Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Just came home from an amazing dinner with some girls from church. This dinner was planned quite a while ago but was rather hard to organise so that everyone (well, almost everyone) could make it. For me, it wasn't the food that made the nite (although that definitely helped) but rather the people I had dinner with. It reminded me of Brett's message on Sunday nite.

We've just started our Advent series: 10 Things I Hate About Christmas, and the message on Sunday was on Joy. Brett did an amazing job with the sermon on Sunday and I just want to say that I really enjoyed the service. And Brett, you always do a great job! Anyhow, it made me think about all the things that have added joy to my life this past year. I do apologise in advance if I miss anything but I'll try and get them all down. So here goes...
  • Being able to call cessioncommunity home. cession has helped me grow in ways that I never knew I could. It helped with the move to NZ and settling in. The people are so encouraging and friendly.
  • Friends. I have the most amazing bunch of friends through being part of cession. They keep me sane, keep me accountable and help me to have fun! We share the good and bad times. They are a great support group that I am so dependent on.
  • Gaining a mentor. Melissa has played a big part in helping me in my journey of discovering who I am, what part I play in cession and just helping me be a better me. I love how she is just always has challenges up her sleeves waiting to unleash them onto me.
  • An accountability partner. Sarah, I met about June/July this year and we just got on like a house on fire. We then decided it would be cool if we started an accountability relationship and it's been going well. We catch up as often as we can fit each other into our busy lives.
  • Discovering that how cession works is what I have always needed. cession is real big on authenticity and community. Being real with each and everyone means we have an honest relationship, no hiding behind masks. The leadership is so different but it works! There's non of this "I'm better than you" nonsense. We are all equal and have all been put in this world for the purpose of furthering God's kingdom. But we all have different parts to play.
  • Having to opportunity to be a leader. Being a leader within cession has helped my personal growth and I'd like to think that I have helped those I'm leading and those that lead me grow in their walk, too. And next year, Juanita has passed on the privilege to lead cessionchow (this is the ministry I have been co-leading) to me.
  • Being part of the different ministries I am involved in. cessionchow is such a great ministry. We are the first people that you see each week as we serve you dinner. We are the first to ask how your week was and the first to meet new faces. cessionconnect is where I have learned to be a better singer and more importantly better worshipper. It was great to be back singing again this year after a 4 year break. Reminded me just how much I missed it. cessioncontact just reiterates how each of us can be of help to others. I was asked if I wanted to be part of it and I said "Most definitely". This is a way that I can offer my help to others that may be in need of help-baby sitting or a meal on the table.
  • The great girls I coach. I have left them but they have been a great blessing to me and made coaching at a crap club slightly more enjoyable. Just watching them improve each term and winning at competitions is such a great thing. There is nothing that can describe that feeling better than JOY.
  • Doing what I love. Stuyding something I actually wanna study makes such a difference. I absolutely love going to uni despite the 5am starts and 9pm finishes. How cool is it to be able to do something you love so much rather than doing something coz you just have to?
  • Realising just how much Melbourne means to me. I do miss Melbourne very much but the move has helped me appreciate all that I left behind. I didn't realise just how much I took everything I had in Melb for granted until I moved. The gym I love so much, the friends I made and had great times with and just the memories...
  • NZ isn't as bad as I thought it was! Well, I know...you think I have gone insane. I haven't. God has just made NZ such a better place by surrounding me with the most amazing bunch of people I have ever come into contact with. I couldn't ask for anything better.

So, I think that's me and why I am so filled with joy. It is mainly thanx to cession. By being involved in cession, the joy I found there has permeated into the rest of my life. And Brett, thanx for a great service. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I finally have a saxophone! It is a rented one but it's still great to finally have one. Liz gave me a quick lesson after we got back from the shop and I've been playing round with it since. I'll be sorting out lessons with a tutor within the next few days. I'm really looking forward to being able to play properly rather than just mucking round. Should be good.

Well, the past few weeks have been a time of processing. Processing what? I've been thinking a lot about prayer. Melissa and I have been talking a bit about this subject and she passed me a book to read bout it a while back and it's these questions about the book that we've been talking about at our meetings.

Some of the stuff that I questioned after reading the book, No Easy Road by Dick Eastman, were things like: What is real prayer? What if what you are praying for isn't what God wants for you? Why is there so much grey in Christianity?. Prayer is an area I never really explored much of before and I pretty much thought it was a fairly straight forward thing. Melissa passed me this book to read and told me that I have to note down at least one thing that was challenging, helpful and question. This was a good exercise coz it meant that I have to actually read and not just skim through stuff I didn't understand. I ended up with a LOAD of questions (Melissa will be nodding furiously) and it's been good talking them through.

