WWW Wednesday 15th Feb

I’m back! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in her comments for others to look at. Got back into some reading this week and here is my update:

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Finished reading: Exposure by Helen Dunmore and about time too. Chose this as my book club pick and the girls are all due at my place next Wednesday! I enjoyed this book set during the cold war in England. The author explored so much in what was a somewhat slow paced book packed however with increasing tension, it really was fantastically written. One quote I particularly like was ‘The children a phalanx around their mother’.

To prove its worth here is a snapshot of a much better review than above paragraph from FictionFans Book Reviews:

It’s almost impossible to write a short blurb for this one that doesn’t make it sound as if it’s a spy thriller, and in many ways it is. But mostly what it is is a set of brilliant character studies showing the impact of this event on the lives of all those involved…. it’s an entirely credible portrayal of a fictionalised version of the Cambridge spy ring and its association with homosexuality, at that period of the 1950s and early ’60s still a crime, and enough to destroy a man’s career and even life, if exposed….The writing is excellent, quickly building up a tense atmosphere of secrecy and suspicion. The book is written in third person, allowing the reader to get inside the head of each of the major characters in turn. …But what really makes this book stand out from the crowd is the inclusion of Simon’s wife and family.

I would definitely like to read another Helen Dunmore book in the future.

Currently reading: I started Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert but found her ‘voice’ annoying me so not sure if I’ll stick with it. I enjoyed Eat, Love, Pray but did find it flawed – pretentiousness of the author is already grating on me. Not to mention I’m feeling pretty dismal about my marriage at the moment….

Reading next: If I’m feeling like working on the marriage thing I might try Wild at Heart and Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge but I think I’m more likely to get into Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, a Christmas gift. I was also reminded I still have Constance Hall’s book, might just return that one. In addition I believe I’ve found the next title for my When Are You Reading Challenge from the movie review in my church magazine, stay tuned!

when-are-you-reading-2017-final

Progress Tracker

Pre 1500 – The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

1500-1599 

1600-1699 – coming….

1700-1799 – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

1800-1899  

1900-1919

1920-1939 – The Small Woman by Alan Burgess

1940-1959

1960-1979 – Exposure by Helen Dunmore

1980-1999 

2000-Present 

The Future 

 

 

My Political Pants

Last Sunday the Australian Federal Minister for Education announced that an
expert group had been formed to work on the implementation of a nation-wide phonics assessment and numeracy check for year 1’s. He asserted this action was part of a plan of getting back to basics in Australian schools. I spent the afternoon reading comments and looking into it more – I was excited to finally have some something from my Facebook feed spark my attention. Even more igniting was a blog I read that night by Cate Speaks –Imperfect activism. She wrote  about the shared despair resulting from the politics of the wider world and the mental exhaustion resulting in a lack of time or energy to devote to activism.  Most importantly she proclaimed that while it may be impossible to do ‘enough,’  even if you only do one thing, ever, that’s still one thing that wouldn’t have been done if you hadn’t done it.

She particularly inspired me with the goal ‘to do your one thing, and then encourage two or three more people to do their one thing too’, in order to make a difference. She plans to do 2 things a week , one that is political or big picture and the other small and local – ‘something that aims to maintain and build the communities I am a part of’.  I’m pretty keen to follow her lead so am adding yet another 2017 blogging goal to me list – the political post.

To recap this year I’ve said I’m going to do – a reading post (WWW Wednesday and When are you reading challenge), an issue post, my regular whatever posts and now a political post. Let’s just not set too many timelines on these! I had a bit of a crazy busy week – daughter back to school, now a big Year 1, son started kindy, I attempted to work clients around various schedules, hubby had shearing and our puppy broke his leg! I was extremely happy to make it to the weekend. I’m now trying to work my way through several tabs open in my internet browser and this is where my first purposeful political post shall begin….

Firstly I am still trying to get my head around Simon Birmingham’s education announcement (mentioned above). My first thought was WHY more assessment? H’s reception teacher last year did reading at least once a week with each student, I’m sure all teachers already know where their kids are at reading-wise. More important than assessment in my opinion is resources to respond to what teacher’s already know. Resources to help the students who are identified as struggling. Anyhow I still need to look into this one further – maybe next weeks post.

