All posts filed under: Faith

Knowing when to send your cardboard castle to recycling

“Don’t come in, Mum!” “We’re making a surprise!” The door to my seven-year-old son’s room is closed and I’m leaning in, ear to wood panels, to hear muffled exchanges between him and his three-year-old sister. There’s the occasional screech of sticky-tape being pulled from a dispenser, the snip of scissor blades and rustling of paper, plastic and who knows what else. I smile and leave them to it. How I love it when they do this! When they talk in excited whispers, constructing Otherworlds, their imaginations swinging each other joyfully around. What I’m saying is, I love it when they play nicely without needing a screen of some description sucking energy out their eye sockets! Eventually, the door swings open and the two of them walk, slow as a bridal march, down the hall to find me in the kitchen. I drop the spoon of the pasta sauce I’m cooking and marvel at the castle they have created. The main fortress is made from the plastic package our new letterbox came in, with a central …

I didn’t know what MTB meant. Now I’m doing it.

We pause at the top of the track, checking tyres, shoelaces, helmet straps – but mostly – checking our resolve. Straddling the aluminium frame, my toes barely touch the dirt. The bike’s not mine. It belongs to a friend who’s about a metre taller. And we push away, coasting along the gentle beginning of a track that quickly hacks like the pattern on a heart rate monitor. My face is a muddle of adrenaline-fed joy and white fear, my mouth’s smile-scream catching the dust clouding around us. The Lego block tread of my tyres propels me over cobbled rocks, some splintered and sharp. Around the sweeping berms*. Over tree roots. A quick veer to avoid a blue-tongue sunning himself mid-track. Grasses and ferns lash at my legs. A joey darts ahead. The perfume of Peppermint Gum is intoxicating. Cicada song and the screech of rosellas compete with the whir of gears and our sporadic squeals as we hurtle along the rugged track. This is our first ride. My long-time friend and I thought we’d give …

When you forget the sound of your own name

I don’t often hear my name spoken. There’s a lot of “Mummycomewipemybottoooom!” (full volume, echoing into the neighbourhood!) There’s “Aw, mu-um, pleeease can I watch the iPad until I make Oscar the Grouch look like a sweet little kitten?” Oh, and there’s “Go ask your mum,” and “Want a cuppa Mummy?” because even hubby has it on default. I love being a mum. LOVE it. And I love being called “Mummy,” “Mum,” “Mama,” and even “Mumazella” (my son’s invention). But I cannot deny that when I hear my name spoken by loved ones, the one written on my birth certificate, a shock wave travels up my spine. It takes a little moment to subconsciously remind myself that the arrangement of those letters just uttered, that single syllable, belongs to me. Claire. Is this sounding strange? It could be a mum thing. Or maybe people in positions of leadership get it too – when you’re so used to honorifics of Mr, Mrs, Dr, Sir and so on that your own name sounds foreign. Perhaps people who have …

What is #FLAMfaces?

Hello. I just want to let you in on something that’s about to come to fruition in this space in coming weeks. It’s based on this verse: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15. God has been whispering, nudging and hip-and-shouldering me lately towards this project that gives ordinary, everyday people a platform to share about their faith; about their extraordinary God. When I’ve read that verse in the past, I’ve felt somewhat overwhelmed. I’m much better with the written word than the spoken word! But the verse doesn’t specify, does it? It just says, be ready! And anyway, writing helps to cement new thoughts and learnings in the brain, so it comes to mind more readily in conversation. So, I have started asking local folk who live with Jesus as their saviour to do this: to speak  (write!) gently and respectfully about the reason …

My fashion faux pas

I nearly dislocated my shoulder in the fitting room at Vinnie’s. There was this top, you see. Cropped. Long-sleeved. Deep blue. BNWT (that’s Brand New With Tags for the novice used clothing shoppers among you). I plucked it off the rack and flounced into the change room, pulling that curtain fair off its plastic runners. Halfway through I realised things were going badly. Arms were in, but head was not. To push on, or to retreat? Well, I pushed on, didn’t I? Yes, I did. Until, with much grunting and jiggling, I saw light from out of that toddler-sized top, even if my arms were cantilevered from my earholes. I didn’t need to so much as glance in the mirror to know that this was not a keeper. My shoulders were screaming by now… and did I mention I had an audience? Miss Three was looking at me with a mix of bewilderment and fear. Is mummy ok? her wonky eyebrows queried. I was about to holler for scissors when the blasted top let go …

