Friday, May 6, 2016

Art Friday: Crazy cat lady

I was given the honour of being called a "crazy cat lady" which I think is just wonderful. But to be crazy, I think I need to post many more photos and stories about cats!!! If you don't like cats, then I would suggest you give this segment a miss!!! I am going to start my Crazy Cat stories with photos of my own gorgeous cat RUBY. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Taking stock of your skills!

A young lady's preparation for wife and mother —Advice from 1939:

While every young girl should strive to fit herself for the duties of womanhood, a special responsibility rests upon the young woman who is a promised wife, and, if God willing, a promised mother. She is shortly to join her husband in the making of a new home, in the founding of a family. Upon her will largely depend the happiness of their home and the character of their family life. It behoves the bride-to-be to undergo a ridge self-examinations.

She should, as it were, take stock of her various gifts and qualifications.

Should she find her character lacking in any way of the virtues which are necessary to the success of the wife and mother, she would do well to strive for their attainment. She should also seek with all diligence to cultivate the womanly graces which already adorn her character.

. . . . Many a bride has made a miserable failure of marriage because she was wholly unfitted to discharge its sacred duties. The sensible maiden will store her mind with useful knowledge, and will train her fingers until they become deft in such housewifely arts as cookery, sewing, mending, and sick nursing.  

Take stock of her various gifts and qualifications: How many young women today examine their skills ("gifts and qualifications") when they are engaged to see what areas they need to improve so once married so they don't struggle with the running of the home? None I suspect.

In fact most would laugh at this advice.

But just like the training one receives (i.e. going off to college) before becoming a nurse or teacher, skilling up on homemaking isn't as silly as it sounds.  We have to eat, so learning how to buy food, store food, prepare food and how to handle left over foods are all necessary skills and at times lifesaving (the last thing you want to do is poison your family due to the mishandling of food). I did home-economics at school (all students once participated in this subject, I doubt they do anymore) and I learnt a lot about cooking. I also had a mother who believed it was important to teach me (and my brothers) how to cook (and clean) so I was well prepared, but from reading blogs, many women are not and as a consequence, have struggled for years in the management of their homes. Whilst I didn't have any daughters, I did train up my sons on how to cook and clean and how to look after a home (these skills are never wasted). As a result, they are both very competent at managing a home (remember, not all men get married or like my dad, looks after himself as he lives alone). 

Interestedly, the list of skills remembered by the book, includes skills in looking after the sick — i.e. know what to do when a child or husband has a cold or flu. This is really sensible advice and one we all should know before having children. Do you incorporate first aid in your homeschooling? I think it is a great idea and perhaps an area that is missed. 

— Do train up your children in home management so they don't struggle for years. It is a gift that their husbands and children will thank you for. 

Upon her will largely depend the happiness of their home and the character of their family life: Most modern wives no longer understands (or perhaps even cares) how vital her role is in the home and how important she is to the happiness in the home.  If the wife doesn't' keep the home clean and tidy, is a poor cook, doesn't stock the pantry, beds left unmade, washing piling up — the home isn't much of a home — and it isn't a place where her family will want to spend time or a place to invite others to. Creating a home is one of our primary calling (She watches over the ways of her household ~ Proverbs 31:27) and we need to able to create a home that is the best place to ever be. 

— Do train up your children to understand the importances of creating a home and not just a house. 

According to Elizabeth George, we are "on assignment" from God to build up our homes which means our role as keepers of our home is VERY IMPORTANT . . . we do have an essential role to play no matter what the world has to say.

If you are struggling in this area, here are a few blog posts I have written on the topic:

Biblical domesticity: LINK
Do you need help?: LINK
Finding joy in household chores: LINK
Creating a cosy home, Danish style (Hygge): Part 1 LINK, Part 2 LINK
Decorating on less: LINK
What does a simple life mean: LINK
Profession of homemaking: LINK
Making our homes comfortable: LINK
Making our homes special: LINK

Room by room—The bathroom: LINK
Room by room—The hallway: LINK
Room by room—The living room: LINK
Room by room—The pantry: LINK
Room by room—The kitchen: LINK
Room by room—The laundry: LINK
Room by room—The master suite: LINK

"What a blessing if every member of your family and mine knows home is the one place on earth where everything will be all right"

~ Elizabeth George ~

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My thoughts for May: Eat real food

My thoughts for the coming month

Caring for our homes and our family is REAL work and don't let anyone tell you it isn't. In fact, not only is it real it is important and necessary. It is so important, the bible makes very special mention of it in more than one location. In Titus, older women are to encourage younger women to take care of their husbands, children and their homes and in Proverbs we women are given a beautiful example of a woman caring for her family and home.

