Monday, November 30, 2009

Imperfection is Beautiful

A guest post:

We put up our Christmas tree last night. Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the decorations, the smells, the beauty of it all. To me Christmas is magical, it is the time to celebrate God's gift of love to us through His Son, Jesus. My parents did a wonderful job in making Christmas magical, not just because we were given gifts, but because of the time we were able to spend together as a family. The lead up to and the traditions of Christmas are something I will always tressure.

As I have grown up, I have turned into a perfectionist and the older I get (maybe it's the more children I have), I crave quiet, organization of my life. So last night, I wrangled all the kids to the car after church so we could go decorate the tree. After all three were buckled, I hear from the two year old, "I need to go toilet!" Amazing the hold a toilet training child has over you and how fast you move when you hear these words. Ryleigh was a this point losing the plot because she wanted to eat dinner, so I called in help from Brett to take the older two toilet and I opened a jar of baby food and fed Ryes in the car seat. It was enough to get us home.

At home, Raegan refused to get out of the car, Ryleigh began hollering for more food, and Rhys was pleading for a drink of water. After extracting the two year old and giving the baby a spoon of food in between tasks, I found a Christmas CD and put it on. Then I opened the ornament box. I love to look through the ornaments and remember who gave them to me and the memories I have of the gift giver. So as we pulled out the ornaments I tried to pass on these memeories to my children.

They were really good at listening at first and loved when I would pull out one that was theirs. Toward the end it got a little chaotic. Instead of savoring pulling out one ornament at a time, it became a free for all of pulling ornaments out of the boxes, dropping tissue paper and other packaging where ever it fell and placing ornaments on the trees. It was LOUD! The CD was not blarring but added to the noise. Raegan would open an ornment and say, "Oh my goodness! Look!" Rhys had taken any ornments that were animals and started playing with them under the tree using his imagination to create some story. Ryleigh was starting to fuss again because she was tired and wanted her night time milk and bed.

So finally every last ornament (even the ones that aren't that pretty or cute) were out on the tree and it was time to plug it in. The lights, that I weren't sure were in proper working order, but had been assured would be fine, wouldn't come on! I was gutted! It was supposed to be the "magical moment".... the moment when after all the chaos and noise, the children would stop in quiet wonder and stare at the tree. I admidt I was a bit grumpy then getting the children off to bed.

This morning, I got up with just Ryleigh and we were sitting on the floor looking at the tree. For most people it will look like an odd tree. Lots of ornaments are towards the bottom and sometimes there are even two ornaments per branch. But, as I sat contemplating the tree this morning, I realized the beauty of this tree is in its imperfection. My children had a blast decorating that tree last night. They loved seeing the ornaments from my babyhood and childhood and they loved discovering the ornaments that mommy bought for them when they were "still in my tummy". For Rhys and Raegan last night WAS magical. So now when I look at the tree this year, I will remember I have given them a bit of Christmas magic and this is the MOST beautiful Christmas tree I've ever seen!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Got there in the end

Oh yeah! The AB's thrash France (the recent victors against South Africa). And so my prediction comes to completion. The All Blacks go unbeaten AND remain with a clean defensive sheet - no tries against them on the tour. South Africa didn't leak any tries on Sunday either but it didn't stop them going down 15-10. So. The All Blacks finish the season as the best team in the world. But not a great team. And the South Africans who were the best team in the world in August end with a splutter, demonstrating that it takes more than a Tri Nations win to become a truly great team.

Friday, November 27, 2009


The story of Australian idol winner Stan Walker (he's a Kiwi) is an inspiring one. His family background in a self-described "Once Were Warriors" setting with an (also) self-described "Jake the Muss" father is sobering. His account of suffering sexual abuse at the hands of an extended family member is heart-breaking. Stan describes how this influenced his behaviour as a teenager in sexual and criminal activity looking to prove his manhood (puts the nature of the abuse in context).

And yet, one-by-one this family find a new focus for life - Jesus Christ. The turnaround is extreme. The image of his "hard man"father worshipping with his family was for me a profound symbol of hope as I watched the doco on TV last night.

I had an experience yesterday which I found difficult. I had lunch with a friend in a pub in Manukau. It started off great as they had the Cricket playing so we were able to watch some of it. But as we sat there we noticed a steady procession of people heading through a door into a darkened room. The pokie machines. It was 1pm in the afternoon and there were more people in there than there were in the rest of the eating area. As soon as we finished we left - it was actually just too difficult watching this play out and beyond that thinking how our lunch patronage was supporting this activity. I found it hard to connect hope to these people.

Its playing on my mind.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Playstation v Paintball

So as I drove to the Paintball segment of Paul's stag, a question was in my mind: is there a correlation between the skills honed in Playstation first person shooter games and RL survival in Paintball?

It was a question with some personal interest, because I suck at Playstation, and paintball pellets hurt! Turns out that all that Playstation develops is your thumbs...

Strategy, team work, a healthy sense of self-preservation and decisive action all proved more helpful.

It's one of those sacrifices you make: suffering the stigma of being cannon fodder on Playstation so that one can actually function effectively in RL. It's just good to know that when the balloon goes up "the grey ghost" will not be the first against the wall.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I've Been Thinking...

Just a few (maybe) random thoughts:

  • The AB's haven't had a try scored against them by a northern hemisphere team on this tour (and indeed in the last 8 games against northern opposition at home);
  • This side is ten times harder than the team that started tests in June this year - they are soaking up some big forwards on this tour
  • NZ now has an 8-4 win/loss ratio this season, including beating the Aussies four times
  • The team we failed to beat, South Africa, has been on a bit of a rough ride since the end of the Tri Nations, losing spectacularly to 2 England club sides - they then lost to France, bringing their test losses this year to 3 (Lions, Australia, France) against 8 wins
  • So...if the AB's beat France they move to 9-4 win/loss and if the Japies lose to Ireland they move to an 8-4 win/loss ratio...its unlikely, the Irish did manage to draw against Aussie

I'm just saying...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Care to Comment?

I came across this interesting thought on (thanks to Rhett linking to it on FB):

As for comments, please refer to our statement here. We regret that the now-ubiquitous comment box has mostly failed as a means of productive discourse. Our content is carefully curated, and we demand a serious amount of thought and effort from our writers. It is unfair for them to face a public flogging at the hands of people who do not have to so much as identify themselves, and can undermine the authority and class of a piece in just a few inflammatory sentences. Commenting may have become a "right" in the Web 2.0 world, but its most shining accomplishment is to degrade everyone who produces and consumes information online.

It's a refreshing thought process - there is very definitely a culture of vitriolic commenting in many sectors of blogworld (not I note the the urbane but few visitors to this blog). I can't help but wonder whether the internet really is changing humanity or whether its just tapping into existing modes. Too deep for me to analyse.

One bit I liked from the extended rationale:

The internet would be a lot less barbaric place if more webmasters would stop mindlessly sticking comment boxes on every bit of content they post. (Seriously, who wants to read Mariah85747's thoughts on a Washington Post article?)

So have at it Mariah 85747!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


What the?