Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Blessed on my birthday

Yes, there was no Matriarch yesterday.  After finally starting back, I didn't share one yesterday.


I was too busy being blessed and loved by my family. It was my birthday on Sunday, but in our house when you have a Sunday birthday, you celebrate on a Monday.  The Lord's Day is the Lord's day, and Robert likes to do lots of lovely birthday things for me which he hasn't got the time to do on a Sunday.

A lie in.

Breakfast in bed.


(boooooooooooooooks, I got booooooooooooooooooooks!!! And notebooks.  And Cath Kidston things. And nice smelly things.  And jewellery.  And mini eggs.  And Creme Eggs. )

Cards.  Including a lot with cupcakes and baked things on them (should I take it as people knowing I like to *MAKE* them, or I like to *EAT* them?!?).  And, one all the way from America! Joy!


(ok, the cake I made myself, for my lovely sister-in-love Anna, and which I forgot to give her to take home on Sunday, so I had some yesterday...and today... *coughs loudly* )

Very little housework.

Dinner out.

A chilled evening with my husband.

It all adds up to a super-duper day.

If only one could have a day like that every week, but alas my birthday happens but once a year!

Oh, and if only we could have illness keep away for more than a matter of days, that would also be good. I am ill with a virus, again.  More rash, aches and general lousiness.


I just wanted to let you all know that I had not fallen off the edge of the planet, and plan to return with more thoughts in the days ahead.

The End.

Oh, no, not the end.

I will end with a picture of cake.


Thursday, 24 January 2013

{A to Z} of moi

My lovely friend, Menekse, did this on her blog, so I thought I would jump on the proverbial wagon.

A - Age: a few days off 35... EEK!
B - Bed size: king size - we thought about a super-king when we replaced last year, but thought it was unnecessary
- Chore you hate: cleaning toilets.  Thankfully, my lovely daughter now does 2 of the three as one of her chores.  *phew*
D - Drink of choice: Sunshine Grey, or water.
E - Essential start to your day item: My phone or ipod to waken me, then my Bible, my notebook and pen and a mug of sunshine or lady grey.
F - Favourite colour: green and purple.  Two, I know.
G - Gold or Silver: Gold
H - Height: 5' 5"
I - Instruments you play(ed): piano, violin, flute, guitar, organ, recorder
J - Job: Wife, mother, home educator
K - Kids: 7, so far.
L - Living arrangements: in a manse, 5 bed-roomed.  VERY blessed.
M - Mom’s name: Isobel
N - Nicknames: none, really! Carrie, VERY rarely.
O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: MY birth?  If so, then I stayed 5 days when I had Josh, one night after Beth, 2 nights after my c-section with Abi.
P - Pet Peeve: slow drivers in my way; dishes brought to the kitchen and not put near or in the dishwasher, but at some other random place.
- Quote from a movie: "Twenty.pounds.of.brown.sugar."
R - Right or left handed: right
S - Siblings: one sister, Angela, and 2 brothers, David and Stephen.  Love them to bits.
T - Time you wake up: 6.30am the alarm goes off, and up by about 7am at latest.
U- Underwear: of course
V - Vegetable you dislike: butter beans.  Just YEUGH.
W - What makes you run late: my children.  No, not fair.  My lack of the ability to get my children ready on time.  But, usually I don't run late.  Just rushed.
- X-rays you’ve had: neck/back after a car accident.  Wrist, after injury a few times.
Y - Yummy food you make: brownies, lemon meringue pie, pavlova
– Zoo Animal: I love giraffes, and tigers.  

Do join in, and share if you do it on your blog! :-)

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Winter Wonderland...

We've had snow.

I love snow.

It's so pretty, and birght, and crunchy, and shimmery, and soft, and....

Yes, ok, I spent most of the last week indoors, not experiencing the havoc, mayhem, delays, coldness and all the other negatives.

I DID go for a walk.  I got my wellys out, and remembered there is a hole in them.


I can now officially tell you, that if you put on 2 pairs of ordinary socks, followed by a pair of your husband's wool socks, and then squuuuueeeeeeze your feet into your aforementioned, flawed boots,then your feet are so tightly squeezed, and lacking in sensation, that you don't notice the cold.

That sorted, we went on a lovely walk.

Leisurely enjoying the pretty world the snow had created.

Snow encrusted branches.

Snow laden bushes.

Frost encrusted foliage.

Lovely, until we had got to the other end of the village and we saw a Tesco delivery van.



*muttering to self* I DID order my shopping to be delivered at 1pm-2pm?.... it's 11am just now.....

Checked my text message...

That was MY shopping being delivered, between 11am and 12pm (ok, so there was a one followed by a 2, and I simply missed off the vital "1" in front of those digits....)  ....EEK!

Quick we turned direction, and the oldest got sent off running ahead, to greet the delivery man and make sure he didn't go off!!!

