Tuesday, November 27, 2007

sleep is good.

sleep is a beautiful thing. currently it is an elusive thing. my sleep has fallen by the wayside. in the mad rush to finish my last university paper for the year i managed to disrupt my volatile sleeping patterns where i now find myself inhabiting a quiet house at strange hours. and all those mad thoughts creep up on you when you try and get by on little sleep. last week i rested my head in an attempt to sleep but images of oscar with malaria or dengue fever plagued me- images of oscar shot, alex shot, anyone shot.

note to self: in future maybe don't do a bit of 'light' reading regarding the Timor Leste 1999 crisis before bed.

so i guess you could say that i am now beginning to feel scared. and the weight of the seriousness of the issues in the country we are entering are finally sinking in.and i keep having moments where i think that i could stay in this great house, in this great suburb, keep this great job, keep ducking up the road for great coffees and i wouldn't have to think about tropical diseases,curfews and emergency 'go bags' etc...

and i keep analysing my motivations and expectations over and over and get confused. and just have to back down and surrender myself to the unknown ahead.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

community and travel and ethics and and and (this is a rant)

so we are about to move away from all we know and have known as a family to pursue our dreams. but i have so many issues with doing what we're doing. i have so many issues with travel in general.

there was a day that it dawned upon me that the premise of travel (like much advertising) is that to travel will make you a more interesting person- that of course is playing on your existing feelings of inadequacy in terms of your 'interestingness'. The day I realised this to be false was when I went to visit a couple who are hugely interesting (normally) who are in their 60s, have been activists for most of their lives and have done amazing things for women and workers’ rights.... BUT they had just come back from a holiday in Europe. we should have known what we were in for when they pulled out their laptop with their photos and said 'we'll just have the pictures flicking over while we eat dinner' but of course the conversation revolved around the pictures and the tales of their journeys in Europe.

Listening to these stories and being bored shitless made me wonder why I was bored.... and then it hit me- we've been sold a lie! We believe that travel will make us more interesting, we’ve seen particular sites or been to particular cities and colonised the world with our travels. We take much and leave little - but not in a good way.

But how original or unique is it really to say, "Oh I saw the Eiffel tower"? What is really unique in that? What is interesting about trekking a well-known track that millions have done before you?

I wonder if when we boast about our travel are we really boasting about our wealth. My guess is that the majority world may dream of travel in terms of opportunity and better quality of life but we of the wealthy world dream of travel so that we have stories to tell of seeing things and going to places that... lets face it... millions of people have seen before. My hunch is that by travelling - we are hoping to set ourselves apart from the 'untravelled' and also to share stories with the elitist 'travelled'.

My guess is that the conversation that goes "oh I loved Paris, did you make it to blahblahblah while you were there - wasn't it amazing!!!" is really a modern day keeping up with the Joneses...

And then there is the carbon footprint of travel - of the petrol, of the air travel of all the general consumption.

But there is also the cost to community which is what I'm currently most concerned about. If you are going somewhere for a length of time no matter what your agendas and purpose you leave a hole in a community and you take that hole with you as you attemot to make and reenter another community. Your travles convey that the people that you profess to love and cherish are actually not as important as the particular reason that you have to travel.

You create a fracture of discontentment in your community with your pretence that what you are doing is SO interesting and what they are doing.... well isn't as interesting. What a load of CROK. I know for a fact I felt this most acutely while I was staying at home with Oscar. I felt that I couldn't stomach another travel story while I was washing nappies and trying to get a baby to sleep.

But really raising a human being - bringing into the world a new life- mothering the next generation - what can trump that? and all my teacher friends who put so much work and effort into not just teaching but moral guidance and pastoral care - another type of raising the next generation....

the most interesting people I know are not interesting because they've travelled - but interesting for so many other reasons.

We are definitely going on our journey but I hate to think that I'm contributing to a culture that I despise, that plays on people's inadequacies and lack of wealth or oppertunity.

If travel stories are the new capitalism I hope to not contribute to this. but I also want to share MY stories.

have you ever felt this conundrum?

Monday, October 08, 2007


well there has been a severe neglect of this blog on my part. sadly I can admit that I've sold out and have headed to the superficial world of facebook where you can buy fake things with real money and give them to your fake friends.

but there is another reason that there has been a long time between posts. and i'm not pregnant (thankyou Jesus!).

