Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: The Year That Was

I thought it was right to end the year with a 'pondering' post...

2014 reminded me strongly of 2011.  The craziness of 2010 with my Nan's illness (and death in early 2011), the move, and plenty of other stresses kind of melted into a 2011 which was really a 'year of recovery'.  It was a year of finding our feet in a new place after so much turmoil the year before.  2014 was much the same.  After a 2013 which was the worst year of my life, I was grateful for more stability, predictability and steady plodding this year.

So many people tried to scare me with stories about the horrors of having a toddler.  Well, I'd just like to say that having a child who can walk brought me so much joy this year.  Do you know how much easier it is to get around NOT having to carry the child, plus half of the house to go the shops?  He can walk to the car and even carry some of his own things.  Hooray!  He can enjoy the park, the beach, the town pool, and the farm much more because he can walk.  And I enjoy NOT having to soak his pants for days because he's been crawling through the dirt.  It has been a great year watching my bubba grow into a little boy.  He loves 'helping' and we've got into much more of a steady routine.  He likes knowing what's going to happen next, but he's also flexible (much like me).  While there have been tantrums (oh, the tantrums), he's become increasingly fussy and suspicious when it comes to food (which has been frustrating), on the whole, looking after him has become much easier.

One of the highlights for me this year was a return to the stage after more than 10 years.  Being a part of two plays and receiving such great feedback has been incredible.

There have been sadnesses and struggles.  Rory's allergy diagnosis and having to rehome Ebony brought me such grief.  While I have questioned myself whether it was right to mourn the absence of a pet so much, I still feel like I'm far from over it.

I've been suffering from consistent fatigue for much of this year.  It all started in February when I was weaning Rory - my weight went haywire, my arthritis returned with a vengeance (and then went into remission again).  There are days when I REALLY struggle to get out of bed and crash as soon as Rory naps.  I still don't know how I managed to do the plays, it must have been LOTS of caffeine, family support and afternoon naps.  At times, I was in despair about the house because cleaning was the last thing I felt like doing.  In the past month we've had the incredible blessing of the provision of a cleaner to help me out (she also cleans for two of the other ladies on the farm).  2015 will involve further investigation into what is causing this tiredness.  I'm still in a quandary about whether to persist with doctors or naturopaths as neither have really helped much.

To all readers of this blog, I wish you more than a happy new year.  I want more than happiness for you.  I want you to know the true and living God, who is the only solid rock.

Right, I'm going to have a nap now if I'm going to have any chance of staying up until midnight.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Very Martha Christmas

I try to avoid reading blog posts or articles about how we should be Marys at Christmastime, and not Marthas.  You know, the ones that say how important it is to stop rushing around DOING things and spend time sitting at Jesus' feet, just listening, reading your Bible, praying.

It was our turn to host Christmas this year, so 'Mary time' was always going to be scant.  I thought I was organised this year but, sadly, I was not.  There was plenty of last-minute rushing around - presents I'd forgotten, presents I wanted but couldn't find locally, food that needed to be prepared...  I put up the tree, sent Christmas cards and newsletters to my extended family and family friends (all non-Christians), bought presents, spring-cleaned the house (partly), baked cookies to give as presents, posted care packages to missionaries on behalf of my church...  Not surprisingly I was hit with terrible fatigue just before Christmas.  I cried when I had to get out of bed.  Even caffeine wasn't cutting it.  I started to loathe Christmas and all it has become.  We were invited to a Christmas Eve party at Duncan's boss's house, but when my chocolate mousse turned out to be a disaster, I was completely and thoroughly over it.  I didn't go the party; Duncan took Rory and I went to bed and cried myself to sleep.  I WANT to be Mary, sitting at Jesus' feet, feeling wonderfully spiritually edified.  Yet, I always fall into the Martha trap.

