Pride and Prejudice blog 6- 2017

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”— so goes the introductory line in the first chapter of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice.  It seems that 200 years ago that was the notion of the parents of single daughters whenever a young man with a substantial income moved into the community. We don’t know of course what the young man in question might have thought of this notion.

Fast forward a hundred and fifty years and now it’s the late 1950’s and quite young women are out in the workforce earning a wage and making their own financial decisions to some degree. My first job paid three pounds nine shillings and sixpence. It was not a lot but it always went just far enough and one always knew that come next week there would be more.

Did we dream of a single man in possession of a good fortune coming our way? Of course we did! Though I doubt any our mothers were as embarrassing as Mrs Bennet. Imagine a mother being so keen to marry you off that she would choose a Mr Collins character just so she would not be homeless when her husband died.

Methinks the mothers of today would rather have a man in possession of good character than a good fortune, one who is kind, generous and loving. There is a saying that all a man needs is a damsel in distress to save and all a woman needs is a knight in shining Armour to save her. I thought of this when watching Millionaire Hot seat last night. One of the contestants shared how she was in an airport queue and not having a good grasp of English was quite perplexed about what to do next when the man behind her in the queue saw her distress and helped her out. They had now been married for seven years.

So, back to the first line, “It is a truth universally acknowledged….” I know another truth universally acknowledged on every continent and in every nation. Not by everyone it is true but, of the 6.9 Billion people on the earth in 2010 2.2 billion people accepted this truth. The truth is “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John:3:16 Niv)


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‘I’ve read your book’ Blog 5 2017

In the 1970 film “Patton” the movie star George C Scott who played Patton, says to himself,  “Rommel….I’ve read your book.” He was supposedly talking about the book ‘Tank Attacks’ and the lines were spoken in jubilation as the Americans won a very decisive tank battle.  Patton was in effect saying; I knew your strategy because I’ve read your book. The truth is of course that he hadn’t read the book because Rommel never published it. Some of the manuscript in the form of ‘The Rommel Papers’ was published in 1953 well after the war ended. However, Rommel did write a book on the Great War (WW1) about infantry tactics but it is thought Patton wouldn’t have known about it because it wasn’t released in English until 1943. Only the other day I heard ‘I’ve read your book’ quoted and attributed to General Patton. Hollywood never did let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Today, when we were talking with a friend, Doug was lamenting that his employment was terminated when he was 69 years of age. He had desperately wanted to work until he was 70. I chipped in about the circumstances and then remembered that our friend had ‘read the book’. I stopped and said to her, “you don’t need me to explain because you have read my book”. She looked at me and smiled, “Yes, that’s right; I’ve read your book.”  (Ice creams pages 301-302)

There is one other place I have heard this phrase and that is in church and among Christian friends. Mostly it has been said in relation to people being under attack, physically mentally or in some other way. Pastors have pointed out to us that the problem is the devil does not realize that we have ‘read the book’. If he had he would know that in the end he loses. The book is the Bible which tells us that in the end the devil finishes up in the lake of fire and we finish up in heaven. Forever!

I’m so glad ‘I’ve read the book’ it gives me such assurance, especially when tragedy has struck and we have felt like we were under attack. In Revelation 21:4 KJV we read “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, or sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” And 1 Thessalonians 4:17b reads “…and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” KJV


This is George C Scott – saying those famous fictitious words.


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Who was Mary Lee? 4 2017

Mary Lee was a widowed Irish immigrant to Australia. She was 58 years of age when she and her daughter Evelyn arrived in South Australia to take care of her sick son. Her other three sons and two daughters remained in Ireland. Mary’s husband had been a Methodist Minister and she herself had a staunch faith.

When her son died the next year she could not afford to return to Ireland so remained in what she called her ‘dear Adelaide’. Within six years of arrival her tireless work is credited with getting the age of consent lifted to sixteen.

