Thursday, 14 March 2013

"Pardon? I didn't hear you"

Sitting in a circle of comfy lounge chairs, cuppa's in hand, the discussion about 'showing concern for others' begins. This group of women who I have come to love deeply over the years of being connected through the body of Christ. A beautiful variety of women all in different stages, at different ages, in the middle of different circumstances; all encouraging each other and equipping each other to live out this thing called faith.

We discussed how we can be women who show genuine concern for others around us, regardless of our age, situation and season in life. Ideas like writing letters, making a meal or baking, helping with housework, making a phone-call, running errands, visiting people just for a chat, speaking a word of encouragement, helping to look after younger children for a 'mummy break', were some of the practical things we brainstormed to show others care and concern.

We discussed the barriers and walls that are put up by those who are wanting help but not necessarily wanting to be so outright and ask for it. Too afraid, too proud, too intimidated. Are we the one's who are doing the intimidating?   Should we not be in a place where we can be free to let someone who walks into the body of Christ know that there's no need for intimidation here because actually, "I haven't got it all together". We do that don't we? Assume that because of someones outward appearance, that they must always be high on the mountain tops and their times in the valleys are rare.

Should we not be living out this faith in a real, tangible, life - changing way? However God asks us to do it, whether big or small, seen or unseen?

There's a little saying that goes, 'people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care'. Such a simple truth. We must work at building these connections and showing concern to those around us, or else how do we expect anyone to get through the hardships in this life? How do we expect to be the light and the salt and a speaker of the truth if we don't have ears to listen to the needs of the hurting, the desperate, the discouraged? That's the not-so easy part; the listening. The stopping your mind from the formulating of answers to give to that person, instead of just having open ears to hear their heart. The learning to ask the questions of them, rather than the speaking of ourselves and our lives and our own little world.

One of the ladies shared a 'task' taken on by her lovely teenage daughter who was wanting to grow in the area of showing concern through better communication with others. She applied herself while listening to the conversation of the person, to purposefully seek out information that she could then turn into another question, which would extend the conversation further. Our pastors wife said we need to "be leaving people after conversations with a sense of being really heard". These are wise words that go far in showing genuine concern for those around us.

We discussed Christian cliche phrases such as 'I'll be praying for you' ... well, are we? Are we really praying, or are we just 'passing off' the person too hastily. People need our diligent, persistent prayers. Let your 'yes be yes' and your 'no be no' ... if we are saying we are praying for you, then we should we be living it out, we should be praying, until that persons need is met! A practical suggestion given was to keep a notebook by the phone for not only appointments and dates, but for writing out a persons prayer needs as they are talking, to be later transferred into prayer journals so that praying for them doesn't stay a 'well-meant' intention.

Jesus is our most perfect beautiful example of showing genuine concern for others. He didn't meet with people by invitation only. He didn't hide himself away in the temple and say to the people, "I'm here on Monday's, Wednesdays, and Thursday's - but only from 8am-4pm ... the other days are mine for my own purposes'. He lived out the message of the gospel. He poured out His body, not only in His ultimate sacrifice on the cross, but in the intertwining of mundane day-to-day life with the people around Him. He ate with them in their homes, He washed their feet, He walked with them, He went to them in their debilitating sickness. He entered into life with them; right in the middle of where they were at, and He loved them, spoke truth to them, showed concern for them; He really listened.

Isn't this what the Christian's life is? An intentional living out of the lessons we've learned? A moving of our hands and feet in the direction of another's life; or else are the lessons really learned or just a passing thought through ones mind?

Isn't all of life a pouring out of oneself in whichever season we are in and in whatever capacity we are asked? When we stay connected to Him through prayer and reading His Word,  He gives us ears to hear those whispers of His Spirit; 'such and such needs a meal', 'write a card to that person', 'tell that person I love them'. Genuine concern for others; will we be women who step out and show it, and in that stepping out, show them Christ?

I pray we will.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

You Are Welcome Here!

Today I wanted to post something small that let's you all know that this little corner of the blogosphere is a safe place. This place is where we can connect as women and share the ups and downs of life and all the struggles we go through. A place to share and encourage each other in the things of God and not be afraid to talk about what we are learning in life.

It's a desire for me to connect with you all in this little place and form some beautiful friendships. I am genuinely excited to get to know you! Please don't hesitate to comment and let yourself be heard here (apologies for word verification, but I don't want to be dealing with spam comments, please don't let this stop you!) You are more than welcome here!

Looking forward to meeting you all!

