Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Years Eve and me

So today I was remembering what I'd done on previous New Years Eve's. Got any stories better (or worse!) than mine? Drop me a comment and try to top these!

Like when I was 17, and 3 of my friends and I decided to sneak into the Bateau Bay pub illegally, as we were underage. We got stopped by a security guard on the way in, and the 3 of us who didn't have fake ID's pretended that we'd all 'conveniently' forgotten them. The security guard didn't believe us, but we snuck in through the beer garden anyway! I ended up getting so extremely drunk that I was repeatedly, violently and horrendously ill, and spent the first few hours of the new year with my head (so very literally) down a toilet bowl at my friends place at Chittaway. Good times.

Or when I was 18 (or 19?) and I went to some club down on the Peninsula with my then boyfriend. The club had hired these sexy salsa dancers, and some guys breathing fire! It was pretty cool, until my very disaster-prone bf somehow got some of the gasoline that the fire-breathers were using in his eye and we had to leave.

Or the NYE that I spent in Newcastle where I had a cute cowgirl hat on and lots of glitter, and everyone kept calling me a cowboy! I only remember drunkenly yelling at people all night "I'm a COWGIRL DAMMIT A COW GIRL!" (Possibly I was also just yelling this randomly at innocent passers-by, but that's a little blurry now)

And also the year where my dad told me that he was planning to stay home all night so that he was available if I needed a lift anywhere (bless you dad!) but I was really far away so I rang him up from a pay phone in the foyer of a club and rambled drunkenly about how female robots sounded more human-like than male robots.

Or another NYE in Newcastle where at 10 minutes to 12 we realised that we wanted to be by the water to see the fireworks down over the Harbour. So we sprinted as fast as we could down the main street (me with some very impractical cork platforms on, and a lot of Vodka and V inside me) and made it to the foreshore *right* on midnight. We were watching, and I remember one pissy little firework going off. We shouted to the world at large that it was a very lame firework display, and were told off by someone and informed that the firework display was at 9pm, and that was just a flare from a cruise boat, and happy new year. Hee hee hee! What a let downt hat was! And then, because I'd drunk 3 bottles of V with my vodka that evening, I didn't sleep for the first two nights of the New Year and was in a zombie state and kept balefully informing people that I had, like, totally lost the power of sleeping.

But the best New Years Eve so far? Well, that would be this one! The material things are all good: got some beautiful Danish fetta, a cake fresh out of the oven, I'm frosty cool in the air-conditioned comfort of my mums house, got some great pirated dvd's from my sister Jess, and even a glass of wine (I don't think I'm going to be able to finish it though!).

But you know, it's the bigger things that are making this New Years Eve the best ever! This time around, I'm so excited about what the new year holds! I've got this great new job, which I'm really starting to enjoy. The job pays well, so that a future in which I am debt-free is finally on the horizon! I'm moving soon into a fabulous old house with my beautiful beautiful friend Shelley! I'm going to be doing a brilliant TAFE course starting in February which will be setting me up for my dream career, and I'm psyched about that! As soon I move down to Sydney I'll be able to get right back into being planted in church and serving in the house, and meeting lots of fab people. I can't wait to grow more and more in God's word and find out more about what His plan for me is, and just to reflect more and more of His love on those in my world. This year I was baptised in the Holy Spirit, and I can't wait to see what effect that will have on my life! I'm so excited! I feel like the next two years will be real foundation-laying, ground-breaking years for me! So bring it on! I've never been so excited to see what the future is going to bring!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Pictures of me

So as a Happy New Year special, here's a short stroll down Amy memory lane, a few of my fabourite pics...

Me in a hotel in Tokyo in 2003

Pretending to play pool in a pub in Ireland

Saint Amy

Posing at the movies

Hair just straightened, I love that feeling!

Christmas, let's set the record straight

Okay, so my previous post may have been a bit 'Bah humbug' about Christmas, so to set the record straight, there were some good times too!

Christmas Eve was an excellent night! Katy came to stay, and she baked up some excellent chocolate chip cookies and let me eat half the mixture before it was cooked.

Jess didn't come over, but she was still present by phone!

Then on Christmas Day we went to Dad's place for breakfast first, which was so much fun! Dad's partner Meg and her three beautiful daughters and their partners were all there. We had a great time, it was only a pity we couldn't all stay longer!

Hayden got a Buzz Lightyear pool, and the look of sheer joy on his face when he saw it was such a blessing! He hung out with his breakfast in the pool - total luxury...

Great food, fantastic company, beautiful presents, and a lovely garden. It was so wonderful!

