Wednesday, November 3, 2010

cleaning and sorting and packing...oh, my!

I think I could probably end this entry at the title, because that is exactly our lives right now. Cleaning. Sorting. And packing. Oh. My. However, I'm trying to get better at updating especially during this precious season of our lives. We'll see how I go at keeping this promise. I'm about as good as a politician during campaign time when it comes to blog updating promises (insert laugh here). Since I'm making list after list right now, I thought that would be appropriate for this post. I mean, why not, I'm practically making them in my sleep...

1. Speaking of sleep, I can't sleep past 5:30am these days. Between the sun and my endless thoughts of EVERYTHING that needs to be done before December 3rd, I'm wide eyed and bushy tailed FAR too early these days. The hubby appreciates this-ha!

2. School is winding down for Brian...he turned in his last BIG projects/assignments on Monday. And he sighed a HUGE sigh of relief. However he has a HUGE Theology test on Friday, so say a prayer for him! Aside from this, he only has a couple small assignment left. I'm such a proud wife. I'm beaming as I type.

3. The end of the school year for Brian brings the Annual Graduation Ball, which is my FAVORITE part of the year. Everyone gets dressed in their finest for an evening of dinner and dancing at Darling Harbour. Its a BLAST. Perfect way to end the school year. Of course anything that requires me getting all dolled up will be a favorite of mine! I know you're shocked...

4. Brian graduates on November 29th. There will be tears. I'm stocking up on tissues. Words cannot express my pride or admiration for my husband's achievements. I know its probably obnoxious to read about all the gush and goo, but I can't help myself.

5. We are spending a majority of evenings sorting and cleaning for our Giveaway/Moving Party. We decided to have a BIG party complete with food, music, and good company, however, the catch is you can't leave the party without taking something out of our apartment with you. We are giving away everything from our fridge to hair accessories! It should be a functional yet a fun way to get together all our friends. Any excuse to have a party, right?!

6. At the moment, I cry at the drop of a hat. No seriously people, I'm EXTREMELY teary at the moment. Its becoming a reality that we are really leaving. This has been such a precious season in my life that I am going to miss dearly. I've grown so much in my faith and personal walk with the Lord, and made some of the best friends of my life here. Currently I have broke down in the following places: at a cafe getting coffee with a friend, after an extremely encouraging phone call, work, cleaning our apartment, and just walking along the beach over the weekend. You name it and I'm getting sentimental over it.

7. Christmas Music. I'm listening to it. Yep, it is ONLY November 4th and I'm in the full swing. I actually started 2 days later than last year...I don't know how I let that happen! Since Thanksgiving isn't celebrated in Australia (obviously), I start Christmas early! I'm not trying to overlook the importance of Thanksgiving because trust me, this girl, loves me some Thanksgiving, but I just can't resist those catchy Christmas tunes...

8. Speaking of Thanksgiving, we are celebrating with some friends this year! We're doing Turkey and all the trimmings. Brian is determined to find some American football to watch as the rest of us slave away in the kitchen. We will post pictures for sure!

Well, I think that sums us up in a list. I hope this season does find you thankful for all you have. I'm trying to savour each and every last moment in the beautiful country and thanking the good Lord above for all He's blessed us with in this season.

all our love,

b & e

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Update on all things "Opperman"

Sooo...neither Brian or myself have done an exceptional job keeping you all updated through the blog this past year. We tried. It was always in the back of my mind, "Erika you need to update the blog." I would even reach for the computer, but then something else would come up. Argh. And so this was the story for much of our hectic past year. However, you can count on us to keep you informed on the "BIG" stuff...so on with the "big" stuff...

Words cannot express our time in Australia. We have learned heaps about this fantastic "new" culture, ourselves individually and as a couple, ministry, but most of all faith. I have never understood what it was to COMPLETELY surrender and rely on the Lord until our time in Australia. I could tell you story after story of the Lord's provision and blessing that would nothing short of SHOCK you. Unbelievable. Part of our faith journey has been our future. The Lord's next step. The "whats next" question...

"What is next," you may be asking yourself (if not, please humour me). As Brian and I began praying about our "next step" the Lord kept bringing the word surrender to both our minds. Brian and I spent a lot of time in prayer surrendering our will to the Lord. And after much, much, prayer I told the Lord I wanted what he wanted. Whether that was to stay in Oz and do another year, or return home I just wanted my desires to aline with his. However, we didn't know what was next. Enter God. I will spare you all of the details of how the Lord orchestrated our next steps, but they are NOTHING less of a miracle. God never ceases to amaze me in how he provides and continues to bless us beyond our WILDEST imaginations (and if you know me that is WILD-ha).

Rewind about 2 months ago. We received a call from a church back home asking us our future plan. I really wanted Brian to say, "Your guess is as good as mine." However, he didn't. He kindly explained we were probably going to stay for a 3rd year, but were open to wherever or whatever the Lord had next (as corny and churchy as that might sound). As it turns out, they were wondering if we would be willing to be considered for a position in their worship ministry. After much prayer. And more prayer. And EVEN MORE prayer (got the idea, yet?). We told them we wanted to be considered for the position. So that began the process. A resume, video of Brian leading worship, much prayer for wisdom, and many Skype interviews later, they called to offer us the position. And we ACCEPTED.

Brian will be the Worship Pastor at Abundant Life Baptist Church in Lees Summit MO. Words cannot express how thrilled we are to serve at this amazing church. We had the honour and privilege of attending there for a couple of months before moving to Sydney, and absolutely fell in LOVE with the church. Before getting on the plane to go to Sydney Brian said, "If we could end up at a church like Abundant Life, it would be a dream!" And now look at us. God is so faithful. Blows. Me. Away.

