Tuesday, January 31, 2006

When I have no answers...


From The Message Bible

Job 38: 1-41
And now, finally, GOD answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said:
"Why do you confuse the issue?
Why do you talk without knowing what you're talking about?
Pull yourself together, Job!
Up on your feet! Stand tall!
I have some questions for you,
and I want some straight answers.

“Where were you when I created the earth?
Tell me, since you know so much!
Who decided on its size? Certainly you'll know that!
Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
How was its foundation poured,
and who set the cornerstone,
While the morning stars sang in chorus
and all the angels shouted praise?
And who took charge of the ocean
when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb?
That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds,
and tucked it in safely at night.
Then I made a playpen for it,
a strong playpen so it couldn't run loose,
And said, "Stay here, this is your place.
Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.'

"And have you ever ordered Morning, "Get up!'
told Dawn, "Get to work!'
So you could seize Earth like a blanket
and shake out the wicked like cockroaches?
As the sun brings everything to light,
brings out all the colors and shapes,
The cover of darkness is snatched from the wicked--
they're caught in the very act!

"Have you ever gotten to the true bottom of things,
explored the labyrinthine caves of deep ocean?
Do you know the first thing about death?
Do you have one clue regarding death's dark mysteries?
And do you have any idea how large this earth is?
Speak up if you have even the beginning of an answer.

"Do you know where Light comes from
and where Darkness lives
So you can take them by the hand
and lead them home when they get lost?
Why, of course you know that.
You've known them all your life,
grown up in the same neighborhood with them!

"Have you ever traveled to where snow is made,
seen the vault where hail is stockpiled,
The arsenals of hail and snow that I keep in readiness
for times of trouble and battle and war?
Can you find your way to where lightning is launched,
or to the place from which the wind blows?
Who do you suppose carves canyons
for the downpours of rain, and charts
the route of thunderstorms
That bring water to unvisited fields,
deserts no one ever lays eyes on,
Drenching the useless wastelands
so they're carpeted with wildflowers and grass?
And who do you think is the father of rain and dew,
the mother of ice and frost?
You don't for a minute imagine
these marvels of weather just happen, do you?

"Can you catch the eye of the beautiful Pleiades sisters,
or distract Orion from his hunt?
Can you get Venus to look your way,
or get the Great Bear and her cubs to come out and play?
Do you know the first thing about the sky's constellations
and how they affect things on Earth?

"Can you get the attention of the clouds,
and commission a shower of rain?
Can you take charge of the lightning bolts
and have them report to you for orders?
What Do You Have to Say for Yourself?

"Who do you think gave weather-wisdom to the ibis,
and storm-savvy to the rooster?
Does anyone know enough to number all the clouds
or tip over the rain barrels of heaven
When the earth is cracked and dry,
the ground baked hard as a brick?

"Can you teach the lioness to stalk her prey
and satisfy the appetite of her cubs
As they crouch in their den,
waiting hungrily in their cave?
And who sets out food for the ravens
when their young cry to God,
fluttering about because they have no food?”…

Job 39: 26-29
"Was it through your know how that the hawk learned to fly,
soaring effortlessly on thermal updrafts?
Did you command the eagle's flight,
and teach her to build her nest in the heights,
Perfectly at home on the high cliff-face,
invulnerable on pinnacle and crag?
From her perch she searches for prey,
spies it at a great distance."…

Job 40: 1-5
GOD then confronted Job directly:

"Now what do you have to say for yourself?
Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One,
into court and press charges?"

Job answered:
"I'm speechless, in awe--words fail me.
I should never have opened my mouth!
I've talked too much, way too much.
I'm ready to shut up and listen."

Copyright © 1993, by Eugene H. Peterson

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Of Quendas and Skinks

Unusual experiences are all in a day's work when your office is on a university campus away from the city. Greeting and side-stepping a quenda before entering the office is definitely more pleasant than dodging cars and pedestrians.

The quenda wetland is on private hospital grounds adjacent to the university and its conservation is a joint project between both institutions. The quenda (a species of bandicoot, which until fairly recently was on the threatened species list) frequents both campuses.
One used to occasionally join staff for lunch in a bushy outdoor area, but he hasn't been seen him since Ross stopped bringing his banana sandwiches!

Back at home, this poor little skink came inside to explore and found himself tied up in a tumbleweed of cat fur which had gathered on the hall tiles. His appearance was that of a cottonball with legs and tail! After I spent a good ten minutes carefully disentangling each of his little legs and toes, I placed him gently outside, glad that he hadn't been stressed enough to lose his tail.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Please don't feed the seagulls...


