Saturday, July 31, 2010


An American playing netball is kinda like... 
well, I don't know what it's like... think of something that's a bit out-of-place and slightly awkward and that's what it'd be like. 

If an American is going to play a game that involves a court, two teams, a round ball that can bounce, a rim (aka, 'raised goal'), and passing and shooting, that game will be BASKETBALL.  And to come clean,
I am not even a mediocre basketball player.  
I coached a bit, but only because I was a parent and made my sister help.  (and even then, there were some very frightening, uneducated coaching moments... but that's a different story)

Netball is one sport that isn't big in the states.  I don't think it's there at all.  I hear some Netball Ambassadors went over to spread the sport... but I've never heard what the outcome was. 

But, it's HUGE here! 
It's mainly a girls' sport, although there are co-ed teams.  One funny rule is that when you play, you have to wear a skirt. (just the girls, silly)  It's kinda like a tennis skirt.  If you don't have yours, you can't get on the court.  (I learned that today... had trackies on and that just didn't work)

It's a fabulous and fun game!  I play alongside some very patient and amazing women who are willing to put up with my mistakes and teach me as we go. 
They've accepted me where I'm at, 
and are helping to move me forward in the game.  
What a treasure.

I am by no means good, but I try and have fun. :-)   Have a look...
This is before the game... I look confused, that's normal ;-)
The player with the ball is actually 'trimming' a nail.
The refs check fingernails before the game to make sure they're not too long.
Safety first.
(and we're stretching... that's important too)

Just a look at the court (sorta) and the different outfits.
In the back, the other team is wearing bodysuit type skirts.
We're not that official... I like our uniforms heaps.
Oh, and on the left, on player is practicing shooting.
Only certain players can shoot, depending on your position.
I am not one of those players!
(I can barely make a basket when there's a backboard helping)

Certain players are allowed in certain parts of the court.
The position I'm playing here (Wing Defense.. my only position) isn't allowed in the circle.
So, I stopped. (sometimes I forget)

This is a common occurrence...
I'm standing beside an opposing player because I've been called on a 'foul'.
(not sure if that's really what it's called)
You can't touch or run into the other players... 
But they stop too fast, so I get 'pulled up' often.

An action shot!
I'm trying to make sure the player in front of me doesn't get the ball.
And I'm really concentrating! 

Hope you enjoyed this little netball journey with me. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Flashback Friday - Sibling Sweetness

It's hard to believe they were ever so little!

Ball pit fun when D was 5  years and B was 19 months.
A day when we met Nanni for lunch and fun somewhere in Michigan.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A different view...

Recently I chatted w/ some folks about Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan.  You know the one?  The guy gets beat up and robbed while journeying some where and left for dead.  When the religious men pass by, they choose to keep walking, leaving him in his pain and trouble.  Then, when a man who's looked down upon and seen as unworthy passes by, he chooses to stop.  He chooses to show love and care for the man.

I've often read this story and heard lessons about it that focus on encouraging us to be the one who shows love, the person who will take time and effort to care.  And that's
very true and valid.  
We need to see those hurting, those in need as our 'neighbor' and love them as ourselves.  (which is quite a big lesson and pretty hard to do, especially if they're different from us)

But, I started thinking about the often overlooked character in this story, the beaten man.  We don't know much about him except that he was a man walking down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Those would have both been Israelite cities.  Could the speculate that he was an Israelite too?  And if so,
what would he feel 
when he watched his "brothers", those who should love him, walk by as if he was too unimportant to notice?  What feelings would he have for those men after he healed physically?  For the men who represent his God and who didn't seem to care at all for his pain?

And then, what feelings would he have for the man who did stop and help him heal?  A man who the religious people saw as an outcast, as unworthy, as unacceptable.  Yet, a man who was able to show love through his actions.  How would the hurt man see him now?   

I feel like the beaten man, struggling and in pain, stopped in my journey.  I have watched as some who claim to be my "brothers" pass by unconcerned, show in their actions they want nothing to do with me.  I have also experienced those who others consider "unclean" or "unacceptable" stop, take time, show me love and invest to help heal my wounds.  I know my view of these groups has altered;  I wonder if it was the same for the man in the story.

Wordless Wednesday - Kids & Kebabs

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

He says it well...

I read a bunch of blogs.  I like hearing peoples' thoughts and perspectives.  I enjoying using their thoughts to refine my own.

I find blogs to read through people I know and often end up reading blogs of people who just have interesting things to share. 

One blog I like is written by a missionary in Costa Rica.  I don't know him.  I don't even know which tradition he belongs to.  I do know that what he writes is reflective and honest.  It reads as though he's not afraid to be himself, warts and all.  He thinks and makes me think.  I don't have to agree with all he says, but thinking is good.

