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  1. That Snickers Ad

    April 7, 2014 by bekkyb

    I’ve watched the ad (see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gjsoSY18kg). In fact, that shaggy-looking guy with the long line (which I suspect was improvised) sat next to me all through year 12 English. He’s a good guy.

    A lot of people seem to have reacted strongly to this ad. They complain that it does the opposite of what it seems to set out to do. I would disagree.

    First: there’s a reason builders have a reputation for being sexist pigs. A couple of years ago I was house-sharing with my sister when an apartment went up behind our block. She was out pegging washing one day when some sleazy, forty-something construction worker started yelling out horrible things at her. She was all of 18 at the time, and we went straight to the police.

    Second: this ad is different to the other Snickers ads which use the tag line “you’re not you when you’re hungry.” What DOESN’T happen at the end? The builders are never seen eating a Snickers bar and reverting to “themselves.” I believe that Snickers has taken what was by now a familiar tag line, and used it to create a message about gender that others would be totally incongruous with advertising about chocolate.

    Advertising is one of the most influential factors in our modern, commercial culture. Perhaps we should be glad that a company with plenty of advertising sway is actually doing something to challenge some of our society’s gender problems.


  2. Buying Aussie Made

    March 14, 2014 by bekkyb

    “Keeping jobs in Australia” is one of those big things you hear on the news all the time. When our brands get bought out by overseas companies, or international brands become too competitive, workers here run the risk of being out of work. As well, much of the profit from our everyday purchases heads back overseas. What a shame, when we are more than capable of producing our own stuff, and often much higher quality than the overseas stuff anyway! Buying Aussie made products means directly supporting the farmers and producers who make those things.

    Dick Smith

    I’ve started buying Aussie made, Dick Smith branded OzeMite and peanut butter. It’s Australian made and owned, and Dick invests the profits back into the community, and into charity – in fact, ALL the profit from Dick Smith Foods is donated to charity! According to the website, Dick himself doesn’t receive any financial gain from his franchise, and donates his time to helping the community. When the alternative is some faceless American company taking my money overseas to go into the wallet of some corporate fatcat, I’ve gotta say I’m more than convinced that buying Aussie is the better choice.

     

    That’s just one example of how I’m starting to change my buying habits to a more ethical, aware approach that looks less at the dollar cost of a particular item, and more at the cost to our community, to farmers, to producers throughout our country. In buying the cheaper international brands, could I be hurting producers here? Is it really worth it, to save a bit of cash at the check-out?

    We vote with our money. If we’re not prepared to use that money to support Australian producers, we can’t really complain when factories and farms close down and a few more thousand people are out of work. If we can put aside our own selfishness – skip that next latte in favour of an Aussie sandwich spread; give up a couple weeks’ entertainment for the sake of an Australian-made shirt over cheap Asian wear – we can all help to make a real difference in our country.


  3. Greater love have no man…

    March 8, 2014 by bekkyb

    I had a nightmare the other night. Pregnancy, they say, gives you extra vivid dreams and extends your REM (dreaming) sleep. Seventy per cent of all dreams, they say, are nightmares.

    In this dream, I find myself in a room. At one end, a group of people are huddled. Beside me is a man. An evil man. I am on a table of some sort, and next thing I know a device – a bar – comes up, and I’m bound by it – I can’t get up from the table. The man shows me an instrument. It’s designed to inflict pain. He gives a brief demonstration of its use, then puts it down. That one is not for me. He picks up a second instrument: this one is like a jeweler’s saw, with a handle at one end of the blade, and a sharp tip at the other. It gets inserted into the skin of the abdomen, where it begins to vibrate up and down – and saw through the skin. {This is perhaps informed by the anxiety I have experienced surrounding last year’s laparoscopy, wherein the belly button is sliced open to allow the laparascopic camera to be inserted} My whole body thrills with fear – “Please don’t! Please don’t cut me!” And the dream changes, I’m outside, hiding, fearing the consequences if the man with his instruments of torture should find me. I see someone taking in combustible materials, sense someone is about to be burned, worry that it might be one of my loved ones, that they are suffering because I evaded my own torture…

    I woke up feeling horrible. The fear lingered, the seedy feeling that things weren’t right. As I mulled it over in my mind, trying to make sense of it all, I realised with a nasty jolt that in that dream, I couldn’t go back to face the evil man. Not even with the thought that my family or friends might be hurt because of it. It was a sickening thought, that I could just hide nearby, paralysed with fear, watching and hoping that nothing bad would happen – unable to overcome my own panic long enough to help someone else.

