Thursday 28 April 2011

Who is the Conductor of your life?

Sitting there, once again wiling the hours away while playing Train Conductor 2: USA for the umpteenth time, I wonder if this frustration I am feeling is in ANY way similar to how God feels when he guides, inspires and leads us along our paths only to be ignored or bypassed...

For those who don't know, this game is available for playing on an Apple ipod/iphone/ipad - one of those many 'new' technologies that have been spit out over the last few years and been taken up ferociously, not just by teens and Gen's X & Y, those who 'grew up with technology' ... but also by kids as young as two [yes, there are some fantastic educational and 'fun' games aimed at children this young which are actually great supplements to your regular 'teaching' of concepts, ie. literacy, numeracy, sounds, find-a-(insert item)] and even older generations who grew up without 'even the basic computer!'

Anyway, as I 'said', I was playing this game, mind focussed on each of those trains - trying to ensure each one got to its 'designated' destination track, while avoiding the inevitable 'miss' (reaching a destination, though not the one intended), crash or 'drop' off the cliff ... leading to the game being finished - when it suddenly struck me that this guiding and leading is to a degree similar in some ways to how God leads and guides...and feels frustrated when we 'drop the ball' / bypass his logic or, for any number of reasons, chose a direction of our own choosing, rather than that which He knows is best for us to follow.  **reaching for straws??!!**
My daughter and my father
following the kangaroos around at
Cleland Wildlife Park last Dec.

Mother Parenthood (and, I would assume, Grand-parenthood) also provides these challenges of leading/following.  We guide and lead our children along paths of action (or inaction as the case may be) according to our own understandings of right and wrong, whether backed by religious teaching or our own personal experiences.  We teach them to follow God's Word and how to learn to hear (and more importantly, listen to) His voice... to be compassionate and loving towards others despite any real or perceived differences... to forgive transgressions done unto us despite hurt feelings and desires to reciprocate ... not to cheat, steal or lie ... to 'stop, look and listen' before crossing the road ... of 'stranger danger' and to 'stay with mummy/daddy/me' ... and the many other 'good' choices they may make across the course of their childhoods, in an attempt to empower and equip them with the right tools for growing up in the best possible way.  

(Wow is that a loong sentence!)

How do we feel when these lessons we, have diligently and faithfully taught our little ones, are seemingly tossed aside to alleviate their burning desire to (**insert here any of the number of enchanting attractions/distractions which can seemingly cause us caregivers such chaos and frustration**)??  

When our child runs ahead of us down that aisle or corridor in a shop, just to see the delightful display of toys over yonder, obviously forgetting that Mummy is beside herself trying to carry the multitude of bags she's carrying, while pushing the baby in the stroller, and simultaneously yelling for said child to "slow down", "stop right there", or "get back here now" because she just can't move that quickly.  

When our youngest interrupts with his "I want to go home NOW" tantrum, when Daddy is just trying to finish that conversation with the pastor or close friend he hasn't seen in a while.  

When they run away to hide as soon as they find out it is nap-time/bath-time/packup-time, kicking and screaming when you finally get hold of them, and end up bribing them with some treat just to get them to calm down, while hoping that thumping headache of yours doesn't get any worse.

What about you?  Do you hear - or better yet, already know - God's plan for you, and yet choose otherwise ... because it is easier / nicer / more convenient?  Do you knowingly - or even unconsciously - choose to do something the Bible tells us will lead us into sin?  When temptation comes, wrapped in that tantalizing packaging that just melts your defenses and, even though you know you probably shouldn't 'go there', unwrap it with delicate questioning ... just to see what it would be like to experience? 

I know I have.  

I know I do. 

Regrettably, I do every day.

How must that frustrate and hurt our Father?!  How that must just eat him up inside!  And, its not just me - or you - it's EVERYONE who has, does and will ever live!!!!  How heartbroken must he be when he tries to lead and teach us his wonderful and glorious ways, only to have it thrown back in his face.  How heart wrenchingly painful would those nails have been, going through Jesus' hands and feet, as He saw each and everyone of our sins flash before His eyes, as the soldiers pinned Him to that cross and HE bore the punishment for OUR transgressions?!!!

