Tuesday, 26 August 2014

One Love 2014

Recently I had the privilege of being a little bit involved in helping to come up with ideas for a women's event. That event, called "One Love" was held in Sydney at the beginning of August.

The aim of the day was to encourage, inspire and to challenge women in their everyday life, as Christians or for those wanting to know more about living as a Christian. 

When I turned up to the Redfern Technology Park on the day - I like most of the other delegates, didn't know what to expect. Were expectations high? I was trying to keep mine not too high. 

Women's events, at least in Christian circles, can often factor high on the cringe factor scale. Whether too syrupy sweet or too theoretically and theologically dry - I've often come away from well-meaning events (heck I've helped organise a few) wondering why reality is so far removed from what I've just heard.

I look around at many of the Christian women I know, and everyone is busy, often frantically so. I see breathtaking and admirable focus and determination at keeping all the "balls" high in the air: 


Who has the time to sit around worrying about whether The Lord might have anything to say about this? Or to us? No one has the time to stop and think. If they did, the balls would start dropping! 

People would get hurt. It could get nasty.

And speaking of nasty, there's the whole cynical backlash thing. Why do women need something just aimed at them anyhow? We're all people aren't we? We're not weaklings. 

Or that one about why go to big events? Why not just spend quality time with a small group? People you already know, and trust. Why listen to speakers from overseas? Or to women/men? Why not just read your Bible and get your hair done if you want to feel better about yourself? 

Christians seem to attract a lot of criticism. All those fine qualities and activities we espouse, but don't actually show or do. High standards we hold others to, but fail to keep ourselves?  
We're pretty good at giving it out too, especially to each other. 

Once you start listening to it, it can get sort of paralysing. It certainly leaves little room for the inspirational, or the encouraging, or the challenging…

Women are so often the givers - giving out care and love and nurturing, and time and energy and kindness and discipline and everything in between - in all spheres of life, being all things to all people, making sure everyone in their circle is okay, (which is great, don't get me wrong). But it comes at a cost. The cost of running on empty. Energy-wise - physically and energy-wise - spiritually. 

Sometimes there are spiritual truths that we've forgotten to hear, as if they no longer apply to us. Like the one that says God loves us anyway, no matter what. 

So when Nancy Guthrie was talking from the book of Hosea chapter 1 (a passage that can make you squirm - I was squirming) and said that God tells us:

There is healing. I will always take you back. 
I've written across your life in the red blood of my Son:






It was food for the soul.

To get there for a day (a feat in itself for most women I would think) and then to hear talks that spoke to our hearts about how amazing God is.. and about who this God is that we so want to know, if only we had the time to get some peace and quiet and think about Him for a little bit…

…it was the chance to be with a whole group of happy people - all wanting the same thing: challenge, inspiration, and encouragement. Not about selfish naval-gazing. But about looking upward and outward.

We got it all - and great food. 

It was the best use of a day I can remember having in a very long time. 

my cousin and I..

The speakers were Nancy Guthrie, Kathleen Nielson and Bryan Chappell.

The 3 talks from OneLove are now available for free via the KCC app! 

You can download the app and listen to the talks here: http://get.theapp.co/489f

Friday, 1 August 2014

Scooters, Sparks, and Shelfies

Sometimes things don't quite work out the way you've planned.
Take our winter holidays for instance. I was fairly content to fill our days with happy outings, delicious snacks and fellowship with friends. With all that in mind, and the need to get everyone out and about (okay, I'll admit it, we were getting cabin fever) the kids and I did a shop trawl for new scooters. The old ones had been outgrown, given or rusted away.
A few jobs were undertaken by the kids in order to "earn" making a contribution towards the new toys. Sometimes the whinging that accompanies "doing jobs" makes these efforts seem hardly worth the angst. But it is worth it, to make them see that new things should be earned, not always just given.
Life lesson - tick.
It seemed like we were heading for a win-win all round.

Arch was happy with a 3-wheeler CARS scooter from the op shop.

Mim was ecstatic when she found a scooter with flashing-light wheels.

Jesse, showed admirable restraint and chose an inexpensive one that looked sturdy and suited him just fine.

Eleanore, not usually too fussy, couldn't find one that suited. Either the scooters were too small, or too expensive, or sold out, or too green/blue/red…. Eventually, out of desperation (yes, Mum tearing hair out) we bought a whizz bang scooter (on sale, but still overpriced) that was supposed to create sparks from the back wheel.

I should have known that sparking thing was a bad omen.

We had one semi-successful trip to a park with friends and scooters. Mim got a big blister from wearing twinkle toes sneakers on a light-up scooter. She was torn between the physical pain and the visual triumph of her scootering neon lit self. Unfortunately the pain, and moaning, won out.

On the second day of new scooters we walked to our local park with some good friends. There is a semi-steep footpath down in to the park that the big kids were very excited about riding their new scooters on. Apparently by the time I arrived (lagging at the back with Arch, as usual) Ellie had already been down the hill twice.

Oh, did I mention that the sparking thing had failed to produce anything resembling a spark? Who knew if we weren't doing it right, or if the thing was a dud?

As I walked  down the hill I turned to see who was whizzing down the path behind me. It was Ellie.
I had one of those parenting LIGHT BULB moments. Okay, so it would have been way more helpful to have such a moment five minutes earlier, but these things never quite work out that way.

LIGHT BULB MOMENT: Daughter on scooter. Going too fast. Has taken her jacket off. Has no protective clothing or helmet on whatsoever. Is going WAY TOO FAST!

"Oh Ellie." I said, as I added up the risk factors in my mind.
And that was enough.
Ellie looked at me, caught my panicked eye, and lost control.

I think we all know the rest...

If I fast forward the next 11+ hours, which involved endless hours in waiting rooms (you can quiz me on any celebrity and I can tell you the very latest - our magazine reading time was immense!), you would then find Ellie and I finally settling into beds at the children's ward of the hospital the kids were born in. After a night of fitful and limited sleep, Ellie went to theatre the next day - to realign a bone and set a broken wrist.

Anyway, we had another week of holidays to recover from the trauma, lack of sleep, broken dreams. This was good, as the break is in Ellie's writing hand, so the upcoming school term was looking challenging.

Due to the wonders of social media, word about Ellie's accident spread fast. I can't tell you how heart warming it was to receive so many messages of care and concern. Ellie allowed the (above) photos to be shown, in order to keep friends and family updated.

On the Sunday, relieved to be home again, we were delighted to receive a knock at the door from one of Ellie's school teachers. She delivered chocolates, flowers and a card, assuring us that Ellie would be found things to do at school and wishing her a speedy recovery - what a blessing!

And here are the sisters, on a modest outing we took a few days later. We didn't return the scooter  - but  it was tempting!

Other happy snaps:

BOOK SHELFIES - Okay we are trying to win a competition from our favourite Children's Bookshop. You just have to like our photos on their Facebook page.
No pressure.

Oh and a mouse update?
Yes, the mouse says hi. He walked (yes, I said WALKED!) into our TV room the other night while J and I were watching TV. I'm almost positive I saw a look of disappointment in his little brown eyes when he saw that we weren't watching The Voice or some other reality show.

I went to make him a coffee while he wandered (not ran) off behind the lounge before settling into one of his many homes, underneath our immovable television cabinet, for the night.

I continue to clean and declutter, but the mouse has told me not to knock myself out. He's happy with our house just the way it is. He also told J not to bother with the peanut butter and other myriad of culinary snacks we've been placing in the traps. He's fine getting his own food. No, really.