Mary was successful in achieving votes for women in 1894 whilst the Suffrage movement in London took another three decades to catch up (1928). Defeated in 1889 and 1893 the Adult Suffrage Bill was submitted to parliament in South Australia again in 1894. Apparently the bill included the right of women to stand for Parliament because cunning politicians thought that this inclusion would stop the Bill from getting through. They thought that surely the majority of politicians would not want a woman in Parliament. However, Mary and the women of the Women’s Suffrage League presented a petition with an amazing eleven thousand six hundred signatures and the bill was passed unanimously. Mary was now 73 years old.

Not being interested in standing for parliament Mary continued to campaign to get women to register to vote. Within two years she had encouraged 70,000 women to do so.  South Australia was the first Legislation worldwide to allow women the vote. Having financed her public work herself she passed away almost penniless in 1909 at the age of 88.

Mary’s work remained unrecorded until 1980 and in 1994 a bust was erected in Adelaide which shares one of her quotes “My aim is to leave the world a better place for women than I found it.”

Why am I telling this story? Because it was news to me and I thought others ought to know. It’s a great reminder of what dedication can achieve. We may not be articulate or ferocious campaigners like Mary but we can all strive to be better at what we do every day. Ecclesiastes 9:10 reads “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”


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Airports and Assumptions blog 3 2017

I can’t be sure where my love affair with Airports first started but I think it was sometime in the nineties. With my mother living in Tasmania and us on the mainland, flights became quite regular.

One day as I was sitting at the Airport it dawned on me that I really enjoyed being there. I so liked watching people passing by and seeing the families chattering as they headed toward their gate lounge. There seemed to be a special sense of camaraderie amongst the travellers too. I can’t recall if I have always been a creature of habit, or if it is only since I have been older, but I have loved to get to the airport early so that I can just sit and watch the people passing by.

Ten days ago we flew to Sydney and that old magic of the airport was gone. The trip into Tullamarine had been leisurely and we had heaps of time to spare but, regardless of that, the old sensation I usually experienced was missing. I had assumed that I would always have this feeling, but not so it seems. Not that I live by feelings or assumptions but I have to say I was a little disappointed. However, life changes and things change and there is little one can do about it. My sister Celia, often used to quote her Pastor as saying, ”Everything is subject to change.”

While thinking about this after we arrived home the words of one of the songs from the old Salvation Army Musical, ‘Hosea’ came to mind

Don’t assume that God’s dismissed you from His mind,

Don’t assume that God’s forgotten to be kind;

For no matter what you do, His love still follows you;

Don’t assume that you have left Him far behind.

The first line of the chorus reads:-  ‘For his love remains the same, He knows you by your name.’

Well now! There is something in life that is not subject to change after all. The Love of God for us. In fact right through the Bible we are reminded that God is changeless. God is immutable, his character is irreversible, binding, unalterable, and permanent and His love for us never changes. In Malachi 3:6 He actually says “I the Lord do not change.” So this is not an assumption this, is a fact.

By the way there are still lots of things we find pleasure in so we will replace Airports with something else.  Susan Boyle is singing ‘ You raise me up’ as I write, it is Doug’s CD but I find great pleasure in listening when he plays it.


At Tullamarine in September 2013 with the Conlon’s











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Peter our Champion

Veronica Nowell - Author

With ‘rainbow ice creams’ waiting in the queue at the printers I thought I would re-blog my post from 11th of January 2014. Rainbow Ice creams is Peter’s story.

This was my blog:- It’s been very quiet on my blog front of late. Our hearts and lives have been so full of all that is going on with our grandson Peter that there has not been space, nor have I had the heart for anything else. Especially not self absorbed blogs. For my recent followers Peter, who was four years old last May, was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, (a cancer of the lymph glands) when he was nineteen months old. He is now in the final stages of his journey through this life. The past three years have been full of heartaches, joys, miracles and disappointments. But they also have been filled with wonder. Wonder as we have watched this brave little…

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Keep Calm and…..? Blog No 1 2017

The Market is flooded with Keep Calm slogans these days; in fact you can go online and design your own. Sovereign Hill, where we like to stay when we take a break is famous for its raspberry drops. They have a slogan Keep Calm and Suck Raspberry Drops. I am sure you have all seen Keep Calm slogans on Tees, Aprons, mugs and the like. Recently I saw a ‘Keep Calm and Sparkle On’, and a ‘Keep Calm and Be a Princess’ but I particularly liked ‘Keep Calm and Love Your Grandma’.

