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...

Monday, March 28, 2011

"The trouble with some of us is that we have been inoculated with small doses of Christianity which keep us from catching the real thing." ~ Leslie Weatherhead It is nearly Passover & I have so much on my mind I can hardly hold it allSo let's see?  There is Easter from Eostre, an European fertility goddess.  Those fur bunnies & chocolate eggs belong to her too & have nothing whatever to do with the passion & death of Christ.  Mind you, I've seen some clever & innovative Sunday School teachers come up with some truly novel ways of Christianizing these things.  Kudos to them ~ but that makes them no less Pagan.  Something about the unclean always defiles ~ a principle found in Leviticus. So I am thinking what we will do this year.

And I am thinking about something the Lord first put on my heart over 3 years ago but which is gradually coming clearer & clearer.  It is especially pertinent as we come into the Passover season when we particually recall who is our Pascal lamb & why He was sacrificed. 

See what I find with scripture, & what I find with what the Lord Himself gives me, is I end up with something that resembles those beautiful Celtic knots: a tangle than goes round & round without beginning or end but which contains a perfectly balanced symetry & moments of illumination & perfect clarity.

The first principal is that judgement begins with the household of God.  If you think I'm wrong just think what has been going on in the church for the past decade or so.  What has been exposed?  The Jimmy Swaggarts.  The pedophiles within the Catholic Church.  The Jim Jones' , The Brethren, The Children of God or whatever they called themselves.  God has been methodically exposing the sins of His people to the light.  He has no qualms about calling a spade a spade, sin sin.  We are the reason the world is in the state it's in.  If we were even halfway toward being the people God called us to be there wouldn't be so many of those barbed little quips like Ghandis, "I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians"; "Please Lord, save me from your followers!" ; Jesus may love you, but he won't respect you in the morning.

There is one very simple explanation for the derision; we have missed the point.  Christ did not die so that we could have a bigger house, a faster car, put our kids in private schools & carry signs condemning the abortionists, the homosexuals, the socialist left & anyone else who takes our fancy.

So lets look at that cross because if we are good little Christians we are goinging to be able to tritely pop out all the right answers: God so loved the world...I am the way the truth & the life....No~one comes to the father except through reconcile man to God ~ & none of that is wrong.  What is wrong is that we tend to stop there when God doesn't.  God goes on to say, Pick up your cross & follow me;  you must lose your life in order to gain it; If you love me you will obey my commandments.

The point was to call out a people prepared to humble themselves for righteouness sake, prepared to strip themselvess of the world in order to acquire holiness that the world might stand condemned of itself.  Instead we have tried to have our worldliness & deny it but Christ made it quite clear that no~one can serve two masters!

The judgement has begun.  One way or another God will have a holy people.  If we will not examine ourselves, if we will not judge ourselves, if we will not walk in holiness then Christ, who is judge as well as redeemer, will move to cleanse us!  Us first, because we've been told!  To us has been given the revelation.  To us has been given the Holy Spirit ~ & it is the Spirit we grieve, the Spirit we quench, when we choose worldliness over holiness.

God's love is not the soft & mushy sort.  It did not spare His own son!  If God did not spare His own son what should He do with us, who have had more of the truth than any other generation & done less with it, walked more selfishly?

Hebrews is not my favourite part of scripture but these verses are particularly pertinant at this time:

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[b] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Heb 10:26~31

Time to go deal with the log in my own eye that I may see clearly.  Yes, indeedy...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I don't like Lemonade.

"A hug is worth a thousand words. A friend is worth more." ~ Charles Caleb Cotton.

Remember Sile?  She's actually a true blue Aussie but she's married to an Irishman & only visits every other year to see her father.  Her sons are my Star's greatest friends so when they visit everything goes on hold because 2 years is a long time between visits.  She is funny & clever & witty & one of the kindest human beings I have ever met.

When she was last here Dearest & I thought Sile wasn't quite her usual bubbly self & she was so thin!  We put it down to to worry about her dad, who's getting older [aren't we all] & displaying some problematic behaviours.  It's a long way to come if something goes catawumpus & you are needed in a hurry.  We put it down to having 2 teenage boys in a really tiny house & the slump in the European economy.  We put it down to everything except what it was ~ cancer.

Ever since Sile returned home she has been battling this illness with a string of hospital visits, Chemotherapy, operations, while Pedar still has to travel internationally for work & is gone for weeks & weeks at a time, Ireland has had some of the worst snow storms ever, her youngest started high school & her older boy is carrying the sort of school work load that makes Star's mind boggle.  And she's brave.  She writes cheery little notes on FB about how  her bright red hair fell out & so she bought herself a wig & some glitzy scarves, & how she sleeps all the time & how the strong silent men in her life are being, well,  strong & silent. 

When Sile went home last time, after Star & oldest leprechaun  had dragged Pedar out skirmishing & got him battered with paintballs & so exhausted he could barely move, & youngest had inveigled Star down to movie world ~ again! ~ & Sile was kind enough to say how wonderful it had been to have a daughter for the weekend & how much the boys had enjoyed having a sister, Dearest & I got to philosophising, the way husbands & wives do, on how peculiar it was that this friendship had endured the long between times, the ebullient reunions, the pregnant silences & we wondered how many more visits there would be before the boys had their own lives or dad passed away & there was no longer any need for those two yearly visits.  And we talked about scraping the cash together so I could visit, even just once, & career around Ireland with Sile & Star & the leprechaun boys.  It never once occurred to us there might never be another opportunity to sit round with hot cuppas laughing ourselves silly & putting the world to rights ~ but we may indeed have drunk our last cuppa together, shared our last laugh.  There may never be another visit.

Sile is very sick.  She has had a major operation  & is in Intensive Care ~ recovering slowly but she is there & I am here.  I leave prayers & giggles on her FB page.  I send the occasional card but it is not the same.  I miss my friend.  It would be nice to keep her for a little bit longer.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some things you mightn't know.

This is not the Chile we want to build. ~ Ricardo Lagos.

They are beautiful, like children anywhere, descendants of the Araucanians, the Incas & Spanish conquistadors like Magellan, dark haired, dark eyed, spirited.  Even the ferocious Incas could not subdue entirely the peoples of Chile.

