Mountains Time


In the first week of the New Year, both my boss & I take a sabbatical week. We head up to the Blue Mountains & spend the week at CMS Summer School.

Up we went on Saturday the 7th of Jan. Shona, the family & I were staying at a new place in Blackheath & were a little nervous about what the new pad would be like. In the end, we couldn’t have been any happier with a wonderful house being rented to us at a really decent rate!

The conference itself was grand. William Taylor was speaking, looking at “the account of Terah”¬†which is basically the story of Abraham & his life (Terah was his dad). With the kids all off at their programmes, we found ourselves free all morning this time, which meant we got to go to the missionary sessions too! For the first time I got to chose, listening to an African Bishop, hearing about the fears that come with going on the mission field, as well as the struggles that come with speaking to a “post-truth” audience, plus more!

William Taylor in full-flight

The afternoons were our own and we made the most of our time, going on bush walks, playing games, reading, catching up with great friends and also a little R&R. In the evenings, Shona went off to the evening sessions & I stayed at home with the kids.

It really was a wonderful time & we count ourselves lucky to be able to attend such great Bible teaching, meet so many encouraging missionaries, and spend some time in God’s good creation.

Here’s some more pics! (Do you get the feeling that I’m trying to get more use out of my cameras again?)

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(Before this blog starts. Sorry about the messed up photos from last blog. I think I’ll get embed them from within wordpress from now on….)

The down side of holidays is the mad dash that you have afterward, catching up on the stuff that happened while you were away, and preparing for the stuff that is to come!

It has certainly been busy since I arrived. Friday saw a baptism in the morning & a wedding in the afternoon.

Happy peeps
Happy peeps

Scott & Charnel were a lot of fun. Weddings are that much more enjoyable when the bride, groom & guests are happy, & looking for a good time (of course, not many bridal couples are “unhappy,” but you do get those people who are so stressed about things being perfect, or stuff happening a certain way, that they lose track of the real value of the day…)


Saturday morning was going to be surf day. I got down to Avoca & it was BIG and messy. Colin & I drove around to Copacabana, and after watching the waves for 5 minutes, we decided we might sit the day out, enjoy a chat & have a coffee.

Saturday Morning Copa
Saturday Morning Copa
Big Waves
Big Waves

While we were watching a guy on a big wave out the back, he got barrelled in a barrel so high he was still standing straight, but then the spray blew out, we saw the board flip & I can only imagine he got hammered. We sort of lost sight of the guy, then a couple of minutes later, we saw him jogging along the beach with his board snapped in half. Safe to say, at that point I was happy with my no-surf decision!

Saturday was another baptism, some more desk work, then some family time in the afternoon!

Now I’m on the downhill run. One morning service done, and just about to finish off some prep for this evening.

But it’s Palm Sunday next week, and Easter Sunday after that…. so I guess I had better get used to feeling busy!

Coonamble Wedding

I don’t often get to go back to Coonamble. I love the whole process of driving there.

  1. Push through vineyards & onto the Golden Highway.
  2. Cruise over the rolling, verdant hill country.
  3. Push through the sparse national forests around Mendooran. (and on this occasion make a detour into Dubbo, but we wont talk about that because it spoils the romance).
  4. Gilgandra is the turning point…. “Cooee Country.” The lands starts to flatten out, the grass moves from green, to brown, to a yellowy grey.
  5. Gulargambone. It’s a great name for a town & it means I’m almost there.
  6. Sometimes… driving into Coonamble, this time, driving to my Aunt & Uncle’s place, Willow Downs.

I wont bang on about Maurny & Herbie, because I know they’ll read this, suffice to say, we had an awesome time staying with them, and it was a real highlight for the kids.

There were lots of things that were fun about our visit. Getting to meet the dogs, feed the chooks, see the sheep & feed the cows….. al of which scared the heck out of Gumnut! My personal highlight, however, was waking up a little before dawn, looking out over the massive plain toward the Warrumbungles, and watching the sunrise. The pictures don’t ¬†capture the majesty!

