Olivia and the airwalk

Christine and I along with both sets of parents went down to the Tahune Airwalk last Saturday. It was the first trial run of the Mountain Buggy. I was on my best behavior until the lady at the front desk, glancing at my Mountain Buggy pram, said "If you need some help we can call and get someone to drive you up there."

Part of me wanted to piffle her in the head for a) doubting my awesomeness* and b) doubting the MB. "You won't be able to get up the the stairs." she insisted. Part of me inside wanted to yell "Don't you know I AM MAN! Me have Mountain Buggy!" but I mercifully refrained.

Not only did I push the MB all the way up the stairs but also all the way down. It's a tough pram and Olivia, strapped in tight, loved it. About half way up Christine's Dad spotted a group of grey haired older folk sitting taking a breather. He walked up to them...
"So you guys are all here ready for the bungee jumping class?" he announced, as though he was running the course. I had to run away before I wet myself.

* I probably mean "determination"


You need new glasses... or why I quit.

So I got a job... finally. After about two months with no full time job* I was really grateful to these guys for giving me a job as an Opticians Assistant. I'm cautious about saying too much now but I very much enjoyed the short time I worked there.

On Monday afternoon just hours into my new job I received a call from a good friend who was really keen for me to work for his company. A position had just become available. The offer was too good to refuse. It was more suitable to my skills and talents as well as being more money. Once I made my decision (and it took me a while) I went and tendered my resignation as Opticians Assistant. I did however complete the week of training finishing on Friday afternoon.

In one week as an OA I learned heaps. I learned how to fix and pull apart a number of different types of glasses and frames. I learned about different types of lenses, coatings, contact lenses, and sunglasses, frames, transitions… the list goes on. I also had my eyes thoroughly tested (it turned out they are still fine).

Most of all I enjoyed being part of a local Tasmanian business that appreciates and actually cares not just for it’s employees but also it’s customers and patients. I would highly recommend that if you need to get glasses or have your eyes checked (it’s free every 2 years in Oz) then you visit a Total Eyecare store near you. And while it might not be the cheapest place in Hobart to visit, it would be the best… they even bought me a farewell cake. Total Eyecare thank you.

*My job as Resident Fellow at Jane is part time.


Being a bloke 101

I've blogged some stuff about masculinity and christian masculinity before 1, 2, 3, 4. It's a good topic and one I shall continue to follow with interest. I read this just this evening on the Gospel and Culture Project blog.

"...in defining masculinity and femininity in static terms, and then in re-enforcing those understandings, many evangelical writers turn a blind eye to ways in which their own culture has shaped their notions of what seems “natural.”
You can read the rest of the article here.


Brett Geeves Blog

To: info@tascricket.com.au
Subject: Brett Geeves Blog

Hey guys
I was wondering if you could provide an RSS feed for Brett Geeves very excellent blog. It's a pretty common practice in the web world.

If you don't know what I'm talking about then this is perhaps a request to pass on to your web/internet monkeys. Oh and tell Brett his blog kicks ****.

Cheers Mike Jolly
h/t Angus for link to his blog.


I heart twitter

I'm loving twitter at the moment. I had this piece of ministry advice come through this morning from Mark Driscoll on twitter.

Spend money on those things that grow the ministry and not simply on those things that make it easier.
It's good advice for Dan and Crossroads. Read more here.


The rock concert... what happend to the drunk girl?

It’s early on a Saturday night and I’m sitting on my prime-viewing ledge at the University Union bar. The gig starts. A guy in a crazy green suit wanders on stage (see below). His lyrics are garbled noise over a disco pop beat with a really heavy bass. He screams… a lot. From my position I watch as he wanders the room assaulting members of the audience and screaming in their faces. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. I want to hate and dismiss him as a crazy wanker but he’s just too keen.

I'm getting bored. On the other side of the room I spot a security guy with his fluro top on inside out. Classic. Next a guy walks past me wearing sunglasses on his head. No kidding. It’s night and we’re indoors. Evidently his girlfriend has the same disease of stupid cause she has her sunglasses on her head too. In front of me stands meat head man with a mullet that partially obscures his Opeth tee.

