Wednesday, 28 December 2011

red and black

[feel free to hum strains of the song from Les Mis as you read*]

Christmas is over. People are away. Everything's quietening down. So that means - time free to sew without procrastinatory guilt!

My favourite colour combo at present is a bold black and white IKEA print with a plain red for contrast (though they don't seem to have the print I've used on their website anymore). I love their fabrics for bag making, as the prints appeal to me, the weight of the cotton fabric is heavy but not upholstery-fabric-heavy, and the fabric is reasonably cheap.

I've made two tote bags out of this combo, and two cushion covers that Karen commissioned. I had just enough left to make a camera tote bag for my new Canon 60D!

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I don't much like having to deal with zips or velcro when carrying a camera about. I like to just be able to pull the camera out at whim, shoot, and put it away with a minimum of fuss. Of course that means that the bag isn't so great from a security perspective, but with the short straps it will always be close to my body so I'm not bothered by that so much.

I also used the padded, velcroed inserts from an old camera bag to create the partition, which can be removed if I need to use the bag for bigger things. The red lining is some old fat stripe corduroy that gives the whole thing a nice, cushiony feel.

This is probably the first successful bag I've made up completely out of my head. Woo hoo! Seems the skills I have learned from other bag making patterns have stuck!

It's not the first total original I have attempted - I still have a bag for Little that's 3/4 finished and a bag for Hendry that is pretty much done. I made both of those up, but I'm not completely satisfied with them...they're kind of prototypes I guess, but since I don't really do factory-line assembly I guess every bag is unique, so to call them prototypes wouldn't be quite correct. I think it was more that both Little and Hendry commissioned me to make them, and I felt like the workmanship needed to be better than my usual efforts if money was actually going to change hands (cushion covers are a little simpler!).

But I am very happy with my camera bag. So maybe it's time to finish these other bags and release them to their owners!

 

 

 

* I remember seeing this in London, and previously I had overlooked this song, much preferring the twittering of the female roles** to the militant dude songs, but on this occasion was particularly captivated by Marius's verse: "Had you been there tonight you might know how it feels / to be struck to the bone in a moment of breathless delight". I was such a romantic, swoony teenager.

** though Cosette always was a pain.

Friday, 23 December 2011

making music

So we made a CD!

I think everyone was surprised that I actually managed to keep it a secret, given how much I go on about every tiny little detail that crosses my mind. But Lachy and I decided to pool our collective talents and make a Christmas CD. He had written a couple of Christmas songs a couple of years ago, and talked about recording them for his mum as a present, but never got around to it. So we added our favourite traditional carols, mucked around with them a bit and came out with a pretty pleasing finished product. I did some nifty graphic design, we sent it all off to a secret laboratory overseas and in less than three months, voila! The Christmas Project!

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It makes mothers and grandparents cry! You know it must be good!

We've given out a few copies as Christmas presents, but if you would like to hear previews or download it yourself it's even available on iTunes and CD Baby (the latter is where we got it made and is cheaper).

Get it now! You only have three days left until it becomes irrelevant for another 11 months!!!

(Lachy just pointed out that Jesus' birth is not irrelevant, but listening to Christmas carols out of season may not be your thing, and, indeed, may be a social faux pas.)

 

Friday, 16 December 2011

Plastic fantastic

So! My Tupperware business is up and running. I had my first solo party/demonstration last week at Elsie's place, and I think it went really well. I'm waiting for the delivery to arrive today and then I'll be able to distribute all the lovely bits and pieces people ordered. But it's all real and happening!

Here's a fairly unflattering photo of me at said party, with the contents of my Quickstart kit:

My First Party

(my hair may look odd, but I look cheerful!)

Tupperware is one of those funny things that goes in cycles...a lot of us had it growing up, and our mums would have gone to Tupperware parties. I know that happened a lot in the church circles I grew up in, to the point where people kind of got party overload. But now I think a lot of people in my generation and younger are starting up homes, looking to get their kitchens and households set up, and Tupperware fits neatly into that slot (so to speak).

I'm actually pretty keen on the stuff, to be honest. I guess I wouldn't be selling it if I didn't like it! So...if you want to have a party or even just buy some Tupperware without a party, get in touch! :)

One thing that has struck me, though, is the strategies we're taught to use in selling this product are similar to how we should/could evangelise, and yet we don't often promote the gospel this way. So at TW we have weekly sales meetings that aren't compulsory but are recommended so you get a sense of the team and support and grow in your knowledge of TW. Those are many of the benefits of going to church each week. At TW we are encouraged to tell everyone we know what we're doing, to carry around catalogues in case anyone wants one, to use every opportunity to talk about our business. Being a Christian, we're also encouraged to tell everyone we know the gospel, to have literature on hand to give to interested people, to use every opportunity.

And yet...why does it seem easier to talk about a plastic box that will save your food for a few weeks, and yet so hard to talk about Jesus, who will save your life for eternity?

I've been convicted about this. I'm going to read Promoting the Gospel by John Dickson to give me a kick in the pants.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Masterfully carolled - postscript

We even got a photo in the Southern Courier (local paper)! Totally famous now. :)


But...the BBQ was before the event, not after. And the journalist was supposed to come the week before so the photo would serve as publicity for the event. And then we were hoping he would mention our Christmas day services in lieu of being printed on the right date, but he didn't. I guess you can't make specific requests on free publicity, can you?



MasterCarols in the Southern Courier

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Masterfully carolled


MasterCarols happened last Sunday, and even though it was pouring rain for half the day, we still had a full house! There were plenty of visitors, and the singing was joyous.

I love it when people really get into the singing. When you're standing up the front leading, it can be quite flattening to see a bunch of blank faces staring back - not even staring at you, but gazing off into the middle distance, completely unengaged. With Christmas carols, because they're so familiar, people usually join in with great gusto, and it makes me so happy to see people moving along to the music as well. We had an excellent band this year, who all worked well together and made good music.

I've been really struck by how much solid gold gospel and worship there is in many of the Christmas carols. I'm always trying to encourage people to think about what they're singing, but I think with Christmas carols I'm as guilty as anyone of mindlessly singing them half the time. But even though you get dubious lines like "little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes" in Away in a manger (doubtful!), you also get things like this in O come all ye faithful:

God of God, Light of light
Lo, he abhors not the Virgin's womb
Very God, begotten, not created
O come let us adore him!

That's a credal statement, right there. Or how about, from O Holy Night:

Truly he taught us to love one another
His law is love and his gospel is peace
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother
And in his name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise his holy name
Christ is the Lord, o praise his name forever
His power and glory evermore proclaim!

