Sunday, February 4, 2018

Prayer 4th Jan

Psalm 50.

Our great heavenly father
The Mighty One, God, the Lord,
    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.
Our God comes and will not be silent;
a fire devours before you,
    and around you a tempest rages.
You summon the heavens above, and the earth, 
       that you may judge your people…
And the heavens proclaim your righteousness,
    for you are a God of justice.

Lord, who can stand before you in your perfect holiness and justice? You made us in your image, and yet we have corrupted ourselves. You made us to to be in relationship with you, but we have each rejected you. You are patiently waiting until the day you summon the earth to judgement and restore all things in a new creation, and we don’t deserve to be spared, we don’t deserve your mercy. Our hearts carry so much evil, so many regrets, so much damage to ourselves and others, and only you can wash us clean.

Colossians 1
Thankyou that you have not left us in this helpless state. You have given us Jesus, your Son—the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For all the fullness of God dwells in the Son, to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross.

Once we were alienated from you and were enemies in our minds because of our evil behaviour. But now you have reconciled us by Christ’s physical body through death, to present us holy in your sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if we continue in the faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.

Thankyou that you have drawn us to yourself, and into the family of believers. We thankyou for the blessing of belonging to a church family. We thankyou for the times we can pray for each other and provide practical support. We thankyou for the relationships which develop our character, as we learn to serve each other. We ask that you preserve us from selfish behaviour which hurts others and damages the body of Christ, and may our love for each other flow out into the community of Maitland so that others will want to know you. We pray that we would be observant of needs around us, and particularly that we would be welcoming to newcomers and visitors.

We pray for those of us in youth ministry, as they plan for the term ahead. Give them wisdom as they lead and love our young people, and endurance as they make the sacrifice of time each week among the other commitments in their lives.

Thankyou for those of us who are going to teach SRE this year, teaching about the bible in schools in our area. We thankyou that we have this opportunity to make the gospel known in schools. We pray that planning and training goes well and we ask for boldness to those who are nervous about doing this. Thankyou that they ARE willing to trust you as they go outside their comfort zone. Please bless the seeds of the gospel that are planted in classrooms this year, that in years to come they bear fruit.

We thankyou for the rain we’ve had this weekend, and we pray that farmers get the rain they need to support their livestock and crops. Thankyou for the food we have in abundance due to the labour of our farmers and the agriculturally rich land you have given us.

We give thanks for the news that our gospel partner Gert completed his studies at the Namibia Evangelical Theological Seminary in December and will graduate in March.
We pray for him as he leaves the college and moves into the next stage of his life and ministry, as he returns to serve in Opuwo Christian Community Church. We ask that as long as he is single he can serve you with all his heart, and that if it is your will you provide a godly wife to help him serve you. Please keep him strong in the faith, living a holy life, and holding out the gospel to those who are perishing.
We also pray for the new CMS missionaries who are joining the staff team at NETS this month. Please be with them as they meet many new people and get used to a new city and dozens of new cultures. We pray that NETS would be able to move on from its financial issues and mismanagement, and rebuild its staff team of local academics. We pray that you keep using NETS to reach Namibia and beyond for Jesus.

We pray for our brothers and sisters in Qatar. We pray that they find comforting fellowship with other believers. We pray that missionaries in Qatar can avoid being deported and can continue to share the gospel. We pray for the government and the royal family to allow more religious freedom. We pray for anyone facing direct persecution from family or the legal system, that you would strengthen them and that it would witness to Jesus.

Eph. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

January 2018, new year same me.

I've found it curious the number of memes on "new year new you". I don't have that vibe at all! My ambitions, as mentioned last month, are very moderate. More of a "keep up the good work".

The Summer holiday was not as great as usual. I must have been feeling the effects of low iron (the blood bank rejected me just before the holidays) because I was very tired and had lots of naps during the holidays. So less swimming, more audiobooks while resting. And I read a couple of non fiction books too. I quickly skimmed Under Pressure, which George gave Elsie, and a verse jumped out at me, "do not conform to the pattern of this world" as relating to reasons why we try and blend in as Christians instead of speaking up, feeling awkward, avoid standing out, taking no risks in our faith, and it stuck in my head as I went to Summer School and heard of people suffering joyfully for Jesus. I hope it will be a challenge verse for the year.

