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#AtoZchallenge #blogjune Blogging challenges Life Reading

Reflections on #blogJune

So what *is* this #blogJune thing? It’s a blogging challenge, started by @flexnib back in 2010, and basically you publish a daily blogpost, every day in June. Most bloggers hail from Australia and New Zealand, and many work in the Library sphere, but we’re not exclusive. Case in point: me 🙂 If you’d like to join us, the signup info is here.

So anyway, #blogJune starts in just a couple of days. This will be my sixth year participating!

In 2011, when my blog was just a shade over 6 months old, I was exceedingly proud of myself for publishing 30 blogposts in the 30 day period. No, not all got done on their respective days, and yes, I used quite a few ‘memes’ in there to get me through the 30, but all in all, it was a very satisfactory start to the whole ‘blogging’ thang. In spite of my cherubs deciding that the first week of June would be a perfect time to have vomiting bugs…

#blogJune 2012 was hugely emotional. My Mr3 had just been diagnosed with autism, and boy oh boy, that was a HUGE rollercoaster ride! Reading back on those posts now? Wow. Just wow.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 8.41.31 pm

In 2013, I battled (more) vomiting bugs and assignments, work and really AWFUL movies and made it to the 30 post mark

2014 saw me only blog 5 posts due to illness and Uni assignments 🙁

And last year, renovating and parenting blogposts were the main topics featured – but there were a couple of Krav Maga ones in there too!

Just last month I blogged daily too, as a first-time participant of the #AtoZchallenge which occurs every April. I had planned on publishing a 26-part story, however it ended up being far too dark and intense to publish on my blog, so I’m keeping that one for a different audience. I wrote a series of ’26 lessons from God’s metaphors’ instead. Which still ended up being FAR more words than I had originally envisioned!

So I’ve decided that my #blogJune entries for 2016 will be photo-based. My thirty favourite books (or book series / collection). I wonder if any will surprise? How many you have read? What you thought of them, if you did?

Anyway, that will all start June 1. Stay tuned, dear reader!

And until then, keep well!

— KRidwyn

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#AtoZchallenge #blogjune Blogging challenges Christianity Writing

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #26

And we’ve made it to Z! The final ‘metaphor’ of God: King of Zion.

Each of these posts was inspired by a cross-stitch made by my Mum. The picture of the ‘z’ square shows: a crown of thorns (although in reality apparently the thorns were approximately 6 inches long!); the phrase ‘King of Zion’; and the verse Matthew 27:37. This verse reads:

Z

“A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

Now you’ll notice that the word ‘Zion’ isn’t included. In fact, the word ‘Zion’ isn’t part of this verse in Matthew at all, in any version.

Rather, the designer of this cross-stitch pattern used this verse to emphasize Jesus’ kingship. The bit about ‘Zion’ comes from Psalm 2:6: “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” And some translations use the word ‘Jerusalem’ instead of ‘Zion’ as well.

So what *is* Zion?

Well originally, it was a place. A fortress in fact, which David captured in 2 Samuel 5:7, and later built the royal palace there. His son, King Solomon, built the temple there too, and the word ‘Zion’ came to mean the whole temple area. Later in the Old Testament (as in, before Jesus’ birth) the word Zion is used to refer to the city of Jerusalem, the land of Judah, and even the nation of Israel as a whole.

In the New Testament (from the birth of Jesus onwards) the word Zion refers to God’s spiritual kingdom (See Hebrews 12:22 and 1 Peter 2:6).

So the Romans who were crucifying Jesus, and who then hung a sign above his head showing that his ‘crime’ was being ‘King of the Jews’, incensed the Jews watching the spectacle. John 19:19-22 records that the Chief Priests ask for the sign to be changed, from ‘Jesus, King of the Jews’ to ‘Jesus, who claimed to be King of the Jews’. Pilate (the Roman governor) refused.

And so Jesus, the King of the Israelite nation, was killed. His death was sought by the leaders of Israel; and sanctioned by the leader of the Gentiles (non-Jews).

And he died.

