Dancing in the kitchen with my Grandma

I took a moment to dance in the kitchen with my littlest baby, just a few little twirls as I savoured the moment of her tiny frame held in my arms.  It reminded me of the times we spent in my Grandma’s kitchen growing up, helping out with the washing up and she would take a moment to dance with us and sing a song with the line, ‘ dancing in the kitchen with my Grandma’.

Audrey was just over four weeks old when she began to smile.  It is normal for babies to start smiling between 5-6 weeks, like Israel and Sophie did.  I was thrilled to get those early smiles, but I honestly thought to myself, “how has Audrey started smiling sooner than my others, when it’s feels like I have given her less face-to-face interaction?”

It’s quite an act to juggle giving your attention to three kids; I have been trying to take small moments with each one of them by reading to them, saying ‘I love you’ and enjoying the moment I have alone with them.

I read a quote recently by Robert Brault that I was encouraged by:                                                                          A parent’s love is whole no matter how many times divided.

I certainly like the sentiment of that quote and I love my kids equally; but this quote gives the sense that a parent’s love is enough, that it’s whole – that it is perfect.  Only the love of God is whole, his love is enough and perfect.  The love of a parent is so strong, the bond so beautiful and we need it; but there is nothing we need more than the love of God.  We were designed, purpose-built for relationships – especially one with God.

Even though a parent’s love has huge impact on a child’s self-esteem and is so vital; I believe the perfect love of our Father God – who created us, is what ultimately gives us confidence in who we are.  When my parents were divorced when I was 10 years old – it was a life-changing moment when I realised my Dad would never live with us again.  It was not an easy time and yet, my world was not shattered because I knew Jesus personally.  I knew he loved me, I knew he was always with me and his love was something that was constant and complete.  His love brought healing, it brought wholeness to a heart that was bleeding and hurting.

His love gives us security and freedom to be ourselves, knowing we are accepted and loved unconditionally.  Despite what many religions try to tell us about getting to god through our good deeds; the one true God does not love us because of what we do, but for who we are.

If God’s love for us was based on what we do, it wouldn’t be perfect – it would be circumstantial, it would be conditional.  God’s love for us is unconditional. I think we can get a little familiar with that term and forget that it means no strings attached, no conditions…his perfect love made possible for us at all times.


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Feeling Busy?

I’ve come to the conclusion that every one is busy.  We have different capacities and outputs, but we all feel busy as we run our daily lives.

I believe we can actually achieve more with a sense of feeling less busy. However, the solution is not to do less, it’s acutally to do more!

If we can learn to be deliberate with how we use our time, allocating it not just to the things that are required of us, but that replenish us and to people and things that make us reach beyond ourselves; we can live lives that are more fulfilling.

Israel was singing The Alphabet Song the other day and I joined in singing with him and he said, “No Mum!  I’m singing it as a sad song.”  Obviously I had far too much cheer in my tone.

Sometimes we just want to sing our own sad song and allow ourselves to wallow, procrastinate or stagnate.  We all have moments of self-pity, but have we allowed a moment to become a habit in our lives?

Do we live in a constant mode of crisis, just trying to make it through each day?

If our time is used for only what is required of us, we are responding to the pressures in our lives; giving all our attention and energy to the thing due first or screaming the loudest.  If this is how we are allocating our time, we become more stressed, less productive and more self-focused.  We feel busy all the time if we live in crisis constantly.

If we allocate time to things that replenish us: our physical health, our relationships, our emotional, social and spiritual health; this is a huge factor in doing more and yet feeling less busy.  Exercise is a huge key to so many areas of health – not just our physical health.

I love exercise, even more now that I have three young children.  It’s time out for myself – which is a very rare thing.  I listen to music and allow myself to process thoughts and pray.  This is a huge replenishment for me.

Israel is well aware he is now the big brother to two sisters and when I was still in hospital he asked me, “Why do you still have a baby in your tummy?  Is it the boy?”  While it may not be an easy thing for a 3 year old boy to have two younger sisters, he made this comment to me yesterday, “Mum, Audrey can stay here in our family forever.”

I was blown away and even tearing up now as my little boy gave me a precious example of reaching beyond himself, making room in his heart to love his little sister forever.

For Israel, this was just three weeks into what I would define as a crisis in his life…the addition of a new baby to a family. Yet here he was, making this statement of love and acceptance when he could have easily being demanding my attention, chucking a tantrum or displaying a number of other perfectly normal toddler behaviours in a crisis.

We can live our lives in crisis mode if we don’t allow our hearts and lives to reach beyond ourselves; if we are so consumed by the busyness of our lives.  Or even if we are just stagnating with the same friends we’ve always had, the same level of existence.  Who can we extend our lives to?  Who can we reach out to with love and acceptance?

Don’t delay the required, just include the things that replenish and reach out beyond ourselves.


