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.

Posted in Faith and Family, My Bloggin Journey | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Faith and Family | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in Faith and Family, Life and Down Syndrome | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in Faith and Family | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in In the Kitchen | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Faith and Family | Tagged , | 2 Comments

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!


  • 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.
Posted in Faith and Family, Life and Down Syndrome | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Connecting Toddlers and Family Worship

The Need..

Years ago, when our “big kids” were younger (about 1 and 3) we struck a period when family worship times were difficult.  Trying to get them to sit still and listen wasn’t easy.  (Sorry, we’re not one of those perfect home schooling families.  Just so you know!) We wanted to read the Bible with our children rather than Bible stories but we really didn’t want our time around God’s Word to be a disciplining time every evening.  It wasn’t easy for the children to sit and listen just to the words so my husband came up with an idea that we used for a quite a while.

The Answer..

Every night he would get out a small whiteboard and would draw images to illustrate the reading we were going through.    I say images rather than pictures as these things were not Rembrandt’s!  A stick figure or two, just to connect the children to what was going on.  Often small details were noticed because Dad drew them in.  We really enjoyed these times together reading through different parts of Scripture.

Fast forward a number of years and somewhere along the track we stopped drawing.  Our “big kids” have many years of sitting through long chapter books, family worship times, church services and other activities under their belts and no longer need that connecting help..or so I thought.  But I’d noticed recently our “little boys” (now 2 and 5) weren’t really involved in a real way in our reading and discussion.  They sat quietly most some of the time, but that was all that was required of them.  I thought back to the interest the others had had, and realised I had lowered my expectation for these two.  With his Down syndrome, Davy especially, was needing something more visual to really connect to.  So.. the other night Peter pulled out the whiteboard.

A Very Good Place to Start!

Of course, Pete chose the best reading ever to begin his drawing efforts again.  The children were riveted to Daddy as he opened the Bible to where we were up to in our readings in Genesis.  Pete opened the Bible and got a queer look on his face.  “Oh, good!” he nodded, “The covenant of circumcision!”  Needless to say, he focused on other aspects of the reading and our first drawing session went really well.  The next night Davy could remember that Abraham and Sarah had been promised a baby and his name would be Isaac.  (It helped that Isaac is a friend at church.)  Pete rubbed that evening’s pictures out before I could get a picture but here are closeups of the next night – the Lord visiting Abraham and promising again that he would have a baby by that time the next year.  Notice Sarah’s laughter and the big ears sticking out of the tent!  We love Dad’s drawing skills around here!

An interesting effect I hadn’t anticipated is that the ‘big kids’ are listening a lot more carefully now too.   I really enjoy reading other people’s ideas and experiences so I hope you’ve found it interesting to hear our experiences too.


Posted in Faith and Family | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

New Outfits for Free!

Don’t you love that feeling when you KNOW what you are wearing looks good on you?  You get complements and you kind of feel that glow.  It’s not actually a feeling I get very often as I am stylistically challenged.  I know that I shouldn’t be!  Apparently I am an X body type, according to Shari Braendel who I recently heard speak about dressing for your colours and body type.  (Thank you Amy B for sharing that with us!) An X can wear just about anything.  But that’s my problem!  I can wear horrendous, or old fashioned, or ikky colour and just not realise!

However, armed with great advice from Shari, I was eager to have a go at Amy Bayliss’ latest Homemaker’s challenge. Our challenge was:

Your Homemaker’s Challenge is to add 3 new outfits to your wardrobe BUT, you can’t spend any money. Get creative. Swap clothes with your sister, your friends, or shop your very own closet! I know you have stuff in there that you forgot about. You can even remake some clothes out of what is in your closet! It is totally up to you but you must add three new outfits to your circulation of clothes you wear regularly.

