Monday, May 30, 2016

The Birthday That Was Not So Happy

Today is my 33rd birthday.

Unfortunately it wasn't one of the greatest.

I went to Albany with Rory and Flynn on Friday morning to spend the weekend celebrating my birthday with family while Duncan was busy seeding. Rory had had a cough and cold for a few days, but was on the mend, and Flynn had just started to get sick.

By Sunday, Flynn's cough was terrible and he was struggling to sleep. I took him to the doctor this morning and was told he has bronchiolitis. He is on liquid ventolin every four hours.

He cried and coughed the whole one and a half hour journey back to the farm.

I think we're in for another rough night.

Poor bubba.

I'm trying to salvage this birthday with some Viennetta, as per my annual tradition.

Friday, May 27, 2016

God and the Little Things

It always amazes me how God loves to show kindness to His children. It shouldn't surprise me as the whole Bible is full of examples of God's love for His wayward people. Sometimes, I think I start getting a lopsided picture of God as being a disciplinarian and only caring about 'big picture' stuff. But He's also a God of the little things.

Duncan and I have lost two people who were very close to us - my Nan passed away in January 2011, and Duncan's brother was killed in a car accident two days before Christmas 1999, at only 21.

Rory was born on the 19th January 2013, on what would have been my Nan's 100th birthday. Flynn has red hair, just like his late Uncle Raymond.

In some ways it feels like God has given our loved ones back to us. Not in a reincarnation kind of way, but in little things that keep their memories alive.

I love to marvel at God's kindness in the little things.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bible Verse of the Day

Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!
Matthew 7:9-11

Monday, May 23, 2016

If I Only Had a Brain from The Wizard of Oz

This is what sleep deprivation does to me...

I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers,
Consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin' while my thoughts were busy hatchin',
If I only had a brain.
I'd unravel every riddle for any individ'le,
In trouble or in pain.
With the thoughts I'd be thinkin',
I could be another Lincoln,
If I only had a brain.
Oh, I could tell you why the ocean's near the shore,
I could think of things I'd never thunk before,
And then I'd sit, and think some more. 
I would not just be a nuffin', my head all full of stuffin',
My heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be a ding-a-derry,
If I only had a brain.

Lyrics from here.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

5 Reasons Threenagers and Teenagers are Alike

Three-year-old child spouting attitude like a spoilt teenager.
Urban Dictionary

I have one of these at the moment.  Admittedly he didn't become a threenager overnight.  We've gone through the 'terrible twos', and even the 'terrible ones' before that.

Even though I don't have a teenager, my teen years don't seem THAT long ago *cough*.

I can definitely see why three-year-olds are likened to teenagers:

1.  Everything's a drama.  They can put on some Academy Award-winning performances when they don't get their own way.
 2. They're grumpy if they don't get enough sleep.
 3. They want to assert their independence, yet still need their parents.
4.  They can be very lazy and expect their parents to do everything for them (see point 3).
5.  When they're in a good mood, there are delightful conversations to be had.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Quote of the Day

Kids don't need self-esteem; they need God-esteem. If they esteem God, they will understand their value, but not make too much of themselves.
- Dannah Gresh

Monday, May 16, 2016

I Don't Know How You Do It

Why do some women take this remark as such an insult (when said in the context of balancing parenting with other responsibilities)?

I know I say it when I'm full of admiration about how they can handle things when I go to pieces facing much less.

I don't get it.  Please explain....

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Funny

Just to make it clear...this is from a forwarded email, it is not me!


When I was at the checkout and ready to pay for my groceries, the cashier said, "Strip down, facing me."
Making a mental note so I could complain to my local MP about this security rubbish, I did just as she had instructed.
After the shrieking and hysterical remarks finally subsided, I found out she was referring to how I should position my credit card.
Understandably, I've been asked to shop elsewhere in the future.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Triple Celebration

We had lunch with my family last month to celebrate my brother's 30th, Duncan's and my anniversary, and my parents' (42nd) anniversary.

Flynn and Uncle Tim

Pop and Flynn

Singing 'Happy Birthday'

Rory wanted a turn blowing out the candles

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Easter 2016

Good Friday is meant to be good for Christians, and it is in the sense that we remember Jesus' death was for us.  But there was nothing else that was good about Good Friday 2016 for me.

We were travelling to Dunsborough to spend the weekend with Duncan's family.  On the way there, I broke down and came close to returning to hospital.  This brought back horrible memories of the Easter weekend 2013 when I was taken to Bunbury Hospital.  By Sunday I was doing a lot better, and even made it to church.  At least I got to salvage a few good things from the weekend.

