Monday, 28 January 2013

Soggy Prayers


Where to begin?

Two Fridays ago I was asking God for rain. My country was so dry and on fire (in places it still is). Today I write to you from a much, much soggier situation. A large portion of my state, and soon to be the state below us, are now in the middle of a major flood disaster situation. Some folk have lost everything. There have been several tornadoes go through towns not more than a few hundred kilometres from here. Some much closer.

A town just over an hours drive away is bracing for the worst flood in its recorded history. Emergency services spent the day evacuating one thousand residents by helicopter. They are worried that the sheer force of the water will tear houses from stumps and they will float away.

My own town is awaiting the peak of our river sometime this evening. Roads are closed. Bridges well under water. Businesses inaccessible. Houses in low lying areas submerged.

Out the front of my son's school

The really heart breaking thing is that we went through all this exactly two years ago. Businesses and family homes that have only just gotten back on their feet have been laid low again.

A beautiful park we love to visit

We desperately needed rain and now we need it to stop. While we thank God for what we pleaded for it feels ungrateful to say, ‘Now that’s enough!’

At the end of our street and around the corner 

Would you join me in prayer? My own family is safe and (relatively) dry. Many others though, are not. I don’t always understand why God allows these things. But I do know that He is in control

Friday, 25 January 2013

Mah-dom!


Join me in the Five Minute Friday Challenge hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker. Participants write for 5 minutes with no editing, no over thinking, and no backtracking. This week’s word is: Again.


(Go)

I wake to the sounds of my Aspie boy getting into things. Again.
Sorting that out I climb back into bed again – hoping for a few more minutes please.
At breakfast he pours himself a massive bowl of muesli and argues with me. Again.
Feet in places they ought not to be. Fingers touching, poking, prodding, annoying, hassling; reminders to leave little brother alone. Again.
Little brother speaks and big brother gets fanatically picky. Again.
How many times can you give a child time out before they grasp why? I don’t know but we did it. Again and again.
Sent to the bathroom to wash hands but found five minutes later almost climbing the basin. Again.
Leave your fingers alone please child. Stop picking the skin off your toes. Again.
Frowning, over-reacting to every little thing I ask. Again.

Why God, why? Again. Help me to have patience and understanding again.

Little brother in my lap. Sweet smooches and snuggles. Delicate butterfly kisses up and down my arm. Again and again.

Big brother watching quietly. Then holding his arm out as if he were the lady, “He’s like a French man,” he observes as he mimics a kiss on his hand. Next, his best French accent with nose high in the air, “Mah-dom!”

Laughter, so much laughter. Again.

(Stop)

Now, your turn…

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Nifty Notion #6: Breakfast Smoothie


Ever have days when you slept in and just don’t have time to eat breakfast? Ever wake up and just can’t be bothered? If you’re like me you’ll be nodding. But skipping brekkie leaves me feeling pretty ‘blah’ for the rest of the day. 

Here’s my solution to a quick meal-on-the-run come meal-you-have-when-you-know-you-must-but-can’t-be-bothered. It’s great for other times too!


Breakfast Smoothie
Serves 1

You will need:
1 large or 2 small banana/s.
1 egg (raw)
1 teaspoon of honey
A dash of Vanilla
Cinnamon
Milk (of your choice – I use rice milk)  

How to:
  1. Peel and blend banana/s.
  2. Add egg, honey, a dash of vanilla, (and a pinch of cinnamon if so desired) and blend until smooth
  3. Top up with milk to required level (I use a 500ml cup – so top up the banana mix to about that) and blend again.
  4. Pour into cup and top with a light sprinkle of cinnamon
  5. Enjoy!


Tip:
For extra goodness, add a spoonful or two of fibre mix at step 2.


PS - Did you click on the link next to the milk (in the ingredients list)? A real Aussie TV ad, good for a giggle :)


Friday, 18 January 2013

Cherished Rain


Join me in the Five Minute Friday Challenge hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker. Participants write for 5 minutes with no editing, no over thinking, and no backtracking. This week’s word is: Cherished.


(Go)

My mind is blank. I don’t feel as if I have anything to say. Cherished?? Right now I would cherish some cooler weather…

I sat and ate a hot meal (I know, I know) in front of the news tonight. Watched stories of heatwaves and bush fires and lives lost. Somehow the heat we've been experiencing seemed nothing compared to the heatwaves 10 degrees hotter in other states.