Then I read this article, When God Gives You an Overcrowded Christmas on the Desiring God blog which Meredith shared on Facebook!  Thank you Meredith!  This gave me so much perspective on why I do what I do at Christmastime.  While some was probably done from wrong motives (not wanting people to think less of me for having a messy house or not enough food, not wanting people to think I'm depriving Rory somehow for not having a tree, presents and taking him to Christmas parties), I spend time buying Matthias Media Christmas cards and sending them to my non-Christian relatives because I want to point them towards Jesus.  I want to have people at my house because I don't want them to spend Christmas alone (our friends who came don't have many family members in Australia).  I posted the care packages because I want missionaries spending Christmas in countries where it is not celebrated to know that they are loved and remembered at this time.

I might be exhausted...but it was not in vain.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Passing Down the Christmas Stocking

My uncle's (now ex) partner made me this beautiful Christmas stocking 26 years ago (I was five years old at the time).  She made one for my brother, too:


Now, I've decided to pass it on to Rory.  Hopefully he'll get as much love out of it being stuffed full of goodies on Christmas morning as I did.



Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for reading along here in 2014.

I thought it was pretty cool to see this shopfront in our town.
Remember the real reason for the season!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why We Don't Do Santa

Duncan and I decided a while ago that we wouldn't try to convince Rory (and any other children we might have) to believe in Santa.  Duncan was raised in a Christian home where the focus was on Jesus being the reason for the season.  I was raised in a secular home and believed in Santa until I was about nine, I think.  My parents encouraged belief in Santa (and the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy) and it did make my childhood quite exciting and magical.

So, why don't I want Rory to believe in Santa?

Well, let's just say that I don't think Santa is this huge issue which Christians should fight against.  He's not the reason for Christmas, but I don't want to be known as anti-Santa.  I just don't want him to be the centre of Christmas.  I'm quite happy for Rory to put out food for Santa, sit on his knee at Christmas parties, and have a Christmas stocking.  I love Harry Potter, but I don't think it's real.  You can enjoy the fantasy behind something without being deluded by it.  I fully intend to tell Rory that, although we don't do Santa in our family, it doesn't give him the right to ruin other children's fun or laugh at them.  We can disagree, but still be gentle and respectful.

The ladies over at the GirlTalk blog put it so well:
First of all, it is helpful to remember that belief in Santa isn’t a major theological front on which we mothers must fight. The well-meaning people who ask our children “What is Santa going to bring you?” aren’t questioning the deity of Christ or the authority of God’s Word. They might be perpetuating the myth of Santa, but the essential truths of the gospel are not at stake in these conversations with strangers (or friends). And the motives of these individuals are generally an expression of kindness to you and your children. 

The post where this quote comes from is fantastic in helping Christian families who don't 'do Santa' relate to those who do.  I can see this becoming quite an issue as Rory gets older since all the kids we go to playgroup with (who will also be the ones he goes to school with) all come from families where Santa is the focus of Christmas.  It's almost seen as child abuse by some non-Christians to not encourage belief in Santa, as if you're ruining their childhood.  I can also see this becoming an issue with my parents.

So, why don't we do Santa in our family?
  •  Christmas is about Christ, not Santa.  Jesus is real, Santa is not.
  • I don't want to lie to my kids.  The world may see it as a 'white lie', but a lie is still a lie.
  • Santa only brings gifts to kids who've been good.  Jesus IS the greatest gift of all, and His gift of salvation cannot be earned by being 'good'.
  • Santa is unfair.  He brings better presents to wealthier kids and nothing much to poorer kids.  How do you explain that?  How do you explain to your child why Santa brought their friend an iPad and them a colouring book and stickers?
  • I don't want some old guy who doesn't exist to take credit for the presents Duncan and I give (haha).
Pretty happy with his present at the daycare Christmas party

This was at our tennis club's Christmas party.
Rory doesn't like beards, so Santa was NOT a hit.

 If you're a Christian parent, how do your deal with the issue of Santa?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Funny

So funny.....and appropriate for Christmas.

My poultry are so blessed living here.



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Year of Farewelling Pets

A few weeks ago, I received some very sad news.  A friend of mine from Albany saw Ebony listed on a Facebook buy, swap and sell page.  The bloke who I gave her to was trying to rehome her due to being too busy and her not getting along with his farm dogs.

I was devastated to say the least.  I just wanted her back.  I worried about what the impact of going to yet another home would be on her.