Summer school was a good week as always, challenging and encouraging. Tiredness inhibited my concentration at times, so it was very hard to even stand up and sing sometimes, but there were plenty of good sessions. It was lovely to catch up for lunches with old friends, and I'm thankful that I now have a few traditional catchups to fill out the week, time with special people from my Sydney life.

I bought this lovely backpack.

I bought 4 books at Summer School. CS Lewis's poetry, The Life of I, one about Friendship, and One by one. I started The Life of I first because it's the biggest and I want to lend it ASAP. It looks at narcissism, which I had never thought about. It has examples of extreme narcissists, who are all nasty people with no empathy who use others to boost themselves, so mass murderers and rapists through to drug cheats and CEOs. I am particularly interested in the shift in society to be generally more narcissistic, more focused on the individual than what benefits society, and how our culture is changing our very personalities, enhancing all our tendencies to selfishness. Again, "do not conform to the pattern of this world" is a good challenge. Gratifying yourself = spending money on whatever you want = working long hours for the money = children neglected/indulged/pressured to succeed by busy parents = a society of insecure, anxious, consumers = caring for others is seen as a failure. Has big chunks of research and social observation, and it's interesting to note how many little ways we have, as a society, moved along the narcissism spectrum. I was surprised to realise that I am the embodiment of the ideal citizen in this age: working full time with no children or dependents to care for, unencumbered to work as much as my employer demands and spend money on myself.

There were a few hot days, but then we got the correct Katoomba weather.

I checked out the shops on Katoomba street one afternoon and really like this art. Local artist I think, David Robert Hill.

I stayed in the house alone for the last night, had dinner at JK and Maddie's house, which was a housemate combination to use up random leftovers from the week, and checked out on Saturday morning. I left my pillow there :..( It was a really good pillow. I went to the 3 sisters and did that short bushwalk, then had a hot chocolate, then drove home.

After summer school it was straight back to work, along with Maitland Alive week at church. It was lovely getting to know another bunch of Sydney team members when they came over for showers and dinner. One has an instagram account where he reviews the showers of Maitland. Some late nights but delightful hours. I also realised I'm actually not bad at hospitality. I always rated myself low/unconfident because I'm not a great cook and I'm not an extrovert, but actually it always goes OK. The important thing is making people feel welcome and comfortable. I'll probably keep stressing over cooking though. I've got a list of people to do hospitality to this year.

I've been invited to a same sex wedding, and I wish I could go and celebrate with my friend, but I feel really sad about it, let alone the complications of what going to a same sex wedding signals, just going along and celebrating something I think is not good for society, and conforming to the pattern of this world. I'm not sure how this friendship and associated social dynamics will play out this year. I hope that if I don't go to the wedding but clearly want to uphold the friendship, it could be a good witness.  It's hard to know how to be in the world and not cut off in a Christian bubble without conforming to the world. I'm sure there is a case for Christians to go to same sex weddings, although I think if we do it has to be after taking the risk of the honest conversation.

I did not enjoy going back to work. The end of the holidays loomed with dread, and I straight away felt stressed and behind with things. Along with personal anxieties over the wedding invitation and the cost/hassle of building a pergola (the pergola is the dream for 2018 to compensate for the loss of the trees next door, but I have to pay for a builder and also pay for a lawyer to write a bylaw in the strata to permit building it), and going back on the music team this year, it was an anxious week.

My cherry tomato plant is huge, and started cropping. I often see a blue banded native bee pollinating it!

I took Thursday off to do creche for Maitland Alive, and in the afternoon I kayaked with mum at Morpeth. I left the kayaks on the roof afterwards and then kayaked with Liz on Friday after work, up near Tocal. This makes 4 voyages! if I can get to 10 by the end of summer, then the Cost Per Voyage will be $40 (money spent on kayak and life jacket ~ $400). Which is about what it costs to hire for kayaking, so I call that breaking even. Once I've explored the rivers and taken all my friends out who want to try it, I don't mind if I give it up and go on to the next adventure. I don't feel like its a life commitment, as long as it's not something I spent a lot of money on and did it twice and got bored. I could go on to dragon boating. Or landscape painting. Or martial arts.

This is mum.

This is the creek under Tocal Road.

So, one week back at work, then I got a cold on Friday night after the kayaking. Is it worse to have a cold in summer? At least it wasn't while I was on holidays. D at work recommended zinc acetate or zinc chelate supplements to keep colds away, and I was taking the zinc immune tablets all through the holidays (a few a week), so maybe that is why I had the cold for 2 days only, and went back to work on Monday.