Nothing quite like a brisk walk in the snow.

Honestly, I planned it that way - good for the health....

By the time we eventually got to the park to build a snowman, Simeon was getting cold, very grumpy, and was screaming loudly.  So, the snowman didn't happen.

It would ALSO have helped, if the wally who put the order in for the snow, ordered the RIGHT KIND.  It did NOT want to stick, and when we attempted a snow man, it wasn't happening.

*rolls eyes*

Thankfully, it seems that Joshua managed to succeed today, and a snowman was built.  After all, what is snow without a snowman?!?

(I am looking at the snowman's nose wondering "where did they get the carrot from, I had none left"...hmmmm)

So, enjoy some snow pictures of the children.

The rather large icicle that Josh found in the garden!

My 2 littlies....

He'Snow angel.....?

Well, here's his "snow angel", anyway! 

Abi dabi doo

Fun with snowballs! - Daniel looking tense....

Oooooh, close......

Coming to getcha....


And, as I didn't manage to get any of Beth in the snow, here's one of her at Christmas!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Matriarchs on a Monday - Another Sheba.

Last week we had BATHsheba.

Today, it's the Queen of Sheba.

Queue music.

(do it - you have to, to enter into the spirit of my sense of musicality, and weird humour....)

So, she has arrived.

Now, let's put our serious faces on and learn something.

I hadn't read about this story for a LONG time, until I worked out she came soon after Bathsheba in the list of women in the Bible.

So, who was she?

Why was she arriving?

What did she want?

What did she leave with?

Well, to answer the first question, she was a Queen.  Of Sheba.  Sheba was a country, south of Canaan, and we don't know for SURE exactly where it would be now.  Many think it was modern day Ethiopia, some think southern areas of Arabia.  We DO know she came a long way.

So, why did this member of foreign aristocracy travel all the distance to Israel?

" And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions."
 I Kings 10:1

She had heard about Solomon, and the wisdom that God had given him.  She came to test him.

One would assume that despite all her riches, and worldly wealth, she figured he had something that she could have.

This was the days before the letters, newspapers, telephones, TV, or the internet.  And yet, in a country far away, The Queen of Sheba had heard about how wise Solomon was.  She wanted to see for herself - to quiz him, to test him and to "suss him out".

She had travelled all that way to seek out the wisdom of Solomon, which she had heard so much about.  She figured it was worth finding.

Having seen all of Solomon's great possessions, and listened to his great wisdom, she was literally speechless. .

 "there was no more spirit in her"
verse 5

She was literally breathless in her amazement,  at what she witnessed.

Apart from all this, she had witnessed him going up to the Lord's house to worship.  Reverence, respect and sincerity was what she observed in the manner which he assumed.  What a great testimony of one who loved the Lord.  That another saw not only his outward, but his inward being too.

I also love that she saw how those that were around him were happy - he cared for those in his household.  His wisdom and wealth were used wisely and in a kind way.  What a testimony!! It was such a testimony that she declared thus...

"Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. 
Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice."

What she witnessed was not even half of what she expected to see...and THAT was a high expectation.

Having seen this amazing sight, does she praise Solomon?


She sees it for what it is.  She sees it as coming from the Lord God.  She sees the LORD, over and above all the wonderful things, humanly speaking, that are in Solomon's palace.  It is acknowledged that God put Him on the throne, and it is his judgement and justice, stemming from his God-given wisdom, that  impresses her more than anything else.

What a lesson for us.

We have a source of wisdom that is worth having.   Do we go to great lengths to obtain it?  To search it out?  To find it for ourselves?  Or, do we just listen to the preacher on Sunday, and go home and forget about God's Word the rest of the week.  Leave it to Pastor's and teachers to learn about?  We ought to be as determined as the Queen of Sheba, to seek out God's Wisdom in His Word.  To dig deep in His Word, to find the answers to questions we have about life.

What was her response after her visit?

She saw what wealth he had, and yet she gave him great treasures from her land.  Gold, and wood.

Did he perhaps share with her the great plans he had for the temple.  Because, that is what he then used her gifts FOR!  He used them to furnish the Lord's house.  Perhaps she thought it was a way she could contribute, in exchange for the wisdom she had received from her visit?!

Is the wisdom in God's Word worth us giving much for?  Should we not be willing to give our best, in exchange for the goodness of God's wisdom and grace, from His Word?  Is it not worth EVERYTHING we can give to Him?  Seeking out the truth from God's Word should be of greater importance to us than any thing we could ever own.  No treasure on earth should equal its worth.  Nothing else should be more important in our day than seeking out His wisdom.  The Queen of Sheba went to great lengths to learn from Solomon.  We should put equal, or greater, effort into learning much about the Lord.

The icing on the cake for me was this verse.

"And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart."

Now, we are not told this directly, but I would take something from this.

If all the earth sought the wisdom that Solomon possessed from the Lord, who do you think told these people that he had it?

