When the desert blooms

Quick update!

The last time I posted I said I was in a Schrodinger’s cat position – maybe I would end up with a job and maybe not. And now the box is opened and I find myself walking down a path that I did not envision at  the beginning of this process

I don’t think I would have ended in this new stage of productivity and energy if I hadn’t been in a place of being able to listen and take the time to really think about the implications.

I am now three weeks into my role as Office Manager at an amazing organisation called The Parenting Place – Christian-based  non-profit supporting NZ families in the ultimately rewarding but sometimes scary  adventure of raising children into adults.

It’s funny how God overrides your idea of what you would like to do. I was determined that I would work close to home and here I am getting up at 5:30am every day to beat the traffic as I drive across the city.

I was adamant I didn’t want to work full-time and yet I am working Monday to Friday

I vowed I would never work in an open plan office and now I sit overseeing a totally open plan space.

And I am loving it!

The job is wide ranging and challenging and at the moment my head hurts trying to take in all of the areas of my role, but I am so happy. I come home exhausted but feeling that  I have made a difference. My role  supports the work our teams do as they influence families, schools, churches and communities. What a privilege.

Of course this comes at no small sacrifice. I am needing to re-shape the rhythms of my life at the moment. I would like to keep this blog going – and will aim for once a week, maybe twice once I am more organised!

I am having to consciously carve out the precious time with those I love, especially with my grandchildren; time that I have taken for granted for the past couple of years.

Spare time is now again precious and not to be squandered. Time for me has to be actively sought. Space for creativity needs to be scheduled or it won’t happen.

And all of this is OK.  I feel that I have made this decision from a position of strength and most certainly not on a whim. I will also watch and listen carefully  to relationships around me as ultimately they are still my priority, and adjust accordingly.

On a side note, ironically I have decided to re-connect on FB early as I think my desert time has served its purpose and I now need to use all avenues to stay connected. I definitely feel differently about Facebook after my time away and will use it slightly differently accordingly.

So as Lent draws towards Easter, I am not wandering aimlessly out of the desert and the wilderness picking up things exactly where I left them, but walking purposefully and somewhat joyfully into an unexpectedly new phase.

 

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Learning a new language

My whole life creatively I have been involved in music. I’ve sung, played, written, arranged and taught. Music is as much a part of me as my eye colour (can’t say hair colour anymore though). My instrument is guitar and those that know me know I don’t mean strumming a few chords on an acoustic at parties. I own three electrics, two acoustics, two amps and a very nice pedal board. I am privileged to play on an amazing worship team at our church and am currently having fun in a local covers band.

And yet at the start of 2017 and in my early 50s, I am feeling challenged to step outside of the creativity I know and the medium I am fluent in to learn to speak a new language.

I’ve become increasingly interested in photography and our recent trip overseas really encouraged that. I was the person who was always running to catch up with everyone else because I had to get that one perfect shot – even on my iPhone. My wonderful husband, (who often senses things before I do) saw this, and bought me a very good camera as a belated birthday present halfway through the trip to feed this fledgling desire.

Since we have got back I have continued to fall in love with this new medium. I find myself thinking about shots and composition rather than guitar lines and chord progressions; scenes rather than set lists. It’s my camera I am picking up instead of my guitar, and camera, rather than guitar, tutorials I am glued to on YouTube.

I’m not used to being the novice, the person who doesn’t know what technical terms mean, who really doesn’t have a clue what they’re doing. I’ve taken a practical step and enrolled in a beginner course next month to help get to grips with this new world of ISO and f-stops. But it’s a steep and daunting learning curve!

I have no idea if I have any genuine skill or talent, and I have no idea where this might take me. I could spend this year studying something safe and sensible, or continuing to express myself in the safe medium of music; or I could take advantage of the fact that I have time to explore something new. I choose to do the latter (gulp). It’s definitely a step of faith which makes a naturally cautious pessimist like me very very nervous. (I think God likes steps of faith though…)

I don’t want to spend six months or a year procrastinating out of fear of the unknown. By writing this down here, I am at least admitting somewhat publicly that this is something I want to go after. I’m hoping that this time next year I will be looking back on this entry with a happy smile, and some great photos.

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Chasing Lemons

Those who know me will know that one of the loves of my life is our Cavspoodle Bosco. Having some Cocker Spaniel genes in the more usual Cavalier/Poodle makes him a delightfully complicated  and slightly neurotic little being.

One of the loves of his life is tennis balls. He has a running file in his head of where they are stashed, where one might have been hidden, which bed one is stuck under. if he finds a trapped or inaccessible one he will not stop whining and worrying until it is safely set free.

Recently I bought a ceramic lemon for the new bookshelves in our new house – no particular reason except it is pretty, matches our curtains and has a nice feel when you pick it up.

Bosco lemonUpon spying it, Bosco went into full-on lost tennis ball mode. He was so excited to meet this new companion. I took it down and showed it to him and he was obviously shocked, then confused and then devastated – how could this be? He tried biting it and licking it and eventually settled for eying it with disgust. Back onto the shelf it went.

Bosco is a pretty smart little dog and usually learns things quickly.
Not so with the ceramic lemon. It’s been in our house for a month and I  will still often catch him staring at it longingly, or laying beneath the book shelves. Every time I take it down he is again surprised andIMG_1706 disappointed that it isn’t a tennis ball. I have even let him try to play with it. I am assuming that eventually he will realise that it is not, never has been and never will be  a tennis ball. But he can’t tell just by looking – he has to taste it and lick it to be convinced.

Despite a  similarity in colour and a vague likeness in shape these are not the same. One will break if dropped, one will bounce. One is flexible and one is unyielding. One will roll and travel, one will not. One has potential and energy, one does not.

There’s a few things in my life  that I thought were tennis balls that have turned out to be ceramic lemons. I have spent a lot of time re-examining and picking things back up and, like Bosco, being surprised to find out that they are useless inflexible items rather than the bouncy ball full of potential that I thought they were.

This year I’m keen to learn to leave the ceramic lemons  on the shelf and focus on getting on with ferreting out some of the tennis balls under the couch or buried in a pile of leaves, or even opening a tube of brand new ones.