A few days later I received a call from a lady who had adopted Ebony.  She wanted to know if Ebony's microchip was still registered in my name or the guy I'd given her to.  She sounded lovely and said Ebony has settled in well with her family in a town an hour south of us.  Her three boys are doting on her and she is lapping it up.  This put my mind at ease somewhat.

But I still miss her terribly.  This will be my first Christmas without her in many years.


This has been a horrible year, as far as my pets are concerned.  Another hen, Shelley, passed away last night.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Boo, Boo, Boo

That's the noise Rory makes whenever I mention the chooks or we visit them.  He's trying to say, "Book, book, book" Hehehe.

He's just like his mum and late Great Nan...he loves chooks!  He loves going into the chook pen and being surrounded by chooks, they don't scare him in the least.  He even tried to catch Solomon once.  Solomon wasn't having any of that!

So proud of his fowls.

It's more crowded around the self feeder now.

Rory's favourite hen is Sheba.  I told him, "That's Sheba," and now, whenever he sees her, he shouts, "BAAA."  I'm not sure if he misheard me and thought I said 'sheep' and now thinks she's a sheep, not a chook.  Perhaps the poor chap is confused.  Or maybe he's just emphasising the 'ba' at the end of her name.

Friday, December 12, 2014

We Have a Winner, Folks!

The random number generator thingy has chosen....

Karen from Life Actually

Congratulations Karen!  Could you please leave a comment with your postal address and choice of book (the comment won't be published).  Due to Christmas being so close, it may take a while for the book to arrive.

Thank you to everyone who entered. 

Now, I asked what 'Christian issue' has most interested readers if this blog lately.  Here are the anonymous responses.  It was interesting that no-one seems to have any pet issues at the moment:

Well, I'm not one for really getting caught up in issues so I don't often go looking for books on particular issues. The best book I've read in last 12 months is Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. Highly recommended. Her account of becoming a Christian and leaving behind life as a lesbian. Most convicting is the wonderful way her church family loved her as she explored, questioned and grew. A challenge for all of us to love the way Jesus did. 

My reading this last six months has been very sparse, mainly books to keep up with Bible study preparation. So obviously "A Gospel Pageant" by Allan Chapple has been big on my agenda and more recently a couple of books on the minor prophets.
And now in December you will find me dipping once again into "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" edited by dear Nancy Guthrie.
So not issues as such - more study preparation and now Christmas preparation.


My Christian book reading lately has been pretty limited really. Our church encouraged us to read a book, and then discuss it in small groups with the plan of giving it away to a non Christian friend, so I read a book called "Stepping Out in Faith" by Mark Gilbert. It's a book about former Catholics sharing how they came to know the Gospel in their lives. Hoping to pass that one on to a Catholic friend of mine.
I have also started reading "Good News for Weary Women" by Elyse Fitzpatrick. The title sounds terrible, but weariness is probably an apt description of the state of my life at present! It's been a good reminder that we don't need to place unrealistic expectations on ourselves because we already have everything we need in the Gospel.
So I guess maybe the theme of my reading lately has been that the Gospel is all that we need!



My plans for next year are to read some Christian biographies (The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert is actually at the top of my list).

Thursday, December 11, 2014

24 Hours To Go

...to enter my competition!

You could win a Christian book by simply telling me which Christian issues most interest you at the moment, and which books you've already read on the topic.

Your comments will not be published and will remain anonymous.  I will publish a list of responses, but will not mention who said what.

Details here.

I will draw the winner randomly tomorrow at 5pm (West Australian time).

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Don't Forget to Enter My Competition

Three days to go....

You could win a Christian book by simply telling me which Christian issues most interest you at the moment, and which books you've already read on the topic.

Details here.

Hurry!  You know you want to...

Friday, December 05, 2014

Sedshed Christian Book Giveaway

Maybe this will liven things up a bit....

It's been over a year and a half since I did one of these.  It's almost Christmas.  It's time!

Here's the choice of books with links to my reviews:

Battlefield of the Mind













Why We Love the Church












This Little Church Stayed Home














Together













God's Good Design













Why Trust the Bible?