Do you think that perhaps the Queen of Sheba went back home, and said nothing more about her visit to Solomon.

Is that what you do after you have been somewhere amazing?  Go home and not tell anyone?  If you are anything like me, you will RAVE about it to anyone who lends you their ear!!

I reckon that she went back home, telling anyone and everyone about the great and wise King Solomon, who could impart God's wisdom to you if you so desired.

How much ought we to share the wonders and truths of God's Word to anyone we can?  Should we not share the gospel with others?  Should we not tell others about the good things WE have received from the Lord?  Should we not acknowledge the wonders of the Lord, rather than keeping them to ourselves?

On a final note, I think we can see one more splendid thing.


I think we can say that upon our arrival in heaven, that the half was not yet told of what will greet us there!! We know that it is a wonderful place, but OH, to experience it for ourselves?!

Joy unspeakable.

Thank you, Sheba's Queen.

Thank-you for reminding me that God's wisdom is so precious, and may the Lord enable me to seek it out for myself and wonder at it as she did.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Then, and now.... parenting from one to many

I was reminiscing the other day. Reminiscing about life with one baby, and life now with my seventh.

Things change.

They change a lot.

Life with one child is wonderful, and yet a challenge.  All these new experiences bring challenges, but great rewards.

Working out how to clothe a small baby, whilst they wiggle, is both time consuming and challenging.  I mean, how DO they manage to develop such strength JUST as you try and put their arm through a relatively small hole?  The contortions are incredible, as you wrestle to gently, and quickly, pop their arm through the sleeve.

And, what's with the crying every time an item of clothing goes over their head?

PTSD I say.  Brings back memories of the process of being born.

My theory, and I stick to it.

Cleaning a baby's nose becomes some kind of torturous event - I currently have to lie him down, pin his arms between one arm and one leg, fix his head still with, well, I don't know what, and try and clean his nose whilst he screams blue murder and wiggles frantically.  Am I alone in such a venture?

On the whole, however, being a new parent brings with it an endless list of new skills your baby manages to accomplish.  Alongside that is the process of "mothering by the book".


I'm sorry, what did you say?


I'm sorry, I don't think I know what you mean.  You mean that round object, somewhere in my loft, that I used to put bowls and cups in and put in the microwave?  By the time my babies are weaning they are already rolling around on the floor - the come into contact with enough germs to boost the immune system of an army, and sterilising all their bowls and cups is not going to be much help!

Then, there's changing mats and top and tail bowls.

Pardon me?


I heard you.  Don't shout...  You mean your lap, or the floor, and a bowl you got out the cupboard?  I mean, it's so much easier to stick your baby on your knee, and change the nappy there. Top and tail bowls?  They take up too much space, and everyone knows you just clean your baby's "top" first and then their "tail" and one bowl does all, right?

Let's not forget about those itty, bitty baby baths.

Baby bath?  Oh dear, do you not have a normal bath? I do.  I put water in, bath the baby (which takes so little time) and then stick the other children in by turn.  Easy peasy. Well, so long as the aforementioned baby doesn't do any "peasy" or "poosy" in the bath before the others can get in....

How about those baby changing bags that you MUST put every single conceivable item you may need for a short trip out with a baby?

Oh, you mean my handbag, with a small bag inside holding a couple of nappies, some wipes and maybe a spare vest and babygro?

But you couldn't possibly manage a trip out with all those special creams, 2 extra change of clothes, a dozen nappies and endless other items?

Yes I could.   I may wind up being inventive in case of disaster, but what kind of disasters can one small baby have??

Then, there's that whole excitement about the stages of development.

"Look, he's rolling!!"

Look out, he'll start trying to roll every time you change his nappy, and you will turn into a swift-handed baby-flipper.

"Look, he's sitting up!!"

Look out, now he'll keep bumping his head, and your lovely sofa cushions will become crash mats.

"Look, he's ROLLING!!"  "Look, he's crawling!!"

REALLY??  You want your child MOVING?  Now endeth the end of sitting peacefully on the sofa, doing any sort of quiet activity, without having to keep jumping up to rescue your small child from impending doom - ranging from being tangled in computer cables, being stuck under chairs backwards, and touching anything they are basically not meant to.  HOW many times does one need to jump up and down, on a morning when the baby wakens before you do your devotions, while reading ONE chapter in your Bible?!?

Sit still,  play with your toys, and don't move until you're 18, please....

And, let's not even get started on WALKING.

Ohh, look.  How cute!  He can walk!

Walk = getting around even easier = run = run away = havoc.

You know a first time parent when you see them with a newly walking child, walking around the shops, or out for a walk, or in the supermarket.

Mothers of multiples?

Small children are strapped firmly in a pram until they are bumped out by the next child.

Yep.  Parenting has definintely evolved since I had Joshua.