My eagerness for this latest round of renovating to hurry up and finish already was stilled for a moment as I watched my countrymen’s homes burn. Fire fighters abandoning houses because there is nothing more they can do. I will not complain.

Lives lost. Devastation. I ache for their cherished ones. As the newsreel wraps up the weatherman reports how for a wet season it has been so pitifully dry. Only a few millimetres in the gauges when there should be so much more.

Rain. We need rain Lord. Please send the rain; bless this country we all cherish so much.

(Stop)

Now, your turn…

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Table Therapy (part 2)

Today’s post is a continuation from last week. If you haven’t caught up with part 1 you can do so here before continuing...


Table Therapy – part 2


The following day I busied myself with the wood putty. There is something glorious about mixing and squishing that stuff in your hands, slowly but surely making a new colour from two. Perhaps it has something to do with old childhood memories of play dough or is the reason pigs revel in mud? Whatever the reason, I gently pushed the putty into the larger cracks with the aid of a small spatula, smoothing the lumps over with my fingers. Standing back to admire my handiwork the stirring movement transposed into a soft hum.

With anticipation I watched as my husband fastened the support beams he had fashioned earlier that day; loathe to add something so unoriginal to a vintage item but knowing we had little choice. The time to reattach the table top had finally come. My task was to hold the planks down as firmly as my strength would allow while he crawled underneath with a drill and screwdriver. The table was soon whole again. 


All along I had been conscious of a developing refrain but experienced the magnitude of its power while working my way around the table top, encouraging the beeswax polish into the grain. The table had beauty despite how dry and parched the wood had been from so many years of neglect. Now it absolutely sang as the fibres drank up the moisture - a rich soulful harmony from deep within the heart, starting out gently and increasing in intensity. I revelled in the silent symphony. 



Somewhere in that profoundly healing moment the realization came that I was experiencing soul therapy. Pausing, rag in hand, I pondered the table’s song. A chord resonated deep within me.

My soul had been dry and my paint was chipped. Cracks had appeared. Life’s dings and bangs and bruises covered me. Broken, I had foolishly believed that nothing valuable was left to offer. And yet…there was.

‘A bruised reed he will not break and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out’ (Isaiah 42:3).

Though my very being desperately desired to hide these imperfections from the world, the graceful old table boldly proclaimed that evidence of such things is what gives rise to character…

Lost in my reverie, little attention had been paid to the polish in my hand. Dabbing the rag in to get some more I happened to glance into the tin. At the bottom where the polish was gone a heart shape emerged in the wax.  

‘God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Romans 5:8)


Never believing for a moment this was mere coincidence, a smile spread across my lips as my soul joined in the chorus…


The table is finished now. Is it perfect? No. Does it still bear the scars of its life? Yes. Is there evidence of where we have fixed it? Absolutely! But it is well loved all the same; a table with a story to tell. God has used this table to remind me that ‘he has made all things beautiful in his time’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  If only we will allow him to.

So often I get frustrated with my inabilities, my perceived areas of failure, and my stumblings. My chipped paint and cracks leave me feeling weak. But then God speaks. He says, ‘“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)


Friday, 11 January 2013

Limerick Diving


Join me in the Five Minute Friday Challenge hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker. Participants write for 5 minutes with no editing, no over thinking, and no backtracking. This week’s word is: Dive.


(Go)

There was a young lady named Dot,
Who was incredibly hot.
She dived into a pool,
Which helped her to cool
From the top of her head to her bot!

OK so it’s a stinking hot day here. Very humid too. And yes, I think it’s fair to say that the heat has very definitely gotten to me! But I must confess - I am my mother’s daughter and this is how we think allow our brains to wander at times. (Love you Mum!).

Over the years God has taught me to love me for who I am – not what I think others may want me to be. A difficult task at times maybe. As I look to my maker for my self worth I can dive right in with confidence knowing that my quirks are valuable too.

(Stop)

Now, your turn…

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Table Therapy


“Snooze and you’ll loose,” it said. “Renovators delight,” it said.

These were the very words in the newspaper advertisement that described our dream home.

Yes, I said dream home. Maybe not everybody’s cup of tea but definitely ours. A faded old beauty – originally built about 130 years ago. Not renovated for a good twenty years or more. The current (ahem…dated) d├ęcor pays homage to the 70’s and 80’s. The walls and ceilings sport cracked, peeling paint with a grotty overtone. The carpet is held together by masking tape. Yes, masking tape (you read that right!).

Slowly but surely we are rediscovering the old girls soul. If only the walls could speak.

