Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Friday, April 30, 2010

A Strange Love Affair.

Many ~ perhaps most ~ Australians have never stood in a mangrove forest...Mangroves are not the sort of place most people would choose for a casual stroll. Bob Holmes [New Scientist]

Milky mangrove.
Shortly after we moved to the island I became known as The Greenie; this was not a complimentary endearment! I drove the excavator crazy. Of two trees growing side by side, their trunks touching, the excavator was only allowed to remove the one infested with white ants. I bailed up the chainsaw guy & sent him packing. He protested he was only cutting down dead trees. I pointed out nests. We kept our ironbarks ~ & the she oaks, the soap trees & ferns. In between we planted more natives & some exotics. I think we are the only family that has not systematically removed our mangroves, legally or otherwise. I'm sure this does not surprise you. Different root systems but each eliminates the salts while absorbing oxygen, nutrients & water.

A mangrove is not, a mangrove is a mangrove is a mangrove. Queensland alone boasts 39 different species of mangrove. If I walk along my waterfront I can count a least 7 different varieties. On the outer edges we get the common great spreading Grey whose branches rest so serenely along the water like a languid lover's arms & behind those the River mangrove & Yellow. Closer to the shoreline you will find the Milky mangrove, the Red & Orange & Black mangroves, each doing its mangrovey thing, each different, each special.

Orange amongst Red Mangroves.

Now anyone who has lived near mangroves will immediately think they are a breeding habitat for mosquitoes ~ which is unfortunately true & probably a major contributing factor to their consistent removal, though I've met lots of people who just think them plain ugly & useless. Nothing could be further from the truth. A well grown Orange is a magnificent tree, especially when its red bell like flowers cluster amongst the dark green leaves! Mangroves are absolutely essential for a healthy coastal ecosystem but did you know the Milky, whose white sap is poisonous & notorious for causing blindness is also used in incense, is pollen rich & highly attractive to bees & the poisonous sap is used in treating chronic ulcerous diseases such as leprosy? My head is full of useless information.

It's been estimated that at least 1/2 of the world's mangrove forests have been destroyed by man. That's insane when you consider they stabilise river banks & channels & act as buffering from storm surges & winds. This was devastatingly highlighted during the Sri Lanka Tsunami of 2005. The village that had removed all its mangroves suffered over 6, 000 deaths. The one that kept them just 2! [quote from here] Seventy~five % of tropical coastlines are bordered by mangroves. They provide breeding nurseries for loads of marine life, shelter & nesting habitat for scores of birds & are soil formers.

The Grey Mangrove, with its wide spread & drab colouring, is absolutely fascinating. It is the pioneer mangrove, growing at the farthest extremes of the mangrove forest, tolerating short periods of both freshwater & hypersalinity & colonising developing mudbanks.

Between the pioneer spirit of the Greys & the landhuggers like the Blacks you find stands of River Mangroves. They look, to me, a lot like more of the same but they are subtlety different & do a quite different job. They form large stands in the centre & landward zones of mangrove forests creating an understory for the Greys & buffering the less robust mangroves behind them.

And did you know that Mangroves can "drown"? More or less. Extended periods of water logging exceeding 14 days & any species of mangrove will die. They all need a certain amount of exposure to fresh air to disperse their salts & oxygenate themselves.

We are blessed, Along our stretch of beach the mangroves have been left unmolested for many years. We have several huge trees bearing the scars of the storms they have survived, wide swathes where it is possible to walk through dappled waterlight with ease. When the winter winds howl overhead & the thermometer plummets I can head into the mangroves knowing that in some sunshiny spot there will be silence & warmth & shelter from the storm.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird. Atticus ; To Kill a Mockingbird ~ Harper Lee.

It is so lovely outside just now, despite the fact Ditz is not an early riser, that we have taken our reading onto the verandah. Coffee in my big green mug, some razorback oysters Ditz has plans for & some of my favourite books that I have waited a long time to share with Ditz: God's Smuggler, The Screwtape Letters & To Kill a Mockingbird. Pity she doesn't like any of them but it is pleasant sitting in the dappled sunlight with the cats purring at our feet.

We have kept the She Oaks, the Ironbarks & Soap trees & on the waterfront 7 different varieties of mangroves. I love mangroves. We sit concooned in our green & blue & gold wonderland & the rest of the world ceases to exist.

Autumn Mornings.

Jess was looking about the sunlight kitchen now, inspecting his family. " All here," he said, "right side up $ forked end down." But then, maybe he was still praying, for what he said next was, "Amen, amen."
Autumn mornings; half a century of them Days on end of crystalline crispness. I never tire of them. As I walk through the mangroves at low tide there are turtles, dugongs & dolphins popping inquisitive heads up to investigate these strange 2 legged land creatures. Not frightened & you can tell by the way they turn their heads & keep pace with Ditz & I that they are as curious about us as we are about them.

The other day I saw an albino something, looping in & out of the water with a curious pearly pink sheen to their white underbelly. So very pretty & I thought, as I always think, how wonderful are the things that God made, far more amazing & precious than anything man has ever come up with. I guess there are the Hawkins of this world who will keep trying but I'm not a Hawkins & glad for it! Besides, unmolested & unthreatened I am always stunned at how willing wild animals are to engage with humans. It brings me so close to the garden of Eden.

My morning meditation is broken just now by the baby butcher bird who perches on the rail beside me & begins to scold & cajole for tit~bits despite the kittens chittering agitatedly at my feet. Short the full quid maybe, or just inexperienced, but he is a brave, brave little bird & he has the prettiest song of them all. We get a prolonged warbling that none of the recordings quite capture. Far prettier than the magpie or currawong calls. Pity that some of his other attributes are more than a little grotty. Suffice to say the name says it all!

So many birds flittering in & out of the trees & the sound of bird song thick as molasses. The kittens are adoring this cooler weather, perched like guardian mascots along the edge of the verandah, eyes slitted, riveted by the dancing shadows, the glinting sparks of light, the drift of leaves against the sky. Mmmm. Smell the air! I am intoxicated by Autumn!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

If time were the wicked sheriff in a horse opera , I'd pay for riding lessons & take his gun
& shoot him. W.H Auden
All year, & we are now nearly done with the fifth month, Ditz & I have struggled with our health. I am looking askance at those pesky mosquitoes & all the nasty little diseases they carry because with all the rain we had more than our usual numbers throughout summer. Of course it may just be that I'm getting old but if this is getting old I'm over it. I have things to do, places to be.