Love Elisha

“You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
A.A. Milne - Winnie-the-Pooh

33 Great Picture Books for Young Readers

It's absolutely no secret that I am a book freak! I simply adore everything about books; from their look, to their feel in my hands, to their smell, to their way of carrying me off to a far distant land where adventure and thrills await! Books are part of my DNA!

Enter motherhood and you get one mother who gets very excited when in the kids section of the local bookstore! I love reading and it's a desire that I really want my own children to grab hold of in their lives and reap as much enjoyment from this amazing pastime as I have! I think it's a famous quote, or maybe something that I've heard along the grape vine, that 'you teach a child to read, you can teach a child anything'. This speaks volumes to me.

Reading to my children has always been something that I love to do, I don't do it every day or night or sometimes even as often as I'd like (I'd much prefer to hibernate with a book then iron clothes ... oh hang on! I don't iron!), but I know that they have caught on to the value of reading. This excites me!

We started our love of reading 'journey' with our kids while they were very young. I say journey because some children don't have a natural love of reading, some struggle with reading; and this is all OK., and is where lots of positive encouragement is given when difficulties are over-come and small progresses made. I have one child at this stage who doesn't particularly 'care for' reading by herself, but will be the first to listen eagerly if I'm reading out loud.

Each child will develop a love in their own time, by no means am I saying that reading should be forced harshly on a child where they believe themselves to be 'less-than' because they aren't readers. Each child is unique, but most can gently be lead towards an appreciation of good quality literature, that will enrich their lives.

We began by reading what is classically known as a 'picture book'. A hold in your small hand, not too many words to a page, not too many pages long, brightly illustrated picture book. I have put together a list of the 33 picture books (I told you I get excited in bookstores!) that are on our shelf and are returned to quite regularly, some of them so much so that I could recite the entire book to you from memory! (I'm sure we've all read a certain 'favourite' a quad zillion times!)

So, here's the list for you, with some links to browse or purchase them from amazon, enjoy! ...

  • Who Sank the Boat? - Pamella Allen
  • Little Owl - Piers Harper
  • Time for Bed - Mem Fox
  • A Long Way From Home - Elizabeth Baguley
  • Hello, Goodbye - David Lloyd
  • Rosie's Babies - Martin Waddell (this one is the absolute favourite of my girls ... a beautiful read with stunning illustrations by the talented Penny Dale)
  • Floss - Kim Lewis (beautiful illustrations)
  • The Long Journey Home - David Bedford
  • Grandad - Rachel Elliot
  • The Best Gift of All - Jonathon Emmett
  • A Lion in the Night - Pamella Allen
  • Hairy Maclary - Shoo - Lynley Dodd
  • Possum Magic - Mem Fox (a classic that was a beautiful part of my childhood ... oh darn, now I feel like a lamington!)
  • Handa's Surprise - Eileen Browne
  • Silly Goose - Marni McGee
  • Belinda - Pamela Allen
  • Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! - Mo Willems (this one is just great for a laugh! funny, bizarre plot ... probably why the kids love it!)
  • Hurry! Hurry! - Eve Bunting
  • Hairy Maclary - Hat Tricks - Lynley Dodd (what an incredible author this beautiful lady is! Her works are some of my all-time favourites ... Schnitzel von Krumm with a very low tum!)
  • Muddy Paws - Moira Butterfield
  • The Flea's Sneeze - Lynn Downey (It is simply not possible to read this book without using extremely exaggerated sound-effects! Very funny book!)
  • Big Brother Little Brother - Penny Dale (The hands-down favourite of my boys ... they have read and re-read this so many times. My 11 year old loves reading it to my nearly 4 year old in the morning)
  • Guess how much I love you - Sam McBratney
  • Just you and Me - Sam McBratney
  • What Will I do Without You? - Sally Grindley
  • While You Were Sleeping - John Butler (The illustrations in this are stunning and this book also develops great counting skills)
  • Me and My Dad! - Alison Ritchie
  • I Love My Mummy - Sebastien Braun
  • Wilfred Gordan McDonald Partridge - Mem Fox (Very sweet story)
  • Clippity-Clop - Pamella Allen
  • The Boy on the Bus - Penny Dale (Do you notice the trend here? I think I like Penny Dale's Work!)
  • Alexander's Outing - Pamella Allen
I hope that you enjoy looking through this list as much as I thoroughly enjoyed creating it, and that you are encouraged to take the time to nurture a love of reading in your children. Not only will they benefit intellectually from such well-chosen, sound written works, they will also be spending some beautiful irreplaceable time with who they love the most ... and that's you!
What are some of the most favourite books that are read over and over in your house? Who can add some more classics to this list? Can we reach 50 great picture books for young readers? I'm keen to give it a go, are you?!
Happy Reading!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Home Happenings

For the last couple of weeks I have been 'lying low'. Spending lots of time at home with my beautiful family starting and finishing a lot of projects around our home. It has been blissful. MR S has had time off work for two weeks due to an injury the first week, and flooding of the work shed the second (he may possibly have to be home all this coming week too due to local flooding and road closures - our children will be home from school too in that case!).

