Monday, 11 November 2013

A Little Pause

Hello all! I have some news ... we are moving house! So, for the next two to three weeks, maybe longer, this little space will be on 'pause'. We are going from renting an eight bedroom home to renting a four bedroom, so we will be busy ... and I'm very excited about it all! I'm looking forward to setting up our new home just before Christmas! Feel free to read my past posts and leave your comments and I'll look forward to reading them upon my return! See you all soon!

Friday, 8 November 2013

FTF: Grief Covered In Grace (Part Two)

A Short re-cap from last week ...
It was only a short period of about five and a half months that we shared together as nine-teen and twenty year old ‘newly-weds’ before our first child, a son, was born (2002). I instantly fell in love with him and his squidgy baby cheeks, long dangly legs and arms and sweet nature. I fell in love with motherhood. I had found my purpose.
The continuing story ...
However, being so young, I was unsure in many ways as to how to raise a child apart from feeding and keeping him safe and clean. I knew very little about teaching morals and standards, values and beliefs into a child (even though we had been raised well in these areas).

We committed to a parenting course run by two of our (still to this day) closest friends, who mentored, guided and sometimes (actually most times) dragged us through the early years of parenting and marriage! Our parents and extended families continued to be an amazing support and encouragement and this blessed us immensely. Through the parenting course I began to love teaching my son. Showing him skills, sharing values and morals to him, connecting with his heart.

Our second child was born, our first girl, app. 2 years and 7 months after our son (2004), and we both fell in love with this beautiful little bundle that looked like a porcelain doll with red rose bud lips. She was divine (she really was even though I am ridiculously biased!) And so my heart filled with more love and more purpose and more satisfaction.

Even after horrendous times of struggling with post-natal depression after each birth, I was ecstatic to find out our third child, another girl, was on her way! (2007) Right from the start this little miss has been determined, delicate, sweet and stunning. Another heart to love.

Travel a few hundred kilometres to a new town in the country, our first home away from parents, and we experience a miscarriage at the ten week mark. I was devastated. It just didn’t seem like it was reality. I thought that that was it; there would be no more children for us.

God is amazingly patient, faithful, compassionate and loving towards his children. He healed our hearts over time and helped us move forward. It was the most precious, beautiful and wonderful moment when we found out (after a massive snot-sobbing prayer to God asking him for one more child, and if he could please let it be a boy with brown eyes like me! Not too hard right?!), that I was expecting our fourth child. Little did I know that I was already pregnant with our last boy, as I sobbed that night (2009). And yes, his eyes are brown! Four little people to love, mould and raise in the knowledge and ways of the Lord. To nurture, enjoy and live life with. He has been so very good to us.

So needless to say I have spent the better part of almost 12 years having, feeding and raising our four babies. So, in that doctors surgery that day I began to panic. And I entered into a very long hard period of denial and grief not long after this point. How could it be finished so fast? How could my time growing babies, nurturing babies and little people have wizzed by so incredibly fast? Surely we should have two more? After all, I have their names picked and everything!

I spent the next four years in a state of confusion, grief and a lot of the time, unbearable pain. I still cannot believe how much it hurt to know that I was not going to be having any more children of my own. I felt as if someone had cut off my arms and legs and expected me to function as normal. What was normal? I didn't know anything outside of high school except the incredible pleasure of motherhood.

I struggled with thinking, "You're being so ungrateful and so discontented. Be satisfied with what God's given you". I am thankful beyond words! I am not so naïve to not know that there are countless amounts of incredible women out there who cannot have children of their own after so many attempts at conception. I am completely aware that there are also mothers out there who are lacking in the care and provision they give to their growing amount of children.

I would say to my husband, "I know I'm still a mother. I know I am blessed. I can see God's hand of blessing abundantly in my life but I just can't not have any more kids!" I would become angry and bitter with my husband when he would tell me he was completely at peace with the decision. How can he be so content with his life going on all happy as usual while my life is continual pain?

To people looking on the outside, I appeared as normal. I was happy, fun, encouraging, loving; but on the inside I felt near dead. It's so much easier to put on a face, then it is to let down your guard and confess the truth to others of what's really going on inside.

