It’s 10 pm on New Years Eve and I just had to squeeze in one more post before the year ends. This year has been one of the best years I have had and I have so enjoyed it, but in saying that it has also been one of the years that I have had to lay down my own personal time and projects. Don’t get me wrong – I am loving the two foster boys we care for but going back to nappies and toddler tantrums when I’m well into my forties has been somewhat of an adjustment. My goal for 2014 (among the many others I have) is to try and get the balance between caring for these boys and making some me creativity time.
The end of this year has been great – we took the first week of our holidays and went to Anglesea which is about two hours South West of Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road (famous for the 12 Apostles which we visited two years ago – photo below to remind you).
We camped and had a great time as school had not yet officially finished so the campsite was quiet and we weren’t surrounded by numerous campers. The camp grounds had amazing facilities and our tents were about three hundred metres from the beach and the river. Sleeping to the sound of waves at night was most relaxing. The sunsets were particularly beautiful.
We also celebrated Bennies first birthday (photos on my Sweet Hope Chronicles blog – password required) and it was a delight to see him enjoying his birthday cake with abandon. We enjoyed swimming and many cycle rides along the river and cliffs.
The little village of Anglesea was also great fun to shop at. I didn’t have to go without my fix of Op shopping either as there were two amazing little second hand shops to visit. I managed to get myself a beautiful pair of sandals and a framed Paul Gauguin print which I love.
The kids had great fun bouncing on a giant inflated pillow and playing mini golf too. The park had some super wood sculptures of sea creatures which meant we could have some fun taking photos.
Christmas was spent at home where we celebrated with a Christmas Eve dinner. Toasts and thanks were given by each of the children. We have been truly blessed to have such superb kids. It never ceases to amaze me how giving and generous our kids are. They have been incredible this year as we have welcomed two new faces into our hearts and lives. It has not always been easy on them but they have come through and all pulled their weight in helping to integrate the boys into our family.
Our kids have also excelled in their repective areas of study and work. Michaela will make an outstanding nurse/midwife and Ethan is starting to show keen interest in his Personal Fitness endeavours.
Mostly this year has been one where we have moved away from our religious efforts of being involved in structured church and leadership. We have explored other ways of connecting with like minded people and building true friendships and relationships out of the confines of a church meeting and it has been very refreshing and rewarding. We have felt freedom to question our theology and beliefs and to throw out the things that we believe have manipulated and controlled us over the years. Mostly it has been fun getting to know Jesus away from all the religious influences. This has been the year I have learned to love people who are different to me and to not judge them for their lifestyle choices. This has been a big thing for me coming out of a system that looks at people as either in or out ( you are in if you believe like I do and out if you are an unbeliever). Just believing that I ever thought that way is so ridiculous to me now. I am discovering that there is so much more to being a blessing in our community than by simply professing I am a christian and going to church each week. I have discovered the reality of actually doing – of getting up daily and loving two little boys who have been abandoned by their parents, dealing with their emotions and self-harming issues and I feel more fulfilled and alive than I ever did as a pastor for ten years. I guess what I’m trying to say is that making a difference doesn’t require me to be super-spiritual – it just requires ordinary me to open my heart and hands and just be willing to help and love people where I can – it’s that simple and yet it has taken me years to work it out.
2014 is going to be a great year – I can feel it! This is going to be the year we are living in blessing and with great joy – many dreams and creative ventures being fulfilled. I am looking forward to it with my amazing and beautiful family alongside me. I wish you all an equally fabulous 2014.