Monday, 31 December 2012

God's Words to us

This morning, I began a new Bible reading schedule.  I will share more about that in the New Year.  However, I was struck by something this morning, which I felt would be a good thing to share, at the end of an old year and the dawn of a new one, looming on the horizon.

I love how I can read a passage that I have read countless times before, and still be struck by things in a new perspective. God is a good God.

I was reading the first 3 chapters of Genesis this morning.  Truly, they are PACKED with amazing truths, and essential doctrine. I could share dozens of important truths, but this one just particularly struck me.

Throughout chapter 1, we read of God speaking all things into life.

"And God said..."

God simply spoke, and all things came into being, by the power of His word.  It's astounding,  amazing and incomprehensible to our puny minds. And yet, we know it as truth.  Indeed, to doubt it is to err.

That's the part where my brain kicked in, and God showed me something so important.

We take it as truth, and relevant and important, and doubtless, that God's word of command created all things.

Should we not then take as crucial and important truth, the words that God spoke that apply to us as women, in those first few chapters?  Should we doubt the verity and importance of believing THOSE words to be truth.

For this to make sense, I need to remind you what those words are, which are relevant to us.

"It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."
Genesis 2:18

"and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."
Genesis 3:16

For some reason, women of today - CHRISTIAN women of today - doubt that part of God's Word to us.  We don't doubt that, by His Word, all things were created, but we want to doubt the relevance and truth of the words above. The first spoken before sin, the second spoken after.  NEITHER made redundant at ANY POINT throughout scripture.

Putting them side by side shows me of the contrast between our relationship as husband and wife, comparing pre and post-sin.

The first words that God spoke relating to our existence at all, were relating to the purpose of our creation. It was the first point that God did not say that "it was good".  He says that "it is not good".  What was not good?  It was not good that man should be alone. So, God in His infinite wisdom, and His perfect plan, made woman - a "help meet".  Or, an "aid mate".  "Helpful counterpart".

A suitable helper.

We were created to complete man.  So that we, as a couple, would be whole together.  That as man and wife we would be the perfect unit.  One is not complete without the other.

We live in a world today, which diminishes the completeness of the union between a husband and wife.  We are led to believe, that EVEN IN MARRIAGE  we can function as individual units.  2 people, happening to live under the one roof, who can do their own thing, and be their own person - separate from their spouse. That the wife does not need to be that help and aid to her husband.  That he has to somehow muddle and guddle through on his own, whilst the wife waltzes off doing her own thing whenever, and however, she pleases.


We were created to be one.

If that means we have to set aside the pursuits of our single life, prior to marriage, in order to be that help and aid that our husband needs, SO BE IT.

If it means we have to put our selfish desires aside, in order to be a loving, helpful, caring and God honouring spouse, SO BE IT.

Why should the wonder of God's word of creation, be any less as God's Word of creation for our marriages?  That Him creating the perfect world is amazing, but creating the perfect union is to be dismissed as not relevant.

This year, I want to be reminded daily of the wonder of God's Word for my marriage - that I was created to be a perfect helper and aid to my husband.

That's God's Word to me.

The second "words" to us, are after the fall.  They are part of the outworking of God's curse upon humankind. This is the contrast to how God created our marriage to be, and how it became following sin entering the world. And, the words that relate to us as women are a bitter pill to swallow.  Somehow we muddle through, and stoically accept the pain involved in pregnancy and child-birth.

"Ah, well, it's all part of the curse, and we just have to endure it.  It doesn't last long, and we get a baby at the end."

That saccharine approach somehow disappears when the words "he shall rule over thee" are mentioned.

Our sinful hearts rebel against THAT part of the curse.  Having to submit to the headship and authority of our husbands is a somewhat more bitter pill to swallow.  It's a command that directly relates to the part that Eve had to play in The Fall.  She went off, under her own steam, doing what she thought was right.  Tempting her husband into doing the same thing.  Him weakly accepting.  Under the curse, the men are to do the ruling, and we are to be the ones to submit.

It's a CURSE.  It's not meant to be easy.  Our rebellious hearts squirm under the command.  We scream inside, wanting to still do our own thing, bucking against the instruction to submit.

