Life in 4D

It amazes me how, in a world with billions of people, each of whom has a nearly identical set of genes, it can be so difficult to find someone on the same page as you when it comes to interests, beliefs, perspectives and priorities. I suppose each experience we undergo – every book we read, TV show we watch, childhood (or adulthood) interaction and life event, big or small – affects us uniquely, leading us to embrace or discard things, in order to build what seems like a sensible, enjoyable framework in which to understand and live life.

Throughout the course of three decades, but especially in the last few years, my own interests have diverged in three (or more) distinct directions, each of which seems to have increasingly less interaction with the other. I don’t like this, mainly because I feel as if nobody understands the ‘real’ me, but I’m not sure how to change it, or even if I really can or want to. I chose the title ‘Life in 4D’ not to suggest that my own life is particularly extensive on every axis, but because it’s how I’ve begun to visualise it: growing and stretching in different dimensions, with my identity becoming increasingly separated between them.

I recently imagined a scenario in which I came to a sudden and tragic end (don’t read into that too much), upon which my funeral was arranged. Realistically, I’d expect a few dozen people to show up here in Australia. There would probably be most of my church, a few friends from the school community, a few colleagues and maybe a handful from the gym. As representatives from each of these communities rose to share memories of how I touched their lives, I imagine the surprise that would be evident on some of the other’s faces as they heard about who I was from their point of view. I guess I thought by writing this blog post I could help clarify in advance, both for my own sake and that of the dear guests attending my untimely, hypothetical funeral, who I think I am and the various dimensions I occupy:

  • Fitness (The X Dimension): I’ve always liked sports, especially team sports of the not-too-serious variety. As my kids have grown more playful (and heavier), I began to realise that one game of casual soccer per week wasn’t going to cut it if I wanted to keep up with them; I needed core strength. This was my main motivation for starting CrossFit, because I wanted to build strength and CrossFit seems to be successful at achieving that, with the added bonus of having a team atmosphere, and no mirrors. I kept pretty quiet about my CrossFit involvement for a while, but as I’ve become more muscly and stuff I’ve had to explain it to people. I’ve achieved my initial goal of not being a pathetic weakling, but I continue to go a few times a week because I genuinely feel great after a hard workout. Despite all my gainz, I still hesitate to identity myself as a CrossFitter, or even a gym-goer.
  • Faith (The Y Dimension – see what I’m doing here?): I grew up in church. Some of it was pretty cool, some of it I didn’t like at all. I believed what I was taught, then grew up a bit and questioned it all, then grew up some more and chose to continue to believe that God is real, that there is meaning and purpose to existence and that Jesus is at the core of it all. He’s a fantastic teacher and his true followers can only be described as Top Blokes. He really demonstrated love in its fullness, being led like a lamb to the slaughter and forgiving those in the very act of doing it. I challenge anyone to read through the New Testament and find any ulterior motive to Christianity than love of the undeserving. If there is any quality you admire in me, it’s probably a result of my desire to be like Jesus. I identify as a Christian more than anything else, yet I rarely talk about this with people outside of Dimension Y, I guess because it’s kind of uncomfortable for many people.
  • Science (dangit, this one doesn’t cleverly suit the letter Z, nor does it start with an ‘F’): It can be challenging believing in God (particularly a fundamentally good one) and loving science, but I do. I love the study of nature, the pursuit of answers to perplexing questions, the beauty of physics and the eloquence of mathematical language. Professionally speaking I’m a geologist, which is how lots of people likely identify me; however, this is an aspect I consider relatively disposable, of least significance to me. Lots of people in Dimension Z and Dimension Y are sceptical of, or even hostile toward, one another, but I try not to be too hostile toward myself. There are so few people in my life with whom I share these two interests that I tend to mitigate the loneliness of it by reading like-minded bloggers like The Natural Historian and GeoChristian.

