Last year was probably my least active year on the blog. Partly because there is less to discuss around the old familiar topics of church, mission and theology and partly because I have had less headspace to reflect and think.
But it was a good year in so many ways.
It was our first full year of living in Yanchep, a move I still reckon was our best ever. I love the vibe of our home, neighbourhood and community. I love the house we live in and the way it feels. I love the proximity to the ocean. I love the quietness of the suburb and the sense of remoteness that we have up here, a bit like a country town but with the city just down the road. I wish we’d come here 10 years ago, but maybe the timing wasn’t right then… Whatever the case we are glad to be here and the little bit of extra driving we now do is a small price to pay for living in paradise. I used to enjoy moving house every 5 years or so, but I don’t see us leaving here any time soon… if ever…
We didn’t travel a lot this year, but we did enjoy a few days retreat in Sydney at the start of the year and a month in the northwest around July. I always feel like the weeks away in the camper are our best re-charge times – so incredibly valuable. I’d like to be able to do two months each year -a month in summer and a month in winter – just need to organise it around schooling, work and the rest of life. I’d really like to hit Tassie this time next year but it would probably be a 6 week venture – a week over, a week back and then a month to tour around. I’m sure you could do it shorter, but not sure it would be so worth it…
Its been another great year with our church community and we feel very blessed to be able to lead such a fantastic bunch of people. Relationships have deepened, our identity as a community seems to be clearer and we feel like we’re on a healthy trajectory in many ways. Moving back into established church leadership was something we did with a fair degree of reticence initially, but after a couple of ugly and difficult years we’ve now enjoyed two healthy and positive years. I’ve often found that those moments when you’re just about to say ‘screw it’ and walk away are the ones you need to punch thru because something better is just around the corner. Much like our home, we don’t see ourselves moving from here any time soon, but then we don’t call the shots… I’ve never actually given thought to what might take shape if we were to stay in a place for 10-20 years, but I’m open to that thought now.
Retic work has kept rolling and its been a very productive year in that regard. There is now enough custom to keep rolling all year round and make a good living out of it. Occasionally I have moments where I wonder ‘what is the point of this?’ because digging holes and burying pipes is hardly inspiring work. But that is part of the point.
The calling to live as a missionary is still the one undergirds all of my life and being an ordinary bloke in an ordinary job is an important part of living that out. Being a ‘paid professional’ does change the frame a fair bit when it comes to Christian mission so I’m happy to figure out what it looks like to be another face in the crowd figuring it out in everyday life. The other thing that keeps me going in retic is that I enjoy being my own boss and the freedom that goes with that. I get to choose my working hours, my jobs and my clients. I doubt I’ll ever be a 9-5er again, or the equivalent.
For many years my various sources of employment were right in my sweet spot when it came to gifts and passions. That’s not so much the case with retic and turf. I really can’t say I ‘love digging holes and burying pipes’… its ok… and some days are better than others, but what I do like is how it frees me to live the kind of life we want to live as a family – one that is spacious, flexible and generous. I can’t imagine ever working for someone else again and having to turn up at the office within set hours.
This year I also completed a restricted electrical license which is my first bit of study for a long time. Five years ago I thought I might do a masters… but no… it was a trade course, one I hope will give me some longevity in the retic field as I am now legally allowed to do some electrical work.
I’ve loved teaching my kids each Monday morning. Creative writing and Phys Ed have been my tasks and both are my loves so it has made it easy. Its a privilege to be able to sit down and teach your own children and see them enjoy it. Homeschooling has been fun and very beneficial to our kids, but I’m not sure how much longer it will run. Ellie is making noises about going to High School and I doubt Sam would enjoy being home alone. We’ll see… I’m happy for us to roll along as long as Danelle feels confident with it as she is the one who carries the load.
I have noticed plenty of people saying ‘good riddance’ to 2012 and hoping for better in 2013. We have been blessed with a great time in 2012 and I’m hoping 2013 is even better.