new short story collection. Out now!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Celebrating teams #CTST

Last weekend I was dying of man flu. I had to take Monday off, but I was still battling the lurgy when I returned to work and through the rest of the week. And a busy week it was. I had four evening engagements planned. I made it to three of them. I want to tell you briefly about the two more significant ones.

On Wednesday night, I attended 'team night' at my church, C3 Darwin. Team night is a celebration for all those who serve in any capacity in the church: welcome teams, cafe teams, service hosts, parking attendants, connect group leaders (that's where I fit in), and the music team.

We ate together, then worshiped, and listened to a message of encouragement and thanks from our pastor. Well over a hundred dedicated souls were there, and it was a very uplifting and fun occasion. 

On Thursday night, I had dinner with another great team, albeit a much smaller one: my colleagues. We dined at Memories of India as we farewelled our longest serving employee. The departure of this very likeable and valuable team member, leaves me as the longest serving employee now. Management have decided not to replace him, so in his absence, our team of hardworking and dedicated staff will continue to do what we do best. To serve our students, and care for and support one another.

On the occasion of these two celebrations, I am grateful to be a part of two wonderful teams.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Service with Invisible Smiles #CTST

The intricacies of life, the myriad minutia, the devilish detail, (the annoying alliteration)...these are the things which complicate our existence. There are so many little foxes running through our gardens.

Of late there has been a population explosion of said feral beasts in my backyard.

Okay, that's enough metaphorical language. I am celebrating the capture, and in some cases death of a few of these little problems. All the small irritations we encounter are invariably beyond our control, especially when up against the might of major corporations. The person on the phone says they understand your problem, but unfortunately they cannot help because that is just the way the system works. Put your hand up if you've heard that one, and gnashed your teeth in frustration.

To Jackie at Bank SA. You are a champion. Thank you for creatively solving my problem: quickly and happily. You cared not with words, but with actions.

To Vicki at Optus. You are a legend. You spoke to me as a person. I actually believed you cared, and although you weren't able to totally solve my problem, you demonstrated genuine empathy. What you were able to do for me was more than satisfactory, as were your customer service skills.

To the lady whose name I forgot at Westpac. Ditto to the above and thank you for reassuring me, and making me trust you.

Three conversations which not only killed some of my little foxes, but also reminded me that people are capable of being not only professional, but empathetic and polite, in the execution of their work duties.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Lie down in peace #CTST

Over the years, at different stages, during the various seasons of life, I have had many sleepless nights. However, the 'many' pales in comparison with the majority in which I have slept soundly. Even in the midst of some emotional trauma (separation and divorce being one of, if not the worst), I have been blessed with sleep.

Sleep is a gift.

Every one knows the importance of sleep and rest, but for many people thorns of anxiety prevent sleep. I know it. I've felt it. When I lie down to sleep, but my mind will not shut down despite the weariness of my body. How do you turn off the mind? How do you shut out the worry? The fear? How do you close the door on anxiety when it feels like an incurable infection?

Three words have been running around in my head for days now. Since I had the noisy church dream through which God gave me a word of encouragement, I have begin to filter out all the voices in my mind. Especially those which cause me to doubt and to worry unnecessarily. There is only one voice I need to listen to...the voice of Truth.

What are these three words? Let it go.

I'm reminded of a line in a Creed song. "The sun shines and I can't avoid the light. I think I'm holding on to life too tight."* Sonny Sandoval from POD sings, "I think the hardest part of holding on, is letting it go."* This is a great paradox.

I sleep in peace. If I can let go of anxiety or at least not hold on too tightly to what I have, I believe I can walk in peace as well. I thank God for the gift of sleep.

*Goodbye for now - POD
*Weathered - Creed

Friday, February 2, 2018

Sinner's Lament #CTST

I am officially a Territorian now: I have a Northern Territory drivers' licence and NT plates on my car. This makes me happy.

Students returned this week, and it was wonderful to actually teach again. I have a new group comprising two of my students from last year, some who have come up from the pre-intermediate class, and three brand new students. It's a nice mix, and I feel happy to have already fostered a relaxed learning environment. It's a good blend of personalities, and I'm looking forward to a fun and successful term.

After six days of monsoon, we saw the sun in Darwin on Thursday. That was nice, but the truth is I like the rain too, and the storms are impressive, albeit a tad destructive.

I had a dream the other morning, as I was oversleeping, through which I believe I had a word from God. This has happened to me before on a couple of occasions. The dream featured an overcrowded church in which I was the only one interested in worshiping God. The message: how can you hear me when there are so many other voices in your head. My desire is to live a life pleasing to God and beneficial to others. I need to focus on listening to the Voice of Truth, and filter out the noise.

Wondering why I called this post Sinner's Lament? What's the connection with the content? Sorry to disappoint, but there is no connection. As I write I am listening to the album Sinner's Lament by Brisbane based heavy metal band, Taberah.

I hope you had a wonderful week. I did.