Sunday, 26 January 2014

Say Something


Photo source

This is possibly the saddest and most poignant song I've ever heard...it's from 'A Great Big World' and it's called 'Say Something'

Say something, I'm giving up on you.
I'll be the one, if you want me to.
Anywhere I would've followed you.
Say something, I'm giving up on you.


And I am feeling so small.
It was over my head
I know nothing at all.

And I will stumble and fall.
I'm still learning to love
Just starting to crawl.


Say something, I'm giving up on you.
I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you.
Anywhere I would've followed you.
Say something, I'm giving up on you.


And I will swallow my pride.
You're the one that I love
And I'm saying goodbye.


Click here to view on youtube

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Hang on, travelling woman
Don't sacrifice your plan
'Cause it will come back to you
Before you lose it on the man
Never fall in love with potential
'Cause you can't see with your own eyes
All the pretty faces and sorry words
Can take away your pride
Got to listen to the vision
Some may say a dream
Words from the unseen
They can make you tired
Tell you lies, make you fall
Make you tired Tell you lies, make you fall
Make you tired Tell you lies, make you fall
Hang on, traveling woman
Don't sacrifice your plan
'Cause it will come back to you
Before you lose it on the man
Got to listen to the vision
Play in the ashes of what you once were
Got to listen to the vision
Play in the ashes of what you once were

~ Bat for Lashes

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Mistaken Identity

Image source
The girl in the chair with the long golden hair
Well that used to be me
A flirtatious smile unpredictably wild
Always trying to please

I was always walking one step ahead
Or so I thought until the monster crawled into my bed
Rewind and erase that shock look on your face
'cause your Mona Lisa is dead

A million words, a thousand days

The girl I used to be
Has a terrible case of mistaken identity
And yesterday's girl is not what you see
It's a terrible case of mistaken identity


The sun likes to rise and the moon likes to fall
And that's kinda like my life
I've played the role of the nice girl next door
Who gets cut like a knife

Now I'm not looking for apology eyes
And I don't want to spend a night on a bed of beautiful lies
Erase and rewind leave that sick girl behind
And fast forward, fast forward

A thousand days

The girl I used to be
Has a terrible case of mistaken identity
And yesterday's girl is not what you see
It's a terrible case of mistaken identity


That's not me, it's just not me
That's not me

The girl I used to be
Has a terrible case of mistaken identity
And yesterday's girl is not what you see
It's a terrible case of mistaken identity

 ~ Delta Goodrem 'Mistaken Identity'

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Protector

Image source


As I wake up this Friday morning I have a lot on my mind.  Filled with excitement at the thought of catching up with an old friend, yet feeling the weight of challenges that many of us are facing. Some have mountains that need to be moved, others have hard decisions to make, friends facing sickness, loneliness, pain..and the list goes on.  


One of my favourite scriptures in the Bible is Psalm 121, and with the weight of my thoughts, I turn to it this morning and meditate upon the beautiful, re-assuring words:


I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
 
My help comes from the Lord,

    the Maker of heaven and earth.
 He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
 The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.


I love how Karl Jenkins entitled his arrangement of Psalm 121 'The Protector'.  How apt.  

While the word teaches us to rest in Him, doing battle against our struggles can be exhausting. He is with us (as so beautifully described in the Psalm above) but we are required to stand (to stand firm, no less!).  And I speak from experience (especially this week!) that standing and fighting, not bowing to pressures and challenges can be so damn exhausting - especially if victory doesn't seem to be anywhere in sight!   But the good news is, victory does come! If you can stay and not retreat I promise (actually He promises) that victory will be yours! 

Whatever you are facing today, know that The Protector watches over you.




Sunday, 21 October 2012

Angels by Delta Goodrem

"Don't know how I got here
The past has come and gone
I just know I have found
The place my heart belongs"


Thankful for the merciful, everlasting grace of God that holds me together each new day.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

He stoops to conquer

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image source


The following is taken from 'The Problem of Pain' by CS Lewis:

Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us. We "have all we want" is a terrible saying when "all" does not include God. We find God an interruption. As St. Augustine says somewhere "God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full – there's nowhere for Him to put it." Or as a friend of mine said "we regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it's there for emergencies but he hopes he'll never have to use it."

Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as He leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. While what we call "our own life" remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interests but make "our own life" less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness? It is just here, where God's providence seems at first to be most cruel, that the Divine humility, the stooping down of the Highest, most deserves praise. 


We are perplexed to see misfortune falling upon decent, inoffensive, worthy people - on capable, hard- working mothers of families or diligent, thrifty, little trades-people, on those who have worked so hard, and so honestly, for their modest stock of happiness and now seem to be entering on the enjoyment of it with the fullest right. How can I say with sufficient tenderness what here needs to be said? It does not matter that I know I must become, in the eyes of every hostile reader, as it were personally responsible for all the sufferings I try to explain – just as, to this day, everyone talks as if St. Augustine wanted unbaptised infants to go to Hell. But it matters enormously if I alienate anyone from the truth. Let me implore the reader to try to believe, if only for the moment, that God, who made these deserving people, may really be right when He thinks that their modest prosperity and the happiness of their children are not enough to make them blessed: that all this must fall from them in the end, and that if they have not learned to know Him they will be wretched. And therefore He troubles them, warning them in advance of an insufficiency that one day they will have to discover. The life to themselves and their families stands between them and the recognition of their need; He makes that life less sweet to them. I call this a Divine humility because it is a poor thing to strike our colours to God when the ship is going down under us; a poor thing to come to Him as a last resort, to offer up "our own" when it is no longer worth keeping. 

If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and come to Him because there is "nothing better" now to be had. The same humility is shown by all those Divine appeals to our fears which trouble highminded readers of scripture. It is hardly complimentary to God that we should choose Him as an alternative to Hell: yet even this He accepts. The creature's illusion of self sufficiency must, for the creature's sake, be shattered; and by trouble or fear of trouble on earth, by crude fear of the eternal flames, God shatters it "unmindful of His glory's diminution". 

Those who would like the God of scripture to be more purely ethical, do not know what they ask. If God were a Kantian, who would not have us till we came to Him from the purest and best motives, who could be saved? And this illusion of self sufficiency may be at its strongest in some very honest, kindly, and temperate people, and on such people, therefore, misfortune must fall. The dangers of apparent self sufficiency explain why Our Lord regards the vices of the feckless and dissipated so much more leniently than the vices that lead to worldly success. Prostitutes are in no danger of finding their present life so satisfactory that they cannot turn to God: the proud, the avaricious, the self righteous, are in that danger.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Head of the year


L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu
This morning something wonderful happened. While it may not have been the sound of the shofar I heard, it was definitely a calling. I felt the gentle wooing of my heart and enjoyed the most intimate time with God that I can ever remember. The really bizarre twist to my whole experience is that I realised it was Rosh Hashanah, and while I'm not an observant Jew (in fact I consider myself a Christian, but my roots are Jewish and I am blessed to enjoy such a rich heritage that overlaps so much with my own faith) so much of what was dealt with in my heart this morning was all themed towards the message of Rosh Hashanah.

From what I understand (and it is limited!) at the heart of Rosh Hashanah is our relationship with God – our maker, our sustainer and our redeemer. And central to that is our acknowledgement of God as King of the whole universe, our brokenness and failure and need for repentance and lastly new birth, second chances, the promise of sweet new beginnings...a new year.

Today I feel like a newborn – fresh and alive. Blemish free. Ready to start a new year, a new life. And, I am so grateful for a new beginning.   

Psalm 65 & Psalm 103

Monday, 10 September 2012

To love is to be vulnerable


click here for source
Thirty four years ago today, at 2 months early a baby girl arrived in the world.  There was no fanfare.  No joy.  No excitement.  No family waiting in anticipation in the hospital waiting room.  Just reluctant mother and baby. And soon, just baby. 


Fast forward to today, and here I am once again alone.  Not entirely true...I do have 3 beautiful children of my own, but on days like this it seems like I am truly alone in this world.  Sometimes I tell people I prefer it - I'll say 'I'm a lone wolf' and to a great extent I am. I am not fussed by my own company, and in my experience I am more successful acting alone rather than relying on others.  Don't get me wrong. I love people.  I do.  I thoroughly enjoy other peoples company and I would do just about anything and have done for any friend or family member that I love. 

