Communication: Chaos and Control

As if this time of year is not crazy enough….just over a week ago a fire at a regional telephone exchange wiped out over 60,000 lines in our area. Think on it for a moment. Chaos.

No telecommunications. No landlines. No internet – email, Facebook, Blogging. No electronic banking. No online shopping. No EFTPOS. No cash. No communication.
It has been a roller coaster of a week in terms of technology. After small withdrawals I have survived. But businesses small and large are still recovering from being unable to process electronic purchases, receive faxes, phone calls, track orders and so on. And there are those who are old and ill, vulnerable and unable to call someone in an emergency.
My local crisis is insignificant when compared to those whose homes and regions are ravaged by the storms and natural disasters of late.
It has made me realise how dependent we all are on technology. You and I. Our neighbour and our friend across the globe. A short break from it all has been helpful. Today I am thankful for the phone that rings, the email that pings, the web that opens the world wide. But I am also thankful for the silence of the last few days……

Are you Adopted?

Do you know that as a Christian, we are saved but….. there is more? Jesus rescued us but He also adopted us into His family, His Kingdom. Adoption. This is not something I have grappled with personally until now. Matt Carter from the Austin Stone Community Church along with Aaron Ivey deliver a three part series on Adoption: Rescued by Love, Rescued for Love and The Cost of Love. It is amazing. It challenges our notion of what we are called to do, how we are to respond to the global orphan crisis and asks us to consider how God’s adoption of us, might transform  how we respond to need – across our fence and across the globe.

“163 million orphans – that’s more than half the U.S. population. Global estimates often imply that all of these children have no living parents and are waiting to be adopted. In reality, less than 1/10th of 1 percent of all orphans will ever be adopted, and 90 percent of orphans have one living parent. This does not mean that these children are not highly vulnerable, but it does mean that the best response to their needs requires caring support designed to serve the child and support the community.”

One of the most powerful local stories from the Austin Stone Community was this short film – Jacob Chen: An Adoption Story. As a viewer you are urged to observe the face of each parent when they meet their son for the first time. They become family, one. They are home.

Do you know your family? Do you know that you are saved and adopted? Be rescued by this message.

Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry

The weather is warm and I am planning to have fish for dinner tonight. I have found an old favourite recipe to revamp for dinner. A lovely Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry – I am not sure I have prawns in the freezer right now so it may well be a fish curry, and a firm white fish not the salmon that Nigella suggests. The beauty with recipes like this is that you can tweak it  to your taste and what is on standby in your pantry. I have loads of greens from the garden which I will use instead of the pak choi. The important thing is not to skimp on the addition of lime juice, fish sauce and the fresh coriander. Enjoy!

Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon(s) red thai curry paste (or yellow)
  • 350 ml fish stock
  • 3 tablespoon(s) fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoon(s) caster sugar
  • 3 lemongrass (cut into 3 and bruised with flat of knife)
  • 3 lime leaves (destalked and cut into strips)
  • ½ teaspoon(s) tumeric powder
  • 1 kilogram(s) pumpkin (peeled and cut into bite sized chunks)
  • 500 gram(s) salmon fillet (pref organic) skinned and cut into large bite sized chunks
  • 500 gram(s) raw prawns (peeled)
  • 1 packet(s) pak choi (or any other green veg of your choice)
  • 1 lime (juice)
  • 1 bunch coriander (to serve)

  1. Skim the thick creamy top off the tin of coconut milk and put it, over medium heat, into a large saucepan or casserole with the curry paste. Let it sizzle and, using a fork, whisk or wooden spoon, beat milk and paste together until combined.
  2. Still beating gently, add the rest of the coconut milk, fish stock, fish sauce, sugar, lemongrass, lime leaves and turmeric. Bring to a boil and then add the pumpkin. Cook on a fast simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 15 minutes, although different sorts of pumpkins can vary enormously in the time they take to cook; some squash take as little as 5 minutes.
  3. You can cook the curry up till this part in advance, maybe leaving the pumpkin with a tiny bit of bite to it (it will soften and cook as the pan cools). Either way, when you’re about 5 minutes away from wanting to eat, get ready to cook the seafood.
  4. So, to the robustly simmering pan, add the salmon and prawns (if you’re using the prawns from frozen they’ll need to go in before the salmon). When the salmon and prawns have cooked through, which shouldn’t take more than 3-4 minutes, stir in any green veg you’re using – sliced, chopped or shredded as suits – and tamp down with a wooden spoon.
  5. When the pak choi’s wilted, squeeze in the juice of half a lime, stir and taste and add the juice of the remaining half if you feel it needs it. Take the pan off the heat or decant the curry into a large bowl, and sprinkle over the coriander; the point is that the coriander goes in just before serving.
  6. Serve with more chopped coriander for people to add to their own bowls as they eat, and some plain Thai or basmati rice.

