Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holiday Snaps

These photos are all in reverse order and I really don't have the energy or the inclination to do anything about it so here are some snaps of our holiday going backwards!

The photo above is the view from the Bicentennial Tree at Pemberton. Pemberton is in the South West corner of Western Australia and is in the middle of the Karri Valley which is a wonderful region full of giant Karri Forests, Wineries, Chocolate Factories and most importantly (to Stephanie and Sharon) Cheese Factories. The Bicentennial Tree is a giant Karri tree standing around 240 feet tall. It is one of three trees in the Karri valley that have been made climeable. There are stakes hammered into the tree in a spiral going all the way to the top where there is a viewing platform. These were originally build as fire lookouts but are tourist attractions now.
Here are Kym and Sharon, still in the south west of WA. We are on a suspension bridge over some beautiful water falls. We loved the way this place had an abundance of water and was still so lovely and green in the middle of summer. Very different to what we are used to!
And now we have gone backwards to Christmas day in Perth. It was a pretty warm day so after our Chritmas dinner we headed to the beach. Perth has some lovely beaches and we all had a great time swimming, kicking the football and just relaxing.


Here is Stephanie digging holes in the sand. As you can see it was a beautiful day.

And here we have Stephanie and Scott reliving their childhood at the Perth Zoo. They loved this mini carousel when they were little (we lived near Perth when Steph and Scott were pre-schoolers) and both commented that they remember it being bigger!

Here is Steph doing what she does best, clowning around with one of the displays at the Perth undrewater aquarium. We spent a lovely day out there catching up with some old friends and enjoying a lunch on the boardwalk afterwards.
This is only a snapshot. As you can imagine we took a great deal more photos than this! We had a great holiday and are home for a couple of days now before we head to the shack at the beach for two weeks.
New Years Eve will be spent camping on the beach with my brother, his family and my parents. It's going to be a warm evening so the beach seems to be a good place to spend it!
Happy New Year everyone!








Saturday, December 19, 2009

Unwinding

Well, today my holidays officially started.

I actually enjoyed the 5 hour long car trip to Adelaide. Simply because I wasn't at work. I didn't have to think about work, and returning to work is sufficiently far enough away that I don't have to think about that either!

I read a magazine. I checked out some possible Christmas dinner recipes. I checked out facebook. I even had a nap.

Right now I have just returned from having a lovely dinner with the family (plus one, Steph's boyfriend Dale has joined us for the trip). It was a lovely meal, shared with the people I love. I can actually feel myself unwinding. I didn't realise how tightly wound I was.

Next is a relax in the spa. Followed by a good nights sleep, and then a sleep in before breakfast is delivered. We fly out at 12 noon so we can take our time over a leisurely breakfast. Which is a good thing since it's my 40th birthday! 40! Eeeeeekkkk! But that's an entirely different post!

Blessings to you all! It's lovely to be back and to be able to think clearly and not feel as though there a thousand things I should be doing. I'm on holiday. It's time to slow down.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Enthusiasm

Today was my last day of work for three whole weeks.

You'd think I'd be a bit excited about that.... I'm sure I will be, any minute now.

Right now I'm just tired. Exhausted. I've spent the entire week trying to make sure that I have everything done. My office is spotless. I've left notes and messages for all the people who are doing bits of my job for me. I've even left instructions for my boss.

The overtime I have worked this week has been astronomical. Which means I will get a nice holiday bonus in my next pay packet.

But this also means that I'm feeling unprepared for our trip. I'm kind of packed. But not to the point where I can relax and feel that I'm under control. I like to be under control. It's important to me to have "all my ducks in a row" as my Mum says.

I can't even muster up the enthusiasm to feel excited about going right now.

Obviously I need to get off the computer and go to bed! Right after I've checked I have everything...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Absent

I've been a bit absent lately.

To be honest I've always been a bit absent minded, but just now I'm referring to by absentness (is that a word?) from the blog world.

I've spent some time assesing my priorities and have come up with a bit of a list, but it doesn't seem to have helped me find more time in my day.

The good news is that this is my last week before I take 3 weeks holiday. I can't remember the last time I had 3 weeks away from work, other than maternity leave and that wasn't exactly a holiday!

I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it! We will spend 2 weeks in Perth, and then a week at the beach. 3 weeks. I'm smiling just at the thought of it.

So, I should be able to find more time to post here, and on facebook if you want to look me up there....I've been a bit "anti" computer when I'm not at work.

A bit of a catch up.... Steph has been having singing lessons once per week in Whyalla, a city about 1 and a half hours drive from here. Her teacher is nothing short of amazing. Positive, caring, enthusiastic and very talented. Just what she needs, it's done wonders for her confidence.

Kym has just completed our best harvest in around 6 years. Praise the Lord! Such a relief to finally see some return for the hard work he puts in year in and year out.

Scott has just had his first day of school holidays and is "bored". He is really looking forward to our holiday. He loves to fly....

I am ridiculously flat out at work. The good season has resulted in a LOT of machinery sales! It's a good thing as it means my job is very secure, but it's an awful lot of hard work!

So..... I'm hoping to be a bit more consistent in my blogging in the coming weeks, and perhaps find something a little more profound to say!

But for now this little black duck is heading to bed.

I will be coming to visit everyone very soon! Promise!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Letting Go

I have decided that letting go sucks.

It's too hard. I don't want to do it. I am refusing to participate.

This morning I waved goodbye to Steph and her best friend as they headed off to Whyalla to see a movie. All alone. In her own car. Whyalla is a 150km drive and is one of our nearest cities. It's an easy city to drive in, nice wide streets, not too busy. Steph has driven there before...with me.

It was just two girls going out for a fun day together.

And yet I felt physically ill. I have been see-sawing between panic and prayer all day.

I'm a bit surprised at myself. I've never been the hand wringing type. Until now obviously.

They are still in Whyalla at present. Steph has her singing lesson at 6.30pm, which means she will be traveling home at dusk, contending with trucks, headlights and kangaroos. The horrific possibilities are endless, and I can't stop myself from imagining the worst.

Is this normal? Am I a complete basket case?

A very wise friend reminded me today that they are in God's hands, and that he is a much better parent than me (thankfully!). I know this and still I worry.

I will continue to worry and pray until she is home.

I'm hoping it won't be this bad every time she takes a step away from my protection. It's my job to protect her. It's not a job I'm ready or willing to give up!

She may be almost 17, with a licence, a car, responsibilities and a job. BUT SHE IS STILL MY BABY!!!!

Someone get me a paper bag....panic panic panic panic.......

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Juggling Act

I've dropped a few balls just lately in the juggling act of life.

I'm ashamed to admit that regular attendance at church is one of the dropped balls.

As is blogging regularly.

Not to mention the washing, the ironing, the housework.

I feel as though I'm barely keeping my head above water at present. And tomorrow I'm going to take a step toward remedying that by going to church. Church always makes me feel better. Gets my head in tune with my heart and helps me sort out my priorities.

God doesn't want to be my number one priority. He wants EVERY part of me, and rightly so. He should be my ONLY priority. Once I manage to get that right, then everything else just falls into place.

I know this truth.

I'm just really struggling to put it into practice.

Lord, help me get my priorities right, and help me remember that you are my everything, and deserve nothin less than my undivided devotion and attention. Help me with the reality of my life at the moment and get me though this busy time of year with sanity in tact. Please just help me stay on top of my committments and if something needs to go, then help me work out what.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Please Pray

Last night we lost an absolute legend.

He was an icon at my place of work. Everyone loved him. He was a diamond in the rough with a heart of gold.

Last night one of our mechanics was killed in a car accident at the age of 43.

His 18 year old son also works for us, and is in the third year of his apprenticeship.

Finny was what we call in Australia a really top bloke. I have spent almost 10 years sharing jokes, stories, arguments and laughs with Finny. I loved him dearly.

Finny was also somewhat of a trouble magnet. He got into fights in bars, he drank too much, he swore a LOT, he lost his licence and ended up in court countless times and he drove way way too fast. And last night speed was his downfall.

I feel a bit numb. I haven't really reacted to this terrible news at all. I feel quite removed. I don't know why.

