Monday, April 16, 2012

Down Under

Last month I had the opportunity of a lifetime - to travel to Sydney, Australia, with my mom for two weeks. When my husband found out that Mom would be speaking at Hillsong Church's Colour Conference this spring, he very firmly and enthusiastically suggested that I go with her. He wanted me to soak up as much as I could of Hillsong's culture and bring it back with me. I was all for it but my mom took some convincing. She was concerned about taking me so far away from the kids for such a long time. I put her on the phone with Curtis so she could hear that he was dead serious, and then she gave me the green light. Yay!

So off to Sydney we flew for the most amazing women's conference I've ever been to. And we got to do it twice! The first weekend it was held in an arena and the second weekend we repeated the conference at Hillsong's main campus. In between the conferences we had several days to explore Sydney  and hang out with friends.

Here are my Top Ten favorite things about the trip, in no certain order:

1) I got to hang out with my mom for two weeks! (Well this one really is my number one.)

2) Since I had my own hotel room, I experienced more alone time and silence than I've had in years. And I read books! My mommy-mush-brain eventually disappeared and I felt like my old self again. (The mush-brain is already back though.)

3) We got to spend lots of time with some incredible women like Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine, Bobbie Houston, Julie A'bell, and so many other wonderful women in leadership in the Hillsong family. All the global pastors came in town for the first conference and it was a blessing getting to meet them and hear the stories of God's work across the globe.

4) One night we had dinner in the Sydney Opera House. I have zero pictures of that night but I will remember it forever.

5) Mom and I trekked across the Harbour Bridge over and over again. It was so gloriously beautiful at night and incredibly striking during the day.

6) Australia met all my tea drinking needs. There was an electric kettle in my room at all times!

7) Our host, Tom Bachtle, was incredibly gracious, kind and hard-working. He is a pastor at Hillsong and also a teacher at their college.

8) Australia was BEAUTIFUL. The people were beautiful too and very warm.

9) We fed kangaroos and petted koalas.

10) Christine, Priscilla, Mom and I visited Bondi Beach and had the best time walking/hiking/being obnoxious along the gorgeous coastline.

*BONUS* Do I even need to tell you how wonderful it was to worship with Hillsong for 2 weeks? Seriously. We learned a bunch of their new songs which won't be released until this summer. It will be a long wait!

These are some pictures I took with my phone. I have a bunch from my camera that I need to upload this week.


Here I am in my very special eye and neck pillows for the 14 hour flight from LA. My mom was so proud to sit next to me.


On our first or second night, Christine took us to dinner at this beautiful restaurant overlooking the harbour.


Mom and Priscilla were rocking the pink and black on this day. 


Chris took us to feed kangaroos but she did everything she could to avoid contact with them herself. I think she wrote an article for CNN and typed 50 emails from her phone while standing on that bench. Ha!


This is the BEST hummus that exists in the world. Oh my word! The Lord knows how many times I've thought about it since then.


It was served with this hot bread. Yum-o. 


We enjoyed afternoon tea in the hotel lobby a couple of times. 



Yes, Lord. 


Unfortunately, Mom and I were dressed almost exactly alike this night. I opted to change, but not before taking a picture of our dorky twin selves.



More pics to come!



25 comments:

De Anna Morris said...

Thank you for sharing your life, our World and God's Word with us...we love you.

From South Carolina,
De Anna

Greg Despres said...

wow! I was so excited for you to go and am thrilled at how you did make the most of it and soak it up!! I hope I one day will have special memories with my (grown) girls and that we will be able to worship together!! I am so glad you got to feeling like yourself again! I totally know what you mean! Thanks for sharing :) and I loved catching up on your phone photos too!! Fun times! What a sweet life we live!

kelli@eatprayreadlove. said...

What a glorious time! We got to to 2 years ago and I don't think any trip will ever top that. My hubby has family in the Brisbane area that we also visited, so we hope to go back sometime!

Jennifer said...