After that, we hightailed it back to mums place to help get ready for Christmas lunch and open a few more presents! (A few! Did I say a few?!)

Adam scored a few great presents!

We were taking bets on whether Luke would cry or not when he opened his present from mum and Gary. Luke is a total LOTR geek, and they gave him a real life replica of Striders sword. Not my cup of tea, but Luke got quite emotional!

I was forced to recant my earlier 'pink stinks' declaration, as I received an almost entirely pink collection of presents! Which is cool, because pink is totally the new black. (Check out my cute little hot pink hand weights!)

Katy whipped up the most delightful looking trifle that I have ever encountered! (And boy, did I encounter it!)

My fabulous cousins came over, including the lovely auntie Valerie, and the ever amusing uncle Phil.

Jessie, Katy, Dan the man, beautiful Lisa, Simon the tallest cousin around, and me (I was bending down to make everyone else feel tall, honest!)

And we ate a lot of great food, told some very bad Christmas-cracker jokes, and then everyone buggered off to their next stop while we had an early night!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Welcome to the Stage!

Here's a quick shout out to my number one fan!

Yay, by popular demand, it's Sonia! (Otherwise known as 'Sonnie', but not as 'Bomber' because we grew out of that one a long time ago apparently, sorry about that Sonnie) Sonia thinks my blog is brilliant and remembers my birthday, so for those two reasons she is my current favourite person! (Bonus favourite person reasons are that she's like my 3rd little sister, is always fun to be around, fantastic to have at parties because she's so friendly and funny, and is excellent at charades!)

Sonia and her talented boyfriend Matt.

And a picture of my beautiful mother, because she thinks there aren't enough pictures of her on my blog. Hi mum! (Mum doesn't usually stand in gardens, but this was from the everlasting game of Boxing Day charades... see previous post!)

I'm back again!

Okay, so Boxing Day has totally restored my faith in the Christmas Spirit! We had an excellent time. Our wonderful family friends came over, plus some excellent hangers on. We opened a few presents, had a great dinner/late lunch, polished off the trifle, and just had a great time hanging out together!

It was so great to be around good friends! Everyone had a wonderful time, I think we must have kept the whole neighbourhood up with our talking and shouting and laughing! It was such a change from the day before. No worrying about is so-and-so offended about something, or does that person have someone to talk to, and is whats-their-name being nasty to everybody and etc. etc. What a great bunch of people! I love how some friends can be around so long and be so wonderful that they turn into family!

Di and Cliffy won the 'Most in Love' award again!

And then we had a ridiculously long and hilariously entertaining game of charades...

The Naked Chef

Bob The Builder

Rebel Without a Cause

Something blue...

I need some help with this one!

I can't think!

Too much pressure!

You're so close!

It's so obvious!

Yes! You got it!

So, I'm sorry about my depressing post yesterday. But in the spirit of journalistic integrity, I've decided that I won't ever go back and edit or delete past posts, execpt for the following exceptions:
1. To correct spelling or grammer. (feel free to jump on me hard if you spot an error!)
2. To add links or pictures.
3. To remove someone's name or picture upon request.

and, let's be honest now

4. If I really, really feel like it. (well come on, it is my blog after all!)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Another Christmas over (Praise God)

So what's that old saying? You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family? Yeah. My friends are amazing, I said that a few posts ago. My family are wonderful too, and I really missed them while I was away in London.

My mum has a very big family, she's one of NINE children, and they're all married and have kids, it's a huge crowd. I remember when we used to all get together we would say that it was 'the family... and the hangers on'! (Ie the inlaws and etc random people) Just as a joke, no offence meant, as we all loved everyone and it was all great. But today - well today, I had a few problems with the hangers on who came round for Christmas lunch. And inspite of me trying every freaking trick I knew to be nice to people and to keep smiling and be happy and not let other people's negativity and rudeness get to me, it really ended up spoiling my day. There's only so much you can do, you know?

And then I go back to one of my previous posts and I remind myself what my faults are, (you can read it too) and I try to remind myself that I might not be a dream to get along with also, so I keep second-guessing everything I say, and trying to remember that not everyone's love language is words so possibly they don't realise how they are hurting me, and maybe they have parents that were like that so they think that acting like that is okay, and possibly I'm being overly sensitive in expecting them to be making an effort to be nice to me, and trying to also just get over myself so that I don't let it hurt me that these people have no interest in being friendly to me or making me smile, but still trying to smile anyway because in a way they are family and isn't family what Christmas is about, and thinking that if I just smile it off again and don't make a scene about it the day will go much more smoothly for everyone else, but then if they don't care how I feel why should I be caring for how they are feeling...?

