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30.11.09

Marriage Tip #2 - Respect

Men need respect & women need love. If we simply learn to meet the one main need that our spouse has then we may eliminate many other battles or problem areas.

Ephesians 5:33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

This is all that Eric needs to either make him or break him as a man. When I show him that I respect him he is stronger but when I disrespect him, especially in front of people, he is a broken man with no power at all. As women we don't realise the importance of our respect, it either releases our husband into his full potential as a man or without it we cripple our man & make him unable to be what God has called him to be.
Here are some tips for wives:

1) Go to God - he already has all the answers & will very happily help you


2) Watch Your Words - communicate only words of life that will build him up, if you have any complaints just shut up & chat to God about it. If you are creative you can use positive words to have what you need in your marriage, this will build him up & at the same time you will be able to have what you need too. For example rather than nagging & complaining that he never washes the dishes rather say something like, "Darling I really love it when you help me around the house, it makes me feel so important to you, I especially would like it if sometimes you helped with the dishes". I am not talking about manipulation or control here, don't misunderstand the heart you need to have behind your words. You are simply communicating your needs in a positive way rather than in a nagging, controlling way. There is not a man alive on this planet who likes nagging. This way you can still show him respect but also tell him what you need.

3) Support Him - be passionate about what he is passionate about. Eric is passionate about his guitar so I have taken the time over the years to learn about the guitar & other music stuff. He is a brilliant guitarist, the best in the world in my eyes & although I have been careful not to let this define him I have done my best to make music a big part of our life. If Eric was into racing motor cars then I would be out in the garage right now passing him tools to help him get ready for a race. If Eric was into golf I would be on the green right now passing him a wedge. I am sure you get the picture... don't take what he is passionate about and hold it against him rather be a part of it if he wants you to & if he doesn't want you to be a part of it give him space & time to get on with it.

Do you have any tips for either husbands or wives? I would love to hear your thoughts but most of all these are just some tips to help us, I get it wrong more often than I get it right so don't feel bad if you still have some work to do, I do too so let's work on our marriages together :) If you are reading this and are not married you can still practice, the way you treat men in general in your every day life is probably how you will treat your own husband one day. Start showing respect to the men in your world & see how you will release their potential.
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26.11.09

Christmas Cake

It's that time of year again! I love all the festivities, food & fun of Christmas & I am just starting to get into it by baking our Christmas cake so I thought I would share the recipe with you. The photo above is of last years half eaten cake ha ha.

800g mixed dried fruit
75g glace cherries cut in half
200ml brandy
300g plain flour
I t ground cinnamon
A little freshly grated nutmeg
125g ground almonds
150g softened unsalted butter
150g dark muscovado sugar
4 large eggs
I t cocoa powder
Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
6t apricot jam
450g marzipan
900g ready-to-roll fondant icing

· Soak the glace cherries in the brandy for 24-48 hours.
· Lightly grease the cake tin & line with greaseproof paper.
· Sift the flour with the cinnamon, a pinch of salt & a little nutmeg.
· Whisk the butter until creamy & add sugar gradually until light and fluffy.
· Beat in the eggs & add the flour mixture & almonds, then the fruit and its liquid.
· Add the cocoa and bicarbonate of soda.
· Bake at 150°C for 1hr.
· Wrap in greaseproof paper and foil, and store in a cool, dry place. Every week for the first four weeks, prick the base of the cake and spoon 1t brandy over the top. For the last two weeks, leave to dry.
· 5 To decorate the cake, warm half the apricot jam and spread thin layer over the top and sides.
· Position marzipan over the top of the cake, press down lightly, and trim any excess. Cover with greaseproof paper and leave in a cool, dry place for two days.
· Warm the remaining jam and spread over the marzipan. Cover the cake with white icing as with the marzipan.
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24.11.09

