July hellos

This morning Danielle wrote about exercising your blogging muscles after a long leave of absence. Perhaps they were just the words I needed to hear. :-P There’s nothing particularly to say, but it’s a super beautiful and sunny day, and my baby is having a great morning nap and I have done my weekly Facebook/blog check so what more is there to do here but say hi?

We are in to the middle of winter now but so far July has only thrown at us gorgeous, sunny days. We’ve had some absolute freezers over the last few weeks so this little taster of spring is very welcome! I am beginning to swallow any noises I have ever made about loving wintertime… because our house is SO freezing. There have been days when I’ve just been miserable and struggled to be thankful for what is otherwise a very adequate house for us. It’s just this: people in generally hot climates do NOT know how to install appropriate heating in their houses… and it is horrid. So the sunshine and milder nights are welcome by me and I’d happily not see another frost for the season, but I doubt that will happen… unless I sleep in really late…

The holidays arrived not a day too soon, and I am already feeling a bit refreshed. We have had a visit from Brent’s parents, some sleep ins, I’ve taken time to cook some yummy food, and we are getting our heads around preparation for Term 3. There is also Year 3 (of our stint in Bingara – who would have thought we’d make it this long? Wait, we’re not there yet…) to think about – Next Year – and the changes that 2014 will bring to our work here. Potentially 3 of Brent’s 5 days of work will come to an end, so there are changes and unknowns but we feel like slowly God is making it clear what we should do. At this stage we will still be here, doing much the same as always but the Youth Work unpaid, getting our church more on board and bring it home to them that some of them will have to step up and take on some roles if they want to see the kids and youth ministry continue after we leave! Our minister and his beautiful family are well on board with us on this and it is a joy to be working with these like-minded people.

Next week brings us a 3 day trip to Dubbo for a somewhat spontaneous little rendezvous with the Simon family! I am looking forward to great conversation and company, watching the little boys play and get to know each other, and a change of scenery.

Next time I intend to check in with my favourite reads from the past few months *and* to have got back into the swing of Wacky Wednesdays (which has somehow fallen along the wayside somehow) and have something on that note to share. Til then! X

 

Wacky Wednesday update and other stuff

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It was my intention to blog a bit more often as part of my Wacky Wednesdays adventure but so far, that hasn’t happened. However, I am pleased to report that some sewing and a bit of scrap booking and quite a bit of reading has happened and I am feeling really refreshed and liberated by the decision that Wednedays are my day to ignore the house and do something fun!

A month ago we got some new (old) lounges – and finally having some nice looking furniture inspired me to make some new cushions. I bought the fabric in Inverell and created the patterns with a bit of help from some photos that I found around the net. It was great fun getting the pins and thread out again and creating something, and I am pretty happy with the result, too!

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The library and I have become mates again recently too, and while our little local library (the LLL) has a nice little collection of books, it is a limited collection. However, thanks to a wonderful thing called inter-library-borrowing, I can order pretty much any book I want and it arrives within the week for me here at my own LLL… Danielle recommended a bunch of her favourite new authors a month or two back on her blog, and I’ve been working my way through a few on the list. (Nothing like a good recommendation!) My favourite so far is definitely Veronica Roth. I consumed Divergent and Insurgent last week and the week before, but now I have to wait for the release of Allegiant later this year! Ergh, see this is why I’ve always read dead people’s books – cause then there’s no dumb waiting for sequels that haven’t been written yet! It’s been fun rediscovering young adult fiction after probably a couple of years of reading mostly classics and theology… I get a bit bogged down sometimes thinking that what I read must always be deep and challenging instead of just reading for the fun of it. I hate trash, but just cause it’s easy or entertaining doesn’t mean it doesn’t have something to say. I have to get over being such a snob. I’m looking forward to the movie that’s due to come out next year, too! And on the whole Dystopian theme, look at this trailer:

Yew! Will definitely have to re-read this series before Catching Fire is released later in the year. Now that’s a nice thought…

