Friday, 29 September 2006

i love my chiropractor

my chiropractor rocks. he is the most unassuming, no-nonsense kind of a guy. and i've been having to visit him a lot lately, following the car accident. thankfully the other guy's CTP insurer is going to pay for $500 worth of treatment for me (i have to apply if i require more than that), so that helps in the short term anyway, and john isn't that expensive so i'll get a lot out of that money.

his practice is at maroubra beach, which i must say is quite pleasant if you have to go there frequently. at the moment it's pretty quiet, and yesterday i enjoyed an ice cream and a shambling kind of walk after my treatment.

the reason i love my chiro is that he doesn't just crack your back and kick you out the door. he does a good strong massage first and puts heat on the area. most times he also does a bit of acupunture and i have to admit this is one of my favourite bits. most acupuncture only deals with the fairly superficial, the needles are put in but not very deep - something like this:

however the kind of acupuncture john does is slightly different (i thought he called it thoracic acupuncture, but i could be wrong). rather than targeting acupoints, he sinks the entire needle into the muscle to release the tension there. you feel a bit of a twang when the needle hits the muscle, but then, as he says, it's like putting a hole in a balloon, and all the tension gradually dissipates. it sounds weird. it is weird. but it is so good.

yesterday he did my traps (shoulders) and my glutes (around the hip area). i had a look at the ones in my hip (couldn't see the shoulders, obviously) and the whole ten centimetres of the needle was in, with just the tip showing. love it. he said to me once how he admired us "Aussie sheilas", "i sink this bloody great needle into you and you go 'yeah whatever' - you should see some of these big blokes, built like tanks, tough as anything, you just show them the needle and they start crying."

then he cracked my neck and my lower back and sent me on my way. that is the other favourite bit - that satisfying crunch when he does the manipulation. when you think about it, it's a pretty precarious position to be in, someone messing around with your spine like that. but i trust him wholeheartedly; he definitely has a gift (even if he does swear like a sailor sometimes and always has 2CH on).

and although i might be a tough (half) Aussie sheila, i did still need the ice cream afterwards - i felt a little woozy. but i did sleep very well last night for the first time in ages.

Monday, 25 September 2006

swimming upstream

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

we heard a stirring testimony at church yesterday from pat day, one of america's most successful jockeys (he was visiting us on behalf of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America - our minister is also a chaplain to the racing industry with ARCC, so it kind of ties in together). pat spoke passionately and honestly about his conversion and the gifts that God has given him and how he has tried to do everything he could through his high profile career to turn the world's attention to Jesus.

the above verse is one he used time and time again. and he said "it doesn't say 'and we know that in all the good things' or 'all the bad things' - it says that we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him."

that is something i cling to sometimes. right now it is a great comfort, when i'm struggling with health and wellbeing, as well as things like work and money and relationships and all of that. it can be so hard to make sense of things; it feels like i'm swimming upstream and part of me feels like it would be so easy just to let go and be swept away in the rapids. but i know it's worth it to hold on. verses like this give me great encouragement.

Sunday, 24 September 2006

appropriate expressions of anger

i did something very very stupid yesterday in an extreme fit of pique, while on my own - i punched a wall. i'm not quite sure what i've done to my hand but it doesn't feel great.

the wall appears unscathed, but i am hoping it's just being stoic and it's actually crying on the inside.

it surprises me that i did that. i have always considered that to be a pointless and sometimes intimidating expression of anger; when it's happened near me i've always felt terrified even if i was not the object of the person's frustration. i guess now i have learned a valuable lesson - walls hard, hands soft, bones easiliy damaged.

what makes me feel even more foolish is i have no one to blame for having a sore hand other than myself (as dave so kindly pointed out), but i still feel like whingeing about it. it has, however, strengthened my desire to take up kickboxing at the uni. i don't know where this aggression is coming from... (and it's not really compatible with the girliness of the high heels from the previous post, is it?)

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

an ode to frivolity

it turns out that yes, my neck and back were more damaged than first thought. i've put in a claim with the guy's CTP insurer and - thank the Lord - i got a letter back from them yesterday saying they're willing to pay up to $500 of my treatment bills. if it goes over $500 i'll have to lodge a personal injury claim - but really, that's all i want, just to be reimbursed for the chiro.

i've been to him a few times already. the C1 and C2 vertebrae in my neck seem to pop out of alignment with alarming frequency, causing immense headaches and the feeling like i've been whacked in the back of the head with a sockful of sand. my lower back is also stuffed and the combination of the two means the middle of my back is being pulled out of alignment. joy! so it makes days of sitting up at the computer rather a challenge.

so what is the most logical thing to do when you a) have back problems and b) no longer have a car and have to catch public transport everywhere? yes that's right folks, you go out and buy a pair of 4 inch high heels.

