Enhance your Experience: the Eurovision Scoring System

Ah Eurovision, the institution that enriched our lives with such classic acts as ABBA, Celine Dion and the infamous  Moldovan “Sexophone” guy.
(Who, thanks to Herm Trololol, can be viewed thrusting away for ten glorious hours, right here).

Endless-Epic-Sax-Guy

Eurovision, the reason why millions tens of Australians know that Azerbaijan is actually a country.

Eurovision, a phenomenon that divides nations, communities and living rooms, between “Bleurhrhjrgh not this sh*t again. Can I change the channel now?” and
“ERRR MAH GERRRRDDD!  I’m SO FRICKEN EXCITED! This year I’m coming as UKRAINE and I’m bringing CHICKEN KIEVS!!!”

Look - a self conscious Italian with Peroni and an enthusiastic Ukranian with Kievs, on their way to a Eurovision party!

Look – a self conscious Italian with Peroni and an enthusiastic Ukranian with Kievs, on their way to a Eurovision party!

Watching Eurovision is a cultural activity.  Like all new cultural activities it can be a little uncomfortable, a little confusing,  and maybe even a little (lot) bit frightening until you get used to it. The best way to overcome Eurovision-induced culture-shock is to turn watching it into a game, where points are awarded to countries for including one or more of the following elements in their performance.  By keeping watch and tallying points, even the most reluctant viewer will be drawn deep into the experience of melody and glitz.

Crazy Costumes
Lets face it – one of Eurovision’s biggest draw cards, and the main way many acts seem to get into the competition (also something about… singing?)
Giant poultry , Pocahantas , Zombie Apocolypse, Little Bo Peep … the list goes on. Basically, if you look like you escaped from Vegas,  Mardi Gras or Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, you get a point. Or many!

Choreography
Now this one needs to be handled with discernment. Most Eurovision acts involve some form of choreography, ranging  from insipid arm waving,  to group routines so tight they’d bring a tear to the most hardcore N*Sync fan’s eye.

Points for choreography can be awarded for complexity, originality, visual impact, execution, and “I can’t believe they had the balls to do that in front of millions of people”.

Big hair
Nuff said.  One point.

 Key Changes
Prominent in the Hillsong back catalogue,  a key change is a tried-and-true method of rousing the crowd. Two key changes in the one song? You decide whether to award an additional point… or subtract the original one.

Reveal / costume reveal
One of the true gems of Eurovision, the “reveal” usually happens when part of a costume is (dramatically) removed or expanded to reveal a completely different costume (or even additional backup dancers!) However, the reveal is not exclusively bound to costume changes (skip to 1:50 to see what I mean).

Pyrotechnics
Shooting flames, a shower of sparks, or even a strategically placed angle grinder will all score you a point for pyrotechnics (especially if it’s attached to a sexy robot).

Cheesy ballad
Lets face it, they’re agony to sit through so they may as well score a point!

Bad weather (Precipitation/ Wind machine)
Not exclusively bound to flowing locks or mid-stage fountains,  countries have also scored points under this category for simulated snow (including last year’s winner, Loreen from Sweden.)
For the record, Loreen also scored major points from me for her Hammer-pants dance.  Technically that comes under “choreography” though.

 Unnecessarily sexual content
Are the male backup dancers dressed as Roman soldiers, and gyrating around the stage in small metallic loin cloths?  Award points as you see fit.

Singer also playing an instrument
Sometimes it’s legit.
Sometimes it’s so obviously not plugged in, it’s painful.
(See also the overly sexy lady’s non-drum-solo at 2:20)
Worth a point either way? You decide.

Cross dressing
Are you Ukraine’s answer to Mrs Doubtfire, wrapped in tinfoil? (Elton John was actually papp’d wearing this costume soon after the competition).
Perhaps you are the hairiest air hostesses Slovenia has ever seen?
(Would you award choreography points for completing the Safety Talk?)
Here we see a fine example of cross-dressing COMBINED with a costume reveal (3:00). No wonder Latvia won in 2002.

Circular camera work
No, you haven’t developed vertigo in the last 3 minutes, that’s just the camera spinning round and around the lead singer (who magically manages to keep his eyes locked on it nearly the whole time. Maybe he studied ballet?) Award one point.

