Monday, 15 October 2012

Mondays with Merton - Happiness and Love

This week's musing from Merton is about love and happiness. I hope you find it as thought-provoking as I did.

"A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found: for a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy...[you might want to read that a couple more times; i know i did!]
True happiness is found in unselfish love, a love that increases in proportion as it is shared. There is no end to the sharing of love, and, therefore, the potential happiness of such love is without limit. Infinite sharing is the law of God's inner life. He has made the sharing of ourselves the law of our own being, so that it is in loving others that we best love ourselves. In disinterested activity we best fulfill our own capacities to act and to be. Yet there can never be happiness in complusion. It is not enough for love to be shared: it myst be shared freely. That is to say it must be given, not merely taken. Unselfish love that is poured out upon a selfish object does not bring prefect happiness: not because love requires a return or reward for loving, but because it rests in the happiness of the beloved. And if the one loved receives love selfishly, the love is not satisfied. He sees that his love has failed to make the beloved happy. It has not awakened his capacity for unselfish love."*

It's quite a facinating idea to me - this balance or tension found in happiness and love, where love that is unselfishly given mandates happiness, that love must also me unselfishly received. Thomas says it much more eliquently than I, and I definitely had to read it all again (a few times over) to allow it to really start to sink in. It definitly gets me thinking, and I hope it inspires you as well!



*pg 19, No Man Is An Island, by Thomas Merton, circa 1955

Monday, 8 October 2012

Mondays with Merton - the start of something new

I've decided to try to write more regularly... and start  "Mondays with Merton", where I'll take an exceprt from Thomas Merton's book "No Man Is An Island", write about it, share my thoughts, and ask for feedback as well. I'd love this to be a bit of a discussion, so feel free to respond with your thoughts as well. Today, let's start with some words about freedom.

 The first three sentences is one of my favorite quotes:

"My free will consolidates and perfects its own autonomy by freely co-ordinating its action with the will of another. There is something in the very nature of my freedom that inclines me to love, to do good, to dedicate myself to others. I have an instinct that tells me that I am less free when I am living for myself alone. The reason for this is that I cannont be completely independent. Since I am not self-sufficiant I depend on someone else for my fulfillment. My freedom is not fully free when left to itself. It becomes so when it is brought into the right relation with the freedom of another."*

I found this so profound, especially the first time I read it. Growing up in a conservative Christian family in America, I was taught so much about freedom and independence, but mostly to the extend of patriotism. Freedom is so much more than patriotism. Some of the questions I've pondered over the years in regards to freedom include: What am I free from? And what I am free to? Freedom isn't just about exploring or excersing ones own "rights"... I think it is so true when Merton says " I have an instinct that tells me that I am less free when I am living for myself alone".
hmmm.... let's just chew on that for a bit.....

let me know what your thoughts are too, i'd love to share some dialogue about the excerpts I post.

Cheers from Oz,


*page 35, No Man Is An Island, Thomas Merton, circa 1955

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Sweet 16

My little sis is turning 16 today!!!

I can't believe how fast she's growing up... times sure flies.

Here's to you, Hosanna Joy!!

Hosanna [hoh-zan-uh]:
Origin: < Late Latin ( h ) ōsanna < Greek ōsanná < Heb hōsh ( i ) ʿāh nnā 
save, we pray; replacing Middle English, Old English osanna

1) an exclamation, originally an appeal to God for deliverance, used in praise of God or Christ.
2) a shout of praise or adoration; an acclamation.

