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28.4.10

Marriage Tip #9 - Humble Yourself

Sometimes we are just too proud & selfish. We think it's all about us & all about our needs & the fact that every single one of our needs are not being met. If you find yourself going there just humble yourself before God & before your husband. Say sorry for being selfish & ask what you can do to make things better. This will work every time & win you loads of points with God & with your spouse ha ha. No one can resist a humble person. Remember you are no longer your own, you belong to God as you were bought with the precious blood of Jesus & when you got married you became one with your spouse. You are not your own anymore, you are a part of something much bigger. From time to time I get into selfish mode & make things all about me. The first thing I do to humble myself is to remember that Eric & I are working on having a great marriage - it's about our marriage not about myself.
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26.4.10

Bicarb, Vinegar & Olive Oil

Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about healthy living! I don't always get it right, I do eat McDonald's sometimes and drink coke way too often. Never-the-less I do work at healthy living and one day will stop drinking coke... In the meantime here are some things that I like to use at home:

Teeth Whitening - I use bicarbonate of soda on my toothbrush after regular brushing to whiten my coffee stained teeth! It really works & is way less expensive than whitening products.

Household Cleaner - Much to my children's disapproval I use white vinegar for cleaning most things in the kitchen. I shine stainless steal, clean my windows and wipe down my surfaces with vinegar. It kills mould & bacteria and gives everything a nice shine & again costs very little. I actually came across a website that gives 1001 uses for white vinegar - check it out www.vinegartips.com

Hair Treatment - In the Bible it says that you should anoint your head with oil so based on that I figured olive oil can't be bad for the hair! I use a tiny bit of olive oil as a serum. It's works wonders on my dry ends and I very lightly rub it over the rest of my hair to hold hair fly away bits of hair. Olive oil nourishes, conditions and improves the strength and elasticity of your hair.

I have also used olive oil as a treatment for my hair which works wonders. Firstly I rinse my hair with warm water then rub about a tablespoon of olive oil into my hair taking a few minutes to massage into my scalp. I take a little more oil to rub well into the ends of my hair and leave it on for half and hour with a plastic bag covering it. After this treatment I shampoo and condition as usual :)

Do you have any interesting tips to share?
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23.4.10

Prayer Needs

From time to time we all need a little extra prayer support! I don't know about you but I value all the prayer I can get especially in the rough times. The gorgeous baby boy in the photo above, Rowan, has been told that he has an unusually large hole in his heart. Please would you stand with me in prayer and believe that when he goes for his next check up it will be completely closed. Also please pray for his parents, Barry & Jana, for peace during the weeks that lead up to this confirmation of his miraculous healing! Do you believe in healing? I do and can't wait to report back to you that God has healed this precious little one.

Do you have something that you would like us to prayer for? Why not share your need so we can all stand together in prayer for each other and see God's miracles in our lives. Leave your prayer request in the comment box below and I promise to pray for each and every one.

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20.4.10

Happy Birthday Jordan

Today is my special baby girls 15th birthday! It strange saying 15 as she has seemed 13 since she was 9 and we spent all of 14 teasing her that she is 12 so 15 is quite a big deal for all of us - we finally have to accept that she really is growing up. I am so proud of you Jordan, despite all the tough things that life has thrown at you already, you have grown into a very sensitive, caring and lovely young woman. I am really impressed with your gift for writing and for the awesome songs you produce and I hope that you will continue to writing. Have a very happy birthday baby, I am excited to see all that your future holds for you. xxx
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17.4.10

Depression Solution - Make Hope

This is a very simple suggestion but works wonders. In my own life and in other people's life I have observed that depressed people often have nothing to look forward to. I often get down when all I can see ahead of me is the mundane day to day routine of my life. Even though I love my life I can still get depressed by the routine of it. Waking up in the morning to face a dirty nappy and a mountain of dishes. Breakfast, lunch, supper - as usual! People needing urgent assistance with something or other yet again. It's not that I don't care it's just that sometimes my heart does grow cold. The way I keep fresh and avoid getting really depressed is I make hope :) I put something in my near future that I will love doing. Usually it's a holiday or weekend away or even just a few hours for myself. Perhaps it's a visit with a friend I haven't seen in ages or perhaps even just a day out with my girls. This really helps keep my life more interesting.

