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sparrows and flowers

God has been making me think about these verses lately, when our future seems uncertain and the world is a mess.

“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:28

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This one is so beautiful as well, I was sitting now on the couch thinking how to start this post, and its raining outside, but the little sparrow birds were finding bugs and crumbs on the porch. It just reminded me of this verse, and how God looks after even though tiny seemingly insignificant creatures. Yet here I am fretting and freaking out about our own future.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

I have this amazing friend who I met online, who is probably one of the most faithful and God-trusting people I have ever met. In talking to her, I have been so challenged and reminded of the grace and love of our Abba. How just as our children trust us implicitly for everything they need (and want), we are God’s children, and He cares for us just the same. She reminded me that in everything we can call on Him, even if its literally crying out loud to Him to help us, He will do it.

Two songs came on Pandora this morning while I was making breakfast, that both literally spoke to me about this.

I see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

(You never let go – Matt Redman)

And an old favourite by Casting Crowns:

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Our Father in Heaven just requires that we trust Him, not people, not ourselves. Sometimes we get ourselves into the kinds of messes that seem like its the end of the world, but to Him its small potatoes… He is the God who spoke the planets and stars into being. He took dust and created man. He took a rib and created woman. He is the God who calmed the storm with a word. He is the God who beat death, time and time again. He is the God who opens wombs that seem barren for years. There is nothing that is impossible for Him.

I guess that just leaves us to pray, cry out, and wait expectantly for Him to work, because He loves us.

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a foot in two worlds

In the past year our lives have been pulled out of their comfort zones, and tested and tried time and time again. We have lost a loved one to the vilest disease, we have left behind friends and family that have been our support for ever, we have moved to a country that is 11000km away from “home” and had to try and adjust to “new” language and new culture. We have made some new friends, but still long for the comfort of old friends. We lost a much wanted baby, at only 7 weeks pregnant. Relationships have been tried as well, and most have come out stronger, and some have been seemingly irreparably damaged. We have been blessed with another precious life that’s growing, and should join us in September. We have seen so much more of the world and met people who have changed and challenged us.

Considering all of this, I sit and wonder, why so many people can immigrate and integrate seamlessly into their new country within months, and others, like us, have one foot in each country, and yearn for “home”. I have tried to create home here, and I have done my best to make a house a home, I have realised though, that it’s the people that make a home. Yes, having us 4 together is obviously home, yet, there is always a vacuum. Extended family, friends, those people who make a place home. Many people tell me that you eventually make friends in your new country that are as good as family, and that may be true, but they can not replace those who have known you since the beginning. Those people who know why your nose is bent a bit (thanks to extreme clumsiness and impatience), those who know that you used to be a vehement feminist and didn’t want children, those who know that when you wanted kids it was hard to conceive. Those people who have seen you at your worst, and love you because they know behind the sarcasm and the aggressiveness, is a fierce friend who loves deeper than many can. Those people who know that sometimes all you need is a hug, although you shun affection. Those people who have left marks on your heart, and on your skin. Those people who were your first advisors, your first champions, your heroes, the people who were always there… but now they’re not. Those people you miss like there is a physical chasm in your body, heart and mind.

I feel like this sculpture by Bruno Catalano, like there is a massive hole where people belong. I’m not sure I will ever be fully at home in an adopted country, my heart beats to an African drum, and the smells and sounds of my beautiful home country call to me daily. Maybe one day they will call us home.

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truth

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I’ve gone back and forth for the past year about whether to resurrect my blog, or start a new one or give it up all together. I haven’t written here for over a year and I don’t like the bulk of what I wrote in the past. That said, I am not sure I want to delete it all, as I think its all about the gradual change, or growth I have gone through. I think my blog is a good 8 years old already.