I've had some thoughts about 'chruch-y' things and how they can be off-putting.  I don't have the words to share what he does so well.

So, if you're interested in thinking a bit today, and maybe even reflecting a bit on yourself, have a look...
"I'm Not a Role Model"

Driving Differently

After our quick trip to the States and returning back in Oz, I noticed a difference in the way we drive.  (no silly, i've known for a while that Aussies drive on the left side of the road... shesh. ;-)  )

When I drive in the US, I use the "emergency brake" when I park on hills, just to make sure the car doesn't roll anywhere after I've parked it.  (who knows, it could go for a joy ride w/out me and what fun would that be??)

However, whenever we stop to park anywhere here, we use that same break.  No matter where I park... on a hill, in a parking garage, or in a driveway (sometimes those are really inclined!).  Perhaps that's why it's called the "hand brake" here.  It's used more often than just for 'emergencies'.

I don't know why I'll pull the break here as soon as I park, but I've never done it in the states.  Kinda odd.

(oh, and to give full credit, it was first the wonderful hubby who noticed this unusual phenomena. pretty perceptive.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Brenna Show

I am so impressed by what the little girl has been up to recently.  She has found somethings that she enjoys and has fully committed herself to them.  It's both inspiring and tiring to watch.  :-)

She's discovered a passion and love for performing and has immersed herself in that.  She's part of an African drumming group as well as a dance troupe at school.  She's also earned a solo spot in a song performance for her music class and is involved in a public speaking club.  And that's just the activities she's doing in school.  (Can ya understand about the tiring aspect??  I am, she's not)

In a couple weeks her school is celebrating Education Week where they'll take a day and share some of the activities that are being done at Mt. Brown Primary.

When a teacher asked B what she'd be doing for the day, she rattled off her list of performances.  The teacher replied, "Maybe we should call it the 'Brenna Show'."  That made her smile.  It's great to see her getting involved and enjoying her Year 6 so much.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quick Review of a Speedy Trip

We enjoyed a quick trip back to the states for my little sister's wedding.  :-)  We hadn't planned on making it back, but just couldn't miss being there to support and celebrate.  And I can't say how very thankful I am that we made the trip.  :-)

Here are a few highlights of our whirlwind trip...

Getting to know a new cousin didn't take long

 Mr and Mrs Morgan
My little sis and me
Enjoying some family fun after the wedding.

Visiting with Dad after his heart surgery and the wedding.
He's looking pretty good here and doing great now.
Mr and Mrs Morgan bonding with the nieces and nephew.
Don't they look so happy together! ;-)
We enjoyed a visit with Grandma Grace
on the beginning of our road trip south.

Thankful for the flexibility of friends, we stopped for
a late lunch with some ones just outside Cinci.

Chatting with some of the Carpe Libris (book club) girls
at a lovely dinner.  Thanks to all who came and cooked!

Our gracious Jackson hosts opened up their home
for a Memphis invasion.  :-)  
Wish I had room for pics of everyone.

Saturday night, we spent time at Pringles Park 
to cheer on the local team in America's pastime.
The boys are sporting their 'rally caps' in the last inning.

After the game... one week married!  :-)
We got to see some fireworks here too!

Thanks to my fabulous cousin who welcomed us for dinner
(oh-so-yummy grilled chicken and brats!) on our journey north.
The kids loved visiting w/ their cousins and having time out of the car!
We saw more fireworks as we drove north on the 4th. 

The big rush north was to celebrate D's 16th birthday with family!
It was a fabulous gathering of family and fun
on a very warm PA day!

Can't spend time at Nunu and Pappy's without
hanging out in the pool. 
It was nice to visit summer for a few weeks during our winter.

A day at Pittsburgh's own amusement park...
Thanks, Griffiths.  We all had a BLAST!

Dinner with three generations.
Ah, hoagies.

Summertime's complete with a tasty s'more!

and some lovingly made Mountain Pies!

Back in MI again.
Enjoyed lunch at Big Boy's with my family
just before walking into the airport to head home. :-)

It was a whirlwind trip, but I was so blessed to be able to share in the joy of my sister's wedding and see so many friends and family who took time out of their busy schedules to visit us on a this trip.  Thanks.

(disclaimer: Please forgive any missing important events or people.  While I'd love to be able to have everyone we saw in this post, it would make the post crazy long.  I appreciate and love each of you who came to see us and even those we didn't get a chance to see.  Hopefully next time)

Monday, July 5, 2010

One Week Old!

(plus a couple days)

Giant CONGRATS!!! to Janie and Robert on a beautiful wedding and the beginning of a new journey together.  :-) 

I was lucky enough to see them on their one week anniversary and take a couple pics.  But they're not loaded to the computer yet.  (traveling's been fully loaded)  Hope to share those soon, too.