I grew up in a large family, but always felt alone. In the line of siblings I fell in the middle and everyone above and below me was paired up. So, I spent many hours alone in my room, reading and listening to music – 2 pastimes I still thoroughly enjoy today.


For a long time I was a people pleaser – even so up until a few years ago. I felt I needed to behave in a certain way to be accepted by the people I loved. But these days as the real Amy is emerging, certain friends and family are keeping their distance. And, to be totally honest I feel abandoned by those people who I have loved and supported 100% no matter their decisions or actions in the past.


There have been a number of events over my life that have steered me towards being closed up to others and so I have to wonder if my predilection for solidarity is a habit learnt from childhood or as a means of protection from the outside world that has taught me being alone is less hassle.



CS Lewis once wrote:
Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping in tact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.


Yes. To love is to be vulnerable. I pray that as another chapter of my life turns, despite the cost I never lose the ability to stay open to others.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Onwards

image from elliott.org
This time 2 years ago I was in England packing up what had been our life for over 3 years.  It was a stressful time.  A few weeks prior to this we had a call from home that required us to get back ASAP and within 7 short hours our kids had said goodbye to their friends and we were all on a plane back to Australia not knowing what to expect.  From there we made the decision to move back to Australia permanently.

As I was 2 years ago, I am today once again standing at the gateway of a new future, one that I can't really even make out or know what it holds.  I am doing what I have to do to get through the door of tomorrow.

It is incredibly scary, frustrating and sad.  And yes, I feel completely overwhelmed, stressed and tired.  But I keep moving onwards.

I am overcome by the beauty and love of friends that I am surrounded by.  I am equally overcome by the audacity of others who have equated friendship or association into being a major shareholder in my life, painfully making their opinions known on the direction I am taking.  It is a hard time, made harder by those that do not understand, nor have any insight into this heart of mine.

But I keep moving onwards.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A Pixie Hollow Party

Well, it was my little Susanna's 4th birthday and she chose a Tinkerbell/Disney Fairies theme.  This was an incredibly easy party to create thanks to the new Disney movies based around Tinkerbell and her beginnings in 'Pixie Hollow' - a wondrous place where all the fairies and pixies prepare for Spring on the mainland (aah, you have to watch it to understand!).

So, first of all here is my little Tinkerbell.  Isn't she cute?!
1. Here is the party table
A close up


2. Choc-Mint 'Flower Pots'
3. Sugar! White choc covered Oreo's with sugar butterflies
4. Pixie Bubbles to take home
5. The 'Birthday Cake'
6. Butterfly Cakes
7. Flower cakes
1. The table
Although I didn't do it justice, (because I couldn't find my cream damask table cloth!) I highly recommend the tutu skirt for the table.  It is so easy, and so effective.  I loved it and like I said before, it would have looked much better with a cream tablecloth, not the pattern one that was half covered up!  Click here for a tutorial on making a no-sew tutu dress.  I tried to make the table look as 'Pixie Hollow' as possible.  The garland string of roses were purchased from Spotlight for $15 each. 

2. Choc-Mint Flower Pots
To recreate a garden look, I made up a pack of instant chocolate pudding, added some peppermint essence to it and when they were set, coloured some coconut, green with food dye (for the grass) then added lavender and mint to make it look like a flower pot/plant. The inspirations for these came from here.

3. Choc covered Oreo's
My inspiration for these came from here.  However, the pop sticks I purchased were too thick for the cookies, so I improvised!

4. I purchased a pack of little bubble bottles and printed labels.  Bubbles are a hit with most kids!

5. I really lucked out with spotting the gorgeous Disney Fairies Cupcake Stand at spotlight for $12.99.  I was considering all sorts of cakes, but I decided using the stand would emphasise the theme and make it easier on me!

6. Butterfly Cakes
These were made using a cut portion of musk stick and sugar hearts (purchased from Cake Decorating Central), then drew on the antlers with a ready made icing tube.

7. Flower Cakes
Icing piped with a zip lock bag! Decorated with sugar roses and tiny little sugar butterflies - all available from your local Woolworths!