I know that when you are in depression the last thing you have the energy for is planning something. What I have done to beat this is I have a place that we always go to. I have the booking lady's email address & all I have to do is send one email and ask if the date is available. All done. I do love exploring new places and when I am in a good place I might research somewhere new just for fun or something new to do but if I am run down (which hopefully I can avoid now after reading my series on depression solutions ha ha) I go somewhere or do something that doesn't take much energy or planning. Keeping something fun in the not to distant future always helps me. How about you, any thoughts on this one?
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16.4.10

What do you say to that?

What do you say when one of your congregation tell you that they are so excited about giving their very first tithe this coming Sunday? It's so absolutely precious to see someone understand tithing and having such joy to give.

What do you say when that same person who is excited about giving their tithe is actually giving because they recently accepted Jesus and totally get what the tithe is all about? Many old Christians sit in church and make excuses not to tithe but this brand new Christian gets it and totally wants in!

What do you say when that same person who is excited about giving their tithe & totally gets it is sitting in a hospital bed but totally glowing with Jesus. You see this person came to church a few months ago because we were offering free sandwiches. Why did he need a free sandwich? Because he was living on the street - he was homeless. Why was he homeless? Because he was a heroine addict!

What can you possibly say to someone who only a few weeks earlier was fighting for his life because his leg was diseased from where he spent years injecting into heroine into it, he chats to you looking a bit tired from all the surgery then suddenly his face lights up and he gives you a big smile and says and says; "Are you coming to visit me on Sunday, because I can't wait to give my first real tithe?"

What do you say to that? Well I had to hold back the tears and ended up saying absolutely nothing.
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14.4.10

Marriage Tip #8 - Have Fun

Don't forget to have fun!!! This is why you got married in the first place wasn't it? Didn't you enjoy your time together? Making time for dates is essential. Eric & I have our date night every Wednesday & it is the highlight of our week. Also we have our family day every Saturday so we can have fun with the children. These two dates really make our life special & FUN! We also love to play games either just the two of us or as a family. Playing is so important & if we neglect this we tend to just focus on work which can make us boring :( Our motto is to work hard & play hard!

Perhaps do what you first did when you were dating. I say perhaps because you may not have been a Christian when you first dated & I would not recommend you go back to ungodly things ha ha. Spice things up - no one likes Mr or Mrs boring :) What do you like to do for fun together?
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10.4.10

Depression Solution - First Things First

I have several first things and if they get neglected it does affect the balance in my life which. If this unbalance continues for a long period of time I can get depressed. It may sound really simple but I have learned that I need this sense of balance in my life practically to keep a sense of internal balance too.

For me first things are my relationship with God, the state of my home & time with my family. If I neglect any of these things I loose the balance in my life. My time with God is essential. It is not a religious act of reading my Bible and praying in order to keep my conscience clear - it's definitely nothing like that at all. It's like eating breakfast - if I don't eat breakfast in the morning my body gets annoyed with me. In the same way if I don't have a nice cuddle & chat with Jesus in the morning my Spirit & soul gets annoyed with me. Sometimes I have a time of prayer, most times I read the Bible and sometimes I just sit. I say good morning Lord, here I am! I don't really want to pray and am too tired to read but I still want to be with you so here I am. Not very spiritual hey, but I know He is with me and we have a nice "cuddle". To me it is similar to my relationship with my husband. Sometimes we chat, sometimes we work and sometimes we just sit and cuddle. No matter what we do though, our time together feeds our relationship. It's the same with my relationship with God. I sing & chat to God all through the day while I get on with my busy life, but my special time with Him in the morning (or sometimes evening) is really important.

Another first thing in my life is a clean house. I get really down in the dumps when my house stays messy for too long. Mess is a normal part of my life - with four children and lots of visitors I have to accept mess. Never-the-less I don't like mess, so if I don't have a good clean up and enjoy a lovely clean and tidy home then I get very down.

One other first thing in my life is time with my children. I love my children to bits & I get really upset with myself if I feel I am neglecting them in any way. My most important thing to do with them is just cuddle and read stories. I love to listen the what they want to talk about & make sure each child gets the individual attention that they need. This is very time consuming and I don't always manage to get it right but I really really want to.

