Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A Fun Instagram Photo Challenge!

With the beginning of a new month starting soon, and with the fact that Sufficient Grace now has an Instagram account (yipeee!), I thought in celebration of these two events, I would begin a photo challenge!

You all know how much I love photography and Instagram, and I know a lot of you do as well. So, I've put together a list of photographs to take over the month of August! I'm very excited about this!

To join in the fun, follow sufficientgraceblog on Instagram, add your amazing images with your descriptions and the hashtag #day_august, and the hashtag for the focus of the day, for example ... #day12august  #art  #sufficientgraceblog or  #day25august  #soft #sufficientgraceblog

August gifts us with 30 days, so I've listed 30 things to capture during this beautiful month ... here they are!

  1. Something that's your fav. colour.     (#colour)
  2. Things in your home that bring you comfort.     (#comfort)
  3. Your fav. Bible verse.     (#Bible)
  4. A pet you love.     (#pet)
  5. Some of your all time fav. book/s.     (#books)
  6. A person you loves smile.     (#smile)
  7. A photo taken from out of your window.     (#window)
  8. A part of your home you love.     (#home)
  9. What you do to relax.     (#relax)
  10. The beauty of the sky today.     (#sky)
  11. One of your fav. foods.     (#food)
  12. An artwork in your home.     (#art)
  13. A hobby you love.     (#hobby)
  14. A toy belonging to your child/ren.     (#toy)
  15. Anything that's a fav. of yours!     (#favourite)
  16. What you're thankful for.     (#thankful)
  17. Something beautiful in your garden.     (#garden)
  18. A family activity you love.     (#family)
  19. Sunlight.     (#sunlight)
  20. Your yummy breakfast.     (#breakfast)
  21. Hands of people/person you love.     (#hands)
  22. New growth.     (#growth)
  23. In the kitchen.     (#kitchen)
  24. Something your husband loves.      (#husband)
  25. Something soft.     (#soft)
  26. Anything to do with music you love.      (#music)
  27. A piece of furniture you love.     (#furniture)
  28. Something funny.     (#funny)
  29. Another thing you're thankful for.     (#thankful)
  30. A part of your face.     (#me)

This is going to be a lot of fun, and I'm very much looking forward to it! 
But, it will only be fun if you are in it! Please join in and make this all worth while! Share it on your blogs and FB pages, anywhere you like so that we can all be ready to start the challenge on the first of August! Get the word around, the more the merrier! It's a great way to get to know little bits about each other and a great excuse to take photos!

Have fun with this, be as creative as you like and have a great time chatting to each other in the comments too!

Happy snapping!

(I was intending on creating a printable sheet for you, 
but I'm still learning how to do that. I hope you still join in!)

Monday, 21 July 2014

What On Earth Am I Here For? - Part One

Our Church has just begun an exciting study together called "What on earth am I here for' by Rick Warren. I thought that I'd write a quick post each week to share with you what has been the main points that I've learnt that Sunday so that this way, you can be encouraged and also know a bit about the study for yourself in case you're wanting to work through it too!

So, these are the main points that I've learnt from the study so far, feel free to read the scriptures added as a part of your quiet time ...

  • My calling is a gift from God - it's free. It's a flat out gift. Gal 1:6
  • I am called for God's purpose - God did not make me for me. Eph 2:10
  • God chose may calling before I was born - Gal 1:15 & Isaiah 44:2
  • My sins and mistakes do not change my call - God has no plan B for me. 1 Tim 1:12-13
  • My calling is permanent - Rom 11:29
  • My calling is connected to others - I can't enjoy my destiny on my own - Eph 4:4
  • God empowers what He calls me to do - 2 Thes 1:11
  • There is a prize for living out my calling - Phil 3:14 & 1 Thes 2:12

Listen to God's Word everyday
Enlist friends who challenge you
Ask questions and accept correction
Remember and reinforce what I learn
Now DO it!

See you later this week! Have a beautiful day!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

12 Truths To Help With Depression

I'm a person who's been through depression, quite a few times now. Has it changed me? Absolutely. Has it made me feel completely out of control, hopeless, suicidal and full of fear? Yes. But, has it ruined me? Absolutely not. Has it made me a person of less value and worth? Without a doubt the answer is no. 

And the answer is no for you too.

I've not really touched on this subject a great deal within the space of this little blog, but today I am going to. I remember feeling so alone, feeling like no one would understand. Feeling like I was totally useless. Having an unexplainable urge to end my life. 

I need to tell you some truth today. I can't have this blog as a world wide resource and not share this hope, this truth and some relief for you. Please hear me today, hear my heart. I know this is a controversial issue, but I simply don't care. I want you to hear the truth, why? Because God loves you and so I will love you here in this space too. When you love, you speak truth in love.

