Friday, May 30, 2008


The days towards the back end of this week have been dark and dreary -- but lovely all the same. So, in celebration of the indoors, I present to you a list currentlies...

currently tinkering with Tumblr. It looks like a simple and cheerful little blogging platform, handy for sharing links, quotes, and short posts without fuss or bother -- or the necessity of moderating and interacting through comments. I love blog comment features (interaction is the best!) but I know a lot of folks don't. Perhaps Tumblr is worth a try.
currently listening to David Crowder*Band's Remedy. I was already a fan of Mr. Crowder and Associates, so I was predisposed to like this album. However, I like it even more than I expected! It's so full of joy and celebration of who God is -- with lots of bouncy music and some quirky elements, too. After all, it is David Crowder we're talking about here. Consider these lyrics:

Here we are / Here we are / The broken and used / Mistreated, abused / Here we are.
Here You are / Here You are / The beautiful one / Who came like a Son / Here You are.
So we lift up our voices / We open our hands / To cling to the love / That we can't comprehend.
Oh, lift up your voices / And lift up your heads / To sing of the love / That had freed us from sin.
Beautiful. Oh, and I found out something Very Good yesterday. David Crowder has a blog!

currently anticipating the complete creation of the new Boundless magazine. I talk about and refer back to Boundless a lot because I really respect a lot of the material coming from that place of web and faith goodness. I think a magazine coming from such an amalgamation of minds and hearts can only be great. I hope it happens soon -- and that we can somehow obtain this publication in Australia!

currently admiring these very adorable fabric-covered hair clips from Sportsgirl. Ninety-five cents, friends. For just ninety-five cents (I believe their sales are on at the moment), you too can keep your hair in place and feel girly and old-fashioned at the same time!

currently streaming RhemaFM straight from my web browser. I grow increasingly impatient with stations that offer a mix of Christian music and secular. There are enough secular stations to listen to if that's what people are after. Plus, the radio can provide a fantastic preview of Christian artists I might not be game enough to spend thirty dollars on straight up without knowing what their music is like. So I appreciate this station for its "100% Christian mix".

currently capturing pictures of light in unusual places. I guess it's a combination of the grey and the shortening autumn days (only two evenings left before winter!), but there seems to be sparks of glowing colour everywhere! I am enjoying capturing them when I can (and when my sister's camera is within easy reach, since my own has departed this earth).

What are your currentlies?



Staish -- genius? You're just saying that because you loooove me. I love you, too.

Bethany -- thank you for reminding me of that book! Scribbling in the Sand is on my list of started-to-read-but-stopped-for-reasons-that-are-unknown-to-me but it sounds like the perfect book to pull out again. I loved what I have read of it, and it provoked lots of good thought. There aren't a lot of books out there that discuss creativity from a Christian perspective.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The grey sometimes turns my mind to fuzz

It is a day of winter-come-early, cold and grey and damp and necessitating the bogan wearing of a blue checked flanno shirt over more normal clothes. My work keeps me at the computer but, unfortunately, being surrounded by grey and staring at a glowing screen for hours on end results in drowsiness.

In between work, when my mind needs a change of pace (not of the variety offered to me by a small brother wanting to attack me with a blue sticky hand), I've been visiting the archives of various blogs. And once again, I'm struck by how natural some writer's voices are, even those who possibly wouldn't call themselves writers. I'm not sure what it is, but I admire greatly those people who can write about the humdrum happenings of day-to-day life and make it all interesting. It must be a gift, this ability to write about the everyday in a way that makes the reader care.

I wonder also if it's an inherent sense of openness that makes some people's words so interesting?

I think a lot about openness vs. restraint in the world of public writing. Actually, perhaps openness and restraint shouldn't be considered as opposites, but more as complimentary values to be worked together into the life of the Christian writer. More and more lately, I am beginning to think that we who are following this Jewish carpenter need to be open about what we are learning, what He is showing us, and what He is challenging us, too.

