Thursday, November 28, 2013


I haven't read many Christian books this fact, I've hardly read any.

But I did read and enjoy this one.

Together is Carrie Ward's story of how she sat and read the ENTIRE Bible to her three (later four) children at the breakfast table over several years.  After struggling with her own Bible reading and feeling disillusioned and hypocritical about how she was going to instil a love of Scripture in her kids, she prayed and then optimistically started the reading adventure from Genesis to Revelation.  I received this book as a Christmas present from a friend last year and what a timely gift it was now that I'm a mum and can relate to Carrie's struggles.

Here's what I learnt from this great little book:

It's never too late and they're never too youngI've been tempted to think that since Rory is a baby it's pointless to read the Bible to him.  It's never too early.  I'd like the reading of Scripture together to become 'normal' for him - maybe not at the breakfast table, but sometime (a friend of mine reads the Bible with her kids at lunchtime before they have their afternoon naps).  If you've never read the Bible with your kids, it's not too late no matter how old they are.  When Carrie started reading to her kids she had three (her fourth child arrived part way through their read through) and her eldest was four.

Persist, even though it seems like they're not listening: Carrie despaired after Day 1 because her kids were...well...being kids.  She wondered what the point of it all was...until she saw them role playing what they'd just read about in Genesis.  They were listening after all!

Read ahead of them: Carrie would 'prepare' for the next reading by staying a chapter or two ahead of her kids.  That way she could pray about and decide how to tackle issues raised in the passage and potential questions they might ask (she also has a great section in the book on how to deal with and explain those awkward, adult-content type passages in an age-appropriate way).  It also motivated her to read the Bible on her own and not just when her kids were present.

The wagon may stop momentarily but don't get off it: When Carrie was estimating how long it would take to read through the entire Bible she factored in things such as sick days, visitors, when she was having her fourth sometimes gets in the way of carefully made plans.  But that's not a reason to stop.  Don't despair if you've missed a few days, just get back on the wagon again.

Nothing beats the real thing: Children's Bibles have their place, but nothing is better than the real Bible, the inspired Word of God.  I think often many people assume children won't understand the real Bible, but God is powerful.

Sometimes I read a Psalm to Rory as I read through them myself.  Reviewing this book was a reminder to get back on the wagon again.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Older Woman and the Younger Woman

Dear Older Women,

I'm watching you.  Not in a creepy stalker type way, but I'm watching you to learn how to be a godly woman.

Therefore, when I hear you unfairly criticising young mothers behind their backs, I feel dismayed and discouraged.  I wonder what you're saying behind my back about how I parent Rory.  I'm not sure if I can take you at face value.  I don't know if I can approach you or be honest about the parenting decisions I've made.

When you say that you don't know why young mothers are so stressed, it's not that bad etc., I feel like there is no listening, wise ear I can turn to.  It seems like you've forgotten that you were that young mum 10, 20 or 30+ years ago and I don't know where to seek encouragement and empathy from.

When I see you drinking too much, getting 'tipsy', I start to feel like I'm alone in striving to swim against our alcohol-saturated and infatuated culture.  I start to wonder what the point of being different is when the church is no different to the world.

When you have the 'my views of the Bible are correct and you're young and don't know anything' attitude, I feel like we can't study the Word together and have a friendly discussion, learn from each other, and even disagree.

You see, I don't have a Christian mum.  I learn from the myriad of Christian women I've met in my life. 

'Older woman' doesn't mean old.  It's all relative.  By older, I just mean older than me.

I had a scary thought recently; I'm so used to being the younger woman and 'watching' the older women.  But now I wonder....who's watching me?

To some, I'm the older woman.  The primary school girls, the tweens, the teens, and the twenty-somethings.  Maybe they're also sussing out what it means to be a woman who loves Jesus and follows Him wholeheartedly.  Maybe they're watching to see how I relate to others, behave when I think no-one's watching, speak about others, react when people treat me badly and life doesn't go my way, how I treat my husband, my son, the lowly, forgotten people in society....

That's scary, but it's also a privilege.

I just have to share a great conversation I had with a lady from my church recently.  She is in her early eighties and she and her husband have recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.  When I congratulated her, she asked me how long Duncan and I have been married.
"Five years," I replied.
"You're just at the beginning," she told me.  "Have you ever thought about walking out?"
Thoughts raced through my mind.  The honest answer was 'yes', so I didn't want to lie. I think if all women are honest, they'll admit to having had those thoughts.  Marriage is wonderful, but it's also hard work!   But if I told the truth, would she just give me a lecture?
"Me too," she said.  "So many times."  Then she encouraged me to stick at it.
I came away feeling so refreshed by her honesty and looking forward to (God-willing) celebrating more marriage milestones with Duncan.