They inhabit a long ribbon of land on the western seaboard of South America, perched precariously above the Peru~Chile Trench that plunges to 26 463 feet below the ocean.  It does other things too, pushing the Nazca Plate under the continental plate at about 10 cm a year ~ which is quite a lot~ creating earthquakes & tsunamis &  the Andes Mountains.

The developing countries of Latin America have a dark underbelly with 40~50 million  Latin American street children.  That's 45%!  With a population of just 16.5 million as many as 15 000 Chilean children may live on the street.  4 000 of those may be involved in the commercial sex trade. 

We used to work with homeless youth in Australia.  Getting exact numbers is always dodgy &  there are degrees of homelessness, just as there are various reasons for choosing to live on the streets.  Few children live at home one day & are on the streets the next.  Homelessness is a slow, gradual  & predictable process as they exit from the family home, gradually spending more & more time with their peers.  85% leave for economic reasons & the move onto the streets often begins as young as 5 years of age.

Like many of the Latin American countries Chile has a double~layered society.  The conquering Spaniards have garnered the cream of the country's wealth.  The native inhabitants struggle with persistent poverty ~ & the handmaidens of poverty: alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, family breakdown & child abandonment.

At some point I became aware that they shoot street children in Brazil the way we'd shoot rabbits or feral cats, as vermin to be gotten rid of.  No white Australian child ever has cause for complaint in light of that.  Chile is not quite that bad but it is bad enough.

And I've heard it said often enough; Charity begins at home.  There's plenty of homelessness in Australia.  Our indigenous people have enough problems to occupy the mission oriented for a century or two.  Why Chile?

Who can say how a heart is captured?  There are things that were foundational, beyond Liddy's control.  Half her genetic make~up is Spanish: the light olive skinned complexion, the slim oval of her face, the brown of her hair & eyes.  She will blend.  She is a soccer fanatic, going to a country where soccer is king & known as the Beautiful Game. The majority, of the street children are boys ~ though that may be debatable depending on definitions~ who are soccer mad.  She adores children ~ & here are children in desperate need. That is the calling God has placed on her heart.  I am always amazed at how God likes to move His people around the world.

The thing too is that street children are far from helpless.  They often have really high IQs.  They have to survive & can be manipulative.  They form caring societies & have good self esteem unless they become involved in the drug scene.  These are strengths that can be developed & worked with but there is one thing more that is desperately needed: more than food, more than work;  more than education.  In a country where Catholicism is the dominant religion the gospel of Christ still needs to be preached & the light of His Holy Spirit shone into the dark places of people's lives to bring healing & wholeness.  Everything else is just a means to an end.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Totally random post.

The wheels in my head go round & round...

Did you know that reindeer antlers are soft.  They only harden just before the rut.  They are full of blood & if they get broken off before they harden the reindeer can bleed to death.  True.

There is a man out there who believes Mongolian shamanistic practices & horses cured his son of autism.  I don't know what to think about this one.

E~bay is insane. We were told it would be months before we sold anything.  It wasn't.  Dearest is pretty much computer illiterate.  Guess who is setting up E~bay?  It is doing my head in.  I don't have a business bone in my body.  I don't have an organised bone in my body.  I think stamps are really, really boring. Whose idea was this helpeet thing anyway?!  On the other hand I think Dearest is making money ~ well, it amounts to egg money at present but you know, there's Chile & someone we know is making noises about the National Eisteddfod to be held in Canberra.  Canberra!  I hope they're not thinking winter.  Canberra hosts that horrible white stuff.

Marlow lost whatever brain he had about 4am this morning & attacked Dearest's toes.  There was blood.  There was shouting.  Questions were asked & a certain someone was relegated to the floor.  Two someone's were very miffed.  I got up.  Dino had gone fishing at some point during the night.  I think he turned on every light in the house ~ which would not matter except he left them on so he could see to walk through the bush down our hill.  I walked round the house & turned them all off ~ at which point an insistent mewling began.  One crying cat was circling the house trying to attract someone's, anyone's, attention.  I assume he went outside with Dino but baulked when it came to the boat ride.

It seems to have been a very long day.  Is it over yet?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

There is Liddy ~ & then there is everything else.  I am struggling. Too many mornings I am waking up with a burden of grief on my heart: for Japan, for Christchurch, for those the Avoca loved too well & those Yasi overwhelmed; for my friends in Rocky & Mission Beach & the un~named faces that stare out at me from the matchstick debris of their lives.   We live in perilous times & we have been warned; the worst is yet to come.

The natural disasters are big & in a sense so out of my control I can accept their awfulness.  What I have trouble with is a quite different sort of awfulness because it is within my control to do something about it.  I'm just not sure what.

Now I live with this all the time so it doesn't take very much at all to trigger a wave of angst & there are 2 parts to this.  I can not begin to tell you how much I envy Liddy & those like her who do not seem to be plagued by these burdens ~ even knowing full well they have other burdens to struggle with.   These seem to particularly plague those of us with a propensity for contemplating our navels!  Dino has similar issues ~ & I am no help because  I am busily wallowing in my own morass, drowning in too much muchness.

Ember hit a nail on the head, smacky~doo~dah! I always just feel like a  rather grubby little sinner.  No big  Pauline sins, just a constant stream of prickles littering my life, destroying my witness, undermining my faith.  Just Ugh.  It hardly seems worth bothering Jesus, yet again! with such a boring list of failures that I know perfectly well will continue to plague my life because I am not motivated enough to deal with them.  Small.  Petty.  Grubby. Dull. Insipid.  I'm not even an interesting sinner, let alone an inspired  sinner ~ or inspiring salvation story.  I have just one plea; Dear Christ, whatever happens, never, ever let me go!

I just want to take the Holy Spirit & ram Him down into the very marrow of my bones till His fire consumes me from within.  It's probably a good thing I can't.

