Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Fruit in Perseverance

My Little Miss P and Little Miss J have been having piano lessons for a while now. Little Miss J only began this year, Little Miss P began at the beginning of last year.

My husband and I have always desired our children to have a love of good, wholesome music and to be able to play an instrument of their own. We are hoping that this will be such a blessing in their lives when they are adults as a talent they can give the Lord, as a way they can earn a little extra through teaching lessons from home if needed and just as a beautiful way to bond with their future families through the gift of music.

However, it didn't all start smoothly. Beyond the usual 'unmotivated' response that children sometimes give when it comes to having practise and giving their best (especially when young and still learning the value in these qualities), there was a comprehension issue.

Little Miss P just wasn't understanding the basics of the theory of piano music and I was concerned that she wouldn't be able to have piano playing as something that would give her such joy in her life. Her teacher is very strict, but kind. She is patient, but also pushes to see progress. I like her! When her teacher voiced such concerns, the only thing that I knew to do (as I don't play an instrument myself nor does MR S) was pray.

I prayed and prayed and prayed. It was hard at first because, not being a musician (although I am a singer) I wasn't sure exactly 'what' I needed to be praying for! So I began praying for "whatever it is that is keeping Little Miss P from understanding piano theory to be sorted out and brought to a point of her having understanding". Her teacher also mentioned she had a hesitation to make mistakes, so I began praying that "she wouldn't fear making mistakes but learn from them". I also prayed that "she would have a self-motivated love, passion and joy for piano/music that motivates her to practise of her own accord".

It was only two weeks of praying and her teacher called me in after Little Miss P's lesson (and I thought 'oh no what is she going to say?!') and said to me, "What on earth has 'P' been doing?" (eeekkkkk!!) ... "She is doing amazingly! She is understanding everything, I am able to give her two new songs to learn this week. She didn't hesitate to play and she seems to be enjoying it more"  My answer was, "Prayer Mrs **** prayer!"  Praise God!! He worked in the life of my beautiful little girl to bring about something so beautiful in her life! He is just so good!

Since then, Little Miss P has performed at her first 'Piano Concert' held by her teacher. She wasn't able to perform at the last two because she just wasn't ready, but this year she was! She played perfectly! It was just such a joy to see! It has spurred her on to reach the next level of 'a different coloured book!'

As Little Miss J only began lessons this year, she was still too little to be in the concert. Although, she is not having the same issues that Little Miss P had, and is doing very well, (her little hands are so tiny they barely reach the keys!) I am still covering her with the same prayers too! She is playing beautifully! (Along with lots of verbal encouragement to both of them from all of us!)

I love how even when we are not sure entirely what we are wanting to pray on behalf of our children, God always knows what are hearts are wanting to pray, even when the words aren't quite right. It was so obvious that the results in Little Miss P's piano playing, were straight from His hand and as a direct answer to the prayers of this one Mother who just wants her children to be blessed by the love of music.

Let's keep persevering in prayer to see God working in our children's lives, He is so faithful to do so!

Be blessed today, we serve a wonderful God!

You are welcome here anytime!

Would you like some more encouragement? Click here to view these other lovely blogs.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Family Scrapbooking Album

I have been finding some much needed time to get back into my scrap booking again this year. It has been so enjoyable! I have taken a different approach for this years family album in that I am using the 5"x 5" Instagram square photos (printed directly from my iPhone) instead of printing out and cropping 6"x 4" images.

Although the Instagram squares are more expensive to print, I find there is much less wastage of the photo, and no cropping needed as you can just stick the photos in the album. I also don't need to mat the photos because they are already printed with a border, which saves on paper! Being able to scrap for four children and a family album a lot quicker, for me, makes that extra expense worthwhile. To 'compensate' expenses a bit, I am adding less embellishments and using more basic card stocks for the background colour.

I like that I can do a 'collage' on one square photo of the same event too, as it saves me printing out each photo separately which costs more and uses up more album pages etc.

This is the title page of the album. It reads "Capturing the big
and small life moments of 2013". I wanted this album to capture
all the things that make our life beautiful, the big events as well
as the little day-to-day happenings. It's these little things that
are so easily and quickly forgotten!