So, what was the truth?
To be continued ...

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

FFW: Sloth Home

For the past two weeks, our family has been battling a horrible case of the flu. Yuck! Between the constant noise of sniffling, the never-ending reminders to 'blow your nose', razor sore throats and the sleepless nights of coughing, we are just about had it.
The kids stayed home from school yesterday and despite the sickness, it's was actually a lovely day. They played beautifully together. The whole house was completely covered in Lego, marble runs, cars, blocks, scrap booking, dinosaurs, John Deere farm trucks and Tonka trucks, barbies and believe it or not, wood shavings (in the kitchen - my eldest tried his hand at wood carving, with only two slips needing band aids, not too bad!). The house looked like a family of sloths inhabited it ... but it didn't take long to put it back in order, so what's the harm?!
I was coughing so hard that I spilt my tea all over myself ... and the lounge ... several times. The washing wasn't thought of, the beds weren't made, the kitchen -  well, I just ignored that, the kids stayed in their pyjamas all day, the music was playing, and I enjoyed reading books and perusing some lovely new blogs while trying to recover.
My sweet man kindly said that he would do a quick grocery shop on the way home from work, as I didn't think the general public would be quite so considerate of our wheezing and spluttering everywhere; best hibernate a little longer.
And so, today's post is about nothing in particular, just a quick stop in to write about a nice day spent with my children, watching and listening to them play and enjoy each others company ... amongst the ever growing pile of wadded tissues.

Today, I've managed to do some washing, some Bible study and bake two batches of blueberry muffins ... I must be on the mend ... but I'm still ignoring the rest of the housework!

Monday, 4 November 2013

BIM: Re-organised and Loving It!


I have been in a scrapbooking rut lately. For too long now. A huge rut. You know the ones I mean? Where you really want to scrapbook, but you've got no time. Or you've got time, but no inspiration?! Viscous cycle!
I had a friend visit from Ipswich the other weekend, such a lovely lady she is. She stayed the weekend and pre-warned me that she would be 'giving me a kick up the bottom' so that I would get into gear with my scrapbooking again. I'm so thankful that she did!

Not only did I get some pages started and almost finished, I also was able to re-arrange and 'pretty-up' my desk area. I got ultra-organised! Ribbons all tied together, containers sorted out and re-filled. Trust me- it did not look like this before I stared! The ribbons were a giant tangled mess, there was containers stuffed with who knows what, and it was boring and ugly!

Now, I love it! I really enjoyed making my 'inspiration wall'. It serves many purposes. One being to hide the ugly walls and holes, two because it lets me express my style (that won't be everyone else's!), three it's a cheap way to decorate, and four it gives me inspiration when needed.

It is so good to be organised. Since then, I have been trying to scrapbook as often as possible. But, you know what that's like at times. By the time you help kids with homework, bath times, cook dinner, do the washing, do grocery shopping, fill in school forms, feed the dogs, kiss your hubbie, pay bills, stop kids squabbles, entertain a very active four year old, call mum, run errands ... oh, I'll stop now, too much to think about!

I'm glad Kasia came and gave me that good kicking. It's amazing how great you feel when you are re-organised and have everything at hand. It makes me be much more productive! I can enjoy scrapbooking again!

I'm looking forward to filling that entire wall with different inspiring things ... good thing it's in my craft room that is closed off from the rest of the house! My family is very gracious and accepting of my 'artiness', but I think this wall would be too much for them if it was in the lounge room! 

Are you doing any organising this week?

Friday, 1 November 2013

FTF: Grief Covered In Grace (Part One)

Don’t do it! Don’t do it! God you’re going to have to give me something right here right now to stop me from jumping up in the middle of this Doctors surgery and screaming out "STOP!" at the top of my lungs!

I was reading ‘A Wife after God’s Own Heart’, by the amazing Elizabeth George, and I needed a confirmation verse that what was just about to happen was the right decision to make. I opened the book to page 49, and my eyes immediately fell on the words that read, ‘and the Lord had closed her womb’.