Like singing classes, made more difficult now by the lack of a car. Liddy has managed to write off her vehicle. *sigh* We are debating a replacement because our absolutely wonderful council wants to remove all the parking spaces along the mainland foreshore ~ & yes they are an eyesore but without good public transport what are all our workers meant to do ~ & people like us who have our kids in extra curricula activities that require toddling all over Brisbane? And if you think that's not an issue you should have been on the boat last night at 7.15 because some child had gone missing from school. Try dealing with that from over here without a vehicle! Know where she went & why eventually but no~one was able to go get her! Having been the parent whose kids have missed buses & thus boat connections I know what a major drama this causes in the heart of a parent. Why the council never capped our population I do not know. It was the smart thing to do if they didn't want to bridge us [& they don't] & don't want the parking issue. Obviously our council isn't big on smarts.

We have cut everything back to a bare minimum. Ditz is not doing flute, violin or piano. I know. I thought she would miss the music but it seems that teen angst has negated all that. I believe violin is now an option so we will once more add that & see how we go. I prefer flute myself but it's not all about me, more's the pity.

Singing is gearing up for Creative Generation. Just breathing. This was a circus last year. Absolutely huge production. The massed choir alone was 2,ooo students. You read that right: 2 000! AVAE, I believe, are this year's guest artists. Deep breathing. I am not thinking about how we are going to make that last boat because without a car obviously we won't. Guess we're crashing on someone's floor for the night. Luuuverly. I think there's a reason I'm just plain tired all the time. Ho hum.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lessons to be learnt.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. [ Phil. 4:6]

Liddy is a planner ~ one of my left~brained, logical, detail oriented children. She makes lists, checks them twice. Ditz & I, well let's just say we're more the paint ball artist types; throw all your colours at a canvas & see what happens. Want to see Liddy spin, throw her a curved ball.

So before Liddy handed in her resignation she made a list: her known expenses for the year, her unknowns, her maybes & what ifs. I sympathise. I like to know where my next paycheck is coming from too. Liddy is detail oriented & her math is good. According to her calculations she had more than enough to get her through 12 months of unemployment comfortably.

Now God in His infinite wisdom gives me all the detail oriented stuff that sends me crazy because who in their right mind would care about all this stuff?! Government departments! Oh, how I loathe government departments! Liddy does that stuff in her sleep. Seriously, Ditz handed her a handful of change yesterday & without blinking Lid said,"$3.75". She was out by 20 c. I do much better with curved balls, red herrings & bunny trails. Liddy does not. Yep. She is getting them all!

Liddy goes to Sydney next week ~ unless another curved ball heads her way. She is booked to do a 5 day course on self development. Uh~huh. Planned for, paid for. Planned to drive down. Planned to swing by Aunty Duchess on her way home [ Hi sweetheart! ♥♥♥ Yeh, I know she hasn't contacted you.] Planned to head off to her new job at Rathdowney. All in her very own car. Yep. Lid's a planner. Dearest & I haven't been so happy about the way she's zotting all over the place like a bottled fly but the child's 20. An adult. We said our say & shut out mouths. God is not subtle, not when He has something to say. Not subtle at all. Plain as day. Oh yeah.

So driving back to the jetty on Sunday Lid made a slight *error of judgement*. Not all her fault but she is at fault. Ended up in the ditch. Car's been towed away by the RACQ. Lid's pretty shaken up in herself but thankfully not hurt. Mean old mum put her behind the wheel of our car as soon as she got home. No point stewing over an accident. They are called accidents for a reason & Liddy is a good driver. She needed to know that. So she drove Ditz & I up to the shops & back & it was all good. But before she has even left her job she is watching her careful, well thought out plans get smashed to smithereens & the lovely nice pile of accumulated cash dwindle before her very eyes. Her insurance just went through the roof. Um, yeah, don't even want to think about that one. She has car repairs to pay for. She has no car so may have to fly to Sydney ~ & do public transport to the airport ~ unless the repair job is quick. She has no transport to gad ~ & will have to rely on others to get her to Rathdowney.

Liddy is careful & thoughtful ~ & there is nothing at all wrong with that in & of itself but the lesson is as glaringly obvious to me as I expect it is to Liddy. We cannot rely on ourselves for even the most mundane of things. Our security is in Christ alone. I suspect that sort of trust is harder for the Liddy's of this world.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Both ways now...

Two things are aesthetically perfect in the world ~ the clock & the cat. Emile August Chartier. Butter wouldn't melt in their mouths ~ until the lights go off at night! All day they can be found somnolent about the house, cuddling their people, minding vacant chairs for their missing owners, purring like demented kettles but come the night! Ah, they turn into fiends & demons & whirling dervishes!
We have a routine. The boys sleep upstairs with us. Our bedroom is their safe haven. It is where they immediately bolt if they get frightened. At night it is where we are. They know my routine & are at the stairs waiting for me as I come down the hall. They arrive sleepy~eyed, yawning big yawns. They mew piteously, anxious to go to bed. They curl round my ankles, lift small delicate chins for a goodnight scratch, shoot up the stairs & onto their blankets, a picture of innocent virtue watching me patiently as I prepare for bed.

As soon as I flick off the light that all changes! They explode around the room cannoning into walls & furniture. They hurl themselves across the bed chasing each other. Crash. Bang. Thump. They roll round in a furry lump, their jaws locked around each others throats growling & mewling . I can sleep through most things. What I cannot sleep through is Marlow.

At some point Kirby loses all interest for Marlow & he arrives on my bed. This cat is so delicate, so light on his feet, I never feel him arrive ~ until he pounces! There follows a flurry as he worries my feet, pinning me with his considerable weight as a delicate, seeking paw squirrels under the bedclothes so he can nibble my toes. Eeeew! When he has left my ankles in tatters he squirms up the bed purring his head off for a last cuddle, a last chuck under the chin & the sound of my voice telling him he's a pretty puss. [Well, after all that ruckus I can hardly tell him he's a good boy, can I?]

