Friday, April 30, 2010

The Pendulum: Do I Stay or Do I Go Now?

This post is probably going to be quite strange after my last one, and I apologise for the fact that it's just one big undiluted mind-dump.

Until recently, I always thought we would live up here for an extended period of time.  I have a strong conviction about committing myself to a place and being part of a community.  I was aware that adjustment takes time, and I don't want to be a quitter like so many of Generation Y who change jobs, towns, churches and relationships, always convinced that they're missing out on something better.

But just a few weeks ago, a strong feeling of discontent came seemingly out of nowhere, and I found myself in tears.  Basically, the struggles I described in The Alien and the Clique are still happening, and I can't see things changing any time soon.

On one hand I feel strongly about staying in this place, and raising our children (if we have any) in the country, and teaching them to be strong, devoted members of a community.  I want to help our church grow and reach out.  I like the slower, more peaceful life.

But, on the other hand, I'm missing some people terribly.  I miss being a part of a church which is driven by a passion for local mission.  I miss being around people with ideas and having the opportunity to get alongside them and help their idea become reality.  I came from a church which is passionate about Bible study groups/small groups/homegroups (whatever you want to call them)....meeting together to study God's word and share our lives.  Here a lot of people don't want to bother with Bible study, like they don't think it has any benefits.  Duncan and I are not leader types.  We are indians, not chiefs.  We like to get behind and support things that are already happening.  But nothing much is happening.  A number of people from my church have told me that unfortunately the church has been too inward-focused for years, resulting in a number of locals not even knowing our church exists!  Imagine that, in a town of approximately 700 people!  But I can't change things.  Who am I kidding?  I have so many ideas my head hurts, but I don't know who to go to bounce my ideas off, someone who will give me constructive feedback and not just shoot my ideas down.

On the other hand, I like being at a more relaxed church.  In that sense, moving up here has been really good for me.  I like the way the church is not dominated by weeknight meetings and events, and I get some time just to chill.  This is in stark contrast to my old church where I would be out several nights a week and found it too much.  But I would like to see the church up here do a few outreachy things together; they will just look different to the events done in Perth.

I struggle living in a town so dominated by one industry - agriculture.  We live on a farm, my husband works on a farm, everybody is connected with farming in some way.  Now I even work in a job related to agriculture.  I feel like I am drowning in agriculture!  I don't understand it, I'm not passionate about it.  Some people are...that's obvious...and that's great for them.  But trying to get me to understand farming is like trying to make me a mathematician.  I'm not good at maths and that's not where my passions lie.  I enjoy the admin side of my job....but I struggle because now it seems like my life is being choked by the agricultural industry.  I'm used to going to church and have everybody talk about GOD because he is who unites us after all.  People at my old church seldom talk about their jobs, or at least not the technical side of things because we all work in different areas.  Here I go to church and everybody just talks about farming!  I just want to be able to relate to people, but there is a side to farming I will never understand.  I enjoy the peace and quiet of the farm and the beauty of the sunsets and wide open spaces.  But I'm here to support Duncan....not to become a super farming woman.

That's another thing...I'm getting tired of expectations being placed on me to conform to some sort of stereotype.  I've heard pastors' wives confessing to the same struggles; they struggle with the super-leader, organ-playing, gourmet chef of a pastor's wife.  I struggle with people who keep implying I should be a stereotypical farmer's wife (or farmhand's wife in our case)....the jam-making, chook-plucking, domestic goddess, super cook who drives machinery.  I am not that kind of wife, and never will be.  I am a creative, spirited person who does not being squashed into a box and forced to conform.  And let me get this straight....Duncan is not the one putting this pressure on me.  He has always said my support is enough, and does not make feel like I'm inadequate.  No, it's everyone else that does that, both people here and in Perth and elsewhere.  I just want to be myself.

I think I keep putting too much pressure on myself to make friends, and, apart from people at church, it just isn't happening.  I don't want to use age as an excuse, but making friends seemed SO MUCH easier when I was younger.  There are many lovely people here, but I don't quite know how to take the next step and strike up a friendship.  I struggle with shyness, and I'm worried that we're going to become hermits.  That really bothers me because I am convinced God does NOT intend his people to be loners or hermits, but to be involved and a shining light in the places they find themselves in.  My workmate, who moved to Dally at the end of last year, told me she went down to the pub one Saturday night just to meet people.  She has a bubbly, extroverted personality so this would work for her, but it wouldn't work for me.  What on earth would I say to a pub full of drunk people?  I just don't have the confidence to do it.  I'm used to making friends at school or uni where you sit alongside people for years and gradually strike up a friendship.  My cousin told me a few weeks ago that she couldn't move to a small country town because of the cliques.  She also told me she hasn't made any new friends since high school (she's 33 now) and, although she gets on well with her workmates, she doesn't think she'll stay in touch with them should she change jobs.  That's exactly how I feel.  I feel like have nothing in common with many people here.  Everything is about farming, kids or alcohol.