Week 2 at work was better. Workload felt doable, anxiety was decreased. Australia Day long weekend was disappointing bc JB couldn't come due to illness, so instead I went swimming with mum and dad (have not swum as much as usual this summer, the heat doesn't make me want to swim, it just takes all my energy away), watched a lot of netflix, and went to a birthday lunch. It was nice overall, but disappointing compared to having a friend to feed and amuse and talk to.

C bought me a mulberry seedling. I'm not sure if its a good plant or not! I've planted it in a medium sized pot now, but it will take years before it will fruit, and I'm not sure if its a good fruiting plant, because she got it off a neighbourhood plant stall, so its just a self sown tree.

If you want a good Korean Drama, watch Hello my Twenties. I think it's a pretty accurate representation of housemate dynamics.

Finishing the month with cello lesson resuming on Mondays instead of Thursdays, which I am happy about. And managing to get my social exercise calendar back on a roll again! It will be Monday with Ros, Wednesday with Fi, Friday a park walk with whoever, and Saturday on my own.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

December, 2017, done phew.

December went really fast. How original. I put up this 'Names of Jesus' advent calendar I bought this year. Note the mirror on the floor, and remember it for later.

Maddie moved out, I had two nights of living alone, and then Coralie moved in on the Saturday. I did quite a bit of cleaning. Cleaning out Maddie's things she left behind, and just cleaning because there was less stuff in the house so it felt ready to clean. The vacuum cleaner was a horror movie, I ordered new filters because the filters shown were so filthy you cant even see the one at the front, its literally now made of dust.

I was tired and run down. I had a false alarm about a coldsore and then 2 weeks later I actually got a coldsore. An awful one. I felt really wiped out. Mum invited me to go visit a lady we know called Beth but she wasn't home, so we had a "coffee" at heritage gardens cafe (she had an iced chocolate and I had a milkshake through a straw because when you have a coldsore you cant get it wet or have chocolate).

The Greenhills shopping centre next stage opened, and it was a HUGE event for Maitland. All the other stages so far have been underwhelming, I've mainly enjoyed the new carparks, but other than that its like, yay another chemist, woo woo. But this stage is heaps of new shops, a Target, a food court. Most of the shops are teeny bopper disposable fashion. Yuck. Yuck yuck yuck. I look at them and think all this is going to be in landfill in 6 months. But there are a few good shops, like The Body Shop, the board games shop, the book shop, and a Kwan Mart asian grocery shop.

This is me and the new housemate, we walked there and explored.

Farewell Maddie's garden chairs. They always had redback spiders in the legs but they were nice.

Here is a job I did! Or at least, I paid someone to do it which involved making a phone call so basically a huge effort from me. I got the mirror that had been on the floor forever, and got it hung up!

My team at work had a Christmas do, hunter valley aqua golf and putt putt. These are 2 colleages from my office The Centre For Excellence. N on the left had cancer so was away from May onwards having 12 rounds of chemo, but the cancer seems to have gone and he's putting on weight again and has started coming back in to work. Thankful to God, it was a really hard year for that family but they have the holidays together with hope for next year. And on the right is the new eLearning designer, who is young and a fast learner everyone loves her, looks like a good fit for the team and its nice to have her company in my office. I have realised I need to keep my mouth shut and not try and show her things, because after a while that got on my nerves when peoples show me things instead of letting me figure them out, and she doesn't need help anyway. It's just that with a 10+ year age gap between me and her, and me and Coralie, I'm starting to be aware that I am always tempted to sprinkle my opinions onto others and it's better for them to make their own minds up and learn things for themselves.

Oh what a month it was for my garden. A triumph was, I bought and installed an irrigation system. I got all the bits from bunnings with the help of an assistant, it took us like an hour to figure out all the connections I needed. I bought a timer, and as you can see all these tubes and things. It took 2 hours to put it up. And then it took a few days to get the timer working properly and the tap not leaking. But now it's a dream! It goes on every 6 hours for 2 minutes, keeping my wall garden pots damp all day and lush during the hottest days. It's become so green in the few weeks I've been running it. I've also got it dripping in the veggie garden but that part isn't really watering enough, but I don't really care about that.

So this is my garden at its peak of beauty. Notice the leafy trees growing over the fence.

