Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

Help Peggy take her family to Disneyland

August 29, 2012

Peggy Powell is a Facebook friend I’ve only known a short time (less than a year) but is a darling lady with a Christlike heart. She is enduring pancreatic cancer with fortitude and grace. In the words of her daughter Rebecca

“Peggy has stage 4 pancreatic cancer with an average life expectancy of less than a year. She has written a bucket list and on the top of it is taking her whole family (kids and grandkids included) to Disneyland for a few days. To make memories for the grandchildren who won’t have their Nana around for long. With airfare, hotels, park tickets and food we have figured the grand total to be about… $10000. I know things are tight for everybody and I wouldn’t even ask if we had time to get money together another way. Thank you for anything you can do to help. Please help us make her dreams come true!”

Can you spare $10? $20? $50?

You can make Peggy’s Disneyland trip a reality by donating here.

Jude 2

I will give thanks

June 14, 2011

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you wrote the psalmist in Psalm 118.

I’m going to try to post daily on something for which I am grateful.  Some friends are blogging the 365 Gratitude Project and others posting daily gratiude updates to facebook.  I will try to resist my tendency to overthink things and write long, illustrated blog posts. Nor am I going to commit to a photo per post. I’m not going to be adamant about posting every day (life sometimes prevents that and I am NOT in ownership of a smart phone to post from – nor do I want one).

Was pondering where I should start (thematically and practically) and weighing up if I should tweet, use tumblr, facebook or my good old neglected blog.  And I realised had my first thing to be grateful for – the myriad ways I can connect with people over the interwebz.

These are the days of miracle and wonder

This is a long distance call…

I am thankful for how I can open my laptop and chat with my family who live in South Africa and England and Wales and Queensland and the USA and Canada and elsewhere.  I am thankful that I have made and can communicate with friends in Kuwait and Bonaire and Brazil and Mauritius and other exotic and not-so-exotic places (as well as friends who live just down the road).

When we emigrated from South Africa to Australia in 1987, the idea of a videophone was a dream of mine and one I prayed we would be able to use with my family before the end of the century.  Sadly my parents never had more than dial-up internet and so couldn’t video chat with us.  But I am thankful that facebook especially has allowed families to re-connect.  I love seeing photos of my nieces and nephews, chatting with my aunt and cousins whom I haven’t seen irl for far too many years and sharing the lives of those we left behind when we moved to Australia.

Jude 2

Help a hurting family

April 2, 2011

Jenny and Tyson Gosch and family

I’m sharing this story from my friend Steven Clark Goad in California. On Sunday 27 March, Jenny Gosch died as a result of an aneurysm, leaving a young husband and 5 children, the youngest just 3 months old. The family had just moved to Texas a month ago. The medical bills are horrendous, and there will be ongoing childcare and other costs.  Can you make a difference to this family?

More details and information on how to donate are here.  Let’s shower them with cards (email me at wjcsydney @ yahoo dot com for the address) and keep them in our prayers.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.


Jude 2

Blogging through the Gospels: Mark 1: 1-8

October 14, 2009

Immersion in Christ – Mark’s Gospel

I discuss the Bible in a couple of Yahoo Groups, one in particular.  I have learned an enormous amount in the 3 years I have been on this list especially but the same topics seem to be discussed ad infinitum.  I have some quite different views from many on the list and I enjoy presenting my views and interacting with the list members, some of whom are close friends and I consider them mentors (even if we don’t have identical perspectives).

Recently as some of my views have changed, I have been reading Christian blogs more, searching for different approaches that make sense to me and that I can accept intellectually as well as spiritually.  As one of my favourite bloggers, Michael Spencer – the Internet Monk, said in a post today:
I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot recently, but I’m far more interested in a person coming to a position of honesty and integrity than I am in maintaining labels that aren’t working. The choice between a phony Christian profession and honest doubt is not a hard one for me.

I can’t maintain the label of “strictly evangelical” any longer.  However, some of my friends see my change of perspective as the beginning of a slippery slope towards a loss of faith. This is far from the truth – my journey is towards a more authentic faith where I am not forced to try to reconcile interpretations which I cannot accept.   I was challenged to spend as much time in the gospels as I do in the blogs. Now this is a fair comment (I spend too much time blog reading and not enough in the Word) and one I have taken to heart.  I need to feed on spiritual bread and drink of the living water. I have been inspired by Nick Gill’s commitment to blogging his way through the Bible and decided to blog my way through the Gospels. I will post in my group (Berean Spirit) as well as here. And as my blog is networked to facebook, it will post there too.

