Blessings upon Blessings

Blessings upon Blessings

I don’t think I realized before coming to Bible College that a person could grow so much, or that I myself personally had so much growing and learning to do. Each and everyday I’m being taught something new. 

tea time

Early last week we had the opportunity to go to the beach out here. It reminded me so much of home; my heart flutters just to think about it. It definitely didn’t feel like we were in England. The sun was blazing and we got to enjoy beautiful fellowship and a delicious barbecue on the sand.

my friend lisa from germany
sam i am

It’s nice to be able to get off campus from time to time and get to know the people I’m living and studying with. I’ve been blessed by others and especially hearing their stories. It’s encouraging to hear how the Lord works in us individually and brings us to where we are in unique, special ways. In Psalm 33:15 it says, “God fashions this hearts individually, and considers all their works”. It’s been cool to see how He works through each one of us personally.

my wonderful roomies
pancakes in the park
my friend bridgette
i love this city

My classes have been progressing well over the last couple of weeks. I’m taking Job, Revelation, John and Missions. It’s cool to see how the Lord intertwines what I’m learning in each class to speak to my heart. I’ve also had the joy of leading worship for our class devotions and community worship sessions. There’s nowhere I feel closer to Jesus than when I lift up my voice to Him in song.

museum gardens (my fave)
morning light
shambles in the morning

The little, unexpected things on campus have been incredible too. I’ve been getting up early to have quiet time, have coffee and bible studies with friends and to pray with others. Before I came to York I admit I wasn’t really consistent with my morning devotions and being proactive about seeking the Lord consciously in all things. I’ve been learning the importance of this and I’ve seen the fruit of it.

coffee shop (my fave too)
york minster in the distance
study view

This week I’ve been experiencing so much of the joy of the Lord. Of course there are ups and downs, but I take comfort knowing that my God is constant in all things.

Advertisements
York – A New Beginning

York – A New Beginning

It’s been two weeks since I arrived in York, England for Bible College. In some ways it feels like it’s been 2 months, and in other ways like it’s been 2 days. 

This town is the epitome of what you envision when you think “England”. There’s so much history and so many stories from this little town, and it wears it in all of its glory in the beautiful buildings and architecture.

 

I’ve been so blessed by my classes and the people I’ve met here so far. It’s cool how God speaks to us and comforts us when we really choose to seek Him and draw near to Him. 

It’s pretty incredible to be living in a place that has so much history. Right by where I live are the city walls, which break off in certain parts but the parts that remain date back to 71AD (insane!). It’s pretty surreal.


I’ve been really encouraged by the heart of the people I’ve been meeting in my classes and who I’ve been forming with. You get pretty close to others when you’re living in the same room and house, and I’ve been learning a lot about myself and becoming more independent. I love the verse in the bible where it says “as iron sharpens iron”, because I feel that’s what I’m truly experiencing.

first wagamama experience
the flats

Something the Lord has been encouraging me with and I’ve been learning about is the story of Abraham. The Bible speaks so highly of him and commends his faith, but in Genesis it’s evident that he has moments where his faith lacks. For me it’s been a real comfort because while coming out here was a major step of faith, in the moments where my faith wavers it doesn’t mean that God stops loving me or that I’ve failed. Just like in the old testament, God will continue to guide me and keep me as long as I keep seeking Him everyday. 

coffee shop (yes that’s right)
community worship
pub grub

Outdoor Adventuring in Utah and Beyond

Outdoor Adventuring in Utah and Beyond

Utah was incredible. I can’t believe how beautiful the national parks were and how astonishing the views of the mountain ranges were. Honestly, the pictures in this post don’t even scratch the surface of how amazing the views were in person.

Things I learned on this trip were:

1. I love to hike

2. I love and appreciate the outside, mountain air

3. Squirrels, deer and chipmunks are the cutest animals I’ve ever seen


My first day in Utah I went to Kolob Canyon, which is technically a part of Zion but 40 miles north of the official National Park. It took us literally ten 10 minutes to get there, and it was very quiet and beautiful. We didn’t pass many other people at all.


The hike we did was a four hour round trip that had us sweeping through mountainous terrain and wading through little streams. In the end we were led to an amazing, wide-open cave that looked as if God Himself just scooped out a massive part of the earth. It was spectacular.


The second day my new friend Allegra and I decided to conquer Angels Landing. Again, this was a four hour round trip, and it’s super steep uphill. I was so motivated by the young kids and older people working their way up the hike!


Even after about 15 minutes of steep incline, the view was incredible so you can only imagine what it’s like at the end. The coolest thing about Angels Landing is that the last half mile is literally crawling up the side of a rock face. In fact, the have chains that you need to hold on to in order to get around, and 5 people have died from falling off the steep cliff edges.


Thankfully I made it to the top and it was AMAZING. It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen in my life. Oh, and there were more squirrels up there too.

what an awesome view

The following day we adventures to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. At first I was thinking that it’d probably be pretty similar to Zion, but it was so unique. You are able to drive straight through Zion, whereas you literally look down into the Grand Canyon and can’t see the bottom. It’s so vast and deep, it gave me a picture of the lyric “Your love is deep, Your love is wide”.