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Perfectionist Pity Parties


I’m a make-it-happen kind of person.  I’m not a perfectionist.  I’m happy when I know I’ve given my best and I think that’s enough.  The reason I’m sharing this is not so you know more about me – but because I think this is a key to living a great life: to know the difference between healthy pressure and paralysing pressure when it comes to our internal world.  Yes I want to keep growing, I want to improve, but I want to keep enjoying the journey whilst trying my best; not take myself too seriously either.

Healthy Pressure

Healthy pressure comes from living a big life; a life where pressure is real but it’s not just about ourselves.  It’s the pressure of achieving goals,  deadlines to meet and people to share our time with.  Where we are stretched to be more and achieve more by giving our best.

Paralysing Pressure

Paralysing pressure is one where we are too hard on ourselves.  The type of pressure where no matter how hard we try, we are still not good enough.  Pressure that paralyses our internal world stops us from moving forward.  Don’t live there.  It’s draining, life-sucking and defeating.

Celebrate the Win – Don’t Beat Yourself Up

The power of goal setting – with small little baby-step goals is the ability to have a win by taking one small step in the right direction.  Celebrate that win!  Pat yourself on the back. If you gave your best in something then allow yourself to feel satisfied with that.  Don’t beat yourself up for the outcome you didn’t achieve.

Let’s not be the type of people to avoid pressure – that won’t achieve anything but a small life.  Let’s position ourselves for pressure, but in doing so,  keep a check on our internal world and how we deal with pressure.  Don’t allow perfectionist pity parties; where you believe you’re not good enough because your view of yourself is distorted.  Let’s thrive in the pressure cooker that life is and enjoy giving our best!






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What frames your world?

What frames your world?


Hebrews 11:3 (Amplified Bible)

By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.

It’s the word of God that first spoke into existence the heavens and the earth. He first framed our existence and his rightful place is where He is still the one to frame our individual worlds.  Yet, even in all His power, authority, dominion, omnipresence; He gave us free will.  We have the power to choose.  To choose now what we do with the life we’ve been given.  Do we allow our experiences, our circumstances, the way we’ve been brought up to ultimately frame our world; or do we choose to constantly redefine our existence by choosing to allow God’s word to frame our life?

Have you ever stopped to capture your thoughts and take authority over them?

I’m constantly talking to myself, stopping thoughts in their tracks – not allowing them to rule me, but for them to get in line with where I’m heading.  I don’t have time for negative thoughts, impure thoughts, faithless thoughts that try and bombard my thinking…and I’m surprised at how often they try!

We all have thousands of thoughts filling our minds each day, we need to train ourselves to be aware of the dialogue in our heads.  Take the time to consciously control and replace junk thoughts.  We have the power to decide what thoughts frame our lives.  The key is what to replace them with.  I don’t think simply replacing a negative thought with a positive thought is enough; sure it’s better than a negative thought.  I have found something better to replace a negative thought, something better than a positive thought.

I believe God’s word – the Bible, is the best thing to replace our junk thoughts with.

I find my junk thoughts are so contrary to what the Bible says to be true and all the more reason to replace them, because they are so out of line!

God’s word has power, has authority to change things and speak things into being.  It’s one thing to have hope – but what in?  Hope is a positive expectation in circumstances. Circumstances are not always controllable – so how can hope just be placed in circumstances coming into alignment?

Take for example my amazing Father-in-law who is a healthy, fit man who just suffered a major heart attack where statistically only 5% of people survive.  If hope is placed in good circumstances; being aware that he keeps himself in good health, eats well, is a non-smoker, a fit man through years of rowing, then a heart attack shouldn’t have happened at age 60 with no risk factors.  Hope would then still believe everything will be ok.  Based on what?  The controllable things like lifestyle choices, diet, exercise were all in place – but it was the uncontrollable that took place.  Hope has to be anchored in something more than circumstances realigning themselves.

Hope anchored to the word of God – even when circumstances are crazy and things are not seeming to come back together, we can trust a God that ultimately fashioned not just this life, but the next.  I do believe He heals, He restores and that His promises are true: He works all things together for our good.  Even beyond our current circumstances of this life, is the promised life which is eternal.  Something I can hardly wrap my head around. In heaven there are no tears, no pain, no negative circumstances.  Only good all the time!

God’s word gives us something to anchor our hope in.  It gives us thoughts to frame our world into something significant, something beautiful, something brilliant and ultimately something eternal.  I want my world to be framed by that.


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Don’t wish the day away

I often hear coming from Israel’s bedroom in the mornings, “it’s day time!”  As soon as it comes to his attention that the sun is getting up – it wakes everything within him!  He has such a passion for life and endless amounts of energy!

When it’s getting dark – he get’s a little depressed about having to go to bed and he will often comment how he wishes it could be day time all the time!

