Friday, December 25, 2009

Just Ducking In...

To let you know we've been without a computer for the better part of the week, and are borrowing a power cable at the moment. LONG story.

But most importantly, to those of you who stumble over here and read my little bits and bobs, I wish you the very merriest of Christmases, filled with the love and joy of our Saviours birth, family, friends and copious amounts of good food.

And remember, from Andy Rooney, one of my most favourite Christmas quotes EVER...

"One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly."

Remember what's important.

See you on the other side.

Much love.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Troy 1-100

The things I love about Troy are...

1. He is my first born
2. He is my eldest son
3. He is so tender hearted
4. He is brave
5. He is tenacious
6. He is amazingly good at sports
7. He is a huge help to me
8. His blue, blue eyes
9. His developing sense of humour
10. How excited he was we were expecting baby number 6
11. He changes nappies... number ones AND number twos
12. He makes breakfast for the kids most mornings
13. How hard he tries
14. His cool sense of style
15. The way he still wants to kiss me in public, even though he's 9
16. How much he's taught me about patience
17. That he doesn't hold it against me when I fail
18. He fetches and carries with little complaining
19. He'll eat pretty much anything
20. He loves to sing
21. He loves to tinker on the piano
22. He adores his dad
23. He is incredibly loving
24. He doesn't like swearing
25. He loves to read
26. He loves to draw
27. He loves to write
28. He loves to pray
29. That he copes so well without a defined routine at home
30. He's loyal
31. He loves his daddy's football team
32. He's a stickler for rules
33. He is exceptionally good at maths
34. The way he just wants to "be with" me sometimes
35. He LOVES Hillsong ;)
36. He loves to help out at church
37. How chuffed he was that he is officially on the "collecting the tithe" roster
38. He'll give anything a go
39. How he refuses to be defined by his autism
40. That he never gave up at school... he just kept slogging on through till he got it
41. He loves the water
42. He asks permission most of the time
43. He's just a really good looking kid!
44. He has incredibly thick hair
45. He'll probably be taller than Adam when he's fully grown
46. His cute way of phrasing things
47. How he reads to the younger kids
48. He loves animals
49. He is always eager to please
50. He prays for his future wife
51. His concern about Adam's weight
52. He makes his own bed
53. He can do laundry
54. He washes dishes
55. He kisses my hand
56. How he sees things in the clouds
57. He loves to play in the rain
58. He's certainly not afraid of a little dirt
59. He's an awesome big brother
60. He loves to dance
61. He still calls me "mummy"
62. He got all miffy because I decorated the girls room and not the boys
63. He'd much rather sleep in a hammock than a bed
64. He loves word-searches
65. He can play any computer game
66. He can bleed heaps and be fine
67. But the minute he sees someone else bleed, he gets woozy
68. Spiders freak him out a little
69. He worries when I'm hurt
70. He looks super cute in his glasses
71. He doesn't even bother to ask to watch a movie outside of the two ratings he's allowed
72. He thinks my spaghetti bolognaise is the best in the world
73. He likes tuna
74. He makes those little chatterbox paper toys all. the. time
75. He drew a picture of my pregnant sister once, and it was adorable
76. And he called her Aunty Bump for a while
77. He puts the Smallies into their car seats for me
78. He's fascinated by gadgets
79. He wants to be a doctor
80. No... a teacher ;)
81. He loves classical music
82. He wants to give ballet a go
83. Once he's focused, that's it
84. He's got a great arm on him
85. He's a one on one type of kid
86. He's learning how to deal with frustration
87. He can build pretty much anything with Lego
88. He loves spending time with his dad
89. He'd cook more if I let him
90. He'll climb anything
91. He'll jump off anything
92. He loves cushions
93. He'll do pretty much any job for money
94. The way he used to run looking at his shadow
95. The way he endears himself to everyone
96. His high pain threshold
97. The way he doesn't care what people think about him
98. The way he loves to read the Bible
99. He always says "thank you for dinner, that was yummy!"
100. The precious way he knows God.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Thousand Times, I Love You

You may see over there on the left under the picture of Adam, there is a list of numbered links.

2 years ago, I embarked on a little endeavour I entitled "A Thousand Times, I Love You".

It started out innocently enough. For Valentines day, I wrote a list of 100 things I loved about Adam. He was so chuffed about it, that I decided to do it again. And from there, it morphed. I figured out that if I wrote 100 things every month until his 30th birthday, I would reach 1,000 individual things.

It was THE best year of our marriage to date.

Amazing what a little positive thinking will do.

I've started making Adam a book of his, using, but then my scanner died, and I couldn't save any more photos, then our computer crashed... blah blah blah. Needless to say, it still sits there forlornly, waiting my attention.

I want very much to re post the lists here on blogger, but for some reason, it won't let me copy/paste. So for now, you can read them if you click the links.

Anyway, all this to say that, as you may or may not have gathered, I've struggled with liking my kids the last year or two. The three eldest all have learning delays, and all our frustration levels have peaked. Moving into a house half the size we were in with zero back yard has worn all of our nerves to threads.

I'm thinking I need to think positively about my kids for a while. I'm going to post a list of 100 individual things I love about each child once a month on Mondays and Fridays, just to fit them all in.