And to finish, some majestic Charles Wesley in Hark the herald angels sing:

Hail the heaven born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings
Risen with healing in his wings
Mild, he lays his glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the new born king! 

So many people sing these words every year, or even hear them in shopping malls, and don't give them a second thought. They're just the aural wallpaper of the season. But wouldn't it be wonderful if people singing these words this year could actually understand them for the first time? Pray that God moves mightily in people, and that those of us involved in church gatherings and events would not get caught up in rushing around, but would point to the glorious Prince of Peace.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Sonambulist

I'm heading into the city for an informal interview for some casual work. I wish I could be excited about it. But it's only a treading water step so it feels like nothing, even though it's important I earn money and it would be doing good work.

All morning I've just felt anxious and useless, though I know I'm not. I read my Bible. I got some things done for this weekend's MasterCarols at church. I spoke to my Tupperware area manager. I did my washing.

But it feels like I'm just asleep. I wish I could wake up.

Friday, 2 December 2011

running while standing still?

You know it's time to post when your mum tells you it's been too long between posts...

I've been wanting to write a reflection on my time at college, but I haven't quite felt up to it yet. Since finishing exams, I feel like I've been doing heaps and yet not much.

Things at church have gotten extra busy as they always do at this time of year, and I seem to have lots on my plate - puppetting for the Kidschurch celebration, doing music for our Mastercarols event on 11 Dec, probably doing an item on Christmas day, doing the artwork for all of the above as well as a January sermon series and trying to fix the church website! It's all good and fun and rewarding stuff to do but kind of relentless and exhausting at the same time.

I don't have much paid work at the moment, aside from a design job through December (which I won't be paid for until January). I've been applying for anything and everything that seems to suit me in the way of design and editing jobs out there in the Real World, but so far nobody's contacted me. I find that a bit disconcerting, how you can send out portfolios and resumes and not even hear a peep from anyone. I also wondered, as I updated my portfolio, what a non Christian recruiter would think, opening the PDF and seeing nothing but Jesus and Christian work. Even though I suspect it would turn some people off, the idea tickled me, I must say.

There are possibilities of some ministry work but I'm not sure what that looks like yet. A job for a children's worker came across my radar today, but it would mean changing churches as their service time clashes with Wild Street's. Haven't thought through what that would be like yet.

And in the meantime, to hopefully earn some money, I've started Tupperware demonstrating. Hilarity and excitement abounds! Well, tomorrow I start, actually, with my first party. No doubt you will hear all about how I'm going as I get further into it. But needless to say, I'm your gal if you want a Tupperware party or even just to buy any...

What I really need though, is a proper break. I was saying to Lachy I feel like I need a break where I disappear for a week, don't take any technology at all, just my Bible and a novel for entertainment. He agreed, but didn't think I'd be able to do it. Sadly, I think he might be right.

But when? Where? How to afford it? Maybe I just need to rest well while I'm not working full time, even if I'm still pottering about at home. But even then...how?

For now, I think it means bedtime. Goodnight!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Bunny

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A love of amigurumi - well, the idea of amigurumi - was one thing that spurred me on to learn crochet. This is Rupert, the first bunny I made, out of cheap acrylic yarn. He's kind of wonky and for some reason reminds me more of a lamb than a bunny, but he's cool anyway. And he has a vest.

Random granny

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This is my very first crocheted rug. Having made quilts in the past, and starting off my crocheting fetish with granny squares, I decided to use the same principles to make this rug. It's a good one for snuggling up in front of the TV with. It's made from Lincraft Celtic yarn (alpaca, acrylic, wool).

Curiously, though, after I washed it my cat, Mattie, won't sleep on it. Actually refuses to even touch it. If it's on the bed and she wants to sit on the bed, she will find the only spare two centimetres uncovered by rug and will perch there. She's very stubborn.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

examining

Just a quick one to ask for prayer - I have three exams left and then my time at Moore College will be over. This week are the big guns - doctrine tomorrow at 10am and church history on Thursday at 3.30pm. There is so much to remember for both these subjects, and although a lot of it (especially in doctrine) is stuff that is already a part of my Christian fabric, so to speak, the challenge is to be able to recall information, form an opinion and write coherently! Next Monday will be my last exam, New Testament, which I am less worried about. Though perhaps that's a false sense of security.

So please pray that I would be calm and focused and clear-headed, and that I get a good night's sleep tonight! Please also pray that this stuff I'm studying will continue to shape and change my heart, and not just be information going into my brain and coming out of my pen. That sounds weird. You know what I mean.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Kinds of Blue - now in 3D!

No, we haven't moved on to gimmicky filmmaking...I just mean that the book is finally here and you can buy it! It's real and papery and shiny and beautiful and I still can barely believe that it actually exists in physical form even though I've been carting boxes of them around in our car for the last week!

We launched the book at the Berkelouw cafe in Newtown last Monday. It was such a positive night, with around 100 people stuffed into the space where the book began, all celebrating with us.

[caption id="attachment_529" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Crowding in for the launch"]Crowding in for the launch[/caption]

I'm so proud of everyone involved in this project, especially Karen and Guan, who constantly amaze me with their drive and motivation. I think our partnership has worked quite well in that we manage to encourage and poke each other along when one or another of us falls down (hey, what do you know? The Bible was right! (Guan seems to have a thing for these three-person collaborations)).

[caption id="attachment_528" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="pseudo-Asian Hive Mind"]pseudo-Asian Hive Mind[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_527" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="pseudo-serious Hive Mind"]pseudo-serious Hive Mind[/caption]

The image in my mind of the whole Kinds of Blue thing has been a bit like clambering onto a runaway stagecoach somehow (because hey, they're a common occurrence these days), and then finding a whole bunch of other cool people inside and so not minding that the whole thing feels a bit insane and unbelievable, or that nobody knows where we'll end up. The momentum is kind of fun.

[caption id="attachment_530" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="some of the KOB collaborators"]some of the KOB collaborators[/caption]

So I'm excited to announce that if you want to see what we've been doing in this here stagecoach, you can buy a copy of Kinds of Blue for yourself! It looks fantastic online, that's true, but you have to see it in printed form to truly appreciate it. And, as my mum said, "ebooks might be great...but they don't have this new book smell!"

Experience the new book smell for yourself!  Buy one today!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

a break

Sometimes I think I should close this blog. But I guess it's just sitting here, not doing anyone any harm, so I leave it in the hopes that someday I'll come back more frequently and write more interestingly.

