The Birds and the Bees

I’ve been quite a busy little bee this October with Kingdom business.  Firstly there was a Gideons International convention at Joondalup where I was inspired to inquire about the friends of Gideons and their evangelistic training.  Then on Sunday I was surprised to see one of the Gideons representatives was a guest speaker at church.  There was also a table in the foyer where I was able to make my inquiry.  I asked was there anyway of signing up with Gideons without having to pay the monthly fee as I wanted to join a witnessing team.  One of our church members, the Gideons Community and Events Co-Ordinator at Warwick offered me a book called ‘Sharing Jesus Without Fear’ by William Fay.  I didn’t realise how timely this book was.  I was so inspired when reading about the helpful conversation starters I have lent it to Jan and encouraged others to buy it.

Just over a week later I attended a get together with a group called Australia for Christ. I took a friend from our Monday Bible Study group and together we learnt about this groups outreach.  I am noticing the Lord is leading me towards more outreaches.  By the end of October I was involved in an outreach from church at our annual Saturday Groat Street Festival.  This is put on by the local council and is open to many varied stalls within the community.  It is held on the short dead end street which lead to the Star Swamp where I go jogging.  Both the church and the North Beach Primary School are on this street.  On the cul-de-sac and the school oval were a variety of stalls from native plants, second-hand clothes, arts and crafts, and of course food vendors.  The church had a large marquee with a sign saying “Spiritual Healing Centre” on the far side we served tea, coffee and free cream, jam and scones freshly baked at the church and delivered hot to attendees.  Behind the marquee and under a very large eucalyptus tree was our prayer team and mingling amongst the attendees was our outreach teams.  We had three teams throughout the day from 9am through to 3pm.  It was lots of fun and plenty of opportunity to chat to people about the things of God.  Many were open others not so.

The next day I was asked if I would be interested in helping out with the barista in Denmark (WA) for the Scripture Union Beach Mission.  Last year it had crossed my mind that this would be an interesting mission.  I’m sure the Lord had planted the seed it in my thoughts.  I said yes, as long as I could arrange things with Mum.  Wow! What a month of preparation for things to come!  I’m excited to see what the Lord has installed!

I have also been busy with citrus which has all of a sudden come into abundance.  I made marmalade from 3 fruits, oranges that had been given away at church, cumquats from my neighbour and Mum’s lemons as well as some ginger to give it a bit of spice.  I made it not only because the fruit was plentiful but I also wanted some to give away to thank neighbour and friends for their help with looking out for Mum and to restock mum and my supply.

Have I previously mentioned Mum is frequently losing her house keys?  Both the back screen door which she uses every day and her front door key.  I have made a copy of both keys and given a spare to her neighbours so they can let themselves in in emergencies.  There is also a locked box for all who know the combination to let themselves in if need be.  There are several copies of the backdoor key to replace the ones she loses.  Sometime the keys miraculously reappear mostly either pinned to one of her pockets, trousers or jacket or in her purse so I’m not so concerned.  But recently they have been going missing more frequently and not reappearing!  My solution for the backdoor key was to firstly make a suggestion then when she lost the key to reinforce the need for it to be more permanently attached.  Mum’s bedroom has access to the back veranda through this screen door to where she has her breakfast of just sits and admires her garden. The key usually hangs on a hook near the back door and in the past it was returned after use so that we all knew where it was.  My idea was to somehow attach it so that it could be used but not removed.  To do this I attached it to a piece of string long enough to reach the lock.  Because Mum was quite upset about loosing the key, again, I took this opportunity to once again suggest I attached it.  This time she agreed.  When I had finished attaching the screw to her wooden window shelf I showed her what I had done. The following evening I went to use the door and saw she had taken the key off!  She had no memory of the previous day’s activities.  This time I used some old chain from her discarded hanging pots hoping she would not use the plyers to remove the key.  This worked for a few days before she began to remove it from the chain, I presume by pulling it hard till the chain separated.  I was exasperated!  What was I to do?

Then one day I get a phone call from her saying the laundry door key has gone missing!  That must have been the one I found in her purse the previous day!  I didn’t mention this as I put it away in a safe place for ME to find later as there was not spare.  Fortunately this too can be attached to a chain and fastened to the towel rail attached to the door.  Now to find a chain strong enough!  Poor old Mum, she asked me why the keys just keep going missing.  I said it’s called Dementia!

The front door key is not so easy to fasten down!  With her set going missing again I had to give her the only spare I had.  I did suggest having it on a chain around her neck but then she would still take it off to shower and go to bed.  She doesn’t remember there is one in the locked box at her front door and wouldn’t remember the combination anyway!  So what can I do?  After much prayer about all the keys I thought if I sewed her front door key on a ribbon and sewed it inside her purse at least if she remembered to take her purse with her, which she usually does, she will always have a key on her.  I then told her friends where it was just in case they took her out.  I also went to Bunnings and found a dog chain which looked secure enough not to be pulled apart and asked the attendant if he could help me attach a copy of the back and laundry keys to their individual chains.  I then returned home to attach them securely.   Praise the Lord this seems to have worked, they have not been removed for over three weeks now!  Hallelujah!

