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.

~Rachel

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!).

~Rachel

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?

~Rachel

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!

~Rachel

10 December 2015

Thriving on Thankfulness



Some days I am filled with such gratefulness for my life and the precious moments in each day - moments that I so often take for granted.


Often on days like these, I realise just how long it has been since I have really, truly been thankful. I find that when I look for the good and focus on the positive, eventually joy and peace fills my very being. Life suddenly gets a little easier, and I enjoy each small moment more fully. I would go so far to say that my life thrives on being thankful! This end result is SO worth the time to find the good in my life!



Today, I continue counting my blessings. Will you join me?





345. Air-conditioning [it was 41.5 degrees Celsius this weekend!].



346. These two, because they brighten my days. Such adventurers!




347. That I have learned to enjoy black coffee, in my quest to avoid dairy.

348. Family photos like these!




349. Productive Saturdays.

350. Cheese bread - marrying someone from another country definitely has benefits!





351. Birthday parties.

352. Worship songs.

353. Funny YouTubers.

354. Scenery such as this - taken on holidays in June this year, in Victoria, Australia.



355. Family lunches filled with laughter, paying each other out, and my Grampy somehow getting us talking about politics.

356. New glasses! (and I will note here, that I am thankful not only for new glasses, but my old ones as well as my contact lenses... I am as blind as a bat without them!)



358. My photo wall at work - I get to glance at my family and closest friends throughout the day and pray for them.

359. Speaking of friends... This friend! Lici, you brighten up my life, and I am so thankful for your care, friendship and encouragement.


360. That my husband is a wonderful chef!

361. That I have had the ability, physical wellness and time this year to play netball.




362. My church family.

363. This crazy guy. Just relaxing on this particular day.




364. A good night's sleep.


365. Slacklining! So much fun!! And (366) Guilherme for introducing it to us :)


[photo credit: a member of the Santos family. I think.]
367. Summer fruits.

368. Clouds. They are something that I am always drawn to; something that I feel God has created not only to bring rain and shade, but simply for their beauty - whether fluffy or ominous or grey or wrapped within a sunset... I appreciate them!


[photo credit: Andre dos Santos]
369. My job - the friendships formed, the interesting work, and the way it provides for our life.

370. The small things (captured on a hiking trail in Victoria, Australia). These show me that God isn't just about the big and the glorious!!




Let's seek to be thankful for the small, big, insignificant and significant moments in our lives!

~Rachel