On the other hand, I feel a certain sense of loyalty to this place, despite all of its faults.  I want to see it grow and develop, and be a thriving community, but unfortunately more people leave than come, and farms keep getting bigger while the population gets smaller.  It still doesn't feel like home.  I don't feel like I belong here.  Some people have mocked me because of my enthusiasm towards events like the annual Show and the Lions Markets, smiling at me like my newcomer's passion will wear off after a while, yet they'd criticise me if I never involved myself with anything.  I can't win.  I like to be involved even though we have to limit what we're involved in because of the distance.

One thing that has really surprised me over the past few weeks is that I get lonely....really lonely.  Sometimes the isolation gets too much.  It's not a loneliness as in I'm bored, but I just want to share life with people.  That's why I had such a strong tone in my last post.  I've moved away with less, and many people I left behind have just moved on as if I never existed.  I feel like I've recovered from the craziness of Perth, and now I'm asking God, "What's next?"  That's the strange thing...I used to be such a cowardly person who would rather hide in the church.  But now I feel like I'm ready for an amazing adventure, to take some risks, not merely for my fulfilment, but make my life count for the gospel in some way.  Yet, I don't want to fall into the trap of thinking I need to do something for God.  He could never love me more, and has proved this by the cross.

A friend wisely pointed out a week or so ago that if I'd never moved here, I might never have finished my book.  I thought, Yeah, she's right.  Maybe that was one reason why God had me move here, who knows? 

So do I stay or do I go?  Well, a couple of weeks ago, I was ready to pack up and run away.  But I is now WE.  Duncan has indicated he does want to move on eventually, but when that will be, we honestly don't know.  He is considering doing some theological study eventually so we might have to move back to Perth. I'd like to think that if I ever returned to Perth, I would not repeat the mistakes of trying to do too much.  The country has made me appreciate things more.  I'm not a country chick, but I'm certainly not a city chick either.  I do like it here, but it doesn't feel like home, and when I confessed my restlessness to Duncan, he said, "I think you're wanting heaven."  What a wise man he is.  I think that's it.  Nowhere on this earth will satisfy or truly feel like home.

I realise this is a season of life, and I want to make the most of it because God may be using it to teach me something.

I don't want to be complacent and just drift with no real intentions.

I just don't want to waste my life.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Get On Your Soapbox #15

If I don't say what I'm about to say, I'm likely to implode!

I'm sure some people will find this offensive, but, to be honest, I really don't care.  It's the type of people in this post whose behaviour I find highly offensive, and, since I'm not just referring to one individual, if people take offense, then they must have a guilty conscience.

Ever since I announced to my Perth mob that I was moving to a farm, I was met with many excited responses.  So many people told me they would keep in touch, and would love to visit.  Well, we've been up here for two years now....and I'm still waiting.

I could rant forever about people who keep making empty promises and breaking them.  I could rant about people who are disorganised, vague and hopeless at answering the many avenues of contact they set up for themselves.  I could rant about people who expect us to just accept the lopsided friendship of having us visit them all the time in Perth, but them never making any effort to travel to us. We do our best to maintain relationships with people, and it hurts greatly when the gestures are not reciprocated.  The vast number of conversations I've had with people over the past two years indicate that some people are ignorant.  They really don't have any idea about our lives up here.  One person got the idea in their head that our house is only accessible by four-wheel drive.  They know I don't have a four-wheel drive; how on earth do they think I get home?!?  Now that doesn't really bother me in the larger scheme of things.  People will always be ignorant about what they don't know.  I'm ignorant about a lot of things.  What I don't like is when people live by their ignorance.

We keep hearing the excuse that it's 'too far' for them to come and visit despite the fact that we've told them repeatedly it is only three hours.  That's the same time as it takes to go down south from Perth.  The SAME TIME.  And we know for a fact that many of the people who say it's 'too far' frequently go down south for the weekend.  Apparently it's too far and too expensive for some people to come up here, yet we are supposedly made of money and expected to come to Perth all the time.  Hmmm funny that.  Whenever we invite people to come to our place, I then get the question, "When are you coming to Perth next?" and I just roll my eyes.

I know some people have very good reasons for not visiting.  Some have large families and wouldn't fit comfortably in our house (and there is nowhere else for them to stay).  Some have difficulty travelling.  Unfortunately our house is not wheelchair-friendly.  I know many people have visited us already, some more than once.  This post is not aimed at them.