Fatherhood is the fourth dimension (Time), which suits it well because it keeps steaming forward no matter what I do, permeating all others dimensions. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a dad, and now that I am one, I love it. Everyone knows this about me, and it’s the only dimension I feel perfectly comfortable talking about with anyone (even blatant kid-haters). The other great thing about having kids is that they know me and accept me and love me just as I am. To them, I am a CrossFitter and a Christian and a Geologist and they love all of it, because they love me. No topic is off-limits or uncomfortable (yet) and they see no reason why I shouldn’t read the Bible, collect rocks and swing upside down on monkey bars as much as I like. Eventually they’ll find me super embarrassing, but I’ll make the most of that too.

Have I gotten any further ahead by writing this out? I don’t know. It’s natural, probably healthy and wise in some respects, to be selective about which aspects of yourself you choose to reveal to others (or the entire internet), but it’s funny to think that your Tim is different to Kathryn’s Tim, who’s different to my colleagues’ Tim, who’s different to my church family’s Tim and CrossFit Tim. And I’m sure they’re all different to how I perceive myself.

How about you – do you feel like you’ve selectively withheld aspects of your identity and now can’t seem to bring them all together with any one person or group? Perhaps this is more normal than I’m aware of. If you’ve made it this far into the post I’d definitely be keen to hear your thoughts on the matter.

’til next time,

Tim the Patriarchal Angel of Science and Gainz

10 year letters

This is Tim.

When Eden was almost 3, and Kate was just a wee little 1-year-old, I often thought about how the girls and I had such a special relationship, and how it was a shame that they wouldn’t remember any of it. I mean, sure we can all have a general sense of a positive or negative childhood, but nobody really remembers details of when they’re a baby or a toddler. Some people hardly even remember older childhood – my memories are pretty hazy before about middle school, except for a couple of exceptionally emotional/intense experiences.

I also began to think that it was a shame that these adoring daughters of mine would soon become teenagers. I do remember what it’s like to be a teenager, though not as a girl, but I know your relationship with your parents tends to change dramatically over those years. It’s probably inevitable that there will be tension between parents and children during the teenage years. Parents will remember the special bond they had with their young kids; the nights they carried them to bed, out cold and all floppy, then laid them down and just sat and watched them sleeping, filled with inexplicable adoration. We’ll remember when we walked in the door after work every day and they ran full speed into our arms, shouting “Daddy!!” as if we’d been gone for days, or weeks (which I also get to experience – the greeting is pretty much the same in both cases). We’ll remember when they thought everything we did was AMAZING; when we could induce fits of laughter simply by adding the word “poo” to a joke or story; when we taught them to ride a bike and our hearts were filled to bursting with pride and delight, even as theirs were.

But they probably won’t remember much of that, which made me a bit sad… so I came up with an idea, which I want to share with you because I think it’s a good one and you might want to do it too. I call it the 10-year letters, and it’s pretty simple. On Eden’s third birthday, or within a week or two of it, I wrote her a letter telling her about where we live, who her friends are, what kind of things we like to do together, where I work/what I do/how I feel about it, a funny story or two about her and I, and what I wonder or hope or pray for her at the age of 13 (about how boys are trouble, you know). Then I sealed it up, wrote “Eden – 13” on it and filed it away. In 10 year’s time, on her 13th birthday, she’ll get her first letter. Kate will get her first letter when she turns 12.

It’ll be a snapshot of the relationship we had 10 years earlier, and by the time she turns 13 I’ll have a stash of letters for her all the way through to her 22nd birthday. All through the teenage years and into adulthood my daughters will be reminded  each year about – or perhaps learn for the first time about – what we’ve been through together. I won’t remember the details I’ve written in those letters, but I’m sure they will provide some insight into how much my kids have always meant to me; something I am only beginning to grasp about my own parents now that my girls are growing up. Mom and dad, did you really feel the way about me that I feel about Eden and Kate? I find it hard to believe, and I wish I could remember it. Thanks for taking care of me.