It's exhausting. I'm exhausted. I thought Christmas was also supposed to be about fun. Am I the only one who thinks it's important to make sure that people around me are having fun? Where are the people who are making sure that I'm having fun? I felt lonely, sad and frustrated today. I hope I did the best I can.

Two bible verses that I saved on my mobile phone have kept me afloat today. Kept me from totally losing my cool and telling a few people what I think of their stinky Christmas attitudes! I kept grabbing my mobile and reading them whenever I started to feel a bit shaky!

Isaiah 41.10: 'Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my glorious right hand.'

Psalm 5.12: 'Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Protect them, so that all who love your name may be filled with joy. For you bless the godly, O Lord, surrounding them with your shield of love.'

Last Christmas I felt totally surrounded with a shield of love. In fact, while I was with my beautiful church friends in London I always felt surrounded by a shield of love, I think that's a beautiful way to put it. I so totally believe that we're here to make other people feel good. I believe that in every interaction you have, you need to be asking yourself - what do I want to get out of this? Do I want to accomplish something for myself, or do I want the other person to walk away feeling happy? And the answer should always be 'make the other person feel happy!' Put a smile on their face!

I run into problems when I come up against other people who don't have the same attitude. But I guess the only way you ever grow is by coming up against problems. I really hope that I grew today.

Monday, December 19, 2005

De-Lurking day!

Have you heard of lurking? You might just be doing it now!

Lurk: intr.v. lurked, lurk·ing, lurks
1. To exist unobserved or unsuspected

2. (jargon) The activity of one of the "silent majority" in a electronic forum such as Usenet; posting occasionally or not at all but reading the group's postings regularly.

So a de-lurking day (you won't find de-lurk in a dictionary) is where you shed your lurker status - if only for a day - and leave a comment to say hello! I like the way blogspot does things, you can leave a comment and stay anonymous if you like, but it's more fun if you tell me your name or at least give me a good hint so I can guess!

My last guestbook suffered from comment spam, which was a sad affliction, and is why this one has a beautiful word verification feature, which I know you'll just love! (Btw if commenting is altogether too traumatic, feel free to drop me a congratulatory email at clovergirl (at)

Else hit the link and give me a hollaback!

My Church

I never went to church when I was younger. Or, okay, maybe once or twice with Grandma when we were staying with her at Christmas or Easter. (She is Catholic, and I remember asking her to bring me back one of the 'presents' that she got from the priest when she went up to the front!) The impressions I remember were of cold, stone walls, droningly boring speeches, keeping quiet or people would look at you, and being desperate to leave. I always thought it was boring, and irrelevant, and useless, and totally not for me.

And, anyway, that all changed. I won't go into what happened to change it here, maybe another time! When I moved to London in 2003, all I knew was that I needed to find a church. I was excited about being in London, excited about starting a whole new life - both in the fact that I was half a world away from everything and nearly everyone I knew, and also that I was newly Christian, and was learning about a whole new world view. A friend of a friend took me to Hillsong in London. We were running a bit late, so we ran in through the doors. The first impressions I had were of noise, loud music, lots of people my age, everyone smiling, and - most beautifully - a sign on the wall saying 'WELCOME HOME'. I was almost overwhelmed and had tears in my eyes - and that was only in the foyer!

I think the thing that became obvious quite quickly over the next few months, was that the people at this church just wanted to love me. Not in a freaky way, as I've seen at other places. One church I attended once seemed to only see new people coming in as numbers, or notches on their belt to prove how good a church they were. I didn't like that vibe. At Hillsong new people are celebrated! People were honestly happy that I was there, and keen not only to answer any questions I had, but also to hang out with me and invite me places! People who were like me, who liked my kind of books and movies, people who were funny and fun to be with, people who could laugh with me and make me laugh, people who honestly took joy in being with me.

The senior pastor, Gary Clarke, preaches a great message about enlarging your world. I remember him saying that if each person in the church made room in their life for one more person, we could double every year and not miss anyone out, not have anyone feel left out. I loved that. The great thing was that I had seen people do this for me. One of the first people who met me at church (at a 'New to London' night) was one of the busiest, but she always made time for me when I needed her.

Amy and Caryn after a service in 2004

After I'd been at church a few weeks I joined the host team. I was lucky to get Vicky as my team leader, she was the first 'leader' that I had at church and has remained the most influential and inspiring person I've met. What I learned overall from serving on team at church? Giving truly is better than receiving, and a servant heart is the key to unlocking the riches of Gods kindgom. So many times we would be at church from 8am til 10pm, actually lots of times even longer than that. For conferences we would serve over an entire weekend. But it wasn't like you wish you were home in bed, or out drinking or doing something else - as this is where the action is! This is where lives are being changed and the kingdom is being built! What better joy or privelege than serving on the front line?

