Why Do Girls Go In Groups?

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What is it about girls and their group bathroom trips?

While it is often seen as unnecessary for girls to go to the bathroom together; I want to validate the fact that great conversations can be had in front of the sink and mirror of the female bathroom.

I have been both a Youth Pastor and a High School Teacher and I have had many moments where girl’s group bathroom trips have annoyed me to no end; when they served for attention seeking purposes and gossip gatherings.  However, it doesn’t always have to be negative.

This morning I was at the gym and I had just had a shower and washed my hair and so I was blowdrying it in front of the mirror and I had 3 great conversations with:

  1. The Mum of the Gym
  2. The Piano Player
  3. The Soccer Player

The ‘Mum of the Gym’ I have known for a while, she is sweet, she is genuine and she gives great advice.  She’s a friend to everyone and she’s not afraid to work outside of the ‘Women’s Only’ area.  Our conversation was short and sweet and she basically just told me how great she thinks I am.

The ‘Piano Player’ has lost 20kg since baby number two.  She would love to pursue music therapy.  She had a bit of a weird understanding about finding herself, but basically is a lot happier since she has lost weight and eats well and I was able to really encourage her.

The ‘Soccer player’ Mum, firstly found my shampoo and conditioner that I left in the shower (I still like to blame baby brain for these types of occurrences).  She then needed to use the hair dryer after me and we chatted about makeup and her 17 year old daughter. She encouraged me in my pursuit of ‘looking after myself’ instead of just being a busy young Mum and allowing it all to get on top of me.

Three great women, three great conversations.

Women in our society are valued, we are well educated and we have so many great opportunities.  Here I am, 15 weeks after giving birth to Audrey – feeling like my fitness levels are increasing, feeling good.  In complete contrast, tonight I read an article by Angela Saurine in The Daily Telegraph.  It was a very informative and emotive article about Ethiopian women who have had so much trauma from giving birth that they have major ongoing issues that need medical attention and often multiple surgeries.  They become outcasts in their villages due to their leaking issues and stench.  Many of these women are married at the age of 12 to older men and are divorced when such issues arise.  Not only are these women isolated, neglected; but often the trauma of the birth involved the huge emotional weight of still birth also.

After reading this article, I was feeling very overwhelmed, so I turned to my Bible and read Proverbs 31:8-10

Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable.  Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor.

I want to do a lot more than write one blog about this, but I have to start somewhere. Let’s speak out on behalf of the voiceless.  Let our words and actions build other people up and not tare them down.  God’s heart is for the rights of the vulnerable, to help the needy and the poor.  We can all make a difference wherever we are, in small ways through great conversations, by valuing others and we can become involved in something bigger than our sphere of influence.  We don’t have to be onlookers, or stop at feeling moved by something.  We can be moved to action.  We can live lives that count for something!

Whilst our society battles for equality in political correct ways that often only provide bandaid solutions; let’s be the ones who make a real difference.  The name of Jesus is offensive to many and I don’t use it to offend.  To me, the name of Jesus is hope, it’s life, healing, forgiveness, freedom, abundance, victory, purpose, eternity and salvation.  I want conversations to ultimately lead to him.  Lead to people discovering their purpose, their healing, their freedom in the name of Jesus.

So why do girls go in groups?  To change the world.

https://www.facebook.com/DrCatherineHamlin/?fref=ts

 

 

 

 

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Tops of Bananas

 

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We all develop idiosyncrasies, we like to do things a certain way.  I like to eat meat pies by taking off the top piece of pastry and eating it, then eating all the contents of the pie with a fork and then finishing by eating the crust of the pastry.

Do you have any idiosyncrasies?

It’s interesting to watch Israel’s idiosyncrasies develop.  For some reason, he only likes to eat the tops of bananas.  So tonight, Ben just turned the bottom half of Israel’s banana around and said that it was the top of a banana…and he ate it!

And who told kids they shouldn’t eat crusts??  I used to feed Sophie Israel’s crusts, but now she doesn’t fall for it anymore.  Do they go to a secret toddler school somewhere where they learn that somehow crusts are inferior? This secret toddler school must also be where they learn how to whinge in the right tone and learn the many techniques of how to tantrum.

Idiosyncrasies can develop in our thought patterns too; it’s easy to become set in our way with things, especially in our thinking.  This can be great when it’s positive, but very detrimental if they are negative thought patterns that we are allowing to take root in our thought life.

Idiosyncrasies are peculiar to an individual.  A pattern of thinking can become very ‘normal’ to us when in fact, we may be thinking so far out of line that we don’t even realise.  Our thoughts about ourselves, other people, about God can become so out of line, so far from the truth unless we have something to measure our thoughts against.

The Bible is a great measure of our thoughts. Paul writes in the book of Philippians 4:8 from the Bible:

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Are our thoughts true? Are they honorable, pure, right, lovely and admirable?  Let’s ask ourselves, “Do I have excellent thoughts?”

Proverbs 23:7 in the Amplified version of the Bible – which just gives a few expansions in brackets (I like this version, it helps me understand a little better) says:

 
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates].
He says to you, “Eat and drink,”
Yet his heart is not with you [but it is begrudging the cost].

