Glutard

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Glutard

The morning I headed off to get married I went to the doctor first. The weeks leading up to the wedding I had been getting regularly sick. I won’t go into detail – I’ll just say it was stomach cramps and spending quality time with the toilet. Somewhere along the way, there was suspicion that I might be coeliac. Coeliac disease, by my technical definition, means your body can’t absorb gluten (a by-product of wheat, barley, rye and many generally enjoyable foods). If you do eat gluten you can get digestive issues, weight loss, cancer, and death. So you know, it’s not great.

Anyway there had been suggestions that I might be coeliac (technically known as being glutarded) because every second person in my extended family is a glutard, even my adopted sister and some of the uncles and aunties who have married in have the disease. I had always maintained that if I was a glutard, I didn’t want to know, because well, it precludes you from eating so many tasty foods. I would have preferred go to an early grave eating a beer-battered, Krispy Kreme donut than have to spend my life eating bread that has the same consistency as the Great Wall of China.

But when it was getting close to wedding and I was getting sick once a week or more, I realised maybe I should get checked. Plus I thought leaving a widow behind because I love the taste of gluten may be a bit selfish.

So I went to the doctor that morning to find out if I was in fact a glutard. She informed me that yes, the test results were positive. I am a glutard and I’ve been one for a while.

This was difficult, just before I got married my life was thrown into chaos. No more cream-buns, ever. I’m surprised Emily even chose to marry such a diseased man.

There are so many things I can’t eat now. I didn’t have a high gluten diet before, but it turns out they sneak gluten into everything, it’s not just in bread and pasta. Potato wedges, pad see ewe, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, everything worth eating at Maccas (if you can call anything there worth eating), beer, soy sauce and most things enjoyable to eat contain gluten.

Plus now I have to ask when I go to food establishments if they have gluten-free food and I feel like an idiot. I assume they’ll think I’ve just chosen the “gluten-intolerant” lifestyle – which apparently may not be a thing anyway – rather than that I have a genuine life threatening and sloppy-poop generating disease. As a result, I often don’t ask, I just try and figure out what is gluten-free on my own, but then Emily pipes up and asks for me because she takes my safety more seriously, so now, not only do I look like a guy riding the GF bandwagon, I look like the guy whose wife has shoved him on the GF bandwagon perhaps without his enthusiastic consent.

I’m not that guy, Emily is not that wife, I just want to live, just not always at the expense of my image. I’m very conscious of how I come across to people in the hospitality industry.

All that said, now three weeks in, my digestion has never been better, I’m putting on weight, I’m discovering new and less interesting foods to eat and I’m learning how to talk to people who work in Thai restaurants about dietary requirements. I’m growing as a person. I’m learning to own my disability. I’m hoping to get a special disabled parking permit soon.

Sometimes, I feel like I’d be happy to risk a bit of diarrhoea and cancer for some hot wedges and a cold beer. But when I do, I just remind myself that one day, I’ll become a motivational speaker and my ability to cope with my terrible illness will be an inspiration to many.

I’m not just a glutard, I’m also a hero. Let my courage inspire you.

The Last of the Old Life

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Hopefully at around 11:30am today, I got married. I’m not sure because at the time of writing this it’s Friday, 31st October.

Anyway, I went on my first date with Emily in April last year. I had the feeling it might be significant, so I wrote a blog post about it which I never posted. I thought I might share it now. (I showed her this just before we got married, I hope).

There is one paragraph which feels a little negative in all this excitement, but I’m leaving it in because I wrote it, and it’s true. But just so you know, I’m not feeling worried about this, just challenged and excited.

I know Emily properly now, and I love her very much. I’m super excited to love her, and there is so much to love about her. The future is looking bright.

9/04/13

Tomorrow I’m going on a date. And it may mean nothing.

But it’s the first time I’ve been on a date where I’ve liked the girl and she likes me. This I think makes tomorrow a personally historic occasion. So I don’t feel like I can just let it go by with no documentation.

You may think to yourself, dear reader, how does he know she likes him? This is an excellent question. I don’t know, I guess. But I’ve had a lot of experience of girls not liking me, and this is completely different. We message, email, or Facebook everyday. Sometimes we communicate on multiple mediums. Sometimes we use all three.

Our emails started a few lines long. Now they’re thousands of words long, every time.

She likes almost everything I put on Facebook.

She wants to hang out with me.

And she pretty much said it to our mutual friend.

I’m so sure she likes me I’m not even stressed that I might be wrong.

I don’t think about how to get her to like me. I think about what’s the process you go through to move from liking each other to dating. I’m trying to figure out if kissing should come first or the discussion about “Is this God’s will?”

And I’m pretty excited.

I’ve been on so many dates. And I’ve never really looked forward to them. I’ve been looking forward to this for a week. It’s felt like the longest week of my life.

I’m worried I’m gonna get nervous. I’m worried tomorrow I’m going to throw up. I do that sometimes. I’m not planning on eating anything tomorrow till the date. That seems safest.

