To PHD or not to PHD….?

Now I know there are quite a few of you out there who read this blog. I need your help.

Should I revamp my PHD and get it going again?

After withdrawing 2 1/2 years ago I find myself wanting to bring closure to my topic.

Representations of Asian Female Identity and Corporeality in Australia.

It could be a good discipline to read and write.

But it could be a waste of time too.

What should I do?


The weekend away at the beach was time for “A” and I to wander yet again about our love of food and the desire we have to cook.
Years ago I worked in catering and for a short time did catering jobs for friends and family. But it is all so much hard work. Whenever we visit a food store or providore or fun cafe I get inspired.
The one of “A” at the top is at Brunetti’s in Carlton. A big favourite from Uni days.

The next two images are from Torch in Richmond. Great coffee and a galley style coffee bar in the middle of seating. It had gorgeous luxe wallpaper which is all in vogue again, thank you Florence Broadhurst.

And this one is at a Annie’s Providore at Barwon Heads. It was full of great fresh produce and wooden shelves, huge deli fridges full of cheeses and cured meats and loads of soft woven baskets hanging from overhead.
These are all dreams, pipe dreams. “A” and I will continue to entertain at home. I must go…I have minestrone cooking, quinces roasting and a chocolate hazelnut slice setting in the fridge.

Random thoughts….

  • How will we ever get packed up to go to the beach this weekend?
  • Will red wine really make my headache worse?
  • Will it really rain all weekend?
  • Are we really too busy?
  • Do people expect too much of us?
  • Can you sustain a relationship by email alone?
  • Where will I find good Christian biblical teaching material for my kids? Material that engages and challenges and doesn’t bore them?
  • Will I ever finish listening to the mp3 I have had on the go for 6 days now?
  • Will the quinces shrivel up before I have made paste?
  • Is Love in the Time of Cholera really a great modern classic?

Pelvic Floor

Since baby number four (now two years old!) I have been trying to get to the Flex’n’core class at the local gym. It is a gentle class that combines pilates and work with a fit ball. It is absolutely fabulous for inner core strength – yes, I mean the old pelvic floor. If you have been pregnant and given birth you will know exactly what I am talking about. That band of muscle that holds everything in gets S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D beyond recognition and I suspect most women spend the rest of their lives trying to get it back into some working order.

But today the class was full to over flowing. There were more than the recommended number simply because this newish instructor is so good. She is an excellent teacher, uses great words of encouragement, works hard to remember names and is able to pitch a class at multiple levels at once. Her humour and great modelling make us all come back I think.

In any given class I will know 6-10 people. Women from school, work, community, neighbours, church circles…the list goes on. We talk casually about “X” as we prepare for the class, we share each others pain as we go for “another set of 10” and then we chat as we leave the building. Sometimes we have coffee afterwards and other times conversation begins when we arrive at the creche to collect our children.

I was really struck today by the mission field that is in front of my face each day. Do I see this as an exercise class that helps improve my pelvic floor? Or is this a God given opportunity to build relationships, share experiences and encourage other women?

If I choose to hear the promptings of the HS I will go each week now, prayerfully, intentionally and with the desire to flex more than my inner core! I wander what mission God is calling you to, today.

Cups of coffee

Have you ever stopped to reflect on your cup of coffee?

Why do you drink it?

How do you make it?

When do you crave it?

One the greatest gifts “A” gives me each day is my cup of coffee.

He makes it with such diligence….grinding the beans that glisten, testing that the water is hot enough, steaming the milk, making sure the crema is just so.

We share a cup of coffee at breakfast time and if we are lucky we manage to have one during the busyness of the working day.

This image is us – fair and dark, latte and machiato, strong and weak.

SO different but so much the same.

It is amazing how much love there can be in one cuppa coffee.

Funky Hair Day…

  • Funky hair day… raises money for the leukaemia foundation. We have had dear friends whose daughter has been fighting this illness over recent years. By God’s grace she is growing in health.

So every year when the children’s school have a special “funky hair day” the purpose of raising money is a personal exercise. The kids prayed for our little friend each day and have seen God intervene and work to heal.

The Funky event is talked about weeks before; bouncing around ideas for outrageous hairstyles, additions and up-dos.

It is particularly important that all the right products are purchased in advance. On this year’s list were the following items: pink hairspray, yellow and red hairspray,florist wire.