I believe the rest of our nights are hardly peaceful but as the boys don't disturb me [or Dearest for that matter] it's not an issue until the sun starts peeking over the horizon. Marlow, having by all accounts spent his night bouncing off our walls, is still sleeping the sleep of the virtuous. Kirby, on the other hand, starts feeling lonely. I feel him arrive & hurriedly bury my head under my doona. Nothing dismayed, his purrs reverberating the entire bed, Kirby starts fishing under the doona with a paw. His small furry head eventually follows with squeaks of delight & delighted hiccupy purrs because it is officially morning & he is thrilled to see me. Indeed he is so delighted he wants to sit on my face. And lick my chin. Nibble my ear~lobe [eeeew! gross!]. When he starts trying to pin me down so he can groom me I know I have to get up. It's the only thing to do.

I've decided both cats are quite mad.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thinking aloud here.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; & his commandments are not grievous. 1 John 5:3

I mentioned to a friend that sometimes I really wished God had made it simple & said: Do this; don't do that ~ & then I realised He's tried that once already, with dubious results. Mind you, it's kept the Jewish people together through several Diasporas but somehow I don't think that was quite what God had in mind, not primarily.

Now just like anyone else I can trot out the trite & simple answers as to what God wants & at different times I have conveniently let it go at that: Love God, love your neighbour. Um, yeah. And depending on whom I speak with & what denomination they belong to depends on what sort of answers I get if I ask, "But how do I love God? What does it mean to love my neighbour?"

When I ask God the answers are a little more troubling because the whole bible is about answering those 2 questions! Dear God, from the legalism of the Jews & the tolerance of the Liberals, preserve us! There is a Way for my stumbling feet that hangs between the Law & the Prophets of the Old Testament & the Grace of the New. It is the path Jesus trod & the closer I find myself to His example the more of His peace I have ~ the peace that passeth all understanding.

Some of where I find myself is familiar territory because the church got the teaching's right. Some is unexplored territory because in embracing the new the church forgot the old teachings. There is a delicate balance. The whole of the New Testament hangs upon the old. Jesus came that the old might be fulfilled: fulfilled, not abolished, not done away with, not abandoned as of no more importance. I tell you the truth until heaven & earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until it's purpose is achieved. [matt 5:18:]

Grace, yes. Without it we are lost indeed, but the law also because the law tells us when we have sinned ~ & how we have sinned. Now before you all jump all over me consider than we in the west have been immeasurably blessed by the Jewish law. Our entire legal system is based in part on the 10 commandments. Imagine what would happen if our laws were dispensed with! People could do what they wanted, say what they wanted, take what they wanted & there would be no recompense, no justice. OK, so our world is going to hell in a basket & sometimes it already feels like the worst has happened but so long as the law stands the knowledge of right & wrong persists. And the law is not just a negative. It points out the best way to treat others ~ & God. When Jesus tells us to love others as we love ourselves it is this I'd be pretty sure He had in mind because Jesus was a Torah observant Jew. He knew His O.T.

If God is the same yesterday, today & forever [& He says He is] then He hasn't arbitrarily changed his mind. If He says a thing will last forever, it will. If He puts something in motion that is to last in perpetuity I wouldn't bet on it not. And here's the funny thing. If you had asked me if I loved God I would have answered, "Yes, of course!" But it was love on my terms ~ & ignorance is no excuse. God explains very clearly how we are to show our love for Him ~ you might be surprised.

The purpose of the law was not to trap people in legalism. It was to train the heart to think in a Kingdom way & a person to act in a Kingdom way ~ ways that glorify God & bless people. With that picture the Old Testament slides seamlessly into the New like a hand into a glove. Grasping the greater purpose the whole of scripture lights up like a stained glass window with the sunlight shining brilliantly through it & "How sweet are thy words unto my taste; yea sweeter than honey to my mouth." [psalm 119:103]

Friday, April 23, 2010

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old/ Age shall not weary them, nor the years condem...Laurence Binyon.
ANZAC Day always leaves me conflicted. I admire the young men & women who went to war & fought against incredible odds ~ & their own leaders stupidity. I also happen to think they were incredibly mistaken. I admire those who refused to go & kill their fellow man & got handed yellow feathers or worse. I happen to think there is always a better alternative to war ~ but the unravelling of that thread goes all the way back to Cain & Abel.

At different times I have marched in Dawn Services. My poppy was with the Gordons in 1916; my father was a pilot airlifting diggers out of PNG. My Uncle Norman died in Indonesia. On both sides of the family the men were farmers. Killing did not come naturally to them. They paid a price.

I no longer march. I don't think Ditz & I have ever done a study on ANZAC Day ~ but we have studied the wars & their consequences. I have unusual views on both. She lives here, sees the news, has partaken in a service once or twice herself. No big fuss. No major history lesson. The war simply slots into it's alloted place in the bigger picture.

Tomorrow the Diggers will don their slouch hats & their pristine uniforms & parade down our streets in memory of a mistake that cost far more lives than it was worth ~ & it was a mistake. They landed in the wrong place & should have been pulled out immediately because it was unwinnable from a military point of view. Don't get me started on Vietnam or how the English should have dealt with the Germans after WWI in order to have averted WWII!

I am allowed my traiterous & ill~informed views but tomorrow my boy will be one of those parading in uniform down Melbourne's streets. When his training is over he will probably be headed Afghanistan way. Do I think he is mistaken? You bet your booties I do. Do I think he is wrong? Most assuredly. Am I proud of him? More than I can say. That is the end point of the whole sorry exercise, isn't it? He can march & I can not because this is a free country & the world being the way it is other people have paid the price for us to disagree in peace. For every soldier who marches tomorrow there is a whole family; for every fallen soldier a whole family who grieved; for every soldier returned suffering post traumatic stress a community affected. We can never afford to forget. It should never be allowed to happen again ~ & it will. That is the saddest thing of all.

And she pondered these things in her heart...

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs4:23

We are transitioning ~ not so smoothly. Liddy, finally, has handed in her resignation. We are all relieved. Changes are ahappening. In the midst of the need to deal with the practicalities of life the Lord has been speaking to me & I am trying to keep one ear at least tuned to what He has to say to me.

