Mrs. Satchel: On passion (in White magazine issue #32)

Mrs Satchel.: On passion (for WHITE magazine)

“All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
White issue 32. Cover by Lara Hotz.
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of love,
And feed his sacred flame.”
“Love”, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In the Greek language, there are four words to describe love: “eros” (sensual, passionate, erotic love), “philos” (affectionate, virtuous love for friends, family and community; loyalty), “storge” (natural affection and empathy and acceptance, as with parents and children) and “agape” (selfless, unconditional giving; to want what’s best for the other). In a marriage, it’s “agape” love that we’re shooting for (aim at the stars and you may land on the moon).

Passion, in a sensual sense, is a strange bedfellow in a marriage; a perplexing paradox requiring some serious contemplation. On the one hand, you absolutely need it to have a healthy marriage. Your sex life is like a garden that needs constant maintenance to preserve intimacy and protect the marriage from any outside pests in the form of another person.

But, at the same time, this whole matter of passion also puts a lot of pressure on marriages to be spectacularly on fire – hot, hot, hot! – all the time, which they cannot possibly be, because as humans we are prone to just want to mooch around the house in our comfy Bonds clothes, not get all Victoria’s Secret sexy about things (and, gentlemen, at certain times of the month, it’s wise to grant your lady a reprieve and opt for a cuppa and cuddle instead).

Media: FLOW magazine issue #11

"Everyone has a dream. To write a book, travel the world, or quit your job and do something completely different, such as create some groundbreaking art, for example. Often, the dream doesn’t come true. But is this such a bad thing? We don’t think so. Some dreams are best left as dreams. Maybe that B&B in France is better in your dreams than in reality. And realizing that we cannot fully control our own destiny humbles us and helps us to accept that sometimes things go differently than we had hoped they would." 
- the editors, FLOW magazine.

Media: White magazine kickstarts global distribution dream


When I first met Luke and Carla Burrell in an Oxenford cafe, their little one Milo in tow, I was mesmerised by their earthiness and dedication to the beautifully produced magazine they kindled into being in Newcastle nine years ago; she with a background in community support services and he in advertising, marketing and publishing.

Since then, I've been a semi-regular contributor and staunch advocate owing to the consistent high quality of the magazine and also its editorial mission of helping couples stay together long after the wedding day. To achieve this end, they commission raw and real content discussing the manifold complexities of sustaining a marriage made of two very unique individuals. Think of it as Frankie for marrieds.

"In our eyes, if we can help couples to draw closer together, year after year, and if we can give them the tools and inspire them to work hard at their relationships, then we can say we’ve succeeded," the Burrells say. "Our goal is for couples to experience the daily joy of intimacy and loving commitment."

Now, with number three child on the way, and several more independently published wedding magazines on the stand, the couple is hoping to take White magazine further afield with a plan for global distribution that encompasses greater reliance on good quality editorial and less on advertising revenue.

You too can support White's foray into new frontiers via Kickstarter with some lovely rewards awaiting.

Girl With a Satchel

The Satchel Review - The story that stopped a nation

"Be the heroine of your life, not the victim," said Nora Ephron. And isn't that true of Michelle Payne, the female jockey who put the wind up the sails of Prince of Penzance and performed a precision move at the last to conquer the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, beating the boys at their own game.

"Queen of the Sport of Kings" sang the front page of The Courier-Mail! "Tenacious country girl makes history aboard roughie - then tells doubting blokes to get stuffed."

Perspective: A short reply to Stephen Fry

In an interview with Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne on a television show called The Meaning of Life, Stephen Fry takes God to task for the pain and injustice of the world. His intellectual reasoning is utterly convincing and convicting. And this I say as a Christian.

“Bone cancer in children? What’s that about? How dare you. How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault. It’s not right. It’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain?”

He goes on to say, “the God who created this universe is quite clearly a maniac, utter maniac, totally selfish…yes the world is very splendid, but it also has in it insects whose whole life cycle is to burrow into the eyes of children and make them blind …why, why did he do that? He could have easily made a creation in which that didn’t exist. It is simply not acceptable.”

He’s RIGHT. It is simply NOT acceptable. We should be ANGRY. Full of RAGE.

Media: WHITE magazine issue #27

How LOVELY!

Mrs. Carla Burrell and her team at WHITE never cease to delight with an issue. While the lace and broderie anglaise, melodious studio images, woodland wedding settings and lovely flat-lays captivate aesthetically, it's the articles that give this wedding/bridal magazine a unique twist and more grist.

Issue #27 showcases the work of creatives, including Meredith Gaston (illustrator), who says, "To this day, I still remember the first illustration of mine that was commissioned. It was a painting I created at 19 when I worked for boutiques in Sydney. It was called 'Toffee Apple Town - a series of rolling polka dot hills in rich apple greens and soft pinks... I love capturing uplifting moments of joy and love, and quiet instances of tenderness and peace."

Mrs Satchel: The Office of Wife

A younger but perhaps wiser friend recently pointed out to me, "It doesn't naturally follow that if you are a mother, you also have the role of a wife, and even if you were, the role of a wife is different to the role of a mother. They are two separate things that don't necessarily need to be seen in the context of the other. They stand alone."