I am keeping this album with a vintage feel, using 'old-time' embellishments. It's made it a bit trickier to match with the papers and photos, but it's a good challenge! I'm liking the results so far!
I've taken a different approach to the journaling too, by asking the kids questions like, "Do you remember when Little Miss J said ... ?", instead of 'we went here' or 'we went there' - more of a reflective style.
Because I am taking photos of the little things this year, I have found that I have really captured more of my children's individual personalities and who they are/what they like at this age, rather than the normal 'point and shoot' more posed look. It's nice taking that photo when they're not looking, or when they are acting that little bit crazy! (The crazy, apparently, won't always last so I am making the most of it now!)
This is only a few pages of the month of January! As I said, it's been much needed time to get up-to-date. (Not to mention that Mr R's album is still in newborn stage, and he's almost 4. Oh well, it will get done one day) I have the photos printed out up until this month, so now I can get at it! The lounge room looks like a bit of a mess, and I could use my craft room downstairs, but in winter it's much nicer scrapping near the snugly warmth of the fire place. I am thankful that my lovely husband is very supportive of my crafts and need for warmth, he never complains about my transferring from upstairs to downstairs. I love him to bits and pieces!
I really enjoy scrap booking for too many reasons to write here! But some are because it's a creative outlet, it records family memories, it keeps a record of God's goodness and many blessings to us and I get to take photos (which I absolutely love doing!) Oh, and it gives me some 'down-time' occasionally too. (Although my girls enjoy scrapping with me too at times, this is a beautiful time to chat and laugh and make even more memories together!)
Do you enjoy scrap booking? What album projects have you got going for this year?

Sunday, 19 May 2013

A Very Nice Surprise

A very big thank you to the lovely Manuela at 'A Cultivated Nest' for featuring me on her blog today! I am very honoured. Make sure you go over to browse around the nest ... it's beautiful!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

A God Stretched Meal

"What on earth am I going to whip up for dinner with this?"

Been there??  *sigh* You just have to laugh! That was me tonight. There were no spuds, no pasta, a piddly amount of rice and that's it as far as 'most commonly used' ingredients goes! There was one packet of rice paper wraps. Hmmm.

I looked in my freezer. 10 sausages and 1 tray of 500g free range chicken tenderloins, 4 sheets of puff pastry. I had 2 carrots and 1 zucchini left in the fridge, along with 4 little bits of bacon. I had heaps of onions and garlic though!

I had the idea of using my food processor to 'wooj' (that's French for 'wooj'!) up all the ingredients and make it in to sausage rolls and rice paper wraps. They were delicious!! The kids loved and devoured them and asked if we could have it again! Happy Mummy!

So what's the point in my sharing this? We are 'tight' financially for the time being for a few valid reasons, but I was able to cook a great dinner that filled my family, was delicious, nutritious (apart from the 4 puff pastry sheets!), minimised wastage and made the little food we did have go a long way.

I want to encourage you, if you are in financial stress, to not give up. To try and be creative, think outside the square and just do your best. I don't know the extent of the stress you may be in, but I know that we serve a God that never lets us go hungry, who provides our every need (and sometimes our wants too, because He just wants to love us like that!), who inspires us to create these kinds of meals so that our families are fed. He is amazing!

I've written out the recipes for you so that you can make them for your family too if you would like. My children have no problem eating 'whole' pieces of vegetables, but I know that some children don't enjoy that, so the processing of the ingredients 'hides' them!

So here they are ...

Chicken Sausage Rolls
  • 500g chicken tenderloins (or whatever 'cut' you prefer)
  • bacon (your desired amount) *optional (it couldn't really be tasted!)
  • 6 whole garlic cloves
  • 1-2 onions, quartered
  • 1 carrot, chopped 'chunky'
  • 1 zucchini, chopped 'chunky'
  • handful of fresh basil leaves (from my garden)
  • 2-3 tspns chicken stock powder
  • salt and cracked pepper to taste
  • good splash of soy sauce
  • 4-5 slices of bread, to stretch the mixture (I used sour dough, so the texture was 'fluffy', it didn't taste doughy either)
  • 4 sheets of puff pastry (or however much you need)
I basically added all this (Except the puff pastry sheets) raw to the food processor, pressed the button and added water if needed! The end result was a 'paste' that looked like something that was less than appetising! You can just stop processing when you've got your desired texture. I fried it off in the last dribbles of my olive oil (it resembles mince, but just with more flavour!) and then rolled it up in half cut sheets of the p/pastry, put it in the pre-heated oven at 200'C until golden brown.
You could add or change the ingredients as suits your families diet/tastes ... I had no choice but to use what was on hand tonight!
Chicken Rice Paper Wraps
Why is it that photos of these little bundles never look attractive?!

