Friday, March 29, 2013

Quote of the Day

As we watch Jesus pray in agony in Gethsemane, He has every right to turn His tearful eyes towards you and shout, "This is your cup.  You're responsible for this!  It's your sin!  You drink it."
This cup should be rightfully thrust into my hand and yours.  Instead, Jesus freely takes it that from the cross He can look down on you and me, whisper our names and say, "I drain this cup  for you - for you have lived in defiance of me, who have hated me, who have opposed me.  I drink it all...for you."
- C.J. Mahaney

Thursday, March 28, 2013

5 Things I Now Understand About Mums

Now that I'm a mum, I can say, "I get it."

I never used to get it before, but these past nine weeks have been a huge reality check. 

I now understand why mums....

1.  Shop online.
2.  Start dinner preparation at breakfast time and give their slow cookers a workout.
3.  Are pedantic about sleep times.  It's our sanity at stake.
4.  Talk everything fast, really.
5.  Get annoyed when childless people say, "Oh I'd love to stay home with a baby/kids all day.  That sounds so nice and cruisy."

If you're a mum and ever felt judged by me...I'm truly sorry.

I only have one child, but I get it.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Envy of Eve

If there was a book I was tempted to quote from incessantly, it's this one.  But I will control myself and only put in a few gems.

Coveting is not a sin exclusive to women, but this is a book aimed at women and the specific ways women are tempted to covet.  The book's message is not, "Coveting is wrong, stop doing it."  Instead it goes deeper into what coveting actually is.  It's a sin that flows from the unbelief in our hearts - not something that is based on our circumstances.  We justify our coveting by insisting that if our circumstances were different, we wouldn't do it.  But that isn't true.   Covetousness is described as a 'mother sin' which leads to other sins.  Adultery begins first with the covetous desire of lust.  Stealing begins with envy of that which belongs to another.  Our covetous desires do not simply stay in the inner reaches of our hearts (page 32).  Reading this book is like holding a mirror up to our hearts. It's like going to a psychologist and telling them, "I've got a problem with this," and they reply, "No, your problem is actually this."

One of the ways coveting destroys relationships between women is that they often tear down the woman they envy.  They tell her that what she has really isn't so good to mask the fact that they desire it for themselves.  They compared their lot to another and felt they came up short (page 35).  This can often lead to them avoiding the woman whose giftedness, experiences, possessions, or relationships they covet. 

A good question to ask is, how do I know whether my desire is good or covetousness; e.g. how do I know whether my desire for a husband has turned into idolatry?  The book provides the following four heart checks:
  • The object of our desire is wrong
  • The means to go about obtaining our desire is wrong
  • The motivation for our desire is wrong
  • The attitude while waiting for our desire is wrong (page 36)
In other words, how we handle disappointment is a good indicator of whether or not we are coveting.

Melissa B. Kruger, the author of this book, uses a number of examples of biblical figures (Eve, David, Judas etc) whose downfall came because they coveted.  The pattern of coveting springs from our unbelief in God's good character and can often be revealed in the following steps:
  • We see
  • We covet
  • We take
  • We hide - from God and others.  We hide either because we are ashamed of what we have done or because we still want to hold onto whatever we have taken unlawfully....We hide our anger, discontentment and lack of joy by attempting to explain the difficulty of our circumstances.  Our gossip is hidden under the guise of prayer requests and openness....Our hiding separates us from relationship with others as well as closeness to God (page 86).
The book examines the we see, covet, take and hide pattern in the various ways women are tempted to covet:
  • Money and possessions
  • Romantic relationships (yep, I've been there when I was single)
  • Family and friendship (ouch, yes!)
  • Seasons and circumstances (ouch, ouch!)
  • Giftedness and abilities (yep, still dealing with that one)
We all have our temptations and struggles which spring from our lack of trust in God's sovereignty over our lives.  But, despite it sounding like this book is one big guilt-trip, it's actually one that offers tremendous hope, and that hope is the cross of Christ.  Jesus was tempted in every way we are, yet was without sin.  He triumphed over it in His death and resurrection so that we might have His perfect righteousness.  For that reason, I think the chapter, The Power of Coveting: The Cross of Christ should be at the end and not halfway through the book.  For He does not simply save us and leave us to wallow in our covetousness.  Bit by bit, He is at work in us.

