It’s been Fun…

Some things in life are just for a season. I started out this blog with the intention of using it to do Amy Baylis’ Home maker’s challenge. However due to very sad circumstances Amy has decided not to continue this challenge. I’ve pondered whether I should just continue anyway, but have come to the conclusion that blogging is not something God is calling me to at the moment. At this season in my life it is just a distraction from some other things God is trying to do.

So, thank you to those who have commented, to those who have visited and shared this short journey with me. Maybe we’ll bump into each other again sometime in cyberspace.

God bless.

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Thankful for Dry Undies?

Hi Everyone!  I am really enjoying Rachel Anne’s Home Sanctuary so I thought I would jump in this Friday for ‘Coffee with the Company Girls’.  I’m not usually a coffee drinker, but I’m sure you won’t mind if I substitute a strong hot chocolate and join you all.  Welcome and feel free to browse around and get to know me.  :)

As I read many of my favourite blogs and home education sites lately there is a growing sense of progress towards the “holidays”, the first of which is Thanksgiving.  We don’t do Thanksgiving here in NZ, well not as an official holiday anyway :).  But it is good every now and then to be reminded to be thankful.

One of the things I am very thankful for at the moment is that we are making small (oh so small) steps towards potty training with our youngest sons at the moment.  Davy is nearly 6 and it really feels like I have been changing his pants forever!  Between all the kids, with one  18 month  gap, I have been doing nappies for 11 1/2 years now so it hasn’t really been forever but it seems to be a long time.  With Daniel 2 now, and it coming into Summer here, we’ve taken the plunge properly with the two little guys and there is some progress.

In the midst of all the praise and rewards going on here the other day my 11 year old asked me, with a slight grin, “Are you impressed that I have dry undies Mum?”  I grinned back and said, “No!  But I am very thankful for it!”

It was only a very short exchange but it got me thinking. (I’m a thinker, my mind is efficient!  Give it one little thought and you never know where you’ll end up!)  How thankful was I really?  Boy, if I had to change 4 kids pants everyday, and do all the washing involved… No thanks!  When Jonathan was 2 I was greatly thankful for those days we had dry undies.  I’m sure that lasted quite a while at the time.  But then I got used to it. Took it for granted even.  I’ve even reached the point where I get grumpy if he has an accident.  (We all have those moments we laugh so hard… you know what I mean.)

I wonder how many other areas of my life follow a similar path.  After I’ve been unwell I feel so thankful to be able to run, to do the little things I couldn’t.  But gradually over time I take good health for granted.  Until I reach the point where I get grumpy at God the next time I feel unwell. There are so many things God blesses me with that I have grown accustomed to, which I don’t stop to thank Him for.  Just at the moment, I’m not feeling very thankful for a number of things.  I need to work that one through with God, but in the meantime I may just make it a habit, every time I wash out another pair of pants, to take time to thank Him for the dry undies in the house and for all the other blessings He has abundantly given me, especially all that I have in Christ.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”  Ephesians 1:3

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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Hard Work – A burden or a Means of Blessing?

My husband and I have  just returned from a two day conference called, “Creating a Better Future.”  We attended this conference thinking of our son Davy as our principal focus.  What did a  better future for a child with Down syndrome look like?  We came home with much to think about.

But, in spite of all the wealth of information and inspirational stories my brain stored away over the weekend, the thought which seems to resonate the most with me at the moment is a very simple one.  The idea of children with disabilities being a burden was mentioned and rejected strongly a number of times and finally someone asked the question, “How do you reject the idea of your child being a burden, but still acknowledge that having a child with disability is actually really hard work at times?”  I found the answer that came back to be very profound and to apply to areas of life far beyond the scope of disabilities.

“Many things are hard work.  Hard work only becomes a burden when you don’t want to do it.”

Wow!  I thought of Sir Edmund Hillary’s climb to the top of Mount Everest.  I thought of those athletes I had watched win gold medals, or even just compete in the Olympic Games.  I thought of my own way of escape when on exchange in Japan.  I would take a few hours to do my Correspondence School Math paper.  (I know, strange person, can’t explain, it’s just the way God made me!)  I don’t think any of these people felt the work involved was a burden.  We wanted to do it!

How true that is of so many of our tasks as parents.  The same activities and actions that seem nothing at all one day, are just plain burdensome  on another.  It is not the actions which change, but whether we want to be doing them.

If I’m honest, I sometimes see Davy as a burden.  Sometimes the hard work becomes work I just don’t want to be doing today.  Often my response is to go to the Lord and ask Him to take away some of the problems.  I tell God, “I just can’t do it anymore, I don’t want to do this anymore. Please help me find a solution.”  Although this usually doesn’t last long, I am challenged now.  What would happen if I prayed, “Lord, help me WANT to serve my child today.  Give me such a delight in the tasks I am doing that although it is hard work, it is no longer a burden.”  Hmm, I don’t know what the results will be but I’m going to give it a go.

