Friday, 19 July 2013

Inspiration Station ( a.k.a. My Writing Desk)

Well, this post is my 50th post here at Sufficient Grace! While it's still a relatively small number, I think there's still cause for celebration! So, today I have put together a 'tour' of my writing desk and space, as well as some writing advice, and links that you can browse at your own pace. So, thank you for reading my blog! Pour yourself a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy!
 This is it! My writing corner, my inspiration station. I have an 'everything' room on the bottom level of our two story home that is my craft and writing space combined. My craft (mainly scrap booking) supplies are in the other corner of this same room. It is not as pretty. In fact, it's almost always quite untidy! I desired for this writing space to be peaceful, clean, pretty (minus the lino) and just a place where I can slow down and breathe. Reflect. Create. Imagine. I do love this room!
The thing that I love the most about my desk area, is my pin board. It's the place where I keep Bible verses, inspirational quotes and photos of my hubbie and kids. There is also a recent photo of my Nana and myself there, she is just so precious. The 'Names of God' artwork I did years ago when I was wanting to learn more about them, I really like the reminder it now gives.
 This is what my desk looks like while in the process of doing Bible studies, compiling blog posts, going over conference notes and reading material etc. It gets messier. Much messier. The photo below is of the rocking chair that nestles into the corner of this room, providing the perfect spot to sit and gaze out the window onto our property. As you can see, Mr R looks quite comfy! 
What I write (although not yet published!):
  • songs
  • children's stories
  • novels (very excited to be working on a big one now!)
  • journal entries/reflections  
 The Journals I keep:
  • Quotes (as I find excellent quotes while reading I add them to this journal)
  • Daily journal (events that happen each day - recording the 'life moments')
  • Art journals/visual diaries (I have a few of these. I sketch in some, one I have for ideas, the other for creating artworks from when God has spoken something precious to me and the other one is like a 'collage' of memories)
  • Personal (where I record prayers and answers, thoughts, concerns etc.)
  • Writing Ideas (where I keep all the writing ideas that I have about stories, poems, songs, blog posts etc.)
  • Sermon/conference Notes (where I write notes on Sunday and special events and then study further)   

   Mr R (and my other kids) are amazed at how many books I have (as you can see above! There are more in other bookshelves) I just love reading. It's something I've gently encouraged all my children to have a love of, and they all do!
The shelves on the wall hold some artworks from the kids, books and an artwork that my mum made for me of a 'Lily of the Valley' flower. The teddy bears were gifts from my man while we were dating.
 These are a series of books by Author, Lauraine Snelling ... they are brilliant! I love how she creates such real characters, they become like old friends! (I just ordered some of the series that I didn't know about, I'm a bit excited!) You can read about her here, or purchase her books here, or read her writing tips here. I have read and will re-read all of these again, and can't wait for my girls to read them too!
Advice I love and try my best to follow:
  • There's a blessing in pressing into God (and writing as an outflow of that). Robert Fergusson. Robert is in leadership at Hillsong, and while the posts in the link aren't necessarily 'writing' focused, they are thought provoking and I have included them as examples of brilliance in the written word.
  • Write everyday.
  • Being teachable is fertile ground for creativity.
  • Read a lot, Speak a lot, write a lot.
  • Reading is fundamental.
  • Excellence glorifies an excellent God.
  • Quality comes with quantity.
  • Challenge myself.
  • Plant my gift at the foot of the cross.
  • Do it all for the glory of God.  

 What inspires me to write:
  • Reading new books (or any book!)
  • Nature (especially when I have my camera in hand)
  • Discussion and fellowship in Bible studies
  • Hearing a really great sermon
  • Family and friends
  • My own personal quiet times
  • Listening to music
  • Worshipping God through singing
  • Reading about other authors and their journey/tips etc.  
My favourite quotes on writing (or some that can apply to writing):
  • "And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt". Sylvia Plath.
  • "Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart". William Wordsworth.
  • "Great lives are made up of many little disciplines". Elizabeth George.
  • "God is the perfect poet". Robert Browning.
  • "You are never too old to set another goal or dream another dream". C.S. Lewis.
  • "The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books". Henry Wordsworth Longfellow.

Well I hope you have enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you!
What is it that inspires you to write the most? Do you have a favourite novel series that you just can't put down? I'd love to hear some of your favourite writing quotes too. Hope you have a great week, filled with lots of writing and inspiration!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Fishy DNA

My husband is away on a deep sea fishing trip with some of the men on my side of the family. He's gone for a week and a half. The longest we've been away from each other in twelve years. I miss him. But I know that he needs this. He is such a dedicated and loving husband and father, such a hard worker for us. It's good for him to have time to himself to refresh, regroup and do all that 'manly stuff', without feeling guilty that he's taking time for himself.