He certainly reminds me not to wish the day away.

We all face difficult seasons where perhaps we wish the day away to simply make time go faster to get through the discomfort sooner.  Perhaps it’s the difficult journey of lifestyle change, loosing weight, the exhausting season of parenting young children, financial difficulty, relationship breakdown, the pain of loosing someone you love.

This life is too short to wish the day away.

Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Everything about Jesus is renewing, life-bringing, promising.  He is faithful and trustworthy and also accessible.  Our human flaws don’t have to cut us off from God, but instead we are given renewed access to God through Jesus.

Tonight I’m claiming renewed strength – bring on tomorrow!

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How about Hermie?


Ben and I were shocked to discover that we are having a girl again!  We are absolutely thrilled, but we were both convinced we were having a boy.  Israel had been saying he was going to have another sister, but he only has a sister – so I just thought he was saying that because that’s all he knows.  Turns out he was right.

I was looking hard up at the ultra sound screen looking for boy bits to appear and I was thinking to myself, “gee it’s really not very clear – I can’t see any boy bits”, but that’s because there were no boy bits to be seen!

We went home and told Israel the news and he was quite matter-a-fact about it, like he already knew he was having another sister.  So then I said to him, we have to think of a name we want to give her.  His first suggestion was Sophie – it’s a beautiful name of course, but I explained that he already has one sister named Sophie and that we should give a different name to his new sister.  Then he suggested we name her Hermie.

I don’t think it will be going to the top of our list, but I loved the sentiment behind it.  ‘Hermie – A Common Caterpillar’ is Israel’s favourite book at the moment.  We read it to him at least once a day, but quite often many more times than that!

Max Lucado wrote the book and the message of the book is very powerful – ‘God loves you just the way you are, but He’s not finished with you yet’.  Hermie is a common caterpillar trying to come to terms with why he is so common.  He compares himself to other worms that have spots and stripes, when he is just plain green.  He compares himself to the ant who is very strong, the snail who has a portable home and the lady bug who has beautiful jet black spots.  He talks to God throughout the journey and God is constantly telling him not to worry that He isn’t finished with him yet.  Finally Hermie comes to the point where he is grateful for the way he was made and then before he knows it, he is a beautiful butterfly with beautiful colours and spots and wings!

I love reading this book to Israel, knowing he is learning such a powerful lesson.  It can be a life-long struggle to be comparing ourselves and not aware of the unique design and purposes God has for each one of us.  I always hated my short, stumpy legs and they are certainly not one of my favourite features – but one day I realised I needed to be grateful for my legs.  They are strong, made me quick and I’m sure a better gymnast when I was competing.  I realised I was purpose-built for the life God had for me and for that I was grateful.

Of course, God’s purpose-built design is not limited to our physical bodies.  He designed our personality traits, the gifts and talents we have – every part of us!  The best part about it is He’s not finished with us yet!  Our best days are still ahead of us!

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In the words of a 2 year old: “He camed back alive”!

Easter rolls around for another year and 2015 marks for me the best one yet!  I’m pretty excited about this particular Easter – because Israel, my almost three-year-old son understands to a certain degree why we celebrate Easter!

He certainly has very quickly familiarised himself with chocolate Easter Eggs!  He can answer the question – what happened at the first Easter?  “Jesus died on the cross.” To which I responded, “Did he stay dead” and he says excitedly, “no, he camed back alive!”

The significance of this statement, he doesn’t fully understand; and yet, neither do I.  Doing life with Jesus is a constant discovery of the depth of his love, grace and power.

Many people know the pain of bad decisions, the hurts that this life can throw; the loneliness, the difficulties.  I can not imagine facing these things without the power and presence of Jesus and the church family I am supported by.  The crazy thing is that Jesus and everything he has to offer us is available to everyone – NO MATTER WHAT!

Many people find Jesus after a life – however long, of not knowing him and then finding him and in doing so; find forgiveness, freedom, purpose, healing and hope.

It was living life our own way that first separated us from the love of God.  God then showed his great love to us by giving his son to die on the cross as a final payment, the perfect sacrifice of a perfect life.  To be forgiven by simply accepting this fact is amazing – but then the Easter story was taken one step further.  We don’t stop and celebrate Good Friday because it was ‘good’; Jesus died a horrible, painful, horrific and humiliating death!! It became good because of Sunday – when Jesus rose again in victory and conquered the power of death and took authority once and for all over everything!  Before the cross Jesus was mocked for being the ‘King’ of the Jews and yet after the cross, although some may still choose to mock him, the truth is that he is King.  The one true King!  When we confess him to be our King, our Lord – that is what transforms our lives!

Though this truth has always been known to me – like it is for my son Israel.  I have still walked a journey from a two-year-old understanding to now and I am just in awe of the life he saved me from and the life I have been set up for!

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