Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Beauty of Nature (Russell Falls)

"Every now and again take a good look at something not made with hands, a mountain, a star, the turn of a stream. There will come to you wisdom and patience and solace and, above all, the assurance you are not alone in the world." Sidney Lovett

Pictured is Russell Falls in the Mount Field National Park. Both the falls and the walk there were so incredibly beautiful I felt awe, excitement and closeness with God.

Beauty, for me, is not optional. I need to see beautiful things in order to have peace within my soul.

When I was a child in Somerset, near Burnie, I would go down to the beach whenever I needed to calm down, to think or to talk with someone alone.

The beach, and its beauty, were very important in my childhood and this has become generalised now to nature generally.

It helps me, also, to know that God has an appreciation for beauty. After all He created the scenery. I therefore thank Him for creating such picturesque settings and pray that I will continue to appreciate them and not take them for granted.

God Bless to all my beautiful friends and family.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Australia - The Movie

Last night I went to see the movie 'Australia' with my dad. I expected it to be mediocre given the reviewers hadn't been that impressed wasn't. I was pleasantly surprised.

Here are the good points

  • The little Aboriginal boy who played 'Nullah' was superb. Cute but strong. Caught between two cultures.
  • Nicole Kidman was awesome. She looked extremely pretty and acted very feisty.
  • Hugh Jackman complemented Kidman perfectly and the tension/attraction between them was 'just right'
  • The film highlighted the 'stolen generation' and was respectful of Aboriginal culture
  • David Wenham was great as the evil cattle owner who stole, killed and manipulated people to get money/cattle
  • The bombing of Darwin was realistic and placed the film in history
  • The scenery was stunning and formed a perfect backdrop to the film.

I suggest everyone goes to this film. It is the best Australian film I have ever seen and is both entertaining and historical.

God Bless you all


Sunday, December 28, 2008

God's Justice

I've just finished this awesome Bible Study that went through the Bible's views on justice. I found it fascinating, comforting and confronting.
As many of you know I was very politically active before my mental illness. Now I feel well enough to do it again but I want to make sure I do it God's way.
The study covered the fact that God cares passionately about injustice, whether it be at a personal level or a national/cultural level. It started with Habakkuk crying out for justice within his culture which I really related to. When I have been very ill I have felt God was unjust bringing such a burden upon me.
Chapter 2 was a challlenge to see protesting against social injustices as part of our worship of God. We can not just attend church and feel 'saved' - we are commanded to care for the poor and the oppressed.
Further chapters deal with racism and sexism. The sexism one used the Mary and Martha example - saying that while housework may be important service listening to the words of Jesus is our most important duty as women. Everything must flow from that, even housework.
Chapter 9 dealt with challenging cultural identity. For instance I love being Australian and I am very much a lover of our country, its laws and traditions. But yesterday I went to the Tasmanian Aboriginal exhibit at the museum. That brought home the fact that although I, as the descendant of free settlers, may feel 'at home' here Aboriginal people feel differently and we should be aware of their feelings.
Chapters 11 and 12 dealt with materialism. The rich nation described in Revelation chapter 18 sounds very like modern, Western societies. Wealth and trade and property rights are protected and loved above people and this is un-Biblical. We are commanded to put people before profits, to minister to the poor and oppressed, to be generous and charitable and to bend the law a bit so that mercy is achieved.
Koorong is selling this study and I have a couple of people already who want to lend it. If this includes you let me know.
God Bless You All

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Generous and Sleepy Christmas

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." 2 Corinthians 9:6

It was a great joy to have Christmas with my family yesterday. They gave generously and appreciated my very cheap little gifts.

Of course this is the same with Jesus. He gave us the spiritual gifts of love, peace and mercy, and gave up his life for our gain. We can only give back so little and, for me, it has been even smaller than for others because of my mental health.

The presents I got were all wonderful. From my father and stepmother I got the dress I am wearing in the photo and a lovely cat brooch also a pedometera, lavender hand cream, a book about religion and politics (Seven Ways to Change the World by Jim Ellis) and a diary. From my sister Elspeth I got a zigsaw puzzle and the book which has taken the world by storm Twilight by Stephenie Myer. From my sister Julia I got some soap and from my Nanna I got Island magazine.

I would also like to thank my friend Edwina for a poetry book, Debbie and family for a camera accessory, Debbie's daughter Jasmine for an animal calendar and my friend Raija for a kitten calender.

I would also like to thank all those people who wished me a Merry Christmas by text, email and cards. May God bless you all.

Christmas is usually my favourite time of year but this year I went to sleep for half the day. I'm not sure why I was so tired but it just happened. It was disappointing for me because I didn't get to spend as much time with my family as I wanted.

We were able to reflect together, however, on the details of Jesus' birth and what that means. Their opinions were different to mine. I am convinced that it was both an historical and spiritual event that changed the course of history. Because of this conviction I spent time in the morning in Bible study, reflection and prayer.

Anyway I hope you all had a great Christmas and I look forward to catching up with most of you in the next few weeks.