And then the neighbours next door cut them all down. I was devastated. Many friends showed great sympathy towards me. Some have known the loss of a tree that a neighbour cut down. I guess some people think all trees are messy, and a mulberry tree certainly is messy, but that's a price I'm willing to pay for the birds, the shade, and the fruit. The yard is so much starker now, the light is glary.

I've been trying to find someone to build an arbour or pergola. Stratco quote $4000, which is a bit too much. If I cant find a cheaper one I might pay it though. I would like to grow wisteria or an ornamental grape or a climbing rose. A bit of shade, some softness, some bird-friendly branches, some pot-plant-hanging. I'll keep asking around, what I need is a retired guy with building skills who I can pay a couple of thousand. Real builders aren't interested in small jobs like this. I dont know if its beyond my DIY limits. I'd need some help.

I scored some meat 75% off, including these pork spare ribs. I did a proper job cooking them ( and I followed the recipe properly re basting and everything, and they were amazing. I invited 3 friends from home group over for dinner to share in my bounty, a $3.50 gourmet dinner. We played cards and rummikub. I would like to try and do more dinner hospitality with couples and a broader range of people in 2018, not just exercise with women.

I spent a lot of time planning carols in December. I did some practices for my Carols in the Garage, and for Christmas Eve church. In the garage this year I had Julie play violin. It was a really special night.

And for church, I had a younger group I hadn't played with before, which was a bit of a herding cats challenge, and i prayed a lot for patience, and in the end it was really lovely. The girls sang beautifully, their voices blended and they harmonised and it was magic. And I had some good arrangements of the carols and Toby and I pulled them together smoothly. I think people in general are too lazy with carols, and we just go through the motions and pump them out, but just like any other song at church the point is to praise God and the music can be stirring and the words can be swords.

So there was Christmas day, which JK didn't join us for this year, but a boyfriend of a sister did, which was lovely. We did all our usual family traditions. I was given a drill! And an indoor composting system! Very useful things I wouldn't have bought, which is the best sort of present.

On Boxing Day JK and I went to Blackbut reserve, I loved seeing and hearing all the birds. Also the wombats.

JK cooked dinner at my place and mum and dad came over for dinner, so now JK and the Greens have a boxing day dinner tradition.

I forget what happened that week. It was the sort of week you don't know what day it is. I think we swam at Julie's pool when I watered her plants, we saw Jumanji which was great, and I had a massive cleaning day (car, windows, laundry cupboards). Rather tired though. I'm listening to audiobooks of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy, the first book was great. I'm up to the second, it's a little slower and less interesting.

On Friday Georgina came up, it was really hot, JK came over and we hung out in the aircon chatting for the evening.

On Saturday morning we had nothing planned, but spontaneously drove to Dungog to buy flowers. I enjoyed a small art co-op shop there too.

Then we picked up Jess Jo from Broadmeadow, and went to Mereweather for a swim. I was planning to walk along the beach but it was really hot, just had to get in the water. JK joined us.

We went back to her place and showered then went to the Persian Place for dinner. The food was tasty in a sour way.

We walked down to Honeysuckle because a gelato shop was giving out free scoops! I had a most delicious jaffa flavour. This year I have really loved orange/chocolate. The Connoisseur blood orange ice cream, and this gelato, WOULD REPURCHASE.

I like the harbour, how it's got all the restaurants on one side and the other side is so industrial.

Some more time I forget what we did, probably swam in Julie's pool. Went to Maitland again this year for fireworks. They haven't finished renovating all the access points from the shops to the river so it was a bit hard to get around, but this toboggan thing was a great idea.

It was a lovely balmy night.

So easy to watch the fireworks and get home afterwards.

The next day we saw Pitch Perfect 3, which was great. 2 fun movies in one week! My faith in cinema has been restored. We put together the fastest feast ever and then the girls went back to Sydney, and JK and I had a snooze then went for a swim in Julie's pool again for a few hours, dropped in on her friend who just moved in near me, had leftovers for dinner, and that was that. New year's day over, and now it's just the year.

We had some conversations about our goals for this year. It's really great that JK has more energy and less fatigue then previous years, so she can plan to move forward with her life this year, whereas past years have seemed like mainly surviving with fatigue. Very thankful for that. Her and G have some really clear ideas of what to work on this year, professionally and personally. E has a new job to settle into. There are holidays planned and exercise goals set.