A friend who lives in Tom Price feels the same.  She has hardly had any visitors because everyone says it's too expensive to go up there.  Yet, she's expected to make all the effort by going to Perth all the time.

I've really gotten over the stage of begging, pleading, nagging etc.  I realise it's not going to make any difference.  The harsh reality is that many people are not too busy, too poor etc....they are SNOBS!

Unfortunately snobbery is growing at rather an alarming rate among city Christians.  I didn't notice it when I was in Perth, but now that I'm in a dead-end place (according to some people), people don't want to leave the comforts of the city in case the get their immaculate fingernails dirty.  I'm sick of the bogan jokes, and the indication that they think our home isn't good enough for them.  I'm tired of the mocking of country folk as if they are aliens who need to be kept in a glass case and studied carefully to deem if they are human.  Newsflash:  the country is where you'll get some of the best hospitality you will ever receive.  Yes, we'll actually cook for you and welcome you into our home - not take you to a restaurant and make you pay $30.  Yes, there are city folk who are wonderful at hospitality, but the country folk excel, in my opinion.  This is MY HOME, for goodness sake!  I do not like people ridiculing it, especially when they've never ventured past their cultivated lawn and backyard pool to see it for themselves!

I see so many people on Facebook, who claim to be Christians, complaining endlessly about coffee (apparently Perth has NO good the whole of Perth), the fact that their mobile phone is a year old, some supposedly horrid restaurant they visited, or that the shops are SO FAR (when there are four shopping centres within a ten minute radius).  They laugh at people who live in a more lowly suburb, and then the same people talk about the possibility of being missionaries in a developing country.  Hmmm so let's see....Dally is not good enough for you, but you're going to live in the slums of India?!?  Whatever!  Toughen up, princess!

Seriously I've had Christians complain about my house (when I lived in Cannington), the wine I've brought to dinner, and laugh at my mobile phone because it wasn't the latest model.  I still cannot believe it; their attitude would almost be laughable if it wasn't so sad, and some Christians really need a reality check, to focus on eternal things, and not things that spoil, perish or fade.  I get sick of the simpering smiles I get accompanied with the question, "So what do you DO up there?"  Well, if you come and see, I will show you how you can live without shops, cafes and nightclubs.  But of course, some people will never come.  We can never compete with down south.  We don't have a chocolate factory or a multitude of breweries and wineries to entertain people.  What you'll get if you come up here is US.  When I've invited people up, I get asked, "But what will I DO up there?".  Ummmm how about nothing?  Or (shock horror) you could actually talk to us!  You know, sit and talk, communicate, share together....the way people did before Wiis were invented.  When I go to a friend's house, I go to see THEM....not their house, not their possessions.  I don't expect them to put on a show, I just want them to share their lives.  And these are the same people who complain that their city lives are too fast, too busy and that they just need to get away and do nothing.

In desperation the other night, I suggested to Duncan that we buy a Wii so people can play it if they visit.  He said no, that he wasn't willing to spend several hundred dollars on a contraption we would hardly ever use ourselves, just to bribe the 'Here we are, now entertain us' types.  That snapped me back to reality.  He's right.  Stuff 'em.

I know I'm not the only country person to go through this.  I've met heaps of people up here who have struggled for years to get their friends to visit, but get scolded if they don't visit the city slickers in Perth.  I guess we're very fortunate that we have genuine friends in our lives who bother to make the effort.  That's all I'm asking.  Some effort.  Once a year is enough.  I'm not asking for a visit every month.

I won't be nagging anymore.  They can sit in their fancy coffee shops and drink lattes until they come out of their noses for all I care.  I will focus my efforts on those who want a friend, and not a court jester who lives in a toy shop.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Broken Hearts

I found a great recipe called Marshmallow Kisses over at Meredith's blog.  You can find it here.

Unfortunately I seem to have the skill of taking a relatively easy recipe and turning it into a disaster.  What began with high hopes of making them for a committee meeting at work, resulted in a series of broken hearts (and the cook was quite brokenhearted too).
This is where the Sarah touch came in.  There's nothing like good old chocolate icing and hundreds and thousands to cover the cracks :)

Disaster averted....this time.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Jesus once uttered these words.

Now I am uttering them too....but for entirely different reasons.


For those of you who are not aware, I have been writing my first novel since I was in high school. I have always wanted to be a writer since I 'published' my first book in Year 2 called 'Monty Meets A Friend' , which was inspired by my toy monkey.  I got second prize at my school, but I wanted first.  I won the local public library's writing prize for my age group when I was 10.  In high school, I got one short story published in a magazine.  I was well and truly hooked.  If I had a good yarn to tell, then I wanted to tell it.