To this unsavoury mix add this delicate balancing act from John 17:21 : that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me".  Everywhere I look there are Christians denouncing other Christians as they each make claim that they, & they alone, have the Truth.  The Truth.  Not a truth, not part of the truth, but The Truth.  Well they may but they proclaim it in such a way that nothing makes me want to be associated with that truth.  Mostly I don't even choose to read this stuff; it just gets thrown in my face & I can't tell you how much it distresses me.  See I don't read my bible as theology.   I don't read it as Basic Information Before Leaving Earth.  I don't even read it as great literature ~ which it is.  I read it as a letter from my God who wishes to chat with me about any number of issues close to His heart & share what is on His mind with those He chooses to call "Friends".  I read it as one trained in literature & comfortable with the nuances of paradox & metaphor & I read it as one who believes what God said to Job in the midst of Job's ranting: Come, let us reason together.

There are all sorts of errors in Christ's church ~ & some will prove to be fatal ~ but being human & fallible we tend to move to extremes & lose a balanced viewpoint, a reasonable viewpoint, & the love of Christ flees our hearts.  We throw out kindness & gentleness, the products of love, in our zeal & we judge before we know what the other believes or is asking & the Name of God is blasphemed because of us.  And when I read my bible I see Paul talking about the body & the different gifts & I don't necessarily think about individual ecclessia but about the wider body of Christ, to each of whom Christ has revealed something of Himself.    It creates a huge mess in my mind.

See I don't care about your doctrine ~ right, wrong or indifferent.  Can I see the Christ~light shining through you?  Do you see it in me?  When I speak is it with the clashing of cymbals or is it with the love of Christ?  Is my ministry blessed because it flows from the very hands of Christ Himself or am I striving in my wilful flesh? 

And I come back to the same resting point each time: Christ alone.  I can neither add to, nor take away from.    I must hold the All, the bits I like & the bits I don't like, what I understand & what I don't, the contradictions & conflicts because it is all true ~ or none of it is true.  I think we all struggle with this to a greater or lesser degree depending on what denomination we belong to, what we have been taught & how we have been taught it but Christ said it was simple enough for a little child to grasp it.  It is we who complicate it & make it difficult. 

And so I must place all these griefs in His hands, knowing even as I do how they must grieve the heart that prayed that His church would be one, that His church would be united, & that it's dominating tenet would be love.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"I am immortal till my work is accomplished,"  ~ David Livingstone.
I have a new appreciation for Gladys Alyward.  Who knew going to be a missionary was so fraught making?

See the girl is doing up brochures, nearly finished oh wonderful person who has requested one, & asked, ever so nicely seeing I was on the mainland anyway, if I would print everything off & in my delusional state, because I do actually know how to do this, I agreed.  I keep forgetting what a war zone we're in just now.  If you don't believe me I will just point out I have never ever had any of the following happen to me in a public library before.  Never.

Firstly I had to wait for a computer.  I know this is probably usual but see the above paragraph.  Then I got the computer next to the guy who was trolling a date site.  I kept seeing things I'd rather not out of the corner of my eye & he was creeping me out.  Who wants to download a missionary tract next to the guy ogling scantily clad maidens?

Then I think I got the slowest computer in the entire world but I am a patient woman so I just twiddled my thumbs & tried to ignore my neighbour.  The computer decided the first lot of documents were a hazard to its health & refused to process them but the 2nd lot were fine & I busily downloaded them.  Just as I was about to hit print the computer packed up shop & everything disappeared in a blank black screen &  the computer began rebooting.  What's with that?  Then, then the screen told me I was connected to the net but wouldn't let me access anything! So I toddled over to the librarian, male & superior because library computers don't randomly reboot.  After twiddling for a bit he informed me he'd never seen anything like it in his life & set me up with another computer.  I began again.  Just as I got everything up on my screen the loudspeaker announced the library was about to close & I needed to get out of whatever I was doing.

An hour to achieve absolutely zilch! The music lot mightn't exactly be heathens & infidels but they achieved a good bit more than I did last night ~ even with new music.   Liddy will have to try herself tonight.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Early starts are so not Star's thing ~ but she will make exceptions.  Performances are an exception.

I did say I wasn't driving her in.  I had no intention of driving her in. Working day.  Lunch time Brissie. To even hope for parking is a joke.  Then another mum rang because she works & her daughter was desperate to attend the concert & her only hope was if I would take her along with Star.  I said we'd be training but then Liddy said if there were that many of us she'd do the driving.  I should have stuck with the original plan & gone with public transport.

We left in plenty of time.  In fact Liddy was complaining we could have gone one boat later, possibly two.  What was I thinking?  That was before the roadworks began.  It took us the best part of 2 hours to crawl into Brisbane & it was a stinking hot day.  Isn't that always the way?  Star & I, having created mayhem & chaos down Turbot street &  heart failure in the busway knew exactly what Liddy was not to do & gave her very clear directions up Elizabeth street & across Creek & down Ann ~ because Brisbane is a network of one way streets.  I swear, the place is a diabolical maze!  By then we were pretty short of time so I told Lid to pull into the first Garage knowing it was going to cost us a small fortune ~ which it did. *sigh*

All this to sing here: the Albert Street Uniting Church ~ one of our older church buildings ~ & not the prettiest one around either.  The red brick's a bit much but they have a pretty decent organ & a good crowd.  Super high ceiling with all the fans dangling up high where they were no help to anyone.  Forget air con.  The kids in their long B&Ws were suffering a bit.  Plus  a number of new kids there for the experience more than anything else so it sounded a bit thin on the ground in places.  I always say rehearsals are the best place to hear the kids.  They are comfortable, relaxed & generally happy to sing out. When they are a tiny group & right in the audience's faces it is another can of worms.  Some of what they sang:

Lassus: Adoramus Te

Bach: Bist Du Bei Mir

Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Weelkes: The Nightingale

Gibbons: The Silver Swan

Faure: Ave Maria

Watch Us Shine
Not the easiest repertoire but lovely to listen to.  So glad to get home though!  Island breeze & about 10 degrees cooler!  Liddy's still over there, lucky girl!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.  ~ Aesop

There are certain things I just don't want to hear.  "Mum! The cat's got a bird",  is one of them.  Pheasant coucal chick not impressed about being rescued from Kirby, whom he was taking on with a great deal of hissing & spitting.  The booming oooomp, oomp, oomph call of the amorous male is a familiar sound round here in spring, as is the rapid scuttling across the road in front of the car & the low slow gliding flight through the trees.

