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

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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 !!

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

Expand our boundaries.. drive our tent pegs deep

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Sunday night at church, Pastor Nina preached from Isaiah 54.  It was a fantastic message that re-affirmed what’s already very clearly in store for my 2016.

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.

3 For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.  (ESV)

While I don’t usually like referring to The Message translation, this time, I think it’s a good read.

Clear lots of ground for your tents! Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big!
Use plenty of rope, drive the tent pegs deep.
You’re going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family.
You’re going to take over whole nations; you’re going to resettle abandoned cities.
Exciting right !!!  While I completely realise that this text speaks of what was going on at that time, I firmly believe that we can learn from this and apply it to our lives today.  (as we can of all scripture)
On Sunday night, Pastor Nina used a fantastic (& very entertaining) illustration of having a children’s play tent on the stage, which she actually climbed into, showing how little room there is in there, how cramped and uncomfortable any length of time in there would be.  To flipside of that though is that some people choose to stay in that tiny tent, seeing it as safe & secure.   “I need not have any fear of God asking me to do anything big, because I simply don’t have the room to do it.”  (Side note – Believe me, I completely get that stepping out is scary…  you never know what God is going to ask of you (Jonah), but I can tell you right now, it’s so worth it.)
In contrast, a big comfy chair and a large tent covering a decent sized area was brought up on stage, showing how we can spread out, allow God to have the room to work in our lives, equip us for ALL that He has in store for us.   It immediately took me back to the vision that God gave me a couple of years ago (I’m pretty sure I blogged about it).  I was shown myself, wearing a VERY BIG, like CRAZY BIG fur coat (I assume it was faux, to be fair to all animal lovers out there.. I would never buy a fur coat.)
I was initially very confused by the vision and enquired of God what He was trying to tell me.  I immediately got a response from Him, explaining that the coat was very big, in order for Him to fill it… with Blessings, with provisions, with skills, gifts & talents in order to equip me with everything I would need in order to do His work in His Kingdom for His glory !!
The ‘drive your tent pegs deep’ really spoke to me also.  To not just have a surface commitment to the things of God, but to dive in deep, have solid foundations, set aside decent time.  Once again, of course, I nearly ALWAYS find in any message that it points back to two things.
1.  We need to have a close personal relationship with Our Heavenly Father, Jesus our Saviour & Redeemer, and The Holy Spirit.
2. Be actively studying His Word on a daily basis.  Imagine it’s liquid in a big ole’ bucket and you wanna tip it over yourself in your quiet time each morning. :0)
Yes, I know I point these things out all the time, sorry for the repetition, but I really want that point to get across.  If we’re doing these two things, we’re on a very good path with The Lord and all that He has in store for us.
What I learnt/was reminded of today – Being shown things in illustrative form is often a very effective way to teach a biblical truth, or be reminded of a truth that maybe you’re not submerged yourself in of late.
What scripture verse am I soaking in today?  The one above, Isaiah 54:2-3.
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.

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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.

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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

 

 

Life is continuing….

Oh my goodness, if I’d left it another two days, it would have been an entire month between blogs…that’s downright SLACK !!!

So much has been going on.. which does help to explain my slackness in the blogging department.

The highlights are –

  • Baby Boy Lucas is now HOME and powering on like the little warrior he has proven himself to be.  He’s settling in at home, putting on weight, getting to know his big brother, and is having his first immunisations today.