I don’t want to be labelled. I don’t want to win blogging awards, or do giveaways (unless its a totally mind blowing thing that relates to what I believe). I won’t do reviews, unless again its something that I choose to do because I believe in the book/product strongly. I am not a mommy blogger, goodness knows the world doesn’t need another one. What the world needs is someone who speaks the truth, in love. Someone who will stand for what they believe even if the rest of the world doesn’t agree. I want to write about what is on my heart, even if no one reads it. I think that’s why its taken me so long to write again. When I started this blog at 21/22, I wanted people to read what I wrote. I wanted to get stuff and give stuff away and wow, did I live for comments. Its taken me this long, to get to  the point where I realise its not about me. I need to write with conviction. I need to write what the Lord lays on my heart. I won’t write what people want to read but what they should read. I am not very PC, but I will try and be gentle. I doubt I have any readers left, so if someone stumbles on this post, then maybe come back every now and then and see what I write.

I won’t promise to write daily, or to use fancy cameras to take awesome pictures, but I will hopefully get the quality over quantity thing down.

I’ll leave you with this until next time…

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15

Is God really good?

How many of us, can honestly say, like Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego… That if God does not give us what we think will make us happy, or what we want: “If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will never serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. ” {daniel 3:17-18 || ESV}

God is good. That’s it, it’s not dependent on how we feel about it. He is good even if you lose your job, even if you get sick, even if you have a miscarriage, even if your dreams shatter. Through it all He remains unchanging and constant. He is the Author, the Creator, He placed our dreams and desires in our minds. He gives us life, and hope. No matter what our circumstances, He is good, He is enough.

 

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depression

the whole world is in uproar and discussion about Robin Williams, suicide and depression. From the naysayers who say, just get over it, to the people who suffer themselves and are angry at the ones who don’t get it.

I thought I would weigh in with my two-cents.

After two pregnancies in 2 years and having a horrible birth experience with my first, I can see I suffered postnatal depression after Elijah was born and then again when I was pregnant with Naomi. Its a real thing. Its not a slump you can pull yourself out of. I was in denial and didn’t see it as an issue, but it affected my whole life. I didn’t have the overwheming desire to down bottles of aspirin, but I did have the overwhelming feeling that I was drowning. The lack of desire to do things I actually enjoyed, and pushing people away, the desire to stay in bed all day and just forget about the world. Yes, I didn’t have it so bad that I would kill myself, but I definitely wished I could run away from my feelings… ever try escape your own mind… yeah not an option.

I have friends and family who really do suffer from depression, its a real problem, a real disease, and its not their fault. They can take medication and numb it, but they can’t get away from their own minds. I would probable have gotten worse, but I had an awesome support system, if not for my friends who checked on me while I was pregnant with Naomi, and my husband who was there to keep me grounded, I may have lost my mind. I also hear the argument, to just trust God, and give it to Him… which is so true, but its totally easier said that done. The best post on the Christian perspective on depression is by Ann Voskamp. As Christians, and humans, we need to rally around those with mental illness and depression, not shun and judge them. Help them trust God, help them see His love, when they feel like drowning. Funny story is that some of the friends who helped me most were atheists and Buddhists…

You can be different and you can struggle and you can wrestle and you can hurt and we will be here.Because a fallen world keeps falling apart and even though we the Body can’t make things turn out — we can turn up. Just keep turning up, showing uplooking up.”

If we only knew what fire every person is facing — there isn’t one person we wouldn’t help fight their fire with the heat of a greater love. (Ann Voskamp)

If you suffer from depression, seek help, and know that there is no shame in depression or other mental illnesses, just as there is no shame in cancer or heart problems. Christ died for us all, and He is there to carry us through everything, the church needs to step up and be His hands.

letting go of perfect

I am a perfectionist. OCD. Call it what you like.

I was raised by a mom who managed to keep her house in shipshape all the time, even today her house is never messy or cluttered. I inherited this, which is not a bad trait, except that it became an obsession for me. I clean, tidy, declutter, sweep, move my kids and husband out the way to sweep where they stood, shout at them to pick up, and have heart attacks when they unpack something when I just cleaned.