Liddy has left an up~date & thank you here.  People,  We can't thank you enough for your prayers ~ far more important to us than financial support.  I am quietly confident the finances will work themselves out but we have some seriously weird & frightening stuff going down around us ~ spiritual missiles detonating all around us; & we all know what a woos I am.  Two of us are quite ill from what is going on ~ not Liddy; she's rather a hardy soul in that department.  Dino & I are a little more sensitive & coping less well.

Tomorrow I have to take Star into town for a concert & I am refusing to drive as there is no parking ~ less than before since the Brisbane floods.  Star is not impressed but I can only cope with so much & just for now I have enough already.  Proper post soon, I promise.  Each & every one of you is a blessing on our lives & we are grateful for you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

One girl, one mission, destination Chile.

Good Evening!

1 Corinthians 12:26-27 ‘If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.’

As you will be aware I cried out for your help and asked for your prayer support. So to give you a little bit more background and as is my usual style to share how God has answered.

Wow! I sat in church a week ago completely disheartened after a meeting with the Missions Team Leaders of BBC. Nearing the end of the service we sang a song which had these lyrics ‘My Saviour, he can move the mountains. My God is mighty to save, he is mighty to save.’ which brought me to tears. I couldn’t see how and if God would chose to remove the obstacles, my mountains. Realistically I felt that once more I had been presented the chance to go to Chile and it was going to be postponed once again. It has been a very up and down week and I have struggled to keep focused on the preparation.

Despite the challenges that have been presented I’ve seen God place his hand upon my life. God is building daily those that are willing to listen to my story but to also pray. On top of this I’ve witnessed once again how OM will step in and support which only confirms how much they are filled with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. (please remember that OM also realised the need for me to grow, which admittedly I didn’t take to well at the time)

The meeting went for about 3hrs. I can praise God for the result of that meeting even down to the nitty gritty details of how I was able to keep calm, mediation was happening and most importantly we tried not to tear each other apart. The end result of this meeting was; BBC is happy to take me on board and continue to follow the journey but are un-willing to support financially. (that I hope sums it up) This is a massive change of heart from two people and I have not one explanation but that of God and how he has gifted people for the growth of the kingdom. I’m extremely enthralled because unity is a huge thing. I deeply desired to have ‘the body’ of Christ in unison instead of split.

Could I ask you to ask you to continue praying for me and the preparation and ministry in Chile

Blessings ~ L

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Romans 12:12

Some of you, unlucky enough to have expressed an interest in what's going on, will already have received a copy of the brochure thing Lid has to send out.  Others of you are on our hit list & only haven't received something because we ran out of oomph last night. The rest of you have wisely lurked in the shadows. Family, you are in a different category & we are getting to you ~ so watch out!

With that in mind I must say I am finding this post really difficult to write.  How do you share what's going on because you consider your blogging buddies friends & part of the wider body of Christ [or actually church *family*] without making people feel guilty & obligated ~ so there are no obligations people.  If you feel led to pray: Wonderful beyond words!  Prayer is our greatest need.  If you feel led to give ~ also wonderful.  If you do none of these things: Terrific!  As friends we simply appreciate you listening to our wafflings.

So as things stand, without going into all the gory details, Lid has been advised to proceed as if there are no hiccups to her going to Chile & August is her departure month. When a spanner first got thrown in the works ~again! ~ I admit  I built up a full head of steam in about 2 seconds flat.  Now I am finding the whole circus hysterically funny, much funnier than Liddy is finding it, as I watch God sort out all the tangled lines, make the paths straight & otherwise deal with obstacles.  In the end the telling factor will  be whether or not Lid can raise the necessary funds.

Now Liddy hasn't had time to update her own blog in a while; funny that; but some things don't change so what I am going to do temporarily is link this page  from my side bar & if you are interested in receiving a copy of her prayer letter, her brochure etc, drop us a line c/~ my bloggy e~mail.  We will need your e~mail address ....sorry folks; it's just the easiest way for us to update everyone.  Please be patient with us as Liddy has a lot of calls on her time & as we all know, I'm not the most practical person in the boat.  You would not want to be stranded on a desert island with me.

Lastly, as Liddy has expressed, we appreciate your prayers, your interest, your support more than we can say.  This is such a difficult journey in so many ways, both expected & unexpected, that having people journey with us is a delight & a comfort.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One plain Quaker woman...

And it shall be in the last days, saith God, I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all flesh: And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams: Acts2:17

Since their inception Quakers have held to gender equality in ministry ~ as did the early Methodists.  Something of a surprise that.  I hadn't realised Quakers weren't the only ones to be given that insight though over time the Methodists bowed to prevailing cultural tradition.  What is interesting is that the practise has given rise to a long string of women who have had very public ministries even in times & ages that considered women to be quite illogical & incapable of reasoned thought.  One of the more prominent of these is a lady called Elizabeth Fry.

Now Elizabeth is interesting less for her ministry, which was phenomenal because almost single~handedly she reformed not only the British prison system but also the French & the American, but because her spiritual journey is so very modern.  Quakers tend to be rather *elastic* in their Meetings so you are likely to find everything from a downright aethiest [I have no idea how that works ~ & I've asked!] to the plain dressing, plain speaking,  fundamentalist Christian Quaker.  Elizabeth, a birthright Quaker, belonged to a very middle of the road, moderation in everything, Quaker family & there was nothing in her life that she should ever be anything but a giddy lightweight Christian with a nominal devotion to Christ. That is until the Holy Spirit began leaning on her.  And He leant HARD!

One of the first things, & all my plain friends will be fascinated to study this! is that the Lord dealt with her frivolity.  Yep, the pretty dresses, the frippery, the theatres & shows & love of the world went out the window & in came the plain Quaker dresses, the caps & bonnets.  It was an outward sign of an inner conviction.

When you read her biography you get an inkling of the sort of conflict this  ministry created in her life & in her spirit.  Here she was, a married woman with children at a time when a woman's sphere was very much hearth & home & the Holy Spirit is telling her He wants someone who is listening to do something that needs doing.