Well, obviously, you might say, but not so if you are performing both roles in a haze of sleep deprivation and cognitive conflict. So, my apologies to readers of WHITE magazine, because what I have given you, in my latest first-person piece, is a conflation of the role of wife and mother. And given readers of WHITE, for the most part, are, I imagine, embarking on the journey of marriage and not always with a child, my thinking and writing were a little misguided; as tangled as a pair of earphones in a handbag.

This is one of the perils of working with words. Thinking changes but you cannot always take back the words that appear on the page. It's hard sometimes to negotiate those limitations and the imperfection of this craft called writing.

For those wives who do have children, perhaps the original will resonate (pick up your copy of WHITE!). But what follows is a piece I am much happier to publish about the challenges of wifely status from where I sit...

Mrs Satchel: This woman's work


I can understand why some mothers might retreat into the ether-land of nothingness once their children are at school, floundering like a fish in a puddle that's drying up under the merciless afternoon sun in a desert land. Because once all is invested into the little ones, then what is left of mum?

Mrs Satchel: A long-awaited update

Our little family of three at the Lost World Valley!
Well, this is embarrassing! There you are, checking in occasionally in the hope that maybe, just maybe, I might be here writing something remotely interesting and...tumbleweeds! Well, today, friends, that changes! I am here, momentarily, wedged into a cafe corner on Main Street, Mount Tamborine, to shed a little light on where I've been and what's happening in the world of The Satchel. Are you ready to roll? I am. Wheeeeeeeee!

Mrs Satchel: What faithfulness looks like


Two years ago I fell head-over-heels in love with two older men known to me, surreptitiously, as GK and CS. I would spend hours cuddled up on the couch with them on alternating nights as my husband slept upstairs in bed.

Seemingly benign, this clandestine nighttime habit of mine, accompanied by other horrible habits, such as eating trail mix (which often falls by the back of the couch and goes squish), ate away at my married life.

Truthfully, GK and CS (aka Gilbert Keith Chesterton and Clive Staples Lewis) had stolen my heart, my mind and my time. You might call this marital unfaithfulness.

Introducing Isabel Louise (aka The Satcheling) and a little story

The Saturday night before Isabel Louise was born, I had looked up at the stars with Mr Satchel by my side and exclaimed, "I cannot wait for our tiny baby to experience all this - the enormity of the dazzling universe God has created" (or some such thing), at which he said something very romantic along the lines of, "Yeah", and we set out for home in our separate cars (which had been a metaphor for our entire marriage), as I had been dining with friends (The Last Supper, indeed!) and he had been to a bucks party (the last hurrah?!).

The next morning we awoke and had a cuddle and, well, whaddayaknow, my waters broke! "You have peed yourself!" exclaimed Mr Satchel, as I've always been on the weak-of-bladder side. "Oh, ha, pregnancy is all glamour!" I retorted. But, really, there was so much water! Niagra Falls. And so he called my sister-in-law who suggested it might be an idea to call the hospital and then sent a text message to my father: "Erica won't be at church today; I think she's going into labour".

But here's the rub - it was still seven weeks before we were expecting to see our bub. Thinking it was all a bit on the funny side - like as if we are about to have a baby right now this Sunday morning! - we took our sweet time getting to Pindara Private Hospital, a 40-minute drive away. I packed my copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting in the car, thinking I ought to cram-read the section on Premature Babies (just in case), and Mr Satchel stopped to buy an Ice-Break and piece of fruit cake.

GWAS Notes Part Deux: Hatching a satcheling


Following on from The Long-Winded Good-Bye diatribe, an update for those who still check in here from time to time (oh, ye faithful!)...

Mr and Mrs. Satchel are expecting to hatch their first satcheling around the same time as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (just a week or two prior). Yes, we are "with child", and it goes without saying that this is the best news ever, though The Australian Women's Weekly is yet to note its world-changing significance in the light of the royal baby's arrival. 

What exactly does one do while pregnant? 

Well, one works at one's job while fighting fatigue, all-day-sickness (morning? ha!) and back pain; grows significant girth in the stomach region; shops for clothes to suit changing figure; fondles sweet baby things in department stores; picture-stalks 'Jools Oliver Pregnant'; reads Meg Mason's wonderfully hilarious Say It Again in a Nice Voice; visits the obstetrician as frequently as the loo; takes nana naps at every possible chance; friends women with little ones (in a sort of mad, me-too! desperation); avoids most media by instinct (protect, nurture, shield...); nests, nests, nests; calls/emails one's mother often; walks around caressing one's tummy; smiles graciously at those who like to touch one's tummy; thinks BIG thoughts about the tiny LITTLE miracle that is making a person and bringing said person into the world; thanks God MUCH for said miracle (His grace truly knows no bounds)...

That is all. 
This is my world. 
And it is supremely lovely. 
A new season of life, indeed.

I won't bore you anymore with baby talk. 
But... wheeeeee!

Girl With a Satchel

P.S. But, of course, it's not all about me! Since we last checked in... Georgie has taken her first classes at the University of Sydney, Beci has been to Fiji, Brooke has been to Egypt, Emma got married, Ellen-Maree became a News Limited journalist, Sophie got a new camera, Julia returned to Malaysia and The Guardian set up sticks on Australian shores.