Sunday, June 22, 2014

A weekend in Hobart

It's been a while since photos were part of the blog, so I thought it was time for a comeback. This week has been pretty busy at work, with several interesting patients taking up my attention (and my lunch breaks!) so on Friday when my resident suggested checking out the ongoing winter festival at the Docks...

Dark MOFO is by all accounts, a winter art festival, coordinated by the guys behind MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) in Hobart. Reading up on it now, some of the events sounded like they were pretty full-on; think jumping naked into Sandy Bay in this temperature!

What we were after was the food, specifically the Winter Feast! Crowds of people packed into the Princes Wharf at the docks; this was just opposite Salamanca. Above you can see the entrance. It was pretty chilly, and random jets of fire would spurt up above the lights every so often. Barrels of fire were set up all around, with people clustering up around each one, looking like extras from the set of Gotham city.

This was an example of what was on offer - pretty good food to be had! We scoffed down beef cheek(so tender!), mussels, goat and elderberry pie, Huon Atlantic salmon and pork/beef sliders, finishing off with a crumble, some cannoli with Lindt choc filling and the sticky fig, date and ginger pudding.

Artwork was also on offer...I'm sure these took some effort to put up!

The next day, I thought I would be too full for brunch, but had been wanting to try Environs for some time.


Their savoury brekkie with a corn cake and scrambled eggs sitting on top, with a side of bacon and tomatoes topped with hollandaise sauce was the main draw when I arrived at lunch.

Very filling, though the scramble was more an omelette (overdone) and halfway through, a small hair popped up in the meal!

They were nice about it and offered me a meal to replace it but I declined - they were nice enough to waive the cost, and hoped I'd be back soon! They were so pleasant about it I'd definitely give them another go.

All in all, a nice weekend full of food - I'm starting a pasta bake now with chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes and a 4-cheese melt; perfect for the weather!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

a DOOR of opportunity

I wanted to insert a picture of a door opening here, but decided cliches are best served sparingly.

It's getting pretty cold in Hobart now, and I'm counting my blessings (and my socks, thanks Val!) in between submitting abstracts, keeping up with the work rush and making sure I meet deadlines and get the most out of this year away from Melbourne as possible.

I always say I like the cold and that Hobart reminds me of the UK (though not as windy) but honestly, its a bit of a struggle to be my usual productive self when all I want to do is keep my hands and legs as close to my torso as possible and curl up to enjoy a good movie after each day at work.

So this Sunday morning, church was a nice surprise - always to be counted upon for a friendly greeting, catching up with the latest news of the week and worshipping in a corporate setting. A nice surprise today, too, as I came away with the message of this DOOR of opportunity.

You'll have heard of this before, these doors - often a gateway to a hidden promise, a portal to another dimension, and the finding and unlocking of these doors - such an adventure! Nevertheless, it was brought home to me today again, in the context of Ezra (which I'll be reading during the week!)

At the start of the book, King Cyrus of Persia (always thought that was one of the cooler names in the Bible for some reason) gets an epiphany from God. This non-Jewish king, responsible for one of the great empires in the 'olden' days, is moved to action by a foreign god, whom his exiled slaves worship. This move is compelling, so much so that he decides to release his slaves to go back to the land that his predecessors conquered - to allow them to return to their homeland and even to offer them assistance along the way!

Definitely not an everyday occurrence; and the distinctive point also being that not only was the door of opportunity thus presented (in a really odd fashion) to the Israelites, but that the Bible gives us exact numbers of those who did make the return trip. Stuart made the point this morning that the numbers of the returning Israelites, down to the last donkey were recorded, but were only a fraction of the entire Israelite population who were in exile.

He suggests that maybe this is because those that were left behind did so because they were comfortable with their circumstances, that uprooting and travelling to unknown territory (70 years they were in exile - time enough for a new generation who had never known their homeland to arise) presented more uncomfortableness that they could handle. And that only a fraction recognised the door of opportunity and took it.

As for myself, doors of opportunity are being flung wide open, it seems. Opportunities to expand my professional know-how and my future as a nephrologist, opportunities to settle down, to grow in faith with a new group of people in Hobart, to grow closer to Penny and to mature in my walk with God - these are not wanting in numbers.

It is cold and as much as I would like to curl up and be cosy by the electric heater, now is the time for stepping through some doors!

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Always a rainbow after the storm.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May we never.

Think we are worth only as much as the world's opinion of us

Feel we are not tall, not thin, not shapely enough

Forget that we are made in God's image

Psalm 139:13-15

New King James Version (NKJV)
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[a]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
-you think this is meticulous? now multiply that by infinity!

Monday, May 26, 2014

What not to do.

1 Samuel 30

This tells the story of how David and his men came home from a Philistine campaign, where they were miraculously saved from having to fight against their former countrymen, only to find their women and children and livestock raided and taken by the Amalekites.

What a change of events, from one extreme of relief, jubilation and praising God and His favour, to come to despair, anger and looking for someone to blame.

"So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep." v4

"David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was biter in spirit because of his sons and daughters." v6

There have been many times in my life where I've come into a situation with almost no preface, no foreword or warning, no preamble or introduction; just something so out of context with what has gone before - and I've been pressed for a response.

Sometimes its at work, sometimes its from a relationship, sometimes its just out of the blue; something happens, and the world seems to teeter on the brink just momentarily while I'm searching for an appropriate thing to say or do.

The response says it all. Culture dictates our response, to a certain extent - some being more expressive than others, some showing more restraint. Upbringing and peer effect/pressure does as well; we watch and learn and copy what our elders and friends would do in certain situations. A modicum comes from our previous experiences as well - if we've been in that situation before we might respond in a very different way.

"But David found strength in the Lord his God." v6b

At a time when others might have vigorously defended themselves, when they might have tried to play the blame game, when others might have cursed and lamented their woes, wallowed in self-pity or stormed off to cool down in a haughty manner, David went to God, the one who gave him the strength to fight lions, who gave him the sensitivity to pluck the strings that calmed an angry king, who warned him to flee angry murderers and in whose Name he struck down a giant.

He worshipped. "Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, 'Bring me the ephod.'" v7

And because of that, David's men pursued, overtook and recovered all and more.

May I stop to listen to God instead of reacting to the world around me.
May I worship when the world begs for my attention.