Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beautiful and Glamorous: some people might think so.

Recently everywhere I went the same conversation kept coming up. It did not matter if it was on Facebook, or at my daughter’s netball game. When are your children; especially girls too young to wear make-up? A touch of lipstick is alright, but full foundation, blusher, lipstick, eye shadow, mascara and eye liner is that what is considered too be too much for five to ten year olds to wear. To make the discussions grow they even expected the boys to wear foundation and mascara. Our school was having its junior primary concert and our drama teacher had a vision of what she wanted to do. The production itself turned out to be a wonderful event, but the question still remains did they really need to wear so much make up?

The theory was that the children would look too pale on the stage area, a fact that some of us were unsure about as we had just done a dance production with our children who did the dance classes wearing only a touch of zinc cream on their faces and they looked fine. I now have a nine year old daughter who can now put on full make up by herself yet she is beautiful without any make up on. I found it hard to recognize my six year old with a full made up face. I can understand that some dance styles classes require their children to wear full makeup, but not everyone has their children in those types of dance classes. In high school drama classes boys are required to wear full make up, but they have chosen to do these classes. I have found myself not sure what to really make of this issue, I can see both sides, but I guess the real issue was that the parents did not have a say in whether or not they believed that their children at five to ten years of age needed the cosmetic enhancements to make them look beautiful and glamorous for a primary school concert. Not only was it a parental permission issue a lot of us had to go out and buy makeup for our children as we did not have the right color lipsticks, or our foundations were too pale, leaving us with makeup that we would most likely never use again.

I tell my daughter’s that they are beautiful nearly every day and I believe that they are, but I know that being beautiful and glamorous is not the most important lesson they can learn in life. I am reminded of Proverbs 31:30 which states ‘Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.' I would really love for my daughter’s beauty to continue to shine from inside out; not from the outside only.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

How you can make a fishing cart for free

I horrified my husband quite recently so much so that yesterday we went to three fishing shops to look for this one item. My hubby loves to fish off the beach and has found he has been able to catch more fish off the beach than off the Jetty; the problem is that he has to carry what he wants normally around his neck and around his waist, which means he normally does not take a drink with him for three hours. A retired man at Moonta where we tend to fish has made his own fishing cart that he carries different rods for catching different fishes on. His cart is made out of a plastic big box with bicycle wheels attached to it. Now with my husband’s birthday coming up I decided that my son and I could attempt to make my hubby his own fishing cart; hence the sudden fishing shop expedition. At the second shop we found the only fishing cart that was made commercially, and it was definitely not what we were looking for when an idea came to our minds about how we could practically made a fishing cart for free.

Now the biggest problem we faced was that hubby wanted a secure wheel based structure for the fishing cart, which meant that we would have to have something welded up, my brother and dad are both farmers so that would not be a major issue, but having grown up on a farm and had a go at making the old go-cart as a child I was talking out loud to hubby about the different types of wheels that had been used in the past for go-carts when we both turned to each other and said “Did we throw out the pram?” Now our children are aged 11, 9 and 6 so we are past the pram stage, but there has been some of the baby items that we have kept being too slack to have a garage sale and not wanting to throw away something that is still good. We returned home and discovered that we did indeed have the pram and it was worth having a go to convert it into a fishing cart.

Step 1
Find a pram or stroller.

Step 2
Remove all the material and padding from the pram so that you can see the structure.

Step 3
Add an esky where the child used to sit. Place fishing rods on the front away from the handle so you don't get tangled up in them.

In the end it was free for us to make the fishing cart and so now I have One happy hubby who cant wait to try it out this weekend.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Imagine God carrying you

I first heard this poem when I was a teenager, and feel in love with it. It author is said to be unknown. It would at times be forgotten about and then suddenly found to help me gain new understanding for the moment. You name it and most Christian will instantly know it. I am of course referring to ‘Footstep in the sand’ but one day something occurred to me as I was with my children. If God can carry us in this poem, and I can carry my children does God ever have a hard time carrying me? Have you ever thought about the different ways you carry your children? Well this day I did as I had a grumpy child and it made me rethink about this poem.

When do you really carry your child? Often we can pick up a sleeping child and carry them close to our bodies, without the child realizing that we are carrying them. Can you imagine God carrying you like that? I can. What about when you have to get your child and pick them up suddenly because they are about to head in to danger, they don’t want you to pick them up, so they struggle to get out of your arms, there is no way they want to be in your arms, but there is no way also you are going to let them go. Can you imagine God carrying you like that? I can, and I believe I have given God a real hard time while I was being carried.