In sending us HIS SON to live as a man, die as a man and three days later rise to NEW LIFE so that we might live - that's powerful!  And to forgive - and FORGET - the moment we ask in faith for his undeserved forgiveness ... That's TRUE LOVE!

Could you do it?  Could you send your child to the grave like that, knowing the pain and suffering it would cause them, regardless of the resultant rewards?  

I don't know that I could.  I don't know if I'd have the strength.  Even facing the choice of Abraham, in sacrificing his son Issac 'even though God had said to him, "It is through Issac that your offspring will be reckoned" (Hebrews 11:18; see also Genesis 22: 1-19).  I don't know that I could do that.  To have that faith, that strength - I can't wait to meet that guy!  To learn from him would be awe-inspiring!

13  For you created my innermost being; 
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14  I praise you because I am fearfully and
wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15  My frame was not hidden from you
when I was woven together in the 
depths of the earth.
16  your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
~ Psalm 139 
(italics inserted by me)

"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."  WOW!!  He knows everything He desires for us - even before we are born!  He knows the trials we will face.  He even experienced many of the temptations we face in our lives - and yet He remained sinless.  He knows the best way for us.  He knows the best plan for us to follow - for He was the one who wrote it ... He even told us as much!  And isn't it Our Creator, Our Father the only one who can know what's best for us!  

We claim to know what's best for our children - are we not His children?!!

He knows what we are going through in life.  He told us that 'in this world [we] will have trouble' (John 16:33b) and yet he followed this up with "But take heart!  I have overcome the world" (v. 33c).  

He told us THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE different times, "Do Not Fear!"  That's once for each day of the year!  That's once every four minutes of the day!  As Grant Taylor's former coach in Facing the Giants said - "For him to say it that many times, you know he's serious about it!"

So, what are you waiting for?!  

Are you ready to step out and make that next choice that keeps you moving forward along (or gets you back to) God's plan for your life?  

Are you ready to take the fear and doubt, that is keeping you from making the right decision, and hand it up to Jesus on that cross, so that you might follow His path for your life?  

Are you willing to learn at the feet of all the men and women of the Bible, whose trust and faith was in God, in order to learn how to make that decision to follow His path for your life - despite all the shiny, sparkly temptations satan dangles your way?

Are you strong enough to take that road least travelled, making that choice to follow God rather than man?

I know I am, with God's help.


This post came to me in after reading one written by Ann Voskamp in which she challenges us to think 

What if more than celebrating Easter - we lived it?

I am loving reading her word, finding them a refreshing of my soul each and every time I hear her voice. If you haven't already read her work, I implore you to discover her heart - Her words are truly a Gift from Heaven!!!

I am linking this post with her 'walk with Wednesday's' post this week.  To find her words, click HERE.

Wednesday 20 April 2011


Easter is a time to celebrate the amazing gift God gave to us through His Son, and the crazy amount of love he has for us to send Jesus to die FOR OUR TRANSGRESSIONS so that we might have everlasting life with him in eternity!

It is also a time to reflect on the amazing miracles he has performed.  

This truely amazing GIFT occurred during the time of Passover, which is a festival that commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I find myself reading passages in the Bible and, while I know they are stories of things that really happened to real people in history, I often find myself not really thinking about them as such.  As just people in lovely stories through which God wants to speak to us.  Not as real, flesh and blood people who experienced both fantastic & wondrous experiences, and truly horrific and terrifying ones!

If you have ever just washed over those chapters in Exodus about the plagues and then escape from Egypt by the Israelites just thinking, 'yeah, he's a powerful God' and then just kept going. Really consider this - IT REALLY TRUELY HAPPENED!!!   And - those plagues must have been TERRIFYING for the Egyptians!!!

