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Monday, 17 December 2012

Taking a Family Break



 
Letting you all know that I am taking a family break while my husband and children are on holidays...
lots of adventures to be had, photos to take, projects to finish and hopefully, goals to reach!
 
Wishing you all very safe and grace-filled Christmas with your beautiful family!
 
See you again in February next year!
 
A Saviour has been born to you!
Luke 2:11
 
Love Elisha
 
 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

A Magic Eraser

Walking the kids down to the bus this morning, I was mumbling under my breath and getting right into the middle of a pity party ... but I was well within my rights to have one ... wasn't I?

Yesterday was a long day, with 6+ hours spent in a car (either mine or my parents) and going to the funeral of my Great Aunty (which was a lovely time of remembrance), visiting my other Grandparents by the sea side (got my feet wet and sandy ...bliss!) But by the time I returned home I was pooped and very sore.

I woke this morning and became fully aware of how messy my home was ... and so began the pity party. "Why do I have to cleanup after everyone, when everyone helps to make the mess?" "Why does nothing get done unless I ask and bring it to someones attention?" "The washing could have been folded and put away at least" ... and blah blah blah.

My pity party continued all the way down our loooong red-dirt driveway until it erupted like a volcano at the end of the driveway spewing out self-justified words on my precious children like hot lava. There wasn't swearing, there was just lots of questions and lots of thinking that I'm unappreciated. There was one statement I really wish I had stopped my self from saying though ... "You kids can't get up off your fat bums and help" ... ouch. There may not have been swearing involved and it might not be the harshest of statements, but when you have an 8 year old who is becoming self-conscious about her appearance, those words stung her heart like a whip lashing; she burst into tears. It was then I wish I had a magic eraser to rub-out those words (and the others) that left my children disheartened before they got to school, and start all over again (please tell me I'm not the only mother in need of this eraser?)

The truth is my kids do help, they do pull their weight really well, and yes I might have to remind them (the younger two more than the older two), but they are still in the process of learning to do these things. How can I expect them to know how to do something if I haven't taken enough time to teach them how to do it in the first place? How can I expect them to control their tongue and solve problems respectfully when I rant and rave and carry on like a tantrum throwing child? (Not nice to admit that sometimes happens) How can I except them to show the grace of our Savior to others if its not extended to them too?

The Bible says, do unto others as you would have them do unto you ... isn't this inclusive of our children too? It also says, "let us consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds" ... don't we want our children to be spurred on towards love and good deeds? It starts with our example, and how we treat them. Is a child exempt from being treated decently just because they are a child? No! The Bible says, whatever you do to the least of these you do unto ME, and he corrects the disciples for sending the children away from him by saying "Let the little children come unto me, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these". (So really children are not 'the least of these' to our precious Savior).

Proverbs talks about "A wise woman building her home, but a foolish one tearing it down with her own hands". Isn't that what the pity party does? Isn't that the result of harshly spoken words, a little more tearing down? A lot more work to rebuild?
Proverbs also says "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver"... the Proverbs 31 woman (how many of you have tried to ignore the convictions that come from reading about that women like I have!!) is said to "speak with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue". Somehow I don't think statements like "your fat bums" is either faithful instruction or wisdom.

James 1:26 clearly states, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless". Proverbs 12:18 says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword ..." that is what our ranting does, it's piercing those who hear it. Proverbs 17:14 says, "Starting a quarrel is like breaching a damn; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out". It says in Philippians to do 'everything without complaining or arguing'. There are lots of warnings in God's word that speak to us reminding us of the destruction and hurt we can bring to people by our careless words. But I know you, like me, don't want that for your family just as much as I don't want that for mine. I know we want to be that woman who builds her home by building up the self-esteem and confidence of our husbands and children; by teaching our children the ways of the Lord so when they are old they will not depart from it.