The jetties at Fremantle Boat Harbour are one of Perth's most loved places to relax and revive from the heat of the Summer's day.

After work this evening my husband and I headed down to Cicerello's for a serve of their world-famous fish'n chips, wrapped up in paper and eaten with the fingers. We chose a table outdoors on the verandah overlooking the harbour, and were entertained by the gentle boating activity.
The fish'n chips sure tasted good! We lingered to soak up the salty sea air, revitalizing ourselves with a gentle visit from the Fremantle Doctor [cooling, afternoon sea breeze]. Then the sun set and we watched a 'floor show' of changing hues of colour on the clouds and their reflection from the water.

A million dollar experience, right here on our doorstep, and costing just $10.50 with free parking! Just one thing though...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Scream!

OK, this is just too good not to record on my blog. The following article was published on 'Inside Cover' of The West Australian newspaper on 19th September 2005:

"A WA [West Australian] woman aboard a Qantas flight from Tokyo to Perth made quite an impression on passengers and flight crew.

"Noella had already flown 14 hours from Alaska and was determined to get some shut-eye on the final leg.

"She had no idea that as she drifted off she would soon cause terror at 30,000 feet.

"'My sleep was deep enough to have a very vivid dream,' she explained. 'I dreamed the plane had landed in Perth and was being locked up in a hangar for the night and because my friend and I were still sleeping we'd been overlooked.'

"In the dream Noella decided to take a deep breath and scream as loud as she could so airport staff would know she'd been locked in the hangar.

"I did and when I woke flight attendants had gathered around me," she said.

"Passengers the length of the plane heard the enormous scream and went into justifiable panic."

Unreported was that this occurred in the middle of the night when most of the passengers were sleeping. The flight attendants were very attentive, and good natured enough to forgive me for the busy time they had attending all the call lights and settling everyone down again!

Making the Most of a Soggy Bottom

Today, to finish off my end-of-year break from work, I plotted a treat of several hours at a popular outlet and clearance centre. Starting with a good-sized cappuccino coffee, I settled comfortably on the coffee shop lounge chair and reached into my bag for my book. Horror of horrors! I brushed the cardboard coffee cup and upset the entire contents into my lap, soaking shirt, thighs and bottom! Hot rivulets of coffee began streaming on the soft vinyl lounge beneath me.

After mopping up, I nonchalantly made haste to the centre's restrooms
, leaving a dripping trail behind me. But dozens of shoppers' eyes directed their attention to my soggy mess when one of the coffee shop staff chased after me, loudly calling: "Hey! Did you know you've left your handbag behind!"

Wouldn't you know it, there was a long queue for the rest room, and by the time it was my turn I had been observed and contemplated by all. Sympathetic looks queried: "Have her waters broken?", changing on noting my maturity to: "Poor soul must have a problem with bladder control". More eyes kept joining the end of the queue as it edged towards the few cubicles and I knew there would be no privacy for rinsing out the spill.

Now I am not one to retreat from life's challenges, so I considered only two options. I could (1) buy a change of clothes from one of the clothing outlets, or (2) visit the clearance bookshop where I could happily lurk and be entertained amongst the shelves and tables of books till I dried out.

Two hours later I returned to my car, head held high, stained but dry, and with a nice little pile of good books. Cost less than a new set of clothes too.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Beginning the Rest of My Life

New Year 2006 has begun with none of the drama of other years; 2 days down, 363 to go!

A year ago, only 6 hours into 2005, I had already dealt with two emergencies. After a distress call at 2 a.m., I made a trip to the hospital emergency department to collect
our younger son, now stapled together following another dramatic event initiated by the fearlessness of youth. A few hours later, followed a phone call from my elderly Father with pain, delirium and other distressing symptoms caused by having swallowed a live red back spider a day or two earlier. Most likely it had bitten him internally, perhaps several times, on the way down. And so the year continued...

Highlight of 2005 was exploring a bit of England, a tour in Europe, and stopovers in Dubai with my husband, our older son and new daughter. We had some great times and made some great memories. I experience trips in thirds: one third the excitement of planning and anticipation; one third the actual experience; and one third the reminiscing, when even the bad bits, relived with a bit of creativity and humour, become highlights to relish and share with friends.

Unplanned was my undertaking 2 trips to Alaska, one in March, the second in August/Sept. By the most direct route from Perth, Western Australia, this is 40 hours in transit each way. I expect I will write more about this in future blogs.

I go into 2006 giving praise to God for His love and many blessings in my life.