Growing up in Sydney’s West in the 70’s

bikes

Photo: Here I am on my sisters red bike and she’s on my blue Malvern Star in the middle with our cousins on their bikes at Stanwell Park NSW.

My parents decided that we needed a change from the constantly flooding townhouse they rented in Granville.  Every time it rained our bottom floor became inundated in a torrent of water.  We were all relieved and excited about the move.  Although looking back, it was a bit of fun swimming in that dirty water that ran from our flooded small courtyard out the back, through the house gushing out the front door and spilling us kids out onto the footpath.

So in 1973 we packed all our gear and moved to Fairfield in Sydney’s West.  I was 9, my sister Vivian was 8 and Patricia was almost 3 years old.

There were about 10 units in our apartment block with people from all different nationalities and walks of life residing in them.  Many families lived there, so there was never a shortage of people to hang out with.  The twin set of units across the concrete driveway with their garages and overhanging balconies faced each other allowing us to communicate & socialise with the neighbours without leaving our unit.

Life was a social affair most days in Smart Street as the flats we lived in weren’t the only ones on our block.  Italians, Assyrians, Maltese, South Americans (like us); Greeks, Iraqis and Yugoslavians (as they were known at the time) populated the area amongst a handful of Aussies.

The only Aussie that I actually remember well on that block in Smart Street, Fairfield was Mrs. Stone who everyone knew as the delightful and friendly old lady who lived in an old shack up the road with her Shih Tzu.  She took daily walks with her little dog allowing everyone to pat him. Her sweetness brings a smile to my face to this very day.

Every morning on the way to school we’d pass the local shop that was metres from the crossing to the public school we attended.  Wonderful and friendly people have come and gone throughout our lives there.  Mr. Zoric was one of them.  He was our local shop owner whose little tuck shop was across the road from the school on my side of the road.  He sold, milk, bread, coke, some grocery items, ice cream, chocolate and lollies.  While he was very popular with everyone in the neighbourhood, the kids just loved him. He was known mainly for his kindness and his huge bright and cheerful personality.  Back then we hardly got any pocket money and I remember the excitement of taking the empty glass bottles of coke for a refund of 10 cents to spend on lollies.  That was a lot of money back then!

Playing outdoors was a way of life for us kids. After school the children were everywhere riding their bikes, playing handball, hide and seek, playing elastics, doing handstands, cartwheels and skipping.   When we didn’t know what to do we improvised and enjoyed life.  We didn’t have the technology that kids have now.  We learned how to be imaginative and creative making things with our hands or making up games.

Our New Bikes

For Christmas that year we all got bikes.  Vivian’s was a new orange bike.  Mine was a dark blue Malvern Star Dragster with gears, long seat and a sissy bar. I had been asking my father for that bike for ages and was over the moon with it.  It was the latest rage with the kids, it was beautiful and I couldn’t believe it was mine!

One morning my father discovered that our garage was broken into. The bikes were missing and I remember that I was heartbroken.  That bike was the only thing I ever really wanted.   Dad assured us that everything will be alright and that his insurance will replace our bikes.  But one day before our bikes could be replaced, I was visiting a friend in a neighbouring apartment building when I saw two boys downstairs sanding down bike frames that had been sprayed black.  Immediately I knew that our bikes had been stolen by these two Assyrian boys who didn’t have bikes of their own and I was angry and felt sorry for them at the same time, knowing that mum was poor and had 4 kids to look after.  Telling my father about it brought out my emotions.  He assured me that even without the bikes that we adored, we are still better off than those two boys because we have each other.  He made me see that material things are replaceable but people aren’t.  I had to let it go and decided to forgive them, though it took a while.

We never did get the same bikes back.  Although I was grateful to have a bike to ride, the replacement bike was a bit too sissy for this tom boy.  It was white with reddish-pink love hearts stickers.

Years later when I became a Christian I realised that my earthly dad was reflecting my heavenly father by choosing mercy over bitterness and revenge.  In Matthew 9:13 God says, “I desire mercy not sacrifice.”

I love you dad!  You always taught us to be content with life itself and that the most important thing in life is to love the people we share it with.  Because of it we have a very close and tightly knit family unit that loves each other dearly.

 

 

Childhood memories coming back to teach me.

girl

As a child while I played with other children as kids do, I learnt some valuable life lessons.  I’m still learning from those moments that I didn’t give a second thought to.

Like that time when I was five years of age sitting on an old metal see-saw (teeter totter for Americans) that my father bought around and put together in grandma’s courtyard.  While we were rocking up and down the metal handle that I was holding onto in order to keep my balance came off in my hands.  I remember being surprised and upset because as we were rocking I nearly lost my balance and nearly fall off.  Dad had noticed so he stopped rocking us while holding onto the boy. I became upset and pegged the handle at the floor but to my horror I clocked the kid on the head. I was mortified. Dad was slowly becoming furious as he consoled the boy.  When the other kid calmed down I was disciplined.

Even though I didn’t mean to hurt the child, the fact remains, I did.  

In the same way, we can aim words at people with our good intentions in the hope that they’ll be received in the way we intend them to.  But the truth is that we don’t really know where our careless words will land or how those words will be received.  Ignorance is no excuse.  We need to watch what we say by really giving thought to the weight of the words before we speak them.  They have the power to build someone up or hurt them.  It’s our responsibility is to abide by the social adults code of behaviour, “hurt no-one”.