Thank you to those women who have mentored, encouraged, prayed for and with me over the years, who have read the Bible with me, and been up for a chat.  You're the kind of woman I want to be.  Your example is noted. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bible Verse of the Day

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to subject to their husbands, so that no-one will malign the word of God.
Titus 2:3-5

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Funny

Another one that was emailed to me.  I have no idea how much of it's true, but it gave me a laugh.  I reckon it was written by a man haha.


If you yelled for eight years, seven hours and six minutes you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
Hardly seems worth it.

If you farted consistently for six years and nine months enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.
Now that's more like it.

The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.
Oh my gosh!

A pig's orgasm lasts 30 minutes.

A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death.
Creepy!  I'm still not over the pig.

Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour.
Don't try this at home; maybe at work.

The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body.  The female initiates sex by ripping the male's head off.
Honey, I'm home.  What the heck?

The flea can jump 350 times its body length.  It's like a human jumping the length of a football field.
30 minutes!  Lucky pig!  Can you imagine?

The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds.
What could be so tasty on the bottom of a pond?

Some lions mate over 50 times a day.
I still can't believe that pig....quality over quantity.

Butterflies taste with their feet.
Something I've always wanted to know.

Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.
If you're ambidextrous, do you split the difference?

Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump.
Ok, so that would be a good thing.

A cat's urine glows under a black light.
I wonder how much the government paid to figure that out.

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
I know some people like that.

Starfish have no brains.
I know some people like that, too.

Polar bears are left-handed.
If they switch they'll live a lot longer.

Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure.
What about that pig?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Aria's 1st Birthday

About a year ago we were privileged to be asked to be godparents to our friends Joel and Sam's newborn daughter Aria. 

Last month she celebrated her first birthday.

Rory was very excited to be able to celebrate
with his little friend.


It's very cool to be a godparent.  We hope to be able to encourage her to follow the Lord Jesus in the years to come, be a godly example, and have a lot of fun along the way.

I will be perusing Meredith's series Hooray for Godparents - Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Loose Lips Sink Friendships

I was once asked what I consider to be the most important traits to look for in a friend.  I have a few, but one is an absolute must:


Without trust, there cannot be an intimate friendship.  Sure, you can be friends with someone you don't trust, but they can never be a close friend.  If our conversation is not progressing past casual chit-chat/what the weather is like because I'm afraid they might blab anything I say to the next 50 people they encounter, then it's not really a friendship; they're more of an acquaintance.

Women have all gossiped or had other women gossip about others to us - I think it's pretty safe to say that.  I did a dictionary search for the word 'gossip' as it seems to mean different things to different people.  Some say a gossip is someone who maliciously spreads lies and rumours.  Others say it's someone who can't keep a secret because they get too excited or just can't help themselves, but no harm was actually intended.  Still others say if someone repeats something they were asked to keep to themselves, whether it's true or not, good news or bad, it's still gossip!

The Free Dictionary seems to support all three definitions:

A person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumours or facts.
A conversation involving malicious chatter or rumours about other people.
Can't keep a secret.
Idle talk.

I've told gossipy people stuff, knowing that they were going to spread it as soon as possible.  That was because I really didn't care!  They may have thought they had a tasty morsel of news, but either it was old hat or nothing really confidential or important.  I remember laying a trap for a gossip once; I told them something that wasn't really that secret, but asked them to keep it to themselves.  When I realised that their lips had flapped, I knew I couldn't trust them with anything really important.  It doesn't matter whether they're just one of those people who 'got too excited and couldn't help it'.  They need to SEW their lips shut if need be.

I deliberately hid that I was in the MBU from some people.  It's not because I was ashamed but because I didn't want them delighting in telling people.  I didn't want the whole 'gossip disguised as prayer points' thing happening:
"We should pray for Sarah."
"Oh, what's happened to Sarah?"
"Didn't you know?"
It made me happy to stop them getting their jollies out of telling people.

Information shared should not automatically be classified as gossip.  It's ok to share news.  We should definitely pray together for people.  The problem is when it is BREAKING CONFIDENTIALITY.

What's so juicy about gossip?  Why do it?  Why do some people particularly get a buzz out of it?

I think it's the 'being in the know' factor.

Gossip gives people a sense of self-importance.  They knew FIRST.  Therefore, they must have more friends, be more liked and in the inner circle and not the outer.  This is quite interesting because gossips rarely stay in the 'inner circle' when people realise they can't be trusted.  Have you ever been told a piece of gossip and seen the deflated look on the gossip's face when you told them you already knew?  Suddenly they realise they're not so special.  They're not everyone's best friend.

