Satchelnomics: Responsible capitalism, an oxymoron?

Image: Michelle St Laurent at
You are contemplating the black Nina Ricci top and skirt confection featured in the new Harper's BAZAAR and can barely contain your lust. You MUST have this outfit... you deserve it! It would complete you! But a pang of guilt rises up and threatens to steal this moment of material delight. Drats!

The last time you spent a fist full of cash on a designer ensemble such as that, you wound up selling it for $50 at the markets (or was that $30? You may have lied to yourself). Those dividends are no girl's friend. What to do to curb this cumbersome dilemma? And why the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that cannot be appeased with a cup of tea and a biccie?

By golly, it's your conscience. Old Jiminy Cricket is up to his old tricks, pulling you back towards the safety of sensible economic habits, which are all-too easily overcome by the persuasions of glossy magazines and a glimpse at what that girl over there (on a blog, out in town) is wearing. 

Snapshot: Celebrating Chinese New Year in Malaysia

Snapshot: Celebrating Chinese New Year
Receiving an "ang pow" from my lovely aunt Dorothy.
By Julia Low 

Just as the Christmas decorations around the houses and malls in Malaysia went down, up came a different kind of red, this time in celebration of Chinese New Year according to the Lunar calendar. 

Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year means spring cleaning, heaps of yummy food, and more importantly, lots of family time. 

Media Study: Frances Whiting on writing 'Children of the Flood'

Media Study: Writing 'Children of the Flood'

Frances Whiting
The current torrent of rain drenching south-east Queensland will be particularly confronting for those members of the community for whom the January 2011 floods were more than a trivial inconvenience.

We were reminded of this with Frances Whiting's latest stunning piece of journalism, the sensitive and beautifully crafted 'Children of the Flood' for Qweekend. A senior journalist, much-loved columnist, former school teacher and new-ish Twitterer, Whiting took time out of her frenzied schedule on Friday (a day on which she takes part in 'The Verdict' first thing) to talk to GWAS about how her story evolved and her career in journalism... 

GWAS: For starters, what is 'The Verdict'?
Frances: It's a thing I do weekly for the Saturday Courier-Mail. There are three of us – Denis Atkins, Robert "Crash" Craddock and me, and they ask us about the main issues of the day and we have to give very short answers about what we think. It's quite tricky because it's often something I have no idea about, like cricket. It's a wide range of issues, some serious and some light-hearted.  

How does your work week pan out, with your column for U on Sunday and features on Qweekend? I work three days a week at Qweekend – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – and that's devoted to feature writing and researching those features. Both the column and The Verdict I do from home. The Verdict is half an hour every Friday, but so I know what I'm talking about, I have to keep abreast of all the issues going on. 

The Reading Table

The Reading Table
An assortment of goodies that found their way into the Girl With a Satchel postbox last week. Isn't it wonderful to receive personal notes and postcards (from Paris, no less) in the mailbox? I'm endeavouring to send more snail mail in 2012.

Girl With a Satchel

Short & Sweet - week beginning January 30

Readers, meet Betty, our new puppy. She's a little bit cute.
Djokovic won the tennis and promptly tore open his shirt, while a 31-year-old homeless man was murdered in St Kilda this morning; a sobering juxtaposition of current events that remind us it's a topsy-turvy world of victory and violence as we enter a new week.

Let's catch up: With the media focusing on the highs and the lows, we are quick to forget that for most of us there is a lot of mundane, challenging, humdrum in-between that goes on; the training, the studying, the research, the grocery buying... But it's those in-between days that count the most, because they add up to a totality of a life and strengthen us for the inevitable highs and lows.
This week's agenda: Behind the scenes, there is a fair bit of thought that goes into correspondence (with God, contributors and readers), while pressing life matters (like a gaping hole in one's tooth) are also being attended to (as you do and I do, too). If GWAS is not up-to-date, then this is generally why, but we are slowly getting into the flow of things.
The Word for the Week: "Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:13
Quote of the Week: "I worked hard and every time I stepped on the court ... it was like: 'Vika you know what, you have whatever, 40 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, to make a difference, to become somebody who you've never been before'. It was just self-belief." - Victoria Azarenka, winner of the Australian Open women's final. word for the week: conciliate \kuhn-SIL-ee-eyt\, verb: 1. To overcome the distrust or hostility of; placate; win over; 2. To win or gain (goodwill, regard, or favor); 3. To make compatible; reconcile; 4. To become agreeable or reconciled.
"After an agreeable goal was settled upon, a sometimes laborious process of conciliation with God, she felt all was good and right in her soul. And could finally move on."
Reading: 'Nigerian Christians on violence alert' @ The Australian.