And to finish, here are a few photos from Andrew’s birthday party on the 13th. We had a lovely day with friends and family, and it’s hard to believe our baby is already one year old. He’s discovered how to crawl this last week and is almost walking, too… so it’s all fun and games in our house now!Image

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Wacky Wednesdays

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Before I start, I have a disclaimer to make: I like my life right now. I really do. I love being a stay at home mum, spending the days with my small boy and the evenings with my big one. But over the last couple of months, I have been growing slowly frustrated. I get to the end of a day, feeling as though I haven’t stopped for breath. I am utterly exhausted, yet still I find myself thinking: What did I even do today? I washed, and the clothes are dirty again. I tidied, and yet there are still blocks and books all over the floor. I’ve washed up twice, so how is it that the sink is still filled with dirty dishes?¬†It all just feels… like I’m going around in circles. Once upon a time I might have had a maid and a nanny* who did the cleaning and fed and changed the baby for me, and I could have read and stitched and visited to my heart’s content. But I don’t. All this stuff is for me to do, and I am grateful for that. God has given me good gifts and these are just some of the responsibilities that came wrapped up with those gifts. So instead of resenting these things, and wishing I was back in my carefree uni days, or my pre-husband and pre-baby days, or my childhood [or whichever stage seems most attractive in the moment] I have been left wondering if there isn’t something I can do now to rearrange my time so that I can still get some of that other stuff done that once filled me with such satisfaction? Surely there is a way to arrange my week so that I can still finish a novel every month**, complete a quilt, create an artwork, maybe just write a blog post [hey I’m doing that!].

So I’m developing an idea that came to me last night. I’m calling it Wacky Wednesdays. It’s still in the formation process so it might change but currently, it looks something like this. Once a week, on a Wednesday, I am going to have a day on which:

– I only do washing if it’s absolutely necessary [definition of absolutely necessary: nappies are going rank in the bucket and threatening to poison the entire neighbourhood]
– I don’t cook or bake anything other than the bare essentials and if there are leftovers in the fridge, that’s what we’ll have for dinner.
– I don’t vacuum, sweep, or wipe any surfaces that aren’t covered in blood, poo or wee, or another kind of liquid which will turn gross/attract an army of ants if it’s left til tomorrow.
– I resist resist RESIST the urge to pack up Andy’s toys after every play time and instead just do one fell sweep at the end of the day when he’s in bed and can’t make another mess anyway.
– I leave the dishes after each meal and just do them last thing at night. Any other jobs that come to mind that aren’t particularly productive or – shock horror – FUN I will write down on a To-do list and save for tomorrow.
– As the phone begins to ring, I tentatively ignore it and wonder if this is taking things a little too far… What do people think?

And in those extra hours provided by such a self disciplined Wednesday, what on EARTH am I going to do?! How will I possibly keep the boredom at bay?! Here are just a few of my ideas. I might:

– Explore the net for new books and music
– Blog
– Read good blogs
– Sew
– Quilt
– Knit
– Learn how to crochet
– Make presents
– Listen to new podcasts
– Teach myself to properly use our camera
– Create stuff with paper
– Sketch
– Write
– And the current project: plan a fun 1st birthday party for Andy

I just want to do a bit of creating, thinking, exploring and enjoying. I don’t have all day every day to myself any more, and that is ok. That’s how it’s meant to be. But I also think that with a little bit of planning I can have a bit of at least one day a week to myself. I pray I don’t selfishly hoard it as if it’s something I deserve and how dare anyone take it away from me?! but rather, use the time to replenish my creativity and energy supplies, to enjoy the skills that God has given me, and to honour my Creator with a little bit of creating of my own.

*Actually, I probably would have been that maid or that nanny but never mind.

**I just re read this and liked how it sounds as if I used to write a novel every month! I really wouldn’t mind that so much, either.