Matthew 12:37    New King James Version (NKJV)

37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Image courtesy of: http://www.rgbstock.com / lusi

Submission To One Another In Marriage

Harmonising a marriage is difficult but not impossible.

In my observations, the bible is taken out of context by some when it comes to women submitting to their husbands and vice versa.   A subservient 50’s style housewife is an out-dated picture that doesn’t fit with modern day masses of women holding full time working careers while taking care of their families.

Being submissive to our spouse isn’t a mindless act of subservience but instead it is an informed choice and an act of love and respect.  The bible calls for mutual submission of both men and women to each other. When a husband and wife act out of mutual submission, their love grows and flows into all aspects of their life including their intimacy.

Mutual submission and equality when it comes to love & respect in a marriage

From a Christian perspective, while we are to mutually submit to each other, we are also to treat our husbands with the love and respect they deserve. They too are to treat us with the same love and respect.

If I’ve learnt anything is that marriage shouldn’t be a struggle for power, but a union powered by love.  Yes, a power union!

What men and women need to keep in mind

A woman’s submission is not a license for a man to overpower a woman or mistreat her in any way.  A man’s submission is not a woman’s license to nag or say and do as she pleases.

Marriage is an ongoing commitment to love one another where submission to each other is purposeful in cultivating unity and intimacy in a relationship where couples can show appreciation and share loving affection for one another.  The bible says that man and woman become one flesh. This describes what happens spiritually and physically, but also mentally within the relationship and even though we are individuals, we become one.

When submission is not OK.

Husbands and wives aren’t to sin against God.  Nor are we to allow our husbands to cause us to sin.  This includes sexual sin.  We need spiritual boundaries!

 “A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.”  A quote from the book, ’Boundaries’ by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend have written another excellent book titled, “Boundaries within Marriage”. 

What about turning the other cheek?

Turning the other cheek does not mean turning a blind eye!  Nor does it mean we should allow a man or a woman to be violent against us, verbally, physically or otherwise. Mental abuse is as damaging as physical abuse.  Sin must be confronted.

Trust God

“I have plans not to harm you, but rather plans for you to prosper”.   Jeremiah 29:11

How to confront Sin

In everything we do, even when we are angry we are not to sin.  Ephesians 4:26

The bible instructs us to gently and humbly confront one another.  Galatians 6: 1-2

What you can do when you are angry to calm yourself down:

  1. PRAY – Pray for your husband or wife and spend time in prayer seeking the Lord before having this conversation asking for God’s direction and timing.
  2. REPENT – Search your own heart and repent of sins, now you’ve repented and are forgiven show your husband or wife  the same grace.
  3. RELEASE – Go for a walk to cool down then, determine to leave it in God’s hands once you’ve said your piece and let go of any unrealistic expectations.
  4. PRAY – Pray for your wife or husband seeking his/her wellbeing.
  5. FORGIVE – Forgive your wife or husband. When trust is lost it also becomes difficult to regain.  Marriage counselling can help couples learn to start over.
  6. TALK TO A CHURCH ELDER – If he continues to sin then talk to your church elders.
  7. SEEK COUNSELLING – Talk to a counsellor who is a trained listener.

By Sandra Ciminelli

Finding Help

Search for one near you www.theaca.org.au

Relationships Australia1300 364 277

24-Hour Telephone Counselling

Numbers to call if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide.

Lifeline on 13 11 14

MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978

 

Is Christianity a Cop Out?

 

To understand Christianity we need to take a good look at the instructions that Jesus gave his followers.  Christianity has to be the most difficult faith to follow because it requires absolute trust in the New Testament as Jesus taught in the Word of God as the life blood of our beliefs.   Jesus challenged society and the lives of people around him even unto the way they thought about food and many more things.  He bought a lot of good change about that set people free from religious rituals & slavery to sin.  God wants our hearts to be full of HIS love and HIS light.   To know HIM is to love HIM.

Keep in mind that Christians aren’t perfect but they follow someone who is!

HERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT I’VE HEARD

  • Christianity is a cop out.

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. ”   Matthew 5:38-39

Turning the other cheek has to be the most difficult of all teachings to follow.

What no revenge? Most people would fight back to the best of their ability to make sure they got a piece of the other person.  A Christian however is to consider even a thief or a violent person as a child of God and love him or her as God Himself does.

  • Christians live in fear of punishment.

Christians live by their convictions and judge themselves and their lives according to Jesus’ instructions and live to please God.  They live in reverence of an awesome God.

Jesus gave clear instructions on how to love God and Man.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment.   Matthew 22:37-38

Aiming to be like Jesus is to follow God as he wants us to in obedience and reverence as we seek to know him more.   We don’t do it alone as we have the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  • God doesn’t answer prayer

Christians pray in faith believing that God is not only able to answer prayer but willing to answer them.   God isn’t under obligation to answer yes to every prayer request.  He answers with a yes, no or wait.  Everything in HIS perfect timing.

Bible Verses about Prayer

James 4:3  “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

John 15:7  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

Hebrews 11:6And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

Many more reasons to pray: http://www.openbible.info/topics/pray_without_ceasing

Christianity is being constantly watchful, prayerful, faithful and certainly a challenge requiring a lot of hard work and self discipline.  A cop out would seem to be an escape and lot easier wouldn’t it?