My husband was getting a Vasectomy.

We had discussed and wrestled and argued and prayed and came to the conclusion that our four blessings were the amount that we were to receive from God. I thought I was o.k. with all of this; logically thinking, four was a ‘big’ number to be responsible for and provide for financially, emotionally, individually etc. And after that confirmation verse, I thought that I probably shouldn’t argue with Gods direct answer to my desperate plea!
And everything went along smoothly and she lived happily and sanely ever after …
… yeah right!
Let’s backtrack a tad shall we? Before motherhood (B.M.), I was not long out of high school and had no clue at all what it is I wanted to ‘do’ with my life in terms of further study or career. I held a few part-time jobs; Woolworth's check-out chick, working at a Jewellers, Domino’s Pizza, then there was also a discount store where I worked for a while as a service cashier.
As you can see, my jobs were extremely glamorous and full of creative potential. They certainly were not going to give me a sense of long-term purpose, that’s for sure. I momentarily entertained the thought of studying teaching, but then I met a guy. The guy. After our dating days were beautifully concluded by our official engagement days commencing, we decided we would take matters into our own hands and begin being intimate with each other before we were wed. And I fell pregnant.
Why am I sharing this? To heap condemnation on myself and my husband again for past sins? No, I know we are, I am, he is, forgiven. And praise be to God that He really makes all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
We asked for forgiveness (from many people we had disappointed as well as God), bought our wedding date forward, and decided then and there together, it was God’s way or no way. We were forgiven, but we now had bigger things to think of and the responsibility of parenting came much quicker than what we had foreseen. Opportunities for any extra study or career finding were now the last things on our minds. The options were gone.
It was only a short period of about five and a half months that we shared together as nine-teen and twenty year old ‘newly-weds’ before our first child, a son, was born (2002). I instantly fell in love with him and his squidgy baby cheeks, long dangly legs and arms and sweet nature. I fell in love with motherhood. I had found my purpose.
To be continued ...
I'll be posting the rest of my story in the next few weeks of 'Faith Talk Friday'. I was going to put it all in one post, but it's just way too long. For me, there was no point in telling of the goodness of God in my life in this situation, if I had to condense it and leave out parts that are most important.
I hope you'll join me next week. I hope that in sharing this story, you'll be encouraged with any situation that seems helpless in your life.

(I am linking up with Michelle DeRusha in her 'Hear it on Sunday, Use it one Monday' posts, where you will find a community of women who share their lessons from the Lord ... be encouraged!) 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

FFW: Some Inspiring Quotes

A Christian home should be a place of peace,
and there can be no peace where there is no self-denial.
- Elisabeth Elliot
You are as much serving God in looking after your own children,
and training them up in God's fear,
and minding the house,
and making your household a Church for God,
as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts.
- C.H. Spurgeon
I can interact with the members of my family in a constant state of dependence and prayer, asking God to work in me and through me,
and resting in the fact that He will accomplish His will in spite of me.
My life is an on-going story that my children are reading everyday.
What kind of story am I?
God has entrusted us to prepare the hearts of our children for the Saviour.
We are tools used by God to whittle away the calluses of the heart,
keeping the heart tender and inclined to obedience.
Have a beautiful week resting in His grace.
(All photographs are property of Sufficient Grace please do not copy in any way, thank you)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A Letter To My Beautiful Readers

Dear Beautiful Reader,
My best friend was reading through my blog the other day and she constructively commented that "If I didn't know you and I read your blog, I would think 'here's a woman who's got it all together'".
Let me clarify.
I definitely do not have it all together.
I apologise if I've given that impression because actually, the reality is, I am wanting this space to be a place where we learn to rely on His Sufficient Grace in our imperfections.
It was just yesterday that I was yelling at my kids, I had a small argument with my man who I love to pieces, I didn't do any house-work and the house looks like a scene out of world war three. I didn't have quiet time with God and I didn't really pray about much either.
I gave in to my selfish nature and said things that needed forgiveness. My attitude can sometimes really stink.
I'm not perfect here. I stuff up all the time.
The beautiful thing about His Sufficient Grace in my life is that it is extended freely to me when I fall short, and that is often. It's extended to you too.
It is extended to me when I fall on my knees in those times where I just don't think I am the person for the job; how can I mother these four children? How can I always be a wife that looks out for his interests and lovingly supports and encourages him too?
My life sometimes gets overwhelming.

