Friday, October 29, 2010

5 Favourite Powderfinger Songs

This is such a hard call as they have SO MANY good songs, but here are my Top 5.

1.  Passenger
2.  The Metre
3.  My Happiness
4.  Lost and Running
5.  Burn Your Name

Which are your five favourite Powderfinger songs?

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Duncan and I are both Powderfinger fans, and, in May, we were lucky enough to score tickets to Powderfinger's Sunsets tour before they quickly sold out.  On the 24th September, we went with our friend, Sarah, to the third and final of their Perth concerts - their last ever! *sniff*

Despite it all being standing room, and rather claustrophobic inside the giant tent, we had a rocking good time!  The only drawback - they didn't play The Metre and Since You've Been Gone.

Sarah and I.

Jet were the supporting act.  I can't say I'm a fan.

And here's the 'finger!

They had two stages, and swapped between them during the concert.  One of the stages was in the middle of the tent...closer to us.  Yay!

I love Bernard Fanning's voice.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Life

Babies are popping out everywhere!  There were three born to our friends and family in the same week in September!

First up was Damien, born on the 20th September.  First child for Brad and Hayley.  Obviously I was wrong - I guessed girl at Hayley's Baby Shower.

A day later, on the 21st September, Jack was born, sharing a birthday with Duncan's mum.  He is the second child and son for our friends, Jo and Dan, in Melbourne.

Two days after that, on the 23rd September, Eloise was born in Sweden.  She is the third child (and second daughter) for my cousin, Huw, and his wife, Anna.

I can't keep up with them all!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Quote of the Day

God loves you just the way you are. But He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be like Jesus.
- Max Lucado

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday Focus - Jaded

2010 has been a tough year for a lot of people. Sickness, conflict, financial difficulties, and stress have taken their toll on some of my nearest and dearest. I feel some of their pain. You see, I may not be experiencing the exact same troubles they are, but I have found 2010 to be no walk in the park.

Before I begin, perhaps I’d better warn you that this is a mask off, brutally honest account of what has made me jaded this year. I’m tempted to steal the name of Jean’s blog, In All Honesty as that is an accurate reflection of what I’m about to write.

There are probably about two posts which sum up my year so far: Friday Focus – From the Inside Out and Friday Focus – Mourning with the Mourning. It’s no secret that I have struggled with dealing with fellow Christians, and struggled with my own sin resulting from the hurt I’ve felt.

This is how I’ve felt in a nutshell:

• Disillusioned that people do not seem to keep in touch despite my efforts to initiate things and keep relationships alive. Yet, they seem to have plenty of time to muck around on Facebook.
• Discouraged that people seem to content to chuck major news on Facebook whereas once upon a time they would have shared with me personally or via an email or text message.
• Hurt that people have come to me for comfort for various problems they’ve faced, yet they go AWOL when I’ve asked for prayer/comfort/support from them.
• Patronised when I’ve confronted some people about the above, yet they think they’ve done nothing wrong.

I get the vibe from many people that they think Duncan and I are just a cute couple of loving, forgiving people who will take their crap and never call them to account. If it were non Christians treating us this way, I could take it more easily. But it’s God’s people who I felt have been acting in self-absorbed, thoughtless ways. Often I’ve felt more love from those who do not know God than those who do.

At times I’ve felt that if I had a choice to rescue either Ebony or one of the people who have hurt me from a dangerous situation, I would choose my cat. Other times, I’ve found myself wishing the world was full of dogs instead of people. At least dogs are faithful, loyal and true. I know that sounds shocking, but that’s honestly how I’ve felt.