 Mismatching elements of the performance
Do the costumes have nothing to do with the lyrics have nothing to do with the choreography have nothing to do with the fact that a large paper mache unicorn just swooped down from the rafters and burst into flames?  You’ve scored yourself a point.

Gratuitous use of sequins/ sparkles
Is Eurovision, is shiney!
If the lead singer looks like she’s been vomited on by a mirror ball, award one point.

Circus arts
Aerial cartwheels, swallowing a giant glowstick sword and riding a bicycle that’s swinging around the ceiling on wires will all get you points for circus arts. Think I’m joking? Check this out.
(These guys technically weren’t competing, and lucky that they weren’t. They also score highly in the categories of choreography, big hair, and mismatched elements. There’s even a reveal).

Shameless channelling of an already famous act
Trying to secure a place in the top ten by riding on the established popularity of Twilight / Pirates of the Caribbean / Michael Bolton ?  You’ve scored yourself a point, my European friend, but not necessarily a ticket to success.

This scoring system was introduced to me by my friend KT Danger (who isn’t actually Ukranian). At that time I was still relatively fresh to the Eurovision phenomena.. and to be honest, still a little bamboozled at times (“obviously the last act was hyperbole, but are these guys serious? I can’t tell. Eurhghr, what is that?? Hold me!” )

Scoring the acts has truly revolutionized the way I watch the competition, and solidified my status as a hardcore fan. My hope is that you too might have your enjoyment enhanced through the use of the above (or a similar) scoring system. Take it and make it your own, tweak it in any way that you want, turn it into a drinking game (or something more G rated).

In the spirit of Eurovision, don’t take yourself too seriously and HAVE FUN!

Eurovision is screening on SBS one and SBS HD in Melbourne, at 7:30pm tonight for Semi-Final 2 and Sunday night for the Final.

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Things my mother taught me. (Happy Mothers’ Day Mum!)

Biting is bad.

One day when I was about four, I bit my sister Meaghan during an argument (probably over who got to be Gumby and who was Pokey).   I remember screaming “noooo!” as Mum held my wrist and lifted my hand to her mouth as though she were about to bite me back as punishment.
“What? You’re bigger than she is and you bit her.  I’m bigger than you are, so I get to bite you. Isn’t that fair?”
Of course she didn’t actually bite me, she didn’t need to.  I’m definitely using this tactic if my kids are biters. It was a lasting, and still relevant lesson on the abuse of power, and not exploiting others’ vulnerability.

“Air on a G string” can be both giggle-worthy  and culturally enriching.

I remember as kids groaning in agony as Mum filled the house with Bach, Mozart or the warbling of German tenor Fritz Wunderlich.
“I don’t care, it’s culture, and I find it relaxing” she maintained.
Not so relaxing when we made up our own lyrics – her favourite track “Caro Mio Ben” became “Come comb your beard” , but she thought it was hilarious.

While we whinged at the time (and occasionally still do, for old-times sake) Mum’s genuine love for classical music was contagious for all of us. Just last weekend I tortured my husband by swapping spotify from Greenday  to  Debussy.   I loved it.

Listening to someone is a way of loving them.

In 1991, my sister Meags and I caught chicken pox.  After our bath we would stand like scarecrows in front of the fire, and mum would dab the itchy red spots with soothing calamine lotion.  Nooma, who was two at the time and hated to be left out of anything involving her older sisters, would stand naked next to us, searching desperately over her creamy white skin for anything resembling a pock.  I remember her pointing to a freckle on her arm and saying very seriously
“Mummy,  pickenpox!  ”
Meags and I laughed our heads off “it’s just a freckle!” but Mum nodded very seriously and carefully dabbed the spot with a clean cotton ball.  Nooma was so proud the day a real chickenpock appeared, but until then Mum made sure to dab her over just as gently as she did her legitimately spotty daughters.

Gardening is like painting a picture that slowly changes over weeks.

Mum is a very gifted artists, but not many people know this.  I remember asking her why she didn’t paint more, when I was a teenager. She replied that she preferred to be outside in the sun where the wind could blow the cobwebs out of her head.  “The garden is like my canvas. I get to choose my colours, choose what to plant where, move things around if I don’t like them. New things are always growing up, old things die back.  It’s like a painting that’s always changing so I never get sick of it.”

“The Proverbial” is not an actual body part.