But the openness must be tempered with restraint -- not just in the world of writing but in any of the arts. So many artists seem swallowed up in the confusion and despair of an artistic life pursued without restraint -- "art for art's sake" and all that associated humanism. The pursuit of something for itself alone will never bring lasting satisfaction. For Christians, as artists, there must be more. There must be restraint, and there must be delicacy. We do not pursue our art simply for itself; there is a greater purpose. And the purpose is not just to veil the Gospel in some creative form (to try only to do this seems to end only in cliches), but to live the Gospel in our work, by offering it all back to the One who created us to create.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekend II

We had a very super weekend here. Friday involved a bunch of girlfriends, a dinner of Asian-inspired finger food (think satay chicken skewers and spring rolls), and a marathon viewing of the BBC mini-series North and South. It's always a delight to share something so great with those who are strangers to it, so my sister and I loved watching our friends' responses as they watched it. In between each episode, we got caught up talking about etiquette and the constraints of the class system and the inevitable longing for the return of chivalry.

Saturday did not contain a hoped-for sleep-in. We were all up early and Monique-the-cool's scooter would not start so Lauren ran her into work before coming back to join the rest of us for a hot-cooked brekky out on the balcony. Responsibility and a grave sense of study urgency drove Jocelyn home soon after but Lauren II (not 'my' Lauren) stayed on and we had a wonderful morning chatting about life and God and families.

The afternoon and Monique's return from work rolled round remarkably quickly so we spontaneously made a little trek out to the Point and ate fish and chips while eavesdropping on strangers' conversations and watching the tide come in and cover the sandbar. An awesome way to spend an autumn afternoon.

Sunday involved the long-awaited sleep-in (I calculated I'd slept four and a half hours of the past forty) and then a very late breakfast, followed by an afternoon of pottering around, washing, and ironing. We had a late lunch/dinner of fresh salad, beef and bean tacos out on the balcony at 4.30 while the strains of David Crowder and friends filled the air, then we headed into night church for the second sermon in The Grace Effect series. Grace is something I need so much to learn about, and I'm finding the sermon series to be incredibly valuable.

I'll leave you with one snippet that stood out to me in particular: Salvation by works is a form of rebellion against the gospel of the cross of Christ. Wow. I guess I had always looked at the reliance on works as a confusion with the gospel rather than a rebellion against it. But to try and work our way into fellowship with God is essentially saying His saving gospel is not enough. Yikes.



Lizzie B -- well, we will take whatever we can get of your sharing, even if you do feel like the sixteen-year-old girl blabbing about her nonexistent trip to the mall.

Caitlin -- I'm so glad the poem was a blessing; may it encourage you often! And ::hugs:: back!

ASourceofJoy -- I'm childishly excited that we're reading Rose From Brier at the same time. Yay!

Staish -- The artwork in Frankie just makes me want to do collages all night long.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Season of suffering

As always when I read Elisabeth Elliot, I find myself revisiting Amy Carmichael's beautiful works. I think it was in one of Mrs. Elliot's books that my appetite for Amy Carmichael's beautiful poetry and vivid prose was first whetted, and I have been in love ever since. This past week, I dug out Rose From Brier, a find from a pre-loved book fair, and began to read.

In the introduction I was arrested by a poem, first written for those who are sick but applicable to anyone who is suffering in any way. We want Him to take away the painful "winds that blow", but most of all, we want to be found to honour Him before their withering heat disappears. The victory is not in the end of the trial, but the beautiful surrender while the fire rages at its hottest. And even then we are thrown upon His mercy -- the victory comes only in Him. May you be encouraged.

Before the winds that blow do cease,
Teach me to dwell within Thy calm:
Before the pain has passed in peace,
Give me, my God, to sing a psalm.
Let me not lose the chance to prove
The fulness of enabling love.
O Love of God, do this for me:
Maintain a constant victory.

Before I leave the desert land
For meadows of immortal flowers,
Lead me where streams at Thy command
Flow by the borders of the hours,
That when the thirsty come, I may
Show them the fountains in the way.
O Love of God, do this for me:
Maintain a constant victory.

