Sunday, 20 April 2014


O God of my Exodus
Great was the joy of Israel's son,
when Egypt died upon the shore,
far greater the joy
when the Redeemer's foe lay crushed in the dust.
Jesus strides forth as the victor,
conqueror of death, hell and all opposing might;
He bursts the bands of death,
tramples the powers of darkness down,
lives for ever.
He my gracious surety,
apprehended for payment of my debt,
comes forth from the prison house of the grave
free, and triumphant over sin, Satan, and death.
Show me herein the proof that his vicarious offering is accepted,
that the claims of justice are satisfied,
that the devil's sceptre is shivered,
that the wrongful throne is levelled.
Give me the assurance that in Christ I died, in him I rose,
in his life I live, in his victory I triumph,
in his ascension I shall be glorified.
Adorable Redeemer,
thou who wast lifted up upon a cross.
art ascended to the highest heaven.
Thou, who as man of sorrows wast crowned with thorns,
art now as Lord of life wreathed with glory.
Once, no shame more deep than thine,
no agony more bitter, no death more cruel.
Now, no exaltation more high,
no life more glorious, no advocate more effective.
Thou art in the triumph car leading captive thine enemies behind thee.
What more could be done than thou hast done!
Thy death is my life, thy resurrection my peace,
thy ascension my hope, thy prayers my comfort.

From The Valley of Vision, p 48.
Pic from

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Tonsillectomy - day 11

Eleven days post-tonsillectomy and I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel! For some reason tonsillectomy in adults is quite a nasty operation to recover from, compared with the same operation in children, so it will still be a while before I've fully recovered. It hurts to talk and eat and I and am only eating tiny amounts of cold food, but at day 11 at least I can talk and eat a little now. A huge relief! I won't scare you with all the gory details - there are enough other internet sites that can do that (just google 'adult tonsillectomy' and you'll see what I mean!) - but let's just say it hasn't been the best week and a half of my life. 

That being said, in a strange kind of way, being in the midst of such a hard time has made me more conscious of the good blessings God has given me. I'll share a few with you:

* A good medical team - no problems so far anyway! 

* A very supportive family. Dave has been amazing - juggling caring for me and the kids and work over the past week and a half. I'm especially lucky to have a wonderful mum, who came and stayed with us (on and off) for the first week. I don't know what I would have done without her: she looked after the kids while caring for me too, keeping up a constant supply of icy drinks and ice packs! My kids have been supportive and helpful and suitably concerned for their poor mum who suddenly can't talk at more than a whisper.

* Pain medication! I was on some pretty strong stuff for the first week and it gave me a lot of relief and helped me to be able to get a bit of sleep. I see it as a blessing!

* That I had prepared myself for the recovery period. I've been very glad that I did my research before the operation (as scary as those internet sites are). That meant I wasn't surprised by how hard the first 10 days after adult tonsillectomy are. I also picked up a few good strategies to manage the pain: my advice, for anyone contemplating similar adventures, is that ice is the key!!

* Friends who helped in various ways (picking kids up and taking them places, cooking meals and snacks for the family) and who let me know they were thinking of me in different ways.

* That this was temporary. Seriously, I was more conscious than ever of what it must be like for those who live with constant, chronic pain. ...

* That this will (hopefully!) improve my general health. It will be nice to be off the antibiotics after three months of them!

Thanks to all who have been praying for me. I really appreciate it!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Regina's response

One of the conversations which Carolyn Weber shared in her book was one between herself and a woman (Regina) who was a fellow at Oxford. She was a respected historian who had been married to another historian at Oxford. Regina had stayed at home and raised four children while writing and teaching part-time. When her husband died suddenly, she stepped in and marked the assignments of his students, but then eventually was given his position. As a Christian she had also taken Carolyn under her wing. At one point Carolyn asked her why she stayed at home and forfeited a promising career. I liked her response:
What does it matter what committee you serve on? What promotion you get? The book you labor to write and push to publish, someone will end up resting a coffee cup on, without any care as to your sacrifice. Your children are only young once. Your marriage provides you a chance to put someone else first daily. Such things refine your soul... Jesus wanted freedom for women too, but his notion of liberation is very different from our limited one. His teachings are for the most part genderless; they apply to everyone. What is important is that my identity doesn't lie primarily in being a professor, or being a wife, or even in being a mother. Those things will always fall short. Entire careers get swept away at a moment's notice at the presentation of a pink slip, a vote of the elders, an accusation of a student, a cut in the budget. Marriages face infidelities, for instance, and end up like car wrecks from which people can recover but are never again the same. Children grow up and move away and forget to write or call - as they should. The point is, if you have your identity in any of these things it's surefire disappointment. Anything man-made - or woman-made, for that matter - will and does fail you. Having my identity in Christ first and foremost gives me courage - yes the courage - to live my life boldly, purposefully, in everything I do, no matter what that is.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

'Surprised by Oxford', a book recommendation...