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  • I scored myself a not very pleasant intercostal injury about a month ago and am actually still suffering from that.  However, it IS improving (PRAISE GOD !!) so things ARE on the up & up.  I think I did it because I did either too many sit ups, or did sit ups incorrectly.  I had both an ultrasound and an X-ray on my right side chest/ribs etc but it didn’t show anything.  As a result, I’ve had to change my exercise routine …  for the first two weeks, I couldn’t do ANYTHING.  I am pleased to say though that I must have been doing just enough to keep the weight loss train going as the number has continued to drop slowly each Tuesday morning for my weigh-in.
  • We are now down to only two weeks and two days until we sail far far away across the sea !!!  Our renewed passports finally arrived so this is a relief.  I cannot even tell you how excited & humbled I am to know that I get to enjoy two weeks ‘off the job’.  No cleaning, cooking, washing….  Thank you Jesus !!!
  • Sadly there is ups and downs (more downs)  in family over the last few weeks that look to be continuing for a while.  However, God is teaching me a lot throughout.  It’s so easy to see someone’s actions as selfishness on the surface, but when looking deeper, you can expose emotional issues that deserve additional care.  Also, sadly, it is human nature to ‘arc up’ when someone does something to upset you, when in fact, we’ve been commissioned to Love thy neighbour, repay bad with GOOD, do all we can to expand God’s Kingdom, and most importantly, be the LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS !!!
  • DH is really enjoying having his aeroplane and being able to go up to the airfield whenever he can and go for a fly IN HIS OWN PLANE.  He’s been waiting a very long time for this and is LOVING IT !!  He’s also made a nice group of friends up there, which is just as much a part of the whole ‘scene’ he’s been wanting to be apart of for so long. They sit around with their drinks and discuss all things ‘planes’.  I’m really really happy for him.  & as you can see, the kids are enjoying it too.

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  • The biggest homeschool excursion (78 people) I have ever organised went off without a hitch (or any drownings)… Woot Woot !!

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  • Miss 14’s dance comps all went very well.  Now to enjoy the break before it all starts again in Feb 2016.
  • The 2016 homeschool journey has been decided on which is also a weight off my shoulders.  The older two kiddos are currently working through diagnostic testing for next year and are doing very well with them.

So there you go, that basically brings you up to speed, to a degree, on our lives.

Even amongst the ups and downs of ‘life’ I love how God makes ‘lessons’ out of all situations, good & bad.  I’ve also been reading Jefferson Bethke’s Jesus>Religion which is really opening up my view on things.

Blessings 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.

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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.

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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

 

Passion is your fuel.. Clarity is your power !!

Sunday afternoon took us to church at the unusual time of 4.30pm due to the NRL Grand Final coming on at 7.  (Yay for a footy loving Pastor. LOL)  There was a guest speaker (Andrew Stone) bringing a message and I went expectant.  I was not disappointed !!  I really wanted to share some points with you from that message as it really spoke to me.

The general topic was PRAYER… and that we should go before The Lord with a THANKFUL, or agreeing heart, for that which He has already blessed us with, as opposed to ASKING for this, that & the other.  As I’ve done a fair bit of reading on the topic of prayer and intercession over the last few years, I was already very aware that our Heavenly Father already has all for us that we could ever need, He has already blessed us with all we will need, but so often we fail to CLAIM it.

There’s a story that I’ve heard a few times about a man going up to heaven. An angel shows him around, but seems to avoid a big white warehouse in the centre of heaven.  The man insists on seeing inside, against the angels suggestion that he will not like what he sees.  When the door is opened and the man sees what is inside, a look of amazement crosses his face, followed by a sad look of realisation.  The angel says “Yes, this warehouse is full of those of God’s blessings that His children DID NOT claim.”

After doing the reading I have done, I’ve come to the realisation that I need to go before the Lord not to ask for such and such to be dealt with, fixed, altered, healed or whatever is needed for that particular situation, but with a thankful heart that is already HAS been handled. For example, in regards to my DH not having the personal relationship with God that I would like, I THANK Him that he DOES.  Even though that isn’t the reality right now… I chose to CLAIM what will one day be.  I’m EXPECTANT in all situations.  Now, don’t get me wrong… that isn’t always easy… and sometimes I fail at this and revert to asking, pleading, begging etc etc… but I can usually pull myself out of the funk reasonably quickly.

OK… back to Sunday’s message.