I do know that I am not looking forward to tomorrow. We have a staff of about 20, and we all loved Finny. Everyone has a funny story about Finny. I don't know what we will do without him, or how everyone will react to this tragic, and unneccesary loss.

The worst part is that we won't have time to grieve. We are in the middle of the busiest time of the year. We all must carry on regardless, even though it's the last thing any of us want to do.

So, please pray for all the staff in the coming weeks as we deal with sudden loss of a dearly loved and respected workmate.

Also pray for Finny's girlfriend, who is an ambulance officer and was called to the scene of the accident last night. I can't imagine what she must be going through right now.

Lord, please be with our staff and management tomorrow as we all come to terms with this sudden and tragic loss. Please watch over Finny's girlfriend, his son's and his family as they deal with their loss. I don't know where Finny is now Lord, but I pray that somehow he is with you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Still Here...

Just in case you are wondering, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I just seem to be hurtling through life at a ridiculous pace at the moment, and haven't found time to sit and catch up with all my bloggy friends.

So...an update.

Miss Milly is still the darling of the family. Chewing all and sundry. Making off with brooms, shoes, remote controls and basically anything that isn't tied down. The puppy puddles are becoming less frequent (thankfully) and she has settled into a daily routine spending a lot of time with Kym as he goes about his daily jobs. She loves to ride on the motorbike with him, and has been introduced to the sheep.

Kym is frantically getting everything ready for harvest. With the weather warming up the crops have ripened really quickly so he's keen to get into it. The header (or combine, or harvester, depending on where you are from) is still getting the air conditioner fixed so he is getting a little imatient.

Scott is banned from the computer at the moment (which is why I am on here at last!). His attitude leaves a little to be desired, but isn't anything too severe, or difficult to deal with. He is a very busy boy at the moment with squash on Mondays, junior tennis on Tuesdays, Cricket practice on Wednesdays, senior tennis on Friday and Cricket on Saturday. No wonder he's been getting a bit grumpy! He's just starting to get a cold so that isn't helping.

Steph is doing pretty well. She's busy with some assignments that need to be completed in the next couple of weeks. She entered the Search for a Singer contest in Port Lincoln again this year, and again has made it to the finals. She is just starting out with singing lessons on Thursday evenings in Whyalla, which is just over an hour's drive. I hope the teacher is good and she enjoys her lessons. She hasn't really been singing at all lately as she's been pretty down and doubting her ability so I'm glad she's enjoying it again.

And me...well I'm still working, working, working. I'm feeling a bit under the weather myself but not unwell enough to take a day off, just unwell enough to make me short tempered and grumpy (just ask Scott!). I've been a bit absent from church in the past few weeks and it shows. Obviously time to get back into it and work on my relationship with the Lord.

Right. Enough about me. Time for me to come on over and see what you have all been up to!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Millyness!

I just had to share this picture!

When Boris first met Milly he was less than impressed. He wouldn't come to me if I smelled of Milly. For two days he refused to look at me, he wouldn't sit on my lap, he sat next to me and pointedly looked at the wall. All of this I found highly amusing!

But, this evening it looks like the ice is melting!


How cute is this? :)

New Addition to the Family

Introducing Milly! She's the one at the front. We brought Milly home on Friday evening, so have had a weekend full of puppy mischief, puppy love, puppy play and lots of puppy puddles to clean up!

Milly is an Australian Koolie, which is one of the oldest breed of working dog in Australia. They are renowned for their love of working, and have been known to work until they drop just for the sheer love of it. They are extremely active both physically and mentally and are not a breed that you would keep in a backyard, no matter how big. Koolies need to work. They love to work and if they aren't mentally and physically stimulated they will become frustrated and take over your family, your garden and your sanity! If they don't see you as the leader they will take it upon themselves to train you!

So as you can imagine, the decision to bring home this gorgeous little girl wasn't one taken lightly. At the moment she is a gorgeous little bundle of puppy fluff, but soon she will need to be trained for her own good, and for ours.

Koolies aren't the prettiest dog you will ever meet! They are charactarised by their merled coat which comes in red, black or blue (Milly has a bit of all three!) and their blue eyes. Some have one brown eye and one blue. Milly's eyes are both blue.



This is what an Australian Koolie adult looks like. Milly has more black on her than this one, but it gives you a good idea.

I'm planning to document her training and I'm excited to see how she performs. Her breed is almost revered among people who have owned them and worked them and I can't wait to see if she is as good as they say she is.

But it doesn't matter if she isn't. We love her already.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday Afternoon Randomness

After finishing the washing this afternoon I wandered out to the garden to see what Kym was up to. He was just finishing off planting out his tomato seedlings, so I gave him a hand, then went and got the camera to take a photo of the new plants.
Just as we were finishing up Kym pointed out a baby galah in a nearby tree, so of course I took a photo of him too! His nest is a hollow log that Kym has wired up into the tree. The same family of wild galah's nest there every year. This young fellow wasn't afraid of me at all. I was able to get really close and he happily sat in his nest watching me.

Since I had camera in hand I thought I'd go for a bit of a wander around the farm. Boris (the cat) decided to come with me and we had a pleasant walk on a lovely calm spring afternoon. As you can see we went by the bees, who were busy coming and going loaded up with pollen. If you get really close you can see the pollen on their legs. But I wasn't getting that close!

Of course Boris had to have a rest after all that exercise. He got a bit of a fright when a couple of magpies swooped over his head. They don't appreciate it when you get close to their nest, and they aren't afraid to tell you!

He's a handsome young man isn't he? :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Car


After her little accident a couple of months ago Steph has been without wheels. And that has been a major inconvenience to her.

A week or so ago she got her insurance payout, and with a little help (again) from Mum and Dad she purchased herself a red 1996 Commodore. She loves it. Her boyfriend says it's not a girls car which makes her love it even more. She's never really been a girly girl. Now she is saving for a new stereo and speakers (even though there is nothing wrong with the one in the car).

Last week we had it serviced and fully checked over and found that the exhaust is on the way out. So Steph convinced us to let her have a sports exhaust, so now it sounds really cool. And it definately doesn't sound like a girls car.


Lord, please keep Stephanie safe as she is driving more and more. Keep her focussed and help her be aware of other road users and stay out of their way! Especially trucks!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Father vs Daughter

Sometimes I feel like the meat in the sandwich between Kym and Steph.

They are very similar people. They can both be abrupt, impatient and demanding. However both fail to see these traits in themselves, only in each other.

Last week was a turbulent one in our household. Sometimes I feel like they run around lighting fires and then they expect me to run around and put them out.

We are now in school holidays, and Steph has gone to spend a few days at a friend's house, and then later in the week she is spending some time with her cousin.

In short she is avoiding her father. And he knows it. And he is too stubborn to back down and do something about it. Neither of them are willing to admit to any fault on their behalf. I can see it, it's blatantly obvious. Kym is over critical, Steph is over sensitive. Both are OVER stubborn. And I am OVER IT!

I feel a bit helpless. And a lot frustrated. I just want to bang their heads together and tell them both to get over it.

So, I shall pray. And pray, and pray some more. Because it worries me that they are both going to be so stubborn that they will permanently damage their relationship.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Assesing the damage.

As you may know from my last post, yesterday Eyre Peninsula suffered the worst hail storm in most people's memory. There were reports of hailstones the size of golf balls and some the size of tennis balls. Now that's a big chunk of ice falling out of the sky!

It was amazing to stand at the window and watch the world turn white. The football oval at the school looked like it was covered in snow. This is not something we are accustomed to seeing!

I spoke to Kym (who was shearing and said the noise was deafening inside a shearing shed) after the storm front had passed and he estimated that we had suffered approximately 30% crop loss due to hail damage.

When I got home we went for a bit of a look around. And we are thinking now it's more like 50%. But as I said yesterday, for us at least, all is not lost. Our crop is insured for $300 per tonne, and the price of wheat at the moment is closer to $200 so we may in fact be better off. But I'm hearing sad reports that there are several farmers in our community who either weren't insured against hail damage, or weren't insured for enough. Insurance is expensive (as I'm sure you well know) and after four years of drought it's often the first expense to be cut back on. I'm so glad we didn't decide to do that.

The picture below shows where our wheat heads are now. On the ground. Not where they belong!