And yet, in God's grace and goodness, we have further instruction in the New Testament, which makes it a bit easier to bear. We are reminded that under that umbrella of headship, we are under the headship of Christ.  We are obeying His command, and we are able to give up the burden of leading and guiding the family, to our husbands. What a huge task they have to bear.  How glad I am that my role is simply to submit, and not the one to have the responsibility to lead.  How I pray for my husband in that huge task.  Give me child birth any day. Ok, maybe not ANY day....

God's word brought this earth into being.

It brought us into existence.

It gave us our purpose.

It gave us our curse.

All God's Words having equal relevance and importance, we then need to embrace His Words to us, as much as we wonder at and give credence to His Words of creation.

My prayer is that we all would seek God's strength and grace, this year, to be doers of the Word, and not hearers only.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Looking back

There are many who would say that we should not spend out lives looking back.  In some senses this may be true.  We shouldn't look back, continually going over mistakes or sins - dragging them up in our mind, let alone in conversation. We shouldn't look back with regrets, with a negative perspective - mulling over things we wished we had done differently.  What's done is done, and we can't change it.

However, there is great blessing in looking back over the good, and rejoicing with thanksgiving for the things that have happened in our lives.

Undoubtedly, this has been a year of great blessing to our family.  Just today, I am celebrating 13 years of marriage to the love of my life.  What incomparable years of joy they have been.  The blessings of marriage are so many, that I cannot begin to count them up in a blog post. Our love has grown, our relationship deepened, our personalities matured and our character improved  All of this adds up to a continuing love for each other, as we daily learn to die to self and give to one another. I love Robert greatly, and am thankful for him every day.  I can not imagine life without him.

We have been blessed with another child - our seventh.  I can hardly believe, 13 years on, that we have been so wonderfully blessed with these 7 children, from the Lord.  Simeon is a joy, and it is thrilling to see him develop and grow every day.  He's getting more vocal, more mobile and ever more adorable. All of the other children continue to grow, and learn.  We have many "wobbly" moments, where things don't go as smoothly, humanly speaking, as we would wish.  Balancing that all out, and tipping in the opposite direction, are the rich, moments of blessing that the children bring.  The smiles, the laughter, the tender moments, the little things they say, the precious things they do.  All a blessing. And, even in the trying times, there is always something to find, which we can still be thankful for.

We  are continually blessed and encouraged by our extended family.  Opportunities to meet up together, and have fun have been a joy.  To grow closer, to be blessed by help, and kindness, and love, and generosity of many varieties. Family is always a blessing.

Related to that has been the opportunity to open up our wonderful, new home, to have many people come to visit and to stay.  It's SUCH a blessing to now have home large enough to not only have room for our own family, but have room to comfortably accommodate overnight visitors.

We have been blessed with friendship.  Through my contacts with Facebook, we have made several new friends. Some that are more exclusive to me, in my online contacts - friends who I come alongside with, in prayer and praise, and who span all corners of the globe.  What a blessing to see answered prayer, and to be encouraged in my Christian walk by other like-minded Sisters.  Some are friends who have extended to an IRL capacity - "In Real Life".  To meet people and find they are just as you imagined, and have friendships bloom and grow.  What a blessing and encouragement. To have many come to stay in our home, and to be able to talk of the things of the Lord, laugh about many different things, and be so deeply blessed by the company of so many.  We particularly enjoyed meeting the St John family, and the blessing and encouragement that friendship has been to us.

We have been blessed in our journey in home education.  Beginning new curricula, seeing the children come on in leaps and bounds, having Susie start to read, and the general privilege of having my children with me in the home every day.  Is it hard at times.  Yes.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely!

We rejoice to keep in touch with friends who have been with us in years gone by, and now see them ministering in many ways, and in many places. What a thrill to see young men labouring for the Lord, and new families being raised for God's glory.

My heart is truly full, as I look back at the blessing that God has filled my life with.  We are contented with the many blessings which the Lord has bestowed upon us.

And, as I look back, with a full heart, I give thanks.

Thanks for the many, many wonderful gifts that God has given me.