We are moving to East Timor in January 2008 as Alex has been offered a job with APHEDA (Union Aid Abroad) as a community development worker for Farmers' Unions.

all very exciting. all very scary.

more to come on this.....

ps if you are looking for me on facebook I go under the name 'Rachel Ariel'

Monday, August 06, 2007

the scripture meme

I have been tagged by Byron to share the verse from the bible that I keep going back to over and over.

This was tough. my first thought was the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). I feel like this son returning over and over to a father who against reason accepts me.

But it is Revelation 21 that gives me hope in crazy times.

I want the "new order" so desperately.

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
5He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

We chose this at our wedding to be read out and I think quite a few people didn't understand why you would choose this.

But this is what we wanted to say that were jointly striving for a 'new order' in so many ways.

photo taken by ME (on our new camera!!!)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

This Sunday

Some people think that God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.

-Anne Lamott "Traveling Mercies"

This Sunday at Glebe Cafe Church I will be facilitating a night of quiet reflection on the places and times that we've found God.
and the places and times we've looked but not found God.

or even the times when God has found us.

We will personally reflect on these 'places' where we've searched for God

or where God has searched for us

and anonymously share our experiences.

I am looking forward to this night. I am going to designate part of the building as areas for particular reflection such as "God in nature", "God in the bible", "God in humanity",
but I'm wondering if I should dedicate spaces for more ephemeral reflections such as "God in pain" or "God in humour"?
Alex suggested that I have an open slather area where people can make up a space.
For me I would have to say that God is in lone long car-trips home late at night when I am tired and the radio is that last thing I want over-crowding my full brain. in this dark silence i can call out to God, sing to God, laugh with God. and i can find comfort and solace.
Are there particular places/spaces that you search and find or search and don't find God?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

bye bye pigface point

The time has come to say goodbye to this beloved place. we are in the process of looking for a place to move. in the meantime we are taking a ridiculous amount of photos.

Friday, June 22, 2007

New Series

Well I have been convinced. I am about to start a series titled "Why Christians should be opposed to uranium mining and nuclear power". Stay tuned.

Photos taken by Anne O'Brien at the Labour Party Conference anti -nukes rally.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

a day in the life...

well i don't have anything of any intellectutal or creative value to post so what a better way to keep the punters happy than post some pics of my cute kid.

By the way we are only just taking a breath for air after being consumed by this gross gastro thing. my brain is yet to resurface.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

children of men.

Alex and I watched the movie "Children of Men" on the weekend and I am still having apocalyptic type visions/nightmares in relation to this film. This movie scarred the shit out of us - mainly because it was so cleverly grounded in so many current truths and occurrences. The frightening factor was the treatment of refugees in the face of extreme world terrorism. As someone who has been to detention camps in Australia, it brought back uncanny flashbacks.
But this movie is not a science-fiction futuristic vision - it is already happening. In the face of fear we harm the innocent as a means of self -preservation but as the movie closely pointed out such actions lead to the slow death of humanity (in the movie's case - due to infertility)

Humanity can die a metaphorical death and I believe that this will continue to happen while we embrace fear and label individuals as the 'other'.

what happened?

So suddenly my posts about my life in the church (in five acts) disappeared...

I thought that no one would notice but some people did mention it in passing.

I took these posts off for numerous reasons - mainly because I was unsure that these rants were actually going to help anyone but myself - and my greatest worry was that they might actually be a hindrance to a person's volatile faith. so they are gone. but if you would like to hear some stories (and boy, I've got many!), give me a call or a comment and we'll have a coffee or a beer or a wine or someother (legal) addictive substance.

One day I may actually attempt a series and actually complete it before i get sued. or not.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Oscar's 2nd birthhday is coming up and I'm ready to receive your toddler birtday present hints...

So far I'm leaning towards this.

If I could justify the cost I think that the wooden treehouse (pictured) from here would be fun.

Or perhaps some of the wooden figures from here to add to our little collection.

Monday, May 14, 2007

because i promised!

Here is Astor. Gorgeous and serene boy who I saw enter the world. Photo taken by his rockin mama- Bess.

Friday, May 11, 2007


here is something fun to do. go to this website Storypeople. pick an animation and/or a story or write your own and send an e-greeting to your favourite person. and have fun.

One friend who I sent one to once said that it was the best e- greeting that she'd ever received and being a computer techi designer person - that's a compliment!

Saturday, May 05, 2007


and maybe you will never consume in the same way again...

Friday, May 04, 2007

New job...

I have a very new and exciting job starting in the next couple of weeks here, you never know my job description may involve blogging...

Friday, April 27, 2007

What I've been working on.