This wheat crop yesterday morning was waist high. It is now a tangled and broken mess on the ground.



And our garden didn't fair very well either. The tree below had leaves in the morning. They are now all over the ground. I wonder if Scott will be interested in earning some extra pocket money by raking up the leaves!

Kym is upset by the crop loss....but he is really upset by the loss of his veggies! This was a lovely big cabbage....not anymore.


Kym is quite philosophical about it all. We might get away a bit earlier for our Christmas holiday this year, because harvest won't take very long!

We are ok. But I worry about those with little or no insurance. Please pray for these people, this could be the last straw for many of them.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wild Weather

After a fantastic weekend, with lovely calm, warm, sunny days today has been a bit of a surprise...

The forecast for this week was for possible storms and showers of rain. As you can see from the picture below we got a little more than just showers.

We heard that the hail was coming, through messages from people who had just had the storm front pass and had time to move all the machinery and our cars undercover.

I'm glad we did! We left one old ute outside and it's bearing the scars now. We've heard from a friend of my bosses who was caught driving in it and had his windscreen smashed.

The good news is that at the moment it's raining. Really raining. Just praying that the hail didn't cause too much damage to our crops.

**Update** I've just managed to speak to Kym and he said we have suffered around 30% crop loss due to hail damage. Luckily we are insured against hail, so it's not going to be a financial loss, and the price we have our wheat insured for is actually more than the price of wheat per tonne at the moment so Kym isn't too concerned. It's still raining, and the thunder and lightening has just started up again.


Others aren't so lucky. Some have their crops insured against fire but not hail and this will be devastating.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Other Woman

I often joke that I am not the only woman in my husband's life.

He is a motorbike enthusiast, and the proud owner of a Triumph Sprint 955. For those of you who don't know, thats a pretty cool road bike.

She is the other woman.

Luckily I get to share. Today, being a beautiful spring day we decided to go for a ride. We went to Arno Bay, which isn't far from home, but we went the long way, because on a motorbike it's more about the ride than the destination.

The thing I love the most about riding on the back of the motorbike is how free it feels. You can not only see everything, but you can smell it and hear it too. As you can see it was a beautiful day.

As you can see I feel perfectly safe on the back of a motorbike. So much so that I can take photos of myself in the rear vision mirror! We weren't moving very fast here, as Kym is a bit precious about riding his bike on the dirt. He is up at the shed now, polishing it as we speak!


As I said, we went to Arno Bay. We rode down to the boat ramp and marina to have a look around and see how many boats were out fishing. And just for Joanie, I've snapped a photo of myself, helmet hair and all!


And here she is. The other woman. Even I have to admit, she's pretty gorgeous.

Lord, thankyou for the wonderful afternoon Kym and I have spent together. Thankyou for giving us the opportunity to take time out and just enjoy each other's company.



Changing Seasons

September/October is my favourite time of year.

It's the time of year when life slows down. Just a tad. Football season is over, and for a couple of weeks before tennis and cricket start we get to spend Saturday at home.

September is a time when I look forward to Christmas (I LOVE Christmas), Summer holidays, Sunshine and of course, the beach.

You know I think it's more fun looking forward to these things each year than actually experiencing them!

Now is the time for us to just stop. Catch our breath. Relax.

In two weeks Scott will start playing cricket which means early Saturday mornings, but at least it still leaves Saturday afternoon free. Kym, Scott, Steph and I will start tennis which is usually played on a Friday night.

Sometime in the middle of October we will start harvesting. Which means I will become a single parent for about 6 weeks. This is a lot easier now than it used to be. It was hard work with young children, I hated it. Doesn't bother me at all now, in fact I quite enjoy having a few weeks where I get to be the keeper of the remote!

At the moment Kym is busy getting the harvester ready for action, and just making sure all the odd jobs are done around the farm that he won't have time to do during harvest. Now that Scott is older it's his responsibility to check on the sheep each day while Kym is busy. At least this year they still have plenty of feed in the paddocks. This time last year Scott was busy each day feeding them hay.

Our crops are hanging on. We are luckier than some in our district. We have had a couple of showers of rain in the past few days, and there is supposed to be more coming next week. All we need is one more good rain. And the grain prices to go up a bit!

All in all, we are in a stronger position this year than we were last year, and that's good news.

Lord thankyou for this time to rest and recover from the busy winter season. I pray that spring will bring about favourable weather so that our crops can fill out and reach their full potential. I pray for those who are facing another bad year, with failed crops. Be with them. Show them that you are there and that they can rely on you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What a Weekend...

I'm still recovering from my weekend. I need another one to get over it.

We started Saturday morning at 4am (not a typo...I kid you not!). Princess Stephanie wanted as much shopping time as humanly possible. So we left home at 4.30am.

We arrived in Port Augusta at 8am for breakfast at McDonalds.

Then back in the car. After a quick stop for fuel we arrived in Adelaide at around 10.30am. Plenty of time to hit the shops.

And hit the shops we did, until around 4pm when with tempers fraying and exhaustion setting in we headed to Kym's Aunty where we stayed for the weekend.

We enjoyed a lovely dinner with Kym's Aunt and Uncle and then settled in to watch the footy. I never made it through the game and ended up in bed by 9.30pm. It had been a long (and expensive) day!

Sunday was Stephanie's big day. We had to be at the theatre by 9am for her to be registered, and for her dress to be taken away and judged by the judges. In the meantime she met some girls of similar age and interests and set about chatting and getting to know them. Then it was off to the catwalk for a rehearsal. All the girls were put through their paces, and told where to stand, when to turn, when to walk, and timed. It was all very precise!

After rehearsal it was time to start dressing and doing hair and makeup. This was absolute mayhem as 90 girls vied for mirror space and power points. But they seemed to make it work without too much trouble, helping each other out with hair styles, and Steph was able to help a couple of girls with their makeup.

The fashion show started at 1.30pm, and went until around 4pm. Each category (casual wear, evening wear, fantasy) was put through their paces with the winners announced at the end of the show. Out of about 50 entrants, Steph finished in the top 10 of her category (evening wear). She was really happy with that and loved every minute of the experience.

We then went out for tea to celebrate. It was lovely to just spend some time together and enjoy each other's company. I know we live together but we don't often just hang out together.

We got back to Kym's Aunt's at about 10pm, and sat around visiting with them, drinking coffee and chatting before heading off to bed.

Yesterday we left Adelaide at around 9am. Kym decided that 9am city traffic would be a good time for Steph to experience city driving (?). She was fine, and quite pleased with herself.

We stopped in Whyalla on the way home to do some grocery shopping and to pick up some fabric for Steph's next creation (she's making herself a couple of summer tops), and arrived home at around 5pm.

Scott and I had a quick bite to eat before we had to get back in the car and head to Arno Bay for squash. I won, Scott lost in a 5 set marathon. We both fell into bed once we got home (after checking facebook of course!)

So here I am at work. A bit spaced out. A lot tired and even more grumpy.

It's only Tuesday....bring on the weekend!

PS...we weren't allowed to take photos of the fashion parade, but have to buy photos from the photographer. Will post them when I have them.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Drought

As most who read my blog are aware our community has been in the grips of a drought for the past 3 or 4 years.

Year after year we have put our crop in, only to have the rain dry up in August and leaving us with little or no yield.

We are surviving, and the promise of this year's crop is keeping us going. Here we are in September with crops still looking green and fresh. Even if it stops raining now we will still get a crop, and that's good news.

The bad news is that it's too late for some.

The harsh reality is that we are facing losing some families from our district. And they are our friends. Very dear friends.

I don't want them to go...

Up until now I've taken the ostrich approach. If I don't think about it, it won't happen. Just call me Scarlet O'Hara. I'll think about it tomorrow.

Well, I'm afraid tomorrow is here. At church on Sunday we had a guest speaker who lost his family home and his father in the terrible bushfires in Victoria last summer.

His message was one of hope, and resilience, and that when you lose all you have it makes you realise what is really important. He then played "It Is Well With My Soul" on his saxophone. And that was it for me. The floodgates opened. I was a dribbling mess without a tissue in sight. Eyeliner and mascara everywhere...not pretty.

There I sat in church, with two dear friends on either side of me, both facing losing everything, both with tears streaming down their faces.