"for consider how great things he hath done for you."
I Samuel 12:24

"The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. "
Psalm 126:3

Monday, 17 December 2012

Guns cause death?.... sin causes death

My heart, as with so many others, has been truly crushed to hear the shocking incident in Newtown, Connecticut.  The shooting and killing of 27 lives, so many of them little 6 and 7 year olds.

My heart ACHES.

To look at my own children, and think that someone else's life has been shattered, as their own precious child has been so cruelly snatched from them.

Endless numbers of people are sharing their thoughts and views about what happened.  Most of my American friends maintain their view that if everyone was allowed to have guns, then these things would be less likely to happen.  The fact that we are not allowed the freedom to won and carry arms in the UK, seems to still be a major issue the Americans have with us.

However, at the end of the day, whether it is legal to bear arms or not, there will only ever be one reason for such atrocities.


If a sinful, degenerate being is determined to commit a crime, not a gun law in the world will stop them.  It may not be in a school, if they have excellent security measures, or defence systems.  That sinful being could equally walk into a shopping centre and do the exact same thing.  I am not entirely convinced that teachers being allowed to have a gun strapped to their body could have prevented this atrocity.  It may have done.  It may not.  It's a moot point, really.

Sinful abusers will abuse no matter the laws to prevent it.

Sinful rapists will still commit rape, no matter the measures to prevent it.

Sinful thieves will still steal, no matter the laws on that matter.

As long as there is sin, there will be hurt and harm.  The only resolution will be upon the Lord's return.

I think the things I take away from it are these.

Firstly, I do all I can to protect my children.  Whether it be making sure they are securely strapped into their car seats on a journey, or making sure I have my home as a safe and secure environment, with minimal dangers. I live in the UK, for which I am grateful, and we are not allowed to have guns freely, so that is not an option. With the very minimal risk we have of coming under attack, compared to other countries, I don't see it as a necessary item. I also choose not take them into areas that are known to be dangerous.  Without a doubt, certain crimes are committed in particularly "dangerous" areas.  Protecting my children also includes teaching and training them about the correct way to live and behave, in society.  What God teaches about violence and murder, is more important than anything else.

Secondly, sin will always be sin. Until the day the Lord returns, we are sadly going to be surrounded by appalling crimes and wickedness. Sinful and wicked hearts will continue to commit such atrocious acts.  We can only throw ourselves daily upon the Lord, for His care and protection and for His will to be done. We can cry to the Lord to grant the binding up of wounds to the broken hearted.

Thirdly, I can be thankful.  I am thankful that I have my children at home with me every day, where there is undoubtedly a higher level of safety.  Even from the simplest fact that we don't have journeys to and from school to contend with! It is NOT a major reason for me to home-school, because ultimately shootings like last week's are rare.  More children die in car accidents than in such rare shootings. We don't stop driving in cars. I am also thankful that my children are all well, and I can hug them closer today.

Society is reaping what it sows.  Around the world, children are not being brought up to be respectful, kind, loving and kind.  If they are not to taught to behave correctly, I despair for the generation that rises.

I will leave American's to hash out gun-carrying laws, and laws that look after mentally ill people.

I will stay in my corner, praying for the families of the victims, and hugging my own blessings close.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Mysterious happening....

My children's current writing project, for their writing lesson, is to learnt to write in the mystery genre.  Lo and behold, if I didn't have a mystery this morning, so here's my story.

The Mystery of the Self-typing Laptop

It was a chilly, winter's morning.  Outside, the frost clung to the branches, like tiny, jewel-encrusted swords, making the world sparkle in the sun filled morning.

It was Caroline's early morning routine to do her devotions and then check online with her emails and Facebook. She had, as was usual, several tabs open at once, working on different things. A message had recently been sent, in her private messages on Facebook, and still the tab was open.  On a new tab, her status was open, whilst she watched a video someone had posted there for her education and benefit.

Suddenly, the video stopped, and the tab with her private messages flicked to being the open one.  Mysteriously, like some "other-worldly" thing, a word started to type in the message box.  Caroline sat, with mouth agape, and hands in the air, shocked at what her eyes were seeing.

S - U - S - A - N - N - A, appeared slwoly before her, followed by a random list of letters, as if some small creature had just run over her keyboard, typing out a garbled message.

