Sunday, April 15, 2018

Jesus is already ruling the world

I have been pondering a lot recently on how I think the world works.  I think I have overly bought in to the idea that how things look is how they are: that the people who govern bits of the world are the people truly in charge, that things will only change if people change them etc.  These things have a truth, but they miss the fact that God is on the throne!

The sermon below has been particularly influential in this.  It's part of a series on the Book of Revelation from First Baptist Church in Vancouver, entitled Things are not (only) as they seem.  The preacher is Darrell Johnson, who was lecturing at Regent College in the time Martin studied there.  I discovered him a couple of years back whilst working my way through all the plenary sessions of IFES World Assembly at Mexico, and have listened to one of his sermons most Sundays over the last year or two (his YouTube channel is here).



In it he makes the point that Christ is already on the throne and we are already reigning with him (in particular, via. our prayers).

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wahine Disaster 50th anniversary

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of New Zealand's worst shipping disaster: the sinking of the TEV Wahine.   This is a significant event in my family as my dad, Norman Wansbrough, was one of the members of the public who rescued survivors washed up on the Eastbourne coast.

For the 40th anniversary he wrote down some of his recollections of the day.  I have republished those below.  Underneath that are links to Radio New Zealand's coverage of the 50th anniversary (including various people's recollections of the day and historic audio and video), as well as photos taken by my parents at previous commemorations.

If you're not familiar with the story of the sinking of the Wahine you can read about what happened here and here.

My dad at the right, in Wahine Park in Mirimar a the 2013 commemoration

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

One month trial of high protein, low carbohydrate diet for CFS

In recent years there has been some research* indicating that the cells of people with CFS may not get energy from glucose as well as regular people do, but may still be able to derive energy normally from protein.  They didn't look at processing of fat (the other main thing we get energy from), although at least one other study indicates there may be issues there, too.

* this research is explained in more lay terms here and here.

With this in mind, I decided to do a six-week trial of a very high protein, very low carbohydrate diet.  If my body was functioning like the cells in the trial, this should give me more access to energy at a cellular level, which ought to translate to more perceived energy :-)  The idea was to be as strict as I could manage with this diet then, if it proved helpful, to gradually figure out how strict was necessary.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Some happy things :-)

Flowers from my friend Bridget who visited yesterday (I know her from high school) - also an Easter card and a just-because card from our neighbour Kathy.  Also, the purplish 'everlastings' to the left are from a bouquet Bridget gave me what must be at least a year ago!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Fairly traded Easter eggs

Did you know that most Easter eggs on sale in New Zealand this Easter are made with cocoa that could well have been grown by slaves?  Who would want to support that?

Below are some ways you can get your Easter treats whilst helping your neighbours to flourish, instead of supporting those who enslave them!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

What can we do about microplastic in the ocean?

You have probably heard about the problem of microplastic in the ocean: tiny pieces of plastic, too small to see, that sea creatures mistake for plankton.  They eat it, filling their stomachs with inert bulk, starve and die.  There is little evidence that this microplastic concentrates up the food chain (and the only time you're likely to personally eat it is whilst eating shellfish), but killing off a swathe of the bottom of the food chain still is surely unhealthy for the ecosystem as a whole.  It is also pretty disrespectful to the God who made the oceans.

What can we do about this?

Later I give my reasons in some detail, but, in brief, I have come to think that the most effective things we in the West can do are:
  1. Drive less and always drive with well-inflated tyres and well-balanced wheels;
  2. Avoid wearing petroleum-based synthetic textiles such as polyester and poly cotton blends (and wash those we do wear less often).
We can also work towards change in areas we don't affect directly:
  1. Support charities that improve rubbish collection in the majority world and lobby aid donors such as NZAID to do the same;
  2. Lobby councils and the Ministry of Transport to install road surfaces that are less eroding of tyres;
  3. Lobby local councils to collect storm water and remove as much of the microplastic found there as possible.
Any one of these would have far more impact than bans on plastic microbeads, which are a negligible source of microplastics.