Old school hosts! Andrew, Sandrine, Vicky, Mish, me, Shirley

I was in London for 2 years, and only missed 3 or 4 weekends at church over that time. I didn't want to miss out on a minute of it! I made the best friends I've ever had there. People who I know will stick by me through thick and thin (because they already have), people who love me for who I am and who they believe I can become, people who are not afraid to give me honest and sometimes critical feedback, or call me out when I've got a stinky attitude, who don't demand anything of me - just love me, friends who admire me and seek out my opinion or my company, beautiful friends who continue to love and support me now even though I'm on the other side of the planet.

Picnic fun: Vicky, Mish, Shelley, Dean

But most of all, what I took away after 2 years planted in church in London, was a feeling of undeserved love. These beautiful friends who opened their lives, hearts and homes to me; who I truly felt loved by. Beautiful friends who truly showed me that just as God's love is undeserved, we are here to mirror that love for other people. Even when we're tired, when we're broke, when we're missing our family so much that it hurts, when we're unemployed and not sure how to pay rent, when we're finding it hard to communicate with people from other cultures, when we're hurting because of something someone else said, when we're facing disapointment or disillusionment, whenever. Circumstances don't matter to God, He just loves you anyway. I love that I learnt that message through watching my friends.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Transitioning no more!

Excellent news today, and some more great news, a good accomplishment and some bad news as well - but we can't win all the time can we!

So, first good news is that I spoke to Grace, the company who are delivering my boxes from London. They say that they are through customs, and through quarantine, and are now just waiting for the delivery driver to fit me into his schedule! Yay! After 3 months I can have my things again! That's really going to be a relief. Luckily I'm moving soon too (approx 4 weeks) as there is definately no room here to unpack things!

Second good news is that I was offered a job! It's a great package. The job sounds very doable, and the salary + bonus + super is superb. I went down and saw the office last week, and it's a beautiful office, great location. The people seem really friendly and fun, the desk looks nice, the work seems fine... YAY! It will be so good to have a bit more purpose again! Now, since it's a medical supply company, Christmas is their slow period - which I found very interesting, as every job I've ever had has been retail driven and ths Christmas is the busiest time of year - so they want me to start straight away so that I can start learning the ropes. So next Wednesday I start! (I hope my boxes come before then so I have some corporate clothes to wear!)

The accomplishment was that I finally sent off all my Christmas presents to London - very very late, I know! The Post Office lady told me that I have a chance of them being there by Christmas... sorry if they're a bit late girls, but there are now on their way anyway! I was up til 3am last night wrapping, and then spent about half an hour queueing in the post office line, not my favourite place to be, but it will be all worth it when they unwrap the presents and know how much I love them! (Yes, have you read 'The Five Love Languages'? Can you guess which mine is?!)

The bad news was about the BMW. It;'s been okay to drive around the place lately, but Lance the Mechanic tested it today and looks like the head gasket is definately blown. Yes - that means a whole lot to me too. Apparently it was weak already so it wasn't entirely my fault - good to know, and also apparently there might be some chemical solution to fixing it, but I'm leaving that to the grown-ups to decide. I can't wait til I can buy a car of my own! It's going to be one that is significantly younger than me this time, as opposed to these cars that are nearly the same age!

So three wins and one loss, I think that averages out into a pretty good day! (Don't tell Gary I said that though!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Cottage

I spent the weekend down in Sydney at my lovely friend Shelley's house. It's such a gorgeous old house. Shelley insists that it is called a cottage, and so, it shall be known thus ;-)

On Sunday night, after church, we just crashed. But on Monday - which was interview day for both of us - we got a girlie dvd, and had chocolate icecream and fairy floss til we made ourselves sick. Very sick! How decadent! Shelley is not only one of the most beautiful, generous and gentle people that I know - she's also extremely creative! I love the lovely things she has everywhere, all beautiful touches.

Shelley and I met in sunny London, and one of my biggest consolations in coming back to Australia was that I would be able to spend more time with her. The very exciting news is that in late January, one of the other girls from the Cottage (lovely Kiwi Lynne) is moving out, and I'm going to move in! I've had a few interviews for a great job lately and even more beautifully - it's only 10 mins drive from the Cottage.

