Hard to believe its nearly the end of the year! (says everybody, but it’s true… :)) This year has shaped up to be a hectic, people-crammed year, full of new opportunities and change and hard times and beautiful memories. So in the name of Sentiment, here’s a snapshot of my year…
Between January and March, we enjoyed some water holes with friends – Packsaddle Springs, the Grotto, Valentines Springs… I live in the most amazing place in the world. It gets hot and humid and it’s a remote place, but then you get to go on adventures like this and it all evens out.
February gave us a massive downpour – 300mls in 24 hours! Our 1.5km driveway turned into a canal which Josh and Nomi took full opportunity of using.
March: Whenever we have potlucks or parties out at our place we often pull out these photo props. This was taken after Mum‘s fiesta-themed birthday party. Little do you know that at my feet is a crying baby who couldn’t be in the photo!
April: We flew to Noosa on the east coast for a week-long family reunion – that was a lot of fun living in each other’s pockets and laughing or talking non stop. Afterwards us kids were dropped off for a Teen Camp with 80 other kids and we experienced the challenges of eating a banana while wrapped in Glad Wrap and running countless relays, and were sincerely challenged on some hard things in the Christian life, including speaking LIFE to each other rather than dragging each other down. Since then it’s a catch phrase in our family (in our best Afro-American accents): ‘ey – speak life! After an epic weekend with new and old friends, Mum and Dad joined us for a further amazing three or four days for the family conference. I was in charge of the 4-7yo kids’ club, with the enlisted help of 30 enthusiastic teenagers. We talked + sung + heard stories + made stuff as we learned about discretion and self control and I think everyone had a great time. I loved being this ball of energy on the stage and it was really cute to wave and talk to the kids one-on-one in the afternoons outside of the sessions. The kids were beautiful to work with and at my request, very responsible in bringing their hats with them every single day. But guess which leader lost her hat?!
By the end of this week of people and talking non-stop, I had nearly lost my voice and had come down with the flu. No rest, though – we were off to Easterfest! Nomi and I were really excited to see Jimmy Needham, Hawk Nelson, Jars of Clay, and Slip on Stereo, and the myriad of other acts. Our friend Hayley was with us for the whole weekend, and conference friends and the rest of the family joined us throughout the weekend; we went on rides, ate fairy floss and really good potato wedges (complete with lots of sour cream and sweet chilli sauce), and froze come nighttime, as good Kimberley kids do. I was so tired I fell asleep ten meters from the mosh pit during a loud performance and Hayley and Nomi had to force me to walk slow so I wouldn’t cough, but it was a fantastic time. And… I met Jimmy Needham. Coolest thing ever.
July: Grandma and Grandad came to visit! What started out as a four-week visit morphed into a six week + stay. The eight of us + coffee + talking + photos + more coffee + more talking = wonderful memories. When they last visited seven or so years back, Dad flew them over the Bungle Bungles but they never thought they would get to walk into it. This visit we took them down for three nights (six degrees at night – brrr!) and enjoyed each others’ company and God’s beautiful creation. It was the perfect getaway and amazing timing for them to be here as our family worked through some tricky decisions.
Nomi and I decided to say farewell to volunteering at mainly music, which we’d volunteered at every Thursday morning since we were 13 – five and seven years! We had a great time over the years singing and dancing with the cutest kids in town and blessing Mums and Dads – we learned so much about hospitality, committees, technology, problem solving, making a fool of yourself ‘for the childrens’ sake’ and building friendships.
August: Daniel got baptised in crocodile-infested water. No joke – there really was a croc hanging around on the lake during this time! It was a matter of get in, dunk him, get out. I was so proud of Daniel for doing this (the baptism part, not really worried about the croc.)
September: I turned 20 and forever farewelled my teen years…
I also finished working as a homeschool teacher for these two munchkins. It was a fantastic two years teaching Bible, character, science, geography, English, art, and social studies. I miss them so much!
October: I flew back to Queensland by myself for a couple of days with friends I made in April, and had a blast with them. I really miss them but I am so happy to have friends like them. I also went to my gorgeous cousin’s wedding and caught up with Dad’s side of the family. As soon as I arrived home I bussed down to Derby to spend the weekend with my loverly friend, Hayley and we squeezed as much as possible into our short time together.
When I arrived home my uncle, aunty and three kids were here for three weeks! We had been waiting for this for years and it was worth the wait. I think my highlights were talking with my bombdiggity uncle and aunty at night and experimenting cooking dinner in the camp oven (well, ‘we’ being my uncle!). My cousins are the funnest kids to joke and hang out with, and started the Sticky Note Postal Service, which are still there on my desk.
During this time, I started work full time at the Community Resource Centre! I’m continuing my studies with a Traineeship in Certificate IV Business Administration, and I. love. it. I have a great work environment and am meeting so many people through work. Work involves printing, scanning, shredding, laminating and photocopying jobs for customers, helping with the internet cafe, managing the bookkeeping (bookkeeping is so much fun!), keeping an eye on statistics, and promoting and putting on community events. I also get to ‘babysit’ people’s devices as they update, call Apple on their behalf, and help with any technology problems. I didn’t think I’d work in something so technology-focused, and the job came out of nowhere, but I really like it and it is a perfect fit for me.
November: I bought me a car! This car just fell on my lap right when I started work and she (her name is Zelma, don’t judge) is just what I needed. All I wanted was a car with air conditioning and a muffler and I got a beauty!
Over the year, we had nine + families either stay with us or nearby where we could see a lot of each other. I think this was a HUGE blessing as we had these constant pockets of friendships outside of the ordinary to keep us on our toes, even though we were really tired by the end of all the visitors. I loved spending time with so many people!
It hasn’t been the easiest of years for me. I don’t love change, and there was a lot of that, with changing jobs and stepping up to full-time work, to constantly having people around, to moving Church. All of these things have grown me as a person and been good things, however. I have had a tough year emotionally but God is good! One big thing I’ve continued to learn this year is to be vulnerable and honest with friends about my ups and downs, that No Man is an Island – we’re created for relationships with each other. God’s grace accepts us and doesn’t demand perfection, and that flows into how we relate to each other too. We can be ‘not okay’, we can be messed up, we can make mistakes. Together.