Flynn and Granddad

Flynn had a belly ache on Easter Sunday
afternoon due to eating too much lunch.

Duncan took Rory, his mum and his brother for a drive on
Sunday afternoon.  I stayed home with his dad and Flynn
to watch the footy.

Rory did not want his photo taken.

Flynn going for a spin with Grandma Win to collect
the corn harvest.

Monday, May 09, 2016

5 Best Posts From Other Bloggers in 2015

It's time to honour some wonderful bloggers out there....

1. Hope and Comfort - The Key to the Door
2. Clash of Parenting Expectations - On the Edge of Ordinary
3. A Mother's Decision -
4. Listening to the Word - Markedly
5. Consuming Education - This Fleeting Moment

Friday, May 06, 2016

Quote of the Day

It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world.  It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.
 - L.R. Knost

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

The Heavenly Man

The last of the Christian biographies I'll be reviewing for a while.

WOW!  What a book!  This is one of those books that will be impossible to forget, and one I highly recommend all Christians should read.

The Heavenly Man is the story of the Chinese evangelist and pastor, Brother Yun.  A poor boy from rural China, Yun came to know Jesus at age sixteen, and God used him mightily to preach the gospel in China, and establish many house churches.  Despite years of horrific opposition, torture, and imprisonment, the Holy Spirit enabled Yun to stand firm in his faith and bring glory to God in his suffering.  Many heard the gospel through him and were saved.

 These are some of the things that struck me about this book:
  • The descriptions of the torture Yun went through in prison are not for the faint-hearted (he was given shock treatment with electric batons inside his mouth).  I read that feeling deeply sick and fearful that I would not be able to endure in that situation.  I worried that I would deny Christ after going through only a small percentage of what Yun went through.  But Yun emphasises that it is the Holy Spirit that enabled him to endure and praise God through his suffering, not through his own strength.
  • At times I felt the Scriptures he quoted were taken a little out of their biblical context in order to fit his experiences.
  • It says on the blurb that this book is like a modern-day version of the book of Acts, and that is so true.  Some of the miracles God does among the Chinese Christians are truly remarkable.  In the church circles I'm a part of there seems to be an expectation that God will always work in logical ways (i.e. heal people using doctors, only speak while we're reading the Bible).  But the Chinese church have very few Bibles; people became Christians and have lived as Christians for years without ever owning a Bible.  The poor in rural areas don't have access to medicine.  Therefore, God shows His power among them in mighty ways, healing the sick, and speaking to Yun, his wife and others through dreams.  As Yun says about the Western church:
    Many Christians have also asked me why miracles and signs and wonders are so prevalent in China, but not so evident in the West.
    In the West you have so much.  You have insurance for everything.  In a way, you don't need God.  When my father was dying of stomach cancer, we sold everything we had to try to cure him.  When everything was gone we had no hope but God.  We turned to Him in desperation and saw Him mercifully answer our prayers and heal my father.  We reasoned that if God could do that then He could do anything, so our faith grew and we've seen many miracles.
    (page 299). 
    The chapter, Reflecting on Four Years in the West is a powerful rebuke to the Western church.
  • I've noticed that Asian Christians are often more straightforward, open, and urgent in their faith that we here in Australia.  We tend to muck around a lot before telling people the gospel (or we're afraid to tell them in case we lose their friendship).  In China, there is no delay.  Persecution has created an urgency and spiritual hunger.  Because of this, Yun asks people not to pray that persecution will stop, as this is often God's intended way for the gospel to spread.
  • Yet, despite all he has been through in China, Yun acknowledges that some of the most painful opposition he has received has not been from prison guards and Communist party officials, but nasty words from fellow Christians.  As it says in the book, In China, Christians are persecuted with beatings and imprisonment.  In the West, Christians are persecuted by the words of other Christians. (pages 308-9)  Shame, Western church, shame.
  • Despite the millions in China still needing the gospel, Yun is focused on world mission.  Often I hear Aussie Christians using the excuse that there are many unreached Aussies as an excuse to stay in comfortable Australia.  Yun challenges us to consider going to areas where people have not even heard the name of Jesus.
  • I was pleased to read that Yun places his marriage and family as high priorities.  He criticises the way many house church leaders in China are so focused on ministry that they neglect their wives and children.  Yun believes God rebuked him of this when he tried to do too much in ministry and ended up in prison, separated from his wife and children for years.  We have a role to play, but we are mere men and women, and we need to let God be God.
This is from the blurb:
Prepare to be deeply encouraged as well as rudely awakened.  An absolute must for the sleeping churches of the West.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Quote of the Day

When someone shares something of value with you, and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.
- Chinese Proverb