The Postpartum Survival Guide













O Love That Will Not Let Me Go













The How and Why of Love














 

 Fearfully and Wonderfully Made













Islam in our Backyard















Living with the Underworld













What's the catch?  All you have to do is tell me which 'Christian issue' you're most interested in at the moment and what books you've read on that topic.  I tend to get thinking about a particular topic and then read Christian books on that topic.  What's your topic of interest lately?  Is it baptism, the Lord's Supper/communion, evangelism/mission, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, the cross, spiritual gifts, how to do church, church music, end times, creation vs. theistic evolution, prayer, Christian views on parenting, education..etc. etc?

An issue that has really interested me is ethics and this year I read The How and Why of Love and Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (both on the list below).

All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know of your favourite topic lately and which books you've read on that topic (and if you recommend them or not).

No comments will be published.  When I announce the winner, I will also compile an anonymous list of responses, but no names will be included.

This giveaway is open to everyone - bloggers and non-bloggers, Christians and non-Christians, from anywhere in the world.

You have until 5pm next Friday 12th December (West Australian time).  The winner will be drawn randomly.

If you're not much of a reader, why not try to win a book for a friend?

GO! :)

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Wake Up Blogosphere!

It's waaay too quiet out there.

There are very few bloggers blogging, and even less people commenting.  Page hits are way down.

Maybe this would be a good way to liven things up a bit.


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Solomon's New Wives

Poor Solomon the rooster was well on his way to becoming a widower this year, losing four wives in as many months - Rose, Clementine, Eggnog, then Florentine.

We've arrested the slide by acquiring him four new fit, young wives/concubines.  Duncan's parents kindly gave them to us, and brought them over when they visited a couple of weeks ago.

Introducing:






Marilyn (White Leghorn crossed with other breeds) is after Marilyn Monroe since she's blonde.
Sheba (Australorp crossed with a Light Sussex) is after the Queen of Sheba, since she visited King Solomon.
Dixie (Light Sussex) is after the Dixie Chicks.
Esme (Light Sussex crossed with other breeds) is after Esme Watson from A Country Practice since chooks are such busybodies.

The arrival of the new girls has caused a flutter in Cluckingham Palace.  The old girls - Omelette, Shelley, Gloria and Princess Layer - have let the newcomers know exactly where they sit in the pecking order.  But the newbies will not lay down without a fight - it didn't take long for Gloria and Sheba to start going at it, rising off the ground with a flapping of wings and squawking loudly.  Meanwhile, Solomon greeted his new wives with a strange little rooster dance.

Now we have the old girls laying and the new girls laying.

Anyone want eggs?

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The Shocking Death of Phillip Hughes

Like most people, the death of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes last Thursday shocked and saddened me.

If you're not familiar with what happened, here's the story.

I've been trying to figure out why I found it distressing.  I'm not a cricket fan.  I don't know him personally.

Was it because he was young?
But young people die every day.

Was it because he was famous and talented?
But so many celebrities have passed on.

Was it because it was sudden?
Sort of, but people die suddenly every day.

I think it was because it was so random.  It hasn't really happened before in cricket, at least not that we've heard of here.

I think it's a stark reminder that you can be here today, gone tomorrow.  You don't have to be doing something stupid or dangerous to lose your life.  You can be cautious, be in the best health, be doing what you love....and you still can't cheat death.

Praying for Hughes' family, friends and teammates, for Sean Abbott who bowled the ball, and for everyone who has been touched by this tragedy.

Praying that they will look to the Author of Life......Jesus.

Image from here.

Monday, December 01, 2014

The Christmas Tree Isssss Uuuupppp

I waited until the 1st December, like a good girl.

The playpen is necessary in this stage of life.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Funny

Duncan got given this book by someone as a joke before we were married.  I had to laugh at the description of Duncan the train.  I said to Duncan, "Sounds like someone else I know haha."  He was not amused.

It is one of Rory's favourite books at the moment.  I told him, "Daddy's name is Duncan, too."  Now he points at the train and says, "Dad".


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Friendships and Ageism

Duncan and I have quite a few friends turning 40 in the coming months.  The older I get the more I appreciate having friends of all different ages.