Of course, all this, is very well and good, but the question is why her? Why not any of the other lovely girls who I’ve been on dates with?

Who knows? Maybe because we picked each other. I saw her at church, I thought “I’ll keep my eye on her”. We sat next to each other at dinner, she was fun, funny, pretty, loved Jesus, made art and was quite willing participate in an absurd scavenger hunt for a month.

I made tentative connections with her, and she responded well to all of them. I didn’t have to try and convince her to like me, I think she just did. I didn’t use moves, or lines, or my magnificent physique. She just seemed to like me. I don’t know why.

Why do I like her now? Cause she loves Jesus. And all those other things I saw on the first night I met her, they just became more real. Plus she’s smart, and assertive, and opinionated. I’m excited about the first time we actually disagree on something. It’s gonna be super fun.

Plus I think she doesn’t like girly movies, or general pop music. Though I haven’t confirmed that yet.

I have decided though, that if we do date, and if we do fall in love, and we do love each other and commit to one another, I have decided not to love her because of her looks, or her artistic skills, or her brain, or her jokes, or her opinions, or her sense of fun, or her forgiveness, or even her love for Jesus. I will not love her for anything that may change or fade, or become hardened with time. I will not love her because of how she treats me. And I will not love her because of how I want her to be.

If I love her, I will love her because she is mine to love. How does Christ love his church? Not for her beauty, though he has made her beautiful. And not for her deeds, though she has achieved much through him. Not because of what she gives him, though all she is belongs to him. No, he loves her because he chose to. Because he sought her out, while she had nothing to offer, only sin and rebellion, and chose to give himself up for her. He chose to love her, and this is why he loves her.

And I will choose to love her. She will not find her beauty, goodness, or identity in me. I cannot be her Christ. But I can do my best to love her as Christ has loved me. She can change, she can fade, can get dementia and become a completely different person. She can sin, she can hurt me, she can refuse to forgive me when I hurt her. All sorts of things may go wrong, one day she may have nothing to offer me. But I will choose to love her, because Christ has chosen to love me.

But really, if it ends up with me loving her because Christ loves me, I think I got the better deal. Because I may not love her because of her looks, wits, brains, jokes, fun, assertiveness, or anything else about her, but I will love them. And it will be great.

Of course I am getting ahead of myself. We are not in love. We are not getting married. We are not dating. All I know right now is this: She is wonderful, and I am going on a date. We both like each other. My life may never be the same again.

I need to figure out what to wear.

Photo of our feet by Averie Harvey

The Chris Morphew Interview

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I had the dinner with world famous, YA fiction author, Chris Morphew, the other night. I took the chance to interview him for the blog. I must say, it was an inspiring experience. Here is some of Chris’ wisdom for the world.

On healthy eating

Do you know the food pyramid? I kinda reimagined it and I follow what’s called the food cube. It’s carbs, that’s the bottom layer, and the top layer is meat. And that’s the cube.

On his hair and beard stylings

People say [I look like] Paddle-Pop Lion and Jesus. Those are my two heroes, so it works out quite well.

On fame, being an author and his recent tour of the United States

It’s about who you are and not what you do. A situation that came up that made me realise that it was much more about character and who I am, than what I produce was when I was at a school. I spoke to the kids, then afterwards all these kids came down and wanted to get selfies because they’ve all got Instagram and stuff. And after every school I would check my Instagram followers and watch them pick up and think about how great it was to be a big shot famous author. And then this photo came up and it was me and some girl who had taken a selfie and it said “Life made! Selfie with an Aussie!” So from that I took away that it’s a lot more about my identity as a whole person rather than just the work that I output. I don’t think that any of them had, or will, read my books, but they were very impressed with my accent and the fact that I was from a different country to them.

Advice for aspiring authors

Be Australian. Or if you can’t do that, find the country where your accent is a novelty. I feel like if you’re anywhere but America, go there, but if you’re American, go to New Zealand maybe? I feel like that would work.

Advice to me for getting married

I’ve heard good things. My observations [of marriage] are mixed but I think just be you. You said that your fiancé is Lebanese, so maybe if you play up your accent maybe she’d be impressed by that. I mean, I met her, and she sounds pretty Aussie so it won’t be a total novelty for her but if we can transfer what I’ve learnt about writing to what I’ve learnt about marriage, and I think we can, that would be my tip. Play up the Aussie larrikin. And, I don’t know, do some dishes?

On what he learned watching “The Equalizer” staring Denzel Washington

I learned that there’s murder, and then there’s “art-murder”. It would have been much more efficient for Denzel to kill people with greater precision with a gun, rather than with a quickly rigged up barbed wire noose, or a drill, or explosives in the microwave, but that’s his art and I don’t want to devalue his art.

You can buy Chris’ books The Phoenix Files in all good book stores (hopefully). He’s also working on some other books and you’ll be able to buy them at some point too. Also you can follow him on Instagram @crispywords.