Maybe this is something I learned in spite of Mum. I will admit, it took me until half way through  Anatomy in first year uni to discover that “the proverbial” is actually “of the proverb”.  I always assumed it was an anatomical structure located somewhere near the rectum, because where other people said “you’re being a pain in the bum”, our mum said “you’re being a pain in the proverbial.”
True story.

Being selfless is a mother’s gift to her children.

Whenever a treat came in a four-pack, like chocolate yogos or something else delicious, Mum  would give one to each of us and the last one to Dad. I remember thinking it wasn’t fair, but was far too selfish to give up my one so she could have it (sorry Mum, I would these days!).
I still love chocolate yogos and have decided to only have two children so that I always get one,  but Mum’s consistent selflessness  made a lasting impact and will certainly shape the way I parent my own children . The only thing I ever remember her demanding was some privacy as, once again, we all crowded in to ask her questions while she was on the toilet. We haven’t done that for at least three years though so, you know … children do learn.

Who you are is good, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to be anyone else.

Mum is a wonderful woman, a unique woman, who wasn’t like many of the other mums we grew up around.  I am ashamed to say, there were times during my school years that I wished she was a bit more “mummish”.  I am more ashamed to say that I think I even told her that.

Other mums baked biscuits and had prepared snacks laid out ready for their kids when they got home from school. (Those kids are probably 27 and still living at home.) Our mum would come home from work to find us all sitting at the table reading in silence. Never the fool, she’d run her hand down the back of the TV with a knowing grin.
“Riiiiight. Still warm hey? ”
She would then walk into the kitchen and cry out in anger “GIRLS!” at the exploded mess of baked beans and congealed cheese that encrusted the inside of the microwave.

Other mums spent all afternoon preparing elaborate dinners. As a kid, I was envious of those dinners… but now that I’m a grown up, I’m definitely less like those mothers and more like our mum.   Tired from a day of work, she would stick some veggies in the steamer, chops under the grill, and start correcting essays on the couch.
“Naomi, can you come here please?”
“What?”
“Just come here please.”
“Mum why?”
“Because I asked you to.”
“Ok, what is it”
“While you’re up, can you put the kettle on? Thanks!’

Other mums braided hair and painted nails. How boring! Our mum was challenged to regular wrestling matches. I remember when I was twelve, making a Mothers Day card that said something like “I love my mum because we joke around a lot. She says that when I’m bigger than her she’ll still be able to beat me up because she’ll take steroids, even if they make her hairy”.

I am incredibly blessed to have been raised by such a woman, a lover of literature, footy, and chips.   A total dag with a razor sharp wit, she taught me to be articulate, courageous and kind.

Happy Mothers’ Day Mum! I’m sorry for any time I made you feel like you weren’t enough. You are more than enough, and always have been. I am so grateful for all the parts of you that ended up as me.   We three are very lucky to have you, and as I’ve always maintained,  “you’re the best Mum I’ve ever had!”

Underwood_106

A year in Paradise

At roughly 2am on April 22nd 2012, Edward Rock departed this world and set off on a voyage to a home he dearly loved, but had previously only experienced in snippets.  

The journey was one eagerly anticipated.  Grandpa’s last weeks on earth were a time of great healing and personal revelation; a time during which fear and any sense of frustration at life goals unachieved were replaced with transcendent peace. Through a series of dreams and visions, the elements of Grandpa’s life were brought into crystal clear perspective. Truths that had eluded him for 90 years were now in sharp focus, truths that brought him both incredible joy and stabbing anguish. These truths were uncovered during hours spent in conversation with a man Grandpa called his saviour and friend. On the outside, Grandpa’s body was being turned, washed and tenderly cared for by devoted nurses. On the inside he was being comforted, released and tenderly corrected by a man whose life divided time.

The great kindness of this man was that he illuminated Grandpa’s mind at a stage where he still had time to repair his mistakes. With hurts that had endured for years finally put to rest, and release from his personal quest to save the world from greed, Grandpa was filled with great excitement at launching into the next phase of his existence.  As one friend put it, “he had his bags packed”. 

Grandpa’s only yearning was that he could not take his family with him on his journey. As the line between his two realms blurred, Grandpa began making plans to build a home with many rooms, where his entire family could live together.

 I look forward to giving Grandpa a big kiss, caddying for him on the golf course that will inevitably be in the backyard, and living out eternity in that house, built in the place where we are all made perfect.