This idea for this novel came in late 1997 when I had just finished Year 9.  I walked out of the cinema, and it hit me.  A blinding inspiration.  I have always loved Aussie Rules football.  Why not write a book about it?  And then my imagination gave birth to the characters of Brad Sinclair and Hayley Cooper, and the long journey began.

I started writing my first draft in Year 10.  I think I got to about five chapters when I decided I wasn't happy with it and binned it.  The TEE and then four years at university followed when I had no time to work on it, but the plot continued to thicken, and the characters continued to develop in my head.  I had a two month gap of unemployment between finishing uni and getting a job which I spent starting my second draft, complete with a new title.  Full-time work followed, and I grew more and more frustrated as my time for my one of my greatest loves began to dwindle.  I felt like a part of myself was dying, and it was time for drastic action.  I approached my work about switching to part-time which, after a long battle, eventually happened.  So, in 2007, Wednesdays became my 'writing day'.

My engagement to Duncan followed which interrupted my writing momentum (not that I blame my man) and I had a gap between November 2007 and May 2008 where I did no writing at all.  After I was married and settled on the farm, my writing began again (and the book had yet another title change).

Through fears, tears and many years, my first novel is finally reality, and this day is very, very sweet for me.

Now, let the editing begin.  Bring it on, baby!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Acts 2:46 Stall

We have Lions Markets being held up here every few months, and they're a great opportunity to have your own stall and sell your wares, whether it be something you've created or if you just need to de-clutter.

What I've found hard up here is that there are less 'organised' ministries up here, but on the other hand there are plenty of opportunities to be creative in finding a way to love God and your neighbour.  You just need to be on the lookout for them.  So, in the past year or so, I've been finding myself becoming increasingly passionate about selling my possessions with the purpose of raising funds for those in need.  Whether it be a local person in financial need or an organisation that spreads the gospel and does good in the world, this is what my heart is intent on doing.

I had my first attempt at doing this at our local school fete last September where we got rid of a lot of crap out of our little house and all proceeds went to Pregnancy Problem House.  Last month I heard another Lions Market was planned for the end of March, and I invited the ladies at my church to join me in 'de-hoarding'.  Some were VERY enthusiastic and donated heaps of stuff, and came down to the park to help Duncan and I out.  After asking around for a worthwhile cause, the chaplaincy at the local district high school seemed to be a unanimous choice (the chaplain goes to our church, and the church is keen to support him in his work).

We raised just over $230.  Unfortunately the markets were a bit of a fizzer that day.  I was a bit disappointed, and was hoping to raise much more, but is another $230.  I'm keen to do it again sometime.

I was struck while reading Acts about the generosity of the early church towards believers and unbelievers alike.  We were just getting rid of stuff we didn't want, but they were selling property and donating the money.  How cool is that!

Having a stall really is an easy way to raise money.  There are always a plethora of markets, fetes and swap meets about.  Not only that, it is a way of doing good in the community that isn't too scary for shy people.

No act of love is in vain.  I keep having to tell myself that.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bible Verse of the Day

All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
Acts 2:45-46

Friday, April 16, 2010

56 Random Things You May Not Know

This was emailed to me ages ago, so I thought I'd finally give it a go.  I'm sure you all want to get to know me better :)

1. What time did you get up this morning? 8am

2. Diamonds or pearls? Neither really.  I like my beads.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Clash of the Titans.  And yes we saw it in 3D.  It's all action and no storyline really.

4. What do you usually have for breakfast? Cereal, toast and a glass of juice.

5. What is your favourite TV show? Packed to the Rafters.  Can't wait til it comes back!

6. What is your middle name? Rosanne.  My nan's name is Rose.  My great nana's middle name was Anne (her first name was Sarah) so my mum combined the two and chopped the 'e' out of the middle.

7. What food do you dislike? Tomatoes are foul unless they're chopped up so finely and mixed with other things so you can't really taste them.  Brussel sprouts, spinach, silver beet....I could go on and on and on...

8. What is your favourite CD at the moment? Forrest Gump soundtrack.

9. What kind of car do you drive? A silver 2004 Hyundai Accent that's not really liking the rough roads up here and I think she desperately wants to go back to the city.

10. Favourite Sandwich? Chicken, cheese, lettuce and mayo.

11. What characteristic do you despise? Manipulation, controlling behaviour, bitchiness, vagueness and hypocrisy.

12. Favourite item of clothing? My Eagles jacket WOOHOO!  And my dresses!

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation: Austria so I can do a Maria and sing on a mountain.

