Yesterday, during my last hour on the clock for Sydney Uni, I put my time to good use and wrote a bit of a farewell tune for my team. It was a surreal day saying goodbye to a bunch of people I’ve spent the better part of two years with. There were days of utter frustration but on the whole they were days of laughter. What a team we all were!     All, The time has come to say: Bye Bye Bye Step 1: Load this up: Step 2: Sing this with all the passion in the world   (Hey, Hey) Bye, Bye, Bye Bye, Bye… Bye, Bye… Oh, Oh.. I’m doin’ this today, You’re probably gonna be alright. I know this was a fright Hey baby come on, I loved you (all) endlessly, When we were all a team. But now it’s time to leave and move on all alone I know that it’s time to go explore. It ain’t no lie I might have quite a heartsore Baby, bye, bye, bye… Bye Bye Do wanna say all the best too (I’m) just another player in the marketing crew You may miss me but please don’t cry, Baby, bye, bye, bye… Bye Bye Don’t really wanna make up stuff, I just wanna tell you that you’re all tough. It might sound, ah, normal, But now I hope I don’t cry, Baby, bye, bye, bye (Oh, Oh) (I’ll) Just hit y’all with the truth, Now, you’re all creative, smart and true. So keep up the big vision, Baby come on. We live for that purple tree, And now I really come to see, The impact we make through the changes we’ve undergone. I know that it’ll take much more It ain’t no lie, We wanna see this see place soar Baby, bye, bye, bye… Bye Bye Do wanna say all the best for you (I’m) just another player in the marketing crew You may miss me but please don’t cry, Baby Bye, bye, bye… Bye Bye I just wanna tell you that you’re all tough. It might sound, ah, normal, But now I hope I don’t cry, Baby, bye, bye, bye I’m moving on I know for sure I do wanna stay in touch and be an ambassador. Bye Bye I’m checkin’ out I’m signin’ off Do wanna leave with this as my last mischief. Do wanna say all the best for you and say a big ‘adiew!’ So join me all for a good wine! Bye, bye, bye… It’s been a blast, you’re all fantastic and it’s been an absolute pleasure working with you all. I know I’ll take all the things I’ve learnt from our time together wherever my career may go! Thank you. Shout out to the original crew below, plus Kate, Megs, Chad and Miranda who joined us along the ride!   The original crew minus @stresslessjessie (+ @katiesz12) What a blast the past 2 years have been! Thank you!! A photo posted by Melanie Pennington (@_melaniepennington) on Sep 11, 2015 at 4:15am PDT Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
  Once upon a time people probably wrote letters to announce news, perhaps a short notice in the newspaper. If it were still the 20th century, my notice would be something like this: —— Miss Melanie Pennington, daughter of Mr and Mrs J Pennington, is moving from Camden to Brisbane. —— Now it’s pretty awkward texting that around and it has proven to start lengthy text message chains or make the quick exit at a party become a long 40 minute conversation. In the interests of efficiency, i’ve made an FAQs of my news! Bahaha. 1. Mel, you’re moving to Brisbane?! Yes, I am! I got a new job! 2. Awesome. What’s the job? Marketing Specialist for Tourism and Events Queensland, on a team managing the marketing of Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast and lower Great Barrier Reef. It is based in CBD Brisbane. 3. Is there travel involved? Unfortunately (for you and all my Instagram followers), yes! 4. How did it all come about? A colleague who joined us for 12 months recently moved back to her job in Brisbane. As parting words in July I told her to let me know if anything ever came up. She went off to New York, started back in early August and let me know there was position going. I went through the official application and interview process, albeit awkward because I was super dooper tired from a ski trip and my new manager knew half my examples. A few days ago I got the phone call. I resigned today. 