This is a book I highly recommend all Christian women read and is it relevant to all of us, regardless of our season of life.  In fact, it's a book that would be great to read in a group such as a book club as it has discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bible Verse of the Day

What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?  You want something but don't get it.  You kill and covet, but you cannot get what you want.  You quarrel and fight.  You do not have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
James 4:1-3

Friday, March 22, 2013

5 Scariest Movie Villains

Some of these gave me the creeps in my childhood....and still do.

1.  Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty

Image from

2.  Winifred Sanderson (Bette Midler) in Hocus Pocus

Image from

3.  Colonel Vogel (Michael Byrne) in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade


4.  Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in The Silence of the Lambs

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5.  Seymour Parrish (Robin Williams) in One Hour Photo

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 Who do you think are the scariest movie characters?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Christina's 30th

On the 2nd March, I went to my good friend Christina's 30th birthday party.  This was a night I had been looking forward to for a while.  It was a chance for me to go and feel like a human being again.  A chance to be myself rather than somebody's mother.  Duncan looked after Rory so I could have a night out.

But as the date drew closer I felt quite nervous.  It felt so long since I'd been out anywhere.  I was feeling depressed.  My body will not be the same as it was, and I knew there would be a lot of beautiful, glamorous people there.  I wondered if I would struggle to hold a conversation.

My friends Emma and Peter picked me up and off went to the Crown Casino where Christina had booked a function room.  The theme was 'white'.  My dress was one of my quickest clothing purchases ever.  I saw it, ran into the shop, tried it on and paid for it in record time while Duncan comforted a screaming Rory.   It was a really good night.  I didn't last very long as I was so exhausted after the trip to Perth and weeks of broken sleep.  But I did it.  I went out.  I made conversation.  And I wore something other than trackies or PJs.

Dodgy iphone pic #1

Dodgy iphone pic #2

Peter, Emma and I
All the ladies in white.

With the birthday girl.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Quote of the Day

Never be ashamed of the scars that life has left you with.  A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed, you endured the pain, and God has healed you.
- Unknown

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Scar

I have scars.

I'm not talking about my caesarean scar.

Nor am I talking about the faint scar on my face from when I fell face first onto the bitumen while jumping rope on my third day of Year 7.

Nor do I mean the scar on my leg from when I accidentally walked into the stump of a dead bush while trying to remove it two days prior to Christmas 2011.

I have scars which are not easily visible.

We all do.

The longer we live the more scars we bear.  Scars from conflict, from disappointments, from hardships...from life.

A scar must be allowed to heal properly.  Too often others will be impatient with our scars.  They'll want us to heal quickly and get on with life again.  But a scar cannot close over properly unless what is underneath it has been cleaned.  The muck under it must be removed so that scar can heal and we can move on.

Even if a scar has healed properly, it never fades completely.  It remains a visible reminder of where we've been, and influences our behaviour and choices in the future.

So when you feel like you just don't understand somebody, it may be because of a scar they bear, a scar you can't see unless you dig deeper and get to know them well.

Scars are not bad.  When the wound is fresh, the pain is often unbearable.  But the scar is a reminder of where I've been....and that I have survived.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Funny

I love cats' expressions.  My Ebony sure has cattitude.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Bubba

Our trip to the paediatrician last week confirmed our suspicions...Rory has silent reflux.  He was prescribed Zantac and we were told that it could take about three days to kick in, and that it works in 85% of cases.

The first few days on Zantac were beyond horrible.  Rory wouldn't sleep at all during the day.  He was wired.  He was screaming and in obvious discomfort.  I gave up on attempting any sort of sleep for myself during the day.  Sleep when the baby sleeps....what a joke!  What if your baby never sleeps?!?  The first day of Zantac I could cope with...the second, not so much.  On the second day we lost power so I spent a day without water as well.  I was sweaty, tired, frustrated, and at the end of my rope.  It turns out it was a scheduled outage but we weren't notified about it.

After eight days of Zantac, I can sadly say there has been no improvement that I can see.  Rory even started waking up more frequently at night.