On the other, supporting bans on plastic bags may well be useful: I suspect that such light, easily-blown-away plastic items are likely to make up a significant part of the plastic not landfilled or recycled in NZ.  Participating in beach cleanups will also help prevent some of the items that didn't make it to a bin from entering the ocean.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Lectio divina

In January, I read a blog post by Lynne Baab on Lectio divina, an ancient practise of listening to God through reading scripture.  It was part of a series on listening to God in prayer (you can see the whole series at the end of this blog post).

At the time, I was aware that life had been more complicated than usual for a wee while.  I'd realised that, in response, I'd been praying and asking God for help quite a lot, but I'd been neglecting listening to God and seeking God simply for the sake of knowing him.  So this blog post came at an opportune time for me :-)

As Lynne describes it, lectio divina is a four-step meditation that can be used on any Bible passage.  Firstly you read it through slowly, looking for a word or phrase that stands out or 'shimmers'.  Then you re-read it, thinking about what the meaning of the whole passage is in the light of that word or phrase.  Thirdly you respond to God in regards to what you have seen, and lastly you wait quietly for anything he may have to say to you.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Some beautiful things

It's the time of year for Jerusalem artichokes and I'm greatly enjoying the flowers and the bumble bees they attract :-)

aren't they glorious?
And my moth orchid is still going strong (although with many fewer flowers after some wormy thing ate through lots of the stems...)


I'm also pleased with some cards I recently made:

The yellow and blue are glass paints on acetate.
The image was a reward given to my mum at Sunday school many years ago.  She came across a stash when they were moving house recently and I've kept a few and will be using the remainder on cards :-)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fair Trade 'Nutella'

Over the last year or two I've been working on a recipe for home-made Nutella.  I don't want to buy regular Nutella as it's made with cocoa bought on the open-market, some of which will have been grown by slaves.  I want my global neighbours to flourish, so try to always buy fairly traded cocoa.  However, I still want to have a chocolate hazelnut spread in the house as one of our regular visitors is very attached to it, and hospitality is important, too!  Having failed to find any fairly traded chocolate hazelnut spread in New Zealand*, it was time to figure out how to make my own :-)

*if you're in Australia and have this problem, try this: it's yummy, widely available and not even that expensive!



Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Assisted Dying in New Zealand

Update: the submission deadline has been extended.  Submissions now close at midnight on Tuesday, March 6th.

A bill proposing to introduce assisted dying (i.e. voluntary euthanasia) is currently being considered by the Justice select committee of the New Zealand parliament.  Were this legislation to be passed into law, assisted dying would become available to anyone with a terminal condition who is expected to have less than six months to live, as well as to anyone with a grevous and irremediable medical condition.

I am against this and am in the process of writing a submission to the committee to say so.  Could I encourage you to do the same?  You can read information about the bill (along with some concerns about it) here or, if you're super-keen, read the full text of the bill here.  You can make your submission here.  Submissions close February 20th.  Parliament has prepared a guide on making submissions which you can read here.  You don't need to say anything more than whether you oppose or support the bill in question, although they prefer for you to give your reasons in moderate detail :-)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Holiday in Wellington

Straight after Christmas, Martin and I headed down for two weeks holiday in Wellington :-)

We were really pleased to discover that the airline allows disabled people to bring two mobility aids with them (not one as we previously thought), so I was able to bring my walker as well as my wheelchair.  We also worked out we could just fit my 'travel' bed lever and my brand new 'travel' shower stool into the standard baggage allowance, so they came along in a custom-built cardboard box Anna and Martin put together.  It all added up to a stupendous amount of stuff, but it was very nice not to have the hassle and expense of hiring everything down there :-)

Me with my mum at the airport - everything you see (except the airport's trolley) traveled on the plane with us!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Finding a National Radio programme you heard

From time to time, people ask me to find a programme on the Radio New Zealand website - perhaps a programme that they caught part of live but would like to hear in its entirety, or something they heard advertised but didn't catch live.  I've just put together a guide to explain how I go about finding those programmes on the website, so people can do it themselves if they want.

If that sounds like something that may be of interest to you, you can download it here.  It's a pdf.  And if you have any feedback on it, I'd love to hear from you :-)