The role of wife and mother (and all of our other roles too) has a way of bringing out things in us that we would just as soon not face. Life does actually.
I desire this place to be real, I don't want to give you false pictures of beds of roses and everything being 'peachy keen'.
I simply try to choose to see things through His Sufficient Grace and keep my eyes on His beauty and the good moments. I struggle with my personal thoughts being out on the world wide web as it makes me vulnerable; it scares me, to be honest. Especially when I write about my family. Being vulnerable is something I've never liked.
I desire this blog to be more than 'writing practise'. I desire this blog to connect with you, to meet you in a real way and inspire you ... even if that means being more of an 'open book' and admitting that I'm still learning about everything and failing along the way.
 So again, I apologise, I hope from now on I can have a bit more courage in being more real, yet still be drawn to the beauty of His Sufficient Grace in my life.
Thank you for 'showing up' and reading what I share. Your being here makes it all worthwhile.
Love in Christ,

Friday, 25 October 2013

FTF: String and A Bag Full of Rocks

I don't usually post two posts in one day.
But, today, I think there is someone out there who needs to hear what I've been learning along the way. We aren't that separated, even though by distance, we are still made of the same essence; our issues in life are common. 
I hope what you read here today gives hope to your heart.
Lord, sometimes there are so many distractions going through my mind.
Distractions that can consume my thoughts and cloud my vision.
I see string; mixed up, knotted together, becoming useless for the purpose for which it was made. This knotted string hinders.
Hinders me from the here and now. From moving forward.
Distracts from the laughing; the way the warmth of his manly skin soothes me in his embrace; to look into the eyes of four little blessings and really see.
I can lay in bed at night thinking through all this tangled mess and trying to see how it all fits together. Try to separate it all out. I can think on these things until they become a strangling rock-filled sack around my heart; weight too cumbersome to move forward.
What do you really want me to see?

What is it that will make all these tunnel-visioned distractions move aside to see what's really important and necessary to life?
You want me to see You.
You want me to see that You are the only One who will take that hindrance mess and smooth it out; untangle the strands.

You are the only one to take that burden bag and empty it right out; scattering its contents, till it's hold on my heart is released.

My focus needs to be You. For by focussing on You and You alone, everything else becomes clearer. Everything is noticed. Everything is cause to give thanks. To rest in knowing that by You and through You and for You all things hold together.
Even string.
Your grace and Your beauty is seen in every second of the day.
Eyes looking at you means eyes are free to really see.
Free to see truth, the things of real value and worth, the steps to take, the path to navigate.
Take the string and the bag Lord and do with it what You will.
(All photographs are the property of Sufficient Grace please do not copy in any way, thanks)

FTF: Cynthia Heald Study Number Three

Well our small study group is on to our third of Cynthia Heald's studies for the year! I think it's very safe to say that we enjoy her teaching very much! We are now going through, "Becoming a Woman of Freedom". If you haven't tried one of her studies yet and you want to, then get started! You won't be disappointed!
We are up to chapter four next week. So far, chapters one to three have been amazing. Full of Biblical truth, encouragement and opportunity for growth. I've really enjoyed being in a group while doing all these studies as it's so amazing to hear what God is doing in the lives of my friends and also to hear their perspective and what God's been teaching them. The fellowship of discussing and answering the questions together has really drawn more out of this study for all of us.
Here are the topics covered in this study:
  • Laying Aside Hindrances: Running with Freedom
  • Laying Aside the Old Self: Running with the New Self
  • Laying Aside the Past: Running with an Eternal Perspective
  • Laying Aside Pleasing People: Running with Fellowship
  • Laying Aside Bitterness: Running with Forgiveness
  • Laying Aside Busyness: Running with Rest
  • Laying Aside Anxiety: Running with Peace
  • Laying Aside Doubt and Fear: Running with Faith and Trust
  • Laying Aside the Flesh: Running with the Spirit
I am really enjoying getting deeper into the Word through this study. It has revealed areas in my life that are still needing God's gracious work in, and I'm thankful that He brings these things to my attention lovingly and tenderly and He then helps me learn the lessons.