Of course, caveat to finish - no babies were harmed in the making of this blog post, and I LOVE my babies, and every stage of bliss and joy they bring.


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Standard of Handsome? {and give-away winner}

Drum roll - our give-away winner is....


The book will be headed your way very soon!


A friend on Facebook had shared this last night, and I thought it was too good to not share here.

The world has tried to make us define our standard of "handsome" or "beautiful" to others we see around us. This is not how we should be.  This piece of advice is just great!

Is YOUR husband the most handsome man alive?

Married People: STOP Checking Out People You're NOT Married To ... 

I love hearing husbands praise their wife’s beauty, and I love when wives talk about being married to the most handsome man in the world. I whole-heartedly believe that your spouse should be your standard of beauty. In case you’re not catching on … let me explain better. Whoever you’re married to, is what you should be “into.” Meaning I am totally “into” brown-eyed, brown haired girls. WHY? Because that’s what I married. If you married a blonde, you’re into blondes. If you married a mechanic … you’re into mechanics. If you married an Asian … you’re into Asians. If you married a Kindergarden teacher … you’re into Kindergarden teachers. If you married a short person … yip, you guessed it … you should be into short people. You’re into what you married.

When my wife had her hair cut a certain way, I had a friend who continually told me that she looked like Victoria Beckham. After looking up who Victoria Beckham was, my response was, “If my wife and Victoria Beckham look anything alike, then Victoria is a very lucky lady.” I feel that way because Lea is my standard of beauty … and she is what I am “into.”

Personally, it really bothers me when married WOMEN post pictures of guys like Tatum Channing, Mark Sanchez or others on Facebook and Pinterest with comments like, “He’s so hot!” or “Yum!” What bothers me even MORE is I know their husband is going to see it and that hurts them … no matter what they tell you. And MEN, don’t ogle over someone of the opposite sex on television or at the movies. Don’t compare your wife to some girl who’s been photoshopped on a magazine cover. Whether your husband/wife sees it or not … it’s called lust and Jesus called it “adultery of the heart.” Instead of focusing on someone other than your spouse … how about posting a picture of your husband/wife on Facebook and let the world know of your love for HIM/HER with a comment like, “This is the person of my dreams.” Make sure your spouse knows that THEY are your standard of beauty, not someone else.

DON’T gloat over someone other than your spouse … make sure your spouse knows that they are your standard of beauty. THAT will make for a much healthier marriage.

Believe it or not, I married the most gorgeous girl … ever! I believe that with all my heart because I have chosen to make my wife, my standard of beauty ... she is what I'm "into."

LISTEN CLOSE … instead of focusing on what you don’t have … pursue what you DO have.

(Taken from Trey and Lea's Marriage Workshops)

Monday, 14 January 2013

Matriarchs on a Monday - Bathsheba

I know.  It's been months.

I was hoping to have a guest post about Bathsheba, but following some delays, and a lot of other commitments,  my guest writer was unable to do it.  So, you are stuck with me.  I am basing it on the talk she gave, and it has been a blessing to go back and listen to it again to refresh my memory from last August.

I had a whole post under way about Bathsheba, before I heard Rebecca Keliher speaking on the same subject.  My preconceptions of what I thought were obvious lessons, were turned ON. THEIR. HEAD.

So, what do you think of, when you think about Bathsheba?





I must confess, immodesty was the one that had me.  I figured that if Bathsheba had been more modest, then David may not have been tempted.

THAT was where I was wrong, and where I learned something very important. When we are studying scripture, it's important to gain as much contextual and cultural information that we can.  In so doing, you will have a better understanding of scripture, and what we can learn from it.  I also had to remind myself to find the good.  That, we will come to later.

But, what of the thing we associate most with Bathsheba?  The adultery with David.

According to cultural history, from that time, we learn something important about Bathsheba.

David saw her.

 "and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon."

and later on we read...

"for she was purified from her uncleanness:"

It is extremely likely that she was doing some kind of ritual washing.  They didn't just go out in the open, strip off, and wash.  They wore a special garment, that acted like an all over "wash cloth", and they washed by applying water to the OUTSIDE of this garment.   It helped clean the skin like a cloth would. She was also a woman of some standing, with her husband, Uriah, being prominent in the military, so she may well have had an area that was screened off, with some kind of woven screen.  David almost certainly did not see her naked.  She was also washing at NIGHT.  So, it wouldn't have been an indiscreet or improper thing to do!!

So, where does the fault lie?

It lies with David.  David, who sent all his soldiers to battle, but he stayed behind relaxing in his home. If he had been in battle, he wouldn't have been wandering about on his rooftop in the night!

He saw this beautiful woman bathing (probably she had a pretty face, and he KNEW what she was doing...men and their eyes.  Undoubtedly it's good to remember that men see something and can stumble, more easily than women.  Modesty is STILL important, but it's not the pivotal issue here!).

He then SENT his men to find out who she was and to TAKE her!