14. Favourite brand of clothing? Don't have one.

15. Where would you retire to? The beach.

16. What was your most recent memorable b'day? 21st cos I had a costume party with a 'TV characters' theme.  In high school, I loved my 15th and 16th birthdays which I had just with close friends.  My 23rd was pretty good too, just had an open invite to a pub in Vic Park.

17. Favourite sport to watch? Aussie Rules all the way baby!

18. Furthest place you are sending this? I'm not sending it anywhere.  It's going on my blog so really anyone in the world could read it.  By the way, do I have any international readers (apart from Iris)?

19. Who do you least expect to send this back to you? Well, I'm gonna tag everyone who reads this, but I don't actually expect anyone to do it (prove me wrong!)

20. Person you expect to send it back first? Absolutely no idea.

21. Your birthday? 30th May 1983

22. Are you a morning or night person? More morning than night.  I'm more productive in the morning, and start to slack off around nana nap time.

23. What is your shoe size? 7

24. Pets? Ebony puss and Maya dog, and we're getting more chooks in a few weeks.  In Albany, I have my dear old Ellie cat who is now a not-so-sprightly 18 years old.

25. What did you want to be when you were little? An author and a librarian.  How strange that I've done both (well, still waiting to be a published author).

26. Any new and exciting news you would like to share with us? Not really.  I live in the middle of nowhere.  Nothing exciting happens here.

27. How do you feel today? Mellow.

28. What is your favourite candy? Mentos - fresh and full of life :)  A friend of mine told me I need to go to MA (Mints Anonymous).

29. What is your favourite flower? Frangipanis.  I had fake ones in my hair for my wedding.

30. What is the day in the calendar you're looking forward to? Next weekend - Cornerstone!

31. What is your full name? I'm not silly enough to put that on the net!

32. What are you listening to right now? The hum of the laptop and myself typing.

33. What was the last thing you ate? Marshmallows.

34. Do you wish on stars? Nope, I worship the God who created the stars.

35. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? I used to have a rainbow crayon when I was a kid.  I'd be that!

36. How is the weather right now? It has been quite overcast today, but now the skies have cleared a bit.

37. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My dad.  I'm not really a phone person, and I get nervous calling people I don't know well.

38. Favourite softdrink? It used to be lemonade, but now I think it's Coke.

39. Favourite restaurant? I like Whaler's Galley at Whaleworld in Albany.  It's more of a cafe and has a beautiful view.

40. Hair Colour? Brown although I have had a few colour changes over the past six months.

41. What was your favourite toy as a child? My Cabbage Patch Doll who I called Belinda.  I later found her birth certificate and her name is actually Bridget.

42. Summer or Winter? Winter

43. Hugs or kisses? Hugs

44. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

45. Coffee or Tea? I usually drink more coffee, but I like tea too.

46. Do you want your friends to email you back? Nope I want them to do this on their own blogs.  If they don't have a blog, I'd like them to leave a comment with their answers.

47. When was the last time you cried? Last night.  Sometimes the isolation of living here really gets to me.

48. What is under your bed? Ummm what's NOT under our bed!  There's a sleeping bag, a rolled up camping mattress, a blow up mattress and pump, some of Duncan's shoes, a sports bag....I'd have to check to see what else is lurking under there.

49. Salty or Sweet? Sweet usually, but salty chips are SO good!

50. How many keys on your keyring? A car key, two office keys, a post box four I think.

51. How many years at your current job? Five months of my admin job, a year of being a TAFE student, and many years off and on of being a wannabe writer.

52. Favourite day of the week? Saturday because there's still another day of the weekend to go.

53. How many towns have you lived in? Just three - Perth, Albany, then Perth again, and Buntine.

54. Do you make friends easily? I thought I did, but now I realise the sad truth that I don't, and it gets harder as I get older.

55. How many people will you send this to? See question 46.

56. How many will respond? Wouldn't have a clue.

If you're reading this, I tag you.  Do it on your blog and let me know, or if you don't have a blog, leave a comment with your answers.  C'mon I know you have nothing better to do this weekend :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

At Last by Etta James

I can relate to this song, because it speaks of the joy of finding lifelong romantic love, when it seemed very much in doubt.  It was one of the songs I was considering walking up the aisle to at our wedding, before finally going with Once Upon A Dream from Sleeping Beauty.

At last, my love has come along.
My lonely days are over,
And life is like a song.

Oh, yeah, at last,
The skies above are blue.
My heart was wrapped up in clovers,
The night I looked at you.

I found a dream that I could speak to,
A dream to call my own.
I found a thrill to rest my cheek to,
A thrill that I have never known.
Oh yeah, when you smile, you smile.