If you are wanting a really beautiful, Biblically accurate and challenging study, then any of Cynthia's would be great for you. Her studies are so good for getting to know our amazing God and Saviour even more deeply.
Be sure to let me know if you've started one of her studies and what you think about them!
 (Linking up with 'A Wise Woman Builds Her Home' for more encouragement for you!)

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

BIM: Reflecting on Impressionism

 I love painting. But I don't get to paint often. I've not taken any lessons (other than school), so I haven't learnt any of the amazing techniques that painters know. I just paint how I paint!
 During the holidays, I was able to have a few hours to create a new painting! It was so good to have hands covered in paint again (that's half the fun right?!)
I discovered a few things along the way about my style of painting and what I love to paint with. I must have texture. I like ... no, love, using pallet knives and this whole painting has been made using one.
 I'm not really an attention to fine detail painter.
I am with sketching, but not so much painting.
I like to paint in a 'free-er' style.
As I was creating this image, I was reflecting on my high school art lessons and how much we explored the era of Impressionism.
I found myself realising just how much artists of that period such as Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh have really inspired my painting.
I know that this painting is no where near up to the amazing quality of these Impressionist Artists, but I love it just the same.
I know it's probably lacking in technique and it's not everyone's taste, but I still love it.
I love that I look at it and see my love of Impressionist Art.
Anyway ... here's the final artwork that I have named, "Reflecting on Impressionism"...

 I am looking forward to creating another piece, maybe with some preliminary sketches before hand ... whenever I can find more time for painting!
(All images on this blog are property of Sufficient Grace, please don't copy in any way)

FFW: Busy Little Hands

One of my favourite things to do as a mummy is to watch little hands being busy at work and play. Watching little minds grow and develop to learn new skills and accomplish new feats. Seeing the smiles on their faces when they have learnt something new. It's all just so precious.
As I type this I am watching my Little Mr R playing beautifully with a set of stacking marble tracks. He's not been able to put it together on his own before ... but today he did!
  He's jumping happily around the room, then watching as the marbles slide down and around the loops of the tracks.
Watching our children discover new things (no matter how small) is a beautiful part of being their mummy. It's also a beautiful opportunity to build confidence and self-worth into the hearts of our children through praising their efforts and accomplishments. We can teach them to persevere when something's tricky and they're getting frustrated at themselves. We can teach them to be kind and helpful to others by helping them. I just love it!
Little Mr R has really begun to enjoy drawing lately as well. I love the drawings that are typical to this age with legs and arms sticking out from the head! Little fingers grasping pencils and becoming aware of the world of colours and art.

Our whole family has been receiving these lovely little artworks almost on a daily basis, and my mummy box is filling up fast! I'm really loving this stage of my children's lives (reality check ... there are still times of stress in this home, we are a real family, it's not all bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils!)


This season of my mothering won't last forever. Soon, there won't be little fingers and hands eager to explore and discover. So, for now, I'll cherish these small moments, taking it all in and making the most of the precious little people in my life.
 (All images on this blog are the property of Sufficient Grace, please do not copy in any way, thanks)

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Family Friendly Wednesday: Our Date Night ... Finally!