And yet, God had decided that He would install his King on Zion, on His holy mountain.

So Jesus didn’t stay dead. God raised him from death, thus conquering its hold on us, should we choose to believe in Him and follow Him.

Jesus, is now, and will remain forever, King of ‘Zion’: which is God’s spiritual kingdom.

And I’m a part of that kingdom, if I choose to be.

And I do!

So with that, we conclude the lessons for this month of April, and this, my first attempt at the annual #A-Zchallenge.

What a huge month it’s been!

Thank you to all those who’ve supported me along the way; your company and encouraging comments have truly made this journey a memorable one! I never would have realised how blessed this experience could be. Thank you!

So where to next? Well, back to my regularly scheduled once-a-week blog posts… for the month of May, at least. Who knows where after that; what with #blogJune an’ all…!

Anyway, time for me to stop rambling. Have a lovely day, dear reader – and thanks for stopping by!

May God richly bless you today 😀

— KRidwyn

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#AtoZchallenge Blogging challenges Christianity Writing

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #25

Welcome to the second last post of this series on God’s metaphors. Twenty-six different names God uses to describe Himself- all in one handy A to Z cross-stitch that my Mum made for me a few years back. Each letter has a name and a Bible verse… all except this one, Y.

Y is for Yahweh. In Hebrew, YHVH.

The name of God.

The first time this name is used is the book of Exodus, verses 14 and 15. The version of the Bible verse in the quote below, uses Hebraic language, rather than the Anglicised words. [In the overwhelming majority of English Bibles, the different names of God are translated as the word ‘LORD’ – the capital letters indicated that it is one of God’s names.]

Y“And Elohim said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM; and He said, you shall say this to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to you. And Elohim said to Moses again, You shall say this to the sons of Israel, Yahweh the Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever , and this is My memorial from generation to generation.”

I mentioned just above the Bible verse that God has different names. This can be a little confusing for us Westerners, in modern times, to understand!

But basically, the different names for God refer to different aspects of his character. Thus “Elohim” emphasises His might, His creative power, and His attributes of justice and rulership – whereas in our English Bibles it’s translated to the word “God”. Likewise, the Hebrew scrolls have names such as “El Shaddai” (LORD God Almighty) and “El Elyon” (The Most High God) and “Adonai” (Lord, or Master). Names can also be lengthened, so “YHVH Tzva’ot” means ‘Lord of Hosts’, where ‘hosts’ refers to military groupings.

But this post is about “Yahweh”. And this is the name that God gives of Himself.

In this passage above, we see Moses speaking to God, who has appeared to him in a burning bush, and has told him to go back to Egypt and tell Pharoah to let the Hebrew slaves go. Moses, understandably sceptical, and probably not wanting to go and be laughed at by people when he tells them that he saw a bush on fire that didn’t burn up, and heard the voice of God coming from the bush, he decides to ask God directly, “Who should I say sent me?”

And God replies, “Tell them that  I AM sent you.”

This is the name that He gives himself. Yahweh. In Hebrew, YHVH. They know it as the Tetragrammaton. And for any readers who are also writers, you may be interested to know that this name is *indeed* related to the verb ‘to be’ (to exist). Cool, hey! This name was incorrectly translated into English as ‘Jehovah’, by a German scribe back in the sixteenth century, and the name has since found common usage. Personally, I prefer the original.

And did you know that observant Jews consider this name to be SO holy, that they don’t even write it out in full? This is why, rather than writing ‘God’, they write ‘G-d’. Some believe that this is to lessen the risk of ‘taking God’s name in vain’ (one of the ten commandments) however it could also be because Judaism prohibits erasing or defacing a name of God. So if the name of God is written out in full, then at some point in the future, this writing could become erased or defaced. And to prevent this situation occurring, they avoid writing it.

So. Quite a bit more information in this post than in the usual, but then again, it *is* Day 25. And it’s such an interesting topic, in my opinion!

So what, then, is the take-away lesson for today? For me, it’s to reflect on the name/s of God, especially the One Name that He gives of Himself. YHVH. “I am”. It reminds me a little of what I was thinking when I wrote about ‘the Alpha and the Omega’.

