All posts by Kellie

About Kellie

(Blog Editor) lives way on the other side of the planet in her native Australia and gives thanks for the internet regularly. She loves books, her boys, panna cotta, collecting words, being a redhead and not putting things in order of importance when listing items. She credits writing at selwynssanity.blogspot.com as a major contributing factor to surviving her life with sanity mostly intact, though her (in)sanity level is subject to change without warning.

Stubbornness As A Virtue

 

Stubborn

Several spiritual wildernesses ago, I found myself a new scripture hero. Caleb, from the Old Testament, was one amazing, tough dude: faithful, honest, courageous and determined. In the second year after escaping Egypt, Caleb and Joshua – at the direction of Moses – go exploring into the Promised Land¹. Ten others went with them, all twelve being a representative of each of the tribes of Israel. When they all returned and told of what they’d seen, only Caleb and Joshua reported positively on the land they had explored.

Joshua and Caleb said “The land is flowing with milk and honey! Huge grapes! Pomegranates! Figs! It’s amazing, let’s go right now” but the remaining ten started freaking out, saying “Nope, no way, the dudes who live there are HUGE and they’ll squash us like bugs!” Continue reading

Mental Fairy Floss

I’m in my mid-semester uni break, and seem to be deficient in Vitamin Fiction. So I’m self-medicating with the (at last count) thirty-seven fiction books I have scattered around my bedroom. At the moment I’m glutting myself on magical, fantastical fare and while it’s not my usual preference, it is hitting the spot right now. Nothing serious, nothing challenging, just great reads and escapes, adventure and fun. What’s not to love about that?

I truly believe that while our brains and selves can hugely benefit from a healthy, varied diet of intelligent, thought provoking reading materials, there is also a time for a bit of sugary, light deliciousness. Continue reading

Courage, Dear Heart

The recent carnage the well-publicised disciplinary councils have wreaked among women I love and admire saddens, scares and angers me. Some of my closest friends have been afraid to be open and vulnerable with friends they’ve had for years, with women they’ve served with, even with trusted and familiar blogs.  I don’t know much detail about the OW movement and recent events, but I have many dear friends who have struggled with issues this month has dredged up for them - not even touching the ordination topic or discipline measures - such as the repercussions of having bad fathers, criticism from others within the gospel, poor priesthood leadership in individual lives, unrepentant family members, and the ebb and flow of their own faith through crisis, abundance and drought. I know many women who don’t care in the least about the OW-media circus, because they’re literally trying to find money to feed their children, deal with a son’s exposure to porn, wrap their panicked thoughts around upcoming surgery, forgive those who have grievously sinned against them, adjust to their mother being in hospice, and/or because they believe otherwise to the loud. They now feel as if their situation, their feelings and thoughts are not as important - or as worth caring about - as the issues being discussed elsewhere. They don’t care about the latest news, but are scared to say so. So they say nothing, and bleed in the dark. Continue reading

The Quantum Breach, by Denver Acey (Book Review)

The Quantum Breach Cover Art

Denver Acey’s novel The Quantum Breach had me second guessing every piece of paper (bank statement, bulk mail out, envelope with my grandmother’s address on it) I put in my recycling or bin and invading the personal space of every ATM I used. When Ebay admitted last month that it had been hacked with millions of user account details copied, I realised again, thanks in increased part to The Quantum Breach, how much information about me is readily available in hard- and electronic-copy, even without entering the walls of my home (hence my glaring at stuff I’d have normally tossed out without thinking about it and changing several identical passwords online). Continue reading

The Martian – by Andy Weir

Mark Watney is not having a good day.

It started out great: he’s on Mars, part of a manned mission of exploration.

His day got a bit worse: A savage storm blows in, its intensity and size enough to warrant the crew deciding to ditch the mission. Immediately.

Promptly went awful: Mark gets hit by a piece of communication equipment, and his suit is punctured. He flatlines.

Absolute worst: The crew scrambles to evacuate, abandoning Mars and Mark’s body.

Only thing is, Mark is still alive.

But he’s the only person who knows. He has to survive his injury, get back inside shelter, and work out what to do next.

The Martian is one of the few books in the last year that has had me sneaking paragraphs and pages at every opportunity. More telling is the number of times I grabbed whichever son was nearest to read aloud a particularly wonderful snippet – it’s been years since I’ve done that!

While being mostly set on Mars, The Martian  is far more an action filled adventure than science-fiction. There is science, of course – it’s a book about astronauts and Mars, of course there’s science! – but any detailed science is explained smoothly and easily in the course of the story.

“The oxygenator will turn it [CO2] into oxygen in its own time.

Then, I’ll release hydrazine, very slowly, over the iridium catalyst, to turn it into N2 and H2. I’ll direct the hydrogen to a small area and burn it.

As you can see, this plan provides many opportunities for me to die in a fiery explosion.

Firstly, hydrazine is some serious death. If I make any mistakes, there’ll be nothing left but the “Mark Watney Memorial Crater” where the Hab [Habitat] once stood.

Presuming I don’t f*** up with the hydrazine, there’s still the matter of burning hydrogen. I’m going to be setting a fire. In the Hab. On purpose.

If you asked every engineer at NASA what the worst scenario for the Hab was, they’d all answer “fire”. If you asked them what the result would be, they’d answer “death by fire.”

Not only is The Martian a gripping read, told mostly from Mark’s diary entries, but it’s carrying a whole lot of humour, dry wit, determination and emotional impact as well. Mark’s efforts on Mars are interspersed with the fallout on the crew (still months from landing back on Earth) and within NASA. There is some swearing (c’mon, he’s stranded on Mars without means of escape or long-term food supply, who wouldn’t curse?) but there’s also disco, heartache, refusal to give up, adventure and a guarantee that you will never, ever look at a potato the same way again.

Rated: PG – intermittent swearing, survival and mature themes

Recommended to:

  • The adventurous (at heart, in reality, in books read)
  • Anyone wanting a thrilling, exciting read
  • Stargazers, adrenalin junkies, scientific-bent types
  • Potato farmers
  • McGuyver fans and wannabes

Not recommended for:

  • Agoraphobes
  • Claustrophobes
  • Strictly “romance-only” readers
  • Anyone on medical advice to stay calm and relaxed