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What a difference a change makes!

I love the encouragement of outside stimulation when it comes to doing things around the house.  Somehow someone else challenging you to go get those fingerprints all over the walls is different to looking at the walls and thinking, “I need to wash those fingerprints off.”  There is a sense of deadline, a feeling of comradely.  Others will be washing fingerprints today too.  I don’t know why, but it works for me!

So today I stopped by Home Sanctuary and checked out Rachel Anne’s “Small things for the Day.” Today it is voting day in America, a day of change.  I knew that.  Even here in NZ it has been on the news.  So the challenge was to find things around the house to change.  Rachel Anne mentioned lightbulbs, sheets and other such things, but I knew immediately what I needed to change first.  My attitude!

All morning I had been mooching.  This is not really good because around our house an affirmative answer to the question, “Are you mooching?” usually results in a job to do.  Funny, no one usually says yes – there is usually an energy change which occurs right before my eyes, a quick answer of, “No, I wouldn’t mooch!” and the offending party disappears to find something to do.  Good thing no one thought to question me this morning, because I was definitely mooching.  I have been struggling with some things lately and I somehow decided that between that and a few disturbed nights’ sleep I could wander through my morning aimlessly.  It wasn’t so much “I’m going to be kind to myself this morning and just go slowly” as “I can’t be bothered, do you have a problem with that!”

Wow, what a difference it made when I decided that, while I couldn’t change my circumstances, or even my response to those circumstances at the moment, I could change my attitude to the tasks of the day, and my family.  The day has been great ever since.  What other things have I managed to change?

  • the towels in the bathroom
  • washing from dirty to clean, wet to dry
  • a very messy nappy!
  • flour from raw to biscuits (cookies), a birthday cake and a slice
  • mince from frozen to 2 lasagnas (one for dinner, one for the freezer)
  • white animal shapes to black animal shapes.  (decorations for an animal themed party.)
  • a sad little boy, to a happy boy, with just a kiss!
  • a plaster on a sore little toe.

And if I get off the computer in time I may even manage to change all my dear husband’s shirts from very wrinkly to respectable, but I’m not making any promises on that one…I HATE ironing!  What a difference a change makes!

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Easiest Chocolate Chip Biscuits (Cookies) Ever!

Today Daniel and I did the baking.  One of the ways I can tell if I am on top of things is how long ago I baked.  Earlier in the year I was not well and it wasn’t ’til I had “filled my tins” (actually Tupperware containers :) ) for the first time in 3 months that I declared myself officially well again.  It sounds good but I’m a pretty boring baker.  I tend to do the same recipe most times with just a few different things now and then.  Today we did our staples:  chocolate cake and choc chip biscuits.  The cake I’ll tell you about another day, except to say, dairy, and egg free and only one dish to wash!  My kind of baking!

The chocolate chip biscuits are also the easiest recipe I have ever seen.  Here in New Zealand most people I know bake “from scratch”.  (We don’t even actually use this term here, we just “bake”)  Of course, some people do use packaged mixes, and lots of people just use bought biscuits too.  Anyway, I digress,  Here’s my recipe for the Easiest Choc Chip Biscuits Ever!

Easiest Choc Chip Biscuits Ever! (makes about 50-60)

  • 250 grams (1/2 pound) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup choc chips
  • 3 1/2 cups self raising flour or 3 1/2 cups flour and 3 tsp baking powder.

Melt butter then add sugar and mix well with wooden spoon.  Add 2 eggs and mix again.  Add choc chips then flour, mixing well between each cup.  Finish mixing with hands.  Roll into balls and squash with a fork.  Bake at 180 degrees celcius. (360 degrees F) for about 12 minutes.

All the best cookbooks say cream the butter etc, but hey, I have four kids and none of them complain I don’t cream!

Daniel loved helping and even though he can’t roll the balls yet, he did really well with the fork!  I have lined this post to “Tasty Tuesday” at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. Thanks Jennifer!

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What Excites Me Right Now?

Stephanie,over at The Candid Pastor’s Wife is doing a series at the moment on knowing God’s purpose for our lives.   As this is a new blog and people don’t know me very well I thought it may be an interesting way to embarrass myself totally let you get to know me a bit better by “just dabblin” with these questions a little.  (Hey, I’m just new at this, I’m not going to spill all my beans in one go!)  Today I’ll attempt Q1. Here are all her questions:

We are currently brainstorming the answers to four questions in an effort to discern God’s will in our lives. After each question, I will also evaluate if my answers are in line with being a “living sacrifice” and having a “renewed mind”. To review, the questions are:
  1. What excites you most in your life right now?
  2. How are you currently attempting to connect with God on a regular basis?
  3. Where are there gaps in your life? A longing for doing something differently? Or doing something new?
  4. How have you answered the question “What is your purpose” in the past? How do you feel like that has changed or not changed?