And it really hit home.

They really are leaving.

These families will leave a huge hole in our community, and in my life.

And I still don't want to think about it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

End of the Season

Well....yesterday we lost. So netball is over for my team for another year.

But for me I've decided that netball is over. Full stop. Period. The end.

The last four or five games have been a real struggle for me. I've had some difficult personalities in the team to deal with, illness, teenage drama and my body has really started to complain about the punishment I give it every time I take the court.

So that's it for me.

At the moment I'm comfortable with the decision. Relieved even. I have been over committing in all sorts of areas of my life of late and taking netball out of the equation should make next winter a whole lot easier for me. And for those who have to live with me!

Bring on Summer...my favourite time of year.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Annual Sillyness

Every year our netball association gets together for a dinner where the best and fairest votes are counted for each grade. There is a theme every year and each club comes dressed up.

Last year we were cheerleaders. This year the theme was uniforms, so we came as fire fighters. It was pretty easy, all our husbands are voluteers for the Country Fire Service so we "borrowed" their uniforms for a day (luckily there wasn't a fire!). We even arrived on a firetruck and had a huge time driving around the town squirting unsuspecting gardeners in their gardens (only the one's we knew well enough to know they wouldn't mind!).

Once we got off the truck and finished playing with hoses it was time to move inside and decorate our table. There is a prize for the best dressed club and best decorated table. We didn't win!
Here is Stephanie and her friend Sophie posing with our mascot. The mascot of the Country Fire Service is Smokey the Koala. He visits schools every year teaching kids to "stop, drop an roll!".


And here is fire fighter Sharon applying lip gloss....because no one said we weren't allowed to be pretty fire fighters! And fire is hot! It dries your lips out, and we don't want chapped lips now do we!

It was a fun day out as it always is. A time for us all to put our competiveness aside and just enjoy each other's company.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

School Photo Day

School photo day brought a great deal of stress to my household when I was growing up. I was a perfectionist. I HAD to be wearing my neatest, cleanest uniform, perfectly ironed. I took a brush to school so that I could re do my hair moments before the photo was taken. I was mortified if I got a pimple before school photo day.... I made SUCH a big deal of it.

As you can see, Stephanie has inherited this need to look perfect from her mother. Her hair is just so (usually her hair is dragged into a very messy pony tail, and doesn't see a brush for days on end), she is wearing her favourite school shirt, she has taken great care to make sure she is smiling nicely. The school photo from this year becomes the photo on her student ID for next year so it is VERY important to her. Thank goodness our student ID didn't have a photo, imagine the panic that would have caused me!


Scott on the other hand couldn't care less. He was talking during the taking of his photo. He is always talking. Although from a parental perspective, as the one who is paying for the photo I think it could be nice if they tried to get a good one. I mean there is no excuse these days with digital photography. I guess they have a lot of photos to take in one day, but really, could you just ask him to smile?

I'm glad school photo day is over for another year... only one to go for Stephanie, and being her last one she will be really keen to make sure it's perfect. If she is anything like her mother that is.

Isn't it wonderful that God doesn't care when we are having a bad hair day? He thinks we are all beautiful. We were created in His image afterall.

Monday, August 31, 2009

He Loves Me.

A few years ago, just as I was drifting off to sleep I felt the Lord tell me He loves me. I didn't hear him say it, I felt it, at the core of my being. It's hard to explain. But it was a wonderful warm feeling of peace and wellbeing.

I remember feeling completely amazed and honoured that the Lord would choose to communicate with me in this way, at a time when I really needed the encouragement.

I've spent the past few days reading a fantastic book, called "The Shack". You may have heard of it. This book is doing wonders for me. It's turning upside down by misconceptions about the church, religion, and most importantly what it means to love.

Last night as I went to sleep, with the Lord at the forefront of my mind (where He should be all the time) I felt it again.

He loves me.

The feeling of warmth and peace reverberrated throughout my entire body. I felt it physically. It was wonderful. Amazing. Uplifting and encouraging. And just what I needed.

My challenge now is to remember it. Remember that no matter how bad my day is getting (and it seems to be going from bad to worse), no matter what curve balls life is throwing at me that I will be ok. Because God loves me.

Thankyou Lord for showing me how much you Love me. Thank you for loving me. I'm so sorry that I constantly disappoint you, that I forget to have faith in you and that I let worry and lifes pressures consume my attention when I should be focusing on you and only you. Help me to turn back to you every time that I turn away.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Teenagers are awful...

Sometimes being a teenager comes down to survival of the fittest. Attack is the best form of defence, kill or be killed....

In my previous post I told you about how Steph has been having trouble at school with one of the boys turning nasty on her.

She conducted herself pretty well throughout this, not replying to his text messages, deleting him off facebook and bascically turning the other cheek. She spoke to both her school counsellor, and the principal and they have been supportive and helped her feel that people cared about her and that they were there to help.

The same can't be said for some of her friends. She has some great friends. They are loyal and protective.

And their loyalty has meant that they have turned the tables on the lad in question.

They are making his life a misery.

Stephanie is flattered that her friends care enough to want to protect her. The message I've been trying to get across is that they are now treating him in the same way he treated her. And that's not right.

I'm not excusing his behaviour in any way. Not at all.

But he is a human being. He is someone's son. At the moment he is going home from school miserable and hurting, and I know how that feels as a parent.

Two wrongs do not make a right.

I'm really struggling to convey this to Stephanie. She is still full of anger (and the boy isn't helping himself by continuing to say mean things about her) and in no mood to forgive. She thinks he's getting what he deserves. Forgiveness has always been an issue for her. She has always held a grudge. She will bring up past hurts years later.

So how do you get a kid who has been hurt to forgive? How do you soften their heart to prevent it from becoming bitter and hard?

Lord, I pray that Stephanie can find it in her heart to forgive. She can be so compassionate and caring and I pray that she can see that the hurt being inflicted on this boy is equal to what was inflicted on her, and it's not her or her friends job to judge or hand out punishment. Please be with this young man as he struggles to endure the consequences of his actions. Please help him to forgive also and help them both to move on and get along. I pray for his parents as they deal with a difficult teen, I pray that they can find the right words to encourage him.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe....

Aside from the little run in with that truck, life with the teenage princess has been running pretty smoothly of late.

She is looking at her study options and career options, and thinking carefully about her subject choices for next year. She is working well at school (I won't say working hard because I'm sure she could do more!) and seems to be learning to get along with teachers, even the ones she doesn't like.

She has a lovely boyfriend, who is respectful, caring and responsible. Just the right type of boy to take home and introduce to your parents. Only we already knew him, and his parents, and his grandparents...the joys of a small country town!

We got word this week that the dress design she entered into a Teenage Fashion Award has made it to the state final, and she will be modelling her design next month in Adelaide.

Suffice to say we've been cruising along merrily, almost ready to sigh with relief that the dreaded years of teenage angst have come to an end.

Of course you know where I'm headed.....yesterday the wheels fell off....again....

Last week a boy from her class told her he loved her (via text). I'm not sure exactly what she said but I get the general idea that she didn't exactly let him down gently.

So now he's turned nasty. I mean really nasty. I can't repeat the names he has been calling her verbally or the venomous text messages he's been sending her. She has blocked his number. She is trying to ignore him at school which is difficult as he is in almost all of her classes.

I had to pick her up from school yesterday because she was so distressed.

I've tried to encourage her to deal with the problem, firstly by speaking to him and if that doesn't work to go to the school counsellor. She did this today and that seems to have made things worse.

I feel like we are back to square one. She doesn't want to go to school. She is coming home crying and upset.

But, unlike this time last year when she fell into a big heap, I'm pretty calm. While its not great to see your child suffer, this time I think she is handling it a little better. She doesn't want me to step in and take care of it, while she says she wants to run away, deep down I think she knows that she will be ok.

And I know she will. Because I am praying for her, and the Lord is watching over her. It's incredibly comforting to know that the Lord will always be there for her. He loves her even more than I do.

