Stepping Heavenward


My Life, Part 1

The Extremely Short Version ;)

March 1987, new born.
Celeste Hope McGrath enters the world! I was welcomed (so I have been told!:) by my parents, Peter and Glenys McGrath, and my little brother Tristan.

Our family moves back to Papua New Guinea, from Australia, where my parents had been living for a few years. Dad works for a trucking company in which all profit goes back into training nationals to become ministers in their country.
Mum and Dad have Bible studies at their house with other missionaries and local people. They experiance little earth-quakes, snakes in the back garden, riots in the street at the front of the house, men guarding the house at night with bow and arrows, malaria and dengy fever.
Tristan learns to climb trees, I eat cockroaches.

We have moved back home to Australia. My sister Eloise enters the world!

I start school and love it! My kinder teachers moan softly to my parents "Celeste is so different to Tristan. He is so relaxed and she is like a whirl-wind!"
My teacher, Mr Bowers (Mr. B) becomes my friend and I am his pet. He signs all my papers with a "Well done Super C!" on them. When I become the "star of the week" he writes a little poem to add to my photos on the board.
"Celeste McGrath will go far in her red sports car. She will smile with special style. We love our super C!"

Life is good and great...I grow up as every other little girl, a little scatter-brained and very lively and out going.

My Dad's sister becomes a Christian after living a hard and rough life. Her life is changed dramtically. Although sick and very weak, she is baptised at our large church with my family, her five young children and a mulitude of new Christian friends watching on.
She looses her battle with cancer at age thirty and goes to be with the Lord she has recently and strongly gotten to know.

Another sister enters the world- Brenna! My Dad's dad, my special Pa, (who always buys us jellies, and does amazine things like tie string with his tongue) is diagnosed with lung cancer and passes away. Nanny's alzhimers grows worse.

We moved thirty minutes out of Ballarat to the country-Berringa. Nanny moves in with us for a few months before her alzhimers gets so bad she needs constant proffesional care. The nurses tell us she is the worst case they have ever seen.

Our new home is a child's dream! Ten acres to roam around and play on, with another fifty acres of sheep land and bush (forest) to explore.

We kids make home-made billy carts and go racing wildly down our huge hill amid rabbit holes, we explore the creek, go yabbying, discover fox holes, see baby lambs born, ride the horse, tease the cranky goat, watch ducklings hatch, play with the new litter of puppies, weed the orchard and vegie gardens, collect the the sun set over the trees in the distance...see kangaroos each morning...chew gums leaves...enjoy life.

Mum is expecting again! Twelve year old Tristan declares he will leave home if the baby is another girl. Erinna Faith is born, perfect and healthy despite the fears. Tristan forgets about his vows to move out immediatly.

God is telling my parents that He wants us to take a huge step of faith and move away from Australia and settled in Ireland with a small mission church. Leaving our home, our precious family, our friends...our entire lives... is heart wrenching. All I have known and loved is about to be left behind and I will have to start fresh in a new country I haven't yet seen. I close the gate to our property for the last time. The hay shed where we played and made tunnels is empty. The horse is gone. The chicken shed is empty. The wind softly blows the grass in the paddocks, the water on the dam ripples. Blinded by tears I whisper to the beauty around me "Home is where the heart is". I am thirteen years old.

Ireland takes a long time to get used to. Where is the sun? Does it always rain? Our family of seven are jammed into a little thatched roof cottage with a tiny courtyard to replace our ten acres of freedom. One nice thing is we are at the top of a track that leads down to Portally Cove where we can go down and explore the rocks and get wet!
Our church is small, but nice. School starts for Eloise and I. Different, but a load of fun. Our teacher takes us down to the cove and tells us not to get wet. All the girls manage to stay nice and dry...I walk back to school in a wet flapping skirt after going out too far on the rocks again.
On weekends Eloise and usually got for a bike ride with our friends...gradually the pain of moving away eases a little...yet with each letter, each new photo sent, every phone call longing for home comes rolling back. Will I ever get back?


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