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Royalty, Wife, Mummy, friend, teacher, student & fitness blogger

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Character training

We’re ALL made in HIS image !! 

So, I’m blogging from bed tonight. . this is new for me. What’s been on my mind today?  The journey of struggle to always, 100% of the time, think the absolute best of others… no matter what they’ve done or said to you.  

It can be a challenge. .. but after growing through some friends & family struggles in the last few years,  I’m well able to see the fruitful results of thinking the best of others during & after conflict.  To clarify.. ..I’m referring to the results within me.   When logic tells you this,  that or the other,  but you’re able to see past that and see the likeness of the image of God in all, you know He has done a great work within your heart.   It’s also been really interesting to notice the reactions of others to my approach when it comes to how I think of others I’ve been thru conflict with.   There’s been no resolution. .. and yet I am able to believe the best of them. … even when it defies logic.   I, like many of us, kind of have two different types of friends/family. .. those walking with The Lord.. and those that aren’t.   Prodominently, my friends & family who are walking with Him know that I am making the BEST choices, even when it may not seem the logical choice (the decision you’d make in the flesh).  The flipside of the coin is a large perecent of my unbelieving friends/family think I’m a nutcase when I refuse to think badly of others.

I listen to myself at times and know that it seems crazy.. illogical. . and maybe a tad niave to look past nastiness to the God given gifts & talents that I know are beneath any words said out of hurt, pain, confusion. …. or outright miscommunication, but when you’re witnessed years of a beautiful, kind heart… when you have those memories. .. it’s easy to cling to those,  rather than the negative.

Now..  is it like a switch where you conplete your growth journey and you never struggle to always see the best?  Um, NO !! I so wish it was. .. but sadly, there’s an enemy that loves to pull us down at every opportunity.  We can know that we need to hold our shield high.. but sometimes LIFE gets hectic, stressful… or generally just full-on… It’s at those times that we may get a little distracted and have an arrow make contact.  Solution – Sword of the Spirit.  KNOW IT… MEMORIZE IT… SPEAK IT OUT !! & do that even when you don’t feel like doing it.  Actually. . do it ESPECIALLY when you don’t feel like doing it.

Seems simple right. .. well it looks like it on paper.. but it does take strength,  perserverence, patience, persistence, determination . .. and lots of other strong qualities.  Good thing for us God gave us all those things… we just have to use them.   They’re kinda like muscels at times (yes, I did need to bring a fitness element into this.  Ha ha). .. if you use them a lot, they work well… get a little slothful, and it’ll be a tad more difficult for you.

Isaiah 40:29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Maybe the conflict I’ve experienced will never be repaired… who knows. . But I know it can only be beneficial to my heart for me to have this mindset.

Philippians 4 : 8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

You know what else is imperative. .. seeking & then listening to Godly counsel.  It takes humility,  but it’s something I’ve grown to know is extremely important.   Because guess what,  we can’t always trust our own emotions.   Another interest thing. .. God doesn’t just use our believing friends to impart wisdom to us.   I’ve recieved fresh insight and wise cousel on many occasions from my unsaved friends & family.

Proverbs 1 : 7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Well, It’s now morning. . And no,  I didn’t blog all night. … but I do like to write and then sit on something thru the night. . Just in case I’ve used my own fleshy thoughts and logic and not discerned correctly what it is The Lord has for me to publish.

Enjoy this new day peeps !! Seek His counsel in all things. .. and see others as He sees them. .. in every situation.  At work today,  with your family,  at school,  out socializing… whatever it might be, look for the best in all !! It might not always be easy,  but man,  you’ll feel better in yourself then giving into what our emotions sometimes say we have ‘the right’ to feel.   We all know what’s best. . It’s the enemy that comes in and feeds us the Genesis 3 : 1 line. . “Did He really say…” As it says, he’s crafty.  He often doesn’t outright tell us things,  but makes us question the sound judgement we have within us from The Lord.

Don’t listen to Him !!

Soak in the scriptures. . And use those swords to tell the enemy where to go when you feel yourself thinking badly of others,  or maybe justifying poor decisions.

And as Lisa Bevere says in ‘Girls with Sword’… STRIKE TRUE !!

Blessings peeps !!

Like a tree planted by the water

Hi all…

God laid a blog post on my heart a few weeks back, but life’s been cray cray busy, emotionally draining and. well, just a tad poopy to be honest.  So, my blog post has been a bunch of notes and dot points on note paper by my Mac ever since then.  Now, tonight, I finally have the time, and emotional capacity, to get it ‘written down’.

Quite often, The Lord gives my blog post during praise & worship time.  This can be quite frustrating if he decides to give it to me during P & W at church….  I have to try and remember it all…  I really should start taking my journal to church with me for this very reason.

The title of tonight’s blog may have given it away, but it was Psalm 1 that was given to me that particular evening.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lordand on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers.  The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;  for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

I always find it interesting that the Lord gives me different things for my blogs… sometimes pictures, sometimes songs, sometimes a direct message.  I was given this Psalm, and then I ‘happened’ to search up a ‘Chat with Priscilla Shirer’ to watch one evening in the week following having been given the Psalm, and low and behold, her guests were Mark & Melanie Hall.  Mark Hall is the lead singer of Casting Crowns.  I have a few of theirs albums, but must say I didn’t know much about them.  Their story is amazing.  The band is completely made up of Pastors.  I’d strongly encourage you to google them and read their testimony.  Powerful stuff !

Anyway, I had strangely (nothing like this is ‘strange’, it’s just God ‘doing his thing’ when we don’t realise He’s doing it) purchased the ‘Thrive’ album the previous week and had listened to it enough times to be quite interested in what Mark had to say about it.  Surprise, surprise… it’s based on Psalm 1.  I guess if I’d put some deep thought into it, I would have realised that after listening to the ‘Thrive’ track, but I mostly listen to it while working out, so I’m not always putting 100% attention into lyric meaning.  You know, not dropping the weight bar on my face is more significant.  LOL.