On the first Tuesday of this month Mum’s cleaner Belinda has started to take Mum and Suzie out.  I ask Belinda to check that Mum had her key and had taken her morning medication as sometimes, and more so recently, she has been forgetting to take it.  Knowing they were out of the house I called in to check for Mum’s dirty clothes.  It has been quite difficult lately to get her to change her clothes as she forgets that she hasn’t changed them even when they are looking dirty from working in the garden.   I had just finished when they returned early, Mum was feeling tired.  She has been feeling tired more often lately.  I also wanted to vacuum the car ready for an outing with some of the ladies from my Bible Study group and my friend Jan.  Belinda and mum relaxed as I finished off my vacuum cleaning then joined them for carrot cake which Belinda had kindly brought to share on their outing.

The following day I was up early for my morning jog.  The sun is rising much earlier these days which doesn’t help if I want to go at the crack of dawn as it seems my body is quite enjoying going back to sleep till six am!  I love jogging at the crack of dawn to experience the first rays of sun penetrating the darkness or if I’m a bit later the blinding rays as I jog east towards the bush, which is not such a pleasant experience. It’s short lived as at this time of the year, once I’m in the bush, the trees block out the low sun rays.  I enjoy the sense of these early morning rays warming the earth.  Not so in the summer when I have to leave the house even earlier to avoid the scorching heat which is usually accompanied by the dry easterlies coming across the arid desert.

On Monday morning before heading for church, I watered my garden as we have had more than a week without rain and glorious warm spring days of mid-twenties temperatures.  There were three of us from the Bible Study group plus Jan who had decided to visit Araluen Botanical Park.  We wanted to see the tulips while they were still flowering.  140,000 tulips have been planted amongst the native Western Australian bushland.  The park has eradicated weeds and planted both exotic and native species of plants and trees including Camellias, Magnolias, Japanese Maples, Roses, Rhododendrons and Azaleas as well as several fruit trees.

The day started very overcast with a chilly breeze but as we drove south then east into the hills (actually it’s the Perth escarpment) the clouds parted to bright blue shy.  It wasn’t too hot or too cold, just perfect for a day’s walking amongst the gardens.  We had just missed the children’s activities which was a blessings, it meant a quieter day.  We walked along the edge of the pond then followed the meandering stream taking in the amazing vegetation along the route.  The tulips were glorious, I couldn’t believe the size and colours of some of the flowers, truly spectacular.  Some trees were just sending forth new season leaves others were a mass of colourful flowers.  We were quite disappointed that 90% of the roses we stuck our noses into didn’t have any scent!  Their blossoms made up for it though with such beautiful colours.

On the way home we took another route and nearly got lost trying to find the Mitchel Freeway!  We wanted to come back via the Swan River and then cut through Wembley to the ocean and back along the sea.  It had been a fun 5 hour day which we all enjoyed with the hope to doing it again sometime.

One Saturday we had a fundraising movie at church to which I took Mum.  She was really enjoying herself chatting before the movie but not long into it she started slumping down in her chair.  I don’t think she realised it was going to be a Christian movie!  Then at intermission she wanted to go home.  I wanted to stay so I avoided her till it became obvious that she wasn’t going to be happy till she was taken home.  I wasn’t very gracious as I was really enjoying the movie.  Thank God she doesn’t live far so I zoomed her off, let her in and returned for the end of the movie.  She told me later she watched TV instead.  Tell me what’s the difference?  Oh well I have learnt that she doesn’t do too well staying out late unless is has to do with food.  She doesn’t mind coming to our fundraising dinners!

Spring has been absolutely glorious.  We had a snap of cold weather after our initial warm days then more sunny weather.  One day in the middle of October I had a knock on my door by one of my neighbours saying he had nearly stepped on a snake as he exited the house.  It was now somewhere in another neighbours garden two doors down our driveway.  I called my neighbour Anne to keep an eye on the bush where we thought it had gone and called a reptile catcher.  The first said it would cost $50 every half hour even if he didn’t catch it but he was unable to come for a few hours as he was busy.  The second guy I found through the council.  He said he could come immediately and would charge $50 for an hour.  When he came of course we couldn’t find the snake although it was over a meter long.  The catches said it was more than likely a dugite.  He didn’t charge us because he said he hadn’t caught it.  A very different attitude to the first guy.   He suggested if we saw it again we were not to let it out of our sight till he came.  The snake has been spotted again at the end of the block of homes but disappeared quickly so I’m not sure where it is now!

One morning a couple of days after the snake incident while out jogging I was on my home run when I saw a parakeet flapping around on the ground unable to fly.  I very gingerly caught it and of course got nipped!  I didn’t have anything to cover its head to keep it calm except a doggie poo bag.  Poor thing I thought I’d suffocate it before I got home!  At home I put it in a cardboard box (without the plastic bag on its head) and waited till 8 am before taking it to the local vet which fortunately wasn’t far away.  The veterinary assistant said it looked as though it was fitting and probably wouldn’t survive and if it did it wouldn’t be set free as they are vermin from the Eastern States and would have to be caged.  How sad having been rescued to then have to live in captivity for the rest of your life.