So, fellow dads (or mums), if you like the idea: get on board! It’s easy, and I’ve found that the process of reminiscing over the previous year and writing about it by hand is beneficial in its own right. Based on a Google search, I’m not the only dad (or mum) who’s written letters to his or her kids for the future, but I just might be one of the only ones doing it as systematically as I am (systematic: how’s that for a romantic word?). Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how it all works out, starting in about 8 years 🙂

Prayers, Plans, and Split Lips

Our church CityLight is going through a bit of a transition right now and as a result Tim and two other leaders are going to be sharing the teaching role. This is a new thing for Tim (but not the others) as well as an exciting and scary leap of faith. We’ve been praying a lot lately about our church, our role in the church, and future plans for our church.

This morning we were there early helping set up. Tim was planning on leading a session on personal testimony this morning for our Family Service (everyone in together including kids) when Eden, who was running around in her sock feet, slipped and had a fantastic face-plant on the tile.

This resulted in me scooping up all 20kg of her, running to the kitchen where Tim was, and trying to figure out where all the blood was coming from. We decided that it wasn’t bad enough for a trip to emergency but definitely a trip home for a non bloody shirt.

So here we are, Eden’s eating a popsicle while Tim’s teaching and somehow looking after Kate at the same time.

Thing’s don’t always work out how we plan them, often they don’t, but we have to trust that God has a plan better then ours, even if it involves split lips. This is definitely true for our church, we wouldn’t have planned how things are going right now but we can trust that God has a plan and rest in that knowledge.

So stay tuned as the next few months are bound to be full of prayer, plans, and hopefully no more split lips.

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Sculptures By The Sea 2015

Just a few photos of our Sunday at Cottesloe Beach the other weekend. Every year they host Sculptures By the Sea. We haven’t made it out to the event since we moved here, until this year. Unfortunately, we had to go on the weekend with a thousand other people, but it was still nice to see some of the Sculptures and spend time on the beach.

Eden tripped on the way to the beach (we had to park at a bit of a distance) and scraped her knee, so it didn’t start out very well, but thankfully she got over it quickly!

I should note that there were signs everywhere that said don’t touch the art…..

This one was beautiful

This one was beautiful

Eden liked how the person on top was upside down (sorry...not in pic)

Eden liked how the person on top was upside down (sorry…not in pic)

Little poser

Little poser

It was really cool how big a lot of them were, it must have been quite a feat installing them in the beach.

I liked this little one

I liked this little one

It's too bad we all couldn't get in this one, as there were two more holes. There was just way too many people there though.

It’s too bad we all couldn’t get in this one, as there were two more holes. There was just way too many people there though.

The flock of flamingoes were pretty cool

The flock of flamingoes was pretty cool

There was a whole bunch of them

There was a whole bunch of them

It wasn’t really a relaxing day on the beach, but it was interesting none the less. I’m glad we went, but I wouldn’t go on the weekend next time.

Getting their toes wet

Getting their toes wet

Our favourite one and we almost missed it. Really interesting with the faces in the charcole.

Our favourite one and we almost missed it. Really interesting with the faces in the charcoal.

Having a little snack to keep us going

Having a little snack to keep us going

Such a beautiful beach

Such a beautiful beach

We live in a stunning place

We live in a stunning place

Inspiration for the week

It’s true that I probably spend more time online then I should. I’m much more productive in my life if I switch off my devices and tune in to real life. However, as a Stay-At-Home-Mum, life can get a little…mundane. I can think up creative things to do with my girls, crafts, lego, imaginative play. I can read an unlimited amount of stories until my throat is dry and all I want to do is fall asleep. I can make endless meals and snacks (the snacks are usually consumed more readily, popcorn anyone?). I can go to parks and play outside. Sometimes (maybe too often) though I just check out. I think it’s a form of survival really, from the boredom.

Don’t get me wrong I love my girls and would die for them. I want their lives to be enriching and interesting, I want them to love life, themselves, and God. I want so many things for them but I think you’d be lying if you said (as a SAHM) you weren’t bored from time to time or that you never wanted to escape your current reality. I am thankful that I’m not cleaning poopy diapers any more (though still wiping bums…does this ever end?).

So I read blogs and listen to podcasts to escape, to get a glimpse into someone else’s reality, to be inspired by the amazing work that people spend their lives doing. I hope that someday I will inspire others to be a better version of themselves, to serve others, to make the world a more beautiful place as Miss Rumphius would say.