The lyrics of ‘Thrive’ go like this :

Here in this worn and weary land Where many a dream has died
Like a tree planted by the water We never will run dry
So living water flowing through, God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls With one desire
Just to know You and to make You known ,We lift Your name on High
Shine like the sun made darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more Than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive… We were made to thrive
Into Your word we’re digging deep To know our Father’s heart
Into the world we’re reaching out To show them who You are
So living water flowing through God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls With one desire.

The Believers Bible Commentary tells us this about Psalm 1:3-5 – The man who is separated from sin and separated to the scriptures has all the qualities of a strongly, healthy, fruitful tree.    Planted by the rivers of water – he has a never-failing supply of nourishment and refreshment.  It brings forth it’s fruit in it’s season  – he displays the graces of The Spirit, and his words and actions are always timely and appropriate.   It’s leaf also shall not wither – his spiritual life is not subject to cyclical changes but it characterised by continuous inner renewal.  As D L Moody puts it, :”All The Lord’s trees are evergreen.”  ( I LOVE that, don’t you.)

This kind of man shall prosper in everything he undertakes.  The reason, of course, is that he is living in fellowship with The Lord, and all his service is therefore guided by the Holy Spirit.  The only way to be efficient and successful in the Christian life is to be led by the Spirit of God.  Self-directed activity is an enormous waste of time, money and effort.

The ungodly are not so, that is, they are neither well planted, fruitful, enduring, nor prosperous.  Like chaff, they lack body or substance.  When the storms of life blow, they prove unstable.  a strong wind drives them away.  The ungodly shall not stand in the judgement. They will, of course, appear before God at the judgement of the Great White Throne (Rev 20:11). But the meaning here is that they will have no adequate defence.  In idiomatic language, they won’t have a leg to stand on.  Furthermore, they will never stand in the congregation of the righteous;  they will be forever excluded from company of those who are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

(If I haven’t told you before… I LOVE my ‘Believers Bible Commentary’.  I bought it about 4yrs ago now and find it an extremely handy resource.  It is written by William MacDonald and is based on the New King James version. ©1995, 1992, 1990, 1989)  And as a bonus for me, it’s LARGE PRINT…. which also makes it a good addition to my weights workout.. LOL.

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The cover of the ‘Thrive’ album is so great and tells such a great message, as well as visually depicting Psalm 1.  Digging our roots DEEP in the scriptures, while still reaching OUT into the world.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell you all that having deep roots in the Scriptures make marriage, work, church, friendships…well, basically anything, work BETTER !!!

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Getting back to what the commentary says of Psalm 1… I love knowing that I have a NEVER FAILING supply of nourishment and refreshment.  Man, I’ve needed that this year with the ups and downs of the last few months.  Even this past week, Master 11 had major eye surgery.  I actually didn’t even realise quite how major it was until he’d been in theatre 3hrs with no sign of getting that magical phone call saying ‘Your child is in recovery.. you can come in and see him now.”  Thank The Lord, that phone call ended up being the surgeon coming to us after 3hr 10mins in theatre, saying that it had all gone beautifully and our son would soon be in recovery.  It would be another nail biting half an hour before I got the call saying I could come in to recovery to see him.  Apparently he’d been under quite a deep anesthetic due to the length of the surgery and was taking a bit to come out of it.  He gave us some entertaining moments over the next few hours until he was fully awake and with it.  The knowledge that our loving heavenly Father was in that operating room, guiding the hands of the surgeons, greatly comforted me in those stressful last 2hrs in theatre.

I also want to be characterised as having continuous inner renewal.  I certainly know that I thrive for this, by both digging into the Word, and reaching out to others with the gifts and talents the Lord has blessed me with.

Speaking of reaching out to others, I have to take this opportunity to share with you the most beautiful thing that happened in hospital this week, the morning following the surgery.  I stayed in overnight with Master 11 of course, and when we were sitting having breakfast (well, he was having breakfast, I was stealing off his plate.), he nonchalantly says to me “I’m thinking after breakfast, I’m going to go and pray with each child.”  Seriously, my heart nearly burst.  Due to nurses coming, going through discharge proceedures etc, he only got to pray with one little girl, but oh well, that’s one girl who’s life he touched that morning.   My son is an EVERGREEN…..  love it !!!!

I also love what Psalm 1 says about ‘when the storms of life blow’..  and that this played out in our life this week.  The storm was hectic… there were other things going in our lives too this week…..  not so great things.. that are way too complicated to go into (future blog post), but while I was tossed around a bit, emotionally, physically….  because my roots are planted DEEP in the word, and planted by the rivers of water, I was able to power on through it, knowing who I am, and whos I am !!!

I also love these particular lyrics in ‘Thrive’ We know we were made for so much more Than ordinary lives.. It’s time for us to more than just survive… We were made to thrive.

I know that I don’t want to settle for an ordinary life… I don’t want to ‘just survive’ …I want, and plan to THRIVE !!!

Blessings Peeps  xox

Awaken, sleeping Lionesses

“If ever there comes a time when the women of the world can come together, purely and simply for the benefit of mankind.. it will be a force such as the world has never known.”  Matthew Arnold,  British Poet & Philosopher.

(Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator. Matthew Arnold has been characterised as a sage writer, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues.)

I included that little bit of basic info on Matthew Arnold to make the point that I think he was in a very good position to have made the above statement.  And it quite frankly blows me away to think that he made that comment well over 150yrs ago.  I must say that I do tend to think that we’re predominantly in the mess we’re in since the 1960 or 70’s, as I use the rationale that when my parents grew up, there was far more respect shown to adults/elders/those in authority than there is now.  There was more modest dress, stronger family bonds & commitments, and just more consideration shown for others across the board.  So, with this in mind, it’s interesting to read his statement and note how long ago he would have made it.  Clearly, a very intuitive man.  G. W. E. Russell wrote of Arnold, “He is a man of the world entirely free from worldliness.”