We finally went on a date night! It's been months! My mum very kindly came up for a visit to look after the kids for us (which they were ecstatic about!) and we set off on our date.
It was just so good to have this man all to myself.
You know what I mean. You love your kids but sometimes it's nice to have a conversation that is not interrupted by questions like, "Do you know how to say 'How are you' in Latin?" or "You know that song, like that one that we sung a few months ago ... ?" or "Can we please open up the new packet of toothbrushes because this one is leaving little bits in my mouth?" (What is it with kids and new toothbrushes anyway?! I brought some out shopping the other day and left them on the bathroom counter to open later, and Little Miss P saw them and excitedly exclaimed, "Thank you sooooo much mummy! New Toothbrushes!!" ... I just don't get it!)
And if it's not kids and questions it's phone calls. "Hello I'm calling you about this top of the range ... " No thanks! Or a work phone call or extended family (you know the ones that you love, but they always have the worst timing to call!), or the school or it's texts messages galore!
Not to mention the normal day to day things that must be done, work etc. and pretty soon you're left absolutely craving your man and some time away from responsibility to just enjoy your relationship. Just to have fun, chat, laugh, plan and dream. (also to not cook and clean up after a meal!)
Well, I finally had this time with MR S. It was really really really nice!
When we were dating, and living in a different suburb, our 'dating spot' was a gorgeous old-fashioned drive-in that we would frequent almost weekly. We would enjoy fish and chips and maltezers (you always have to have maltezers!) ... they were lovely days.
Now that we have moved 'out into the sticks', there is not as much choice for date night 'adventures'.
However, this last date night saw us creating a new tradition. We found a new restaurant that we love, and a new chatting spot after we've eaten together where we can enjoy our friendship. It was just so good to remember why I fell in love with this incredible man. I don't know about you, but sometimes with the hum-drum of life we can lose the 'freshness' of our marriage and it can become 'stale' and well ... boring.
We are looking forward to many more nights at these places together, it's just so important to us to make the most of this marriage we share as (Lord willing) it will be our only one. We are realising that after many years of marriage that we can't ever get to a point where we don't take time out for each other. It was a wonderful night and we enjoyed it so much!
What about you? What are some of your date night traditions with your man?
 We have a few exciting days ahead of us! Our Little Miss P turns nine tomorrow (I will not cry!) and on Saturday we are going on a family holiday for a week at the beach! So, I will be taking a break from blogging here for a week or so ... look forward to seeing you when I get back!

Enjoy your beautiful families!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Be Inspired Monday: The Most Delicious Biscuits Ever!

These are the most delicious biscuits ever! Best of all, the dough mixtures can be frozen till needed and you can create any flavour combo your family likes best! Enjoy, and be sure to let me know how much your family liked them!

Here's the recipe, just for you!

Basic Biscuit Dough
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup castor sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2-2 1/4 cups of plain flour, sifted
  1. mix butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer, until light and creamy.
  2. add egg and mix until combined.
  3. stir in two cups of flour for a soft dough, or 2 1/4 cups of flour for a firm dough.
  4. add flavourings and shape, as desired.
  5. bake at 180 oC for app. 12-15 mins
Flavour combinations:

Our favourite of all is dark chocolate drops and chopped up pieces of dried apricots. Delicious! We have tried white and dark choc and craisons, which were also very nice! MR S is currently in the kitchen making some 'lemon' ones using the rind and juice of some delicious lemons we received from a lady at church ... so we will see how they go!
I think a white choc and macadamia would be nice too. Or you could place them on a tray and press in a dint to make jam drops (if you're using the 'firmer' dough recipe).
What other combinations could I make?
Oh would you like a picture of them? ...
I would love for them to be on a pretty little plate next to a steaming hot cup of tea, but they just don't last long enough!
Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Faith Talk Friday: Another Brilliant Cynthia Heald Bible Study

Well I have just completed another of Cynthia's studies with our little Monday morning Bible study group, and needless to say, it was fabulous! This study taught on the topics of God's Purpose for Himself, for us collectively and for me uniquely. It has been a blessing. Once again Cynthia adds many personal experiences and life lessons, scriptures and quotes, that add such richness and value to the truth that she teaches into the hearts of women.
These are some of my favourite truths that I have learnt through this study:
  • God's choice of me is the basis of my view of myself. If the sovereign, majestic God of the universe lovingly and personally called me to Himself, then I am valuable, precious and loved because of that calling.
  • Gods ways are not our ways, but His ways are always right, always for His glory and always for our good.
  • It is in waiting that we are able to sense God's prompting to do something or just keep waiting.
  • It is enough for me to know that God has called me and that He is continually working everything for His good purposes in my life.
I think that's enough to share, or I'll just keep writing out the whole book! I will say though, that the quotes in this study, particularly by Oswald Chambers, are simply amazing. We all agreed that we could have just stopped and 'delved into' some of these quotes and learnt so much just from them alone!
If you are wanting a challenging, yet refreshing study I highly recommend this study. Very highly recommend it. It is life-giving and God-inspired.