I've just had a couple of weeks off from college, which has meant more retail work.  But I finally made the decision to quit my retail job, and told my manager today I'd stay til the end of October. My body isn't cut out for retail work, and I hate being as wiped out as I am. When I started to think about the long days and rush of customers over the Christmas period, I decided I could do without that, thank you very much!

As for what happens next, only God knows!

But it wasn't all work. I've had some lovely times over the last three weeks, hearing fantastic teaching at the Oxygen conference and then at Engage. We have been so blessed to have such men as John Piper, John Lennox and Rory Shiner speaking from God's word! They handle it carefully and expose beautiful riches.

Mum had some time off last week too, so I spent a lovely couple of days with her, doing things like having afternoon tea and going to the movies. Those are things we used to do lots together, but I guess as time and money have gotten scarcer, we don't do that sort of thing much anymore.

It's also been grand having a bit more time to spend with Lachy, talking lots, embarking on projects (like puppetmaking!) and just hanging out together.

So although I didn't go anywhere or have a huge slab of completely 'off' time off, it's been a refreshing break.

And now, the final six weeks of my Moore College experience. Pray that I'll squeeze every drop out of it, that I'll be well and energised enough to get through it and that I can get some good study in!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Treasures of the trial

Lots of people praying for me today, after catching up with my chaplain and the girls in my prayer group. God has put some wonderful people in my life to encourage me as I stumble through the darkness.  Drove home trying to remember that, while simultaneously feeling completely dazed and overwhelmed.  Then this song came on my iPod and the words are so what I need to pray right now, I thought I'd share them with you too.  You can listen to it here if you want to.

 

Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labor thro' the storm
You have called me to this passage
And I'll follow tho' I'm worn

May this journey bring a blessing
May I rise on wings of faith
And at the end of my heart's testing
With Your likeness let me wake

Jesus guide me thro' the tempest
Keep my spirit staid and sure
When the midnight meets the morning
Let me love You even more

May this journey be a blessing
May I rise on wings of faith
And at the end of my heart's testing
With Your likeness let me wake

Let the treasures of the trial
Form within me as I go
And at the end of this long passage
Let me leave them at Your throne

May this journey bring a blessing
May I rise on wings of faith
And at the end of my heart's testing
With Your likeness let me wake

 

by Keith Getty and Margaret Becker
2002 Modern M. Music (Admin. by Music Services)
Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

so much to learn

It feels like those holidays were aeons ago.

Life's been pretty busy since we got back. Semester two started at college, and if I thought juggling last session's subjects was difficult, I honestly don't know how I thought I could cope with five subjects! (for the record they are Church History, Youth apologetics, Biblical Exposition and Exegesis, New Testament and Doctrine) All of them are wonderful, and I am greatly enjoying the thorough and faithful teaching. But it's relentless.

How do people do a full time load at college, including Greek and Hebrew? How do they do it? I couldn't even do a semester of Greek part time without feeling like it was all too much (I failed Greek last semester, but wasn't too bummed about it as I had already decided by that point to change back to the diploma, meaning I didn't need Greek to complete my studies).

I guess they don't have to work at the same time. But still. I am in awe of them.

I struggle every day with the feeling that I'm an imposter, that I don't belong at college, that there are so many more people there with such advanced academic skills...but this is not a new or unique thought. I know many people have thought it. And I know it's not true! God has brought me to this place, and he has much to teach me while I'm here. My constant prayer is that I will be humble and still and quiet enough to learn, and to let that learning change me to be more the Bec that God wants me to be.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Penang

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Penang was a bit of an anticlimax after Cameron Highlands. It was much more crowded and full of traffic. But the cool thing was running into the Tonks family at the busy local hawker centre. I was wandering around looking at what to order when I heard a voice exclaim, "This is our place! What are you doing here?" And there was Danielle! Many hugs ensued.

The following day we didn't see any of the historical or touristy things in Penang. We hung out in one of the local malls, where the boys bought up big on clothes and electronics (Nick demonstrated how our family responds so well to retail therapy - he bought a laptop and his mood transformed from vaguely grouchy to ebullient in a flash).

There was an odd contrast between the other types of tourists at our hotel. You saw it mostly at breakfast. There were several tables at which sat a Saudi man, a handful of children, and three or four women clad in black from head to toe, with only their eyes showing. I saw one woman who even had a veil over her veil and black gloves on so you couldn't see a single bit of her. How those women coped in the heat, I have no idea. On the other hand, there were busty, overweight, middle aged European women who came down to breakfast in nothing but their swimsuits and sarongs, and stayed that way all day. Each extreme was as confronting as the other.

While we were away, there were protests in Kuala Lumpur, with a huge group of people coming together to campaign for fairer elections. But we didn't see a shred of unrest up in Penang. There wasn't anything much on the news about it either, we heard about it from people who were there or from overseas news websites. Malaysia is a strange country, full of contrasts and extremes all lumped in together. Malay, Chinese, Indian history and traditions all swirl together, with a desire for change and yet so entrenched in its ways that change is slow, if at all.

And on top of it all are the tourists blundering and misunderstanding their (our?) way through it all.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Cameron Highlands

The thing that was so nice about the Cameron Highlands was the cool temperature. It's a few hours from KL, up a tightly winding road and away from the thick heat and pollution in the city. A number of little towns are perched here and there over quite a wide spread in the mountains. We stayed in Tanah Rata, one of the longer established towns, and a popular holiday spot for Malaysians and international travelers. Actually there were heaps of white tourists, mostly backpackers. On the first night we had a delicious steamboat dinner and a passing Canadian exclaimed, "oh it's like fondue!" (well...sort of...not really...)

After missing the turnoff and driving around for ages, we made it to the Sungei Palas BOH tea plantation. The building is an airy and light modern structure cantilevering out over the plantation, with a stunning view of velvety green blanketed hills and the winding rows of tea crops ("like brain cells" dad said). We had tea and odd, triangular scones, and Lachy and I wandered through the factory to see the stages of tea being processed (the others weren't really interested, so we didn't opt for the longer tour).



me and Lach at the tea house

Then down for a local lunch, followed by strawberry picking. There are heaps of strawberry farms, all proclaiming you can pick your own strawberries. I didn't manage to get a photo of most of the signs, but favorites were 'self picking strawberries', 'self plucking strawberries' and the simple yet direct 'pluck yourself'. We got some gorgeous, delicious ones from a place near where we had lunch, which said on a hand written sign that they used a special Japanese music technique called 'sonic bloom'. I also indulged my 9 year old half-Asian self and bought a souvenir strawberry pillow, which the others all thought odd but I think it's marvelous.



it's so fluffy!