Of course, today is a Monday, so I might start tomorrow ;)

All I'm going to need for this project, is a notebook and a pen. New thoughts always struck me about Adam when I was driving, or otherwise occupied.

I have learned.

And you never know. My redirected attitude and focus might just be the making of them.

Or me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's Raining, It's Pouring

We've officially entered cyclone season here, and last night a tropical low passed right over the top of us... dumping a bunch of rain but causing little damage. It made for a lovely cool evening, and today is also incredibly pleasant, even though the rain hasn't let up at all. I love where I live for many reasons. One of those reasons is that I very rarely, if ever hear anyone complain about the rain. We don't see it for 8 months of the year, so we revel in it when it does arrive :)

The rain is set to continue for the next few days, and we are closely watching the low, as it is due to turn into a catagory 1 storm later today and should progress to a 3 in two days time. You too can keep watch, if you wish!

Today, I managed to get the bathroom completely done! It was hard work, and took me 3 hours. I cannot fathom how my children manage to make our walls so putrid. Adam is woking on the kitchen, but he works slower than me, and takes many breaks ;) He went up to the store just now for the first time in as long as I can remember, simply to get out of doing more *grin* He even called his mother. *rolls eyes* LOL!

But we are on track. Sort of. I've washed dried AND put away 4 loads of laundry today, so that makes me feel a bit better about where we are at.

Our electrician friend stopped by to see what he's going to have to get to complete a few jobs we've asked him to do... all our light fixtures are breaking whenever we try to chabge a light bulb... they are over 10 years old, so we figure we'll just change the lot throughout the house. Also, two ceiling fans in The Big Room have broken motors, so they need replacing. I'll be sending my mother an email in the next couple of days asking for her to wire the money through to fix them, as we agreed when she was over here the other month.

My brother also stopped by, with some money for us all for Christmas, as he will be at sea over the holidays. I was so happy... it means I don't have to stress about the food situation! The kids won't notice if there is one less gift for them under the tree... they will notice if there is no ham! :) And wow, is it ever expensive. For a 13lb ham... $84!! I nearly fell over. ANd we have even more people arriving on Christmas day now, so we are going to need it!

The kids are behaving rather well today. Playing together and hardly fighting. This is a miracle from the throne room of heaven if there ever was one :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

(not quite) Mass Mayhem

Braved the shops on payday today to go do our Christmas shopping. I did ok. Still have a few things to get, but they can be collected next week.

I'm still slogging away at the cleaning, though slowly... I did some of the bathroom done today... it's all scritched out over there on the left... but I think that list will change in the next day or so because Adam and I have declared this weekend "Get It All Done Or Else".

Also known as "The Kids Are Now On Holidays And It's Impossible To Clean With Them At Home All Day Every Day For Six Whole Weeks"

I'm hoping that this little bog o' mine will get more exciting later on... It's been so long since I've kept something like this that I've almost forgotten how to do it. I know I used to attempt deepness and humour... often simultaneously... over on my Xanga... but Xanga is now no longer what it was, and while that makes me sad, I'm hoping this here will become a new place for me to unwravel what's going on in my head, heart and home.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Because I Like Nothing Better Than Deadlines, and the Whooshing Noise They Make as They Go Past.

Do you think, if I did this:

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester
I'll be more likely to get all that stuff over there on the left done?
Adam has promised to pitch in over the weekend as well, and in the next couple of days so I can get it finished.
I'll have to get batteries for the camera.
And hide them from the kids.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Yes, Well...

So, cleaning has ground to a standstill pretty much. The washing machine keeps chugging away, but the mountain of clean clothes in our bedroom is reaching all new heights. If I don't get them folded and put away soon, one of two things will happen, to the same end...

A) They will get spread all over the floor, trodden on and have to be washed again without being worn


B) The cat will pee on there somewhere, and it'll all have to be washed again without being worn.

However, I have done enough that Adam and I should be able to pull an all nighter, or at least a late one, and have it done this evening.

But I am emotionally exhausted.

November has been CRAZY financially. We had three cars break down. We had registration due... School bond to pay... money lost... money tied up... the girls ballet production costume hire... food (our one shocking habit)... the fridge needed new seals... the utilities bill is due any day now... and so on and so forth.

I am convinced God will provide. This does not mean however, that the month has not worn me down. It also doesn't mean I didn't totally flip out at the customer service chick on the other end of the line today, when I rang in a panic because my card wouldn't work at the ATM.

"It looks as if your card is damaged. I will send you a new one, but it will take 7-14 days. I hope you didn't need any money."

You know the proverbial last straw? That was it. I crumbled. I completely lost it. Saying such helpful things like "what a stupid thing to say! Why else would I go to an ATM if I didn't need money?!"

I am all forgiveness and light, obviously. And also obviously, my normal, laid back, low blood pressure character was temporarily hijacked by some neurotic psycho with no self control and blood pressure through the roof.

I rang The Hubsand in tears. I never cry over money. Well, hardly ever. Not for a long time, anyway. We have, as I mentioned the other day, guests coming for dinner on Christmas day, and I haven't even started shopping for food, or even ordered the meat. I just didn't see how we could make it work.