What about when you place your child on your shoulders just for fun and carry them high off the ground, their hands pulling your hair or moving all over your face. Can you imagine God carrying you like that? I can and I know how special I would feel.

Sometimes your child just runs into your arms; because there is no place that is more special than being in your arms and knowing you are loved. Can you imagine God carrying you like that? I can.

But sometime your child is so angry that they just won’t move and so to do what you have to do, you pick them up their bodies rigid in your arms, they refuse to look you in the eyes, and you are having a battle of wills. Can you imagine God carrying you like that? I can.

If you have ever carried a child you will know that it is not always a pleasant task, so the question I ask you today, if God is carrying you in which situation do you think you are in and just like us God will not let us go until we know that the times and situations we are in are safe, so sit back and allow God’s arms to surround you.

Here is the poem, I hope you enjoy it.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Would you be a refugee?

I got the six kids to lie down in the big tent, they thought that they could probably manage sleeping here, they were already aware that there would not be any electricity where the people who were really living in a make shift tent home in a refugee camp. Then the guide came in and told us that this tent would be the home of a family of twenty people. Now even with the six kids in my group the vision of twenty people sleeping in that one small area was astounding, outside the tent there were shoes made out of tires, toys made out of cans, the kids were able to hold and look at what the refugee’s made, when their attention was caught by the next display.

“Can you lift this 20 liter container?” well my son thought he could, the guide pointed to a landmark in the distance and inform the kids that people would walk that far with the container of water. My son informed her that he could walk to the fence and back carrying the container, and followed through with his statement; a girl in our group tried but did not make the distance. The kids listened to the guide as she explained how much water we use in Adelaide compared to the twenty liters the refugees got in a day. The reality that most people would not be able to wash often hit home, so the guide took us to see the toilets. The kids placed their feet on the indicated markings of the long drop toilet and imagined what it would be like to go to the toilet; she started to talk about the hygiene and the importance of washing your hands, when the kids realized that you don’t have toilet paper, well this raised a few questions and a scream of horror from the girls in our group when they were told that if someone was in hurry and did not remove the cover of the toilet it was not washed, it just stayed there.

At the medical side of the display, one showed us how they tested for malaria, and what other diseases was a danger to people in refugee camps, another showed how medicines were transported to the places that they were needed, and the different type of boxes they used to transport the medicine. We were informed of how many immunizations they gave in a four month period, the number was astounding. We visited the cholera tent and were shown the beds with the hole for diarrhea, the guide went to show us another toilet when another guide lay down on a stretcher pretending to have cholera; let me just say this I would be very surprised if any of my group of kids became doctors or nurses.

All in all it was an interesting experience – my son comment was great and funny – there was a lot of toilet humor, but what can you expect from a group of eleven year olds. Please watch the clip below to find out what I experienced with my group of six kids for a school excursion.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

A lesson in Responsibility

I never expected to teach my daughters a lesson about responsibility this way, but it happened all the same. I have been trying to teach my children to take small step in them being responsible for their lives and like most parents I thought that it was going in one ear and out the other. Last year I finally gave into my daughter’s requests to get their ears pierced. I had not bothered too much about getting their ears pierces as the house tends to claim objects about that size. But after two years of my oldest daughters begging I thought that maybe it was time

Christmas holidays were coming up and I had discovered that year that you can no longer cover up earrings with band-aids when playing netball, so I this was the perfect time for my eldest daughter to get her ears pierced and while we were at it I might as well do my other daughter before she started playing netball too. We found a place to get their ears done and they bravely sat through the procedure. They proudly showed off their earrings to family and friends and this is where I learnt the lesson that my daughters were different in how they viewed being ready responsible for having their ears pierced. You see while my youngest daughter at six loved the idea of earrings and wore the first pair for the recommended six weeks, she didn’t like the hassle of take out her earrings and getting new earrings put back in their place. Her older sister on the other hand, was ready for responsibility of having her ears pierced and has taken responsibility for not just her earrings, but to remember to put them back in after her netball games.

As we come up to a year after getting my daughters ears pierced I have learnt that my eldest daughter has more of an idea of what she wants and will take the responsibility of looking after what will go with it. She enjoys shopping for different kinds of earrings. My youngest is aware that she was not so ready for the responsibility of earrings and is eager to try again in a few more years when she feels that she is really ready. It is a hard thing to know when your child is truly ready to take responsibility and are prepared to do what has to be done with it. But when they do they are taking an important growing up step and one that children need to encounter. It is funny how these little simple steps are shaping us for the future.