This statement by Matthew Arnold has been quoted by Lisa Bevere at the beginning of her messages since beginning her ‘Lioness Arising’ teachings in 2009.

I went through the Lioness Arising teaching series in January 2012 with the lovely ladies from LifeHouse church.  I found it to be such an informative and enlightening teaching, but it’s very interesting to reflect on how I’ve continued to learn from it in these 4yrs between, and I imagine I will continue to learn from it going forward also.

The cover of the book says ‘Lioness Arising… Wake up and change your world”.  Well, wake up I certainly did that year and I’ve never looked back.

Chapter one of the Safari guide (the workbook that goes alongside the book & message series) begins with these words, “Welcome to the pride, my lovely Lioness sister.”  Now, this right here was an eye-opener for me in that lounge room that night in Jan 2012, surrounded by 12-14 relatively new friends as I’d only joined the church the previous October.  Those beautiful women became my pride for the next 3yrs and I learnt so much with and from them.  God had further plans for our family, leading us away from LIfeHouse and to the church family we now call HOME!  As a result, I have a different ‘pride’ now.  The eye-opening point though had little to do with the small group that is your pride, but realising that we, as women of God, are all in the one pride.   We support each other in our day to day within our smaller ‘prides’, but as a whole, we support the entire pride in prayer also.

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My pride today is stunning… stunning and dangerously wide awake !!  To say I love them and are grateful to do life with them is a huge understatement.   What’s fascinating about our pride is that all five of us have known each other for years…  approx 13yrs is the longest I’ve known one of my Lioness sisters, but some are a little longer, and some a little shorter.  We haven’t always been this pride…. it’s actually come together in solidarity just this year.  In these many years leading up, there’s been weddings (actually, just one, mine.  LOL), pregnancies, miscarriages, births, dedications, relationship tensions, job changes, many a school activity or awards night, family tragedy, mind-blowing blessings, and so so much more.  It continues to amaze me that God’s timing is ALWAYS spot on !  We’ve all known each other for a good amount of years, and have always gotten along, but God has seen fit to bring us together as a pride for THIS time in our lives.  All of us are riding through something at present, whether it be health, relationship, parenting, or something else.. and we’re all there for each other and in most cases can well relate to our Lioness sister’s struggles.

Another thing the 5 of us have in common… we all have a Lioness cub that has been entrusted to our care.

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return, and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.  Luke 12:48 NLt

Our ‘cubs’ range from 10yrs up to nearly 16 (so yes, we need prayer right now peeps.. ha ha).  There is so so much to be aware of when parenting a daughter and I know it’s been said time and time again, but seriously, the biggest keys are being in a Godly marriage (don’t worry if you’re a single Mum, or your husband isn’t walking with The Lord as in those situations, The Lord is the other parent when needed) The Word of God, and having open communication with your daughter.  The next biggest asset after those is being in a Pride of fellow Lionesses also mothering a cub.

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It’s so important to instil into our girls that while they have no choice but to be IN the world, they most certainly don’t need to be OF the world.  This can be crazy hard with the influence of tv, movies, magazines, books, music lyrics & videos etc etc.  To give an example, my daughter is 15, is homeschooled, goes to dance once a week, attends a life-group with girls her age at our church, and attends youth group and church on the weekends.  She also works part-time at a coffee shop twice a week.  Now, while she is free from a huge amount of negative influences that she used to be greatly effected by when she was in mainstream school, she still comes in contact with those of different beliefs, moral standards etc etc and needs to know how to respond in those situations.  Recently there was a situation at her workplace where someone was upset and resigned.  What followed was very adult conversation topics, bad language and a lack of consideration shown by some in the situation.  I need to know that I am doing the absolute best job to equip Miss 15 to best handle herself in these situations.  I’m pleased to say that she did very well, recognising where it would have been easy to slip into the gossiping with others, but refrained from it.  #proudmummamoment .  We can tend to think that if we just have our girls in youth group/life group at our church, all will be fine, or at least better than ‘out there in the world’.  This quite often isn’t the place.  Probably better, yes, but not smooth sailing by any stretch of the imagination.  Youth group and life group usually involves community kids, so therefore worldly issues, swearing, lower moral standards etc etc.  While we would love to just keep our daughters from these, they need to experience them in these years in order to learn and effectively navigate the big world when they in fact delve into it themselves, whether that be via University, the workplace, or social settings.  Not to mention… how are we to save the lost if we don’t interact with those not walking with The Lord.

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You know another important thing to do with your Lioness sisters….. LAUGH…. Laugh until your stomach and sides ache !!  I’m pleased to say that we satisfy this unwritten pride prerequisite quite well….  especially with this one here….  Oh my goodness we laugh a LOT !!  If I’m a little down, my DH will say to me.. “You need a get together with your bestie… go belly laugh together like you always do.” :0)

Through not only the benefit of laughter, but also friendship and prayer support, we are able to journey together in our walk with The Lord, becoming best equipped to help others.  As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17

In her book ‘Lioness Arising’, Lisa Bevere writes..  We live in a world filled with ever-increasing opportunities.  We are not limited like our sisters in the 1800s.  We have the ability to stretch forth and reach out to others to do this well.  We must look back and ahead.

 

In Luke 4:18-19 we read God’s Spirit is on me, he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”   In my humble opinion, to most effectively do this, we women NEED to be in a fully awakened and dangerous pride.

