Christmas has just finished. It was lovely to spend time with family and friends. But let me ask you, do you need more stuff? Do family and friends still buy Christmas presents for you? We have been trying to stop our family buying us Christmas presents for a number of years – without success. It is lovely that they are so generous, but honestly we do not need anything. If we do need anything we can buy it ourselves.
Yet there are so many people in this world who are in need. People who do not have the basics. They cannot buy what they need, let alone what they want! We would so love our family to give that money that they spend on gifts for us to people who do need gifts. There are so many organisations where you can buy a goat, chicken or mosquito net for someone where it will make a life changing difference. We will keep trying…
I am married to the love of my life, Jeannie. It wasn’t an easy path to get there. I’m going to tell you how I met Jeannie and how God played a central part in our meeting. A mutual friend and a radio station were also involved…
I made a deal with God. I didn’t seem to be able to do relationships. So I would do whatever He wanted. That was my commitment.
I had a friend Lee Lee who I helped with her computer. She went to the same church. She told me she had a friend who I would really like and was like me who also went to our church. I told her that I wasn’t interested. What I didn’t know at the time was that she was also saying that to her friend, Jeannie – who also said that she wasn’t interested!
One day I was at Lee Lee’s house helping her with her computer. Jeannie was there also, helping Lee Lee, after she had a car accident. I liked the look of Jeannie and tried to have a conversation with her but Lee Lee kept interrupting!
I would phone Jeannie periodically over the next couple of months and just chatted. We became good friends. She and her son had been on their own for 9 years.
I listened to SonShine FM and won tickets to a concert. I wondered who to take and decided to ask Jeannie. I was still only thinking of Jeannie as a friend. We went to the concert (Margaret Becker for those who are curious). Our first date. We didn’t hold hands but through the concert we just leaned on each other – like magnets that are attracted to each other.
Jeannie asked me what I was doing the next day. It was my weekend without my sons so I wasn’t doing anything. She suggested fish and chips in Fremantle, with her son. I was happy to go.
The day after, Sunday, we also agreed to meet. I was aware that this had the potential to go somewhere but didn’t want to make the same mistakes I had made before. I prayed about it and very clearly felt God tell me that this would only work if both Jeannie’s and my priorities were aligned.
So I asked Jeannie, “what is the most important thing in your life”. She thought for a few seconds and said “I could say that my son was. But really, God is the most important in my life”. I knew that was the only answer that was ok.
That afternoon (our 3rd date) we agreed to get married. Friday, 15th September 2017 is the 22nd anniversary of our first date. And I love, respect and appreciate Jeannie more now than I did then.
So my recipe for love is:
- 2 broken people
- 1 Amazing God
- 1 caring friend
- And possibly a radio station
The photos do not capture the chaos of the streets in Ho Chi Minh City – sometimes still called Saigon. The teeming of thousands upon thousands of scooter riders. They skilfully weave in and out of any place possible. They take traffic lights to be recommendations only. Red lights can be gone through. If you don’t go directly through a red light you can jump your scooter onto the pavement and go around the red light. No problem. One way streets are recommendations only too! Pedestrian crossings are everywhere but people don’t stop for you. You confidently and deliberately cross there and the traffic will skillfully navigate around – well so far anyway.
Went to Ben Thanh markets. Clothing, tropical fruit, food of all description, electrical items. Woman tried to sell us a T-shirt. She started at 320,000 dong (about Au$20). But we had seen one, pretty much the same for 55,000 dong. We told her that so she dropped the price to 60,000 then 55,000. We weren’t happy with the tactics so we walked away – she called us liars! Not sure what we had lied about. Went to the other stall and bought T-shirt for 55,000. Marked price, no haggling.
Sat and had coffee and brunch – watching the world go by (steamed rice, salad and a chilli/veg dressing plus honey braised pork) was the same price as the coffee – about $2.75 @. And they were good.
We got soaked to our undies coming home – but all good. Skin is waterproof.