  • chicken mince (made as above)
  • spinach leaves (from my garden) thinly slithered
  • lettuce (from my garden) thinly slithered
  • red onion thinly sliced *optional
  • rice paper wraps
  • thinly 'peeled' strips of my last carrot! (done with a veggie peeler)

Prepare wraps as per packet instructions, then add fillings, wrap up and enjoy! (They are fabulous dipped in soy sauce). Once again, you can choose to add/delete anything you want, this is just what I had.

The best part? There were left-overs! God is amazing! When we are diligent in using what we've got to the best we can, He takes care of the rest!

I thought of making the meat up in a bulk batch one day and freezing it in it's 'raw state' in portions, so it could be made into things like pies (with a bit of a gravy needed I think), rissoles (probably add an egg or two), even just lightly fried and on toast for a quick meal, lightly fried and served in lettuce cups (topped with maybe fresh thinly sliced chilli and shallots with a dash of soy sauce/sweet chilli as an appetiser), pizza topping, through fried rice?, mixed through a pasta with a creamy herby kind of sauce?, spring rolls, lasagne, spaghetti, cottage/shepherds pie ... you get the idea, it's pretty versatile and best of all is that we know what's in it!

For those of you who dress your own 'home-grown' chickens (as my husband does when needed), we thought that as you can sometimes get a 'little on the lean side' bird, it would be great to remove the meat and use it in meals like this to stretch it further (skin off of course).

God is just so good! Let me know if your kids loved this too. What are other 'variations' you can think of?

I wonder what will become of the 10 sausages tomorrow night?

Happy cooking!

I'm linking up with Naomi over at 'A Wise Woman Builds Her Home' ... you are most welcome to join us!

P.S. (I won't mention the bread rolls that I made last night, strictly following the recipe that turned out a bit like ... well ... play dough! The chooks got those!)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Butterflies in the Lavender

I have been thinking again on the little things in life. The little things that are actually the big things. Every afternoon for the past few weeks in between two and four o'clock, our lavender has been in the company of a very large amount of lovely butterflies. It is simply stunning. To watch and observe the way they go about their work, and to think of the fact that our God made them with everything they need all wrapped up in a teeny tiny fragile little package.

What makes it even more enjoyable is watching my children chase the butterflies and gently cup them in their hands, admiring the colours and the beauty of them. Seeing the smiles on their faces. Such wonderful small moments that God had brought into our humble little garden. It's the little things that are the big things. Oh, I could have been busy with all sorts of household chores, but what I would have missed.

Let me encourage you to grab hold of the moments to watch God's creation at work, to watch your children admiring His masterpieces too. Take time to stop and breathe, to slow down and take in the moments that you could otherwise miss; for they are the moments that make up your life.

I have written a poem below about the butterflies and took a photo to share with you. I hope you enjoy the beautiful little moments in your life this week!

The Butterfly
On wings resplendent it makes graceful ascent,
along the soundless breath it journeys.
How agreeable to watch its flaunt,
of grand hue and refinement.
Unwavering on its fashioned calling,
it dances over bloom and posy.
Indulges in ambrosial essence,
completes its quests without delaying.
How intricate its stunning framework,
how exquisitely it has been formed.
Causing tongue and soul to worship
the wonder of Your work.
 Linking up with A Cultivated Nest for more inspiration!
All photography and poetry is the property of Sufficient Grace, please ask permission before usage, thank you!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Some Vintage Goodies