 

Soldier

Soldier

Husband

Husband

Father

Father

Builder

Builder

Gardener

Gardener

Health-food nut (the bowl probably contained seaweed, yognurt, fresh fruit and cayenne pepper)

Health-food nut (the bowl probably contained seaweed, yognurt, fresh fruit and cayenne pepper)

Grandpa

Grandpa

 

 

 

 

Resilience

Figs are delicious. I freaking love them. I could eat figs all day.

When we were first married we lived in Richmond, an inner-city suburb of Melbourne. Back in the 60’s Richmond was heavily populated by Greek migrants, attracted by the low cost of housing and abundant opportunities for employment in manufacturing. Our neighbour Christos, a delightful man in his early 70’s, purchased their home for $60,000 in 1965. Like every good Greek, Christos converted his small, concrete yard into a food forest, planting fruits and vegetables into basically any vessel he had available: tomatoes in old tyres, capsicums and chillies in polystyrene boxes, kalamata olives in a wheelbarrow, a lemon tree in a bucket… the list goes on. Where space was permitting, these Greek kitchen gardens also featured beautiful fig trees, the branches of which would often hang down over the fence into what I insisted was the public domain. On many a summer’s evening, Lachy would roll his eyes at me as I gleefully leaped at the fragrant, purple globules.
“Oh, so that’s your tree in your garden, is it?”
“Well, this branch is hanging over the footpath. Actually, can you reach that one for me?”
“No, I’m not picking figs for you because it’s stealing!”
“ Hey, it’s either me or the fruit bats, and at least I’m not screeching and sh*tting everywhere!”

Jump for my love

I’ve been thinking about the quality of “resilience” lately.

Resilience is an adjective that means:
1. (of an object or material) capable of regaining its original shape or position after bending, stretching, compression, or other deformation; elastic.
2. (of a person) recovering easily and quickly from shock, illness, hardship, etc; irrepressible.

I love the word irrepressible; it reminds me of the introduction to Monkey Magic…
“Elemental forces then caused the stone egg to hatch. From it there came a stone monkey. The nature of monkey was irrepressible!”

monkey magic

I won’t lie, I find the thought of someone describing my nature as “ irrepressible” to be very appealing. However, like the elastic of your undies that must return to size 10 after your dad puts them on by mistake, we are only proved to be resilient in the context of a stretch. Before one can “bounce back”, their lives or bodies must be bent, compressed or deformed in some way or other. It’s a simple truth that we cannot develop resilience by cruising through life. The good thing is, this truth gives us a new filter through which to view the uncomfortable or distressing things that happen to us, from “I can’t handle this any longer” to “bring it b*tch, I’m irrepressible”.

monkey magic_3

A recent example of real life resilience is the determined comeback of my fig tree, after the Boxing Day Massacre of 2012, when 20kg of puppy decided to ringbark my favourite Christmas present less than 24 hours after I received it.

dogshame_2

I ring-barked Jessi’s Christmas fig tree on Boxing Day.
(I didn’t get ANY Christmas pudding, so I thought it was fair)

(NB. concept courtesy of dogshaming.com)

“It’ll be alright”  said my Gran, “figs are very hardy, just keep the water up to it.”

As luck would have it, the next day we were booked to go on a 2 week beach holiday, during which time Melbourne (naturally) hit a ≥40°C heatwave. Great weather for swimming, not so great for recently mutilated figs. Had I asked anyone to water my garden while we were away? Of course not, how anal. On our return, the brown and shrivelled fig had become a cuddling post for my very clingy pumpkin.

IMG_4531_2

Not wanting to further distress the pumpkin, I left the fig in situ, where it received incidental watering. One day, below the scar, I noticed the fig was sending out beautiful green shoots.

What a champion! Go little fig tree – you are a fabulous example of resilience.
To encourage regrowth, I took the fig out of its protective enclosure for a feed and some pruning. Then the phone rang (hi Dad!)

I was gone maybe 5 or 10 minutes… but long enough for bloody Indie to have a second go at demolishing the poor thing.

IMG_4577_3

You stupid dog! What is it about you and fig trees?
However, a week later and the gnawed stump has put forth ever more green shoots

Little fig tree, you are truly irrepressible!

I’ve decided to name her Lazarus.