5. When do you start? End of September. (Freak out moment!) 6. When do you move? Around the 16 September-ish. 7. Where will you live? I’ll hopefully find a place, otherwise my tent will serve me well. I am looking for someone to translate Brisbane suburbs into Sydney terms for me. I can pay you in love. 8. Do you know anyone in Brisbane? Hmm. Yes, but I can count them on one hand! And they’re not, ah, close friends. 9. How do you feel? As an extrovert who needs to be surrounded by people to keep a sane mind, the concept of moving in to a city with no friends is terrifying and also exhilarating. It’s a blank slate! As for moving, i’m up for an adventure. I’m young and free! 10. When can i see you before you go? If you’re part of the cultural elite, (read: a Facebook friend) you’ll get an invite to a farewell soiree of some sorts. Likely date: Saturday 12 September. 11. How can I help? Do you know any eligible bachelors in Brisbane? JOKING! Can you translate Brisbane suburbs in to a Sydney context? Ie. West End = Inner west. Do you now any friendly folk in Brisbane who are willing to pretend to be my friend for a while? Do you know a church in Brisbane? (Yes, I know Dave Miers is starting a church up there, I’ll probably get in touch once I settle). Do you feel like a road trip around the 16 September? Can I pray for you? Yes. Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
There are some things in life that no matter how often you do them, they never gets easier. For example, cutting an onion. You might work out the best way to do it, ie a very sharp knife, but even then there’s a 90% chance a weird watery substance will leak from my eyes every.single.time. Only yesterday my friend said ‘No, I won’t cut onions.’ If a task doesn’t get any easier,  we avoid it. Today I had to do another such task, resign. I’ve now resigned from four jobs and each time it’s awful. It doesn’t get any easier. I barely slept last night, I was jittery until the meeting I scheduled with my boss and I rehearsed the conversation more times than I care to say. I also planned for every scenario including the one where my boss said yelled totally unreasonable comments.  Now my boss is the most lovely woman and would never say such a thing, but doing something terrifying makes you think crazy things. I knew how she’d respond – and she did as I suspected – but still it was awful. I will happily talk (read: make a fool of myself) in front of a crowd or star in a video going out to thousands, but disappoint someone I respect. Fear. But unfortunately resigning is an inevitable task when you accept a new job. And there will be disappointment. Today I disappointed my boss, manager, immediate team, and soon my network of stakeholders. I respect each of them and I’ve built great relationships working for the university. To announce I was leaving them hurt. It hurt as I saw their tears well in their eyes, as they congratulated me with a deep sadness on their face, as they swore in shock and walked out, as they made the jovial remark about not needing to remember my name anymore. It’s fair to say they were not expecting the news. I know my fear and anxiety comes from withdrawing from a commitment – something I hold as a top priority. If I make a commitment to someone, something or some team, I follow it through. Resigning is me saying I no longer uphold that commitment. I’m disappointed in myself, yet still excited about the next adventure. I sharing all of this? We all have to withdraw from commitments at different stages of life, but it’s worth noting now it’s always hard. By biggest tips? Be real, be honest and google ‘how to resign.’ Great advice there. What’s the next adventure? I’m moving to Brisbane, baby!
