The Trees Speak

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-9-47-04-pmPerth International Arts Festival opened this weekend with an amazing light show through Kings Park.  Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak explored the Australian landscape through lights music and story telling.

The pictures from my phone don’t do it any justice.  But it was pretty spectacular even with the crowds of other people surrounding us.  Just listening to the music was mesmerizing.  Another wonderful free Perth event was a great way to end the weekend.screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-9-47-43-pm

Getting to Know Perth: Fringe Festival

Perth may be a small town masquerading as a big city but there seems to be some event or festival happening all the time.  Maybe it’s the time of the year but in addition to Australia Day and Chinese New Year events, Fringe Festival has taken over the city.  While out on the town yesterday evening there were lines of people waiting for shows, live music playing and a general festive tone.  Nothing was too full or busy for a Friday night but couples, groups of friends and families were all out enjoying the evening.

We explored Perth in a different way these past couple of weekends.  We walked around and watched some of the street performers, and I loved the mermaid tank.  Since we live in East Perth, everything is an easy bus ride or walking distance from our place.  We stumbled across the dress rehearsal for an open-air Opera on our way home yesterday and since it looked fun we’re headed back tonight for the show.screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-11-46-10-amBut so far the highlight of Fridge Festival for me has been the Djuki Mala dancers.  I went on Tuesday with friends to see their fun show.  It was a great mix of traditional Aboriginal dance and storytelling mixed with modern music and stylized performances.  Bollywood, Michael Jackson and singing in the rain, just to name a few.  It was a very fun way to spend an evening, getting a little more Australian culture with a fun, energetic twist.

Dancing the Night Away

Ryan and I attended our first dance lesson last night in a suburb just outside the city.  It was only a 40 minute walk from our place (we know because we ended up walking home after the buses we not running favorably after the class was over).  But we definitely enjoyed the fun atmosphere, easy teaching style and will be returning next week.  It would be nice to make this a weekly thing but we’ll have to wait and see what my class schedule is like.screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-11-56-00-amWe started with the basics of the Rumba and the Quick Step.  Ryan has wanted to take dance lessons for awhile since I am a tall enough partner.  And we both realized that this is important when we did a partner swapping dance towards the end of the evening.  The dance included a hip bump and Ryan had to be careful with some of the shorter women, not to hip bump their shoulder.

Although I’m sure that not all these classes are as full as it was yesterday evening, this seems like a nice way to get to know some other people if we were to become regulars.  It’s also fun to have an active, learning date night and who knows, maybe we’ll even become dancers.  Stay tuned because, hopefully, there will be more lessons and dancing in our future.

Counting Christmas Cheer

Since we don’t have the snow to remind us that Christmas is coming, we have to rely on decorated shopping malls, cheerily lit homes after dark and our own Christmas traditions to help us get in the spirit of things.  Some of these things are on pause for us because we’re in transition but I can still do my best to celebrate what I can and savor the traditions I can still enjoy.  Here are 14 ways that I try to remind myself of the good things about the holidays and enjoy the anticipation of Christmas.screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-3-53-44-pm