For various reasons I have decided to stick with looking at one gospel at a time. (Some in Berean Spirit  suggested a chronological study of Jesus’ life). It is more manageable, and I don’t want to commit to something I have neither the time, the discipline nor the skills to complete. Immersion in one gospel at a time (pun intended) will enable us to discern the intent and voice of that author and it’s message for us. I chose Mark to begin with for a few reasons. It’s most likely the first gosepl that was written. It has more of Jesus’ deeds and less of his teachings than Luke and Matthew do, so it might make sense to look at Jesus’ teachings later after looking at a framework of his life in Mark first. And, I don’t want the discussion to go offtrack by being distracted by the genealogies in those gospels (I have different views on the historicity of the genealogies to many in Berean Spirit) or discussion of the virgin birth. Plus the profundity of the Sermon on the Mount scares me – I need to work up to discussing that. And Mark is the least “literary” of the gospels so I have spent less time in Mark than the other gospels so far. This will address that lack.

I am going to post my comments after reading, prayer and reflection. I am not intending to make this an indepth study so will try not to get distracted (as I am wont to do) by commentaries or tangents. I’m using the ESV to paste here (thanks Biblegateway) but am reading the NIV, TNIV, ESV and NLT each day before commenting. And I will make each post short so it’s more manageable.

Mark 1 (English Standard Version)
1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ,(A) the Son of God.[a]

The gospel is ongoing beyond Mark’s account (into Acts and beyond). The gospel not limited to a written account or to this account. My Bible tells me that the Son of God was added later. Is that significant? Probably not… it doesn’t contradict anything.

2(B) As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,[b]

(C) “Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
3(D) the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
(E) ‘Prepare[c] the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,'”

Mark indicates that Jesus is the fulfilment of Israel’s prophecies in quoting here from Isaiah and Malachi. A reminder that Jesus cannot be understood in isolation but in the context of the whole of God’s story.

4(F) John appeared, baptizing in(G) the wilderness and proclaiming(H) a baptism of(I) repentance(J) for the forgiveness of sins. 5And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan,(K) confessing their sins.

We should not be limited to “this” baptism. We need to embrace baptism in all it’s richness and spiritual complexity. If we limit baptism to the “remission of sins” we miss much of what Jesus is all about.

Note that “all” is used here in a hyperbolic sense, not literally. It is obvious (from the rest of the gospel story) that not everyone in Jerusalem and Judea were baptized by John.

6Now John was(L) clothed with camel’s hair and(M) wore a leather belt around his waist and ate(N) locusts and wild honey.

Does this description have echoes of the 40 years the Jews spent in the wilderness? I know it links John to Elijah and other prophets.

7And he preached, saying,(O) “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.

John’s foreshadows the servant leadership of Jesus.

The poetic language of the prophets Isaiah and Malachi and John contrasts with the prosaic language of Mark.

8(P) I have baptized you with water, but(Q) he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

The importance of Holy Spirit baptism. Water baptism is insufficient unless we are immersed in the Holy Spirit too. We need to base our theology of baptism on the gospels and the whole canon of Scripture, not just Acts 2:38.

I was wondering how this line would be translated with immersion instead? (Berean Spirit group has been discussing how the Greek word baptidzo should best be translated into English – by the transliteration baptism or immersion.

8 I have immersed you in water, but he will immerse you in the Holy Spirit.”

It loses something, I think.  Baptism is much more than immersion.


Verse 3 makes me want to sing.  Handel’s Messiah is one of my favourite pieces of music.

I invite your comments.  And your prayers for my perseverance with immersion in Jesus.

Skywatch Friday – Sunset from Cabarita

September 4, 2009

Sunset from Cabarita, lunch in Balmain and a good day with Liz.

skywatch Friday

It’s been a while since I Skywatched.  These  photos were taken in when my friend Liz was up from Melbourne in June and spent a day with me.  We had a wonderful lunch in Balmain and tea back at my place and I dropped her at the ferry wharf at Cabarita in the late afternoon to get the ferry to the city.  The sun was rapidly dropping behind the industrial buildings in Breakfast Point (where we live) across Kendall Bay.