Warning: hyperboles enclosed. Spoiler alert. Act 1: The arrivals And so it began. The catwalk: Blondes Brunettes Black cars Ball gowns Boobs Beers With some legs, giggles, and Marilyn Munroe-esque “Oh hello Mr Bachelor”’s thrown in. We know it’s all about the first impression. Must.get.rose. Cue music: harps, piano, light cymbal Voice over as Girl walks down the red carpet toward the bachelor. “I’m just so ready to meet the Bachelor. I’m ready to find love.” Cut away. Mr Bachelor. Penguin suit. Hands crossed. Stubble. Smile. “Wow look at that dress! You look beautiful.” …stunning.” …gorgeous.” …heavenly.” …charming.” Shoot, I’ve ran out of adjectives, I’ll just repeat them again. “Look at that dress, you look beautiful.” “Nervous, me? No. Never,” said half the girls. “Nervous, me? Yes. Please don’t feel my hands,” said the remaining girls. Post introduction interviews: “Yes I definitely think I we had a connection,” said every girl “Tall, dark and handsome, that’s my kind of man.” Before we move on, a quick wrap of the girls: Regular jobs: teacher, vet, nurse, sales, marketing. Job titles that suggest some, ah, editorial improvisation: Aspiring film maker Marketing graduate Motivational speaker Charity worker The ice breakers: Outfits Cupcakes Drawings A few cold ones Common ground compass: “OMG, me too…we have SO much in common.” Language lessons Tap dancing Act 2: The mingle And that’s everyone. Places please. Andrew G Osher Günsberg arrives. “Welcome ladies.” Bachelor walks in. *squeals of excitement.* Leather couches. Fabric dividers. Wicker outdoor lounge chairs. Sweeping deck. Luscious green lawn. Gazebo for alone time with Mr Bachelor. Girls mingle around mini firehazard infested house. Like actually, one girl’s dress lights on fire. (Apologies for the brevity of this act, Bella got a new jumper. Check Instagram – soon. It’s having a mental health day today.) Act 3: The complication Insert riveting television of women drinking champagne, watching Mr Bachelor have alone time with each of his haram. Sandra – the crazy one slash the one the producers chose to make it interesting: “So let’s bitch.” Passive token ethnic contestant Reshael: “No let’s not.” Sandra: “Don’t be boring.” Reshael: “I’m not being boring, I’m being nice.” Sandra: “Bitches, be bitchy. Don’t be a bitch to me though.” Sandra to everyone: “OMG Reshael like totally went off at me.” Words of wisdom woman: “You should take it up with her to clear the air.” Sandra: “Excuse me everyone.” I like to think of her as the mole. Intermission – The Bachelorette coming soon. s l o w sensual music increases. It’s all blurred. Who is it? Camera cuts to a close up. An arm? A knee? A shoulder? Heck, any joint is suspenseful at the moment. It cuts. It’s her. No one liked her anyway. Fans. Red fabric. A short dress. She has dark hair now. Yes, friends, it’s Sam Frost. Act 4: The desperation Back to the Bachelor. Girls competing for a man is much more entertaining, then men competing gladiator style. Bombshell: Girl 5 has a daughter. A nine-year-old-daughter! First rose is awarded. The girls who hadn’t had alone time start to panic. Yoga in ball gowns. Lumberjack Tessa has had enough of the ball gown. Cue casual clothing. Cue shock. Dramatic exit from girl in red. Tears. “Six girls like totally jumped my alone time with Bach-y!” The new twist – the white rose – is given to girl in sequin black dress. Act 5: The rose ceremony Emotional rose ceremony. Girl 1, looking dreamly in to Bachelor’s eyes, “Yes, I’ll accept this rose.” Kiss on cheek. Girl 2, looking dreamly in to Bachelor’s eyes, “Yes, I’ll accept this rose.” Kiss on cheek. Girl 3, looking dreamly in to Bachelor’s eyes, “Yes, I’ll accept this rose.” Kiss on cheek. Girl 4, looking dreamly in to Bachelor’s eyes, “Yes, I’ll accept this rose.” Kiss on cheek. Girl 5 – 16. Cut to last red rose. Cut to puppy dog eyes. Producers. Longer. Longer pause. Suspense. Okay now. “Sandra.” “Girl 18, 19. The tribe has spoken. – Ooops wrong show, Survivor ended a decade ago – You have not received a rose. It is time to leave, please say your goodbyes.” Hugs. Kisses. It’s all very emotional after sharing so long together – 3 hours. “I’ll miss you all.” Please note creative license has been used and quotes may not appear as verbatim. But as Sandra showed us, accurate representations of situations are what makes it all worth watching. This will the one and only recap of the Bachelor I will ever do. I’ll never get those two hours back. It will be the only episode of the Bachelor I will watch. Ever. Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