To be able to confidently know not only that I would state the following, but my fellow Lionesses would too…  So now I will attack you like a lion, like a leopard that lurks along the road.  Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away.  I will tear out your heart.  I will devour you like a hungry lioness and mangle you like a wild animal.  Hosea 13:7-8 NLT.  So, who didn’t know that stuff like that was in the bible??  ha ha !!

There is so much we need to shield and protect our daughters from in this current day, but at the same time, prepare them for when they go out into the world and encounter those same things.  Matthew 10:16 says Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you.  You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves.  Be as cunning as a snake, un-offensive as a dove.  

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Take this beauty on the right here….  Doesn’t she look all gorgeous, sweet and lovely??  well, she totally is :0)… but she’s also one of the fiercest prayer warriors I know, and she can be counted on to go to war for one of her Lioness Sisters at a moments notice if needed.

There is so so much more I could include in this blog, but the best I can do is suggest that if you haven’t read Lioness arising, or done the study within a group, GET ONTO IT GIRLFRIEND !!!  There’s simply too much at stake in our world right now, far too many sleeping Lionesses who need to be awakened.  We need to be Proverbs 31:10-31 women, standing by our men, honouring them so they in turn can be equiped to do their part in The Kingdom.  But as we all know, marriage is tough…  so we need our Pride in order to stay strong, weather storms, and not buy into the ways of the world.   I can personally testify to the fact that if you are surrounded by like minded, Godly women as your close friends and support system, your marriage is 1000% better.

I’ll finish with a list of Prayers Roars from the Lioness Arising Safari Guide.  Why not make it a new nightly routine to declare one of these.  I’ll include 7 so that you have one for each day of the week.  These really will set you on a fantastic path to discovering what you actually have in your hand, and how effective you can be in & for the Kingdom.

  1.  I realise I have the potential to be a living, breathing solution to human problems.  Lord, lead me as I embark on this journey !!
  2. I am ready to give expression to lovely, virtuous, capable, inoffensive, cunning, harmless, shrewd, trustworthy, faithful lioness daughters who enrich the lives of those around me and gather to strategise how to ‘do good’.  I am willing to take on this challenge !!
  3. This day, regardless of how I look or feel, I choose to echo the declaration “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”God’s work in me is marvellous.  I am stunning; but more than just looking good, I choose to develop the strength to do good, I am ready to bear some weight and carry my load, because rather than being busy, I will build, I will shift my focus to gain strength and allow hardship to re-make me invincible in Him.  I embrace my strength and choose to run to win, train hard, give it my all, stay alert and not get sloppy with the Word of God, or the seasons of my life.
  4. I present my strength for you service.  God, I refuse to allow anyone to put me in a position of status.  I choose to serve and lift others by asking “How can I help?”.  I will change the way I look at my life of worship.  It is a banquet of refreshing and strength, not a draining burden.  Show me how to be a lioness among Lions and in the process, raise up others in their strength and encourage them to dream again.  I know acts of honour are never lost in translation, so I look to my future with hope because talking less now doesn’t mean having less in my future.  I am a guide, not a guard.  I live to bring people in, not to keep them out, and enlarge my life.
  5. I pray my release means release for others.  Male and female, help me to always remember that marriage is a union, not a battle.  Let me recognise the gender difference as the affirmation of our need for each other.  I need the men in my world to be all that you created them to be.  God bless the dwellings of unity in my life.  We all need redemption and you alone are worthy of my worship. I will stop being contentious and reading too much into gender differences, because you have ultimate preeminence, may you have your say in my life.
  6. Jesus, we are ready to do something impressive and significant. For your body, show me who I am so I know how to both greet and groom my sisters and brothers.  I want to refresh and restore others.
  7. I am ready to be excellently formed and marvellously functioning.  Teach me to hunt, I am ready to grow up, give me the energy and insight of heaven.  Restore all of my healthy maternal affection that fear has twisted.  I am ready to hunt with my sisters.

Many blessings my Lioness Sisters (& any dedicated blog loving Lions still reading)

Let’s stand together and be POWERFUL !!   (Note I haven’t said anything today about who we’re standing against …. coz I refuse to give him more credit than is due.  It’s like a mozzie to a T-Rex….  We are fully armed peeps with the Word of God.)

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xox

 

 

 

 

Riding the Roller-coaster called LIFE !!

Hiya blog readers !!  It’s after 10 on a Saturday night (of course I’m in & blogging because I’m so NOT a party animal… LOL).    We actually have been at a party tonight but it was a workmate of DH’s & we seriously didn’t know anyone at all so we didn’t stay too long.  I didn’t mind that at all seeing as we had to leave the house at 7.30 this morning to head off on a loooooooong drive to the boys soccer game.  1hr 40mins to the game today… not a bad drive actually so it was enjoyable, but I’ll certainly enjoy the Home game next week.

Life has certainly had it’s ups & downs in the last month or so for us…  there have been some heartbreaking lows… BUT…  amongst all this ‘negative’, God has turned ashes to beauty !!   My DH, who is saved, but has struggled big-time with the whole ‘die to self’ part of the deal, has had more than ample reason to be angry this past month.  (seriously, a saint woulda lost his shiz through this stuff), but he’s been cool as a cucumber… and I know that it’s God’s hand in him.

I had my suspicions of course, but they were confirmed when we were at Alapha last week and one of the questions was “What dramatic change has God brought about in your life since becoming a Christian?”  DH answered “He’s taken my anger away.”  (Of course I did a fist pump on the inside at this time.. lol)

I was thinking about this in the car heading to soccer this morning.  We were listening to ABBA (coz Abba rocks !!) and I can’t remember what song it was, but a tambourine was mentioned.  Straight away…. way too fast for me to have thought it myself, I was reminded of that verse in Exodus where Miriam dances and sings with her tambourine.  (Exodus 15:20).  Hardcore blog followers of mine will remember why this is the verse that was laid on my heart this morning.

