Friday, April 24, 2009

Flashback Friday :: little-girl grandmother

The little girl in this picture -- the one fourth from the left, sitting down with her long bare legs dangling from the bench and her sun-hat sitting back on her head -- is my grandmother, Shirley Jean. To her left is her grandmother, Nana Kearns, and on the other side of Nana Kearns is my grandmother's sister, June (also with sun-hat). On the back, in possibly-eight-year-old's handwriting, is a list of the people in the picture.

I love how this image gives me a glimpse into Ma's Australian childhood. And I love that she decided to send the picture to me, for safekeeping.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Best mail day:

Monday brought me the coolest mail. An envelope came from my grandmother with a beautiful card and, enclosed with it, a postcard she received for her birthday in 1942, and a tiny faded photograph depitcing her as a young girl (long, skinny legs and all), along with her sister and several old aunties (no guess as to what'll be the subject of my flashback Friday post this week). Also, a whopping great big parcel came with my first study units of my degree. I am officially a student again! So very, very excited.
It's a bachelor of arts with a creative writing major (*squee*) and I'm studying externally through Tabor College. I started work yesterday and already I find myself in the middle of writing a poem. Yes, yes. This is good stuff.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Can haz cheezburger book blog?

I've done it. I've begun a book blog. Because books are one of the best things to talk about. Seriously.
So please feel free to follow. Favourite. Feedread. However it works for you. (Pretend I'm famous on the internet). And let's talk books.
Go there: bookity boo.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Inspiration #3

This video -- in which Carrie and her big brother sing their very own cover of Say Hello by Rosie Thomas and Sufjan Stevens -- makes me want to be a small girl with red hair and a guitar-playing big brother. Such sweetness.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Goodbyes, Brisbane-style

On Sunday, our favourite Finns-who-speak-Swedish, Jakob and Nicolina, jump on a plane to head back to their homeland. I keep saying it's a small world, but it seems big when I contemplate the massive miles and flight hours and dollars separating Australia from Finland. But I really hope I can get over there someday to see these fine people. Or perhaps they can just emigrate here. Yes.
Last night, a bunch of us gathered at Southbank to say farewell to Jakob and Nicolina. We sprawled on the grass and watched the CityCats zip back and forth across the Brisbane River. The more energetic of us played frisbee and others had an impromptu photo session with a bunch of tourists whose only English word was "bye". We guarded one of the few free barbecues with our lives and then cooked -- which, to some, is a loosely-translated word -- our dinner, before heading to the man-made cove and swimming or sitting and chatting while digging our toes in the sand.
After conversation and ice cream, we drove up to Mt. Coot-tha where masses of people were gathered at the railing of the lookout to see the sprawling city lights and the vivid orange moon poking out from behind the clouds. We talked some more and took lots of pictures, including the top one, in which Lauren is chopped off and Jakob thinks I look like I am trying to kill the camera with my eyes.
Jakob and Nicolina, we will definitely miss you. Come back soon!

Friday, April 10, 2009

[Very] Good Friday

Your blood has washed away my sin,

Jesus, thank You.

The Father's wrath completely satisfied,

Jesus, thank You.

Once your enemy, now seated at Your table,

Jesus, thank You.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I want it NOW.

See this girl?

You might know her as Veruca Salt, the kicking, screaming, whining little girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.The one who wants the world, the whole world. The one who wants it now.

Actually -- and this may come as a surprise to you -- Veruca is my twin. Or maybe my alter ego, to be more accurate. You see, we both want it now. And while I am past the stamping-my-foot-and-screaming stage (because, after all, I am a little too old for that kind of caper), I still don't like to wait.

I was talking to Lauren and Staish about this yesterday: a few years ago, I would never have described myself as impatient. I probably didn't think of myself as particularly patient, either. I was just on a mellow plane. Que sera sera. But the last couple of years have been revealing to me rather unpleasantly that I don't like waiting at all. It's kind of embarrassing to discover this about oneself, to realise that as soon as I decide I need something or have to do something, I must obtain it or do it immediately.

I have been calling 2009 by many different names. It's been labelled the Year of Correspondence, the [Half] Year of Writing Furiously, the Year of Changes. Now I think it's also the Year of Learning to Wait. As I write, there are about half a million (okay, maybe a dozen) things I am waiting for.

I am waiting to hear back from a prospective employer regarding some freelance writing work. I am waiting to get paid for some work I have already done. I am waiting to find out if I got accepted into the college I applied to. I am waiting for Kevin Rudd to make a neat little donation to my bank account. I am waiting for a story to appear in print.

And that doesn't even take into consideration the big things, the people things, the faith things -- like waiting to meet a special man. Or waiting to see my niece and nephew again. Waiting for God to bring me a fresh revelation of His character. Hey, I'm even waiting for Easter Monday to arrive so that I can go buy cheap Easter candy.

