Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Pleasure Bent - A Deep Post


 Over the past few weeks, my church has been going through the book of Ecclesiastes.  Yes, I know, *that* book of the Bible, the one that's all doom and gloom. (Spoiler alert, it's not really!) To be honest, I was really struggling with the series and felt like I wasn't getting much out of it at all.  In fact, I was a bit bored. Well, God knew what I needed and I can truly say that the sermon I heard last Sunday was one of the best and most real to me sermons I've ever heard, and yes, I mean ever.

I'd been feeling really saddened and shocked by things I've seen happen in the world, especially when God doesn't seem to be present and I was wondering how He could fix things and whether He even would. I didn't know how to help friends who are struggling and the thought of pleasure wasn't really on my mind!

Nevertheless, the sermon was about pleasure.  Solomon sought pleasure in ways we could never hope to top today so we can pretty much take his word for it when he says that all the pleasure in the world brings but fleeting happiness and then is gone.  My pastor had looked up research studies which show that material things we buy and experiences we take only give us pleasure short term.  We will be left empty after. 

Normally, when I hear messages like this, the preacher will then rebuke people for seeking pleasure and exhort us to turn away from pleasure to God etc etc.  Not this time. My pastor proposed that the problem is that we don't seek pleasure enough!

"Ohhh he's being sarcastic," I thought.  "In a minute he'll say that's what the world says but we should be seeking God instead."

Nope, I was wrong.  You see, God is the ultimate pleasure.  If I truly want pleasure, then why am I searching for it in things that I know won't last? If I really want pleasure enough, won't I seek the pleasure that lasts and lasts and lasts?

Seriously, that struck me hard. Maybe this sounds crazy but I have never in my life heard God referred to as pleasure before! It's a radical idea, it's (to me) an almost shocking idea but it's so darn true! My pastor followed this up with an illustration I absolutely love.  Imagine your joy in units and 100 units is the maximum amount of joy you can have.  It can get topped up I guess by experiences and things but the joy always goes down eventually.  When I search for pleasure in God and "mine the depths of God", my joy will not only stay full but my capacity for joy will increase.  The "100 units" will expand to 200 - 500 - etc etc etc but no matter how much it grows, it will always stay topped up. I don't know about you, but it was the most incredibly encouraging thought. My circumstances could be terrible but it doesn't matter.  By searching for pleasure in God, I can and will have utmost joy. Oh I've heard about the joy of the Lord and all that before but this was so real, so relevant and so clearly put, it struck straight to my heart.

I'm not normally emotional in church but I was almost tearing up as we went into worship after the sermon and just praising God as we sang and praying to Him.  I've been praying day and night for some of my friends since the sermon and though some of that might be emotionally fuelled, a lot of it is from a deepened closeness to God which came from that sermon.

So there you go, that's a bit of what's been happening for me since I last posted.  I absolutely did NOT mean to write a "deep" post so soon into my blogging career, particularly since I don't have much of an audience yet, but the message touched me so deeply I just wanted to share! If you're disillusioned by temporary pleasure or depressed by circumstances, 1) you're not alone and 2) God WILL help you - it's not just words.

(All credit to my pastor and God)

God bless xx

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Third Post and Tolkien Party

I don't know about you but third posts are a bit of an unknown.  What is there to write about? The first post is a welcome, the second is more detail about myself but the third - it's an enigma, isn't it.  I don't want to go too deep without a known audience but too shallow will certainly turn any readers off. So what better than to join Hamelette's Tolkien party! I first watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy a couple of years ago and surprised myself by loving it.  I've since watched at least one of the Hobbit films and you can find out more of what I think about Tolkien and his works from the tag below:

(Thank you so much Tolkien. I appreciate your choice of deaths more than you know).

The Tolkien Tag 2016

1.  How many books by J.R.R. Tolkien have you read?

Um.... none.  I started The Hobbit but never finished. That's a terrible record, particularly since I'm a huge "the book is always better" person.

2.  Have you seen any movies based on them?

Yes I have seen the LOTR trilogy (not the extended versions yet) and at least the first Hobbit. I've seen some of the second Hobbit I believe but I don't think I've seen all of it.

3.  Are there any scenes/moments that make you cry?

 When Frodo reminisces about The Shire with Sam and they both realise that they will never have that same happy carefree life again.

4.  Are there any scenes/moments that make you laugh?

The Legolas / Gimli banter is funny - I love Legolas's "challenge accepted" face!



5.  Have you ever chosen a Middle Earth name for yourself?  If so, what is it?

I've used one of those namesites before to generate a Middle Earth /  Elf name but I can't remember it, I'm afraid!

