Sunday, January 1, 2017

AD 2016 in Review

2016 was a year of rebuilding our shed into a little cottage room, planting around our property Stoneleigh, and continuing to settle into the Burrumbuttock parish, the people of which we have grown to love and learn from.  The highlight of 2016 was getting ready to welcome Bethany Anne into the world.

Sarah Joy was magnificent in continuing the children's education at home, while bearing Bethany. We had a fantastic obstetrician, Dr Simon Craig, who prepared us well, and delivered Bethany in what seemed record time.  Bethany was born a Victorian (no comment), like most children in this southern region of NSW.

I continued working about a day a week at the Gardens Medical Centre, keeping up my general practice skills. A particular highlight in the parish was preaching a sermon series on the Ten Commandments and leading a bible study series called Big Questions looking at the church's response to the social and bioethical issues of Abortion, Euthanasia, Refugee care and Just War. I continue to serve the wider church, being on the NSW District Church Council and the LCA's CSBQ (Commission on Social and Bioethical Questions).

I am very proud and impressed at how Enoch and Abigail have improved in their piano playing with the help of their teacher Gregory Lewis. Enoch and Abigail now regular play for services in the parish.  This year it's Andreas' turn to join the piano lessons. Enoch joined the Brock/Burrum Saints under 14 football team, and Abigail the under 12 netball team. Andreas also played in the Auskick competition for the Saints.

Thomas continues to enjoy the outdoors, and everything 'Bear Grylls'. Sophia is coming along brilliantly with her maths, and Noah continues to be adorable as he learns to speak. Bethany is a joy, and last night slept through for 7 hours (great start to the new year)!

In May we had a great holiday in the Blue Mountains seeing the sights, bushwalking, visiting second-hand book shops (my hobby) and catching up with Sarah Joy's Dad and family friends, Danny and Annette Wotherspoon, and also my aunt Waltraud from Sydney.

I've read some fascinating books this year, several in German, including Hans-Dietrich Genscher's Errinerungen (Memories).  He was Germany's long serving Foreign Minister, who served through the 1970s to the early 1990s, including the era of Mikhael Gorbachev's Perestroika and Glasnost, and the reunification of Germany. I read his book just after he died last year, unbeknown to me at the time.  It was fascinating and troubling, to see his dream of European unification, even towards a United States of Europe, continue to crumble this last year!  His impromptu balcony speech to his fellow east Germans (he grew up in Halle, the birth place of G.F Handel) who were seeking asylum in the overcrowded West German embassy in Prague in 1989 still gives me goosebumps.

This April 5th Sarah Joy and I will have been married 15 years.  For this I am truly thankful.  So now it's time to look for some crystal!

The Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and for evermore. (Psalm 121:8)

Sj's 2016

The second half of this year has seen a very quiet blog. I think most of my energy was focused on getting through each day of teaching and being pregnant at the same time.

Praying with Bethany Anne
I have enjoyed going for early morning walks and listening to my three favourite podcasts: Making Biblical Family Practical, the Arts Of Language by Institute for Excellence in Writing, and the Read Aloud Revival. I've also listened to numerous books, one of my favourites was: "Seven Women and the Secret of their Greatness" by Eric Metaxas, so many wonderful women to admire and learn from. All of their stories are amazing. I was particularly interested in the story of Susanna Wesley, mother extraordinaire and pioneer home educator, insisting on a proper education for her girls in a time when it was frowned upon. But in all of this passing on the Faith to her children and making a huge impact on the world through two of her sons: Charles and John. My favourite parenting books of the year was: "Give Them Grace". I personally find that listening to books is easier for me...and it works well when feeding in the middle of the night too.

Becoming a child of God
Our school has continued with a strong focus on "The Basics"...Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. Our favourite time of the day is just after lunch when we put the young ones to bed and I read aloud to our children. First a picture book or two and then a novel or biography. One of our favourite read alouds was: "A Long Walk to Water" by Linda Sue Park. This is a true story about Sudan, the war there and one of the Lost Boys. It was heart wrenching at times, but it has a beautiful ending. Being a true story, it has taught us about what is going on over in Sudan and given us a further interest in the Lutheran refugee camps that we support over there through Australia Lutheran World Service.

The birth of our beautiful Rosebud has been quite a big slow down for me. It's been quite exhausting and at times frustrating, dealing with significant feeding issues and concern over her health. I'm pleased to say that we have finally succeeded in breastfeeding (we were feeding expressed breast milk for 6 weeks) and that she is moving towards sleeping larger blocks of time at night (7 hours last night). I'm extraordinarily grateful for the extra care Christian has taken of me and our children throughout my pregnancy and since the birth. We have also had much wonderful support and care from our parish for which we are very thankful.
Our most gorgeous Granny

Rosebud was baptised on January 1st AD 2016. A glorious celebration for our family and parish.

I'm looking forward to starting school again this year, next week (no, we don't run to school terms) and having a few getaways with some other pastors wives.