So what is prayer? I use to think that prayer was when you knelt by your bedside at nite before heading off to sleep and asking & thanking God for stuff. And you pray at church too. But Melissa helped clear that misconception at our last meeting. She explained that prayer is essentially communication with God, beit in the traditional sense of prayer or through worship (by singing, drawing, playing an instrument etc etc) or even if it might just be a thought that popped into your head. And so this lead to answering the question, What is real prayer? Well, we came to the conclusion that there is no such thing as real prayer. A prayer is a prayer- a way of communication with God. There is however, inauthentic and authentic prayer.

It's been an interesting past few weeks trying to get my head around what prayer really is. It's hard to change a mind set of so many years. But this meaning and image of prayer is a much more pleasant and comforting one. One that makes a whole lot more sense.

Another thing that has struck me recently was that, I've found it rather frustrating (at times) that the more we want to find out about things it just seems to get more and more complicated. And the more I seem to want answers, the less there is to give! Questions just keep leading to more questions. Sigh...

I hope this post makes sense. I'm not even sure myself if it does but it's just some stuff that's been running round my head that I thought I'd blog about...

Monday, November 21, 2005

I am knackered!

Well well well...I am officially out of uni for the year. Woohoo! Exam results will hopefully be out in a few weeks and in the mean time we play the waiting game. So much has happened in the last week that I thought I'd best start from where I left of last.

Monday I headed to the library to get some study done coz nothing gets done at home. Got some study done but not as much as I should. No surprise there. However, what I did a lot of was processing the message from the nite before. It was a very thought provoking message and service. Then headed of to gym to see my lovely girls.

Tuesday I decided that I really was so over studying that I procrastinated the whole day! Not cool, I know but I was in one of those "I don't care" moods. The best thing that happened was that I was over at Melissa's for our usual fortnightly meeting. It was one of the better sessions coz Melissa was quite "harsh". I don't mean that in a bad way...It was good coz it meant that I had to talk and open up. Over the past 3 weeks or so I bombarded her inbox with a whole heap of questions that have been popping into my head as I've been processing life and my faith. So we looked at some of the questions and no matter how detailed I made the questions so that I didn't have to say anything and just absorb, Melissa was bound to find something to pick out and throw a question back at me! It was a great session and I had a fabulous time. Spent the nite getting ready for the first of my assessments for the next day.

Pastry theory and practical assessments were on Wednesday. Managed 86% for theory without studying so I was quite stoked! Not very sure yet what I ended up with for practical but it went rather well. Hopefully I find out my marks soon. Was at uni til 8pm.

Thursday I sat my IT exam. This is the extra exam that no one else sat but me. Why? Coz computers are stupid! When I sat the exam last semester, the computer decided to delete my project of the database so there was no exam to mark. So I went and saw the lecturer and they decided to give me a Conditional Pass, on the condition that I resit the exam. So that's what I did and it was good; much the same as the last exam just worded differently. I did my last shift at this gym I was at. It just wasn't working out with me and the head coach and it would benefit me to go to another gym. One of the parents actually came running out the door after me to get my number so that they could go with me to this other gym I'm going to. I couldn't help but have a bit a a cry! It was so touching and lovely that theier daughter enjoyed my being her coach so much that the parent is willing to go with me and continue to have me as her daughter's coach. I'll miss the others though. These girls have come a long way since I first had them. They have worked extremely hard without complaining and they have reaped the rewards!

Friday was a LONG day. I had 2 exams on the same day with about a 1 hour gap in between each of them. So the day started with a cramming session before the Gastronomy exam. I'm glad we had that cramming session coz I would have failed without it! The results will be interesting. Then it was Beverage exam after lunch. It went really well. After the exams it was a whirl wind trip to get shopping for cafe done. I left uni at bout 2.45pm and didn't get home til 5.30pm! Then it was a little rest before starting the cooking for cafe. Had a friend over to watch a movie as a wind down session after the exams. It was nice.

Parties parties parties was the highlight for Saturday. It was Mel & Tyrone's engagement party, Tyrell's 1st birthday party and Liz & Scott's engagement party all shoved into one day! It was a lovely time of relaxation but also meant that I didn't get any cooking done. So got home at bout 5pm and started cooking. Didn't stop til bout 10.30pm! I really thought that I wasn't gonna get to sleep that nite...

The day of cessioncafe arrives! Sunday was hectic. A whole heap of running around, last minute cooking and last minute shopping. All in all it was a good nite. I think we managed to get about 80 people to cafe. There were a bunch of people that came just from the newspaper ad we put out. How cool?! Let's hope they come back...The team that helped in the kitchen were fab. They were complimented on the amazing presentation. Talk about talent! Coffee's were good too despite the rookies working the machine.

