Showing posts from April, 2015

Love-Hate Relationship

About now many home gardeners in New Zealand are thinking unkind thoughts towards those who were responsible for introducing feijoas to the country. Not that there is anything wrong with feijoas but about this far into the season you cannot pay someone to take them off your hands!

I have a love-hate relationship with the fruit which is also known as pineapple guava in some countries. Yes, it's sweet, and full of Vitamin C, and is easily grown organically, but we have it coming out of our ears!!!

We have stewed it, and dried it, and baked with it and made crumbles with it, and given bags of it away, and eaten it until we've resembled feijoas, and still the trees keep producing.

When we first bought our house in New Zealand I was excited to see not one, but two trees in our backyard. Free fruit: what's not to love?! Little did I know they would become the bane of my existence at this time of the year. Not only are our trees in a corner of the yard, squeezed betwe…

Remembrance II

As I reflect on this weekend and the significance of ANZAC Day for not just Australia and New Zealand, but for other nations as well, I've been reminded that there are those for whom ANZAC is not part of their national consciousness. In fact, they may never have come across the term before today.

So a brief history lesson ... ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. This Corps was created during World War 1 and first saw action at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. Quickly the Corps was recognised for its bravery, honour, sacrifice, and sense of 'mateship'.

Perhaps surprisingly, for those who are familiar with celebrating military victories, the ANZACs were defeated at Gallipoli. But ANZAC Day is not a day of celebration but one of remembrance along with an acknowledgement that two national identities were birthed on those hostile shores. It is one day where the sibling rivalry that is often on a par with Cain and Abel, is put aside, and both nations join in rem…

Remembrance I

At approximately six thirty this morning I sang my national anthem for the first time in twenty years.

In public.

For someone who lives in an adopted country where exists, at best, friendly rivalry between this country and mine, and, at worse, outright enmity, this is quite notable. Yet today Australians and New Zealanders all over the globe will gather together to commemorate one hundred years since ANZAC troops landed on the beach at Gallipoli and to honour those that have served in our defence forces since then.

Such services are held at dawn (I'd say pre-dawn: it was still pretty dark at 5.20am!), and often include The Last Post, the laying of wreaths, a recitation, the playing of the Reveille, and the national anthem. Today's service also included, along with the above, prayers for peace, singing "Abide with Me", a gun salute, a flyover (it was dark and we could only see their lights but we heard them), the moving song "Sons of Gallipoli" (listen to i…

The Size of a Postage Stamp

I hate throwing out leftovers - whether food, yarn or fabric - especially fabric - which explains why I have a large bin overflowing with tiny fabric scraps, most too tiny to be useful. Of course, I don't see this as a problem because fabric, unlike food, won't go off. Besides, I love scrap quilts and I know that one day I will use up all those scraps.

However, I have never been able to see the beauty in the category of quilts known as Postage Stamp Quilts. All those tiny pieces (thousands of seams!) arranged in squares ... they just didn't look that exciting to me.

Until recently.

Very recently. I saw this incredible Postage Stamp Quilt and suddenly my views were forever changed. And for the better, I might add. I then did a search on Postage Stamp Quilts and was totally blown away by their beauty - and, in many instances, complexity.

Not to be out done (because if another quilter has produced a work of art, then surely I can try to produce something at least half as stri…

Chocolate Love

My mother-in-law has often shared how her mother was a chocoholic and always managed to find chocolate even during the Depression years when chocolate was rationed. Several members of the family have inherited the gene, including at least several great-great-granddaughters. The Most Adorable Granddaughter#3 can sniff out chocolate even when it's well hidden!

But yesterday I discovered that another great-great-granddaughter has inherited the gene in abundance. The Most Adorable Granddaughters#4 and #5 were visiting and Son#5 thought we could make Easter eggs with them - even though Easter had come and gone. (He had thought it was The Most Adorable Granddaughters#1, #2 and #3 who were coming to visit and since they are older he thought they would appreciate the activity, but The Most Adorable Granddaughters#4 and #5 certainly appreciated it - just perhaps in a different way.)

As we were breaking up the chocolate to melt, The Most Adorable Granddaughter#4 asked me if she could eat i…


If you had a choice between walking through a door labelled 'Beautiful' or one labelled 'Average' what would you choose?

I know what I'd choose ... but I know what I'd really like to choose if only I could believe it.

I've watched this clip twice and both times I have cried at the point where the woman turns and walks away. Okay, maybe she thought she was in the wrong place and went back to check the signs by the street, but maybe the choice was too hard to make.

Because as an impartial observer I know that she had every right to walk through the 'Beautiful' door, but I'm not sure she realised that.

Perhaps she had not felt attractive for a long time  because she didn't think she conformed to society's expectations of what constitutes beautiful ... or perhaps she had a father who never told her she was beautiful and so she couldn't believe it ... perhaps she was so bogged down in caring for young children or elderly parents that all…

It's Not A Bug

Years ago our family would periodically make ginger beer: until we killed the 'bug' or had more ginger beer than we knew what to do with. And then we started hearing from health professionals about how 'bad' sugar is for your health and how much sugar there is in a glass of fizzy drink, and so we stopped making it ... or only made it occasionally as a 'treat'.

I have since learnt that the sugar in ginger beer is not for us but for the 'bug' (or yeast) to feed off. I'm guessing that some of the sugar is still for taste but I feel a little better now about offering my family homemade ginger beer. Especially now when it's being labelled as 'probiotic'. Tastes good and is good for you: an irresistible combination.

Except for one thing. No one seems to be able to decide if it's non-alcoholic or not. Recipes for alcoholic and non-alcoholic ginger beer look exactly the same to me, and the recipe that our family has used for years claims to…

Good Friday

How can a day that celebrates a brutal death, the killing of One sinless be called 'good' except that it was all part of God's perfect plan and brought about a 'good' that could come by no other means? The significance of that day two thousand years ago is not lost on Christians. And while then the disciples and friends mourned and were saddened at the death of One they loved, we, with the knowledge of the Resurrection Sunday, mourn for our part in the act: for our sin that puts us in the crowd with those who cried  'Crucify Him', for our sin that drove the nails into His Hands, for our indifference to His suffering ...

The Blood deals with what we have done, whereas the Cross deals with what we are. The Blood disposes of our sins, while the Cross strikes at the root of our capacity for sin. --Watchman Nee

Salvation is not some felicitous state to which we can lift ourselves by our own bootstraps after the contemplation of sufficiently good examples. It is an…