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Friday, 30 August 2013

Faith Talk Friday: Daring to Dream

She is 75 years old. She is a fighter; a woman of God who has chosen to love the unlovely. Her name? Jan. I met her at a Church ladies night that we recently had.

The guest speaker, Pastor Francine Hunt's, message was called:
 
"You are a gift with gifts"
 
Francine said, "God puts a dream in our hearts and it is revealed in time".
 
Are there dreams you have but have put on the shelf?
Dreams that burn within you because you know that they are such a part of who you are and who you've been made to be?
Dreams that you would so desperately love to achieve but can't see any possible way to do it?
 
To have dreams is to have hopes and cherished aspirations.
 
She encouraged us to allow God to lead us into our dreams. 
To dare to dream. Dare meaning to step out and take a risk. To put fear where it belongs, behind us. To be sensitive to the heart of God. To say 'yes' every day to what He asks us to do. To be attentive to His voice, because when I am sensitive to His voice - it softens who I am.  

Part of going after our dreams is also to 'watch our language'. Not necessarily swearing (although that is not how we should speak), but watching what we say to and about ourselves. "I'm just not capable", "I'm too ugly", "I'm way too old for that now", "I just can't get past this point ..." If we are wanting to reach our dreams, then we can't be negative .
 
Sometimes our dreams are lived out in slightly different ways than what we first imagined.

Jan has been beaten, strangled, stolen from and verbally abused many times. As a little 3 year old girl growing up in the war, she lived her young life surrounded by uniformed men. She recalled these days with such a beautiful smile on her face, "We always had soldiers in our home. They would play their mouth organs, and their violins and organs and it was just wonderful!"
 
She went on to share how even at that young age she knew she wanted to be out as a nurse, helping the injured on the front-line and bringing them back to a place of safety. She re-realised this dream only when she was eighteen and this dream was lived out in a very different way than she originally thought it would be.
 
As she grew older she began to see the need to help heroine addicts and other drug addicts and to help alcoholics. And not just by going to them, but by having them in her home. Some of these people she still sees and has a lovely bond with even now, some thirty years on. She realised that she was in fact fulfilling the dream God gave her all those many years ago to help the sick and needy and nurse them to a safe place into a relationship with Jesus.

It's cost her dearly, this dream.
 
But through it all she looked me square in the eyes and said, "God still had lessons for me to learn. It has all been worth it and I am amazed by just how much He loves us!"

Tears welled up in this beautiful woman's eyes and she choked on her words of sincere praise. This is a woman who has lived out her dreams and experienced God powerfully in them. She inspired me.
 
She is moving towns as soon as her house sells. She's not familiar with this new town. She's not aware of why God is having her move there. She is just obeying His leading.

Oh to have such faith and such willing obedience.
 
To go after my dream, to go after your dream, with such a zeal and determination and persistence that nothing will stop us! Even if it comes at a high cost!
 
We can be women of influence in our homes, our communities in our churches by listening and obeying God when He leads us. We can achieve our dreams, even though they may to us seem hugely unachievable. If it's Gods dream in us, we can be sure He'll make it happen.
 
Don't give up on your dream, beautiful friend! Please just don't give up. This world needs you to do what God has made only you to do. Seek His face, ask Him for leading and direction if you need to, but just don't ever let your dreams stay on that shelf!
 
Remember: God puts a dream in our hearts and it is revealed in time.


 
 So long as breath remains in our lungs, untapped potential lies inside us, waiting to be released. The reason we are still alive is that we are carrying something inside us that this generation needs. That’s why we’re not yet in heaven. –Wayne Cordeiro.

 
Your dream is beating in your chest. Do you feel it? -Bruce Wilkenson.
 
 
Psalm 37:4 ESV     
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Family Friendly Wednesday: Home Happenings

We've been enjoying ourselves the last little while. Although there has been sickness in the home, we have still been trying to make the most of our days. I'm a very glad the sickness is on it's way out though! Definitely makes a mothers job even more challenging!
 
 
Mr R enjoyed driving his cars and trucks through the dirt. It's what every boy needs; cars trucks, dirt a tractor and a shed! He makes the best sounds effects when he drives and as you can see, he is such a happy little man!
 