Enter the Vogon

Last Friday I celebrated my first week at a new job. For the past few years I’ve worked as a physio in acute public hospitals in Melbourne’s East, but this week I moved to a Community Rehab facility.

It’s a simple truth that with every significant life change there is “different good”, and “different bad”. The different good has been wonderfully refreshing. I actually have time to deliver effective therapy to people, instead of rushing around like a headless chook.
I get to invent fun ways to build people’s strength and co-ordination, eg.
“Stand on this piece of foam, on one leg. Good, now I’m going to throw balls at your head.”
Three afternoons a week I get to drive around in the sunshine to visit people in their homes. Fun!

Unfortunately, to balance the different good, there is also different bad, different confusing, and different stressful. Never in my life have I filled out so many forms! Yahgrhgarhgrhg!

Say I wanted to scratch my knee. First I would need to fill out three separate application forms to do so, and send each to a different manager, along with an email to each to inform them of its arrival. Once approval came back, I would fill in 4 different assessment forms to make sure scratching was appropriate, and identify the goals for scratching. Then I would book in the appointment times for scratching on the timetable, and also add it to the spreadsheet. Then I’d phone my knee to make sure the appointment was still ok. Once I’d scratched, I’d reassess the goals and complete the original forms, enter the casenotes in my knee’s client file, check that my knee’s home exercise program was clear (for independent scratching), refer on to any long-term scratching programs in the community (more forms), write a summary letter to my knee’s GP, then discharge my knee from the client registration system. Once that was done, I’d make sure the assessment forms were in the right folder for discussion at the next interdisciplinary team meeting.

Bleurhjrkjejhrjkehjrhhgjhg.

Have you read (or watched the film version) of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?
Do you remember the Vogons?

vogon_original

Many times in the past week I have felt like a Vogon. Especially when taking three times as long as everyone else to get all the administrative tasks done, mostly because of needing to ask 17,000 questions, and even then getting it a bit wrong.

Mmmm, job satisfaction!

After a Vogonizing day of grappling with the complex and tedious, it’s wonderful to focus on tasks or experiences that are simple and good.

IndieLoveFeb12_2

Receiving enthusiastic displays of affection that pay no heed to convenience or space limitations.

Watering my garden, and gloating over how many tomatoes are growing on my single, gargantuan tomato plant (19 and counting! Ripen up you babies!)

instaplum

Eating a super juicy plum, and resisting the urge to flick off the drips, until they have run all the way down to my elbow and jumped off themselves.

Going for an evening stroll.

Enjoying an after work drink in a little beer garden I know.
(This venue is particularly popular with the honeys.)

In considering how to conclude this post, I thought it might be nice to finish with some inspiring quote or something…. But I couldn’t seem to find anything that wasn’t painfully cheesy. So in that spirit, I’m embracing the cheese, and will leave you with this exquisite advertisement for Kellogg’s Cornflakes from 1989.

Yeah boy, this week I’m fighting Vogons with Bogans.

Vietnam: stories from the street

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about holidays; reflecting on past adventures and fantasizing about future ones.  On our last holiday in November 2011 we explored beautiful Vietnam. 
I took a lot of photos and ate a lot of noodles – bliss! 

Different people have different travelling styles. Some collect extreme experiences, like heli-skiing in Canada or bungee jumping off Victoria Falls. Some collect photos of themselves looking glamorous in front of classic landmarks, like the Trevi Fountain or Angkor Wat. One couple I met in Ho Chi Minh had recently graduated from the Cordon Bleu, and were travelling the world collecting culinary skills.  When Lachy and I travel, we tend to collect friends, snippets of new languages, and experiences of how the locals do life.  

One of my favourite things about travelling is the way it challenges your concept of “normal”. In Australia, we tend to keep our home lives quite private – we close our curtains, and are uncomfortable if our neighbours can easily see into our backyards.

By contrast, the Vietnamese live far more communally. Homes and shop fronts are one and the same, and daily life sprawls out onto the streets; whether that be eating,

Lunch time in HaNoi

sleeping,

Afternoon snooze in Hue

working,

The Bong-and-Ladders-Shop. For all your smoking and climbing needs.

or playing.

Teaching Little Sister how to ride a bike.

Pavements become an extension of people’s homes, and also double as parking for the family vehicles. Not much, if any footpath is left for walking on, leaving many an awkward tourist dithering about how to get from A to B.