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For everyone else… here’s the super fast recap…  In 2014 my sister & I went to Colour Conference (the women’s conference at Hillsong church) and Beth Moore was one of the speakers. (LOVE Beth Moore).  She taught from the Exodus passage, bringing it home to us that we need to have our tambourine’s at the ready… anticipating the victory… be ready to grab it at a moments notice (as Miriam did) and get up and rejoice !!  I got onto ebay (trusty ebay) when at the airport waiting to fly home from Colour that year, and purchased a tambourine.  It arrived about a week later and it hangs in a very predominant place in my home…  right in the heart of our home….  handy to pick up at any time.  Even just looking at it hanging there gives me the encouragement I need to get through tough times in a normal day.

I strongly believe that these verses coming to mind during the drive this morning was a subtle reminder to me to remember to not just rejoice for these HUGE steps DH has taken of late, and throughout these struggles, but to also be EXPECTANT for more victory to come.

Exciting right !!!!!

It’s safe to say that I’m really really excited for what’s in store…. and that’s even with the knowledge that, sadly, there will be some really yucky stuff ahead too.  I always know that God totally has us covered in every situation, and I never doubt this…. but things like this morning, getting those ‘moments with The Lord’ and being reminded of His presence, always put an extra spring in our step.. and a wider smile on our face.

Blessings Peeps !!!  xox

Let your character speak above lies

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I’m baaaaaaack….  Yes, I know, it’s been 6wks since blogging.  It’s not that I haven’t thought of it.  I’ve actually thought of it nearly every day, but I think the copious amounts of notes being taken in my Bible College studies, as well as the copious amounts of info being taken in, effects the clarity of what to blog about.

There is so many topics near and/or dear to me in these last weeks but I’ve decided to focus on the above title as it really does cover many areas of struggle in our lives.

One of my lecturers a few weeks back said “You’ll have people that think the world of you, have total confidence in you as a leader and steadfastly encourage you along the way.   Sadly though, you’ll also have people that despise you.  Be prepared for the reality that the closer you walk with The Lord, and the deeper you delve into the things of HIM, the longer that second list of people will grow.”

It’s extremely sad, and extremely difficult to accept, but all I can lean on is the absolute knowledge that we can simple SOAK in God’s word at all times. (& yes, I’ve mentioned this several times in my blogs over the last few years). When we are treated badly, spoken badly of, had lies spread of us, experienced deceit and harsh words towards us, we are in very good company.

2 Timothy 3:12 tells us..  Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 

Persecution is one of the last things a Christian would consider a spiritual blessing. Like suffering, no one needs to seek it out. Jesus did not avoid this subject, but spoke boldly that those who choose to live uprightly and stand for God and speak the truth will be persecuted. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.(Matthew 5:10-12)

The word persecution literally means to pursue. However, it includes malicious intent. It can vary in severity from just speaking nasty words to inflicting brutal violence. Jesus said to be happy about it because “great is your reward in heaven.” Most of the prophets were treated harshly, because they confronted God’s people with truth and reproved their godless behavior and their hard-hearted unbelief.

David was persecuted by King Saul, among others. The motivation was jealousy and envy. Saul was tormented by an evil spirit. David knew it was a spiritual conflict and refused to “stretch out [his]hand against the Lord’s anointed.” He said in Psalm 69:4: “Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully.”.

How do we practically deal with this in everyday life though?  It’s all well & good to have these and other scriptures on hand to draw on when these situations arise, but in reality, it can be hard.  Feelings are real and it hurts when someone you care about believes lies, or is even the one spreading lies about you.  It always reminds me of that quote “Let your character be such that no-one would believe lies about you.”  I bring this to mind in these situations as, for me personally, I know I have such dear friends who fall into that first category above, have my back, encourage me, push me when needed, call me on things when I slip etc etc.

My biggest ‘take home’ on this issue though is 2 things….. the first is the obvious, lean on Scriptures, memorising them so that they’re easy to pull into your thoughts when needed… and two, ALWAYS try and see people as God sees them, no matter how hard that is, no matter how much the enemy tries to tell you they don’t deserve it.   You can usually find this an easy thing to do if you’ve had a falling out with a friend or family member, as you’re bound to have good, even fantastic, memories with these people, so simply draw on  THOSE memories and not the negative.  That’s what I choose to do everyday.  It’s not always easy… there are days that the enemy feeds rubbish into my head and it can get me ‘thinking’ instead of praying, but I just need to remember who has the victory and who is defeated and I’m able to re-boot my thinking.

Another aspect to this is that if you choose to dwell on something someone did or said to you, you’re actually not allowing the possibility that they have changed.  I have two people in my life that are very dear to me but have turned away from me.  Both of these women have amazeballs qualities, so I CHOOSE to think on that, pile blessings on them on a daily basis, and leave it in God’s hands to ‘do what He does best’.   I declare that even if these relationships aren’t restored one day, God will use even that for good.

Isn’t God just awesome !!!  Just being able to have that confidence that He loves to so much and wants the absolute best for us.

Ok peeps… Nighty night.  It’s to bed for me.

Blessings.  xox

A FitFi update !!

While lying in bed last night feeling terribly sick after my first PT session, I realised that I haven’t blogged about my fitness journey for quite a long time.  Well, let’s just be honest and say that I may have fallen off the wagon a little over Christmas & New Year, but thankfully not too bad of a fall.(kg wise)  I guess in lots of ways, people do tend to relax a little over these times, but the important thing is to pull it all together once those times have passed.  Remembering who we house in the temple is always a great motivator too !!

Wagon

I could have continued on my merry way of fairly clean eating and a moderate excersise routine, but I decided a few weeks back that I wasn’t really willing to plod along at such a steady rate… I wanted results faster and I wanted to get fitter quicker.  So, enter Mel, my Personal Trainer.  My sister & niece highly recommended her, so I knew she’d be great before I even had my first consult.