I guess most of us understand something of the prompting of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Quakers, who sit in silence & actually listen with the expectation that they will hear from God often hear very clearly & unmistakably ~ but not necessarily.  Like everyone else they are assailed by doubts & influenced by the culture that surrounds them & to her dying day Elizabeth was never 100% sure that she was right in how she went about what she did, only that it was right that she should go about it. 

What's more Elizabeth went about her ministry with the blessing of her Meeting.  This is no small thing in Quaker circles.  A call to ministry is always tested.  It is put before the meeting & weighed in the silence.  Often, as in Elizabeth's case, a *concerne* is put in the care of more mature Christians who ponder, test & pray about a person's leading ~ & this is often a slow & tedious process.  This *instant porridge Christianity*  of our present day is fundamentally flawed & reeks of Satan's misleading.  God has all eternity with which to work & He is in no hurry.

The other thing that I found in Elizabeth's journey, & it is such a modern thing, is that her ministry came with a cost.  Sadly her husband was not as spiritually mature, nor as wise as he could have been in temporal matters, & his flaws created havoc in their marriage & major disruptions in her ministry.  It also created terrible stress.  His words affirmed her ministry; his actions distracted her from God's purpose.  Into this unhappy mix add a gaggle of children, I think they has something like 8. 

For someone who had so profoundly tasted of the goodness of God & who had grown into a deep & abiding love for the way her faith was exercised in Meeting, Elizabeth had no greater desire than that her children should walk in the faith of their father's.  Inevitably the disruptions to their home life that Elizabeth's ministry caused meant that many of them chose an easier path & were baptised into the Anglican faith. 

And here's the sting: All the great reformers of the time, including William Wilburforce, were profoundly & deeply affected by the quiet but determined ministry of this softly spoken little Quaker woman with her thees & her thous & her silent prayer.  Without her much of the humanitarian work that effected great social change would never have been accomplished.  She just quietly got on with the work she felt the Lord had called her to & let the rest take care of itself. Given the times she lived in she faced plenty of persecution ~ even from other Quakers who felt she was glorying in her calling more than in God.  And the interesting thing too is she started with the gospel  Everything else she did arose out of sharing the gospel first.

We in Australia owe her an unimaginable debt.  As part of her prison ministry she outreached to the transport ships sitting in the Thames for months at a time before setting out on the perilous journey to Terra Australias at the end of the world.  To each woman on board she gave a new dress, a bar of soap, a little sewing kit ~ & a bible.  She organised bible study groups with a literate woman leading the illiterate in the learning & study of the scriptures & when the ships set sail for the unimaginable terrors of a new land her prayers followed them.

Interesting woman.  Interesting impact.  Fascinating to see how God worked His wonders through her frail hands & feet.  Hard to believe she died in 1845.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Blog Sharing ~ From my Liddy [Libby] to you.♥

Good morning!

25I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36  {Lib's mission verse}
Just a brief request for prayer support.

This coming Saturday the Qld State Directors, the Missions Team Leaders of BBC and myself will be meeting to have a chat. There are complications currently within the situation. If you could spare a moment to pray for this particularly I’d appreciate it. J

With Love - Libby

On a lighter note: Sibling Wars: the Great Couch War.

The bone of contention &...

The winner.

The Loser.
Opting for 2nd best.

When my mother moved house she had a couch going spare ~ & we snavelled it.  All our cats have adored this couch.  No idea why.  The back is good for sleeping along ~ but so is our green couch.  It is usually bereft of humans ~ but so is the brown couch.  However this couch is unique for being the one that interrupts Dearest's line of vision to the t.v set as soon as a cat's body is draped along it's length.  Our cats know this. On the days Star & I are absent & the boys are feeling particularly insecure they bookend together at the critical point.  When we are home the cat who owns the couch is king of the castle.

The fight to own the couch has been prolonged & ongoing.  Marlow is a chunky cat & hefty in the beam end.  He has weight on his side.  Kirby is just plain smart.  At present, smart is winning.

The war to be top cat starts the moment Kirby comes in at night.  Round & round they go: around the walls, across the ceiling, over chairs & tables, cups & people.  The winner plonks himself bang between Dearest & the t.v set. The nearest human removes cat ~ & around they go again.  The winner plonks his butt between Dearest & his t.v!

I tell you, these cats have it worked out.  They both get plenty of attention mileage out of this one ~ & trust me it is all about attention.  When they don't wish to be disturbed they sleep at the other end, well out of visual interruption.  They'll even share.   Hmmm.  Having raised one set of males twins you would have thought I'd have more sense than to take on another twinned pair!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Can you up the prayer ante, please.

...and having done all, to stand. ~ Ephesians 6:13It can be hard sometimes to decide what to share here.  We're a diverse bunch & we don't always see stuff eye to eye & sometimes in the heat of the moment people forget to speak the truth in love ~ especially if our church tradition conflicts with another church tradition, so it was really nice yesterday to put all the angst on the back burner & just sit on the sidelines yahooing for my boy, Dino, playing his cricket finals on the island. Heaven alone knows what the other team, all muslim, thought of the beer swilling islanders [no, not me; I stick to yahooing] shouting encouragement to their cricketers.  I certainly heard from one or two of the islanders what they thought of the muslims using the lunch break to face Mecca & pray.  Not repeatable.  The heathens won.  I think we are still celebrating.

You have all been following along, haven't you?  You remember that I made gurgling noises about prophecy & even gurglier noises about speaking & ended up creating another blog just so I could gurgle in peace. And I only did it because I felt the Lord leaning on me really hard.  But it's ok.  It's quiet over there.  No~one talks to me.  Very few people even read over there & it's all good.  That's the Lord's business, you know.  I just gotta put up what he tells me & I try to be quiet about it over here because in all honesty some of what I've been seeing is downright terrifying ~ so lunacy making in fact that the Lord's gone to rather great pains to make sure I know I'm not the only one seeing this stuff & that other's with far more street cred are seeing the same things.

