Sunnies and the Australian Sun

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 4.47.42 PMThe Australian sun is hot, intense and can feel like it’s burning right through you.  So when I accidentally sat on and broke my sunglasses or my sunnies as they are referred to here, I still did my best to try and wear them anyway.  I’ll look tomorrow for replacements because sunnies are not really optional here.  I guess I should have brought an extra pair or maybe I should just try not to sit on them next time.

Baseball and Bible Study

When was baseball first mentioned in the Bible? “In the Big Inning.” (Genesis 1:1)  When was baseball mentioned again? “The righteous run to it and they are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)  Alright, so maybe baseball isn’t an important theme in the Bible but it still is just fine (as long as we steer clear of heresy) to mix the Bible and Baseball.Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.43.44 AMRyan is currently making the final preparations for his second Bible study out in Brookton and he has the Japan verses US up in the background.  Since we don’t have TV, we get creative with how we get our news and keep up with other things like sports.

Please pray for Ryan as he heads out to Brookton every Wednesday (it works out great with the time change if our friends in the US pray on Tuesday night before you head to bed).  Ryan has set aside Wednesday to visit with people and teach through the Bible.  We’ll see how this time evolves in the future and I may join him on some Wednesdays too later on.  We’re looking forward to marking our time here in Australia as Ryan teaches chronologically through the Bible.  Thanks for your prayers!

Lenten Lights

Easter is one of my favorite holidays but unlike Christmas with the big build up that you can see in the stores, listening to Christmas music and participating in holiday festivities, Easter can sometimes creep up quietly.  I do admit, there is some candy out in the stores this time of year even in Australia and, of course, Girl Scout cookies in the US seem to mark the beginning of this special season somehow in my mind.  But unless your church observes lent there really isn’t a huge build up towards Easter/Passion Week.  Since getting married Ryan and I have done our best to observe this season and mark it in our own way.  Lenten lights are my favorite tangible reminder.Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 3.49.29 PMAt the beginning of the season (Ash Wednesday) it begins with 7 lit candles.  We have a special candle holder but 7 tea lights on a plate would do the same thing.  Then each night during the meal or at another time during the day all the candles are lit and each day has it’s own reading.   This is the one we’re using for this year: Lent Devotional.  On each Sunday during lent one candle is blown out and the following week one less candle is lit during the daily reading.Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 3.50.35 PMThree weeks in and now we’re only lighting 4 candles each day.  And slowly we will work our way down to blowing out the last candle on Good Friday.  Seeing the darkness represented tangibly is a powerful reminder for me that helps my heart prepare for the joyous celebration that is Easter/Resurrection Sunday.  It may seem counterintuitive but understanding what Jesus did on the cross, makes the celebration of His resurrection more beautiful and more jubilant.  I look forward to continuing this transition and making it a part of how our home marks the Christian seasons.

Binge Reading

Since leaving the US I have read significantly more fiction than I usually do.  I would say I probably average a book or two a month.  So seeing that I’ve read about 30 fiction books (not including work and University books!) since leaving the US at the end of December, I would say I’m above my average for the year.  In addition to a trilogy and a couple random one off books, I have re-read the entire Vorkosigan Saga, I am currently towards the end of The Little House Series and will probably move on to the Chronicles of Narnia soon because they happen to be on our bookshelf.Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 12.50.35 PM.pngFor those of you who enjoy science fiction, I would recommend the Vorkosigan Saga.  I was introduced to these books while in Papua New Guinea and probably read about 3/4 of the series during my various village trips.  It was a great mind escape then and it’s a great mind escape now.  This is my third time reading through the series but my first time reading everything including the newest book which continues the story.  With 20 books of various lengths, this series could occupy your mind and time for quite awhile.  (Please note there are extramarital relationships and homosexual themes in the series.)

I’ve been thankful for books to read during this time of transition.  Books provide something to keep me occupied and allow me to really rest on my days off.  They also are great time fillers for bits and pieces of free time during the day.  Books provide some moments of peace and decompression before bed.  Although I do have a tendency to read until the end of the chapter (or even the end of the book) maybe a little too often.  And books give me new spaces to think and stretch my mind.  For example I love the juxtaposition of the sci-fi, high technology world in the Vorkosigan Saga and the simple, new technology, industrious-ness of The Little House Series.

What are you currently reading?  Any new series or books that I just have to read?  I’d love to hear your recommendations.  And it would be a good excuse to spend more time at the beautiful library here in Perth.

Black Swans and Prayers

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 4.32.07 PMOn a southern bend of the Swan River there is a sandbar that leads to a little island.  It’s hard to see in the picture above but the island is the little scrap of land about an inch to the left of my head.  The river in general is pretty shallow but we walked out across this sandbar all the way to the island and only our knees down got wet (my knees a little more so than Ryan’s).Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 4.30.28 PMWalking along the sand bar was kind of fun because you usually don’t just get to walk out into the middle of a river and the black swans seemed to be enjoying the sandbar too.  Black swans are an important animal here and were almost wiped out when the river wasn’t being taken care of.  But they are back and since I had only ever seen white swans in the US, I think the black ones are very elegant.Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 4.31.21 PMOnce we made it out to the island, we sat down and spent some time in prayer.  We previously set aside time to pray every Wednesday but with our new schedule have had to find a different time.  So now we pray on Thursdays.  We don’t always find a new spot to explore and pray but sometimes it’s nice to have a different view.  I’m sure we’ll come back and pray with the black swans again.

Putuparri and the Rainmakers

One of my current units at UWA is called Indigenous People and Social Work.  Indigenous studies is a very important topic in Australia and so it is no surprise that this is one of our first units.  I feel like everything I previously learned and read about the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander communities is now being reinforced, expanded and given a new Social Work perspective.  I hope that by the end of this unit I will begin to see my knowledge deepen beyond a superficial understanding.  Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 4.50.21 PM.pngA documentary that was recommended to us is Putuparri and the Rainmakers.  I’m not sure how you would get ahold of it in the US but in Australia you can stream it through SBS On Demand.  This documentary talks about Aboriginal culture, history, land rights, the law and so much more.  It is yet another perspective and another group of voices to add to my understanding and appreciation for Aboriginal life, history and culture.

Happy Sunday from Brookton!

Happy Sunday from Calvary Church in Brookton.  Brookton is about 90 minutes from Perth and we’re thankful to be able to worship with this congregation once a month.  This week Ryan will begin spending Wednesdays out in this area and that includes teaching a weekly Bible Study at Calvary in the afternoon.  We’re thankful for this community and the time we get to spend here with these wonderful people.  Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 3.18.42 PM.pngPlease pray for this church, that it would continue to be a light in the Brookton community.  And pray for us that we would serve well being humble and open to the opportunities that God presents for us in Brookton and the wider Wheatbelt area.