Girl With a Satchel

Creative: Spoonful magazine's sixth issue

Creative: Spoonful magazine's sixth issue

Sensing a great deal of glumness around the traps, I think I shall buy up a few copies of Spoonful's latest issue to stash in my handbag in order to bestow on the very down and very low. 

It's a delightful little pick-me-up. Regardless of your thoughts on happiness (some say, stop striving for it; others say, seize the day!), there is no harm in taking a moment to revel in sheer visual inspiration and positive prose, and Spoonful has twenty-four tiny pages of that.

Creative: Est. magazine issue four

Creative: Est. magazine issue four
Out tomorrow, Est. magazine's fourth issue is replete with Scandinavian findings. Recently described by Apartment Therapy as "relaxed, bold, brash, pioneering, outdoorsy, cheeky and resourceful", the online mag with an Aussie twist is giving five readers a chance to win a copy of the third installment of the PIETBOON Book series showcasing interiors from around the world.

Girl With a Satchel

The Satchel Review - Friday 27th January, 2012

Did you know the first daily newspaper in Australia was the Australian founded by WC Wentworth in 1824?
The Four 'n' Twenty meat pies and tomato sauce stowed away, our patriotic pride laid to rest for another day, it was back to work and to school today, that is if the rain waters aren't keeping you away. 

For the kids of south-east Queensland, the beginning of the school year has been a bit of a fizzer. Barely a chance to scribble a sentence within freshly contacted exercise book pages, some were sent home or deterred from attendance as their teachers couldn't navigate the rising waters on the roads and, well, it might not be safe. 

"Yippee!" said the kidlings, "Oh, no," said the mums hoping to have some reprieve this week (alas, it was not to be... out with the craft and the DVDs!).

Australia Day was similarly a day of mixed feelings. Patriotic pride put aside as we took in images of unrest in Canberra – anger, violence, contempt – it has been a time to reflect on the healing of a hurting nation and the meaning behind the proposed amendments to our Constitution.

The Satchelist: Kim Maurer, Mount Tamborine

The Satchelist: Kim Maurer, Mount Tamborine
Free-styling hairdresser and mum Kim Maurer took to the streets this morning in her ensemble of delicate white dress and brown ankle boots, stopping at the newsagent where we met before moving onto a cafe for breakfast with her husband. 

The Tamborine Village resident's home has thankfully not been accosted by rising waters, but her kids' school was, meaning they had Tuesday and Wednesday off. "They loved it," she said of her seven and 10-year-old, "But I had to cancel a day of work."

Girl With a Satchel

The Middle Brow - choosing your politics

By Emma Plant

When traveling North America a few years ago, I crossed paths with a passionate, Republican Jew who was fired up with news of the upcoming (pre-Obama) Federal election. "I am going to move Down Under if the Democrats take seat," he said. "This country will go down the proverbial sink."

To his dismay, a Democratic figurehead did indeed take that Presidential seat. As we are all accustomed now, the first black president, Barack Obama, stood to a history-making position. Hereto, since 2009 a great deal has transpired. Not only has Obama’s grey hair flourished, his notoriety has increased as well and, yes, the country has gone down the proverbial sink

While clear-minded people would be hesitant to attribute that all to the president's doing, the pressing presidential campaign is sure to make a right mockery of his position. Thankfully, for him, the Republicans are doing an alright job of mocking themselves.

Creative: Anthology magazine, issue six

Creative: Anthology magazine, issue six
How gorgeous. The creative minds behind Anthology magazine have put together another beautiful issue (number six) and a (very) short film, too...
Issue No. 6 Trailer from Anthology Magazine on Vimeo.

Girl With a Satchel

Place: An Australian symphony in photographs

Place: An Australian symphony in photographs

Breathtaking – we are truly blessed, are we not, to live in such a place.
Film c/o National Geographic Society and Remote Photography

Girl With a Satchel

Snapshot: Madam Tojo's cafe, Labrador

Snapshot: Madam Tojo's cafe, Labrador
By Sophie Baker

'Daily whims', singing dishwashers, vintage travel cases, velvet curtains, gilded mirrors, stacks of books, Albert Einstein's musings on mystery inscribed in chalk... 