And praise the Lord we are not under condemnation for the times we do slip up and wish we had that magic eraser! Praise Him that we can ask for forgiveness and rely on the Holy Spirit's power to give us His self-control so that we can be a blessing with our words. (And hopefully  not even need that eraser!) He has not asked us to do these things without the ever-present help of the Holy Spirit (and I need that help!). I desire to speak words of grace, encouragement, wisdom, love and guidance. I desire to have more self-control over my tongue and lead by example the hearts of my children. When our children need correction and truth to be able to speak that in love. Do you?

What will be the results of our words that are aptly spoken? 

Prov 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. We will be sweet healing to the very core of the people we speak to.

Prov 16:21 The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction. We will be discerning and our children will want to listen to our instruction and follow it.

Prov 20:15 Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel. Our wise words will be more precious to our children than gold or jewels (or any other amount of 'stuff' we can give them).

And this one ... this one blows me away, melts my heart and brings me to sobbing thankfulness ... every time. Proverbs 22:11 ... He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the King for his friend.

Let me encourage you (and me) to continue to ask the Holy Spirit to make our speech wiser, more loving, gracious, discerning, faithful and encouraging. Let us ask Him to be the builder of our homes and let's read the floor plans of His word to see how to live it out. Unless the Lord builds our house we labour in vain. And let's remember that we are not under condemnation, we are under grace ... and His grace is sufficient for us.

And me now? I have the task of asking my children (especially Little Miss P) for forgiveness this afternoon, and then choose an action to show them I am sorry. Not nice, but necessary if I want to build this house with love.

Let me leave you with this beautiful word of encouragement, again from Proverbs. It's in chapter 24 verse 3-4. "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures".

 

You are more than welcome to leave your comments, they will be greatly appreciated.

You are loved.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Jewellery Party

Our family Church has been passionately supporting the work of Destiny Rescue (DR) together for years and I thought it would be nice to inform you and give you all the opportunity to support such an amazing organisation too if you would like to.
 
Here is what they do ... (As found on DR web-page)
 
There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today. Destiny Rescue is committed to liberating those enslaved and restoring those that have been abused. Already serving in six nations, Destiny Rescue will keep expanding to reach even more children.
Destiny Rescue is a grassroots, internationally recognised, Christian based, non-profit organisation dedicated to rescuing children from human trafficking and sexual exploitation. We help rescue the sexually exploited and enslaved, restore the abused, protect the vulnerable, empower the poor and are a voice for those that can’t speak up for themselves.
We currently operate our various programs in six nations: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), India and Mozambique. We also have offices in two donor nations: Australia and the United States.
Our efforts are making a huge difference, too. We’ve rescued hundreds of children enslaved around the world, helped keep hundreds more from entering the sex-trade through our various prevention programs, ensured justice for those that have been wronged and have raised awareness to untold numbers. And, we’ll continue to expand to help reach even more children in the days ahead!
Destiny Rescue realises that human trafficking is a big problem globally with up to 27 million men, women and children enslaved in its deadly grip today. With that said, we’re determined to set captives free worldwide. As long as children are being sold into the sex-trade, and poverty that drives at-risk children into prostitution exists, Destiny Rescue will be fully committed to fighting for their freedom, restoration and offering them a chance to dream again. (To read more about their work click here)
 

 
 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

There's A Sweet Sweet Spirit In This Place

Yesterday we took part in one of our most loved family traditions ... the decorating of the Christmas tree while listening to our favourite Christmas music.



The beginning of the most beautiful time of the year - preparing for the celebration of Christs birth!!


My amazing husband made our family a manger for baby Jesus to be found in on Christmas morning, a visual reminder of God's gift so freely given. And now with hearts excited to celebrate our Saviours arrival this month, there is a sweet, sweet Spirit in this Place ... and I know that it's the presence of the Lord.

 


                             Mr S and Mr R having a 'brotherly' hug!       My Man and I joining in the fun!
 