Secondly Trump. I don’t know who I would’ve voted for if I was American but I am not 100% against this guy. Then I read this summary of his first week in office…

Thirdly Trump. again. well no actually Russia. A lovely friend joined me on the five hour round trip to pick my puppy up after surgery and we discussed all and everything. She mentioned fears of Trumps relationship with Russia, especially since Russia was seeking to decriminalise domestic violence, what the what?! She wasn’t making it up:

According to CNN ‘The pending legislation would consider an assault — if it’s a first offense that does not seriously injure the person — an administrative, rather than criminal offense. The legislation would also apply to children…Women’s rights groups say domestic violence has an insidious hold on many Russian families and fear that decriminalizing assaults will only encourage more violence… An old Russian expression “If he beats you it means he loves you.”…Official data on domestic violence in Russia is not centrally collected so it’s hard to verify. But the state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports that 40% of serious crimes in Russia are committed in the family, 36,000 women are beaten by their husbands daily, and 12,000 women die yearly as a result of domestic violence — one woman every 44 minutes.’

‘Yelena Mizulina, the politician who introduced the legislation believes it will bring domestic violence offences into line with other assault and battery charges, which were decriminalised last year.The change would mean that ‘battery within the family’ as an administrative offence would be punished with a fine, community service or brief prison term.’ (http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/01/13/despite-outcry-russia-set-de-criminalise-domestic-violence). It also returns the crime to the realm of “private prosecution”, where the victim is responsible for collecting evidence and bringing a case. Repeat offences would be criminal infractions, but only within a year of the first, giving abusers a pass to beat relatives once a year.’

The Economist reported that Russia is one of three countries in Europe and Central Asia that do not have laws specifically targeting domestic violence. Instead it is treated like other forms of assault, ignoring the fact that spouses and children are more vulnerable than other victims.

Alena Popova, an advocate for laws against domestic violence, is reported to support the new law, believing that more women will come forward if they do not think their partners will be sent to Russia’s harsh prisons. Similarly comments on the Economist article shared

For those still confused [with the] difference between “criminal” and “non-criminal” violations in Russian law
1. While both types of violations are prosecuted by the state, only courts (1 court per 1 mln people, roughly) can do criminal cases. Many smaller offices can process administrative cases. Speed of processing will be much higher after de-criminalizing.
2. Standard of proof is easier for “non-criminal” violations, more domestic abusers will be sentenced after de-criminalizing.
3. Range of punishment is lighter for “non-criminal” cases, but still includes forced community service and short detention ( weeks / months ). Certain types of theft and battery are routinely treated as non criminal.

Another commentator suggested that while the first punishment is administrative there is then an INEVITABLE criminal case for the second offence led by a government prosecutor that cannot be closed by the “consent of the parties”, with maximum punishment of 10 years in prison. Thus giving family members more protection – previously calling the police was useless; police could do nothing; now they can fine the offender, and lock him up for 15 days to think about his behavior, and get into him that the next time he will be on direct way to state prosecutor and 10 years imprisonment with very high chances of case going through.

I think in the end I will have to leave this issue to the Russians (although I did sign an online petition). The most important takeaway message for me is, one woman dying every 44 minutes from domestic violence, ANY woman/child/person dying as a result of domestic violence is unacceptable.

‘Enough’ for one day I think.

 

 

Although FYI

More ideas from Cate’s Blog https://catespeaks.wordpress.com/ (I also like Leaning to Speak Politics https://learningtospeakpolitics.wordpress.com/)

Here is a highly incomplete list of really small, easy things you can do for yourselves and for each other.

