Xmas in Oz

Here’s an Ozzie Christmas

Lunch was sensational! Danelle knocked up one of the nicest meals I’ve ever had and the family came around.


It was 39 degrees C today – hot as!…


So this evening we headed down to the local beach for Christmas ‘dinner’ with a few friends from the community. This pic was taken at 7.00pm when it was still 32 degrees C.

Gotta love an Ozzie Xmas!

Happy Christmas

Well, its been a bit sporadic around here the last few weeks, and I can’t see it being much different in January!

Hopefully there will be plenty of work digging trenches in people’s backyards, and when there’s not maybe we’ll even get a surf or two in… So blogging might be reserved for quiet moments when there is little else to do!

But to those who are regulars and friends, ‘Merry Christmas’ and may you enjoy both the joy and the significance of the season.

Naked Bean

Here;s another hot spot for coffee snobs in the deep south.

In Albany right opposite the Post Office in Sanford rd is The Naked Bean, a roaster and brewer of some fine coffee.

I reckon it won’t be long before decent coffee will be available everywhere. Although having said that, on the way home on Saturday we stopped in at Kojonup and I went to a local cafe (that shall remain nameless) and got 2 cups of coffee flavoured water!


Innocence and Beauty


While eating dinner one evening on holidays Ellie told us she knew some swear words… ‘Ok – which ones?’ Danelle asked curiously.

‘Well…’ she said tentatively ‘There’s the ‘sh’ word, the ‘b’ word and the ‘f’ word’…

Danelle and I looked at each other. Did we really want to pursue this? Then in a playful motherly tone Danelle asked, ‘So what’s the ‘sh’ word Ellie?’

Ellie looked at us like we were naughty for even mentioning it. ‘Can’t say.’ she said.

‘Its ok honey’ Danelle said. ‘Do you mean ‘shit’?’

Ellie looked a little dumbfounded. ‘No…’ We both tried to gloss over the fact that Danelle had not put this word into her vocab!

‘So what’s the ‘sh’ word then?’ Danelle asked. (I was a tad curious also by now.)

Quietly and slowly she whispered ‘s-h-u-t u-p’.

‘Ohh…’ we said ‘Of course’ as we glanced at each other smiling. ‘Good for you Ellie. Don’t be saying that!’

And then there was the ‘b’ word, ‘bum’ and the ‘f’ word, ‘fart’. Its kinda nice this is till her interpretation of these words at the tender age of 6. Still innocent!

And very beautiful with it.

While in Denmark we went to the local markets where we spent some time chatting with a local hippie who had made some flutes out of clay. We came back to buy one and as we spoke he picked up a necklace and gave it to Ellie. ‘There’s something very beautiful about you. You have a very special energy.’

He asked her if she watched a lot of TV. The correct answer was supposed to be ‘no’, but Ellie told the truth and said ‘yes’!

It was a beautiful gesture and he told us the story behind it. While travelling someone had once said to him that there aint nothing in this world for free – and it had saddened him – enough to bring tears to his eyes as we stood there. So he had made decision that he would regularly and freely give things away to demonstrate that not everything has a cost and that goodness and kindness is still in our world.

Nice to meet someone in whom the imago dei is so evident. I wonder if he didn’t see some degree of reflection as he looked in the eyes of an innocent 6 year old?

Holiday Moments

Well, its rained every day…

But it has still been a really good time. A few moments worth noting:

> Surfing with Sam in freezing cold water with a ridiculous windchill factor. Oddly enough he hasn’t asked to go back!

> Catching up with Ray & Caroline, some friends who live down here. The kids loved their farm and Ray and I enjoy some very similar passions. One of the world’s most energetic 59 year olds! Tonight we head out to dinner with them.

> I read ‘Jack’

how the garcia girls spent their summer divx online

, a biography of CS Lewis, written by one of his close friends. It wasn’t rivetting, but as a CS fan it was still a very enjoyable read.

> Over the last two days I read ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’, by Khaled Hossein, a brilliant book but one that leaves you speechless at the unfairness of the world we live in. It is the story of 2 Afghani women living in Kabul from the 50’s thru to the current era. It begins with one woman’s life seeming to be as bad it could possibly be, then it gets worse… and worse.. and it doesn’t stop. Don’t read it if you like the world to be a pretty place, but if you enjoy real life drama and what (seems to me) like a pretty good take on Afghanistan during the Taliban regime then this is a great read

> Of course a holiday blog post would be incomplete without some coffee comment! (Hello Grendel!) One thing we have observed is that Denmark is smaller than we had remembered with fewer shops and cafes. I went out to get some take away the other night and the choice was ‘Chooks’ or ‘Chooks’. However during the day there is a great little cafe called the Bibbulman Cafe. We took a gamble on it the first day we were there and had such a good coffee I had to ask where it was from. ‘Five Senses’ the owner replied. Kinda made sense! It was one of the best I have had around the place, so we have been back there a bit.

> Today we went out to Greens Pool. It looked like raining so I rugged up in takky daks and jumper only to see the sun come out and the kids excited about swimming. Ironically I sat on the beach sweating because the sun was pretty biting. Don’t you love it!