Now, imagine.  You have just finished with your ritual bathing, and at least two of the king's soldiers appear at the door, demanding you come to the king.  She probably had NO idea why her king was telling her she must come.  Perhaps she thought he had news of her husband, who was away fighting, like David should have been.  It was customary for the King to tell a widow of her husband's passing, so maybe she thought he was dead?! But, took her they did, to King David.

Now, this is where we don't have all the information   David took her, and lay with her.  She had just been "purified from her uncleaness", so knowing what we do now, she was at her most fertile time in her cycle.  Did she consent?  We don't know.  She may have done, she may not.  In one sense, it matters not. Why not?  Because if it mattered, we would have that detail.

We do know that she became pregnant.

We do also know what then took place with David, and his decision to send Uriah into the heat of a battle to die, when he refused to go and spend some time, intimately, with his wife, to cover up her pregnancy "innocently".  Instead, David sent him to to his death.

David sent for Bathsheba, to become his wife, after Uriah died.

But, the Lord was displeased with what happened.

We  know that the baby, from their physical union, then passed away.

Roll forward to Nathan's words to David.

Do you know how Nathan referred to Bathsheba, in the story he told David?

"But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb,"

She is referred to as a lamb, and you know that most references to a lamb in scripture are about the Lord himself.  It's a reference to her innocence, and her fragility.

David was punished for his sin.  He was openly rebuked, and sin came upon his household in a sad way.  The baby died, and many other things happened as a consequence.

Bathsheba - taken in adultery, pregnant, widowed and then bereft of her son/

Let's go back and learn from Bathsheba.

I am not sure how we can directly liken her experiences to our own.  It's not likely that a godly king will send for us to come and enter into a physical relationship with us, whilst our husband is off at battle!

I want, instead, to think about Bathsheba in a different light.  In the positive light that we can find of her, which is "hidden in plain sight".

Who was Bathsheba's son?


What did her son ask for?


What book of the Bible did he write?


What chapter do we think about a LOT as women?

Chapter 31.

Who does it say was the inspiration behind that chapter?

The mother of "Lemuel".

Who was "Lemuel"?


Who was his mother?


She was the one who taught him all he tells us of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.  She was the one who was the inspiration, and the source of the wise words he teaches generations of other women!

Also, which son of David was in his genealogy?  Solomon.

Bathsheba was the mother who provided the son who was in the line of Christ.

How gracious and good is God.  Despite the confused and sad background to Bathsheba gaining the title of wife to David, the Lord still used her for much good.  God can turn the events of our life around, from what we see as sadness, guilt and despair, to HIS good and glory.

I think looking at this we can have hope.  Hope that God will bring good from whatever struggling circumstances we experience.   No matter how innocently we can enter in struggles, God can and WILL work it for good.

When God says "all thing work together for good to those who love God", He means ALL things.

Also, I have learnt that it is so important to get contextual and cultural information, before passing judgement on something we learn in scriptures!

I hope these thoughts may be of some encouragement to you today, as they have been to me.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

God's Prefect Provision

Today we have started back school, after the winter break.  I love my winter break.  Who says breaks are for the CHILDREN!? I certainly feel I need the break, every time one comes around.

I especially felt I needed the break this winter.  We had just come through a looooong month, with illness after illness.  God gave me much grace and strength, to deal with one child after another being unwell (with my own illness thrown in for good measure!).  It was lovely to have our break, with us all having reasonably good health for the most part.  Relaxing.  Having meals cooked for me. (ALWAYS an enormous treat...)

But then, we hit the middle of last week, and I was unwell....again.  Muscle aches.  Headache.  Head cold.  Hot and cold flushes.  Next came a rash.  Hot and itchy.  Then yesterday, the worst hit.  I had swelling and pains in my joints (mostly my wrists and knees), like I have never had before.  I could barely use my hands by the evening.  I tried to turn my hands over to hold a tray, and I couldn't, because they were so sore and stiff.  I couldn't imagine being able to start school today with much enthusiasm or ease.

But, God is SO good.

I shared on Facebook about my pains, as well as asking for prayer from my family.  Prayers were sent up from others, as well as from myself, and I went to bed praying that I would feel well enough by the morning.

I woke early, wanting to get back into my early morning devotions, and the PAINS WERE VIRTUALLY GONE!  I could hardly believe it.  Why should I have even doubted God's ability as Jehovah-rophi.  The Lord that heals.

As is so often the case, the Lord then doubly blessed me, by teaching me something through my Bible reading for today.  I was back in Joshua, at chapters 5-7.

  "And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year."
Joshua 5:12

As they entered into the promised land, the provision of the manna ceased, and they once again ate "real" food.  

Do you see what they ate?  They ate the "old corn of the land".  It is thought that this may have been the corn that was saved in the barns, by those in Canaan, which they would have used when the seasonal crops were ended.  They had it stored there for when they needed it, but as they fled from the coming Israelites, the barns would have been abandoned.  The fact that they found this abandoned food was an amazing blessing!  And, the moment they found something new, the manna ceased. 