I want to share with you some practical things that really made a difference in my life while going through this season, and I hope that they give you some relief, some comfort and some help.
  1. Draw closer to God - make it happen. Make yourself pray, make yourself thank Him for the ways He helps you each day. Make yourself read the Word, make yourself sing praise. Why am I saying 'make yourself'? Because I know that most times you just don't 'feel' like it, but believe me, those are the times you need to the most. James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.                                                                                                                                                                                                               
  2. Seek medical advice - whether it be a Doctor, a Naturopath or a Homoeopath, that choice is completely yours. Just make sure you find the right help for you. If you're not sure if you are suffering from depression, maybe it's a good idea to get checked anyway and go from there. The important thing is that you know there is lots of professional help available no matter which avenue you choose.                                                                               
  3. Look after yourself - sounds simple enough but most of us (especially if we're mothers) don't take regular time to give our bodies what we're needing to stay healthy. Good sleep, regular exercise, healthy eating, times to relax, lots of water. These things are necessary.                                                                                                                                                          
  4. Talking it out - I've gone for visits with a Psychiatrist and I found this so incredibly helpful to be able to verbalise everything that was going on to someone who was 'neutral'. Meaning, someone that didn't know me and wasn't going to just tell me what I wanted to hear. This was a very important part of the healing process for me.                                                
  5. Positive self-talk - Now I'm not getting all 'freaky' here! You have to be speaking to yourself kindly. Instead of 'I'm useless', 'I can't get through this', 'This is never going to end', 'I'm just so stupid', 'Everything is hopeless', try saying, 'I'm going to be OK', 'I am going to win this', 'I'm so valuable', 'I can do this'. It may sound too basic to help, but it really really does.                                                                                                                                                   
  6. Slow down - Don't put unrealistic expectations on yourself. If you have to cut back your workload a bit to get more rest, then that's OK. It's only a season. If you only get the basics of the house work done, or not even that, then don't be tempted to feel like a failure. On days when you are feeling a bit better in yourself, catch up slowly, it will all be OK.                                                                                                                                                                          
  7. Remember you are not alone - I was relieved to find out just how many people I know who have been through very similar situations to myself. It gave me a glimpse of hope in knowing that they got through it and are leading wonderful lives, and so can I. You can too. Just be careful with the balance of how many people you share your struggle with, some people unfortunately can be cruel.                                                                        
  8. Finding the positives in every day - There really is so many things in each day that we can thank God for. So many of His blessings are everywhere, big and small. Maybe writing in a gratitude journal could be a visual reminder of the things that are good in your life. This practise helped me, and still does.                                                                                    
  9. Speaking out Gods Word You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4.                     No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37 God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7.  So do not fear, for I am with you;    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.I will strengthen you and help you;    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10. Find yourself some verses to speak out over your life, this is so powerful.       
  10. Focus on the truth - You do have people in your life who love you, who need you. You've been made with a purpose, you are loved beyond measure. You will get through this. You will be made stronger through this. You're not alone. You're beautiful. There is help. There are people who understand.                                                                                                      
  11. Establish a support network - I had a few people around me who would just pop in and check on me and ask if they could do anything. We had cuppas, sometimes they were just an amazing shoulder. I had some people who were holding me up in prayer, and still do, and I am so grateful for their faithful love and support of me in this way. Generally the people who really love you will help you any way they can, if you're not staying silent. You must tell people who are very trustworthy that you are struggling.                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  12. Don't give up! - This is the most important point. Don't give up on God, on your medications, on your support network, on the power of prayer, on the power of God's word, on your psychiatrist appointments, on claiming and speaking out the truth. But most importantly, incredibly precious soul who my heart is breaking for because I know where you are ... most importantly, don't give up on yourself. It's not the answer, it's not the solution. You will get through this, I know you will. Please believe me. Your life is worth so much to so many. 
Depression is a part of living in a sin-sick world. It's like any other physical or psychological condition. The only reason people don't understand is because they've not experienced it firsthand. Those of us who have experienced it need to realise that if people don't understand it, it's through no fault of their own. It's impossible for someone to comprehend depression fully without experiencing it. It still effects these people though (in more ways than I have time to list), they're seeing the person they love suffer and they're not sure how to help. (This has been my experience anyway) They want to help, they just can't relate well. Let them help you in the ways they can, it is all out of love for you. 

I'm so relieved to know that there is so much reliable help out there for people suffering with depression. I'm so relieved to know that the medical world is slowly removing the stigma that was related to depression and people are seeing that it's not something that make people 'different' to them, they just go through seasons of serious struggle. 

I'm so relieved to know that our God is greater than all of these sicknesses that the enemy loves to throw into our path; that Jesus conquered over all of it on the cross, that He keeps His unchanging promises, that we have our hope in Him, that He is the anchor for our soul, that He is faithful to carry us when we can't take another step, that He never ceases to pour out His love on us, that He is our over comer in everything. God loves you you know, he really really loves you down to the very core of your inner most being. He's crazy about the person that you are, the person that He delighted in making. I'm so relieved to know that He didn't give up on me, and He won't give up on you either. 