  • Donate to a charity on behalf of someone else.  Oxfam Unwrapped will send a friend a card on your behalf, telling them what you donated in their name.  The bag of pig’s manure seems like an appropriate choice right now.  So does the Women’s Rights gift, that trains women in Bangladesh for leadership roles.
  • Bake something delicious and give it to someone.  I feed my colleagues a lot (but not tomorrow, because I’ve spent all evening writing this.  Sorry, my scientists!), but dropping something in to a local homeless shelter, or for the doctors and nurses at your local hospital is a nice touch.  Or you could do this.
  • Write a letter to a politician thanking them for their work on something you appreciate.  Or write a letter or a card to a teacher or friend who has helped you, telling them how much you value them.
  • If hand crafts are your thing, make a quilt or a cape or knit a teddy bear for a sick or traumatised child, or check out one of these campaigns.
  • If you are in a choir or orchestra or other musical group, get a group together and see if there is a local retirement home, or hospital, or detention centre, that might like a short concert.
  • Recommend a book to someone.  Buy it for them, if you can afford it.  Make it something fun and clever and escapist and quietly feminist.  (My recommendations this week are Sherry Thomas’s book A Study in Scarlet Women, which is a really clever gender-swapped Sherlock Holmes; The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman, a fantasy adventure with secret agents, alternate worlds, and stolen books; and anything by Lois McMaster Bujold, but especially Paladin of Souls.)
  • Ring someone who you know is having a rough time right now for a chat.
  • Volunteer for a tree planting day, or at a wildlife shelter.
  • Download Mapswipe, and help Medecins Sans Frontières find people in disaster zones (note that you will need good eyes for this activity)
  • Take a bath, turn off your phone, and have an early night.  Books, music, favourite TV programs, partners and pets might all be part of this arrangement.  It doesn’t have to be tonight.  But give yourself permission to take a night off from the fear.  You can afford one night.  We all can.

Opinion post: Legalising Same-Sex Marriage in Australia

Haiku for the religiously observant via On the sabbath — poemsinseason

Freed by Jesus’ words,
standing upright, rejoicing;
giving praise to God.

Religious leaders
speak to defend the sabbath
from such outrages.

Six days for working!
The seventh’s not for healing;
come another day!

Get real, says Jesus.
Common sense and compassion
must rule ev’ry day.

Living is empty
if love no longer shapes us;
Embrace its freedom.

 

Is our faith empty if we are not ruled by compassion, by love? Or is our faith empty if we pretend that everything is ok, sin is not really that bad, love (not forgiveness) is all you need?

 

From a Human’s of New York post

“I call them clobber verses. There are six of them. They’re the verses that get used to hammer gay people… I had tried so hard but nothing worked [therapy, straight marriage etc. etc.]. I got so angry with God for not keeping up his end of the bargain. But after some time, I finally realized why he wouldn’t change me. He never felt like he needed to.”

Let me just talk about me for a minute – what I find so difficult to understand is why I should get so blessed to not be plagued with such a sin as same-sex attraction, not having to live with it makes it incredibly easy to get on my high horse and when I read of people such as above who try so hard to fight this sin it seems so unfair. How do I resolve that?

 

From my understanding of the Bible I do believe that homosexuality is a sin, just as when I lie or say or think mean thoughts, it is not the way God intended the world to be. But there is sin in this imperfect world and we need to find a way to live with it. Through resurrection and grace of my saviour Jesus Christ I live with it in constant forgiveness and a promise of eternal life. In gratitude I try my best to lead a ‘good’ life, attempting (and constantly failing but forgiven) to avoid temptation.

I do not believe same-sex marriage should be legalised as to me it promotes temptation. I do not fight same-sex marriage for this reason though. I’ve come to a belief that just because I as a christian hold to certain beliefs does not mean I can force society to live according to those beliefs, I can simply promote them (and also use my political vote to do this).

Now for me it comes down to semantics, which sounds a horrible reason and yet…. Marriage by definition is the union of a man and woman therefore same-sex relationships are different. Many argue that it’s all love and the difference is unimportant (see a previous post I’ve written on love for an opinion on that topic) but I believe if merely from a biological point of view it IS different. Because I believe they are different does not mean I believe one is better than the other.I consider it a issue around equality and equity

Equality doesn't mean Equity

Psalm 98 v9 He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity

(an aside  -read this recently as with above haiku parable it doesn’t quite fit but does show the Bible talking about equity.)