I'm sure he's going to catch such huge fish and enjoy many peaceful sunsets and sunrises on the deck of the boat. Nature is how he connects with God the most. Nature and silence. He's one of those 'still waters run deep' kind of guys ... love him to bits. Hopefully he'll come back toting an esky full of fresh fillets that he caught for the ones he loves the most.

It does us good as wives to let our husbands be who they are. We shouldn't hold tightly to the reins or try to change them to become someone they're not. Instead, we should be striving to lovingly support and encourage them in their hopes, dreams, skills, interests, passions, faith, health, fathering, work and on and on (even though we may be thinking on the inside of how many things we will be doing without that extra pair of hands while they're gone).

Our husbands just need our love and respect ladies. An acceptance of who they are, just as they are (despite their flaws, which they all - and we all have). My man, I'm sure, is part fish. It's in His DNA! And so for me to deny him time to enjoy something he loves and makes him who he is, is not just stopping him from being the best he can be, it's outright selfish. 

While I/we do miss him terribly, I wouldn't want him to have not gone. He's going to be having the time of his life out there! (While I've had to pray through fear of great white sharks lunging themselves onto the deck of the boat and gulping my mans torso off ... that's how it happens in the movies right?!).

I am so happy that he has this time to himself. He needs and deserves it.

Let's be women who encourage our men, who bring out the best in them. Who help them accomplish God's plan for their lives. Who don't act selfishly when they ask for some time to themselves (however, if your man is taking too much time, don't nag - pray!)

No doubt, there will be photos to come of all the gigantic fish my man caught (can you tell I'm biased!) So stay tuned ...

... this should be good!


Little Black And White Soldier

As I drew the curtains closed in the girls room this afternoon, I spotted a magpie standing in our front yard. It instantly reminded me of the magpie I saw with a friend while in Sydney just last week. My friend and I were engaged in a great conversation while we were walking out of the communal dinning area, when we stopped to observe a magpie that was frozen still, beak facing the brick wall of the lodge in front of us. It just stood to attention like a little black and white soldier. It didn't flinch.

We looked at each other puzzled as to why this weird little fellow was acting the way he was. As we gazed around us we saw that, only a couple of metres away from the magpie, stood its enemy, a butcher bird. This butcher bird was scanning with alert and beady eyes, intent on finding the magpie and completing its attack. Its gaze was piercing. I found myself pondering on this magpie and asking myself, "why doesn't it just fight back?" Magpies are known for their defensive behaviour, especially when their young are involved. But this magpie stood, bound by fear, up against that wall with nowhere to go.

Maybe we aren't so different from that Magpie. We have an enemy that stalks around searching for us and thinking of ways to destroy us, and sometimes his relentless attacks can leave us standing stock still, up against a brick wall, seemingly without any way of escape or defence. Crippled by fear.

The bible tells us that
"the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10 NIV)

We can become so engulfed in fear, we forget that
"greater is He that is in us, than He that is in the world" (1 John 4:4 NIV).

We continued to see the magpie remain in that position, defenceless, for at least the next half an hour.  It. Didn't. Move.

And then, I realised why this magpie was so ineffective in defeating its enemy. It was on the same level as it. Magpies defend themselves by swooping down from a high vantage point on their unsuspecting enemy. This magpie was trapped with no where to go. If it could only manage to reach a higher platform, have a different perspective, from which it could go into battle with its foe, then it would stand a very good chance of making the enemy flee.

Sometimes, most times, when it comes to fear, you and I must do the same thing. We must get our minds to a higher platform, that of the mind of Jesus Christ, and swoop down with the word of God and our armour on to break the enemies grip of fear. To see above that brick wall; to swoop time and time again until he knows that he has no power to keep us still and crippled any longer.

2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP) tells us
'For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control."

1 Peter 3:14 (NIV) tells us
"But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened."

We can be assured that regardless of the extent of our circumstances and the level of our fear, that God loves us. His love chases after us, it's unending. He IS perfect love. When we let ourselves drink in that love that He so freely offers us (regardless of our shortcomings) we can be at peace and free from fear.

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear ... " (1 John 4:18 NIV).

When we remain in God's Word, in prayer and in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in the Lord, we become better equipped to fight against the enemies plans. I can't help but wonder if that magpie had had the help of some other magpies, would he have been built up and more effective and capable to overcome, rather than trying to hide himself away on his own?