There is always growth after pain and suffering.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A Prayer

Father God, I praise Your name. You alone are powerful, You are faithful, You are the One true living God. I praise You for Your faithfulness, I praise You for Your goodness, I praise You for Your grace. Forgive me of the many times that I sin and fall. Forgive me when my eyes are distracted off of You and following Your ways. I know that I can't be a wife and a mother without You. Without You teaching me, correcting me, forgiving me, giving me Your wisdom. I just can't do this without You. 

You know my many weaknesses, You see the stress that overwhelms our family at times. You see the hurt and the pain. You see the unforgiveness, help me to forgive. You see the good times, the joyous times, the times that I want to last forever. Lord, I need you more and more everyday. I love you so much more than I can say. 

I know your plans for me, my husband and my four children are for our good. I claim that today. I know when I'm weak, You are strong. More than anything I desire Your name to be glorified in my life and in the lives of my husband and children. For You to be glorified in our home. My heart beats for this. It is You and Your ways, Your plans that I long for. Strengthen me please Lord, cause me to rely on You. You are everything to me.  I love being Yours.

In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Clowning Around

This weekend we have a combined birthday party for two of my nieces. The theme is 'clowns'. So I scoured the two dollar shops the other day trying to find wigs. They are so expensive! So I formulated plan B, buying sparkly hats and decorating them ourselves. All together it cost the same amount as four wigs, but it gave us supplies for six hats, one for each of us! 

So, if you're wanting to make your own clown hat and costume yourselves, you will need ...

  • Hats for the amount of people you need
  • Your choice of wool (colour and amount)
  • Pipe cleaners (thick and thin)
  • Large flowers
  • Sparkly star bows
  • Bright Feathers
  • Glue gun and LOTS of glue sticks!

We made bunches of wool for the hair and hot glued them to the inside of the hat. Then added decorations and made pipe cleaner bow-ties and glasses. It was a lot of fun. I like knowing that we have tried our best to make the birthday girls day special for them. It's a fun part of life!

I'm going to be painting everyone's faces too! I'm really looking forward to taking lots of photos of the kids all dressed up and clowning around! Here's some of their creations before they get face painted  on the day! ...

I think I have the four cutest clowns around! Can't wait for the party!

I hope you're having a fantastic week!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Cliff Jumping And A Birthday Boy

I've taken a huge leap. Yesterday was my 'baby' boys fifth birthday. I still can't believe he's five and there will be no more little feet gracing our halls and stumbling over words; no more grubby, chubby fingers, no more tiny people.

I can always look back on this date and know that it was the date that my life began heading in a new direction. I've been thinking and praying seriously about studying and working outside the home. I find myself already 'twiddling' my thumbs with Mr R now being in kindy only a couple of days a week. So, I made a decision after talking to my husband, and I'm now studying, through local Tafe, to become a Teacher Aide. I start on this coming Monday.

Am I scared? Yes. I haven't worked in over twelve years! But, the Lord guides all our ways. So, I'm taking this step of faith, that somehow feels more like jumping off the edge of a cliff, trusting that God will bless the decision that we've made for this family He's given us.

I'm also excited to be able to provide some finances through eventual part-time work. I'm excited to know that I'll be assisting teachers to educate our children, and encouraging the kids too!

And, just in case you're wanting to see our big birthday boy, here he is! ...

 I love the little man that he's becoming. He's so kind, funny, thoughtful, smart and smoochy.

He's just so cute and I love those lips! 

Well, one chapter has closed, and another one begins ... and I'm so grateful I have my God, my family and my friends to enjoy it with!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Are We Crazy ???

This morning it was -4 degrees here. Of course the most sensible thing to do on freezing mornings like this is to wake up ... in your backyard tent. Yep, we camped out in our backyard for two nights in a row. Are we crazy? Probably! It was so cold, our kids had four layers of clothing on and were covered in four thick blankets each, they were toasty! 

Ice made itself at home come morning, blanketing the side of our tents, the blades of grass, covering leaves and chairs, and the clothes on the clothes line (don't judge me!) with tiny sparkling crystals. I know a lot of you may wake to snow, but we don't have that delight here, so sprinkles of ice is the next best thing. 

The boys shared a tent, and the girls shared a tent. They were all so excited to be camping in the backyard! 

The icy ground crunched under our feet and we went exploring the yard, discovering little frozen treasures that are just so beautiful ...

It was like a small little Ice world, well at least that's what the kids said!

And, of course because he was freezing cold (and because I'm a softy) Ollie just had to come snuggle in the tent with me. He's just too cute ...

Making family memories like this is something that I just love doing. It cost us absolutely nothing, just our time setting up ... and the best part was waking up together in our small magical ice covered corner of the world ...

... I hope you're making beautiful, sweet memories with your loved ones too.

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