Monday, August 22, 2011

It's in the little things . . .


When we moved to Hervey Bay we thought that all would fall into place once I find a job and that I would find a job within a month . . . ok, still looking for that elusive job but not for a lack of trying.  On last count, I have approached 50 businesses by either answer to an advertised job or cold call, more of the latter for lack of the former.  I have put myself out there, flogging a product that I am reluctant to flog as it is me!  It is weird 'selling yourself' to complete strangers some of whom I suspect have shredded my resume the second I left the premises (is that the correct use of whom?). . . but this is not going to deter me as my life is in God's hands.  He's got a plan for me.

So, to carry on until I get a job, I look for blessings and things to keep me positive.  Last week, in a last ditch attempt to find good tofu up here, I finally went where I should have gone first.  I went to an asian grocer.  You see, I could find the perfect tofu at our local Bilo back in Port Stephens.  But not here.  Every big chain supermarket here seems to sell only silken or nigari tofu.  Silken is too custardy for my favourite tofu dishes (salt & pepper tofu or Rick's favourite tofu marinade) and the nigari is too hard and crumbly.  I was actually feeling a bit glum about this, perhaps deflecting my unemployment-blues elsewhere!  But, at the local asian grocer, I found some firm tofu and all is well again.  Phew. 

It's a small thing but it makes a difference!  I think moving to a new place is most difficult in the little things . . .  you know, leaving behind that great hairdresser, dentist, playgroup etc that you took forever to find, just to have to find it all again.  Tofu was my stumbling block up here but I have found it.  It almost makes me feel like if I can find good tofu I can find a good job. 

My other concern with moving north, closer to the equator and into the tropics, was whether I would have to give up my new found love of patchwork and knitting.  You see, I thought it would be so hot up here that no one would be interested in quilting or knitting.  Boy was I wrong!  There is a community of quilters up here and I needn't worry about fabric supplies.  Dewdrop Inn claims to be the biggest patchwork shop in Queensland.  I don't know about that but it is in Hervey Bay where there isn't a Spotlight and the closest Lincraft is 30km away in Maryborough.  Yes, I know I could order super fabrics online for a good price, it is good to also go and visit and where possible support your local business.  They also have some yarns so I needn't worry about supply and the winter here was actually cold so there is a season for it, albeit short.

When the big things get me down, it is in the little things that a blessing can be found.

image credit

Friday, August 19, 2011

Feast vs Famine

I got to sit down to this delicious breakfast this morning ...

Just your plain multigrain toast, not brioch, sourdough or a bagel, just a simple, choc-full of additives, off-the-shelf standard bread.  I spread it with olive oil margarine, not mascarpone or ricotta, just your good old transfatty marg (well, not that good hey?).  I topped it with sliced strawberries, straight out of the punnet, off the shelf from Woolies, not picked by me off the organic farm!  How 'un-bloggy' of me. 

Why am I telling you this?  Because in all the struggle I am having at the moment in getting work, with no income right now, I have not wanted for anything!  I enjoyed every morsel of my breakfast, no matter how unglamorous or undecadent it was. 

I am so grateful that my boys and my husband also enjoyed a healthy modest breakfast (Weetbix with strawberries and soy milk). 

How our current situation is dwarfed by what is happening in East Africa.

I am overweight.  I have a clean home to live in.  I have clothes.  I have access to good medical care.  I have clean water to drink.  I am not threatened.  I can worship at my church of choice in peace.  I can read my bible without persecution.  I can provide all this to my children.  Blessing after blessing after blessing.  God is providing "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" Ephesians 3:20.  I am praying that God pours out his blessings on those poor starving people of East Africa. 

Dear Father, please remember your children in Kenya and Somalia.  Feed, clothe, heal them.  For Jesus' sake. Amen.

My dear readers, those of you who pray, please pray for this famine to cease.  Please pray that evil people do not stop aid.  Please pray for these precious souls who are our brothers and sisters.  Please pray for the little children who cannot fend for themselves. 

My children, although they have never been of the chubby bubby variety, have still been able to have normal baby-pudginess.  Chubby ruddy cheeks.  Never missed a meal.  Oh how my heart aches for those little babies who can't even hold their heads up due to starvation.  Oh the mothers and the fathers who look on through their own sunken eyes, at the horror of their dying children. 

If you want to help aid in East Africa with a financial donation, you can visit this site.  Or for a list of other aid agencies working in East Africa, try this site.