Here is an excerpt about the study taken from Cynthia's website:

Women sometimes wonder, "Who am I? Why am I here?" While society emphasises wealth, success, and the pursuit of pleasure, the truth is that we are created by God in His image, and our fulfilment is found in pursuing His purposes for us. This study will guide you to a better understanding of your identity, God's will, and His intended purpose for you.

Please be sure to let me know if you are working through these studies too, or have done in the past. I would love to hear from you! It's good to join together and encourage each other in the truths we learn!
The next study we are beginning is on the 'Names of God'. I'm a bit excited as this is an area I know I've only just begun to comprehend! God is just so good, so faithful and full of unending love for us.
I hope you're having such a blessed week.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Family Friendly Wednesday: Hillsong Conference - Healthy Homes (Part One)

I need to apologize for this blog post being a day late. I had it written and ready to go for you all, and clicked 'publish', but didn't realise until now that it didn't actually publish! So sorry about that! Here's the post for yesterday, hope you enjoy! ...


The speakers in the 'Healthy Home' elective at Hillsong Conference this year spoke to us about how we can be more effective in our families in our day to day lives. I thought that I would share some of my notes from this session with you.
The most pertinent point that they made was:

generosity is the key to a healthy home.
Are we generous in our homes with:
our respect?
our trust?
giving praise?
giving our time?
our listening?
our teaching?
We were encouraged to have an excellent generous spirit.

Generosity is not about us.

 A wise man (or woman) devises ways to be generous! How beautiful is that?! We have the opportunity to purposefully plan ways to actively show generosity to those in our own homes to the glory of God.

To live with a readiness to give.
Reminders of simple, yet vital practises were given.
Be an active listener - for someone to be heard is a way of esteeming, respecting and honouring them.
Give eye contact when you speak with family members; this shows that you have a sincere desire to hear the other persons heart.
When you are an effective listener and you give eye contact, you can really hear how that person is thinking and feeling and be more able to guide them.
Generosity flies in the face of self.
As we sew into our families generously, we reap so much more than we can ever imagine.
We need to do whatever we can to show our husbands we love them.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
Prov 31:12
We need to be generous within the house in every area and for everyone within the home.
What a beautiful privilege we have as wives and mothers! To be daily showing (with God's help) generosity to our family members and providing tangible ways for them to know we love them.

What do you think about their advice? Would any of it be helpful to your beautiful family like it has been for mine?


Here's a couple more photo's I made with Instacollage of Conference ... did I mention it was a brilliant time?!


Have a fabulously generous week!
 Part two will follow in the next couple of weeks in Family Friendly Wednesday! Would love to have you stop by.


Monday, 2 September 2013

Be Inspired Monday: Faithbooking


(The three images on this post are from google images, they are not my own images)

I have just been so inspired by faith booking. Have you heard of it? You probably have. I'm a bit slow on the up-take sometimes when it comes to things like this. At our Church ladies night recently there was a beautiful lady named Suzanne Lipp who spoke to us about this wonderful craft. She is a faith booker and is also a consultant. Suzzanne is such a beautiful, softly spoken, gracious lady who is inspiring women to record the stories of their faith. Here is the link to her lovely new blog!
I realised that I do record some of my stories, but not in albums like this. Faith booking uses photographs and stories (two of my favourite combinations!) together to create a beautiful record of God's goodness, faithfulness, power and love in our lives for future generations to enjoy and be encouraged by.
Sue shared how the Israelites, after leaving Egypt and being lead by God through the Red Sea, were asked by God to build an altar of twelve stones as a remembrance of Gods goodness in leading His people out of slavery. Faith booking is our modern day way of creating such altars. We don't need to pile up stones like that anymore, we can create these stunning works of His faithfulness for our loved ones. Written testimonies.
I'm looking forward to creating my own albums soon, hopefully. I'll share them as soon as I've thought about what stories I'd love to share in them! (That may be a while, I have enough projects for now!)
Do you already enjoy faith booking? What are some albums you've created?
If you would like to contact Sue for supplies, or with questions, you can email her here.
Have a fantastic week!