Marriage Tip #1 - Go to God First

I can't tell you how many arguments Eric & I didn't have because I went to God first. Also I can assure you that the ones we did have was when I didn't go to God. It's quite simple really, God is so much smarter that we are & has a much better perspective on things so why not get his advice first. I have gone to God when I am angry, when I am sad, when I am hurt & even when I need some inspiration or creativity to make Eric feel more loved. For me God is definitely the source of our marriage & my love for Eric. I would have completely wrecked things by now if I didn't go to God - and I go often. Some women seem to be such perfect wives & I am happy for them, but as for me... well I just keep going to God ha ha. For me it's as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Don't you love Eric's big smile in our wedding photo above? Even Gary Clark (in the background) had a nice cheesy grin... do you want to know why?

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22.11.09

Seasons

This Sunday I had the privilege of preaching at our church. Preaching is a love hate thing for me but whether I am loving or hating it I do find it a real privilege an honour to be communication the heart of God to our Church.

This message is all about the seasons of life based on Ecclesiastes 3. One thing is totally 100% guaranteed in life, and that is that things will change. God has appointed the times and seasons, the events of our lives, the happy and the sad, the easy and the difficult. God exalts and humbles the same person. He raises nations up and brings them down. The great thing is that God is in control, he has a plan & he works everything together for good so we can have a great life.

The painting above is one that Lorah painted after one of our lovely summer holidays. I thought it would be nice to include it for you to see. So who wants to count how many times I said 'um'? Listen to the full message here.

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20.11.09

Choices

It was really lovely to hear all your comments on the God Said post. As promised here is how it impacted me.

I was having a rough few weeks, one thing after another has been piling on top of me & life was looking a bit stormy. You see, I asked God to make me a bigger person & remove the constraints that are holding me back in life. At the Hillsong Conference, Flip Flippen addressed this area & it totally challenged me. God has so faithfully answered my prayer by allowing me the opportunity to be a bigger person. God isn't going to "zap" me with the gift of being a bigger person, He isn't going to come down from heaven & remove my constraints. Of course not, He is going to allow a little bit of hell to break loose in my life so that I have the opportunity to respond as a bigger person. Even as I type this, I know that I really don't want to do what I know I have to do to be this bigger person. At the same time I really do want to be a bigger & better person. I guess that's exactly what Paul meant when he said in Romans 7:19 "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." Thankfully he gives us the solution in Romans 7:25 "...So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." What Paul is saying is that we need to CHOOSE to do what is right despite the wrong that our flesh wants to do. It is a fascinating piece of the Bible, read all of Romans 7 when you get a chance, it's extremely interesting.

That email really highlighted to me that God has already given us everything we need to lead a great life, but we have to choose it. Read God Said again if you like and see how God says no to most things because He wants us to choose a new mindset in each circumstance. Perhaps you too are facing difficult circumstances at the moment? Perhaps you would like to join me in choosing to change the way I see these circumstances? Rather than keep asking God to change the circumstances let's ask Him to change us & to help us see how we can choose to see things differently & respond accordingly.

The power is in your CHOICE not in the change of circumstances.
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19.11.09

Dumb Things He Does - Dumb Things She Does


To kick off our series on marriage I thought it would be fun to start with one of my favourite books on the subject. Holly has a fantastic way of saying it as it is & hitting the nail on the head. This little book is packed with enough to keep you going for your entire marriage. Eric & I read it before we got married & highlighted the bits that were important to us. It has been fun going back & rereading it over the years & seeing how some things have changed for us & how most things are still spot on.

When we were planning our life together we were excited about having a great marriage & read books like this one with great enthusiasm for how we were going to get it all right. Now several years later we run to this book & others for answers to the challenges we face. It's quite hysterical really as we both still want the same things, we still both believe the same things about marriage but somewhere along the line we realised that we are only human & make mistakes more often than not. Perhaps our ideals are shattered but our passion to get it right & have a great marriage is stronger than ever.

So now we rejoice in the good days when we get it right & we get out the books & the Bible & keep trying on the days we get it wrong. Holly's book has been fantastic in helping us keep our marriage on the right path.
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18.11.09

God Said...