Watch the youtube video below and really put yourself in their shoes! 


**NB: Please note, I found this video via HERE.

Monday 18 April 2011

5 a Day Book Challenge

This week I’ve decided to get on board Anna’s 5-a-day books” challenge.  A arty crafty ‘early years’ educator prior to becoming a stay at home mum to her two precious daughters, she regularly provides fantastic hands-on ideas of ways to enchant and enhance the learning of little ones in real and practical activities that she has done herself with her children on her blog The Imagination Tree.  If you are a mother of young children and haven’t come by this blog I definitely recommend a look-see!

Anyway, on to this weeks' “5-a-Day Books”challenge (week 1 was last week). Anna explains it best …

… So, how do you do 5-A-Day-Books with your own children at home or school? Simple! Choose 5 texts that are simple, short, appealing and which tap into whatever your child is interested in. Try and include at least two books that have rhyming text or a familiar, repeated refrain as studies show that children exposed to plenty of strong, rhythmic text/ song from a young age become more.

… [I] suggest choosing short picture books which feature strong rhythm and/ or repeated refrain so that the children can quickly memorise the words and join in with the story-telling. This empowers them to be able to "read" and re-tell stories from a young age, and also makes them very fluent in a range of text types and literature styles. [HERE]

So, what are our chosen books to repeat this week?

Little Sheep Gets Lost: The Story of the Lost Sheep (Author: Tim Dowley)

I really love this version of Jesus’ parable of the Lost Sheep (found, Luke 15) for little kids.  The bright, lovable pictures provide a feast for young eyes, while the clear and simple text recreates the story in a way that is easy for them to understand.  No more than four lines of text (actually, the majority of pages have two lines), it is also a quick moving recreation – which is always a major factor in choosing stories for my little one!

Stories from Jesus: The Friendly Stranger (Author: Margaret Williams)

Another favorite version of one of Jesus’ parables for little tackers – The Good Samaritan (found, Luke 10:25-37).  Once again, this book has bright, interesting illustrations and clear, easy to understand text which highlights the major points in Jesus’ story while emphasizing the message of kindness and compassion, regardless of any perceived differences.

Indigo and the Mistletoe (Author: Janelle Fisher)

An absolutely adorable book written, illustrated and published by a strong woman of faith I am proud to call ‘friend’.   In her own, perfect explanation, this book is ‘a little story to help little people understand some of the big things in life.  How little problems can grow, but that big, caring people can help fix them.  And that who we are, and the decisions we make affect others.’

Who Sank the Boat? (Author: Pamela Allen)

A long-time favorite book of mine going back to my own childhood, by a long-time favorite award-winning children’s author.  If you haven’t read the book – DO!  The simple rhythm and rhyme, the fun illustrations, and the fact that my daughter regularly requests this book makes this book a fantastic choice in our house.

Grandpa and Thomas (Author: Pamela Allen)

Another book by Pamela, this fun rhythmical book about a child’s visit to the beach with his grandfather is another favorite.  We originally came by this book when we saw it being read on Playschool.  “Swish, swash, swoosh, sings the sea” *heart*

So there you have it – the five books I intend to regularly read with my daughter this week throughout our day.

This post is linked in with Anna's post.


On a side note, this weekend I finally finished my “Ooopsy Daisy Table Runner”, designed by Jenny of Elefantz.  I fell in love with this design as soon as I saw it and was quick to buy a copy of the pattern from her Etsy shop.  This runner I made for a dear friend for her 30th birthday and, though unfortunately belated, she will receive the finished product at our mum’s & bubs bible study later this week.  

The first image is of the whole table runner...

... followed by a close-up of the applique and embroidery.  

What do you think?     I personally can’t wait to make one I get to keep!!