Lachy and I went for a stroll in the late afternoon, watching locals and backpackers play football, kids speeding around on motorbikes that seemed far too big for them, and following an overgrown, yet signposted path to an unknown destination. It felt a bit like following the yellow brick road as the jungle got denser around us, and when two guys appeared on the path behind us I felt a moment of trepidation. But they soon overtook us and disappeared ahead. Then, suddenly, the path opened out into a huge, deserted clearing with benches and a playground. A small river and a pretty little waterfall rushed to one side. We wanted to follow the mossy path to the waterfall, but it was already getting dark so we turned back.

We drove back down the winding road a while until we reached the Lakehouse, a mock-Tudor style hotel. We had been watching a bit of Fawlty Towers earlier in the day, and as the tall, skinny and smiling manager strode forward to greet us, Nick started whistling the theme tune. Although it did feel somehow Fawlty-esque, thankfully there were no madcap mishaps. I had one of the most delicious steaks ever, and a tasty strawberry mojito ("ah, we call ourselves the mojito capital!" the manager proudly proclaimed). We were also given a tour of one of the beautiful guest rooms; I'd love to stay there one day. So unlike anywhere else in Malaysia.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Holiday!

Greetings from the Cameron Highlands! It's so beautiful up here. Lush and green and cool. We are leaving soon to head up to Penang for a few days.

We got to Malaysia on Monday, after a squished but uneventful flight. Got to see dad and janice's new house for the first time - it's huge! It's almost like we didn't need to go anywhere else, as their place is pretty much like a hotel. But we have headed north to the tea and strawberry growing capital, Cameron Highlands, and then on to Penang for beachy times, and it is nice to see parts of this country I haven't been to before. I'm also excited that we will be meeting up with the Tonks family, who happen to be holidaying in Penang at the same time!

I am so grateful that I've been able to have this holiday...although I knew I was stressed, I didn't quite realise how much. I'm also so grateful that we're all getting along well. Hanging out with my baby half-brother, Ethan, is pretty amusing. And getting to spend uninterrupted time with my favorite person is pretty damn good too (that's Lachy, in case you didn't guess)

Alright we're off...more news soon!

Friday, 24 June 2011

PS

I love being able to blog on the bus. That is all.

Met a sister

Worked in a new store today. One of the girls I was working with had been employed at the same time as me, and we had been at the first group interview together.

In a quiet moment, she said, "sorry, this is really out of the blue, but are you a Christian?"

"Yes..."

"it's just I remember during the interview when we were asked to say 'Sundays are for...' and you said seeing friends at church."

"oh yeah!"

"Well I'm one too! A Christian, that is."

She said she had just started going to the Village Church in Annandale, and was delighted that I knew the church and its minister, Dominic.

I remember during that interview I had felt very exposed when I was honest about my Christianity, as though it was something that just wasn't discussed in job interviews. Well, I imagine it rarely is! But how amazing that almost a year after, she not only remembered me but remembered that about me. And it seemed to encourage her.

This is why I think it's so important to wear your faith on your sleeve, so to speak. You never know who will hear it or how it will affect someone. You may never know that you encouraged someone. But I'm glad I found out that I did!

Friday, 17 June 2011

it all starts with an idea...

Karen said, more or less, "I want to make comics."

Karen, Guan and I used to meet up to write far more regularly than we do now (well they still meet almost weekly, but I only dip in from time to time).  As well as writing, we use each other as a sounding board, we talk about all sorts of crazy things and egg each other on to ever higher realms of creativity.  We call ourselves, somewhat tongue-in-cheekingly, the Hive Mind.

So when Karen said she wanted to make comics, we thought it sounded like a great idea.  And as the Hive Mind knows, when Karen has a great idea, it's worth jumping on board because Things Start Happening.

Before we knew it, we were signed on to the Plan to Take Over the World, which involved pulling together an anthology of 5-page comics on the topic of depression.  As you know, I have had a long association with the black dog, as have K and G, so the topic really resonated from the outset.  As well as that, we all love comics.  And making things.  And collaborating.  So much resonance.

(You can read all about this from K's point of view at her blog)

After months of work from a bunch of writers and artists, and untold hours of slaving over a hot laptop by Karen to try and corral us all into some semblance of a team, we have a finished product.  We call it Kinds of Blue.


We are so proud of it!

I wrote one and illustrated one of the stories (Eating the Blues), and also illustrated one of Guan's stories (Labyrinthine).  I also did the layout of the whole book.

It has taken me a lot of time to get to a point where I'm happy with my work in this, mainly because I kept comparing it to all the other contributions!  There are some stunningly talented artists on board, with a wonderful variety of styles.  I think that's one of the things I love most about the book, is how the angle on depression every story takes is completely different, and also looks completely different.  But today, I think I reached a milestone, or a watershed, or whatever they call those moments.  While I was flipping through the drawings onscreen, I realised I actually do like my work.  It has its own style, and its own things to say.



Anyway, the huge news is that we are trying to raise funds to publish it ourselves.  We went live with the campaign yesterday at midday and the response has been unbelievable.  At the time of writing, we have already raised 55% of the money we need to print the book and launch it.  I've been so touched by the response, especially on Facebook, with heaps of people liking the book - and not just clicking 'like' but actually saying what they like about it.  Many people can already see that this book will be a useful resource for them to talk about the topic of depression, or even just to understand better what it's like.  It can be a bit hard to read at times, especially if you've ever struggled with depression yourself, but I like to think that although there is necessary darkness, there is also light.

Intrigued?  Want to get on board?  Read it. Like our page on Facebook and tell other people about it. Check out our page on Pozible for more info on how to pledge. You can pledge any amount you like, though upwards of $30 will also get you a copy of the book sent to you when it's released.

And then, oh man, we are going to party.

Friday, 10 June 2011

it's nice to study with a friend



I don't know if this makes Mattie look more like a witch's familar, or like a pirate's bird, sitting on my shoulder. I don't know that witches' cats sit on their shoulders. But anyway, it's nice to have company!

Hitting the hard end of semester - an assignment due and two exams coming up. I would treasure your prayers!