Here are some of my favourites that I’ve read recently.

Revelation Wellness has been inspiring me lately I love what they do and their mission. You should follow them on Instagram and get their emails! I loved this blog post: Should I or Shouldn’t I Work out today?

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This blog post by Kelle Hampton, if you’ve never heard of her she’s a mum, one of her daughters has Down Syndrome, and she’s a champion. Just read it.

Inspired to Action is a must listen to Podcast for me. I recently listened to this podcast and was inspired to be more intentional with my girls. I’ve started Sense of the Resurrection with the girls to prepare for Easter.

My friend Melinda posted Making Ethical Fashion Choices, on FB recently. It’s written from a Christian perspective but I think it applies to EVERYONE living in first world nations. We are too quick to grab a deal, to buy junk from dollar stores without pausing to think of the actual cost, the human cost of the deal we scored. This issue doesn’t only have to do with fashion but with pretty much every industry. If you want to make better chocolate choices this Easter then check out Traffik Free Easter, their website has a wealth of information (not just on purchasing chocolate).

When it comes to human trafficking I feel sick. It’s easy to ignore global issues that don’t personally affect us but some of my friends back in Canada have recently become passionate about spreading awareness of this problem and trying to affect change. A21 campaign is actually freeing people who have been trafficked yesterday and prosecuting people who do it. This is something that I’ve seen first hand. I was in Northern Thailand with YWAM in 2003 and we were working in a village building some infrastructure and helping in various ways. I noticed that there were NO girls between the ages of 4 and …? old women. They were all sold to the bigger cities with the hope that they would be going to a real job so they could send back money to their families. In reality they were working in brothels and it made me weep, it still does. It’s easy to feel hopeless when sex and slavery is such a huge industry but I believe if one person is freed then it’s worth it.

The team

The team in Thailand

To end on a hopeful note, MercyShips is an amazing organization which provides medical care for the least of these. This video is one that I shared on Facebook but it worth sharing on here. It’s moving and full of hope. Women’s Health Program.

I almost forgot, you should check out this art. If you have Instagram you should follow Gracelaced. It’s beautiful and inspiring.

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So what makes you feel alive? What escape do you have from the mundane? What do you do to make your life not solely about yourself and satisfying your desires? Whether you’re a SAHM or not, I think there’s something in all of us that realises life isn’t just about us and we can’t just turn a blind eye to some of the major issues in our world. We are raising global citizens after all, what will their world view be?

Oh and if you’re wondering, I like reading the “hold in your hand” type of books too, but my children are neglected and household chores are forgotten when I get into a plot. So I try to “limit my intake” at this point in my life.

I’m looking forward to your comments.

My baby is THREE!

Well… almost three. Tomorrow is the big day but we celebrated today since it was a public holiday!

We had a few friends over to our house for a nice low key party and celebration. Kate got to open presents all day starting in her pyjamas.

Eden "Helping" Kate....

Eden “Helping” Kate….

Kate concentrating really hard.

Kate concentrating really hard.

We had some yummy food and it was actually a nice day! We could drink tea mid-morning without sweating (I think around 26 degrees)!

Colour

Colour

Worms in dirt...I think the worms were picked out pretty quickly

Worms in dirt…I think the worms were picked out pretty quickly

Lots of girlies!

Lots of girlies!

The Men

The Men

We had a little scavenger hunt around the yard for hidden bugs (plastic ones…).

Searching for bugs in our pumpkin vine that's taking over.

Searching for bugs in our pumpkin vine that’s taking over.

We also had a piñata, it’s become a bit of a tradition for birthdays in our house! Easy and entertaining!

Kate wanted Daddy help

Kate wanted Daddy help

Danny doesn't need any help!

Danny doesn’t need any help!

Of course we had some cake 🙂

Blowing out the candles

Blowing out the candles

Creepy crawly garden cake :)

Creepy crawly garden cake 🙂

3 years old!

3 years old!

She loves spiders

She loves spiders

Mama cuddles

Mama cuddles

Sisters

Sisters

Juice!