6.  Who would you want to party with/marry/fight to the death? (pick three characters)

Party with Legolas
Marry Legolas / Aragorn
Fight to the death with Saruman -  except I'm allowed to use modern weapons ;)

7.  When was the last time you visited Middle Earth, via books or movies?

Too long ago! At least a year ago when I introduced my now brother-in-law to Middle Earth :)

8.  Do you consider Gollum to be a villain?  Why or why not?

This is a bit of a toughie.  According to the Oxford dictionary, a villain (in a story / film) is "a character whose evil actions or motives are important to the plot. I'd say Gollum's actions and motives are both evil and important to the plot line so therefore he must be a villain.

 

9.  How would you sum up what Tolkien's stories mean to you in one word?

Victory

10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies.

Another tough question because I'm not enough of a die-hard Tolkien fan to actually know quotes.  Here's a few:

 Sam:
"It's all wrong By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened. But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo : What are we holding on to, Sam?
Sam : That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for. "

(Tears, guys)

Boromir:

"One does not simply walk into Mordor."

(Epic)

Gandalf:

"YOU. SHALL. NOT. PAAAASSSS!!!!!"

Arwen:

"It is mine to give whom I will. Like my heart."

Eowyn:

"I am no man!"

Thanks for hosting, Hamelette! Such fun!





Tenna' telwan xx



Monday, 19 September 2016

The Face Behind the Mask aka About Me

Whenever I  read blogs, I always want to know more about the author - what they look like, what they are like and what they like.  The first is best summed up in a photo, the second can only really be determined through regular reading of the blog (and personal knowledge of the person) and the third is easily told!

If you want to know what I look like, my tiny blurry profile picture is a very recent photo of me.  Otherwise, here is a photo from a couple of years ago of me in the 1860s ballgown my sister made for me. Isn't she incredibly talented?

I wore the above to my sister and my annual English country dance that we hold and I'm sure you'll hear more about that in future blog posts because it's something very dear to my heart.

What am I like?  I'm an extrovert. I'm rather quiet until you get to know me but I'm very outgoing and bubbly once I'm comfortable around people and I thrive off parties and events. I'm fiery, energetic and empathetic. I'm many things both good and bad but as I said, I feel like if you keep reading along, you'll find out much more about what I'm like than if I could tell you now. Do stick around for the ride, I'll try to be entertaining! :)

What do I like? Do you have all day? Haha, ok, I'll try and condense the list down. I like: warm windy spring days, blazing hot Australian summer days, the smell of gum trees in the sun, fluffy cats and a traditional Aussie Christmas among other things.

I love reading. Growing up, our large library was my everything and I still love to curl up in a chair close to the bookcase and re-read my favourites.  Books I love include the classics, such as novels by Jane Austen, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and LM Montgomery. I also love children's books written in the 1900s, particularly early 1900s.  So many great reads :)


Of course, reading translates to a love of watching movies and TV shows as well.  You'll find that I'm a huge Pride and Prejudice 1995 (what other adaption is there anyway?) fan, a Downton Abbey fan, Sherlock fan and fan of oh so many more!

I love music. Deeply. Passionately. With feelings I cannot begin to describe. I've played piano for over ten years and it's one of the best subjects I ever took up. Music - well, it really speaks the emotions we can't, doesn't it?


So there you have it.  A little glimpse behind the mask of The Elf at what sort of person she really is. I'm fun, complicated, and very very human.  I think I'm interesting naturally - like I said, I'm human - and hopefully my readers (once I get some :D) will too but hey, blogging takes time to get used to.

Catch you later xx

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Hello and Orana!

Hello! Welcome (orana) to my very first blog and my very first blog post! You may or may not know me as I've floated around the blogsphere for a while, commenting on various blogs, generally as "The Elf". I'm not too fussed about my real name being known but I was when I first started commenting so I used one of my (many) nicknames - The Elf.  It's kinda stuck now and I feel like that's what people know me as online so The Elf I'll remain!

Why blog and why name it such a weird name? Great questions! I've thought about blogging for a while now because I a) love to write and b) like to share my opinion.  Blogging kind of connects the two and it will be so cool connecting (hopefully) to lots of different people.  The blog name is an Aborginal word meaning "stop here" which applies because I want people to stop here and read! I'm not Aborginal but I'm Australian and wanted a blog name that reflected Australia's culture.

I plan to blog about anything and everything - my life, my work, my hobbies, things I love reading and doing etc.  Feel free to give me suggestions.

I'll warn you now - my posts are going to look a bit amateurish for a while. I'm trying to get the hang of blogger and it's a lot different from what I anticipated. Bear with me, I hope you find this entertaining and thought provoking and I look forward to hearing from you.

Love & light xx