This year has involved a painful series of lessons from God on patience, bitterness, forgiveness and perseverance. Often I’ve felt this is so unfair, like I’m being punished for caring about things that no-one else seems to care about while the people who have hurt me continue on their oblivious, merry way. Who’s rebuking them? But recently God brought to mind that I can only know my story like Aslan says to Aravis in The Horse and his Boy, one of the books in the Chronicles of Narnia series, “Child, I am telling you your story, not hers. No-one is told any story but their own.” This is one reason why I find yesterday’s Bible verse one of the most challenging in the whole Bible. God has taught me that I need to trust Him in how He deals with other people. He does not need my sin to humble them. I find it so easy to love people who are good to me. Showing kindness to them is so easy because they are so lovable. But Jesus warns that showing love to the lovable is what pagans do. Showing love to those who care little for us is what makes God’s people different to the world.
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? (Matthew 5:46-47)

Right now, I feel like the greatest ‘enemies’ in my life are those who follow Christ. Moving to Kojonup won’t solve this problem because it isn’t Dally people I’m disillusioned with…it’s people from Perth. I can’t avoid them indefinitely; we have too many mutual friends. Part of me feels the solution is to keep all relationships at a surface level to avoid future hurt. But during my quiet time today, I felt God speaking to me that following Christ was never meant to be devoid of pain. It just hurts more when the ones causing the pain are doing it in apathy. In some ways I can relate to King David when he wrote these words:
If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God. (Psalm 55:12-13)

I have been blown away by the kindness some people have shown to me this year. When my Nan got sick, most of the comfort I received was from people I have known only for a few years or less. I had acquaintances coming up to me or going out of their way to send me messages because they’d read about it on my Facebook status or heard through another person. Yet, some people I’d known for years, and even considered good friends, just ignored me. From this I’ve learnt that, as amazing as some people are, I cannot rely on people. I must focus my attention upwards to my Heavenly Father, the source of all comfort. Yet, somehow I have to balance the reality that people will disappoint me with the responsibility of Christians to show love and comfort to those in their midst..even when it is inconvenient or they can’t be bothered.

I praise God for one friend in particular who has been going through such an awful time this year, yet has been encouraging and counselling me via email over the past few days. I have been blessed by her willingness to share what God has been teaching her, and how He has been giving her the strength to love someone who hurt her deeply, when her initial intention was to want them to suffer as she did. It is this supernatural love from God, which does not come naturally, that I have been praying for this week to enable me to love my 'enemies'.

This year it has been a challenge to obey despite my feelings. I’m not there yet - not by a long shot. To be honest, I’m praying that next year will be easier than this one.

If you would like to participate in Friday Focus and share what God has been teaching you lately, click here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bible Verse of the Day

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord. On the contrary:

"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:17-21

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On the Move

I have some news....

Duncan and I are moving to Kojonup! (Kojonup is about 2.5-3 hours south of Perth and has a population of roughly 2,500-3000 people).

Just before seeding finished in June, Duncan received a call from a mate of his who manages a farm down there, and he offered Duncan the position of managing the cropping program. He’d been badgering Duncan to come and work for him for years, but we always thought, “Umm maybe sometime well down the track.” Now a concrete offer was on the table. We thought about it, prayed about it, ummed and aahed about it, and finally got to have a good look at the farm in September on the way home from Albany after my school reunion. We accepted the offer that day.

It is a really good opportunity for Duncan who is very much a people person and will get to manage about five farmhands in his new role. Not only that, it is much closer to family on both sides (1.5 hours from Albany and 2.5 from Dunsborough), and when my Nan got sick, I realised I wanted to live much closer to her in her final years. My mum and dad care for her as she lives under their roof, and they haven’t had a holiday together in about two years. With us moving closer, it means we can do some Nana-sitting occasionally and they can have a life.

We’ve also been thinking about having kids in the next few years so we’ll be closer to family (although I didn’t want to be on their doorstep), and have a bigger house. With a bigger salary, it means we won’t have to worry about money since we would drop to one income. I was beginning to realise I cannot guarantee my book will be a success, and very few authors manage to live off their work alone. Although more money also means more opportunities to be generous.

It’s no secret that I’ve found it tough to break into the wider community up here, and I had my reservations about moving at first in case I was just trading in one small town for another. But Duncan’s new boss told us he has found the Kojonup community very supportive and caring. I’ve always felt welcomed and accepted in the’s outside that I’ve found very few people I have much in common with.