Today I will go up to where the kids Christmas toys are on layaway and will cancel it to get the money we have paid on it back. And we will start again, only with less stuff. We will look at getting some of the bigger, more special stuff we had (the Wii etc) in the January sales.

And we will continue to believe that God is in control. We will continue to trust in Him. Sure, I've failed in the "be joyful in ALL things". But I know I've never questioned that He will come through. I might not know how exactly, He plans on doing that, but really, is that for me to know prior to it happening?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Cleaning

It's December 1st here today.

I should be putting up my Christmas decorations, but my house isn't clean enough. I cannot fathom fluffing the house for the festive season unless it's pristine.

I have 1 husband, 5 children, a cat and a dog. My house is never pristine. But, as I suffer from MagazineCover-itis in it's most chronic form, I still expect it to be.

As you can probably gather, my expectations are rarely met.

However, as I am having a house full of guests over for Christmas dinner this year... a total of 7 adults and as many children in this tiny little house... I feel the need to have it sparkling.

Of course, I want it to be perfect for my family as well, during the rest of the year, but I find the task so overwhelmingly insurmountable most days, it... isn't. It's something I've been working on for many years, and I think I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. For the last month I've been tossing umpteen garbage bags a week of miscellaneous crap to the op-shop... which in itself is wonderfully therapeutic... not actually having that stuff in the house to clean up or find a home for any more. But I'm still not noticing the house getting any cleaner.

And I'm pretty sure I've figured out why.

I stopped writing myself lists. A plan of attack for the day. Something to keep me on track. Without lists, I could waste my whole day looking for the perfect Christmas tags on Etsy (which I may or may not have done yesterday).

So, I'm beginning again. Only this time, I'm going to add it to my left side bar, so you can see it, and it should keep me accountable. I'm going to give myself until Friday night to have it done. That's two and a half days. I shall have Pride and Prejudice on in the background... I find it the most wonderful thing to clean to.

If you are feeling the urge to deep clean your house, feel free to join me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Home is Heaven

Over at Bloom, a lady started a discussion on our focus on Heaven.

In a nutshell, she was wondering why we were being exhorted in Crazy Love, and in other studies she is currently doing to keep our focus on Heaven and be obsessed with it. It made her feel a little uncomfortable that so much focus was on Heaven, and not on works down here.

An excerpt of her discussion

"I don’t see myself preparing for a final day. Instead it’s about living here and now, working for heaven here on earth. Yes, I look forward to seeing Jesus in heaven but while I’m waiting, there are things I can be doing to work towards heaven on earth. As in: “Thy Kingdom come, 
thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven...

I’ve been studying about the prophets and their prophecies about the coming of Christ and what the Gospels write about those prophecies. The first century Israelites (and their forefathers) were longing for a king to change the world. Prophets who wrote about a coming savior were passing on a message from God. The prophets were responding to the yearning of the people for a hope; for a new kind of kingdom with a ruler that brought peace and justice to the world. Jesus was and is that savior. But I see him as coming to change this world not heaven. It makes me uncomfortable to have so much focus be on heaven.”

I thought I might post my own comment back to her here, and see what you all think? What are your views on Heaven?

Good thought provoking question!

I think, that earth is not our Home. We *should* want to go Home. The sole aim and purpose of Jesus coming was to reconcile us to God, so that we can spend eternity with Him. If Christ hadn't come, we'd be doomed to hell, and life here on earth would be pointless.

Hebrews 11:1 tells us "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." We hope for heaven :) We are certain of the existence of God and His Kingdom. Verses 14-16 of Hebrew say "People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."

If all we did was only for this world, the one that will surely pass away, (Matthew 24:35) then I would think that God made an error. Since we know He cannot, we must presume that there is a reward waiting for us in heaven for all we do. (Matthew 5:12, Luke 6:23)

We are here to influence as many people for the Kingdom as we possibly can. God wants everyone there! Jesus taught A LOT about Heaven; what was in store for us there, who could and couldn't go, what would and wouldn't get you there. The goal of our lives is Heaven. It's our reward. It's to spend all of eternity loving on God, praising and worshiping him... basking in His presence. We are also told, that what we do here on earth will count to what we get in Heaven. So it all works together beautifully :)

We're running a race. We're told to do it faithfully, with all our strength and "for the prize" (1 Corinthians 9:24, Philippians 3:14)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tis the Season...

... for give aways, it seems.

And I totally want this one.

Oh how I want this. Aren't I nice to let you in on the secret?
Ok, so I get an extra entry for it... sue me ;)
But not only that, one lucky person will get a swag of goodies (including a voucher for a 6lb turkey!) which MPT has listed on his site.
You might want to go over there and leave your own entries :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thanks and a Reward... kind of.

Thankyou all for your lovely comments about my chapter review :) I was so nervous! And, of course, after it had been up most of the day, I remembered something I really wanted to put in and had forgotten it. Isn't that just the way?

I sort of have a reward for you.

It's completely selfish though, because I hope it helps me. ;)

Centsational Girl has one of the most awesome DIY blogs out there in cyberspace. I el-oh-vee-ee it. And guess what?! She's giving away...


A ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR gift voucher to Lisa Leonard!


I adore Lisa's designs. I've wanted one for ages. Particularly the "Fly Free" one... when I first saw it, I caught my breath... it works beautifully for a prophesy I was given once. It would be such a sweet reminder.

