Saturday, June 28, 2008

We might never know!

We've all had bad colds around here this week. Andrew started it, followed by Blake, Logan and myself. It's one of those woozy types where your head spins and you feel as if you might keel over when you walk. At least, it was that way for me. Our 4yo Blake developed a very chesty cough but didn't seem to lose any energy.

However, I've managed to get a bit of reading done. I found a fascinating passage in a book and I'll quote the author word for word.

"I often think of Abraham Lincoln as he left the Gettysburg battlefield after his address. We think today that Lincoln must have realised that this Gettysburg address would live in men's hearts but how could he possibly have known? After the long, flowery speech of Edward Everett, the orator of the day, which drew thunderous applause from the crowd, Lincoln's simple speech was received in silence. He could not know that his hearers were so moved by his message that applause would have seemed sacrilege. He could not foresee that his words one day would be cast in imperishable bronze and taught to every school child in the land. He could not know - because no-one told him."

The point in this chapter of my book was that we ought all ought to praise and congratulate anybody for anything that we perceive is good, even when we feel shy or think they'd be too great to appreciate it. While I agree wholeheartedly with this, something else struck me about this passage. And that is the fact that can't gauge the impact of our words or actions by the response we receive in the short term!

I thought of other famous people I've read about. Poor old Vincent VanGogh, who never sold a painting in his life! He left them all moulding away in his brother's garage, feeling like an amateur and a hassle for his family all his life. Only after his death was he heralded as a great artistic genius. When I was little, my parents had his painting of the sunflowers hanging in their entrance hall for years. He never even knew the acclaim he'd receive.

And one of my personal heroines, Emily Bronte, author of Wuthering Heights, also died young never knowing that her one and only novel would be canonised as one of the great literary masterpieces of the nineteenth century. The novel's reviews that she read while she was still alive were somewhat more critical and dubious than they were the following century. She never knew.

This may all sound bleak and sad, but I actually took it as a very positive thought that cheered me up. It made me think that each of us, plodding about our daily lives and trying to be creative in our own ways, never know how far-reaching our work may be in the future either! Sometimes I get a bit jaded and discouraged by what I perceive as lack of appreciation and impact, as I'm sure many of us probably do. But the thoughts of these famous heroes who lived before us helps me understand that feeling gloomy about how much recognition we're receiving are a complete and utter waste of time. We just have to keep following what we feel God had put in our hearts and forget about how it's being received.

Because we just might never know.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Who is this mystery man?

I'm talking about Francis Gay, the man writes the Friendship Books which come out each year. I think they must be sold around the world so most people might know them. The books with the little purple covers entitled, "Friendship Book for (whatever year it is)" Inside there is a thought, quotation, small story or reflection for each day of the year. He lives somewhere in the English countryside and calls his wife the "Lady of the House."

I used to collect Friendship Books in my teens, but sold them at a market several years ago to make space on my shelf. Still, a few filter their way into the house from time to time. At the start of the year, when I saw the 2008 one for sale I started thinking he must surely be getting a bit old. I used to own one for my year of birth, 1969 and he's still churning them out!

But what really fascinated me this week was reading the fly leaf of a 1995 Friendship Book. It said they've been "delighting readers since 1939." He's more than old! He must be ancient! I figured out that if he started writing them when he was 20, because it seems incredible that he would've been any younger, he'd have to be just about 90 now and still on the job. Thinking of something uplifting to say for every single day from 1939 til 2008 is a pretty impressive feat.

I looked him up on internet but couldn't find any articles, or anything at all much about him, so he must also be fairly modest, humble and elusive. Pretty weird when you think about it, that after all this time, not so much as one photograph has been circulated. Surely his inspiration must run dry one day, but I'll be sorry not to them for sale each year.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pretty big prize!

Somebody at our church grew this massive pumpkin in their garden and set up a fundraiser. We were all invited to pay $1.00 to guess its weight and the person with the closest guess would win the pumpkin. With her dad's help, Emma gauged her guess on Blake's weight. It felt a certain number of kilos heavier than him, so she guessed 20 kilos.
As you can guess from the photos, she won the prize. She's very stoked about that, as she's entered a few competitions in the past that she didn't win. The prizes she missed out on would have been vouchers, money and many of the good things from Barbie magazines. But she seems happy with the pumpkin!