What I am a little apprehensive about is the fact that all of the other girls living on the farm have young children.  In just 2.5 years of marriage, we've already been made to feel like odd bods because we haven't started popping kids out like there's no tomorrow.  The pressure you get, especially in the country, is unbelievable.  I hope I'm not going to feel the same pressure down there, or just feel left out because I don't have a cute baby to talk about.  Even when we were given a tour of the farm, Duncan's new boss mentioned, "Oh and there's a great playgroup in town." *Sigh*

Part of me feels like I’ve just moved and can’t be bothered moving again. But mostly I’m really excited!

We’ve both resigned from our jobs and will be heading off sometime around Christmas. 

It’s quite emotionally draining to be making it public and being in the ‘goodbye phase’.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Marriage 101: Agree to Disagree

When Duncan and I were engaged, it was highly recommended that we do a marriage preparation course.  In the five week course, we sat down with our pastor and discussed hopes, expectations and things we should speak about with each other which we may not have thought to mention.

As beneficial as marriage preparation was, it could never fully prepare us for marriage.  You see, when a couple is dating, they tend to only see what they have in common with each other.  Rarely would you hear a dating couple say, "We disagree on so many things," as if this is a good thing and still remain together.

After our wedding, we soon discovered how much we disagreed on, and how much we DON'T have in common.

I don't think is a huge problem in itself; what matters is how we face those subjects of disagreement and work through them.  From talking to other married couples, I have resigned myself to the fact that this is normal.  It's what happens as you get to know another person really well.  Duncan and I will keep on getting to know each other better 'til death do us part, and more issues of contention will inevitably pop up.

I think there are particular questions dating or engaged couples SHOULD ask each other before they consider taking the next step.  One is whether or not they want to have children, or if one partner knows they cannot have children.  I know of a few relationships where this has been a major source of conflict, and the partner who wants to have children (or have more children if it's their second marriage) feels deceived because they assumed their spouse agreed with them.

But there are also many questions which we never, ever thought to ask each other, and after randomly mentioning something in a conversation, were shocked to discover we disagreed on some issues.  One was the public vs Christian education debate.  Duncan grew up attending a 'closed' Christian school (where only children with at least one Christian parent can attend) for primary school.  I grew up non-Christian and spent my entire education in the public system which worked fine for me.  Duncan wanted to send our future children to one of those closed schools and was shocked to find out that I despise them with every breath I take.  I simply do not believe in taking children from Christian families out of the world as if this will some how stop them being sinners and hanging out with those awful non-Christian kids.  But because Duncan enjoyed his time at his school, he was all for it.  I ended up thinking that it was so ridiculous that we were arguing about this when we don't have any kids!  Nevertheless, it's a dilemma we'll have to face in the future and a prime example of things couples often don't seek to find out about each other.

I really don't think there is any way around this.  Marriage is a journey of discovery and sometimes, when the issue is not important, we've had to agree to disagree, focus on the things we have in common, and move on.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

5 Great Australian Sporting Moments

I'm back from holidays!  Yes, I'm actually typing this post in 'real time'.

One thing we did on our holidays was chill out and watch some of the Commonwealth Games.  In celebration of Australia's dominance in the medal count, I thought I'd share five sporting moments by individuals or teams representing Australia that gave me goosebumps.

1.  Cricket: Michael Bevan hits a four off the final ball to secure a dramatic victory for Australia in a one-day international against the West Indies at the SCG, New Year's Day 1996.

2.  Swimming: Kieren Perkins wins the 1500m freestyle at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics after just scraping into the final and starting as the underdog in lane 8.

3.  Swimming:  The Australian men win the 4x100m freestyle relay at the 2000 Sydney Olympics breaking years of US dominance in this race and after American, Gary Hall Jr said the American team would smash the Australians like guitars.  Who's laughing now, huh?