Humanity cages what it cannot control.  Man oh man.. how true is this !!  If we can’t make it work for us, we ‘cage’ it into what we can control.  Andrew used the parallel of a caged circus animal to a caged zoo animal in a conservation zoo.  They are both ‘caged’ but with very different intent by the person in control of the lock & key.  If we use the diagram with real people, Someone who is out of control will need lots of limitations placed on them, and under the wrong guidance, can become a bit of ‘entertainment’ to others.  Whereas someone who cares for that person and wants nothing more than their healing, will make very different choices in their ‘confinement’.  There was lots more to this but I’m not covering it in this post… as it really could make a separate post of it.

Matthew 17:20 –He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”[a]

I LOVED what he had to share about this verse.. and in particular, the mustard seed.  Who has ever thought that compared to God’s power, we need just this tiny amount of faith in comparison, for Him to work in our lives? But Andrew suggest that maybe it more speaks to the enemy’s scheme and how just a small mustard seed of faith in God’s power can dismantle his schemes.

Mark 11:22-24 –And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received[a] it, and it will be yours.  (What sea was he speaking of?? The Dead Sea…. where things cannot live.. and HOLD NO WEIGHT…. Cool right !! )

Isaiah 54:10 –For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Ezekiel 37:26-27 I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land[a] and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

This brought us into looking into Peace – “Peace is not the lack of problem but rather the superior state in the midst of it.”

LOVE is the motivation..  GRACE is the meditation…  and PEACE is the manifestation.

Peace – Emptying ourselves so that God can FILL US.  Shalom – Breaking your agreement with a lie.

I have always loved the word ‘Shalom’, and like most people, just think of Peace when I see it, say it etc, but it was fascinating to delve further into the word and see what is behind the word when looking at the original Hebrew.

SHALOM – Destroying the authority attached to Caos.

720_Shalom

I wish I could have found the image he used as it described it a little better, but if you see the word secure you can see the parallel of attach.  Also leader can easily be paralelled with authority (shepherds staff…  the shepherd was the authority over the sheep.).  It could read almost as well using the words in this image.  Destroy the leader secured by caos.

OK peeps… Lots to ponder on as always.  God’s word is awesome like that…. we can get a new thing from a scripture or even a word, that we haven’t previously seen.

Blessings xox

Having an educated opinion goes a long long way.

So, as my 17 (nearly 18) year old niece is a vegetarian recently changed to Vegan, I decided to do some serious research into the subject after she expressed disappointment and frustration at the response she gets from people on this topic.  Now, I’ll admit, my initial response was similar to many…  “What, you can seriously go without eating a perfectly cooked steak, or a delicious chicken breast?”  I love my meat and enjoy cooking with nice meat.

I didn’t want to just give her the same response that many do, without it being an educated opinion… so this is what prompted the research journey.

I must admit, I do stick to those two main meats listed above.. chicken & steak.  The are really the only ‘healthy’ ones that i like to eat.  I’m not a big fan of fish and only really eat it very rarely as I do acknowledge that it’s good for me.  I do have some sort of mince dish once a fortnight or so, but I’d prefer to stay away form it, as well as sausages, as you just can’t always be sure exactly what’s in them.  So, what I’m saying is that I don’t eat a huge range of meat.  My eyesight has always made it difficult to cut up anything with a bone in it, so I’ve stayed away from chops, t-bone etc.

During a conversation with Miss 17 this week, she questioned my biblical standpoint on the topic of meat eating, as I must admit I’d fallen back to those verses about dominion over animals when talking to her at other times etc.  Also, the one thing I’ve clung to is the ‘God gave us meat to eat’ argument.  Something prompted me to look into that and verify that I was in fact speaking correctly.  My research tells me that I WASN’T !!  (Whoopsie)

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Gene:29-30 … And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 

Let’s also look at Genesis 2:9 ..And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.  and vs 16 – And the Lord God commanded the man (Adam), saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden (God’s first form of food for us was in fact grown from the ground….. maybe significant, maybe not, but an interesting point nonetheless.)