But I think, if I win, I'll use the voucher for something for my mother... I've been trying to work out a way to get her 4 kids, 2 sons in law and nearly 8 grandchildren onto one pendant. So I emailed Lisa to ask a question... and she wrote back the sweetest email :) She assured me it wasn't a dumb question, but unfortunately, what I had asked for wasn't possible after all. But she did give me some lovely ideas to use instead. I'm thinking she needs to come up with a "Grandmother" range.

What do you think?

So, anyway... this is just ONE of my entries :)

That's right, Centsational Girl is giving you FOUR chances of wining this awesome prize.


Why are you still here?!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Crazy Love Chapter 8: Profiles of the Obsessed

I've been graciously (and daringly) been asked by Jess and Angie to be this weeks Guest Blogger for The Bloom Book-club .

Please know I use the term "blogger" very loosely.

How's everyone doing so far with the book? I'm loving it, but at the same time, I explain it to those I'm talking to that it's an uncomfortable read. It certainly isn't the type of book I would turn to if I was going for a bubble bath and wanted to switch of and not think. It was the type of book that I shoved into the hands of my pastor and said "You need to read this!"

Then realised what I said and had to back pedal.

Love you honey (I found this here after I quickly ducked out of the room. I'm totally leaving it in.)

*happy sigh* He's a sweetie.

I promise I'm going to try very hard not to use any Aussie-isms in this post... but please forgive me if a few slip in there :)

But let's get into the juicy, shall we? And it is a meaty chapter, for me at least. "They've given me the hardest one," I whined to Adam. "He's already explained pretty much everything... what can I add to it? How do I discuss something that is already out there so simply?"

So I started and then got stuck. And got all stressed out. So I jumped on Bloom Chat and picked the minds of The Night Crew without them really being aware. So girls, if you see things you've said here, this is your credit ;) And I heart you.

I'm going to start by saying that there was no way I was going to be able to cover everything contained in this chapter. So, if I have missed a segment you particularly wanted to be discussed, please hop on over to the Ning site and start a discussion in the forums. Don't be shy or embarrassed! We'd love to hear what you have to say and we honestly look forward to talking with you. I am in no way a bible scholar, and most of the women over there aren't either. All of the women I have encountered over there are lovely and approachable and have a wealth of wisdom and insight. And don't be intimidated by the chat! It goes pretty fast, but you'll get used to it. :) Just jump in and say hi. It's not intimidating. We talk about food and messy houses, hopes, fears and boobs. Seriously. We are so normal.

And, quite obviously, super spiritual.

So... grab your coffee, tea or wine any other caffeinated beverage of choice, because you'll need it. I've waffled rather. It's what happens when there is no word limit. I'm at home with kids all day. I need to use up my quota of adult words.

What I think is the crux of the chapter is that the obsessed are givers. Givers of love, lives, time and resources. They give joyfully, unreservedly and often unrequitedly. Those who are obsessed are willing to do whatever He asks, whenever He asks. I don't think this chapter was written to make you feel like you should be doing doing doing, and if you aren't then you FAIL, or you don't love Jesus. I admit I felt that way at first. But what I think what we need to ask ourselves is "are we surrendered to God?" Are we prepared to say "Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening."? (1 Samuel 3:10)

(There’s a thought... are you the Lord’s servant? Do you do His bidding?)

Please keep in mind through this chapter that just because you haven't sold your house and live in your car and give most of your pay check away, does not mean you are less of a Christian than those who have been called to do so, or feel that they should.

Profile of the Obsessed
Francis gave us the definition of Obsessed right at the beginning...

"To have the mind excessively occupied with a single emotion or topic." (Emphasis mine)

Welcome to conviction, Jen. I hope you enjoy your stay.

It's going to be a long chapter. I can tell.

I'll say it right now... I'm not obsessed with Jesus. Not even nearly. But I'd dearly, dearly love to be.

I don't know about you, but there are a million other things that take up my thoughts pretty much most of the time. My thoughts are not obsessively focused on Christ and His Word. Most of the time I'm focused on how many loads of laundry it will take to make it look like I've done something significant today, or where in the world Bethany has lost her glasses again, or what I'm going to cook for dinner or or or...

I like that Chan reminds us of the joy and peace that God bestows upon us when we adore Jesus, follow His Word and are faithful. It helps me to re focus, turn my eyes onto Jesus and try again tomorrow.

So let's look at the profiles of the Obsessed.

Obsessive Givers of Love
We all know the golden rule. It's been around since... forever.

When reading that passage from Luke 6, I thought I would research verse 35 a little bit. I looked up what words for, "love" "enemy" and "hate" were used. I asked the questions of whether enemy was for a non believer or a brother or sister "in" Christ who was just a big meanie. Did we just have to be friendly, or show unconditional love?

I'll be honest and own up that I was looking for a cop out.

I didn't get it.

The word for love used is agape. Agape was a word that was created especially to define the love Christians had for each other as opposed to the others; eros (passionate), philia(friendship) and storge (parental/family relational). Agape pretty much means that no matter what the person does to us, we won't let ourselves want anything other than the highest good for them, and that we will go out of our way to be good and kind to them. It's also noted in this instance of implying a perpetual abiding rule of action. Not just forcing a smile whenever we happen to run into them up at Target. All. The. Time. For realz NICE.