Little Miss J and Little Miss P ... so adorable!
(Interesting that Little Miss P's shirt so perfectly states what the world thinks Christmas is about ... Oh how we need a Savior! Praise His Holy Name!)

A friend at our family Church made this Christmas Advent wreath ... so beautiful!
 
Some links to some of our favourite Christmas music for you and your family to enjoy this wonderful Christmas season ... Casting Crowns 'God Is With Us'  and The Isaacs 'Silent Night/O Holy Night and 'Mary Did You Know?'
 
 
May you rest in His peace, grace and love this season.
I warmly invite you to share how you make Christmas special in your home!


Christ is Lord!

Friday, 30 November 2012

My Heart For You (And Me) Today

In the beginning of 2010 God spoke a word of truth to my heart that has stayed with me ever since. It wasn't necessarily 'new', more like a reinforcing of what I should continue to do. I know He needs me to share it with you, beautiful woman of God. It's urgent ... it's not to be ignored or refused; it gives life. But, it's a word of truth that is not always easy to live by in this crazy busy world; and it's one I'm striving for with all my heart. It's a truth that asks for sacrifice - of time and of self. It's a truth that sometimes gets you deep down in the gut, resonating within the very depths of every chamber of your heart - and then pushes itself outwards of it's own accord.

What is this truth I hear you ask? You ready? It's probably obvious to you ... but let it really sink in deep, sink in afresh ... ask God how to show you what 'living this out fully' looks like in your life.


Life is all about relationships ... it's really all about relationships.
 
 
Can I encourage you, challenge you (and believe me, I am challenging myself here too), to set right priorities, to make the most of the people in your life. Your family, your friends, church family, work-colleagues, associates and anyone else you are privileged to life your life with. Do something with and for your husband. Write down those memories. Pick up that phone. Make that meal. Prepare those surprise 'drop-in' afternoon tea goodies to share with your grandparents. Write that letter/card. Go on that family holiday - stop and hug your children. Time is fleeting, it's slipping away...faster than any of us desire. Slow. Down. Breathe. More. Live life fully with your loved ones. Only relationships last for eternity. Let yourself be free to fully live and fully love ... I am certain that we won't regret it.
 
 
Whatever life-style we have from day-to-day, we can all choose to love more right where we are at ... start small, start big - it's just important that we start ... and continue!
 
 
My great Aunty Ruby passed away this week ... her funeral is next Wednesday. While I didn't really have the chance to know her fully (as I was only a child when I spent most of my time with her), I still have fond sweet memories of her ... she will be sadly missed. She was my Nana's sister ... I have the best Nana in the world (No ... I don't want to hear it, mine is the best!! Don't you just love that gorgeous white hair!) and we have been told she has early dementia setting in (I try not to think of this too much) I can't imagine my life without her ... in almost every childhood memory, her love, grace, example, cheeky fun ways and unwavering faith and support have been weaved into the tapestry of my life. She is one of the main threads. All my grandparents are much the same, along with my other Great Aunty (who I am being silly with in the photo below!) And all of them have health concerns that will most likely take them to glory all too soon (for me).
  
 
Please, please, please beautiful sisters in Christ ... hear my heart for you today. Don't miss any opportunity to lavishly love those the Lord has given you. Put aside pride, hurts, opinions, standards, take off the masks, let down your guard ... and put love into action. Do your loved ones (do mine) know one hundred percent that they are loved by us?
 
This post is long winded I know, but it's hard to condense something that rings so true and something that you long to see echoed in the hearts of your sisters in Christ. Because I love you too. I want to see you and I living in the full abundant life that Christ has so freely given us ... not reserved for eternity only, but for now.
 
I'll leave you with some verses to think on, to pray on ... let them sink in. Ask Him to let His love spill out of you (and me) over everyone He has blessed us with.
 

 
This is my command: Love each other.
John 15:17
 
 
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love.
Gal 5:13
 
 
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
Hebrews 10:24NIV
 
 
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
Ephesians 5:15-16 (NLT)
 
 
God is love.
I John 4:16
 
 
I love the words of Jan Elliot when she writes, "Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God" ... the relationships we have are part of His will ... let's live them to the hilt together!
 