MayJune09 080

I love the liquid gold reflections.

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and here is Liz at the deli counter in the cafe at lunchtime, where we picked out our salads (which I resisted posting photos of!):



Where we ate on Darling Street (the cafe picked because I got a car park right opposite):

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Very punny name:

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Great coffee and sunny seats: MayJune09 067

and atmosphere and chat in the sun, and window shopping in Rozelle.  Pyrmont and the city from Rozelle:

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Here is the ferry:

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and there she goes…

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Thanks for a great day, Liz! Miss you!

To see many more terrific sky pictures or to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

DQ went to Disney World!

August 29, 2009

Wendy B’s report on their trip:

Hi Everyone! I am so sorry that I have delayed giving an update on the trip. We all came home tired, happy, full of memories and BROKE!!!! Isn’t that the way vacations are suppose to end? LOL The only thing is….I came back with a kidney infection and a bad cold! Luckily it didn’t hit me until the last day coming home so it didn’t interfere with any of the ‘fun’ stuff. I’ve been trying to get well and take the boys on all the appointments that I postponed for the trip. It has been a very busy time.

DQ had a great trip. The only problem of the trip is that we rushed through every day…trying to do all the things that we could before we had to leave. We all agreed when we got home that we felt like we had just left home the day before. It passed so fast. DQ wants me to tell you about our schedule.

We left On Wednesday morning about 8:45AM. We hit the interstate (after gassing up and buying a breakfast sandwich) at 9:30AM. We drove through KY, TN, GA and into Florida about 10 or 12 miles and then stopped for a motel. That was 12 hours!! Jim wanted to stop sooner but we were all so excited that we just ‘kept on going’!!!!! The boys were all excited because there was ‘a real live palm tree’ in the motel lot.

On Thursday we drove on into Florida and down to Kissimmee. We arrived at Give Kids the World about 5PM. That evening, we ate and then went to the Winter Wonderland Santa visit (there on the property) DQ was actually lifted up to sit on Santa’s lap. After he was back in his chair…I noticed he was crying. We ask him if it hurt him to lift him up…he said, “No…I just never got to do that before!” OK…now there was a memory!!! It was worth all the work getting there to see and hear that. After that, the kids (and Jim) went around the property while I went to an orientation meeting to get our tickets to all the parks.

100_1455On Friday, we got up excited and ready to play. We ate breakfast at GKTW (Give Kids the World) and headed out to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World!!!! YAHHHHH. We got there, walked down main street to the castle…turned right to go to Tomorrow Land and the skies opened up! Lightning, thunder, hard rain. We took shelter under a restaurant overhang and stood there for over 2 hours. Finally, one of the park employees said, “This isn’t going to let up.” We then sloshed our way to the cars and headed back to GKTW.

On Saturday, we got up, excited and ready to play!!! We headed to Sea World!! We walked around and let the kids ride some rides. They even lifted DQ onto a couple of rides and strapped him in tight and let him scream with them!!! LOL The very best part was the Shamu show. It was wonderful!!!!! We all loved it!! In the middle of the afternoon…when we were about 1/2 way through the park….guess what? The skys opened again. Now, I’ve been to Florida before and I know that about every afternoon there is a short rain and then it clears right up. NOPE!! That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about torrents of rain!! We ducked under a small place that sold sodas to get away from the lightning. Once again…we stood there for an hour or more and realized it wasn’t letting up so we sloshed out again. This time, we waded in water nearly to our knees to get out. DQ’s chair was starting to make funny noises so we were afraid it would stop running. On the way back, some of the roads were flooded and we had to detour around. OK…we have laughed about that ever since!! We made some more memories!!!

On Sunday, we got up and rushed to Universal Studios after visiting the chapel at GKTW. Great day! Fun day! HOT DAY!! (101 degrees) But we made it through the day and DQ got to ride some more rides (some are way too rough for him) and they got to visit the big NBA store. Did I tell you that they are MAJOR basketball and football fans. Each used a lot of their spending money to buy a jersey and hat of their favorite teams and have their names put on the back. The NBA store was a BIG highlight for them. To actually have the money to pick out a jersey ($60 to $100) and have their name put on it and get a hat was a BIG deal!! We stayed until 10PM and made it back to GKTW by midnight. We had to stop and eat so we had a Denny’s breakfast!