The word for enemy, echthros, is a personal one, not, say, a governmental one. The definition of a personal enemy is, basically, anyone who wishes you harm, or opposes your interests, or feels hatred towards you.

The word used for hate is miseo. It means to pursue with hatred or detest. The person who miseo's you makes it pretty well known. They do it doggedly.

I don't know about you, but I personally don't have anyone who hates me that much. At least, not that I know about. But I have had people who have hurt me terribly and very deeply, people I considered close friends. Needless to say, now they aren't my most favourite people. In fact, I've gone out of my way to avoid them. Oh, you know, I forgave them... through clenched teeth (ie. not really) but I'm certainly not going to invite them round for coffee.

Which is where Chan got me. He asked "Are you willing to do good to these people? To reach out to them?" (Pg 131)

Uh, that would be a NO.

I don't retaliate much. (Unless you're my husband or my kids. Then I will. Loudly; and more often than not, colourfully. I'm not proud of it; it's just a sad fact. God and me... we're workin' on it.) I'm a hider. An avoider. You hurt me and I'll pretty much stay out of your way. Oh, I'll snipe about you with my husband later, but I won't confront you. I’ll put on The Face when I can’t duck away before you notice me, and I’ll pretend nothing ever happened... but that’s not what Jesus is asking for here. What Jesus challenges us to do in these cases is to actively think and act nicely towards these people. To walk up to the person who caused you the most pain and bless them.

I heard once that you should pray for your enemies that which you wish for yourself. I think I can do that. It's a start at least. Coffee is still a little too hard at the moment, but I can pray that they are blessed in all areas of their lives, and that God's hand will be upon them. I can pray that the Lord fill me with His love for them... and one can only presume the rest will follow.

Obsessive Givers of Lives
As a worship leader, I can remember one Sunday urging the congregation to really mean the words they were singing... not just read them off the screen, but sing them intentionally. I was convicted right there that I myself can get so used to singing a song, what with rehearsals and practice and then typing them all up etc etc... that I too can just rattle them off without thinking about what I'm saying. So, right there on the platform, I promised God that I would always make the effort to mean the words I was singing to Him.

The first song I sang after that silent conversation was "Hosanna" by Brooke Fraser. (LOVE her)

It brought me to my knees.

"Break my heart for what breaks Yours

Everything I am for Your Kingdoms cause


Did you know that God takes you at your word?

And I can tell you, it changes your perspective. When you ask to receive God's heart, don't be surprised or put out when He gives it to you.

Since that day, my heart has been broken time and time again for the orphan, the unborn/aborted and the trafficked. I can only imagine how He is going to use this in my life. There have been a few windows of opportunity that we are excited to see emerging... but for the most part, we are just here waiting on God's timing, and just being willing and open to His call.

Are we willing to give God everything we are? Not just our will, our mind and our heart... but our body and our very lives? Not just in the way of "Ok, God... I'll do whatever You call me to do" but... are you willing to give your life life?

I'm pretty wrapped up in my kids and my husband. They sort of define me in a way at the moment. I'm certainly known in our church as the one with all the kids. Or Troy's mum. Or whichever child they happen to be talking about at that present time. Am I really willing to give them over to God to use to bring Him Glory?

When Francis was talking about being obsessed with safety, I immediately thought of this video. It cracks me up...

Of course, I know where it comes from (Job 1:10) which makes it even funnier, because it's Satan talking.

All joking aside, I've prayed that prayer. Many times. In many different situations. I think the reason I'm frightened to pray the suggested alternative is that I really kinda don't like pain. And I'm sort of attached to my kids and my husband. They grow on you after a while, y'know? And the first thing I can think of when being bold enough to pray that prayer is horrible things. The prayer that Francis challenges us to pray is right up there with prayers for patience and forgiveness...


Of course if you pray those prayers, something's going to happen to actually give you the chance to exercise those things.

I avoid those prayers like the plague.

The idea of praying that prayer Francis offered scares me... what if God decides to test me by taking one of The Multitude? What if we're in an accident and I, you know... get hurt? Or worse... bleed? An obsessed person, as the little synopsis thingie stated, “cares more about God's Kingdom coming to this earth than their own lives being sheltered from pain or distress.” (Pg 133)


Obsessive Givers of Time
After reading this chapter, I said to myself "I’m not doing enough. I don’t' help out at a soup kitchen. I'm not on the cleaning roster at church. I'd rather shove peas up my nose than help out in the crèche or Kids Church. I'm obviously not Obsessed with Jesus, because I just do the worship and music and stuff."

And then I sulked and felt bad and drank too much Coke.

But one of the girls on chat mentioned that sometimes, we forget that as mothers our time is usually taken up with giving our time to our family, and often it's the things we do day in day out 24/7, 365 days a year that, even though we kind of don't notice it any more (and neither do our husbands most of the time *grin*), they are the things that we are obsessively giving. We give to others, not ourselves, when we are obsessed. I know I'm certainly not cleaning up the same mess I mopped up yesterday (and the day before and the day before that) for my own self amusement.

Call me strange.