To say she felt freaked out would have been an understatement.

Puzzled.  Shocked.  Astounded.   Bewildered.

All these words would have done nothing to accurately sum up her emotions.

Her brain started to work overtime, trying to conceive how this could possibly have happened.  SURELY there was a logical explanation?

She put a message on Facebook, to say what had happened, hoping someone could shed some light upon the matter, and share a possible explanation.  Responses came in, and suggestions ensued.

Could it have been "ghosting"?

Could it have been a hack of some other sort?

Could someone know her Facebook password, and have signed into her account?

Could her children have signed in on another device?

Well, she knew that her mobile phone was right beside her, and not being touched.  Josh was playing Angry Birds on her ipod right by her side, and SHE certainly hadn't typed anything whilst watching the video on Facebook.

The only explanation seemed to be a sinister hack.  Advice came in about how to work out whether she had been hacked, by checking all sorts of files and registries that she had not much of a clue about.  Her brain started to whirl at the idea of having to resolve the issue.

It was time to bring her husband his morning coffee, and she brought it to him, along with the tale of what had happened on her computer.  The possible reasons for such an occurrence were relayed to him, post haste.

He (as men do) made a wry suggestion about it being the "ghost of Christmas past".

Such help.  Great.

However, he then proceeded to ask his adorable, wonderful, sensational, amazing wife (aherm) if any of the children had been in the school room that morning, particularly Susanna.

"Maybe," she replied. "If anyone, it was Susie."

"Was she touching the wireless keyboard?", her wonderfully handsome, witty and intelligent husband asked.

"I don't think so, but why would you ask?  Your computer is not even working or turned on!"

Being the dumb malteser that she is, an explanation was necessary.

"You have the wireless mouse for your laptop just now, as you dropped your other mouse into a glass of water, is that not so?"

"Yes", said she. Recognising the fact that most normal people manage to drop their mouse in a glass of water. Right?

"So, you have the wireless control plugged into your laptop?"

"Yes.......but does that not just control the mouse?"

Robert invisibly rolled his eyes in despair, and sighed an inaudible sigh, and said "It controls the keyboard, too."

"Oh", she said, in a short, stunned, and "I'm really thick" sort of way.

"Go and ask Susie if she touched the keyboard."

Off toddled the dim mother, into the girl's bedroom.  Susie was sitting on her top bunk, looking innocent and beautiful, as she so often, deceivingly, does.


"Yes, Mummy."

"Did you touch Daddy's keyboard, for the computer that's not turned on, in the school room?"

"Yes", she said, with a cute, little, beguiling smile.

"What did you type, darling?"

"Well, just lots of random letters."

"So, did you type your name?"

"Yes!", she said triumphantly.

"Did you type anything else?", her, now smiling, mother asked, trying to make sure that her leading question was not procuring a false, Anne of Green Gables type, confession.

"Just some more random letters."

"Which did you type first, Susie?"

"My name, then the letters", she said, with pride beaming on her face.

"Ok.  Now, you mustn't touch Daddy's things again, do you understand?", said her mother, who was trying not to laugh out loud, as she worked out the solution to her mystery!

Back to Robert she went, confirming that his conclusion was, of COURSE, correct.  Being a husband, and all, who is most nearly always right, about everything?..... He sent her off downstairs, to get one of the other children to repeat the process, to prove it was a correct assessment of the situation.

Josh willingly ran into the school room, whilst Caroline sat at her laptop, waiting expectantly.

Her eyes were glued to the little message box on Facebook, waiting with anticipation to see what would happen.

Sure enough, moments later, letters appeared in the box before her.

"i  l-o-v-e  y-o...."

"MUM - where's "u" key?"

Caroline smiled to herself, as her mystery was solved, and her message was completed before her eyes.

The End.

(My children have very little computer time, hence Joshua's struggle to find the right key on the keyboard! Susanna seemed to manage to type her name quicker, interestingly.... *grin* )

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Once upon a time.....

Once upon a time, there were three ladies.  They all professed to be Christians, they were all wives and mothers, but they were not all quite alike.