Slowly however, I am learning to let go. I am decluttering and organising the house in a way that makes it slightly simpler to tidy quicker and easier, but I am trying to let go of the obsession and to focus on being present, and pleasant. We live in this house, my kids play, and they play hard… unpacking every single toy… so I am letting go.

Obviously the house needs to be clean, because dirty is just gross, so we have a lovely cleaner who comes in once a week and saves my sanity. I do laundry and dishes but for the rest I just let go. Its quite liberating really, to just step over the toys instead of screaming. I am by no means “cured” but I am getting there. Hopefully soon the clutter will be slightly less, then it will be simpler.

Instead of focusing on the mess I will focus on raising my family to focus on what is important, God’s word and loving each other and others.

So that’s my confession for the week…

papa shaped hole in our house

My husband is currently 15000km away, in Amsterdam for a conference. I always thought I was awesome and could do this parenting gig almost single handedly.

I. was. wrong.

My kids actually miss their Papa, I mean seriously miss him. Naomi (18 months) has meltdowns when looking for him in the house. Elijah (3.5 yrs) is slightly less dramatic, but he is so much harder to manage than normal.

I miss my friend, my love, my sounding board, my partner in this crazy life.

I am not cut out to be alone as a mom. Which makes me appreciate him so much more, and also sympathise so much more with my friends who do this permanently, with no other option.

I am just grateful that we answered God’s call for me to be home with the kids and to homeschool and all the other things we do as a family because of His calling. I am grateful that Chris supports me by working insanely hard, and by being there to listen and partner with me as we raise our little people. I could not do this permanently. Or at least not by choice or without an insane amount of grace, coffee, chocolate and wine.

I think all I am trying to say is, I have a massive appreciation for what Chris does as a dad, husband and provider. Absence makes the heart grow fonder for real. This is a really good post to remind us all of what a real romantic man is. He is a man, like mine, who steps up to his role as husband, father and provider.

elevation or degradation

‎”Every woman, whether rich or poor, married or single, has a circle of influence within which, according to her character, she is exerting a certain amount of power for good or harm. Every woman by her virtue or her vice, by her wisdom or her folly, by her dignity or her levity is adding something to our national elevation or degradation.” —John Angell James

 some days I wonder what I am adding to this world, whether it is elevating or degrading. I’d like to say that most of the time, my input to society, or at least my family is positive, but sadly as a very sinful, albeit forgiven, woman that is not always the case. I used to often write about biblical womanhood, and modesty, and what it means to follow Christ as a wife and mom, but I haven’t in a while. Newly inspired, I would like to start today.

my circle of influence, is mostly my immediate family,  so husband, and children. they see me at my best and at my worst. Recently I have been more and more convicted, both from my loving husband and wise women online, that I show more of my worst side, my temper, or just my impulsive worldly ways, my addiction to being online, and the fear that I may just miss someone’s really irrelevant status update. That leads to me losing my temper more because my children act out as they want my attention. so I have been really challenged to put down the phone, tablet, laptop, and engage with my children, so that I don’t only yell our of frustration because they are bugging me while I am doing what is ultimately folly. I realized this even more when my husband gave me his FarmVille game to take over, i played it like an addict, racing against time to fill orders for a computerized character, and to make as much money as I could to buy the next thing I need to fill more orders in my race against time… and what I realized is it’s such a waste, a fun waste, but a waste nontheless. I would reach for the iPad as soon as I could get up in the morning and play FarmVille for half an hour, and then run late with everything. Which would make me edgy with the kids, and my husband, and the dogs, rabbits and chickens (The real ones in my garden). I realised that playing this game, and being online all the time for fear that I miss something is degrading. my legacy to my children should not be a mama who was plugged into a screen all day, and yelled when she was running late due to her own faults, but a mama and wife who is plugged into the family. it’s not about how many friends I have on Facebook, or how many peach yogurts I can make on FarmVille. It’s about begin friends with my husband, and knowing him, about connecting with real life friends when I can, or at least having meaningful conversations online, not just cyber-stalking, and it’s about playing and engaging with the little people I have been blessed with.