Lately

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Home alone tonight.* Battling mastitis (again). Bubba is finally falling asleep. I feel like talking to someone (preferably as they do my many loads of washing and my huge pile of dishes!) and this blog wants some attention, so apologies in advance if the following is whiny and boring! Scroll down your friends page and find someone more interesting. :-P

It has been SO hot! The first weekend of summer brought with it an epic heatwave with multiple 40C days one on top of the other. My poor Armidalienne (Armidalien? No, the French female ending looks better than that) flesh and bones wilted and wept… but we made lots of trips to the town pool which was a (possibly literal!) lifesaver. We discovered something nice: heatwave + small town = everyone¬† you know is at the pool! So it was a good opportunity to catch up with some playgroup mums, see a few kids from school, race a few laps with some teenage girls.

I am enjoying Bingara. I never thought I would write that. But for the last several months, the general feeling in our place has been one of contentment. Brent is working full time and is (mostly) loving his work. Andy is a joy. A toothy (he’s currently got 8 – as many as he has months!), fuzzy haired, smiley joy. I love our new home. We know more people here and I like the mums I am getting to know better through playgroup. We are SO looking forward to our new minister and his family joining us in January and the changes that this will mean for our church. We’re looking forward to there being another young Christian couple (with kids!) in town and I know Brent is hanging out for a Christian mate. I feel like during the last few months I have been challenged and grown in my faith which has been a great encouragement… and I am so grateful for Christian literature and sermon pod casts. I have been digging into Dug Down Deep (Joshua Harris). An in the middle of a series on Titus 2 by Carolyn Mahaney. Recently also read a confronting and wonderful book on marriage (and separation and divorce) as I sought wisdom to encourage a friend in a difficult marriage. And with our afternoon church service we finished off the year with a sermon series by John Piper on the book of Ruth, which was gospel saturated, full of food for thought and Biblical wisdom as J Piper’s stuff always is. Look some of these resources, and be encouraged!

We’re heading away for Christmas holidays on Friday where we will spend 3 weeks in Tea Gardens (and the surrounding area). I know Brent is hanging out to catch some fish and catch up on some reading, and I’m looking forward to taking Andy to the beach, going jogging with Brent, sharing Christmas with my parents-in-law and sisters-in-law, devouring a few more books, catching up on sleep, and hopefully going on a date or 2 without the baby!

Another year is just around the corner. It’s a bit hard to believe! My bub will turn one, my marriage 3, and next birthday I will be as close to 30 as I am to 20!! Thankful for another year full of God’s mercy and strength. Praying that each of you have a great Christmas – – and I will see you in 2013… if I’m not around again before then.

*I wrote this last night but only got it published this arvo.

Springtime

We’ve just come out of a crazy couple of months where it feels like we barely stopped for breath. We’re home again now, just the 3 of us (til tonight, that is) and I can’t tell you how excited I am that (so far) there is nothing written on the calendar for November. Just the normal day to day things like washing, cooking, making things, reading stuff. I’m looking forward to some quiet days at home, just Andrew and me, but I’m also praying that I can be faithful with the opportunities I get to open my front door to neighbours and friends. Being home with Andy gives me so much time to offer hospitality and I feel like God has been challenging me these last few months to be generous with my time. I want to be available to that I can welcome our eleven year old neighbour when she wants to come in and chat while I fold the washing; invite Nan, our 90-something neighbour over for a cuppa; seek opportunities to talk to the teenage girls 2 doors up; stop and say hello to the people we pass as we walk down the street instead of just hurrying to wherever I want to be. This small town ministry thing certainly has its challenges, and it isn’t always easy, but I think I’m beginning to feel what a privilege it is to be able to share God’s love with the people around me just by giving of my time and involving them in my life. As a side note, it has been so encouraging to see how God is already using Andrew in this regard. People might think that having a baby takes away opportunities for ministry, but we are finding it absolutely the opposite. The old people at church adore him. I’m pretty the kids at our high school lunch time group only turn up because they get an Andy cuddle (and cake!). It is so encouraging and makes me happy.

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During the holidays we got a new camera. A very nice Canon 600D. We’re still working out how to use it, but are already loving how easy it is to take beautiful photos. So I thought I would make the rest of this post mostly about photos and you can catch up on September and October that way. Enjoy!

