Saturday, 31 December 2016

I'm Back, Happy New Year!

Well, hello! I'm a bit of a stranger now, aren't I? Sorry about all that, life's been rather hectic lately.  First things first, Happy New Year! (This blog insists I published this post on December 31st but it is most definitely January 1st 2017 where I live!)

For many people, 2016 seems to have been a very up and down year, myself included. Yet, it seems as though each coming year, the valleys get lower but the mountains are higher and life becomes richer, deeper, and more meaningful every time. This past year has been so very challenging, incredibly unique and unfathomably rewarding for me personally in many different ways and despite the loss, pain, and tears, I look back in awe at the way God has worked - the way He has pieced everything together little by little like a jigsaw puzzle. I know without a doubt that 2017 will bring its own unique challenges but I am so excited for where life will take me over the next 12 months, In fact, can I just put it on record right here and now, that I absolutely love life!

The main reason I haven't posted much lately is that around the same time I started this blog, I also started a new full time job. It's been a wild roller coaster of learning which has only intensified. Physically and mentally, I've been too exhausted to post much on here but hopefully that will change this year.
So, what have I been up to since I last posted?  I remember posting a couple of months or so ago about how I was so totally going to smash out NaNoWriMo this year even whilst working full time.  I can now proudly announce that I hit the required word count for two whole days in a row and then barely touched my manuscript for the rest of the month.... Top tip for any future Nano-ers, full time work and novel writing in a month don't mix.

For the first time in my life, I was sick Christmas day which was sad but not too devastating since I had no big plans for Christmas anyway. It was a strange feeling lying in 40 degree (celsius) or 104 degree for my USA readers heat outside and having a few chills....Thankfully, I'm almost back to full health - and work! Yep, I only get public holidays off :(

Last night (New Year's Eve) was a time of celebration and welcoming in the new year in my home city. There were fireworks and tons of people down by the beach (how Aussie can you get!) and for me, I found it a really great night as I was volunteering. My local church went out onto the streets (as part of a wider organisation) handing out water, sweets and sick bags (there was a lot of drinking) and making Jesus known. It's not about us or how good we were but honestly, I can't think of a better way to spend the last hours of a year and the beginning hours of a new year than serving other people and doing what I know Jesus would have been doing if He was there. I had the privilege of doing a similar outreach earlier this year amongst thousands of drunk, drugged out school leavers and both times I can say it was an incredibly rewarding experience and one I can't wait to do again. I've had Christian people look down their noses at the wild parties that happen at events like these and talk about "keeping out of the path of the ungodly" etc but you know what, Jesus plunged straight into making friends with the people all the righteous Jews avoided and He was there for them - not condoning their sin, but serving them, loving them, and making them feel valued.

Like I predicted before, 2017 will probably be as challenging or more so than 2016 but if I focus on doing the kinds of things Jesus would do, those mountain peaks will keep on a comin'

Happy New Year xx