24 September 2016

Contentment and Dreams

I have many dreams.  Big ones; small ones.  Easy ones; hard ones.  Realistic ones; seemingly-impossible ones.  Dreams that are travel-related; dreams to do little things around my home.  Dreams of my career; dreams of how to serve God better.

Some days, dreams seem far-off and unattainable - it's easier to dream than do.  Other days, I just want to buckle down and work hard to achieve my dreams.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with a sense of contentment.  I love my life!  I have a cosy home with all my worldy possessions displayed for me to enjoy.  I am studying toward a career that I really, really want.  I have a husband who loves me to the moon and back.  I know, 100%, that my heavenly Father is with me no matter what season of life I am in.

Just for a laugh - Oscar in his element. He sure looks content!

All of these things lead me to sigh a huge sigh of contentment.

"...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation... "
~Philippians 4:11b-12a, NIV

Contentment and dreams.

I have both; yet I want to be more content even while I am striving for my dreams.

What are you dreaming of?
Are you content in your life?


21 September 2016

Roma Street Parklands

When we first moved to Brisbane I worked just a few minutes outside of Brisbane city.  On my work days I had to take two buses home: a loop bus from work into the city, and a second bus from the city out to my suburb.

A few times, though, instead of taking the loop bus, I walked from work into the city.  On this walk, I get to go through the Roma Street Parklands.  These parklands are beautiful!  These were such relaxing walks.  I'm a huge lover of fresh air and the great outdoors, so these walks were a perfect way to end a day in the office.

Throughout this time I took some pictures on my way through, and while my iPhone does not do the parklands justice, these pictures will give you a little glimpse of the beautiful Roma Street Parklands.


18 September 2016

Car Breakdown + Giggles

A few weeks ago Andre had an interview at the Sunshine Coast.  The Sunshine Coast is about 1 and 1/2 hours from our place, and I decided I would go with him for the company on the drive (he would be away over the weekend) and to relax (I would be studying and working for the next few days).

I packed a cooler bag of snacks, threw an extra jumper in the car in case it was chilly along the coast, and grabbed water and a book, and Andre put Oscar in the car.  We were ready to go!

We left home about 9:50am and got straight onto the highway.  It's a reasonably easy drive once you get on the highway - except for roadworks which seem to stretch for miles and slow the traffic down a bit.

About 30 minutes into the drive, the car started making a metal-on-metal sound.  This can never be good.  Andre drove a bit slower to see if that helped, but the strange banging/scraping sound continued.  We decided to take the next exit.

The next exit was about 5 or 10 minutes down the highway, so we pulled into a petrol station.  Just as we pulled in, the car rolled to a stop, and a second later steam started pouring out of the bonnet.  We looked at it, and each other, in horror, then quickly jumped out of the car.  The steam dissipated fairly quickly, but we were kind of in a daze and weren't quite sure what to do.  Also, I must have been rather nervous, and the way that nervousness expressed itself was in giggles, which made Andre really happy.


Just kidding - he was very patient ;)

We stood there for 5 minutes figuring the car probably needed to cool down a bit, and then we pushed the car over to the curb at the petrol station to get it out of the way.

We opened the bonnet and, again, I burst into nervous laughter.

We spent a lot of time humming and haa-ing (how do you even spell that word??!) and poking around the engine, hoping we looked like we knew what we were doing.  Checked the oil and water (two things we DO know how to do).  Took Oscar for a walk to relieve himself.  Made a couple phone calls (one back to SA to Uncle Tedd who began by apologising he wouldn't be able to come pick us up because he was working... must have forgotten we moved to QLD 8 months ago!!).  Kept humming and haa-ing.

A big FWD pulled up behind us and 4 super-muscly, tanned guys piled out and started doing pushups and other such exercises on the grass, which added to my occasional giggling fits.

After a while, one of the guys came over and asked if we needed a hand, so we gave him the all-clear to have a look.  He spent quite a bit of time with us having a look, and between his help, Uncle Tedd's expert opinion, and our blank nods, we figured that the radiator was the problem.

By this stage Andre was starving and it was high time for coffee, so we made our way into the food court and got coffee, a little Maccas meal (for Andre) and donuts (for us).

Spot the Ocsar. Also: Finally - caffeine + food!
The half hour we spent relaxing in the food court was fun - Oscar was hilarious! He'd get as much of his body through the fence as he could and then just lay down and look at us through the window with these pitiful eyes, or simply not look at us at all in order to make us feel bad for leaving him outside while we were stuffing our faces with delicious things. For example:

After our break, we bought a small jerry can and filled it with water, then filled up the radiator and got on the road. We figured we could stop every 5 minutes and top the radiator up. Unfortunately we missed our exit so had to drive an additional distance (some heated words were exchanged over that one) which was really not ideal in the situation. Filled the radiator and jumped back on the road again, quite desperate to cover as much ground as we could in 5 minutes. It was very stressful, honestly! We had 2 sets of stoplights to get through, to turn around over the highway, and of course we had to stop at both of them... so we were freaking out that the car would stall.

Another 5 minutes down the highway we stopped, let the car cool down, filled the radiator, and got back on the road again. This sounds like a quick process, but it actually takes a surprising amount of time for a car engine to cool down (note to self).

Andre did all the work and I observed. He's a legend!
Yet another 5 minutes down the highway we stopped again. While we were waiting for the car to cool down, some Queensland Traffic people happened to come up behind us and came to see what our problems were. The problems were too many to explain, so we sent them on their way.

Just kidding.

They were concerned for our safety because not only were we on the side of the highway, but there was a slip lane onto the highway for entering cars, which ended 20 metres before our car. They commanded us [very nicely] to move away from the road so we would be safe. They also helped arranged a free tow to the next town so that we could get off the highway and be in a safer place to arrange everything.

So, we climbed a rather steep embankment and settled in for the wait.

Luckily I had a book, and Andre had Oscar, so we were both entertained.

His face never ceases to amuse me. Oscar's, not Andre's.
We must have waited for around an hour before a tow truck arrived and towed us to safety - a little street off the highway, no shops or anything nearby. By this time I was desperate to use the bathroom. #pregnancylife

We then stood around making phone call after phone call after phone call, trying to figure out what would work best - to be towed home and then find a mechanic later, or get a mobile mechanic to come and look at the car. Finally we booked a tow truck to come take us the 30 kilometres home (nothing like a $135 car ride home to bring on the warm and fuzzies!) and we settled in to wait.

Luckily I'd brought apples, nuts, chips and water, which got us through a bit of the afternoon... but eventually we decided to order pizza! It was very exciting, ordering to a random address on the side of the road when we had no idea where we were!

Another picture of our wait on the embankment, to break up all this text :)
Of course, the tow truck arrived before the pizza did, so we had a moment of panic that we wouldn't get to eat the food we'd been mentally salivating over for the last 30 minutes. The tow truck driver promised to take as long as he could to load our car, so that hopefully the pizza would arrive before we had to leave. Thank goodness it did! So we jumped in the tow truck (after locking Oscar in our car with the windows down an inch, leaving him to jump all over the seats and my good jacket, which now has to be drycleaned) and filled the cabin with smells of pepperoni and garlic. Mmm.

When we got home, I checked the mail while waiting for the driver to unload our car, and what do you know - a $100 cheque addressed to Andre for some work he did 6 weeks prior! God's timing is absolutely impeccable!! So that covered our tow trip home.

I then flopped on the couch for 3 hours and Andre drowned his sorrows in his workshop (note: working, nothing else). It is TIRING doing nothing all day!!!

Maybe this is where I should mention that we arrived home at about 5:00pm. In a 7 hour day, we really accomplished nothing. *sigh

This is where that day's story ends.

Since then we have purchased a new [to us] car, thanks only to God's provision amazing.

Have you ever had a day somewhat similar to this? Please share!


30 July 2016

A Year of Change (so far)

The Story Bridge, Brisbane

This year has been a year of change for my husband and I (and our doggie, Oscar).

{I wrote this 2 months ago, but the facts and my thoughts remain the same}

We have:
  • packed our belongings into a 6x4 trailer
  • sold, given to friends, or donated the remainder of our worldly possessions
  • said goodbye to my family, our church family and our friends
  • left our jobs - for me, that meant saying goodbye to coworkers who I thoroughly enjoyed working with and had become friends with, and giving up a very nice, secure job
  • road-tripped and camped our way from Adelaide to Sydney to visit my brother and friends, then from Sydney to our final destination, Brisbane
  • lived with friends for a week and a half while house-hunting
Rob, me, Andre and Aaron about to unload furniture into our new home.
We lived with Rob and his family for the week and a half prior to finding our house
  • settled into a new home
This is what moving can look like!
First meal in our new home - fish & chips, from the seafood shop right next door
These are all (yes, I mean ALL) of our kitchen cupboards, apart from one shelf where we keep saucepans and bread boards

  • searched for jobs - by the grace of God, I found one in less than 2 weeks; the process for my husband has taken much longer
  • learned new systems and policies and met new people at those jobs
  • been church-hunting!  We've visited every Church of the Nazarene within a half-hour radius from our home, trying to find somewhere we can call our church home {update: we are settling into a church that is just 3 minutes from our house}
  • adjusted (or should I say, we are still adjusting) to a lower income overall {update: we are doing very well now}
  • (this one is for me only) enjoyed becoming a student again and learning about counselling
  • had our dog run away many times - in this process we've suffered fines from the council, he has gotten hit by a car twice, and we've been overwhelmed by our neighbours' kindness in looking out for him
Our front porch [with Oscar in the yard, for once...]

  • enjoyed living on a little street where we have gotten to know a few neighbours and quickly gotten used to living right next door to an IGA... so convenient!
The view from our kitchen sink - IGA

So much more has happened, but can I just say, in some cases, change is definitely not as good as a holiday.  I have LOVED so many parts of our journey this year; however, it has also been a struggle at times.

Leaving family and friends and my hometown behind has been relatively easy (thank goodness for texts, phonecalls and video calls!), but there is definitely a sense of loss of the familiar - friends who I have known for years are no longer a coffee-catch-up away, and Sunday lunches aren't quite the same without my family.  I'm so grateful that, overall, it has been easy so far, but that doesn't stop me missing the people I love.