As we think things in our heart, so we are.  We become what we think.  If we have excellent thoughts, we become excellent.  If we have pure thoughts, we become pure. If we have honorable thoughts, we become honorable.

Some idiosyncrasies are cute, we may feel like some are really just ‘us’; but let’s choose to see the wrong thoughts for what they are and stop them in their tracks.  We can line up our thoughts with the thoughts of God by aligning them to his word.  Excellent thoughts, I like that.

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Confident People

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A gorgeous young girl came to my door to drop something off and she beamed with a beautiful smile as I told her to tell her Mum I said thank you.  I then said to her, “you’re beautiful” to which she nodded in agreement.  I told her Mum later that she must be doing an incredible job raising her daughter because she is confident and can take a compliment well.

Confident people take compliments well

It’s good to say thank you and receive a compliment.  It’s a great thing to like ourselves.  Confident people put others at ease, making others feel comfortable to be themselves because they allow themselves to be comfortable.

Confidence allows us to dress in a way that expresses our personality, but insecurity dresses to get attention.  Dress comfortably, but value good presentation.  We convey a message in the way we dress.

Confident people don’t criticise

We criticise to make people feel less than us.  If we are confident to be the best ‘me’ then we can allow others to be the best ‘them’.

We can never over-compliment someone and we don’t have to be the person to pop someone’s bubble.

As a parent, I believe kids are only spoiled when they don’t know how to be grateful and they aren’t punished when they deliberately disobey.  We aren’t doing anyone a favour when we hold back affirmation.  We aren’t spoiling our kids by making sure they know how much they are loved, we aren’t making anyone over-confident by giving a compliment.

Confidence comes from God

We need to firstly get our affirmation from who we are in God, from the love of our Heavenly Father who created us in his image.  From there we can be confident enough to take affirmation from others, but it’s not ‘make or break’.  Their words don’t make or break us.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:35

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

We must first have confidence before we can throw it away.  God gives us confidence and it’s up to us to be faithful with what we’ve been given, just like everything God entrusts us with.  Confidence doesn’t get thrown out the window in one hit, it’s corroded slowly through comparison and compromise.

Confidence is attractive, confidence is achievable, confidence is you being you.

Let’s choose to be confident people.  I like me and I like you.

 

 

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“I’m so hungry” he said with a yawn

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I had just picked up Israel from a huge day out with his friends and as we drove off in the car he yawned and said in a tired voice, “I’m so hungry.”

Israel doesn’t like to stop for sleep or heaven forbid admit he is ever tired!  He tries to replace tiredness for hunger and keeps eating as to keep himself awake.  He can easily admit to hunger, but there will be no confessions on feeling tired.

Know what we need and not just live by what we want.

What we want is often temporary and more convenient, but what we need may require more discipline, take more work, be uncomfortable and require change.

If I say to Israel, “you’re just tired” he gets very angry and defensive.

What do we get defensive about?  Maybe it’s linked to a true need that perhaps we are trying to avoid.

Maybe it’s a need to forgive?

Maybe it’s a need for better time management?

Maybe it’s a need to get to get household affairs in order?

In the book of Genesis, chapter 39 it talks about how Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property and all his household affairs ran smoothly and his crops and livestock flourished.   His master, Potiphar then gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned.

Wants are fulfilled after needs are done.

When we do what needs to be done and we do it well, more opportunities open up to us. There are sometimes when Israel is so tired that he can’t help but to have a nap, even when he is trying to avoid it.  He will wake up so much happier, with so much more energy and can then enjoy the afternoon so much more…and for that matter, it makes the afternoon more enjoyable for everyone else around him too!

Instead of being defensive, let’s be deliberate.

 

 

 

 

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Life Lessons from Winnie the Pooh

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When we have a teachable spirit – we can learn from anything.  Recently I had a life lesson from Winnie The Pooh.  The cute bedtime story really brought home some powerful truths:

  1. Even when we don’t think we have much to offer –  people can be blessed by us.

The story starts with Winnie The Pooh doing some spring cleaning and he finds a cracked honey pot he is getting rid of.  Kanga is looking for a new planter and thinks this useless old honey pot of Pooh’s is not so useless after all.  The story transitions from one character to the next with charming little interactions about how one left over thing of one person’s, is very beneficial to the other.  Piglet gets a new picnic table from Owl’s large crete of books he had delivered and Owl gets some new checkers from Piglet’s hay-corn caps; even Rabbit who gets thistles in his tail and holes in his coveralls from clearing the weeds in his garden, is able to bless a little bird who is able to benefit from all the fluff pulled from Rabbit’s tail.

2. Even in our difficult moments – we can bring comfort to someone else.

Here is poor old Rabbit complaining to himself about how this happens every spring, as he is once again brushing all those thistles out of his tail.  Through his discomfort the bird is able to have the most comfortable nest in the Hundred-Acre Wood.  Rabbit’s needs were also attended to, as the holes in his coveralls where able to be mended with all the left over scraps of material that Kanga had from her sewing projects over the winter.  It was through Rabbits misfortune that he was still able to bless someone else and also be blessed himself.

