5 Facts About Darwin Australia

Today Ryan is on a plane to Darwin.  He is going to be gone for a long weekend on a scouting/vision trip with some of our other co-workers.  I’m not going with him for a few reasons but mainly I just finished this semester (all three final assignments done and submitted!) and I need a break.  I’ve also been experiencing some gallbladder pain (more on the scheduled surgery later).  So Ryan headed to Darwin without me but it should be a great trip and he gets to experience another part of Australia.

Here are 5 facts about Darwin and Ryan has promised an Instagram picture a day while he’s gone so follow him @lpturntable for a taste of his experiences.Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 4.55.38 PM

  1. Darwin is the Capital City of the Northern Territory.
  2. Darwin was named after Charles Darwin.
  3. Darwin’s population is the smallest of all the capital cities in Australia with only about 120,000 people.
  4. The same Japanese war planes that attacked Pearl Harbor, attacked Darwin on February 19, 1942.
  5. Darwin is located closer to the capitals of Indonesian, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Palau and Brunei than it is to it’s own nations capital in Canberra.

Permission for Rest

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again.  I’m not good at resting.  My mind prefers to work and ticking off the boxes on my to-do list can seem to be the ultimate satisfying goal.  But my to-do list easily becomes my idol and expectations (usually self imposed) become more important than walking daily with Jesus.  Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 9.08.06 AM.pngI’m still trying to figure out what this means practically for me.  Finding that balance between productivity and trusting in the ultimate care of my gracious savior.  Struggling against the lie in my head that tells me I’m lazy or unworthy, when I know that I am a beloved child of God.  Coming to a place where rest is not guilt inducing but instead sweet and rejuvenating.

Please pray with me and know you’re not alone if you also struggle to find peace and rest.  Know that you’re not alone if a call to create margin in your life induces anxiety and worry.  Know that we were not created to bear the burden and weight of the world on our own shoulders.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Walking Together- Reconciliation Week

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If I learned one thing from attending Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week events, it is that in order to really move forward with Reconciliation in Australia, we all need to learn how to walk together.  It’s more than legislation.  It’s more than mere acknowledgment.  It is about being willing to have the hard discussions and taking the challenging yet necessary steps together.

Reconciliation is a wonderful, hopeful word but it stops meaning something when one or both parties won’t put in the effort it takes to make reconciliation, even the idea possible. I still have a lot to learn about the history of Australia but I’m thankful for events like this where I can keep learning side by side with others who want to walk together.

Date Night in Perth

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 1.25.11 PMLast Thursday Ryan and I splurged a little to enjoy a fancy meal (thanks to Groupon) and a show.  We dressed up and headed out on the town.  We don’t have a full length mirror up in our place but we do have a short ride down the elevator in our building with mirrored walls:-)  I love that I can wear tall heals and I still look short next to Ryan.Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 1.32.56 PMRyan has never attended Cirque du Soleil before so when we heard it was in town, we jumped at the chance to see Kooza.  We see the tents that are set up every time we drive to or from Brookton so it feels like the circus really did come to town.  This was a fun show with lots of showmanship along with crazy acrobatic stunts.  I’d encourage you to watch the video on their website.  It will give you a little taste of what we saw.Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 1.26.34 PMThanks to an online promo code and Ryan’s searching, we had great seats.  This is a picture I took during the pre-show before they turned down the lights.  We were close enough to the stage to see expressions but far enough away to not be caught in the crazy antics.  During the show a few people were brought up on stage to be a part of the performance and I was just fine being an audience member only.

I’m thankful for the ability to enjoy an extra special date night every once in awhile.  Time for Ryan and I to just be together and enjoy each other’s company.  It’s also nice to see something fun and different, taking advantage of the wonderful things Perth has to offer.

Cooking with Vegemite

If you don’t know what Vegemite is, you’re missing out.  Yes, it is a yeast paste.  Yes, that probably does not sound appetizing to most Americans.  And yes, I do personally like it.  I’m personally a big fan of Vegemite on toast with avocado.  Ryan does not eat it on toast or in any other form as a spread but he does enjoy it as a strategic ingredient in recipes.  Vegemite works in these recipes because it’s very salty, so as a salt replacer and flavor builder it’s delicious.  Up until now, this recipe list only included meat pies; a meaty filling of ground beef and other ingredients (including Vegemite!) to form a thick sauce wrapped in flaky pastry crust and baked to perfection.Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 3.46.06 PM.pngBut now this list includes stir fry where the Vegemite takes the place of soy sauce in the marinade.  We were hesitant at first because of the strong flavor but this broccoli and chicken stir fry was rather enjoyable.  We definitely like sweet chili sauce so the combination with Vegemite, garlic and lime worked nicely.  The sauce marinated the chicken and then we tossed in the broccoli and steamed everything together.  And the rice noodles got their own dip in lime and sweet chili sauce because they can be pretty plain.  Not bad for a quick weeknight meal.  What other Vegemite recipes will we discover?