Welcome to Madam Tojo's, a cafe that could have been where Hemingway hung out in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, where nothing is quite as it seems. "A dishwasher isn't always just a dishwasher, talent is everywhere," says the cafe's creator and owner Antoinette Edmunds, referring to her newest employee. 

Arts, Culture & Entertainment News – January 25

The Academy Awards nominations are in, with HUGO taking out the most for any film, an impressive tally of 11 nominations to Martin Scorsese's credit. The whimsical story of an orphan boy who brings his clockwork automaton friend back to life, with the help of his bookworm friend Isabelle who holds the missing piece, and in turn revives the dormant career of Paris' finest early filmmaker, Isabelle's godfather Papa Georges, the movie speaks to us all about the importance of craftmanship and a life with purpose.  

The Scout About Street Fair is coming to Coventary Street, Melbourne, on February 19 with retailers creating whimsical window displays that depict the theme 'Nursery Rhymes, Fairy Tales, Stories and Myths' in the lead up to the inaugural event. "We’re keen to show Melburnians the amazing array of beautiful things you can eat, wear, experience and take home from South Melbourne," said Sam Tresise, president of the South Melbourne Business Association. Entry is free and kids' entertainment includes Maisy, Spot, Angelina Ballerina and Grug.

'Can Pinterest benefit business?' asks Holly Zuluaga of CommuniquePR. "Pinterest provides a platform for contests and a tool for businesses to demonstrate thought leadership by sharing fresh images. Additionally, Pinterest can help businesses drive traffic back to their sites by pinning content. In fact, Real Simple reports that Pinterest drives more traffic to its site than Facebook."

"The areas I know about are popular culture and the arts, and the media, so I've been looking at things which have those connections," Next Media co-founder and VIP Art Fair investor Phillip Keir told The Australian Financial Review on Friday. The Art Fair replicates a bricks-and-mortar fair in that it brings together galleries and artists from around the world for "a few days of concentrated art consumption", wrote Katrina Strickland in 'Art e-fairs close distance gap'.

"While the long-term effects of Apple’s digital textbook service will take years to sort out, they’ve at least come out to a very strong start," reports Forbes on the launch of Apple's foray into educational textbooks, which resulted in 350,000 textbooks sold in three days.

The beautiful new edition of Spoonful magazine invites readers to look up to the skies in 'Objects of Affection', munch on the Hummingbird cake created by Katrina Meynink and take a walk in the woods of Germany with photographer Toni Weber.

"We have the technology to build a new type of democracy but equally we might create a new type of totalitarianism," writes freelance journalist Heather Brooke's in her new book, The Revolution Will Be Digitised: Dispatches from the Information War with reviewer Richard King taking a case in point: "Thus the FBI an CIA can track the movements of (say) Islamist terrorists at the expense of keeping (say) Islamic extremists in power in other parts of the world: a solid case, if ever there was one, of the unintended consequence."

Additionally, The Times has printed an editorial outlining its views on press freedom and privacy in light of the Leveson inquiry. "The value of journalism is to tell many people what few people know. The public has more to fear from secrecy than to gain from privacy. A muffled press does not make for a quieter world, but for a cacophony of rumour. This newspaper is therefore an unrelenting advocate of press freedom."

Speaking of press freedom, the Afghan Women’s Writing Project is an organisation that mentors Afghan women writers and publishes their work (poems, essays, personal stores) for a global audience who leave words of encouragement for them. The universality of women's hopes, dreams and desires is apparent in their beautiful words.

Salman Rushdie may address India's biggest literary festival via video link, instead of an in-person appearance, after a rumoured death threat followed several high-profile writers reading from his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, reports The Guardian.

Darren Davidson, the editor of Yaffa Publishing's AdNews, is joining The Australian as business media writer to strengthen the newspaper's leading coverage of media and marketing. Davidson, who starts in March, joined AdNews in 2010 after relocating to Sydney from London.