The Christian bubble is a safe place. It’s hopefully a friendly place, a loving and supportive one. The Christian bubble is generally made of friends who attend church, be it ours or another. It’s a bubble, because, well it’s our little piece of the world. No one else really enters it, no one being, no one than other Christians. It’s an easy place to be. But the Christian bubble is an exclusive place. Not everyone can be part of it. If they support same sex marriage, they’re not invited. If they drink (like more than a single nonjudgmental glass of wine) on the weekends, they’re not allowed. If they’re sleeping with their boyfriend/another person other than their partner, they’re not acceptable. If they challenge your safe, conservative life – yes, the one that we think the bible calls us to live – they’re generally not in our Christian bubble. Yes, the Christian bubble can pretty much be adapted to any religion or interest group. People are naturally attracted to people like them or with the same interests as them.  We set rules around who can sit with us and who can’t. We like to catch up with the people we like, to build relationships. We prefer to become better friends with someone than get a new friend. The latter is the harder option.   But here’s what the Christian bubble isn’t – missional. Jesus does not call us to love safe, exclusive, conservative lives. We’re called to live radically – radically different for the sake of the gospel. We’re called to be radically different, because our lives should not be exclusive. They should be inclusive. We should be looking to the periphery to see who’s around. We should be putting ourselves in situations where there are people who are not like us.  And I’m not talking about people who are boring, non-pub visiting, non-swearing goody-two-shoes. I’m talking about surrounding ourselves with people who do not know about the amazing love their creator has for them. Who do not know the overwhelming hope that Christ can bring their lives. People who have no sense of the stability that comes from knowing God is one our side. People who are dealing with heartbreak, sickness and loneliness without any relief. These people need to hear the gospel, and the reality is, they’re probably not going to just show up to church one week. It’s not the 18th, 19th, or even the 20th century anymore. Less than 10% of Australians go to church each week month Source. We have been charged with going out to find these people. Remember the great commission in Matt 28, Acts 1)?  We have the gift of the Holy Spirit to enable us to share the gospel to all people. But what does bursting our bubbles look like? It’s hard. It’s messy. It’s tiring. It’s inconvenient. It looks like deciding to spend two hours with our nonchristian colleagues outside of work – that’s where the relationship building happens. If we’re talking about Jesus at work, we’re probably not doing our jobs to our best ability. It looks like joining a sports team, and being the kind one – the one who doesn’t grumble at the ref when they make the wrong call (Okay – I totally struggle with this one!). And then openly talking about our faith. Actions are rarely enough. It looks like looking around at church for the person who hasn’t been there before, abandoning our desire to speak to our Christian friends and making a new friend. It looks like doing more than working in our safe Christian organisation, school, church, uni group and sharing the gospel with our students, teaching the bible to Christians and/or praying and paying for the missionaries. We are all the missionaries. Our Christian bubbles don’t protect us from the world, they make us neglect the people of this world. Last night at bible study we were talking about missional churches. We agreed our church wasn’t very missional, there were pockets of missional activities, but on the whole our service was conducive to people already comfortable with church. Not so much the visitors, be it other Christians or  the oh so very rare individual who wandered off the side street, up that dark footpath and into our mid-19th century pew-filled building. Many in the group revealed we probably aren’t ‘sticking around’ for much longer and that being inclusive was low on the agenda. But the reality is the church is more than the geographic location in which we gather with other Christians each week. The church is the body of believers across our globe. As a group of believers, we should be looking to connect (not correct!) with others. And that looks like thinking beyond our own personal circumstance (and plans) and our own intentions – as frightening, inconvenient and tiring as it is. How many friends do you have who don’t know Jesus? Name them. When was the last time you spoke at length with someone who disagreed with you on matters of faith? My number for both answers is way too few. How did you go?   Would you burst your bubble with me?     Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)