Have I ever mentioned that I adore all things vintage?! I thought so! Lately I have been finding some beautiful vintage goodies to create that 'lived in touch' in our home. It's funny actually because I've only just begun the hunt for pre-loved items, and already I'm completely hooked! There are a number of reasons that I love vintage, pre-loved pieces; firstly, they allow me to be creative and decorate our home without using large amounts of my husbands hard earned money; secondly it teaches my children that you don't need extravagance to create beauty; thirdly I think I was born in entirely the wrong era because old-fashioned everything suits me just fine!
I thought I'd share some photos of my finds lately. I know that vintage, pre-loved is not for everyone, but for me, it's relaxing and enjoyable to go to a garage sale, second-hand shop, second-hand bookshop or charity store to pick up a little bit of vintage goodness here and there.
These are ABC/123 wooden blocks that I found for my little man, Mr R. (But Little
Miss J enjoys them too!)
They were $5 from Vinnie's and he uses them all the time, we are working on
his numbers for now. Such a great little find for his early learning years!
At a second hand bookstore near my parents house, I found these 'Verse Time'
books. They are the sweetest little poetry/verse books for children and were only $1 each!
They are over 50 years old and the illustrations are just lovely!
Some old hymnals I found at a garage sale that were 'thrown in' for free
with the rest of my purchases! I'm not familiar with many of these hymns, they are
way before my time, but the words are still so precious and encouraging just to read as poems.
A collection of poetry books from the same bookstore near my parents house;
some children's, some adults. They are great! My favourite is 'A Child's Garden of Verses'
by Robert Louis Stevenson.
I have a love of birds, they are just so beautiful! The illustrations in these
books are stunning! Two of my favourite vintage finds!
These two tapestries were only $3 each! Bargains!
These two plaques were $1.50 and $2! 
A cute little lantern from an Antique Market held at our children's school.
I love what it says, 'Happiness is found in little things'.
A gorgeous plate found at Vinnie's for just $4! Reminds me that
all our blessings come straight from His hand.
These are little 'post-cards' from a second hand shop a bit up the road!
$1 each ... absolutely gorgeous and such beautiful illustrations and words.
I'm Looking for some frames for them to go in.
A hand-painted plate for $3 ... it's birds, I couldn't resist!
The rose sugar pot and milk jug were $2 for the pair from a garage sale!
The vintage spoon with a bird on it was $5 from the Antique Fair.
These three bird pictures were only $1.50 each. 
This little fairy wren (my favourite bird) rock I found at a garage
sale that my hubbie stopped to check out on the way to
a garden festival, $2! He was just sitting there waiting for me!
It's so nice knowing that, while these things are just completely temporal, I can still express my creativity and old-fashioned style to create a beautiful, wonderfully warm and cosy home for my family without breaking the budget.
Do you enjoy vintage thrifted finds too?!
Would you like some more beautiful and inspiring home making ideas? Link here to 'The Creative HomeAcre Blog Hop'.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Hear His Voice

Tonight I was needing to listen to some new music and just switch off for a while; hear His voice and let my heart think on Him. This is my second post for the day, but I just couldn't not share this song with you all. It's simply stunningly beautiful.

Let it encourage your hearts tonight and in the days, weeks and months to come.

Much love to you all



A Box Full of Testimonies

Last week I was able to begin a project that I have only been wanting to start for uuumm the past twelve or so years! I began a 'testimony box' (Or memory box if you want to call it that) My husband has a beautiful timber bed box which was his grandfathers, that my father restored for us some years ago. Up until now, it has only kept, well, blankets!

The idea of this testimony box is for me to keep all of my own families precious memories and keepsakes all in one place (Previous to this box I had little bits scattered here, there and everywhere ... which was driving me nuts!) All of mine and MR S's childhood/school memories as well as our children's school memories are in a separate box.

This new testimony box is an extra special one. Not because of the 'things' that are in there, things are temporal, but because of what those things represent to us as a family who desires to live this life well and beautifully together for His Name. There are things in there like baby clothes for all four of our children that remind me of just how teeny tiny they were, and how God has richly blessed us with these healthy, beautiful children! (I admit it, there were a few tears shed, but that's to be expected right?!) Their birth stories and baby hospital bands are in there too.