Jane Hall
Former Neighbours star Jane Hall is joining former The Circle chair-occupier (who left the show last year to order her family priorities and focus on her "old love", radio) Chrissie Swan as co-host of Mix101.1's all-female breakfast show in Melbourne starting Monday February 6. "For a self-confessed morning person, going to work every day with a good mate in my home town seems too good to be true! It’s truly an honour to be part of Melbourne’s only all-girl breakfast radio show with Chrissie Swan…2012 is shaping up to be a great year," said Hall.

Journalist Kathryn Robinson and meteorologist Magdalena Roze complete Channel Ten's new Breakfast show line-up along with hosts Paul Henry and Andrew Rochford. "A self-proclaimed weather nerd, she completed a tertiary degree in Atmospheric Science, winning both the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Prize and the Biophysical Environments Prize," reports Mediaweek.

Belinda Hickman-Newton
In other media appointment news, Mia Freedman has officially joined the News Limited fold with her columns to be published across the company's stable of major Sunday mastheads ("While I'll admit to more than a little stage fright, I cannot wait to get started," she said), U On Sunday founding editor and The Sunday Mail assistant editor (features) Belinda Hickman-Newton has been promoted to editor-in-chief of Quest Newspapers ("I am very excited about the future at Quest and the challenges ahead, particularly developing editorial initiatives in digital media to expand our relationships with readers," she said) and NewsLifeMedia chief executive Sandra Hook is moving on from the company after eight years ("I have decided after a Christmas break it is time to look for a new challenge," she said). 

Girl With a Satchel

The Satchelist: Zoe, Hamish and Kate

The Satchelist: Zoe, Hamish and Kate
Zoe Foster, Hamish Blake and Kate Hunter, printed with permission from Mia Freedman/Zoe Foster
Kate Hunter is an hilariously funny advertising-art-director-slash-author who looks nice in a frock; Zoe Foster is an hilariously funny beauty-editor-slash-author who looks nice in a frock; Hamish Blake is the hilariously funny bloke – the slash – between them both. Don't they look smashingly great?
Of note: the ladies are both the size of Kylie Minogue; Hamish is not unusually tall. But he is engaged to Zoe; isn't that lovely?

Girl With a Satchel

The Reading Table

The Reading Table
A wet and windy end to January, the house surrounded by a mote of water, the perfect antidote would seem to be to envelop the mind in some hearty reading fare to the tune of Blanche Dubois' Young Heart, with a cup of tea and a little prayer to nurse the spirit.

Girl With a Satchel

Short & Sweet - week beginning January 23

Le Petit Nicolas @ Pinterest
The newsagent is packed with harried mothers who have left the book-pack purchasing to the last minute, the leafy street front outside the primary school is busy with bumper-to-bumper four-wheel drives, and mums in stylish garb hold the hands of their little ones and make way to the gates (soon to get back to the computer for a Facebook piccie update). 

Is there a more special occasion than the beginning of a new school year for adoring parents for whom the school holidays drawing to a close is just as exciting as the break from routine the end-of-year brings?

But, no sooner have the little ones, and their teachers, got into the groove of things, including the new National Schools Curriculum, we will all take a week-day off to celebrate our nation's founding amidst talk of a referendum to acknowledge indigenous Australians. 
Let's catch up: Her books covered in contact, her lunchbox packed and hair in pigtails, my niece attends her first day of school today. I am thinking I will drop by for afternoon tea. Meanwhile, around The Satchel, we are anticipating the arrival of a new family member: Betty, the puppy!
This week's agenda: Interesting people to meet and issues to contemplate.
The Word for the Week: 'Why are you crying out...Tell the Israelites to move on.' Exodus 14:15
Quote of the Week: 'If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.' Thomas Edison word for the week: natheless \NEYTH-lis\, adverb: Nevertheless.
"Natheless, it was to be that Little Olivia would embark on her first year of primary school education come January 23."
Reading: "You Will Never Guess Who Is Really Responsible For The Softening of Males In The Church" by Mark Sayers.

Girl With a Satchel

Satchelnomics: Good job hunting

The warnings are coming in thick and fast: the economy is at risk of going bust. Quick, stash your cash away for that rainy day! Mind your job while you're at it, too. But maybe all's not that bad: The Australian Financial Review reports today that there was a net loss of 100 jobs in 2011. It doesn't sound like a terrible lot, does it?

