Photo-A-Day: Circle

I have missed the last two days of my Photo-A-Day blogging. I have kind of felt like my life is not my own, and so just couldn’t get near the computer for long enough to write anything.

Today, however, was nice and relaxing. We began the day with our regular church service, spending time worshipping the Lord. Then we invited my brother back to our home for lunch.

Thus we spent the afternoon circled around the round camp fire in the back yard, deep in conversation and fellowship with each other, while sipping hot teas and coffees and dipping our Tim Tams. As time passed, my sister joined us and eventually my sister-in-law as well. Almost all of my family circle — apart from my parents who are on holidays.

I love these times of sitting back with my close relatives, catching up on our lives and laughing together over memories. We often begin to discuss theological questions as well, providing stimulating debate and conversation.

Finally the circle was broken as one by one they drifted home again, leaving me to ponder what I would cook for dinner, and how I would organise my children for school tomorrow. I guess it will be fish and chips tonight … around our square table. 😉

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Published in: on 29th April, 2012 at 8:25 pm  Comments (3)  
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Safe Hands

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” [Proverbs 3:5 NIV]

Photo by Antonio Jiménez Alonso

Many of us (particularly in Australia) are sending our children back to school this week. I don’t know about you, but this year seems harder than most. One of my children is entering high school for the first time, a whole new world for her. Another of my children has been struggling with facing her middle years at primary school.

As a mother, it is easy to worry. I worry about them making good friends, about whether they’re being influencers or followers. I worry about how others will treat them. I worry about them settling in and enjoying their year. I’m not always confident about leaving them to the care of others. If I ‘lean on my own understanding’, I could be a mess, and I think my kids would pick up on that and in turn it would increase their own levels of anxiety.

So, what do I do? I repeatedly hand them over to my Father in heaven, who knows what’s best for them, and has them in his eyesight twenty-four seven. I can trust them to Him. They are safe in His arms.

I am reminded of a favourite movie of mine, called “A Hazard of Hearts”. The heroine discovers all the dark secrets of the hero’s family, and he finds out she knows. He takes her hand in his. “Such small hands to hold the honour of Mandrake,” he comments while brushing his thumb over her hand. “They’re safe hands,” is her reply.

Although we cannot see the Lord, He has very big hands. The bible does say He holds us in His hands (see Ps 19:10). Even though we cannot see His hands, or even feel them, they are safe hands.

So, today, I choose to put my family in His hands. How about you?

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” [Psalm 55:22 NIV]

Published in: on 31st January, 2012 at 6:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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November Adventures

I apologise for there not being any posts on this blog for the past couple of weeks, but there has been much taking place – primarily the launch of my new novel, Ellenvale Gold. So here is an update of what I have been up to since the beginning of November.

On the 5th of November, I held the launch of Ellenvale Gold at Parable Bookstore in Victoria. My husband and I dressed in nineteenth century costume and tried not to smile for the many photos our friends wanted to take. My hubby was excessively convincing as an 1800s gentleman. (I kind of wish he could dress like that all the time!) The launch was a great success and I felt very encouraged by the support of friends, family and the store which hosted the event.

Afterwards, my children got into the historical theme and tried on our costumes. We thought they looked great. By popular demand, my husband and I dressed in the costumes again for church the following day, in spite of the 30 degree Celsius heat. That afternoon we celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary.

A few days later, we packed our family into our sedan and drove two full days to the Gold Coast in Queensland, where my family enjoyed playing on the beach and spending hours in the swimming pool, while I attended the Word Writers Fair closer to Brisbane.

Friday night I enjoyed the CALEB Awards dinner where I happily cheered on fellow writers as they won awards in their various genres. It was a pleasure to meet authors I had not met before, except perhaps online, and also to catch up with those I have met before. It was a wonderful evening! My friend and fellow writer, Paula Vince, took out the Fiction Prize as well as the Overall Prize, for her book Best Forgotten – so well deserved!

The fair on the Saturday was such a wonderful time of learning and fellowshipping with other writers. I even met some authors who live within half an hour’s drive of my home. Amazing! I’m looking forward to catching up with them again soon. The Sunday involved a marketing master class which I learned a lot from and must now put into practise.

With the conference over, I enjoyed time with my family at SeaWorld on the Gold Coast before we headed south to Port Macquarie where my in-laws live. We had a relaxing time catching up with them, and my son had his seventh birthday while we were there. He was treated to a boat cruise and had the chance to steer for a bit. He told me it was a 10/10 birthday.

