Happy New Year everyone!

In no particular order, here’s some of the things we were able to do together while I was off work for the last two weeks (workplace had their annual production shutdown).

Removed Facebook and Twitter from all my mobile devices.

I browsed them instead on the desktop computer in our living rooms and shared the experience with Cheryl and E. It was a much-needed circuit-breaker to the almost addictive newsfeed-checking, dopamine-inducing cycle of social-media-as-drug (it’s true!). As expected, after a few days I found that I wanted to check these sites less, could focus on conversations with Cheryl more, and had more time to read and play with E. The social media detox has certainly been good for my soul too, and given me more thinking space. I think I’ll keep the Facebook and Twitter apps uninstalled as long as I can!

Cycled a bit

The Rotary track in Farm Cove was a real treat to ride through (with E bouncing along in the WeeRide child seat). Cycling came in handy particularly during the mad pre-Christmas shopping days, as I didn’t need to fight for carparking. It made for a much more relaxed lead-up to Christmas Day. I have to admit I did miss the long rides with Christian, my cycling buddy!

Eden bike riding Macleans

Didn’t travel anywhere.

Cheryl is 37 weeks with our second child, so we hung around Auckland during the last two weeks. Would have been nice to be at Equip Conference this year but the travel and moving around is probably not the healthiest thing for Cheryl to do at this stage! It’s been great fun for us to just spend time together, reading, talking, playing. We made it through Prince Caspian together (great book), and I finished The Reason for God by Tim Keller (great book). Our family reading through Luke’s Gospel has been really neat too and have enjoyed pairing it with Randall Goodgame’s “Slugs And Bugs: Sing the Bible” album on high-rotation, as there’s several songs on there that are passages from Luke.

Spent time with family.

Henry and Arron were back in New Zealand for the Christmas holidays so enjoyed spending time with them. My dad flew over as well for Christmas and New Years – he’s busy tidying up our old family house with a view to selling it early this year. Kim is back in Malaysia (where she’s mostly been for the last 6 months), and it was rather sad this Christmas not to be able to see or hear from her at all.

Eden seals zoo

Cheryl’s family were a rich source of encouragement – we enjoyed lazy days with Kat, David and their lovely daughter; a lovely birthday dinner with Cheryl’s mum, including David’s family; a fun visit to the zoo with the Lombergs (Kelvin, Sundeia, Hana, ??) and friends; lots of card and board games with friends (BANG!).

Completed a website project.

Our previous church website had been in need of an update for awhile, and so from August this year Cheryl and I have been working with the pastors of our church on putting together an updated site. It was a lot of thrown-in-the-deep-end stuff for me personally – not only did we get stuck into PHP and CSS (using LESS) — none of which I’d previously done before, we also opted for hiring our own virtual private server – which meant trying to work out the vagaries of setting up and maintaining servers. Terence (our friend from church, who’s getting married in a few weeks!) was a big help here. Cheryl (with her Web Development Diploma) was a huge help as she was able to decipher many a help file that I could not!

website under reformation hbc

We launched the website on New Years’ Eve, and aside from some first-day hiccups related to server memory, the transition has been really smooth. We’re so thankful for the end result (WordPress CMS, responsive design, Bootstrap framework) and it’s much easier for people to chip in with content now on the church blog. I also enjoyed learning about our church’s history from the older folks in our church, and the life stories of some of our elders and how God has shaped their lives.

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All in all it’s been a good break, with time to reflect on God’s faithfulness in the past year, and to look forward to what He’ll accomplish in our lives in the year ahead. As King David from the Bible once prayed (after it was revealed to Him how God would build an everlasting Kingdom through Him, in Jesus Christ), “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” (1 Chron. 17:16)

How was Christmas/New Years’ for you all?

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