I'm currently working on a paper about human rights abuses occurring in Papua New Guinea in relation to deforestation. I'm enjoying writing about something that I'm passionate about but when you write till a very late hour on some harrowing material it doesn't go down so well with someone who already struggles to sleep a whole night. If you would like to find out about the situation (condensed version) in PNG click here . I will post my paper when I've completed it (or parts of my paper).

come along!

This Saturday April 27th, the 400 delegates to the Australian Labor Party National Conference will vote to discard or retain the long-standing No New Uranium Mines policy.

Join the public lobby to stop an expansion of uranium mining this Saturday 12-2pm.

We need to send a strong message to the ALP that we don't want a policy U-Turn.

No U-Turn: No expansion of uranium mining

The ALP's No New Mines policy recognises uranium is a unique mineral with drastic implications and risks. After fifty years in the global nuclear industry, there is still no safe way to store radioactive waste. Uranium deserves special status. The current policy recognises this and should be retained.

The vast majority of Australians do not want Australia to go further down the nuclear path. 66% of Australians believe there should be no new uranium mines opened in Australia, and 78% of ALP voters don't want new uranium mines in Australia or want uranium mining stopped altogether (Newspoll, 30 May 2006).

Uranium directly leads to radioactive waste and nuclear weapons. It is not clean, safe or needed. Leave it in the ground!

Uranium: No Solution to Climate Change

Australian people deserve a genuine alternative and strong leadership in the face of climate change. The argument put forward by the Howard Government that we need to expand Australia's nuclear industry to combat climate change is not credible. Nuclear power is too slow, too expensive and too dangerous to be an answer to climate change.

The ALP should continue to be part of the broad opposition to Howard's nuclear push. Any changes in this policy would create more similarities, rather then alternatives between the Coalition Government and the ALP.

Join the action to lobby the ALP Conference

Join community members from environment, community, peace and union groups to retain the ALP's uranium policy.

Join us Saturday, April 28th, 12-2pm for the Rally, Speakers and Public Lobby .

At Darling Harbour Convention Centre, front entrance

Friday, April 13, 2007

Places you should go...

This Band - The Boom Band Krewe

This launch party -this Saturday - we'll be there - as will Alex playing 80's tracks trad style with a sousaphone and banjo player (you will have to see to believe). We are very excited to be part of this project and can't wait to see where it will go. Come along and sign -up to become a 'Friend of The Earth'.

This Caberet show for the performance of your life - and I am not biased because my friend is in it - it is seriously magical.

This website - I am currently addicted to.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The album that changed my life

being the little copy cat that I am I'm going to use the above title taken from a FRANKIE magazine editorial and start raving.

(PS If you feel like sending me a title - i may meet the challenge and come up with a blog entry to match)

Album that changed my life? mmm I feel the pressure to say something really cool here but not necessarily truthful. Because there are some people that that I listen to these days that may be considered cool by some.... I'm goona go with the truthful option and am prepared to loose any shards of 'cool' I had going for me.

I am internally debating 'Martika's Kitchen' -just because it was the first album i ever owned... but na, didn't exactly change my life.

OK I'm going to delve into the time of my life that was Ben Harper "Welcome to the Cruel World". Think high school, think big crushes, think intense year 12 major art works, think Bens.

The Summer of 1997 was the year I discovered Ben Harper. and it was not really a surprise that I fell in love on first listen - he was after all the fourth 'ben' crush I had had that summer (sadly there was a succession of ben crushes to follow into my uni years - thank goodness i married an Alex.) My gorgeous friend Ivy first coined the term "there is always a Ben" first it was in relation to my crushes, but then the saying seemed to embody all boys that were slightly bewildered by life and generally had that 'oh please show me what it's all about" look about them. It got to the point that when i met this guy on a train and when he said his name was ben i said (out loud) 'of course it is'

anyway back to Ben Harper.

Wow This album was and is pure magic. There was blues, soul and humour and suddenly it dawned upon me that there was a whole world of country style music that was actually OK - that was not like the music that I heard down the main street of my hometown during country music festival. suddenly country could be cool and lightening bolts descended midair. I was changed never to return to my smashing pumpkins cranberries loving faze again. The best bit about this album was that he sang about 'issues' and yeah well... I was a teenager and that was my job right, to love all things intense an 'meaningful'?

I used to go to sleep every night to 'waiting for an angel',This guy sang me 'walk away' at a festival (for all i knew he could have been a ben too), and i danced around the art room to 'we will rise'.

