Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Book Smell

I had a parcel delivered this morning.

Actually, two parcels - but one was for my Beloved's business and wasn't at all exciting, so the first statement shall be permitted to stand.

I had a minor melt-down when Google-chatting to Emily Sue, because I like new books where nobody has scribbled in or otherwise defaced my prospective property. But I am a realist and students on a budget should be somewhat thrifty. So I spent some time getting over it.

Then I checked out three websites for each of the 10 text books I need for this semester, and worked out which was cheapest.

And I was surprised that, for the most part, the current edition new texts were not that much more expensive than the current edition secondhand texts. (If indeed there were any secondhand texts from the current edition) They were, of course, significantly more expensive than the previous edition secondhand texts.

I have no idea why this was so, but I got stuck into the new ones and still came in under my book budget for the semester, so much so that I'm tempted to buy an additional Jewish study Bible that is recommended (but not required) reading for Introduction to the Old Testament. Wouldn't it give a great alternative perspective?

And what is truly delightful to this obsessive bibliophile is that they smell like new books. No highlighting, no notes to distract me, and my new Fourth Edition Greek New Testament is still in it's plastic wrap with a gold seal stating "The Preferred Text for Scholars" kindly informing me of my growing status as a scholar of ancient languages.

And the chance that I'll miss the tiny amount I spent extra to get new books?

Friday, January 27, 2012

And I'm like, "what the?"...

Went down to grab some groceries and go to the bank.

Not necessarily in that order, because I needed the money to be able to get the groceries (and don't ask why I don't simply get cash out at the supermarket, because I have the uncanny ability to pick the checkout that has insufficient cash to be able to oblige me and therefore have to go to the bank anyway).

And the day had got away from me a bit, but it was, in my mind, just after lunch.

And I came out from the shop (into the rain - about which I shall not complain at all - we need it) and loaded everything into the car, and took my trolley back, and then jumped into the car only to find that there was a traffic jam getting onto the road.

There was a traffic jam getting onto the road, because the intersection just up a bit was in a traffic jam.

And that intersection was in a traffic jam because traffic heading into town was at a standstill.

And I sat in my little white car shaking my head and telling myself that I live in a country town and we just don't get traffic jams and hoping that there hadn't been an accident.

And then I looked at the clock. 3.20pm. And I was just up from the local High School.

Of course, because I never go near town between 3 and 3.30pm (particularly on a rainy day), I can remain in my steadfast belief that we don't have traffic jams in country towns.

Oh for the sleepy, dozy school holidays to be with us once again! When I can go where I like when I like without chaotic school traffic.

And the chance that I'm the centre of the universe?

Unfortunate, really.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nine cents

Okay, so not earth shattering, but I really enjoyed getting an email from Amazon regarding half my text books for first session which showed the amount I paid in Aussie dollars was less than the amount in US dollars.

And the chance that it was a huge amount in my favour?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not quite bright

For the third time in a row when washing our bed sheets I have thought, "I should clean up the dog's 'nuggets' before hanging out the washing."

For the third time in a row when washing our bed sheets I have gone to bring in the washing and found the fitted sheet hanging by one peg with the other end dragging around on the ground.

The chance that I have listened to my better self?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

And it would mean that I don't need to buy stamps this year, except that it doesn't...

I've been working on cleaning up my study/office.

Not just cleaning up, but CLEANING UP.

Sorting through lots of pieces of paper that are no longer required and I don't need to look at again...

...and some that I possibly want to look at again from my current perspective, but realising that that is just the thought that lead me to keep the pieces of paper that I don't need to look at again, I've resolutely thrown these out too.

And in this process I've found lots of things that hadn't got into their homes. An envelope with $12 cash in it. And two separate stashes of postage stamps: Nine 50 cent fauna of the Rainforest stamps and twenty-six 45 cent Christmas stamps.

... And 20 sen from the Bank Negara Malaysia, which possibly doesn't add much to my stash, but nevertheless I found it.

So I wouldn't need to buy stamps this year, except that the cost of postage has gone up.

But still, I resent finding nearly thirty dollars worth of cash and stamps how much?

It's the only time I've ever known housework to pay. (Apart from the occasional coin in the bottom of the washing machine)

Maybe I can post Emily Sue's books back to her now.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 The year of the Spiritual Disciplines

Okay, so I'm not exploring them all. But there will be a few.

Firstly, I've decided to take a semester off work so that I can study a full-time study load.

Guess what? Study is a Spiritual Discipline!

Because I'm taking time off work, the budget will be quite snug.

Guess what? Simplicity is a Spiritual Discipline!

I've been feeling a real call to prayer and meditation for this year, so I've made certain that my timetable includes sufficient time to make these areas of my spiritual life a priority.

Guess what? Prayer is a Spiritual Discipline!

It's making for a very interesting life. Grocery shopping now has something to do with God, because I have to shop within a tighter food allowance than previously.

Riding my bike places has something to do with God because I'm saving fuel money.

Avoiding junk food has something to do with God because there's only a small discretionary spending allowance for me and is it really worth it?

And ripping up Koorong catalogues without taking time to drool over them is about God, because my book budget for this year is restricted to textbooks (unless I choose to spend some of the disc. spend. allow.).

And now I just need to find a way to make travel overseas a Spiritual Discipline. Number of ways that have occurred to me?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Desperate Measures

There are times in a preacher's life where there don't seem to be any hymns that go where you want to go.

