Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Counting blessings one by one

Little Efate off Port Vila Nov 2012

Having a mid year EOFY reflection & thanksgiving party! Having started a new job recently and about to embark on our first family medical missions trip am so deeply grateful for the way new year's goals have become realities and it's only half way through the year. At the beginning of 2013, I had 3 main goals for year;

1. To work closer to home
2. To earn more
3. To be able to take my four on a family missions trip (holiday with a purpose)

I am in awe of God and how timing, circumstances and the right opportunities collide. Many would think this is simply coincidence or the law of attraction. I choose to acknowledge the Author of life with aligning the right circumstances at the right time. This gives me great comfort. To know that we can trust our destinies into loving hands and a holy heart rather than rely on fate or ourselves to make it happen.

Yes I did look & apply for other jobs. I do believe God works with us in our goals and dreams. It's a partnership. We do our bit and He does His. However the first 3 I didn't get. I didn't give up, but did wonder whether it was not the right time......

Then the recruitment company rang and asked me to apply for my current job. Even when I went for the second interview I wasn't convinced it was for me. Yet 5 weeks in now am so, so grateful. This job is an answer to my desire & prayers to be home more for my four. I am able to work & develop resources from home when not out at sites conducting education. I am home more and earn more. Deeply grateful.

We are taking off this Friday to Vanuatu along with a team of others to help lay the foundations of a medical clinic in Mangalilu north Efate Island, conduct women's health workshops, work in schools & youth groups. Despite the minor set back of EQ having been sick, he is now well enough to travel. Being EQ's last year of school it was important to me that we go, it had to be this year! I had a sense of urgency about it, as potentially our last opportunity to go altogether. Once he leaves school, gets his own job and has a different timetable to us, he may not have the same opportunity.

As a parent I want to instill eternity into the hearts of my children. For them to see, appreciate & learn from other cultures and hopefully be more grateful for what they have at home. To see those who have so little yet are so content. To have a serving holiday rather than just serving self. To find the great joy in giving out to humanity not just taking or indulging.

If you aren't a big goal setter, can I encourage you to dream a little, dream a lot. And surrender your goals, dreams, desires to the Author of Life, who loves to work with us and meet us where we are at. He's not Santa Claus waiting to give us a BMW, but if we set goals that are mindful of others, I believe we all can see our goals become realities.

Cherishing God in the little & big things of our lives
Cherishing the willingness of my four to serve others on their holidays
Cherishing joy in the journey of life

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Joie de Vie

life is like a dance, live the moments

It's a crisp, autumn morn, time to wake up slowly, drink my morning pot of tea without rushing, soak in glorious sunshine and unashamedly be in my PJs at 9am! While others have run marathons, cycled 100klm, done 2 loads of washing or got the family ready for church already, today is a designated go slow day for me, a silent, home retreat. Time to breathe and blog!

I am thinking of my beautiful four, who they are and who they are becoming. Praying for them as is my daily habit. Thinking of what they have taught me in recent weeks, the art of cherishing them makes me a better person. Am forever grateful that I can be their Mum.

EQ teaches me to 'chill Mum' - he is my stress-o-meter! His barometer and thermometer is set on high for intuition and emotional cues. When he senses heat and humidity rising, he is onto it straight away. His candid comments often help me take a step back, ditch intensity and relax. He entertains us all with his acoustic guitar strums day in and night out. From the initial 'why me' rage in May when diagnosed with glandular fever & hepatitis to acceptance and healing, the month of June has seen him improve out of sight. Vanuatu here we come. Blogworthy is that he cleaned his room, instead of a spring clean he had a 'winter clean', the first time in about 6 months! Finally, we can see the floor!

DW {Deep Waters} is forever the profound one. Reminding me that maturity not only comes with age, but also depth of personality and perspective. He is so stable and secure. DW teaches me to relish time on my own as he does. He recently paid me in cash for his mobile phone bill without being asked, proving he really is becoming a young man, responsible and self-directed. I have watched him study his heart & mind out this past month, preparing for exams and end of term assignments and have been so impressed with his diligence and determination. With his 16th birthday this month and L's under his belt this week now comes the ultimate test of mother-son relationship, teaching him how to drive!

Thoughtful Princess is  'au naturelle' and 'joie de vie' personified {translation; natural and joyful}. The above photo reminds me of both my girls and of the uninhibited joy that children, particularly young ones have and how they can remind us to 'not get stuffy' and just 'have a go'! Thoughtful Princess is exactly like that! Shopping with her yesterday I commented on some shoes, she quickly said, "Mum they're typical for someone of your age to like" - shifting me from the out of date and old category to what is modern! Love it! Love it that our children keep us current and in the moment! Forever exploring new frontiers. Thoughtful Princess is always like this. Her infectious love of life spills over to all. She is always fun to be around {except @ 7am in the morning! A night owl not an early bird}. She teaches me to embrace the moment.

