Thursday, 29 October 2015

The end of the last three years

This is my final week of college classes.  I’ve been here before of course.  This started out as a one year project, but it joyfully turned into three. 

Mostly it felt like a normal week.  I feel like it should be more than this.  But classes go on as normal, they just might end in applause if it’s our last lecture in that subject.  I want to savour my time but I don’t really know how to do it.  

J kept coming up with all the things that are my last.  Last Ethics lecture, last chaplaincy group, last split chapel, last return thanks (prayer at the end of lunch).  This was a good reminder, but it never felt like the last to me.  There have been a few things that have helped.  We had breakfast in our chaplaincy group this week, and prayed for our chaplains.  Tonight is the farewell for the women (students and wives) who are leaving college. 

I have mixed feelings about finishing college.  I’m sad about leaving friends and daily in-depth focus on my faith.  I'm glad to leave essays and exams behind me.  I’m looking forward to next year with a mix of excitement and nerves.  

Partly it doesn’t feel finished because I still have 4 exams to get through.  They are a daunting prospect. 

There’s really no resolution to this post.  I don’t quite know how to feel about this week.  How do you deal with endings?

Thankful Thursday

Here are some of the things I am thankful for this week:

A new pillow
My parents were here over the weekend and we spent a lot of time with them, which was lovely.  We went out to dinner with them a number of times, J and Dad played golf, Mum and I went shopping, I drove them to a quilting shop Mum really wanted to visit.  One of the fun things I did with Mum was to make a pregnancy pillow.  I'm normally a back-sleeper so switching to sleeping on my side has been a bit of an adjustment. I'd seen a few patterns on the Internet, but I already had a bit of an idea of what I wanted.  I'd been sleeping with two extra pillows, one at my front between my knees and supporting my stomach, and the other at my back.  But they were a bit flat and meant I took up a lot of room in the bed much to J's dismay.  So I knew I wanted something to support my front and back, that was narrower and plumper than a normal pillow.  Mum and I had fun making it up as we went along and here is the result.  I am now, usually, sleeping much more comfortably (except for sore hips!).  

Community living
I've said it before, but I love living in this community of Christian student families.  This week I'm thankful that I can borrow things (like a sewing machine for that pillow!) and I can shoot out strange requests and the odds are that someone can help me.  This week I need egg cartons for the craft at kid's club so I sent out an email to our community and got about five replies from people who had heaps of egg cartons!  I had so much more than enough, thank you community!

What are you thankful for this week?

Sunday, 25 October 2015

An announcement and an apology

Okay, it’s about time that I write about what I’ll be doing next year.  But this announcement also comes with an apology.  

Me at 21 weeks pregnantI am currently half way through a pregnancy and will be spending most of my time being a mother next year.  We are excited to be growing our family in this way, with a good dose of nervous thrown in too!  (This is why we won’t have as much space in our house next year.)   

The baby is due at the end of February, the 29th to be exact (though babies are rarely exact).  J is quite excited about that due date, seeing as it’s a leap year, but I’m glad that only about 4% of babies are born on their due date.  The poor child would only get a ‘real’ birthday every four years!  

My apology is this: for those of you who struggle with childlessness, I am sorry.  I am sorry for the pain that this announcement may cause you, and I am sorry for the pain you have already gone through and are going through as you seek to answer your good desire to have children, be they biological or adopted.  I don’t have any answers and there is nothing that I can say to lessen your pain.  Our desire to be sensitive to you is part of the reason why this announcement has taken so long to happen online.  We wanted to be sensitive to you and not make a big online announcement.  You are not forgotten by us.  We love you, and so does our creator God.  We long for the day that we can celebrate new life with you. 

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Thankful Thursday

Oops.  It’s Thursday again.  I had at least two posts that I wanted to write before we got here.  One was about the space thing I mentioned last time.  I guess that will have to wait, sorry. 

Here are some of the things I am thankful for this week:

Breakfast date and good advice
J and I went out for a breakfast date on Saturday.  We were already up early because our community had its annual photo that morning.  We had heard about a nice cafe just down the road and decided this was a great opportunity to check it out.  When we got there I saw that the menu had Nutella bombs! 