What an awesome time (though slightly jealous of 2 weeks of "me" time, ha)! And I am so glad you brought back some Hillsong songs so that we can enjoy them.

brie. said...

looks wonderful! i'm so excited to be hearing from priscilla and sheila at the colour conference here in london next weekend - i'm sure it will be filled with great teaching and good learning and fellowship!

Mark & Melissa said...

So fun! I appreciate your blog posts, but in the last month we've been in Houston and visited BCF, I feel like a creeper! :) At the same time, I'm grateful for my creep-status--it's how I knew of BCF. Blessed assurance.

This Is The Day said...

Wow, that looks like such a fun trip! I can't imagine what I'd do with that much kid-free time! :)

Melissa F. said...

That's great! Those pictures are fantastic. I would love to visit Australia some day....just need to get the courage for such a long flight.

Kristie said...

It looks it was a blast and what great Mom time spent. We all need to spend two weeks in Australia with our Momma (or anywhere) away from our everyday life. Like you, I have kids (4, 2 and 4 months) and would love to get my Mom away for a weekend alone. I am going to try to get her to Canton (Dallas) for a start.... but I will have to bring the 4 month old daughter. Glad you had a blast with your Momma.

Sarah Hubbell said...

Wow that looks like an incredible trip. Maybe someday...

Marian said...

Our daughter is in Australia until November doing a Fulbright research grant. I am so excited that we are all going in June for a visit. Can't wait to get my arms around her. We will be going to Sydney, Melbourne, and Cairns. Please give me details on any of your favorites-restaurants, etc. We'll have to plan to go to Hillsong for worship.

Sunni said...

So great to hear from you again.

What an amazing trip. Two weeks with your mom, unlimited tea, yummy hummus... and no one to clean up after but yourself. Yup... pretty amazing!

I'm so happy for you!

kim said...

What an amazing opportunity!! I've always wanted to go to Australia someday. And to visit Hillsong would be amazing too!! (: I was at LPM this last wknd in KC & your mom told the story of the baby kangaroo coming out - all 9800 women were DYING. Funniest story ever (: Looking forward to seeing more photos! Blessings.

Dionna Sanchez said...

I love bread and that bread looks awesome! With hummus, I bet it was outstanding. Loved the kangas too - I've always wanted to see one.

Ashton said...

"My mommy-mush-brain eventually disappeared and I felt like my old self again. (The mush-brain is already back though.)"
Hilarious! Amanda... you are funny!!

DeeDee said...

what an amazing experience with your sweet Mom!!! God is good!

Emma Leitch, a total Monet said...

Thanks Amanda for your visit to Australia! My mum and I and best friend went to the second Hillsing Conference. We desparately wanted to come say hi as we feel like you and you mum are family (following your blogs and Beth's teaching for so many years) but "security" kept us away :( so lovely to share our country and the conference with you though! Enjoy being home with your family. Love Emma

Alli said...

Sorry--that was me not Greg :)

Shelly E said...

This trip sounded like such a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Loved the pictures! So glad you got to experience this with your Mom and got to be at Hillsong in person. Blog again soon. You've been missed.

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Have enjoyed reading about the Australia trip. Sounds awesome. But that's a LONG way isn't it! My only two grandchildren are almost the same age as your children are...she is 6 and he is 3. Their mother is from Australia but married our son 7 years ago and moved here. Last month they announced they are moving to Australia later this year! My heart is broken! I know that it seems selfish but I can not imagine my life without getting to see my grandbabies at least once or twice a week! I'm asking prayers that God will guide them and that He will comfort my heart as only He can!

Thanks!

happymcfamily said...

Hooray for wonderful husbands who push for a time of refreshing :-)

annalee said...

thankful you two wonderful ladies got to experience this all together! i love it!

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

I would sell every item I own (except Snuggles and Cuddles, of course) for that kind of time with my mom. :)

JACQUELYNN said...

What is your favorite tea?

Wow, what an amazing trip!

katiegfromtennessee said...

Sydney pictures are great.:) So glad you shared them with us.