I'm in my thirties and I have friends in their twenties and friends in their forties.  I have a few close female friends who are in their late thirties, about eight or nine years older than myself.  The older we all get, the less age matters.  Well, it does to me.

Why do I get on so well with women older than me?  It's because when we're together, age doesn't factor into the friendship.  We're friends because we get on well, we share worldviews and interests.  We're all adults, we've all reached maturity of sorts.  Some of us are married with kids, some aren't.  It would be naive to say different life stages don't impact on friendships, but age certainly doesn't.

I can't be friends with someone who treats me like a kid.  I don't want to treat my friends who are in their twenties like they are immature kids, because they aren't.  Sometimes older women treat me like I know nothing, like they're my mum or auntie and can boss me around.  I can't be friends with those people.  I need respect to be friends with someone.

It's great having friends the same age, who you went to school with, who you grew up with.  Those are special friendships with special memories.  But, even when they're older, many women tend to gravitate towards other women of the same age.  Maybe instead of being instantly drawn to the fellow 41-year-old first-time mum, try striking up a conversation with the 21-year-old first-time mum.  You might find that the 20 year age gap means nothing now you are both in the same boat as first-time mums.  Try befriending women 7-10 years younger (or older) than yourself.  You're not 15 and they're not seven anymore.  You're both adults.

It might just be the start of a treasured friendship.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Quote of the Day

If a friendship lasts longer than seven years, psychologists say it will last a lifetime.
- Unknown

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Frenemies?

Why on earth do some people friend request people in Facebook who they despise in real life?

I know several people who can't stand to be in the same room as each other, yet they have become Facebook 'friends'.

So, so weird.

This is a mug I found in Red Dot a few months back.

I don't get it.  Please explain...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Living With The Underworld

Last year I had a conversation with a good friend of mine, who is not Christian, about what Christians believe regarding ghosts, evil spirits and the occult.  She wanted to know if houses could really be haunted, and things like that.  It was a topic I had not really thought much about, and so I had to admit to my friend that I couldn't really answer a lot of her questions.  She was just appreciative that I bothered to try; apparently another Christian she asked wanted to avoid the subject altogether.

I bought this book to both educate myself and help my friend.  Now I've read it, I feel confident to give it to her (I've made the mistake of giving a book to someone without reading it first before....never again!).

This book was both surprising and disappointing.  The positives about it are also the negatives.  I was disappointed that it skated over the issues and questions likely to intrigue non-Christians.  But I was surprised and pleased that it so strongly points readers to the gospel and uses every opportunity to evangelise a potentially non-Christian audience.  For that reason, I WOULD give this book to my friend (presuming she is still interested in this topic).  I'm just wondering if she will be annoyed.  I get Peter Bolt's position - we don't want to focus on the underworld, particularly as the Bible itself is somewhat vague about it; we want to focus on Jesus and how He has defeated the underworld.  However, even I came away from this book a bit confused.  In Chapter 3: Underworld Beings he writes about the English 'word' demon (which we hear so much in the gospels) coming from the Greek word 'daemon' which really means 'ghost' - so often we think there are four species in the universe (God, humans, angels and demons).  So, does that mean the demons which were possessing people in the gospels are actually ghosts of dead people? (pages 52-53).  That is still unclear to me.

I'm hoping to catch up with my friend this week and see if she's interested in reading this book.  I'm praying that she will be satisfied with not delving too deeply into underworld issues and instead encounter the living Jesus who has defeated the underworld on the cross.

You can order this book from the Matthias Media Australian online store here.
Or the US store here.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Greatest Sacrifice

ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day are almost considered days of religious observance in Australia.  People tend to look at you in horror if you're not attending marches or observing a minute of silence.  It's like the religion for the irreligious.

I don't mean that to be in any way disrespectful to those brave men and women who gave up their lives so we might enjoy the life and freedom we do today.  To give up one's life is indeed a great sacrifice and I pray they are never forgotten as long as this earth remains.

But there is someone whose sacrifice was greater than the ANZACs or any soldier.

Jesus.

The ANZACs died and remain in their graves.  Jesus died and physically rose again.