There is so much to wait for.

I don't know what all this waiting is meant to cultivate. Patience, sure, but patience for what, exactly -- more waiting? Eep.

That's probably true, though. I don't think we ever reach a point in our life when we're able to say we're not waiting for anything. The waiting never stops. It has been said that loneliness is the human condition. Well, maybe it's just one of them. Maybe waiting is the human condition, too. So if it's going to continue, it's in our best interests -- nay, it's to His glory -- if we learn to wait well.

Help me, God, to be a faithful waiter.

For God alone, oh my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.
--Psalm 62:5,6,8.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fabulous five thousand

Last time I checked my sitemeter stats, the number of visitors to this blog was at 4,999. Because I am my mother's daughter, I like statistics, and I'm kind of tickled to think that the next visitor to my blog will be the five thousandth.
Five thousand visitors in under a year seems wondrous to me. Now, I know that lots of sites get five thousand hits a day. Others get that many hits a week, or a month. Me, I'm happy with that in a year. There's no way I could hang out with you guys in person 5,000 times annually (that'd be fourteen visitors a day. Eep!), so I think it's bordering on awesome that I get to do so virtually.

This little pie chart -- are pie charts not fantastic? -- tells me that 75% of you come from Australia, 13% of you come from the US, 6% from the UK, 2% each from Canada and Russia, 1% from Germany, and 1% from unknown nations. Say 5% of the Aussie blog readers are local (and that's generous. I know of two; one is my mother); that still puts 95% of readers outside my day-to-day life zone whom I'd never normally get to hang out with on a regular basis. Oh, I love technology!

So here's to technology, and here's to you, loyal blog readers. I think you're fabulous, and I'm thankful that through this unique and still fairly uncharted medium, our lives can intersect. Thank you.

P.S. I'm planning a giveaway in celebration of 5,000 visitors. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 3, 2009

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. And to that I say, Why not international poetry month? Let's make it Poetry Month here in Australia, too!
The website of the Academy of American Poets offers information on National Poetry Month, including a sign-up form to receive a poem every day this month straight to your inbox.
There's also a list of 30 ways you can celebrate poetry during April. Among my favourites are the suggestions to put poetry in an unexpected place, start a Commonplace Book, enclose a poem in a letter, and add a verse to your email signature line.
Lots of ideas appeal to me, but to start with I think I'm just going to pull Mountain Breezes: The Collected Poems of Amy Carmichael from my to-read shelf and tuck in at random.
PS. I do understand that the picture above is prose, not poetry. I just couldn't resist sharing a page from a mystery book I recently finished which had my brother as the love interest! Nicholas Carey, you're famous.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In like a lamb and out like a lion

They say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. That's all very well if you live in the northern hemisphere; in southern parts, things are completely opposite. Today showcases all of autumn's most lionesque qualities. It's grey and bleak and windy. Thunderous rain has been pouring down since early this morning, and the road is a slick, sleek stream of water. The construction site across from our house is a pure mudbath. On days like this, it would absolutely stink to be a postman. Respect, postie. You do an awesome job.
The last two weeks have been delightful ones for me. For starters, my Dad was home from his worksite for a weekend and we celebrated in usual Carey family fashion by doing a very random small road trip into previously unexplored regions, having a picnic lunch at a tiny hidden park, and stopping so the boys could investigate a motorcycle museum in a refashioned water park. Yes.
It was my sister Lauren's birthday on Monday, and I'm pretty sure you have to have been homeschooled to understand that for people who school or work at home, birthdays are always a public holiday. This year was no exception, even though most of us are at the age now when you're supposed to pretend birthdays aren't important. I remain steadfast in my belief that they are.
And change is afoot, too. I had felt that 2009 would be a year of changes, particularly as God began to impress on me that the season of publishing Whatsoever, an editing job that's been part of my world for over ten years, might be coming to a close. It's huge when things like that finish up, and as I've been planning the final issue of the magazine, I've been pondering what might be around the corner. I applied for a couple of jobs that I felt might be providential, and in the meantime I've been pushing my little half-year of writing furiously. Both jobs fell through, but I was over the moon (the cow that jumped the moon in the fairytale? It had nothing on me) when I found out last week that one of my children's short stories had been picked up by a magazine I love and respect! Nothing can convey my delirium at this discovery except gush, but I'm going to refrain from gushing before you all (local family and friends have seen the gush, I'm afraid) until there's an actual paper copy of the work for me to actually gush over. Needless to say, I am super thrilled and super excited and super thankful to God for offering me this encouragement.
Of course, that has only motivated my words even more. And now it looks like I might be doing some studying to further all this words-stuff! Again: super thrilled. I'll hold back on the details until I know for sure if, when, and how, but I'm excited. And thankful. It's a pretty cool thing when doors begin to open in new directions.
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