All printables designed by me. 

If you have any questions, leave me a comment! Thanks xxx

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Value of Human Life

As a Christian, I am horrified to admit the jury is still out for me when it comes to abortion.  I say this because murder outside the womb is no different to murder inside the womb. It's all that...murder.

I value human life, but you can bet your bottom dollar if I walked in on someone molesting my child and a loaded gun was handy consider that humans life gone!  Or, maybe if somehow I was transported back in time to Germany 1928 and I had a clear shot at Hitler.  Imagine...the murder of that one man could save the suffering and misery, not to mention the lives of millions of people.  How many Einstein's perished in the Holocaust? How many Leonard Bernstein's or Itzhtak Perlmans? Or, how many Sigmund Freud's? I also do wonder how many great lives never got a chance to shine outside of their mothers womb?  How is it possible that I can say this and at the same time wish Hitler never took a breath outside his mothers womb?

If I put on the mind of Christ I see value and hope in every life.  Even Hitler. I know there is a verse in the bible that says God looks beyond what is and sees what can be.  But can I? 

During my life, growing up I saw first hand the suffering of so many children who in my heart of hearts I wished had not been born due to the intolerable neglect and abuse they sustained in their tiny lives at the hands of their 'parents'.  What hope is there for those children who have experienced such despicable conditions?  What becomes of their lives and the lives of their offspring?  Sadly the stats tell us more often than not if they are kept in this environment they are destined to inflict the same kind of treatment onto the next generation and so on.  I want to cry.  I don't understand any of this.  I don't understand why some are saved from this, while other little ones endure such atrocities.

I value those little lives - the ones that are being neglected and abused.  But the person that bought them into the world doesn't. Where is the value of human life there?

The reality is, I am not the judge. I am not the jury.  I cannot say what is right for one person, and wrong for another.  I cannot say one persons life has more value than another.

I do not like abortion, but it happens.  It makes me sad.  I hold no condemnation for someone whose had an abortion or for someone who is considering an abortion. And, for the record....either does God.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

A Puppy Party!

Emmie (RHS) with her little sister Susie
Well, my beautiful daughter Emmie who epitomises all things girly, requested a puppy themed party for her 6th birthday.

It took me a while to come up with a good puppy theme, as I felt the pink-poodle theme has been done to death, and I wanted to offer my daughter something very special and unique just for her. She was thrilled (as was I!) with the outcome...

The Sweet Table, in all its glory!
 

 



 
'Dog Biscuits' also known as gingerbread!




All about the party...
  • We played 'Pin the tail on the Puppy', 'Cat, cat, dog' and 'Pass the Parcel'
  • We made puppy craft - puppy heads on wooden spoons and made our own puppy bookmarks.
  • We ate 'Dagwood Dogs/Pluto Pups', 'Hot Dogs', party pies and sausage rolls, cookies, cake and strawberries
The Dessert Table (designed by me!)

I had a lot of fun doing the dessert table. I really wanted to emphasise the personalised puppy theme, so I purchased small tins of Pringles chips and covered them with the party theme printables that I designed.  I also made printables for the little chocolate bars, drinks, and other labels for the party table.  I must admit this was very time consuming, but I was extremely happy with the outcome!


All party guests were given a pretty white box to fill with candy on their way out!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

How to do....A Star Wars Party

My son requested a Star Wars themed sleep-over party for his 9th birthday.  He was told it wasn't going to be a big party, because he was given a 3DS for his birthday which is a VERY expensive little piece of technology.  He was allowed to invite 5 school friends and thankfully only 3 were able to come.  So, all up including his 2 sisters were 6 children.

I thoroughly enjoy planning a party but this one had me off guard.  For the last 4 years it has been Dr Who all the way, and can I just say...I am the master of the Dr Who party - I will write more on this later as there seems to be little if any tips on Dr Who themed parties on the net.

Anyhow...after much thinking and watching Star Wars this is what I was able to come up with. Please note (if you are not in the US) Star Wars party stuff is incredibly hard to come across.  I was soooo lucky to have stumbled across a massive party store that had most themes, including Star Wars.