4.  Pole Vault:  Tatiana Grigorieva comes from nowhere to grab silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and gives the American favourite, Stacy Dragila, one heck of a fright.

5.  Tennis: Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic win Australia's first Hopman Cup in 1999.

What are your favourite Australian sporting moments?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Ronnica from the Ignorant Historian is participating in the 2010 Readathon for Hunger, organised by her sister-in-law.  Basically the way it works is that you donate $1 or purchase one non-perishable food item for each hour you read and donate them to a local food bank.  You can read her post here.

I live half a world away from Ronnica who lives in the US, but I can still participate from here in rural Western Australia.  I'm an avid reader and I care very much for those who struggle with poverty so this is an ideal opportunity to put faith into action.  Dalwallinu has a community pantry for those in need.

I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty here, but if you're desperately wanting to show love to others and aren't sure where to start, consider particpating in the 2010 Readathon for Hunger...from wherever you are.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Comforting Post (In More Ways Than One)

In my post, Friday Focus: Mourning With The Mourning, I expressed my strong feelings towards those who fail to comfort those suffering in their midst.

This post from Radical Womanhood says it better than I ever could.

Have a read and let me know what you think.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday Funny

It's a hoot!

ACTS 2:38

A woman had just returned to her home from an evening of church services, when she was startled by an intruder. She caught the man in the act of robbing her home of its valuables and yelled, "Stop! Acts 2:38!" (Repent and be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven).

The burglar stopped in his tracks. The woman calmly called the police and explained what she had done.

As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar: "Why did you just stand there? All the old lady did was yell Scripture to you."
"Scripture?" replied the burglar. "She said she had an axe and two 38s!"

Knowing Scripture can save your life - in more ways than one!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Finally Brides

My netball team won the local grand final a few weeks ago.  It should have been a joyous occasion since my team lost the grand final last year, had never won before, and had a long history of finishing runners-up.  I could tell this had been really eating away at my captain (who has been playing for 11 years) by all the emails she kept sending us, telling us we had to win.  We ended up winning by five goals 35-30.

But by the end of the night, I had a medal around my neck and felt like I did nothing to deserve it.  In the semi-final, I sat the first half on the bench since it was a rare occasion where we actually had a sub.  As I was just getting over a chest infection, this was fine by me.  In the grand final, the same thing happened except we got to three-quarter time and I still hadn't had a run.  Eventually they felt sorry for me and brought me on the for the fourth quarter, but in WD.  I'd played WA all year and get stuck in the worst stinkin' position ever for the grand final.

It was exciting to win, but I still feel like the weakest link that had to be kept off the court so my team would have a better chance.  Disappointing, even though I know it's a team sport.

Oh well!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Kiss the Cheek, Stab the Back

I am a woman (surprise, surprise).

I am a woman...but I really don't understand women.

Sometimes I think there is a lot of merit in how men deal with disagreements.  Get in the boxing ring, have a punch-up, and then go and have a beer together afterwards.  Ok, so it's not a great way to resolve things, but at least it's straight-up and honest.

I can't stand the bitching, the gossiping, the backstabbing, the exclusion and the falsehood when it comes to women.  If you don't like me, say it to my face, then I can move on, but don't kiss my cheek and twist a knife into my back at the same time.  It reminds me of Judas Iscariot.

I've been introduced to some women and straight away I've got the vibe that they don't like me.  I felt like yelling at them, "How can you hate me when you've only just met me?!?"  Other times, I feel like I'm trapped into a competition with other women that I never wanted to get involved in.  A competition to see who will get a boyfriend first, get married first, have kids first, who has the best behaved kids, get the best marks, have the best job, buy a house first, have the best grasp of theology.  Ok, so I'm not in some of those stages of life yet, but I feel like I'm already losing in a lot of areas.

I think this post is stemming from how I felt at my school reunion.  No matter how successful, smart or beautiful I become, I will never be good enough for some people.  Some people have tried to tell me in the past that it's because some women are jealous and feel threatened.  I honestly can't tell with some women.