Monday, 30 May 2011

hopeful feasting



May seems to have been a month where a lot of people are thinking about how to raise awareness about and help the homeless. A number of people I know participated in the Live Below the Line fundraiser, including a girl from youth group, and three guys from college who not only lived on $2 a day, but actually went and lived at Central for a few nights (you can read Dan's thoughts about it on his blog).

I participated in Hope Month. My childhood friend Kate had this brilliant idea. People would put on a meal of some sort and invite their friends to buy a seat at the table, with all the money going to Hope Street, an initiative of the Baptist Churches of NSW and ACT. Here is a bit about what Hope Street does:

[box]HopeStreet - Urban Compassion is a grass-roots community development organisation that works with people living on the margins of inner city Sydney - people who are homeless, destitute or living in poverty. We work at street level where the needs are greatest. And we are committed to empowering people to take control of their own lives, not just giving handouts. We help them to build their independence and advocate for the rights that most Australians take for granted.[/box]

I remembered Hope Street from when Karen and I visited the market they hosted in Campbell Street, Surry Hills (the market eventually went its own way and became Finders Keepers). I bought a little perspex sign at that market (top pic), which hangs in my bedroom, and reminds me what a powerful thing hope is, but also how sometimes we can lose all sight of it, and we just need to be shown that hope - for change, for redemption - is still there. I'm all for supporting those who are doing the hard work of helping people who seem to have lost all hope; I am often chastened to realise how little I think about about these people who are all around us.

[caption id="attachment_483" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="table setting"][/caption]

When I heard about Kate's initiative for Hope Month I signed up to host a meal straight away. I had a wonderful time preparing and cooking for it! I went to the Eveleigh Markets in the morning and bought some delicious bits and pieces, came home and cooked up Moroccan chicken and cous cous, with sticky toffee pudding for dessert.





[caption id="attachment_488" align="aligncenter" width="375" caption="the feast (pic by Karen)"][/caption]

It gave me great pleasure to put together a yummy, nourishing meal and to feed my dear, dear friends. And I was so glad that they got behind the cause and we made a small contribution to helping the homeless. It was kind of the opposite of living on $2 a day, but I think the more people doing anything at all to help those in the grip of poverty, the better.

[box type="shadow"]Even though the dinner's over, if you want to make a contribution to Hope Street (however big or small!) I think you can still do it via my Hope Month page - just click the 'make a donation' button. Otherwise you can do it via Hope Street directly.[/box]

Monday, 23 May 2011

So I made...a bunny

And fresh off the hook, so to speak, is this bunny I've made for my half-brother Ethan. I think I shall name the floppy eared critter Jasper.

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So I made...a scarf and glove thingies

It was cold up at Katoomba/Leura over the long weekend in April, so I made a skinny scarf and some wristwarmers/fingerless gloves while I sat in front of the fire, and at the convention talks.  I feel awkward modelling them, as you can see from the photograph below.

so I made...a blanket

I've been greatly enjoying crochet in the last few months, as something to do with my hands, to keep me awake when I'm supposed to be listening to things but am tired (eg, sermons), and to have the satisfaction of creating something.  So next few posts will be stuff I've made.

Here's the blanket I finished over Easter, which has been adorning my bed and keeping me cosy warm ever since.  It's made up of different sized granny squares, but then pieced together much as I would do a patchwork quilt.  If I were to do a similar blanket again I would refine the joining process as I just kind of made it up as I went along, but I still love it.

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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

a huge long April update

Oh dear friends, my apologies for the silence on this blog! Things have been so busy lately.  For those who get my ministry/college/prayer newsletter a lot of this will be familiar, but I know not everyone is on that mailing list (you can totally sign up if you want! Click the link at the top of my last newsletter).  And it doesn't hurt to go over it all again, as much to remind myself why I'm feeling kind of tired!

So I last wrote on the final day of Moore College mission. A week of college followed that, and then we were on break - which, for me, meant a lot more busyness!

We ran a fantastic kids holiday program at church called WildKids, where we explored for 5 days what it means to be on Jesus' team, with him as your captain. It was lots of fun to turn the church upside down, play lots of games, sing heaps of songs and teach the kids from the Bible. I had only volunteered to lead the singing for two days because I wasn't sure how tired I'd be after college mission, but I found I had plenty of energy so pitched in for the whole week.  I was glad I did, as there's something wonderful about seeing the progress of the kids from the beginning to the end of the week.

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Then on the Friday, we made the leap from kids' ministry to youth ministry with our trip up the mountains for KYCK conference. Had a great time with our pseudo slumber party on the floor in a Katoomba High School classroom with a bunch of Wild Street Youth girls, with the boys bunking down in a neighbouring classroom (but won't mention the toilet/shower situation apart from saying I didn't bathe that weekend). We heard some great, meaty talks from Hebrews, and it was a great bonding time for the group.

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Then a week of...what did I do? [checks calendar] Oh I worked at kikki.K.

Then it was my birthday!  We were going up to the mountains again for Katoomba Easter Convention that weekend, but to celebrate my birthday and Easter, I had saved up a bit and booked mum and I a lovely little cottage in Leura called Leura Lush (not such a fan of the name, but that is the most minor of points). It was such a delightful place! Really comfortable, well equipped, and just perfect for us really. After I had a birthday lunch with Lachy, mum and I headed up to Leura and settled in.

Our friends the Kershaws were also up early before the convention kicked off, so we had my birthday dinner at their pink rental house.

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The convention itself was wonderful. Exciting and exhausting at the same time. It was a pretty emotional weekend, talking about suffering and 'commitment in the age of disposable love'. I was so grateful for the reminder and encouragement that Jesus is the only constant, the only one who can show true commitment in love, and that if we truly believe in him,


[box type="shadow"]... neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)[/box]

Hallelujah!

It was hard to leave that beautiful house on that weekend, after time with friends, time spent in the Bible, and time relaxing.

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And it was back to reality and routine.  Oh! But I got to see Through a glass, darkly play in their full band format (with Amelia on drums) for the first time at the Townie! And it was so good even though 2/3 of the band were half asleep (as they didn't get on til about 11.30). So I'll leave you with this moody rawk photo and try not to leave it so long between posts next time!

Monday, 4 April 2011

My story

I gave my testimony this morning at Ashbury, that is, the story of how I became a follower of Jesus. I got a bit teary towards the end! But at morning tea, people kept coming up to me and thanking me for telling it, and being so honest about my life. Well it's just my story, I don't know how else to tell it! But I'm really glad people found it helpful, and it's why I've always wanted to be upfront about my background, and my current situation, so that it might help others in similar situations to remember God's love for them. One guy said, "that was basically my story...only I'd never have the guts to get up and say it", and a woman said, "me and my husband have depression too, and i was just so encouraged by what you said".