The ANZACs gave their physical lives to preserve our physical lives, but we will still die one day.  Jesus gave His life so that one day, although we will still die, those who trust in Him will have new, physical, resurrection bodies. 

The ANZACs died to keep us free from something external - invasion.  Jesus died to free us from something internal - our sinful nature.

The ANZACs, as part of the Allies, defeated the soldiers from enemy countries.  Jesus defeated sin, death and the devil.

The ANZACs' sacrifice was supposed to be in the war to end all wars.  Yet the twentieth century had more wars and more casualties than ever before.  Jesus' death was once for all.  It is finished.

The ANZACs were great.

Jesus is the greatest.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Talkin' Irish

This is how I learnt my Irish accent for the play:



It's amazing what you can find on YouTube.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My Costume

The play is over.  I'm both relieved and saddened about this. Relieved because at last I get to spend every night at home and get some more sleep. Saddened because it was an incredible experience, honouring the brave men and women from the town where I live who went to serve in World War I one hundred years ago, and also working with such a fantastic cast and crew.

My character was Irish so I had to master the accent. It was tricky but I got there. I even had people asking me if I was really Irish afterwards which was a nice compliment.

No more plays for a while. It will be sorely tempting to audition for more (I can see why they call it the 'acting bug'), but it's not fair on Duncan, Rory or my parents.


Friday, November 07, 2014

The Pendulum: Baby Milestones

I definitely have a love-hate relationship with baby milestones.

I always thought I'd be pretty content for Rory to do things like crawling/walking/talking in his own time.  And I was content....before others told me I shouldn't be.  Some people seemed most concerned that Rory wasn't yet doing things that their kids/grandkids were doing at the same age.  Sometimes it has been health professionals who've said things that got me worried, but mostly it has been other parents.

I can see why milestones are very useful.  They can be reassuring for first-time parents, like myself, who want to know what is 'normal'.  If there are developmental delays, there can be early intervention.

But, on the other hand, milestones tend to treat kids like robots.  It's expected that they all be the same, moving along like a herd.  People say 'every child develops at their own pace' and 'there is a wide range of normal', but, in reality, it often feels like strangers are watching your child with beady eyes, waiting to see if there is something 'wrong'.

I've already had two people tell me they think Rory is autistic.  This has angered me no end because these people are NOT health professionals.  They were targeting one aspect of his behaviour - he likes to line up his plastic toy animals in rows - instead of looking at it as a whole.  After the first person said they thought he was displaying an early sign of autism, I looked into it and that is the only 'red flag' he has.  He's very interactive, makes good eye contact, and definitely has a wide range of interests, not just sorting things.  Besides, isn't 'sorting' a normal toddler behaviour anyway?  There seems to be so many people paranoid about autism today.  I'm part of an Albany mums' Facebook group and so many women on there seem to be worrying endlessly about 'sensory activities' and if their child doesn't like wearing a woolly jumper or something, they must be diagnosed as having Sensory Processing Disorder or ASD (I hated woolly jumpers as a kid and I'm not autistic).

I've also had our child health nurse say she is concerned that Rory does not say enough words for his age; apparently he's supposed to be saying around 50 words, but he says nowhere near that, and some of the words he doesn't say very clearly.  He could be looking at speech therapy if he isn't improving by age two.  He chatters all the time and understands pretty much everything I say, he just doesn't speak clearly or have as wide a vocabulary as some kids his age.  I don't mind going to speech therapy if that's what he needs, it just seems like there's so much pressure on kids to do more and more at younger ages.

Don't get me wrong, I'm so glad to have the health system we have.  I just often feel like I'm to blame if my child is not accomplishing things, which isn't fair on him because I want him to just enjoy being a toddler.  People often jump to the conclusion that the reason he's not great at speaking is because we let him use iPads or iPhones which couldn't be further from the truth....we don't even let him TOUCH them.

Karen, if you're reading this, I'd really appreciate any comments or advice you have.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Amanda's Cards

I bought these beautiful cards online from my dear friend Amanda's shop.  They are her own designs.  I'm looking forward to giving them to people:



Her work is amazing and you can order her designs on iPad/iPhone covers, t-shirts, cards, calendars, canvases and much more.