It is so, so hard not to indulge in gossip.  Whether it's been in schools, workplaces, churches, I've seen and heard it all.  It's horrible to feel on the outer, to not be accepted by the clique.  But gossip is never a good way to make friends.  If someone is bitching to you about their best friend, then what are they saying about you to someone else?  Gossip may unite women at first, but it's usually only temporary.

One thing that struck me about the definitions of gossip was that it was described as 'idle talk'.  One of the biggest temptations for women to gossip is when we're idle.  I've noticed that in country towns.  I used to work in a shop where sometimes the same women would come in several times a day, admitting it was because they were bored.  Oh my, the stuff they would say about people in the town, people I hadn't even met yet!  Keeping busy can help with the temptation to gossip.

Please God, help me and other women keep a reign on our tongues.  Let us speak words of truth, encouragement and love.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bible Verse of the Day

A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.
Proverbs 11:13

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Bubba: 7-8 Months

Those two months were spent mastering sitting, 'talking' (dadadada), blowing raspberries and trying to crawl (and getting rather frustrated that he couldn't yet).  He got his first tooth in early September, experienced his first plane ride (to Sydney), battled consistent flare ups of eczema, and his appetite increased tenfold.  He is a ravenous fellow!

Sadly, my two men were unwell on Father's Day.

Such a cute fellow, even with eczema.

Mmm socks!

 Daddy's boy

Pumpkin is always a winner!

At church wearing his new peaked hat from Grandma.
He looks like a cute pixie.

Off to Bunnings with Daddy.  He hates it when I take him clothes
shopping or opshopping, but squeals in delight when we go to
Bunnings (such a boy!).

Having lunch together in Katanning.

Some friends gave us their kids' old walker.
Rory absolutely loves it (and so do I 'cos I can
get a few things done).

Why are you taking a picture of me?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Definition

During the group sessions at the MBU, we were asked to write our own definitions of 'depression' and 'anxiety'.  The clinical psychologist running the group told us she didn't want a dictionary definition of the terms i.e. depression is a consistent low mood of more than two weeks etc. but rather what depression and anxiety felt like to US.

These are the definitions I wrote over six months ago now.  I'm not sharing them to be morbid, but rather to help others gain a better understanding of what sufferers go through:


Crying for no reason
Nothing to look forward to.
In a deep pit and can't get out.
Irritated by some people.
Trapped in a nightmare.
Don't want to get out of bed and face the day.
Wanting to be alone, yet feeling so lonely.


Tense muscles
Can't relax
On edge
Feeling like I'm walking through Northbridge by myself at night, just waiting for someone to jump out and mug me.
Can't sleep
Lying rigidly on my bed instead of sinking comfortably into the mattress.
Rushing to get everything done.
Can't enjoy the moment.
Wanting time to pass quickly, yet slowly.
Fight or flight reaction.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Speaking Out

While I was visiting my parents recently, my mum showed me an article from The West Australian newspaper. It was featured as part of Mental Health Week and was a Perth woman's story of her battle with postnatal depression.
"Do you know this woman?" my mum asked.  The reason she thought I might know her was that the article mentioned she'd been in the MBU earlier this year.

Yes, I know her!  Julie was in the MBU when I was.  I really appreciated her input in the group sessions, her honesty and openness, and I was so sad when I read that it hasn't been smooth sailing for her since she was discharged.

I'm going to write to the editor and thank Julie for being brave enough to share her story.  She continues to be an encouragement to me.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Prompted To Write: Life in the Digital Age

This is my entry for Meredith's bi-monthly writing challenge Prompted To Write.

A week before Rory was born, I stepped out of the dark ages and into the shiny world of iphones.  It was one of those decisions I'd been umming and ahhhing about for a while.  I had a perfectly functional Samsung flip phone, and I can't stand how some people deliberately smash their phone or drown it in the washing machine just so they have an excuse to get the latest model.  I was well aware of the temptations of having internet access right at my fingertips.  Then there was the temptation of scrolling away on the thing when I'm out socialising with people (I've 'confiscated' Duncan's phone a few times).

After 10 months in iphoneland, I'm glad I made the jump.
  • It's my phone, camera, internet browser, social media, email, torch, weather advisor, street directory, bank, and gateway to online shopping - all in one!
  • The apps that exist out there never cease to amaze me.  We order pizzas using the Dominos app when we go to Perth.
  • Now that I'm a mum, starting up the laptop and getting on the internet seems all too hard some days.  I like how I can jump on Facebook quickly and easily.
  • There's even a Blogger app!  I've used it quite a few times to do a quick post, edit a typo out of an existing post and publish a pending comment.
  • The old days of looking up the street directory, writing down directions on a piece of paper and then having it fly off the dashboard while I'm driving are over.  It's better than a Tom-Tom.
  • It's only a phone, but it can take over your life.  I've heard people say they've felt practically naked if their phone has been lost or stolen.
  • It has the potential to be a terrible time-waster.
  • Social events are never the same.  Now everyone's there on their phones instead of talking to each other.
  • It makes it too easy for people to relay news or take and post photos that they shouldn't be sharing.
  • Even though the Facebook app is great, it doesn't have the full functionality as it does when you're on a computer.  Same with the Blogger app.