What are the first things in your life & how does it affect you when you loose the balance?
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7.4.10

Depression Solution - Have a Check Up

Picking up from where I left off on the last Depression Solutions post... I was at the gynaecologists office joking around about how I have never had a check up in my life. To cut a long story short - that day he discovered that I had a very large cyst in my womb! It was as about 14cm by 15cm and then still about another 12cm deep. I did look a bit pregnant and there were moments when the thought had crossed my mind that maybe I was. The reason I said in my last post that it was a miracle is because the ONLY reason I went for this check up at all was because I was being obedient to what I felt God was telling me to do to lead a depression free life. I had no symptoms that caused me to go for a check-up, I was simply following the process that I believe God was guiding me in. It's possible that I would not be alive today if I had not had that check up as I was scheduled for immediate surgery when the cyst was discovered.

The journey after that was one miracle after another. The way we managed to raise the finance for the surgery, the way the surgeon & anaesthetist volunteered their services for FREE as they knew I had no money. The way I was taken care of after surgery and the way I recovered and healed afterwards. The most amazing miracle of all was that the doctor that did my operation was determined to save my womb and not do a hysterectomy! I wasn't bothered at the time as my first husband and I had already decided not to have any more children! But looking back makes me weep! God knew. He totally knew that I was going to remarry and have my precious Daniel & Amy so He guided the doctor. He took 4 hours to remove the cyst & managed to save part of an ovary. He couldn't save the other one so it had to be removed! Never-the-less this healthy ovary was enough to give me my precious babies nearly 10 years later. So as you can guess here is my third recommendation...

3. Have a Check Up. There may be something physical going on in your body that you are not aware of. A medical check up may help or even solve your depression. Unbalanced hormones can cause depression - older women often need hormone replacement. The intense hormone changes during & after pregnancy can also cause depression. Vitamin deficiency can cause depression too. Some medication can cause depression and so many more other physical factors, so having a physical check up will do you no harm at all but could find the source of your depression.

There are so many more other solutions I have discovered on my own journey so will continue to share them in my next post. In the meantime enjoy this photo of my wonderful husband & miracle babies!
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4.4.10

Help! I Am Being Used

Why is it in church we tolerate leaven (Galatians 5:9) & reject the lost? The Why is it we despise those who use us & resent those who curse us? Why is it that we love the sweet lovely people in church or even the false teachers who look so "nice" & turn our noses up at the people who swear or act rough! Come on people enough is enough either we are Christians or not? What does the Bible say?

Here is an example - for the sake of privacy we will call this lady Sarah. Sarah comes to church and takes whatever she can from the coffee table
& slips it into her handbag. She takes everything from sweets & cakes to tea bags. As soon as the service starts she leaves. I am not 100% sure but it is possible that she even sells the sandwiches she gets from us to homeless people. She comes to our coffee mornings & we buy her coffee every week. She turns up every Sunday and every Thursday without fail & uses us! So what should we do? Complain & resent her for using us & hide things from her so she won't "take them or perhaps we should refuse to pay for her coffee on Thursdays? She is not saved... has anyone bothered to tell her about Jesus or are they all waiting for her to come into a service to hear about Jesus.

Luke 6:27-28
"But I tell you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.

Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.

Guess what people, sinners sin - that is what they are supposed to do because they don't know any better yet. We can't be judgemental of sinners for sinning that is so silly. We need to love them
& love means covering all their wrongs with love. It means doing good to them, it means blessing them, it means praying for them!

So what is love then?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all
things.

Let's see how love applies to Sarah. Are we suffering long with her?, are we kind to her,? do we envy her?, do we parade our good works in front of her?, do we behave rudely to her?, etc, etc. Can you see how love works - it is most definitely not a feeling it is flipping hard work.