When I was sick in bed with my first bout of tonsillitis a few months ago, I found myself reading more than I have in years - one of the unexpected blessings which came from feeling sick!

My favourite book in the big pile next to my bed was a memoir by Carolyn Weber, called Surprised by Oxford. I loved this book on so many levels. I love a good biography and this one was particularly appealing to me. Firstly, she has a PhD in Romantic-era literature, and I felt I had a lot in common in her (in terms of interests, not abilities!). Not only that but she weaves poetry and quotes throughout the book as well as quite a few references to C. S. Lewis (including the title).

Another thing that appealed to me was that it was mostly set in Oxford, and it contained a lot of her observations of life in this town as an outsider. Oxford is not Cambridge, but reading a book about one still somehow sends me off into nostalgic daydreams about the other... *sigh*

But the best thing about the book was how much it encouraged me as a Christian. The story is mainly about the author's journey to faith in Jesus during her time in Oxford. It's always wonderful to hear someone's testimony - I'm always amazed at the ways God intervenes in people's lives and brings them to faith in Him. What I loved about this story was that Carolyn Weber shares the whole process, including her doubts and the intellectual hurdles she had to jump in order to believe. As an intelligent woman, with a strong atheist-feminist background, there was a lot for her to wrestle with - including what the Bible says about women. Along the way she shares long conversations with a variety of Christians God placed in her path, including fellow students (one of whom eventually becomes her husband, years down the track!), members of the faculty and visiting scholars. Retracing the steps she took in her thinking along the way to her eventual decision to become a Christian was a reminder to me of the truth of what I believe. It was such an encouragement for me to persevere!

Friday, 14 March 2014

A quick update...

It's been ages since I blogged so I thought I'd check in quickly and share what I'm up to.

The beginning of this year hasn't been what I expected when I was planning ahead which is part of the reason it's been quiet around this little blog.

The first thing thing I didn't anticipate was a long battle with tonsillitis. Every time I've stopped antibiotics since January it's flared up again. This obviously isn't ideal, so I ended up being referred to a ENT specialist, who will be taking my tonsils out at the beginning of April. I am coping pretty well at the moment but am still on antibiotics until my operation and I'm obviously not at 100%. But I'm glad I'm functioning well enough to be able to honour my commitments and care for my family.

As for commitments, many of those have ended up looking different from what I expected. A couple of things I thought I would be doing haven't happened (for various reasons), and a couple of things I didn't factor in have come up, including the chance to do a bit of teaching of church history to a small group of diploma students once a week. I'm loving the chance to brush up on church history and I'm discovering how much I do enjoy teaching.

And then there's the usual day to day routine of caring for four kids. With quite a wide range of ages in our family, I'm finding that a challenge. While thinking through high school choices for my eldest, I'm also having to remember how to deal with the toilet-training and mood-swings of a two year old!

And that's probably the other reason why I don't get around to blogging as much these days. It just doesn't seem to fit into the rhythm of my average day any more. But I'll keep chipping away from time when ideas come to mind and the mood strikes me!

a couple of pics of some of the things we get up to around her -celebrating with J after an exam and L dressing up as a rabbit - just for fun!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The month so far...

The day after writing my last post I ended up with a nasty case of tonsillitis. I'm still recovering and the holidays haven't been all that I planned. That said, the fact I've had to slow down a fair bit has been a good thing in itself and it hasn't stopped me being able to enjoy spending lots of time with my family. I've had time to think about the year ahead and how I can best approach it. Dave has been on holidays so we've managed to have some shorter outings (beach, pool, museum and zoo) and potter around the house. We enjoyed a night at the Botanic Gardens where we watched the live performance of Wind in the Willows (thanks to Dave's sister and her family for that Christmas present!!). Last week, Dave was speaking at NextGen and we all went to Katoomba for the week and rented a house there. In his breaks we did a little bit of exploring and enjoyed Blackheath pool (it was actually quite warm up there!).

at the zoo...

a short bushwalk after going down the Scenic Railway


The Three Sisters

Orphan Rock

The older version of the Scenic Railway!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

End of year festivities

It's been busy around here as we've celebrated not only Christmas and New Year but a birthday as well.
Our family Christmas gathering
Dave's family gathering (the kids' tables)
Our seven year old - planting a blueberry plant Dave's parents gave her.

And celebrating at Lane Cove National Park with them.


And then celebrating again with my family at our place

 ....and then on to a park at Homebush that we love.


Then the older three kids and I watched the fireworks with my mum and dad last night. A first for the majority of us!