Hey world, I’m back! Since my tots are no longer in Tawhero, I decided to wipe the slate clean and start a new site charting life in our new town of Pleasant Point. If you’ve been a Tots in Tawhero reader, I’d love you to stick with me over here. You can do so by liking Living on a Prayer on Facebook, or subscribing below.
Why Living on a Prayer?
Let me publicly confess that YES, I am a Bon Jovi fan, and I have nailed that song many, many times during karaoke sessions. And by nailed it, I mean I sounded like a dying cat. Sorry, Jon.
But lest you think I shall be blogging about how totally awesome mullets and acid-washed jeans were, the name actually refers to the new situation my family and I are in – knee deep in church ministry. My husband, who will now henceforth be called ‘Mr G’, decided way back in 2011, that he felt called to become a minister for the Presbyterian church. After much blood, sweat and tears, two kids, more tears, lots of sweat and maybe a little blood, he added a qualification in ‘knowing lots of stuff about Jesus’ to his long list of qualifications. Mr G is sole-charge of a sweet little congregation here in Pleasant Point, as he completes a two-year process as an ministry intern. You can call him a not-quite-Rev, but I prefer ’embryo parson’ (shout out to all my Cold Comfort Farm fellow fans).
I am the ‘not-quite-Minister’s wife’. My kids are the ‘not-quite-Minister’s kids’. Gulp!
Living on a Prayer also refers to the fact that Mr G has taken a huge pay cut to become a minister, and he’s the sole breadwinner for now. My long-time followers will know that I enjoy living a frugal lifestyle, and am looking forward to the challenges that our new life will bring. Relying on God to provide – really, truly relying on God – isn’t something this pair of middle-class, educated folk have been used to, and it’s been a humbling realisation for Mr G and I. So you can expect me to continue sharing my frugal doings – and I hope also sharing stories of God’s provision for our family.
So how’s it all going?
After the.most.hideously.stressful.move.ever, thanks to our terrible moving company, I arrived in Pleasant Point ahead of Mr G and the kids, with broken belongings and high blood pressure. I was scooped up into the arms of the lovely church ladies who sheltered me for a night, helped me unpack, fed me, and generally soothed my blood pressure back to normal. One lady had even made my kids presents as her way of welcoming them! Folks, THIS is what church is all about. THIS is what they do well here.
We’ve settled in. The people are nice – I already have friends! It’s a pretty spot, surrounded by more pretty spots, which neighbour upon some of the most gob-smacking scenery on the planet. Needless to say, I’m enjoying life here immensely.
Here are some observations I’ve made:
- If you call this place Pleasant Point, you are immediately flagging yourself as an outsider. Pointsiders (I just made that up, umm, Pointers? Pointizens?) simply call it ‘Point’, as in “Yeah, my kid goes to Point Primary, ” or “I grew up in Point.” Timaru (the nearest big town) is called ‘Town’.
- No, they don’t roll their ‘r’s here. I’ve checked. But the local cafe does make a mean cheese roll.
- I suck at predicting the weather here. I have no idea what it’s doing. But, I don’t feel bad, because clearly neither does the weather. In one week it was so hot I considered taking up residence in our fridge/freezer, immediately followed by needing to dig out my winter coat and wondering where I put the matches to light the fire. In ONE week!
- The people here are mostly hard-working, practical farming folk. See that lady in her 60’s walking her dogs? Boom! She’s actually 93. That middle-aged man lifting bales of hay? Boom! He’s 86. True story bro. They don’t want to talk about your feelings or your latest hippie venture – it’s not that they don’t care, but there’s work to be done.
- I am not merely an older mum here, I am frigging geriatric! Most mums here are blond, pony tail sporting glamazons who were clearly child brides, because I’m pretty sure they’re all 23. Either that, or I seriously need to get the number of their botox provider.
- It’s like everyone remembers New Zealand being in ‘the good old days’. I’ve been here two months and know loads of people. People know their neighbours. There’s little crime. No graffiti. No hoodie-clad teenagers misspending their youth. You can leave your bike outside a shop without fear of someone nicking it. It’s safe enough to ride a bike here. CHILDREN PLAY OUTSIDE AND RIDE BIKES WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION. Because it’s safe.
- Point has all I need. Point may only be home to about 1,300 people but it has two schools, a health centre, a bike park, a hairdresser, public swimming pools, a supermarket, a pub, a dress shop, a cafe, a taxidermist’s, a railway museum, several playgrounds, scenic trails and more. And I can WALK to it all.
So walk with me as we navigate our new life in Point. At the moment Mr G and I feel like kids dressed up in suits and ties – our new roles don’t quite fit right, but we hope by the end of the two years, they will.