The support band come out, Trial Kennedy. They rock hard in a way your Mum would hate. Their drummer doesn't have a shirt. They have strong harmonious vocals reminiscent of The Butterfly Effect. People look more drunk. It dawns on me that in order to dance up the front you need a lot of confidence or just be really pissed. I can’t see myself doing either maybe that’s why I don’t dance.

It’s about 11pm when Birds of Tokyo come on stage. The lead singer looks like my computer nerd friend Matt. He dances with a sort of jerky nerdy motions. His vocals are spot on. The crowd seems to pulsate in time to the music like a large bodily organ. It’s the middle of the concert and a slight framed (drunk) girl jumps up next to me and proceeds to fall asleep. I’m not sure how, the music is very loud. Jason leans in and asks me if she’s ok.

They pump through their songs and people seem to enjoy it. Light explodes all over the room, music washes over me. I tap along. It’s a nice night out and I feel young again.


Choosing a pram... controversy.

I finally bought a pram. I looked at a number of different ones and finally narrowed it down to two. Phil and Teds and Mountain Buggy. The particular models I was looking at were the urban elite and the Phil and Teds dash and vibe (probably the natural competitor of the urban elite).

I had many strong recommendations for the phil and teds from closely trusted and valued friends and it did present a strong case. However my problems with the Phil and Teds were...

  • It is a compromise pram. Bad for one child but good for two.
  • The second seat needs to be removed before the pram is folded.
  • It felt really clunky to drive especially with one child. I felt like I needed a longer handle.
  • Having the capability for two seats upsets the balance of the pram when you have one child. I found it really difficult to maneuver around up and down curbs and bumps when I tried it out.
  • The phil and teds (vibe) had very large footprint ruling it out.
  • The hand brake while sounding good seemed fiddly to use in real life.
  • Everyone has Phil and Teds (I'm not a follower of pram trends).
On the flip side the Mountain Buggy...
  • All the Mountain Buggy prams felt beautifully balanced. Compared to the dash and vibe the urban elite wins on overall feel and drive-ability (all far superior).
  • The urban elite and vibe cost about the same. The dash was slightly cheaper.
  • The handle seemed to be slightly longer suiting the taller person.
  • The Mountain Buggy is undoubtedly the better pram in terms of quality and make. The urban elite made from more durable fade resistant, water resistant canvas. The dash was just made from normal cordura (not as good).
  • While it had a slightly larger footprint it still fitted easily in the small hatch of my car.
  • When I thought about it I'd rather have a good one seat pram for a while then trade up later.
  • The mountain buggy looks way way cooler.
My conclusion; The Phil and Teds is great if you have a couple of kids it's a bit clunky and not easy to maneuver. However the Mountain Buggy's superior comfort and drive-ability mean that for one child you won't ever regret buying it... that is until you have another child. It'll be controversial I know, but I bought the better pram... the Mountain Buggy urban elite*.

* If you are wondering about Christine's opinion, she was happy with either pram. My feeling was that I should buy the best pram I could for her and the Mountain Buggy simply best met that requirement.


Only in Australia

"Kangaroo intruder terrorizes sleeping family"
...No I'm not kidding. It happens all the time. ;)

h/t Seumas


Know your issues...

I’ve been asked a number of times how I knew that Christine was the right one to marry. I’ve really struggled to put it into words until last night. I was watching a sermon and it suddenly dawned on me that you should marry someone you agree with. I think this is good advice not just for Christians but in relationships more widely. Many Christian guys I know have a list of things in their head it goes something like this; Is she Christian? Is she hot? Is she single? Sometimes in reverse order.

I’m not trying to critique this particular view but I would like to add an element to it. Marry someone you agree with. I’m not saying you need to agree with absolutely everything (that would make life boring). What I am saying is it’s not as simple as just marrying another Christian… “Ok are we both Christians? Yep. Let’s go for it.”

Everyone has “issues” both theological and otherwise. This could include the type of church you attend, the style of worship you enjoy, whether you think the wife should stay at home with the kids, right down to whether you leave the toilet seat up and where jam is stored (cupboard or fridge).

All of these things are “issues”. To marry right you must know your issues. More importantly know which ones you can let go and which ones you can’t. If you are passionate about the toilet seat but don’t care if your wife is the breadwinner then bully for you. But know which issues you have to hold to and which ones you can let go. One of the biggest mistakes I made in my relationships was to think that I didn’t have any issues. I thought that I was godly enough just to let things go. I wasn’t and I learned the hard way.

So if you are dating (or thinking of it) let me ask you some questions. What are your issues? What things can you flex on and which one’s can’t you flex on? Here was my list of non flexible theological issues in order of importance.

  • Christian?
  • Passionate about ministry and involved in church?
  • Strong theology of the roles of men and women in the church and home?
  • Calvinist?
  • Theology of spirits work in believers*?
* What I mean here is I potentially couldn’t marry someone who had a Pentecostal view of the second baptism of the Spirit.


Ten years ago this year...

This year it’ll be ten years since I became a Christian. My story is pretty ordinary. There were no fireworks, explosions, blinding lights not even a voice in the night. It is the journey of the mind and the heart to an understanding of the graciousness of Jesus.

I was brought up in a Christian home but didn’t really take it too seriously. Late in year twelve one of my friends challenged me about how I lived my life. I knew I needed to fix things up in my life. I treated people around me pretty poorly including my parents and friends. I was a selfish and angry dude but I was also upset and broken. I can remember riding my bike down to the water and bawling my eyes out with frustration at life too often.

As I began to try and clean my life up I spent some time around people who read the Bible and prayed each day. The Bible for them wasn’t just a devotional and inspirational text but a book to be studied, understood and read in context like any textbook. I realise that sounds dry but for me this was revolutionary. It engaged not just my heart but my mind also.

For this reason I left my parents church met some other people who would have a profound influence on helping me to understand the gospel properly. I can still remember doing SUS (a Bible study on the first 5 chapters of Romans) for the first time. It was upstairs in a pub with people who weren't old. One night I remember I was especially struck by the Bible’s claim that all people deserved God’s judgment and condemnation. I knew I wasn't a good person.

As I went home I can remember thinking that Christian’s didn’t go to hell, but I wasn’t sure why. Later that night I read ahead of the study to Romans 3

Now we see how God does make us acceptable to him. The Law and the Prophets tell how we become acceptable, and it isn't by obeying the Law of Moses. God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins.
That night understood grace from God in sending his son Jesus, for the very first time.


Flowing locks. Shameful but true.

What: I'm giving away Michael Bolton's Said I Loved You But I Lied from the album The One Thing.
Type: CD Single includes bonus track Soul Provider.
Condition: Used... but very good condition I probably listened to it once. Also contains small picture of Michael Bolton with chest hair (sorry no picture).

Does ANYONE want this CD or should I just break it up and do the world a favor?


Some random reflections on birth

  • I don't think anything can prepare you for the birth of your own child. In spite of all the gruesome videos and books and parenting classes. Having a kid changes everything.
  • Everyone is an expert when it come to raising children. "Sleep for 3 hours feed for 1... you must get routine." "I can't believe you let other people hold her." "I can't believe..," the list goes on.
  • Everyone has their own little bit of advice about what to do. Very often most of the advice is contradictory other advice you will receive. I've tried to pick what I reckon is right. Trying to weigh it up make a wise choice.
  • Listening to your own child cry really chills you to the bone in a way that listening to to other people's kids crying doesn't.
  • I have a new appreciation and respect for women especially those who go through child birth.
  • You don't always do things the way your parents did. You can set your mind to do stuff differently... and succeed.
  • Don't be afraid to break conventions. There seem to heaps of unwritten rules when it come to child rearing. It always feels like someone is judging you for the decisions you make, push on they are your child.
  • In the parenting DVD I watched, men were made to look pretty useless when it came to helping Mums out. I was disappointed. I'm trying hard to be the bathing and nappy changing ninja. I am not some useless male oaf.
  • I've found the need to be confident and strong even when I don't feel it. I need to do this to support my wife and child. They are both vulnerable at the moment.
  • I'm glad I haven't got a job yet as it's meant I've been able to spend heaps of quality time with Olivia and Christine.
  • It's been nice having people drop by and give presents. It's much appreciated.
  • I promise I will not use a picture of just Olivia as my profile picture... anywhere. Just as I promised I wouldn't use my wedding photos as profile pictures. To be honest I find this practice a little lame*.
  • It's not possible to spend too much on a pram.
*Please try not to be offended it's just my opinion.