How I feel about my life at this point is, I don't have much space for a new goal. I've got personal stuff I'm working on and not making much progress, so keep working on that. I can't really pick a new creative thing, because I'm already learning the cello, so keep working on that. I have a kayak, so I plan to use it this summer. I have a job, regular ministries at church, regular exercise, regular home group, I'm kind of regular with my prayer and almost regular with my bible reading, I just have to keep going. So its good that I have a full and interesting life with time to do all those different things, and I'm doing them, but at this point I've got nothing NEW to think of doing. 2018 will probably be the same as 2017. Here comes the new year same as the old year.

I record here my plan, such as it is, for 2018: keep going with all those good things. Invite a few more people over for dinner, maybe every month or 2 months. Go kayaking at least 5 times before the end of summer.

Thank you to you all, my tiny group of blog-readers! I will continue this blog because I really like the time each month to sort through my photos and remember what happened and process my thoughts and my state of mind. I like that you guys read along too! I'm not someone who can write all my thoughts in a journal for nobody to ever read, I articulate better thinking of it as a conversation with you. A one-sided online D+M cuppa and catch up.

Finally, we make our plans, but God is in control. It's reassuring to look back on the last year, and look at all the things I didn't expect but that God worked for my good. So even if I don't plan to strike out in new and interesting directions, God has laid down a road ahead of me and he is going to provide for every step I take along it. There will be mistakes, there will be steady progress, and there will be surprises.

I have enjoyed praying this prayer over the new year season.

Prayer 24 December 2017

Our great heavenly father

What a good and faithful God you are. We praise you for your amazing creative power, because you formed this universe in all its beauty and complexity. We praise you for all the good things you’ve given us, oceans and seasons and the moon and tasty food and friendships and families and music and too many other things to name - you created them and gave them to us. And you are infinitely more creative and powerful than we can imagine because you’ve created things we can’t see, things we don’t even know exist, mysteries in our cells and at the bottom of the ocean and far away beyond our galaxy. 

(Ps 96)
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice…. before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

We confess that we have not been thankful for the creation we enjoy. Instead we exploit it. We ruin the relationships you have blessed us with. We don’t love others with the same love you’ve shown us. When we see the way the world has turned its back on you in pride, in selfishness, in war, that’s just a macro view of the same situation in our own hearts, and we ask you to forgive us, to have mercy on all who call on you for forgiveness.

And at Christmas, we remember, you have not left us alone. You left the glory of heaven, and entered this world, the Godhead veiled in flesh, the incarnate deity, God with skin on, the creative power of the God of the universe born as a baby, dwelling with us as a man among humanity. What a strange plan. What a mystery that nobody could have expected. Even the prophets who foretold it couldn’t understand it, even as they praised you, as Isaiah wrote, 

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end."

You kept your promise hundreds of years later, when you revealed your plan to Mary she sang

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.”

Our families, our country and our world struggles to find peace. But through the promised one, the prince of peace, the mighty God, the child that was born, the son that was given, the birth, the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus, you have brought peace for those who trust in him. True peace between us and God. And though we can taste the goodness of this peace now we long for heaven where, with Jesus, peace will never end.

We pray for the people of Saudi Arabia. We ask that you would shake this centre of Islamic spiritual influence and make Jesus’ Lordship known. We praise you that you are revealing your son to increasing numbers of Muslim pilgrims through dreams and visions, so that as they come to Mecca seeking God they encounter the living Christ. We also pray for new opportunities to engage with Muslims via the internet, and that you would be softening hearts to hear the gospel. And for Christians, we pray that they do not give up meeting together, but continue to encourage each other as they look to the day of Jesus return.

We pray for our church’s sponsor children Sarah in Ghana and Darlin in Columbia. We pray that you keep them and their families safe, and that they are able to attend the programs Compassion provides. We pray that the programs are safe places for them to receive more education and learn about your love for them. We pray that they complete their education, become women of integrity, and are able to have a better life then they would otherwise have.

We pray for our mission partners: Simon and Margie Gillham at Moore Theological College. 
  • We pray for Simon as he prepares 5 talks on Ecclesiastes for Queensland Summer School, and then that you would give Margie and Simon good rest in the second half of January.
  • We pray too for the work of the Centre for Global Mission at Moore and that Simon can help students consider opportunities for global mission. Thankyou that Moore can support pastoral training in Africa and South America and we ask that Moore’s development of systems and smartphone apps to deliver that content for free around the world would progress smoothly. Give them wisdom in knowing how to ‘train pastors’ using online delivery.

