Category Archives: family & friends

Textures of South America

What you see when you’re careful! From Erin Walton.


Textures of South America.

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4 Warning Signs that You’re Stuck in a Rut (And What to Do About it)

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Walking the Alternative Route to Machu Picchu

My daughter Erin in Machu Picchu. Read it here:

Walking the Alternative Route to Machu Picchu.

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I have neglected this blog for quite some time. There have been a number of reasons… Battling depression and the ease of doing things on Facebook chief among them.

I don’t like to be too personal here…it’s just who I am. But I am very proud of my daughter Erin, who has her own blog, The Souls of my Shoes—Following my feet through South America. Erin lived in Spain for four years prior to this journey, where she became proficient in Spanish. So, what next but a year in South America?

Take a look at her blog; look at the people she has met, and her itinerary. You’ll even get some clues if you ever decide to visit there yourself!


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Sunday, 16 September, 2012 · 17:41

Knowing the poor by name

I didn’t preach on Sunday; I shared the services with a remarkable band called Remember Seven, and Katie Wallis preached. I’ve written about Katie before here. And here. Oh, and here too. It’s great to hear a capable preacher (I’m including you in that, kt!!).

The Old Testament reading concerned the Hebrew midwives, and Katie drew inspiration from them and their  refusal to conform (Romans 12) to the edict of Pharaoh. She spoke of knowing the poor by name, as people. It struck me that we know the names of the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah.

How many women don’t we know by name in the scriptures? It seems women didn’t count too much… Yet we do know the midwives’ names. They were and are women of consequence.

Get to know some other people—Angie, Daniel, Grace, yourself— by reading these excerpts from Katie’s journal (thanks, kt!). Oh, and look out for her book, it’s coming!

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Sunday 19, 7 August 2011: c/- Avril at Romsey

I’m just starting to emerge from a bout of viral labyrinthitis, which is no fun by anyone’s standards. So no sermon today, but if I’d preched one I hope it would engage with the text as well as Avril Hannah-Jones’s today. Go to Avril at Romsey and check it out.

I wrote a post last week called I am/not a Progressive Christian. Avril’s recent post on The Messy Middle that is the Uniting Church covers similar territory. Again, it will repay you to read it.

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Brisbane, 2011 Flood: a personal view

It seems the floods that hit Queensland and Brisbane have hit the headlines all over the world… It’s been a bit hard for us to tell because we’ve been without power for several days. We got it last night—ah, that hot shower this morning!!

The picture below is of our stretch of the Brisbane River. Our house is arrowed; we were spared inundation, thank God. The house is normally a fair bit above the river, I’d say about 10 metres below the road. The river got within 2 metres in the end, and was closer than it is in this photo (original here). We were a tad nervous. You can see the width of the river here; I’m sure that helped to save us too. In the end, the river was probably a metre below 1974 levels.

Again, this is NOT the flood at its height! I’ve circled the part of the road that was under; we were cut off by road, but we could walk to higher ground to stay a night with friends.

Here is A Collect of the Morning, from An Australian Prayer Book:

Lord our heavenly Father,
almighty and everlasting God,
we thank you for bringing us safely to this day.
Keep us by your mighty power,
and grant that today we fall into no sin,
neither run into any kind of danger,
but lead and govern us in all things,
that we may always do what is righteous in your sight;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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On the Third Day of Christmas…

…my true love didn’t give me three French hens—not to worry, birds are messy anyway!

Instead, we had two wonderful friends over, Sue and Henry. We shared lunch, had something nice to drink and whiled away the afternoon with pleasant conversation (and a bit more food and drink…!).

We’re having a WET summer here in Queensland, and here is the view from our house during part of the afternoon (see the drops falling from the gutters…better get to them soon):

At one stage the wind really got up—you can see the trees bending with it:

The rain settled later, so we went for an early evening stroll by the river. Here is the path down to the rowing club’s jetty:

Eventually, the sun set:

When we got back, there was a tawny frogmouth in our neighbour’s garden. We’re quite lucky here; we see frogmouths regularly:

Here’s looking at you, kid!

All in all, a fab day, fab friends and a fab way to chill after three days of services. Thanks, Sue, for the photos!


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“Relational health warning”!

This is in today’s issue of The Age:

A POVERTY of human relationships, much more than an absence of material resources, puts children at risk, according to a US expert on child abuse and trauma.

”You are much more likely to be healthy, much more likely to be able to learn more readily, much more likely to be resilient in the face of chaos, threat and trauma if you have lots of healthy relationships,” said Dr Bruce Perry, who is both a child psychiatrist and neurobiologist.

”This is not to say that it’s great to be poor. All I’m saying is that the real determining factor on whether you are healthy or not is relational health and wealth, not economic wealth … it’s as simple and powerful as that.”

Dr Perry, whose visit to Melbourne is sponsored by the children’s service Berry Street, will speak this week to social workers, Children’s Court magistrates and officials from the Department of Human Services. He is also taking his message on ”relational enrichment” to Victoria’s Minister for Community Services, Lisa Neville.

Dr Perry, a professor at Northwestern University in Chicago, said research revealed that ”huge parts of our brains” were dedicated to reading, responding and communicating with other people, verbally and otherwise.

”But we are living more and more separately, and children are watching more and more television and adopting more and more electronic interaction,” he said.

”What’s happening, we believe, is that the relational experiences required to fully express the capacity to be humans are not taking place.”

Dr Perry said there was a ”ton of science” showing up these deficits beyond obvious at-risk populations where, for example, a child has a family member with a drug problem.

He cites a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania that examined measures of empathy among US college students.

”In the last 10 years the empathy measures have basically been cut about in half,” Dr Perry said. ”We believe it is related to [people having] far fewer opportunities to provide patterned, repetitive continuation to the relational part of the brains — that is, basically, human contact, human conversation.”

Loneliness has to be one of the great scourges of our time. Many people live alone or have few supportive networks. So if you’re reading this, thank God if you have someone who cares for you. If you can, get up and back away from the computer now. Go and talk to someone near to you—your partner, a work colleague, a child. Show them they matter to you. Say “Thanks”. If they are somewhere else, ring or text them. Let’s build healthier relationships, for God’s sake.

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Friday fragments—23.04.10

Anzac Day…

…is on Sunday. Eureka St has some interesting reading.


When you’re being criticised

Brian McLaren has some good stuff on responding to criticism. And a great prayer to meditate on at such times.


Work FOR the people

The word ‘liturgy’ is often misunderstood as ‘the work of the people’. Makes as much sense as a butterfly being a fly that hangs around butter.

This new blog gives a better understanding—of liturgy as work for the people—and more besides. I’ll be interested to see how it develops.


Feria de Abril

Or April Fair. But this one’s in Seville! My daughter lives there, and sounds like it was fun!

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