29.11.10

So I was in a mess and it numbed me. So often we are numbed by the world. But then, He broke through.

God is so good like that. We just cannot function, yet He doesn't care - he just wants us, our mess and heartbreak and pain, wrapped in the beauty He made us in. And He says He'll help us fix it. He'll wait for us to come to Him...wow.

So I was in a mess and numbed and going through the motions, and then God came to me and reminded me that He loves me so much, that He loves me more than life itself. Literally...He died for me. With Him, our brokeness is just broken walls tumbpling down to let Him in so He can heal us.

Double wow?

21.11.10

Here I am! Working with a tune and writing and rushing and expressing my exhuastion through alliteration that cheats.

I have been slack with the blogging lately. It's easier to copy and paste things than to actually sit down and THINK. Thoughts are a tangled up ball of stirng that sometimes seem impossible to unwind.

I am so tired. God help me.

12.11.10

'Tumbling ground' Kevin Prosch

Trying to find a place where I can hide away,
In the fountain of youth inside my mind,
Where old age can never find me.
Please excuse me, I'm not doing well today,
Trying to hide so desperately the darkness of my soul,
I'm an outworn heart in a time worn out,
I feel like I'm failing.
I'm being tossed about,
There's a hole in my trampoline,
I'm falling down.
And friendless near a thousand friends I stand,
Who didn't have a crumb of comfort,
Not even a grain,
You were all too busy with my praise,
The distances of loneliness how long they seem to be,
Almost perfect nearly true we want to keep,
I can hardly ever say my prayers,
Nor can I count a Bead,
Does that mean that I am failing?
They say that I am weak,
And the soil of my sufferings sucked my childhood dry,
Never grew the leaves of healing,
Will I be left to die?
On God's rough, tumbling ground, falling down,
On God's rough, tumbling ground, falling down,
Falling down.
Am I a prophet or a vagabond?
I am a father, not a commandant,
And I grieve for the loss of all the prodicals,
And fatherless near ten thousand fathers I stand,
A broken little boy with a promise in his hand,
Did you see the crown my momma crowned me with?
For he that made me bitter, he also made me wise,
though I wrestled for the blessing,
there was no love for me to find,
and the world's more full of weeping,
and I can never understand.
I'm in the place again,
where the heart gives up its dead,
There is a place where tears fall but they make no sound,
On God's rough, tumbling ground, falling down,
there is a place where tears fall but make no sound,
On God's rough, tumbling ground, falling down.

28.10.10

Where did the year go??

It is my last day of Intermission today. Wow.

Our small class of 10 have spent the year together. We've laughed, cried, argued, discussed the meaning of worship, the pain of poverty, the brokeness of the world, and who we are to God. We've lived together, lived apart, we are whanau. And now we are parting after a year living in each others pockets.
Isn't it interesting how we humans are so relational, so dependant on one another? I am sure I've touched on this in one of my other blogs. But it's so, so obvious that God is a God of community, a God of relationship (he is 3 beings in one, after all) and we are such mirror images of that! Its truly beautiful.

So my year is coming to a slow and sunny close, and I am surprisingly not sad. Perhaps it's because I am looking forward to going away with the crew for a week after we've finished anyway, so I don't really think that it's goodbye...which it's not, anyway. But still...365 days have wizzed by ridiculously fast! Oh and the things that have happened! Who would have thought??

23.10.10

My friend Kim did her photojournalism assignment on Christian youth of today...all about the modern face of the Church. I was in it, which was an interesting experience! She has done such a beautiful job putting it all together :)
To watch it, the password is; kimberlee13

22.10.10

Catharsis. n. "The purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, esp. through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music."

I am sitting in my pajama's at the kitchen table researching. Researching is what I cannot stand...it is the preparation for the excitement of putting together words and sentances and paragraphs in to a beautifully executed essay. Yet what is the essay without the knowledge? And where is the knowlege without the research? So perhaps I should love research.

I got accepted in to university - Wellington's University of Victoria. I also got accepted in to Auckland University, but my heart is set on Wellington, and I got in to the student hostel I applied for, so therefore, windy Wellington here I come! Conjoint Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts. BA majoring in Development Studies and Politics, minoring in International Relations.
Law is law.
I do not exactly know what one does when one is planning on packing up 18 years of life and moving 400km south. For a semi-permanant period of time...do I take everything, empty my room and migrate for good? Or leave bits and pieces of my old life in my old room, just so that i can come back and know that I haven't lost who I used to be? Perhaps if I do that, it will allow my mum to retain a part of me in her house. She'd like that...