I have my tiara, necklace and earrings from our wedding day. I even have some of the cake flowers in the round tin that are almost twelve years old! There are lots of engagement/wedding cards; baby birth cards too, all reminders of the people we are blessed to have in our lives and that God holds our marriage together. I think one of the most significant testimonies in that box is when our beautiful Little Miss J fell into a camp fire while we were camping at a local damn for the weekend (maybe I'll do a post about it one day). This led to weeks of recovery visits to Royal Brisbane Children's Hospital and it was an exhausting time, but His peace never left us, we knew she would recover well, and she has! Praise our amazing God! I have all the photo's, the whole story written out (unedited), the cast that she was wearing, the I.D. wrist bands etc. All these speak so loudly to our whole family of the healing grace and power of our Saviour.

That's what this box is for me; a testimony, all in one place, of His goodness, faithfulness, protection and provisions in our lives; as well as all the good times we've shared together. I'll be adding my completed journals, my poetry journals, our thankful journals, my children's scrap booking journals that they have done, our holiday sketchbooks, the children's everyday sketchbooks, a book that I am beginning about my husband, their first Bibles and anything else that shouts out the goodness He lavishes on us!

I can picture my grand children and great grandchildren opening this creaky old wooden box, and spending hours pouring over the treasures inside; treasures that testify that God has been what's held and carried and guided and is the centre of this families existence. Here is the way, walk in it!

This is going to be a continual project that is added to over the years, one that I am so excited to do! It has motivated me to be more intentional in journaling God's goodness, in seeking out the testimonies to be added in there as visual reminders for my future generations to enjoy!

I hope I have motivated or encouraged you to do the same for your family! This is just one way we can choose to purposefully remember His blessings in our lives. Our God's mercies and goodness to us are too great to not be remembered! Do you already have a testimony box? Or do you have something else? I would love to see it! Leave a link to your blog below in the comments and I'll pop over and see the good things God's done for your family!!

In His lavishing and perfect love,


For more creative homemaking ideas check out this link , join in the 'hop' and enjoy!

Friday, 3 May 2013

A Brilliant Cynthia Heald Bible Study

On Monday mornings I have been going to a friends place, to join with a beautiful group of ladies for a Bible Study. It has been such a timely study in my life (in all of our lives) and being on a Monday morning, it's a lovely start to the week.  I thought that I would share it with you so that you could enjoy it too if you wanted!
It's perfect for individual or group settings. I enjoy group settings the most for a few reasons; one being the accountability to get the 'homework' done so that you experience rich growth, two because it's so good to witness how God is working in all of our lives (and to encourage one another), and three, well, it's always nice to get together with a group of like-minded women to fellowship!
The study is called 'Becoming a Woman of Simplicity' and it's written by an amazing Christian lady named, Cynthia Heald. You may have heard of her, if you have you will know how biblically accurate and encouraging, and sometimes (more-often than not!) correcting her Bible studies are! If you haven't heard of her and you are after something to encourage you in the areas of staying focused, removing distractions, not being pressured by deadlines, people etc., then this study is perfect for you. It teaches how we really don't need to be living a stressful, world-driven life, but a life in-step with God; drawing from His strength, guidance, leading and peace. A God paced life. Cynthia states that the key to 'all this' life is to have the focus of our hearts being single-mindedly devoted to knowing and loving Christ.
Cynthia gives beautiful teaching from truths lived out over her life; she lives out what she speaks out.
The blurb on the back of the book.
 The chapters discussed in the study.
A passage that hits the nail on the head.
(Sorry for the poor quality picture. I hope it doesn't hurt your eyes
trying to read it. Let me know if you would like me to type it
out for you more clearly, it would be my pleasure!)
Cynthia was even kind and gracious enough to reply in person (using our names) to an email that our Bible study leader sent to her letting her know how much growth we have enjoyed through this study! Such a lovely lady with such a beautiful faith.
I look forward to learning through the rest of the study in the next few weeks. Thankfully, all of us have decided to go on and do another of Cynthia's studies together after this one is finished! It does us good to challenge and work out our faith, to stretch ourselves a bit and let God do His work in us!
I hope that you would consider this study or any of her others to do on your own or with a group of women if you are wanting to grow even more in your faith. (I have also done 'Loving Your Husband' ... ahem ... that study was ... very rewarding!)
And Cynthia, if you ever read this post (highly unlikely I know!), thank you so much for your wisdom and for your obedience in using your gifts to bless the lives of women in His Name, I'm sure there have been many.

I'd love for you to pop back and let me know if you've done any of Cynthia's studies, or plan to do this study and how it goes for you!


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