The Party Table


Popcorn boxes with bones and skulls became 'the remains of Jabbas victims'!
Lollypops from Party Shop.  Gumball dispensers from Woolworths.



Darth Vaders lightsabers made with red liquorice straps dipped in chocolate and painted with edible gold paint

choc-mint cupcake


Gold coins became Hans Solo's treasure
Blue gum balls became Storm Trooper Bullets


 
Helpful links in making your Star Wars party great...
  • Discount Party Warehouse (I'm not sure if this is the one I went to, because I didn't find them to be so 'discounty' on any Star Wars stuff. 
  • Star Wars font 1
  • Star Wars font 2
  • If you would like any templates for any printed material you see above, please email me at amyinreallife@hotmail.com.au.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

For Phyllis...

http://weheartit.com/entry/2266173
 There is hymn I love that I don't recall hearing as a child - you are probably wondering why this is unusual?...well, my earliest introduction into 'church' was a small brethren church, then we moved to a Baptist church, and then we moved to a large Pentecostal church and in addition to all of this I was educated in a musically centred Baptist school.  So hymns were part of my upbringing which I am ever thankful for, especially considering a large chunk of my church life has been spent within the walls of the Pentecostal church where hymns are rarely sung.   The fact is, I love what is known as the traditional hymn. I love the music, I love the words....the whole package in my opinion is a truly beautiful expression of worship, which more than often exclusively focuses on Gods might, His power and His love. 

Anyway, getting back to the topic...a few years back I first heard a beautiful hymn called 'There is a fountain' (covered by Selah) and the words are so beautiful...they ooze of such an authentic God encounter.  So, last week I decided to look up who wrote this beautiful hymn.  As it turns out, the author is none other than William Cowper.  Cowper is not known in history as a great orator, preacher or a revivalist - in fact, you've probably never heard of him!  To me, I simply knew him as a contributor to John Newtons 'Olney Hymns' and the author of John Giplin. As it turns out, after reading on wikipedia there is a lot more to Cowper than I realised.  He was crippled for most of his life with mental illness, disappointment and botched suicide attempts.  I bet my bottom dollar he died thinking he lived a quiet, inconsequential life.  However, the truth is his hymns are sung all around the world and have made a great impact on peoples lives.  Cowper probably never imagined in his wildest dreams that his struggles; his walk with God (in a nutshell: just life) would have such an everlasting effect on generations to come.

My point is that so many of us go about our days, to our jobs, to school or attending to our children and think that our actions are of no consequence, when the truth is that our struggles, our questions, our faith, our walk with God does indeed echo deep into the future and our footsteps after we die will be there for generations, evident for all to see.

You are important.  The smallest of actions you take have life changing outcomes that you will never have the pleasure of knowing until eternity. Do you sponsor a child?  Do you pick up a neighbours child so they can go to Sunday school? Have you smiled at someone?  Have you spoken words hope into someone?  Written a letter? Helped with the shopping? All of these things, while they may not seem life changing to you, nor make you feel you have such a 'grand' calling...they are all life changing for that person.  That support, that restored faith, that encouragement, that meal, that car trip, that smile, that prayer...


To listen to William Cowpers beautiful hymn, click here

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Lost in translation

Image from weheartit.com
Here is something interesting I realised this morning...my PC desktop was so over populated with files and folders I could no longer see my desktop theme. 

I haven't been myself lately.  Earlier this year I was disappointed, really disappointed.  A chain of events left me with the revelation that someone I had held up (very high) was human and flawed.  I know this seems simple and almost ridiculous, but this disappointment came from someone I had idolised since I was a kid.  In fact, as I grew older I thought she could do no wrong and was the ultimate example of what I wanted to be...kind, gracious and wise.

The realisation that something isn't what you thought it was can be hard to accept (extreme case in point the earth is not flat!). This new knowledge causes us to grow, and sometimes growth causes pain.  The departure of something you held as truth can be an anxious separation.  And, as it turns out, I foolishly went through this growth pain kicking and screaming and it spilled ugly into other relationships and area's in my life.


I realised this morning my desktop looked a lot like my life at the moment.  Ugly, disordered and so busy with un-filed documents that I can't even see the theme in the background.



So, as I tidied it I got myself tidied up too.  With the clearing, look what I can see again...