I hadn’t been home long when Ian from church came to pick up his paving saw.  I must admit I was glad to see it gone, clearing out my carport at last!  I came in side and was surprised to hear a loud bussing of bees!  Looking out my kitchen window I realise there was swarm in my back garden!  I rang an apiarist who told me it would cost $100 for him to remove them.  I was shocked as I thought they would collect them for free as they could use the swarm to form a new hive.  He was quite rude saying I had wasted his time!  Well I certainly wouldn’t use him now!  I wasn’t sure what to do so decided I might try to disturb them to see if they would go.   It looked as though they were going down the hose hole in the laundry sink.  I swung open the door and removed some of the things inside.  The interior was cool and dark and probably looked like a good place for a new hive.  Not anymore!  Within half an hour there were only a few stray bees which I presume had been left behind as the queen sought a better place.  So there you have it birds and the bees all in one day!

Just as I was recovering from this my sister Kat sent me a text saying they were on their way.  Oh dear I had forgotten we were going out for Yum Cha for her birthday!   Kat had arrived the previous day from work and was staying a few days with Mum before heading to her new home in Eumundi.

The day she was arriving I had suggested to Mum that we go to the bank to get some money which she had been nagging me about and then to get our hair cut which we had also been meaning to do for quite a few weeks.  Both our hair was getting long and mine very bushy and unkempt!  I didn’t realise she thought I was taking her to the hairdresser she used to go to at Karrinyup.  I wanted to try the $10 place at Kingsway City in the north.  I tried to explain but she had it in her mind it was at Karrinyup.  I parked and she went to get some money from her bank but wasn’t able to get through the automatic doors.  I walked up to give her a hand, explaining she needed to stand back a bit for the doors to register she was there.  Once inside I snuck in too and hid behind a partition. Unfortunately she saw me so I decided to sit on one of the stools in the bank.  OH NO YOU DON’T!   Mum was furious and made it known to everyone there at I wasn’t to follow her into the bank!  I quickly waited outside.  One of the clients came out and asked if I was ok.  This really touched me and nearly brought me to tears.  I said yes it was ok. She said she understood as her mother was the same.  Mum eventually came out still fuming and asked to be taken home.  I too was angry as I had come out of my way to help her go to the bank and get her hair cut.  Praise God the following week she was happy to go the Kingsway.  She wasn’t so happy when I told the hairdresser she needed it really short.  The ladies cutting are Chinese so I asked the one doing my hair to explain to Mum’s hairdresser that Mum really would like it cut very short like mine and could she please explain that in Chinese so as not to upset Mum.  When she was nearly finished I could see the side bits were still a bit long and Mum was pulling at them.  I asked Mum is she wanted it a bit shorter and she agreed.  She just can’t agree with you if you TELL her what to do.  I have to be so diplomatic but I don’t always remember so get on the wrong side of her.

After Kat’s stay Mum said she needed money again.  I rang Kat who said she had also been to the bank with Mum who needed some cash to pay her back for buying two new pairs of bathers and lunch outings.  Where was her money?  I know she hides it and then forgets where so when she was next out I raided her room.  I found a stash of cash and decided I would keep it and pray for an opportunity to put a bit at a time back in her purse whenever she says she is without cash.   This brings be back to the need to have authority as guardianship to help with her finances and medical.

Once again I had a lovely break while Kat visited.  I even had my first swim of the season.  So cold but very refreshing.

On the 31st of October while the children wondered the streets celebrating the demonic, I was celebrating a combined churches Reformation Evening.  There were people from at least four other churches from various areas.  It was a lovely night and very educational.

Photos:  1.    Blossom, Araluen Botanical Park.      2. Gideons International conference        3.  Australia for Christ    4. Spiritual Healing Centre Groat Street Festival     5. Araluen Botanical Park    6. Jan and friends from Bible Study group    7. Vets assistance with parakeet     8.  Haircuts    9. Stream at Araluen Botanical Park

Prayer & Praise Points:
Praise the Lord for this glorious weather, for being able to living so close to both the sea and bushland and all the natural splendour of both.

Thank you Lord for patience and wisdom to help Mum through her challenges. For her on going good health. Please continue to pray that she will graciously accept the help offered.

Thank you for your continued prayers as I learn how to manage the challenges dealing with dementia and for the Lord’s patience and wisdom as I learn to grow in love guarding my heart and zip my lip.

Please continue to pray that the Lord will find the right connections to help us with the new business, Senior’s Benefits and Rewards. Please continue to pray for both Grace and myself that we will find someone to help us with marketing and how to connect with business to encourage them to partner with us. Please continue to pray the Lord will give us wisdom on how to move the business forward and for the wisdom to face the challenges that go with starting this new business.

Thank you once again to all my supportive friends and prayer partners, knowing you stand with me in prayer is a real encouragement and strength.