P.S. The beautiful stitchwork in the picture came in this morning's mail -- thank you, Caitlin! A special hug for you today, and some mail is on its way back to you!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dear blog:

Justin Heazlewood waxes sarcastic in the latest issue of Frankie* magazine:

Dear Blog, Today I did this and said that and made this private joke and generally my grammar was terrible and I got myself into a situation with no dramatic tension or character arcs and I guess you had to be there. *SUBMIT*
Sound familiar? Yes, tickle me Qwertyuiop: it's blog-o'clock! Enter the literary dark ages as a million-volume omnibus of misspelled first drafts and textual healing is spammed out of Generation-Why? keyboards quicker than you can Yahoo! 'line breaks please!'. Hey, don't get me wrong, this influx in self-narration can only be good for the online diary industry -- it's just the readers' unions I feel sorry for.

So is it evidence of some severe fetish for self-punishment or simply a nod to irony that I should actually publish such a scathing rebuttal of blogs on, of all things, my own blog? No, it's simply that I believe he has a point. A hilarious** point. Dare I say it? An LOL point, even. His conclusion says it best:

How will historians look back on this e-era? A liberating lattice of language and interconnectivity or a billion gigs of ego gunk? Academics keep saying how isolated and disconnected we're all feeling, despite the communication age explosion. Perhaps if we all took a big, virtual *breath* and deeply pondered what we really want to say to the world, and to each other, artistic discipline could win over from, "This morning my friend said something hilarious but I can't remember."

Well said, Mr. Heazlewood. Let us redeem blogging from the muddy pool of "a billion gigs of ego junk".

*Not a magazine I'd universally recommend, but I happen to have a copy of this month's issue.
**We have dispensed with the "an" in front on silent H's, have we not? Justin Heazlewood is making me nervous.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Market day, and sun and air blown clear
with autumn
Better not forget
your cardigan.

And men in ponchos hemmed in braid and fringe
of red and white which strangely match
the music haunting wild and free and joy
from native pipes

It somehow mingles with the scent
and rightly so
heady sweet and full of spice
of hot chai held in little paper cups.

“This music makes me crazy,”
he complains to her,
they pass me and I laugh.
It makes me happy.

Happy like the colours
in the crocheted rugs
tumbled red and blue and gold
and orange like your grandma knits.

“How much?”
Ten dollars each. Well you can have
Two for fifteen.
He smiles, two for twelve.
Too small for my bed, I shrug
and smile.

He smiles as we go.
His voice follows:
“You are both gorgeous.”

Self-aware we dig
through mounds of loveless clothes
and handle ancient things
like playing cards and purses
and awkward brown jugs that are kind of

Because these things you can’t help
but hold.

And happy with the things we have bought
with our eyes
and the little glass rings of red and blue
--fifty cents for a tiny thing
--encircles your finger and
makes you
feel like a princess of Persia.

Fifty cents is not too much to pay
for that.
Claire -- Yes!! In the days when you could actually get something with a five dollar voucher :).
Caitlin -- It's terribly embarrassing; I agree! Twenty years back is far enough to go without the experience being too painful, but reading anything within the last ten or particularly five or so years makes me cringe. I rarely re-read my journals for that reason.
Kristy -- Hooray for being 1980 children. Long live puffy stickers!
Lizzie Balans -- I would love to know your deeply-provoked thinkings! Do share more!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Friday Archives: my first journal

On Anzac Day, clever craft blogger Loobylu launched a new concept: The Friday Archives. The idea is to share some creative work of one's own from the past. I'm beginning today with the second entry from my very first journal, which I received on my eighth birthday. I won't share the first entry; it's altogether too egotistical and positively shameful. But here is the second, in all its glorious, eight-year-old's-messy-handwriting-goodness:

In case you can't read my scrawl (and it's very likely you can't), I'll transcribe, awkward punctuation and all:

Friday 26 [of August, I'm guessing] 1988

I went in a poster comp. I won first prize in the infants section. I got a $5 voucher to buy from the book fair. I chose a Drawing Book and The Frog Prince. The Frog Prince is an excellent book that shows you the true fact's that if you make your promise you must keep it. The Drawing Book is a book w[h]ich shows you how to draw hard things simply.