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Project Purge: Shoes; and Hands2Help Challenge

Just as Tsh's Project Simplify challenge moved towards its conclusion the other week, Jen @ iHeartOrganising began her April "30 items in 30 days" organising challenge, renamed "Project Purge" as of yesterday.  This is fantastic for me as, since I've begun the simplification process last month I have really begun taking a serious look at my possessions (and I have many as the 'hoarder' gene definitely embedded itself in my DNA!), and having a (somewhat) 'deadline' means that I am more likely to tackle those areas I've planned to talked about attacking for quite a few years. 

Though I am rather late off the bat in discussing Week 1's focus, I thought I'd do it anyway - if only for a personal visual record of my efforts.  In Jen's first week, she began by placing her focus upon the entryway, or rather, one's SHOES.  Now, we don't really store our shoes in the entry of our house excepting a pair of thongs and sneakers for easy access when we go outside; but my shoes collection in my room had begun to look like noone loved them!  

Unfortunately most of my shoes I had pre-motherhood and, as I still weigh approximately 13kgs (27 pounds) heavier than I was before I fell pregnant [5 kgs heavier than when 9 months pregnant, and have lost 6 kgs since the beginning of February], my feet are still a lot bigger than when I was able to wear them and thus many no longer fit.  This helped in my decision making, though I still kept one or two pairs which are slightly tight as I am aiming to be weighing even less than then by the end of the year.


A good four or five years back, when there was a sale on clear shoe boxes at Coles, I purchased a whole heap of them intending to use them to help me organise and store all my collection.  Since having my daughter I haven't touched many, leaving most in their boxes for years and me forgetting I had them.  A lot of my pre-motherhood shoes were also high heels, a style I rarely wear these days due both to my added weight and the fact that it is so much harder running after a enthusiastic 'little tacker' in heels than it is in flats.  Nowadays I only wear them at church, since I rarely go out without my daughter and haven't been on a date for over four years.


Once I collected all the shoes together in a central place (my daughter likes grabbing ones she thinks are 'pretty' to toddle around the house in *grin*) I was able to really see what it was I owned.  Those I knew I wouldn't wear again, due to size and/or comfort (I need more padding under the ball of my foot than I seemed to need all those years ago), immediately went to the "give away" pile.  From the remaining shoes I then paired down some of the similar styles so that I didn't have quite so many double-ups - especially since I seem to really only wear certain shoes 'all' the time rather than others.

I also pulled out the shoe organiser I bought from Target almost a year ago, and put that together, before dusting out the bottom of the cupboard and putting everything back (I plan to attack my closet in the next few weeks as I get everything washed and ironed, and I'll do a more thorough clean then).

It looks so much clearer now - and a lot easier to see what I have!  The two pairs in clear shoe boxes (yes, I kept two - but two dozen are on their way to the op shop as soon as my car is back from the shop for repairs) are my 'old' ballroom dancing shoes.  Even though I haven't done it for years, I plan on getting back some day - and since they were expensive and still fit they're staying! My short faux 'ugg's are front and centre as the dry season will be upon is in a couple of months (Darwin weather is 6mths 'dry season' when we consider it to get cold, and 6 months of 'build-up' and 'wet season' when it gets all hot and humid before bringing glorious thunderstorms like no other - oh, and the cyclones).  The pink suede with brown trim heels at the bottom of the organiser are slightly tight - ie, I couldn't walk in them, but I can get them on - are staying as I LOVE them, and am hoping to wear them again one day soon.  The rest is a collection of black or brown heels of various heights.

Below are the shoes that are headed to the op shop ... 

I HATE to give away the three pink pairs on the left, mainly for the memories they carry, and the silver ones in the bottom centre-left were my bridesmaid shoes, but I decided I need to be ruthless - and most of them don't fit now anyway.  They are all well-worn, but if I don't give them away, I know they'll just hide away in my closet.

That's 9 pairs, and if I add to that the 11 bags (and dis-regard the two Huggies boxs worth of books, spare stationary supplies and other goodies) I also purged this month, I am well on the way to exceeding the "30 items in 30 days" amount.  So far so good!