This post is linked to Rhonda's 'On My Mind'

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied

Another day and another job application.  I have approached in excess of 40 businesses either straight off the street or by formal application to an advertised job.  It is hard.  I don't know what I am doing from day to day . . . tells me . . . it isn't nice.  But I am out there still, almost 6 weeks on.  Somebody will hire me sooner or later!

This afternoon, I wandered out again into my father-in-law's garden, admiring the bounty of cherry tomatoes.

Some ready to pick and others showing in greeness the promise of a tomato-mouth-explosion yet to come.  It reminded of a bible text I read recently that a friend posted as her facebook status:

"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the LORD your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you,
And My people shall never be put to shame."
~ Joel 2:25, 26

Our lives are in His hands and although times are lean and troublesome, He will restore us.  What a promise!

My little men go nuts when they get outside so it was very hard to get these photos of them.  Most of the snaps I took were blurry or of the moment just after they were looking and saying "cheeeeeeeeeese" ie the back of their heads!  There is no relaxation with little men around but they are a joy beyond all words.  I can only imagine that the love God has for me (and you) are like the feelings that I have toward my two sons only His love is multiplied by infinity- and I love my sons tremendously.  I am not afraid.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Never washing my hands again"

We took the boys on a train ride through Queens Park in Maryborough last week.  Liam got a stamp on his hand that he couldn't stop staring at.  He wouldn't let me wash his hands because he didn't want it to wash off.

I have since penned on another one which he has named "Thomas" (yeah, original I know!) and that one is fading too.  So he has asked for another, but this time in red pen.  I love that he is easily pleased.

And while I am talking about my #1 Son, he has accomplished the toilet.  Yay, finally.  Actually, it only took 2 days with only 3 accidents all up (including a poo-filled pair of undies . . . g.r.o.s.s.).  He doesn't even wet his nappy at night.  So we can now save some serious dollars and decrease our carbon footprint a tad . . . yippeee.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Unemployed and Knitting

After a day of business door-knocking and presenting my most positive and professional self, in the hope of making the sale - yes, buy ME businesses of Hervey Bay! - I knit.  My knitting mojo has returned but not without a false start.

You see, this has been a trying time and my stress levels are doing odd things to my mental wiring. . . I am getting people confused, forgetting what day of the week it is and in this case, skipping 40 rows of pattern.  At no point in the decreasing and weaving in of ends did I realise that this beanie was more like a fancy skull cap!

When I cast it on, my intention was to knit up a butterfly beret like I did for my stepdaughter - oops, I never showed you the finished product!  This picture is not how it finally looked as I blocked it into a loose beret shape, and not so much like a fancy old ladies' swimming cap you see here below!

This fairy-floss pink yarn is not wool but a nylon acrylic mix and therefore can't be blocked into a beret shape.  The original recipient will have to wait . . . I'm guessing it may not be for this winter. 

So this little pixie beanie is perfect for a doll.

Annoyed at my stress-related error, I decided to do what all stressed out knitters do and start another project slightly more challenging! 

My four year old neice said "I like pink and red" when asked what colour beanie she would like me to knit for her.

So pink and red it is.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eating Poppy's Garden

We have been so blessed to be able to house-mind here in Hervey Bay.  Makes a huge difference when you have no income. We are dwelling in my in-laws' delightful home while they are visiting family in Spain.  They have left us here, sheltered and stocked with food.  Some of that food comes straight out of the garden.  Like all good Poppies, he has a lush little kitchen garden that up here in the tropics, produces summer veg in winter.  Liam has eaten tomatoes for the first time, straight off the vine!

These came straight off the vine too.  These long-fingered eggplants are so sweet lacking the bitterness that often is encountered with the big football sized cousins.  Lacking my usual array of spices, I decided to keep it simple, which is often best for little taste-buds.

So into the pot with onion, stock, pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, lentils and some shredded spinach.

It was delish.  Ladeled over mashed potato and the boys couldn't get enough.  Yay!  Another dinner win.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A cloudy morning by the pier

I went out this morning with Rick, my lovely sisters in laws and of course, my two little shadows.  We went to a little shack of a burger place on The Esplanade to get hot chocolates which were surprisingly delicious and cheap!

Across the road was this view

On a sunny day this pier stands out glaringly white and the water a classic crystal blue. The pier seems to go on and on.  The 868 m pier has a little history that you can read about here.  But that doesn't include the 100's if not 1000's of romantic moments captured in the love story of many lovers.  And my little family and I hope to make our own memories with this beautiful land mark.  Fishing, walking, running, smiling, licking icecream, sunset gazing and just sitting on the bench and gazing at locals and tourists enjoying their walk out on the ocean.