i don’t want to write for other people anymore, to do product reviews or write to see how many comments I get. I want to write what will elevate, and encourage my daughters one day if they read this blog, about being a mom and wife. I have likely lost all my readership anyway, but thats fine, I will not promise to post often, but when I do it will be meaningful. I write now more for myself as a reminder or even a journal to see what I have learnt, and maybe someone else learns or maybe not, but it’s ok. For now I will let go, and play with my kids and hang out with my man. Hopefully that will be enough to elevate our nation and our world.

Review: Spring Board Books

The lovely people at Shelton Interactive sent Elijah and Naomi some board books to review. Due to some personal crisises and big changes in our lives, we have taken forever to write this up (Apologies to the ever patient Katie). These three books are specially for Spring, so if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, these are for your seasons… but for those in the South, they are still a great buy. I have reviewed some of Callie Grant’s books before, and as usual she is a winner in our home.

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Jesus Saves Me – A sweet book with full colour photos, all about how we are Jesus’s sheep and he is the good Shepherd. Very good for small children, as the photos seem to attract them more than illustrations do, well for my kids anyway.

Little Seed: A Life – This little gem is all about the life cycle of a seed, but brings it back to God who is the one who makes everything grow in His time. The illustrations are wonderfully bright and it is definitely a book that can even be used in teaching some basic biology.

Close as a Breath – My favourite of the three, the illustrations are beautiful, and the story is precious. I relate to it, as I remember walks with my dad as a little girl, and asking a million different questions. Definitely a book to get hold of a treasure.

As I said, these books are a win, so if you can get them, do! They make lovely babyshower or dedication gifts, as they are lovely and chunky for baby hands.

(I was given these books to review, but have not been remunerated for my opinions, and as such they are my honest opinions)

Best coffee ever

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So as you know we live on smallholding, and are attempting the whole simple life, whole food, homesteading thing. Which is great fun, and interesting to say the least.
Since we now have reasonable good internet, I have started reading other homesteaders and real foodies blogs to get ideas for how to run this place and eat better. In the week I was reading Wellness Mama’s blog and came upon an interesting post about how she drinks her coffee. My first reaction was mild revulsion… But then I thought, heck I am fairly open to new ideas, let’s give it a go. So this is how I now drink my coffee, and I swear, it’s amazing!! I struggled with black coffee, but knowing that our processed dairy is really bad, I don’t drink it in my coffee. And everyone knows a mama needs her coffee.

Ingredients

Fresh black coffee
1 tsp unsalted butter (I use salted coz it’s all I currently have, and I don’t like wasting)
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil (I think mine is just normal, but going to get virgin tomorrow -virgin is more coconutty than the processed one and way healthier)
1 tsp vanilla extract (I made my own a while back with vanilla husks I bought for dirt cheap at Wellness Warehouse and vodka)
1 tsp honey/stevia/xylitol (I use honey because stevia taste bad after and xylitol is not something I have in the house)
1 tsp rice milk powder/creamer of choice

Chuck it all in a blender/stick blender and zoosh until it’s nicely mixed . You’d think it’s oily but it’s creamy, kind of like if you add cream to coffee. The butter and coconut oil emulsify and made it sooo good.

The great thing is, it makes it lank easy to consume some of the 1/4cupf coconut oil that’s recommended. The benefits of coconut oil is something I have post about before, in a series, go check it. I’m doing it because a)it’s better than black coffee, b) it helps weigh loss c) it helps prevent Alzheimer’s (something I’m pretty freaked out by).

Go on! Give it a try… It’s awesome.

 

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