So here's some photos of what we've been up too (besides drinking coffee, chatting together and resting said injuries!) There are a lot of photos in this post, so enjoy!

We made some delicious hummus with the help of a very excited Mr R! This is the second batch I've made (the first batch was over-dosed with garlic and very inedible!)

Here's the recipe I used for the hummus. This one turned out much better, although still a little dry. I would add a tad bit more water next time. Feel free to let me know how yours turned out!

  • 1 pckt dry chick peas (soaked in water overnight, rinsed
  • and drained well with 'yucky' peas picked out)
  • 2 tblspns crushed garlic
  • 1 tspn paprika
  • 2 tblspns tahini (sesame seed paste sold in health
  • food section of supermarket)
  • 1/2 tspn cumin power (optional)
  • 4 tblspns extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tblspn lemon juice
  • 3/4 -1 cup water
  • pepper to taste

  • Method:
    1. soak chick peas overnight
    2. boil chickpeas in a large saucepan until very soft and then fully drain
    3. puree the chick peas in a food processor
    4. add oil, garlic, paprika, cumin (optional), lemon juice, and tahini and blend together
    5. slowly add water until smooth creamy consistency that is to your liking
    6. add pepper to taste
    7. spoon hummus into sterilised jars with air-tight lids.

    The little jar that is in front of the hummus in the photo is some natural home deodoriser that I made. I've been wanting to try it for a while, and I figured a rainy day was the perfect day to give it a go!

    It's just two older oranges sliced into circles, some cinnamon powder (or you could use a cinnamon stick), and two star anise (love the subtle aniseed scent). Place it all in a saucepan with some water and let it simmer over low heat and smell the incredible aroma that fills your home! It was worth the wait, and worth the ingredients as I have jarred it so it can be re-used!

    We have also done heaps of gardening during slight breaks in the rain (helps stop cabin fever setting in!). We've been making new garden beds, weeding, mulching, fertilising, mowing, transplanting, pruning, planting the veggie patch and some grape vines ... all hard work, but so enjoyable and rewarding as the gardens and yard looks absolutely lovely. We are so blessed by our amazing God!

    We've planted
    sugar loaf cabbage
    snow peas
    grape vines
    cape gooseberry vines
    (there are a couple more gardens that I didn't take photos of)

    The three trees above are some of our citrus (one is a self-pollinating apple tree) we have planted to hopefully get a great crop and save some cash at the supermarket! Can't wait!
    This is the beautiful new addition that MR S added to our garden near the front door. Total cost = $0.00! He scored the door from a person going to throw it out and the rose was already planted and just needing a frame to climb on! I think it looks gorgeous and gives a great lift to the front of the house!
    We've made the most of the rainy time inside too; organising a heap of cupboards and sorting, freshening up and re-arranging rooms! (No pics for that sorry!) 
    I'm getting back into my writing course on becoming a children's author ... just got an assignment done ready to send, and the printer decides to throw a little tanti! *sigh* oh well ... these things happen, it'll all work out! It's been good to get my creative writing juices flowing again.
    There has been a great balance of productivity, fantastic conversations, and relaxation in this home the last two weeks. There's been books read, a lovely visit from my mum, beautiful times watching our children playing together with the animals and climbing trees, some art and decorating, lots of sweet times of fellowship with the Lord (many lessons learnt of late) some thrift store shopping, some soaks in a hot bubble bath and cups of tea! I am greatly blessed.
    Wherever you are, in whatever season you're in, you are blessed ... because you are His. Can I encourage you to see the moments, the small day-to-day moments that make up all of life's most beautiful blessings. Don't miss them. I hope you are blessed and encouraged by this post.
    I'll leave you with a couple of photos of our children playing with little Miss J's duckling 'Sparkles', and our new little puppy 'Prince Caspian' (our small little white ball of fluff!)

    Have a look at these lovely blogs for more inspiration!
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