I am in no way saying that we should leave all the serving up to those dear single people or those whose children have grown. But while obsessed people are givers of their time, I doubt strongly that the Lord wants us to spread ourselves too thin... remember He often tells us to just be still. As always, take the time to listen to the Lord. But also remember... when He tells you to go... go.

But what do you have at hand that you can do? Not everything needs to take you away from your family (or your other commitments if you are single... see... I remember you too!) Are you able to open your home to take in someone who needs a place to crash for a night or six? Are you able to cook a meal for someone who’s just had a baby? Are you in a position to swing ten minutes out of your way to carpool with someone who can’t afford to fill their own car with fuel? What about caring for a single mother’s child/ren while she’s at work so she doesn’t have to pay for child care? Can you sit and listen to that girlfriend who's having boy problems again and actually listen and respond with care and deliberation, not just going "uh huh... yuh... yep... I know.... uh huh..."

It doesn’t even have to be things like that which take up large chunks of time... can you carve out 5 minutes in your week to sit down and write a note or a card to encourage someone on team at your church, or a congregation member who looked a little strung out last Sunday? Can you find 20 minutes when the baby is asleep or instead of watching the show you watch religiously to make a phone call to the lonely elderly lady who’s family live in another state? If you’re mowing your lawn... and your neighbour jokes for the hundredth time “want to do mine when you’re done?”... how ‘bout, instead of the half grimace smile and polite barely-a-laugh, answering joyfully “Sure!” (Or send your hubby to do it... nothing wrong with delegating *wink*)

Not everything is grandiose, but everything measures for something in Eternity. And you may probably never know exactly how much those few moments of your surrendered time might mean to those you bestow it upon.

Just take care not to measure your deeds, or keep a list... like, “today I did such and such and yesterday I did this, that and the other. Look Self! (and God) I'm Serving!” If we’re measuring, then we’ve missed the point. Also, remind yourself that measuring is different from being careful to make sure our primary priorities, such as our spouse or our kids, are not being abandoned.

Obsessive Givers of Resources
Do you give sacrificially?

I remember how our church put on a little public bbq thing for ANZAC day. There were games, face painting and balloon sculptures. It was all free, and that was indulged in readily and heartily.
The interesting thing was the free food.
We gave away drinks, sausages, cookies and bananas. (We have a banana farmer in our congregation.) We literally had to force them into people’s hands. They weren't used to being given something like that with nothing being asked for in return.

Where I live, we are experiencing the worst housing crisis of any city in Australia, and perhaps the western world. People are living in tents because there is just nowhere else for them to go.

And the rainy season is just about here.

I'm not talking about a couple of sprinkles and a few puddles or a big rain ... Monsoon. Pretty much every day.

For four months.

There are the working homeless; people who have well paying jobs, but have no other choice but to sleep in their car at the beach. I've heard stories of pregnant women in tents, due to give birth any time soon and families of five living in one room in a parents house. One mother has been couch hopping with her two small children for nearly a year, and she’s running out of friends. To add insult to injury, we also have the highest rent and buying costs of any capital city in the country.

But at the same time... I don't know where these people are. I don't know what they need, besides a roof over their heads. I also couldn't tell you where to go to hand out food parcels. Like Francis, I have not intentionally gone to look for those in need.

When Francis told of the reactions of people when he sold his house, so that he could donate the extras to the poor, I chuckled to myself, because I had heard every single one of those... only they were talking about how many children we had.

Lots of people think we are crazy for having (almost) six kids. They are being nice about this pregnancy, more than they were the last one, where some people were downright hateful. Either that or they think we're nuts, and it's better not to disturb the unbalanced.

This really doesn't have much to do with being crazy in your literal interpretation of the bible, but it does example what people will think if you go against the "norm". Or when you don't do the "comfortable" Christianity so many seem to enjoy. Adam and I have a sponsor child in Guatemala, and even in the toughest times, like Jess spoke about on the video last week, it was never an option to not pay for his support. In our family, what we pay to Delmar each month costs the same as a dinner trip to MacDonald’s for all of us. In the greater scheme of things, it's not much. We hope to have at least as many sponsor children as we have biological ones... something that some people look at us strangely for, and question whether it’s a wise or fiscal decision. And whenever we mention that we would like (in about 5 or so years) to adopt a girl or two from a country where the sex slave trade is highest, people throw their hands up in horror and give us up as hopeless.

Putting yourself out there for others makes people uncomfortable. It's not your fault.

It's theirs.

Just run with it, and don't worry what people say. In the end, God isn't going to care about what other people thought at the time. He'll be more concerned with what He thought, and your reaction to that.

Jesus doesn't ask all of us to go off to serve in Africa, or start crisis pregnancy centres, or adopt eleventy-three orphans. For most of us it's just the everyday stuff that almost seems like it doesn't really matter... the child minding, the loving on our husbands and/or family, the prods to watch the way you speak to people or to adjust your attitude to house cleaning... Of course, those last two could just be mine, but you get the idea.

Be surrendered. Be willing. Take joy in serving others.

And Then There’s Our First Love
Not only do the obsessed love others, they love Jesus. Passionately. Since we can’t go up and hug Jesus personally just yet, our adoration plays out in doing what He asks of us. Jesus said in the first part of John 14:21 “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.”