  
 Be blessed, you are very much loved.
 
 
 
             My little Miss P with her Grandma (My Mother - In -Love)
   
My sweet, 'prayer warrior' Granny.                    
 
 
Oh I could keep adding photo after photo (couldn't we all!) ... I'll save them for another post ...
 
I just purchased this ebook for .99c where all proceeds go to a family in need this Christmas season ... this is one way we can show love to others who are struggling ... we don't even have to know them! Click here if you too would like to help this family for such a small cost this year.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Art Journalling

This year I have begun a special kind of journaling - well, it's special to me anyhow! I call it 'art journalling', although I'm not sure if that's the official name for them! It's definitely NOT a new concept that I have created, I have 'gleaned' this technique from many inspirational sources (I have added a few links below for your enjoyment!).

I am a very creative person and I have found this technique to be a wonderful creative outlet, as well as a way to off-load some 'excess emotions' (instead of on my husband, or friends, all of which are beautiful blessings in my life). When I know that God has revealed something important to me and I sit down and sketch it out on paper, it cements these truths in my heart and serves as a visual reminder of what He says; it helps to drown out the fears and doubts.

So how did I start? I took a much loved trip into town to the local Big W and brought myself a blank, black, spiral-bound, fresh, crisp white, clean smelling art journal (can you tell I am slightly obssessed with them ... have been for years!!) and I brought it home (after paying for it!!) and then went ... now what?!!!! It's funny how the blank white page can intimidate so much! I started with a truth that God had already shown me years ago, and which I think many of you will agree with, "It's the little things that make life wonderful" ...  (I chose a little bird as I love them, and they are on my list of wonderful little things). I then went on to create others as I felt the need to put them on paper. Once you get started you'll soon fall into the flow and rhythm of it and you'll be addicted! You don't have to be an artist either, I see all the mistakes in mine, but they are personal reflections of God's goodness in the life of my family and I, and that's what is important. It's a simple practise that I do whenever I have a bit of spare time, and while it's not as beneficial as time spent praying and reading the Word, it's still effective in that I am acknowledging what God says to me in my life, and leaving it as a legacy for my children behind me (plus, I'd go crazy if I wasn't creating something in some form each day!) It's when I read, pray and worship that I can be inspired to sketch something new he's spoken to me.

 
  
If you would like to begin your own Art Journal ... then here's a few inspiring links to get you started!!
 
http://blogdelanine.blogspot.de/
http://pinterest.com/search/?q=art+journaling ... this site is not necessarily Christian artists only, so I apologise if there is anything offensive drawn/written amongst the pins. (Actually mine look rather plain compared to these ones ... eeekkk!!) I have another new one ready to fill with painted works ... when I have the time ... and courage!!
http://www.adorehimcreations.com/art-journaling.html ... very good read!
http://karladornacher.typepad.com/karlas_korner/art-journaling/ ... just found this one now ... stunning works!! I'm going to brew a cuppa and read it after this post!
http://karladornacher.typepad.com/karlas_korner/art-journaling/ ... this site has great journaling prompts to get you started!!

We must remember these journals are not to take the place of God's Word, but they are a beautiful way to express His grace to us, His guidance, His wisdom and His love. Most of all, let your hair down, turn on some music ... and have fun with it!!

Hope you enjoy!
Please feel free to share some of your works too, I would absolutely love to see them!


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A Favourite Song

This song is called 'Perfect Peace' by Laura Story ... it is just beautiful and I wanted to share it with all of you ... I hope this encourages your heart like it did mine.