No, it doesn't. But when put in context, it's not a great sign. Usually jobs are being created; lots of them, at that. In fact, it's been 19 years – since we were listening to Boyz II Men in our bedrooms in 1992 – that the jobs market has created so few new positions. In 2010, 370,000 new jobs were created. Last month, 29,300 were shed. What gives?

Satchel Living: Truth in beauty and perfect love

Satchel Living: Truth in beauty and perfect love
January can be a confounding time for women. No sooner have the Christmas crackers been put away than thoughts turn to burning calories and starting detoxes as we scan the newsstands. 'Why can't I just watch the tennis/read my new Jodi Picoult/think on Noam Chomsky's revolutionary pacificism in peace?' you think.

Celebrity cook Julie Goodwin is taking it all in her stride. She posed for New Idea in her swimsuit, unkind things were said, and she resolved to remind us all that we are not defined by our body shape. "I am grateful to my body for the three children it has given me, for its strength and ability to work long hard hours, and for its robust good health... I will live my life as fully and joyfully as each day allows, with the body God gave me in all its magnificent imperfection," she wrote on her blog.

Fist pump!

A calm resolve to NOT BUY INTO the dieting jargon, the weight-loss mumbo jumbo, the calorie crap will do you well. Bury your head in your Jodi Picoult! Channel the Chomsky! But if, unlike Julie, you do not possess such resolve, nor the humble acceptance of the body God gave you, your vulnerabilities may flair up during beach season. 

Arts, Culture & Entertainment

Oprah at her Leadership Academy's for its academically gifted, underprivileged girls. How wonderful. Source: ABC News
"The thing that I’m most proud of is not the academics, the academics I expected," said Oprah Winfrey at the inaugural graduation ceremony for her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. "The thing I’m most proud of is that everyone’s been accepted to college, and everyone’s going and we’ve created a support system to make that happen. But even more important than that, everyone walks out of here with the grace and dignity from which they were raised. Their integrity, their character, their grace and their kindness is what every parent would wish, that’s what you want, as a parent."

Claire Danes plays a C.I.A agent in Homeland
Accepting her award for Best Actress (Music/Comedy) at the Golden Globe awards this week, Michelle Williams dedicated the win to her daughter, Matilda: "I consider myself a mother first and an actress second, and so the person I most want to thank is my daughter, my little girl, whose bravery and exuberance is the example that I take with me in my work and in my life," she said. In accepting her award for Best Actress (Drama), Meryl Streep quipped, "I gotta thank everybody in England that let me come and trample over their history". The Descendants won Best Motion Picture (Drama), The Artist took out Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) and Claire Danes collected the award for Best Actress in a Drama for her Homeland series.

Clara Vuletich
The Harvest Workroom is hosting designer-in-residence Clara Vuletich in January. "Clara has combined her knowledge of sustainable textile print and dye processes with her interest in new forms of design and community activity that promote ‘home-grown’ knowledge/skills and encourage well-being," we are told. You can follow Clara's progress on the blog.

Jafar Panahi in This Is Not a Film
Screening at the Australian Centre for Moving Image in Melbourne next week is This Is Not a Film, Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb’s ‘non’ film, smuggled out of Iran and into France via USB stick, documents a day in the life of Iranian director Panahi while confined to his Tehran apartment under house arrest. This followed a court ruling in December 2010 that was upheld by a Tehran appeal court in October 2011. Panahi is currently appealing against a six year prison sentence as part of a sentence that also imposed a 20 year ban on film-making, travelling abroad or talking to the press. Read Margaret and David's At the Movies review here.

Following a cleverly crafted headline, 'Losing it in the dosh pit', Dominic White of The Australian Financial Review reports that the Big Day Out has lost its mojo. "Poor consumer sentient, sluggish ticket sales, a shallowpool of international crowd-pulling talent and a glut of rival events mean that the 'golden age for Australian music festivals' is over," writes White as the event kick-starts in Auckland. "Many promoters don't understand the costs," said event founder Ken West. "It takes three months for a festival to reconcile its costs: from market stall holders to portaloos and generator companies. We also have 10,000 casual staff and tougher government regulations."
Australian artist Bec Laughton will be performing at this year's Easterfest
Meanwhile, while indie rock is apparently suffering a slow and painful death, the crew at AGMF (Australian Gospel Music Festival) are rallying troops for its Easterfest showdown in Toowoomba come April 6-8. This year's artists include Michael W Smith, Mercy Me, New Empire, Bec Loughton, and friend of GWAS Vita Adam amongst others.