If you are interested in learning more about letting your child take responsibilities and allowing your children to take the next step in their life journey you may like want to take a look at this clip.

I have done his DVD series called BOUNDARIES WITH KIDS with friends and they loved it. You can also purchase the Books.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

A genuine faith act

There comes a time in any Christian parent’s life where they have to step back and allow their child to start to take the reigns of their own faith journey. Three months ago I faced that situation. My church does a process called ‘Step Up’ where the child will take their first communion. I knew that this would be the year my eldest child would be asked to make that step. I had not talked to him about ‘Step Up’ as I was not sure of what his response would be. The flyers came home and I took a deep breathe and asked my son what his feelings were relating to ‘Step Up’. His genuine reply was simply that he was ready and wanted to do it.

For five weeks I went with my son to the classes and was unsure of just how much was sinking into my son. We did all the homework, which my son thought was pointless to do, and my discussions with my son on just how much he was learning during those weeks was meet with “I have already done this at school.” The final week arrived and I still had no idea if any of this was impacting my son. He had a test run of communion and then came the real test of faith. We were all asked to write a sin down on a piece of paper which was then to be burnt to show how God deals with our sin. We were asked not to look at each others piece of paper. The time came and I thought of a sin I could write down, having done that I turned to my son to see if he was ready, he growled at me and hid his piece of paper from me as he intently wrote down his sin. We were the last group to head out of that room with our sin written on that piece of paper, my son kept hiding his piece of paper and as a parent I started to wonder what sin he had committed to make him hide his piece of paper so. We placed our piece of paper in the flame of the candle and watched them burn to ash, my son placed his piece of paper to burn at the flame of the candle and could not help himself and said “Goodbye ducky.” Out loud. I know knew with out a doubt what my son’s sin was and I knew that he had done a genuine faith act when he wrote down his sin.

At the beginning of the year my son and one of his good mates had caught a duckling at the local pond, behind my back and somehow had hidden it from me when the friend stayed the night at our place. I had only found out when the boys mother told me a week later that her son had brought a duckling home to be his pet. The duckling had been taken back to the pond and is now living happily with its family, and both parents talked to the boys about taking wild animals away from their families. What I had not known was that my son had been thinking still about that duckling and in that burning of a piece of paper had handed over his sin to God. I was proud that night to see my son starting to go on his own on his spiritual journey, and was still proud weeks later when he had his first communion at our church in front of the congregation. I don’t worry know about my son understanding about communion and God forgiveness of sins, he has already shown me that he understands by his genuine faith act.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ok God, how is that relaxing?

When I was growing up we used to go for holidays to the beach. At the beach we would relax, my dad needed a holiday after finishing harvest, and it was a great family time. We would read books and play games with our cousins and friends, at the end of the holidays we would be relaxed and ready to face anything that life on a farm would bring up.

Now go forward twenty years, and I am with my family at the beach, we have gone for walks on the beach, taken my mother in law for a drive around the beaches, hubby is out fishing, the girls are playing and my son has just spent a few hours attempting to tidy up some of the bushes that need to be cut. All is quite and I am just about to go and read a book, when my son says “Mum, I need to relax.” Finally I think to myself before the next words come out of his mouth “I think I should take the kayak out so I can relax.” Now a million thoughts are going through my head as I look at my son who is already in the shed taking out the kayak. I take a deep breath and realize I can not get out of it, as I will be the one who will have to help him with taking the kayak out to the beach. I grab my book and my mother in law agrees to stay and watch my daughters. I get to the beach and assist my son in getting the Kayak to a safe place to launch. When that is all done, I sit on the beach reading and watching my son who is kayaking his way out to his dad who is fishing and a thought goes through my mind “I would not call that relaxing!”

I ended up that day sitting on the beach, watching my son have his relaxation time and smiling at how God has made us all different. I know that each of my children have different personalities, but I had not thought about how we are different in the ways we relax, and what I might need to relax could be completely different from my son and husband. I thank God that he opened my eyes that day. May God bless you as you go on this journey that starts with simple faith.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

A tree branch and a car stuck in sand.