Now I understand if you don’t know what a Nutella bomb is; I myself only learnt about them a couple of months ago.  It is basically a Nutella milkshake, usually with a jam (or Nutella?) filled doughnut sitting on top of the glass with the straw pushed through it.  I’ve never had one before, so all this is just what I’ve heard from others.  The Nutella bomb at this cafe had a chocolate brownie on the top. 

I really wanted to get one, I’ve never tried it before and I LOVE Nutella.  But J convinced me that I wouldn’t be able to fit it in with breakfast as well.  So I made him promise that we’d come back some other time for a Nutella bomb.  Actually, I don’t think I made him promise, I just told him that we had to come back another time. 

Picture from is what they look like.  When I tried to search online for Nutella bomb I couldn’t find it but it turns out the rest of the world (or just Sydney?) calls them Tella Ball Shakes.  If you click on the picture you can get the story about how they were created/invented. 

At the end of breakfast I realised J was right.  I’d only had a bowl of toasted museli with berries and yoghurt, with a glass of fresh juice, but I knew I definitely couldn’t have fit a Nutella bomb in as well.  Sorry I don’t have a picture of the food (it was delicious), but I’ve never been in the habit of taking photos of my food.  But when I have a Nutella bomb or Tella Ball Shake I’ll try to remember to take a photo!

A driver swap
As you know, our community organises a car pool to get to and from college each day.  This week I’m thankful for the driver who was willing to swap times with J and I so that we could get home a little bit earlier for an appointment we had to get to. 

Final assignment done!
Last night I submitted my final assignment (ever! J said, but I told him to never say never, or ever).  As far as final assignments go it was a pretty easy one to finish on.  It was the second of a two part research assignment where we had to reflect upon an application of our research and what we have learnt through the process.  And as maybe you can tell by the name of this blog, I don’t mind reflecting much at all. 

What are you thankful for this week?

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Thankful Thursday

Getting an assignment finished
Last week was my final Research Week of my college career!  I chose to look at the significance of Jesus’ resurrection in the argument of the letter to the Romans.  I’m not sure that I answered the question very well, but I enjoyed looking at Romans in more detail and the things that I have now learnt about it.  Now I know roughly what is the subject of most chapters, and I’ve understood the flow of the argument a bit better.  Of course, the lectures that we’ve been having on Romans this week in class have shown up the holes in my essay!

I often grumble about doing assignments.  It’s my least favourite part of studying at college.  But I’m so thankful for what I have learnt through the process of doing assignments (and thankful that the big assignments are over for me!).

Adelaide catch ups
We flew to Adelaide on Friday for a family wedding.  (This made finishing the assignment due Friday a bit tricky, but thankfully we both managed.)  We saw a lot of people over the weekend because of the wedding and because we visited our home church on Sunday morning.  I’m an introvert, so by the end of the weekend I was feeling pretty emotionally tired (let alone physically because of the late nights of assignment writing and wedding reception).  But despite this, I’m so glad we got the chance to catch up with some of our family and friends. 

Clothes airers (and the space to set them up in)
Normally I do the washing on the weekend but that obviously wasn’t possible this time.  The weather was a bit dreary at the beginning of this week so I had to hang the clothes inside.  I’m thankful for clothes airers that mean a lot of clothes can be hung up in a small space.  I’m also thankful that we have some spaces around our house where the clothes airer is relatively out of the way.  We’re not going to have as much of that free space next year so I’m reminded to be thankful for it now.  (More about that decreased space in another post!)

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

I am a music snob

I am a music snob.  I really am, I am ashamed to say.  I don’t mean styles of music.  You can like your punk/funk/heavy metal as much as you like and I’m not fussed.  Each to their own and I’m (mostly) happy to say that it’s just a matter of preference (but screaming, is that really music?).  When I say I’m a music snob, it’s in a far worse way than disliking a particular style.  I mean church music.

In the last while I have been to a few different churches or places where church music is played (e.g. college).  Each church has different resources (in terms of musicians available and qualities of sound systems and things like that).  And I have realised that I am a snob about church music.

I realised this recently when we were in a church singing a song that I knew well and the song leader and congregation sang a note wrong.  They sang two lines exactly the same without the subtle difference of one note.  It was only one note, but it annoyed me. 