Turning dizzy into delight

She’s spinning. Spinning faster and faster. Red tulle flounces and tubby pink arms are flung wide with abandon. She is squealing. A bubbling, gurgling, ecstatic noise that begins to rumble in me too. We are laughing together. Her spinning. Me laughing, but not. Laughing and cringing at her freedom. She is slowing. Tussled hair settles on shoulders. Tulle lights on knees. Arms drop to sides. And she staggers. “Me so busy, mummy,” she says. “You mean dizzy?” I laugh. Busy. Dizzy. Same difference. I’ve just spun out of a Megasaurus week where events and responsibilities merged one into another into another. There was a fair whack of troubleshooting, of costume changes, of finding a replacement here and a stand-in there. When people asked, “How’s your week been?” it would have been perfectly appropriate to reply “dizzy” instead of “busy”. Same difference. Lately God has pressed a word into my mind. Stamp into wax. Finger into clay. Cutter into cookie dough. The word is DELIGHT. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the …

A poem. About God. And I’m no poet.

I wrote a poem this morning. I did it during my quiet time. And this is no brag, friends, because I’ve been absent from daily hangouts with my Maker lately. Confession is liberating hey. So I was perusing the scriptures and there was this compulsion to pull out my journal and write. So I did. Interrupted somewhat by a little person who wanted to be on my lap. Then off. Then on. Then crying because I said no. Anyway. This is what resulted. I’m sharing it – not because I think it’s any rival to the likes of Tennyson or Keats – but because it was a creative act of worship, of honesty and oneness that you might like to try. For me, it was just a matter of picking up the pen and letting it lead me somewhere. How do I describe you? You are vapour, whiff, mirage, question mark apparition, something my head so swiftly calculates as void. Sometimes you are here, deep in the core, flame, heat searing outward, flushed face, scalding …

These 33-year-old hands

I’m looking at my hands in the shower as the water runs over them, filling up the liminal lines, smoothing the ridges, the whorls that make up the unique geography of my skin. These 33-year-old hands. I’m thinking that 33 is how old Jesus was when he died. It’s a sobering thought. Who he is, who I am. What he was prepared to die for, what I am prepared to die for. His ministry, my ministry. His relationship with Father, my relationship with Father. His body, my body. And our hands. My hands; they smooth out sheets… spread peanut butter sandwiches… stick Star Wars bandaids on knees… tap-tap-tap on computer keys… swipe hair from eyes… stir soup… grip steering wheel… cup faces. His hands; they gestured in emphasis of teachings… washed dusty feet… brushed tears from eyes… rubbed forehead and temples… clasped tight under a murmuring mouth… stroked the fetlock of a donkey… turned tables over… ripped bread in two… comforted. His hands invited brute nails through flesh and bone. I look at my own pale …

What’s that smell?

My two-year-old darling goes to daycare once a week. She loves it – spends most of the time making dirt pies outside, Mr Biddulph will be pleased to hear, and I’m always thrilled to see how much dirt her clothes have managed to carry home. That statement’s not tongue-in-cheek, by the way. I really am stoked to see her grimy clothes, the clumps of dirt secreted in the toes of her shoes, and know that she’s been engaged in some good, old-fashioned play. Each time I pick her up, swinging her into my arms and covering her face with kisses, I notice a strange smell. When I put my nose to it, inhaling at her neck and in her ash-blonde hair, I realise what it is: someone else’s perfume – the lingering fragrance of another woman’s loving cuddles. The evidence of a Jesus-centred (or should that be Jesus-scented?) life is like this, like a sweet aroma that people are drawn to, intrigued by, entranced by, and which even rubs off on them. They take that aroma home, …