The entries seem very childish, looking back on them, but I think this little journal is likely where my love of writing really took off.

Remember Puffy Stickers? Weren't they the best?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Story people #1

At a town I lived in for most of my childhood, there was a vet called Fergus Hay.

Ever after, I have always thought that that was a perfect name for a vet. Can you imagine a better? You could write stories about a vet named Fergus Hay.



Kristy -- go for it! In fact I must confess that it wasn't my own original idea at all. I first saw it at this blog.

Bethany -- I'm so glad it was wonderful!

Ruthieroo -- I promise I am not deserting LiveJournal!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Of infant teeth and travel reading

My sister told me I would like my little niece's new teeth, and I did -- very much so. Tiny little pearly white squares of cuteness which I got to admire regularly over the weekend, owing to the frequent smiles (bestowed like gifts of grace to one and all) of the small person herself. She is the merriest, most sunshiny baby I've ever known -- a result, I am sure, of my sister and brother-in-law's faithful training and parenting. They are doing a brilliant job of the parent thing and the only time in four days that I heard a peep from the MillieMoo was on Sunday evening when she did not want to sleep. And given that she had just tasted sugar (in the form of blue cake icing smooshed all over the face with tiny, fat open fists) for the first time in her twelve-month life, who can blame her?

I ambitiously predicted miles of reading, journalling, and letter-writing during the two seven-hour drives down and back up, but weeks of late nights and earlyish mornings leading up to our trip meant I didn't do much at all on the drive down. Predicting more of the same on the drive back up, I packed my books and notes and such into my luggage and not my handbag. But of course, I was all full of beans and with everyone else asleep except for Dad, the driver (and I appreciate his abilities to soldier on!) had nothing to read for most of the trip. In desperation I dug through my sister's gear and found Elisabeth Elliot's Passion & Purity, which I last read about a year ago. I hadn't forgotten, but I also hadn't particularly remembered how brilliant that book is. Last year, I read it for its wonderful perspective on romance. This time, as the coast passed by on my right hand shoulder, I couldn't help seeing how much this book simply has to say about faith in general, romance or no. God used that haphazard re-reading to remind me of some wonderful truths.

So I must say it: seriously, if you haven't read anything by Elisabeth Elliot, now is the time to begin. Her writings have profoundly influenced my faith life in a way no other living author's have (except perhaps John Piper). She is, to me, the personification of the Titus 2 older woman and her words are full of smart, Scripture-soaked, witty commonsense. If you don't know where to start, try Through Gates of Splendour or (especially relevant to women) Keep A Quiet Heart, a collection of all her best snippets.



Kristy -- Thank you; it's good to be back!

Tegan -- You are most gracious to concede just for the weekend. You are so right: no one's niece is as wonderful as your own! Bless you :).

And a special shout-out to Bethany -- whose seventeeth birthday was on Sunday. Hope it was awesome!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Boundless on writing + heading south