If you read in verse 11, you will see what else they did. They kept the passover and ate unleavened cakes. Whilst they were wandering in the wilderness, all they had was manna and quails.  They couldn't fully keep the passover, nor where they able to keep the feast of unleavened bread, whilst they were wandering in the wilderness.  But now, with their plundered "bounty", which to some may have still seemed meagre and paltry, they were able to fulfil the feast, established by the Lord in the wilderness.  Apart from anything else, it must have tasted wonderful after 40 years of the same thing every day! 

The Lord was continuing to meet their need for food - no longer in the miraculous way, as in the wilderness, but still a wonderful provision no less.

It thrilled my heart this morning.  Why?

Well, the Lord answered my prayers of last night in a truly miraculous way this morning.  My pains are nearly 100% gone, and I feel SO much better.  It was my "manna" provision.  My needs were met in a way that only God could do for me. 

Not only that,  I have had my other needs met as well.  The prayer for a good start to our new school term - that was answered by my improvement in health and spirits, and is going well (so far....).

The, there are the other basic needs.  The day to day needs that He always supplies for me, in not-so-obviously-miraculous ways.  But, GOD'S PROVISION none-the-less.  Isn't it easy to see God in the miracles, and forget that in the day to day, and more "ordinary" provisions, HE is still the great provider. 

As the Israelites entered the promised land, their food would be gathered in a more ordinary way, but it was no less God's provision for them.  

"God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;"
I Timothy 6:17

 We need to remember that all that we have comes from God.  He provides for us in the little ways, as well as the big ways - EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

Today I am thankful for my now pain-free joints.  As well as that, I am also thankful for all the provisions that God makes for me EVERY day.

When all thy mercies, O my God,
my rising soul surveys,
transported with the view, I'm lost
in wonder, love and praise.

Ten thousand thousand precious gifts
my daily thanks employ;
nor is the last a cheerful heart
that tastes those gifts with joy.

Through all eternity to thee
a joyful song I'll raise;
for, oh, eternity's too short
to utter all thy praise!

(Joseph Addison)

Saturday, 5 January 2013

The Love Dare (*a give-away*...)

As I mentioned in my post earlier, a New Year is a good time to start something new. So, this week, Robert and I started something new.

This last year, we watched the movie "Fireproof".  We were both challenged by the message it brought.  It is all about the importance of love in a marriage.  Having a love for the Lord, first of all, and then how you should love each other as husband and wife.

It is produced by Christian filmakers, and yes, the acting is not quite up there with Hollywood, but the message far surpasses anything Hollywood could throw out. It's the heart of the issue that counts, and this one counted for a lot.

We bought the DVD for others.  We lent it out.

Then, I saw that there was a devotional, for couples, based on The Love Dare.  I HAD to buy it for ourselves.

Then, I just HAD to buy it for my siblings, and Robert's siblings.

And others.

How could we not encourage others to take a long, hard look at their marriages, and make sure they were loving the way GOD intended them to?

So, Robert and I started it this week.  Right from the beginning, the focus is on the Lord, and His Word.  It has you looking at the scriptures, to see what God says about love, and how you need to live it out.  I can tell already that it is going to be good.  That it will be challenging.  That it will be worth it.

For each week there is a "dare".

This week's...

Begin praying this week: "Lord, teach me what real love is and me a loving person."

What an important way to start!  What is REAL love?  It goes on to highlight scripture that teaches what love really is.

There are "go deeper" suggestions at the bottom of some of the daily devotions.  There are prayer suggestions, and there are questions to challenge you.

I loved the first "go deeper".

To read I Corinthians 13 verses 4-7, replacing "love" or "it" with your first name.

Read it.  Try it.

Ooooooh, challenging.


*blushes and grimaces*

If you can read those verses, with your name inserted, without feeling guilty, then you are a wonder indeed.

I can't wait to continue reading with Robert.  Learning together. Sharing.  Growing closer.

Loving more.

So, what's the use in finding a great thing and then NOT sharing that love?!?

How about I give away a copy of the devotional?

Do I hear a "oooh, yes please"?

Whether you think you would do it as a couple, or whether you would have to do it on your own, it would still be a worthwhile endeavour.  Ask  your husband!  You never know, he may say yes!

Come on, then!  Join in the fun, and try and win yourself a New Year's gift!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Resolutions, or not?....

We are in a New Year, and 2013 stretches before me, with anticipation and desire for all things good and new.  There is so much potential in the concept of a new year.  Leaving behind the year that is past.  Learning from all that has gone on in the days that have flown into eternity, and stretching out your arms, in expectation of what lies ahead.

Then comes the big question.

Do I make New Year's Resolutions, or don't I?