I don’t think society needs to be quite so concerned with equality (at least in this example) as with equity so straight marriage is different from LGBT marriage however we can ensure there is equity between the two.

 

 

(I actually prefer this image from here as it shows not only different heights but different people with different and equally valuable personalities)

 

 

I strongly support civil unions and for same-sex couples to have the same rights as current married couples ( I do not argue on the basis of the needs of children as there is already so much sin and despair in family relationships across Australia I don’t think straight couples can claim any moral high ground in that area – although I do believe children should ideally have a mother and father there are no guarantees in our society such a family unit is any better than any other). I have long meant to look into whether same-sex couples who are recognised in civil unions receive the same rights as married couples in Australia, please inform me if they don’t as I would certainly work to rectify that.

 

Thus ends my first hopefully regular ‘issue’ post, next – netball in small communities.

I imagine they may be many who disagree with me, I hope I have been respectful and would love to hear any responses.

 

 

 

When are you reading – The Pillars of the Earth

when-are-you-reading-2017-final

 

Ahhh summer holidays, while the kids may drive me crazy at least I can indulge in my books. My family (finally) had holidays this week including 3 nights away with some friends in a caravan park. As always my priority on holidays (other than ensuring my kids are having a fun time) is to read, read, read – my poor friends, hope they weren’t expecting me to socialise! Thus I managed this week to finish Ken Follett’s masterpiece The Pillars of the Earth and make progress with the When are you reading? challenge by Sam.

I’ve found it hard to rate this book because although I really liked the characters, their flaws, triumphs and adventures, overall I just didn’t love it. I did love getting an insight into English history particularly the roles of churches, earls, kings and the impact on peasants. I also really appreciated how Prior Phillips faith was portrayed. In fact there was nothing really I disliked about it but nonetheless my rating is only 3.5 out of 5. I devoured this authors Century trilogy a few years ago but think my craving for more of his writing is now satisfied….would still be interested in seeing the movie though!

Progress Tracker

Pre 1500 – The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

1500-1599 

1600-1699 

1700-1799 –Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

1800-1899  

1900-1919

1920-1939 – The Small Woman by Alan Burgess

1940-1959

1960-1979 – In progress … Exposure

1980-1999 

2000-Present 

The Future 

No. 1 Gratitude Post

Well I’ve done ok with my reading posts, not so well with the gratitude ones – will probably toss that idea in the bin before January is even over! But let’s at least get one out, especially as it has been a good start to 2017.

New Years  I went to a party I kinda felt guilted into attending, drank too much too quick, slowed right down and felt ready to leave, especially as attempting to get kids to take up a restful activity and hopefully fall asleep (which of course was never going to happen).

I still enjoyed being out but did end up getting picked up by my dear Mum and Dad on their way home from a party. Thus ending the year being read a bed-time story by my dear Mum, snuggled in bed with my two babies, with my Dad sitting in view, listening to the midnight church bells ring – perfection.

I also got to wake up at Mum and Dads which is always a luxury knowing I’ve got help with the kiddos and generally meaning I can laze in bed that bit longer 🙂 Add to that attending church with them and getting lots of hugs from dear parishioners. It really was a good start to the year.

Other Highlights of 2017 so far:

  • Time to watch and then read Outlanders
  • Master C waking up sooo happy and playing hide and seek under the sheets together
  • Miss H’s helpfulness packing up the Christmas tree
  • Cuddles with my nephew
  • Teacher friends!! Who come and visit and entertain the kids 🙂
  • Vacswim, giving mush needed routine to the summer holidays – not to mention the joy of seeing my two swimmers improve and love the water
  • Country cricket catch ups
  • Much desired bowen therapy for my aching body
  • 6 year old birthday parties
  • Escaping fighting siblings for a day of work!

 

My other blogging goal was for a monthly ‘issue’ post – I thought I’d try and keep myself accountable by letting you know this months topic – ‘Legalising Same Sex Marriage in Australia’, if you have anything you want me to consider feel free to let me know in the comments.

 

Would also love to hear your highlights of 2017 so far….

