and we often had a pasty for lunch when we went to the beach. (That is Pasty with the ‘a’ pronounced as in ‘cat’.) It was financially impossible for both families to travel on the bus to Portreath. So we would set out to walk the five miles early in the morning with my father. It would take our short legs nearly two hours to cover the distance. As soon as we left home the two mothers would start making a Pasty for each member of the family.

These prized packages were so big that one had to hold them with two hands. The juice from the beef and onion drizzled down over the potato and swede accentuating the flavour. The vegetables were basically steamed inside their savoury pastry case.

Later our mothers would arrive on the bus with the pasties and the younger children for a picnic on the beach.  All too soon it was time to return home and if there was enough cash we would get to ride on the bus. Otherwise we would return on foot and sometimes even the mothers came with us pushing their prams.

Pasties are quite popular in Australia but they have an interesting variety of fillings including Carrot, peas, and even corn. However, my daughter Meredith, makes proper Cornish pasties occasionally and rings me up to see if we want one. Do we what? It’s a no-brainer!

For me any other sort of Pasty is not the real deal. It’s a bit like my faith. An idol sitting on a shelf or a God in a temple somewhere is not for me. I have a God who could part the Red Sea, turn water into wine and one whose miracles I can see around me all the time. A God who loves me so much (with all my faults and frailties) that he would send his Son to die in my place. To Him be the glory. (Eph 3:20 & 21)

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Doug at Pengenna Pasties,Tintagel where you can watch them being made.

 

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Ten Pound Poms! Blog No19-2018

“This is so like my story,” I exclaimed to Yvette as I started to read the non-fiction children’s book she had handed me. “Maybe, she’s been reading my book?” I grinned! Book week was on the agenda at school and one of the books being short listed was titled ‘Ten Pound Pom’ by Carole Wilkinson. Yvette mentioned to the Librarian that I came to Australia on the assisted passage scheme from the UK. (Actually my parents were the Ten Pound Pom’s, children travelled for free.) It was agreed that I would go to the school and make a short film clip of my experiences. Hence, she brought me the book to read.

Carole’s, own story paralleled mine, she had to leave her precious Teddy Bear behind; I had to leave my lovely Christmas doll. My Nan tearfully exclaimed, “I’ll never see you again,” so did Carole’s. Neither family had anyone to wave them goodbye or throw streamers as the ship set sail. Everyone was sick in the Bay of Biscay. We were both amazed at the amount of food available on board and both recorded Travelling through the Suez Canal, the small boats selling their wares and the Gulli-Gulli man.

However, the Wilkinson’s arrived to Bonegilla Migrant Hostel and we went to the  small country town of Nhill, both in Victoria. Carole was twelve and almost a young lady, on the other hand at nine, I delighted in learning that it’s fun to walk barefoot through the natural stormwater gutters and let the mud squish through your toes.  (My mother was not impressed!)

Recently, with my brother and sister both gone, I joined a ‘Ten Pound Poms’ page on Facebook thinking I’d like to link up with others who shared my early experiences. I had many dozens of responses. Among them I found someone who had travelled on the same voyage and someone from our past, who was, unknown to me, was a Ten pound Pom. I was thrilled to find them. It was like finding sisters.

What is more, when I think about it I am doubly blessed because I realize I have quite a few brother and sister immigrants from the UK who are also brothers and sisters in Christ. At some point in our lives we have been confronted with the fact that we are sinners in need a Saviour and have committed our lives to Christ. We have God as our father and Jesus is our brother.  Sometimes we can be embarrassed or ashamed of our brothers or sisters. But not Jesus! Hebrews 2:11(TPT) says that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. (Regardless of the kind of life we have lead in the past.)

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L to R:- David, Me and Celia with Dad boarding the TSS Cameronia in 1952

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Recycling! Blog 18 – 2018

“What’s the Peoples friend?” Jenny questioned a couple of weeks ago. “They are the magazines I have in my car for you,” responded Ann. I interjected. “They’re the magazines which Bronwyn buys and passes on to me to read. I hand them on to Pam and she hands them on to Ann. How’s that for value for money? Well actually value for Bronwyn’s money!” I added.  I had failed to mention that Doug and Yvette have a bit of a read also. So that makes seven of us recycling the magazine.

We are hearing so much about the war on waste in the media here in Australia at the moment. The supermarkets have stopped single use bags now and you have to take your own or buy one at the checkout. I have been thinking about avoiding single use items where possible and as I talked to Doug about it today we recalled how ‘back in the day’ everything was recycled.

My great Grandmother took worn clothing and recycled the good parts into clothing for my Mum. My Gran told me that she did the same thing with clothes during the last War. We all wore hand-me-downs and repaired clothing. In fact there was an official wartime slogan ‘Make do and mend’ it was supported by the Board of Trade in Britain which produced a pamphlet with the same title.

After the War there was not a lot of money for clothing. In most of the pictures of me as a child I am wearing dresses sent to me by my Mothers cousin May. Her daughter Wendy was a little older than me and I loved getting these beautiful frocks to wear. It never bothered me that they were second-hand. I remember feeling very special wearing them.

Doug said one of the best bits of recycling in the past was the newspaper. You bought it, read it, resold it to the local chip shop who in turn wrapped fish and chips in it. It was then used to start the fire, or wrap things up, or put in the compost. He also remarked and I blush to say, it was even used in the little house down the back of the garden.

Some say that we older people are recycled teenagers I’d rather think that we have been ‘up-cycled’ (Used for a grander purpose, better quality and better environmental value.)  The best up-cycling I know takes place when we become a Christian.  St Paul tells us that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun. 2 Corinthians  5:17

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Me with my brother David looking  smug because he has the ball we’d fought over.

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The world of the generous…..Blog 17-2018

“I can’t believe I was being so grumpy.” I remarked to Doug. “That’s not like me! Is it?” I questioned as an afterthought. This conversation took place because I had been canvassed to give a donation to a charity and they had sent me a follow-up letter with relevant details.

The only way for me to pay was by cheque, money order or credit card. Hence I was huffing and puffing and complaining because I expected there to be at least some type of PayPal option. There was no way I was going to send my Credit Card information through the mail.

It was then a little voice in my head reminded me that those after whom the charity was named had given their lives and I was moaning about a small gift. The thought crossed my mind of the woman with the expensive perfume, worth a whole year’s wages. She anointed the feet of Jesus and wasn’t worrying about the logistics of her actions, she was just being generous. This thought was followed by the account of the widow who gave the last of her flour and oil to feed the prophet Elijah.

Finally the little voice reminded me that Jesus gave everything, even his life.By this time I was feeling really bad. “Sorry Lord!” I muttered and then proceeded to tell Doug what had transpired. Proverbs 11:24 says that the world of the generous gets larger and larger. The woman with the perfume was Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus whom Jesus later raised from the dead. That was certainly an enlarging experience.

The widow found that while she kept making cakes for Elijah there was just enough left for her and her son. This provision continued for the duration of the famine. Later her son was raised from the dead also. If she hadn’t been generous Elijah would have not been there when her son died. Her world was definitely enlarged.

And me? Well I received a call from the same charity again this week and this time I plan to have a better attitude when the letter arrives. This time I propose to focus on the fact that in my small way I am making a difference and on the Proverb of course. I’m happy for my world to get larger and larger.

 

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