Under the subheading “The Rooted”, Chan writes as a summary, “People who are obsessed with God have an intimate relationship with Him. They are nourished by His Word throughout the day because they know that 40 minutes on a Sunday is not enough to sustain them for a whole week...” (Pg 145)

I vaguely remember Quiet Time. And yet, ridiculously, I wonder sometimes why my relationship with Jesus isn’t all it could or should be. A couple of weeks ago, during the sermon, the preacher said that he remembered a card on their mother’s dressing table mirror that said “Feeling far from God? Guess who moved.” You just can’t expect your relationship with your Heavenly Father to thrive and grow and deepen if you don’t actually deliberately draw aside to spend time with Him. Obsessed people spend as much time with Him as they can, are devoted to Him, and delight in bringing Glory to His name. They want to be like Christ... humble, forgiving, loving, giving, and in constant commune with the Father. They long for heaven, and remember, like Clara, that “You must be ready... It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.” (Luke 12:40a & 43)

I remember when I was first dating Adam that all I wanted to do was be with him. If I could have crawled inside of his skin, I would have. There was nothing I wouldn't do for him, fetch for him, gift him... We spent hours on the phone, we wrote letters and notes to each other and we wagged (skipped) more classes than I think we attended because we just wanted to be together.

When was the last time you (I) felt like that about Jesus? That crazy, all consuming, obsessive love?

Or has your love not waned, exactly, but settled into a comfortable sort of... complacency?
"A person who is obsessed is characterised by a committed, settled, passionate love for God, above and before every other thing and every other being" (pg 143)

That’s the bar I’m aiming for.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Wow... check out all the dust and cobwebs here...

Stay tuned... there's something coming.

Now... where is that feather duster?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Death in the Family

I've held off for a couple of days writing this, hoping that my thoughts and emotions would sort themselves out into something coherent. They haven't as yet, but I shall write anyway.

It's not your usual death. However, it grieves me greatly. My life will forever be missing someone. Whenever I think of it, and the circumstances surrounding it, my chest constricts in a way I've never known, and I weep, not only for myself, but for Adam, for my children, for my parents.

But most of all, for my devastated dearest brother, who's first child was aborted by his ex-girlfriend at 11 weeks.

If I'm honest, and I'm so glad I can be here, I'm angry. Furious even. I loved that precious little life. I'd never met his girlfriend. But I adore my brother, and he was so overjoyed to become a father. It's all he's ever wanted. I'm angry because Rob didn't want her to. I'm angry because, as in his words, "But what could I do? She didn't want it."

And he's right. She left him, and decided she didn't want it after all. He's in the navy. He's at sea the larger chunk of the year. He couldn't have contested it. He wouldn't have stood a chance.

And you know what? I'm angry because we didn't get a say. The aunts and the uncles, who were so excited, for the grandparents who never got to see the first son of their first son. For the cousins, who, while they don't understand, I'm sure will feel the undercurrent for years.

I'm angry for the baby. I've never known my heart and arms could ache so much for a child not of my own womb. I'm angry that we couldn't save him. I'm angry that even if we'd offered to have the baby, which we would of, without a second thought, it wouldn't have changed the outcome.

I'm angry there's no grave. I'm angry he'll never be spoken about. I'm angry he'll never be acknowledged. I'm angry. I'm ANGRY.

I never met him. I never held him. I never breathed him in. In fact, I don't even know if it was a boy. But it's what comes naturally, and I believe the Lord it impressing it upon me.

And yet, I feel the compulsion to reach out to find him. To cuddle him close, and tell him is loved, that he was wanted, and is the sweetest little smidgen to ever grace my life.

Babies were made to be cuddled... it is incomprehensible to me that he never was... by choice.

I can't write any more. I just want to thump the keyboard and swear. Loudly.

Rest safe in the arms of Jesus, precious, beloved, sweet baby.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Becoming Prince Charming

"How do we raise gentlemen in this day and age?!"

I exclaimed this in frustration to our pastor a couple of weeks ago.

The old fashioned gentlemanly behaviour is often looked at with incredulity at best, or laughed at as weak at worst.

And yet... it's what a woman wants. If they didn't, then Pride and Prejudice, Mills & Boon and any romantic movie wouldn't have a kazillion dollar niche.

There is a respect for women that has been missing from parenting boys in the last 50 years or so, mainly, I believe, as a result of the feminist movement that shouted as loud as it could that "women aren't weak! We don't need men to take care of us!"

They were right in the first statement. Dreadfully misguided on the second.

Men have been known to say that they don't open doors any more, or stand up when women enter or leave a room, mainly because they don't want to be jeered at. I can't say I blame them.

But I want my sons to do it anyway.

I'm starting to research Biblical principles of manhood, gentlemanly behaviour, and as Knights, not only for the Kingdom, but shiny ones for their future Princess. I'm going to chronicle my findings here, under the title "Becoming Prince Charming". To say I'm starting from scratch is an understatement. My boys are louts. Oh, they say please and thank you, they tend not to lick their plate at the dinner table and are generally good kids. But they don't always speak politely even when frustrated, wait until their sisters are in the car before they clamour in, or necessarily acknowledge that I or their sisters have entered the room. And they fight!