Stay close by My side
Keep your eyes on Me
Though this life is hard
I will give you perfect peace

In this time of trial
Pain that no one sees
Trust me when I say
That I will give you perfect peace

And you'll never walk alone
And you'll never be in need
Though I may not calm the storms around you
You can hide in Me

Burdens that you bear
Offer no relief
Let Me bear your load
'Cause I will give you perfect peace

Stay close by My side
And you'll never walk alone
Keep your eyes on Me
And you'll never be in need
Though this life is hard
Know that I will always give you perfect peace
I will give you perfect peace.



To listen to this wonderful song click on the link below:

 
Enjoy!!
 
 
 
 
http://www.lyricshall.com/lyrics/Laura+Story/Perfect+Peace/

Monday, 19 November 2012

Time For Tea

The other day I woke up needing to clean ... weird I know. But it wasn't just cleaning anything, or the normal cleaning that goes along with being a stay at home wife and mother...this was good cleaning, the 'make your house pretty' kind of cleaning! I cleaned my teapot collection!
 
 
It was so terribly grimy from the normal kitchen build-up that occurs from cooking etc, plus our house is rather old (it's beautifully home though) and the spiders think they have right of passage to decorate the walls however they see fit! They decorated my teapots too and so they had a shower ...in the dishwasher! This is one of the only times I think I've been excited to stack the dishwasher!! I scrubbed down walls, kitchen cupboards, on top of the wall cupboards and it was really good knowing that I was creating a beautiful home for my beautiful family to live in. (A tip I have recently learnt: if you 'line' the top of your wall cupboards with tapped down baking paper after cleaning, then next time you clean/re-arrange things, all you have to do is change the paper!)

I was actually getting impatient that the dishwasher was taking so long to finish washing them! After drying them off, I set about re-arranging them. I extended the display over to the shelf in my display cabinet too, and it just looks so nice! When I look at my teapots, I am reminded of the people in my life who love me and the times I've had chatting and laughing with them over tea.

My Granny brought me the stacked owl 'tea for two' teapot ... at first I wasn't that sure if it was really me, but I knew it came from a love-filled heart, and now it's grown on me and is actually one of my favourites!! One of my best friends gave me the little set with teapot, cream/milk and sugar pots; another best friend gave me the one with the gorgeous little red hearts; and my other best friend has given me the birthday cake one and the tall white one with the blue lace rim. My parents gave me the chicken one, my sister the blue and white one and my Aunty has given me some too. My most favourites though are the ones from my husband and children. The old-fashioned cream Maxwell and Williams one was a gift from my husband and the start of my collection. My children gifted me with the little pink and white flower one. The little one infront of the pink chicken is actually a little teapot box that opens up with miniature teapots, cups and saucers, and pitchers ... my girls are constantly asking to play with it (my oldest boy says, "girly stuff ... it's just something I'll never understand!") and they happily sip little droplets of water from the itty-bitty cups!

None of these teapots are considered 'antique collectors items' where hundreds of dollars have been spent on any one of them. That's not necessary or important to me ... it's the simple setting of the table and the conversation and friendships that are priceless to me. My girls and I love taking cups of tea together from time to time and these times have been some of my most precious memories with them. It is such a lovely, simple, old-fashioned way to entertain and make people feel welcome. And it's nice to know now that they're all sparkling clean that anytime is time for tea! Actually I might just go brew a hot, relaxing one up now!


Thursday, 15 November 2012

It's All Grace

I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face after reading the most breathtaking post about grace I have ever had the privilege of reading. Maybe it's just where I'm at right now; maybe it's just a realisation that I want to be like that beautifully aged in grace mother sitting in the hospital ward; maybe it's the fact that I realised I haven't been living out enough of His grace in the reaching of my children's hearts in amongst arguments, the finger-pointing, the harsh words spewed out. Not living out enough of the gospel of grace in my marriage; in the recognising fully this incredible man that God hand-picked out for me from the beginning of time to spend the rest of my life with. Not making the most of the opportunities to be engrossed and focused on the life-giving moments each day ... moments that are soaked in His grace. Not letting the gospel of grace be the reassuring voice in my own ear about who I have been made to be.