Joy [joi]
Origin: 1175–1225; Middle English joy ( e ) < Old French joie, joye < Late Latin gaudia, neuter plural (taken as feminine singular) of Latin gaudium joy, equivalent to gaud- (base of gaudēre to be glad) + -ium -ium

1) the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation:
2) a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated;

Happy birthday, sis! You are amazing! You do bring so much joy to everyone you meet. I love you!

hop over to her blog to find out more about her: 


Friday, 14 September 2012


About two and a half weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night shivering uncontrollably. Now, I live in the tropics and even in the winter the nighttime temperatures are still about 15 C (59F)... I should not have been cold, much less shivering! i put on fleece pants and pulled out my fleece blanket, trying to get warm. Only a short time later, I'm taking off the layers and can feel my body temperature rising... I'm sure I have a fever.
I had had a late lunch that day and hadn't really eaten dinner; I thought perhaps is was due to those factors, so I got up and ate an orange. I felt so weak. Much weaker than I normally would after skipping dinner. I headed back to bed, to a restless night of sleep, but woke up in the morning feeling alright. I went to work, but after less than 2 hours went home, called Sam and told him I wasn't feeling well. He suggested I see a doctor, and I made an appointment for later that morning. After explaining to the doctor that I had been in Liberia 6 months ago, she recommended I get a blood test, so I went down to the Pathology centre, and got tested.
Monday morning I went back to the doctor to find out what the results of my test was - they came back negative for malaria but showed that my white blood cell count was abnormal, indicating that my body was trying to fight some sort of virus, but the doctor couldn't say what it was.

  Nearly every night for a week I endured the same symptoms - chills, fever, headache, joint/muscle pain especially in my neck, fatigue. I was getting so frustrated. What was wrong with me?! I contemplated going to Emergency at the hospital, but when Sam called to see how much it would cost and found out that it would be $280 just to get into the ER, and then it would cost to be admitted, for blood work, treatment and medication, I opted to stay home and wait it out. The next day I went back to the doctor to see if there was anything else they could do, etc. I was told it usually take several blood tests to rule out malaria completely, so it might be best to have more blood work done.
It had now been 8 days, 3 doctors appointments, and two blood tests. I ended up going home from work early that day, and was in bed by 3p experiencing it all over again. That night my fever felt the hottest it had been, my head hurt the worst it had hurt, and all I wanted to do was talk to my mum. I sent her a text message seeing if she was still awake (knowing it was around 2am, but that sometimes my mum stayed up that late). A few minutes later I decided to call to see if her phone was on, and ended up leaving a message after no answer. Another couple minutes and I got a text back from her saying she was awake now and that I could call her. We chatted for about half hour or so, and then she prayed with me. She prayed not only for my healing, but that the doctors would be able to figure out what was wrong (before my appoinment witha specialist at the Centre for infectious Disease, schedule another week out), that if I did need to go to the hospital I wouldn't be detered by how much it cost, etc. I was so thankful to be able to talk to her, and knowing I could txt her even at 2 in the morning.
About an hour and a half later, I got a call from "private number"... by this time I had been in bed for 5 hours. I answered, and it was another doctor (whom I hadn't met) that was calling to inform me that my blood results had come back from that morning, and were positive for Malaria. The results weren't entirely conclusive, but it was certain that malaria had come back positive and I needed to go to the hospital for treatment.
  Sam and I grabbed some books and a blanket, knowing it might be a long night in the hospital. We only had to wait in Emergency for about half hour before a nurse called my name and I was led into another part of the hospital where they check my blood pressure and temperature. I ended up being put on a bed in Emergency, had a fluid drip put in my arm, and was given morphine for my pain. We discussed with the attending doctor my options of getting pills and going home, staying the night in the hospital and waiting to see someone from Infectious Disease in the morning, etc. I told her that I didn't have private health insurance and as an American wasn't able to have Medicare (Australian public health care), so wanted to do things as inexpensively as possible. She made sure a note was put in my file not to admit me to the hospital (because that would greatly increase the fees), and allowed me to go off the drip (because it was so uncomfortable and painful, that that was one of the reasons i wanted to go home) if i would make sure to drink lots of fluid and stay the night in Emergency. I decided it was probably to stay and see someone from Infectious Disease in the morning, rather than try to come back in the morning (which might cost me again), so Sam and I stayed all night in Emergency. Because I wasn't on the drip or needing to be connected to any machines, my bed was put in the corridor of the emergency ward, and Sam was allowed to crawl in with me to try to get some sleep. I slept a little... they had to check on me (temp, pulse, blood pressure) every few hours, and in the morning a new set of medical staff arrived, one of whom was dating our new housemate! It was great to have a familiar face to come check up on me every now and again, and Ondrej was so wonderful to me - even writing a certificate of leave for Sam's work since he stayed in the hospital with me overnight.