 
 We enjoyed a visit from my mum (prior to sickness) and had a great time together. The kids love colouring in with Nana and they enjoyed exploring outside with her and lots of cuddles. Mum and I went out to lunch together and had a great time chatting and laughing together! I love my mum!
 
 
I love Little Mr R's head poking through in this photo!
 
 
This was a beautiful sight that I walked in to one morning ... two little chilluns snuggled up with books. Oh how I love that my kids love books! I love the smile on Mr R's face as he listens to the enthusiastic reading of Little Miss J.
 
 
 
Mr S. reading Gulliver's Travels while resting from sickness. Days home sick from school are always best spent with a book. He looks so relaxed.
 
 
 
Our kids love to have adventures at home. This is our very tall Honeysuckle tree that they enjoy climbing (which gives mummies prayer life much exercise!) And these chairs are the cubby house rooms and door etc. (yes I checked they were stable!) I love how my kids can create their own fun!
 
 
We have a favourite park that we like to visit as often as possible. It is almost magical, especially when the sun shines through the trees and the kids go hiding under the branch rooves. We have discovered lots of beautiful things at this park and the kids rarely hesitate to visit such a glorious spot for a picnic lunch.
 
 
Our beautiful friend came up for a visit for a week and brought her lovely little daughter (who shares the same name as our Little Miss J) for some play time with Mr R. We visited a local lavender farm and enjoyed morning tea together and walking through the rows of gorgeous smelling flowers.
 
 
 This lovely lady is such a precious friend, and we enjoyed many late nights scrapbooking, chatting, laughing till our stomachs ached and eating probably waaayyy too much cookies and cream ice-cream. We went for coffee and lunch and a fantastic night out at our church (a post to come on that later!!)
 
 
These two little cuties had such wonderful fun together, and it was such a blessing to have them visit!
 
"Life is what you make it", quote un-quote my wonderful husband. We love making this life as beautiful as possible together ... after all, we only get one!
 
Enjoy your week! I've linked up with A Wise Woman for more inspiration for you!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Be Inspired Mondays: My Favourite iPhone Photo Apps!

I am an Instagram fan! Probably because I am a photo freak! I have more photos on my computer than I ever think I'll be able to scrapbook and that's ok. You've got to practise right?! And now, it's the same with my iPhone *sigh* (I'm actually completely ok with having a life filled with photographs! Although I do believe we don't have to share every precious moment with the world!) Today, I'm sharing with you some of my favourites and best of all they're free!

So, without further introduction ... here are my favourite free iPhone photography apps! (hang on, I'll just get my phone!) I have included links that tell you info about each app and how to upload them to your iPhone, as well as some examples of photos I've taken with these apps. I'm still not all that 'tech-savvy' when it comes to linking sorry, so I hope they work! Let me know if they don't!

Instacollage!

InstaCollage helps you quickly combine multiple sized photos into one beautifully framed picture & unique collage with caption in seconds.


 


 
 
 
 
It makes any photograph extraordinary with a fun, high-quality photo experience right at your fingertips. Anyone can enhance, transform, and share their photos with ease using incredibly advanced features from the leader in digital photography software.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 My Sketch is the best sketch maker turning your favourite photos into gorgeous sketches.
 
 

 

 
 

 
 
 
Create beautiful pictures out of any text and share them with your friends on Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc.. or save them in your gallery.
 
 
 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
PhotoStudio is powerful photo editing software featuring an array of advanced tools, filters and special effects inside a very friendly user interface. Beginners will appreciate the straight-forward design, while advanced users will love the performance and control. The program includes everything you need to manage, enhance, print, and get creative with your digital photos! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

Full of the features that matter, and designed so that collecting your photos every day is a joy not a chore. (this text won't  unbold sorry!)

 
 
 
 
This last app is my new favourite! It allows you to take a picture each day and attach it to a calendar so that you have a whole calendar full of daily little memories! You can caption the pics too, which is a great form of journaling the 'not to be forgotten' facts! The calendar is also printable, however, I am yet to  try printing my own as I have only just begun creating my monthly calendar this month. (The above image is an example from the website)
 
 
I'd love to hear from you with your favourite apps so comment below and let me know what they are! Do you use and enjoy these ones too or are there any others that are your favourites?!
 