What I really don't get is how I despise those attributes in other women, yet I am just as guilty when it comes to having a competitive streak.  I feel ashamed with how I've treated other girls in the past, particularly when I was a kid.  I have to keep asking myself, "WHY am I feeling like I'm trying to compete with women who are my FRIENDS?"  We are in completely different stages of life and have completely different circumstances.  It's not a race.  You simply can't compare some people, yet I always feel like I have to be the best.  Why?  I guess everyone's going to say the answer is 'sin'.

Ladies, why can't we all (myself included) look at another woman and instead of seeing a potential rival, see a potential friend?

I don't get it.  Please explain.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Days of the Old Schoolyard

A few weeks ago I had my 10 year high school reunion down in Albany.  It's a long drive, but totally worth it since I got to see my Nan when she was in Albany Hospital (she's home now...yay!)  It was very strange without Ellie though.

Two girls from my year started organising the reunion in January and posted it on Facebook.  At first, I was really excited about going, but as the time drew nearer, I started to get a bit nervous.  I was hoping that it wouldn't be awkward.  I consider my high school years some of the best of my life, but that was because I had such fantastic friends.  We weren't popular by any stretch of the imagination and I was wondering whether the popular crowd (the 'plastics' as my friend, Rhianon, calls them) would speak to us or still look at us like we were bugs needing to be squashed.

Duncan and I drove all the way to Albany on Friday the 10th September, picking up Rhianon in Perth on the way (her husband, Linton, decided not to come).  I was very glad she was coming because I'm not sure I would have gone otherwise.  The reunion was on the Saturday night.  When we walked into the pub, I felt instantly at ease when I saw an old schoolfriend, Natasha, who I hadn't seen for years.  It was great to speak to others I'd long lost touch with - it was as if no time had passed.  Unfortunately the 'plastics' completely ignored us except for a couple of girls who are lovely people and will talk to anyone.  I smiled and tried to make eye contact with a few of them, but they looked away and pretended they didn't see me (OBVIOUSLY pretending).  How rude!  I told Rhianon later that they probably felt intimidated by us because we're so ridiculously good looking. ;)

There were about 100-120 people in my graduating class, but the reunion invitation was for all people who were in my year from Year 8 in 1996 to Year 12 in 2000.  Only about 60 people showed up, and that included partners, so the turn-out was a bit disappointing.  Some people are living interstate or overseas now, but I think many just couldn't be bothered.  Sadly four guys from my year have since passed away (three from road accidents, one died in his sleep from meningitis, I think).  I was quite surprised to find out how many of my old classmates still live in Albany.  When we were in high school, we thought Albany was a hole and couldn't wait to move away.

After about three hours, Duncan started to get a glazed, bored look on his face so Rhianon and I decided it was time to leave.  He said he felt uncomfortable because some of the girls were staring at him curiously and he thought they were probably wondering if he'd been in their year, but they couldn't remember him.  They were probably wondering how on earth I managed to snag such a hot man hahaha.

When we picked Rhianon up the next morning to begin the long journey home, she said she was glad she went, but didn't think she would miss much if she hadn't.  I felt the same.  It was really sad when Rhianon's mum mentioned that she didn't even get invited to her reunion even though most people from her year knew she was in Albany and how to contact her.  She also said she occasionally bumps into some of her female classmates and they'll talk to her when they're on their own, but not when their other friends are around.

The main reason I wanted to go was to see if anything had changed after 10 years.  I know from Facebook who is married, who has kids, and that five girls from my year are now professional photographers.  What I was interested in was people's attitudes.  Were they nicer people than 10 years ago?  Sadly the answer for many is no, although I never want to take anything away from those who are unpretentious and friendly.  I thought people grew up a lot between ages 17 and 27.  I was mistaken.

I am grateful to the two girls who bothered to organise the reunion though.

Have you ever been to a reunion of any kind?  How did you find it?  Had people changed much over the years, for better or worse?

Rhianon, me, Duncan, Natasha and her husband, Billy.