God Bless


Monday, December 22, 2008

In Memory of Kafka (Kaffy) Meredith

As most of you are probably aware my beloved cat Kaffy was run over by a car and died last Tuesday. I was devastated. We had the funeral yesterday and that gave me some relief and a sense of closure.

This quote sums up how I felt about Kaffy: "To others she may seem just a common little moggy, but to me she is my friend, confidante and comfort." Author Unknown.

Kaffy was a dear companion, a comfort in my distress and a friend always. I loved Kaffy dearly and spent many hours cuddling her and enjoying her company. She was calm, friendly and affectionate and always made my friends and family welcome. Many non-cat lovers - such as my friends Melonie Smith and Yvonne Wilkins - changed their minds when they met Kaffy. She will be sadly missed by many people.

I have placed a cat ornament and plastic flowers in the garden in memory of her. These are pictured.
My thanks go to all the people who helped me look after Kaffy - especially Rohan and Anthea, my stepmother Merridy, Tracey, Debbie and Tony and Kate.
My thanks also goes to all those who attended the funeral - Fiona, Kerri, Kate, Edwina, Heather, Yvonne and Owen.
After advice by various people I intend getting a new, fully grown cat in late January.
In the meantime I have my memories of a truly remarkable and exceptionally loving friend and companion.
God Bless you all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Make your mark on History

Hi Everyone

I have an exciting new idea for you.

I inherited from my grandmother an 'Album of Opinions' detailing their opinions about various topics.

I would like to create a new one and, for this reason, will be showing you the questions and my answers. Please answer the questions and give them back to me, preferably by email.

God Bless

Now - for the Questions

Album of Opinion Questions (with sample answers by Amber Meredith)

The noblest aim in life?

To have a reputation for justice, love and mercy.

The Greatest Wonders of the world?

Uluru/Ayers Rock

The characters you most admire in real life?

My friend Megan

Who do you consider the greatest living politician?

Kevin Rudd

What political questions are you chiefly interested in?

Mental health reform and Aboriginal issues.

The greatest artists and musicians?

Artists Salvador Dali and Vincent Van Gogh. Also a local artist who sells at Salamanca Market called Rebecca Brogan

Musically still stuck in the 80’s – Madonna, Abba, U2 etc

Your favourite characters in fiction?

Lucy in the Narnia series. Lady Macbeth in Macbeth and Cordelia in King Lear.

The time of the year you like best?


The authors you admire most?

CS Lewis, TS Eliot, Shakespeare and Sally Morgan (author of My Place)

A brief definition of love?

As per 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 (It’s a letter to the Corinthian church in the Bible) Love is patient and kind etc.

The scenery you admire most?

White sandy beaches with deep blue seas.

Your idea of happiness?

Inner peace and outward joy.

Your favourite motto or proverb?

A good name is more desirable than great riches. ; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold Proverbs 22:1

The wrongs you would redress?

Racism and other forms of prejudice.

Reforms you would advocate?

Prevention and early intervention in people who have, or are at risk of having, a severe mental illness.

Your favourite recreation or hobby?

Reading, writing and theatre.

The true place of woman in society?

Not sure. I think women (generally) are better at child rearing than men but not all women have children. So, generally, I think this is a subject up for discussion.

Your favourite topic of study?

Literature and theatre

Your chief ambition?

To be a famous writer

The Christian name you like best?

Jessica and Joshua

Your ideas on the subject of marriage?

I think marriage is a good thing generally but it requires work.

The qualities you respect most in men and women?

Intelligence, ethics/morality, humour, imagination and humility

Your favourite flowers, birds and beasts?

Flowers – white carnations. Birds – the rosella. Beasts – cats definitely.

Puzzles, Jokes, Quotes, Pictures and inspiring ideas

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self centred. Love them anyway If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Be good anyway. Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People need help but may attack you if you try to help them. Help them anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God . It was never between you and them anyway

From a sign on the wall of a children’s home in Calcutta.

Name Rachel (Amber) Meredith

Date 17th December 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Four Holidays - The movie

Last night my family and I watched the movie 'Four Holidays''.

We are all big fans of Reese Witherspoon after her success in ''Walk the line' and ''Legally Blonde'.

The movie was an easy one to watch. The plot was simple. A youngish couple seek to avoid family and romantic commitments and lead a fairly hedonistic lifestyle pleasing only themselves.

Every year at Christmas they lie to their family and say they are doing aid work overseas when, in fact, they are just having a holiday.

But this year - due to flight cancellations - they have to spend Christmas with their four parents (all divorced). Chaos ensues and the couple's love and loyalty to each other is tested.

I think the themes are very good and quite challenging for people who wish to avoid their family commitments.

What wrecked the movie a bit, for me, was the performance by Vince Vaughn. His character came across as both boring and weak and he was no match for Reese Witherspoon's acting and characterisation.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it for light entertainment.