My English mother was one for positive, motivational slogans but I can’t recall her using this one at all. The original slogan was of course ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ and maybe the reason she didn’t use it was because although she lived through the war and there were 2.45 million posters printed, it was hardly ever publicly displayed.

Designed in 1939 in preparation for the Second World War it was meant to raise the morale of the British public should they be invaded. It came to light again in the year 2000 when one was discovered in a bookshop. We do know that many British cities were indeed bombed and some flattened but the British stiff upper lip, self discipline and fortitude prevailed. The people did ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ in adversity without the now famous poster.

Courage and resolve does not only apply to the British, how many times have we seen bravery and stoicism on our TV screens lately.  People who have vowed to stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of catastrophe and terrorism determined not to let the oppressor have the victory.

When looking for a picture of the original poster today I noticed one that said Keep Calm and Read Isaiah 54:17. This scripture verse reads “No weapon forged against you will prevail and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. (New International Version)

Are you being accused of something you didn’t do? Do you feel like the whole world is against you? The prophet Isaiah is promising that If we put our trust in God he will see that no weapon will prevail and we will be able to disprove every accusation. So, hang in there, trust God and see Him work on your behalf.



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On reflection! Blog 48 -2016

The 31st of December is often a time for reflection as was the case with us this morning. “53 years ago we went to see my Grandfather in Nyah West,” Doug remarked out of the blue, “It was the first time I had seen him since I was a little boy and the only time you ever saw him.” He continued.

By the time we married in late 1963 Doug’s maternal grandfather, Arthur Payne was the last remaining of Doug’s forebears. Grandfather being quite elderly was unable to come to our wedding so soon after New Year we decided to go and see him to thank him for our wedding gift.

It was a long haul from Maryborough in Central Victoria up the Loddon Valley highway and onto the Murray Valley Highway to Swan Hill and then a further twenty eight kilometres further to Nyah West. We travelled the 250 Kms there and back in our little green Volkswagen beetle in the one day. Doug was keen to introduce me to him.

On arrival we were not disappointed, he was such a lovely and hospitable man, we had arrived unannounced and he made us most welcome. We have a photo of him standing on his verandah, it’s not a good photo but the only one we have.  We came home from the 500km round trip quite exhausted.

Two years later we were living in Melbourne when the news of his passing came through. A  Chrysler Valiant doing 120 Mph had hit grandfathers little Austin A40. Yes! I do mean miles per hour not kilometres. The occupants of the other car were killed outright as they hit a culvert. It transpired that they had a boot full of Marijuana. Whether they were fleeing the police or not we don’t know but they were in a big hurry. Grandfather lived only a short while after the impact but was quite coherent and told Uncle Walter that the car came out of nowhere. He had made his peace with God many years before and his injuries were so horrific that we were glad he did not survive.

On reflection two things come to mind. Firstly, we are so glad we made the effort to see him that hot summer day for it has reminded us that in this time of resolutions we should make make the most of every opportunity. Secondly, at our age in life we want to be and do our best. In 2 Timothy 2:15 Paul encourages us to be workmen who need not be ashamed.  As we step out of 2016 and into 2017 we want to pursue excellence. That is our goal.


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It’s a mystery! Blog 47-2016

Recently we watched the two part Docudrama, Code of a Killer, the true story of Sir Alec Jeffreys who developed techniques for genetic fingerprinting. DNA as we know it today. The story was quite amazing; it documented how they used Sir Alec’s almost untried theory to capture the murderer of two teenage girls.

Even though they explained the method of isolating genetic markers the information was largely lost on me. Thirty years ago Sir Alec thought it could be done and the detective in charge of the case, DCS David Baker, put all his faith in Sir Alec even though he himself was not sure how it all worked.

