Holidays like Mother’s Day are always difficult from the other side of the world. For the past few years, I have been extra thankful for the series of photos that were taken of my mom and Ryan’s mom helping to lace up my dress for my wedding. Because they live in different states, our mothers haven’t had a lot of time together which makes this moment before our wedding even more special. They worked together to bless us on that beautiful February day.However, that’s just one event out of too many to remember or even count over the course of both our lives. But that’s in my mind what motherhood is about in so many ways. All the moments, big and small that add up to raising a child. And even though we’re on the other side of the world, we still recognize that our mothers have done (and still do!) amazing things to love and support us. So thank you mom and Ryan’s mom too!
It’s been fun watching people celebrating Easter around the world. From the comfort of my own home, I’ve watched videos and seen pictures from celebrations in Papua New Guinea, Japan, Bulgaria, Peru, different parts of the US and all up and down California. The pictures included here are from some Easter traditions that I missed not being in PNG or California. In Papua New Guinea a sunrise service is held and a cross is decorated with flowers that everyone brings. It is beautiful! And in Camarillo the sunrise beach service is always wonderful. Such an amazing visual reminder of light overtaking darkness. Maybe we’ll have to start a sunrise service tradition here. Easter was very low key, with a typical service pointing to Jesus and the resurrection but we enjoyed a wonderful relaxing afternoon. We hope you made more family memories this year and enjoyed your Easter traditions new and old. I’m thankful that Jesus is alive, although we remember it especially during Easter, it’s true every day of the year!
It’s arrived! Our shipment that was packed away into a truck in December back in Santa Barbara (To Ship or Not to Ship?) has made it safely to our apartment in Perth. The picture at left was taken the day we shipped everything and the picture at the right was taken this morning as I started to go through the boxes. The movers did a great job getting everything up to the 18th floor! But now it is our job to unpack, sort and find places for everything in our adequate yet small space. It feels almost like Christmas as we’re unwrapping things but as much effort as we put into choosing what to send and what to get rid of, I’m sure at the end of the day we’ll be scratching our heads with some of our choices.This beautiful view is a wonderfully helpful distraction as our living room has been taken over! Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can get things sorted and settle in a little more. But, as for today, we’re abundantly thankful. So far nothing seems to be broken and these boxes are filled to the brim with memories from people we love.
4 years ago yesterday Ryan and I met for the first time after finding each other on OkCupid. After that first (5 hour!) date, we both knew there was the potential of something more but had no idea where this relationship would take us. Now we’re celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary in our new home in Perth, Australia after traveling around the US and around the world too.
3 years ago today, Ryan and I got married in Santa Barbara, California at beautiful Franceschi Park. If you missed the wedding because we’re new friends or you want to re-watch our wonderful ceremony, you can check it out on our webpage: Ryan and Joy’s Wedding or directly on Youtube: Ryan and Joy’s Wedding.
Happy Anniversary to my favorite husband! You drive me crazy but I wouldn’t change this life with you. I’m looking forward to many more years and many more memories together.
We can easily compared the weather here in Perth to the weather in Sacramento. Although the patterns may be a bit different, the average highs and lows are pretty similar and both areas are also known for their droughts. The only major difference is that, on average, Sacramento gets two more inches of rainfall a year. It’s currently winter in California and Summer in Perth but there has been an unusual amount of rainfall in both places which has lead to widespread flooding. Although it needs to be mentioned that despite some unseasonably cool days, the rain here has been accompanied by warm and muggy weather so it’s definitely not winter here.
In Australia there has been enough water to create a waterfall on Wave Rock where Ryan and I visited on our trip in 2014. It’s probably amazing to see in person but possibly dangerous to get to currently because the flooding has been along both the Swan River and the Avon river. Here are a couple news articles if you’re interested: WA Towns Flooded and Heavy Rain Wreaks Havoc. The Swan River runs right in front of our apartment in Perth but the flooding hasn’t been in our area and we checked out the swollen Avon river while we were out in Brookton this weekend. Some of the bridges to the north of Brookton are close to being covered and some of the places mentioned in these news articles are names we recognize because it’s an area where we could potentially work in the future.
As for Sacramento, my parents are a couple feet away from flooding which isn’t uncommon but if you can see in the picture of us, we’re standing on the deck and the grass below us is typically completely dry. For a good number of years, the Sacramento river hasn’t even flooded it’s banks. But now thanks to a very wet winter, not only is the drought in Northern California mostly over, some of the dams are reaching capacity and causing potential problems. Evidently there is a spillway near Oroville (Thousands in California Told to Evacuate) that could possibly break sending water down the Feather River which feeds into the Sacramento River above my parent’s home. My parents don’t need to evacuate yet but they have a plan and places to stay if needed.
Please pray for those being impacted by the flooding in both Western Australia and in California.
I’m an American, a citizen of the United States and unless something unexpected or drastic happens, that’s not changing anytime soon. However, I’m living in a very multicultural city in Australia and meeting new people every day. It doesn’t seem to matter what their background, pretty much everyone has some sort of interest in US politics. I couldn’t escape the conversations if I tried, so I don’t try to avoid them, I listen. Listening allows me to hear what others think and also gives me input to continually reexamine and check my own attitudes and assumptions as well as values and beliefs. I am generally encouraged by these conversations and my personal convictions are strengthened, although I am often challenged to look deeper into certain issues and policies. Conversations aside, I do realize that I am somewhat removed from US current events. Although, the news here covers the main issues and my Facebook feed is an ever present reminder. But I’m not in the US so, even if I wanted to, I can’t join the marches and protests. I am not around to be a part of certain US organizations that are on the frontline when it comes to refugee resettlement. I don’t have the time or the energy to devote to writing to US political leaders or to organize something more substantial. Even if I was still in my safe, insulated US community, I would probably find it difficult to engage appropriately with the current policies that I agree or disagree with. This is what, in my experience, often leads to apathy. I can’t be the only one who recognizes something should be done but then doesn’t have the time, energy, resources and/or knowledge to do anything that might be deemed worthwhile. So what are our options?
Pray – Pray for wisdom (James 1:5). Pray for your leaders (I Timothy 2:1,2). Pray for your enemies (Matthew 5:44). Pray for those who agree with you. Pray for those who disagree with you. Pray.
Read the Bible- Justice (Isaiah 1:17), mercy (Micah 6:8), love (Leviticus 19:18), compassion (Matthew 25:25-37), all of this and more is addressed in the pages of scripture. I didn’t struggle to find verses here, the struggle was to choose just a few. The Bible is an amazingly rich and holy resource.
Love your Neighbor- I mean your neighbor in the broader sense of Luke 10 (the parable of the Good Samaritan). Your neighbors are those people you come into contact with during your daily life. This can be as simple as loving and serving your family in your home, the person across the street, the man or woman who is driving next to you on the road, the person bagging your groceries, serving your meal at a restaurant, etc.
Do What You Can- There are a lot of important issues that we can advocate for and be passionate about but refugees are close to my heart. World Relief, one organization that I have worked with and respect just posted this to their blog: 3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Show Support for Refugees. There are probably simple things to do online or in your community for almost every social cause that needs attention.
As divided as my Facebook feed is at the moment, I am generally encouraged by the real discussions that are happening, the hypocrisy that is being confronted across the board and those who are rising up to the challenge of practicing what they are preaching. I can not fight every battle and shout from the mountain tops over every important issue. But I can pray, I can read my Bible, I can love my neighbor and I can do what I can to live justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with my God.
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”Merry Christmas from our family to yours!