One more stop on the way home included a visit to the rest of my hubby’s family where we had an early Christmas get-together. Now we are home again and trying to get back into routine. If only holidays could last longer…

Published in: on 24th November, 2011 at 5:47 pm  Comments (4)  
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Reflections of the Father’s heart #2

Last week I shared about an experience as a parent which highlighted the Father’s heart for us. This one is a little different and rather amusing (well, I think so anyway.)

How many of us have children who grumble and complain and never seem to be grateful? I know I’m not the only one. You give them a new mp3 player – “but I want the one all my friends have!” You make them a delicious dinner – “but there are peas in it!” You try to let them have as much fun as possible but – “You never let me do anything!”

God knows just how frustrating that is and He can empathise with us. The Israelites – His beloved children – were just like that. He gave them freedom from slavery, miraculously parted the Red Sea, made their shoes not wear out, brought them water from the rock, led them by a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire and he fed them miraculous manna for forty years daily. And yet, they complained. They seemed to always wish they were back in Egypt for some crazy reason.

Moses was frustrated. “Why did you give me these people to lead?” he asks God. “Now they want meat. Where am I going to get enough meat in this desert to feet them all?”

God was also angry at their grumbling. He felt rejected by their moaning, especially after all He’d done for them. Isn’t that how we feel too? This was His response.

“Tell the people I have heard them wailing. Tell them I will give them their meat. But tell them they won’t eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it.” (This mostly my paraphrasing, but it’s true. Check it out here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%2011:4-18&version=NIV)

Can’t you just hear the frustration in those words? I imagine gritted teeth as He grates out the words, letting them have what they want in spite of their attitude. I love it! It makes me feel ok about my own frustrated parenting. It also makes me realise just how much we are created in His image.

So, the next time you feel aggravated by grumbling children, remember God knows how it feels and He promises to help us through these times.

Published in: on 29th March, 2011 at 12:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Children’s Logic?

Today is my number one-and-only son’s sixth birthday, so I thought I should write about him.

As some of you may know, we’ve been through a rather tough month with my father having major heart surgery. (This is a picture my boy took of Dad and me before the surgery.) He is almost ready to come home now and is looking much like his old self, thanks to a lot of prayer. But, for a while there it was a little hairy.

It was interesting noting my three children’s responses.  The oldest became quiet and sort of retreated within herself a little. The middle child went on with her life the same as always, but talked about her opa when she needed to. Number one-and-only son was obviously under duress, but only showed it by biting another child in the schoolyard. Yikes! He was much relieved to see his opa standing and walking again recently and is looking forward to him attending his party.

The funny thing was, he was very determined to see Opa’s scar. The scar that ran down the middle of his chest. When I first told my little man that Opa had been sitting in a chair one day, his response was “But Mum, remember I have to see his scar!”

“Yes, buddy, I know. But, that scar will be there forever, you have plenty of time to see it.”

“No, Mum! I have to see it while he’s still lying down!”

Amusing as it was, I still don’t understand his thought process. I wonder if I ever will… 🙂

Published in: on 17th November, 2010 at 11:35 am  Comments (1)  
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Bathtime Silliness

My kids love their baths. Well, two of them anyway. When daughter number two was a baby, she would kick and splash so much in the baby bath, there would be more water on the floor than in the bath by the time we finished washing her. Number one son would practically do the splits trying to get one foot in the bath, he was in such a hurry to get in.

Once they get in, it is very difficult to get them out again. Even if the water goes cold. “You must be a sultana by now!” I say in a shocked voice. They proudly show me their wrinkled fingers and toes.

Even if tea is ready–which is what happened last week. “Time to get out of the bath,” I called number two daughter, “your dinner is on the table.” Five minutes later, she was still splashing around. Ten minutes later, still in there.

I went in there and said “Listen Missy-Moo,” my little pet name for her, “if you don’t get out of this bath by the time I count three, there will be trouble.”

She just grinned at me and splashed around some more.

Then I spied something out of the corner of my eye and got a rather wicked idea. Well, perhaps mischievous is a more accurate term. The kids had left the super-soaker in the bathroom, filled with nice cold water. I picked it up, gave it some pump-action and aimed it at my little girl. “Get out of the bath, now!”

She looked at me a little apprehensively.

“Yes,” I said, “It has cold water in it. Out.”

She gave a nervous giggle, but I can tell you she got out of that bath, quick smart.

I think I might have to use that method again. Although, it may not be so productive in summer.

Do you have an example of creative parenting?

Published in: on 20th October, 2010 at 7:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Road Trip

Everyone loves holidays. I presume so anyway. I especially love holidays which involve a road trip. Our recent trip to Adelaide was by road and I enjoyed every minute.

A car filled with five bodies and their pillows and activities to keep them from becoming bored. A small esky with nibbles and drinks under the smallest child’s feet. Maps and books. Music, DVDs and a laptop. It all made for a fun trip. (We won’t mention the smelly feet or the occasional escaped bodily function, which makes everyone lunge for the window-winders.)

