We’re back!

by Meredith Donkin

What a whirlwind of a summer we’ve been having here in Sydney!  Flooding rains for days, followed by overwhelming heat waves.  Don’t even get me started on the humidity…I’ve not had a good hair day since November.

The time-out over summer was much needed in our house.  As a family, we are heavily involved in  setting up housing for women and children fleeing from domestic violence. It can be pretty confronting at times and by the time we hit mid-December,  we all needed a break.  Lucky for us, we get to have a break, unlike so many whose daily reality of violence and it’s consequences seem inescapable.   Days were spent at the beach, playing board games, doing laundry in a leisurely fashion as opposed to the frantic panic that it usually requires.  It got me thinking a lot about the importance of keeping Sabbath.  We’re going to revisit that a lot this year here on Esther & Friends.

We had lots of lovely escape days to our favourite beaches:

Bilgola Beach:

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Whale Beach:

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Balmoral Beach:

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By the way – I am ALL about the ocean pool.  You get all the health benefits of sea water and you’re not fighting for your life against rips, dumpers and pre-pubescent boogie board riders.  I’m clearly getting old, because I don’t even care that this makes me sound ancient and boring.   Also, as our youngest is epileptic, water is “DANGER” time.  To be able to experience the beach safely is a gift from above.   Thank you Sydney forefathers for landscaping these amazing ocean pools into our coastline.

Here’s the one at Palm Beach:

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I know.  Amazesauce.  I could stay here all day.

The kids re-connected with each other over lazy days doing  Absolutely. Nothing. At. All.  Sometimes we’d binge watch some Parenthood.  The little boys would take off for hours with their friends  in the street, only coming home  to stock up on lemonade iceblocks.  The girls would endlessly rearrange their rooms while I pretended to get cranky at them for the mess they were making.  Please be reassured that this picture I’m painting of familial bliss was regularly punctuated with temper tantrums, melt-downs and diva stomping…..and that was just me.  Let’s be real.  We’re a family of 8 with spicy temperaments.  It’s not all beers and skittles.

These two cutie-pies…..

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This was Christmas Day.  We keep things fairly loose and casual on Christmas Day.

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This was New Year’s Day.  Pinching ourselves that we get to live in  Sydney.    Check out that sky!

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Dave and I even treated ourselves to a city escape where we purposefully set goals, dreamed new dreams and discarded the past years’ occasional disappointments into the “oh well, whatevs” pile.  We’ve been together now for over 25 years and he is still my favourite person.  The person who knows me best, laughs at my lame jokes and always has my best interests at heart.   He also makes me a cappuccino every morning.  He’s a keeper.

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This was my happy place, many times during the holidays.  The most incredible fruit cake given to me by your friend and mine, Emma Crauford.  She gives away all her recipes, except one.  This one.  I love that.  I think every woman should have a recipe that is just their own little secret to be passed down generation after generation like the family silver.

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I collected all my old magazines to take over to the safe houses for the women to flick through.  But don’t think I didn’t have a good flick through myself before I handed them over.  I love a good home mag.

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Sometimes, this is what social justice looks like.   Assembling and making up 30 gazillion beds for women and their precious kiddos.  It’s hot work in summer, but there’s NOTHING like the feeling of the finished product:

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And then there’s my own kiddos when they get bored:

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They were running around yelling “Look Mum, we’re basket cases!”  Weirdos.

On the way back from visiting their sister at Scout camp:

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Ah, bliss!  God bless their cotton socks.

As for the rest of the Esther and Friends team:

Miriam has moved countries!!

Simone has been doing this craziness.

Cheryl is absolutely crushing it with her women’s ministry initiatives.  

Emma has been on a much needed, long overdue holiday

It’s been a great summer.  Now to get stuck into the year proper.

Can’t wait to share stories, ideas, challenges and lovely things in this space.

Live brave, Sister!

Meredith xo

 

 

 

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