Of course, the Lord has let me go on my merry way complaining (loudly) about their behaviour, bemoaning the lack of respect etc etc etc. Today, because I am so intelligent, it finally dawned on me that the Word would be able to direct my path as a mother to my sons. Of course.

I want my sons to beautiful, shining examples of Christ. I want my future daughters-in-law to know without a doubt that the Lord is first in my son's lives, that their husband is a lover and devourer of Scripture, that he's a strong leader as well as a gentle lover and has been raised in the Godly precepts of Manhood, Fatherhood and that of a Husband. I want my daughters-in-law to know, that if she was in a room full of women, that because of her husband, my son, she would be the most cherished woman there.

Basically, I want her to be able to see her face in the shining armour of her Knight.

Please join me. Give me ideas, scripture, your opinion. Lets, together, raise up a generation of boys that have beautiful manners, a quiet strength, unquestionable masculinity and a love for the Lord that is overshadowed by nothing else. Then, just maybe, we'll begin the re-birth of the manners of Yesteryear, and it will, again, be the norm.

Every girl deserves a Knight in Shining Armour. Lets be the mothers and fathers that train them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

So Many Things

The fires here have taken up alot of my thought space. I posted over on my Xanga about them. It was emotionally too hard to transport the posts here. It truly hurt my heart to write them out the first time, let alone copy and past here.

I found Adam's birth-father on FaceBook. That has knocked us for six (Aussie term, it realtes to cricket) and we are still processing that, and trying to decide what to do with that new information.

The kids and I survived the holidays, and they are now settling in very well at school.

Adam and I start Bible College very soon. Our church has been approved to teach Hillsong Leadership College's external courses. I am very, very excited.

My birthday is in 11 days. I will be Very-Nearly-Old... which means 29.

My husband brought me a kitten, and his name is Archie.

It's raining a whole bunch here.

Bethany has started ballet and she adores it. Troy is starting tennis next week. Drew will start swimming as soon as we organise it, and I buy him some new bathers. AMy is too wee to start ballet, but will in July, after she turns 3.

Eli is stil adorable.

I'm going on a date with The Hubsand tomorrow. I couldn't be more giddy. There may be a new outfit involved.

Tomorrow, I will post the outcomes of my meeting with the plastic surgeon, and my decissions regarding surgery. It was more difficult to decide than I thought.

One day, I'm going to spill my guts here and shock whoever happens upon it. Perhaps I should do it now while not many people know about it and can't hate me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Shameless begging

So.. what's the best way to get more people to follow you on twitter, do you think?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I do Crazy constantly

The end of year school holidays have only a week and three days to go. I can finally see myself emerging from it with a sense of "what the hell just happened for the last 6 weeks?"

I think, had we a bigger back yard and/or I had the inclination to take all 5 children to the park on a semi regular basis, we probably would have sailed these waters better. However, I did not.

I'm ordering some new parenting books. One is by Garry Chapman of 5 Love Languages fame. It's titled The Family You've Always Wanted. The other is Have a New Kid by Friday, by Kevin Leman. This is the one I'm looking forward to the most. We have struggled so terribly with lying, hitting, and lack of care of possessions this holidays. To the point where a letter has been penned, and Santa will not be coming to the three older ones this year. And yes, we are sticking to our guns on this one. Each child received a board game and a card game this past Christmas. It had not been a week before they were destroyed or pieces lost. To say I completely lost my cool with them over that would be the understatement of the last 4 milleniums.

*sigh* You know, the only bad thing about having more children than is deemed 'normal' is that you really can't ask for help, because you get a few different responses, all centering around "well, it's your fault. You had this many children". So I don't ask. I flounder on in my own way, completely failing, and being so removed from my idea of what a mother should be that sometimes the lure to slide into a dark depression is ridiculously inviting. And I could you know. I hear it calling me. The temptation to completely give up because nothing I do is the right thing. Because if I see one more disparaging look over my children's behaviour I'll burst into tears right there. Beasuae in just about every book I've read, children are portrayed as these wonderful creatures who are only ever naughty in the sense that they might let some frogs loose from their pockets at church. They hardly ever fight or bicker, and if they do, it's all kissed and made up in half a page and off they go fishing. They do as they are told. They look after their things. They tidy up.

It's also bizarre to me, because I don't remember being like this as a child. I was fastidioulsly neat. I still have things that were gifted to me when was small. My children have nothing of sentimental value. They have destroyed pretty much everything that they have ever owned. I was delighted with all things pretty. I redecorated the girls bedroom the other day. You wouldn't even think, the way they behaved, that anything had been done differently. My kids have this air of expectation about them.... they expect things to be done for them. They expect to be given things. They expect their toys and books to be replaced. Quite frankly, it disgusts me.

I don't know how to combat this. No Santa presents this year is all very good, but they won't really get it until the day... and won't that be the makings of a joyous Christmas? SHould they not get birthday gifts or a party? I don't think they'd notice. They don't receive anything extra during the year, so we can't curtail any of that.

I just want them to get along. I want them to play nicely. I don't want to go through the day wanting to sob by the end of it and carve grooves in my concrete walls with my fingernails because all I hear after the greeting of "what's for breakfast" are screams, crying, yelling and fighting.

I want the family I always wanted. The one I thought just.... happened.