Whatever happens one thing & one thing alone is important: to walk in the old ways & see & ask for the old paths, where is the good way because there we shall find rest for our souls.

And the question is, "What does it really mean to follow Jesus?" If he came to show us the way, what is that way? Not, it seems, what I have always been taught it is. The church has lied & as I attempt to peel away the layers of paganism & man~made ritual that have attached themselves to the church as we know it I am left with something far simpler, far more profound & far more difficult than I ever imagined.

Not the easiest journey I've ever undertaken but at least I can't complain to the Lord that it was boring!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chicken Tonight.

cat ~ [Kat]/n. Dog with an attitude problem.

My how things have changed around here! Remember those kittens we brought home? The ones who hid wedged in the deepest, darkest corners under the couch, at the back of the bed, in the cupboards? Yes, those kittens. The ones who bolted upstairs if a parrot squawked, or the postman knocked & definitely on Sunday mornings when everyone arrived for church. The very same kittens. We haven't changed cats but the cats have changed.

Yes, I know they're waxing sleek & fat. I'm not discussing their ever expanding girth or the way they carry their tails like a yard~arm pennant waving merrily in a rising breeze. This is a quite different breed of cat. These are the cats who get up in the morning & realise it's Sunday. Sunday is chicken day. Sundays they hurtle downstairs like 2 furry cannon balls & watch me like a hawk until I rummage for the car keys & head for the door. Instead of rushing outside to join me they rush to the end window from whence they can watch with great anticipation for my return because on Sundays when I depart to procure the Sunday paper & the salad makings I bring home hot roasted chicken. The smell proceeds me down the path so that by the time I arrive in my kitchen the cats are frantic with anticipation. Chicken, chicken, chicken tonight!

Now I hate breaking apart a chook. Totally gross. And greasy. Slimy even. Oh, & catty. I give that lovely job to Ditz & Ditz gets mobbed. Ditz gets the furballs under her feet, twining through her ankles, sinking anxious claws into her flesh. She gets the demanding meows, & the small impatient bodies launching into space in the vain hope they can get to the chicken before Ditz gets to them. Ditz yells, I snicker, the cats go frantic but Ditz collects a small portion of scraps that she doles out judiciously to the best behaved puss in turn.

Marlow is a chook fanatic. He adores a nice juicy piece of chicken. Fed, the cats slink away before our guest arrive ~ or they were. Things have changed. Yesterday as our friends arrived the cats rushed out to greet them, lifting small pointy chins to be rubbed, ears scratched, backs stroked. They hurtled round the room in a frenzy of delight showing off abysmally, displaying every cute catty trick they know & all their well known charms. They delighted in being the centre of attention & having welcomed our guests settled down to listen to the scripture & chat until it was time to makes the rounds at lunch to procure further tid~bits. Our friends are sweet & knowing our cats put a little extra chicken on their plates, nicely shredded, to tempt shy puss' their way. The kittens weren't shy! They begged, they cajoled, they bribed. They're spoilt. Oh, yes they are. And they're just too cute for words.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

For Fantasy Readers.

Jeanne, here, posted a 100 best children's books list. Book lists are always fun. The problem is that while I read, & still read, widely, my first preference has always been for fantasy ~ a genre that is notably missing from many of these lists yet has some of the best writing & best children's authors going. To get a reader to suspend reality long enough to read an entire novel requires talent. So I have made a Best Ten list of my own; fantasy authors that are worth every moment to read. Missing from my list are most of the stand~bys that sometimes make regular lists ~ The Wind In the Willows [I can't abide talking animals], The Hobbit [Tolkien needed a ruthless editor who could stop him waffling], The Wizard of Oz [ho~hum] & Pinocchio, which I just plain didn't like.

So here we go:

1.The Owl Service ~ Alan Garner. This has got to be about the best ever YA fantasy.

2. Sabriel ~ Garth Nix. Innovative & genuinly original with very strong writing.

3. The Spellcoats ~ Diana Wynne Jones [she writes for a variety of ages; this one's for older children]

4. The Children of Greene Knowe ~ Lucy M. Boston

5.The Little Prince ~ Antoine Saint~Exupery

6. The Dark is Rising [2nd book in The Dark is Rising series] ~Susan Cooper

7. Linnets & Valerians ~ Elizabeth Goudge [Lots of lovely books to choose from with this lady]

8. Andra ~Louise Lawrence

9. A Wrinkle in Time ~Madeline L'Engle

10. The Last Battle ~ C.S. Lewis.

Even better about 1/2 are Christian writers! Some more than others but there it is.

So, if you like fantasy, which ones have you read? Or, even better, whom do you read & like? Do share.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Most people do not consider dawn to be an attractive experience ~ unless they are still up ~ Ellen Goodman

I am not a morning person. I do not leap out of bed delighting in a new day. These days it's more of a creak as I fumble for my glasses to reduce the blur then pad downstairs with only one thought in mind: coffee. Lots & lots of coffee.

Nope, mornings are not my thing. I began as a night owl. Nights were quiet. Nights were peaceful. Nights were for me ~ & the cats. My kids like nights too. As they grew bigger & stayed up later it became harder & harder to to find that quiet space ~ unless I got up early. Early early. Like before the sun is up early.

Our bedroom is almost all windows with panoramic views through the trees over Quandamooka ~ & we don't do curtains. In summer it is light by 4am ~ & it is the only cool part of the day! In this sub~tropical climate the storms thunder down at night & the early morning air is a rich heady elixir. That first hour of the day is a fey time, shadowy with dreams & half~thoughts, so still the ticking clocks resound like gongs.

I wade through shadows thick as molasses as the cats lift their heads in greeting, ears pricked in anticipation. I slide the door, throw the stair light switch & wait as the cats shoot between my legs & hurtle down the stairs, tails carried so high they arch over their backs.

I follow more slowly, turning off the light at the bottom. The hallway is dark but there are no cats there. They are already in the kitchen eyeing their empty dishes with disgust, staring through the sliding glass door at the day. I punch the computer button & pick up the cat dishes on my way to the kettle. I pour cat biscuits into cat dishes, cats mewling anxiously about my ankles. Kirby has learnt to wait, his eyes fastened on me, every movement noted. Marlow is still a kitten with a kitten's impatience. He tangles through my feet as I set the dishes down in his anxiety to get to the food before it disappears.