It was known, far and wide, that there was a big, bad, "wolf" who wanted to devour these lovely ladies.  He wanted to get to them, and harm them - he wanted to hurt their lives - he wanted to destroy their families. He was cunning - he was canny - he was subtle - and above all else, he was dangerous.

The first lady, in an effort to protect herself from his wiles, built a house of "straw".   She had made a profession of faith when she was young.  The knowledge of that was about all she clung onto, in her protection from the wolf.  She hardly read her Bible - she hardly ever prayed.  Her defence against attack from this wolf was weak, because she was resting in her own strength, and her own ability to fight him off.  Understanding of God's Word, and how she should be living it, was hardly existent. The wisdom of worldly friends was more important to her, and from listening to them, she tried to build up the straw a bit thicker, all in her own strength. Respect for her husband was nil, bringing up her children according to God's way was then lacking, she wanted to be out of her home more than in it, and her family was suffering - all because of her weak defences.  In due course, because she lacked any wisdom at all, she began to pull parts of her straw house back DOWN, as it didn't look so much like the "houses" of her worldly friends, which were all aesthetically beautiful, and admired by others, more than her house of straw.

One day, when the house was at its weakest, the "wolf" came along.  He huffed and he puffed - he roared and he growled - and without much effort at all, the house blew over.  

Off the first lady went, running to her friend's house that was built from sticks.

THIS lady, had things going on a bit better.  She went to Church regularly, along with her family.  To those on the outside, her house looked fairly sturdy.  However, looks can be deceiving.  This house didn't have very strong foundations.  This lady knew what she should be doing in her life, but she was still trying to do it in her own strength.  Some days things would go really well - she would lovingly submit to her husband, she would teach her children well, she would have good relationships with those around her - she would care for her home, and run things well.  But those were only SOME days.  It didn't take much, and things would still fall apart.  Reading her Bible, and praying, was inconsistent.  She tried to be a good example to her friend who had fled the "wolf", but because her faith was weak, and her knowledge of God's Word was lacking, her example was not its best.

But then, it happened.  The "wolf" came along tot he house made of sticks.  He had to huff and to puff much harder this time, but huff and puff he did.  He came on the perfect day, because despite this lady's best intentions, she hadn't read her Bible for weeks - it was left sitting in a corner.  Things were not great with her husband, and relationships with her children were at a low point.  So, when that "wolf" came along, her house of sticks eventually came tumbling down.  She was shocked - she had thought her house was fairly sturdy, and never imagined that it could be toppled so easily.

Both the ladies went running to that third house.  This house was the most amazingly fortified dwelling you have ever seen.  It had solid foundations, and walls that were impenetrable.  She let the ladies come in, and they clamoured to ask questions.

"Why are your walls so strong?", they asked.

"Well, I didn't build them myself," she replied, "my defence and strength comes only from the Lord alone.  I am weak in my own strength.  The only way I can protect myself from that ravenous wolf is to look to the Lord and His word.  In it I find all the wisdom I need to strengthen my life.  I find all the instruction I need to have a godly marriage, and to raise my children.  It isn't always easy to rely on God's strength instead of my own, but it is always best, and for my own good ad protection. Yes, the wolf sometimes stops by.  He tries to huff and puff in my marriage, and we sometimes get blown about, and ruffled up a bit, but he can't blow our house down.  I have weak days, sometimes, where I am foolish - I tear down the shutters on the windows, and unbar the door a little.  I don't submit to my husband, or I rely on worldly advice and wisdom in the running of my home and training of my children.  I forget God's ways and do things my own way.   It's on those days that the "wolf" ruffles things up.  But, do you know what?  My senses quickly return, and the shutters get slammed back up and the doors are barred again.  My marriage quickly returns to where it was, and my home life resumes its God honouring ways."

Right enough, before long, the "wolf" came along.  He huffed an he puffed.  He blew and he blew even harder.  He even tried to dig under the walls, but no matter how far he seemed to dig, the foundations were deeper still.  He gave up and he went away to find another house to blow over.