As giddy as we are about returning to the States, this is a bittersweet time. We have days filled with packing and goodbye's ahead, which will be difficult. We have made some incredible relationships and it will be hard to say "goodbye" to our Australian "family."

But there you have it. You are officially updated on "all things Opperman."

We love you so much. And love doing the journey with you. We cannot express all of our gratitude to you for all of your love, encouragement, and prayer throughout this precious season in our lives. We are blessed. Beyond words. Our cup runs over.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

perfectionism//the ugly truth

I used to try to "glamourize" my perfectionist tendencies. For example in an interview, a common Erika response, "I think one of my weaknesses is my perfectionism. I expect my work to be perfect and won't rest until it is done. This causes me to stress, and I need to learn to balance my work and life better." Granted, I said it was a weakness but that is the oldest trick in the interviewing book. Pick a weakness that can ALSO be seen as a strength. However, I'm learning that perfectionism is a weakness and no matter how you spin it-its UGLY...

My name is Erika, and I'm a perfectionist. I say this with gest, but it is a serious issue. Ever since I can remember, I've struggled with perfectionism. As early as Jr High School, I've accepted nothing less than an 'A'. You would have thought tragedy struck my household, when I received my first 'B'. And yes you guessed it, after once, it NEVER happened again. This attitude has filtered over into my career. I accept NOTHING less than perfection for each and every assignment I'm given at work. I will stay late, lose sleep, and worry until the task is done flawlessly. And when I do make a mistake its a day spoiler. This has definitely put a lot of anxiety and stress into my life, but I've always been able to justify the behaviour and ignore any negative ramifications because, I felt, the positive results, outweighed any anxiety or stress. Until recently. Recently, my eyes have been opened to the way perfectionism in my life effects my relationships with those I love, outlook on people, and most of all my view of grace...

Due to a project I work, I was temporarily relocated to Maui for 7 weeks. Rough, huh?! As wonderful as Maui was, I missed my hubby dearly. I missed him so much I literally ached...I won't go into how much I missed him...I'll save you from wanting to gag...sweet, of me isn't it? Anyway, some of my experiences away caused me to take a painful look at myself. On the plane home, I did some heavy soul searching and reflection. This reflection process continued the first couple days I arrived back into Sydney. And it all came to a boiling point after sitting under an amazing, yet convicting, message on a Sunday eve. And what I discovered wasn't pretty. Most of us are familiar with the story of the prodigal son. And I've never identified myself with either one of the brothers. I mean, I've had moments of rebellion, but they never lasted long due to my perfectionism. And I've always seen, or wanted to see, myself as a loving, compassionate, and full of grace; so I never saw myself as the elder brother. Pssh...I was in denial. As I sat squirming in my seat during the message, I fell under conviction. I am the elder brother. I not only demand perfection out of myself, but I demand it of others, and when they don't live up to it, I'm either disappointed or feel I'm better (its harsh, but I'm trying to be honest). When I see or hear of fellow Christians "moments of weakness" or see the sin expose in them, I grow impatient and usually think "Why can't they get their act together." While I may give them some spiritual dribble about confessing, forgiveness, repenting, and grace...I'm really thinking "You shouldn't be struggling with this, I'm sure glad I don't have this sin in my life. I'm glad I have my act together." Then if anything good happens to them, I wonder "God, why would you use THEM, I mean come on...you know what they've done." My attitude shouts, "USE ME I'M BETTER!" Although I don't say it, all of my actions point to pride and arrogance. While some sin may be more visible, I'm just as guilty. If not more. I was in denial of my own sin. Until that Sunday eve, as I listened to that powerful message of a story I've heard a thousand times, when the ugliness of my perfectionism hit me in the face. I need GRACE. The very thing I was stingy in giving others, is the very thing I need MORE of in my life so it overflows in every area of my life.

All of this to say, I'm rediscovering grace. The Lord is working through me and I'm rediscovering truths that were buried underneath my "perfectionism". I've definitely been humbled. And while its painful, through the power of my Saviour, I'm seeing people different. With Love. No exceptions. No hidden expectations. Just loving people where they are. Including myself. Which I reckon, is the hardest of all. Although this process has involved a lot of heartache and more humbling than I care to admit, I wouldn't trade it for the world. And I'm so thankful that I have a Saviour that gives me the GRACE that I didn't want to extend for far less offences than I've done to Him...

Why admit all of this on a blog? Well part of being a perfectionist is pleasing those around you. Wanting others to see you as perfect. This is a step for me out of perfectionism and into the arms of grace...

~erika.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

blog=blah.

so...its been awhile since we've kicked it old school and wrote out a proper entry. With some Christmas money, we bought a video camera and have enjoyed taking video! However, our old school blog can't handle the video and they seem to not work more than they work-blah!!! Because of this, we are blog shopping. All of you bloggers out there we need your help. Is there a better blog site that can hold video? Any suggestions would be appreciated!!!

not too much to report on. March 1 marks the first day of autumn! time flies... so in honor of our last summer nights, after church tonight I'm taking Brian on a romantic walk on the beach. shhh...its a surprise! we'll definitely post pictures! and if we're lucky the video will work!

all our x's and our o's,

b & e

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Australia Day 2010

We were having so much fun, but didn't get to capture a lot of it, because the batteries died. video

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bon Voyage!

video