And some of us preach in smaller churches where there is a limit on the repertoire of the congregation and/or musicians available.

And although it is possible to select some rousing hymns that everyone knows that have nothing whatsoever to do with the selected theme, it is really very nice to have at least one that deals with where you're going.

So, in desperation, I started penning my own lyrics with some assistance from the lovely and talented Givinya who ironed out a dodgy line for me and told me that it was okay to have an anacrusis if I needed it.

So we'll be singing this on Sunday (to the tune Cross of Jesus):

Follow me! Our Christ to Philip

in that distant Galilee.

Instantly he went with Jesus.

What an honour: Called was he.

Follow me! Our Saviour calls us

As he calls, so we obey.

Walking into love and learning,

faith in trusting his new day.

Come and See! So Philip phrased it

When Nathanael scoffed his doubts

Zeal for law, tradition, status -

Jesus’ wisdom found him out.

Come and See! So someone asked us

Child or parent, spouse or friend

Came to Jesus: True love, mercy,

Companionship that never ends.

Come and See! An invitation

From our lives to those we know.

Making certain we don’t veil the

King of Heav’n seen here below.

Of course, while Givinya is very good and very helpful in the improvement of verses, her strength is rhyming and rhythmic comedy. So she dash off a couple of alternative versions of the third verse, because I was having great trouble getting it to work.

An alternative version

Come and See! So Philip phrased it

when Nathanael scoffed his doubts

zeal for law, tradition, status

proved Nathanael was a lout.

The Yorkshire version

Come and See! So Philip phrased it

when Nathanael scoffed his doubts

zeal for law, tradition, status

Nathanael's questions came to nowt.

The Irish version (and my personal favourite)

Come and See! So Philip phrased it

when Nathanael scoffed his doubts

So Nat and Phil, they filled their tankards,

Made a toast, and downed their stout.

The IT version

Come and See! So Philip phrased it

when Nathanael scoffed his doubts

Nat picked up his bag and laptop;

Went to check the Saviour out.

And how many of these alternatives are likely to be sung in church this coming Sunday (except in my head)?


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Never use an iPad on your desk

I was working on a major technological feat, trying to change settings on my iPad to get it to download my emails, which would have been much simpler had I remembered that I have an entirely different password for my email account than every other vaguely technological thing that I do.

As I was working through the process, I needed to delete some characters so that I could replace them with the correct ones.

For some reason it wasn't working.

But I did delete half a dozen emails from my computer.

The chance that I wasn't trying to use my computer keyboard to make changes on my iPad?


If Apple were really smart, they'd have a thingamy in the keyboard that could recognise which screen you are looking at, and adjust the input location accordingly.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just for professional interest

Every now and then I go to other churches or listen to podcasts just to see how other people go about delivering a sermon.

I have just listened to 45 mins (and finally lost ability to continue to listen) of one from a young and vibrant church down in the "big smoke". I thought I might learn a thing or two about being relevant and communicating to younger audiences in the modern world.

It seems that it is perfectly natural to introduce your main point at least 35 mins into your sermon.

It seems that it is perfectly okay to bring in the scripture you want to focus on after 45 mins.

I also need to cultivate a whiny voice that can be raised continually until I reach a crescendo every 10 mins or so, possibly to make certain my audience are still with me.

Oh, and "if you agree with me, say YES!" falls quite flat on the podcast when there is no microphone for the congregation. In fact, if you need to stir them up, it's probably not genuine response anyway.

I reckon in the 45 mins I listened to there was about 10 mins of material, the rest was just waffle. And there could have been quite a bit to come, given the fact he'd just got his Bible out.

Now, don't get me wrong. I've listened to sermons that were over the 30 min mark and I was sad that they finished ("where did the time GO?"), but this guy wasn't one of them. Unfortunately I've heard plenty more in the same style.

I realise, too, that there are people who have a 10 minute message that seem like an hour.

I guess I try to have a solid structure, solid research behind it, and make the presentation as interesting as I can. There's also much to be said for allowing the good ol' Holy Spirit to have a chance at moving you during both preparation and presentation. but I generally try to aim for about 6 hours preparation for a 15 minute talk, rather than the opposite.

Once I was presenting a professional seminar at a series of development courses and surprised one of the organisers by saying, "I generally try to stop talking when I've said everything that has to be said."

Chance that I'm going to email that pastor with some constructive criticism?

...no ... I'm way too passive aggressive for that!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The LBD is okay.

I've calmed down now, thankfully. Walking Friday arvo the LBD and I walked into two loose husky-ish looking dogs, one large and the other huge, the largest of which decided to have a go at one comparatively tiny Border Collie.

Thankfully bravery is not the LBD's strength. He went all floppy and submissive and didn't get savaged too badly, although he was squealing the whole time as if he was being torn to shreds.

I had nothing to protect him with and knew that you just don't break up dog fights. You just don't. Yelling didn't seem to make any impact what-so-ever. Thankfully worried owner arrived to drag them off home just as giant dog let go and the LBD ran behind me for protection. It was good not to have to deal with round 2; or potential 2 on 1 action.

We were both a tad shaken to say the least. Having got him home and inspected as much of him as I could see for all the fur there doesn't seem to be any skin broken at all, so it seems that giant dog was just out for world domination, not actual damage.

If I had had any sort of weapon handy I would have proved whether I have a violent streak or not. Surprisingly I think I do.

And the chance we want a repeat of that performance?