Thursday, January 31, 2008

Christmas Holidays

These are the photos from our trip to Albany and Dunsborough. It was a great holiday......until I got sick!

Christmas Day

Mum and Nan

Me and the hunk

Dad, Mum and Nan (smile Nan!)

Us on the Busselton Jetty

Having lunch with Suzie and James

....and Ruby

Awww too cute :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Writing Evangelism

I promised I'd write a post on why I want to be a writer so here it is. If this doesn't interest you in the slightest, feel free to have a snooze and come back for my next post - I don't mind ;)
There are two main reasons why I want to be a writer:

1. I enjoy it.
2. Writing is a great medium to spread the gospel.

I can already see a few Christians going "hmmmm" at my second point.

"Writing is impersonal," they say. "There is no relationship between writer and reader. What about discipleship?"

I can see their point. Writing is impersonal....and 'safe'. If my book ever gets published, I will have no idea who's reading it (except people I know) and what they thought of it. Sometimes, a reader may be impacted so much by a book they read, that they will contact the author and let them know so there IS a possibility for communication there. But even if they find a book revolutionary or life-changing, most people will not try to let the author know and the author has no idea if their work has borne any fruit.

I would love to write Christian fiction because there is such a lack of it that non Christians would actually read (it seems Middo has the same idea with his book). I'm not the least bit interested in those 18th century period Christian fiction books and I know a lot of my non Christian friends aren't either. What I am passionate about is seeing relevant Christian fiction popping up in Angus and Robertson and Dymocks rather than Koorong, where very few non Christians are going to go anyway.

I know there are people who think writing is not a good way to evangelise and that the only way to reach someone with the gospel is to tell it to them personally and then follow them up with 1-1 discipleship if they choose to follow Christ. Yes, I agree that is an ideal way but I also think there is no 'one way' to tell someone the gospel, only the command that we do it. What about those people who don't know any Christians? There are people who have become Christ-followers by picking up the Bible themselves and having a read and become convinced of the truth. Others have picked up a Christian book.

Reading a book does not replace discipleship but it is a way of communicating the gospel to readers who are potentially far far away. I may never know them or how they respond. But I'm excited that God may use me to plant a seed in someone and perhaps send someone else to water it. Not everyone is game enough to ask questions but they may choose to pick up a book first and investigate Christ on their own.

I was excited when I saw this conference advertised last year because we are both on about the same thing. Too bad I was at a wedding the same day and just couldn't afford to go to Sydney, otherwise I would have loved to have been there.
If you're a writer, let me encourage you to use your gift for God's glory. Even if you don't feel you're particularly 'gifted'.....write anyway :)

Info is here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Seachange....Or Rather Farmchange

Yes, you may have guessed by the title what this post is going to be about. I've been alluding to it over the past couple of months.

I'm moving to Buntine.

Yes, I'm moving to Buntine.

I'll give you a minute to pick yourself up off the floor which is almost the reaction some people had when I told them in person. I realise you may have lots of questions...'why' might well be one of them.

For this post I've decided to do something different and interview myself. The questions are based what I've been asked by family, friends and acquaintances. You may find that some of your questions are answered too.

Where is Buntine?
Buntine is a tiny town in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, three hours north of Perth on the Great Northern Highway. It's a wheat and sheep region - there are more sheep than people! Actually it's not even really a town, more like a cluster of farms or a siding really. There's only a town hall, a tennis court, a bowling club, a tiny school and not much else.

Where's the nearest town? Where will you do your shopping?
The nearest town is Wubin which is about 15 minutes south but that only really has a petrol station to shop at. The closest 'main' town is Dalwallinu which is about another 20 minutes further south. This is where we'll do our shopping, go to church etc.

How big is Dalwallinu?
Small and it's shrinking unfortunately due to the drought. Duncan reckons there are about 700 people in the town and 1100 all together in the shire. So, yeah it's hicksville in Perth people's eyes.