Allegra and I enjoyed Zion so much that we ended up back there again on my last day. It was this day that I did the most difficult hike of my life.. 6 hours round trip up a mountain that reaches to 2100 feet (610 metres) in elevation.


The first three hours to get up the top were so hard, I honestly thought I was going to die of dehydration. Once we got to the top though I realised it was so worth it. And we made the most of it by laying up there for 2.5 more hours!


I also spent some awesome, refreshing time in California: here are some pics

eating sees candies
having so many dollar billz you feel rich
beautiful friends
california sunset
apple pie donut – it spilled out baked apple pieces!

I feel so blessed and I feel I learned so much in my short time in the States. I can’t wait to share with you what I’ve been up to and doing here in York, England also!

California Part 1 & Utah Bound

California Part 1 & Utah Bound


What a whirlwind couple of days it has been so far. 

As I write, I’m back on an aeroplane overlooking the beautiful mountains of inner California. There’s something so special about overlooking earth from a higher location. It certainly gives a greater perspective of the world.

hot coffee in summer is not a good idea

Each time I look out the window, and as we leave Los Angeles, there just seems to be less and less “stuff” around. It’s crazy to think how many people and buildings are actually around the Southern California area. I was speaking with some friends yesterday about how many people live in Australia (23 million) compared to the individual state of California (almost 40 million). There are SO many people here!

huntington beach pier

On Sunday I arrived, and after taking my snow boots and hoodie off (yes, bad idea to wear those) I went straight to Jamba Juice (much like Boost in Aus but, dare I say, better) and then to the beach. I couldn’t think of a better way to start my journey. After settling in, there was nothing else more appropriate but to have In N Out for dinner. Oh; and a vanilla thick shake. Mm.

in n out

On a side note, I’m so glad I came here because it honestly feels like my second home here. For the first time, I didn’t fee immediately homesick once I arrived somewhere overseas. I’ve been on a high ever since I got here and I’m so grateful to be meeting friends that I haven’t seen in years.

The next morning I woke up and walking straight to Starbucks to meet a friend nearby. I ended up reading the newspaper (New York Times) which was interesting. I learned that the paper here goes by sections and numbers, for example sections A-D and then page numbers. Maybe we do it in certain papers in Aus too, but it was new to me. It’s the little things!

I also learned that there’s just as much talk here about the upcoming elections as there is in Australia (obviously).. I’ve even seen people with flags outside there houses stating who they’re voting for. Very fascinating. 

braided hair
hair after braiding. can it always be like this?!

Monday night I was stoked to visit the church that I met most of my friends for their young adults bible study. I ended up bumping into a few people I’d intended to meet later on my trip, and others I hadn’t seen in a really long time, for example a guy I met at a high school out here I visited when I wanted to “experience American high school” at 16. So fun!

lemonade at lemonade

Tuesday was a beautiful day and I got to visit one of my favourite places in the world, Huntington Beach. Even more exciting was the people I got to go with,Melody  and Rachel. I’ve probably met the pair of them once, if not twice before, but we’ve stayed in contact and have a lot in common. It’s so wonderful when you find people that you instantly click with (as is the case with many of my friends out here).

melody and me

We went to Rubys where I had a burger (again), sunbathed and “swam” (okay, we kicked water at each other and went up to our waists) and had super trashing lemonade at a place called Lemonafe (true dinks).

rachel and me

A theme so far had been trust. I’m learning to trust in the Lord first and foremost, relying on Him a lot more since I’m on my own. It’s scary but it’s also really refreshing. It’s hard to explain, but it’s awesome.

Utah, here I come!

A New Chapter

A New Chapter

Today has been such a surreal day. It also feels like the longest day of my life. 

cya later aus

You know the feeling when you’ve been counting down for a day for what feels like forever, and eventually that day arrives? I can’t explain it. I woke up just before my alarm and sat in bed, thinking “this is the last time till I don’t know when that I’ll be lying in my own bed”. That tonight still makes my arm hairs stand up. Nevertheless I sat there, in the peace and quiet and soaking up the moment. 

cya mate – johnny (aka coolest dog ever)

I got dressed and had breakfast in the company of my family and two friends, Anna and Lucrezia, who had both slept over. Over the last couple of weeks before my departure, I’ve caught up with the people who mean the most to me and have impacted my life in some way. I’ve been so encouraged by the blessing of community and those God has placed in my life. 

the final night

time capsule letters

On the way to the airport I’m not going to lie, I felt physically sick. It felt like any other drive, but my stomach was doing some serious somersaults. Checkin was stressful, but only because I began to realise the weight of it all. My parents suggested we get a coffee, and by then I had lost the emotion game. For me, I think the part I was daunting the most was saying goodbye.

emotional goodbyes

After about 45 minutes we went to the departure area, where I said “cya later” to my family. Such a very weird feeling. I ended up calling them right as I turned the corner. I’m actually so grateful for technology these days – I think I’d have to think extra hard about taking such a massive step if we were still communicating via snail mail. 

feeling a bit fancy in auckland

As I write this, I’ve got an hour before I arrive in Los Angeles. My three hour journey to Auckland was quick, and once I sat down on this second flight I was SO excited. It’s been for years since I’ve been back in california, and to me it’s like a second home. I can’t wait to be back. 

blue skies for days

The longest I’ve been away is one month. And even then I’ve usually met up with people I know along the way. When I think deeply about the decision to travel, I wonder if I’ve made the right decision and if I’ll be able to cope. I left without a definitive time to come home, which is generally not something I would do naturally. But I truly know that I have a Great Protector guiding my steps and I’m actually not alone. And what a wonderful adventure He has blessed me with, and that I get to experience.