So I thought i may as well share it with you too!

_______________________________

I'm Bec, and I'm working my way part time through Bible college. I've been part of the team from Moore College that's been around the church this past week, helping out, meeting people in the neighbourhood and talking about Jesus.

I know it isn't always easy to talk about Jesus, and there have been times in my life when I was embarrassed to be called one of his followers.

But back to the beginning. I grew up in a Christian home. I can't remember a time when I didn't know who Jesus was, and that he loved me. We moved around a lot in my childhood, living in PNG and Singapore and going to all sorts of different churches. It was in Singapore, when i was 11, that I decided to give my life to Christ. Wanting to make a public declaration of faith, I got baptized.

And I lived happily ever after? Well not quite. Not yet, anyway.

We moved back to Australia, and i settled into high school. We went back to the church id grown up in, but i never really felt like i fit with my peers there. And slowly but surely, church began to lose its appeal, and my interest slipped away from the things of God as I found more acceptance and fun in the more worldly pursuits of my school friends.

Sadly, by the time I started uni, my family had disintegrated and my parents divorced. It was a time of huge upheaval for my brother and me, and we started to see church and Christianity as a relic from our former family life. although I never doubted God's existence, I pushed him further and further into the back of my mind until I was barely aware he was there. Sure, if anyone asked, I said I was a Christian, but I never willingly volunteered the information and I hoped no one would actually ask.

I moved out on my own and got involved in a culture of hedonism - sex, drugs, rock n roll. I was looking for something to satisfy me, but found nothing much but dissatisfaction, loneliness and emptiness. I began to be aware that there was a God-shaped hole in my life, but try as i might, I couldn't fill it with anything. I didn't want to admit it, but living life my own way wasn't working out as well as I'd hoped it would, yet i was still too proud to turn back to God.

A long term relationship I was in dissolved, and I took it hard. This was the final prop that God removed from me, to bring me to my knees, and make me look up at him. And instead of anger and disappointment, I saw love. I saw a Father who lifted me tenderly out of the mess I'd made, and said "I've been here all along, and I never stopped loving you. There is nothing that you have done that could make me stop loving you, because Jesus has dealt with it all."

What a breathtaking, life changing realisation.

I started to go back to church. I learned that my mother had been praying hard for me all that time. God put some incredibly godly men and women in my life to help water the seeds he had sown, and he began to change and mould me.

It hasn't been a fast or easy process, and i still think God teaches and shapes me the most through suffering. For example, I've struggled with depression for a number of years, which is debilitating and kind of scary sometimes, but through it God is teaching me to trust him, to lean on him, and to find my only peace and satisfaction in him. I have no doubt now that God is the only answer and i can't wait to be with him in the new creation, where,as it says in Revelation, there will be no more suffering and no more tears.

But until then I am so grateful that he saved me from that life of despair. And now I'm not ashamed or fearful to tell people I'm a Christian, to talk about what i believe and how God is working in my life. In fact, I'm excited about it!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

we're on a mission from God

(I think I used that post title last year, but since I *still* haven't updated my blog archives it doesn't really matter)

This week I'm on mission with a team from Moore College. The college does this every year, sends the entire student body, with staff and chaplains, to various locations around the city, state, and even overseas (this year's OS team has gone to Hong Kong). It's an exciting and exhausting week, full of big conversations and meeting heaps of new people. We do everything from up front preaching and stuff at church services and Bible studies, to helping move furniture and looking after kids.

This year I'm at Ashbury, a little suburb in between Ashfield and Canterbury, full of Catholics and Greek Orthodox. The church, St Matts, is in the middle of a residential area, but has a huge block of land and great resources. Now all it needs is more people!  If you want to read about what we've been doing, check out my posts on the Moore Mission blog.  Or if you have a bit more time, you might like to read about all the missions.

For my part, I am thoroughly exhausted already. Having come off a couple of fairly intense weeks that also involved some big mood drops, it's been a challenge to even turn up, let alone be a functioning member of the team. I'm sure I hide it pretty well to people who aren't close to me, but I'm trying to be upfront about it and have been encouraged to say when I need to rest or stop and not be worried about it.  It's at times like this I realise that pride is a big problem for me!  I don't want people to think I'm not capable or letting the team down.  But rest and being wise about it is more important than putting on a brave face (and of course everyone is great and understanding, and it's mainly in my own paranoid brain that people think I'm a lightweight).

So please pray for us as we work hard this week, and pray that the people we come into contact with would hear God's word faithfully spoken.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

a room of one's own

I've realised over the last week (or perhaps re-realised) how important having your own space is. Somewhere that you have your stuff, however much or little that is, somewhere that is stable, somewhere that is peaceful, and somewhere you can keep the outside world out, if needs be.

We had family holidaying with us last week, and I think we all realised how important space was when we didn't have any. Their family of four was in my bedroom, and I was in the living room on the floor. The common space in the dining room was basically taken up by the dad of the family (who set up his home office in the corner) and the kids, who needed space to play, draw, etc. The poor little 3 year old had night terrors and although he was perfectly cheerful during the day, would keep everyone up at night with his crying. Basically, there was nowhere in our little house where anyone could escape to for a bit of peace and quiet. My aunt decided after the third night of no sleep that they would have to find a serviced apartment. It ended up quite a good outcome really, because we were all getting a bit frazzled and I don't think by the end of the 10 days that they would have had a very good holiday!

(It was also pretty difficult, when I was sick with a fever/cough, to be gracious and hospitable!)

It made me think about people living in poverty, with even less space and more people to fit in it, permanently. Or people who are homeless, living in hostels or on the street, who have to fight to even have somewhere to lie down, let alone somewhere peaceful or stable. It makes me so grateful and so thankful that God provides what I need, that I only have minor and fleeting discomfort compared to so many. It makes me feel a bit sheepish for having felt so stressed by it all.

If you've never seen Kevin McCloud's fascinating doco on the Dharavi slum in Mumbai, Slumming It, do check it out. I remember being absolutely stunned by the section in the following clip, from about 6:00 onwards, that details how a family of 21 lives in one house, five sleeping in the same room (from 7:52). I guess if you had never grown up with the privilege of space and privacy, you would never expect it, would you?

Sunday, 6 March 2011

longings

I very much want to be finished with the bigger things I'm juggling (NT assignment, 3 projects due almost simultaneously for a client) along with all my other commitments so that I can do some sewing! Just caught up on Jess Green's blog, the Thought Tree, and the woman is just so inspiring. I had craft envy.