I stare vaguely through the kitchen window as I wait for the kettle to boil. The moriah needs cutting back but the small white flowers are filling the kitchen with scent. There is still sea mist cradling the islands in a gauzy shawl. I can hear the mud popping through the mangroves & the slosh of water tells me the tide is high. The first birds call uncertainly as the sky lightens imperceptibly.

I make coffee in my thick green mug, add a dollop of ice cream if there is any, waggle the mouse to see if the computer has loaded. Kirby complains that the door is shut, but shut it will stay until it is light outside. He jumps up on the desk & paddles all over the keyboard in protest. The computer has a spac attack as he meanders back & forth then settles in front of the key board purring dementedly. Marlow gently pricks his claws through my pant leg so I reach down & tuck him into the curl of my left arm. He too begins a deep rumbling purr. One armed, my keyboard out of reach & two cats creating a small earthquake about me I sip my coffee & begin reading your blogs.

It is very quiet: clocks tick, cats purr, the computer makes computer noises. Outside the sky glows rosy. There is an explosion of sound as the birds discover the day. I throw washing in the machine, grab my bible & more coffee, throw open the door & settle in a wicker chair on the verandah. Kirby shoots past me to explore, then begins mewling anxiously to find me. Marlow follows more slowly, collapsing at my feet & lolling abandonedly. Light glints on leaf edges like a scything sword. The bay spreads out like a pewter mirror under bunching clouds. The sea smell of salt & mud wafts up from the beach. Kirby chitters at the butcher birds. The silence is not silent but deep & impenetrable. If I am lucky I still have an hour of quiet, an hour to sink into the silence, an hour to be deeply grateful for this quiet time before the busyness of the day begins.

It begins with banging & the peculiar sput~sput of a nail gun. The builders are on the job early dragging Ditz protesting from her bed before she is ready to rise. All unnoticed the peace, the quiet, the silence has gone, swallowed up by people living their lives. Cars gun down the main road, over loud in the early morning air. The thrum of boat engines carries loudly across the water. Birds fight & squabble after the gum blossom, screech & squawk & sing declaring their territories, wooing mates, warning predators. The cats sensibly curl up in disgust but I carry the early morning peace within me like a precious jewel into the hustle & bustle, a quiet oasis as chaos whirls about me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If I had to choose....

"In the kitchen was the crisis of dishing up, but it was over in a minute: chicken with dumplings like like yellow clouds floating on top, coleslaw in green & white glacier drifts, & mashed potatoes like cloud & snow together were carried in by Emanuela.

Eliza stood in the doorway, untying her apron.

Friends, she said, "supper is ready."

They were 28 at table. Young & old. Oldsters for whom food had a meaning, & young 'uns ~ & in between, those whose hearts had not yet fed, & who could eat on bread or stone, so little were they centred in swallowing, so much in seeing, searching.

Eliza was the minister at the table, but it was a man's place to say grace. Grace was silent, except on occasions like this ~ with Methodists present who liked to hear what people were saying to God." The Illumination ~ Jessamyn West

My book shelves are weighed down & weighed under. Books lie in piles beside sofa chairs & on the coffee table, on bedside tables & atop the stereo. They have followed us from house to house like stalkers & though I cull diligently, still they multiply like some noxious disease.

Many of my favourites were in poor repair when I acquired them, hardbacks I could get no other way, & now so loved they are brittle & battered, their pages yellow & stained with age, sticky tape marks holding torn pages in place, yet even if I could I wouldn't replace them. Old books smell differently, smell better. There is something about turning the pages others have turned, seeing the grubby thumb mark left by a gardener, the coffee stain, the smear of chocolate, lives aligning. Did someone accidentally spit chocolate laughing at the quirky joke I laugh at? Put down their coffee cup anywhere to grub surreptitiously for a tissue hoping those beady eyed children who find mother's tears so funny wouldn't notice she was crying over a book!! Did some other gardener pick this up over lunch delighting in the rush of names: May Duke cherries; Stump the World, a white fleshed peach; the Lucretia dewberry, a wonder for pies & cobblers. Pears, currant bushes, gooseberries, whatever the land could support or fancy demand in the way of fruits, Jess had them.

Jessamyn West's The Friendly Persuasion is cracked down the spine but it was printed in 1946 so can be expected to be geriatric & in need of a little TLC. I hunted for years for a copy of this. I adored it from the moment I first saw the movie; the book is better ~ & though I have read the sequel, Except for Me & Thee, I still don't own a copy.

Why does one love this book & not some other? Why do I own this but not Fox's life, Penn's Fruits of Solitude or Woolman's Journal? My children don't get it. There is no plot. This is a collection of short stories about ordinary every day life ~ ah, but so well written one feels like one is standing in the Birdwell's kitchen smelling the summer ripened peach pies & cobblers, seeing the light glitter on the polished silverware on the table, the rosy hue of the cloth. There is a gentleness to this book that soothes my soul, lightened by such a subtle quirky humour that slides so slyly into the text you almost miss it. It is the picture of a marriage that has ripened to full maturity, bursting with both the sweetness & tartness of love.

"Thee, Elza interrupted him, " is like all men. Thee wants to have thy poetry & eat it too."

As I read, yet again, of life lived along the Muscatatuck before modern conveniences ~ & I sure do love my modern conveniences! ~ what really draws me again & again to this book is that West is a painter. She paints with words. As I read I can see so vividly what she is talking about though it is in the details she chooses to leave out that flesh out the picture. Jess, for example, has a a big Irish tenor's nose ~ I know that about him & everything else about him falls into place. Eliza has plump little hands like birds & I can see her vividly.

Mind you I would love this book for one story alone: First Day Finish. For the full impact it is wise to also read A Likely Exchange, but even without that this is an absolute howler of a story that even knowing it as well as I do still has me laughing out loud till the tears stream down my face & I am hysterical with laughter.

When the day of disaster strikes, or I have to list the 5 things I would take with me to a deserted island, this would be the first thing I grabbed, the top of my list ~ even before my bible. Want to know how to live a Christ like life, this books shows you. The chances of my being able to replace my bible are extraordinarily high. If I lose this book I may never be able to replace it. I'm not taking any chances.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Autumn is a weather~cock, Blown every way...Christina Rosetti.