We're pleased too, to think of all the lovely pumpkin soups, pies, scones, cakes, tarts and dampers that we can make, yet we're certain this baby is still too big for just one family of five. We've been warned that it's been off the vine for two weeks so we've been phoning friends and relatives and offering chunks.
If anybody has some delicious, simple pumpkin recipes, I'd be delighted to give them a try, as we'll be using it for quite a long time to come. So send them to us via comment or email, please! I'd appreciate it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Haven't meant to spend so long not blogging....

but a few things have happened around our place in early June, not the least of which was Andrew's 40th birthday. He was still 22 when I met him and almost 24 when I married him 16 years ago. I can remember a time when 40 sounded sort of long in the tooth to me but now it just sounds like a person who's been round long enough to earn a lot of experience and some sound common sense. One of the funniest cards he had was a little knight dressed in full shining armour on the front. Inside it said, "Welcome to the Middle Ages!"

I can actually remembered his 30th birthday as if it was a lot less than ten years ago, although when I think about it, a lot has happened in that time. We only had Logan and I was about 4 or 5 months pregnant with Emma. Time is a funny thing. A day can sometimes drag like a year yet a decade can feel like a few months.

Anyway, he didn't want a big party so we organised a dinner out at Fasta Pasta with both his side of the family and mine. That was last Saturday.

Now here's what happened yesterday. I kept an appointment that had been longstanding with a skin specialist down in the city. Because I'm a very fair skinned person with a few freckles on my arms and back, a doctor thought it wise to refer me to be checked by a skin specialist. Fair skin and dark hair that attracts the sun, seems to be a possible recipe for problems. But after a long wait in her waiting room, I was given the all clear and she said I probably don't need to see her for another ten years. So that was the good news.

I searched through my pockets and handbag and couldn't find my keys. Only then did I discover that I'd locked them in my car! I took out my mobile phone but had no credit on it to make a call! So I searched through my purse for coins and only had enough for one at a public phone booth in a nearby shopping mall. I tried to call my parents, who were looking after my two youngest kids. They only live about twenty minutes away from the clinic. But nobody answered so I figured they must've all gone out.

I phoned home instead, where Logan, my oldest son, was having a day to himself. I told him what had happened. "Will you call Dad on his mobile and ask him to give me a call?" Although I had no credit on my phone, at least I could receive calls. Andrew was doing a bit of work not all that far away and I thought I could ask him to quickly drive to that clinic and unlock my door with his spare key. But time lapsed and I got no call from Andrew. I guessed Logan must've had trouble getting through to him.

I began to think I'd been a bit silly not to call the RAA Road Assistance crew to come and rescue me in the first place. That would've been much more sensible than wasting my one possible call on poor old Logan, who wasn't really in a position to help. Now I was stuck with no money left and unable to make more phone calls. So I figured the only option left was to begin the walk back to my Mum and Dad's place. Although it was only a twenty minute drive, it was quite a lot longer walking. After some time trekking across the city, I'd actually made it quite a long way when my phone began buzzing. Andrew had finally got Logan's message. I explained my dilemma and he said, "You should've just called the RAA. It's cheaper for them to come than me, anyway." So much for that! But he phoned my parents, who'd taken Emma and Blake for a walk to the shops, and told them what had happened. Dad drove and picked me up on the last leg of my walk. I had a cup of tea with them and finally phoned the RAA. Then Dad dropped me back to the dermatology clinic to wait for them. Then I decided to just spend the waiting time relaxing and enjoying the fresh air.

What a run-around, but at least it was a reasonably crisp and clear early winter day for a walk. Somebody else helped me put it all in perspective. As I started for the RAA, a lady who'd been in the waiting room way back when I was still there came back out of her appointment at last. I told her what had happened to me and she said she'd mixed up her appointment time and had to wait in the clinic for almost four hours!

So whenever you're having one of those days, I guess somebody else is too.