Thursday, December 22, 2011

Go long! Go long!

Recently, a colleague at work told me something, and I was convinced he was just pulling my leg. Determined not to be gullible, and fall for it, I refused to believe him. Last night though, I discovered he was, in fact, telling the truth.

Kids - you can definitely try this one at home!

Stand as far away from your car as you can, in a straight line (or in line of sight), so that you are at the limit of the distance over which your car remote will work. Check that it works. Now take 2 steps backwards, away from your car. Check that your remote no longer works. Take another 15 (approx) steps backwards. Check your remote again - it definitely should not work.

Now open your mouth wide, point your remote inside your mouth (aim for your hard palate), and press it, and see what happens.

It's like.... WOW!

Science at work in everyday life is SOOOOO cool.

I'm still not sure why it happens. My DH has a theory, but I'm not sufficiently physics minded to judge if he's right or not, so I still need to go and do a bit of my own research.

You go and try this, while I go do my research, and we'll meet back here in... oh... say 2 weeks time? or maybe 3... with Christmas around the corner I may need some extra time.

Have fun entertaining the kids!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Words show meaning

When someone dies, how do you refer to it? Do you say the bereaved "lost" their family member, or do you say that the deceased has 'gone to heaven' or has 'died'?

This morning I learnt that the wife of one of our elders died last night. She'd had cancer. In thinking about it, I realised that I wasn't sure how to discuss it. My initial reaction was to say that her husband and kids had "lost" her. Then, thinking about her faith and peace and trust in God, I thought that maybe I ought to say that she had "gone home".

The way you naturally discuss it says a lot, I think, about your perspective on death, on life. Something I've been thinking about a lot recently is trying to keep my eyes on God, not my circumstances, so that my trust is in him, not in my circumstances. I'm hoping that by practicing this now, when the tough times hit us again (as they inevitably will) it'll be such a habit that I won't waver in my trust.

It struck me, while thinking about our elder and his 4 small kids, that my concern was for them. If all I look at is them, then I start to question why God would allow such a wonderful woman and mother to die so young.

Yet, her own faith is a witness to me, because she had absolute peace and faith, right up until the end. As a mother, I'm not sure how she did it. If I knew I was dying, with my young kids, I would be angry and panicked - after all, my kids need me; they need to grow up with their mother's love surrounding them. So the fact that she had peace tells me that she was leaving her kids in God's care, that she trusted him to provide for them, to uphold them and that she believed her death would not (ultimately) have a negative impact on their lives. That's faith.

If she could have that kind of faith, then how can I, as an outsider to the situation, question what God's motives are in allowing this to happen? Surely I should follow her lead, and trust that God is good, all the time?

Which brings me back to my original question - how do I, how do you, how do we discuss the death of a loved one?

I met someone recently who had known my uncle. When he saw my surname, he asked if I was related, and I replied in the affirmative. I went on to say that my uncle IS a wonderful man (nearly a year after his tragic death), before I corrected myself to say he WAS. Then I almost corrected myself again, because I know that my uncle IS still alive, in heaven, waiting for the rest of us.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Over the past few weeks I've been counting my blessings. Partly it's been brought about by some work we've been doing with our Born Sleeping contacts (heartbreaking stuff!) and partly because I've been working all the hours God gives and Graeme has picked up the flak and partly because I've just been looking more.

I've been struck by how amazing my kids are. Nathan is tenacious, to say the least. When he's getting enough sleep (!!) he is just so cute he's edible - polite, sweet, adorable, affable, funny, cheerful, loving. (When he's not, he's a nightmare who will scream and kick and throw a DIVA fit for longer than my patience lasts.) Janel is a genuine fairy princess. She's just so beautiful - even with her scruffy, fuzzywuzzy hair, tomboy scruffy appearance, and filthy feet and hands. Her personality is beautiful too - she's such a loving, caring, helpful, concerned BIG girl.

Maybe I'm just more aware of their awesomeness because I've been thinking a lot about Zoe recently. I'm conscious that I need to celebrate them while I have them.

I had a very interesting conversation with Janel the other night, about Zoe. She burst into tears because she was missing Zoe, and that prompted a long conversation about why God allowed Zoe to die. I was amazed by her questions - why God allowed her to die, why He wouldn't tell us the reason now (why we'd have to wait till we got to heaven to know the truth), why Janel and Nathan didn't die at birth, what their names all mean (Janel - God is gracious, Zoe - life, Nathan - gift of God).

While I was pleased to have the conversation with her, it broke my heart to see how much she misses her sister, how much she longs for her, and be unable to fill that hole in her. I know how it feels to grieve someone for whom you have no real memories, yet someone with whom you have a close bond. It makes grieving harder in many respects.

At least she doesn't have to deal with the adult mentality that because there are no memories, she shouldn't feel anything. It felt good to be able to tell her that it was okay to long for her sister, to be sad that Zoe's not here, to cry. It felt good to be able to speak that truth into her heart and hold her while she cried. But at the same time, it broke my heart. I don't like seeing my baby going through that kind of pain. As her mother, I'm supposed to be able to protect her from everything. (I know, I can't, but I feel like I should be able to.)

In the conversation, I was also able to explain to her why Nathan is such a special boy - that he wouldn't be here if Zoe had lived, because we wouldn't have had another child. I pointed out to her that Nathan really is a gift from God, because she nearly died, and Zoe did die, and Nathan wouldn't have been here if it weren't for Zoe's death. Maybe I'm just reading stuff into something that isn't actually there, but since then, I've seen her make more of an effort to play lovingly with him.

The other blessing in my life, that I've counted daily, is Graeme. I honestly don't know how I wound up with such an amazing man. I know that I don't deserve him - he's the most incredible man I know. I can't even begin to count the ways in which he is a blessing in my life. And I feel just awful that I don't treat him accordingly. I could say I'm too busy, but the truth is I'm just to self-absorbed. As I said, I really don't deserve him.

Like today... A few days ago we bought new bikes. Last night we started trying to adjust them to be able to use them, and I couldn't do what needed to be done - a combination of the wrong tools and lack of physical strength. He had an initial look at it, and couldn't fix it either (lack of know-how and wrong tools). When something I really want doesn't materialise, I get incredibly disappointed. The way my disappointment manifests is that I become very tired, very low and very cross with the world.

Rather than trying to change my mood, or getting cross with me for throwing an adult-style tantrum (and withdrawing entirely from the family), he calmly popped the kids in the bath, did a quick Google search, then picked up the tools, tried again and fixed what I couldn't. He did it because he knew it was something important to me. He did it because he loves me. He did it because he knew that it was the quickest way to help me feel better. What a hero!

So, this Christmas, I am counting my blessings, the ones closest to me. God is good!