Thursday, 31 July 2014

Thankful Thursday

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything and I’m sorry for this.  Last week was also a busy week and the weekend didn’t slow down at all.  Here are some things that I’m thankful for this week:

Helping friends as they marry
Some dear friends got married on the weekend.  She was my maid of honour and he was one of our groomsmen for our wedding.  I was thrilled to be one of her bridesmaids and to be able to help her as she prepared for marriage and on her wedding day.  I’m so thankful for our friendship and that she lets me love and support her.  It was a joy to see them so happy to get married.  I’ll write more on the wedding later, but for now, here is a picture (with two groomsmen missing, I’m not sure where they were). 

bridal party selfie

My popcorn machine
I got this for Christmas from my sister because I asked for it.  Last year I tried making popcorn in a paper bag in the microwave and it failed miserably (and I was quite upset, perhaps I shouldn’t have tried to make it for a special reason; a date night movie night at home).  I’ve used it a couple of times this week so I could eat a light snack when I got home and I always love how easy it is to use, and it actually works.  I know that some people disparage one-function or ‘specialty’ kitchen items but the heartache that it has prevented is totally worth it.  Thanks sis!

The chance to play netball again
Today I was approached by a third year at college who asked if I was interested in joining a college netball team that plays on the uni campus just near college.  I haven’t played in a few years but I love the camaraderie of team sports and the fact that it’s a fun way of doing some exercise.  I can’t promise to be very good but I’m looking forward to running around on the court again.

What are you thankful for this week?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Thankful Thursday

I don’t really want to write this today.  This week hasn’t been a great week, and it’s not going to end soon enough for me.  But as I look back there are still some things I can be thankful for, which shouldn’t surprise me.  God’s blessings are all through my life if I only look.  And part of the point of doing this Thankful Thursday thing was to remind myself of the things I can be thankful for, even when I feel like life isn’t great. 

College friends
On Saturday night we had some friends from college over: two ladies from our year who live in the residence at college.  It was lovely to have them over.  I asked for advice with my knitting, a car was washed and we played a few games after dinner.  It was just nice spending time with them.  I’m also thankful for my friends at college and enjoyed seeing them again now that semester two has started.  I had a good conversation with a friend over lunch today about why this week is stressing me out and she was lovely and gentle as we discussed together.  Thank you friend.  

Chaplaincy Group
This morning I had chaplaincy group, a group of second to fourth years who meet weekly to discuss various issues of theology and life.  This is also the group we went with on mission together.  Today we met our new male chaplain, because the one we had last semester is now away on study leave.  He is a new lecturer at college.  It was lovely to meet him and get to know him a bit, as well as be back together as a chaplaincy group and laugh together.  I enjoy our camaraderie. 

I wrote about this already in my previous post so I’ll just mention it briefly here.  I heard a wonderful sermon yesterday that was so encouraging.  I am thankful for all that God has done, who he is, and who I am because of him.  I have hope because of Jesus, so I try to look up at him. 

What are you thankful for this week?

Look up with hope

Yesterday I heard a wonderful sermon in Women’s chapel from a friend and fellow second year.  She preached from Ephesians 1:15-23 and reminded us why we need to keep hearing the truths about God and the good news of Jesus.  And she blessed us by encouraging us with these truths.

Sometimes we know things about God and we can even explain them well, talk about them and write about them in an essay.  But do we really know know them?  Do they change our lives, our hearts, our focus?  We have to keep hearing the good news because we so easily forget.  We forget that God has saved us from the evil in our hearts, that he has forgiven us for our rebellion, that he loves us.  I have forgotten this. 

Look up and know the certainty of the hope that you have in Jesus if you belong to him.

picture from

I’ve been having a tough week.  Too many things have to get done and I don’t want to do any of them.  I want to just escape.  My friend’s words as she explained this part of God’s word to us were a soothe to my soul.  I have hope in Jesus, and nothing can take that away. 

I needed to hear so much of what she said. 

And then in the afternoon I heard another encouraging sermon from a friend in preaching group (one of my subjects at college).  She reminded me that God is sovereign.  That means that he is still in control even when I feel that there is no control in my life.  I grasped at this truth in the restlessness and chaos I was feeling. 

Thank you God for these sisters.  Thank you for these truths. 

Friday, 11 July 2014

Late Thankful Thursday

I’m sorry that this one is late.  Yesterday was full of house cleaning and friends so I had no time to sit down and write this.  But here is is, better late than never.

Here’s what I’m thankful for this week:

Our time in Adelaide
We had a wonderful time in Adelaide, catching up with some family and friends.  We didn’t get to see everyone, and for that we are disappointed, but this did mean we didn’t completely tire ourselves out hopping from one appointment to another.  It was lovely to be back in our familiar places, hanging out with old friends, having meals with our families.  We are both looking forward to returning to Adelaide after we’ve finished at college. 

Being home again
But as nice as it was to be in Adelaide with friends and family, it’s also nice to be home, in our own bed, with our full wardrobe, our own bathroom.  Not that I didn’t appreciate the spaces that our parents made available to us.  There’s just something about being in your own home, where your things are packed away into cupboards and not a suitcase.  Now that we’re home I’ve been watching some TV, reading and relaxing before we go back to college next week. 

Time with friends
Yesterday we spent the afternoon with friends in town, walking through some of the Botanic Gardens and then visiting the Art Gallery.  Though we’ve been here for a year and a half, we still haven’t seen many of these things of this city.  Afterwards we had our friends over to our place for dinner.  It was lovely spending time with these friends.  They shared with us things we didn’t know about the Gardens or the Gallery.  They we’re patient with us as we finished preparing dinner, and we just enjoyed chatting and sharing our lives.  We are thankful for these friends.