Do you have a little piece of happiness near your house that you like to visit and create memories with?

Here are my little shadows, growing up so beautifully.



Book Loving :: Steps to Christ

Do you own any books that you have never read entirely?  Sure, I bet you do . . . like those moments when you thought you should cultivate a wider reading range and bought War and Peace or the complete works of Shakespeare.  I bought the complete works of Jane Austen and have so far read only 2 novels but enjoyed the others via BBC!

Ten years ago, I acquired a little book (only 90 small pages), called Steps to Christ.  I have, from time to time, flicked through its content but never read it from cover to cover.  This past week, I read it.  I read some chapters twice even, not because I didn't understand but because it was so wonderful and uplifting.

As the title suggests, it is an introduction to Jesus Christ and His lovely perfect character, how to meet Him and what it all means to you!  I have been greatly blessed by reading it through and can only recommend it to anyone who wants to grow closer to Jesus.  If you are looking to find something new that is outside of what the bible teaches, you won't.  This book is built from bible texts and compels you to go back and read the bible for yourself.  Yes, it takes away any fear of reading God's Word.  Just delightful.

I would also like to share with you a little personal testimony.  Before arriving in Hervey Bay, I hit the lowest of lows and am not proud of myself for how I handled it.  But since we've moved, to a home that is not our own, with no job and prospects bleak, Rick and I have leant on Jesus.  We have been impressed to pray together every morning at 6 am.  God has made it possible for us to open a little book of blessings to the boys every morning after breakfast and have prayed together as a family.  We do the same again after dinner.  Rick and I have been praying on our own too.  And none of this is in our own strength, we are compelled by our love of God to talk to Him, to read His Word and fellowship with other christians.  We have received a massive blessing and a major dose of faith.

If you are needing a major dose of faith but don't know where to start, read Steps to Christ.



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My brave new life

Oh wow!  I have not blogged in quite a while and in my absence a couple of delightful curious creatures have bravely joined my rambling blog.  Hello to all!  Welcome and to the rest of my dear readers, thanks for sticking by me.  Do I need to re-introduce myself? Hahaha

I will give you a brief update.

Early July Rick, my two boys and I, dug up sticks, packed it all into a container (for storage) while we hiked it up the Pacific Highway to beautiful and sunny Queensland.  The winter here is a delightful spring for Sydney and I hear, since we left Port Stephens, the rain has barely stopped there.  I will not gloat any further as I will be paying for it come summer!!  Sweat, chaffing and heat-induced drowsiness come to mind . . . the locals tell me you get used to it, but may take a couple of summers . . . yikes. Oh and probably no baking or knitting!  What's a girl to do?!

We are blessed to be house-minding until mid October, thinking this would give us plenty of time to find work, save and then move into a rental.  Well, there doesn't seem to be a shortage of rentals but there is a massive shortage of something else, WORK!  Yes, 4 days after arriving I hear the news that Wide Bay (Hervey Bay) has the highest unemployment in  . . . wait for it . . . all of Australia!  Sheesh.  And they are just the reported figures from Centrelink.  That does not include those unregistered (ie me), partners of those on Centrelink who may be looking for work or those who can only get 8hrs/wk but want more.  IT IS REALLY BLEAK.  People with horticultural degrees get interviews for lawn mowing jobs (I kid you not, it is true!).  Employers have never had it so good!  I even heard last week that degree graduates are going for traineeships where once upon a time a school-leaver would qualify.

I have been networking like a crazy woman for the past 4 weeks.  Rick and I have been praying.  This is a trial and a test of faith.  But I know that this time will pass and it will be a distant memory- oh to be at that point already!

So as you can see, I am returning to work after 3 years of bringing up babies and working part time from home.  Rick's body needs a break, my brain needs a recharge so we are swapping roles.  Well, that is the plan anyway.  So far we are both stay at home parents and the kids seem to love it.

I am sad to say that I have not done anything crafty in weeks.  Does that mean I am not a true crafter afterall?  Hope not.  The sewing machines are in storage, my hand sewing (hexagons) also got packed but I kept out a little knitting and mending.  Just have not been inspired.

And last but not least, Liam turned 3 and in preparation for this little milestone, we are attempting toilet training again for the umpteenth time.  So far, he's coming along well.  Lots of wee-wees from "his tunnel" as he likes to call it (hey whatever works) but he is refusing to poo and I fear a back-log is going to come forth when we least expect it!

Got any good tips for getting a toddler to poo on the toilet?

xxx Fi
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