Today I received a really interesting email. Well at first glance you would think not, in fact I usually delete all chain emails or long emails right away, I don't have the time to trawl through things like that. But today was different, I had been asking God to show me the way forward through something I am struggling with. I really didn't hear His voice at all this morning when I was praying. Do you ever get those moments or even seasons? The season when it feels like all hell has broken loose in your life. Last week life was perfect & this week it has all fallen apart... do you ever get that? Well I have been having a few weeks like that & each week seems to get worse.

Here is the email that I received, before I tell you how it spoke to me I want to hear what it says to you. So have a read & I will do another post about how this cute little email hugely impacted me.

God Said...
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I asked God to take away my habit.
God said, NO...
It is not for me to take away,
but for you to give it up.
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I asked God to make my
handicapped child whole.
God said, NO...
His spirit is whole, his
body is only temporary.
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I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
it isn't granted, it is learned.
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I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, NO...
I give you blessings;
Happiness is up to you.
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I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, NO...
Suffering draws you apart from
worldly cares
and brings you closer to me.
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I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, NO...
You must grow on your own,
but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
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I asked God for all things.
that I might enjoy life.
God said, NO...
I will give you life,
so that you may enjoy all things.
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I asked God to help me LOVE others,
as much as He loves me.
God said... Ahhhh,
finally you have the idea.
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10.11.09

Priorities & Seasons

Lately I have been looking at my priorities & have noticed that it is essential to understand the season that you are in in order to set reasonable priorities. For me it has been a bit of a struggle because I have done the whole stay at home mummy thing for years & have moved on to a career & then even moved onto starting my own company. My eldest daughters are 14 & 18 but I also have two new gorgeous additions to the family who are 10 months & 3. Lately I have been feeling the tension between the busy me that has been allowed to grow as my teenagers have gotten older & the mommy with 2 babies. It's kinda like I have to go back & do it all over again. I love my babies & my teenagers & I love my life! The thing that I have been working on though is defining & understanding this season in my life. I have to reset my priorities to God, husband & children ONLY. That is how it was when Lorah & Jordan were little & that was right for me for that season. Life got busier & more interesting as they got older but now with little ones & leading a church I have had to take a very careful look at what is realistic for me in this season of my life.

As women we may have many roles that we have to play in life, but we do need to clearly define our priorities. It will help us have harmony in our life. Here is a practical example of how priorities can help us. The other day I was working on a sermon & Amy was playing on the floor near to me. She got a bit tearful after a while & crawled up to me. If I hadn't clearly defined my priories I may have been annoyed at being interrupted while working. But since I have clearly defined my priorities it was easy for me to respond to Amy with lots of love because she is the priority not the interruption. The sermon was the interruption to my priority. Does that make sense? So I can still attempt to do other things with my life, but I have to keep my priorities in place. God, my husband & my children are the priorities, I can do other things but they can't interfere with my priorities. As a church leader that is often very tricky as people tend to think that all the needs within the church are the leaders responsibility. I love our church very much, but never-the-less, if someone in church needs me & my husband or one of my children needs me at the same time it is clear that one is my priority & the other is the interruption to my priority. For example there is no point in me being out in the community all day feeding all the hungry people & then coming home too tired to cook dinner for my own family.

I really hope this makes sense & is useful to you. I have found it very freeing knowing my priorities & my season. What season are you in & have you managed to set your priorities? I would love to hear your story.
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5.11.09

You Are... special


One of my favourite writers is Max Lucado. His children's books have changed my life as I have read them to my children at bedtime. My absolute favourite is You Are Special - this has helped me so much with understanding how little it matters what people think about me and how much
what God says about me really matters. This book has helped me so much with my identity & I know it will help my children with theirs as they grow up. Sometimes it's the simplest things that are most powerful, I imagine this is partly what Jesus meant when he said in Luke 18:17; "whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it"

Have you ever been impacted by a children's book?
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