I'm glad I have an iphone.  Yes, I'm very behind the times.  But that's ok.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

From Head to Hand: In it to Win it

It's quite possible that the best writers in the world are not actually the best writers in the world.

Perhaps no-one knows the best writers because they've never actually taken the first step towards becoming published....getting started!

I had some brilliant writers in my Creative Writing classes at uni.  I could imagine that some of them would be good enough to make it in the cutthroat writing world, but I wonder if they've ever actually written something since uni days.  Perhaps they just went and got an ordinary 'day job', became overcome with the usual busyness that goes with family, career and life in general in suburbia and forgot all about writing.

You've got to be in it to win it.

When I hear some people say they're going to start writing a book, unfortunately I just don't believe them.  They don't stick to anything, they just have a million ideas that never really get off the ground and a few half-baked attempts.  They forget that writing takes 90% perspiration and only 10% inspiration.

I know that some people doubt I will ever get my book published.  But I've started editing again for the first time since Rory was born.  Approximately once a week, I put him in daycare for a few hours and go to the public library in town with my laptop and edit away.  Every word is a word closer to the finish line.

I won't give up.  I may not be the most talented writer out there, but at least I can say that I did it...I wrote a book.  Whether it ends up published or not, I gave it a shot.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Quote of the Day

Go on working, freely and furiously, and you will make progress.
- Paul Gauguin

Friday, November 01, 2013

What's Wrong With Two?

I think I'm about to dive into shark-infested with waters with this post....

But, hey, that's never stopped me before. ;)

Since Rory was a few months old, we've been asked when we're going to have another baby.  I kind of expected it since we live in a rush-rush society where people aren't content to enjoy the moment and are always thinking about what's next.  The question mostly came from people who were ignorant of what I've been through this year.  Those who knew the truth never asked; they knew I had enough on my plate.

This is a good answer:

Even before I became a mum I noticed that 'three is the new two'...especially in Christian circles.  It seems a given that Christian families will consist of at least three children.  I do know plenty of Christian couples who stopped at two, but the subtle pressure to have more seems to be there.  I'm glad Karen noticed it too, so I'm not the only one.  I've met some Christian women that seem to think the marker of biblical womanhood is not using contraception so you are not taking the 'control' out of God's hands, that you need to let Him determine the number of children you have, and not try to prevent conception.  I've heard women describe themselves as 'living life on the edge' and implying that the more children you have, the more it shows you trust God (and that women with fewer children must be control freaks).

Personally I think this kind of reasoning against family planning to be ludicrous.  We make decisions in all other areas of our lives so why should the number of kids we have be any different?  As long as a couple are not using contraception which causes abortions, it is a personal decision for each family.  If a couple want lots of children that is their business, so should it be if they want to stop at two...or one.

After everything that has happened this year, we've had to have serious discussions about family planning.  In an ideal world, three children would be great, however I've been warned by numerous medical staff to stay on my medication for at least a year (since April) and that while I can take it while pregnant, it does increase the risk of birth defects.  That's another thing...according to some Christians, being a godly woman means going against a doctor's advice, that if a doctor has told you it is unwise to have more children, then you should have more anyway because doctors can be wrong.  Yes, doctors can be wrong and many of them don't follow God and approve of things that I would consider unethical.  But that doesn't mean every Christian woman should risk her health.  Maybe God is speaking through the doctor...

There is a considerable chance I could end up with postnatal depression again, but I could also be fine.  Duncan and I decided that if I get it again, that's it.  We'll stop at two.  I consider it to be unfair on my husband, family, church and friends to deliberately have child after child when there is a significant chance I will be unwell afterwards, and they will have to pick up the pieces time and time again.  I wouldn't blame them for saying, "Sarah, stop having children.  Be content with the ones you've got."  I seriously don't know how women with depression cope with lots of children.  I've felt like dying with one.

Only in the past few weeks have I felt that another child could be doable one day.  I don't want Rory to grow up as an only child, if possible, as he's such a social chap who would probably love a sibling.  I'd prefer there not to be a big age gap, but we'll see how we go.  I'm really enjoying Rory at the moment and this time with just him will never come again.