Once the dust settles with all this busyness (hoping it does, anyway!) I'm planning to factor some non-guilt crafting time into my week, because it really does make me feel positive and I love having something to show for it.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

foggy

I wish I had positive things to write about. It's not that anything bad has happened, it's just that I'm in one of those phases where the fog is getting thicker and the positives are starting to seem very dim, even though they're still there. I'm sure it will blow over soon, but I'm struggling not to feel overwhelmed and teary all. the. time.

I feel yuck about myself. I started Weight Watchers a few weeks ago and have already lost 4.6kg - yay me! But instead of feeling invigorated, all I see in the mirror is this blobby person who will never be a healthy weight (which is so untrue). Probably sitting around in my pyjamas doesn't help.

I have been doing some design work and enjoying it and thinking that it is looking pretty good. But instead of that boosting me, it's just making me feel tired and like I won't be able to meet the upcoming deadlines because I'm already out of puff.

College and church are both great, and it is wonderful to spend so much time immersed in the word of God. And yet I still feel like a fake, like I have no right to be at college, like I'm being flaky at church.

Basically, looking at that list, what I'm doing is being waaaay too hard on myself. I can see that. I keep trying to think about how I can be less tough on myself, how I can just relax without feeling like I'm being lazy, and wondering where on earth this level of self-criticism came from. And the only thing I can say with any certainty is that God loves me. He cherishes and values me. And this season will not last forever - even if I wrestle with this depression for the rest of my life, it is but a blip from an eternal perspective.

Just got to keep looking up and clinging to the hope I have in Jesus. My Bible reading from Isaiah 35 last night helped immensely to refocus my view. What a glorious picture this is!

[box]Joy of the Redeemed

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
nor any ravenous beast;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
and those the LORD has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.[/box]

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Flags

I've hit the Greek weeks wall. I still am excited to be at college this year, and even fascinated by the Greek we're learning. I am just so overwhelmed with all the new information plus all the new people I'm meeting, while the rest of life continues to barrel on.

The depression flags are starting to pop up. Extreme exhaustion. Inability to think beyond a few hours ahead. Forgetfulness. And this morning I started crying on my drive in to college, not because I was sad, or for any particular reason other than just being overwhelmed.

I need to pay better attention to the flags. So I went home at morning tea and slept til mid afternoon. I had to cancel something else later in the week just to get some space. I have to remind myself these things are okay; it's about being able to stick at this for the long term, so looking after myself in the short term is required.

Monday, 14 February 2011

natural beauty

It's hard to avoid if you're anywhere out and about...yes, it's the 14th of February, Australian Decimal Currency Day.  In honour of this auspicious occasion, I went next door and took some photos of my neighbour's lovely rose garden.

If you are feeling sad, lonely, frustrated, irritated or otherwise generally bah-humbug about today, I hope you enjoy these flowers.  If you are enjoying your decimal currency, please continue.

x

Thursday, 10 February 2011

management

So following on from yesterday, I do love college but I'm already feeling the effects of busyness and it's only the beginning of February. Starting to find that overwhelmed feeling bubbling to the surface, which I'm sure is the combination of massive amounts of information being poured into my brain, not sleeping so well, and feeling sick for the last few days.

As I've probably said before, I need to work out how to balance a fuller load of college than last year with church commitments (church on Sundays, growth group on Wednesdays, looking after music at Wild Street @ 5, meeting one to one with a friend to read the Bible, youth group attending). I also haven't heard back from Centrelink yet as to whether I get Austudy or not...if I don't, I'm going to have to factor some more paid work in there as well. And this doesn't include time with Lachy, time with family, time with friends, and SLEEP (all of which are vastly important and without which I would definitely go under).

I need prayer for wisdom, my friends. This juggling of time was part of my problem last year, and I resolved to learn from my mistakes!  I would like to:

  • make sure Saturdays are carved out for rest time (as Sundays are essentially a work day). I need to reinstitute the 'only one commitment per Saturday' rule. Actually I never managed to institute it in the first place, so maybe now's the time.  No packing things in.  Allowing time and space for spontaneity.

  • not be anxious.

  • take time to read God's word, reflect and pray on my own - and not just fall into the trap of thinking that because I opened the Bible at church or at college, that that is sufficient.

  • do something creative that isn't college or work focused.  And I need to not feel guilty about it.

  • go to bed earlyish and wake earlyish

  • make a timetable and stick to it.  It's the last part that's tricky...I am very good at making beautifully colour coded and logical timetables and then completely ignoring them.

  • understand my own limitations more and be able to say no to things.

  • understand that time turners are fictional, that even if they were real I probably couldn't afford one, and I need to make good use of the time that I have.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Newness

I'm lying awake when I would dearly love to be sleeping. The problem is my brain is running a million miles an hour and I'm having trouble switching it off. I think i might have fed it too much today...

Had my first Greek class at college and loved it! I even eagerly did my revision this evening and downloaded some iPhone apps to help me study. I seem to have fully embraced the nerdishness of pursuing language.

And now I can't go to sleep. I have letters of the alphabet and random bits of vocab scrolling across my mind, like a news ticker on TV. You'd think it would help, but it's starting to get annoying. Like a news ticker on TV.

Okay brain, I'll do you a deal. Let me go to sleep and I'll give you more Greek tomorrow. How does that sound?

Sunday, 30 January 2011

the month

To my dearest and darlingest blog readers - My humblest apologies for the silence of late.  I cannot offer any excuse other than I was just too slack to write.  But that doesn't mean I haven't been busy! January has included:

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  • a new project - I've wanted to take more photos, with the purpose of improving my technique and also documenting my year. With that in mind, I started the Bec365 project, where I plan to take and upload at least one photo a day.  If you're interested you can follow along here, or just keep an eye on my flickr photo stream to the right of the page.  So far it's been a mixture of playing with technique and just taking happy snaps...both are fine with me, as long as I'm being creative!

  • Two housewarmings for wonderful people embarking on new things in life (yay George and Josh and Tori!)