Autumn is the best of all worlds. The worst of the heat is gone but the sunshine soaks into aching bones & gently warms them. The edges of the day are sharply crystalline. There is a glitter to the light & a crisp crunch to the air. At night the stars blaze like fireworks in a vast & inky sky, the cats come looking for laps, snuggling purrs, the wool comes out, the crotchet hooks come out, Ditz & I snuggle under doonas while I read aloud. Yes, I still read aloud to my 14 year old.

Autumn is subtle. There is no brazen fall of wanton leaves all the colours of the rainbow. No frosted lace upon the grass. No hint of snow & ice to come. Autumn slinks, cat~like through a thread of days: a delicate hint of coolness like an exploring whisker, a gentle paw against the face saying, I'm here, a settling weight...The blue of Quandamooka glows darker, dances with a thousand diamonds. The rains come softly, unlike the tumultuous summer storms that rage along the gutters & thunder down the hill in a torrential display of temper. The nights grow longer. I turn the lights on when I go to prepare tea, turn them on as I come downstairs in the morning & the morning light falls differently, throwing different patterns across polished floorboards.

There is a Quaker silence to the burgeoning day; the flash of God's Spirit, a heady peace in the dappling light. My soul magnifies the Lord, my God, for He has set me in this place abounding with good things & my soul rejoices.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thoughts out of Sunday's discussion.

For it is time for judgement to begin with the family of God; & if it begins with
us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1Peter 4:17

This has been on my heart for a long time. Everywhere I see the church compromised & compromising. I see God's people mislead, misdirected & led astray. I see Gods' people compromising, acknowledging God with their lips, denying His power.

It came up on Sunday, the Catholic Church sadly being in the news yet again for pedophilia. God is dealing with His people. Sin in the church may be tolerated by us but not by God. Even though His Name gets dragged through the mud God is cleansing His church.

We are warned to be above criticism. To live such exemplary lives no fault can be found in us by our detractors. To be holy because God is Holy. Our example is Daniel, who remained holy in the midst of corrupt & hedonistic Babylon & in whom his detractors could find no fault ~ so they invented one & paid the ultimate price.

Now judgement is not condemnation. There is no condemnation for those who love God & are called according to his purposes. It is discipline. In Psalm 89 God says: I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. If we are God's we can expect his watchful eye on us & if His eye is on us we can expect both an outpouring of His love & His discipline when we stray.

We are without excuse for the state our churches are in. 1 Timothy gives very clear instructions about the sort of qualifications a church leader must have. We violate these conditions at our peril, to our own detriment. Sin is to be rebuked publicly. When was the last time you heard a minister rebuke sin from the pulpit? I don't mean the big general sins of the unregenerate world, but the known, unrepentant sin of a believer. Me neither. Just thinking about it makes me squirm. It is exactly that wooliness, that lack of the single eye that is focused on Jesus, that has got us where we are today till we have a homosexual Anglican Bishop, hundreds of children violated & their trust in the goodness of God poisoned, Christians more focused on what they can get than what they can give, easy tolerance posturing for genuine love & a world that shakes its head in disgust wishing to be saved from the questionable mercy of God's people. If it makes me sick, just think how God feels about it!

Rather strongly according to both Timothy & Peter & scripture always maintains a balance. Judgement is coming. It begins with us because in all honesty we should know better. We have the Spirit within us to lead us into all truth & righteousness. It begins with us because the separation has already begun & the world should hate us. Persecution is our allotment. It is allowed to purify & refine us.

We are designed for a particular purpose, as Holy Vessels to be used in worship, sanctified [set apart] for that particular purpose. I'm not going to sidetrack into what worship is or is not. I'm not going to delve into what to me is obvious; that of any sin at all it can be said, "There but for the grace of God go I" & because of that alone I have no right to be snooty about those who have fallen to a particular temptation. One does not have to condone sin in order to love.

Nope. The glaring truth is that Jesus has promised He will return & when he comes next it will not be as the helpless babe wrapped in swaddling clothes but as the Prince of the King of the Universe & given authority to execute judgement upon all of creation. One of the greatest lies Satan has told is the one of gentle Jesus meek & mild. It has led people to believe Jesus was & is a weakling but I once went looking for the very first sermon Jesus ever preached. Do you know what it was? Both the Gospel of Mark & the Gospel of Matthew state it was : "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!" Nothing too meek & mild about that. What's more He continued to say it & ended up on a cross.

It is time for those of us known by His name to listen up to what He says, repent & love Him with heart & soul & mind & not just with our lips.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Finding Jesus in the Sunday paper.

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners & recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the lord's favour." Luke4:18 & 19

It is easy to get caught up in religion ~ which tends to focus on dead things like doctrine, theology, apologetics ~ & forget the realities. Realities like Jesus was an actual historical person, born into a certain period of time, into a certain culture, with certain physical & mental attributes.

He had a family: mum, dad, siblings. [So glad not to be one of his siblings. Imagine growing up with the perfect child!] He had a family name. Did his family, I wonder, shorten Yeshua to Yoshi? Or something similar? Were there family jokes about his quirks as a toddler? Did he get excited about hunting for the afikomen during passover as a child?

Beyond the candles & the liturgy, beyond the ritual & the rites, beyond the sacraments & the sacred icons, lies the reality. I appreciate any scholarship that throws light on the person who was both a man & a God. Beautiful as religion can be I would rather have the real, living relationship of knowing this Jesus who left Heaven to live amongst us as a man & experienced the world as a man, with all it's beauty & ugliness & the sheer physical exhaustion that comes from inhabiting a mortal body.

One of the blessings of being a random abstract thinker is that it doesn't matter when or how information filters through. Information is like a jig~saw piece. When you find a piece you merely slot it into it's allotted place, where it nestles seamlessly without disturbing anything else. If a piece is wrong you can remove it without dramas.

How does this work? I was taught Jesus was trained as a carpenter. Being married to a man who is a tradie that wasn't a good fit in my mind but for want of better information I took it at face value. Then I read Sunday's paper a fortnight ago.