"You see," said the third lady, "that is my truest defence.   Not only are my walls strong, but my foundations are deep.  Further still, they are built upon the sold rock underneath.  No matter how hard that wolf blows, this house won't fall down.  The only thing that could make this house fall down, is if I start to pull it apart - brick by brick - chipping away at the mortar - hammering at the foundations with my own hands.  If I look to the Lord as my defence - if I cling to His wisdom and truth that keeps these walls so rock steady - then this house WILL stand, no matter the storms around, and the wolf blowing with all his might."

Those other two ladies saw the wisdom and truth that the third lady spoke.  They saw the evidence as the wolf had tried to blow the house down, and it had hardly any effect.  They looked around, and saw many other houses that were like that one.  How the wolf had blown hard, in many, many ways, and yet the houses stayed firm - death, illness, job losses, money problems, husbands who were not all they should be, children off the right track - none of these things resulted in the wolf blowing down the house.  They saw that God's grace wrapped around the whole dwelling, and His everlasting arms underneath.  They saw that they needed to repent of their ways and seek protection in Christ alone.

The words of my story are weak.  But, the sentiment is genuine, and the analogy so accurate. I see my own heart, reflected in the dwellings of those ladies....and see how I need to keep my shutters closed, and how I mustn't chip away at the bricks of my own house. I mustn't tear it down with my hands.   Our family, and our lives, will only withstand the attacks of the wicked one, if we have lives built upon the rock, and depending upon the defence of the Lord alone.  That will only come if we are seeking His Word, searching out truth, living it out in our lives, and coming before His throne in prayer.

Straw, sticks or stone?  Which house are you living in?

"Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress"
Psalm 71:3

"Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. "
Proverbs 14:1

(Inspired by reading the 3 Little Pigs with Daniel yesterday, for his writing lesson - isn't it funny how God speaks to our hearts, in the every-day sort of ways!)

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Innocent fun?

I want to begin by saying that laughter is a good thing.

We like to laugh a lot here, and laughter should be something that involves everyone having fun.

The Bible even tells us that...

"a merry heart doeth good as a medicine".

We are to have a happy and cheery heart!  Laughter, in the right context, does the world of good.

However, we heard this week, in the news, of a horribly sorrowful event. My heart was utterly saddened and disgusted to hear of the Australian radio station, whose DJ's deceived their way, in a telephone call, to the ward where the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted, and managed to get information about her, pretending to be Royalty.  It was all in the name of "entertainment" and "humour".

"Innocent fun"

So extremely sad, though, was the event that followed.  The nurse that was on the reception, who put the call through to the ward, took her own life just a few days after the incident.

Innocent fun?  Their innocent fun obviously caused such an impact on that girl, that she took her life.  Whether it was guilt, shame, disapproval from others, loss of employment, disgrace - we don't fully know.

The  thing is this - we do not ever fully know the situation and circumstances in the life of another.  And so, if we choose to say or do something with the intent to be funny, jovial or play a prank, we don't know what impact that could be having on someone who already has many other issues going on in their life.

It reminded me, once again, about the power of the tongue.  We are told quite plainly in scripture, that the tongue is a very powerful thing.  We can use it to bring good or evil. And, it is in our power to use it correctly. We need to be SO wise in what we say to others.  Something we consider to be an innocent jibe or tease, could very much offend another.  Is it not safer to be kind and loving, than to risk offending or causing hurt to someone else by our unwise choice of words?

So, so many have been hurt by the event this week.  This nurse - her family and friends - her employers - a delicate and ill Duchess and her extended family - and many unrelated people like myself, around the world.

Words can be a gift.  We need to make sure we use them that way, and never to hurt others.  We need to be wise, and make sure they don't even unintentionally do damage.

Having fun with those you are close to - close friends and family - when you know how they will react and respond - whether something will be taken in the good humour intended, or not - that's one thing.  But, let's be very wise how we engage humour with those less well known to us, and certainly most carefully with strangers.

Above all else, we must make sure that our motives are God-glorifying, and edifying, in every way we can.  God doesn't expect us to be dour and miserable.  He DOES expect us to be loving, kind and good.

I will certainly be taking the words from Proverbs, and trying to apply them to my own heart and life.