My first offical 30min session was, shall we say, BRUTAL!!!   In the days coming up to my first session, I had been thinking that I’d like them to be an hour and not just 30mins… Well, let’s just say that I was VERY thankful they are only 30mins during the session yesturday.  As it’s turned out, I had a sinus infection upon me so that will have contributed to how awful I felt after, but no fear… lots of water and rest has been my friend overnight and today.

Mel has given me an action plan for the week ahead so that’s exciting to embark on.  I’m very thankful of today’s ‘rest day’ and I say I’ll come to enjoy that rest day every second day.  It’s actually pretty interesting to learn more of the ins and outs of how our body works… how it burns fat, builds & repairs mucsels, etc etc.

I have been enjoying finding different, healthier ways to prepare meals for my family.  I’ve been quite pleased to find loads of different ways to include white potato as part of the meal for DH & the kiddos (coz they love it), while having something else for myself.  Tonight that was a bit of mashed pumpkin and spinach, often I’ll use sweet potato.  I coated my chicken in coconut oil tonight too so that was yummy… coconut oil has loads of great health benefits.

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10 facts about Coconut Oil

1.  All fats are not created equalCoconut oil contains short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a “healthy” form saturated fat compared to trans fat. Trans fatty acid consumption is linked with heart problems, depression and increased cholesterol levels. What does consuming MCFA fats in coconut oil mean for your body? Our body metabolises these fats in the liver, immediately converting this into energy (fuel for the brain and muscle function) rather than it being stored as fat.

 
2.  Controls weightOne 2009 study looked at the weight loss link between women’s consumption of coconut oil and found that it reduces abdominal obesity. Researchers discovered coconut oil is easy to digest and also protects the body from insulin resistance. To try coconut oil for weight loss start by adding one teaspoon to your diet and gradually work your way up to four teaspoons per day.

3.  Eases digestionIf you suffer from poor digestion or tummy bloating try adding coconut oil to your diet. Coconut oil has been found to benefit digestive disorders including irritable bowel syndrome and microbial related tummy bugs. Fatty acids in coconut oil contain anti microbial properties, which have a soothing affect on bacteria, candida, or parasites that cause poor digestion.

4.  Manage type 2 diabetesA recent study by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research found that coconut oil protects against insulin resistance, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. MCFA fats are small enough to be absorbed into the cells where they’re quickly converted to energy. It is this process that not only reduces the amount of fat we pack into storage, but improves insulin sensitivity.

5.  Supports immunityCoconut oil is made up of healthy fats lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid which contain antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral prosperities to boost the immune system. Lauric acid contains the highest concentration of MCFA fatty acids, approximately 75 per cent. The body turn this fat into monolaurin which is claimed to help heal viruses such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, helicobacter pylori and candida.

6.  Boost metabolismA study reported in the Journal of Nutrition found that coconut oil boosts metabolism. Researchers found that participants who consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil per day burned more kilojoules than those who consumed less. A speedy metabolism helps boost the body’s immune system and keep weight off.

7.  Slows fine linesCoconut is not just for your cooking – it’s a wonderfully hydrating treat for skin too. It keeps the skin’s connective tissues strong, which prevents sagging and wrinkles. Apply coconut oil directly to your skin to soften the appearance of fine lines or use it daily on your face and body for a healthy glow. Be sure you use virgin coconut oil with no additives.

8.  Cooks in high temperaturesBecause coconut oil is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid, it gives it a higher smoking temperature than most polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils. If you’re preparing recipes that require high temperatures you should consider coconut oil for this type of cooking. Unlike olive oil which will oxidise at high temperatures, creating free radicals.

9.  Stops sugar cravingsInstead of reaching for the lollie jar for an afternoon sweet hit, try eating a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil to beat sugar cravings. This is because good quality fat is more satiating than carbs, so if you cut down on sugar you will feel less ‘ravenous’. Most of us do not realize but constant hunger is a major clue that your body is not being fed correctly.  With the proper amounts of fats and protein, you can fuel your energy reserves properly, and come off the sugar roller coaster that many of us are on.

10.  Coconut oil is simple to cook withTry this recipe for a nutritious high protein, gluten and dairy free coconut treat.

1 teaspoon of Niugini Organics Coconut Oil (available from health food stores)

1 cup of almonds or walnuts

1 cup of organic dates

3-4 tablespoons of raw cocoa powder

Shredded coconut (check it contains no preservatives)

Place all ingredients in a food processor. Roll into small bite size balls and roll into shredded coconut. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set.

 

Seriously… how easy does that recipe sound !!  I can’t wait to try it… I’ll let you all know how it goes.

What did I learn/was reminded of today – When you don’t work out for a while and then do  a 30min PT sesh… it HURTS a lot the next day.  Note to self – DO NOT FORGET THIS FACT !!

What Scriptures have I been soaking in today

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.  Phil 4:13

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29

OK.. that’s all for now.  For those of you waiting on a Bible College update…  It’ll be up t’row.

Blessings Peeps !!!    xox

Positioned like a see-saw

I remember sitting under a teaching a few years back about how our posture as a disciple of Jesus Christ should be with one hand stretched upwards to someone in a mentoring capacity.. to someone who is further along in their walk with The Lord than us. Meanwhile, the other arm reaches down, ‘pulling up’, encouraging & discipling someone coming along behind us.  Someone that is a little further back in their walk with The Lord than where we are.

The person you’re reaching up to has a little more life experience than you, so is able to teach and help you through similar situations.  In turn, you can teach & help the one you are encouraging, because of the trials, struggles and victories you have walked through.