Where will you go to church?
We'll be going to Dally Baptist where Duncan currently goes. It has a membership of about 40-something. There isn't much choice when it comes to churches in Dally. Besides the Bapos, there's a Catholic church, an Anglican church and a Uniting church, all of which are theologically dodgy according to Duncan as they don't teach from the Bible. Also there are the exclusive Brethren but we won't be going there (have to be born into them anyway). There are a few theological things about Dally Bapos which irk me but on the whole the people there have been so friendly and welcoming when I've visited and are looking forward to having me join their congregation. I'm looking forward to getting to know them and participating in church life. Half the church is related to Duncan in some way or another so they'll REALLY be family.

Why are you moving to a place like that?
Several reasons. I really want to support Duncan first of all. He loves farm life and didn't like Perth when he lived there in 2006. I'm open to where I live (as long as it's not too hot) and decided this would be an adventure and I want to give it a go. Also I really want to get out of the city. I lived in Perth until I was five and then moved back again when I was 17 so I could start uni. I'm over the hectic pace of life and am looking forward to living in a smaller (and hopefully) more tight-knit community.

What will you do for work?
Not sure yet. After our honeymoon, we head back to Perth for two more weddings and then back to Buntine in time for seeding. I'm planning to not work for about a month after we're married and just take some time off to get our house in order, do some work on my book and just have a break. There are going to be so many changes already - new husband (not that I had an old one), new house, new town, new church. I really don't want to add 'new job' to that list straight away. I may even decide to just be a bum and bludge off my husband - haha!

There is a tiny public library at the shire offices in Dally but they already have a librarian. I'm hoping for an indoor job, either at the shire or somewhere else. And part-time of course, because I want to keep working on my book.

Are there any jobs available up there?
Yes, according to the locals. Nobody wants to move there so they're always looking for people. Teachers and nurses especially, although I won't be doing either of those professions.

So do you have a house to move to?
Yes, we'll be living in the little cottage where Duncan currently lives. It's a 3x1, furnished, small and modest but it's our home! Besides Duncan gets it as part of his job so we don't have to pay any rent! YIPPEE!

Won't you get bored? There are no nightclubs, cafes etc
No, I'm not someone that easily gets bored and needs to be 'entertained'. I go nightclubbing once in a blue moon so I won't miss that scene. I will miss being able to buy clothes when I need them or go out to cafes/restaurants with friends. Beware: Dally is not a town for coffee snobs! There is a little cafe/lunch bar but no 'classy' joints. I'm the kind of person who can always find something to do, besides I have Duncan and am getting to know more people up there.

I think people need to learn to make their own fun, instead of expecting other people or TV etc to entertain them. I'm looking forward to playing netball (haven't played for 10 years), tennis and using the gym at the recreation centre.

Did you ever imagine you'd be a farmer's wife?
Correction.....farmhand's wife. I always imagined living on a farm when I was little but I had the image of farming you get from Enid Blyton books. I don't think I'm a typical farmer's wife. I don't have any flannel shirts or wellies. But I am looking forward to having more space and a nice brood of animals.

What kinds of animals are you hoping to get?
Well, I'd love to have a dog for a start. I've never had one because my dad is not an animal lover. We already have Miss Ebony Puss and three chooks that we're looking after for our friend, Jane.

How will you go with the heat?
Haha yes some people know me too well. It can get up to 49 degrees sometimes during summer. That's why I want an indoor job. And, yes, our house has airconditioning.

How long are you going to live in Buntine for?
At least a year and we'll see how it goes. I really want to give it a go and I think a year will be enough time to sit down, assess, plan and pray whether we should stay or move on.

Will you miss Perth?
Yes and no. I'll miss the people most of all. Perth has it's charms but I'm over the city lifestyle. I'll miss the beach (can't believe I'm moving inland) even though I don't always get there, it's just nice having it not too far away. I'll miss being able to go down to the shops and grab something at the last minute. I'll have to be organised in Buntine since the shops are 40 minutes drive away and there are no takeaway places. But I most definitely won't miss the fast pace, the traffic and driving all over the suburbs to see people. I'm also looking forward to saving money and using it wisely for God's purposes as there is far less crap to waste your money on up there.