PS. they were on sale. honest.
PPS. i'm turning into such a girly girl - what's going on?!
PPPS. you hang up first.
PPPPS. no you hang up!
PPPPPS. no you ha-

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

les enfants

one thing i enjoyed about being away at katoomba with a group of women is getting to spend time with the two babies, samuel and william. i like that aspect of 'community', where we all look after one another and get lots of cuddles in the process!

this is my new best friend, william, who gave me lots of delightful smiles and giggles while we sat in the car together.

this is me and samuel, and i just love that he is comfortable enough with me to fall asleep on me! i must be the right shape. :)

lots more photos of the weekend in my flickr photostream.

Sunday, 10 September 2006

Jesus uncut: meeting the real Jesus

'Then he isn't safe,' said Lucy.

'Safe?' said Mr Beaver. 'Don't you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the king, I tell you.'

(CS Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Geoffrey Bles, 1950)

i've been at Women's Katoomba Convention all weekend with a group of women from church - it's the first time i've been to WKC and it was absolutely wonderful. it was so what i needed - a shot of adrenalin for the soul (to quote one of the conference speakers completely out of context). i guess lately i've been getting distracted from my ultimate goal, and taking my eyes off Jesus, and feeling a bit rudderless. so to have a weekend of being completely drenched in the Word and being blown away all over again by the amazing mercy and blessings we have been given in Christ was just such a privilege.

the theme of the weekend was Jesus uncut: meeting the real Jesus. it is so easy to cut Jesus down into a manageable, tame version of himself; we often can look away from the Jesus shown to us in the Bible and tweak him into something we find easier to cope with, someone we can slot into our busy lives. the talks were all aimed at refreshing our vision of the real Jesus, to be "confronted by his call to radical discipleship and comforted by his compassion" (qtd from the conference book).

the speakers (Jenny Salt, Greta Gaut, Susan Thorpe and Maxine Cook) were all fantastic. i can't really work out what i want to say about it all, so i'll just list some of the notes i jotted down in my book from the main talks. some things are fairly obvious truths that were good to have reiterated, and some others were really timely words i needed to hear. (if any of it doesn't make sense, feel free to ask me to elaborate or explain my incoherent notes!)

from Jenny Salt's talks (Matthew 8-9)
  • Jesus has authority over all - he is more powerful than anything the world can throw at us

  • don't underestimate the cost, but don't underestimate the privilege of following him

  • the more we understand our sin and our need, the more we will marvel at our salvation

  • those who think they are worthy are as needy as those who know they are needy - "there is no one righteous, not even one" (rom 3:10)

  • we mustn't be fooled by the facade of a successful life - everyone needs Jesus

  • we need to hold in balance a realistic view of who we are without Jesus, and a realistic view of who he is - Jesus is in complete control, he is absolutely trustworthy, and he has dealt with sin completely

from Greta Gaut's talks (Hebrew 4:12-16, 12:1-13)
  • because God sees it all, he can forgive it all! we can't hide anything from him, but his mercy is great

  • don't hold on to guilt - confess, repent, move on

  • Jesus is our great High Priest - we need no other mediator to bring us to God

  • we need to constantly make a deliberate commitment to draw near to Jesus and to hold fast, white knuckled

  • focusing on Jesus will give us the endurance to finish the race - adrenalin for the soul

  • wrong thinking about suffering - it isn't about God punishing us, but disciplining us, which involves teaching, leading, training and correcting

  • clean up - get rid of everything that distracts and the sin that so easily entangles. i loved this quote - "don't jeopardise your weak spiritual ankles by crashing down the path of temptation"

i really needed to be up there this weekend with those 2000 Christian sisters. i am so grateful to God that he has given us so much, that we have that opportunity for such learning. but most of all i am so grateful and overwhelmed that he loves me - me! - so much that he sent his Son to take away all the muck, all the blackness of my heart, all the sin, and that he sees me as perfect through Jesus. it is just incredible.

and he did it for you, too!