It feels like we gave up a lot to move here.  I guess it's a matter of perspective, but we left jobs and furniture and places full of memories as well.  It really felt like a lot to leave behind.

Andre and I have realised that this year, of all years, is one that we want to look back on and smile and say, "Yes, that year was tough, but it didn't matter because we stuck together and grew closer together."  By God's grace we ARE growing closer together and learning lots together!

I'm so grateful for this year - this year of change.  Giving up so much has shown me how little I really need, but it has also shown me how much I have.  I can see now that I don't need a lot of "stuff" (although we still have too much!); I can easily make new friends to share life with; moving away from the familiar doesn't have to be so sad, because there is so many new experiences to look for!

In fact, while it has been hard at times, I would recommend to anyone to move away from home at least once in your life - whether short-term or long-term - because, in my experience, you can learn so much about yourself.  Plus, it's simply fun looking for new places to visit and experience!

This is a random collection of thoughts, but I hope it shows a little of what has been happening in my life so far this year, and inspires you to look for new experiences in your life.


16 March 2016

Distorted Views

Brisbane city (iPhone 5)

The older I get (and no, I'm really not that old!), the more I realise how distorted our society has become.  The way we are led to view things is often so skewed, and a lot of things are portrayed so differently from what I believe they really should be.

Health and well-being.

Marriage and relationships.

Sex and intimacy.

Truth and falsehood.

Right and wrong.

Love and tolerance.

Morals and political correctness.

Brisbane city, view from Southbank ferris wheel (iPhone 5)

I have my own views on many of the above issues, and on other issues I am still figuring out my view.  I am quite accepting of other's views and beliefs; however, our society does not seem to have the same foundation as it did many, many years ago.

Back in the day (you can tell I have done my research, can't you?) society was built from a solid level where people generally held the same views on morals, right and wrong, and what was acceptable in the society.

Spring Hill (iPhone 5)

Today's society, however, has strayed so far from any kind of foundation - anything goes.  For example, I may be allowed to view crime a certain way, but the next person in line is also allowed to view it in a completely different way.  What I believe and the next person believe must be accepted by the general public... But it seems impossible to come to any kind of conclusion as to what is actually correct.

This is a minefield, and one I am still trying to figure out... But my prayer is that my personal life will be built on a strong foundation of good morals and pure intentions - built on the Bible and the truth that it pours forth.  I want to sink myself in the truth of Scripture so that I can have a clear view rather than a distorted one on these issues (and many more!).


22 February 2016

When I Lost an Hour of my Life

Saturday 20 February 2016

12:35pm - Arrive at a Westfield shopping centre and get a parking pass/ticket.  I can park for free for up to 3 hours.

12:40pm - After 5 minutes, continue to drive around, up, down, all over the carpark trying to find a park.

12:48pm - Still looking for a park.

1:00pm - Find a park. (25 minutes total)

1:05pm - Study at the library.

2:55pm - Leave the library because I want to move the car so that I don't have to pay for parking.

3:04pm - Clearly, I can't remember where I parked my car.  I try to retrace my steps from the library.  However, I entered from the opposite side of the building so I am getting more confused.  I think I parked on the orange level, so I look at the information screen which gives me directions; however, I am completely disoriented and lose my way following those directions.

3:09pm - Begin to wonder if I will ever find my car.

3:16pm - Tell myself not to panic.

3:20pm - Go to the concierge (information) desk) and tell the nice lady that I can't find my car.  Trying not to giggle because of how ridiculous this sounds (FYI, I giggle when I get extremely nervous).  I'm unable to tell the lady what level I parked on, and now I'm not even sure it was the orange level.  She takes the car registration number and calls the camera people [??] to see if they can find it.  No luck.  I tell her I think I was in row M.  After some discussion, she suggests I might be on the Mezzanine level.  I look at her blankly.

3:25pm - After some discussion, I have a vague idea of where my car may be parked, and hurry down the hallways again.  I should note here that I am carrying 2x notebooks, 1x text book, 3x manuals, a computer, and a large drink bottle.  My shoulders were not thanking me.

3:30pm - I find my car!!!!!!! (35 minutes total)

3:31pm - Speed through the carpark (kidding, I was definitely driving at 10km/hr) to find the exit.

3:33pm - Swipe out of the carpark with 2 minutes to spare (before I would've been charged $5.00).

3:36pm - Heart rate returns to a semi-normal pace.

So ends the story of one hour of my life that I will never get back.

Have you had a similar experience?
When have you gotten lost?


13 December 2015

Sweet Sixteenth by the Sea

One of my closest friends celebrated her birthday recently... And it got me thinking about her 16th birthday party a few years ago - it was one memorable party! She did such an amazing job with the set-up and decor that I want to share some pictures here, that you (and I!) can perhaps use one day to inspire future themed birthday parties.

Enjoy Nicole's amazing handiwork!!!

The bestest little man. We love you, Timmy!

I couldn't do this whole post without including some pictures of the party-goers!

Happy birthday, Nicole!!! I love you, and treasure our friendship. May we celebrate many more birthdays together!