Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Purple Potatoes and the Creed

What do purple potatoes have to do with the creed? 'Not much,' you think. 'Purple potatoes and the creed? Forget it!'

In our school work we recently discovered a new book about the creed. It was written in the Second World War by a priest called Fr Ronald Arbuthnott Knox. (I love that name!) Fr Knox was chaplain to a girls boarding school at the time. While he was with the school he decided to give a series of lectures on the topic of the creed. These lectures were later published as a book called 'The Creed in Slow Motion.'

We love trying new books, and with a name like Arbuthnott, well, we had to try this one. We fell at love with it at once. Fr Knox's lectures were very humorous, written as he would have spoken them to the girls in the school. He takes the creed line by line, sometimes only a few words at a time. In fact, in the whole of the first talk he didn't manage to get past the words 'I Believe.'

Using the creed Fr Knox goes deeply into our faith and what we are actually professing to believe every time we recite the Credo. The words that we rattle off so blithely every time we recite the creed mean a lot more than we actually realise.

In our latest chaper, Fr Knox was talking about the words 'Our Father Almighty.' In this chapter he talked about the powers of God, and how he really is our father in heaven. Fr Knox first tells us that God can do anything, but he can't make a contradiction. God could make an immoverable post, and could make an irresistable ram, (as in a battering ram, not a male sheep) but he could not have them exist together. They contradict each other entirely.

We often ask God, "Why did you let this happen? Why did you let So-and-So die? You could have saved them."
Well, God could have, but God gave us free will. When God gave us free will, he also gave us the consequences of free will. We can choose what we do, and many of the bad things that happen in the world around us happen because of our gift of free will. If God intervened every time we knelt down and asked him to do something, then the gift of free will would be a bit of a joke. It would be like God giving us a gift with restrictions. "I'll give you free will, but nothing will happen because of that." That is a contradiction. For the gift of free will to be real, we have to have the consequences of free will as well as free will.

But there are other bad things happening in the world. The earthquake in Christchurch and the Tsunami in Japan for instance. Man didn't make those. No choice of free will produced those disasters. So God must have let them happen. But why? Doesn't God love us? Does he want to punish us?

No, God is our father and he loves us. But, like any good father, he must teach us to be obedient, to love him blindly and without question. He sends us sufferings to mould us and make us better people. If a person is spoil and indulged and allowed to do whatever he or she likes, then they become warped. Their characters grow into shapes they were never meant to become. As Fr Knox himself says:

"If your parents spoil you, you become something like those purple potatoes with holes in them, instead of those nice white or pink ones which you put in your basket."

No one in our family wants to become a purple potato with holes in it. We want to grow up to be good white and pink ones. So, whenever someone is behaving in a spoil manner, we tell them, "Don't do that or you'll grow up to be a purple potato with holes in it!"

As you can see, Fr Knox has cleverly tied purple potatoes into a talk about the creed. It is surprising how much there is to learn about the creed. And also, how many interesting things, such as purple potatoes, Fr Ronald Arbuthnott (I still love that name) Knox can bring into it.

Fr Knox's book, "The Creed in Slow Motion is available as a Kindle book from Amazon.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Sister, My Friend

Most of my friends live far away. I rarely see them much above once or twice a year. I would love to be able to see them more often. I love to imagine what it would be like to have a friend so close that I could see them every day. Of course, if I went to school I would be able to see lots of friends each day. But even that consideration does not make me want to swap my homeschooled life for that of a school girl.

I might notice the lack of friends very much. I could sit about the house moping and whinging that I have no friends. I would certainly make myself a real pain in the neck. But there is one thing stopping me from doing that. Something that makes my long distance friendships easy to bear. That one thing is my sister Charlotte.

For as long as I can remember we have been good friends. I can remember when playing without her when she was a baby, too young yet to join in with all my wild games. But, as she grew older, I can't remember a time when we didn't do everything together. From playing games to sharing a room, everything was shared between us.

Charlotte used to have many dodges to get out of various kinds of work that she didn't want to do. Bed making was a job she hated. So, morning after morning, she would come to me at bed making time and say, "Imogen, I can't make my bed. Will you show me how?"
And so, morning after morning, I would painstakingly show her how to mae her bed properly, until one day I realised that I was doing all her work and refused to do it any more.

Most of our afternoons were spend outdoors, playing in the garden. I would make up the games and Charlotte would uncomplainingly play any part I asked her to. She was my indian sister, my hotel guest. We swept pine needles, made cubby houses and fought wars side by side.