  • playing music at a Wild Street wedding

  • seeing Dave and Lachy (aka Through a Glass, Darkly) play at the Basement

  • the inaugural meeting of the Cheesecake Club, where a small group of friends gathers to eat marvellous cheesecake creations made by Little (the first was a peanut butter cheesecake)

  • going to the whimsical and wonderful Powerplant at the Chinese Gardens for the Sydney Festival

  • wrestling with Centrelink

  • having lots of challenging conversations at Wild Street's summer growth group

  • meeting up with a new friend to chat and read the Bible

  • working, working, working

  • eating a lot at summer picnics and BBQs

  • experiencing Owen Pallett and Sufjan Stevens at the Opera House for the Sydney Festival

  • starting to play the piano accordion

  • going back on Weight Watchers (this only happened yesterday, but hurrah)


So a bit's been happening.

College starts in a little over a week, with two weeks of intensive Greek study.  I'm actually quite looking forward to it, even though I'm sure I'll find it a mega challenge.  I haven't done much prep, aside from opening the textbook and staring, baffled, at the page.  But I'm sure having other people around who are wrestling with it, and having it explained by our illustrious teachers will help immensely.

And we're also getting a school student from Malaysia coming to stay in our spare room.  This is very cool, as it means we'll be able to pay our rent!  Hopefully we'll all get along.

Aaaand...I think that's it for now.  Hopefully won't be so long between updates next time and I'll be able to be a bit more reflective instead of just writing lists of things. :)

Monday, 3 January 2011

new year's day

On new year's day, Lachy met up with me and with absolutely no itinerary in mind, we drove around for a bit, eventually ending up at Seven Mile Beach.  

It is a spectacular stretch of white sand and impossibly blue water... but no shade!  Despite my attempt at applying sunscreen at the motel, and then a bit more at the beach, I seemed to have entirely missed my back and got badly sunburned (I keep thinking of the ad "these are skin cells in trauma").  Lachy's legs got really burned too.



But it was so lovely just lying in the sun and paddling in the water.



Then we met up with the rest of the team at Nowra and escaped the heat at the cinema.  We watched Megamind.  Well, I did, and I enjoyed it.  Lachy went into it knowing he was going to fall asleep, and he did.



We even ran into Kate and Hamish from Wild Street after the movie, who were also on hols nearby!

Then, having had a relaxed and happy new year's, I headed back to Sydney.  Lachy is still down at beach mission for another few days.  I'm praying that the team maintains its energy and can push through to the end, and that many of the kids and adults they talk to will consider Christ anew - or maybe for the first time.

and a happy new year!

As I've probably said before, new year's eve is a weird night for me.  I never really know what to do.  Part of me thinks "it's just like any other night, what's the big deal?"  But another part of me thinks "you've got to do something!  It's New Year's Eve!"

Now I love fireworks.  But I hate going to them.  Although I know I'd be fine, I really dislike dealing with large, sweaty mobs of drunk people (appealing though it sounds!).  And just as much, I hate not having a clear and quick escape route from said mobs - ie, no taxis, and driving is out.  Buses don't provide an escape route from the mobs, they just cram you into a select portion of the mob - with fluorescent lighting!

This year was the first year in, well, ever that I've had a boyfriend at new year's, and it seemed like it would be nice to spend it with him.  The only problem is that Lachlan was down on the south coast at beach mission.  Sounded like new year's would be fun though, the team was playing a bunch of covers for the party people at the campsite, as well as screening the 9pm fireworks, but it was a long way to go and I wouldn't know anyone else there except for Lachy, who would be onstage all night.

But all it took was a text from Maddie, whose fiancĂ© Tim was also in the band, saying she was going down for the night, and I was in!  It was initially going to be a surprise, that I would just turn up and let Lachy see me in the crowd, but I am a hopeless at keeping this kind of secret and also like to share the excitement (I was talking about this with Rod recently - he had organised a surprise trip for him and his wife, and later she said although she loved it, part of her would have liked to have known about it in advance because the anticipation of something lovely happening is such a big part of the enjoyment).

It seemed like there wouldn't be anywhere to stay, because people who have annual camping holidays and take new year's more seriously than I do, had already had plans in place for ages.  I thought I could probably manage to sleep in the car somewhere, a thought that had my mum quietly hyperventilating in the background.  But I managed to find a room at the Bomaderry Motor Inn on wotif.com which was only about 30 mins away from Crookhaven Heads, where Lachy's beach mission was.  Although it was more expensive than camping, it was a really nice place that had been refurbished recently, so it was a good, comfy and quiet spot to head back to at the end of the night.

I arrived at the Crookhaven Heads Tourist Park in time for the team dinner, and got to chat with a few of the people on the mission team.  I recognised some of them from NTE missions at Wild Street, and of course everyone was very friendly and welcoming.

As a side note, if you don't know much about beach mission (or 'family mission'), it's something organised each year by Scripture Union, where teams of volunteers go and stay at campsites and caravan parks (here's an article from the SMH about it).  They put together kids' programs and activities for families, and try to get to know holidayers and talk to them about Jesus.  Although it isn't something I've ever had any experience with, many families along the NSW coast head to the same caravan parks year after year for their annual family holidays.  Beach mission teams are often made up of the same people each year too, which means that they can actually get to be familiar with the people they meet there.  I heard an encouraging story about some kids actually approaching one of the team that day and asking for a Bible because they had decided they wanted to become Christians and wanted to know more about it.  From the team's reaction, I gather that sort of up-front response is rare, but they faithfully keep going back to plant the seeds of the gospel and hope that someday, somewhere, they will bear fruit.

Not long after dinner, the revellers began to gather in the grassy area behind the mission team's main tent, and the band got underway.

[caption id="attachment_347" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Tom, Pete, Lachy and Tim entertaining the crowd"]Tom, Pete, Lachy and Tim entertaining the crowd[/caption]

The setlist had been chosen specifically with the audience in mind - last year they had a jazz band play and it didn't go down too well, so this year was full of covers like 'Working Class Man', 'Don't Stop Believing', 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For'...etc.  They went down pretty well!  At times it was a bit like live karaoke, with Lachy inviting members of the crowd up to sing drunkenly and out of tune through their favourite songs.

[caption id="attachment_348" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Tom, Lachy, some dudes and Tim entertain the crowd"]Tom, Lachy, some dudes and Tim entertain the crowd[/caption]

I think my fave was 'Piano Man', with Lachy on harmonica and a crowd of 200 belting it out at the top of their lungs.

[caption id="attachment_349" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Tom chillin while Lachy does some Piano Man harmonica"]Tom chillin while Lachy does some Piano Man harmonica[/caption]

After the fireworks, the second set and pack up, I headed back to my motel room (and was very glad not to have been sleeping in my car).  I made some tea, watched the midnight fireworks on the flatscreen TV, then went off to sleep in a deliciously comfortable bed.