Here's the link to her shop KeLu.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Islam in our Backyard

I thought this would be a very timely book review considering the current political climate.

I first read this book while I was at uni due to having a Muslim flatmate in student housing and there being a considerable number of Muslim students on campus.  If you want to get past the media scaremongering and the ignorance of many Christians and read a fairly simple overview of what Muslims actually believe, this is the book for you.  One only has to log into Facebook to read a number of supposed quotes from the Qur'an being 'shared' by Christians.  It made me think....there are plenty of people who misquote the Bible and we, as Christians, encourage them to read it properly, in context.  Shouldn't we do the same with the Qur'an instead of spouting off?

The book is part novel, part non-fiction, and that's where I think it falls down a bit.  I found the whole conversation with the fictitious neighbour a tad cheesy.  I would have much rather just read a book on Islam, explaining the history, the beliefs, the sects etc.  The best bit from the fictitious story was towards the end when he encourages his neighbour to consider the big questions of truth and the impact of pluralism.

I guess there are always going to be people who will refuse to read a book on Islam written by a Christian, using the excuse, "Oh, he's just going to make Muslims look bad."  But isn't a book on Islam written by a Muslim just going to paint Islam favourably?  If you're interested in how much truth there is to Islam being a religion of violent extremists, I would definitely read this book.

You can order this book from the Matthias Media Australian online store here.
Or the US store here.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Additions

These are two recent and very handy additions to our household:



The one on the left will be in recess over the summer months, but it greatly warmed our old farmhouse for the remainder of winter.

The one on the right continues to free up my evenings.  I can't believe how much time I used to spend washing dishes!

I thought we'd be able to make do without them, but my husband has more sense than me.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bloggy Break Time Again

I have a crazy, crazy week coming up next week, so it will be wise to take a bloggy break, me thinks.

I'll be out four weeknights out of five.  Next Tuesday I have the dress rehearsal for my next play, then the first three shows on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Please pray that I get through the week alive.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I Found This Photo on Duncan's Phone

It has been more than six months now and I still miss her terribly.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thank You, Meredith!

http://static3.koorong.com/images/p/13/cap/c/9781743240120.jpgI love book giveaways!

I can't wait to get into this.

Thank you so much, lovely Meredith, for this and the card (I will write soon).

xoxo

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Pendulum: Shopping Locally

There has been a 'Try Local' campaign in my local community in recent times, with the tagline 'it might just surprise you.'  I think it's to counter the popular belief that local is always more expensive if you live in a country town.  I know for a fact that it's certainly not always true.

Five years ago, when I was working in retail, I saw a dress for $40 in the shop I was working at.  I later saw the same dress at Harbourtown (Perth's direct factory shopping outlet) for double the price!  Harbourtown is meant to be cheap!

The trouble is that a lot of country people don't even give their local retailers a chance!  They don't even step inside the shop, they just assume that Perth or online will be much cheaper.

I try to shop locally where I can.  It's vital in a small town.  If you don't, it can have much wider reaching consequences for the town's population and infrastructure than it would if a city shop closed down.

But sometimes I don't shop locally.  If the employees are rude, the prices just ridiculous, or the goods and services really poor quality, then I will take my business elsewhere.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Alcohol and Anti-Depressants

It has been two and a half years since I had a drink of alcohol. First it was because I was pregnant, then breastfeeding, and then when I was diagnosed with postnatal depression and started on anti-depressants. Since I was never really into alcohol much, I don't miss it.

From medical advice and plain common sense, I have decided that I will not have a drink until I'm off anti-depressants. Which raises an issue I just don't get....

Why do people on anti-depressants continue to drink alcohol (and often by the bucketload)?

If you're depressed and taking something to help you not be depressed, then why undo all that good work by drinking a depressant?

I know some people might feel good by drinking, like they can drink all of their problems away.  But there are numerous warnings that while drinking might make you feel good in the short term, long term it can make the symptoms of depression and anxiety worse.

I don't ever want to return to that dark, dark place I was in last year. If not drinking ever again is what I need to do, then I am more than happy to do it.