    These thoughts stayed with me throughout the day. I wondered how you could reconcile these two facts: the moral self, that vows to put others first; and the human, fleshly self, with its built-in mechanisms for self-preservation, that refuses to willingly submit to torture if there’s a way to avoid it. I felt like a bad person. It wasn’t a real situation, but my response was very real. That fear, that hesitation – that wasn’t made up.

    And then these words came into my head -

    Great love have no man, than that he should lay down his life for a friend.

    I always thought I could do that, no worries. I got a wake up call (ha) with that nightmare. But it occurred to me that even if I couldn’t overcome my own human nature to save my family and friends, someone else could: Jesus Christ. It’s so hard to connect with his suffering on the cross (and the brutal beatings before that) – at least for me. After all, I had no situation in life to compare it with. I rationalised it by thinking to myself, “but of course he could do that! He is God, after all!” Yet after that dream, I began to see just how hard it must have been. One minute you’re a healthy thirty-something enjoying the basic comforts of life; the next, you’re stripped bare, flesh stripped from bone, and hung up to die. The foreknowledge of what was to come must have been nearly unbearable. The prayers he spent so many hours praying in the garden of Gethsemane, the impassioned cry of “Why have you forsaken me?” – suddenly I had a little context: the context of what it is to be human and to face such things.

    Since that night, I live with the knowledge that I cannot be sure what I would do if I were in the position of having to choose between those close to me, or saving my own skin. But I also live with the knowledge, a deepening knowledge, of just how far Jesus went to secure out salvation.


  4. All these blessings and more

    March 6, 2014 by bekkyb

    When we moved to the farm, into the mudbrick cottage just big enough, surrounded by rolling acres and bush to explore, we thought it was perfect. We talked about staying there for a long time, even starting a family there in the one big room just barely separated into bedroom, lounge room, kitchen. The shower heated with a BBQ gas bottle. The coonara fireplace warming the house – when we could work out how to get it going. The little bench that held up our electric appliances, because the B&B (that’s what it was) wasn’t licensed for a stove, an oven. Within five months it had worn thin and we were looking for something…. bigger.

    God saw our desperation. We found a place, just near on perfect. A two-bedroom place on a bush block with a veggie patch. We applied, and the agent said we were the best applicants they had. We didn’t get the place. The landlords refused to budge on the issue of our dogs.

    There wasn’t anything else at the time. We’d felt so sure that would be our house. Then something happened: we got a call from the agent – another house, one we hadn’t considered as it plainly said “no pets” on the description, had been offered to us! It had three bedrooms, new carpet, fresh paint, a renovated bathroom, a walk-in pantry! Heating, they said, would be installed just before we moved. It was a little out of our price range, but we figured we could make it work. We moved in a week later, and could see ourselves staying there for a few years, starting a family there.

    Then we moved and the heating that was to be “installed” was a couple of oil heaters and a space heater and we’d struggle in the middle of winter to heat a room past 17°C. The driveway was a circular mudslide and some days I’d wonder if I’d get my Fairmont out or if the wheels would churn a hole through to China. There were slips, trips and stumbles coming down the steep, mud-slicked path down to the house and moving furniture was a nail-biting affair. The landlady was a bitter old woman who refused to fix anything, even when we spoke to Consumer Affairs and pointed out her legal obligations and threatened to seek compensation for belongings damaged. Termites came and she wouldn’t send someone out to check the house; instead she told the agent they were “winged ants.”

    Meanwhile I found myself up the duff, expecting our first baby just two weeks after the lease was set to end. In the middle of winter. We vainly looked at other houses, but we knew we couldn’t just break the lease, it’s not as simple like that, even with our landlady. Friends announced they were moving out of the house they owned, and we knew they’d be looking for tenants, but we sighed and wished they were moving in another six months.