It is funny how we have become accustomed to certain things belonging in certain places. There are places we would not dream of going today, yet our grandparents at our age had no problems going there, and they were not as well equipped as we are. It took a bit of coaxing to get my mother to drive down a coastal road that she used to travel on as a child with me and my children in the car with her – the problem was it was a dirt road. She kept saying that she was not in the right car to travel down these roads. I have to admit I was enjoying her discomfort, she pointed out to my children places she would never drive to nowadays that she had went as a child. In my amusement I asked her how she had got there, I mean there were no off road vehicles around in those day. I am talking about at least forty years ago and my mother is pointing out big sand dunes.

“Oh, we just drove there.” She simply replied. “But you must have got stuck a lot?’ I asked her. She thought for a moment “Yes, all the time.” A memory came to me of me as a teenager out with some friends standing around the car we were traveling with that was bogged in mud, and while they were trying to get help, I was placing branches under the wheel of the car, both behind and in front and shortly after driving out the bogged car. “You used branches a lot?” “We used anything we could find.” I started to realize that maybe some of my grandparent’s habits had rubbed off on me. I glanced again at the big sand dunes we were driving past and began to realize that nothing would stop them from going to their favorite beach spot as a family, not the big sand dunes that they would stop constantly and dig free the sand from the wheels. They had no air-conditioned cars – yet they still went.

Today I can at times feel like it can be a big struggle to get where I need to go, I don’t always want the challenges of the big sand dunes, digging out wheels to keep me moving ahead. I am often challenged to keep my eyes fixed firmly on Jesus and the journey I am being taken on – it is not always smooth. Sometimes in the difficult times we need to take a breath and go back to the simple faith of just believing and knowing who we are in God.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hey where did your sense of adventure go?

When I was a child, we were always creating new worlds to explore. Growing up on a farm meant that we could create many places and imagine that many tree cubby houses were different places in the world. Many a story was played out with other friends around the chook shed and just out the back gate. I was the sort of person who could get lost in a book, and once read come back to the realization that I was still on the farm, not having a wild adventure somewhere far off. As we grew older we stopped playing these games and started to mature into adulthood, but I still missed that lost sense of adventure.

My hubby has in the last two years discovered fishing off the beach and one day while he tried out a new spot, my old sense of adventure began to kick in. Seeing a landmark lighthouse, at what I guessed would be a half hour walk to, I decided that I would go with my youngest child and our dog exploring the path that seemed to be heading that way. Just as we began my other two children came and agreed to go on this adventure with me. Five minutes into the journey, the path vanished and in my wisdom I knew that if we kept a safe distance near the coast line we would get there and walk back to the car along the road; my children had other ideas. There was no way that they would ever walk all the way over there. Suddenly Dad now seemed more of an adventure, and they quickly scrambled down the sand dune and ran off to meet their dad. I had no choice but to follow them as the dog was determined to stay with his kids. I found that I feel disappointed at my kid’s sense of adventure. I started to wonder if it was the fact that my kids are city kids, not country kids. I am thankful that I had such a great sense of adventure when I was a child, and had gone on many great journeys yet never having left the backyard. Today we can be called to grow on our own faith journeys with out leaving our homes. Some times all it takes is to start with simple faith.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

I grieved when my son was diagnosied with ADHD.

When you have a new born child, you can not help yourself – you count ten fingers, ten toes, you see their faces with two eyes, one nose and a mouth (I have a second cousin who was born with a disfigured face!) and you realize that this child you hold in your arms can do anything, that the future is unlimited and for a while you live assured that this is still the case, but then it happens one day, you find out that there is something wrong with your child, in my child’s case it was mild ADHD and mild ODD. You are aware that something is not quite right, but you cannot put your finger on it; I mean they appear normal, they look normal – But this, really Lord; now my child will live with a label over his head for the rest of his life! I was angry and shocked when my son was diagnosed.

It was now school holidays and I had arranged to go to my parent’s farm for a few days and all I really wanted to do was go outside and yell at God!!! But I could not as the weather was extremely hot. When I did get a chance I really gave God a piece of my mind, make no mistakes God knew exactly how I felt. The biggest problem I faced was that I know that I am under God’s authority so at the end of my speech I grumbled “Okay, Lord if my child is to have this then I place this into your hands.” My mum who I love dearly tried to find solutions to my problem – which I will admit she is good at, but all I really wanted was for someone to say “How could God do that to you!” I went to visit a good friend for our children to play, and while I was there I decided to break the news to her. She was washing the dishes while we were talking, she put them down, dried her hands and turned to me and simply told me the truth “we all love your son, he is a great child, but get over it. Two of my children have dyslexia, you don’t think I have felt the way you feel, get over yourself.” I looked at her children as they came inside to get a drink, and realized that I still cared the same for her children, even after I knew they had dyslexia. I realized that I had been a fool. The next time I went for a walk, I went to the Lord in prayer and told God how much of an idiot I had been in the way I was thinking and feeling. God revealed to me that when I had grumbled and handed over my son’s disorder to him, I had given up the right to feel sorry for myself, and that God had stopped me from going down the wrong path – that this was all about me. I had in fact spent two weeks grieving over my son as my mum pointed out to me when I told her what had happened, and I probably needed that time to let go of my pre conceived ideas of just who my son is and to start with simple faith and accepting just who my son is a God does. God bless you if you are on the same journey as I am – no matter where you are at.