Then there’s the views, some strange, some beautiful. Like, fields completely filled with yellow flowers, glowing golden in the sunlight. Mountains rising in the distance with low clouds hanging over them. Old buildings and ruins raising questions about the past. Old towns which seem to be all but deserted.

And, of course, the whole drive there’s plenty of time for conversation, great conversation, amusing conversation, thought-provoking conversation. And games – Spotto rated highly this trip, but we have done the overused I Spy. Other road games have been Alphabet Numberplates and Round Robin Story Telling (one sentence each).

Then, when I get home again, I wish I could just jump back in the car and keep going. Seriously.

What do you love the most about a long drive?

Published in: on 13th October, 2010 at 9:27 am  Comments (2)  
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“Tarve Maffrings”

Number one-and-only son, Mr Five-Year-Old, came to me in the kitchen the other night. “Mum. You have to give me tarve maffrings to take to Sunday School next week.”

“Pardon?” I say, not quite understanding.

“Every week, you should give me tarve maffrings for Sunday School.”

Thinking quickly, I figure out what he is on about. “Do you mean tithes and offerings?”

“No!” He laughs at me. “It’s called tarve maffrings.”

“Actually it’s called tithes and offerings.” I say this very slowly and clearly, so he can get the gist. I even got a piece of paper and wrote it down so he could see it (I thought it might help since he’s learning to read quite well).

He looks at the paper and shakes his head. So old and wise is he. “No Mum. Tithes and offerings doesn’t even make sense in a sentence. It’s tarve maffrings.”

I sigh. It amazes me how a five-year-old is convinced he is smarter than a…well, someone quite a bit older than he is. “Ok then, Mr Tarve Maffrings,” I say, “You go and ask your dad what it is.”

He wanders off to the lounge room and my hubby, having vaguely heard the…er…discussion, says, “What are you supposed to ask me?”

“Nothing,” was the reply.

I guess he wasn’t game enough to be told he was wrong twice. He has since, in his wisdom, agreed that it is, indeed, tithes and offerings. 😉

Published in: on 22nd September, 2010 at 8:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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Too Many Rabbits…

How many people love that Bigpond ad where the little boy asks his dad about the Great Wall of China? “That, that was, during the time of the Emperor Nasi Goreng. And, ah, it was to keep the rabbits out. Too many rabbits, in China,” was the reply. The next shot, you see the boy about to give a talk in class. How embarrassing!

But, you know, I’ve often found myself picturing my children telling their teacher all about where eggs come from, or how tomato sauce is made, and winced on the inside. You see, my hubby is very creative, very inventive and has a ready wit. So, when a question is asked, he immediately has an outrageous answer.

He talks about alien implantations and the bowel motions of elephants–all kinds of far out and often gross explanations. The children, poor little souls, glance from him to me (obviously hoping for confirmation…or not) and back again. They half-giggle, half kind-of-believe him, but really appear quite confused.

To top it off, he finishes with: “Isn’t that right, Mum?” Most of the time I just ask them if they believe him–if they think he is telling the truth, to which I get a resounding “NO!” But sometimes, when the mischief takes me, I disagree with him and then launch into my own very sceptical account.

I do wonder what my children tell their teachers, though…

Is my family the only family with crazy conversations, or are there more of you out there?

Published in: on 15th September, 2010 at 9:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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I’m up, I’m up…I’m…not up!

I am a morning person. Most of the time, from the moment I awake, I am ready to engage in deep conversation, fun pranks, difficult questions and whatever else is going on.

Thankfully, my number one girl is the same. I can dive on to her bed and hear her giggle from under the doona. I can uncover her toes and tickle them and she is equally responsive. I can even rip all of her bed covers off and drag her onto the floor and she is all good about it. I think I dared to drip water on her once. She didn’t mind so much. She is a good sport like that. But, she is heading for teenage years, and I wonder how long until she boots me out of her room with a ‘leave me alone’.

Hubby-dubby and number two girl are both NOT morning people. Try and talk to my man and he either groans or becomes confused. He must have time to wake up properly before you can get intelligent conversation from him. #2 girl becomes highly offended if I try to tickle her awake or anything like that. I can only kiss her and stroke her hair and wait for her to wake up in her time.

Number one-and-only son, I think, may be a morning person, but as he is only five, I am still figuring him out. Sometimes he wakes up and immediately bounces around, talking a mile-a-minute, and other times he just doesn’t want to wake up at all.

We are all so different. But, that’s what makes family life so much fun. How about you? Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Published in: on 8th September, 2010 at 8:29 am  Comments (8)  
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