My First Breakfast Date

My First Breakfast Date

It was a beautiful autumn’s morning in the suburbs of Melbourne when my alarm promptly awoke me from sleep. In a daze I reached for my phone, silenced the music and sat up in my bed. This Saturday morning wasn’t like any ordinary morning, this morning I had a date. My very first breakfast date.

IMG_0320a

Sure, I wasn’t meeting a boy. (Sorry.) I was meeting up with one of my closest friends from high school, Bek, whom I appreciate dearly. She’s one of those people that light up your day from the moment they’re within about a 20-metre radius of you. (I’ve heard these gems are hard to find, so I’ve decided to keep her.)

IMG_0321a

As it had been a while since I saw her last, we decided we were certainly overdue for a catch up. As we pondered where we should go, we decided to take a bit of an exploratory drive into Greater Melbourne to Emerald, where a quaint little cafe called The General Food Store is located.

“How does 8:00am sound to you?”
“Sounds good to me!”

I was elated.

IMG_0324a

For those of you who know me well, breakfast is my unrivaled, favourite meal of the day. Whether it’s delectable poached eggs on toast or a vibrantly coloured fruit parfait, I’m ecstatic. In fact there have been many times where I have seriously considered switching out lunch for a take-two of breakfast.

There’s absolutely nothing better than waking up with the giddy excitement of knowing a hearty, delicious meal awaits you. Well, except for going somewhere else and having someone else prepare it all for you of course.

IMG_0329a

The General Food Store has a charming, urban feel. Decked out with beautiful hanging lights and fresh bakery displays, the Store radiates grace and elegance. On the main wall is a notice board featuring all the upcoming news and events by the month, which follows the menu’s theme that changes and evolves throughout the different seasons.

I was pretty excited when I saw the menu. It was tricky to decide as there were so many unique options, but I ended up choosing the pretty “Arabesque” (poached eggs, grilled halloumi, beetroot relish, hazelnut dukkah and baby spinach on toasted sourdough) and Bek ordered “A Juicy Pear” (homemade waffles, poached pear, coffee mascarpone, hazelnut and espresso syrup), both beautifully presented and deliciously mouthwatering.

IMG_0322aI mean, come on. Just look at that.

Aside from the slight improvement needed in service, I thoroughly enjoyed my flavour-packed morning meal. I will certainly be returning to try something else on the pretty menu for my breakfast date times two.

And I know what you’re thinking.. Yes. I did finish the entire meal.

I Love Melbourne

I Love Melbourne

I love my city. While I’m certainly a wanderer at heart and hope to trek the roads less travelled, I feel immensely blessed to be able to call Melbourne home.

IMG_0250a

Up until this year I haven’t had many opportunities to explore Melbourne and truly immerse myself in the culture of this amazing city. Living about an hour away it can often be quite a hike to get to, especially if you’re travelling in on the train.

Since I’ve begun study in the heart of Melbourne, I’ve been able to acquaint myself more with what this wonderful hub has to offer. As I’m studying tourism I’m about to gain an even broader insight into what makes Melbourne so distinctly unique.

On my recent class excursion I had the opportunity to take a Melbourne River Cruise along the Yarra River, and I arrived at the city a little bit earlier to explore a couple of noteworthy Melbournian areas.

IMG_0290a

Hosier Lane

Melbourne is known worldwide for its exclusive art culture, and Hosier Lane broadcasts this feature in all it’s glory. Often referred to as a public museum, the cobbled street laneway boasts beautiful, vibrant art pieces created with spray-paint which have since become a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.

IMG_0260a

As one of many similar lanes within the city, Hosier Lane has altered the views of spray-paint art into a true, creative expression aside from the familiar negative connotation graffiti holds. These “hidden” Melbourne laneways are ever changing, and it is not uncommon to see something new each visit. On my visit I was excited to see an artist about to start a new piece of artwork!

IMG_0261a

Southbank

Melbourne’s Southbank is a buzzing, cultural hub in the midst of the city, featuring the promenade which parallels alongs the Yarra River. These gorgeous views can be appreciated by the wide array of wining and dining options dispersed along the riverside.

IMG_0289a

Southbank is home to some of Melbourne’s most favoured attractions, such as the Melbourne Arts Centre, Concert Hall and Eureka Skydeck where you can see the city up above with 360 degree sweeping views. I especially love Southbank because there’s always something to see and do, and it’s certainly not bad on the eye!

IMG_0282a

All images are my own.