Enjoy capturing your precious memories!
 

Friday, 23 August 2013

Faith Talk Friday: You Are Loved

It's on my heart to remind you that you are so loved. You really are. Despite what you've done, or what you haven't done. Despite the fact that you feel you may never have your parents acceptance of you. Regardless of your stuff ups and your failures. Even though you may have just yelled at the kids again, disrespected your husband, angered your boss. In spite of your fear and doubt.

Even if you've stopped following His path for you.
 
His love for you never ends. Ever.

He is quick to forgive and abounding in compassionate love. He is ready to equip us and help us live lives that better honour Him. There is nothing in this world that can ever separate you from His love. And there's nothing that He withheld to show His love to you.
 
I wonder if we would take a few minutes each day to silence that voice in our heads that tells us we are unworthy, unlovable. To rid our minds of those lies. To soak into our thinking the truth. The never-changing truth.
 
We are loved and His love for us is perfect!
 
Would we become more effective? A little bit freer? More confident?
 
More secure in knowing that we are really truly loved and that His love pursues us. You are loved. I am loved. We are so beautiful to Him. God's Word is full of truth that we need to read to remodel our warped thinking of ourselves, our situations, our fears, our everything.
 
His Word is life and eternal hope, and at the very core of His Word is His beautiful,
time-less,  grace-filled message: He loves us. He loves you.
 

 
 
 (Linking up with these lovely blogs for you to enjoy!)

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Family Friendly Wednesday: Lovely Poetry

We have a beautiful friend (with her beautiful daughter) visiting with us this week, so I am hoping to be computer free as much as possible so we can make the most of our time together! So, today's post is just a couple of sweet little poems I found, that I hope you enjoy!
 



"The Home I Love"       
Some homes are quiet, polished, neat
But one I know is far more sweet
Where tiny smudges on the wall
Tell of fingers dear and small.
Where toys are sometimes strewn about
And doors are banging in and out.
Where little children play and sing,
And laughter's often heard to ring...
The home I love is filled with noise
Of happy little girls and boys!    
Author: Kay Hoffman
 
 
 
"Family"
There's a special kind of closeness
that only families know,
That begins with childhood trust
and deepens as you grow.

There's a special kind of happiness
in sharing little things,
The laughter, smiles, and quiet talks
that daily living brings.

There's a special kind of comfort
in knowing your family's there,
To back you up, to cheer you up
to understand and care.

Of all the treasures life may bring,
your family means the most,
And whether near or far apart,
That love will hold you close
Author: Glenda Campbell
 
 
I hope you're all having a beautiful week!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Be Inspired Monday: A Brilliant Read

So, I've just started this book that I can't put down. You know those ones? Where you want to read it instead of making dinner, or feeding the dogs, or hanging out the washing, or replying to emails, or ... sleeping?! Yep, I was up late again last night, snuggled in deeply to my bed enjoying this brilliant life story. I haven't really payed for it today like I thought I would though, I think sometimes I tell myself that because it's 'doing me good' in my heart and mind, then what's a bit of sleep deprivation?!
 
I heard of this book when I went to Hillsong conference, and it's written by Christine Caine.
 
 
If you've ever heard her speak, you will know that she is a fire dart; speaking truth, pouring out her own life experiences so honestly, then powerfully telling of how God has turned her life full circle. She glorifies Him above all else and spurs us on to do the same. This book is exactly like that.
 
Stop.
 
Yes, it will convict you. It's not all sweet apple pie and roses. It's blunt and to the point but filled with oh so much hope! It's brimming with hope! I'm about half way through and I'm already planning on staying up late to finish this treasure. Do you find yourself excitedly 'planning' in late reading nights too? They're the best! Although I haven't read it all through yet, I know that with this book there will be given hope, but there will also be given something that every female heart longs for.
 
Freedom.
 
The name of the book?

 
 
 
 


Christine is also the author and founder of the A21 Campaign, 'Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century', where she and her team put hands and feet to their faith and make a difference in the lives of so many who are treated unjustly.
 