Now I suspect he's suffering from an intolerance to the protein in cow's milk so I've decided to cut dairy out of my diet and see if it makes a difference.  He fits most of the symptoms.  This is mistakenly seen as lactose intolerance, but it isn't the lactose they're reacting to.  I was speaking to a staff member from the hospital we had Rory at and her 12 week old baby sounds very similar to Rory.  She said she went off dairy and noticed a significant improvement...much more than from the medication.  It will take about two or three weeks to see whether it works.  I figured it's only a few weeks of my life and if it helps him and us get decent sleep, then it's more than worth it.  And hey, it's not like I'm a stranger to extreme diets!  My arthritis is still in remission so I can still eat the foods on the bottom rung of the food pyramid.

On a good note, Rory now recognises my face and smiles.  It's moments like that which help me keep going.  I love him!

Swimming bubba!  He enjoys his baths now. 5 weeks

Father and son. 5 weeks.
Exercising bubba!  He loves his playmat. 5 weeks.

Angel bubba.  I've got wings!  5 weeks.

Mohawk bubba.  6 weeks. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

5 Things NOT To Say To Someone With Postnatal Depression

Well, I finally start counselling today.  Please pray this lady will be helpful.

Maybe this post should have been titled, 5 Things NOT To Say To ME, but it'll be interesting to see if anyone can relate.

1.  But you have a beautiful baby
This is usually said when I've admitted that I haven't been doing too well.  Whether or not my baby is beautiful is beside the point.  You think I'm depressed because I think my baby's ugly?!?

2.  You're so negative/You just need to think positive
This is the one that really, REALLY angers me.  In fact, I had a run-in last week with someone who had a go at me for being negative.  The cult of positive thinking is very annoying.  Feeling depressed is not just something I can 'snap out of'.  It's not my life goal to go around feeling miserable and drag others down. I don't get a kick out of feeling overwhelmed and sad.  But I'm not going to pretend everything's ok just because some shallow people can't handle the truth (and the person I clashed with was someone I've known all my life - not a complete stranger or an acquaintance.  This person also had a go at me when my Nan died as well, despite it being less than two weeks after her death, plus they had attended the funeral just days before.  Unbelievable!).

3.  Just be happy/Just enjoy it
This is as bad as point 2.  Who 'enjoys' EVERY moment in life?  Again this reflects the world's obsession with shallow happiness being the ultimate goal.

4.  Back in my day we just had to deal with it/Toughen up/There are people who have far worse babies than you/You didn't expect it to be easy, did you?
It is not necessarily linked to circumstances - well, it is and it isn't (I doubt I would be feeling so down if I hadn't had a baby).  Yes, there are women out there with far more difficult babies than Rory, but it isn't about comparison.  It's about not being able to cope with what's on YOUR plate at that moment, regardless of whether others think you deserve a suffering medal or not.

5.  You need to hold it together for the sake of the baby
It's always about the baby!  As long as the baby is ok, very few people seem to care about the mother (and, in some cases, it's the father who has postnatal depression).  I often feel like screaming, "What about me?  The baby might be sleeping well, feeding well etc, but I'M not doing too well."

Anyone got anything to add to this list?  Feel free to list away...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bible Verse of the Day

A man's spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?
Proverbs 18:14

Monday, March 11, 2013

You're Doing Ok, Mum

When I used to go to work, I would come home usually feeling like I had achieved something.

One of the hardest things about becoming a parent is that I feel like I'm constantly failing.

A friend shared this clip on Facebook and it made me cry.

It's what I hope Rory would say if he could speak.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Please Vote For Rory

West Australians go to the polls tomorrow to vote in the state election, but now I'm asking everyone to vote....for the BONDS Baby Search competition.

Follow the link below and register to vote.

Rory B | BONDS Baby Search 2013

Duncan didn't want me to enter him and I usually think these competitions are a bit lame too, but then I thought, The bubba is costing us a fortune in nappies.  He must earn his keep hehe.  Now Duncan has changed his mind...he wants the bubba to win!

Please vote.  He is pretty cute.  I love his expression and that he has his fist drawn.  It looks like he's saying, "Take another photo of me and I'll punch you in the face."

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Pendulum: Church Music

I don't know if there is anything that divides churches more than music.  It turns supposedly mature adults into catty, nitpicky juveniles.

Too many hymns, not enough hymns, not enough Hillsong, Hillsong sucks, too many slow songs, too many songs with lines that repeat over and over....