The Cottage is right next door to a church, and used to be the Vicarage, or the Ministers house - whatever you want to call it. On Sunday mornings, all the congregation park their cars all over the lawn. Right next door to a church! Now how could you complain about having God as a neighbour! (I guess unless He parked you in!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Some random things you might not know about me

* I love happy, smiley music, and am supremely unconcerned with whether it's cool or not: early Beach Boys, Everly Brothers, Spice Girls, Hi-5, Queen, recent Ben Lee...

* I still have never figured out what colour my eyes are.

* When I was little, I used to be terrified of being the Last Person Awake in our house. My dad gave me tapes of classical music to listen to, to relax me to sleep. Since then I've always associated that particular music with being tense, and terrified, and being the Last Person Awake. When I was 21 I worked in a phone company store, where we had to call the head office all the time and were regularly put on hold for ages. That same piece of classsical music was on repeat on the hold music. Total torture.

* Hair colours I've had: brown, black, orange, red, blue, green, yellow. Current piercings: 5. Tattoo: 1 (and it's a cutie!).

* I have an enormous and immediate affinity with anyone who has the same first name as me (even though when I was in high school I hated it!).

* I seem to be a magnet for random drunk people, especially on public transport. (Oh the stories I could tell!)

* I cry helplessly in happy movies, and thus refuse to watch sad movies as I'm a little afraid of what my reaction might be!

* I used to want to be a filmmaker, and spent 4 years at university studying film history, filmmaking and digital editing. I am now a repressed film snob.

* Someone once described me as revolutionary, and I'm so so so inspired by that!

* I love my cat! She loves to be hugged and talks a lot - which I think is unbearably cute!

* I've always had big dreams, but I wasn't going anywhere good at all until I met Jesus, and now my life is all about His glory and His plans, which I know will be amazing!

* I pride myself at being eloquent, yet I am astonishingly bad at Scrabble!

* I changed my last name when I was 21, and I love it now. I'll be sad to see it go when I get married.

* I worked at the Sydney Olympic Games in the main stadium. The major Australian rights holding broadcaster wanted an interview with Cathy Freeman and her husband after she won her gold medal, but I had been told not to let anyone in to the mix-zone area, and I didn't know who he was so I wouldn't let him in. I don't think they ever got the interview, which would have been a total scoop!

* My friend Mish in London is the second part of my heart.

* I've always been a very shy person, but I love public speaking. The more people in a conversation the better I feel!

* When I was a teenager I thought about suicide a lot, picked out the song I wanted to die to, and even wrote a suicide note (which I still have).

* In highschool I was a cheerleader for the local football team!

* I used to wear a WWJD band, but found myself asking more "What Would Vicky Do?" (a friend from London who is astonishingly graceful in every situation).

* I have an irrational fear of spiders and crawly things which I am trying to conquer! (This is very relevant as an enormous stick insect is taking flying leaps across the wall next to me as I type!)

* I think my sister Katy is the most hilarious person I've ever met, and I aspire to be more like her!

* Foods I love: brie cheese, fairy bread, peppermint chocolate, avocado, pistachio nuts, apple crumble and snow peas. What I hate supremely: cooking.

* When I was young we had cartoons on video, and one of the cartoons was a love story where the princess sang a sad song to her lover. It's been 17 years and I still have that song in my head.

* I feel much more comfortable wearing shoes than going barefoot.

* My blood-type (and my motto for life!) is B positive.

Those crazy sisters of mine...

On Saturday night we went for a bbq at my uncle and auntie's place. In spite of (what I considered) a minor fiasco about how many trips the Clovergirl taxi service had to make because everyone besides me wanted to get drunk, it was a really good night. My mums best friends were there also, who she's known for nearly as long as I've been around, and both of my sisters and their partners came. I had such a great time, it really made it clear to me why it was that I came back from London: family! So nice to be eating great food, sharing lots of laughs, hanging out in the balmy weather (there, I had to say it!) with people who I love!

Katy and Jessie found my cousins old trampoline, and had a great time on it!

They are so lucky that their sister was there to document it!

And then all of a sudden they were off! I was watching the camera, instead of the rust riddled legs of the trampoline, which perhaps may have given us a bit of a warning...

Yes, it was well and truly broken! Luckily the girls weren't hurt at all, they both very cleverly jumped off in crazy directions at the right moment. Very clever those sisters of mine.

"You tell Uncle Phil!"
"No you tell Uncle Phil!"

Uncle Phil: "Yep it's stuffed!"

So after that little incident the girls picked themselves up and carried on enjoying the party with great aplomb. Very graceful those sisters of mine! Di and Cliffy won the award for the 'Most In Love' couple at the bbq...

And even though a few people were guilty of popping off to various places and falling asleep (or in Gary's case, just falling asleep in the middle of conversation, with his hands on his head!) a good time was had by all.