Not been blogging much as I have been very busy. Christmas is around the corner and lots of exciting extra church activities to work on. There's church games day (Youngies versus Oldies) followed by our annual church, family friends and neighbours bbq, and then carolling and the Christmas service.... all on top of my regular duties. And this Sunday I start a back to back 10 week stretch of Sunday preaching. And first week of January I hope to start a series on .... LEVITICUS! It's a tough book to want to preach a series on but I think it will be worth it. It will be challenging!
Busyness is also due to preparing to do a gospel magic show - mix of familiar tricks, updated familiar tricks as well as some new tricks. Tricky as I will be doing this show at a retirement village ... but just prior to the show I have caroling duties (the guitarist)! So it will be hard to set up and acts along the lines of McBride's Commando Act, while excellent in theory is way beyond my skill level (my fellow magicians will know what I am referring too! :-))
And of course trying to get as much sermon preparation and other admin stuff as possible done so I can finish off my annual leave.
I will also be stepping in with another elder to take over the youth ministry (an interim measure). It's not something I relish - not because I do not enjoy youth ministry. I do! And I have been more and more involved this year in the teaching aspect of the youth ministry. And my church youth are a GREAT bunch, so it's easy to work with them. They are genuinely kind and appreciative and respectful of us older folks! It's just that I am well aware that my best days as a youth minister is behind me. I just don't have the energy to hang out doing the typical youth activities, and keeping up with the trends - the movies, the music, the IT etc. I figured that out when I hit forty back in Malaysia, so it's not a new revelation! :-) It's a huge challenge though and I would appreciate your prayers.
Adding in my Monday off days, I plan to be on leave from 20 Dec to 31 Dec. I need a good break and I don't want to spoil my annual leave doing ministry work that need to be completed. So got to be extra disciplined.
Garden is doing well and I am pleased with my tomato, chilly, salad, lettuce, carrots, potatoes and strawberry plants. Been enjoying my salad, lettuce and strawberries! Yum! Sorry no photos as I lost my camera a couple of months ago! Oh, the pain! :-( My french beans and long beans are however not doing so well *sigh* And my herbs -chives and coriander are only so so ... But my mint is doing well - but then again mint is hardy and will thrive in the harshest environments.
For the trees / bushes, am happy with the progress of my feijoa trees, and the newest additions this year, my dwarf apple tree and blueberry bush - they seem healthy and growing okay but I think it is too early to tell. My macadamia tree though seems to be struggling. I'm told it is the soil.
Flowers - pretty happy with what I have managed to achieve. Only one plant died - but that was because I foolishly transplanted it a couple of weeks ago. Did not realize that spring is a bad time to try transplanting certain shrubs. Experimented with some flowers plants given to me by a neighbour and I think I will be able to do significantly more next year. Been mixing planting of perennials with annuals and it is great to see my perennials flowering well - and the annuals starting to spring up, especially after an earlier batch of seeds I planted did not grow. My hope is to try and plant some roses next. Roses here are huge! I would not be exaggerating to say that the red roses here are at least twice the size of the biggest Cameron Highland roses.
Still lots to learn but it is fun - except for the weeding part :-( Have to do some weeding again next Monday as the weeds are coming up again. One problem is that I often can't tell which is a weed and which is a plant! I figured out the shapes of quite a few but since I have been trying out some new flower seeds, sometimes I am unsure! I planted some vegetable seeds in pots and later found out one thriving plant was a weed. The seed did not germinate and a weed took root! I was happily watering and fertilizing a weed for a few weeks wondering what plant it was! *blush* :-(
Family will be travelling back to Malaysia in less than 2 weeks time for about 3 weeks so I will be reliving my bachelor days again. But I foresee myself being too busy miss them too much. I think it will be like another mission trip except that I will be having the comforts of home.
I have added a couple more dishes to my cooking repertoire which I am happy to say are pretty popular with family and friends :-). I tried to make "siew yok" last week and it turned out well - though I think there's room to make the skin a bit crispier. Mmmmmhhh. My mouth is watering .... I'm going to have fun doing more cooking when my family's away!
Okay, got to go- back to work!