For something that is meant to be about bringing praise to God, music can be a real pain in the butt.

When it comes to church music, I have eclectic taste.  Some hymns are good, some 1960s songs are good, some new stuff is good.  Whether it's rock, jazz, or even rap, there are good songs in each genre.

Music is about worshipping God and publicly declaring truths about Him through song in order to build each other up.

It's NOT about personal tastes.  Sometimes you just need to be mature and accept the fact that you will not like every song sung at church.  I once heard an older person complain that they don't like any of the music sung in Perth churches.  Really?  They've visited EVERY church in Perth in order to know that?  I seriously doubt it.

Despite what some people may think, hymns are not holier than thou.  Just because something was written between 1500 and 1900 and has Shakespearean type language does not make it a good or helpful song.

Here are the questions I like to ask of a song:
  • Is it true?  Is it based on the Bible?  Not necessarily directly quoting verses (although songs based on Bible passages are really helpful in teaching you to memorise Scripture), but is it theologically sound?
  • Is it understandable?  Some hymns are lovely, but if I'm honest, I'm not too sure what I'm actually singing about.  A song can't build up Christians if they can't understand the lyrics.
  • Does it build up fellow Christians or does it cause unnecessary divisions?
Personally, I think songs need to have a good melody as well as good lyrics otherwise it makes it hard to enjoy singing it (I really don't like the arrangements of some songs), but that's just my opinion. 

So church music is not about satisfying the oldies with a certain quota of hymns, or having the latest funky Christian music in order to attract youth or non-Christians.

Before you judge a song because of its era, have a listen.  You might be surprised.

I sure have been.

This post has been entered in the March edition of the Christian Blog Carnival. If you're a Christian blogger and would like to enter one of your recent posts, submit it here today.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Quote of the Day

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Now That You Are Back

I thought now was an appropriate time to review this great little book I read last year.

The author, Richard Beeston, and his band came to Cornerstone camp a few years back and a bonus CD even comes with the book.  In just 75 pages Richard tells the heartbreaking story of his wife Alison's struggle with depression.  They go from a happily married young couple who own their own home to having to sell nearly everything to pay for Alison's treatment.  The toll it takes on both of them is tremendous.  The book ends with hope for Alison's future.

This is a really good book to read for Christians as it helps to shed some light on the burden depression sufferers and their carers carry.  It looks at depression from a Christian perspective, and gives helpful tips on how to support those who are in the grips of the 'black dog'.

Despite how awful I've been feeling lately, I could not comprehend what it must be like to suffer as Alison has.  One bit of the book really struck me as it covers the responses Richard received from friends and family when he let them know Alison had depression.  He said the responses could be grouped into two categories:

I don't get it, but I'd like to find out more.
I don't get it, and I don't want to talk about it.

Richard explained that some of his and Alison's closest friends and relatives gave the second response which was both baffling and hurtful:

It would have been easier for me if these people had just come out and said, 'I think this whole depression business is a load of rubbish'.  At least then I could have responded.  In reality, these people just didn't talk to me, or if they did, they never mentioned Alison and acted as if nothing was happening in my life at all.

I remember vividly going to see someone one night, and spending the entire time in inane chit chat.  At the end of the night I said, "Did you know Alison is in hospital at the moment?"  To which they replied, "Yeah, but I didn't think you'd want to talk about it."

Of course I wanted to talk about it.  I needed friends to help me carry the burden.  They didn't have to understand completely, but they could have at least asked how I was going or if Alison was feeling any better.  Instead, their throwaway line of, "Yeah, but I didn't think you'd want to talk about it," came across as more like, "Yeah, but I don't really care."

I think this response may stem from the unfortunate problems that occurs in all areas of society, and is just as prevalent in the workplace, within families and amongst church-going Christians.  That is, the construction and perpetuation of facades or masks.  Week after week, we present different faces to different people, mostly pretending that our lives are all ok, when often they are not. (page 36)

Richard went on to say that he and Alison did also receive a lot of support and care, but this section of the book is a powerful challenge to churches in particular.  Silence is often interpreted as a lack of care.  It is better to at least try to reach out to the hurting, especially if they have gone to the effort to be honest about their struggles.

A must read!