Adrian Mole is having a big birthday! The melancholic, prolific poet and beloved tween companion to many Gen-Yers and Xers before them, the protagonist of Sue Townsend's The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ is turning 30 (well, Mole was born in 1964, but the book was birthed in 1982). A product of a working class upbringing, Thatcherism and second-wave feminism, Mole was a "misunderstood intellectual" with acne, specs, a dog named "the dog" and a girlfriend called Pandora. Time to revisit the book, we think!

Girl With a Satchel

Culture: The TRIP Reviewed

Culture: The TRIP Reviewed

A unique glimpse into the world of British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, The TRIP is also a study of the masculine persona; the inner longings of the vulnerable man-child whose potential is not yet fully realised despite himself.

British actor/comedian Steve Coogan has been commissioned by The Observer Magazine to do a travel piece taking in six restaurants around the north of England. His American (fictional) girlfriend, Mischa, has returned home, so instead he takes his mate Rob Brydon along for the drive.

What ensues is two hours (or six episodes) of culinary and comedic entertainment. It's very clever. Male bravado, memorable one-liners, dramatic recitations and several Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Robert DeNiro, Woody Allen, Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino impersonations. For Coogan and Brydon, one-upmanship is sport.

Snapshot: The great Aussie pie shop

Snapshot: The great Aussie pie shop
The Warwick Pie Shop
At quite a different pace from the harried streets of New York City, Jim and I packed up the Toyota Land Cruiser and did our summer holiday Aussie-style, covering 3,000-odd kilometres of road (and not a single animal was harmed... almost).

The Satchelist: Courtney, Toowoomba, student

The Satchelist: Courtney, Toowoomba, student
Courtney, 28, is wearing a top from SES and shorts by Jay Jay's
Meeting her mother for a coffee date in Toowoomba the day we met, Courtney, 28, hails from the Northern Territory, where her parents operated a cattle station (just like in Australia!), but was sent to boarding school at Fairholme private girls' school in Toowoomba. 

She now studies business and marketing, and lives with her younger sister in Annalee, Brisbane, and fears she will soon join the ranks of the unemployed. 

"It's looking harder and harder to get into post-graduate positions," she says. "If I can't get a post-grad role at somewhere like Virgin or Suncorp, I'll look at getting into the agriculture sector, 'cause I'm from the land."

Girl With a Satchel

Adventure: A sight or two with Michael Fattal from Planet Blue

Michael Fattal, founder, Planet Blue Tours
Adventure: A sight or two with Michael Fattal from Planet Blue

It's not every day you get an invitation to New York in your inbox. But so it was, last October, mere days after telling some young women I know about my Contiki tour experience as a 20-something (wonderful if you are prepared to overlook the parts that don't agree with your sensibility), following a tragic report of a young Aussie girl's death on a tour in Italy, that an email from Planet Blue Tours popped into view asking, 'Would I like to join them on a trip to the USA and Canada'. Is the Pope Catholic? This is too good to be true. Surely.

The "too good to be true" theme carried on throughout the tour. I had to pinch myself as I took in the Brooklyn Tabernacle choir's amazing chorus, again as I skated around the Rockefeller Centre to the tune of Christmas carols, again when I took in the awe-inspiring sight of Niagra Falls and again as I delighted in Disneyland.

Again and again and again I sensed that there was something special about this tour company, and so too its founder, Michael Fattal.

A true gentleman with a penchant for the finer things in life (good food, genuine leather luggage, music) with a great sense of humour and a heart that chimes to the sound of the Holy Spirit, Michael has a strong heritage in both Christ and travel: his father owns a travel company.

Satchel Living: Charting your course in 2012

Satchel Living 
Charting your course in 2012

Early this month we watched Investec Loyal skipper Anthony Bell celebrate his yacht's win in the Sydney to Hobart race with his
crew of "sailing rock stars and sporting celebrities". Yesterday we sat gobsmacked as footage of an impressive cruise liner called the Costa Concordia, tipped over on its starboard side and helplessly submerged off the coast of Italy (three people perishing and 60 still missing), filtered onto the TV. 