So, I am absolutely knackered! I woke up this morning really sore all over. Must be all that running around like a headless chook-I was doing that for most of the nite. If the Jones' are moving today I'll pop round and help them unpack. I'm trying to keep myself busy or I'll go insane. Actually, I really need to be looking for work.

SO....it has been a really busy week and now it's a bit of an anti climax! Will be trying to catch up with some friends that I haven't seen in a while. Cassey had the baby on Saturday so I'll probably pop round to see her and baby.

Sorry if you were expecting an informative post...This week hasn't been good for that kinda post.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Relocating anxiety

"There are two types of people. There's the one who work themselves up and worry. Someone's already smiling. Eventually, the subject of their worry totally consumes them and probably blows it out of proportion. And I'm not talking about you! Then there's those who are rather carefree and every little thing is a distraction." I've paraphrased it but that was kinda how Brett started off the final message, Relocation, of our Freedom series. That someone he was referring to would be me...Funny that!

Before Brett spoke, Vania shared a testimony with us about casting her worries unto God and not doing the worrying herself. Then Brett spoke and something in me just started stirring.

With this week being exam week and cafe coming up on Sunday, I've just been my usual stressed self. There never seems to be enough time for me to study and I'm worried about failing and having to repeat subjects next semester. Then there's cafe. I'm really struggling to get people to help and it's starting to frustrate me! Coz I'm so busy I'm worried that cafe won't get the attention it needs and I'm worried it'll be crap. And me being me, I put all these expectations on myself and that in turn creates more worry.

So all this was going through my head as I was listening to Brett and it was hard to stay focused. My heart just got heavier and heavier as the nite went by. I've recently come to realise just how bad my stressing gets and why I actually allow myself to do so.

I'm one to not handle uncertainty well. I need things black and white and not grey! When I lose control of a situation, stressing my way of staying in control of something. And as years have gone by it's gotten worse and worse to the point where I actually start to feel sick! And letting go of that control and relocating the struggle, stress and worry to God is hard for me to do. I've been able to do it occasionally (the Melb trip would be a great example) but it's still a constant battle I have with God and myself.

However, a good thing happened last nite! As we responded to Brett's message by communion, meditation and worship I parked myself by the meditation corner and had some one on one time with God. The lovely Marilyn was in the meditation area too. After the service she came over and asked if I was all good and of course I said yes! There's that wall going up again but then she asked if there was anything I wanted to talk about and to my surprise I actually opened up about cafe! So, I think this series has served part of it's purpose with me. There's still other areas in which I need to work on but that was a start...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What a relief

One of the few things I wanted to get done before the planned trip to Melbourne was to get my "full drivers license". Well, I've just got back from the test and I'm pleased to say that I passed. I'm glad I did, coz if I didn't it would have made not going to Melb even more suck! Apart from that, it would have been $115 down the drain...

The other thing that's on my mind now is......a saxophone! I told myself that if the Melb trip didn't happen that I'd get a little retail therapy. So I went and checked out Tom Kroon's (a music store) yesterday with Ian and I was rather pleased at the prices. They weren't as expensive as I thought they were gonna be.

I've always wanted to play the sax and it was on the list of things I was saving for after Melb. It's just moved up the list! I'll prob settle for a rented one first just to make sure that I truly like playing the sax. If I do, then I'll get one! Liz, I'm still holding you to that offer bout going with me when and if I buy the sax...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Well, the inevitable happened...I am not going to Melbourne! Yea it sucks but I'm alright with it. I prepared myself for the worst before I got to the High Comm. However, I am pissed off...not at the fact that I can't go but at the fact that they couldn't tell me why I am not able to go when I made my first trip to the High Comm.

So why am I not going....? Well, apparently if you are on a visa and leave the country before the visa expires you are meant to inform the immigration Dept. Someone forgot to tell me that little bit of information. So I left Australia thinking that it'll all be groovy and it shouldn't be a problem. After all, I am leaving their country. It's not like I'm jumping ship! So I found out today that I was meant to have informed the Immigration Dept when I left and because I didn't, my visa got cancelled. And when a visa is cancelled, you are not allowed back into the country for 3 years!!!! Therefore, if I ever want to make a trip...it won't be til after March 26, 2007!

It sucks but what can I do...? Oh well. I am bummed that I'll miss the World Champs, Comm Games & not see my friends. But on the other hand, that will be my excuse for getting you guys over here! *hehe*

Anyway, just thought I'd keep you updated and I'll probably give you guys a buzz this weekend just to catch up proper.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Restored? Maybe...

Last nite was the second week of a 3 week series called Freedom. Brett talked about restoration. Restoring what? Well, restoring life. Forgiving what and whom needs to be forgiven and asking forgiveness from those you need forgiveness from. Once that is done, you can then head down the road of letting things that have had a grip on you for a long time-past hurts.