Things I want to take with me, but probably won't be able to;
1. My double bed. She has been with me for a year now, but heart-breakingly, we shall have to depart. Why do flats on top of carpark buildings have rooms so snmall that a bed could not be added? Plus. They have single beds already. Sigh.
2. My car. Who needs a car in a city where you are living 10 min walk from Cuba St? Yet...there is something homely about having your own car travel with you and keep you company.
3. The sun. Praise Jesus for summer holidays. I don't believe I will get a tan in Wellington, but at least I can migrate back home for the Christmas months :)
Things I WILL take with me to Wellington;
1. My woollen duvet. Somehow it smells of clean sheep still, and reminds me of Goat Island camping holidays.
2. A new laptop. This will be exciting, expensive, and enable me to live a proper 21st century lifestyle.
3. Lots of coffee beans, and grinder and a plunger. Necessary.
4. Sonya Jasmine.
5. And a pile of books.

I have immense pride in being a New Zealander. I like that I can move from the largest, most ethnic city, to the capital city, and only be a half hour flight away. I like that I am moving from a semi-tropical climate (which really just means that it rains one minute and is sunny the next) to a climate in which the weather lasts all day, is beautifully fresh and blows wind like nothing else. I like that I can visit my family, my friends, Paul, easily. And that they can visit me. And I like that everybody knows somebody you know. This is helpful.

I do not like that NZ has people like Paul Henry or Rodney Hide. But I suppose all countries have people that are general idiots.

I am scared to move? But excited. Yes, excited. it is an adventure, an experience! I will be in little flat close to everything, cooking vegetarian meals, studying in libraries, living and loving a completely new set of people. I will be a different me. With new, square glasses frames and poetry falling around me. And law lectures and spanish tutors and volunteering with refugee kids. I am excited!
And scared. Please, Lord be with me.

1.10.10

first of october

Wake up. What to do? A new month perhaps means the loss of the last month. And all its plans and structures and things.

I had a dream. about men who were reaching out to me and wanting my warmth and children covered in paint and lovers about to get their hearts broken.

I've had  shift. I sat to to pray. "God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" A seemingly never-ending nothingness that stretched for miles and ended in the coldness of my heart. Because my head lay down across that road and thought it out and wrote an essay but my heart was left on the sidewalk, slowly petrifying as time flew by.
So I had a shift. Heart to heart, head to heart. "God , my God, remember and hold me in my petrified state."

Victoria university has thousands of applications a year. I worry that mine is in no way unique. Hello. My name is Olivia. 3 words about me? Hmmm...Passionate, Communicative, Perceptive? Please give me somewhere to live!
Victoria University, Central House, I NEED you. Please Jesus!

My weary smile lights up in some instances when I think of...

21.9.10

Souls

I'm back at uni now after 3 weeks mid-semester break. My beautiful friend Sonya shared her life story to us. She holds on to such strength and dignity, Sonya does. She is inspiring. And then my passionate lecturer Mick was talking to us about relationships and friendships and and I thought...who are these people to me?

I think that we live so widely. Dozens and dozens of friends, Facebook friends we've met once, we never really appreciate the exquisite beauty of the people we love dearly. We just admire them in passing as we approach someone else new and exciting. My best friend has been in Canada for 4 months now, and she is returning in 2 days. I talked to her on Skype tonight (instead of doing this urgent assignment due soon) and I realised how valuable history is. WHen someone not only knows you. But your soul. And they see it.

The say your eyes are the windows to your soul. Is this true? I've always been quite slow to trust. But I like the concept of someone being able to see your soul through your eyes. I guess its quite liberating for someone who doesn't like to put her soul out there...it means I don't have to make the effort, except to look at someone.

How deep can we see the river running through the eyes, though?

23.8.10

Our Earth, our country.

Creation, dreamed up by a beautiful innovative God. Land that, like in Gen. 1-28 – 30, God gave us. To rule over, to steward and to bless in goodness and prosperity.
How does it feel, to know that our God made this? How does it feel to know that we live in such an abundant, creative earth? How does it feel to think of this beauty and this intricately balanced world we inhabit?
And how does it feel to know that the Sahara desert is expanding by 3km per year, resulting in the slow desertification of Africa, making this continent that is home to over 1billion people, potentially uninhabitable?
How does it feel to know that we cut down 375 square km of forest per day – just under the size of Lake Taupo per day?
To know that hundreds of billions of plastic bags are produced each year, and of these hundreds of billions, only 1% are recycled, the rest taking hundreds of years to break down in landfills?
How does it feel to know that sea levels are expected to rise over half a metre in the next 70 years, slowly submerging a huge amount of land that people depend on for thier homes?
How does this feel??

Global warming is a hugely controversial topic, and one that many people believe is exaggerated. But its better to understand it and the weight of it before we make any assumptions.
Global warming all starts off with something called “The Greenhouse Effect”. The "greenhouse effect" is the warming that happens when certain gases in Earth's atmosphere trap heat. These gases let in light but keep heat from escaping, like the glass walls of a greenhouse. First, sunlight shines onto the Earth's surface, where it is absorbed and then radiates back into the atmosphere as heat. In the atmosphere, gases trap some of this heat, and the rest escapes into space. The more greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere, the more heat gets trapped, and the warmer our earth is. This greenhouse effect is what keeps the Earth's climate warm enough to be livable.

In 1895, the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius discovered that humans could enhance the greenhouse effect by making carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas. And this is where we begin to get in to the issue of global warming…

Levels of greenhouse gases have gone up and down over the Earth's history, but they have been fairly consistant for the past few thousand years along with global average temperatures. Volcanic eruptions or weather patterns have always warmed and cooled the earth, but now humans have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by more than a third since the industrial revolution. CO2 has increased hugely in the last century - just in the last two decades, CO2 equivalent emissions have gone up by 6 billion metric tones. This is a huge increase, one that has been imminent since the beginning of the industrial age. This increase is not only due to emissions from fossil fuels, coal and oil, but also the massive deforestation of billions of acres of forest at unsustainable rates. Changes that have historically taken thousands of years to happen and have historically been fairly consistent are now happening over the course of decades with disastrous effects - Scientists are already seeing some of these changes occurring more quickly than they had expected. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, eleven of the twelve hottest years since thermometer readings began occurred between 1995 and 2006.

Perhaps "climate change" is a more appropriate name as opposed to "global warming", because although temperature have risen, other parts of the globe have also cooled - on the whole, weather patterns become more extreme and symptoms vary. What remains inarguable though, is the fact that climate change is happening at this very moment and whether or not is was started by humans, we are inextricable linked to this phenomenon.

So this is all very well but…how does this relate to us, as followers of Jesus? My view is that we are under the authority of Yahweh. He is all, created all and gave us responsibility over the environment, to steward and protect – just look to Genesis chapter 1, or Psalm 8.

Our true identity is in love for others, and for our world. So how are we honoring God with our destruction of the planet? Every time a species becomes extinct because we have abused our power over its life and habitat, we are essentially claiming that we have the power to destroy what God created. Every time we show disregard for the creatures we have been placed to live with, every time we cut down a football field of trees, every time upset the delicate ecosystem that depends so significantly on its finely tuned dials – we are claiming that the great and infinitely beautiful planet that we have been gifted is not Gods, but ours to do what we like with; that his creation does not deserve respect, but instead is something infinite, or easily dispensable?!

We don't all have to be anarchist tree-huggers, or environmental terrorists, or live in a commune. It is about changes that are sustainable and effective in the long run, as well as living a life that honours God's creation. I hate the fact that we need to take the economy in to account, but its impossible to ignore the fact that we can easily upset any economic stability and possibly hurt the poor hugely - how do we expect people who can't afford a meal a day to afford Fairtrade products or buy a Hybrid car? Yet the thing is, all these issues are hugely linked; our capitalist society is allowing the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer and to be completely honest, this massive difference in wealth is something that is affected by the environment. The rich use thier riches to say that is they turn 'green' they'll lose money. Oh thats ok. How about when your kids lose thier lives in 50 years? The poor can't turn 'green' because they can't afford it. How do we expect them to pay bigger taxes to fund environmental research?


This is when I kind of like the idea of Communism.

But what is NZ doing? The ETS. Emissions trading scheme. Trading NZU's (NZ Units) in return for the right to emit CO2. It's a handy little thing, encouraging tree-planting and owning forests in return for NZU's, getting taxed if you're emitting gases...
But it's still so capitalist. People are still getting rich off it and noone's heart is actually changed.

What's the world doing? The Kyoto protocol...kicked off in 1998, almost every country in the world is a part of it, vowing to reduce our CO2 emmissions to 5% less than it was in 1990. Well I say almost every country because, well America refused to join. Why? Because they didn't want China to have an "unfair advantage" in world trade if they were less limited in thier emissions than America. Which kind of renders the whole thing a little bit pointless seeing that as about 5% of the world population consuming 40% of the worlds resources, America kind of need someone to kick them up the butt and tell them pull thier socks up, as my Mum would say.
The Kyoto protocol is good - it gives us a global incentive to reduce emissions and produces some kind of universal unity.
Because it is all linked. you may say there are other more important issues, and I agree. Not everyone's passion is in conservation. But it is linked, climate change is robbing people of thier land, of the ability to plant crops, of the very air that they breathe. How can we say poverty is more important when the poverty is being caused by a famine thet we caused because of our greed and slothfulness?