Friday, 30 August 2013

Faith Talk Friday: Daring to Dream

She is 75 years old. She is a fighter; a woman of God who has chosen to love the unlovely. Her name? Jan. I met her at a Church ladies night that we recently had.

The guest speaker, Pastor Francine Hunt's, message was called:
"You are a gift with gifts"
Francine said, "God puts a dream in our hearts and it is revealed in time".
Are there dreams you have but have put on the shelf?
Dreams that burn within you because you know that they are such a part of who you are and who you've been made to be?
Dreams that you would so desperately love to achieve but can't see any possible way to do it?
To have dreams is to have hopes and cherished aspirations.
She encouraged us to allow God to lead us into our dreams. 
To dare to dream. Dare meaning to step out and take a risk. To put fear where it belongs, behind us. To be sensitive to the heart of God. To say 'yes' every day to what He asks us to do. To be attentive to His voice, because when I am sensitive to His voice - it softens who I am.  

Part of going after our dreams is also to 'watch our language'. Not necessarily swearing (although that is not how we should speak), but watching what we say to and about ourselves. "I'm just not capable", "I'm too ugly", "I'm way too old for that now", "I just can't get past this point ..." If we are wanting to reach our dreams, then we can't be negative .
Sometimes our dreams are lived out in slightly different ways than what we first imagined.

Jan has been beaten, strangled, stolen from and verbally abused many times. As a little 3 year old girl growing up in the war, she lived her young life surrounded by uniformed men. She recalled these days with such a beautiful smile on her face, "We always had soldiers in our home. They would play their mouth organs, and their violins and organs and it was just wonderful!"
She went on to share how even at that young age she knew she wanted to be out as a nurse, helping the injured on the front-line and bringing them back to a place of safety. She re-realised this dream only when she was eighteen and this dream was lived out in a very different way than she originally thought it would be.
As she grew older she began to see the need to help heroine addicts and other drug addicts and to help alcoholics. And not just by going to them, but by having them in her home. Some of these people she still sees and has a lovely bond with even now, some thirty years on. She realised that she was in fact fulfilling the dream God gave her all those many years ago to help the sick and needy and nurse them to a safe place into a relationship with Jesus.

It's cost her dearly, this dream.
But through it all she looked me square in the eyes and said, "God still had lessons for me to learn. It has all been worth it and I am amazed by just how much He loves us!"

Tears welled up in this beautiful woman's eyes and she choked on her words of sincere praise. This is a woman who has lived out her dreams and experienced God powerfully in them. She inspired me.
She is moving towns as soon as her house sells. She's not familiar with this new town. She's not aware of why God is having her move there. She is just obeying His leading.

Oh to have such faith and such willing obedience.
To go after my dream, to go after your dream, with such a zeal and determination and persistence that nothing will stop us! Even if it comes at a high cost!
We can be women of influence in our homes, our communities in our churches by listening and obeying God when He leads us. We can achieve our dreams, even though they may to us seem hugely unachievable. If it's Gods dream in us, we can be sure He'll make it happen.
Don't give up on your dream, beautiful friend! Please just don't give up. This world needs you to do what God has made only you to do. Seek His face, ask Him for leading and direction if you need to, but just don't ever let your dreams stay on that shelf!
Remember: God puts a dream in our hearts and it is revealed in time.

 So long as breath remains in our lungs, untapped potential lies inside us, waiting to be released. The reason we are still alive is that we are carrying something inside us that this generation needs. That’s why we’re not yet in heaven. –Wayne Cordeiro.

Your dream is beating in your chest. Do you feel it? -Bruce Wilkenson.
Psalm 37:4 ESV     
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

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