Isaiah 41:6 (CEB)  encourages us  ...
'Each helps the other, each saying to the other, "Take courage!"

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7 NIV)

Romans 8:37 (NIV) strengthens us when Paul reminds us that
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

We went on our way to the conference soon after seeing that little soldier, and I don't actually know how his little battle ended. I like to think however, that he won. That he puffed out his chest, strengthened his flanks ... and conquered.


For more verses to encourage you read: Psalm 91, 121:8; Joshua 1:9.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

I Heard You Lord

While I was at Hillsong in a 'Creative Team Night Elective' the lady who heads up the writers guild (whose name eludes me) was talking about ... well, writing! She encouraged us to write daily, to love writing, to keep writing, reading, learning and speaking words (I've got that part covered!) She told us to write with purpose to represent God's glory. To not bury our gift under a tree. She encouraged us to bring what we've got and give it to the Lord. Then she said something that stopped me in my tracks; I felt like the only person in the room. She said to 'blog as an act of worship even if I think no one reads it'. I heard you Lord. I have felt like giving up on this blog many times, actually thinking that it's 'silly and petty' to keep writing here. I don't get much feedback and it has lead to doubt of it's effectiveness, but now I am assured that I am to do this, for His glory alone, and hope and pray that someone hears His heart through my words.


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Letters To My Daughters (Part One)

It's been on my mind lately how low self-esteem, low confidence and poor self-worth has been something that I've struggled with for all of my life. I'm now 31 and just starting to see the truth and worth in who I am as a woman and all that that involves. It's by the grace of God that His love is relentlessly and patiently pursuing me. It's by His grace that He is so purposely carving a new way of thinking into my mind to erase the negative thought patterns that have gripped and bound me for too long. It's by His grace that I have friends (and my husband and children) who are in my life and point out my strengths and my weaknesses in love so that I can continue to grow.

Now, I have two daughters. One of whom is a 'mini me'. It's never more important than now for me to be demonstrating an acceptance and belief in who I am so that my daughters, Lord willing, don't struggle for so long like I have with self doubt (although it won't be a perfect example). I'm not talking about an arrogance that walks all over people and looks after number one only. I'm simply talking about the assurance in my heart and mind that I have worth, value, purpose, position, talents and giftings and His unchanging, unending, unconditional love.  

So how do I get it into my girls hearts and minds too, besides praying for them (the most powerful and effective act we can do for them), trying to live out this truth each day (even if I still doubt at times) and verbally telling them they are valuable, loved etc.?

The thought of writing them a letter popped into my mind one day and I knew that I had to do it. I procrastinated a bit though, who doesn't?! But I have done it! I liked the idea of a letter because I know that both my girls value letters/cards written for them, so this will be the same. I like that they will have it to read and look back on in years to come too.

I've typed out the letter that I've hand written for Little Miss P and Little Miss J (they are only 8 & 6, so it's at their level of understanding) and I hope that it is encouraging for you with your girls (it could be given to boys too, so I'll probably write two more for my boys and change it accordingly).

Dear Beautiful Daughter

I wanted to write you this letter because you are so special to me and I love you so much. This world is going to tell you so many lies about what it is that makes you important and worthy of love. I want to remind you that you don't belong to this world, you belong to the King of Kings and you are His princess.

You need to believe in your heart that you are valuable, worthwhile, precious, unique, special and loved because God says you are all these things. His love for you never ever changes and never ever ends.

I want you to see that God made you to be you. Don't be a copycat of someone else. Don't try to change who you are to make people happy, just be you. God made you to love the things you love and to do the things you do. So know that He has made you exactly how He wanted you to be. You are His masterpiece and He takes great delight in you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mothers womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were
written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts , God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand -
when I awake, I am still with you.
Psalm 139:13-18
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His loves endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34
You are so precious sweetheart,
Love always, Mum XO.
(For us mums ... Galations 6:9. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up).
Link up with these other blogs for more encouragement!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

You're Four Already?!!