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Learning an old skill

I don’t know if people say that knitting is dying out.  I sometimes wonder if old ladies think that it is.  It kind of seems like it’s something that only grandmas do: they knit little booties and bonnets for their baby grandchildren.  But I’ve seen enough young women knitting to know this isn’t true. 

There are a number of women at college who knit: beanies, scarves, gloves.  And finally, they have inspired me.  I’ve decided to learn to knit.  

While back home I asked my mum to teach me to knit.  I'd learn before, as a child, but it never really went anywhere.  I think I only ever knitted one square. 

Here's my practice knitting.  

Now I've decided to knit an infinity scarf.  But I haven't decided what stitch to use.  I'm hoping to get some advice from my knitting friends. 

I know that knitting isn’t dying out, but I sometimes wonder about other ‘old skills’.  I remember a pin lace artist telling me that she thought her art was dying out.  What beautiful skills are we leaving forgotten because of our fast-paced, consumerist, machine-enabled culture?  It makes me sad to think about knowledge that has been lost or forgotten. 

Now I know learning knitting doesn’t really change anything.  If I really wanted to continue the knowledge of a dying art perhaps I should have tried pin lace.  But I do enjoy the feeling of accomplishment from learning the skill of knitting and I’m looking forward to having made something with it.  I won’t have relied on a machine, or someone else, to make me something.  And that makes me feel a little better. 

Monday, 7 July 2014

The faith of an old man

Today J and I visited a man who used to go to our church in Adelaide.  He now lives in a nursing home, at the age of 99, because he can't really care for himself anymore.  Visiting him was such an encouragement for me.

He was excited and surprised to see us, not knowing that we were in Adelaide, and told us that he had prayed for us just this morning.  This man is an exceptional man of prayer.  His eyesight is poor and his hearing is going so he can't really watch TV or read a book (not even the Bible.  He now listens to it through headphones).  He told us that instead he spends his evenings praying, every evening.  I suspect that he spends most of his time praying really.  I couldn't imagine concentrating on prayer for that long, but hearing his commitment to prayer was an encouragement for me to keep working on my discipline for spending time in prayer.

He is very old and is eagerly awaiting his death so that he can go to be with God.  When I asked how he was he complained that he was too well!  But he expressed his trust in God's timing and he makes the most of the time that he has left. 

Here is one example.  He told us that he spoke to one of the cleaners who works in the nursing home and asked her if she loved Jesus.  The cleaner told him that she did, and he was so pleased.  When he found out she didn't read the Bible often he encouraged her that she needed to be fed from God's word.  Later on he gave her an old copy of a Bible reading plan and commentary notes, which she found very useful and encouraging. 

I always find myself encouraged after speaking to this faithful old man.  He always encourages us to keep loving and serving God, and his faith shines through in everything he does and says.  I can only hope and pray that God would create in me such a faithful heart.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Thankful Thursday

Here are some things that I'm thankful for this week.

We're in Adelaide! 
This is one of the big things that J and I are very excited about and thankful for this week.  We're thankful that we had the money to buy flights home (and that we found cheap flights with Jetstar).  We're really looking forward to catching up with friends here.  We've already got some catch ups organised but we still have time for some more so please get in touch if you'd like to see us.  We want to make the most of our time here and catch up with as many friends as we can.

People who drive us places
Since we've flown to Adelaide we don't have a car to get around, but so far our friends and family have been lovely picking us up and dropping us off places.  A big thanks particularly to our college community friend who dropped us at the airport (and his kids for being fun in the car).  Having others drive us around makes me thankful again that we do have a car, even if it's not here.  It is a privilege to be able to drive at all, and to be able to afford owning and running a car.

A haircut
This morning I went with Mum to the hairdresser where we both had a haircut.  It's nice to go back to my regular hairdresser and catch up with them.  It's also a lovely feeling to have freshly cut hair.  I'm also thankful that they were able to fit me in while we are in Adelaide and that it's before my friend's wedding so that my hair is easy to work with for the wedding hairdresser.  It was also a bonus that Mum insisted on paying for my haircut, thanks Mum!

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

"Good News for Anxious Christians" book 'review'

This book was recommended to my class at college this year by one of our Mission and Ministry lecturers.  I've been wanting to read it all term but never really got the opportunity until the holidays.  J read it during semester and liked it so much that we bought it. 

The sub-title of the book is 'Ten practical things you don't have to do'.  I haven't finished reading it but what I have read has been such a soothe to my heart.  I've decided that I'd like to blog through the chapters of the book and share with you my highlights.  Hopefully you will find it helpful, as I have, and perhaps are even encouraged to read it yourself. 

In his preface Cary describes his book as an attempt to 'preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to Christians'.  His introduction is about why trying to be Christian makes us anxious and how we can see God's commands in the Bible as freeing us from anxiety rather than producing anxiety. 

Cary attacks what he calls 'the new evangelical theology' which has introduced supposedly practical ideas to help us in Christian life but which are not Biblical, and actually get in the way of believing the gospel. 

These are the areas he addresses in each chapter:
  1. Why you don't have to hear God's voice in your heart
  2. Why you don't have to believe your intuitions are the Holy Spirit
  3. Why you don't have to "Let God take control"
  4. Why you don't have to "Find God's will for your life"
  5. Why you don't have to be sure you have the right motivations
  6. Why you don't have to worry about splitting head from heart
  7. Why you don't have to keep getting transformed all the time
  8. Why you don't always have to experience joy
  9. Why "Applying it to your life" is boring
  10. Why basing faith on experience leads to a post-Christian future
There's so much of this that I'm looking forward to reading.  I hope you enjoy learning along with me as I read this book!