What is a resolution, anyway?

The online dictionary says...

"A firm decision to do or not to do something."

So, what's so special and significant about the concept of a New Year's resolution.  Why all the pressure and guilt when they don't work out?  I have to say, in the past, when I have decided to do something (New Year, or not...) I have a tendency to feel quite down if I don't complete what I started, or didn't do it as well as I had hoped.

When you get down to the nitty gritty of it, a resolution is a good thing.  Really, we should make resolutions every day!  If it's a firm decision to do something, then I make resolutions to make dinner every most days.  I make resolutions to get dressed in the morning.  To go to Church every Lord's day.  To love my family.

Why, then, do many seem averse to "making" New Year's resolutions?  Is it because they think they will only do it for a week?  Perhaps, because they think they won't do it very well?  Or, because they think that others will mock them for trying?  Or, be criticised for not doing as good a job as they planned to?

But, in my opinion, none of those matter.  If something is important enough for you to make a firm decision to do, then you should at least TRY to do it.  To not even attempt it, because you think you may fail, is rather defeatist!

So, in order to wisely make any resolution, no matter when you start, I think several things need to be borne in mind.

Firstly, is it worth attempting at all? - If something is worth trying, then you should.  Is it worth TRYING to learn to bake?  If you think it is, then, resolve to do it.

Secondly, is it worth starting, even if you don't finish it when you hoped to? - So, if you want to make a resolution to decorate your entire house in 6 months, and you think it's achievable, then give it a whirl.

Thirdly, is it worth starting, even if it is NEVER going to get finished?  You decided to start a new curriculum, but it turns out not to suit you half way through the year.  It was at least worth attempting, even if you decide it's not for you.

I think, also, you have to have decided beforehand that it's achievable, in at least some measure.  If it's completely beyond your capabilities and resources, you may be setting yourself up for failure, and that would make you feel worse!

Maybe another issue is the title you give your resolution.  For some reason, if you say you have made goals or plans, then it sounds more acceptable!

"I have a goal to lose some weight"

"I am planning to do more gardening"

"I plan not to sleep in past 8am" (chance would be a fine thing.....)

Tagging on that it is a "New Year's" resolution, adds some kind of ticking time bomb, of pressure and success.

Doubtless, New Year seems to be a natural time to think about doing something new.  Yes, it's just "another day", on the grand scheme of life, but I am all for using a good excuse to get something done!  So, if beginning a new year means you think about projects you need to start, great!

So, am I making any resolutions?

Erm, I'm going to try....

I want to get back into my routine of rising earlier.  It is such a blessing to get my day started well, and it's worth getting back to doing it. Am I flexible enough to acknowledge it may not always work? Yup.

I want to spend more one-to-one time with my oldest 2.  Will I do it every week?  Probably not.  But, to at least try to have a short time alone with them on the odd evening is achievable.

I want to work on some projects with Robert.  What are they? Time will tell.... But, I plan to set aside specific time every week to work on it.

I want to do more sewing.  THAT is totally dependant on getting one or other of my 2 machines into working order.  I have to decide where to put my money into that goal, and then it may be workable.

I want to work more on character training with my children.  I have some books that I want to work through, and THAT one being accomplished is dependant upon me doing some major planning and implementation.  That's the shaky one.  But, I AM going to try.

Maybe, then, I need to plan on doing more planning?!?


Plus, I want to write more notes and letters to people.  That one also requires more planning from me, and being more disciplined with my time.

So, there we have it.  My thoughts on New Year's resolutions.

How about you?  Have you got any goals or aspirations for this year? We would love to hear about them, so don't be afraid to share your pearls of wisdom in the comments below, or post a link to your own blog post!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Going forward into a new year

Do you ever look ahead to your repsonsibilities and plans, feeling somewhat overwhelmed? That whole idea of trying to improve upon the previous year - doing things in a better way, accomplishing more, being a better wife and mother, being more organised?

Maybe you got some new books for Christmas, guiding you in your role as wife and mother - you want to improve, but feel it's such a big task?

When we look to our own frailty and inadequacies, a new year can be daunting, rather than to be delighted in.

Rather aptly, my new Bible reading programme had me reading the first 4 chapters of Joshua yesterday morning.   It was an amazingly comforting portion to read at the start of a new year.  I was struck by the sense of anticipation and excitement felt by the children of Israel, as they entered into the Promised Land.  They had been wandering in the wilderness for FORTY years.  It was no simple task to leave Egypt and be instantly where they longed to be.  Indeed, their lack of faith had caused them to take longer than they had ever imagined, and many, many were not even entering the Promised Land at all.  But, for those who were now gazing over the River Jordan, the new land was there, waiting for them to conquer.  What an incredibly  thrilling moment.  Standing there.  Ready to go forward.