Malaria has been eradicated from Australia for about 20 years, and is not very often treated in Darwin, except by return travellers, but many doctors and medical researchers want to study it, so I was rather a celebrity while in the hospital! It was kind of humorous, because at one point there were about 6 people hovering around me, asking me qusetions about my symptoms, where I contracted it, etc. Turns out the strain of malaria that I got (there are 4 different types) is somewhat rare, but thankfully one of the more milder forms as well. Because malaria had been eradicated from Australia, I was actually a public health concern, because if I were to get bit by a mosquito and it contracted malaria, it could pass it on to others! Thankfully, for this reason I was also prescribed medication free of charge! Such a blessing! I ended up leaving the hospital (with 2 sets of medication) before noon (spending a total of about 15 hours in emergency), and made an appointment to go back after the weekend for follow up blood tests.

It's now been a week since I was in the hospital, I've finished the first set of pills (which clears malaria from my blood) and have about a week left of the second set of pills (which clears malaria from my liver so that it doesn't reoccur in the future). I will go back to the hospital in a few weeks for another follow-up blood test, just to make sure everything is well and functioning properly. I'm so thankful i didn't have to pay for the blood work or medication that was done in Emergency (though i have some bills that will be sent to me from the pathologist for the first two blood tests that were done before i went to the hospital). And thanks to all my friends and family who prayed for me, made me meals, sent me encouraging words, etc. Big thanks to my amazing man, Sam, for taking care of me day and night through it all - even brushing my hair after a shower when I was too exhausted, massaging my neck with tiger balm when it was so tight, cooking for me, and applying cold, damp cloths when my fever spiked!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

our garden

Even though we live in a neighborhood and our next door neighbors are only a few meters away, we really feel like we live in a jungle! and are so excited for the work we've been doing on part of the overgrown "jungle"... we've dug up a lot of weeds, racked, etc and are hoping to plant grass this week in order to have a cozy little hangout area in our lovely yard. (photos to follow) For now here's a few photos of our lovely little jungle and parts of our permacultured garden.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

This bird flew south...

I can't believe it's been so long since I posted! But I'll try to quickly update you on waht's been happening in the life of this Songbird!

January-February 2012: LIBERIA!!! I spent two months in Liberia (not Siberia, not Lybia), West Africa! I worked with a Women and Children Development Sectretariat (WOCDES, a local NGO in Zwedru, Liberia and started a preschool for them! I met my man! During my time in Liberia, I worked with a young man from New Zealand, and upon leaving Africa we decided to start our journey together! I am so thankful to have Sam in my life!

Febuary-April 2012: America, Canada, Australia!! When I left Liberia, I headed back to Denver, CO to finish up the School of Social Justice at YWAM Denver... was there for about 10 days, then flew to Vancouver, BC Canada to meet up with Sam, who was staying at his friend's place there since he couldn't get a visa into the States. :( We spent about a month and a half in Vancouver and Victoria... had a really lovely time, and Sam got to meet some of my family since they only live just over the border!

Then we flew south to Australia... we spent the first two weeks with Sam's parent's in Noosa, Queensland, and then Sam got a job at Red Cross in Darwin, Northern Territory so we moved up here! We've been in Darwin for about 10 weeks and have been living in an apartment until just this week we signed a lease on a house!!! We're so excited to be out of a noisy complex in the city and are starting the moving process into our quiant (and kinda grimy!) old house. We are stoked that the property has a permaculture garden that is already operating, and look forward to fresh veggies (we're vegetarians) and beautiful flowers in our backyard! Photos and more blog posts to come soon!!

XO Lindsey