We also Pray for Scott and Wendy Mackenzie and the team at Singleton Evangelical church as they proclaim the gospel in Singleton over Christmas and as they prepare for Singleton Alive in January. Ask God to draw many people to Jesus from Singleton and the Hunter.

And now we pray that we would listen carefully to your word as it’s read to us and be attentive to the sermon later so that we can learn from Nick’s work studying and preparing to give us a deeper understanding of the gospel. With your Holy Spirit to work in us as we learn more about you and imitate your son Jesus our Saviour. We pray everything in his name. Amen.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

November - end of the Maddie era.

The end of the year is doing the "going so fast" thing, but I always find there are also strange long spaces in December. Once weekly things finish for the term and the Christmas dos are done, it's a little quiet. But still got to get there! I don't think I've been busier than normal, I thought November was a good month, but I got super run down and coldsores and tired. I've decided to work the minimum hours until the end of the year and start winding down.

So anyway! At the start of the month was the college foundation day, and I finally saw the medal I designed ages ago. Very exciting!

A special lady at church had a baby shower. It was the baby shower to end all baby showers, better than most weddings. The special touches as per Pinterest, and there were some mums there to share their wisdom which was very special. I stayed to see my present opened, the black play mat.

Some of us at church learned that some people had been living in Maitland for years and never been to Billabongs, so 5 of us went out for lunch. V enjoy.

I potted some orchids that a lady at church gave me. I have used spagnum moss, in a plastic cup with a hole in the bottom, then put that in a nice tea cup or candle holder.

My colleague came in with her baby. My other colleague has been cleared of cancer so he has been popping in too, so some good outcomes for both the people who left me in the office this year.

I got sick of checking facebook on my phone but I needed a habit to replace it, like gum for smokers. So I got a game called June's Journey. That's been really successful, I've really cut back on fb, and I don't find the game addictive. It's self limiting because I run out of points in 5 minutes.

Friday park walk has been a bit irregular because of some really hot fridays, but one day I saw Dad practicing croquet and had a little play with him, which was fun.

JK and I saw Murder on the Orient Express, and had an ent book lunch of dumpings and shan dong chicken, and I bought a lip stick at mecca maxima. I bought 2 lippys this month, but then I got a coldsore so lips are in hostpital.

Home group had a picnic at a playground I've never been to before, in a newish suburb which is actually really fancy. I dont get out of East Maitland much! We had fish and chips by a lagoon.

My team at Tocal had our annual workshop get together. Everyone comes from around NSW so we had a central location this year in Sydney at the Quarantine Centre Manly. It was a great place because so much natural beauty, we weren't cooped up because everything was spread out.

Fairy penguin footprints!

Possum at dinner!

JK and I saw the local Upstage Theatre production of Much Ado About Nothing, which was delightful. We made a nice picnic and the play was fabulous. They have minimal props but what they have is authentic. It was set in WW2 England and they hired proper uniforms and period frocks.

We had a family BBQ for my brothers birthday, and J brought her new beau and her 2 foster kids. We played finska, had birthday cake. It was nice to meet the kids.

Maddie moved out on the last Thursday of the month. On the Saturday before she took a trailer load down to Sydney with her mum and 2 friends. I took this photo in B+W because I was doing the B+W challenge on facebook, but its supposed to have no people so I didn't post it. I've never seen people move house in long flowing dresses before. So girly.

Some home group girls and I went to the Olive Tree twilight markets in Maitland, celebrating R's birthday. I always love the food and music, and I looked out for Christmas presents.

Maddie's last night at church :(

And an update on my garden. Irises are having rot problems again. I am planning some irrigation to keep water onto my wall garden. I've got 4 bags of chook poo, and since my veggie garden has been less productive, it probably needs a rest and some renewal so I'm building a compost pile in the garden, covered with plastic.

Coralie my new housemate moved in on Saturday, which is going well so far. I've known her for a few years at church, she's quirky and funny, and also very clean, so the first few days have been delightful. I've done some cleaning and decluttering and finding Maddie's forgotten things, so the house feels a bit cleaner.

I've taken a morning off today, as I'm having a lady over to help me hang a heavy mirror I'm afraid to deal with. And there was a delivery and a pickup so it was good to be home instead of going to work and dashing home to meet her. Did my TiffXO workout, wrote this blog post, and watched Strictly Ballroom, because today is day 3 of a self care challenge, watch your favourite movie. So making the most of it! Self care for the end of the year.