Oh, and then the spell was cast,
And here we are in heaven,
For you are mine,
At last.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Love Story - Part 2

On the 30th September 2006, despite being in euphoria over the Eagles' premiership, I was convinced that my goodbye to Duncan that day was more than just a general goodbye.  Sure, I knew I'd see him again, but I felt God had closed the door on any chance of a relationship with him.  I resigned myself to the fact that God's plan for me probably involved being a stereotypical spinster librarian, and got on with life.  But surprisingly I felt tremendous peace, that God was in control and I didn't have to worry.  I helped Emma shop for her wedding dress, and was very relieved I didn't have a relapse of the singles blues.  Life was looking up.

But in late October, a text message changed everything.  I was at home with Emma, and Peter happened to be visiting.  I heard my phone beep, read the message and burst out laughing.  It was from Duncan, of course, and it said, "Hi Sarah, I hope you're not missing me too much."  This message was unusual in every way.  Firstly, Duncan seldom texted me, unless it was to ask about something general, like a gathering of mutual friends.  Secondly, it had flirtatious overtones.
"What's so funny?" Peter asked, amused.
I showed him the message, and he smiled at me craftily.
"This guy likes you."
I refused to believe it, even though my heart was fluttering the way it does when I've had too much caffeine.  I texted Duncan back, telling him I was missing him terribly, but made sure the tone was humorous.

A few days later, another text message from Duncan arrived.  This time he chatted about random things, such as a rabbit which had been eating the lettuces in his vegetable garden, and that it was going to be a dead rabbit soon (he inserted a smiley face after this).  I begged him to have mercy on the rabbit (times have changed as I would show no mercy to the rabbit now).  The text messages continued sporadically over the next month, and I was in such a daze that I couldn't concentrate at work.  Was what Peter said true, I wondered?  Did Duncan really like me? (Peter didn't know Duncan by the way).  Or was I just one of his many female acquaintances?  I tried to quell my excitement.  I didn't want to get my hopes up for nothing, but suddenly I had something to look forward to, and that was Duncan's next visit to Perth at the end of November.

After church, we went with a group of friends to an Indonesian restaurant in East Victoria Park for dinner.  Duncan and I were sitting opposite each other.  I caught him staring at me, then he'd look away.  Then he'd catch me staring at him, and look away.  Fun times!

The next day, a text message woke me quite early in the morning.  It was Duncan, asking if we could write to each other (he had no computer at this stage) and if he could have my address.  I literally got out of bed and did a victory dance, and then the letter writing phase began.

Duncan was one of the first people I confided in about my blog, and he was very interested in Sarah's School of Dating.  He wanted some tips onn understanding women, so I printed off the first few lessons and mailed them to him.  Then I froze.  What if he was interested in some other chick, and was merely using me as his token female friend who would help him get a girlfriend?  Luckily for him, he was using my dating advice to :)

Suddenly the word 'Duncan' started appearing everywhere, it was bizarre!  I went to the gym and found myself walking behind a bloke wearing a basketball singlet with 'Duncan' on the back.  Another day, I was driving along, stopped at a red light, and looked up to see the intersection was at 'Duncan St'.  I felt like I was going crazy, and that even when I wanted to stop thinking about Duncan, his name would just pop up everywhere!  Yes, I think God has a sense of humour.  Perhaps it was even his way of guidance?

We continued to write about all sorts of things, asked each other a heap of questions, and soon our 'relationship' progressed to phone calls.  I dreaded the first night Duncan rang me.  I was afraid the conversation would dry up and be awkward, but we chatted for over an hour.  For Christmas, I went to Albany and he went to Dunsborough, but he made me promise to send him postcards.  Then I rang him on Christmas night, and my mum became very suspicious as to who I was talking to for so long at such a late hour.

By this stage, I had told no-one about our fledgling relationship, except Emma and Peter and some of my other school friends.  I wanted to tell Craig and Sarah, but they were engaged by this stage and busy planning their wedding which was less than a month away.  I was also wary about the unfortunately gossipy state of my church, and I didn't want to be the butt of rumours.  Besides, there was still an element of doubt as to Duncan's intentions.  I knew he had heaps of female friends, and for all I knew, he could be writing to them and hanging out with them 1-1 too.  Note to guys here - you may think it's nice to have lots of female friends and hang out with them by themselves, but many girls look at guys surrounded by a gaggle, and think COMPETITION!  I wanted to be sure.  I wanted him to clarify the relationship.