I guess the crux of this is the passion though. The environment lives, breathes…We are on the most delicately attuned planet; Exact salinity in the sea, exact amounts of oxygen in the air. Species depend on one another – its all relationship. God is relationship in Himself. Father, Son, Spirit. We are created in his image, in relationship – man and woman, friendships and love. And the whole earth is in relationship – it is transient, moving, breathing, ALIVE.

Did you know that in the last 20 years 4 million acres of Spruce tree’s in Alaska have been destroyed? Because the temperature of the last 20 summers has been increasing, Spruce Bark beetles has increased in number and stripped all those tree’s of their bark for food. That amount of tree’s disappearing affects hundreds of species and their habitats, can upset an entire ecosystem! It's not just the tree's or the beetles, it's the birds, the bears, the insects, the ground tree's, the vines and bushes and rodents and predators. All destroyed.

Imagine this beautiful earth being poisoned. It IS being poisoned. It is heart-breaking! There is a new heaven ad a new earth coming – a new cycle of life, renewal and restoration (Rom.8:19).
We HAVE to have a part in it – this is a step in us bringing the Kingdom to earth. What is the point in having children if our earth is going to be dead within 100years? Do we not want out great grandchildren to be able to feel air on their skin without being burnt by acid rain or scorched by the sun through a depleted ozone layer, or unable to drink fresh water because our finite resources are finished??
We are yearning for redemption, we say we need God so much yet we take this gift of life we have so lightly.
Since when did our greed and faith in money get so great that we put the economy before protecting our environment? When did we get so arrogant that we say we have say over the future of our earth when God gave it to us. “Increase in number and be plentiful,” he said. “Rule over the birds and the land and the animals and the sea,” he said. He gave us this beautiful, creative gift of life that enables us to survive and we are indebted to him. We should be totally indebted to Him, totally in love with Him and all he has created and nurture this gift of love, this gift of creation.

15.8.10

Jer. 29:11

God gives me passion.
What a miracle!
Passion, passion, passion...now the question is.

You have a gift. You have a passion.
But what do you do with it??

25.7.10

This was sketched by my best friends cousin...
His work is AMAZING!
And beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
"Haunted eyes
sing in secret,
and your haunted eyes."

23.7.10

change change change.

"Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
That call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a
restless wind inside a letter box
they tumble blindly as
they make their way across the universe."

I am so tired. Lectures, lesson plans, teaching, helping, serving, NO sleeping...it catches up on you. The last week I have been non-stop. It doesn't please me, it just confuses me.

The Beatles are amazing.

So...Wellington 2011? There is a hostel, called Central House - a part of Central Baptist Church in Wellington city and only $140 a week plus food - sweet! A 20 walk away from Kelburn Campus at Victoria university, no petrol costs, I'm sorted?
The thing is, I need to leave Auckland. Everyone keeps saying; "You can study the same thing in Auckland / You can be in an intentional community in Auckland / It's cheaper to stay at home / Don't just run away from everything here / blah blah blah." But talking to Alana and Sonya, I realised...It's not about what I'm doing down there. It's not about the changes I'm making - It's about the change that I am. I need to find myself. Figure out who I am, away from everything I've always been to my family, my friends, my church, my class...
So yes, in a way I am running away. But I am also running TO something. I am running toward myself.

It is exciting and scary and new and surreal and and and...everything all at once.

16.7.10

"Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art" -Keats




BRIGHT star! would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature’s patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

finis

9.7.10

Bless my beard!

"But if I / should not hear / smell or feel or see / you / you would still / define me / disperse me /wash over me / rain"

This is the effect of our lives. How can we be such sentient beings when our lives are but a moment in time? And we feel so intensely, so tragically, we are defined by such metaphorical moments and images and memories...yet we are human. 

Flesh. Blood. "At once the dust of the earth and the breath of God." 

Christ is the grace by which we live, the love by which we are defined yet...it is a choice. To live every day is a choice. To love and to breath and to smile and to commit and to not sink in to the world and hide away is a choice. It is choosing the light. And in this choice, in this choice, we are defined.

This week has been nothing. And in that nothing I have worked, I have caught up with my past, I have yearned and fought and dreamed for what will be. I feel...change. Change is coming. But how am I to facilitate that? That is yet another choice. A great big tick to be ticked, in either box A, or box B. 