These events paint a stark picture for us of life: of the vagaries and victories. As we make our way into the new year, it's wise to reflect on the course we are charting, repairs that may need to be made to the ships we're sailing and the final destination.

For those of us in the fleet who follow Christ, it's a comfort to think we are all headed towards the same finish line. But while the navigation system, the map, the basic structure of the boat and the power that propels us along may be the same, the course we choose, the model and make of the boat, our crews and our cargo can look quite different. So too can the storms we encounter and the pace at which we travel. We are all at different stages in the race.

When God was instructing Noah on the building of the ark, he was very specific about its measurements and requirements. Noah, we are told, was a good man with no faults who lived in humble fellowship with the Lord. His biggest act of obedience saved his life, and that of his family (and two of each of every animal with them).

Short & Sweet - back to the drawing board

Let's catch up: It's wonderful to start a new "school year" at Girl With a Satchel – full of hopeful expectation for what's to come: issues to discuss, people to meet, places to see; new music to listen to, books to read, films to take in; things to learn, milestones to reach and lessons to teach. After ending the year with a trip to New York and LA, it's going to be hard to top 2011, but I've already ticked one thing off my To-Do list for 2012: preaching my first sermon. I'll be sharing part of that sermon in an upcoming post about charting the course for your year in 2012.
This week's agenda: Girl With a Satchel has been undergoing some site renovations (both online and off: a shiny new office!) with still more to come as I go about organising content until it is just right.
The Word for the Week: "Noah did everything that God commanded." Genesis 6:22
Quote of the Week: "I have been on a mission my whole life to be able to give back what I have been given. Today I am fulfilling that mission... Just wait to be amazed by these girls." Oprah on the first graduating class from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy. word for the week: desinence \DES-uh-nuhns\, noun:
1. A termination or ending, as the final line of a verse.
2. Grammar. A termination, ending, or suffix of a word.
"The new year brings both desinence to some activities and the commencement of others, given time to reflect on that which is working and what is not; a clarity of purpose procured after getting on one's knees and praying for vision."
Reading: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

Girl With a Satchel

The Satchelist: Nerida Tupas, vintage curator, Toowoomba

The Satchelist: Nerida Tupas, Toowoomba
Nerida Tupas, flood survivor and vintage collector outside Made Creative Space, Toowoomba
While tragic stories of loved ones lost abound, including John Tyson's loss of his son and wife as flash flooding swept up the family car at the intersection of James and Kitchener Streets in Toowoomba, Nerida Tupas recalls the day of the floods with gratefulness.

On January 10, 2011, Nerida was in the Victoria Street library with her then six-year-old son when flash flooding consumed the township's CBD. Seeing the water rising, she fled across the road to retrieve her car, at which time shin-deep water was already covering the road. "He, of course, thought it was amazing and exciting," she says of her son.

Perspective: To Grantham, with gratitude

Perspective: To Grantham, with gratitude
Newly laid bitumen melting under sandals with the sweltering 38ยบ heat, I made my way to the Grantham Community flood memorial yesterday afternoon to pay my respects to the lives lost a year ago as the flood ravaged the small township two hours north-west of Brisbane.

Leaning against a telegraph pole feeling the full strength of the sun, as residents, family and those tethered to the community through its year of aches and pains gathered under the blissful shade of trees, I listened to Lisa Spierling give her raw account of how the flood had taken her livelihood, the family dogs, her home and threatened her family.

"I had my youngest daughter on my back and she kept saying, ‘You won’t let me drown will you, mummy?'," she shared. "I will never forget the look on my son’s eyes as I waded through the water to higher ground. One of them was screaming at me, ‘We will never go back there, don’t you ever make us go back.’"

GWAS Postings of 2011 (and a glimpse of what's to come)

GWAS Postings of 2011 (and what's to come)

Pinterest: best image suite of 2011? Postbox by Amber Carrillo
If you'd like to catch up on some GWAS writings from 2011, particularly if you are new to the blog (welcome, let's get acquainted!), I/we suggest these links, which were somewhat better than most and paint an overall picture of our thinking, doing and being. 

The year started out with a flood that consumed our minds and the homes of many Queenslanders, with Liz Burke (of 'The Burke Report'), Lucy Brook and Ellen-Maree Elliot rounding out their time on Girl With a Satchel with reflective posts on the state they call home and SES worker Kim Buntrock taking the time to sit and tell us of her experience.