    God doesn’t tell you his plans in advance, not most of the time. It came as a total surprise to us when we were told we could break the lease early without any penalties! The landlady refused to fix things, but I’m not one to back down, especially when I have the law behind me and the horrifying thought of our house suddenly collapsing from termite infestation to spur me on. We contacted our friends, and two weeks later we were signing the lease.

    In a little over a week from now, when I’ll be just past 19 weeks of pregnancy, we’ll be moving into a cosy, stylishly renovated two bedroom house with a big back yard (complete with veggie patch), big garage with insulated office/study, and best of all – ducted heating, and a little air conditioning unit! It’s a three minute walk from Safeway (as opposed to a 15 minute drive), right there in the main town. We never got that house on the bush block because even then, God had a plan. He engineered it just perfectly, timed it just so, that we could move into the house our friends own, the house they have loved for 7 years now, the house they’re sad to leave behind – but now they tell us, make it your home.

    We have been looked after in the most mind-boggling awesome way. All praise be to God!


  5. This Little Life: 17 Weeks of Pregnancy

    March 1, 2014 by bekkyb

    17 weeks ago today, I got my period – my last period for a while. 15 weeks ago (or thereabouts), two cells fused together in that timeless miracle and went from being mere cells, to the beginning of a brand new person. My very recent diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis had forced up a lot of question marks: would we be able to fall pregnant easily? What about the pain that grew with each cycle after the surgery, would that be cured by having a baby? God blessed us with this miracle and started us on a whole new journey – four months after my operation, we were expecting our first child.

    The endo wasn’t quite finished with me. I had one scare – a sudden comeback, fueled by all those hormones, that crippled me and sent me into the hospital. Until they did an ultrasound, there was no way of knowing whether the pain was caused by the disease, or – more frightening – an ectopic pregnancy. I waited anxiously for my turn to be wheeled into the sonographer’s office. And there, Sean and I saw it for the first time: a little circle that represented our tiny embryo, right where it should be. That was 5 weeks in, three weeks since conception.

    A little circle doesn’t tell you much: I was sent for a follow-up scan at 7 weeks to make sure there was a baby in the gestational sac. Another nerve-wracking wait, as we learned that a sac can form and pregnancy symptoms start without any baby at all – it dies very early on, but the body doesn’t realise. We breathed a sigh of relief to see a wriggling creature just like a jelly bean up on the screen. And then we waited, yet again, until we could finally see our baby in a “people shape.”

    Our 12-week scan couldn’t come fast enough. Nearly five weeks of waiting, feeling nothing from your baby, can start to create its own panic. What if something had happened and I didn’t know about it? I lay on the ultrasound bed, pulled up my shirt, patiently waited as the sonographer smeared lube on the ultrasound wand… and within seconds our worries were dispelled. There on the screen was a tiny person with arms and legs, a face with eyes and nose. I couldn’t stop the tears from sliding out as I pondered the mystery of this tiny human being resting quietly inside my own body.

    Now it’s week 17, and for the last two weeks I have felt more and more of baby’s movements. In fact, I can now feel in great detail! Come the afternoon, baby wakes up and I feel it roll and stretch and kick, feel what must be an arm waving along the edge of the uterus. This person moves independently of me, it has life that although dependent on my body for survival, is nonetheless its own person, thinking its own thoughts, finding its own preferences for positions to lie in, judging the different flavours that come into the amniotic fluid (I need to remember to keep eating a range of foods and flavours!).

    Every week some new milestone is reached. Every week our baby grows bigger, and this week it’ll start accumulating fat and steadily putting on weight. In just a tiny bit over five months, we’ll meet this little person, come face to face, and watch him or her grow up before our eyes and develop into a fully fledged human person with their own characteristics, their own personality. It’s too much to wrap your head around. In the meantime, watching plenty of One Born Every Minute helps to make it seem more real, to show that strange transition from an unseen creature tucked up in the womb to a kicking, screaming baby!