Outfit One

My first outfit was a remake.  For years I have had this LBD in my closet because everyone says, “You have to have a LBD in your closet.”  The thing is…it didn’t fit (2 sizes too big) and I didn’t like the neckline or the sleeves.  Useful huh! I had it on a pile of things to get send to the Opportunity Shop last week and kept it on a whim to see if I could do something with it.  Then Amy’s challenge came and I set to with the quick un pick.


Outfit Two

I’ve dabbled in brown before but I’ve never really embraced it so this pair of pants was at the bottom of the draw.  This shirt I haven’t really worn since my MIL gave it to me quite a long time ago.  On Shari’s advice for redheads I decided to give brown another go.  And..


OutFit Three

Okay, this is where I need your help everyone!  The shirt I quite like as it’s not quite white, more of a goldy cream tinge.  It looks quite good on its own with the pants but then I saw this vest and I thought I’d take a risk and get some opinions.  Is it a keeper or should it go out! out! out!  Belt or no belt?  After my daughter took these photos I undid it and it looked quite different just hanging.  What do you think everyone?  Time to help out a stylistically challenged friend!







(Encourage me judges!)



Posted in Homemaker's Challenge | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Laying down our Dreams

When dreams are interrupted..

On the 16th January, 2005, Peter and I began a journey we never expected.  It’s funny isn’t it, with the number of people “out there” with disabilities, how you never expect that one of YOUR kids would ever have any.  Our dreams for our children are so often unconscious, so hard to define clearly, and yet, when they are interrupted, we suddenly realise what they were.


After two miscarriages Peter and I had spoken a lot about grief.  We knew that so much of the grief we felt for those precious wee babies was the grief of lost dreams.  We didn’t really know those little people but we had dreamed who they may be, our expectations for how life may go with them were very real. When the Lord chose to  give us only 3 short months with each of them, we grieved.

Prayers answered. . .

So, when “Pipsqueak” (as he was known in my womb) came along we prayed that God would let us know this little one.  We prayed that this little one would be healthy.  We prayed above all though, that His will may be done. We entrusted Him to God.  Our prayers were answered.  God allowed us the privilege of welcoming Davy into our home and family.  Although he did have some heart issues, he has NEVER had any effects from them or had to be treated for them.  For all intents and purposes he is a very healthy little boy.

And yet..

And yet, in spite of this, and in our own unique ways we grieved.  You see, Davy was born with Down syndrome.  That one extra little chromosome, some would say a copying “mistake”, had effected our son in ways we could only just begin to understand.  And so, again God asked us to let go of the dreams we had for a baby and accept His plans instead.

Joy, Excitement, Anticipation, Faith

This grief was mixed with joy and excitement and anticipation and faith.  That joy and excitement has not been disappointed.  The five and a half years we have had so far with Davy have had so many moments of delight and fun and celebration.  We have learned so many things and been blessed in so many ways. That faith has not been disappointed either.  God has been with us in this journey and we are so dependent on His grace to be the parents Davy needs.    And yet, that faith has also been tried and there are moments when the grief comes back.  Moments when those dreams of yesterday resurface and we realise we have to let them go again.  When other people’s children were walking and talking and Davy wasn’t.  When others spoke about empty nest syndrome and I’ve wondered if Peter and I will ever have an empty nest.  When Davy is still not potty trained at 5 1/2 and I’m really sick of all the washing!  So many moments with the grief creeps back and I am reminded to come back to the God we entrusted Davy to, even in the womb.

Drawing near to Him…

Davy is our blessing.  So are Jonathan, Hannah and Daniel and in their own special way so are the other three little ones God asked us to care for, for a much shorter time.  I am thankful for those blessings but I am also honest enough to admit that, with Davy, so far, the journey is harder.  I need to pray more that that will cause me to flee to my Lord more and more and to depend on Him and His grace. And in those moments of grief to remember the dream was my plan  but the reality is the Lord’s plan.  I know whose road I’d rather be on!

Posted in Life and Down Syndrome | Tagged , , | Leave a comment