Now, I quickly realised that this probably affected only me.  My snobbery caused me to lose joy in what I was singing, to focus more on the music (the tune, the instruments, the tempo) instead of the words that I was (meant to be) singing in worship to God.  It distracted me from what I should be focusing on while singing in church.

I know that this is probably my problem and not something I can blame on someone else.  I could say that the musicians should “work harder” and get the song “right” so that the music is good and doesn't distract anyone.  But I’ve been in far too many small churches to know that this just isn’t possible.  Your drummer is young and enthusiastic and plays too fast and loud, or your guitarist taught themself and can only play certain types of music, or your singers are shy and never know when to come in.  But there’s no one else who can do it, so you use what you have. 

Sure, my problem may be fixed by a talented music team who play well together and produce polished church music.  I will be able to entrust myself to their music and focus on the words and what I am singing to God.  There will be nothing in the music that jars me out of my focus on God.  But what if I’ve learnt the song incorrectly in the first place?  What I think is right and won’t jar, is actually not right, and even if the musicians play the song perfectly (or we sing along to a recording, arguably as perfect as you can get), my problem will still happen.

So much of the way we do music at church is communal.  We learn together and we teach each other.  We may get used to the way that our church music team plays a particular song, and this becomes our favourite and comfortable way to sing it, even if it is “wrong” in certain aspects according to the original composer(s) and performer(s).  

My music snobbery is just something that I need to get over.  I can’t control the music at any church and getting upset about it just puts a barrier in my way to worshiping God through what I’m singing.  I want to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness for the way that God has blessed the church with the people who are there, and I want to focus on the words, more than the music.  Any time I hear that jarring of music not–quite–right–to–my–ears, I hope it reminds me to refocus on the words, to mean what I am singing, and ultimately, focus not on myself, but on my God. 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Thankful Thursday

Here we are again at Thursday.  Sometimes I can’t believe how fast the week goes.  This week has been a bit up and down for me, but I know that there are still things I can be thankful to God for through it all. 

A chance for some crafting
On Saturday we had the college Spring carnival.  It’s kind of an excuse to have lots of people at college for Open Day, which happens at the same time.  It’s lots of fun, particularly for families: there’s face painting, balloon animals and a jumping castle.  One of my favourite things is the cake competition because after the judging you can buy slices of cake for a dollar and try them all.  Unfortunately I was too full from my lunch to try all the cakes, and I stupidly didn’t make good use of the fact they had take-away containers available.  Oh well, it’s probably better that I didn’t. 

Spring carnival also has a lot of stalls, populated and run by students.  Lots of these things are handmade so when I got home that afternoon I was inspired to do some craft myself.  I made a whole bunch of earrings, did a bit of crochet, and fixed a hole in one of J’s pockets!  Very industrious!

Calming colouring
On Sunday I (officially) started some adult colouring.  It’s a bit of a trend at the moment, that has really take flight.  I’ve seen lots of adult colouring books in stores and seen it mentioned on the internet.  A couple of weeks ago I ordered a special colouring book as a gift for a friend (and I got one for me too!).  One of my fellow students put me onto it actually.  His sister-in-law created this book as a way to meditate on verses from the Bible as you colour in the patterns she has drawn around them.  The book is called Meditations and you can find it here

This afternoon I was feeling anxious so I did a bit of colouring and it really helped me to calm down and remember God’s goodness.  Last night as I did a bit of colouring before bed I used it as a time to pray for others.  I love how colouring gets you to stop and wind down and how this book in particular gets you to focus on God and his word as you do it.

Picture from

The Library Box
Third year had an assignment due last night (which I submitted at 10:30pm, woo hoo! just within my acceptable bed time limits if I race).  I had at least ten books to return this morning.  Now, since there’s a big construction site at college the library has moved a few hundred metres down the road.  That doesn’t sound that far… I’m going to look up how far it is.

Haa! Yes, it is only 300 metres.  I probably had to walk further to get to the uni library when I was studying at uni.

Aaanyway, I didn’t want to take them all the way to the library.  Thankfully there is a library returns box on campus so I could just tip all my books in there this morning before chapel.  Thank you library box!


What are you thankful for this week?