God Bless You all


Monday, December 15, 2008

More Family History ie Part Two

These are my ancestors on my mother's side. Their names are Thomas and Emily Wragg.
They were the first white settlers in Somerset. Somerset is a little town in the North West of Tasmania, near Burnie. The main street is called Wragg Street after my ancestors.
I lived in Somerset from the age of nine until the age of eighteen.
Thomas Dodd Wragg was an engraver of pretty pictures, a lay preacher and a poet.
I have a book called the Album of Opinions which records the opinions of Thomas and Emily and their friends and family.
Here is an excerpt from Thomas Dodd Wragg's opinions.
The prose and poetical authors you admire most? Solomon, Isaiah, Luke, Shakespeareke, Dickens.
A brief definition of Love: A beneficient arrangement and necessary for the existentence of humanity. Sadly misrepresented by sentimental fiction writers.
The scenery you admire most: Fern forest glades on land. Bold rocky cliffs by sea.
That's all for now.
God Bless
PS I made a mistake. The woman pictured is Thomas Wragg's daughter Lucy, not his wife Emily. Thanks to my mother, Diane, for working that out

Family History Part One

Yesterday I accompanied my father to the burial site of our famous ancestor Daniel Stanford.

Daniel Stanford came out to New South Wales on the first fleet after a fledgling career as a marine.

I was surprised to find that his first child (also Daniel Stanford) was born one year before his marriage but that is what happened. Daniel Junior was born in 1790 and Daniel Senior married his mother Alice in 1791.

Daniel Senior became a successful farmer in what was then known as Van Diemens Land (now Tasmania).

He had four other children - William, Sarah, Mary and Thomas.

He died in 1826 aged 60.

I plan to learn more about his life as history has always fascinated me.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The most beautiful cat in the world

"A cat will make itself the companion of your hours of work, of loneliness, or of sadness." Theophile Gautier.

Next year marks the tenth year of Kafka ''Kaffy'' Meredith and the sixth year since I became her servant.

I have not been a very good servant and often other people have had to help me care for her. Thankfully she has not been

taken by the RSPCA.

Kaffy has, however, been a wonderful master. If I am sad she cuddles me. If she needs food or water she lets me know. And visitors to the house are always made welcome.

Kaffy loves people. She is not discriminating at all - any available lap will soon be taken. She is affectionate and easy going.

So this is a public thank you to Kaffy herself for being easy to live with and compassionate and to all those people who helped me take care of her properly.

God Bless


Choir of High Hopes

This is the Choir of High Hopes. Last night I had the privilege of attending their Christmas Concert. It was called 'Á Rough Diamond Christmas. Their quote (and I love quotes) was: "Not the strongest nor the weakest but the one who has high hopes and never lets go." By Steve Menadue.

For those who don't know The Choir of High Hopes is based roughly around the successful Choir of Hard Knocks. It gives disadvantaged people the opportunity to do something positive and creative.

The choir performed both general and Christmas songs and guest starred opera soprano Emily Burke,

I personally knew many of the people in the choir through mental health groups and hospital admissions. Seeing them up there singing with enthusiasm nearly brought me to tears.

And now, for an opinion. The link between mental illness and creativity is, in my opinion, clear. So, why stop with a choir? What about a play, an art exhibition, a poetry reading etc. That way mentally ill people have something to do that they love.

The benefits, I think, are obvious. People who are happier costs the government less money in hospital admissions, services and Centrelink payments. Anyway I think it makes sense but I know many who would disagree. Let me know if you agree or disagree.

God Bless


Friday, December 12, 2008

Bad Health News

Hi. This is a photo of me at the very beginning of my mental illness. I thought I'd put it here to jolt the memories of friends and family. Mental illness has affected every aspect of my life including my physical health and weight.
So - what is the bad health news?
Well I have (in no particular order): damage to my lungs, tachycardia (fast pulse rate), high cholesterol, borderline diabetes and deficiencies in vitamin D and calcium.
So what do I have to do?
Over the next two months I have to: walk or bike 4 km a day, give up smoking, eat low cholesteral foods, restrict caffeine and alcohol and take vitamin supplements.
It sounds easy, perhaps, but not for me. Please pray for me and/or support me to achieve these goals.
God Bless you all.

Like WOW - I wrote a novel

In November I took on the nanowrimo challenge to write a novel of at least 50 000 words in a month. I got to 50 000 words in the month (hence my winners certificate) but it took me an extra week to finish the novel. In the end it was 75 000 words long (about 300 pages).
The novel starts with the birth of a baby and ends with a wedding. It is, primarily, a happy book celebrating spiritual and familial love. But, to make it more realistic, I have included some tragedy.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of writing under pressure and intend doing nanowrimo next year. My project next year will be a fantasy, possibly for children. For those that know me well I have been wanting to write a children's book with dinosaurs and other extinct animals for quite some time.
For those who want to read my current novel I would appreciate it if you could wait until mid January as I want to completely forget about it until then.
For those who want to enquire about nanowrimo the website address is
In terms of other writing projects I have nearly finished co-authoring a play with my friend Heather. It is a play based in the psych ward and details the reactions of patients and staff to a patient death. Although it sounds sombre it is lightened by some funny scenes and characters.
My other writing project is my memoirs - particularly those centreing around my six year mental illness. I am about half way through them and my thanks goes to my friend Megan who has acted as an editor of many of the peices.
Anyway, that's the good news. My next post will be the bad news (I am forewarning you in case you want to skip it).
God Bless You all