We both went to the same New Year's party, and to be honest, it felt like Duncan was stalking me...but in a good way.  When I was dancing, he was on the sidelines, taking photos of me.  He followed me everywhere and some of our friends got very suspicious.  I slept in the next morning until Duncan woke me up with a phone call, asking if I would like to play tennis with him and Craig (Sarah was busy so she didn't come).  Craig spent the journey to the courts being a not-so-subtle matchmaker.  He insisted I take the front passenger seat next to Duncan, then proceeded to tell me about all of Duncan's fine qualities, including his taste in CDs.
When I turned around to give him a 'look', he just smiled at me slyly.

The next morning, Duncan was due to head home, but he invited me out to breakfast before he left.  Unfortunately being the 2nd January, a lot of businesses were still closed, and out first 'date' ended up being at McDonald's.  When he went to leave, I desperately wanted to hug him, but couldn't bring myself to do it.  Before I knew what I was doing, I had reached out and given him a little pat on the upper arm!  Duncan still teases me about this to this day; he calls it 'The Pat'.

Three days later, he rang me and we 'officially' became a couple.

Of course, the first few months were incredibly difficult and tumultuous, which I wrote about here.
But I don't want to dwell on the sad parts.  Today we've been married for two years with hopefully many more to come.  What an amazing journey it has been!

Kissing Kath and Kel style.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A Love Story - Part 1

In four days time, Duncan and I will be celebrating our second wedding anniversary!  Can you believe it?  It seems like yesterday that I was writing my Diary of a Wedding Planning Machine series on this blog.  I'm seriously considering writing a wedding planning guide based on my experiences actually.

As we head off this weekend to the surprise destination Duncan has planned, I thought I'd share our story with you all.  If you were at our wedding reception, some of this may sound familiar.  Now, before I start, let me hear you say awwwwwwww. :)

Some people say they have a 'love at first sight' moment.  My love at first sight moment passed me by; but the attraction unfolded over many months.  It all began in mid 2003.  I first met Duncan's brother, Clayton, through the Christian Union at my uni in 2002 and we wound up at the same church.  One night, Clayton brought a guy along with him, and I suspected it was his brother before we were even introduced.  They looked alike!  My first thought when Duncan and I were introduced after the service was, Oh ok this guy's all right.  In fact, the first thought that tended to enter my head when introduced to any single bloke at that stage was whether they were 'all right'.  But it was a very fleeting thought.  The main thought that stuck with me was that he smiled a lot.  He was this smiley bloke standing there, grinning at me.  We said hi and that was all there was to it.  Duncan lived in Busselton at that stage and I didn't see him again for about a year.

Early in 2004, I went to my friend Sarah's murder mystery dinner.  Clayton was there along with a host of mutual friends.  I can't remember what on earth we were talking about, but suddenly Clayton turned to me.
"You should go out with my brother, Duncan."
I was like, "Huh?"  It was completely random!
"I've only met him once," I responded.
"He's a top bloke.  You should go out with him."
"I'm sure he is, but I hardly know him."
I happened to be interested in someone else at the time.  The thought of being randomly set up with a friend's brother was just completely bizarre.  Years later, when Duncan and I were together, I reminded Clayton about that night, but he couldn't remember saying any of it!  Perhaps he's some kind of prophet.

The next year, Duncan was back visiting my church, but this time he had a girl with him.  I assumed (correctly) that she was his girlfriend, and didn't look twice at him.  He had a girlfriend, there was no point even considering him.

By the end of 2005, I'd heard that Duncan was planning to move to Perth at the start of 2006 to begin a roof carpentry apprenticeship and that he was dating a girl from my church.  They split up after about six weeks, and when I saw his face at our church dinner, I felt so bad for him.  He looked completely crushed.

My first major dealing with Duncan happened at the start of the year when a group of us went camping at Margaret River, and I got sick.  Duncan, Clayton and Clayton's girlfriend at the time took me to the hospital so I could get an injection to stop the nausea.  He teased me relentlessly about this for months afterwards, making sure I was drinking enough water, and generally administering mock concern.

Suddenly, along with our friend, Craig, there were two new single guys at church which, I know for a fact, caused more than a bit of interest among the single girls!  Craig soon started going out with Sarah, who I'd known for years, but finally started becoming friends with through our women's Bible study.  They'd only been going out for a few months when Craig decided to have a movie night and Duncan and I found ourselves over at his place, along with several others, to watch King Kong and the four of us started becoming good friends.

I started getting to know Duncan better over those months in 2006.  I discovered what a cheeky little stirrer he is, and we had some good laughs.  There is a classic photo of us at a friend's house where Duncan is tickling me with the leaf of an indoor plant, and I'm pretending to cry.  We had this photo displayed on the screen on our wedding day as people arrived at the church.  Yes, I know...we're weirdos!  But I just love this photo!