I didn’t mind though, not when moments like this can be stumbled upon on your way home from lunch.

cuddles with Bà Nội

But back to the dithering. I don’t pretend to be a Vietnamese traffic guru – we certainly did our fair share of hesitating and double-backing, particularly in HaNoi’s Old Quarter where the streets are narrow and the motorbikes are many. Negotiating Old Quarter traffic is quite an art form, like a finely choreographed dance involving pedestrians, bicycles, cars, scooters and motorbikes.

Step 2, 3, back 2, 3, pause, twist and change partners…

Once you know the steps, you’re fine, but it does takes a fair bit of practice before you can get your groove on with confidence. 

When crossing the road in Melbourne, we look left and right, wait for a break and go when it’s all clear. In HaNoi’s Old Quarter there is no break. Ever.

What about now? Hmm, no.                                                Or now? Hmm, no…

Generally the best technique is to muster your courage, step out with confidence and maintain a steady pace. Don’t stop in the middle, whatever you do! You want your movements to be predictable to the oncoming traffic, so that they can pre-empt you and drive around accordingly. And they will, don’t worry!  Hesitation is bad though because it makes the traffic hesitate, and that’s when the dance falls out of time with the music. Bang!

When all else fails, close your eyes and just keep walking.

Like many other forms of dancing, the Old Quarter Shuffle is made easier by the consumption of alcohol. 

Feeling flustered? Duck in for a cold one, and a chat with the locals.
The walk home from Bia Corner is always far less stressful.

Mot.. Hai .. Ba …YO!

Free love, doggy style.

Eeew wanton debauchery!  Run awaaaayyyyyy!

Don’t worry, this isn’t some raunchy tell-all.  In some ways that title is completely misleading, but in other ways it’s totally appropriate.  Oooh, the tantalising difference between speaking literally and figuratively!

A couple of months ago I read an article about how much people love, and feel loved by their pets. In it, they made reference to some statistics released by the Australian Companion Animal Council.  The council reports that 91% of owners feel “very close” to their pets. In fact, 56% of women and 41% of men said that their pet is more affectionate than their partner.

I was shocked to realise that, while the statistic saddened me, it didn’t actually surprise me.  

As humans, we do tend to harbour a number of prerequisites, subconscious or otherwise, that must be filled before we give our love away.

  • What do you look like?
  • What do you do?
  • How old are you?
  • How do you smell?
  • Will being seen with you make me more or less “cool by association”?

A six month old baby with big blue eyes, a musical laugh, and a clean nappy? 
Hand him over lady, and I’ll cover that kid with kisses.

The middle aged woman with greasy hair, 12 teeth in total and a rasping cough?  
Avert thine eyes children, and dash off to buy sushi.

Many of you have probably guessed that I have a border collie puppy. 
Her name is Indie, and she brings much joy into our lives.

Technically, I’m still on my mat. Technically.

 

When we walk down the street, Indie happily engages with anyone and everyone, only limited by the length of the leash (!)
The little old lady with her wheelie walker;  the teenage skinheads smoking at the train station;  the professionals at lunch, sipping lattes with their laptops … they all get the same affectionate acknowledgement.

Dogs don’t care if your sunnies are Armani, your car is a rust box,  or you’ve gained 15 kilos. Dogs don’t care if you’re intellectually disabled,  you just got promoted, or your legs need a shave.  They only care that you’re there, with them, and have time for a pat.  
No judgement.

When I was a little girl I thought that when I was very good, I made God proud, and he loved me more;  but when I was naughty, then he got disappointed, and I had to earn back his love by impressing him somehow.  One time at church the minister told us that God loved us, and there was nothing that we could do to make him love us any more, and nothing we could do to make him love us any less. God loves us, just for being us,  with an unchanging love.  I remember being really surprised by this – surely we can influence how much other people love us by the things we do? I certainly felt less love for my parents straight after being smacked.  For many years these thoughts rattled around in my brain, not quite fitting with my experience of the world. And then I got a puppy, who made me think…

 Maybe Indie understands more about God’s love than I do?  Indie gives love freely, and without thought of return. She doesn’t love people because she thinks she should,  it’s completely genuine. Indie’s love for us is unchanging,  regardless of whether we just took her for a long walk, or forgot her breakfast that morning.

Is my dog a better Christian than I am?

Haha, woof.