Saturday, 12 March 2011

BEAUTIFUL blogs...

Image from designspongeonline.com

There are times in life that I feel I have died and gone to bloggers heaven.

Today I came across 2 amazing, beautiful, divine and delicious blogs.  There aren't enough superlatives in the world to describe their beauty.  I'm in love.  And, I'm going to share the love with you.

1. Design*Sponge

2. My Sweet and Saucy

Enjoy xxx

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Christian Charter

I can't deny it.  I love church history, but at the moment I am struggling with church.  To be more specific, churches that have turned into businesses.  I am unable to reconcile my faith with church that is run like a marketplace.  Enough already...what I really wanted to talk about here was how I want to live.  What I want to be known for.

I want to be know by my actions.  Francis of Assisi once said "The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today."  He also famously said "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." 

I made the 'wordle' above to define what I actually stand for and how I want to live.  I don't proclaim to be perfect and sin free, but God, please help me to be all these things that you are.

Survivor of the week - CATHERINE OF ARAGON


Dear Catherine of Aragon,

When life doesn't go the way I planned, or things seem miserably unfair, I often think of you and marvel at your courage and strength.  In fact, I have often wondered why the Catholic Church hasn't sainted you, because clearly if anyone is deserving of such a title it has to be you.

Born into the most powerful European Monarchy at the time, extremely well educated, fluent in many languages and armed with a number of perfected domestic skills - you were the medieval equivalent of home coming queen.

But, poor Catherine.  Betrothed to an English prince.  Married and widowed within 4 months.  A pawn between 2 bickering Kings. Spending many years in limbo neither here nor there, and loosing your mother in between...thus loosing your value as a good export.  Finally your prince in shining armour swept you up and finally you were married (again).

Oh dear Catherine, things were looking up for you but not for long.  If only you had produced a healthy male heir rather than giving birth to a living baby girl.  

Your courage and strength is beyond measure. I know for sure I would have fallen like a pack of cards at the roar of a King's demand for divorce.  Yet, your conscience...your beliefs kept you strong.  I pray that when it comes to the crunch I will have as much faithfulness and determination as you.


You are a survivor beyond doubt.  You married the King and you died as his legal wife despite every pressure put on you to renounce this claim.  You may have lost everything; your earthly comforts, your friends, your ladies, your wealth, your health, but you kept your dignity and when all is said and done...you won. 

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Perfect Massaman Curry - the best recipe

Photography by Louise Lister

I've recently joined a foodie group (even though I hate the word foodie).  We meet once a month and take turns hosting it.  Everyone cooks and brings a dish or two from the designated cuisine we are exploring that month.

Last Saturday night was once again an amazing experience hosted by my newly acquainted, lovely friend Denise.  The theme was Thai and Denise is an absolute expert in Thai cuisine having travelled there and also trained in the art of Thai cooking.  Naturally, the dishes Denise cooked were absolutely DIVINE.  The rest of us cooked well, but Denise supplied the star dishes of the evening.  Anyhow, I digress.

What I wanted to share was the recipe I used for Massaman Curry.  I usually just use a paste and add coconut milk, but this time I decided to go the extra mile and the results were perfect.  I highly recommend this recipe.  Have a go.  It is beautiful: Perfect Beef Massaman Curry at taste.com.au

And, if you're feeling in an authentic mood can I suggest you cook some coconut rice to accompany your Massaman.  This is a really good recipe too. Yum!

PS...I hate peanuts so I left them out of the curry.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Love is a many splendid thing...

image by weheartit.com
I'm not totally enthralled by valentines day.  In fact, I hate it.  I resent the fact that it is boxed into romantic love.  I love, love, but wish the occasion was used to celebrate all kinds of love.

We all have many different loves.  There is of course Eros Love - the intimate kind of love that results in sensual, passionate love.  Too bad if come Valentines Day you are not engaged in this kind of love.  Please look the other way while paired up people fill the restaurants and movie theatres on February 14th with their eyes and mouths locked on each other.  What about agape, philia or storge types of love?  Are these not worth celebrating too?