I have had several opportunities to apply Luke 6:27-28 in my life
& I promise you not once did it come easily and without pain. On one occasion I was robbed, literally, from money that was owed to me. I had bent over backwards for this person in so many ways & at the end of it all I was stabbed in the back. I was hurt, yes. I felt very angry & the last think I wanted to do was LOVE this person or pray for them. But never-the-less I felt the Holy Spirit ask me to not only pray for her but also send her an email saying that I was sorry for the misunderstanding & to ask for HER forgiveness! Let me tell you something, that was difficult & my flesh screamed out NOOOOOO! I am the victim why should I say sorry. Quite frankly I never wanted to speak to her again & thought it would be nice to take her to court for my money. But I knew what was right & for the sake of the gospel I did what the Holy Spirit told me to do. It hurt like hell & even though it did do it & worked at a friendship with her it did take time to stop feeling hurt. Even now when I see her I do still feel a little sting in my heart but I really do love her and know that one day she will accept Jesus as her saviour along with her precious daughter. I am sure of this because not only did Jesus pay the price for her salvation but I have paid a small price too to help her see Jesus in me.

I have other stories too but don't want this post to get too long. Let's just say that I know what it means to love my enemies, to do good to those that hate me, to bless those that curse me
& to pray for those, like Sarah, who spitefully use me! I have experienced it all, I have paid the price for all those sorts of people & each & every time it was worth it. Some people are already bearing fruit as a result & others have much fruit to come.

How many of us have prayed to God that He will use us? We get intense in prayer... God pleeeeeeeease use me, I really want you to use me, I am all yours use me as you will. Well guess what! when you feel used your prayer is being answered! When you hear yourself complaining that someone in church or in your life is using you feel honoured because you are being USED. What do you think will happen when you pray to God to use you? Do you think there will be some warm fuzzy feeling in your tummy, perhaps a nice sprinkling of gold dust on your forehead or perhaps a few spot on words of knowledge that you bring in front of a crowd that acknowledge your spot on special gift? Probably not, the likelihood is that you will get used by a homeless person for sandwiches, you will get used by a lonely person for friendship, you will get used financially a single mum struggling, you will get used by your pastor to vacuum the church floor
every week, you will get used by your leader to change a baby's nappy! Do you get the picture? At the end of all this being used do you say thank you to God for answering your prayer or do you complain that people are just using you! It's actually quite funny to observe, I have been there too myself so am not putting myself on a pedal stool. We all pray to be used
& the second we feel used by someone we complain about being used.

If we are going to really be Christians
& stop just acting like good people we will be hated, cursed & used! Possibly even persecuted. Why else would Jesus have said that we have to pick up our cross & follow Him? He didn't say get saved & then skip along blissfully through the rest of your life. No he said pick up your cross because it is something painful to bear this Christian stuff. It is not easy and not for the feint hearted. The cross is an instrument of death - you will have to die to self, you will have to lose your life completely if you ever want to find your life in Christ. That means if you ever want to pick up being a Christian you have to give up being a non-Christian. Does that make sense? Perhaps this verse sums it up nicely.

Matthew 10:38
And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
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1.4.10

Balancing Life

Why is it so very hard to find the balance in life? I have been working at this since June last year when I started my Less is More series & I still can't say that I lead a balanced life. I have achieved balance with FaceBook which has been amazing - I have taken back a huge portion of my life by doing that. I have sorted out my priorities which is a great guide when making decisions. "No" has become an easy word for me to say where before I found it almost impossible for me to say no to people. I am enjoying my life & am pursuing my dreams yet I still feel that my life is unbalanced. There are days when I find I am not spending enough time with my children, days when I don't take care of Eric's needs & days when I just plain don't take care of myself! These are my top priorities which I have worked so hard to keep on top but yet I can't achieve the balance I desire. Any suggestions... do I need to cut out the things I love doing like my role as executive pastor at church or do I need to stop writing songs & singing in the band? Perhaps I need to stop writing this blog or just ditch the computer completely as this is still where I spend most of my time despite numerous efforts not to. I really want to write a couple of books too but let's not even go there I should focus on cutting things out not adding things to my already crazy busy life.

One idea comes to mind - Christine Caine's book Can I Have And Do It All, Please? I am off to buy myself a copy and see what I can come up with - would you like a copy too? I am going to pick up an extra copy for one of you - if you would like a copy simply leave me a comment sharing what you are struggling to balance in your life at the moment!
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