This January (our summer break) we are taking on the next project. The next room. The next tree in the forest. This one also requires renovating an assortment of vintage and second hand items of furniture. Something happens deep within me each time we get out the hammer; replace worn out fittings; open a tin of paint. God reaches through to my heart.

Last year when we repaired a table I felt compelled to write the story down. Now as I delve into the healing properties of paint therapy once again, it seems an appropriate time to share it with you.  May you be encouraged and blessed…

Lizzy xx

(ps – it’s kinda longish so we’ll split it in two).


Table Therapy – part 1

The table arrived at my house looking rather forlorn. The top was in five pieces, very nearly six; though it should have been just four. The paint on the detached legs and base was badly cracked and bubbled - in some places non-existent.  A very rusty towel rail, a few little odd chocks of wood, a smaller piece that had clearly broken off from somewhere and a handful of corroded nails and screws completed the collection that arrived that day.

This sorry looking little heap was a piece of my family history - an antique table that had belonged to my great great great aunt, and most likely to her parents before that.

With some gentle encouragement the dovetail joints fit together neatly like a jig saw puzzle. I rested the top planks on the frame to get a sense of the overall picture. Not that this was entirely possible. The two middle boards, which are pine, sat on easily enough. The two cedar ends were a different story. One was completely snapped off. The other was within centimetres of suffering the same fate.  A testimony, of sorts, to having lived the last forty odd years in storage with other unused belongings piled on top. My husband held one of the ends in place and I stepped back to take in the view.



My first impression was that of a table in an old cottage kitchen – like those often seen on display in a historical village or museum. The kind of table that folk like me practically drool over.  The tops of them are dry and well worn from years of use. I tried to imagine the assortment of utensils that once sat on it and the people who owned them. My mind conjured up images of a butter churn, wooden chopping boards and a metal mixing spoon so well used the edge had worn flat…

A voice broke through my daydream.

“I’m sorry it’s not much and is so shabby.”

Sorry? This man was sorry for bringing this to me!

“Don’t be sorry,” I told him “It’s perfect! Just what I wanted.”

Indeed the picture standing before me was not a pretty one. The old polish that peeked out, in places, from underneath the dirty cream paint looked as if coarse sand had been added. The amount of paint that was missing left the viewer with sentiments of misery. The top panels had warped with age and were covered with various scratches along with multiple dents of varying shapes and sizes. A small section containing borer activity and a paint spot or two rounded out the image. Yet it had a depth of character that a newer, smoother, cleaner table could not possibly hope to match. Despite the ugliness there was beauty too; just waiting, longing to be shown again.

Life has a way of becoming hectic all too easily and an opportune time for repairs was elusive. When passing by though I often stopped to contemplate how best to bring back the table’s song, just plain admiring it too.

Eventually we armed ourselves with glue, syringes, putty, paint and clamps. Our first mission was to mend the damaged ends. Carefully glue was pasted onto the broken pieces with an old brush and the raw edges were pressed together. After living apart for so long the two halves of the plank had twisted, no longer able to rest snugly against each other. Clamps became indispensable assistants whilst everything dried. We filled as many of the finer cracks as possible then turned our attention to the legs and base. Ample opportunities for gluing and plugging gaps presented themselves here also. The odd little chocks and broken piece of wood returned to their rightful places and I wondered how long they had been separated. Judging by the paintwork, other misplaced fragments had departed quite some time ago. Despite my longing to continue and remain up all night until the finishing touches were in place, patience was the only requirement at this point. Something was beginning to stir...

Stay tuned for part 2, coming next week…


Friday, 4 January 2013

A New Years Promise


Happy New Year!

Join me in the Five Minute Friday Challenge hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker. Participants write for 5 minutes with no editing, no over thinking, and no backtracking. This week’s word is: Opportunity.

(Go)

A new year full of promise. Plenty of opportunity. What will it hold? Who knows? We are throwing ourselves at it with reckless abandon.

Why take a holiday when you can renovate!! A new beginning for a small section of the house. Re-purposed. New opportunities await. It’s exciting and we eagerly anticipate the outcome.

Our souls are revived as fresh paint breaths new life into the old and crumbling.

A moment of distraction. An accident. A paint brush casually floating in the tin of paint. Well nothing’s perfect is it? But that’s okay.



God’s knows all about our mess and He has the perfect solution. There is comfort in knowing that whatever happens this year He is right there.

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (NIV)

(Stop)

Now, your turn…

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