And I was paddling along nicely. Calm is good in this house.  I have 5 kids.  I already have all the chaos I can handle.  I had almost forgotten, almost but not quite, a conversation I had back with the Lord months & months ago ~ back when I started up that other blog because the Lord was talking & I had no~one to talk to about what He was talking to me about ~ & the conversation went something along the lines of: Well, Lord, you know I am never ever going to initiate this stuff so if you have a message & you want it spoken you are going to have to get someone to ask me.  That was my fleece.  I'm so pleased Gideon was an insecure man.  It makes me feel heaps better.

I happily prayed & wrote my little messages & checked occasionally to see if anyone had anything to say but mostly they didn't & I'm ok with that ~ & then it came.  The invitation I never really expected to get.  I missed it the first time because I didn't recognise the format it came in but the 3rd time ~ well, unmistakable is the word that comes to mind. And I am not a happy little vegemiter.

It is none of the things you might expect.  I do not melt down about having to stand before a crowd of strangers & speak.  I do not suffer stage fright, whatever it looks like.  By the time we've got that far I am really sure about what God's got to say.  I'm a Quaker; I accept women's ministry.  Nope.  I just know, that everything's going to hit the fan & explode all over my life in a smelly, smelly mess.  It's already started ~ & I'm not the warrior sort.  I just want to pick up my metaphorical skirts & run for the hills.

Nothing is set in stone yet.  It may yet fall in a wet miserable puddle but the stuff's already hitting the fan & I'm just gob~smacked every single time. It's not like I'm some sort of brilliant super Christian ~ just your usual messy inadequate sort doing their best to walk with Jesus. My little house of cards is wobbling badly ~ but I have the message ~ or at least the first bit of it & some idea of the general direction.

If you belong to the *no women in the pulpit* brigade ~ please, take it up with the Lord, don't rant at me.  This is not my idea & quite bluntly I've always wondered how Jonah managed to defy the Lord under the weight of the Holy Spirit's conviction because that is something I just can't manage myself.  I may be a little slow of hearing but once I'm sure the Lord's said, "Jump!" I'm a~hopping all over the place. So can you pray please, for me ~ & especially for Liddy.  Some days I just get so tired of standing plonk in the middle of a war zone.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"I loved Mr. Darcy far more than any of my own husbands."  ~ Rumor Godden

It's  well known that  Rumur Godden is pretty much my all time favourite author ~ & there is a reason for this; She makes the ordinary fascinating.  I worked my way through her children's stories as a child, her short stories as a teen & gradually found my feet amongst her adult novels before I was done with high school. 

It was only much latter, long after I had read Black Narcissus & In this House of Brede that I waded through her biography & read her father's quote that went, if I remember correctly, something along the lines of: You don't want to write a book about nuns; no~one will read it.

Well, Godden not only wrote one book about nuns; she wrote several ~ & people read them!
Black Narcissus was the first & it was made into a fairly memorable movie with Deborah Kerr & Jean Simmons. It is not my favourite, mostly because Godden wrote it as an unbeliever & it lacks that deep sense of spirituality that her latter books have.  My favourite is the one that has stood the test of time & endured unscathed: In this House of Brede; the story of 3 very different women pursuing life as contemplative Benedictine nuns. Don't yawn.
Now one of the reasons I really like Godden is that she almost never writes her books in sequential order.  They do tend to hop all over the place which is like sweet ambrosia to me. I have tried to explain to my highly sequential children that books, like history, can be pieced together like a jig~saw; it is not necessary to have all the pieces in order before one starts.  One can begin anywhere & slot  the pieces in place as one finds them ~ an attitude that simply horrifies Liddy.  But what about suspense? she is prone to wail.  Well, what about it? See I am far more interested in character than I am in plot & happily ignore all sorts of inconsistencies in plot so long as the character development makes sense.  Screw up a character & believe me not only will I notice, I'll complain, usually long & loud!

If I had been born Catholic I might have chosen such a life with it's round of prayer & worship.  Religion wasn't always a dirty word in the media & I am of that era that fell in love with Audrey Hepburn playing Kathryn Hulme in the Nun's Story ~ do you remember that one?  An oldie but a goodie.  Or Spencer Tracey as Father Flanagan in Boy's Town Or Bing Crosby in Bells of St Mary's...or even Halyey Mills in the Trouble with Angels. Against these I had Godden's books, with her footnotes, indexes & bibliographies to explain all the odd things in Catholicism I didn't understand. What's more she spoke about religion in a sane & reasonable way ~ which is hardly surprising from a long time agnostic raised in the religious hot bed of diverse Indian religious ideas. As a homeschooler I find it fascinating that she never set foot in a school until she was about 12 ~ & her home education was just a tad erratic. Here you can listen to her speak about the very last book she wrote at the end of a long & eventful life that survived both world wars.  If you have never read one of her books you have missed an inestimable pleasure.  She is an extraordinary craftsman, a formidable storyteller & a very unique lady.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? ~ Micah 6:8

It continues to fascinate ~ & sometimes apall me ~ how diverse this thing we call Christianity is.  Surely we cannot all be right...& if we cannot all be right then some of us must be wrong ~ & that opens a whole 'nother can of worms!
I have been reading here...& here ~ sober, thoughtful, Quaker posts that are not afraid to tackle the difficult questions & wrestle with them in prayer & discussion to a reasoned & prayerful conclusion.  Which is more than I can do.  It's not that I can't follow the arguments.  It's not a question of what I personally believe or actually endorse or even where I am in my own walk.  It's not even that I don't see the point because actually I do. Having the truth is important we go! Again.  It's not the most important thing! And because it's not the most important thing I actually think it's a lot of wasted hot air.
See I happen to think, my thinks, that it all rather misses the point because thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. [Deut.6.5] It is all about relationship. This was all rather drummed into my thick skull by a wonderful little book  The Lord Our Shepherd  by J. Douglas Macmillan.  Macmillan was a Scots shepherd before he came to Christ & his insights on Psalm 23 are fascinating but what I concluded was profound was his comments that go something like this: if you do not know the shepherd of the pslam, if Christ is not your shepherd, then this pslam has nothing to say to you & you cannot claim its promises because the personal pronoun is possessive: my shepherd. It's like talking about my husband or my children.  It speaks of an existing relationship.