Juice!

We have some lovely friends who celebrated with us. This is one of my favourite photos from the day.

Not the most flattering one… sorry Wolf!

Mama and baby love

Mama and baby love

Post party "no more pictures mom..."

Post party “no more pictures mom…”

For Kate this year we decided to get her a new bed. We got it second hand but it was new to her! She has been sleeping on a trundle, basically on the floor and we thought it was time for a big girl bed! I think she liked it and I think a certain big sister was a little jealous from all the gifts.

Not on the floor any more!

Not on the floor any more!

All tucked in after a big day :)

All tucked in after a big day 🙂

Camping in the Stirling Range – Part One

This past week we went camping. It was a bit of a last minute decision really, only gave ourselves a few weeks to get ready but it was SO worth it.  We (I) needed to get away from the city, from the busyness of life, from people even (sorry!), and be in nature. I’ve always found the natural world to be a place where God meets me, a place of clarity of thought, a place of peace. I knew I didn’t want to go to a holiday park; even though our last experience at one was good, they’re not really a “natural” place or a peaceful place, particularly during school holidays. We wanted to go the Stirling Range because we wanted to do some hiking. At some point leading up to my 30th last year I said to Tim that I wanted to complete something physically challenging in my 30th year. I wanted to set a benchmark for my 30s of adventure and physical fitness. I wanted to focus and achieve a physical goal, although because it was a bit of a last minute decision to go at this time I didn’t really get much training in, unfortunately.

We booked in at the Stirling Range Retreat, not really knowing what to expect, and made numerous lists of what we would need to bring. We have to pack light because of our small car and there’s always something that ends up on the roof. Here’s how tightly packed in we were.

Tim and Eden

Tim and Eden

Katie and I

Katie and I

We drove for about 2.5 hours and reached Kojonup which is a lovely little town. We packed a picnic lunch and ate at the park where the girls played and ran around for a while.

Swinging like monkeys

Swinging like monkeys

Lunch time!

Lunch time!

Then it was off for another 2 hour drive to the Stirling Range Retreat. The girls travelled well in the car. We had some podcasts/stories that we listened to, they slept some and that was pretty much it. We didn’t bring any DVD/video devices and didn’t need one at all. To you Canadians reading you may be thinking that a 4.5 hour car trip is nothing, to which I would agree, but we rarely drive longer than 30-40 minutes in the car at any one time, so we weren’t sure how the girls would make out. They did well and hopefully we’ll make the trip up to the Ningaloo Reef sometime in the next few years (we may have to upgrade to a 4-wheel-drive for that trip! :))

We arrived at our campsite and first thing we noticed was no grass. We shouldn’t have been surprised really, but it was a bit tricky getting the tent pegs into the hard, dry ground. Growing grass would be such a waste of water in this dry area, so it makes sense. I’m glad we had some good mattresses to sleep on 🙂

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First things first – Sun cream!

Girlies watching Tim through the tent

Girlies watching Tim through the tent

Eden wanted to take a picture of me!

Eden wanted to take a picture of me!

The camp ground was spacious and perfectly located close to the Stirling range. It had a great little park and really nice swimming pools. It wasn’t that busy – despite being school holidays – and had a great communal kitchen area, and clean bathrooms/showers – as long as you don’t mind a few bugs…

Dry and dusty with the mountains in the background

Dry and dusty with the mountains in the background

Testing out the tyre swings

Testing out the tyre swings

Eden wanted to take a picture of Tim with our tent in the background.

Eden wanted to take a picture of Tim with our tent in the background.

The lovely pools!

The lovely pools!

That first evening after our swim and supper we watched the sun set behind the mountains and knew that we had made the perfect choice for our holiday.

The sun beginning it's descent

The sun beginning it’s descent

Roasting marshmallows

Roasting marshmallows

Pretty sky

Pretty sky

Beauty

Beauty

Sometime in the next few days we’ll write a post specifically about hiking Bluff Knoll, which was the centrepiece of our trip. Until then, hope you’ve enjoyed this look into our holiday.