At the beginning, Brett had warned us that he would probably hit some raw spots for some people, if it hadn't already. Well, it sure hit me real hard. As I've been through life, I have been hurt by many whom I thought were my friends. I invested so much into those relationships but in return got everything thrown back into my face. And this happened in Malaysia, Australia and even in New Zealand. And the baggage I carry around is not only from past friendships, it is also from within the family and boy does that hurt even more!

Being an introvert, I am not one to seek for help. I then to just isolate myself and hope that the situation just diffuses and if it becomes like what it used to, then that's great. Otherwise, we'll just pretend that nothing ever happened. And this vicious cycle repeats itself over and over again everytime I get hurt. So, I am someone who is carrying a whole heap of excess baggage and have yet to get rid of it.

So Brett's message...Well, it was hard to hear that we need to know and be known, celebrate and be celebrated, love and be loved. This is what cessioncommunity is all about: being real. I know that's what Brett goes on about every week but when it comes to actually putting that into action in tough times it's not so easy. It's all good and well talking about it but I guess I have to walk what I talk, huh?!

So here's a challenge for you (and me): Have someone you truly trust and be totally honest with them. It'll be a hard start but I hope that you will be able to start heading down that road where you can start restoring your life. Sarah has been fabulous. We have an accountability relationship going and it's been great for me and I hope for her, too. I am still rather reserved about stuff that's going on but I'm getting better at opening up. SO thanx Sarah.

This relationship has also helped me restore my trust in people. With so many past hurts I have a real hard time trusting people. I tend to think that there is always an ulterior motive behind why they want to be my 'friend'. But Sarah and others at cession have proved that wrong.

It's class at 2pm today and then coaching at 4.45pm. Had a nice sleep in-it was much needed. Tomorrow, I'm off to the Australian Consulate General in hope of handing my passport over to them. If that doesn't happen I'll probably be packing the trip in. Then I'll be having lunch with Jenna. Lunch should be good. I'm just hoping that the trip to the Consulate doesn't ruin lunch.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I am truly blessed

Well, I have definitely had an extremely rough week-rougher than usual. After Monday, things just kinda got worse and worse and I cracked it on Wednesday nite.

Dealings with the Australian immigration department has not been going well. I have been down to the Consulate General 3 times now and have yet to put my application in. Each time I'm down there, there is bound to be some document that I require that I don't have on me!!! Well, if they gave me the list of things I need to bring with me instead of stuffing me around I might have everything! I really dislike Immigration Departments-Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia!

Anyway, so I'm gonna make one more attempt at getting this visa either Monday or Tuesday. If I can't hand over my passport when I go down next I am not gonna make this trip to Melbourne. It will be a hard decision to make but I have been preparing myself for the worse. Why? Well, I just don't have anymore energy, stress and time to give to this anymore. I have never cracked under pressure but I did on Wednesday nite and I think that's quite a clear message that I just don't have any more to give...

However, despite the nightmare of the week the support around me has been another confirmation that I truly am meant to be in NZ. The Lord constantly shows me just how amazing He is and that although crap really hit the fan this week, He was there. A HUGE thanx goes out to Melissa, Juanita and Sarah. They have had to endure copious amounts of txt messages, phone calls and emails from a very frantic and emotional Jean but have been such an amazing source of comfort. The church has been SO great and everytime I've been in need of help and I have these selfless people around me offering their shoulder for me to cry on, their ears for me to let things out I am constantly reminder of what Katherine said to me one phone call chat we had many months ago.....and she said, "Jean, I really think you are meant to be there (NZ) even if you might think otherwise". And I have to say, "Kath, I agree whole heartedly and think you are very right". I don't mean to single out Melissa, Juanita and Sarah...I am also very grateful for others whom have allowed me to let off some steam on them.

So, I am truly blessed! Credit goes out to Brett for running such a fabulous church, cessioncommunity. He has done such a great job with us leaders...making sure we constantly have our eye on community and being real. And this week, I have seen that real-ness through the amazing support I have received. So Brett, thank you. I have found a home at cession and I love it!

It's 2 weeks til I finish off for the year and hopefully get to enjoy my trip to Melb. In terms of work load, I have 1 essay to go. This week is study week for my theory papers but I still have cooking. I don't mind that though. Pastry has been going well but my cooking did reflect my state of mind this week...Not the best I have produce but still edible-I think. I have subjected many with my cooking so I hope it was alright.

Guy Fawkes tonite. Heading over to the Jones' later in the evening to chill out with others from church and hopefully meet some others. Should be a good nite-filled with yummy food and great fellowship.