Thursday, 7 September 2006

i love this weather*

of course it's a perfect day to not have a car and have to walk to work, isn't it? a sudden drop in temperature, big gusty winds, unpredictable squally rain. i decided to catch the bus instead and as i was crossing anzac parade my big umbrella blew inside out and broke. hurrah! even better, there is no longer a bus shelter as there are road works going on, so i had to stand in the rain and wrestle with the umbrella which suddenly seemed absurdly large. who needs an umbrella that big? and what kind of idiot thinks it's a good idea to carry such a large umbrella on a windy day? then a lady crossing the road dropped her lunch bag so i went out onto the road to retrieve her apple for her; she was very grateful and we could both be kind of embarrassed about being ungainly under pressure together.

when i finally got to work i walked into my office to discover the roof has been leaking all night. the carpet is soaking wet, and there are four different drips going at different rates just to provide me with some aural atmosphere while i attempt to work with a splitting headache.

i really should have listened to what my body was desperately trying to tell me when i woke up and stayed in bed this morning.

* to clarify, i do absolutely love this weather, i just don't like being out in it.

Tuesday, 5 September 2006

squashed cars, springtime BBQs and satisfying changes

so it turns out the car is actually very badly damaged. it didn't look like much, but when i took it to the assessor yesterday (who was rawther cute, i must say) he said it wasn't looking good and he was going to get it towed straight to the smash repairers and send me home in a cab. because the guy hit me in the back right hand 'corner' of the car, it squashed everything forward a bit. so once you open the back door you can't really shut it again, and all the exhaust fumes were going through the boot into the cabin of the car. just as well i've been driving dave's excellent car this weekend and didn't listen to him when he said it didn't look too bad and should be alright to drive!

goes to show appearances can be deceiving.

i hope my body isn't hiding similar structural damage. my back and neck have been a bit achey, and i'm not sure if that's because of the accident or because i've been doing yoga and walking to work over the last week (you would think those things would help but that's part of the reason why my exercise regimes are never regimes so much as...coups (bad choice of metaphor), because i get all enthused about doing exercise but once i start to ache i tend to give up). the chiro seemed to help the other day, though he said often after even slight accidents you can have tissue damage that isn't immediately apparent. hurrah.

but on the upside i had a reasonably good weekend. had a delicious roast dinner with mark and jen on friday at their place in parramatta, then armed with two laptops and a PC, teamed up in person to play world of warcraft for some hours while we munched on krispy kremes. it was great to play in person, with a lot more laughs, although i love playing with them even when we're in separate houses; it's like an extra special treat being able to have time with them even when we can't make it to hang out together. don't know if that makes sense or not. it does to us.

on saturday i did a major spring clean of the flat which felt very satisfying, then went to a barbecue at emush and brett's in glebe. it was a gorgeous, blazingly blue spring day, and i sat in my new spring dress sipping white shiraz in their overgrown jungly backyard, eating yummy cheese and barbecued things (barbecued haloumi - yum!), and chatting to a bunch of people, most of whom i only have a passing acquaintance with. this sort of thing - making small talk with strangers - used to terrify me and i would stay for an hour or two then make an excuse to leave. but this time i stayed well into the night. by then it had devolved into a sort of impromptu dancefloor in their lounge room and playing soccer in the street. a bunch of us girls were sitting on a futon sofa that had been just put out for the council clean up, and one of the neighbours came out to chat. she's in her late 70s, i guess, used to be in the circus, and has lived in the street since the sixties. an absolutely fascinating and hilarious woman, who then introduced us to another neighbour, a young man around our age who seemed very friendly and helps her hang pictures and do odd jobs around the house (that's one of the things i love about glebe that seems to be lacking in the eastern suburbs; although there are the yuppies and the party people, there can be a much more community-minded spirit, with a mix of generations and a mix of living circumstances (ie, they're not all young families, or all married couples, or whatever). it seems less brittle and superficially shiny than some parts of the eastern suburbs.) anyway, i had a great time. when i was leaving that night em said she was so excited to see me looking happy, relaxed, confident and gorgeous. well! what a nice thing to say! in fact she said it was such a big change she didn't quite know what to do with me... :)

on sunday after church, mum and i joined the tonks and the macbeaths at emma and stuart's for another barbecue. it was another lovely afternoon (although significantly fewer inebriated folk than the saturday one). i ended the afternoon holding baby samuel and tickling him and being well-rewarded with some delightful dimply grins. enough to make you fall in love, really.

so that's two good (predominantly social) weekends in a row! what's going on?!

i was writing last night in my journal that i can't really remember how bad i was, but when i see myself through other peoples' eyes i can see that i really was a shell of my former self six months ago (at my lowest point). it's only then that i realise how much help i had needed, and i wonder how i had struggled along all last year getting further and further mired in depression. so obviously the counselling (and the drugs) have helped immensely - it is such a relief to be coming back. that's not to say i don't still get incredibly tired and need long periods of time in quiet places and not interacting with people face to face, but me actually wanting to leave the house and be with people is so amazing that i almost laugh when i think about it.