Sunday's paper is normally a waste of good paper & should be a hanging offence but a fortnight ago, tucked away on page 39, was an article ~ an article, not a line, not a paragraph, an article!~on Jesus. Knock me down with a feather!

The article was on the work British biblical scholar Dr Adam Bradford has been doing & his conclusions are based on mistranslations of the original text. [And in case you're wondering seeing I don't read either Greek or Aramaic, I went on~line & confirmed his translations from 2 other sources, one of which was decidedly not Christian!]

The Greek word used to describe Joseph's profession is "tekton" ~ carpenter; or more accurately, builder/architect. Joseph is usually described in translation as a "just man" ~ but the word man is not in the original Greek & the word translated as "just" meant a senior religious scholar involved in the judiciary. For me slotting in this alternative for Jesus background was easy. What's more it was like throwing a switch & have all the lights come on at once.

For one thing it probably means Jesus was much better educated than one ever suspected. If that is so it explains much better how he was able to hold his own in the temple amongst the rabbis at just 12 years old. He probably trained under Joseph in religion as well as carpentry. Jesus certainly knew His scriptures & someone certainly taught Him those. Explains His adeptness when dealing with the legal eagles of his day too. He was trained & could argue them into the ground. [Yes, I know he was God too but I've always believed Jesus had to learn things the same way we do; none of it was handed to Him on a platter.]

It explains how He got away with what He was doing for so long. He wasn't some obscure nobody the rabbis could afford to ignore but the son of a respected leader whom the scribes & pharisees, at one point, had high hopes of. Explains His mother & sisters trying to drag Him home when they thought He was compromising the good name of the family. Actually, it explains an awful lot if Bradford is right & Jesus became the most senior rabbi in Judea of His time.

What difference does this information make to my [or anyone else's] relationship with the God of the universe? In one way not a lot. In another way everything! It's not hard to grasp if you put it in completely human terms. I have a friend whom I've known for quite some time; even shared private & intimate information with, then one day they tell me something about themselves I didn't know. Immediately I feel that I know them so much better for that information. I have a whole new understanding of that person, a whole new insight into why they are the way they are.

The Lord does this for me, you know. Gives me these little treats from time to time knowing perfectly well my mind will go ticky~tocky, ticky~tocky, slamming all these scriptures down, wham! wham! wham! one after another as though we were playing a high speed version of Snap.

Yeah, I know. My mind goes strange places sometimes.
Ok, My American buddies. These are pumpkins.

Butternut pumpkin.

Queensland Blue pumpkin.

Jap pumpkin.

These are squash. The green thing is a zucchini.
And we share a common language!!!


"Worldwide, nearly a million people commit suicide every year, more than those murdered or killed in war."

Suicide. It happens. It's devastating. It is most predominant amongst those without hope ~ not always the disadvantaged in our society but often. Often our young, who are our future.

Having worked with street kids I know even if they aren't technically suicidal their behaviour is often so self~destructive the end result is the same; death by degrees.

This is where Liddy is this week. Nope, she's too young to actually work with these kids but she can do the radio stuff. See Liddy thinks with her feet. Ditz & I, we think with our eyes, but Liddy is a kinesthetic. It is only in the moving & doing she is able to think things through, work things out. Drives me batty. Whereas I would sit quietly contemplating my navel waiting on the definitive word from God ~ & perfectly content ~ Liddy is driven to act as if in the doing itself she gains clarity & direction.

And the thing is, from my point of view, it is so much wasted effort. God has said Chile. He hasn't rescinded on that. Trusting when everything around you says it's just not going to happen is one of the hardest things you can be asked to do ~ & Liddy's sooo patient. Not.

As I was chatting with Dear Friends, friends I haven't managed to catch up with in some time but who have prayer partnered with me for years & who faithfully pray for us each & every day, The Raven interrupted to say God had spoken & He has everything under control. Well, we know that. It's the details that are being a little hazy. Just the same, confirmed. Now if I can just stop my daughter from spinning like a top long enough to listen we may be able to discern where & how & what she is meant to be doing between now & Chile.

PS: seriously, I don't envy God having to deal with this child [young woman.] Stubborn. Impatient. Pig~headed. No idea where she inherited any of it from!

Friday, April 9, 2010

It's a conspiracy, I swear. We go on break & I spend the entire time sorting out messes. My stress levels go through the roof until I can't wait for the hols to be over just so I can whinge about a different chaos!
Mostly I've been on the computer until I practically have square eyes doing stuff for Dearest but yesterday was so lovely I began in the garden ~ until our postie arrived & I finally had a gut full of our phone provider. Dearest changed it ~ none of what was promised has ever been provided & the service just gets worse & worse & more & more expensive. All day it took me to unservice them!!! UGH! I hate dealing with companies that don't give a rat's wiggly~jiggley about their customers & who's personel are rude & arrogant. It might have taken me the whole day but we have a new provider ~ mostly chosen because they took the time to s~l~o~w~l~y explain everything to me, e~mailed the deal through so we could double check it in peace, did, in fact, provide a service.
Where is my knight in shining armour when I need him?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


"Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin." Simone Schwarz~Bart
We are harvesting pumpkins.

Lots & lots of pumpkins. Yum.

Monday, April 5, 2010

What I learnt...

A Passover service is called a Seder, which means a *set order*. Within that order there is room for much variety. The Haggadah gives directions for the Seder & Seders vary from family to family. ~ from my Haggadah Easter Monday. All my girls were home again. Liddy was pretty tired but enjoyed her Easterfest. We had one or two phone calls while she was gone: to whinge about how cold Toowoomba is [& aren't you so glad I told you to pack warm?!!]; so Ditz could listen to Superchick live [how peculiar's that?]; to let us know she'd arrived safe & to let us know she was on her way home.
Danielle was here to meet her & share, finally, our Seder.

We dragged a table in off the verandah because Dearest nabbed the dining room table years ago & we haven't seen it since. Eating on the verandah might have been nice but it is getting cool & all the rain has the mozzies out in absolute hordes.

I learnt doing a small Seder sort of defeats the purpose. It is meant to be a big celebration of family & friends ~ but we worked with what we had & next time I will plan differently. As I'll know what I'm doing we'll do more of a celebratory meal but this time I kept it really, really simple. I learnt I have no idea how to roast an egg in the oven. You wouldn't believe what I did or what happened to the egg! I learnt my hands on kinesthetic learner got so much out of all the symbols ~ the white candles for Elijah & Moses; the bitter herbs, the harosh, the afikomen. Ditz was rolling her eyes a bit but she's a very different sort of a learner & I'm sure absorbs that sort of thing through the pores of her skin, rather like I do.

I wish Dearest was well & could lead. It would be nice not to have to do it for a change, but Dearest relies on me to get these things together. Next time I will break it differently; plan some games or quizzes in between things ~ work on getting Dearest to do at least some of the leading. Having done it once Dearest had some input on how to make it flow better ~ & jolly good advice too. I work totally from my head space & that's not always terribly practical. He's a hands on man.

I learnt no matter your learning style the Seder is designed so that you remember the story. I learnt I was right about at least one thing: it wasn't perfect, & a bit of a mish~mash in places because I had no idea what I was doing really, but it hasn't mattered. My mind keeps returning to the symbols used & I find myself meditating on how amazing our God is because Easter is a completely seamless fit into Passover. I am reminded that we, the Gentiles, are grafted into the root & branch of Judaism, not Judaism into Christianity. Passover flows into the festival of the first fruits [more symbolism; Liddy was charmed] & we move inexorably towards Shavuot [Pentecost]. Interesting.
After all the seriousness the girls needed to let of steam. There's nothing wrong with them really...
The traditional ending for the Seder is, "This year here, Next year in Jerusalem." I find that interesting too. The fourth cup, the cup of the kingdom, is the one Jesus deferred. He will not drink it until we join Him in the new Jerusalem in the Kingdom of God. Indeed, Next year in Jerusalem!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience. Pam Brown.After our weekend I'm pretty sure Dearest is considering bottling the kittens.
Remember all those boxes that arrived? The kittens found a use for them. Not all of them were quite empty...
& the kittens were absolutely determined to be really helpful & not miss one ounce of the fun as we desperately emptied, sorted & repacked.
Now you know how we spent our Easter. Don't you wish it was this much fun at your house too?!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Yeshua HaNazari VeMeleh HaYudahim.
[the sacred name of God]
Translated as Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews.
Christ has died. Christ has risen

Christ will come again.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The more one looks, the more one sees.

"Now my heart is troubled, & what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? No it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name." John 12: 27 & 28
How does one keep the festivals vibrant & alive in one's life?

I was raised in a liturgical Church. The celebrations came round with regular monotony but they meant very little: a long boring hour in church where the same words were repeated in a mindless drone; the same prayers; the same scripture readings. I was grown up before it actually occurred to me we were celebrating something that actually happened. Now I believed what I was taught was *real* but somehow its immediacy was lost on me. Ever since I have been working my way backwards to the place from which I should have started.

And where should I have started? I should have started with the simple fact that Jesus was an orthodox, practising Jew. This is important because so much of what happens in the new testament is a direct result of Jesus Jewishness. Take Easter. What was Jesus doing in Jerusalem? He was going into town to celebrate the very Jewish festival of Passover as commanded by God. Even today Jews remember how God brought them out of the bondage of Egypt into the Promised Land. On the night of their final release they painted the lintels of their doors & windows with the blood of a sacrificed lamb & the angel of death passed over them & God did not destroy the firstborn of the Jews as he did the unbelieving Egyptians.

Passover has been celebrated continuously for 3 500 years, old even in Jesus' day. It falls in the first month of the sacred calender year & is foundational to all the other festivals. Thus it is foundational to our beliefs too. Look at the symbolism & how the old testament reflects into the new!

Jesus is the firstborn of His father. [The latter part of this festival is the festival of the firstfruits so there is further symbolism to come.] For our sakes He becomes the Passover lamb. It is in this context that Jesus begins His journey to the cross.

When Jesus comes into Jerusalem a room has been pre~prepared for him. It would have been swept & scrubbed to within an inch of its life, searched for yeast [symbolic of sin] & left ready for the Seder. Luke tells us that Peter & John, those two great rocks of the faith, were sent to prepare the Seder. Just before sunset 2 white candles would be lit, representing the law & the prophets; Jesus is the fulfillment of both.

During the Seder one cup per person is filled four times with either wine or grape juice: Once because I am the Lord your God, & I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. Once because I will free you from being slaves to them; once because I will redeem you & lastly because I will take you as my own people, & I will be your God. An extra cup is set at the table in the hope that this year Elijah will come because Elijah's coming was to foretell the great & dreadful day of the Lord.

Jerusalem housed the Temple. Jesus was very familiar with the temple, as were His disciples so would have been keenly sensitive to the symbolism within the Seder. There were 15 steps from the temple courtyard to the temple itself, each step designed to bring a worshipper closer to God. Just so there are 15 steps in a Seder. 1. Blessing the service 2. washing the hands 3. Parsley [usually] is dipped in salt water & eaten symbolising the bitterness of slavery4. one of 3 matzohs on the table is broken 5. Telling the passover story 6. Washing the hands 7. Blessing over the grains used in a meal 8. Blessing the unleavened bread 9. bitter herbs are eaten in remembrance of the bitterness of slavery 10. combining the Seder symbols {often as a "sandwich"] 11. serving the meal 12. sharing the afikomen 13. blessing after the meal 14. Praises 15. concluding the service. Throughout the meal a Seder plate would have been prominently displayed with the Passover symbols: shank bone [for the passover lamb], bitter herbs, a green vegetable, haroset, a roasted egg.

This then is how Jesus would have spent his final hours, remembering & celebrating the goodness & faithfulness of God before going out into the spring night to seek sanctuary on the Mount of Olives & pray one last time that if it were at all possible this cup would pass from him. Even so he assented to the Father's will, humbling himself even unto death.

That is the bare bones of the facts. As one unravels layer upon layer of symbolism the depth & breadth of God's love, planned for from the beginning of the world, becomes more & more apparent. The more one looks, the more God reveals of His purpose & plan. The more one looks the more one sees how consistent scripture is from beginning to end. I look forward to the fulfillment of the Passover meal in Heaven when Jesus will celebrate with us. Come, Lord Jesus; come.