Writing this post, and thinking on the different names of God, also had me singing the Amy Grant song ‘El Shaddai’, so here it is for your enjoyment too 🙂

So. That’s it for today – and almost for the entire month too! Tune in tomorrow for the final post: “Z is for King of Zion.”

See you then, and have a lovely day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

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#AtoZchallenge Blogging challenges Christianity

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #19

I was looking for a ‘Saviour’ analogy for this ‘S’ post in the #AtoZchallenge I’m doing, and went looking for a couple of stories I’d heard: one about a young man throwing washed-up starfish, back into the ocean; and a story about a man buying caged birds, just to set them free.

In the course of my Googling though, I discovered that Leonardo da Vinci himself is reported to have done just that! Well, not thrown starfish (not that I know of!) but he bought caged birds, destined to be eaten or to be kept as pets, and released them. (I also found a VERY interesting passage where he made a rather inappropriate suggestion about who could sit for the portrait of Judas in his painting of The Last Supper!)

Anyway, I was planning on using one of the stories as an example of what Jesus has done for us. But then I looked at the verse used in the cross-stitch, and realised something. This verse happens BEFORE Jesus died!

It’s in the book of John, chapter 4. Jesus was in Samaria, resting by a well, and a woman came to draw water. They spoke, and she believed that He was the Messiah (God’s son, come to save the world.) She went to tell everyone in her town that she’d met the Messiah, and they came to question Him for themselves. Then in verse 42,S

“They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you have said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.”

So that’s a little weird. Why would they think that he’d come to save the WORLD when he hadn’t died yet, to save it? I guess that they knew the Scriptures (as in, the Hebrew scriptures up until that point – what we now call the Old Testament) well enough to realise that Jesus was the one prophesied about. Wow. To understand so clearly… I’d say that they must have had a time of massive celebration – and in fact, John says after, that they convinced Jesus to stay with them for a couple more days.

[Actually, this verse reminds me a little of Luke 9:23, where Jesus says,“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Remembering that he had NOT yet been crucified, and so for everyone who was listening, there was not even a HINT of a ‘cross’ in Jesus’ future! Let alone theirs… just another example of Jesus obliquely telling the future 🙂 ]

But back to the point. I love how the Samaritans KNEW that Jesus was the Saviour – and they celebrated because they had seen Him and met Him.

My lesson from that: do *I* celebrate knowing Jesus? Because if not, then I probably should start!

 

 

Have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

 

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#AtoZchallenge Blogging challenges Christianity Review

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #18

I rarely post video clips, but want to share this one with you.

And although I haven’t yet seen the movie, it’s one that’s at the top of my ‘must see’ list. And not just because I really like Joseph Fiennes’ acting…

The trailer text refers to ‘the biggest manhunt in history’ – and I think that’s a perfect way to describe it. How else would it have felt, for the people living in Jerusalem, in the year that Jesus was crucified, and rose again after death?

RLuke 24:6 –

“He is not here; he has risen!”

Unprecedented. Miraculous. And yet – true, factual, history.

That’s enough for me.

Have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

 

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#AtoZchallenge Blogging challenges Christianity Life

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #10

I have three children: Miss11, Miss8 and Mr7. I love them more than I could possibly imagine, and want to protect them from the evils I know exist in the world. I’m sure all parents feel the same. Before becoming a parent, I never felt this way. I didn’t know it was possible to feel the overwhelming love that would sacrifice everything for this child who relies on you so utterly.

As a teenager in High School, I once heard the story of a man who controlled the switch at a train track. He was about to switch the track for a passenger train to pass safely by, when he realised that his four-year-old son was playing on it. Now that’s a dilemma! Choose who dies – a train full of passengers, or your own child?

That story has remained vivid enough that I could remember it this last week, and use it for an illustration today. Snopes though, tells the background to the story, as ‘story’ it appears to be.

JNonetheless, it is a relatable illustration of God and His choice – to send His son to Earth, knowing He would be killed the most excruciating way possible. For us. Because it was the only way that He could save us from the consequences of our sin. And Jesus – who knew, and obeyed.