Nowadays of course we all just acknowledge the tracing of DNA as a fact; we who really don’t understand much about it just accept that it is so. It’s a mystery to us but it has been proven, so we believe it.

A couple of Sundays ago Pastor Mark Walker made the statement during the introduction of his message that he had learned to be content with a mystery. There are so many mysteries in this electronic age that we just accept, even though we don’t completely comprehend. We may not understand how our computer works or how we can be talking to someone across the globe within seconds of turning it on but we trust it will happen and we flick the switch.

One of the biggest mysteries to me is that an all knowing God created man fully aware that man would fail. He knew from the beginning that He would have to send Jesus to earth on a rescue mission. I don’t understand it but I know that if I believe it, a wonderful consciousness of its truth washes over me. It’s a mystery I am content with.


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Thank God for the Salvo’s

The other day we were out driving when Doug remarked that there was a fan belt in the middle of the road. He observed that it was from a much older car because of its size.

Now, that brought back some memories. It would have been back in the early seventies that we broke a fan belt, in the dark, late in the night, with all the girls on board, out in the middle of nowhere. We had been in Melbourne on Salvation Army business and were still in our uniforms,   the girls were curled up in the back of our station Wagon asleep. (No seat belts then!) We were travelling up the northern highway, making good time and were already half way home to Echuca when there was a loud bang from under the bonnet. We slewed to the side of the road and stopped. Now what would we do? It was pitch black outside.

When Doug stepped out of the car he saw that across the road was a Pub. It transpired that we were in the tiny hamlet of Tooborac, which, even today only has a population of 400 including the surrounding district.

Doug went over to ask if there was a mechanic around the area and would you believe there was one standing at the bar. He took Doug around the corner to his garage and again, unbelievably, he only had one fan belt in stock and it was the one we needed.

While we were reminiscing Doug told me that the mechanic had said “It’s just as well you are a Salvo, otherwise I wouldn’t have moved away from the bar for you.”  “Goodness I retorted so it really was ‘Thank God for the Salvo’s’ for us. I was still thinking about the incident when this afternoon I popped into the shopping centre and saw a Salvo doing some Christmas Collecting. I gratefully emptied my purse into the collection box.

Thinking about it now, we always prayed that God would protect us on our trips. So we shouldn’t have been surprised that the fan belt blew just before we got to the pub and that waiting for us inside at the bar was a mechanic who just happened to have the right sized fan belt.

Thank You God!


The Tooborac Pub



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Brother Lawrence Blog 45-2016

On Sunday our Pastor used the phrase ‘practicing the presence of God’ during his message and thoughts of Brother Lawrence popped into my mind. Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection as he is known served in a Carmelite Monastery in Paris during the seventeenth century. He did not have the education necessary to become a Cleric and served as a lay brother. Suffering with chronic pain because of a wartime sciatic injury and partially crippled he was assigned the task of cooking and cleaning the pots and doing some cobbling when necessary.

While other brothers and monks were off to their prayers brother Lawrence was in the kitchen washing the dishes. He maintained that his menial tasks were as much a devotion to God as praying and worshiping. In fact he considered that these menial tasks were his worship. And that he was as much in the presence of God at the sink as those in a beautiful chapel.

I discovered his booklet titled, The Practice of the Presence of God, in my early teens. It was compiled from his letters and conversations and published after his death. Since then millions of copies have been produced in over 100 languages and it is still in print today.

Brother Lawrence’s main message was that whilst he was devoted to his church services God can be encountered everywhere. He wrote, “The time we spend in daily duties are not different from the times of formal prayer. I enjoy God with as much tranquillity when busy at work in the kitchen – where many people frequently call upon me for various duties – as I am on my knees receiving communion.”

So, the next time you are stuck with the dishes whilst everyone else is off doing their own things remember Brother Lawrence and you can spend the time talking to God in Holy Communion.


Brother Lawrence 1614-1691

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