  1. I blogged last week about The Season of Advent.  Having Advent reading, an Advent wreath and pausing at least once a day to read scripture and pray through the season reminds me of what is important during the holidays.
  2. Christmas music!  Once Thanksgiving has been celebrated, I am all for Christmas music.  Christmas music in the car, Christmas music at home, Christmas music in almost every store I walk into.  I love a good mix of secular favorites and Christian songs.  Each are festive in their own way.  It all makes me happy.
  3. Baking and making delicious goodies.  I will do a little baking this week but I look forward to making cinnamon rolls for my family to enjoy one morning and I’m sure there will be cookies made at some point too.  My tastebuds love Christmas.  And the smell of baking treats definitely helps get me in the Christmas mood.
  4. Decorations!  I really enjoy decorating for Christmas but this year in our home all we have is our Advent wreath because we are moving.  However, I look forward to being in my parent’s home and enjoying the beautiful tree lit for the week leading up to Christmas.  Next year we’re decorating right after Thanksgiving and we’ll leave it up until January 6th, 3 Kings Day also known as Epiphany.  I love stretching out the holiday season and enjoying the decorations as long as reasonable to my own standards.
  5. Christmas movie marathons.  I will watch Elf multiple times this season.  We’ve already watched Elf, The Grinch, Home Alone and A Christmas Story.  Tonight we will watch It’s a Wonderful Life.  There are so many good ones!  It’s fun to snuggle up in a warm house when it’s cool/cold outside and enjoy a good movie.  I’m also looking forward to watching the TV classics like Charlie Brown, Rudolf and Frosty the Snowman.
  6. Walking or driving through beautiful Christmas light streets.  Almost every town has a street known for the amazing Christmas decorations.  It’s always fun to gather a few friends, dress warmly, carry something warm to drink and enjoy the shining lights and creativity of our neighbors.
  7. Opening Christmas letters and cards.  In my circles, I have a lot of friends who keep in touch all year around but it’s typical to just hear major updates from people at the end of the year.  I love opening cards, seeing how the families have grown and hearing about the past year.  I enjoy celebrating the joys of life with people and being able to pray through the hard things too.  A mailbox filled with Christmas cheer is a wonderful thing.
  8. Early Christmas shopping.  There is nothing better than having your Christmas shopping done early.  Even if things don’t get wrapped right away, I love not having to think of last minute gifts.  This is definitely the planner in me but it allows me to better enjoy the holidays not having yet another unfinished list.
  9. Christmas wrapping.  Seeing a growing pile of pretty wrapped presents is always cheery and festive.  A little Christmas music or a Christmas movie and wrapping with a cup of hot chocolate is a wonderful way to spend an evening.
  10. Eggnog.  So before this year, I never would have said that eggnog was a necessary part of the holiday but then my sister-in-law introduced me to Royal Crest Dairy eggnog and now I’m hooked.  Although Royal Crest isn’t available everywhere, eggnog will definitely be a staple in our refrigerator this season.
  11. The Nutcracker Ballet.  I can’t always go and see The Nutcracker but when I can, I always enjoy it.  During the holidays growing up it was always a treat to dress up and attend The Nutcracker as a family.  It’s such a festive, entertaining part of the holidays.  And the music is beautiful too!
  12. Stockings.  There is something that is special about stockings to me.  Leading up to Christmas, I love looking at them hanging across the mantle or on the wall if there is no fireplace.  Even if we opened gifts on Christmas Eve, stockings were always Christmas morning.  And my favorite tradition is always finding a tangerine in the toe.  I look forward to making stockings something special for my own kids some day (this is NOT a pregnancy announcement).
  13. Candle Light Service.  There is something particularly beautiful and celebratory about a Christmas Eve candle light service.  It’s a wonderful way to calm our hearts and refocus during a busy season.
  14. Christmas reading.  In the past couple of years I would download a Christmasy book to enjoy leading up to Christmas.  Today, I sat with the pile of my childhood books that we will be shipping to Australia and read through all my favorite Christmas stories.  From The Polar Express to Santa Mouse, these are Christmas classics for me. The Story of Holly & Ivy is precious and The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree always makes me cry.  I fondly remember reading these books as a child and I still enjoy them now.

What are the traditions that help you remember, enjoy and anticipate Christmas?

The Road to Australia in Video

This weekend one of our churches had a Sunday highlighting the ministries they support and they requested us to make a video.  We added a little something to the beginning and the end of the video specifically for the people in that congregation and for that event but we wanted to share the rest of the video with all of you.  Hope you enjoy Ryan’s handiwork.

And just a little reminder, if you want to be a part of what God is doing in Perth, Brookton and beyond, November matching is still going on.  When you make a reoccurring pledge this month, the monthly amount is matched for an extra one-time gift.  The easiest way to give is through this link: Ryan&Joy.  Just put the amount you intend to give in the ‘give’ box at the top of the page and when you click through it will give you all your options (frequency of giving, payment method, etc.)  Thank you for being a part of this with us!

Life Together- CCMI Review in Video

Today is our final day at CCMI.  We had a month of contrasts.  There were a lot of difficult things but also a lot of wonderful things.  We spent many hours in a classroom but also a lot of time out exploring and learning through experiences.  Enjoy this video, once again Ryan has done a great job finding the highlights of this past month.