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After four steps up a ladder my heart begins to race.

No matter what you do in life, you will one day have to climb a ladder now that is alright if you are not scared of heights, but I am. This was very frustrating for my dad – who is a farmer, because there were certain jobs I was expected to help with that I just could not do. Trust me I am not good when it comes to climbing onto the back of the truck to sweep it clean. As I grew up I thought that I would be able to palm off anything which involved climbing up a ladder, but I soon discovered that if I waited for people to help me with this I would be waiting a long time.

I have often looked at a ladder when I have needed to climb it and given myself a pep talk and after having convinced myself that I am not going to be afraid this time, I place my first foot upon that rung, I smile, second foot goes up. I tell myself to focus on being where I need to be, I shift my first foot to the third and am pleased with myself, but something happens when I go to the four rung I discover that my heart has began to race, it is harder to move my legs. I am not really that far above the ground, but I feel like I am hanging over an edge just about to fall. I am now carefully maneuvering my way up the ladder, thinking of where my hands and feet need to be to get to the goal in sight. People around me seem unaware of my fear. I get to where I need to be to do the job at hand. I shakily work on doing that job, I normally only do it with one hand; the other is firmly attached to the ladder. I slowly start to climb down the ladder, when I get to the final step I jump off the ladder in victory with my heart still racing inside my chest. I have done it – I have attempted and overcome my fear. There are many times in life where we have to face the fear of doing something we are scared to do. Attempting and overcoming that fear – even if it is just for that instance is a big personal deal, often it starts with our simple faith in Jesus and our belief in who we really are.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My kids watched their Opa die.

We knew that my father-in-law did not have much longer to live; we felt within ourselves that he would most likely not make the weekend. Having my brother’s son being baptized in the country meant we now had two options. The first cancel our family going to the baptism; or the second sending the children to the country to come back after the death of their beloved Opa. After a quick discussion hubby and I thought we should send the children away, phone calls and plans were made. I was to bring the children in to the hospital after school that day for what we believed would be the children’s last time to see their Opa. On the way to school that morning I decide to tell the children of the plans for the weekend. My youngest was at six years old happy to see her cousins and eager to go, but we had underestimated our son and eldest daughter; they felt that it was their place to be by their Opa in his final days. They wanted to be close by when he died and nothing I could say would change their minds. I picked them up from school and told them to say their goodbyes to Opa and to tell him anything they felt they needed to say. My father in law was by now having problems talking. Hubby meet me at the hospital and we discussed what the children wanted to do; having taken aside our two children for a quick chat hubby decided that the children knew best what they could handle. Our youngest child left for the country. My son went to visit a friend for the day. My daughter played netball while I coached and then went to visit her Opa with me. It was around 5pm and my father-in-law seemed to be steady, so I went to pick up my son and grab some food to eat back at the hospital. 6pm we were back at the hospital. My mother-in-law needing a break went home; unsure if she would return for the night. Hubby wanted to stay with his father, but I did not feel like we should leave him yet as the children are 9 and 11 they could have a late Saturday night if need be. My son settled in one of the lounge rooms to watch television, while my daughter went to the chapel to write a new prayer for her Opa. Just before 9pm my mother -in-law returned to spend the night with her husband. My daughter wanted to make her Oma a cup of tea, so we left the room together. On the way back we were told to quickly get back to the room, my son came running to me, we raced in the room to see my father-in-law die. My two children could not stop crying for two hours. Hubby decided to keep his boy with him as they did the final things at the hospital with my mother-in-law. My daughter and I went home listening to her favorite Christian music. First I spoke to my daughter and later to my son, touching on Ephesians 3:1-8 A time and season for everything. They say children cope better when they see a family member die of cancer. My children seem at peace with the passing of their beloved Opa. Both my children said “This was one of the most important days of my life.” I am proud of my two children and the maturity they have shown in this major life event for them.

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