Now I’m a parent, God’s choice confounds me and humbles me. There’s no way I would voluntarily sacrifice my one of my own children for strangers. Not even for friends. And yet – that’s what God did. And Jesus – who knew, and obeyed? The mind reels.

God loves us, did you know?

I’m humbled by that.

And that’s my takeaway lesson for today. J, for Jesus. Who obeyed.

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Life random scribblings Scribblings

Bushrangers? Really?

My local Writers’ Group meets this Friday morning. And our challenge is to write 500 words (maximum) about bushrangers. NOT my most favourite of topics, so I’ve been putting it off.

Tonight’s #WritingRace, hosted by fantastic @AWMonline, changed that. I spent an hour researching, then writing. And I was quite impressed with what I was able to come up with. Thanks to three amazing websites:

On Australia’s last bushrangers – a newspaper article from Saturday 21st November 1914  – and to top them both off, a truly fascinating legal argument

I’m posted my efforts on my ‘Short Stories’ page, if you’re interested.

Oh, and from the looks of things, it may just be that my prediction, a couple of weeks ago, of a QLD series win? That may have been incorrect…

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#blogjune my novel-in-progress Reading teaching

Keeping it at bay…

The laryngitis, that is. Well, so far. But I’m teaching for the rest of the week, so let’s just see how that goes, huh? I find that the constant swapping from speaking to singing voice (that’s an integral part of classroom music teaching in a Primary school) is such a strain on it; far more than it ever was in a High school. But maybe that’s just me.

But anyway, on to yesterday. So I edited the first 12 chapters of my book – now the first 11 chapters. And I was pretty happy with that. 30 chapters to go.

I also found some research that I was doing over 10 years ago. For my first ever historical novel. And there’s HEAPS of it – five folders full, in fact! So I’ve been thinking that I might start that piece again. See how it goes, you know? So I read it all through, and that inspired me to continue the research last night. Head back to original sources, back to the Latin versions, etc etc etc. Supremely interesting stuff!

So the plan for today is: not lose my voice. Edit 10 more chapters. And maybe dig some more into the history of Autun. Because I can 🙂

Have a great day, reader!

— KRidwyn

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Life

Extended family visits

(LOL ‘Extended family visits ‘ as in ‘cousins’, ‘uncles’, ‘aunts’ etc, not ‘close family members staying for extended periods of time’!)

So I mentioned on Wednesday that my cousin is coming to stay with me. He arrives later today, and I’m really looking forward to it, seeing as I last laid eyes on him around 32 years ago, when I was 5 and he 7 or 8. He lives in Kent, and is travelling to Oz not to escape the Olympics but because his fiancĂ© has just discovered her father (she’s been looking for him her entire life) and he lives in the Whitsundays. So my cousin, his fiancĂ©, and her two daughters, will be here in just a few hours, and will stay for almost a week with us before heading north for a few more weeks.

Just SOOOO excited!!! (Better go and clean the kitchen, hey!)

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momentous events

On this day…

The time on my computer reads 1.00am. It is Wednesday the 25th of April, 2012. On this day, back in 1915, the ANZAC legend was created.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N87UwyRI1tk&w=480&h=360]
The clip above was from the Peter Weir movie, Gallipoli. (Unfortunately it was a bit buggy to embed properly, so I apologise if it doesn’t play for you. The link is at the bottom.) Below is a written account.

The original plan / what was MEANT to happen:

The ANZAC landing area was a broad, six kilometre stretch of beach from about a mile north of Gaba Tepe to a point near Fisherman’s Hut, north of Anzac Cove. It was officially designated “Z Beach”. (The five landing beaches at Helles were designated “S”, “V”, “W”, “X” and “Y Beach”). To attain surprise the landing would commence following moonset, about one hour before dawn.