I also remember receiving an image about this, back when sitting under that teaching, of one long road with people littered all along it, all at different stages.  I probably should have drawn in it seeing as I wasn’t able to find something that I felt represented it, but this gives you an idea.

DiscipleshipTitle1

When I had this come to mind last night, the Holy Spirit gave me an image of a seesaw, but it wasn’t like one end was completely up and the other completely down…. it’s not normally positioned in that way, and I don’t believe it would be nearly as effective either.  I think the image of a set of scales where one end has a slightly heavier weight onboard than the other shows a more accurate picture of the common situation, but as the ‘weight’ part of the image makes no sense, I think the seesaw is better.

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This one is more like it.

The person reaching down needs to have the HUMILITY required to fulfil this role in another’s life, while also having the WISDOM to take on this responsibility.

Something that simple cannot be in the equation is pridefulness !!!

Just because I like definitions, let’s look at some now…

First, a ‘secular’ definition of Humility –the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.  While in essence, this is true, I don’t like it one bit as it doesn’t sit well with me when you consider that we are a temple of The Holy Spirit.  We have the power of Christ within us, so when I consider our ROLE in God’s Kingdom, we certainly do not have a low level of importance.  I guess what it comes down to though is the importance of that role, as opposed to the importance of us as a person.  That’s where the pridefulness can come into it.  If we are prideful about our own importance & think that that importance is  seperate to God, that’s when we will run into trouble.

A biblical definition of Humility  –God says when you are humble, you are free from pride and arrogance. You know that in your flesh you are inadequate, yet you also know who you are in Christ.  I LOVE this !!!  So so true !! Free from pride & arrogance !!

Now for Wisdom… the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise.

Not bad…. let’s look at it from a biblical point of view though.

Wisdom begins and ends with the fear of the Lord. It isn’t a fear of being struck by lightning or fear of being struck dead but it’s a deep, abiding, holy reverence and respect for the Lord and for His Word, the Bible. The Book of Proverbs has more to say about wisdom than any other book in the Bible. For example in Proverbs 9:10 Solomon, who was the wisest man on earth, at least until Christ came, said that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Where there is fear, there tends to be obedience and God has said He prefers obedience over sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22; Hosea 6:6). Sometimes obedience comes before understanding and when someone obeys what they know to be true, understanding usually follows. Wisdom begins with reverence for God and a fear for Him and His Word. That’s where wisdom begins. Where there is no fear of the Lord, there can never be any true wisdom. It’s just not possible.

Now, both these two traits can be tricky, and not always easy to uphold, especially in weakness during struggle.  It takes real DISCIPLINE to be HUMBLE & use WISDOM  to take the right path when in a struggle or under attack.

discipleship

Two other words that I really think needs to come into the scenario is COMMITMENT & RESPONSIBILITY !!  We need to be there for our ‘person’ at all times, even at times of our own struggles.  The only way we can do that is by walking closely with The Lord, digging into The Word & being accountable.

As a mentor, your role is to teach and inspire by words and example, so you can come alongside someone in their personal development and learning development using your life, Christian experiences, and education as tools.. You are a role model to someone. This is a precious responsibility that is to be taken seriously, but also enjoyed. You need to be one who is growing in the Lord, and who takes His Word and precepts to heart and to life. Because someone is placing his or her trust as a counselor and teacher in you, you need to be real and growing to do this right. Therefore, you are the one the Lord will use to provide opportunities for spiritual learning, development, and growth.

Matthew 12:36 & 37 tell us … I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  Words hold power peeps.. in so many ways, so be careful with your words !!!

If The Lord entrusts you with a ‘mentee’  (that’s probs not actually a word, but you know what I mean) then see it as the privilege that it is, and ENJOY it, but never ignore the commitment and the responsibility that goes along with it.

Oh.. and one last thing…. DO NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS RESPONSIBILITY !!  Treat it as the GIFT that it is.  You will grow through every moment as a mentor too… it’s not a one-way deal.  Another thing that has been evident in my walk and I believe I can pass onto others and it be of help, is this…  When God leads you in a different direction… be it towards a different person, or away from a person…. LISTEN TO HIM & ACT ON IT !!

Maybe you will be in a mentor type relationship with someone for a very long time, but often you will not.  People with this need or gifting come in & out of our lives at GOD’S will, not ours !!!  We may be of help, or receive help from someone for a season and that be all God intended for each of our journeys.  When that happens…  seek confirmation from Him.. and then accept & move on, being ever watchful for new doors being opened.

Isn’t it FUN being a child of God !!!!!  Seriously, I LOVE IT !!!!  So much to learn, grow in and become !!!!

Blessings peeps !!!  xox

 

 

Why worry… God totally has this !!

Who woulda thought, but man oh man, it’s complicated making decisions in regards to your children’s schooling pathway.  As you al know, I homeschool my 3 treasures, but it’s more accurate to say that they do Distance Education.  We are ‘homeschooling’ this particular semester due to changes at the school we were enrolled with, but this was always going to be a temporary arrangement until I found the best DE fit for my children.  I thought I had found it when I was told of a new College opening only 2 suburbs away, but further investigation proved that maybe it wasn’t.  Nothing against their curriculum or activities on offer, (that, in fact, was awesome) but I’ve been finding that my children are getting rather bored with their ACE paces.  While they probably would have reasonably happily continued with their paces throughout their schooling, I don’t believe I’m being a responsible parent to just continue with something they’ll toretate, but should find something that they will actually LOVE. (well, ok, at least really like.)

DH has also shown some concern over this year and last with the kids not doing a huge amount of computer work, with their curriculum being almost 100% paperwork etc.  This is always been a little bit of a concern for us as it doesn’t entirely prepare them for university where they will predominantly work on computer, transferring files, uploading /downloading files, making spreadsheets, scanning in & emailing images, getting files from one digital device to another etc etc.  As well as future workplace proceedures possibly involving all of the above and maybe more.  The on-line DE will much more thoroughly prepare them for the future.