Sadly my ben harper experiences plateaued when i saw him live twice - O be honest! my affection was waning and i was more interested in the guy i was standing next to (Alex) than with Ben Harper.

then ben harper ... well ... in my opinion... got crap/sold out and I discovered other 'country' albums like M Ward, Iron and Wine, Calexico and more recently The Be Good Tanyas and Jolie Holland and now I seem to be progressing to dirty grubby raspy country rock and haven't really looked back.

but thanks for the memories to all the Bens and ben wannabees.

so how bout you tell me about the album that changed your life...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I feel human (again)

after a trip to my home town where i managed to catch some great rock-a-billy nashville style live tunes at a new funky venue called saas and an afternoon to myself in which I got to finally talk to a friend (pictured) without simaltaneously attempting to stop my nearly two year old from killing himself or someone (else) I feel human again. wow normal converstaion is hard to come by these days (on my part as conversation tends to be interupted with "don't eat that" or "come back" or "where did you get that cake from?") and it feels good.

this amazing woman pictured will be holding her own bubba some day (very very) soon and I'm so excited for her...

Picture is Bess with Oscar aged 4 minutes.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

cob is more than a loaf of bread.

Alex and I have been entranced with this book on the right. It is all about cob homes - homes that are made of predominantly mud and a bit of straw. We are so inspired! Alex has even completed a two story floor plan for an amazing cob home with window seats, a library/quiet room and a bathroom with a bath with a view (my dream home involves both of these).

Cob homes are absolutely gorgeous, there are usually no straight lines in a cob home and they are often built to mirror and compliment the environment that they are built in with concepts such as a living (grass) roof.

If you are interested check out
I Love Cob - a blog all about cob homes with some great pictures and links.

In the meantime we will be building a cob oven with
Ted this year - which is a good start!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Let Me Tell You a Little...

Story or Two.

Well have been hitting rock bottom a couple of times each week wondering what is in store or even out of stock in my/our life to come. That stupid but I didn’t think it would be like this loop playing and playing and playing until someone says stop and I say well shut-up time to get on with things and maybe I get a bit Oprah and train that voice to you go girl you take control you go get those dreams. Kindofthing. But I also so secretly hope to God (really) that I don’t bump into anyone that could vaguely represent the people I’m Supposed To Be Impressing but at one point I turn up to a wedding and a lot of them are there or not really but that dumb self that hopes to be the girl that they are all secretly jealous of, the you know, guess what she’s doing girl or even the girl the whole school talks about as the girl that went to our school la de dah. Then realise it’s all dumb, i haven't been at school in over ten years, and I’m not a failure just because I don’t have a job and haven’t yet reached that unobtainable fantastical DREAM JOB status. Plus I have the cutest husband And son around, so you know, that wins. Hands down and not pants down as I accidentally said once.

Story two. Got passed an envelope at church with a heap of cash in it with our name on it. There I was buying scratichies and getting really bummed that I didn’t win, the whole Everyone’s A Winner-Just Play For Fun not amusing me at all. Let’s face it fun is a million bucks in the bank and not fun is a scratched scartchie that doesn’t even promise another free ticket. But a whole wad of cash for us given with no strings attached and a Merry Christmas card that made me believe in Merry again. Things aren’t really that bad but I suppose Merry anything seems like a huge word and merry Christmas maybe does not represent my experience of this particular celebratory day. Being handed this money made me think about being handed GRACE and prior to remembering GRACE I went through the thoughts of we don’t deserve it, we don’t need it, that person needs it much much more and it struck me that that is what it is like to receive God’s grace. To think those thoughts. So I accepted the money. Thankfully and gracefully. I also said that night to alex I feel wrapped in a silk cocoon of love. I think he thought I meant him which would be partially true but I really meant everyone that He has placed around me/us. Spectacular people that create a marshmallow wall between us and the world. People that show me His love in so many ways. People that show us Hope.

Story three. When you hit rock bottom you then have to find the tools to carve your way up and through the molten. My tool is writing. The old adage write until you write is my new motto and rather than putting off writing and reading about writing or even reading about other people putting off writing. I am going to write. Probably a great deal of shit like this but maybe I will pull some gems out. Or even some semi-precious bits. So you may tune out soon reader. You may go this is not for me. You may want to visit blogs where boom bands play. And I don’t mean my husband’s band- I’m referring to a line out of Dr Seuss book, Oh the Places You’ll Go. Read it. So feel free to piss off for my future ramblings streams of self indulgent consciousness. Or. Stick around. Ramble too.