Is this the end of the Sedshed? (I just threw that question in)
Are you kidding? You can't get rid of me that easily. One of my 'conditions' for moving to Buntine was that we replace Duncan's stone-age dialup with high speed broadband :)

Feel free to ask more questions. I don't mind. Lots of prayer and encouragement would be nice.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Diary of a Wedding Planning Machine: The Dress!

Here's some very very old news that I should have told you months ago but didn't. Sorry but, hey, that seems to be the story of my life at the moment.

As you may have guessed from the title of this post....I have a wedding dress. And I bought it back in late August. That's how slack I've been in relaying news on this blog. Too much to say, too little time to say it.

Before I went wedding dress shopping, I had a fair idea of what I wanted but was open to other possibilities. Making my own would have been far too stressful so I wanted the easy option of just buying something off the rack. I was actually planning to go second-hand if I could.

Some of the dresses in wedding magazines are just hideous. The girls practically look like poodles. Obviously I can't describe the look I'm going for because Duncan reads this blog and I want it to be a surprise. I love surprising people!

Emma came with me to the first shop but I didn't find anything. Most of the dresses were out of my price range. I purposefully avoided the big well-known wedding boutiques because I didn't have enough to pay for even half of a dress from there.

One dress looked good on the hanger but when I tried it on, it showed my whole back and stopped just above my knickers line. The saleslady was trying to convince me that I should buy it because I had such a lovely back. I didn't care if I had the best-looking back in the world, I wasn't going to walk down the aisle half-naked in front of my pastor and my in-laws to name a few.

Christina came with me to the next two shops and it was at the third shop overall that I finally found my dress. I was beginning to think I'd never find anything and it was the last one I tried on. Chris and I just looked at each other and nodded. It was the right one, I just knew. Not only was it a great dress, it was the last one on the rack and they weren't ordering in any more so I got a massive discount! It's a little bit big so it will be adjusted in March.

I wanted a dress that I was happy with but I don't see the dress-hunting mission as the big deal some brides make it to be. I wasn't going to sell all of my possessions to buy the perfect (and most expensive) dress and I'm not even sure if I'll keep it after the wedding. I may sell it. It seems a bit pointless to have something I'll never wear again taking up room in my wardrobe and gathering dust.

I'm just glad to have a frock. Duncan said he wouldn't care if I turned up in my pyjamas but I think he would really as my PJs are all pretty old and scabby ;)

If you're married, it'd be great if you could share your dress-hunting experience (or your wife's). Was it a big deal to you or were you just happy to not have to go down the aisle in your birthday suit? Did you go traditional or unusual? Or did you even wear a dress at all (one of my workmates got married in pants)?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Good Cop, Bad Cop

A couple of days ago, I was driving home from the gym along Leach Highway when I was overtaken by a police car. As many Perth readers will know, Leach Highway has a speed limit of 70km/hour. I was doing 70. In no time at all, the cops were way ahead of me and must have been doing about 90.

The thing is they didn't have their lights flashing and didn't appear to be in a hurry other than the fact they were obviously speeding. I caught up with them later at a red light. Then when it went green again, they were off, rocketing along at some extravagent speed. I know cops need to exceed the speed limit when they are chasing someone or need to get somewhere urgently. But does that give them a right to break the law they claim to uphold at any old time?

I have the uttermost respect for the police (except the crooked ones, obviously) but it did look like blatant hypocrisy. Do cops have a right to drive at any speed they wish all of the time? I know if I'd been doing 90 in a 70 zone, I'd be a goner.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In Memory of Marmers

Last year, I introduced you to 'my girls' - my two beloved ginger cats in Albany who are longtime family pets. You can read all about them here.

Sadly last Thursday, two became one.

Marmers's health has been deteriorating for some time now and so I made the decision to put her down. My parents were in full agreement with this but I wanted to have the final decision since she was originally my cat.