On Monday, it was back to Disney World!! We saw the magic kingdom, the awesome parade at night and the fantastic fireworks. A very good day!

On Tuesday, we packed and checked out of GKTW by 11 AM. They gave us a list of parks and things to do around the US that we could use for the next year!! The only thing in KY is 6 Flags but in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN there is 9 different things!! The aquarium, Ober Gatlinburg (amusement park and ice skating rink) Ripley’s Believe it or Not and other Ripley attractions. We are excited about saving for a trip (or weekend) down there sometime before it gets too cold. It’s only 2 1/2 hours from here and we love the mountains. We would only have to pay for the motel and food because all the tickets to the other things will be free for the whole family! Exciting!!

100_1583When we left GKTW, they gave us tickets to go to Gator Land. We went straight there and everyone enjoyed seeing the big gators and other swamp creatures!! LOL. DQ had a picture made with a small (live) gator in his lap and a big snake around his neck!!! UGGHHH When we left there, we got something to eat and headed to Daytona Beach since the kids had never seen the ocean. We arrived there about 7PM and let them play in the ocean for a couple of hours. DQ stayed on the hard packed sand…making designs in the sand with his chair and swearing that he ‘saw sharks’ out in the ocean! Later he decided that he probably saw dolphins. LOLOLOL Spent the night a little farther up in Florida.

On Wednesday, we started to do some serious driving to get home. We drove up thru the rest of Florida and into GA. We made it past Atlanta to Dothan (I think) and decided we couldn’t go any farther. There wasn’t the excitement going home that there was in going!! Imagine that!

On Thursday we got up and completed the trip…arriving home early Thursday evening. We drove a total of 1886 miles!!!  Many of you supported us to make this trip possible. Thank you and be assured that DQ has had the experience of a lifetime. We made memories that has touched us all. You have made a difference in the life of a child. The Lexington Dream Factory/Make a Wish should be supported in every way possible. We saw kids at GKTW that will not have much longer on this earth….but their dream was to see Mickey, and they did. A little girl in the house next to us was from California and had a brain tumor at the base of her neck (near her spine) and they had removed it once but they can’t get it all and it keeps coming back. He father said that there is not a lot of hope. But she got to see Mickey!! GKTW is an awesome place for kids who have a dream. A man named Henri Landwirth started it. He was a holocaust survivor. I just read a book of his life. I don’t know if he’s still alive or not.

Thank you all for caring, loving us and helping with our kids dreams.

Pray for You morphs into SpeedDate

August 29, 2009

I love facebook.  I love keeping up with my far-spread family (and interacting with my daughter on fb in another dimension).  I love the photo’s, the updates… and I spend too much time blitzing jewels.  I try to stay away from most applications for a number of reasons (privacy being one).

I have added some applications (like Growing Gifts, Free Gifts, Send Coffee, Pray for You) that allow me to encourage my friends.  But it’s a worry when you get an email like this from the developer of an application:

We have decided to focus on something more exciting. Pray for You’s name and functionality will be changed next week to SpeedDate, a fun way to meet new people. Data entered into the original app won’t be used anymore. Feel free to check it out. Click here to use Pray for You. You can opt-out of this app here.

Pray for You

HUH?  You can guess that I opted out…  Imagine the marital disharmony this could create for some.  “Sweetie, why do you have SpeedDate in your facebook?”

DQ goes to Disney World!

July 3, 2009

Remember DQ?  He is one of the foster kids of my friends, Wendy and Jim, who live in Kentucky, USA.  He has Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy but it’s his wonderful spirit that makes him special!


He got his computer late last year, thanks to the generosity of many people who heard of his need!

He has had a very rough time.  He had been hoping to start physical therapy to regain strength in his arms after his one year check up (he had a spinal fusion and rods put in his back last June) so  he could gain back the 60-70% of upper body strength he has lost. He was so excited and was telling the other boys that they better get ready because he would be challenging them to another basketball game soon. (He beat them all before his surgery but now, he cannot raise his arms to throw the ball).