She writes so pointedly, "My hope isn't built on my perfomance, but on Jesus' righteousness' ... how I just want to weep with thanksgiving at the truth and peace this gives to my heart. Our foundation is and always will be his righteousness. Pictures of my family are flooding my mind, snippets of the most beautiful times we've ever shared together, and this is what I crave the most, this is what I long for more of. And in those moments, it was there, underlying and girding the heart, grace was there. The stopping and the slowing and the reflecting; it was all grace. His grace to see what His grace has given.

"The true beauty of advancing in years is the truth of advancing in grace", writes Ann ... I can't even express in words satisfactory enough to explain how this speaks to me ... to the very core of who I am, who I want to be.

When all is said and done, my life counts for nothing without His grace, for by it I have received all things.

Father,
My heart is swelling with the grace you have given me. I long for more of it in the living out of my life. Please give me eyes to see what matters most; fill my mind, my heart, my soul with your grace ... take me on a journey to knowing your grace more, and help me pour out and extend that grace to others. Amen.

Please, pour yourself a cuppa, do your soul a favour, and click on the link below to read this blogpost, "What we all need to really breathe", over at one of my favourite blogs, "A Holy Experience".

http://www.aholyexperience.com/

And Ann, thank you.      


                                                                                Photo property of Sufficient Grace... please ask permission before useage. Thanks
 
 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

It's The Little Things

Today has been my favourite kind of weather ... cold, rainy and snugly. The kind of weather that makes you have a slightly different perspective on life; it seems more intimate and cosy.  (It's when those piles of soft blankets and throws come in handy!) It's actually the favourite weather of a few of us in this family - it has a beautiful, gentle way of reminding us all that it's the simple things in life that are the big things.

We usually attend our family church every Sunday (which is in itself a beautiful blessing),  but this morning we knew the need for time at home together was necessary. Just us. To slow down the pace. Change our focus. Just relax. And we are all glad we did.

The kids played mostly happily all day a variety of games and 'cubby-house' adventures; Mr S and I spent a lot of time Christmas planning (another of my most favouritest things to do!) while drinking coffee, smooching and chatting. There's something to be said about shutting out the outside world (momentarily) and just enjoying the blessing of family. There was a lot of cuddling and laughing and tickle attacks had by all, and it was just pure fun!

And then, at the end of such a well spent day, we all gathered in the lounge-room to read our much loved series of books, 'The Barn Chronicles'. A wonderful non-fiction, adventure-filled story about the Booms, a family of 8 living in a 96 year old barn in New Zealand. It is an absolute gem! Our whole family has laughed so hard, and have enjoyed reading about so many of the incredible things this home-schooling family do. We read through the first in the series called "Where Lions Roar at Night", we are now almost at the end of the second "Where Arrows Fly", and we eagerly waited the release of the third in the series, "Where The Crickets Sing" and purchased it straight away!

These are such valuable books because they are a wonderful read-aloud treasure, they draw my family together and you get to know the characters like they're your own friends. Most importantly for my husband and I, when it comes to making memories for our amazing children and family, it reminds us that it's the simple things in life that are the big things.

If you are wanting to purchase these fantastic books for your own family, then click on the link below. Rosie and her husband Chris also produce their own music ... a very inspirational place to read through with a cuppa!

Happy reading!
 
 



(Rosie, if you ever 'stumble-upon' this blog, thank you from my whole family for taking the time to write such a wonderful series of inspirational family life. Your family has blessed ours greatly - much love to you and yours)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A Bit About My Life

 

 
I thought I'd introduce myself to you all a little bit more! I have been married to the most wonderful man for close to 11 years. We have had many ups and many downs, but I couldn't imagine my life without my steady, hard-working, peace-keeping, gorgeous man! He is an out-doors type and loves fishing, and farming and working with his hands. He has such a kind, gentle heart and he has a cheeky sense of humour!