So, the holidays were jam packed from the first day to the last with a trip north where we spent 10 days with precious family in Brisbane, followed by Corindi Capers youth camp on the Coffs coast. Danielle wrote a couple of posts describing our Brisbane adventures, so I will link straight to those here and here because I love her words and photos. We all survived the camp (a new, 3 room tent helped) and Andy thrived on the extensive amount of teenage attention! God richly blessed the camp, I didn’t die of stress, and we were encouraged to see kids getting to know and love Jesus better. Because we are obsessive parents, most of the photos involve Andrew and his shenanigans but he’s cuter than either of us so I am sure you wont mind… He’s been enjoying some new experiences:

Like swimming in the river

And at the beach

Eating real food!

Including strawberries

Once we were home again we had over 20 people descend on our yard with tents and help us run a mission with our church. It was awesome to have so many keen helpers for kids’ club, scripture, pub evangelism, door knocking, church services, and an evangelistic bush dance on Saturday night.

Andy enjoyed hanging out with Anna

And we were encouraged to have the team share in our Sunday arvo family service. They certainly help boost numbers!

* I was glad for the opportunity to get my fiddle out for the bush dance

* The dancers had fun, too :-)

And since the team left last weekend we’ve been down to Newcastle and back for a work conference for Brent. While daddy worked, Andy and I went to cafes and socialised. We got to:

Hang with aunties

and cousin Bailey.

And on Saturday we were in Armidale celebrating our friends’ wedding which was pretty special.

Catch it!

All dressed up

I’m feeling exhausted, encouraged, looking forward to this term, and already anticipating the Christmas holidays… can they really be so close?! Looking forward to playing more with the camera, reading a bit, taking some time to reflect and coming back here with a few more blog posts before then. See you soon.

** Thanks to Matt Pearson for these two photos.

Catching up

Well it’s been a while! So before it gets to be too long since the last post I better stop by and say hey. There have been lots of things happening.

Dining room

We have moved house. The new place is bigger, older and a hundred times cuter than the old place. We are still in the same town so those photos apply, but here is a photo from the new place. (I need to take more!) We’re out of boxes and have most of our pictures hung, and it’s feeling like home.

The boy

Andrew turns 5 months old in a couple of hours! I can’t believe how much he has already grown and changed since we first met him all those months ago. The last couple of weeks he has really seemed to grow up and is doing “big baby” things like giggling when we tickle him, and blowing raspberries just because he can, and he sometimes eats Farex. And cleverest thing of all – he got his first tooth on Tuesday! I never knew I’d be so excited by one miniscule, razor sharp tooth, but I just can’t stop sticking my fingers in his mouth to get a glimpse – it’s adorable! My baby is so clever!

Brent is now working 3 jobs and is busier than ever, but we are enjoying having the weeks a bit more full, and daddy is enjoying the new job which is good too. We have Wednesdays off each week as a family which is a sanity saver and precious time together, and we are meant to also have Saturdays off but there always seems to be something on/or things to prepare for church the next day. I am enjoying my days at home with Andy throughout the week, and have been blessed recently with a bit more of a social life too – which is SO nice. I even got invited out to coffee a couple of weeks ago!! Bingara is a lame town where no one at church bothers to invite you over, and the only friends you make are people who are new to town like you, so this was pretty exciting… but it’s a bit sad when you cry after being invited out to coffee just cause it hasn’t happened before hey? We went to playgroup last week too, which was fun. These little things help me feel a bit more at home in Bingara, and it’s nice to think that when the time comes for us to move on in a year or two, I might actually not be 100% happy to :-P

And a few things that I’m looking forward to over the next couple of weeks: Bec and Dan come this weekend! Then we head away at the end of next week for a holiday in QLD where we’ll catch up with some precious family, catch a Hanson concert (Fran’s birthday present to me :-)) and spend five days at a beach near Coffs for our diocesan youth camp – which I am currently in the process of trying to pulling together (pray for me!). So the thought of holidays fills me with great excitement (but also a bit of dread as I have never planned a youth camp for 50+ kids before :-/).

Til next time then!

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