Little Miss Sunshine our budding ballerina teaches me about discipline and organisability {if there is such a word}. She is so disciplined with her dance, her school work, her time, her life. She too had a pyjama day last Sunday, enjoying being in bed till midday, reading and 'flopping' - it was so nice to see her 'be still' after her frantic schedule of school, dance, homework, study & assignments. She has been working hard on her first solo performance and though filled with nerves admire her ability to overcome performance anxiety and dare greatly.

Cherishing the individuality of my four
Cherishing my primary role as mum
Cherishing who they are & what they teach me 

Friday, 7 June 2013

Friday night @ our house

Dinner by Thoughtful Princess & by candlelight

Muffin is curled up next to me on the couch, DW is practising his Fuga II on piano after finishing a 4hr shift at work, EQ is also working after a 4 week break thanks to glandular fever, Thoughtful Princess our spiritual, social butterfly is @ Upper Room, a weekly prayer gathering & Sunshine is stretching in her bedroom a nightly ritual she has before going to bed. Something a kin to self torture as she practises the splits in varied positions and HOLDs the position for minutes on end. This she times with her iPod all the while reading as she stretches!

Family life feels somewhat normal & stable again after much-a-do about everything. With one thing & another, it has been a pretty intense couple of months, as my absence from blogging has shown. Endings & new beginnings has been a big part of it all. Finishing a beloved job after 8 years and starting a new one has taken more energy than I anticipated. It's nice to have time, space & inspiration, though very ordinary, to write.

Dinner tonight was prepared by Thoughtful Princess, her speciality, salami pork meatballs {minus the salami}. We lit every candle we could find in the house to set an ambience as a 'girls only' time. Both boys were working. EQ back to it after having time off to recover from glandular fever with hepatitis. He is doing much better. So grateful for all who have prayed and sent well wishes. Though he has missed too much of school to sit exams this term, his teachers have been incredibly supportive and understanding.

Grateful. Content. Happy.

Have a good long weekend everyone xo

Cherish ordinary things that make life rich & full 
Cherish the way our children make art with their lives
Cherish simple joys

Sunday, 2 June 2013


What do you long for?

A new iPhone, a new car, a bigger house, a better job, dreams to come true, less stress, less conflict, deeper connection with your spouse & children, for a partner, to travel, to make a difference, depression to dissipate, to see a paediatric hospice in Qld, for no terrorism, world peace, your Mum's chemo to be finished? We all long for something, either physical things, superficial and or in deeper spaces, the psychosocial, spiritual level.

The intensity often depends on perceived need or expectation.

Walking today acutely aware of longings bubbling deep within. Nothing that can be 'instantly gratified', rather long term dreams & desires that need to be surrendered and worked towards. Also acutely grateful for current blessings that sustain and satisfy. I often feel like life is one big paradox. Of being content with the here and now, yet always striving towards a better tomorrow not just for my own family, but for others also.

I think longings if listened to reveal much about who we are. Deep inner longings and desires if attended too can lead us to a new adventures, relationships, challenges and rewards. The key is to not be afraid. Or feel the fear and do it anyway as Susan Jeffers in her book would encourage. To explore longings that linger because they are there for a reason. If they are ignored they come to nag us sometime, somewhere else in life......

Helping our children explore their longings/dreams/desires is healthy and needful too. I have blogged about this before, how we as parents want our children to aim for the stars yet be rooted in reality too. Help them reach their full potential yet help them make mistakes courageously too. To risk, to fail, to succeed and to dare greatly. Again the paradox, the tension of life.

My spiritual director has written much on longing and the journey of desire, finding the greater desire. This maybe a bit intense for some, but has helped me immeasurably understand the nature of longing, what to do with it when at times it can be completely overwhelming and how to guide my children in their desires too.

The invitation is for us all to find the Divine in our longings. Physical things only momentarily satisfy. Deeper yearnings for peace, contentment, purpose, love, connection, satisfy to the very depths of our soul, our beings. The mystics of old assert that our desires, our wants, our longings our outward and inward searching when uncovered, expressed and recognised lead us to the Divine at the core.

Augustine wraps it up so beautifully, "our hearts are restless until they rest in you, O God". 

Cherishing longings for what they teach us
Cherishing desires for good and not for bad
Cherishing the invitation to seek the deeper things of life