Absent

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I’m sorry to all my hard core fans out there that I haven’t blogged for the last three days. I’ve been at Black Stump filming and speaking, and there was no easily accessible internet. I’ll try and be back on my game now that I’m back in internet land.

Let me leave you with this photo I took of Mike Frost speaking in the Main Meeting at Stump.

Black Stump-1

Dream it, Achieve it

It used to think being an itinerant speaker would be an awesome job. I think I even prayed a few times that God might let me be one. And now, my job is to be an itinerant speaker.

I think what excited me about the idea of travelling around and speaking places was:
A) When you just do one off speaking gigs people tend to be really appreciative
B) When you visit a place once you don’t have to deal with all the baggage and mess doing life with people brings
C) You get to preach all the time, which would be awesome

Now that I’m doing the job, I’ve found that all those things happen. People are much more appreciative of my speaking when they don’t have to listen to me every week. And when I arrive at a school, youth group, camp or church, I usually don’t know what’s going on for people. I get to be blissfully unaware of everyone’s issues. And I’m preaching 4-5 times every week, sometimes up to 5 times in one day, it’s great!

But all these things aren’t all I hoped they’d be. It’s nice that people are nice to me about my preaching, but it’s rare to ever actually be challenged on what I say, or given tips on how people think I could improve, or given much in the way of feedback at all. There is little pushback from those who listen, because you’re just passing through.

Often, when you’re just passing through, you miss the continuity of relationship that you get from day in, day out ministry. You might not have to deal with peoples problems, but they’re is a joy in getting to play a part in helping people know Jesus better in the midst of life’s messiness. Plus you also miss out on their triumphs. You just see a glimpse and then you move on.

I do love preaching regularly. But when you’re preaching 3-4 new messages a week, there is no time to stop and reflect on the scriptures. When I have to keep preparing new stuff, everything seems under done.

However there is some good stuff about itinerate speaking that I didn’t know about:

I get to be on the road a lot, I love driving, I love listening to audiobooks, I love being alone.

Getting to do the same talk many times, I get to perfect it, it’s fun being able to work on the nuances of a talk rather than just getting it done.

You get to speak about the big passages all the time. None of this obscure stuff. You just do the greatest hits of the Bible.

So I guess I’m happy. I’m glad I have achieved my dream, my prayer has been answered. The lesson perhaps is, your dreams are rarely what you expect, but that doesn’t make them any less worth aiming for.

Or perhaps there is no lesson. This could just be a blog post about my job.

Camp Life

I’m on camp.

Sharing a cabin with a coworker. He falls asleep. I check Instagram for the first time in a day. A video automatically plays. I wake him up.

Camp life.

There’s a mosquito in here.

Camp life.

My water bottle won’t fit under the tap in the bathroom. Had to fill it up in the shower.

Camp life.

I get to spend my week leading a bunch of excited, passionate, teenage Christian leaders.

Camp life.

Wedding Spreadsheets

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Gosling Excel

It turns out getting married is quite the administration behemoth. I’ve seen bridal mags, and none of them have sexy pictures of Excel spreadsheets. Apart from being the groom I think my biggest contribution to this wedding might be managing the spreadsheets, making sure we have meals for everyone and beds for everyone, making sure we know who’s coming when, who to pay when, who we owe what to, and how much money we’ve gone over budget. There are plenty of people out there busy making paper cranes for our decorations, or sourcing ethical plates, or practicing music, or writing sermons and so much other stuff and there’s Em heading up everything creative about this event. Me, I stay up late looking at the Google Docs adding up numbers and hoping there are no glaring holes. If someone turns up to the wedding and we had no idea they were coming, it’ll probably be my fault.

I think I’m going to start a wedding blog about wedding admin. It’s gonna go off. Brides and Grooms-to-be from all over the world will come and get tips on the best way to format your RSVP spreadsheet, how to colour-code your budget or automate your seating plan. Times are gonna change. No more of hipster weddings being in, I’m gonna make admin sexy. People are going come to weddings and say “Wow, you can tell they’ve done some great work on the backend.”

Sharehousing

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I moved out of my place today and moved in with my parents for the five weeks before the wedding. I was getting kicked out of my granny flat so that the owners parents could move in, so I decided to take the opportunity to move back in with the family. It seems a nice way to say good-bye to un-married life, end it back where it started.

Em pointed out the other day that now that I’ve moved out of the granny flat, I probably won’t live alone again for a very long time, if ever. That’s an odd thought. The introvert in me thinks that perhaps I may have just given up something very valuable. I hope I made the most of it. I hope I walked around in my undies enough, and did as little chores as I wanted, and cooked for one enough, and watched enough stupid TV. Em told me that I can no longer have wedges as my staple diet. That hurt. Living alone was good.

Still living with people is good. Living alone is easy. And maximum comfort. Everything is just how you like it. Living with others is richer. More work. Greater rewards. I guess I can live with that.

Also Em said I can eat wedges once a week. So that’s pretty good.

Apologies for no blog post yesterday. I forgot. I was packing. I’m going to pack date with a photo from packing that Em took so you probably won’t even notice.

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