I am the mother of four amazing children, 2 girls and 2 boys. Our oldest is a boy, Mr S who is 10. Next is our little Miss P, she is 8. Then there's little little Miss J who is 5.  Last of all is Mr R as he is 3. They are the most beautiful blessings in the world. (I'll introduce you to them more in a later post!) Being a mother has brought me so much satisfaction and joy! It truly is such a high calling to be trusted by God to train, nurture and discipline these little lives for His glory. Being a mother is a blessing from God. I just love being able to wrap my arms around their growing little bodies for a morning cuddle ... it sets such a lovely tone for the day.
                

My life is full of the normal 'hum-drum', everyday bits a pieces. Washing, cleaning, dusting, car-runs, washing, helping with homework, cooking, washing, feeding pets, stacking and unstacking the dishwasher, washing etc etc etc ... (Did I mention washing?) It goes on and on and on ... but knowing that it is God who I serve makes it much easier to do with a willing heart.

I think I was born in entirely the wrong era because I am so old-fashioned I feel like I should believing in the early 1920's!! Apart from blogging and pinterest, I really can't stand technology! (Is a kindle really classed as technology?!) I love everything old-fashioned; vases of roses, piles of neatly stacked old books (love sniffing them too!), folded throws and blankets easily accessible for those chilly nights, soft lamp light, candle-light, snail mail (love hand-written letters ... oh they are so good!!), country kitchens, shabby sheik/vintage furniture, I could go on and on! (I'm watching 'Anne of Green Gables' as I write this post...and it's raining...perfect combination!)

 I am also ridiculously creative (I say 'ridiculously' because most times I'm off in fairy land creating something new and putting off the other things that are actually reality!!). Writing is a particular passion of mine, and I have been writing all of my life (my mother informed me recently that I used to spend most of my time writing little stories in my early childhood; and as a teenager I was obsessed with writing poetry). Apparently I had bits of paper all over my bedroom with little scribbles and notes and 'to-do-lists' everywhere and now I sympathise with my dear mother because my son, Mr S, is exactly the same ... the paper sometimes drives me mental!!

In the words of Fraulein Maria,
"These are a few of my favourite things"...
  • photography             
  • writing
  • scrap booking
  • photography
  • singing
  • reading
  • poetry
  • sketching
  • sewing (that's a skill that is definitely still in the 'developing' stages!)
  • cooking
  • gardening
  • journalling
Well I think that's enough for now! (The movie has grabbed my attention ..."Hey Josie, how do you spell ugly?!")  I may introduce my family a bit more in the next post,or post about my faith,or my favourite books  and movies ...or who knows? I'll just take it as it comes!!

I hope you've enjoyed reading this ... it's been fun to write! I look forward to reading your comments and getting to
know you too!


All Photos property of Sufficient Grace... please ask permission before useage. Thanks
 
 

Monday, 5 November 2012

Thanksgiving And Shining Stars


Photo property of Sufficient Grace... please ask permission before useage. Thanks


                 So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.
Philippians 2:15

'Shine like stars in the universe’.  Do we do this?
We all know of little Sunday school songs and children’s songs that talk about shining; ‘This Little Light of Mine’, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’.  We can think of the concept of shining to be childish, unnecessary, cute, or not for the mature. These views are not accurate simply because the whole concept of shining came from God Himself (through Paul), with no reference to age, maturity, life experience, gender, marital status etc. He has described all those belonging to Christ to be shining like stars in the universe.

The verb shine means to be ‘of the sun or another source of light’; ‘to glow or be bright with reflected light’; ‘be bright with emotion’; to ‘direct (a torch or other light, the dictionary states) somewhere in order to see something in the dark.’

A bit of a recap on English for a moment, a verb simply is a word used to describe an action or the state of something.

So what Paul is telling us here is that we are to be in the action of shining, we are to be seen or found in the state of shining. In the action of glowing brightly with the reflected light of Jesus; being bright with His emotions;  we are to be the one’s shining bright enough with His light to those who need to see through the darkness; we are also to shine our light to find them in the darkness. 