"She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."
Proverbs 31:26

Sunday, 2 December 2012

All in a week

The last 7 days have been interesting.  So much has gone on, amidst all the ill health.  When I started looking through my photos, it showed an array of different things

Last Saturday I hit the local garden centre.  I had TOTALLY forgotten about buying bulbs to plant in the garden, for the spring.  There were very few that appeared this last spring, in our "new" garden, and I love spring flowers.  It's my favourite season.

So, we dashed off last Saturday (as well as ordering some beauties online).  Well, when we went in, we saw something we were not expecting!

There were some people there from an owl rescue sanctuary, so the children were pleased to bits, and even braved stroking this beautiful owl!
My parents came to visit on Monday and Tuesday, and we started getting the bulbs planted - but, when you haven't seen your Mum for months, and you get talking, you end up planting bulbs in the waning light, and virtual darkness! *chuckles*

Then, we had more illness appear, with my throat getting hit with the virus that had appeared, and other children falling prey to it all.  That, and Elijah with a nasty ear infection.

To add joy to my week, Simeon started to roll everywhere and to sit up.  One day he wasn't doing it, the next day he was!! It's always fun to watch a baby realise how much they can see and do from a sitting position.  

Talk to a teddy bear...

Oh, and we have started weaning.  With socks?...... well, that's what he was attempting.  Otherwise he has managed bread, pieces of broccoli, mashed fruit, mashed veg and fruit smoothie mixes.  My little baby is getting big - eating and on the move. *sigh loudly*

By Friday, there was enough improvement of health to have a walk to the Post Office.  It was a lovely clear, crisp, cold day and it was so lovely to just get outside for some fresh air after weeks and weeks of illness.

By the end of the week, more have come down with the throat thing - Joshua, and Robert is not feeling 100% either. 

Today reminded me of something to share. 

I have been "dieting", of sorts.  Well, I certainly have been trying to lose weight for the last month or so.  However, I started on a new eating plan.  It's called Whole30, and the aim is to do it for 30 days, and then re-add food groups back into your diet and see how it affects your body.  Basically, you cut out all grain, dairy, sugars & sweeteners, white potatoes and legumes.  Yes, ALL those things.  You eat 3 meals a day, and try to not snack in between.  Each meal must have protein, veg and a "healthy fat".  I have got used to it quite quickly, and enjoy what I am eating.  The bonus of it is that it helps you to shift weight.  I have been doing it for 13 days, and already my skirt has got looser and I can get back into my preg-pregnancy, favourite denim skirts! AND, I can get my wedding and engagement ring back on.  I am SO thrilled! 

Who wouldn't want to eat a lovely dinner like that??  I am loving eating the sweet potatoes...yum-my!

So, imagine the struggle it was tonight.  

I bake for a shared tea at Church, for the first Sunday of every month. I like to try new recipes, and usually I would try what I make.  But, no dairy, no grains, no sugar.... no trying baking.

I was trying out the new tin I treated myself to from Lakeland this week (well, I was ordering some Christmas things, and decided I needed to treat myself to cheer me up!!.... *aherm* ), and making THESE little babies...

Do you see that?...little, cute, gorgeous individual cakes - diddy lemon sponges, with lemon buttercream frosting, lightly dusted with icing sugar. 

However,  I couldn't even LICK MY FINGERS to clean them, as I was frosting them.   



I guess I will just have to make them again after 30 days are up, and not eat more than one...

 Here is the recipe, if you are interested.  I can't tell you if they are any good, as I couldn't do my usual "try before you serve them to the world" policy. If they taste as good as they look, they will be fine!   I can't wait to try out my tin for others things - individual sticky toffee puddings springs to mind, as well as individual cheesecakes.  They are BRILLIANT tins, and you don't even need to grease or line them.  Being little, loose-based tins, they pop out so easily.  Another triumph from Lakeland.

So, thus ends my up and down week.  

Yes, there are 2 more potential candidates to get ill, but we WILL get through it.  Above all else, I can praise the Lord at all times.  I don't have to rejoice ABOUT my trials, but rejoice IN them.  There is always something to be thankful for, and I can count many, many blessings, amongst the difficult moments.  

I am blessed beyond measure.

So, here's to less of this....

And more of this.......