I can't believe that my baby boy is actually four! I know, I know, every mother says it and after a while it kinda gets a bit 'yeah whatever', but it truly amazes me how fast he's grown. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was sitting on the edge of my daughters bed in her dark and quiet room, snot sobbing and crying out to God for just one more child?! Well, he answered! In fact I was already pregnant with Mr R (a separate story in itself!) when I was sobbing my heart out asking for a little boy with brown eyes like me (I place all the blame for the emotional outburst on pregnancy hormones).
On Tuesday we celebrated his fourth birthday. It was a quiet day with presents in the morning before the older kids left for school, then a stop at Gloria Jeans (ok, that was more for mum and dad!) and then a bike ride at the park, which Mr R loved! When the kids arrived home, we had a family party with cake and a few nibbles. It was a beautiful day. Simple, but beautiful and special. My baby is four.
Our little bundle of energy gives us so much pleasure with his hilarious sense of humour, his cheeky ways and facial expressions, his sound effects, his sweetness, his gorgeous and contagious laugh, his smile, and his passionate little heart. He is such a little gentleman. Almost every day this little man picks me a flower and hands it to me and I hear, "I love you mummy. I love you more than the whole house".
He. Melts. My. Heart.
It's beautiful to know that while I was drowning in my tears, literally begging my God, for one more child to be in our family, that He already made way for Him to be with us. He was forming Mr R as I cried. He knew he was ours. To bless us. To be loved by us. To fit perfectly in this family. Our God is truly amazing!


Can you tell his siblings love him to pieces?
Opening presents ... look at that scrumptious face!
Love this boys heart!
We are so thankful for this boy in our life!


Inspiration Overload (Hillsong Conference Sydney Part One)

Well, I am back from Hillsong Conference at Sydney, and I have been blown away, to say the least. I was so inspired and so challenged. It was exhausting and yet beautifully refreshing. I enjoyed going with a larger group (the music team from Church) this time because it was so good having the time to get to know these people even more for who they really are. There was so much laughing and encouraging and friendships were strengthened.

I  want share with you some of the amazing things that we heard from the brilliant preachers that were there. I took pages upon pages of notes (as we all did) and now I have the great job of sifting through them all and letting it sink in deeply so it can be applied and lived out in my life (only with His help!) We all felt it was 'inspiration and information overload', but we weren't complaining!

God really spoke to me in new and fresh ways over the week, and for this I am so thankful. He is an amazing God who loves us all and I feel so privileged to come home and share these things with all of you! So bare with me as I find my way through my notes (while drinking many cups of tea no doubt) and work out how to possibly do justice to the amazing revelations God spoke to us through His servants. I've learnt so much through His words to me, that I can't not share these things with you. I have no idea how may parts there will be to these posts! I'm just letting God lead; there may be one, there may be ten, I just don't know! 

I do hope though that as you read the posts that you see past me to Him and what He is saying to you; after all, it's not about me or any of us, it's all about Him.


In the words of Fraulein Maria, "Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start".
The conference began with us hearing a short word from Bobbie Houston (one of the founding pastors of Hillsong Church). She spoke about 'For the Sake of Thy Kingdom Come'.

Isaiah 54:3   For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.

Bobbie stated that we 'don't raise children to hold on to them - we have to release them to walk the destiny path set for them'.

I searched the meaning of the word 'release' in my dictionary (this is one of my favourite things to do while studying) and by definition it means to: free from bondage; from anything that restrains; to allow to be known, used. We are to enable our children (and others) to be free from bondage, and anything that restrains them and give them room to make known their calling and gifting/s from God, and then allow them to use them for His glory! What a privilege!

For the Sake of Thy Kingdom come, we can't be afraid to:

1. Live with a Spirit of release.
Be thinking expansively (unrestrained, free or openly) and generously (unselfishly, free from meanness or smallness of mind or character; largely, abundantly)
We can't be afraid to release what is precious or best for the sake of Thy Kingdom come.

2. Increase.
Increase territory (sphere or field of action), stride (vigour and haste) and embrace (clasp, ideas, opportunities)

2 Samuel 5:9   David then took up residence in the fortress and
called it the City of David. He built up the area around it,
from the terraces inward.
God asks us to be diligent with the path that He has ordained for us, and to not be afraid of increase.
3. Bring God into full view.
Heighten (increase amount of; to strengthen, deepen or intensify) our passion (intense emotion or strong feeling) to bring God into full view now more than ever! We need to work harder now more than ever to deny evil and to release people from it. Work hard to be more persistent (lasting endurance; especially in spite of opposition, obstacles or discouragement; constantly repeat), passionate (expressing, showing or marked by intense or strong feeling) and sold out to bring God into full view.

This message was so challenging and I don't profess to have fully begun to live this out in my own life, but I want to more and more. We were encouraged to hear that we don't have to be fully arrived before we begin sharing with others, we just have to be on the journey.
I hope this has encouraged, and even challenged you! I'm reading new books that are fantastic and hopefully, when time permits, I'll do some posts about them as well. I believe it does us good to keep sharing the inspiration, challenges and encouragement with one another. To God be the glory!

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