If you haven't read this book, see if you can grab a copy from someone to borrow, or check out the local library ,or your church library, or you could buy yourself a copy. One thing I know is that I've already thought of a few people in my life who would get so much hope out of reading this too, so I might just buy them a copy (as they won't be borrowing my kindle!). It's that kind of book, one that you want to pass on, so that's why I'm sharing it here with you!
 
Well, all that said I think I'll go and put the washing on the line ... nah! Who am I kidding? I'm going to go read ...
 
What have been some of those 'can't put down' books you've read?!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Faith Talk Friday: Tuning In



“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”
― Zig Ziglar
 
I've been pondering again lately. Thinking about paying attention and tuning in. There are so many things that fight for my attention, so many things that require my concentration.
 
While cooking dinner the other night, I had a moment where I 'snapped back' to reality as I realised that the whole time my son had been speaking to me, I was daydreaming about writing. It was a great daydream too, I had some great ideas floating around in there! Then I thought that regardless of how great those ideas were, my son needed me to listen and I should've tuned in to his needs in that moment.
 
This brain of mine gets so easily distracted (as I'm sure every woman's brain does!) and so I find myself having to be purposeful in tuning in to the most important things. To practise tuning in. To make sure I actually stop my mind from wandering, or my hands from being so busy, or my heart from being lead astray by emotions, and really tune in to the right things at the right time.
 
Are we missing what's important right now for things that can wait till later?
 
Here's some things we could enjoy that we would otherwise miss if we don't tune in ...
 
  • realising just how good our husbands are to us (and thanking him)
  • discovering the individual world of our children that they want to share with us
  • many kisses and cuddles
  • seeing when your husband needs some encouragement and love
  • enjoying the beautiful world that God has made
  • seeing little hands at work
  • their smiles of love and adoration
  • getting to really know the hearts of those you love
  • making memories that will last eternally
  • seeing each new day as an opportunity to show Christ in everything
  • being a listening ear to someone who just needs someone to relate to
  • inspiration for our talents and hobbies that is everywhere
  • to write that card to that person who needs encouragement
  • laughing until our stomachs ache with our husband and children
  • opportunities to make an impact in even one persons heart for today
 
These are some things that are not so nice, but still important to tune into ...
  • when there is sin in our lives that keeps us from knowing God that should be dealt with
  • when there is sin in our children's hearts that needs addressing
  • when we have wronged someone and need to ask for forgiveness and apologise
  • when we keep putting off prayer and reading His word
  • when we need to deal with past hurts that are holding us back for the future
  • when we need to forgive someone who's wronged us
I'm sure you could add more to both these lists, but the most important thing that we miss out on when we are too distracted is being tuned into the voice of God. Hearing His direction, wisdom, guidance and comfort.
 
So, in an effort to 'tune in' more myself each day, I've have been taking photos (surprise surprise!) of the things I've enjoyed ... although, some I've kept to myself too ;)

 
 
 

 
    
 
  

 
What little moments have you loved tuning into this week?
 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Family Friendly Wednesday: Pondered Treasures

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19) 
 
I had asked my four year old son to get out something for a task for me to do, and to my surprise he began doing it for me! Unasked and happily! My heart melted. My first reaction was to quickly grab my iPhone, take a photo and post it on IG and FB. Then I stopped and thought, ‘hang-on, this was a moment just for me to enjoy’. I wonder how many times we rob ourselves of ‘pondering’ things over in our own hearts, by just quickly broadcasting it to people who do care, but not exactly the same as we do.
FB and IG are great tools of communication if they are used positively, and especially if we live away from extended families, or children studying away from home etc. However, this thought really stirred in my heart a desire to always ‘keep’ something as just my own, or just between my husband and I, or our immediate family. This is what helps to create family culture, identity, memories and bonds. It’s what makes a heart filled with irreplaceable, priceless, treasure memories of our children once they are gone and left home. The really special things I record in my diary. I still take photos of these moments (because I do love photographs, and IG for that matter!), but just save the gems to my camera roll instead of posting to FB or IG.
Treasured:  to keep or regard as precious; value highly. Cherished, precious, wanted, loved.
Pondering:  deeply or seriously thoughtful. To weigh in the mind with thoroughness and care. To be reflective.
 