Over the past week-and-a-half, the folks at Boundless have been running a feature on writing. The articles, just like everything else that appears at Boundless, are concise, snappy, and challenging. If you are interested in writing even in a very small way, you'll be able to take something away with you from your reading.
  • Jen Schroedel's A Moment to Write talks about the actual doing of writing. Set yourself up with the right tools and action plan, and then you're away.
  • My cousin and writing buddy will tell you that writing without inspiration is something that I rabbit on about a lot. For a while now, I've been of the opinion that inspiration will get you started, but you really have to apply seat of pants to chair and fingers to keyboard if you want to finish. Susie Shellenberger, author of 47 books (she knows what she's talking about) discusses how necessary inspiration truly is, and how we can manufacture a little of it ourselves, in Writing Without Inspiration.
  • I'm yet to read this week's other writing articles on Boundless, Writing by the Book and On Writing, but I've printed them out to take with me on the road trip I'm heading on tomorrow. I'd love to discuss what ideas and thoughts these articles generate for you. Feel free to discuss! I love talking about writing nearly as much as I love doing it, but the talking is far easier.
The road trip is southwards, over a long weekend, to see my sister and brother-in-law and the world's greatest niece (Tegan might fight me on this one). Ostensibly, the reason behind the trip is for the wee girl's first birthday party, but we all know that in another year or two she won't remember this one. Nevertheless, it serves as a good excuse to travel down and see the work that's been done on the new-old house, to cuddle the baby and be amazed at how much she's changed in the last three months. With little ones of this age, three months may just as well be three years, they grow and change and develop so much personality. My sister tells me I will like her teeth (baby's, not my sister's), of which she now has four, two each top and bottom. And there is a gap between the top two, just like her mama's.

We've been told to pack warm clothes, because it's cool down there at the moment as it nears the end of Autumn. Only problem is after two years of living on the West Australian coast and one year in Queensland, I've forgotten what warm clothes are. I have a feeling this weekend will remind me.

A trip that involves a car and more than two hours of driving means books! This time I'm taking with me Edith Pargeter's The Heaven Tree (delicious historical fiction) and Agatha Christie's Postern of Fate which arrived, a pre-loved hardback with a red dustcover, delightfully unexpectedly in the mail on Monday morning -- a treat from a book-loving friend in Kansas. I'm also packing Barbara Hughes' Disciplines of a Godly Woman and a large mound of letters from patient penpals meekly waiting for replies. 2008 has been a bad year for correspondence so far but I'm hoping hoping hoping it doesn't remain so. Perhaps over all those miles I can at least make a start on some draft letters (bumpy roads are too messy to avoid drafts). Oh, and I'm packing my journal, too -- also long neglected. My plans for accomplishment might be slightly amibitious...

I hope your weekend is as lovely as the one I'm contemplating.



Tegan -- thank you for your warm words and welcomes back to the blogosphere :).

Narelle -- the Queen is never late? Regal indeed! I will take that as a compliment. The fact that you have no Googleganger to gang with is goodle. It's grand, even. That way, your fame is all your own, you see!

Bethany -- an e-twin who writes children's books is rather fun! I hope she's a good author :).

ASourceofJoy -- ::grin:: Any excuse to worm my way into Google's search engines! Well no, not really; that wasn't the entire motivation, but it was a fun experiment all the same...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Great Googleganger

Certain superstitious souls believe in the existence of a doppelganger, a ghostly double who exists somewhere on earth to cause conflicts or just generally fill you with a terrible sense of foreboding.

Young adult author Maureen Johnson declares that there ought to, instead, be a name for the "phantom yous who share your name and whose exploits can be found all over the internet." She calls them Googlegangers.

In a simple type-and-click Google quest, I find that there are not only other Danielle Careys busy around the world wide web, but there are some who share my passions as well as my name.

Danielle Carey number one shares a freaky similarity to me in that we're both 5' 7", not short and not tall. That, however, is where the similarities end. I was never a cheerleader and, well, I can't say I will be one anytime soon.

This Danielle Carey is a record-breaking swimmer and lives in Napa Valley. I'm an Australian through and through and no athlete -- but we both seem to like butterflies quite a lot.

Another Danielle Carey is a Western Australian PhD student who is helping researchers track dingo DNA to see what impact feral dogs are having on our environment. While I don't have much interest in "determining the diet of wild dogs and dingoes through their scats," I did live in Western Australia for two years and when I lived in the Northern Territory I saw a lot of dingoes and their scats. Does that count?

Finally, Danielle Carey number four is a musicologist, writer, teacher, and musician. Get this: she's a freelance writer and a blogger. But, perhaps funniest of all, our lives mystically intersected a few years back in one of those strange conglomerations of events when we were both teaching music and the music board mistakenly sent one pile of student results to the wrong teacher. Very random moment.