Of course we always know which box should be ticked. But it is the never-ending paradox - wouldn't it be nice to have both? Or perhaps neither?
Keats summed it up nicely...
"Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art .... still steadfast, still unchangebale, pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast, to feel forever its soft fall and swell..." The ultimate paradox, the desire for love and eternity. Yet to love and be loved we must be human, and to be human of course, we must succumb to the reality of death...to love, means to die in due time. To live in eternity means to die to love...
But then comes Christ, bearing the gift of eternity, the act of love.

How do we react to this, being human?

It is heart-break we search for. How strange is that? We search for love and heart-break and change and we want to be born afresh. Coming home, I have been broken. Heart-broken? Perhaps I have broken a heart. But broken I am, indeed. And in comes Keats again;
"Give me Women, Wine and Snuff / Until I cry out, 'Hold, enough!' / You may do so sans objection / Till the day of resurrection; / For, bless my beard, they aye shall be / My beloved Trinity."

If I were Keats, perhaps I could find such answers? But hey. My trinity is somewhat more expansive. I like to think that it accentuates humanity.

Rain. Hone Tuwhare.





Courtesy of Elysia & her camera.

5.4.10

This is what gets me.



The idea that out of brokeness comes beauty?

I feel like I'm suspended in time, yet in reality everything passes by so quickly.

As if one day I'll look behind me and and see it all and how it fit together...

and say, "Oh that was good. I think I'll stick around a while longer."


26.3.10

poem.

float in the dinghy
star pricked rivers
your bottle of wine
tips me overboard

24.3.10

activism?

I'm trying to write my assignment. It needs to be done by tomorrow night...
Deborah in the Book of Judges. Feminism and betraying the generational culture and social displacement.

MENTAL BLOCK.
I took Bass (youth group) off tonight too, in the hopes of maybe achieving something - either a pass in my block course or some sort of mental/spiritual stability. So far? Not happening.

I found a cool verse though? One of those little nuggets of gold...Psalm 73:26;
"My body and my heart may grow weak, but

God, you give strength to my heart."

22.3.10

The caged bird sings.









Living the good life...

I'm staying at my godmother's house...her and my mum have been friends for years and our families have grown up together. Her kids are the same age as my sister and I, plus Sophia, who's 14. Tom and James, her sons, are at Canterbury Uni studying. Because Rob and Pete live in Greenlane West and its 10min. from Carey, I'm staying here one night a week to hang with Soph while Rob and Pete can go out, and to just make travel easier.


The thing that gets me is how they live! Amazing, beautiful people. Lovely, so lovely! A doctor and a counsellor/house-wife. And their house is amazing ! Old, big, huge, renovated, tragically beautiful. A mini-mansion in an incredible location...

But the difference that Intermission, and God, has made in me in the last few weeks is that I feel uncomfortable being here. Its so generous that Rob and Pete have opened their lives to me, but...what about all the people that aren't in feather beds tonight? Or the kids who are live in 2-room flat with a family of 7? What about the homeless who aren't warm, the kids who didn't get lasange for dinner, the families who's house's are a ticking time bomb of infection or decay or even just emotional turmoil?
I think that this is what I've gotten out of the last little while. Before, I would have revelled in this comfort with no second thoughts. But now I am SO AWARE of what Jesus wants to be done - I am so aware that there are orphans, widows, broken people out there that are not as blessed as me !
"Freely you have received, freely give." Matt.10:8b

Jesus is so much more real to me now.
I can't stop thinking about the brokenness that I am called toward...

21.3.10

you phase my head.




 a million thoughts and emotions colliding at once.
"May those who love him be like the sun, when it rises in its strength." -judges 5:31

19.3.10

Wheelbarrow

Here is a poem I wrote mid-last year...inspired by William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow"...not a favourite, but I love the memory of childhood.



It was a pirate ship,
rocking and rearing
king of the belching seas.

It was a spaceship,
floating galaxies,
exploring a barren worlds.

It was a hideaway,
among the manuka and toi toi,
a refuge from ferocious beasts.

It was Ali Baba’s cave,
a treasure chest to store
5c coins, stolen lollies, cracked marbles.


And now
it rests in the backyard,
bright red paint
rusting in the rain.

18.3.10

The beginning.


Today is a good day.
Today my friend Sonya inspired me to start a blog. Sonya is one of those people that make you smile. Well, she always make me smile. And she is also ridiculously...aware? It's something I admire about her.
Today I gave a little girl without her dad a scone. And she gave me the biggest smile I've ever seen. I think I came out better off...

Isn't it interesting that 'today' is an idea that never ends? As 'a day' is always TODAY. Which really renders "live for today, not tomorrow" useless, seeing as tomorrow is really just today, and "tomorrow is a new day" is but an endless possibility that will only be manifested in a new today...