But at his check up they were told that with Muscular Dystrophy, “what is gone is gone forever”. There can be no physical therapy because to exert the muscles will cause muscle tissue break down and he will lose MORE than he’s already lost. His inaction and loss of muscle tissue this past year has also affected his heart and he has had to increase his heart meds.

Poor guy!   His hopes were so high for this whole year. They were told that everything would have been like they had been told until the e-coli infection set in and he had to have 3 additional surgeries and had to spend 3 extra months in the hospital and then another 3 months in bed at home. That changed everything but no one thought to tell them that…

But there is GOOD NEWS!  Make a Wish and the Lexington Dream Factory asked him to make a wish and he wanted to go to Disney World.  They are leaving on the morning of July 8th and check in at Give Kids the World on the 9th.  It is a wonderful place for kids who have handicaps and all the Blasdell foster kids get to go. A new handicapped van has been rented for them to get them from Kentucky to Florida. It won’t hold them all so Wendy (foster mom) will have to drive their van, too. They have tickets to Disney World, Sea World and Universal Studios!  One day will be spent at the beach because none of the boys has seen the ocean – yet!

Wendy can see a spark of excitement in DQ’s eyes. They want to make this a wonderful memory for him. He is ‘trying’ to save his allowance for spending money and they make a point of bringing up the trip every day just to see him get excited.

It will be a hard trip but oh so worth it. They have been given some money in gas cards but that will only cover one van (there and back) so they are saving to have gas money for the other van and spending money for all of them. Such excitement as they all try to make a dream come true and give a trip that will never be forgotten to a child who deserves some fun and excitement!
(This was adapted from an email Wendy Blasdell wrote)

I sent DQ and the boys some spending money – many thanks to my wonderful Wednesday Bible Study ladies who gave!  If you would like to be part of this amazing trip for DQ and the other special needs foster boys Jim and Wendy foster and bless them by contributing to their spending money or gas money, Wendy has a Paypal account:

wendyblasdell at yahoo dot com

or you could email me at wjcsydney at yahoo dot com for their mailing address.

Blessings in the mail

May 6, 2009

The last couple of weeks have been a bit blah. I had a headache the day after we got back from Hong Kong.  It lingered for almost a week.  A virus, no doubt. Post holiday blahness prevailed.  Blah blah blah…

What cheered me was two parcels that arrived in my PO box from different internet friends.  I’m in a secret angel swap in my quilting list.


My gorgeous angel blessed me with a butterfly frame, a stitchery pattern, a beautiful “wallet” I am sure she made herself  (please teach me how to sew see-through vinyl!) and a fat quarter.


I will have to decide what to use the wallet for. Perhaps earrings? Perhaps for embroidery-on-the-go?


The second pressie which arrived the next day was a CD of John’s Gospel narrated by Max McLean.  I forget quite how I won this but it was a giveaway at Chris Gallagher’s blog. Thanks muchly, Chris, for mailing all the way across the Pacific! John’s Gospel is my favourite and the melliferous voice of Max McLean is wonderfully soothing and inspiring at the same time.  What a way to drink of the living water!

Thanks angel and Chris!  You brightened my week considerably.

Until the day

March 25, 2009

I’m feeling depleted emotionally, mentally,  spiritually.  I need to focus on what will uplift me and renew my resources.  So let me share three sources of nourishment for me today.

A dear internet friend has This is a day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it Psalm 118:24 as her email signature.   I received a couple of encouraging emails from her but what especially blessed me was the challenge in that Scripture to choose to rejoice in whatever circumstances my life presents to me, and to give thanks for the myriad blessings of each new day.   And that reminds me of a song:

Sydney weather is glorious right now.  If anyone out there is planning a trip to Sydney, plan it for late March.  Sunny warm days and cool nights.  It’s perfect.  Want to see what our weather is doing?  There is a harbour cam here.  This cam is about 10kms further east than where we are (we live between the city and the Olympic site close to the harbour and about 15kms from the coast) but the weather is the same!

On Sunday night at my church, this song sung by Michael and Kirsty and  accompanied by harp and flute, was part of the communion meditation.  It was one of those services when the presence of God was so very powerful as to be almost palpable and I came away refreshed by streams of living water.  The song “Until the Day” is from the Compassion Art CD.  I think I will be buying the CD!