Sunday, March 25, 2012

Be Still


I discovered another gem while I was rummaging through my old journals.

This was written on a one-day retreat I gave myself about 10 years ago.  I sat down in a room overlooking a garden, and tried to figure out how to spend this time.  I had with me my Bible, journal and my pencil case.  Now what? I asked myself.

You say:
            Be still.

I don’t know if I can remember how to do that Lord.
What must I do God?

You say:
                         Be still.

But surely I must do something Lord?
How shall I pray?
What should I read?
How do I meet you God?

You say:
                                          Be still.

Okay I’m still now Lord.
Now what do I do next God?

You say:
                                                         Be still.
                                                                       Be still.
                                                                                      Be still.

             I stop fighting
                          Stop striving
                                       Stop trying to do the “right” thing
                                                     And wait.

You say:
              Be still.

You hold me.

You say:
              I am God.
                            I love you.

I am:

Thursday, March 22, 2012



I started picking through some dusty boxes at the back of the garage.  I opened each box, and rummaged through them.  I put aside one or two books, then repacked each box without finding what I was looking for.

Finally, after 5 boxes, I found my treasure trove.  Faded notebooks and diaries, dating back through to the early 1990’s. 

I read through the oldest journal, deciphering the faded blue ink, looking for a particular entry.

The year I was 18, I spend a week of my holidays in solitude, staying at a family property in the bush. 

I spent some time walking, but mostly reading my Bible, reflecting and praying, and looking at the number of pages written during that week, journaling.

I remember writing this particular entry.  I sat on the armchair, cross legged, my feet tucked under me.  I gazed periodically out the window at the forest clad valley.

25 November 1991
Jeremiah 29:11-13: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
My goals in life:
I aspire to be a woman of Integrity, Graciousness, Courage, Wisdom and Holiness.

21 years later, having finished the last page of my current journal, I open a new, empty notebook. 

On the first page, I re-write the goal I set myself at the beginning of my journey, to continue to remind myself of the kind of person I pray that I may become.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

One ha' penny, two ha' penny, Hot cross buns!


I haven’t done a product review before, so I’m not quite sure what I’m letting myself in for by agreeing to taste test Baker’s Delight Hot Cross Buns.

So first of all I lined up a taste testing panel, who waited eagerly for the delivery van.

According to that fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia, a Hot Cross Bun is a “sweet, yeast-leavened, spiced bun made with currants or raisins, often with candied citrus fruits, marked with a cross on the top. … In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten hot or toasted on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the Crucifixion.”

When I was growing up, Hot Cross Buns were reserved for Good Friday.  My favourite way of observing Good Friday begins with a sleep in, then a breakfast of Hot Cross Buns and strong coffee (especially when I’ve fasted from coffee during Lent) before heading off to Church for Good Friday service, and morning tea served afterwards of more Hot Cross Buns and more coffee.

I’m still not used to having them before Good Friday, but the rest of the family has no hesitations.

Miss Eight doesn’t like raisins, so was quite pleased that Bakers Delight had included a packet of Chocolate Chip buns, so they were the first ones in the oven.

And the results were well received:

Mister Three said “’Ummy” – and concentrated on eating the chocolate cross first.
The girls liked breaking theirs open and eating them in halves.  Miss Eight said “Double Thumbs Up”.  Miss Five didn’t say much, she was too busy eating.

My Husband and I grabbed a couple of the traditional fruit buns for our supper.  We didn’t bother heating them, and they were still very nice.  Husband commented that they had “substance” and were satisfyingly filling.

Wikipedea tells me that sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if "Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be" is said at the time.

Yesterday we moved our office, from the temporary office in the upstairs room of the boss’ house to a converted house in the suburbs.  I took the rest of the buns to feed the team for morning tea.

Once I worked out where the switch to the oven was in the staff room:

Soon the fragrance of spiced buns wafted through to where we were all busy unpacking boxes of files.  The butter melted into the warmed buns.

Everyone appreciated their Hot Cross Buns.  There were lots of raisins, and just the right amount of spiciness.

Baker’s Delight are keen to let you know that hot cross bun cravings will be made all that much sweeter on Saturday March 24, as bakeries across New Zealand hand craft over 21,000 freshly baked hot cross buns to help raise valuable ‘dough’ for Starship Children’s Hospital.  ‘Bundraiser’ Day will see all 32 Bakers Delight bakeries across New Zealand, donate $1 from every six-pack of hot cross buns sold to hospitals across the country, helping make a difference to sick children this Easter.

Baker’s Delight have also given me three $10 Bakers Delight vouchers to giveaway to my readers so you can pick up some hot cross buns for your kids.

Comment on this post, telling me how and when you enjoy Hot Cross Buns in the lead up to Easter time; Is it with a warm cup of coffee for morning tea or straight after you buy them from the bakery? Do you heat up your Hot Cross Buns in the oven? Do you put a bit of butter on them?  I’ll be putting all NZ comments into a draw (sorry, I’m pretty sure the vouchers won’t work in Australia or elsewhere, but I’d still love to hear from you anyway).  Names will be announced on Wednesday.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Goodbye Old Friend

(Post Updated)
Goodbye, old friend,
you will be sadly missed.
Thank you for the memories:
Soft light shining through stained glass
Whispered echoes
Hush and prayer;
this is a Sacred place.
Grey stone and white stone,
Graceful arches
Soaring ceilings.
Now you lie crumpled, broken.
Pigeons roost in your rafters, open to the sky.
Steel bracing now twisted,
the treasured rose is shattered.
Where bells once pealed and stirred my soul
now empty sky and silence.
Where once buskers played
now seagulls roam an empty square.
Where market stalls bustled
now weeds grow through the cracks.
I came today to say goodbye,
but not farewell forever.
Once day hope and life will rise again,
and I will meet you then.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Holy Place

Photo: Ross Becker

The announcement was made last week by Bishop Victoria Matthews that the earthquake damaged Christchurch Cathedral would need to be “deconstructed” to a safe height of 2-3 metres. 

Photo: Ross Becker

Since then, there has been a strong public backlash, especially in the letters to our local newspaper.  Most of the negative comments appear to be from those that consider the Cathedral to be not so much a Church, but a heritage building, a city icon, a tourist draw card.  Most of the comments I’ve seen from Christians, both Anglican and otherwise, tend to be more supportive of the Anglican Church’s decision.  They perceive the Cathedral as being less important than the people that make up the Church, and the ministry of the churches throughout the city that have been supporting and helping each local community.  The little things you don’t see much of in the media like running community food banks.

Photo: Ross Becker

It’s taken me a few days to unravel what I feel about it. 

When I journalled about this over the weekend, I remembered another Holy place I’d visited.  This was a temple that had been demolished by a roman army nearly 2000 years before I visited, and only one wall remained.  Yet that wall remained a place of remembrance and prayer.  I approached respectfully, and placed my hand on the stone blocks.  The stone was cool to touch, even though the climate was hotter than what I’m used to .  There was a sense of a powerful, Holy presence. 

Assorted photos taken by myself, and postcards purchased in 1998.

I’m grieving for the Cathedral.  But in my own opinion, it was more than just the building that made it special.  It had been a place of prayer and worship for several generations, and the spiritual atmosphere reflected that.  I don’t think a deconsecrating ceremony, or even deconstruction of the building will actually take that away.  And I can imagine that a new Cathedral, that perhaps echoes the old without being an exact replica, would also become a special place to pray and reflect.

In the meantime, I choose to remember the best of what was.

I’m wearing one of these

to remember this
Photos from

(For more information about the Christchurch Cathedral, and its rebuild, see