But how?  How are we to keep shining like we are meant to? Paul tells us one way to do this. Back up in verse 15 he tells us to do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.

Everything without complaining or arguing … that is pretty hard for us. I am reading this book at the moment that is all about thanksgiving. About recognising the things that are in our life that come to us right from the hand of God and then going one step further and verbally thanking Him for it. Not just recognising the good things, but voicing our thanks for these things. The author goes one step further again and writes down all these good things as a written record of the goodness of God in her life.  Thanksgiving and thankfulness are the opposite of complaining and arguing. Thanksgiving and shining go hand in hand. Thanksgiving makes way for the shining.

If we are to be shining like stars in the universe so that others may be made aware of His grace and mercy and salvation; yet all we do is complain, whinge, argue and sometimes flat out refuse to give God our thanks for all the many amazing exceedingly above all that we ever hoped or asked for or imagined blessings; the thankfulness that He deserves, then aren’t we in fact dimming our lights? Becoming less effective in our witness? Becoming a little flicker instead of a full on blaze of His reflected light.

Jesus himself in Luke 22:19 ‘Took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them’. Jesus saw the importance of giving thanks to His Father even while awaiting his crucifixion, knowing that His suffering would manifest the glory of God.  Do we follow the example of Christ and offer thankfulness in all things, good and bad, just as Christ offered thanks to His Father before the excruciating torture that left Him unrecognisable to man took place?

This is what makes our shining so important, so vital, and so necessary.
Isaiah 53: 5 says , ‘But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed’.

Paul follows up in verse 16 that we ‘shine like stars in the universe, as we hold out the Word of life – in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour for nothing’.

We are to shine and hold out the Word of life. When we are actively reflecting the light of Jesus in our lives by offering audible thankfulness, it is near impossible to grumble and complain and argue and we are more effective in holding out the Word of life who is Jesus – because our words are life. Jesus will be made known on the face of this earth and in our communities and in our homes and our workplaces and our schools when we choose to offer our thankfulness to Him in all that He has and will continue to do for us. Good and bad. We will shine brightly, His salvation will be made known to those who have been drawn out of the darkness by our shining words of thankfulness to Him.

David knew how to give thanks, despite the unthinkable hardships he faced.
          I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
Psalm 7:17
 
           Proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds.
Psalm 27:6
 

        That I may sing your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Psalm 30:12
 
       But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.
Psalm 79: 13 

If Jesus sees giving thanks when facing crucifixion as necessary, then how much more thanks should we gladly give God? We who will never have to face this crucifixion because He has done it all for us. He walked that long steep hill, agonising under the weight of that massive, splintering cross that gouged itself into the raw, open wounds of his flesh. He was the One who felt the sting and the burn on His skin as they tore out the beard that adorned His face. He was the One who was on humiliating, naked display torn and dripping red with the cleansing blood of the spotless lamb. He was the one who gave us eternal life through the death of Himself.

May we never stop giving him thanks; may we never stop being those shining stars in this dark, depraved universe, for His glory.
 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Some Of My Favourite Quotes


I thoroughly enjoy a good quote; I find them inspiring and somewhat motivating ... here are some of my favourites that I thought you might enjoy!! 


"Great lives are made up of many little disciplines"   -   Elizabeth George


"There is no greater place of ministry, position or power than that of a Mother"      -   Phil Whisenhunt


"You create the atmosphere of the home with your attitudes"     -   Elizabeth Elliot


"Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God"    -    Jan Elliot


"Doing spiritual things will not maintain your relationship with God; your relationship with God will stimulate you to do spiritual things"     -   Bill Gaither


"A mans reputation is worth far more than gold"     -   Bill Gaither


Photo property of Sufficient Grace... please ask permission before useage. Thanks

I'll share some more of my favourites at a later date ...
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