Tag Archive: growth

You set out

pink tiny daisy growing in a brick wall where flowers shouldn't be

you set out | not a doubt | full of faith
and truth | but the Tree of Life has no
fruit for you | what to do? | Set it
aflame and watch it burn | wood
you learn, burn, would you turn it to
good? [break] the conveyor belt
of happiness leads somewhere else |
you felt lied to | denied too | choice |
red or blue pill | black or white
still | frame | blame | psych, dyke
scared of the light not the dark
because the dark is safe | [break]
I find it hard to trust now
[break] people will tell you there
is no other way | stay | but I
say go… and pray | The Way is
what you make it | I don’t fit anymore
I don’t sit anymore in a pew for
you | leading or led? | bleeding but
fed | speeding or dead. [break]


Talitha Fraser

ladder of inference stephanie crowley

As someone who lives in community I love getting my hands on “new” resources that help navigate that tricky territory of communication and expectations. I can frequently assume I know what’s going on from data, interpretation, assumptions, generalisations, conclusions… I’m a pro ladder climber – often this is fine as long as its sensitive, empathetic, preferably based out of relationship and knowing… as a personal assistant it’s great for anticipating what my team will need and preparing for it but sometimes I’m in a hurry, I skip some rungs or climb them quickly and am taking action based on decisions I’ve made that haven’t necessarily been consultative or correct.

Rehabilitative Pro tips:

  • cultivate curiosity and ask questions – is there data available I could access that I haven’t?
  • we like stories. We like stories to have a beginning a middle and an end. Sometimes a ladder climb can be the result of trying resolve or control a situation, for yourself or someone else, that is still in progress. Take a breath and consider whether your current circumstances as they are have something to teach you. There are no shortcuts. Sit with the tension of the breadth of possibility and DON’T DO OR DECIDE ANYTHING.
  • listen carefully and reflectively – check in whether what you think you understand is the message the other person is trying to deliver
  • be self-aware – sit with the initial gut/emotional response. Where does it comes from? Does what you are thinking and feeling lead you to want to “fill in the gaps” of what you don’t know?
  • good data = good information, good information = good decisions
  • there is no substitute for attaining clarity like good communication – use morning pages or catch ups more than you think you need

made or Made?

reflection a poem about self-determination Talitha Fraser identity Bar Josephine

made or Made?
how much autonomy
for self-determination
do we ever really have?
My working and undoing
are in You.
I look outside,
I look inside.
I cannot reconcile
why I’m here.
I would fear except that
I find the true in You.

Talitha Fraser


“The idea that we live life in a straight line, like a story, seems to me to be increasingly absurd and, more than anything, a kind of intellectual convenience. I feel that the events in our lives are like a series of bells being struck and the vibrations spread outwards, affecting everything, our present, and our futures, of course, but our past as well. Everything is changing and vibrating and in flux.” 


In a rare interview since the death of his 15-year-old son, the singer reveals his struggle to write and reconnect with the world after the tragedy.

Fragile, I wait.



Fragile, I wait.
Soft new tendrils shooting
are greeted with joy.
There is little definition,
no certainty
but possibility
and that is enough
to hope.

Talitha Fraser

The river water


The river water

runs high and fast.

Unknown depths,

cloudy murk obscuring

what is usually

so clear.

The season

is changing.

The high tide

lifts debris that has

been stuck since the last

spring storms

and carries it away.

In the run-off and rain

new biodiversity are

introduced, seeds from

places never seen here


The land alters under

the authority of this new flow

the landscape – forever changed.

Not better, not worse, but new.

Talitha Fraser


I lost my heart one day at the fair,

I held it in my hand then next thing it wasn’t there

I looked for it high, I looked for it low,

I looked for it, but knew I had to let it go.

It might get broken, or it might get tossed,

it might get stolen, it might get lost,

but maybe, I wondered, somehow, I knew

it found it’s way back and, while gone, it grew.

Talitha Fraser


The Christian Virtue of Hypomone – Transfiguration Community (Bible Study)

hypo – under
menein, mone –

  • to remain standing, to stand one’s ground (as in an Olympic wrestling match)
  • to endure to the end (as in a race), to last the distance
    • under the impact of evil
    • under the impact of a burden
    • in the face of a hostile and unbelieving culture
    • in the midst of seductions and temptations
  • to withstand resistance
  • to bear or suffer (patience)
  • to persevere
  • to be immovable

Its opposite is:
cowardice, caving in, colluding,
passive doormat kind of suffering,
running away, to waver, wobble, flee, give way,
to be changed, to pass away, to be transient, perishable

Menein is an active stance, a brave withstanding, a virtue.  Hypomone is used 7 times in the book of revelation, as the right and necessary virtue of the faithful i the old aeon (age)

Biblical: the soil that bears fruit under pressure

  • Luke 8:15 ‘But as for the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in a beautiful and good heart, and bear fruit in hypomone.
  • Acts 14:22
  • Romans 2:7, 12:12, 15:4-5
  • 1 Corinthians 13:7
  • 2 Corinthians 6:4, 12:12
  • Ephesians 6:11, 13, 14 The goal of the wrestling with the principalities and powers etc is to stand (used 4 times). The word used here is not hypomone but stenai.
  • Colossians 1:11
  • 1 Timothy 6:11
  • 2 Timothy 3:10
  • Titus 2:2
  • Hebrews 12:1
  • Revelation 2:2ff, 2:19, 13:10; 14:12

Walter Wink – Naming the Powers

Steadfastness in Prayer
Refusal of idolatry
Absolute intransigence – Unbending determination – an iron will.
The capacity to endure persecution, torture and death without yielding one’s faith – one of the fundamental attributes of non-violent resistance.
The power to sustain blows.  Obstinacy – Endurance.
Perseverance on the basis of the inner victorious sense that all contrary relationships and hostile forces can be overcome.