Lord, please watch over Stephanie as she deals with the issues she faces at school. I pray that she can learn from this experience and grow stronger as a result. I pray for the boy in question, I pray that he can understand that hurting Stephanie like this isn't going to make him feel any better, and inevitabley he is hurting himself more. I pray that Stephanie can deal with him calmly and tactfully, and that her friends will support her and care for her while she is at school. I pray that she will realise that she has you to support her, and that she can always rely on that.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hit by a Truck

This morning I had that terrible phone call.

"Mum I think I need a new car"

My first thought was she couldn't start it, or it had broken down. Her next sentence made me feel physically ill.

"I've been hit by a truck"

Obviously she wasn't badly injured or she wouldn't be ringing me....but still...that is not a sentence you ever want to hear from your 16 year old daughter.

I arrived at the scene of the accident to find a very shaken, crying Stephanie and a very shaken (although not crying) truck driver trying to comfort her. And one sad and broken little car.

Stephanie wasn't well this morning but insisted on going to school. She survived the first two lessons before ringing me and asking if it was ok to go home. She was in her own car today (because we had an inkling that she wouldn't be well enough to make it through the whole day) so I told the school that it was ok for her to go home.

She stopped at the intersection. Looked right, looked left and then made the mistake of entering the intersection without looking right again.

Brian (the truck driver) praised her for not hesitating, for speeding up once she saw him, because if she had hesitated the result could have been much worse than a broken and bent little car.

Needless to say Stephanie is extremely shaken. And so is Sharon. When I think what could have happened...if the truck had hit her in the centre of the car and not just clipped that back end...it just doesn't bear thinking about. It wasn't a small truck, it was a fully loaded semi trailer.

Lord, thankyou for watching over Stephanie and keeping her safe today. I pray that you stay with her now as she recovers from her near miss and comfort her.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Choices

When Stephanie was little I loved taking her to toy shops. Well most of the time I loved it, the times when she had thrown herself on the floor drumming her heels in a fit of rage weren't so much fun, but thankfully she grew out of that.

When Stephanie was around 4 years old I really started to enjoy taking her shopping. Especially toy shopping. We would head down to Perth (we were living in WA then) and I loved taking her to Toys R Us. I would let her choose something, and she'd choose a barbie outfit. I would say "I'd like to get you something better than that" and we'd come out with the new Polly Pocket, complete with dress ups and pets and those cute little shoes. This became a bit of a pattern, she'd choose something, I would upgrade.

It didn't take long for Stephanie to work out that her mum loves toys, and her mum loves to give presents. Before long she would say "I don't know what to get, you choose", she had worked out that my choices were often better than hers.

We want the best for our kids. It's only natural. When you think about it, how much more does the Lord want for us? What are we missing out on by insisting we choose for ourselves?

"But not my will, but yours, will be done"

To be honest I'm a bit afraid of fully committing to that. I'm a little on the stubborn side, and I'm a little afraid of what the Lord's will is. What if he wants me to go where I don't want to go, or do what I don't want to do?

But I remember, and I keep reminding myself, and the Lord keeps reminding me, that it may not be my will, but it will always be what is best for me.

My challenge is to not be afraid to let the Lord choose for me.

Lord, please help me to remain focused on you. Help me to listen to your word and your commands and be aware of your presence in my life. Show me where you want me to go Lord, help me follow.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mouse Races

On Saturday night at our netball and football club we held our second annual mouse races.

The kids loved it!

I tried to get some photos but it was difficult as the flash reflected against the perspex but I've found this picture to give you an idea.


They built a big board with rows (a little wider than mouse height) and perspex at the front so we could see the mice running. The mice were put into one end, and a board was removed when it was time to race.

Before each race everyone had an opportunity to buy a mouse. If your mouse won you won a prize and the proceeds from buying the mice went to raise money for the football and netball clubs.

We formed a group and all put $5 in to buy our mice. We didn't get one single good mouse. None of our mice even started running. Well, one did but he ran across half way and then turned around and went back!

If a mouse got loose the kids were told that whoever catches it wins $10. There were a few escapees but they were all retrieved and returned. I think chasing the mice was the most enjoyable part for the kids.

It was a great family night out, and a great fundraiser for the club.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Toothless

The removal of my wisdom tooth went well yesterday. I didn't bleed much which was a blessing, and today I'm feeling ok.

The biggest issue was finding a vein to put the drip in. My veins have never been cooperative when it comes to finding them with a needle.

I actually felt sorry for the aneathetist, he was so apologetic. I assured him that it wasn't his fault, and this happens ALL the time but I don't think it made him feel any better.

In the end he put me under with gas first (which tastes dreadful) and then put the drip in once I was asleep.....which makes me wonder why don't they do it that way all the time? The gas doesn't taste so great but it certainly doesn't hurt, unlike being jabbed 4 times looking a vein!

Anyhoo...I woke up after having a very pleasant time swimming with dolphins somewhere off a pacific island, in a bikini, because I was thin, without a wisdom tooth.

I still have one wisdom tooth but this one seems to be behaving itself so far. The first two I had out in the chair when I was 20, and I have to say that even though I'm not keen on a general anaesthetic I much prefer having a tooth removed while swimming with dolphins than wide awake listening to drills!

I'm not allowed to drink hot drinks for a couple of days (which means luke warm tea!), and chewing is difficult, but other than that I'm fine.

Today I'm being forced to take it easy. I feel fine. Really I do. Kym wouldn't let me go to footy, he says I have to stay home and rest.....I'm doing the washing, because I'm SUCH a rebel!

Kym will come and pick me up and take me back to the club around 6pm, because tonight we are having mouse races! Stay tuned....I will take photos!

Thanks so much for your prayers and thoughts. Everything worked out really well. The nerve the dentist was worried about is still intact, tooth is removed and I'm only in a little discomfort.

Lord, thank you for watching over me and the surgeons hands yesterday. Thank you that I am healing quickly and thank you for all my wonderful friends who have been praying for me. Thank you for my lovely family who have been fussing over me, making me jelly and squishy food and warm cups of tea. I feel truly blessed and loved.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dental Drama part 986

Last week my dentist finally finished the root canal treatment I've been enduring over the past couple of months. Ouch.

On Friday I'm going under general anaesthetic in hospital to have a wisdom tooth removed. I have to say that when the Oral surgeon said he'd prefer to put me under for the procedure I was quite relieved.

I've had this wisdom tooth for a long time without it causing me any trouble whatsoever, until late last year. I put up with it for a really long time before I went to the dentist, only to find that it was infected and beyond repair and needed to come out.

Great.

Lesson number 1 - if you have a tooth ache - GO TO THE DENTIST! It hurts for a reason!

This tooth runs really close to a nerve along the bottom of my jaw (can't remember the name of the nerve) and the dentist didn't want to touch it, so I was referred to an oral surgeon.

Lesson number 2 - DO NOT put off going to the dentist! What could have been a filling has now become a major drama because I took the ostrich approach!!!!

The oral surgeon said that because I'd let it get so bad before seeing the dentist there wasn't much left of the tooth above the gum line and it would have to be cut out.

Lesson number 3 - If you have a broken tooth DO NOT ignore it! It's much easier for an infection to get inside a broken tooth. Go to the dentist IMMEDIATELY!!!

So....On Friday morning, sometime between 8am and 1pm South Australian time I will be knocked out and have the tooth surgically removed. Any prayers during this time would be greatly appreciated!

I have another chipped tooth I noticed the other day....

Doesn't hurt though, I don't think I'll worry about going to the dentist just yet. ;)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Alpha Male

Scott has always wanted to be just like his Dad....

And then he started oozing testosterone.....

Now he wants to BEAT his Dad, at EVERYTHING!

Kym has always been an exceptional sportsperson. He has retired from football but is still playing at number 1 in our tennis and squash teams, and still playing a high standard of golf.

Scott has potential in the sporting arena, but I'm afraid he doesn't have quite the amount of natural talent that his father does (that's probably my fault! LOL! Bad genes!).

Scott's tennis is improving every year and he aspires to one day beat Kym. Which will happen eventually (as Kym gets older and Scott learns to stop smashing the ball and place it). The tennis competiveness runs in the family, Kym remembers well the first time he beat his father.

Scott is almost as tall as his Dad, and every now and then he likes to challenge Kym to something to do with strength, in the hope that one day he will win.

Last night the challenge was arm wrestling...



Kym likes to "play" with him a bit, giving him the false impression he has a chance!