Saturday 9 April 2011

Project Simplify: Hot Spot #5

Since the beginning of March, Tsh from Simple Mom has been encouraging her readers to participate in a 'simplifying' project, whereby she's challenged us to 'tackle different areas of our homes', in order to both remove clutter and simplify our lives in however small a way.

Over the last five weeks, we have took on our Master Closet, Paper Clutter, Kids Clothes & Toys and Pantry & Fridge, leaving this last week to our own devises in respect to choosing which area to tackle.  Considering the long list of areas which I really need to declutter, I narrowed it down to the main bookshelf in my bedroom.


I am a self-confessed hoarder and have found it difficult to part with 'things' in the past however, since finding Tsh's blog and reading the posts, I have become more malleable in respect to considering whether or not I really need to keep an item - or whether someone else may be able to use it better than I do, especially when it has just been 'sitting there' for more than a few years.

My bookshelf seemed to be the a main collection point in my bedroom as you can see ...

The bottom shelf was piled high, the drawer chock-a-block full, and with all that weight on the shelf, I had to jerk the draw in order to get it to close!  Also, since I hadn't attacked it properly for almost three years (during my 'nesting' phase!) apart from the occasional dusting, it definitely would not have passed a 'white glove' inspection!


Well ... after quite a few hours, a few uplifting music cds and quite a few glasses of Pepsi Max, I have successfully de-cluttered and simplified my bookshelf, leaving it looking FABULOUS!!!  

I almost can't believe this is my bookshelf!!!!  In my life I have NEVER been able to purge this much stuff - this many books!!!

I have one whole Huggies Nappies box + one QBD plastic shopping bag chock-a-block full of stuff to go to the Op shop.

I also got rid of two plastic bags worth of rubbish, or things that really couldn't be passed on, eg., workbooks or journals partially filled out in years past.

I even organised my books a lot more efficiently - at least for me.

Christian books sit on the top shelf -primarily non-fiction titles, though some Christian fiction titles made the cut.

The second shelf holds titles on such topics as:

  • "activities to do with children" 
  • "craft titles"
  • "motherhood and being-a-woman advice titles"
  • "fiction and inspirational titles"
  • "good food and recipe books", and finally
  • various titles which don't fit anywhere else.

The last shelf holds my Harry Potter books, classical music collection, further inspirational titles and my youth Bible.

The drawer is also a LOT less cluttered and more organised than before.  I actually purged half a plastic bag of medicines which were all out of date, some dating back to 2008!!  

The cupboard below has also been purged and is almost as unobstructed as the third shelf above.

It is amazing how good I feel now that this bookshelf is no longer dis-organised and confused.  I still have to drop off the items to the op shop - my car has been out of commission since end of Feb - but I know that once I get through the difficulty of handing over the items, I will feel even more cleansed!

Previous Hot-Spots

Although I didn't get through the weeks' dedicated to the Master closet and Pantry/Fridge, I was able to tackle my second closet which houses my daughter's clothes and my desks in the lounge where the majority of my paper clutter collects.

I didn't get a before photo of the closet, but if you can imagine this space (almost 60 x 140cms in size) chock-a-block full then you can get an idea of how tight it got in this area.

I could barely get my daughter's clothes in there to hang them up, let alone getting into anything that was in there.  The laundry hamper (woven hamper in the bottom left) was previously sitting outside the closet, as space prevented it to be hidden inside.  One of the major purges was my bags collection, which now fits in the black & white bag and the top clear box - 4 went to my daughter's dress-up collection, 2 went to my fabric stash to repurpose, and 11 bags are headed to the op shop.

The second area I really got stuck into was my desk area in the lounge-room where I do my university studies, watch dvds and do my crafts.  The first two images show the 'before', while the last shows my nicely clean and clear 'after' table space.

To finish off this, rather large, post I want to thank Tsh for her timing in promoting and directing this mass de-cluttering project.  Your words have inspired me to continue this simplification throughout all areas of my physical world.

** To see other participants' efforts this week click here.
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