Now the thing with relationships is they tend to be messy.  Messy is ok.  Really it is.  King David screwed up big time & by biblical account he was a most apalling father but God still calls him a man after His own heart!  I used to look at that & think, huh?! This adulterer, this murderer, this crummy father. Yep ~ he was all of that & then some but he had this most amazing relationship & it transcended everything else that he was. No, I am not advocating a wayward lifestyle.  What I am saying is we need to grasp our nettles &  sort out the important things.  There is no point in being right in our theology if we are wrong in our relationship.  Our theology cannot save us.  Only our relationship with Christ can save us ~ & because that is so I tend to think we can be wrong in matters of faith & still be saved.  First things first.  Do you have a relationship with this Jesus they called the Christ?  Because if you do all else will fall in to place.  How do I know?  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:12~15 & I can trust the Spirit because Christ also said My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; John 10:2

Now I can hear the theological hounds baying for my blood but you can argue theology till the cows come home & the world ends not with a bang but a whimper & it will make absolutely no difference to anyone. But, if you love God you will ask, what does God require of me? And that changes everything. The only requirement is love; love of God, love of one's fellow man. The bible is all about how we then go about loving God & loving our neighbour as ourselves.

No, this is not what God's been on me about.  I'm merely entertaining myself ~ &  I don't mind if you disagree with me.  You are entitled & I am open to whatever is said so long as it is said in love & with respect for differing opinions. Floor's all yours.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Condemned man's last meal.

Boys will be boys.  And even that wouldn't matter if only we could prevent girls from being girls. ~ Anne Frank.
Theo is on a boat headed back to Hamilton Island where he works.    Despite the fact my sons drive me nuts I am nagged by the desire to tuck all my chicklets under my wing & under the one roof come nightfall.  I sleep better when I know the head count is right: 2 cats, 3 boys, 2 girls ~ & Dearest ~ all tucked up snug in their own warm beds, safe & cozy.  This wandering around the planet jangles my nerves.

So knowing he was going back today Theo asked for a *Last Meal* ~ which is invariably meatballs.  Meatballs is one of those time honoured childhood meals that nourish the soul as well as the body.  My brother, Mark, adored this meal & everywhere he went people served it up knowing they had a sure~fire winner.

It is a good thing he's gone back though.  Schooling has been at a minimum as the house has been in constant uproar for the last month. *sigh* The girls have been complaining loudly how noisy the boys are ~ noisy enough that  Liddy raised no objections at all about driving him in to the airport.

Today the house reeks of Theo's aftershave & deoderant.  As I work my way through the debris & detritus he has left behind, calculating which small items of mine found their way into his possession, but not out again, I will gradually sweep up & tidy away all traces of his presence until, unexpectedly finding a forgotten shirt jammed behind a sofa cushion the faintest hint of his scent brings a rush of memories.  Life is full of bitter/sweet moments.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Update & Prayer Request..

We are guilty of many errors & many faults but our worst crime  is abandoning the children...Gabriela Mistra.

Many of you know my daughter, Liddy.  You know she has a heart for children & a heart for missions & the calling on her life is to minister to the street children of South America.

She applied to the mission field last year & was accepted ~ with some reservations.  Her age was against her ~ & the fact she looks about 12 instead of 21.  The fact she had never lived away from home counted against her & the fact that for most of her life her church home had been a little island church of barely 20 people.  She was asked to wait ~ & I can assure you that stung because not only was Liddy really sure of the call on her life  many of the mature Christians in her life were also very sure of that call ~ & told her so.  Still, wait she was asked to do & wait she did.

This week OM sent through confirmation of her acceptance.  This is a double whammy for me.  On one hand I am pleased & relieved because I am absolutely sure of the calling on Liddy's life.  I know without a doubt this is God's will for her life.  On the other hand I know that our time together grows short & that what is left will be filled to the brim with necessary things & little room to devote to her mother & family.  After all, she knows she can count absolutely on our love & support.

So there are some things I would ask the prayer sort amongst you to pray for:

1.  That her church missions would come on board with their support.
2. That all her financial support arrives smoothly.
3. That anything she needs to sort out with her church is sorted quickly & easily
4.  That her path will be made straight
5. That all the doors that need to open will open.
6. That despite the busyness her walk with God continues to grow deeper & stronger day by day.
7.  The last one is an odd one, but we wish to contribute to Liddy's cause as well [& also for Star's music career lol] despite my husband's disability & our financial situation so to this end Dearest has been busily putting together a home business out of his life~long hobby & could you pray for it's success so that we can meet the needs of both our girls.

Whew!  Exciting times.  Sad times.  Happy times.  I am planning international holidays. Waddya think, girls? Shall I buy a sombrero in preparation?
A day without radiation is a day without sunshine.

- A lot of people on my friends list never go outside, so this won’t apply to them.
I have a Facebook page.  Lots of you already know this because you're on my friends list.  I have Facebook because I have kids.  Liddy thinks it's easier to Facebook me than ring home ~ that aside it's the easy way to keep track of what my under age child is doing.  She's pretty good because basically she's a pretty good kid & I spend most of my Facebook time playing games.  I wanna talk, I come blog.
After 5 years or so I have a pretty random list of *friends*. Some actually are, some are on~line friends & some are...well, completely random.  And some are friends & family.  I'm not a huge fan of Facebook as a social network thing but as a social phenomenon it's weird.  How weird is weird?  Well, I have a *friend* I only know on Facebook.  She seems nice enough & she's a Christian & her posts are mostly kind & often interesting.  I don't often comment because she gets lots of males whose comments are downright harsh so I was shocked but hardly surprised when one gentleman derided another for the content of his Facebook page.
Now I have no idea what the content in question was ~ & I do not care ~ but it has raised a very interesting question for me.  I have noticed many Christians use Facebook to propagate their brand of Christianity &  they spend a lot of time arguing theology ~ which screws with my head.  I honestly don't see the point.  They hob~nob together in their own little enclave ~ & again, that is fine.  I do not care.  Why would I? But, huge but,  if the Holy Spirit has not convicted a person about something then condemning that person is a pretty useless act.  Thing number one.  Thing number two: I've logged onto my Facebook page some days & the comments that come up make my hair stand on end.  True.  Because not everyone on my friend's list is a Christian.
If you've read here long enough you know I'm not a big evangelizer.  I have a different sort of calling on my life & the Spirit rarely gives me opportunities to spread the word as such ~ not the way Liddy is always getting opportunities.  However here is the thing; I do get opportunities on Facebook to contribute a stray, gentle comment testifying to the Truth that resides within me ~ opportunities I would never get if I eradicated certain people off my friend's list. 
And so dear blogging buddies, if you are unfortunate enough to come across some highly dubious content on Facebook do not for a moment think I endorse this way of life but in charity & for Christ's sake remember that these may provide opportunities for outreach & the spreading of the kingdom of Grace.  Ditto for others you may know.  That is all.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