While Penny Williams was appointed Australia's Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, we were all about elucidating the vision Jesus Christ had for women (and over here, too) and basking in his beautiful vision.

While we dabbled in Satchelnomics as we watched Europe's economy slump and retailers weather a turn in shopping affairs, Emma Plant (with her wry and kindly pop-culture deconstructions and film reviews), Julia Low (with her Digital Gloss Files, handed over by Margaret Tran) and Teen Girl With a Satchel Georgie Carroll joined the crew.

Oh, and we travelled to America, too (thank you, Planet Blue!).

The theme this year was contemplating the life of Christ, re-ordering our priorities and thinking more thoughtfully. To that end, we penned essays on 'Showing Your Face' (makeup in the Amazon, anyone?), changing the status quo in a status update world, living with your irksome detestable self, well-being in the age of the iPhone, eschewing lists in favour of a life less orderly, and the evolution of a personal faith and its application in a professional sense.

No longer content to choose crap over Christ, as the world of media was rocked by the unsavoury journalism practises of News of the World, we asked, 'Is it time for a new media paradigm?'. We also thought about the responsibility of gate-keeping and the cruel war of online words.

While we eased right off on the glossy review front, we penned notes on Paper Giants, occasional Media Satchel updates (usurped by an edit of 'Arts, Culture & Media' news), as well as covers we liked, and thoughts on the rises and falls of circulation and readership.

We also asked whether Princess Kate and her wedding to William would save the gossip media from flailing, pondered what is to happen to sub-editing amidst budget cuts, highlighted some good mags for kids and wondered if the men's magazine genre was experiencing a renaissance of sorts.

Elsewhere, SBS Feast magazine launched as MasterChef came off the boil and The Sunday Mail gave us the new U On Sunday supplement, which we really like. Worth a read: Katrina Lawrence's excellent essay on the evolution of Allure magazine.

In the world of girls, where body image is still worryingly problematic, we asked, 'Is branding girls a good idea?', lamented a lack of positive female sports coverage, talked to Dr. Amy Slater about her research paper, and contemplated the role of new media websites and blogs, as well as organisations like the Girl Guides, in the edification of women and girls (we were privileged to discuss this at All Hallows school in Brisbane along with Rebecca Sparrow, who joined the Mamamia crew).

While Camilla Peffer asked, 'Are blogs for women counterproductive?', Wendy Harmer started The Hoopla with some other wonderful women and online wunderkind Katie May sold Kidspot to News Limited. Additionally, Fairfax launched its Women's Network, News Magazines rebranded, too, and we contributed some posts to JUSTB (sadly, we've since parted company, but we will be visiting!).

Though the numbers don't quite add up, it was a good year for women working in Australian media (Sarah Ferguson got the scoop de la scoop), and 2012 looks to be interesting on this front. We learnt that Monica Attard would be launching The Global Mail in early 2012 and Sarah Oakes will head up the Your Daily Life website for Fairfax. Elsewhere on the internet, we are regularly visiting Q Ideas for the common good, a website showcasing current Christian thought, and frequent filmmaker Elena Rossini's No Country For Young (or Old) Women.

Most of all, beyond the "issues", we enjoyed visiting new places (particularly those proferring food-like goods like this sweet haven in LA and this one in Newport) and meeting people (real, live ones!). We attended a Girlie High Tea flush with personality and humanity, and we had coffee with bossypants of beauty Zoe Foster (who has since become engaged to her beau Hamish Blake), lovely journalist Kaz Cooke, author Susan Duncan, Sue Bazzana of World Vision, evangelist/author/singer Aliki Flodine and radio presenter Emily Jade O'Keefe (who has since had a baby girl).

And isn't that a wonderful proposition to contemplate going into 2012: what kind of world we'd like to bring our girls up in; and what kind of legacy we can leave them.

How can media – and its consumption – better edify, encourage and inspire women and girls (and the boys, too) to make good choices; to pursue study, work, relationships, hobbies and interests that build them up for the long-term; to enjoy, love and thrive, not just survive; to help them exercise their God-given right to feel comfortable in their skin, confident in their abilities, strong in faith, hopeful for the future and better educated about the world? I'm in if you're in.

Girl With a Satchel