SCHOOL-Textbooks

So, as a result, everyone is very happy with the decision to go with on-line DE as of first semester 2016.  Well, Master 10 won’t be so happy, as he has a further year of paces before he can go onto on-line curriculum as a grade 7er in 2017.

It has certainly been an interesting journey if I look back on the kids starting school, until now.  It seemed like it was going to be such a seamless pathway.  In lots of ways it was while they were at ‘mainstream’ school, but I guess with Miss 14 getting into the high school subjects, it makes things a bit more challenging.  Decisions needs to be made etc so as to have the BEST pathway mapped out for her to reach her desired goal.  And with Master 13 only two years behind her in school, these decisions aren’t far away for him either.

While the ACE paces hold a lot of great content, and revise a lot of important topics often, they are proving to be a little boring for the kids at the end of this second year.  Now, having said that, I don’t want to knock ACE as a curriculum as I really do think it is a sound resource, but I think it just comes down to different kids suiting different styles of learning, etc.  It is a real blessing to have been able to have these 2yrs with all 3 kids at home on the ACE paces and I don’t regret this pathway.

God has truly been so faithful to us through this time. One of those ‘memories’ came up on FB last week. It was a memory of the school holidays ending 5 yrs ago and I was saying that I would miss the kids when they returned to school, and then jokingly said “Maybe I should homeschool them”…. followed by a comment that went something like this “Nah, I care too much for my sanity to do that. LOL”  Very funny to read back on when you see how the journey mapped out later.  Is my Sanity in place??  Probably not at times (LOL), but I know that I’ve followed God’s leading throughout.

student-using-computer

With all this in mind, it makes me pretty excited to see what God has in store for us in the future.  Even when something has seemed confusing or illogical, we’ve always been able to look back and see that it was the best path for us as a family…. proving that God’s totally got this !!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

I can’t blog about this without once again mentioning the great Godly friendships that I have in my life, both homeschooling Mums, mainstream school Mums, and also educators.  I know that God has placed these people in my life to confirm leading from Him.  (& when needed, correct me of misunderstood leading.).  It’s also beyond beneficial to have friends going through the same decisions and being able to discuss things with them, bouncing ideas off one another etc.  I am also so grateful for the help we’ve had from seasoned homeschool parents who’s children are through and now into university, or even completely through uni and now in the workforce.  It’s been of great encouragement to have these seasoned HS parents to speak to as it really highlights how much diversity can be in a child’s schooling pathway.  For example, I have some friends who have solely schooled with ACE from Prep to 12 and now their children are either in Uni or successful in the workforce, others did part HS (with ACE or other great curriculum) and part on-campus schooling.  (This seems to be more prevalent in the southern states… it doesn’t seem to happen so much up here… although that could be changing.)

Also, there are many situations where children are HS’d up to grade 10 and then they go to a good day school for senior. I just love the diversity and that we as parents can really take control of our children’s education and make sure they are learning in a way that is best for them as a whole person !!

There are certain elements of our homeschooling lives that I won’t change with the transfer over to this new DE plan.  The most obvious being normal household chores and responsibilities (Some might be saying “Well, why would you think of changing these anyway?” but I’m mentioning it because some of these are within the school day, so I’m just making the point that these will continue around the on-line schooling set-up.).  The 2nd being our Character training.  I’ll still have the kids work on a particular character trait and corresponding scripture verse for a period of time that I will determine as suitable.  Also, excursions separate to those of the school we’ll be enrolled with.  I will continue to attend other homeschool excursions, as well as organise excursions with other homeschoolers.

So now to dive into the on-line diagnostic testing !!  Woot Woot !!  Fun times ahead !

Blessings Peeps !!  xox

 

Being in good company

I’m gonna be honest. .  I’m struggling tonight. 
I want to be walking the right path.. I NEED to be walking the right path as I have little eyes watching me and little ears listening to me.  (and some big eyes & ears too)
However these very encouraging facts don’t make the path any easier.  The bumps are still there,  the ‘stones’ are still thrown, the misconceptions of me by others are still there. 
I solidly believe that I not only witness to my children through things that I say,  but possibly even more so by things that I DON’T.  When I’m abused by a family member and I don’t respond in like tone or with harsh words.  When I’m treated like a ‘goodie-two-shoes’ but choose to stay silent and not ‘defend myself’.
When I’m outright verbally attacked,  but refuse to take the bait and retaliate. .. they see that.   & you know what else they see… the frustration on the person’s face when I won’t lower myself to their level. 
Isn’t it interesting (& frustrating) that we can KNOW that God’s opinion is the only one that matters and yet the darts fired by others still hurt.  I often wish that I was impervious to these comments etc but I also know that I am taught a lesson through everything single dig at me,  every single comment made. .. and every single not-so-subtle insult on Facebook. 
I actually started this blog last night but the fact that I stopped part way through turned out to be a blessing in itself as I actually needed to be reminded of my own words when dealing with someone today.  
Praise The Lord it was actually a really great day today spent at the beach with Miss 14 & niece 17 (well great day except for the sunburnt back of the legs. .. what on earth).  Lots of time to think and talk to Jesus while the girls were out paddle boarding.  Something about being at the beach (I think it’s actually in any natural setting) that gets me closer to God.

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I am constantly blown away of late with the relevance of each mornings devotion and how it has been speaking directly into current situations & struggles. If you don’t do a morning devotion,  I’d really encourage you to as it is just the BEST way to start the day. 
So, getting back to my title. .. with all that I’ve been dealing with in days of late… I am comforted knowing that Jesus was hated,  he was ridiculed,  he was treated as a fool… so when I feel treated like this. . I know I’m in good company. 
Blessings peeps xox

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