What excites me most in my life right now?

At the moment I am excited to see how God is working in my life. This year has been one of the hardest years of my life for a number of reasons and I haven’t enjoyed all that God has done or the means He has used.  But.. I am excited that He is working and that I can trust that all these things are drawing me closer to Himself and equipping me to be just the person He needs me to be now and for the future.  I am also very aware that there is so much more work to be done.

As a part of this process I am learning to figure out who I am and I am excited to be trying  to find the woman God delights in. I have always dabbled in trying to figure out colours and styles that suit me and a number of factors have come together lately to help me take some new steps in this area.  I am conscious of not allowing ‘outward looks’ to take over the inner beauty I desire but I am also learning that God created the whole of me and that I can take some time and effort to feel good about the outer me too.

I have also started a blog, mainly to participate in Amy Bayliss’ Homemaker’s Challenge, but due to very sad circumstances in Amy’s life this series is taking a break so my blog has developed in other ways instead.  I’m enjoying writing but I’m still unsure over whether this is the right way for me to use my time.  This one is still a “pray and see”.

I’m excited to see other women  excited about studying scripture and growing in faith. Due to the circumstances of the year I have nearly pulled out of leading the Bible Study I facilitate on a number of occasions but circumstances and my senior pastor haven’t allowed me to do that :).  I am thankful for that, as preparing for those studies and those evenings  in fellowship around God’s Word have been a blessing and a lifeline at times.

I’m excited to see how God will use me as Peter’s wife (Pete is Assistant Pastor of our church) within the church community as I slowly venture out of the “safe place” my “homeschooling Mum, with a child with Down syndrome” role has given me.  I am thankful that, apart from this Bible Study, which I actually love doing, I have had no pressure on me at all to “do” any pastor’s wife things.  We have an amazing congregation who have just accepted me as me.  But now that I am starting to figure out how to do that too, I am realising that I want to make myself more available for God to use.  Watch this space…

I look at these things and realise that I am in a “renewing stage” in my life at the moment and I am excited to see where God will take me. Many of the things I am learning are not new for me but I am starting to apply the truth of them to my heart.  I guess none of these things really direct me to see what God’s purpose for me is, except to let me know that His purpose for me is to walk with Him and be the woman He created me to be along the way.

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Is your walk with God going “up and down” or “round and round”?

Tonight my two “twinnies” (Davy 5 with Down Syndrome and Daniel 2) found a skipping rope and decided they were going to skip.  I watched Davy as he jumped up and down, up and down,  flicking the rope around in front of him.  Then Daniel had a go.  His  method was to hold the rope and run around and around in circles.  He was imitating Davy and his skipping was even further from the real thing than Davy’s!

They carried on for a while and as I watched them I began to ponder.  I thought about how often Davy learns by imitating.  He watches people and later he’ll have a go himself.  He sits on the couch like the ‘Big Kids’ and turns the pages of chapter books.  He grabs a pencil and ‘writes a letter’ like Hannah.  He finds a chair and sits in the sun with Dad.  Sometimes this approach works well but the trouble with  it is that he doesn’t always understand the point of what he is doing.

The skipping is one example of this.  He watched the skipping and thought the point was to jump and wave his arms around a lot.  He missed the real point, which is to jump over the rope, finding the rhythm and keeping going.

Christian Imitators

As I watched and pondered, I wondered how often we do this as Christians.    We think we are doing  all the right things.  After all, we’ve read the book, we’ve watched the experts, we’re imitating all the right actions.  But we miss the point.  God doesn’t want us “doing all the right actions”.  He wants us to walk with Him. He wants us to depend on Him, to learn from Him.

Now, I’m not implying that imitating is all wrong.  Paul and other NT writers encourage us to be imitators.  In fact they go so far as to say to imitate them!

Paul:

  • 1 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
  • Hebrews 6:12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

The Writer to the Hebrews:

  • Hebrews 13:7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

But the context of this was to imitate them, imitating God. So we have to be very careful to know who God is, what His character is like.  We have to make sure we understand the point of their actions in the context of a relationship with God.  Just like little Daniel, if we try to imitate an imitator we may find ourselves getting further and further away from the real thing, without even realising it.

Paul encourages us therefore:

  • Ephesians 5:11Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children..
  • Thessalonians 1:6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. (my emphasis)

As I look to other believers I’m challenged again  to turn to the Lord and ask for His help to see what the true purpose of their actions are.  I’m challenged  to make sure I am imitating their imitation of the Lord, and not just jumping up and down, or going round and round.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
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