At the same time, however, it was a daunting prospect.  No conquest is without it's challenges.  Indeed, something worth getting is often more of a challenge than the easy things in life.  So, before they could have peaceful repose in the land, they had battles to win, and enemies to conquer.  It was so daunting that 10 of the 12 spies had brought back a bad report of the land, in those preceding years.  With man, it seemed impossible.

But, the "Aha" moment.

With God, ALL things are possible.  That's the eye of faith through which Joshua and Caleb had viewed the land, and by which Joshua was now leading this nation forward.

The Lord had promised them that He would lead them to a new land, that would be theirs.  God always keeps His promises.

However, as so often, the success they would have upon entering this new land was dependent upon certain conditions.

"Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest."
Joshua 1:7

The first instruction is to observe the law.  The were to follow God's law.  Today, that would be obedience to God's Word.  Not turning in another direction, other than forward with obedience.  There was a promised associated with this first instruction.  They would prosper wherever they went!

Obedience to God brings prosperity.  I'm not talking about financial prosperity.  You will have success in whatever you do, if you do it all in adherence to God's Word.  Why?  Because being obedient equates to success.  By God's grace and strength, and by following His will, revealed for us in the scriptures, you will have success in what you aim to do.  Success is being obedient to God's Word, and living a life that reflects the same. What a confidence we can have in this truth!  Whatever you set out to do this year, if you are seeking to do what God wants  you to do, you will prosper!

The next instruction was this...

"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."
Joshua 1:8

Here, they were instructed to talk about God's law.  They were to think about it, day and night, and obey it.   Again, being prosperous and successful were the promised results.

Are we reading God's Word every day?  There is no other way to know of God's way for your life, unless you read His Word and meditate upon it.  Not once a week in Church - day and night.  Talk about the scriptures with your husband.  Think about things, and talk them over.  Find out what God says about the things that are relevant to your circumstances.  Talk to your children.  Teach them God's ways, and train them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  Talk to your Christian friends.  Let the things of the Lord be first-most on your minds, lips and hearts - rejoice in the things of the Lord, and don't be absorbed with worldly things.

Set your heart to obey God's Word for YOUR life.  And, you will have success.

The final instruction 

"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
Joshua 1:9

What a precious promise.  They were commanded to be strong and courageous - not to be afraid or dismayed.  If they were to look at their situation based on their weak humanity, none of this would be possible.  Humanly speaking, the task was enormous and daunting.  Conquer a land, filled with enemies?!? Never?

With God's presence? - no problem!

We equally are assured of God's presence with us.  It is by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the strength we have in Christ alone, that we are able to confidently go forward into the responsibilities that a new year holds for us. No matter how daunting the tasks may seem - no matter the challenges we may face - no matter the trials - no matter the testing circumstances - God has promised His presence and strength, and that is all we need.  We don't need to fear! We have the Lord right there beside us, no matter what we face.

As the "icing on the cake", the Lord reminds them that God had given them the land, and that after all their wanderings, they WOULD have rest.

"The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land."
Joshua 1:13

In all that they had to face, they were assured that rest would be their's. Peace from conflict, wanderings ceased, enemies defeated.  It WOULD happen, because God had promised it would.

We are promised the same rest and peace.  We are promised peace of mind, if our minds are stayed upon the Lord.  If we depend upon His care and provision, we can rest in Him.  No matter what our circumstances this year, we can be assured that the Lord has us in His hands, and resting in His love and care.

He WILL give us all we need, for every circumstance we may face.

As this nation faced challenges upon entering the Promised Land, so we, too, face challenges as the Lord leads us into new phases of life. There may be expected events, that we know will bring challenges.  There may be things that happen, which we were NOT expecting, but we equally know for sure, that God still has us in His loving care.  

Straight after these assurances, the Israelites were faced with the swollen, flooded waters of the Jordan River.  An immediate obstacle seemed to stand in their way.  And yet, as they stepped forward in faith, following the instructions from the Lord, the waters went and the river was crossed.  It was only when their toes got wet that the way was made for them.

Like them, we need to take that step forward, in faith, into the challenges that 2013 will bring.  Going forward, knowing that our loving Heavenly Father has our way planned out, and will provide for our every need. Our "feet may get wet" as we step forward into our challenges, but we know a way will be made for us, and we WILL possess the "land". 

Before they took a step that day, they had been told to sanctify themselves, because God was going to do great things for them.  What an exciting prospect!  Their hearts were to be ready, expecting and anticipating God's goodness in their lives.  

May we all rest upon the promises of God's Word, as we go boldly forward into 2013, knowing that we can rest upon His promises, and be assured of success by God's grace.  We need, like the Israelites, to sanctify our hearts - to prepare our hearts, ready to see what God will do in our lives.  To be prepared, and expectant, that we, too, will be able to set "stones" as a reminder of God's goodness, as 2013 closes. 

My prayer is that we all would be blessed greatly in 2013, and raise our Ebenezer - "hitherto hath the Lord helped us".