Of course when this was said of her, Mary was pondering on the things that the shepherds spoke of, concerning what the angels had proclaimed about the beautiful boy she has just given birth to. But I can’t help but think if she had acquired a beautiful habit that would have filled her memory with beautiful treasures that were just hers as her son grew into a man.  Can you see her? Admiring her son, the Son of God. Admiring His wisdom, His kindness. Being full of motherly pride when she saw Him bend down low to help those in need; the lowest, the ‘scummy one’s’ of society. I wonder if she blabbed it all over the market place what her son was doing, what her son said. I don’t think she ever did. I think she continued in the habit of quietly pondering.
There’s nothing wrong with being proud of our children’s achievements, character, skills etc. But I think Mary was on to something. She reflected, not rushed. She pondered, not paraded. She treasured up, not talked out. She filled her heart, not filled her need of outward praise. What a beautiful example to us mothers in just that little sentence in Luke.
Before I reach, before you reach to ‘announce’ positive things on FB or IG, be picky and choosy. Obviously I don’t not share anything at all for others to see, but I do first consider if it’s a beautiful treasure that God has gifted only me with to ponder upon in my heart. I hope you do too!

Take the time to enjoy cherishing your moments thoroughly!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Be Inspired Monday: Great New Music

My family are music lovers. We play instruments (well, the kids anyway! I'm 'dabbling' with guitar and piano), we sing along with it (obviously) and there is rarely a day that goes by without it being listened to (sometimes really loudly!) and absolutely loved. It's an easy way to create a beautiful atmosphere in your home for those you love! Don't you agree?!
 
I thought I'd inspire you with some new tunes we've been enjoying lately. Some artists we already  knew but just bought their new albums, and some we've had the great pleasure of stumbling across.
I have included links to a song from each album, and some information about the artist, so I hope that you really like listening to these great songs!
  • "Mercy Me - The Worship Sessions" I saw this in the Koorong catalogue for 10 bucks ... bargain! My favourite song on this album is 'Just as I am'.
 

 
 
  • "Leeland -Sound of Melodies".  When I went to Hillsong Conference in Sydney this year, Leeland performed live, and they were amazing! Really amazing! 'Carried to the Table' is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. Ever.
 
  • "Kari Jobe". I heard Kari live at Hillsong as well and the sound of her voice is haunting, it goes right through you. Stunning performer. 'Beautiful' is well ... beautiful!
 
  •  "Hillsong - Glorious Ruins". Obviously from when I went to conference. It's a great album that declares that God can make something beautiful out of our ruins. My favourite song? Glorious Ruins!


 


 
  • "Jason Gray - A Way to see in the Dark". I stumbled across this guy the other week through another blog (now I can't remember the blog - but whoever you are, thank you!) and I am hooked. He is raw, real and so inspiring. It's actually hard to choose a favourite on this album ... 'Remind Me Who I am' is fabulous, 'Without Running Away' is challenging and 'Nothing Is Wasted' is full of hope. He also has such incredibly powerful and creative music videos with his songs; he is just so honest and uplifting.
 
 
Well, I hope you enjoy these great albums! Are your family music lovers too? What are your family favourites? If these links haven't worked, please let me know, I really want you to hear these tunes! Which one is your favourite?
 

Friday, 9 August 2013

Faith Talk Friday: I say "No Longer"

Because we are imperfect human beings, we can get so discouraged in our hearts, in our circumstances, in our day-to-day lives, in our workplaces, in our families. It's a discouragement that leaves us feeling like we've fallen down into a black bottomless pit. Falling, falling, always falling. Been there? Feeling like there's no possible way out; like there's nothing anybody can do to make things ok? I have many times.
 
 

It's actually ridiculous the amount of times that I have been so close to giving up. So close to throwing in the towel; whether it be in my marriage, my mothering, keeping this house, serving in church, my own personal dreams and goals, supporting extended family members. By nature I am prone to discouragement and negativity. Prone to depression and fear. This is my old self, the one that I am constantly up against and constantly trying to whip into line with the truth my God and Saviour speaks to me.