 

Wishing my readers a happy weekend ☼

(ps thank you to my lovely followers I recently reached 100 leaving me feeling pretty chuffed!)

 

 

WWW Wednesday

I’m sure it’s still Wednesday somewhere!! Instead of blogging last night, (and going straight to bed which was my first plan when I got home from work!) I read. I’ve almost finished a book so only planning to publish this when its done!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in her comments for others to look at. Here’s my weekly update:

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Finished reading: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, just then! A friend passed it on to my husband via her husband at cricket training last thursday. I put my other reading on hold and was swept away into the Scottish Highlands. It was superb, just like the tv series and I am thoroughly in love with Jamie Fraser! Not only is his darn handsome, he has am amazing way with words. There are 8 books in this series….I’m not sure whether to be relieved that the story goes on or worried about how my life will handle anymore book hibernations!! I think my Outlander craving has been somewhat satisfied (for now) and I shall attempt to wait to read the next book closer to the release of the third tv series

**edit just wanted to add I was impressed with how close the series was to the book, main difference for me was the character of Alec Macmahon, who was aptly replace with Murtagh in the series. Plus I loved being able to read more about the brothers Colum and Dougal.

Currently reading: So now that’s finished I should get back to ‘Exposure’ except I’ve passed the library copy I had on to a fellow book-clubber and am still awaiting my own delivery. Instead I will start reading the book she gave me – ‘5 ways to be famous now‘ by Maurilia Meehan, January’s book club choice. I have read the first line to ensure I’m not lying in this blog!

Reading next: I’ll have to get back to Exposure and I’ve still got Contance Hall’s book but I’m thinking I might get to something else from my piles around the house or else as away on holidays next week I may broach Ken Follett’s Pillar of the Earth. I’ve read and enjoyed his Century trilogy and this would be a good pick for my When are you reading? challenge.

when-are-you-reading-2017-final

Progress Tracker

Pre 1500 

1500-1599 

1600-1699 

1700-1799 – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

1800-1899  

1900-1919

1920-1939 – The Small Woman by Alan Burgess

1940-1959

1960-1979 – In progress … Exposure

1980-1999 

2000-Present 

The Future 

My first WWW Wednesday + challenge

Welcome to my first WWW Wednesday post, a weekly update on my reading. This meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and I’m hoping it will guide my 2017 blogging plan for regular posts.

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

W1: I’m currently reading ‘Exposure’ by Helen Dunmore. I had to choose a book with a one word title as my pick for hosting book club this year and this is it. I havn’t got very far (too distracted watching Season 2 Outlander) but the characters are developing interestingly.

W:2 I finished this week The Small Woman by Alan Burgess, based on the true life of Gladys Alyward a missionary in China during WW1. It was recommended to me by a friend, but the small book size and print put me off. The first chapter however quickly sucked me in and I loved it. Indeed I was disappointed not to find any tags on WordPress but there were some on twitter. A good book for me is one that makes me want to learn more but sadly there wasn’t much information on google either, so no answers for my question on what happened to the children she adopted.  The History Bucket  did have a post on her though! I’ll definitely be looking to watch the movie inspire by this book ‘The Inn of the Sixth Happiness’, even though Gladys apparently was rather disappointed in its cast and dramatization.

W3: I’ve borrowed a copy of Constance Hall’s Like a Queen from a friend, and although I’m not a huge fan and predict I won’t be buying into the hype, I’d still like to see what it’s like.

Now onto the challenge…..

when-are-you-reading-2017-final

Sam is also hosting the 4th annual When are you reading? challenge so I’ll be aiming to read a book set or published in 12 different time periods this year. I’m cheating a little and including 2 of my above books even though one I finished in 2016…shhhh.

Progress Tracker

Pre 1500 

1500-1599 

1600-1699 

1700-1799

1800-1899  

1900-1919

1920-1939 – The Small Woman by Alan Burgess

1940-1959

1960-1979 – In progress … Exposure

1980-1999 

2000-Present 

The Future 

 

ps Would just like to report I’m getting good at putting links in posts (woop, woop!). Next step learning to add book images….