<a href=”; title=”Untitled by tfabas, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”500″ height=”169″ alt=”Untitled”></a> (click on the pic & see a larger version for full effect)

<a href=”; title=”IMG_7180 by tfabas, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”500″ height=”333″ alt=”IMG_7180″></a>(a cage was required to get Gumnut to warm up to “Rusty”)

Friday morning we had to get the obligatory family picture (we don’t have enough of them) and one with our wonderful hosts!

<a href=”; title=”IMG_7230 by tfabas, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”333″ height=”500″ alt=”IMG_7230″></a> (Thanks Maurny & Herbie)

<a href=”; title=”Untitled by tfabas, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”Untitled”></a> (The Happy Family)

And then it was off to the Wedding.

It’s lovely to play a part in your own cousin’t wedding, and once you get through the struggle of getting the local minister’s permission, the local bishop’s permission, your bishop’s permission & then your boss’s permission to take the time off, it’s also a lot of fun!

Pumpkin & Gumnut got special clothes, and loved seeing special drinks & food.

<a href=”; title=”IMG_7235 by tfabas, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”500″ height=”333″ alt=”IMG_7235″></a>

Joey & Catherine looked wonderful! One interesting little highlight was having Joey’s dog, Edward, deliver the rings…

<a href=”; title=”Untitled by tfabas, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Untitled”></a>

Needless to say, I got my obligatory self-take with the happy couple.

<a href=”; title=”Untitled by tfabas, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”Untitled”></a>

And also some lovely family pics.

<a href=”; title=”IMG_7257 by tfabas, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”333″ height=”500″ alt=”IMG_7257″></a>

<a href=”; title=”IMG_7244 by tfabas, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”333″ height=”500″ alt=”IMG_7244″></a>

That night we went & stayed at Urungie, Uncle Stevie’s place (Stevie is also a wonderful host. I need to be clear, lest Aunty Barb reads this, that he was ever-attentive, and thoughtful in his hosting!) and then it was a long drive off the plains, through the hills, and back for a brief overnight stay at my parent’s place in the Hunter.

I wish I had more photos, but you just get caught up with stuff, especially with 4 little kids. It was a truly wonderful holiday though…




Death of the DVD?


We’ve been looking at buying a new desktop computer. I’ve had our current one since Bible College & it’s starting to get a little slow, and more than a little senile.

I almost bought one a month or two ago, but was thankful I held off when Mac announced that they are rolling out the latest edition of the iMac.

…without an optical drive.


Wow, what a bold move! Of course, the cynics will jump up & down, saying this is the way they force people into purchasing movies through iTunes instead of buying DVDs. Of course, I’m not so naive as to say that this isn’t a consideration for them, but I actually think this is a bold & wise move by the mac people for other reasons.

DVDs, even bluerays are yesterday’s news. Disks are too big, it takes nothing to scratch them & leave them worthless, and solid-state memory is getting cheaper and cheaper by the day. Why would you want a DVD if you can get something on a thumb-sized drive? (apart from advertisers, who, no doubt, appreciate the extra real-estate to advertise their wares….) Why would you have a big device with lots of moveable (read:breakable) parts that take up a lot of room if they don’t really do the job?

At some point in time the world needs to move on, and Mac is showing that they’re willing to do so.

Is it inconvenient?

Darn right! I am thinking about whether I need to rip all my DVDs to a hard-drive so I can still watch stuff in my study… but before I do that, I have to work out whether I am officially breaching copyright law by doing so. Australians, who were one of the lowest per-capita purchasers of videos were apparently the worlds biggest per-capita purchasers of DVDs! Will all of these collections be redundant? It is something to consider.

But I do think Mac is making the right move. As much as I treasure the memory of buying my very first CD (De La Soul’s “three feet high and rising” at Tower Records in San Fran), and my first ever DVD (Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” in bought in Melbourne) the truth is, the world has moved on & computers ought to as well!