But he never lets him win. He says that Scott will beat him soon enough, and then never let him forget it!

Lord, thankyou that Scott has such a great father to look up to and aspire to. Thank you that Kym is such a wonderful loving father and such a fantastic example to both Steph and Scott. I pray that they will always have the close relationship that they share now.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bushwalking

We have a beautiful bushwalking and picnicing area not far from home. We haven't visited it in quite a few years but after the recent rain in that area Kym and I thought we'd go see if there was any water in the creek......


Well, there was! Beautiful clear pristine running water. This area is known as Wharminda Soaks, we just call it "the soaks". The hills on either side of this little creek soak in the rain and it seeps out of the rocks into the creek. There is water at the top of the soak all year round, but during the past few years it has been reduced to a few small puddles. The creekbed is usually dry with a few pools of water that increase in size and depth as you get closer to the top. Kym can't remember the last time the creek bed had running water at the bottom like you can see in the photo above.
Here I am at the top of the soak. You can't really see it in the photo but the rocks behind me are wet, the dark rocks on the left are seeping water out from them, and REALLY slippery to walk on!



Here is the view as we headed back down. You can usually climb up this "dry" creek bed without any problems. Today we had to deal with slippery wet rocks and wet feet!

It was a lovely way to spend our Saturday. We finished with a picnic in the picnic area and a slow drive home...Kym was checking out all the flowering shrubs seeing which ones were attracting bees. Of course.

Lord thank you for the lovely time spent with Kym today. Thank you for opening my eyes to the beauty all around me. I'm in awe of your creation.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Objections

As most of you are aware, I am married to a man who won't come to church.

This has been something an object of frustration for me for many many years.

Last night Kym said to me that he really enjoys the company and gets along really well with all the people at our church. All of our friends are members of our church. He has known many of them all his life.

He just doesn't like church.

I pointed out that church has changed a lot since he was forced to sit in the pews for 18 years. We are a much more relaxed bunch now, and he said himself that he enjoys the company of everyone there.

He doesn't sing. When we all stand to sing he feels out of place.

I said that when I am worship leading I notice that quite a few of the men don't sing. It's not compulsory. You can still listen, hear the message and worship without singing.

He said he has never sat in that church and felt comfortable. He's never considered it a place where he wants to be. He never once in all the 18 years that he went to church every Sunday thought that "this is a good thing, I want to be here".

I commented again that church has changed since he was there.

While I don't think that this means Kym will be coming to church with me in the near future, the fact that he is willing to discuss it is a giant step forward, and fills me with hope.

Lord, thankyou that Kym feels he wants to talk to me about attending church. I pray that you will give me the right things to say in future discussions of this nature. This is the first time we've really talked about attending church without it turning into an argument and I thank you for that. Please continue to soften Kym's heart and help him to open it up to you.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I shouldn't be surprised but....

Would you believe that our sermon at church this week was entitled "Are you too busy for God?"

Do you think the Lord is trying to tell me something? :)

There was a great analogy that I'd like to share....

A little boy was walking with his family on the beach, collecting shells as he went, when he saw a beautifuly big starfish floating out in the water.

His father encouraged him to go grab it, it wasn't too far out so go right ahead. He ran a little way into the water but came back out, looking frustrated.

His father said "go on, go ahead and grab it, it's right there" So he went back into the water again and went a little further but then turned around and ran back out, looking really frustrated this time.

His father encouraged him again "it's right there in front of you, you were nearly there, just reach out and grab it". So the little boy went in again, this time getting right up to the starfish. He looked at it but came back out of the water again.

His father said "what's the problem? you were right there, just reach out and grab hold of it" to which the little boy frustratedly replied "I can't, my hands are full of shells".

That really opened my eyes. I am not fully committing my life to God. I beat myself up about not being a good enough wife and mother, but I don't commit my family to the Lord. I try to do good things in the community and be a productive member of society, but I don't seek the Lord's counsel on what I should and shouldn't be involved in.

I can't do everything on my own.

That's a bit of a revelation for me.

So, my new aim is to give myself, my life, my family, my everything to the Lord. Not just little snippets, everything, and trust him to take my life where He want's it to go.

"Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord for thee" The first line of a song (that I chose!) that we sang on Sunday. The chorus sings "Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it's all for thee." I chose to include that song in worship this week because it's a new one the congregation has been learning, and it sounds pretty. Well, that's why I thought I was choosing it. The Lord obviously had something to tell me...

Lord, help me to hand everything over to you, and to seek you in all things. Help me to hear your counsel, and be open to hearing your word. Help me to dedicate time during my day to spend with you. I committ my family to you now Lord. Help me to trust in you, and remember that you are the only one who cares for them more than I do.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Priorities and Commitments

Some comments on my previous post (thankyou ladies!) has made me think that maybe I should sit down and asses my priorities and commitments. I'm obviously spreading myself too thin and perhaps now is a good time to think about how I actually spend my time....


My job - it's full time, around 40 hours per week. Also uses a lot of my mental and physical energy and there's often not much left in the tank by the time I arrive home. I would dearly love to cut back on this, but that's not financially viable at the moment. Praying for some direction here, as I'd love a change, but if God wants me here, then I guess that's where I will be staying.

My family - they are also full time! The kids need to be driven to their sporting commitments, nagged to do their homework and clean their rooms, supervised on the computer (Scott mostly), and have their arguments refereed. I think poor Kym gets the least attention, because he can look after himself and I forget he needs me too. Of course there are the chores that everyone with a family has to do, washing (no Joanie, not ironing!), tidying, cooking etc.

My church - I worship lead around three months of the year. This involves planning songs, practising new ones, preparing the power point presentation, liasing with ministers/speakers and of course the important bit, actually worship leading on a Sunday. I'm also on our ministry team which meets monthly to oversee the general well being and pastoral care of the church, and I'm the secretary of the congregation which is a quarterly meeting. One term per year I teach Sunday school which to be honest I don't really enjoy so much anymore.

Our school - I am on the governing council committee for our school, which meets monthly. I am also on the school uniform committee which meets when required, the IT committee and since I'm the treasurer of governing council I have to be on the finance committee.

My sport - I play, coach and umpire netball most Saturday's from April to September which takes a great deal of physical and mental energy each week. I love the game, but not the politics that come with it, or the way my body feels after playing. I know this is something I should be able to let go but haven't been able to bring myself to do it yet. During summer I play tennis, and I'm the secretary of our tennis club. I'm also the captains wife so I generally write up the teams (because you can read my handwriting) and this has the added perk of having a say in who my doubles partner is! In Autumn and Spring I play squash with Scott (well, not actually with him, he's better than me so plays higher, but we go together). This happens on a Monday night after work.

Mary Kay with Steph - It feels like I have two jobs when this gets busy, but it has the benefit of being flexible, and we are able to do parties when we have time, or when we can make the time. Most Mary Kay parties are held on Friday nights or Sunday afternoons. I'm looking forward to summer as I will have more Saturday's free then.

Out of all that I'm thinking netball is the obvious thing to drop. Although I would still have to go on a Saturday to watch Steph and Scott play, and being there I would still help out with scoring, timing, umpiring etc.

Everything would be so much easier if I didn't have to work....but I do so I may as well stop sulking about it and toughen up.

I guess what I need to do now is pray about it. Try to work out what stays and what goes.

Lord, please help me to see what is important in my life and what isn't. Help me to prioritise my committments so that Iam able to best serve you and care for my family.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I want to run away.

I'm serious! I really do want to run away.

Life is just bugging me at the moment. And rather than deal with it, I'd just like to run away.

There is nothing specific that I can really put my finger on. I think I'm just tired and feeling run down and unappreciated.

Work is getting busier and busier, with new responsibilities and tasks added here and there. Nothing major, but it builds up.

Nothing drastic has happened at home. The kids are relatively happy (as happy as teenagers get I imagine), Kym isn't stressing any more than usual about the rain, the crops, the weeds, the drought.

I think I've just reached a point where I either need to ask for help or fall into a heap. I feel as though I spend my life meeting other people's needs and demands. It feels like there is no one taking care of me, and I don't have time to take care of me because I'm spending all my time taking care of them.

Sigh.