Who can we bless in the middle of our misfortune?

Sometimes taking our eyes off our own situation and focusing on being the solution to someone else’s problem we can find that we will be blessed also.

Proverbs 11:25

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

Often we can minimise the natural gifts we have because they are just that – so natural.  What we are best at often comes most easiest and so we can think little of it.  We can often think the resource we do have is not enough to do something great with.  Let’s be generous with what we have, even if it doesn’t look like much – people can still be blessed by what we do have and by who we are.  People are blessed by our inclusion, our thoughtfulness, our practical assistance and as we refresh others we will also be refreshed.

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#praybigdreambiglivebig

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Ben and I had been dreaming and scheming for 2016 and we had some beautiful friends pop in for a round of cards and some delicious healthy treats.  We were chatting about the new year and what they were expecting.  They had decided to make their statement for the year into a hashtag.  We had our slogan chosen, but I loved the idea of making it into a hashtag so much that I stole it!  You’re welcome to steal the idea too!  #praybigdreambiglivebig

#Pray Big

Pray Big is all about perspective and allowing God to grow our hearts.  Honest prayers, thankful prayers, requesting prayers, forgiveness prayers – they all help us get on the same page as God.  Prayer often brings us back to a God perspective on things, rather than our limited views on our situation.  Prayer before decision making; being spirit-led in our everyday lives.

#Dream Big

Dream Big is all about purpose – His purpose for our lives.  Allowing God to form our dreams and having time to dwell on the things unseen helps us to keep moving forward.  We might not feel like we fit our dreams yet and this is what it’s meant to feel like!  Our dreams need to be so big they scare us!  It’s ok to fall short of big dreams.  If we don’t make our dreams big, if we fall short we may not actually achieve anything; so we can at least fall short of massive dreams and still achieve something great!  Dreaming dreams that scare us will push us to rely on God more.  If they are dreams that fit us now, then we won’t depend on God to achieve them, we’ll just cruise through another year.  I don’t want to do life with my  cruise-control set, I want to dream big, so big that I need God to pull it off!

#Live Big

Live Big is all about living in the moment and giving our best.  Living in the moment can sometimes have a negative connotation when it’s in regards to just enjoying the moment with no regard for the future.  For me, living in the moment is not in an inconsequential way, it’s about enjoying the journey of the big life, even in the moments of huge stretch.

We were at Dreamworld with a few different families with young children and one of the young boys was trying to get Sophie, my 21 month old daughter to give him a cuddle.  He was making her laugh and had asked a number of times “Can I have a hug Sophie?” to which she would shake her head.  She finally lent in and gave him a little hug without him asking for one and he had a huge smile on his face and said, “this is the best moment of my life!”  I laughed so much at his beautiful enthusiasm and his Mum commented how he lives so much in the moment and is always saying things like “this is the best food I’ve ever had and this is the best day”.  What an incredible attitude towards life!

Living the ‘big life’ is not always easy and we won’t always feel like it’s the best moment ever.  Living the big life sometimes looks like tiredness  – tired parents and tired children, it can look like doing things when we don’t feel like it, meeting deadlines, sometimes it requires putting other people’s needs first, it can feel like really long days.  The big life is about living a life that is bigger than our own.  It’s a life beyond our house, our needs – to one where our needs are still met by the goodness of God, but where we can be the ones to give a hand up to others.  A life where we can share the love, grace and freedom that is found in Jesus.

https://emilyhiggins.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/find-privilege-in-the-mundane/

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Spider Man Has To Sleep Too

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We had our big Christmas Carols event at church and at the end of the night, Israel didn’t want to take his Spiderman face paint off  – he wanted to sleep being Spiderman.  He said to me, “well, Spiderman has to sleep too.”  While it was very good reasoning for my 3 and a half year old, he still had to wash it off before going to bed.

Though sometimes REALLY frustrating, I do love how children see the world differently.  I love how they eat for enjoyment and wipe their dirty hands all over themselves.  I love how they imagine things and create their own fun.  Israel had a lovely story going and the characters were just his two hands, with lots of sound effects happening as we were driving along in the car.

Israel certainly sees the world differently and I want to take a bit of his lens for myself. Creativity is so free for children because they are so carefree.  I can’t pretend I don’t have bills to pay and responsibilities to keep; but this year I want to think outside the box a little more, be more spontaneous and adventurous than ever before, I want to live my best year yet and I hope you do too?!

There’s a lot of planning, praying and goal setting when it comes to living our best year yet.  I think it’s incredibly important to give time to preparing for the year ahead, dreaming of what is to come and planning how it will be outworked; but let’s not get so bogged down in our goals, becoming so task-orientated that we forget to come up for air, that we forget to add some creative flair.

Who do you have around you to keep you young?  I think my children are a great influence on me, while one moment they may be helping me grow grey hair – in the next moment they will do or say something that just blows me away and makes me want to be more like them.  They forgive so quickly, they love so intensely and they have no fear!

As we get older it is easy to become more cynical and more critical. My aim is that as my body gets older, my heart gets younger – more child-like. A heart less complicated, less cynical, less bitter.

 

 

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