> Tomorrow we are off 4WDing with Ray and then Friday is Danelle’s birthday. Maybe Hungry Jacks for lunch…

Anyway… Denmark is a beautiful place. And even nicer when its not raining…

I still can’t decide whether to sell the Landy. Its a great old car, just so long as you don’t want to overtake anyone! We found that on the way down if we switched from LPG to petrol we could just get past people on the overtaking stretch. Off to buy a Quokka…

See ya later…

Holidays start tomorrow!

So here’s a quick ‘life update’ before I shoot thru.

Our weekend retreat was great and was a time of encouragement and refocusing. There were no easy answers to come out of the time away, but a strong sense of re-grouping and re-energising together for the year ahead. We asked the hard questions of ‘do we call it quits?’ or ‘do we throw our hand in with a larger church?’ and the answer to both was a very strong ‘no’. We believe in what we are doing and really feel that this is still what God is calling us to do.

De-group or re-group came back very strongly as a ‘no-brainer’. So despite the challenges and at times discouragements we will keep going.

To try and get over the problem of having no kids we have decided to try and run a kids church program with our kids and any of friends who are up for it on Sunday afternoons. If we can get some of the others to join in that will ease the load for Ellie and Sam who both feel the loss of the Herdens quite deeply. Parents can come/go/stay or whatever, but my guess is we may pick up a few of them along the way – if any of them are willing to have their kids exposed to Jesus… We’ll see. So far I have had one interested response, but there is definitely no rush… We’d value your prayers as we try to create a better space for our kids.

We are also looking at running some spiritual retreats next year – maybe 4 in all – which will be open to all and hopefully will be a place for non-Christians to encounter God. Again, we will need to see what the response is, but its an idea. I imagine that those seeking spiritual direction may well be up for it, and at worst we will find it valuable. T

The challenge will be for busy people in boomtown Perth to stop working and earning $$ for long enough to even contemplate going. It seems so many church leaders I speak to are finding their people off in lala land because of the lure of big dollars in so many places. I believe this obsession with making money to buy more stuff is having an impact on the church and if we have 20 years of ‘economic boom’ then more than the economy will explode.

This economic boom is pushing us to really grapple with how disciples of Jesus live at such times.

We have a Christmas event coming up on Dec 23rd and then our camp in Busselton from 14-21 Jan. Hopefully that will be a valuable time as we have 9 or 10 families from the community coming with us. (Grendel – are you in?!)

Starting the retic business has been great for me as it has given me a new lease of life and helped me connect with some people I never would have previously. Today I rang someone I did a job for 2 weeks ago to see if all was well. They had a system that was doing weird things and 3 guys had looked at it but no one had fixed it. I wasn’t sure i would – in fact I guessed I would probably be returning to them again, but it turns out I managed to solve the issue. Maybe I know than I credit myself for!


Holidays in Denmark…

Its one of my favourite places in the universe. ‘Where the hills meet the sea’ is what the ads say. I have always dreamt of living in a place where the hills and sea are side by side. If I could convince enough people to go with me then maybe…

BTW if anyone wants to buy a really cool old Landy (85 FJ62) in excellent condition with only 206 000Km on the clock then let me know. As much as I love this old beast it just doesn’t have the punch I want in a car so it might be time to pass her on…

I have found my writing suffering from lack of inspiration these last few months, so maybe 10 days away will give me some new energy. Anyway – talk to you soon!

Thou Shalt Not Lie… much

Ethics is complicated I reckon.

Lying, killing, stealing are all off limits in the big 10 and for good reason.

But this morning as I was reading Exodus Ch 1 I read the story of the Egyptian midwives who refused to kill the Hebrew babies and then told Pharaoh it was because the Hebrew women were too quick in childbirth… Sounds like a porky to me!!

Then verse 20 says that God was kind to them because of this.

Or you could take the case of Rahab who hid the spies and lied about having them in her home. When it all hits the fan she gets out alive… because she lied… to protect the spies.

Does God have one rule for some and another for others?

I remember my mother in law told me of a simulation game she was part of to help people understand the implications of dire poverty. She was faced with the choice of ‘let my baby starve to death or enter prostitution to survive’…

So much of life is the lesser of two evils or the doing of what would usually be bad to achieve what is good.

I think its why ‘black and white’ people leave me so cold.

Life is much more complicated than that.

Blokey Sam

Today I finished up with Sam for the day as Danelle did the settlement on our investment house.

After a small retic job and lunch at the local cafe we decided to hit the beach and take 14 year old Winston the labrador with us. The normally timid Sam decided he wanted to go surfing so we packed his bodyboard – just in case he was serious.

It was one of those perfect kid starter days with very small waves and he got right into it. If we hadn’t needed to pick Ellie up from school I think we’d still be there. As I watched him glide in on the foam I remembered my own first memories of the surf at 10 years old.

The look of thrill on his face was priceless. Now we just need to teach him to swim so he can do it in the deeper water!

We’re off to Denmark (a south west WA coastal town for the non west ozzie readers) on Thursday, so hopefully he’ll still be feeling courageous as we hit Ocean Beach. Its a pretty easy little wave so we could have some great fun.

My boy is a surfer – at last!

And on the way home we dropped the pressure in 4bie tyres and he had a drive as we ground thru the sand in the landy. A fun day!