I don't have any answers. I'm really really bad at telling people how I feel. Really bad. I don't like to admit to any kind of weakness. People comment to me all the time that they don't know how I do it. Well I don't know either. And I don't know how much longer I can go before the wheels fall off.

Like I said. I just want to run away.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Football Clubs

Football in our community is more than just a sport. For those who don't know God(and for a few that do) it's a religion. People feel very strongly about it.

Our family are members of the Rudall Community Sports Club. This is a family oriented club, where we play netball, football, tennis, cricket and softball. We have a great sense of community. We look after each other and support one another. I love this club where I have grown up and where my children have grown up.

Our arch rivals are Cleve. For as long as I can remember we have loved to hate Cleve. But for the most part it's been a friendly rivalry which has remained on the field.

I'm afraid that may be about to change....

Cleve have in the past few years really started to struggle with numbers. Their senior football are having trouble finding two teams each week. Their solution is to amalgamate with Rudall.

Cleve and Rudall are so different in their makeup, and their philosophy, and their priorities.

Cleve are successful on the field, but not doing so well off it. Their netball and football clubs are seperate entities and don't talk to each other. Their club is run as seperate little clubs. On a Saturday night after a home game the Cleve football club is empty by 7.30pm. Their clubroom is old, rundown, and in need or replacement.

Rudall hasn't won an A grade football premiership since the 70's. But they have plenty of players who love being there. All the sports played at Rudall are managed and supported by the club as a whole. They are a community with young families and have built a fantastic facility where everyone is made to feel welcome. On Saturday nights after home games we have quiz nights, mouse races (I kid you not!), live bands and we serve home cooked, inexpensive meals to encourage families to stay and interact and enjoy themselves.

Both of these clubs have people that are passionate about them. We have one club who are getting it right on the field and one getting it right off the field. And I think that's because we have different priorities. Rudall is about community involvement. Cleve is about winning. I'm not sure you can combine the two.

What I do know is that this has the potential to completely divide the community because there are people on both sides who feel very strongly about their point of view and who aren't willing to listen to one another.

And that's bad.

We are already suffering from a drought. We need to be supporting each other and not tearing each other down over a game of football, where it should be played, and who it should be played for.


Lord, please help those who make the decisions for both these clubs see beyond their own opinions and be open and honest with each other for the good of the community. Please don't allow this to come between people and divide the whole community.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ouch...

Oh the pain!

Just a quick warning...this post is going to be a whole lot of complaining so you have my permission to stop reading now!

On Saturday I played netball. This isn't unusual, I play netball most Saturdays, but this Saturday was different.

For those of you who don't know, I usually play in the goal ring, or on the wing. Stephanie is a centre. The centre is the person who runs. And runs. And runs some more. All they do is run.

We have a couple of girls who can play this position, as it's incredibly difficult to run out an entire game there.

On Saturday for the first time in two years we only had 7 players for 7 positions. This meant that Stephanie would have to play an entire game in centre, and she almost made it! She has been feeling a bit under the weather with a tummy bug for the past few days but seemed find on Saturday. Until the fourth quarter. She got head spins and felt really unwell.

No problem I thought. We can just put her in a position that doesn't run so much. I looked around me to see who I could swap her with. She can't play goals, or deep in defence because she is too short so I needed to swap her with one of the wings. Hmmmm. Oh dear. That would be me....

Waaaaaay back in the dark ages when I had two legs that worked I used to play centre. I loved it. It was my favourite position. But that was a long time (and about 10 kilograms) ago.

Surely I could manage a quarter. It's only 15 minutes!

There were sniggers from my "friends" on the sidelines as we changed position. There were comments about going to find the stretcher, or the defibrillator (this from a nurse!) and much snickering going on!

To cut a long story short, I did survive. But it was the LONGEST 15 minutes of my life! I thought I was going to DIE! And Stephanie had the cheek to point out that I was letting my player loose occasionally! RUDE!

We won the game by 10 goals and I was quite proud of my achievements in the end. I even got a the best player vote! Or a sympathy vote perhaps!

By 7pm I was struggling to walk, and getting up out of a chair was out of the question!

Today I'm still feeling quite a bit of pain in my "good" knee, and a normal amount of pain in my injured knee. I'm visiting the physio today (who was one of the sideline "sniggerers") to see if I'm doing any damage to my good knee. I'm worried that I'm putting too much pressure on it by favouring my bad leg too much, and it's going to be the next thing to go.

I only have about 5 games for the season. I'm hoping my body can hold it together for that long!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's not about me...

I don't know about you, but "it's not all about you" is a sentence I find myself saying to my teenage daughter a lot.

But a post I read this morning (thankyou Leah) got me thinking...it's not about me either!

As a worship leader it's pretty easy to fall into the trap of thinking it is about you. I stand in front of the congregation on a Sunday, using my talents to serve the Lord. Well, that's how it's supposed to be. People come up to me after the service and thank me, congratulate me, and tell me I'm doing a great job. And that's where it would be really easy to fall into the self indulgent trap of self gratification.

There are a few in our congregation who love to listen to me sing, which is very flattering! They often comment that I don't always use the microphone while we are singing. I tend to only sing into the microphone when we are learning a new song, or to alert people when to start singing. I feel that if we are singing a well known song they don't really need me. Afterall they aren't there to listen to me.

Which is all very well....except I'm a singer. I love to perform. I enjoy being the centre of attention. And sometimes I find myself singing more new songs than well known ones and that's when I have to question my motives.

A church service is not a concert. We are there to worship our Lord, as one, as a family, not to listen to a worship leader who loves to perform....

I don't think there is anything wrong with loving to perform. There is just a time and a place for it.

Here is a quote from Charles Swindoll, that I read on Leah's blog this morning. It really spoke to me and reminded me that worship leading is exactly that. Worship.

Humble yourself. Rather than racing into the limelight, we need to accept our role in the shadows. I’m serious here. Don’t promote yourself. Don’t push yourself to the front. Don’t drop hints. Let someone else do that. Better yet, let God do that. If you’re great, trust me, the word will get out. You’ll be found…in God’s time. If you’re necessary for the plan, God will put you in the right place at just the precise time. God’s work is not about us; it’s His production, start to finish. So back off. Let Him pull the curtains and turn on the stage lights.”

"If you are necessary for the plan, God will put you in the right place as just the precise time". Wow. There's a piece of humble pie Sharon. "IF" you are necessary.

As Michael W Smith says in one of my very favourite worship songs "It's all about you, it's all about you Jesus".

Lord, thankyou for giving me the gifts you have to enable me to lead worship for your glory. Please help me to remember that it really is all about you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hope

Hope is a very powerful thing.

When you have hope you can face almost any obstacle, and life is so much more liveable when you have hope.

In our little drought stricken town we are just beginning to see some flutters of hope.

Our paddocks have gone from looking like this (below) where there was no feed for the sheep, and they were being fed hay by us every day. We have very little hay left now, so the prospect of having enough oats to cut and bale for hay this year gives us hope.




To this. Doesn't that look so much better? Our soil is moist (and actually a little water logged at present!). There is plenty of green feed for the sheep. The sides of the roads are green. Everything looks fresh and beautiful.

Of course we have had this hope before, at this time of year. It's hard to not still be pessimistic when we remember than in the past few years things have looked pretty good in July, only to be dried up and withering by September.

But the past few weeks have been REALLY wet. Wetter than we have had for many years. And that means that the soil is getting moisture down deep, and the crops will send roots down there when the surface moisture dries out.

So, we have hope. And people in the town are smiling.

Lord, thankyou for this wonderful rain. Thankyou that it has fallen so evenly across the whole of Eyre Peninsula. I pray that it will bring renewed hope to our community. I pray for continued rain throughout winter and into spring to ensure our crops have the best chance.

On another subject; It's Jase's funeral today. Please pray for his family and friends as we say goodbye.



Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Morning Stroll

I went for a bit of a walk this morning.

On a muddy road. In dress pants and high heels. For about 8 kilometres.

Let's go back to the beginning.

Our roads are wet at the moment (which of course I am NOT complaining about).

Wet, muddy roads can be a bit of a hazard, but I'm comfortable on the roads I drive on every day. I know where the slippery bits are, and drive accordingly.