During this last summer she dragged me out of bed, grumbling loudly, and marched me down the bush tracks and back. Most of the way down I would hardly speak, my brow furrowed, my eyes flashing. You would hardly think that I'd actually asked her to get me up! But on the way back we'd talk about everything and anything. And by the time we reached the house I'd be smiling and laughing and definitely ready for my breakfast, behaving as if the early morning moodiness had never happened

Now, we are still best of friends. She shares my room (or is it the other way round?) We work on craft projects together. Her creativity spurs me on, lazy thing that I am, to try harder to finish things I start. She helps me when I get stuck in a knitting pattern that is so easy to her, but that I can't see how to do at all. She never loses her temper with me. If I suggest anything, even down to deep cleaning our room, which is a lengthy process involving a whole days work, plus many messes, much throwing of things out, and eventually great exhaustion, she will at once get out the buckets, smile at me, and get to work.

If you pass our bedroom door at any time of day, you are sure to here the busy hum of voices as we discuss the latest book we have been reading, talk about our knitting plans, suggest plot ideas for our stories, or just chat about life in general. If you stand there for a moment longer you will hear us burst into wild laughter as one of us cracks a joke, or remembers something funny. Charlotte always understands my jokes. Her mind works in the same wild way as mine some of the time, though for the rest it is far more orderly and methodical. We think of the same things at the same time, either saying something together, or looking at each other over the table and sharing a smile as we know that we are thinking the same thing.

My sister is my best friend. My other friends might live a long way away, but Charlotte more than makes up for them. I have heard of familys where there is only one girl. One of my friends is like that. I hear of others where the sisters don't get on. I sit here in my arm chair and pity them from the bottom of my heart, becase they don't have a sister like mine.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mary's Yes

Yesterday we celebrated the solemnity of the Annunciation, when Mary said yes to being the mother of Jesus. This is such an important feast day in the church that is overrides even Lent. Which means that you can eat meat on the feast of the Annunciation even when it's on a Friday, as it was this year.

Because this is such an important day for us as Catholics, we had to celebrate it properly. So, Charlotte, Sophie, Gemma-Rose and I all made mobiles that reflected Mary's great obedience to God. They were made out of white hearts, each with a YES written in the middle and decorated round the edges.

Charlotte and I did the writing while the younger two decorated them with coloured pens and glitter. They had a lovely time designing each and every heart to be absolutely beautiful. They made mobiles with one big heart with a big YES in the centre. Underneath this big heart were hung two smaller hearts, also saying YES. And right at the end we strung some beads.

Charlotte and I made our own mobiles out of strings of smaller hearts, where every little heart was decorated in a different way. The writing of the words was different and each one had different pictures round the edges. I did the writing on our small hearts and Charlotte, who is the more artistic of us two, decorated them.

Sophie and Gemma-Rose also made a cake for us to share at dinner. It was a vanilla cake, the closest we could get to a white cake, and they iced it with white icing.

How did you celebrate your Annunciation?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blogging Fever

Well, since I set up Charlotte's blog 'Charlotte's Web', there has been a rash of blogger want-to-be's. My two younger sisters, Sophie and Gemma-Rose begged to be allowed blogs of their own. So, after much begging, Mum finally gave in and said they could have them. I'm getting rather good at setting up new blogs now.

Sophie's blog is called 'Sophie's Sea Bed.' She writes basically as she speaks and is as enthusiastic about blogging as she is about the rest of life. You can just imagine her everlasting smile as you read her posts.

Gemma-Rose is only seven, but she longs to be one of 'the big girls'. Her blog is called 'Windy Island', a name I think she came up with on her own. Don't get fooled by the fact that the name at the bottom of the posts is Imogen, the words are all her own.

Both girls would be estactic if they had commentors or even better, new followers. Please go and at least look at their blogs.

Now maybe next time I blog I'll write about something original, rather than just telling you what new blogs I've made. Though you might decide that the smaller girls write better posts than I do!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Today Charlotte left 'Dancing with Dragonflies' to start her own blog. Which means that I have this blog all to myself and I can bore you to death with all my rambling instead of having her to occasionally give a brief breath of sanity.

Anyway, I thought that I'd post the link to her new blog. She's a really good writer and well worth reading. She'd be really thrilled if you came and read her blog, or even followed it!

If you'd like to check out Charlotte's blog it's called 'Charlotte's Web'. Click on this link to go directly to her blog.
Charlotte's Web

I know she'll be really happy if you read her blog, comment or follow. Please visit her.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lights Out!

Our house starts to wake up at around six thirty. Someone gets up and feeds the cats. Dad get ready for work. I stumble out of bed and start to make some toast with my eyes closed. We all tip toe around trying not to make too much noise, and fail miserably.

This morning was different. Charlotte fed the cats as usual,but when I climbed out of bed and made my way down the hall to the kitchen, low and behold, there were no lights on. I flicked a light switch. Nothing. No power whatsoever.

Dad appeared out of his room, dressed, showered, and carrying a candle. He placed it on the side as we found the breakfast things in the semi dark. Breakfast was eaten by candlelight, the most romantic sort of breakfast I have ever eaten.

"There's no hot water except for what's in the system," Dad tolds us before he walks out the door. No shower then. I threw on some clothes and started on the house cleaning.