 
It's the ugly self that satan uses to flaunt my weaknesses and how pathetic he thinks I am in front of my face. He's harsh, and sometimes, I believe Him. I really do. I hear that voice in my ear that tells me 'I'm never going to achieve this or that'; that 'I'll never be able to victoriously move through difficult situations or times of grief'; I'm 'never going to be able to change this or that'; that 'I'm never going to be beautiful'; that  'the hurt won't heal'; that 'I'll never be able to even come before my God in prayer, because you know how you just behaved Elisha, and you're now so unworthy of even showing your face in His presence'. He is persistent.
 
But  (I love that there's a but) ...
 
... God's love is relentless. It's only Him who gets me through anything. I am learning that prayer is so overwhelmingly powerful. It is what holds me together. Have you ever gotten to the point where you just know that you know, that there is no way in this whole wide world that you can ever be the mother, the wife, the friend, the Christ-follower you long to be without Him helping you do it? Without Him sustaining your every effort, your every thought, action, prayer, dream, path, everything?
 
This is that point where we refuse to let satan have his way with us any longer. To flaunt that old self in front of us in condemnation. We are told over and over again that God has won victories for us, He has overcome, He loves us to no end, His plans are only for our good, that nothing can separate us from His love, that we are the head and not the tail, that He is the beginning and the end, that He will finish the good work that He has begun in us, that He alone is faithful, that He leads and guides us, that He gives us His wisdom, that He forgives and forgets our confessed sins, that we are white as snow, that we have the authority of Jesus Christ, that we are friends of Christ, that we are more than conquerors.

 
 
 
Can you see where I'm going with this? Do you believe it? We are not living a life that is controlled by the enemy. We are living a life that overcomes the enemy because Christ has already defeated him. We are living a life that is led and governed by our great and mighty Father and beautiful women, we must start standing up and saying to the enemy 'no longer.' No longer will you hold me bound in a life of fear. No longer will you tell me I can't pray because of my sin. No longer will you tell me my marriage is hopeless. No longer will you tell me my child will never change. No longer will I listen to your filthy, vile whisperings in my ear. My heart is not yours. My life is not yours. My family is not yours. My future is not yours. Nothing I have is yours, you do not own me, you cannot harm me, I am no longer going to allow to you hold me back in this life. No longer am I going to live a life that is second rate because you are wanting to steal from me, harm and attempt to kill and destroy me. You are not going to hold me back any longer.

 
 
We must choose to live in the truth of the Word of Christ. We must choose to live in the power of prayer. I need to pray. We need to pray. Praying is one of the most amazing things I do to see results in my life. Even when I don't feel like praying, even when it looks like there's no answers. Even when, and I've been here many times, I have not even known what it is I am exactly praying for or needing Him to work in. Times like this we can pray one sentence prayers, "Lord, please don't leave me where I am". "Lord, work your self into my heart". "Lord, help me to not miss the small moments". "Lord, help me to be the wife and mother you need me to be". "God please bring them back to you". "God, help my unbelief".

 
 
Our God is faithful to hear us, equip us, guide us, strengthen us, help us, and free us. When we believe Him, and choose to put ourselves in His presence we can be assured that He is faithful to answer. His peace will guard our hearts and minds. The circumstances may not change, they may get worse. The answer may come, though not as we want. We may struggle with the same thing the very next day and the day after that. But He never leaves us, He never stops working in us, His plans for us are never for anything but good. He never stops loving us. He sustains us, His power is made perfect in our weakness and His grace is sufficient. The enemy has no hold over us.

 
 
Will you join me, beautiful friend in living a life that overcomes the enemy to the praise of His glorious Name? I encourage you this week, to strengthen yourself through His Word and by writing out a list of verses that speak of the victories we have in Christ. Lean into him in prayer this week, and He will grant you the peace, the contentment and the power that can and should be yours.  


 
 If you're reading this and you don't know of Gods love for you, or you need some questions answered, please make sure you leave a comment. Sometimes we all need a listening ear.
 
You can click here to go to one of my favourite blogs for more great reads too.
 
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