Why take anti-depressants then nullify their effectiveness with booze?

I don't get it. Please explain...


Monday, October 13, 2014

This Thing Has Helped Me Enormously

My diet has yo-yoed a lot over the past few years.  From a normal diet, to a low starch diet to manage arthritis pain, then back onto starch when I was pregnant and in remission (but cutting out unrecommended foods during pregnancy), then back onto low starch at the start of the year when Rory was weaned....

Now I'm back to normal again....thanks to this:






It's a Bioflow magnotherapy wristband.  Some people reckon it's snake oil.  All I know is that it works for me and I've been pain free for months.  I put it on in February, it took a couple of months to kick in and I haven't taken it off since.

No, I'm not selling them, just a happy customer.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Holiday Happy Snaps

Most of these were taken by my lovely husband...

Lunch time in Perth  



Dalwallinu




Blossoms Beach in Bremer Bay





Thursday, October 09, 2014

Cooking For Kids With Allergies

This has been my main challenge since March when Rory was diagnosed with multiple food allergies.  In hindsight though, God was preparing me for this since I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis three and a half years ago.

Thanks to Libby (who comments on this blog) and Jessie from Itchin' Kitchen, my task has been made a lot easier.



Check out this website if you have children with allergies.  I love trying the different recipes.  Getting a toddler to try something new is the main challenge though.

Chicken and vegetable pies for Rory.



Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Rejoicing With Those Who Rejoice

I have never really understood why so many women would rather watch their worst enemy succeed than their closest friend.  Why do we often react so badly when our nearest and dearest get something we desperately want for ourselves?  A man, a baby, a job, a role, a place on a sporting team...

Rejoicing with the rejoicing can often be harder than mourning with the mourning.

But it is essential to being a good friend.

I remember when I got my Year 12 TEE results.  I got 94 (the highest possible score is 99.95).  A close friend who had failed was one of the happiest for me.  Looking back, that must have been so difficult for her, and I will never forget her graciousness and support.

Sadly, I have not always been the greatest at congratulating others who have succeeded or acquired things I want for myself.  I've been jealous.  I've avoided them in person.  I've moped and moaned about my own circumstances in their presence, taking the spotlight off them.  I haven't 'liked' their posts on Facebook because I'm so jealous.  Why should they have it when I can't?  I have been a poor excuse for a friend at times, that's for sure.

I found it hard to watch friends marry when I was single.  Even now, I struggle with seeing posts about friends' babies who are younger than Rory, but more advanced than him.  There are babies six months younger than him who walked before him and talk better than him now.  I struggled seeing posts from mums with perfect sleeping babies when I was in the midst of sleep deprivation and exhaustion last year when Rory was waking every hour during the night.  I thought it so unfair that some mums could just go out and get on with their lives as if they never had a baby when I was cut down with postnatal depression.  Why did they get it so easy and I get it so hard?

I've also been on the receiving end of jealous backlash.  I remember when I was working at Curtin, I got a permanent position that a colleague had also been after.  She was nasty to me for weeks afterward (and this woman was more than twice my age - when do women grow up, seriously?), then she apologised, then kept the cattiness going *sigh*.

In the latest play I'm in, I've become aware that my part was coveted by several other cast members.  It does make me feel very uncomfortable around them and stops me enjoying myself as much.  It's horrible with people having daggers for you.  I've noticed the competitiveness and bitchiness is especially prevalent in the arts.  It makes me want to scream, "Here, if you want it so badly, have it.", but then I think, No, I worked hard for this.  If they were truly my friends they'd support me and suck it up.

I'm well aware that every time I post pictures of my wedding or of Rory on Facebook, there are people I consider friends who desperately want that for themselves.  I don't want to rub my happiness in my face, yet I don't want to hide all my blessings away either, pretending they aren't really blessings.  Somehow we need to find that balance.

The challenge of true friendship: to smile at, hug and congratulate your friend while you are crying on the inside.






Related posts: 
Kiss the Cheek, Stab the Back
Get On Your Soapbox #23

The Envy of Eve
Grieving and Coveting