Slowly but surely people started to appear out of darkened rooms, only to be greeted by cried of "There's no power!"

Eight o'clock arrived, and with it, finally, some electricity. We rushed for the showers. Finally the day could start properly.

Next we put a soup in the slow cooker.
"That will be a nice dinner," I said. I love tomato soup, and Dad's recipe is the best I have ever tasted.

Four o'clock arrived. Charlotte and I sat in our room with the light on and our computers going. Suddenly the light flickered and went out. The computers stopped humming. Another blackout. And our dinner was in the pot!

I've never tried pulverizing soup with a potato masher before, but let me tell you, it doesn't really work. The only thing it did was squash the tomato. Still, the soup was still hot, and candles lit our table once more.

I'm quite glad that we've finally got power now. Here's hoping that is stays on!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Two Loving Cats

I was lucky enough to catch two of our cats in the cutest positions tonight. Sammy and Jenny are both gentle loving cats. And to see them together like in these photos is so cute!

Sleeping side by side. No problems at all. How sweet!

Sammy grooms Jenny. The perfect show of love between cats.

Typical. Jenny's had enough. No more licking Sammy! I might have to get rough.

All forgiven. Fast asleep again too. Such is the love of cats.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crossing the Bar

I wanted to share this poem today. I found it while browsing poems for school work. It's an old favourite of mine. There is lots of beautiful imagery. I love how Tennyson makes death seem like a final boat voyage It's a lovely thought too, that God is our pilot and that, at the end of our last voyage, we will see him face to face forever.

Crossing the Bar
SUNSET and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound or foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell;
When I embark;
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Great Flood (Almost)

A double rainbow was all the warning we had of the rain to come as we drove home. A few random flashes of lighning alerted us to the fact that there was probably a strom, but we weren't ready for what came next. One moment we were in the sun, the next it was pouring with rain.

There was water pouring down these stairs like a river.

We drew up on the driveway and the first thing we saw through the driving rain was the open garage door at the bottom of our sloping driveway. The water was pouring in. But when we got inside to find out why the door was open we found that half the garage was already flooded and Mum was up to her ankles in water trying to save our stuff.

There wasn't much we could do just then. so we waited for the rain to stop. In the meantime the bottom of the garden turned into a marsh and the front became a swimming pool. Really, you almost needed the flippers we unearthed among the soaked things on the floor. The gutters couldn't handle the rain and it was pouring over the sides like a waterfall. The roads had turned into dirty brown lakes and on the highway a car was parked on it's side after a crash. Truely the rain was powerful.

The whole garden was a bog

All of a sudden the rain had stopped. Dad, Duncan and I opened both the garage doors and set to work to clean up the mess. Two soaked armchairs were the first to come out, followed by a damp ping pong table, a couple of plastic wrapped mattesses, and box after box of Mum's precious books.

There was actually a drain under all that water, it just couldn't handle the rain!

There was so much water on the floor that we were sweeping it out with a broom. Soggy cardboard had to be dumped outside in a pile and everything reorganised so that it didn't get any wetter. Thankfully, nothing much was really damaged. We were lucky in that respected. Plus the garage got a much needed cleanout. The flood did us some good!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Bouquet of Flowers

Flowers in our garden are rare. It's probably got something to do with our rocky soil but few flowering plants seem to grow well. However, one plant did manage to survive and today I discovered it's wonderful flowers. I took some photos of it at once to celebrate the momentous occasion and thought I'd share the best ones with you.

This is the whole plant. Isn't it gorgeous?

The blossom was so beautiful I had to take a close-up of it. I just love the colour.

This photo shows the buds that give the promise of more flowers to come.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dancing with Dragonflies

Imogen and I decided a few days ago that we wanted to have an online journal. That setting it up was the easy part. But the name. We wanted a really special name. So what would we call it? After much brainstorming and thinking and coming up with not very much we finally had a result. 'Dancing with Dragonflies' was a name that appealed to both of us. Being pretty and interesting it intrigued us. So that is what our journal is called.

We want a place where we can record daily events in our lives. 'Dancing with Dragonflies' will be this place. We'll write about whatever interesting things that happen to us. Daily happenings, events in the family and so on are all things that we want to write about.

Anyway, welcome to 'Dancing with Dragonflies'. We hope you'll like it.


Welcome to 'Dancing with Dragonflies'. This blog is going to be our online journal. We're going to post photos, family events and other things that occur to us in our daily life.

We've previously been blogging on our other blog 'Paper Dolls by the Serendipity Sisters.' While we're not writing on that blog any more, we haven't just deleted it. We're still going to publish our Annie Belle paper dolls. In fact we're going to do more than that. We're going to write stories to go with our dolls. If you've got little children who like paper dolls check out 'Paper Dolls by the Serendipity Sisters' at: