Being a resourceful person and one who loves people and thrives on the support, love, and encouragement from others, it was a no brainer that I needed to find some friends. Further, these individuals needed to be of quality and want a friendship that allowed us to ‘do life’ together. I was very blessed with the friends I left in San Diego and prayed for similar ones here. Where did I look for them? In the end, (for the most part) Meetup.com came through. At first, I met many moms that didn’t fit what I needed in my life, and after several weeks of showing up and putting a lot of energy towards being friendly, I was discouraged. I wanted to make friends, not just show up with my kid and focus on him and talk about him endlessly. From my perspective, I would have appreciated it if someone asked about my huge move, or alternatively, share with me about themselves. I was amazed at the lack of initiative people showcased towards building a friendship or community that I just started doing things on my own with Zane. I felt like I was trying too hard and was not spending my time wisely. Surely God would bless me with some friends; and He did shortly after. With my current group of friends, I regularly talk to and spend time with them during the week. For Zane’s party, all of them attended except for one due to her child being sick. To see this group of ladies joined with our extended family after having been on the Gold Coast for several months made my heart very happy. Everyone was inclusive, laughing, and getting to know one another. It was perfect. So what Zane was busy with his lawn mower pretending to cut the grass?! ☺ I’m thankful I decided to host a party for him to celebrate him, our two years of parenting, and to create an opportunity for people to gather in a community format. I don’t share all this to boast, but rather give thanks and share my hope for the potential there is to creating a community of good friends. I pray that these friendships flourish and that I’ll continue to be blessed by meeting more like-minded, beautiful hearted women. Through my short challenge of finding friends, I’m reminded to not settle, force friendships, and trust that God will bring them to me.
I have been inspired the last several months to exercise based on several friends’ testimonies and results. As I’ve shared before, incorporating exercise into my day has been a long time goal of mine. To observe and hear about how others can make this a priority, especially when they have kids, reminds me that I have no excuses. Why do I want to make exercising a habit and priority in my life? I want to look and feel good! As well, to be healthy and for Zane to embrace and participate in exercising too. Thankfully the Gold Coast is a place where it seems to be the norm and culture where many people make exercising a priority, or at least a part of their life. It’s amazing how many people are out at 6am walking or running on or near the beach. And it’s just not fit looking people, I see people of all ages with various body sizes. Since everyone seems to be doing it, I’ve decided to commit to jumping on the band wagon. In the last two weeks, I’ve exercised more than I can remember. (That’s pretty sad, especially since I can do daily walks with Zane in the stroller…) I don’t know what has overcome me though, but I crave to work out my body through running or power walking. And additionally, do yoga weekly. Consequently, I have more energy and feel accomplished. Zane knows the drill and does really well sitting in the stroller for up to 45 minutes. (Sometimes we visit the park afterwards on the beach.) I’m feeling optimistic and driven at this point, so I hope I continue this initiative.
Along this “take care of your body” vain, I have also cut down on my alcohol consumption. Now I only have a daily drink on the weekends, including Friday. Of course there are exceptions, but in general, I’ve been doing well for several weeks now. Interestingly, I do not desire to have a drink daily like I used to. So putting together my new exercising ways with less drinking, I’m feeling on top of the world. I remember always desiring this for myself and postponing these goals for later, so I’m glad the time has arrived. I hope from reading this post that it will encourage you to live a healthier lifestyle by exercising and eating/ drinking wiser.
Not being surrounded by Christians or having opportunities to dialogue about how God is working in our lives have been hard for Daniel and I since relocating to the Gold Coast. Oh how we miss our Christian community in San Diego. It’s no one’s fault; it’s just the situation we’ve found ourselves in and also seems to be more common here with a smaller population of believers in this city. Or maybe they’re just hiding? With this significant void in our lives, it was a priority for us to find a church and be plugged into their community right away. Back in San Diego, we were blessed when we came across La Jolla Community Church. We didn’t realize at the time it was what we needed in our lives. Having come from a mega church where we grew in our faith (Daniel accepting Christ for the first time and me, an extremely lukewarm believer), we needed to be accountable, loved, appreciated, and in close community. But more importantly, we needed to be growing in our Bible knowledge, relationship with God, our marriage with Christ as the foundation, and personally so we were becoming more like Christ. Already you can tell that a church and its community had a tall order. For four years, LJCC fulfilled this bill and more. The amazing growth, experiences, and relationships that resulted from our time there have prepared us for our new life here in Australia. We know what we want in a church and its people, and we know we cannot settle. After visiting three churches, by chance I met a mother at a music class that shared with me about her church. I had heard about the church before but dismissed it based on a sermon we steamed. In my discouraged, ready to give up on church shopping for a bit state, we decided it’d be worth a visit anyways. We must persevere and trust God! Our first Sunday visit went well! Zane did amazing for the two hours he was in their childcare. When we returned, he ran up to me and was all smiles and hadn’t shed a tear or whine. There are many reasons we are starting to believe this may be our new church. Instead of going into a paragraph of details, the following are the points we are looking for in a church and how they were met at this church. Please pray for us that God clearly reveals to us whether this is the church we are meant to attend.
- Meet and have a chat with the pastor
- Moving worship and more than four songs
- Engaging sermon rooted in Bible teachings with practical application and relevant stories
- Organization with systems in place for new visitors, life groups, etc.
- Childcare for Zane that engages him
- Friendly people who are nonjudgmental and striving to live in and for Christ
- Gatherings to encourage community among men, women, mothers, families
- Encourages and inspires us to be alive and growing in Christ
- Congregation includes young families and diversity of ages
Maybe this list may help you in finding a church too. ☺