It wasn't a hard decision and it was motivated by my desire to see her released from her suffering. We were quite sure she was in pain. In the end, Dad ended up taking her to the vet for the final time as Mum just couldn't bring herself to do it. Dad is NOT an animal person but I think even he was sad, just a little bit.

Duncan thought she looked so decrepit and I couldn't help but agree. It's sad watching a body decay whether it be of a human or an animal. She was beautiful once. I can see why the loss of a pet grieves some people so much, particularly the lonely. For some, that pet was their only friend.

We've had Marmers and Ellie for 11 years. They're part of the family and they've been around during some of the most significant changes in my life. One of the greatest things about pets, is that they don't judge you...well not verbally, anyway.

Ellie is a very independent cat and we were wondering if she'd even care that Marmers was gone. But she seems to be fretting, wandering around meowing as if to say, "Where's my sister?" and wanting lots of affection. This is the first time they've been apart in sixteen years.

I want to remember Marmers the way she was when she was young and well.

It was time to put her to sleep. She was a good friend.

Marmers in 1998

Friday, January 11, 2008

Goodbye Little Cannington House

As I've mentioned before, I moved house last month. In fact, it'll be a month tomorrow since the dreaded deed was done.

I hadn't moved for nearly four years so I was a bit out of practice. Despite all the hassles it involves, moving has a number of benefits. First of all, it motivates you to actually go through your stuff and have a good throw out. Stuff just tends to build up and although I claim to be a minimalist, I was quite embarrassed by the amount of junk I was shown to have. Duncan even said to me, "You're a hoarder, honey," as I passed him box after box.

Secondly, once we'd finished cleaning, my place was the cleanest it'd ever been, inside and out. As we moved what little furniture I did have, I was shocked to find thick layers of dust on the carpet and cobwebs on the walls. After hours of labour, it was so clean I wanted to move straight back in.

I don't know where I'd have been without my merry team of slaves - Duncan, Craig, Emma and Rhianon - who gave up parts of their day to help with the ardurous task. A big thank you to them!

After living in a place for nearly four years, I guess it's understandable that I became a little attached to it. My house certainly isn't in that great shape physically. Something was always breaking and we'd have to call the dreaded real estate agent who'd take a century to send someone to fix it. On the day I moved, both the front and back flyscreen doors had come off their hinges and the disgusting avocado-coloured carpet was starting to disintegrate. The whole inside needs renovating, the reticulation doesn't work properly, I could go on....

But it was my home and, after student housing, it was like a palace to me. A home is created by the people who live there despite the physical condition of the place. I have some great memories from my time there and also some pretty rotten ones but when you live somewhere for a resonable period of time, that's always going to be the case.

It was with great sadness that I locked the front door for the final time. It was the last time I would ever call that place home, to come driving into the complex and have Ebony waiting for me. But change is necessary and it was time to move on.

Now I'm in my new place with Sarah and Joanna at an undisclosed location (*wink*). I'm still adjusting to living with different people with different ways of doing things. In a couple of weeks, Joanna will be moving out so we'll be getting someone new - even more changes on the horizon. I'm further away from most of my friends, further away from the gym, from church and from work, although I've discovered that going to work on the freeway is actually a lot quicker than the way I took from my old house. Less traffic lights for a start!

It's exciting to explore a whole new neighbourhood and it's only for another three months until I start married life.

Goodbye Little Cannington House (haha yes I used to live in Cannington, I can admit it now that I've gone and no-one can stalk me).

Thanks for the memories!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

We Made It!!!

Last Saturday the 5th January, Duncan and I celebrated our one year anniversary. Can you believe it's been a year?!? A whole year since that phone call late at night on Friday 5th January 2007 when Duncan FINALLY asked me out and he thought I didn't sound too enthusiastic at first. But I was, I really was. So much that after we hung up, I went and woke Emma up in a very excited state and told her the good news.