Additional information – for gluten free check the stock cube or concentrate is gluten free.

Beard Oil post Movember

Many moons ago when I first dated my man he had a beard. Now I am not a real facial hair kinda girl. But for him it worked, I think. He is currently sporting a beard again, albeit a closely clipped, rugged one that I approve of. So when I spied this fabulous looking product I had to find out more. Beard Oil. So this great product I found at Bodie and Frou from Prospectors Co has inspired me. It is Movember here in Australia and many a clean shaven man has taken to growing a moustache to raise money for Men’s Health. It is a great cause. But I suspect some of these young men may end up going the full beard come December, as it seems to be so on trend right now. 

If you were not sure about the beard or the oil, may the advertising spin will lure you in. Funny really.

The woodsy, earthy scent of this beard oil brings together the solitary notes of nature and craftsmanship. The smell of freshly chopped forest woods move into a dusty carpenter’s workshop, leaving behind the deep leathered richness of a cobbler’s apron. Its very hardy, masculine fragrance works well with the rugged scruff left behind after a lazy summer’s week of no shaving to the full-grown winter’s beard. In addition to smelling great, the oils also help to moisturize surface skin and condition follicles. Can be used as a beard oil or as an oil based cologne. Great for all skin-types.

Best Viewing 2012 – Xmas Gifts

A boxed set of quality film or a television series makes a wonderful gift than can be revisited throughout the year ahead. What television dramas have you enjoyed this year?
Here is a list of my Best Viewing for 2012:

Downtown Abbey – for the period drama loving mother, mother in law, sister or girlfriend 
Seasons 1-3

Suits – for a taste of the corporate legal world and high end fashion
The Killing – the US version proved to be enthralling and worth working your way through 2 complete seasons
Call the Midwife – East End of London period piece about the work of the midwife and the ‘life’ they see around them
Castle – an engaging tale of a NY cop and a crime writer who play out one of the longest courtships in history. A real Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy moment.

The Art of Letter Writing

In the last few months I have started writing to a good friend, again. Now don’t get me wrong we speak on the phone, text email, repin each other’s pins on pinterest and read Facebook. And we visit in person when the occasion permits. But there is something so special about receiving snail mail in this digital age. A handwritten letter suggests you have taken time to think, compose, question and comment. It is more than a quick idea, a few words in abbreviated language and symbols to express emotion.
My handwriting used to be ‘interesting’ in a stylish kind of way. Now it is a difficult cursive script that even I cannot always decipher. But I am working on it.So why hand write a letter?
Because I value slowing down. In composing I am reflecting on my life, what I am thinking and reading, how I am engaging with my man and my children, what I am learning about love, life and the universe. And if you had special stationery and a pen into the mix the results can be such a delight.
Why not join me and write a letter a week to a new or old friend. Who are you going to write to today?

Princess Diana

Do you remember Di? My grandma who has recently passed away, had a real thing for the royals. As a child she made scrapbooks of pictures and articles about the Queen and her family. As a young girl she passed magazine cuttings on to me whenever she visited and I started my own scrapbook, documenting the courtship, wedding and family life of Princess Diana and Charles. This pastime did not progress further than the birth of her two sons. But on the day of her tragic death I was shocked. I remember where I was and who I was with.
As a wife and mother and a woman with considerably more experience than the girl who made a ‘scrapbook’ about Diana I now have respect for her. Oh what a complicated public life? I wonder what she dreamed about, hoped for, longed to see come true for her….and her boys.
My small girls love princesses and play and dance to princess music all dressed up in fine attire. Some day I will tell them about Diana  and they will know that the life of a Princess is not all pink frills, frocks and tiaras. But that each girl is a princess in God’s heavenly kingdom.

Inside Out – Play

Where do your kids play? If they are young and still engage in imaginary play, play with toys, arts and crafts, mess and chaos then I an curious – where do they play? Inside? Outside?

Some people have dedicated playrooms, spaces and areas. Other people have back rooms and sheds and for some all the play things are kept in the bedroom.
Even with our own tribe of five the question of play is a work in progress. As the older ones have specific needs to hang out and “play” the younger ones still want to take out several games and activities and move from one to another. The result…..controlled chaos. Crazy.
We have always tried to limit the play in the bedrooms. Feeling that supervision and interaction with the kids is important. But as they get older this changes. There are special toys that need ‘care, like massive lego constructions. Or there are music devices, book collections or instruments that take the kids away from the main living area.
Kid’s stuff, whether it be games, toys, technology, musical instruments and the like need to be organised and kept properly. But there are times when our living area looks like the home corner of the local kinder, the kitchen bench is an art studio and the dining table is a homework area.
When friend’s come to play we do set boundaries. We need to be able to see them, talk to them and engage with them whether it is inside or out. Where do your kids play?