On another occasion at church, the service leader announced it was time for the children to go out for Sunday School, and Duncan happened to be sitting in front of me.  He turned around with one of his characteristic smirks and said, 'Well, off you go then, Sarah."  Another time, we were hanging out at supper after church and I was feeling quite tired so I decided I should hit the hay.
"Goodnight," I said to everyone.  "I'm off to get my beauty sleep."
Duncan replied, "So it's gonna be a long sleep then, Sarah."
I couldn't help but laugh, yet I was determined to get him back.
At another supper, Duncan stood up and yawned, then looked at me and said, 'I think I'll go and get my beauty sleep."
I replied.  "So it's gonna be a coma then, Duncan."
He stared at me, fighting the urge to laugh, yet appearing completely horrified that I had beaten him at his own game.  Yes, he had met his match!

It wasn't just Duncan's unique sense of humour that caught my attention; I was impressed by his attitude towards God.  Unlike some other young Christian blokes I'd met, he was very humble.  He didn't claim to know everything about God.  He didn't tell me about his 10-year plan and how he wanted a wife who would fit into it.  He never made me feel like I wasn't good enough.  It was very refreshing.

It was until August of that year that I realised my feelings towards Duncan were changing.  Suddenly I was aware of where he was in the room.  I think I spent the entire church camp stalking him, much to his oblivion.  At another of Craig's movie nights, I spent more time watching Duncan than I did watching Munich.  I began to fight my feelings, to wrestle with them even.  I was interested in another bloke at the time, but slowly my feelings for him lessened and I felt God pointing me towards Duncan.  It was ridiculous, I argued.  I didn't want these feelings.  I knew he wouldn't be around for much longer.

By this time, it was a well-known fact that Duncan wasn't happy with city life and had accepted a job on a farm (where we currently are now).  He was leaving at the beginning of October.  Nothing was ever going to happen.  By this stage, I was already depressed about a lot of things, and I slid further into a darkness that lasted for less than a month, but felt like forever.  I remember talking to Duncan a few weeks before he left, and I told him quite seriously that I would miss him.  He scoffed jokingly.
"You won't miss me."
Then a week or so later, it was my turn to host church supper.  I was standing in my kitchen, watching everyone help themselves to the food, when Clayton sidled up next to me, evidently noticed where I was staring and said, "He's a catch, you know."
I was horrified.  I'd been staring at Duncan unashamedly, and probably rather wistfully, while he loaded up his plate.  How embarrassing!  I quickly averted my eyes, and pretended not to know what Clayton was talking about.  That was another one of his 'prophetic' moments that he claims not to remember!

By the end of September, I resigned myself to the fact that nothing was ever going to happen between Duncan and I, and that I needed to get over it and move on.  I began experiencing a most incredible peace, the first time in my life that I had ever felt that.  I busied myself with various ministries, went to several engagement parties, and went over to Craig's to watch the Eagles win the Grand Final.  I insisted that he invite Duncan.  I knew Duncan was somewhat into footy after all.  After the incredible one-point win, I gave Duncan a hug goodbye.

I thought that God had closed the door, and I accepted that.

I was wrong.

To be continued....

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Camping at Ledge Point

We went camping with some friends at a caravan park at Ledge Point in mid March.  Great weekend, great company in a beautiful part of the state I hadn't been to before.

Stephanie and Jill enjoying the ocean.

Do you like my pose?

Time for another dip.

The man!

The man wanted a new Facebook profile photo.

The campers' dining room.

We visited beautiful Lancelin before heading home.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Bathroom Banter

Since we've been married, Duncan has had an annoying habit of pushing in while I'm using the bathroom.  I'll be standing at the basin, cleaning my teeth, and turn away for two seconds and he'll push in, so I'm forced to wait.  Hmph, I thought a week or so ago.  Two can play this game!

So one night, I was cleaning my teeth as usual, when Duncan pushed in.  I tried to smother a laugh, pointed my finger towards our bedroom and squealed loudly.
"What's going on?" Duncan asked, startled, his mouth full of toothpaste.
"I saw a rat!"
"Over there by the dirty clothes basket."
I was desperately holding in a fit of laughter while Duncan went to investigate.  By the time he returned, I was calmly cleaning my teeth, and when I saw the puzzled look on his face, I cackled loudly.
When it dawned on him that he'd been tricked, he said, "You NAUGHTY woman!"

Hahaha!  That'll teach him to be a bathroom hog! :)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

5 Minutes in a Lifetime

It's almost Easter...

If you've ever wondered what Easter is truly about, then please click on this link.

It will only take five minutes of your time.

Wishing you a blessed Easter xo