We had fun creating Pippy Longstockingesque plaits and Jakob’s newer longer do was teased and spiked and coloured.

Maybe this is a preview of punk days that are to come!

Kitchen Nightmares….

If you can get past the “F” word used over and over again on Gordon Ramsay’s reality TV series then I think you stand to learn a lot. This world renowned foodie essentially has been called in (with his team of consultants, decorators, business people and other foodies) to rescue a want to be good restaurant from complete ruin.

Without fail the kitchens are a health inspector’s nightmare, usually the experience and training of the staff is less then desirable and mostly frozen food is favoured over fresh ingredients. Juxtapose this with poor management, almost no cash flow, issues of pride, arrogance and pig-headedness and the TV series has all the right ingredients to draw a successful audience.

But what surprised me most was this was not just about food. Neither was it about makeovers and the fairytale story of chef makes good. It was about relationships, about communication that has become haggard and tense. It was about how to manage a small business and the crux was communication.

People have taken out huge loans to run a business when clearly they know little about food or nothing about business. You have to know about every aspect of the business, says Ramsay.

In many ways this business caper is a lot like marriage. We all rush into it, blinded by love, passion and a fantasy future, but few of us know all there is to know about our “core business”. Metaphorically speaking, many of us have resorted to serving up frozen food when really we always intended to feed our selves and those we love with fresh food. We are tired, stressed and have no time to work on the “business”, that is our marriage.

Last week, “A” and I started to run The Marriage Course from our home. We have three couples and we serve supper and facilitate the sessions via DVD and opening our home to these people.

The course is amazing and well worth a closer look….it teaches the art of communication, it examines the whole notion of forgiveness, conflict, sex, parents and in-laws and basically provides a couple with the tools and the scaffolding for running the business of marriage.

Most importantly it reminds us all that God is the centre of it all and marriage is, after all His idea.

Whether you are going to get married or have been married for 1,5 or 50 years it is never to late to learn the business.


Shooting the dogs….

Here I am working from home. I have been at my desk for almost 2 hours and in that time I have emailed, filed documents, printed out application forms and ……put the washing the dryer, unloaded the dishwasher while making a coffee, paid several bills online and completed some necessary correspondence. I have also skimmed several blogs and started the ideas for a new article for So I guess my focus is not great today!

My desk is a mess. Partly because last weekend “A” and I decided to move three massive bookshelves out of the study. One went upstairs to the girl’s room and the others remain in the hallway. As a result the hallway is looking gorgeous complete with all our favourite books (it is quite confronting to see where our money must go..!) but the study is scattered with paper and miscellaneous material that is now homeless.

It is amazing when I realise that all my work starts and ends on my laptop so if I had a wireless connection I could be working on the sofa or outside or on my bed.

But alas I must be content to sit amongst the mess, until inspiration hits and I clean it up.

Mess does mess with my head in a way that my “A” does not really understand.

I have girlfriends who secretly admit to being proud about keeping their house clean and tidy, or having gorgeous stationary and boxes and Tupperware to organise life’s clutter. We agree that we “get off” on keeping things ordered and controlled. The reality is when things are not tidy I feel the gloom and dark of the black dog looming, snapping at my heels. And I have to confront the mess and do something about it. Right now it is not just the study but the playroom aka sewing room, my wardrobe and the linen press…and possibly the fridge that all need attention.

Am I alone in being messed up about mess?

Mark Driscoll in Confessions of a Reformation Rev, argues that we should shoot the dogs. He is applying this metaphor to issues in the church and his ministry but it resonates with me. It is relevant to the things that are not working, that cause us stress and hound us for attention, dragging us down. So often we are immobilised by people pleasing, fear and an inability to act. Driscoll says shoot them.

My dog today is the mess….as I sit here and work I am distracted. I need a plan to attack each dog and be done with it. Sieze the day. The poodle is going first!

Blowing bubbles

All the research is telling us that children today don’t know how to play.

Make today a play day and….
Make a cubby house with all the lounge room furniture.
Play music with all the pots and pans in the kitchen cupboard.
Paint he house with buckets of water and real paintbrushes.
Dress up as your favourite character.
Or simply blow some bubbles.

Such a simple activity……no expensive gadgets, just some dish washing detergent, a large plastic tub and some wire coat hangers.

Simple pleasures to be had over and over again.