The strength that comes from faith, hope and love.

Hypomone is not gritting one’s teeth in stubbornness but the strength to suffer that comes from faith, hope and love. ‘Let your only experience of evil be in suffering – not in its creation.’

Swap Super funds, make a giving budget, recycle water for flushing… these are some great commitments not achieved by my Household Covenant.

It’s 2012: I’ve just finished up at a proper job and Marita and I have taken in an Iraqi refugee, a young woman, named Shahad. We have scored a sweet deal on a low rent run-down Footscray house and I’ve just had a three month sabbatical visiting Bartimaeus Co-operative Ministries (BCM) in LA and returned home dreaming “What next?”
This expressed itself in the following, I’m sure annoying, way:

“At BCM I learned about cover crops and installed a timed irrigation system.   At BCM they shower over a bucket then use that water to flush. At BCM leftovers were upcycled into a new and different meal the next day so nothing was wasted. At BCM they don’t let you watch TV… they don’t even have a TV!”

…when the Household Covenanting series came up it seemed like a good way for my housemates and I to go on a journey together exploring ways of living sustainably and agreeing together on what some expressions of that might look like.

Where to start? Find meaningful part time work. One day per week in Footscray, no car, no screens. I don’t know about meaningful but I got an ABN and did contract administration – talk about part time – some weeks I had six days to be present in Footscray! While this part time lifestyle opened up opportunity for great projects (do maintenance on rental property – exceed minimum obligation, support Shahad, plant daffodils and tulips) it also wrought huge changes, suddenly go dumpstering is a weekly economic necessity, get piano lessons (subject to someone else’s expertise) isn’t financially viable and Marita’s family tradition of donating first income (giving this away as first fruits as gratitude to God) seems naive in the face of my irregular income. We imagined this spreadsheet tracking the-real-coffees-I-didn’t-drink forming, in part, the budget for our sustainability initiatives but I am instead dependent on the beneficence of my own friends charity to pick up my tab if they want a cafe catch up… This, THIS was in some ways where the real work/learning on savings, debt and poverty took place as I came to have a real and personal understanding of doing without – doing without ‘real’ coffee and inviting people to my home instead; doing without the safety buffer in my savings account led me, in fear and desperation, to rely on God’s providing and I received it in many ways and from sources I could not have imagined; doing without eating whatever I wanted when I felt like it and instead connecting with food seasonally by consuming food grown ourselves, sourced from Sharing Abundance[1] and dumpstered… I had to learn preserving methods, humble myself to let others pay for coffee, and give even though you don’t know where your next income is coming from. These are some great commitments achieved by my Household Covenant …and I didn’t even have them written down.

I could not have foreseen that supporting Shahad might mean leaving lights on across the house overnight to manage her fear of the dark over my desire to reduce power consumption (darn that was meant to be one of my easy ones). That my aim to buy second hand is overruled by her desire to have nice, new things that are her own for the first time in her life (we took her to IKEA for her birthday last year and she LOVED it!). Now I could understand what Jon meant when he told us ‘…the rule serves me, not me it’. My middle-class, educated reasoned choices to dabble in downward mobility cannot mean much to someone who has never had many of the choices and opportunities I have been given and part of my covenant should be to work to redress that imbalance. Perhaps I have not strictly achieved everything I set out to do but I am not unhappy with where I’ve ended up instead.

I do not know what will happen if you attempt a Household Covenant but I doubt you will be disappointed or find the attempt uninteresting… we plant daffodils and tulips every year now, although we moved house just last month and the bulbs were just tips pushing through the ground and we won’t be there to see them bloom, I wrote this: 007

“Reflecting today on the things we plant in the hopes of fruit to come.  We believe in planting so we do it but ultimately we have very little control over what grows and who it belongs to.  The pain is in our awareness of this and our discipline is planting anyway – even though we’re tired and someone else may receive the benefit of our careful tending, someone else may not like the plants we’ve chosen or where we positioned them and tear them out like weeds.  The thing that I value is only valued by others if they want it themselves.  What I grieve for, is not this house, much like another having four walls and a roof, but the harvest hoped for here that will not be realised by me. There is a large harvest, but few workers to gather it in.  Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.”

Those little shoots felt like a metaphor for walking away from the sense of home we created in that place and the practices started that we now wouldn’t follow through. I hope God is sending me you, you know, not to go round and pick my ACTUAL daffodils, but to be a fellow worker in the field.

New housemates, new street, new garden… perhaps it is time for a new covenant.

“Hey, …Marita? …Shahad? …Ana & Atticus? You guys want to head to Ceres for some bulbs?!”

[1] www.sharingabundance.org is a food rescue initiative whereby produce is rescued from backyards and shared between homeowners, volunteers who pick and local community food programmes.

{a nicer – edited! – version of this article appeared in the Dec14 Manna Matters newsletter.  Go straight to the source and find out more about Household Covenants at the Manna Gum website}