In vs 18 God decided that Adam should not be alone and that He would make him a helper, so the animals which God had created out of the dust back in Gen 1:20, were paraded past Adam, and he named each one.  A suitable helper had not been found, so it was then that God created Eve.  I think it’s very interesting that animals were first seen as Adam’s HELPER,  there is no mention or even hint at them created for his food.

Cute Cow

In Chapter 3 vs 18, after the fall has occurred, God speaks of Adam eating the plants of the field, and bread.. but still no mention of eating meat.  (& so the plot thickens… who else is starting to think the Vegetarians maybe aren’t the crazy ones??)

However, in vs 20 & 21 of Chapter 3, it says this…  the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.  And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.   So, where did these ‘skins’ come from?  Several commentaries look at whether this was skin from an animal, which of course would have had to die in order for him to have the skin, or did God simply create the skin Himself?

In Genesis 4:4, the first specific mention of killing an animal occurs….Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.  

When we get to Gen 8 vs 20…  the flood waters have subsided and Noah comes out of the ark and offers a sacrifice to The Lord and He finds the aroma ‘pleasing’.  Now, would this indicate that God was ok with the sacrifice of animals?   It had been made clear prior to this that a sacrifice was made of an innocent animal, to atone for our sins… all being a prelude to the ultimate innocent, Jesus, who would make the ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross… taking the penalty for our sin.  A commentary I read on this verse and others relating to it suggests that it wasn’t the aroma of animal blood and burnt flesh that God found appealing, but the repentant attitude of Noah which prompted him to do the sacrifice in the first place.  (Remembering we are fallen man.)

Gen 9:1-4 gets rather interesting… *remembering that man’s diet to this point has been only vegetarian…  And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

This paragraph from the same commentary mentioned above suggest this of Gen 9: 1-4…

This whole passage is a concession from God and does not express the will of God. God recognizes the evilness of the human heart and is allowing humankind to live in a state of being that is less than His desire or ideal.

The same commentary goes on to say…

However, upon the ark there was once again no death, and apparent obedience to the Lord. But following the Flood, when there was supposed to be another Edenic way of peaceful living and obedience to God, Noah and his family sacrificed innocent animals, because they supposedly recognized themselves as not pure, and needed to repent. This brings about the mixed feelings of God, as expressed in Genesis 8:21.

Apparently, it is easier to kill an innocent animal than it is to be obedient to the Lord our God. Or, perhaps there is more to this corrupted state of being. Are humans expressing their dominance and power over the animals by killing and eating those who are weaker than themselves (The sin of the boastful pride of life)? Are humans expressing their sins of the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16), by eating the flesh that had been denied them as poor people who looked upon the eating of flesh as a status symbol? I believe the answer to both questions is, “Yes!”

I particularly liked this following paragraph as it relates back to Gen 2:18 where animals were to be helpers.

For nearly a year, the animals upon the ark had lived in close confinement with Noah and his human family. It must have been as though these animals were also part of Noah’s family. The killing of the innocent animals for the sacrifice was a betrayal of the pre-existing peaceful state, and brought fear and terror to the heart and soul of every animal upon the ark. This is the key point that God emphasizes and expands upon in Genesis 9:2. Not only had the humans lost their perfect state of being with God, but now they had lost the companionship and fellowship of most of the animal kingdom.

God, knowing the evilness of the human heart, further grants the concession of eating the animals, for He acknowledges that the humans are not ready to repent of their evil nature.

Once again, a topic that requires some time with God to process.  I can’t honestly say that I’ll be changing to a vegetarian lifestyle tomorrow , but I can definitely tell you that my opinion on it has done a 180 from where I was a few days back.

It’s knowledge awesome !!!  I’ve chosen in this blog to look at this biblical side of the topic, but there is actually a complete other side to it also in regards to agricultural farming and the harm it causes to the environment.  I’m still researching that angle, so will fill you all in once I feel more equipped to do so.

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Blessings 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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