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.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Skipper's 2016

Skipper is now two and a half and such a delightful little man.

He is full of smiles and lots of words. He loves reading books, loves Bob the Builder and Octonauts. He's quite active (what boys aren't?) and loves doing "shows" for us on the trampoline.

Skipper has enjoyed the baby animals on our little farm. Today we had two goslings born, and whilst our Gander will not let anyone near, Skipper happily looks on from a distance.

Skipper is thoroughly delighted with his little sister. He readily sits next to her when she is in the bouncer and plays with her. He is amazed at her little hands and feet and wonders over the grip she has with her hands. Skipper doesn't like to hear her cry and will find her dummy to bring it to her. He's quite gentle and caring with her.


When we knew we were expecting this gorgeous little lady, Joybug was always certain that our baby would be a girl and desperately wanted to call her Rose. Thus we have given her the nickname Rosebud for the blog.

Rosebud is now seven weeks old. It's been a long seven weeks for Rosebud and Mama. On the day we were to be released from hospital, Rosebud was found to have high levels of jaundice requiring days under UV lights. I was allowed to stay in the hospital longer whilst we waited for the treatment to work. When we were released a few days later we were told to come back in for follow up tests in two days. By then Rosebud's jaundice levels had increased significantly and she was continuing to lose weight. She was required to be readmitted, placed under lights and have her feeds via a nasal gastric tube.

Rosebud was losing weight because she was tiring out quickly as she fed with her tongue tie, the jaundice would then increase and make her more tired, which made it harder for her to feed...and down the cycle went. We discovered that she had a blood incompatibility issue which was causing the jaundice, so it was not your average run of the mill "new baby" jaundice. Left untreated it could cause brain damage and even death.

To get out of hospital they require baby to be on all suck feeds, so we gave up attempting breast feeding and moved straight onto a bottle. We bottle fed Rosebud for three weeks solid with little to no attempts at the breast as we endeavoured to help her gain back her weight, strength and health. There are many benefits to bottle feeding, with everyone being able to have a go at it, and most importantly Christian being able to wake up for morning feeds and allow me to sleep in and get some rest. At four weeks we started to attempt breastfeeding. Finally last week we attempted breastfeeding only, with no bottles. We managed to do this successfully in what has turned out to be a super busy week, with Christmas services and a three day Christmas catch up with my family.

We are all thoroughly delighted with Rosebud and her smiles and now gurgles.

Joybug's 2016

I really liked that we got to go to the Blue Mountains.

I really liked Uncle Michael's bus. We went for a ride in it and it has no seat belts. I said "thank you" to him. We got to have fun on the ponies. We got to have a fun time with cousins. I like how we got to have a Nerf gun fight with Grandfather. We had a fun time at Christmas with our family.

I really like feeding Rosebud and holding. I like carrying her around. I can't wait until I am an adult and can have babies of my own.

Joybug has pushed really hard at her school work this year. She really enjoys maths and reading and writing and drawing and anything classified as schoolwork really.

Tank's 2016

This year we had two ducklings. We liked them but they died. We got to go swimming and we got to go to the new pool at Jindera. At home we made a water slide.

Rosebud is my new sister, she is cute. She likes to play with me. I like to get Rosebud to pull my hand.

Ned Kelly was a famous bushranger so is Dan Morgan and Captain Thunderbolt. Ned Kelly was in Victoria new us, but Dan Morgan was in our area. We like to visit Morgan's Lookout. I found how Morgan got up to the top of the rocks at the lookout. I found a metal pin and a rope that he could have used. I also know where Morgan slept. Granny and Grandfather live where Captain Thunderbolt roamed.

The Man's 2016

One of my most favourite things that we did this year was going to the Blue Mountains and Canberra. I really liked the place that we stayed at the Blue Mountains. Going to Canberra was really fun because we went to Questacon and The Mint.

I also liked going to the Henty Field Day because there was lots of stuff to see and lots of freebies and we went shopping for free.

This year in November we got a new baby sister, we have nicknamed her Rosebud for the blog.

This year was really fun and I have really enjoyed the Christmas time with our cousins and wish we could spend more time with them. I am really looking forward to the New Year.

Princess' 2016

This year has flown by very fast. We have done lots this year!

This year we built the cottage and finished it. It was really cool seeing the progress on the cottage.

We did translating with Hanna Schultz. Of course it was only short sentences. We had lots and lots of fun translating the sentences. Hanna is translating the Bible for people in Papua New Guinea. You can read her blog here.

We also went to the Blue Mountains. We had lots of fun meeting Tante Waltraud (Aunty Waltraud) and going to a museum with her. We also went on a wild goose chase with Grandfather, Uncle Danny and Aunty Annette. The wild goose chase was looking for Alastor. Alastor is a hidden family place where my Great Grandfather came to know Jesus. It has a fireplace and a throne and a name tree. I call it a wild goose chase because we went the wrong direction bush bashing for three hours! We also went to the Jenolan caves and they were very beautiful.

This year we have made many trips to Canberra. We went to the Tom Roberts exhibition and Old Parliament house. We also went to the New Parliament House and Questacon. Questacon was AWESOME! It had a drop slide and taught you about lots of things to do with science. We also went to The Mint. The Mint was really cool with a staircase of coins and lots of interesting facts about coins and the making of them.

Rosebud was born in November this year. She was jaundice so she had to stay in hospital a little while.

This Christmas Mama's family have come down to visit. We have having sleepovers and lots of activities run by Uncle Simon.

Tiger's 2016

This year has gone by very quickly and a lot has happened in what seemed like a short time.

This year we have made multiple trips to Canberra and there we visited Questacon, the houses of parliament, the National Art Gallery, The Mint and various museums.

Earlier in January we had another tornado which mainly hit our neighbours.

This year we went to the Blue Mountains and had fun with Grandfather, Tante Waltraud (Aunty Waltraud), and Uncle Danny and Auntie Annette (long time family friends of Grandfather and Granny). While there we found a wild wallaby which we fed and patted. We also went to Jenolan Caves.
We had a super moon just after Rosebud was born...
I held it for a bit

We went to the Henty Field Days and had fun looking at the farm stuff. This year I had work experience in the shearing shed and occasionally got asked to be a Rouseabout.

This year in November we got a new baby sister.

It has been an exciting year nd I look forward to Christmas and the New Year.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Best News

15 years ago today, Christian and I shared our first kiss. 10 days later we were engaged, and 5 months after that married. Yes, it was and still is a whirlwind romance, with two real tornados thrown in for good measure.

Today, we share our seventh child, a wonderful blessing to all of us.

Her name is: Bethany Anne.

She was born at Wodonga Hospital at 8:44am on Tuesday November 8th 2016, weighing in at 4.4kg or 9 lbs 11oz.

Bethany means House of Song, and we pray this little lady will love singing praises to our great Father and our King Jesus, as much as we do. Anne means Grace, a reminder of God's great grace to us through Jesus, but also after my mother, who has been so gracious and caring during all seven of our children's births (and of course as they grow also). We look up to you a great deal, Mum. and pray our daughter gains some courage, strength and faith in hearing your story.

Yes, this is Sarah Joy's 7th caesarean section, 2nd surgery for this year and 10th surgery since we have been married. Recovery is hard, but God is with us and continues to sustain us.

Visiting can be arranged through Christian.