The landing would begin with the arrival of a “covering” force to swiftly capture the area surrounding the landing zone and make it secure for the main force. The Australian 3rd Brigade was selected as the covering force. Three battalions were to seize the third ridge line as well as Gaba Tepe while the fourth battalion remained in reserve. Following the covering force, the Australian 2nd Brigade would land and move to the north, climbing to the summit of the main range at Hill 971 and protecting the left flank of the landing. The original plan called for the capture of Mal Tepe, halfway across the peninsula, on the first day but only if the landing was successful would this objective be pursued by the main force; the Australian 1st Brigade and the two brigades of the New Zealand and Australian Division.

The first wave of the covering force would come ashore from the cutters of three battleships which were to approach within five kilometres of the shore. The remaining waves of the covering force would be landed from seven destroyers which were to approach close in to the beach. The main force would land from transports.

What actually happened:

As the armada of Allied ships draw nearer, by 2.00 am it was spotted by various Ottoman observers who passed the information on to Maidos HQ. The 2nd Battalion of the 27th Infantry Regiment was ordered to be on the alert prepare for action to repel any troops landing on the shores.

The first troops to land were two companies of each of the 9th, 10th and 11th Battalions of the Australian 3rd Brigade. The companies embarked from three battleships. Each battleship dispatched four steamboats towing three row boats (launches and pinnaces)—a total of 48 boats.

The moon set at 3am and the battleships released the tows at 3.30am. Given the night was pitch dark, the tows headed due east and so relied on the battleships having been in the correct position when they were released. The journey of the tows became a shambles and numerous theories have been proposed to explain what went amiss. The southern-most tow kept a good course and was aimed correctly just north of Gaba Tepe but its commander found the neighbouring tows were heading northwards, leaving him isolated. He altered course to bring his tow closer and this may have caused a ripple effect as the other tows responded with a similar correction. As the shore was sighted, the headland of Ari Burnu became visible and some tows mistook this for Gaba Tepe and hence veered even further north.

For whatever reason, these first boats which were meant to land on a six kilometre front between Hell Spit and Gaba Tepe ended up concentrated about Ari Burnu, almost two and a half kilometres north of their intended landing area—in fact, in the landing area of the 2nd Brigade which was to follow. The area about Ari Burnu was defended by a single company of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Regiment, Ottoman 9th Division. The Australians began to come ashore at 4.30am. The first man to land was Cpl. Joseph Stratford #1179. 9th Btn. According to eyewitness reports, when he was waist deep in water, he disposed of most of his heavy equipment and charged towards the enemy, which cut him down in a hail of bullets.

The first troops to land were met by sporadic rifle and machine gun fire but casualties were relatively light. The 11th Battalion, which had landed just north of Ari Burnu, suffered the worst. The main enemy was confusion. The erratic course of the tows meant that the units had become intermingled. Officers were unsure where their units were or indeed where they themselves were; some thought that they had landed at Gaba Tepe. The geography was utterly unfamiliar and no objective could be identified.

Most of the troops of the 9th and 10th Battalions began to climb the first hill that confronted them, which unfortunately turned out to be the dead-end Plugge’s Plateau.

The time on my computer now reads 1.30am. It is Wednesday the 25th of April, 2012. On this day, back in 1915, the ANZAC legend was created. At this time on that fateful day, the men would have been looking out at the shoreline, using the last of the moonlight to memorise the distant shoreline. Fearing the moon setting, and impatient as well, so that the landing could be over. How many of them knew the circumstances that were turning against them? How many had any idea of just how bad it would be?

I am a proud Australian. Today is a very special day for me. I shall be posting this at 4.30am, the time that Corporal Joseph Stratford, the first Australian to land, was cut down while still waist deep in water, having not even made it to the sand. The first to die of 4,931 Australian casualties. It is my hope today that you, dear readers, may pause with me, and remember those who gave their lives for the liberties we enjoy today.

Lest We Forget.

Video courtesy Peter Weir’s 1991 film “Gallipoli”, uploaded to YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N87UwyRI1tk by fronteitaliana

‘Written account’ abbreviated from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landing_at_Anzac_Cove

CC Image courtesy louisemakesstuff at http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisemakesstuff/1185971424/