Duncan was in Perth for the weekend so we decided to spend the whole of Saturday together, celebrating our anniversary. Okay, I know some of you have probably been married for YEARS and think 'a year of dating/being engaged'....ha, that's nothing.' But it was a big deal for us. A couple of days after we started going out, we experienced opposition from a third party intent on breaking us up. It was really stressful and I wondered whether our relationship was worth all this trouble. Obviously it is and we got through it thanks to God. I'm SO happy things have turned out the way they did and I believe we were both made stronger people because of it.

For our anniversary, I took Duncan out for lunch and he took me out for dinner. I feel bad letting him pay all the time, even though I had very little money at the end of last year, but I just wanted to do something nice for him. He chose The Secret Garden in South Perth for lunch and I told him I wanted fish and chips for dinner which we ate at the South Perth foreshore. Haha no-one can accuse me of being high maintenance!

We'd only been together just over two weeks in this photo

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Wedding 7

The final wedding I went to in 2007 was held on the 24th November (election day). My cousin Huw got married to Anna in the gardens of Caves House in Yallingup. It was also the only non Christian wedding I went to last year.

Anna is Swedish and the original plan was that the wedding was going to be in Sweden a year earlier. I was so excited as it was going to be my first overseas trip. But then their daughter Linnea arrived and plans were shelved for a while then changed a fair bit. They first met in London but have been back living in Perth for the last few years.

After the ceremony, we mingled in the gardens before heading into Caves House for the reception. The day was also stinking hot which was surprising for down south in November. During the reception we all joined in singing many well-known songs which apparently is a Swedish tradition for weddings.

For more photos, check out my Photobucket album.

So that's it! Seven weddings in 2007! Will it be eight in 2008? Well, we've got six to go to by the end of April (including our own) so it's possible. Who knows who else will decide to get hitched this year?

I also aim to be a bit more regular with posting photos this year (one of my 'resolutions' I guess) :)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Wedding 6

The sixth wedding I went to this year was the wedding of Faye and Michael. Faye is another one of Duncan's third cousins and the sister of Clayton from Wedding 5.

This was another Perth wedding with beautiful weather. It was slightly unusual in a few ways. First of all it was held on the Monday public holiday of the 1st October. Secondly, on the invitation, guests were asked not to wear shoes to the wedding. Goodness knows why but apparently this was Faye's idea and the entire bridal party were barefoot. We and many others did not comply with this request. I'm not a fan of the barefoot thing unless it's at home or the beach since my toes always end up stepped on or I step on something not very nice.

The ceremony was at Gosnells Baptist Church and they also did the afternoon tea reception thingy and this was held at the Keswick Convention Centre.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy New Health!

While all of you were probably out celebrating the start of the New Year a few days ago, guess where I was?

In bed.

Yep, I was sick.......again!

But on New Year's Day, I had reason to celebrate as it was my first full day out of bed. It's surprising that when you're sick, you end up celebrating small mercies such as being able to eat a little bit, have a shower, walk around and so on.

A week ago, Duncan and I were down in Dunsborough at his parents' place when I first got sick. Believe me, you don't want this thing! It's like gastro and the flu all in you get EVERYTHING! I was bedridden for a few days and when Duncan and his auntie tried to help me get from my bed to the loungeroom, I fainted on the kitchen floor.

We got back to Perth on New Year's Eve, a couple of days later than we planned and therefore missed out on our friend Craig's birthday party which had an 'International Dress' theme. I was very disappointed as I LOVE costume parties!

Since I got back, I've been pretty much stuck in my new house which is like a furnace during the day because there is no aircon or insulation.

So it's fair to say that this THING pretty much ruined the end of my holiday. I was getting more and more frustrated and struggling to give thanks to God in every situation. My immune system is pretty low right now due to a busy and stressful past few months so it's not surprising that I'm picking up so much stuff.

But there is good in everything. One of my 'resolutions' for this year was to lose a couple of kilos before the wedding. This virus helped me achieve that. Hey, it may not be the most recommended weight loss method around.....but it works!

Special thanks must go to my man who was my faithful nursemaid while I was sick. He was amazing to put up with me and I really hope he doesn't get sick too.