To sleep, perchance to dream...Hamlet

In one of those random conversations with my older daughter I learnt not everyone dreams in vivid full screen technicolour.  I can see there might be advantages to dreaming in B&W ~ but I don't. I spent most of my adolescence in war zones fleeing across exposed landscapes to flimsy barns whose walls disintegrated around me under machine gun fire.  My sleep was hardly restful.  I would wake exhausted having spent my whole night running from the enemy while my adrenaline went through the roof.

I am a connoisseur of bad dreams, from the ball of string that went on forever [courtesy of this book] to the terrifying drift past stars & planets & galaxy after galaxy into the grey nether land of eternity!  More mornings than I care to number I've woken with the grim taste of dust & ashes in my mouth & my blood thrumming with anxiety ~ or worse the voices in my head jabbering like mad.  For years I put it down to bad t.v choices just before bed, an overactive imagination, an out of control sub~conscious but just recently I have noticed something ~ & it has nothing whatsoever to do with anything I do ~ or don't do.

When God starts nudging me the dreaming suddenly gets very bad.  I become restless in my sleep.  I know because Dearest starts complaining.  He is used to me sleeping like a log.  Once I start tossing & turning & moaning his chances of a restful night dissolve rapidly.  I wake exhausted as if carrying a heavy burden & when I go into prayer tears pour forth like the proverbial deluge. I start avoiding prayer.  Weeping for I know not what  hardly makes me feel  sane.

And then it starts: the verse here, a quote there, the story I heard once from the friend of a friend ~ a slow slow drift of ideas that coalesces into a log jam in my mind  & beaver~like forms a dam holding back a gush of words.

Now I'm not normally shy about telling the Lord what I think & it occurred to me that I could perfectly well write without all the angst ~ & do a better job with my head screwed on right way round & the emotional trauma on hold.  That, however, does not seem to be the way it works.  For His own purposes the Lord wants me to experience something of His burden & His heart in the message He conveys & so we do this slow dance wherein I try & squirm away from the burden, the great depths of sorrow as our Lord grieves for the world He created & the people He loved enough to die for, & the sense of urgency that the time does indeed grow short, the harvest is ripening in the fields yet the workers dally in their pleasure gardens playing with toys.

I don't like this place which leaves me exposed, emotionally raw & very vulnerable.  My instinct is to curl up, curl away, throw up my defences & protect the soft, delicate tissues of my inner being ~ but this is not allowed either.  And so, dear friends, over the coming days & weeks while I grasp its tail & ride the tiger, if you can spare a prayer or two my way I would be most grateful. Muchos gratias.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

THE RAIN is raining all around,

It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea. R.L. Stevenson

Yesterday Star had dance class, Dino had cricket training & Liddy went to soccer.  Today it is raining & I am off to make *American* Pancakes ~ which are not really American but the result of me not clarifing cultural differences.  The full works.  Walnuts.  Cream. Icecream.  Maple syrup. Yum. I feel my waistline expanding already. There won't be leftovers so don't ask. ☺

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The great Prawn Race is on.

"Madam, I'll thank you not to insult the hot blood of Irish prawns" ~ the Spy who came in from the Cold.

The prawns are running.  They are arriving in my house by the bucketload & being fried up in a garlicky marinade.  Totally & utterly gross.  There is something quite sadistic about  tearing the head of something & peeling away it's skin before you eat it. So I don't.  Uh~uh, not me. 

Life as we know it has been turned upside down with both boys back in the house.  Even with all our busyness the girls remain serene but man~like the boys thump & bellow & make messes they fail to clean up & quite simply forget there are other people who also live in this house & do not necessarily appreciate their fishy endeavours though they are having some luck with the cats ~ if the prawns are cooked, scaled, de~headed & cut up into bite sized portions.

Then there are the things that go missing; like the egg flip & all my serrated knives.  So I approached Dino as the most likely culprit.  After all, the girls have been home on their own for years & my knives remained intact & the egg flip sat in it's pot. I was very polite.

"Have you seen my egg flip anywhere?" I enquired as nicely as I knew how because it is a well known fact round here the boys have thin skins & are easy to huff up.

"Why would I have seen your egg flip?  Why would you even think I had your egg flip?  You always say I've taken your stuff but why would I need your egg flip?"

"You didn't borrow it for camping?"

"I haven't been camping in weeks....Oh!" Yep, still at the bottom of his kit bag!  I didn't enquire what else was still at the bottom of his kit bag but I got  back a mug, a set of cutlery & one large plate.

A walk round the yard turned up most of the steak knives; don't ask ~ & Theo brought me my paring knife, found floating round the bottom of the boat.  It's not that they don't have their own stuff.  They do; they just can never find it.  Me, I put stuff back where I can find it,  [Yes, mother, there is a system to my chaos.] so the boys borrow mine because it is easily accessible rather than go look for their own.

I had quite a fellow feeling for Star when she enquired plaintively, "When is Theo going back?" working, I assume, on the assumption one is easier to deal with than two & Dino is far more susceptible to *The Look*.  Theo just declares war.  After all she is younger than he is, female, the baby of the family & this is his house too,  he is on holiday & entitled to the status of *House Guest*.  Hmmm.

At which point Dino arrives to take over the cooking before I charcoal it because he likes his practically still saying, Moo ~ a habit that does not endear him to Star ~ & Theo pauses on his way out the door to thank me for doing all his washing, bringing it in & putting it away.  In a century or two they may just have evolved into quite decent men.  What do you think?  Room for improvement but lots to hope for?