For the record, I think I should mention here that I am in no way related to singer Mariah Carey, comedian Drew Carey, or actor Jim Carrey (note the two Rs?). I am however related to Wayne Carey, but not the infamous Australian rules football player whose scandals have overshadowed his sporting career.

Check it out. Who is your Googleganger?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Back to the blog

I don't think I've ever thought quite so hard about a blog post before.

I shelved my public blog over a year ago when life was full and other obligations clamoured for attention. I wondered if there was any real necessity for my small voice against the millions of blogs floating about in cyberspace.

Today, life is still full and those other obligations have blossomed rather than dwindled. There are millions more new blogs chiming in on the great chorus that is the blogosphere, and my small voice is in no way a powerful or an essential one. But the last few months have been an incessant, needling nudge to begin again and I find myself here, typing a first and not-so-first post.

I think it really began at my local writer's group where a handful of aspirants have gathered to work for the past year with a published fantasy author and skilled teacher. The subject of blogging came up several times in conversation. Always it was kind of spat from the mouth like a dirty word (practice it; you'll find it can sort of sound that way). I listened to my comrades' loud despisings of the blogging world and found myself wanting to jump to the defence of blogs. It isn't all sixteen-year-old girls offering minute-by-minute accounts of their trip to the mall, I thought to myself. But I smiled mildly and ignored their blog-rage.

Apparently my fellow writing groupers are not alone in their thinking. Robin Hobb compares blogging to the death-bite of the vampire, and perhaps rightly so if blogs take priority over other work in the way she suggests it will.

But over the last few months I've been able to see that there are others who respect blogging as a valuable, contemporary medium for rich communication. First, J. Mark Bertrand suggested that all hopeful writers need a website. 'Hopeful writer' is me to a T. And since I'm sadly devoid of valuable geek points, a blog seems the most apt synonym for website I can find (a blog, I can manage; a website, not so much). Then the recent issue of Writing Queensland arrived in the mail and, with it, the exhortation to build author platform, beginning with -- you guessed it -- the humble blog.

Finally I stumbled across a Desiring God blog post titled 6 Reasons Pastors Should Blog, and that clinched it for me. Obviously I'm not a pastor, but the spiritual benefits from regularly interacting through a blog, as outlined in the article, provided the last encouragement I needed to jump back into the blog world. Along with a few notes from friends ("Why aren't you blogging anymore?"), I was well and truly inspired.

So here I am (as in olden days / happy golden days of yore) with a first post that's been some months in the works. I've discovered that first posts are something of an art form. I've discovered that all the cool kids were blogging way back in 2002 or earlier (how does "fashionably late" sound to you?). And I've also discovered that I am dangerously prone to a temptation involving me wanting to compose the world's most awesome first blog post ever. Which is one of the problems with blogging, as Bob Kauflin deftly points out. So I've settled instead for a simple explanation of why I'm here.

What this blog ain't:
  • Danielle ruminating over which pearl to share from her great storehouse of wisdom. Because, if there is one lesson God has been driving home over the last twelve months, it's that I really know very little.
  • Danielle providing an example of scintillating wit and incredibly snappy writing. I like to hope that in about, oh, fifty years' time, I will be writing like that. But for now, it's the apprentice stuff.
  • Danielle offering those aforementioned moment-by-moment accounts of her exciting trips to the mall. I'm sure you can find that kind of material elsewhere. Then again, I am fond of bargains...

What I hope it will be:
  • The 'web presence' and 'author platform' that the writing gurus keep telling me I need to develop. Therefore do not be alarmed by frequent and seemingly mindless repetitions of my own name (Google, my name is Danielle Carey. Did you get that? Danielle Carey. Repeat after me: Danielle Carey).
  • You and me, sharing the good stuff that God brings our way, whether it be through a friend, a stranger, in the words of someone far smarter, or in the holy pages of Scripture.
  • And perhaps just a place to rejoice in the beauties of every day and life and love and people and God.

Come join me?
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