I spent today in Melbourne's Chinatown with a girlfriend from uni days and her most delightful 13 yo daughter. We had much too much to eat at yum cha, and then waddled slowly up the road to see the wonderful Indigo exhibition at the Chinese Museum. I so enjoyed the opportunity of viewing these rare cotton embroideries in real life and not in the pages of books. Worked in blue thread on white cotton by the peasant girls of Sichuan province in southwest China, the pieces on display were collected from the remote mountainous regions by George and Robina Arnott-Rogers who were missionaries with the China Inland Mission between 1895 and 1914. I was in that region of China myself in 1995, and you know, I don't reckon it had changed all that much!
Down to Geelong tomorrow for church and my brother-in-law's birthday (Happy Birthday, Mr B!), and then home to my lovely fam. Can't wait to see their photos.
I have so loved having the opportunity to spend this time with you all. I haven't actually talked about any of the topics I'd planned for, but I have posted lots on what interested me at the time, and I have been so appreciative of everyone who has cared enough to drop in and leave a word or two. Thanks, dear friends.
I have wanted to update you on life post floods, but it is really hard knowing what to say, and so I have put it off until right at the end. I guess the hard bit is helping you to understand that nothing really is happening and why that is so. You see, we worked really hard during the first month to get Jemimah back home. After that we concentrated on making our home habitable and clean enough to be healthy. Each day we would clear a room and spread Domestos over the green or white fluffy mould that was growing, only to have to do the same thing over again the next week. In April I posted this update. That's sort of where we still are.
Three days a week I am working 8 am-8 pm. 12 hours straight. Jemimah comes with me and does school independently. Maths, French, Latin, reading... narration and maths over lunch. They are incredibly long days for me, and they are longer and more difficult for a nine year old. At 8 we head home for a late tea, I read her a bedtime story and it's off to bed. Devotions and memory verses and singing and recorder practice before we leave in the mornings. Disrupted sleep because of the mice. Yuck. What can you do though, when they can get through the holes in the walls?
On Thursdays we read, and read, and read, and read. History, geography, literature, citizenship, Shakespeare, you name it, we read it. Same on Friday morning, and then free reads aloud in the car in the afternoon on the way to Melbourne. Home Sunday night.
Work on Monday.
It's even worse for hubby. After he puts Jemimah to bed he heads back to work until midnight. He's back in the mornings again at 6 am. No, it is not sustainable long term. And yes, that is why this Daddy - Daughter Ski Trip was so precious to us.
Our first priority at the moment is to ensure that our business post floods is viable and sustainable. We've given ourselves six months to do that. By the end of September we should have some idea of where we're heading into the future. Until that time though, it is just heads down, bottoms up. Since our insurance company has not covered us for flood damage, we do not have the money required to repair our home, even if we had the time and energy to think about it. And so we don't, mostly.
Let me hasten to reassure you that unlike many of the houses in town, ours is comfortable. We have good heating and warm beds to sleep in and comfortable sofas to sit on. The mice are not really that much of a problem. We just set lots of traps!!
I can also report that we have now employed a girl to do much of the work that I am doing. I will shortly be able to cut my hours in the office back to mornings only, and we should manage nicely combining that amount of work with school until the end of the year. Next year I hope that I might be able to resume doing my work from home as I always have with only occasional busy times. I know I can juggle that much - that is normal for me.
We are working hard to reduce our mortgage. It is impossible to consider putting more money into our home until we have paid back a considerable amount of the debt that we accrued in renovating it the first time. Until then we camp!
We are thankful to all of you who remember to uphold us in prayer. You are dear, dear friends. We ask that you might continue to pray for the strength to persevere. We pray that our faith might grow. We pray that we might know God's will for our family and that we might be prepared to go wherever he wants us to go to further his kingdom. We always felt that we were when he wanted us to be, but right now we are not so certain. We pray that we will heed his call. We pray that we might stay well spiritually, physically and emotionally. This natural disaster has taken an enormous psychological toll on our entire community, and it is estimated that 15% of people have left town never to return. It is still unknown whether our town will recover. I hope so though.
I am confident, though, that our family will come through this stronger and closer than ever. They say natural disasters either draw you together or pull you apart. In our case at least, it has done the former.
For that I am eternally thankful.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV