Monday, October 22, 2012


Embrace relational uncertainty. It's called romance. 
Embrace spiritual uncertainty. It's called mystery. 
Embrace occupational uncertainty. It's called destiny. 
Embrace emotional uncertainty. It's called joy. 
Embrace intellectual uncertainty. It's called revelation.
-- Mark Batterson
This was on a friend's facebook status update today and it spoke to me. No surprises there I guess given my own occupational uncertainty and my belief that the universe has a plan even though I don't, which I suppose is another way of saying 'destiny'. The only thing with thinking of something as destiny is that I find it hard to take it seriously as it always brings to mind the line from Back to the Future where Marty McFly's father-to-be fluffs the line he's been given and tells Marty's mother-to-be 'You are my density' instead.... ah well.
We're about to start week two of term tomorrow (today having been Labour Day and thus a public holiday). As far as I know the interviews for the new full time post at work will take place this week and then once the decision has been made about who will get it (assuming someone will!) we'll start to have a bit more certainty about how the rest of term will shape up in terms of staffing. So I'll know if I need to work the last three weeks of term or not, and if I do whether it will be for 21hrs or 11hrs a week. Whilst I know that financially three weeks at 21hrs is the better option than 11hrs, or none aside from any relieving that comes along, it has to be said the idea of an extra three weeks free this side of Christmas has a certain appeal! I think mentally I've already filled up those weeks several times over with things I'd like to get done.
I've discovered that there is something quite freeing about uncertainty - it certainly gives me the perfect excuse to say to our new MM Nominations Committee that until I know what I'm doing next year I can't really take any roles on as I don't know what else I'll be doing, nor where that might be. I'm not expecting to move, and am rather hoping not to, but in order to be truly open to where the winds of the spirit might blow me I have to be free to be blown!

Monday, October 15, 2012


Well having given Deb & Jim the link to this lately I guess I should write something eh?

Term started again today, with avengence. I'm not entirely sure why today was so knackering other than perhaps the fact that none of the teachers had slept well last night having each woken with a start several times panicking that we'd slept in.... and tomorrow if they all turn up we'll have 35 children, god help us. Here's hoping that the in-undies (and somehow every other item of clothing he was wearing) explosion I cleaned up today isn't repeated, or at least if it is that it happens to them at home and they therefore don't come in! It is at times like that when the upcoming redundancy seems like the promised land.

I think a lot of it has to do with shifting gears though. Especially after managing to have a fairly relaxing term break despite travelling from one end of the island to the other and back. Making sure it was a relaxed pace did mean I was only able to spend a couple of nights at JYF Camp at Huia, on the Waitakere coast rather than stay with them all week but I'm so glad I went.

The drive down on the Sunday with John and the boys provided the biggest catch-up I've had with them since I moved and as ever the conversation was stimulating and varied and made me appreciate how rarely I end up in such in depth political discussions these days. It came in handy actually as yesterday I ended up answering one of those telephone opinion poll surveys where the Government's planned policy for plain packaging for cigarettes was a big part. I hadn't changed my view on it after my grilling from Francis but I certainly had my answers ready a lot quicker! (personally I think the cigarette companies will get around it by making the cigarettes themselves look more different from each other even if the packets don't, plus cigarette cases are bound to make a comeback as the latest must-have fashion accessory - and of course the tobacco companies will lead the way on that front I'm sure, no doubt complete with matching phone covers. Not that I'm cycnical or anything...). Stimulating conversation was obviously to be the order of the day as a meal at the Stover-Watts household with eight of us round the table was hardly likely to be anything but! Good to reconnect again with another part of my Kiwi whānau I haven't seen as much this year as I usually would expect to.

Whānau proved to be an enduring link through the whole trip away. The theme of JYF Camp was 'My Quaker Family' - I was leading a session about the World Conference of Friends in Kenya which was well and truly the 'family reunion' on the level that Nancy Irving (FWCC General Secretary) meant in terms of bringing together the many branches of the Quaker family tree but also my own personal international Quaker family was pretty well represented on most fronts. The inter-connectedness of different people's 'Quaker families' was the aspect I emphasised given I was talking to the internet/cellphone generation where 'friending' their F/friends school mates via facebook seems perfectly normal even though they've only 'met' them through dialogue on the mutual friends page! For me even the microcosm of JYF Camp (all 17 of us!) proved the interconnectedness of all things Quaker as I am on committees with 3 of the other adults present, had been at the Triennial with a slightly different 3 and of course with Liam and Brendan there we're back around to my Kaitaia whānau (even if Liam has moved!) both of whom I've p(r)oxy parented at Summer Gatherings in the past.

Wellington was the same really, catching up with friends and Friends who feel very much like family, we may only see each other once a year or so but such is nature of the friendships (admittedly helped to an extent via facebook and flickr) that it seldom feels like it has been that long, well not until they come along with a small child in tow who wasn't even a twinkle in the eye last time we caught up! It was of course lovely to meet Bill and Elphine in person rather than just via internet photos - quite odd though to think that Bill will grow up knowing me from here where he was born rather than the UK where I first knew his parents, aunt, uncles, grandparents.... Ok sure Greg & Nicole's boys and Katy's children only know me from here too but somehow that is different given that they were all born well before I got here.

One of the best bits about my travels though was the co-incidence/serendipity/intervention of fate that meant I saw so many of the people in this country who I was closest to at the 2004 Triennial, which was perfect timing really as I approach the summer wondering just what life has in store for me next. Not only a reminder to trust that the universe has a plan even if I don't, but that they've seen me through this once before and are there to do so again. Chris did make me promise though that if I do end up emigrating again that I have to go and visit him before I leave! Fingers crossed emigration isn't on the cards this time, I've been enjoying my recent years free of dealing with Immigration Dept and I'm so close to citizenship now I really don't want to start counting for that all over again...