I love how in the movie Love Actually they showcase a little of these types of love.  Think about Laura Linney's character; Sarah who defers her own wants and needs for the sake of her sick brother.  That is sacrificial and great love.  That is the kind of love I want celebrate.  Then how about friendship love?  Think Billy Mac & Joe.  The kind of friendship that sticks with you and sees you through thick and thin...celebrates your triumphs and holds you close through heartbreaks and failures? 

There are so many more examples of love other than eros I could give...such as the love and affection a parent feels for their child, or the close bond that goes beyond friendship between siblings.

What about the love for something that isn't flesh or blood?  A moment in time? A place?  A song?

There is a place for me that I am bound to with much love and affection.   It is somewhere that holds amazing memories.  Breathtaking scenery, dear friendships, special moments, growth and understanding, even the welcome of a new addition to our family.  Physically speaking I can return there, but emotionally speaking I will never be able to return to that place with those moments.  That love....that is held in my heart forever.  Even though it hurt to leave and say goodbye I would live that love again over and over and over!  Now that is true love!

So, what love are you celebrating this Valentines Day?

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Bystander Effect

So, what do you know about the Bystander Effect?  I know nothing, or shall I say knew nothing until I looked it up after viewing this clip a friend of mine forwarded:


I have been guilty many times of being a bystander....but, a child that is crying out for help yelling 'you're not my dad' would certainly get my attention!  I know I couldn't take the perp on physically, but bet your bottom dollar I would get help! 

Ok, so here's another one:


I am so guilty of this kind of thing...especially in London where God knows there are all types.  Fear of being spat on, kicked or hit are the top 3 things going through my mind when I catch the tube let alone being presented with this situation!  But really....I have to ask myself (let me add, after weighing up the possible real dangers) how do these things pale with the reality of actually helping someone?  It would have cost zero to stop and check if the people (in the clip) slumped on the steps of Liverpool Street Station were ok.  Are we really that busy, that self involved and cellular that in the light of day with no real apparent danger we cannot stop and check if a fellow human being is ok?

After seeing these videos, it has become my fervent prayer to stop being a bystander and to become a helper of people.  Physically speaking, we are all we've got.  We've gotta learn to love and help one another.  Speaking of which, the words of  Jackie DeShannon could never be more true...

Look at your fellow man, lend him a helping hand.  Put a little love in your heart, and the world will be a better place.  Amen to that!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Mummy Toy

Image from weheartit.com
So, to be sure I am not talking about movie merchandise, but rather an interesting topic of  conversation that has been going down at mamamia recently about playing with your kids.  You can read Mia's article here.

Ewww, the vitriol that is going down after that article is monumental!  There are parents who declare their undying commitment to playing with their kids, while others in humility offer they don't like doing it just like the washing or ironing, but see it as chore - something that has to be done.  Then there are people like me. 

I am not my child's play thing or play mate.  To be clear I spend a lot of time with my kids.  A LOT of time...quantity time. Life time. Chatting, cooking, colouring in together, reading and watching DVD's together.  Together as a family we go on picnics, go to the park, ride bikes and all that other stuff kids like to do.


I am the teacher and instructor of my children (not their peer) and while I may get a lot of criticism I would also like to say it is not my job to make my child happy. And before the ranting starts, please just sit for a moment and think about what answer a child would give if you were to ask them what would make them happy.  Ice cream?  Willy Wonka's chocolate factory?  Unless they are deprived of your company and attention, I can guarantee playing with you is not going to be on their list! 

I guess I'm just bored and tired of the army that rises when someone is honest enough to say they don't like doing a certain part of motherhood.  I am positive the reality is we all don't love doing it 100% of the time.  It would be helpful for new mothers if seasoned mothers didn't make out that motherhood is a walk in the park.

It is my opinion that children need to learn to play with other children and they also need to learn to amuse themselves.  That's not to say when I'm sitting at my computer or reading a book and my children involve me in a game of pretend restaurants I don't get involved and gladly sip up my pretend cup of tea they have just served me.  It just means when I am busy doing the housework or paying bills I don't sit on the floor and play Barbies with my five year old, or play the companion of Dr Who! 

I am really sad for the generation that is being raised to expect adults will drop everything and do what they request. I feel equally sorry for their future teachers and employers!