3 More Assignments

My first semester at UWA is almost in the bag.  I have three more assignments to complete and 3 weeks to complete them.  I certainly hope to be finished sooner and get a nice break before the craziness of the internship begins.  (More on the internship soon but here are three details 1. Ryan is coming with me 2. We’re working with Rural and Remote Mental Health 3. We’re going on a road trip)  Being a student isn’t my only responsibility in Australia but it is definitely one of my most consuming tasks.

Studying, writing papers and working through case studies may not always be enjoyable but I see how this work can help prepare me for the future and that’s good motivation.  Finding pretty places to do my work is also good motivation.  While it isn’t always warm enough to study outside, there are some nice places.  Two of my current favorites are the Perth Library (with an amazing balcony with beautiful views) and a coffee shop just down the street (a pot of tea and just enough city noise to keep me focused).

Please pray for me to stay focused and use my time wisely.  I’m looking forward to having semester 1 of 4 complete!

Periods and Thinx

Warning:  This post is geared towards women.  If you are a male reader, please feel free to keep reading because you most likely will learn something.  But consider this your warning that the information may be a little (or a lot) out of your comfort zone.

In 2012 I posted about Periods and Papua New Guinea, although it’s an uncomfortable topic for some, I think it’s important to at least start a discussion.  And I do have to say, that because of that post, conversations have been opened with multiple people.  Admittedly, with some hesitation and caveats but the conversations still happened.  Now, 5 years later I figured it was time to post a little update.

When I first started using a menstrual cup, I was using it because it was practical.  I’ve tried both the Moon Cup and the Diva Cup, although there are other brands out there.  The shape and flexibility of the cup seem to be the main differences so it’s just a matter of preference.  In Papua New Guinea the cup helped because it was expensive to import other products and carrying one item only for an entire period is just easier.  But now after using these products for a longer time it’s become about something more.  Not only do I appreciate the practicality of a menstrual cup but I love that I don’t have to go out and buy more products every month.  I don’t have used products filling up my trash can.  And I can feel good about not adding more waste to a world filled with too many disposable items.  Why not use something that makes your life easier instead of more complicated?Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 12.18.58 PM.pngMy one complaint about the menstrual cup is that it sometimes leaks.  Not all the time, not even a lot of the time but sometimes.  After all these years I don’t know how to prevent it completely although I’ve learned some tricks that I think do help.  But on really heavy days, overnight or in certain situations it’s sometimes nice to have a little backup.  Pads were not an option for me or even panty liners.  Nope.  So when I saw an ad on Facebook for Thinx and heard a couple of friends tout their praises, I decided to give them a try.

I do not think I will ever use these as advertised for complete period protection, the menstrual cup is just too easy, less messy and practical for me.  However, as backup, as caution pre-period or in that post-period transition, I think they are great.  And although I have not yet been pregnant, I have heard that these are also great for post birth.  If anyone wants to try them out for complete period protection, feel free to report back.  I’d love to hear from someone I know instead of just the testimonials (which in general are pretty positive).

I love that there are all different styles of Thinx and they are also pretty.  So anyone, regardless of your taste in underwear can find a pair that works.  I also like that they are easy to clean and feel like normal underwear.  Note: there is a slight thickness to them, there has to be for any protection but way less thickness than even the thinest panty liner.  I’ve only tried one style but I’d definitely try others in the future and I’m very happy with how they work for me.

Thinx are not inexpensive but they do offer great deals and in comparison to what you would pay for typical period products or regular underwear, they really aren’t too extremely expensive either.  If you would like to try them out and use this link: Buy Thinx, you can get $10 of Thinx credit.  This also gives me $10 credit so it’s a win win for everyone.  I typically wouldn’t include a link like this but you benefit from it too and it might be the incentive you need to give them a try.

Menstrual cups, Thinx and period talk may not be a glamorous conversation but periods are a monthly reality for most women and anything that can help make that time of the month easier is a positive thing for me.