This morning we had church at Arno Bay, which is about 30km from home. I was the worship leader so made sure I left in plenty of time so I had time to set up and get organised once I got there.

The road wasn't too bad, so I relaxed a little and probably wasn't being as cautious as I should have been. Before I knew it I had hit a big puddle (which stretched right across the road, so I couldn't go around it) a "little" too fast and in a split second I was amonst the trees on the side of the road.


I hopped out, assessed the damage which wasn't too bad (broken headlight, dented front fender, various scratches), hopped back in and proceeded to reverse back out onto the road.

The wheels started spinning, so I put the car in four wheel drive.

Still no luck.

What to do....here I am stuck on the side of a road that very few people use, with a FLAT mobile phone and people expecting me to lead them in worship in less than half an hour.

I tried to work out why the wheels were spinning and discovered that one of the back one's wasn't completely touching the ground, so I found some sticks and bits of branches (coincidentally there were plenty of broken branches lying around!) and jammed them under the offending wheel.

Still no luck.

So I decided I would walk...thinking that before I had gone too far someone from church would miss me and call Kym who knowing what time I left would come looking for me.

Well they took their time! They waited til I was almost a half hour late! I'm never late! By the time Kym came along I was almost home...tottering along in the mud in my shiny heels!!


So I'm hoping they managed ok without me at church. I feel really bad for leaving them in the lurch.

Dear Lord, thankyou for keeping me safe during my little mishap today. Thankyou for keeping the rain away until Kym had picked me up! Please help me to learn from this experience and treat our wet and muddy roads with a little more respect. Thankyou also for the wonderful rain we have had this week. Walking along the road today I couldn't help but appreciate the wonder of your creation all around me, and marvel at the beauty of it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!


RED ALERT!!


This is traffic warning to all residents of South Australia....


Stephanie has her probationary licence!!!
She completed all her lessons with her final drive yesterday. The final drive is where they have to do their test, and she passed with 96%, which is great....really....I mean that!

I'm just glad the whole process is over! It was a lot more expensive than I expected, and a lot has changed since I got my licence!

Firstly she sat for her learners permit - $32 (luckily she passed because if you fail you have to re sit and keep paying!)

Then she had to complete 50 hours of daytime driving and 10 hours of night driving. Who knows how much this cost in fuel. I probably don't want to know.

Then it's time for lessons. She had to complete a minimum of 5 lessons at $100 per lesson.

Yesterday's final drive was also $100.

And finally her probationary licence was $75

So....a total of $707, which doesn't include the fuel!!!

I'm just glad we have a couple of years to recover now before Scott qualifies to get his licence. Although, no doubt the rules will have changed again by then...

Lord, please watch over Stephanie as she enjoys the freedom that comes with having a licence. Protect her on the road and help her make wise decisions. Help her to remember that a drivers licence is a privelige and comes with responsibility. Most of all keep her safe.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Netball Stress


You may remember my constant whining last year when I told you all about my netball team. How we had almost double the amount of players we needed and what a constant struggle it was to give everyone fair court time....


I said I was never coaching again after that.


Famous last words.


This year in a moment of temporary insanity I decided to not only coach that team again, but to play. Which means I am coaching and playing with my daughter.


Madness.


Our numbers haven't been so abundant this year. And with the loss of Lightening (no commitment!) we are down to nine, sometimes eight (you need seven) players. So not so many headaches there.


But the team doesn't seem to be as cohesive this year as it was last year. There has been nit picking and niggling and just general not nicedness (great word hey!). And that is very draining. It's hard to keep that in check while you are trying to concentrate on your own game. Often I'm so busy trying to get it right myself that I don't notice things that happen around me.


To be honest I'm just over it.


I'm really looking forward to the season being over.


Next year I think I will just play.

Steph in action, grand final 2008.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Tribute

Last night a beautiful soul left us, he was just 17.

Jase is the son of a long time friend of mine. When he was 3 months old, and I was pregnant with Stephanie, Kym and I babysat Jase for a few weeks while his Mum had a much needed break from her two little ones.

He was a delightful baby. Full of smiles. So easy to love. Kym and I enjoyed every moment we spent with him, and it filled us with anticipation of the birth of our own child.

A few days after his Mum came home and Jase went home he had a seizure. This seizure almost claimed his life but his Mum and her Dad managed to keep him alive during the fast and scary trip to hospital.

The months to follow would be a blur of seizures, tests, more seizures, stress and worry for the whole family. No one was able to pin point the cause of the seizures and therefore were powerless to stop them. Each seizure left Jase a little more brain damaged.

By the time he was 2 he was on extremely strong medication to try to stop the seizures. This helped and the frequency of them was slowed right down but he was never the same little boy again.

Jase has spent his 17 years being loved, cared for and watched over by friends, family and the whole community.

Everyone loves Jase.

He has gone through school in Stephanie's class, and they have taken him under their wing, at times fiercely protective of him. He was unable to walk long distances, or talk, but he still smiled that beautiful smile.

Jase loved trucks. He had a truck magazine as his constant companion, and he loved to show you his trucks. He also loved to collect bottles and cans for recycling. You had to make sure you held on to your coke, because Jase wasn't concerned with whether you were finished it or not!

Last night Jase suffered his last seizure.

Rest in peace little man. Our world just won't be the same without you.

Lord, please be with Jase's family as they mourn his sudden death. Please offer them comfort and help them in this time of sadness and loss.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Church Get Together

This weekend saw us having a bye for netball and football so was a great opportunity for us to all get together as a church family.


There are a few families in our church that a doing it pretty tough at the moment, so we thought it would be a good idea to just spend time in fellowship and friendship. It was a lovely relaxed night out, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food (which was cooked by Kym, a camp oven which is his specialty!) and just spending time together.


We had two camp ovens. One full of chicken (those are Kym's hands trying to squeeze in one more!), and one with lamb and beef. The meat was cooked to perfection and everyone was full of praise for Kym's efforts. I was just full of praise that Kym was at a church event!

Kym, Scott and I went down to the church early as the meat had to be put on to cook at around 3pm. We sat around the fire and enjoyed a cuppa and Kym and Scott took the opportunity to have a kick of the footy. I love this shot of Scott. He has just kicked the ball. He's taken his shoes off (and run around in the dirt in white socks!!!) because he can kick further that way. Of course. Silly me. Why didn't I think of that.


Here is everyone toasting marshmallows over the fire. I just love a toasted marshmallow! I love to burn it, then eat off the burnt layer and toast it again until it's all gone!

Here are the "second tier" group of teenagers. The older group (Stephanie's age) weren't there as they are all off on a youth camp for the first week of the school holidays.

And here we have a few of us sitting around the campfire, tummies full and enjoying some great company!
Thankyou Lord for events such as this where Kym is happy to be involved in a church function. I pray that being surrounded by wonderful encouraging people like this will help soften his heart toward you and allow him to let you in.



Friday, July 3, 2009

Kym's Health

Good morning everyone.

I wonder if you could spare a minute for a quick prayer this morning...

Kym is off to the doctor to have his blood pressure checked.

About 8 years ago we discovered by accident (he ended up in hospital after coming off his motorbike, so had his blood pressure taken) that Kym has ridiculously high blood pressure. He also has high cholesterol.

After lots of tests there was no cause found for either condition, other than hereditary. His Mum has high blood pressure, his grandpa on his Mum's side died at the age of 52 from a heart attack.

Kym isn't overweight. Doesn't smoke (anymore). Doesn't drink to excess. He is physically fit and leads a pretty healthy lifestyle.

So, he was put on medication, which fixed both problems.

Until now.

In the past couple of years his blood pressure has been on the rise again. A month ago the doctor changed his medication. He was warned that this may make his blood pressure drop significantly and to be careful when standing up as he may be light headed.

Well. This super strength medication has brought his blood pressure down. A little. It certainly hasn't made him light headed.

Today he visits the doctor again for a check up. If the doctor isn't happy with his progress he may increase the dosage, or send Kym to a heart specialist.

To be honest, I'd rather he just went to the heart specialist. With his family history I'd like to know what's going on.

Lord, I pray that the doctor will give Kym a clear course of action today. And that we will find answers to his health issues. Please give the doctor clarity and help him make the right decision with regard to Kym.