The days are getting colder and winter is approaching. This is the time of the year I start to surprise my husband with roast dinners (sometimes in the middle of the week when he least expects it) as there is nothing nicer than the smell of a roast cooking in the oven. It is the smell of cosiness and home and tells him I love him.  He loves a roast and I am happy to make them for him during the winter months. I also like to surprise him with a yummy dessert — peach cobbler or a berry crumble. Homemade cooking isn't difficult and whilst it can take a little longer than buying ready made — it is so much nicer for your family, healthier and is a wonderful sign to them that you love them dearly and willing to put in the extra time and effort.

For those heading into summer, why not surprise your husband and family with a picnic in the garden or visit a local park. These little moments will be treasured by your family and meant the world to them.   

Quote of the month

We have so much variety when it comes to fresh food — God has truely provided us with a treasure chest full of food, but sadly too many people reach for the ready-make, the heavily processed because it is "easier" and quicker. That may be the case, but it's taste is questionable, its very high in salt, sugar and other unpronounceable names making it bad for our health plus it is expensive. Skip the processed foods and trying cooking food made from scratch this month — instead of buying a pasta sauce, make your own — your family will really appreciate the effort you put into it and it will taste so much better. 

“Don’t eat anything incapable of rotting.”
“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Quote by Michael Pollan

By Anne Cotterill

Bible verse for the coming month

And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 1:29-31

Hymn for the coming month

~ Just as I am ~

by Charlotte Elliott

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot;
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind;
Yes, all I need, in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Monday, May 2, 2016

All about praying

“God will answer you prayers better than you think. Of course, one will not always get exactly what he has asked for....We all have sorrows and disappointments, but one must never forget that, if commended to God, they will issue in good....His own solution is far better than any we could conceive.” Fanny J. Crosby

* What is praying? Praying is talking intimately with God, a direct conversation to God. Prayer can be audible or silent, private or public, formal or informal. Prayers don’t need to be fancy or complicated — the best prayers are often humble and simple, they come from the heart. If you are a new Christian, don't panic, just talk with God and He will hear you. 

God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words. You do not need to rehearse a pray to make it perfect —all prayers are perfect to God . . . just speak . . . just talk. 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

* Why do we pray? Simply because God haasked us to, its not a matter of choice or something we can do occasionally, it is something we must do all the time. Praying is one of the fundamentals of Christian life we can't live without it — "Prayer is as normal to the Christian as breathing is to the human." John Macarthur

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Prayer develops our relationship with God and demonstrates our trust and utter dependence upon Him.

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)

* What can we pray about and whereAnything at any time. . . there is nothing we can’t pray about.

We pray to get closer to God—to understand Him better, to grow closer
We pray for advice
We pray to overcome temptation and sin
We pray for strength and guidances
We pray in preparation for major and minor decisions—any decisions
We pray for others who are in need, sick, or struggling
We pray to strengthening others spiritually 
We pray when we have specific requests
We pray to give thanks, to show gratitude
We pray as a way of obtaining His solutions to various situations
We pray for our families, our children, our husbands/wives
We pray to pour out our soul to the Lord
We pray in desperation — when we are in pain
We pray when something wonderful has happened

"...True prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length." — C. H. Spurgeon

We should keep a running conversation going with God all day long — "praying always" (Ephesians 6:18) — when you are getting up in the morning, driving to work, eating your breakfast, waiting at the traffic lights . . . We do not need to be kneeing beside our beds to pray our eyes don't need to be shut or our hands folded nor do we need to be at church — we can pray ANYWHERE at ANYTIME. Our prayers are our private conversation with God and He wants us to talk with Him about everything. 

In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice
 from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears. (Psalm 18:6)

* What not to do? Prayers are not about going to God with a long wish list of "I wants". Prays aren't about you, they aren't about what you want — your demands. Prayers aren't about asking for a larger house and expecting God to provide. Prayers aren't about asking for pay rises, bigger bank accounts, more money or a luxury holiday—God will give you want He thinks you need and it may be very different to what you want. 

Prayers are not about repeating ourselves because we think God hasn't heard us — God heard the first time, so no need to keep on repeating yourself. 

Prayers aren't about begging for something. Praying is simply a conversation.

Sadly many people only pray when they want something or when they get sick but forget to pray when things are going well. As Oswald Chambers says so well — we tend to pray as a last resort.

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there's nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all. Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don't want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time because His idea of 'good time' is seldom in sync with ours.” Oswald Chambers

Praying is not a joke so being funny in your prayers isn't what God wants to hear. Praying is serious business and shouldn't be treated lightly. 

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. (1 Peter 4:7)

* Does God answer all our prayers? Yes, but not always the way we expect. I might ask God about a pay rise, instead He shows me how to save money. I might ask for improved health, instead He shows me how to trust Him and live with the illness I have. God works and thinks differently to us, therefore don't expect answers to be the responses we would give to a request.

"I have lived to thank God that not all my prayers have been answered.” ― Jean Ingelow

God hears all, but doesn't always answer our prayers instantaneously — some prayers may take years to be answered but the waiting is part of the lesson in patiences, faith and trust—about drawing us closer to Him. We may hit many road blocks and bumps along the way but all these things bring us closer to God.

Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it.” ―  Corrie Ten Boom

God also says "no" to our prayers  which can cause confusion and sadness — some women would love to be at home full-time but God says no. Instead He might do something different, not quite what we wanted. It may not make sense to us, but it does to God. Through saying no, we learn to trust in the Lord in all things. Remember, that His plans for us are always right even if it doesn't feel that way.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Sometimes we ask with the wrong motives and God says no — for example, I would like an extension built on my home so we have more space, this though isn't about serving God, its about my want and needs. All prayers should be about God and serving Him and not about us and what we want.

Even if our prayers are not answered the way we want, it doesn't give us the reason to stop praying — we need to keep on praying with earnest because that is what God has asked us to do.

Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:24)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Art Friday: Brenda Cablayan

Artist: Brenda Cablayan

Brenda is a painter living and working on Oahu, Hawaii. She started her art career as an illustrator, then turning her attention to fine art. Her most common scenes include rural and urban scenes, beaches and agricultural fields. Working from her photographs, she pulls her inspiration, first from the real image, then to the colors, abstract and real shapes in the photograph.

For more of her wonderful work, check out her page: LINK

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I cannot, but God can

"I cannot, but God can"

We live in uncertain times and the worlds continues to be a scary place—bombs being detonated in airports and marketplaces around the world, we never know where terrorists might strike next. People are maimed and killed in gun crimes, we have racial unrest, wars in places like Syria causing mass movement of humans, we have disease, moral decay, corruption in high place, trouble families, women still dying as a result of domestic violence, neglected children—pain, sorrow and suffering on all sides.

At times it feels as if we are all alone in our suffering and it would be nice to crawl into bed and pretend nothing bad is happening in this world.  All things are given to us for a reason, we may not understand why, but they are and we just need to accept them — even uncertainty.  However, God doesn't want any of us to suffer and is always watching over us, which is why He says "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

When life is getting a bit much, turn off the news, find your quiet place and pray, read your bible, sing some hymns — lean on Him and He will give you rest and the strength you need to continue your day. Its amazing how you feel after timeout with God. He really does quench the thirst.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)

"God is not content to let us sink. He is teaching us how to tread water—to literally mount up out of our sea of fears and anxiety, to step out in faith, to dare the impossible, to place the soles of our feet onto the shifting surface of life and keep moving ahead. Those who learn this lesson of faith have a quiet peace in their eyes, even when the darkness gathers and the seas of life tun rough and threatening. They have confidences in the face of trials, of sorrows and even death itself that everything is ultimately going to work out as God intends. There is not a work of complaint or grumbling. They regard their circumstances as necessary to what God wants to do in their lives—which is always for their own good and for God's glory. Such people are a joy to be around. When you go to encourage and comfort them in their trials, you come away with more encouragement than you gave" ~ God's Loving Word by Ray C. Stedman (page 187)

As sisters in Christ we need to look out for each other and keep an eye on our sisters to make sure they are coping ok—with their families, their homes or with life in general. We don't live in isolation with big fences separating us from our neighbours (if you do, its time to knock them down) — we need to help and support each other as much as we can.  The Lord never once said "I'm too busy to help", He always found the time and we too need to behave more Christ like. 

To all my sisters-in-Christ, you are in my prayers this week. 


When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day i half done;
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Fathers full giving is only begun.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and girth again.

Annie Johnson Flint

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Modern day modesty

In modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing (1 Timothy 2:9)

There is a funny idea that dressing modesty is to dress frumpy and looking unattractive, to remove any "womanly" features so to avoid any form of sexuality. Modesty has nothing to do with being dowdy. 

When one dresses modestly it simply means covering up so others don't have to see plunging necklines, lots of leg and flesh — to not dress in a manner than will attract the attention of men and cause them to lust. It has nothing to do with looking ugly and plain and it doesn't mean you can't wear colour or lace, modern designs or something very pretty.  This series of photos are of the Duchess of Cambridge on her recent tour of India — she has made modest look beautiful, elegant, graceful and feminine. Her hair is beautifully (but simply) done and her jewellery is also very tasteful (not tacky).  Notice the hemline, it is now longer than it use to be after the Queen "suggest" it should be lower to  look more modest. 

Her look is not the "Hollywood look" that is more about showing as much flesh as possible and has nothing to do with  being feminine and pretty. It is so encouraging to see a young woman dress so beautifully and classy and yet modestly. She is a modern young women that shows those who struggle with ideas of modesty that it can be done and still look good.

However, one can dress completely modestly but her heart is not in the right place — our clothing and accessories should never dominate our lives, attempt to draw attention, eat up our money and become an idol. It is what is in our hearts that truely matters most, it is all about "women professing godliness, with good works". (1 Timothy 2:10). Modestly is about our behaviour and attitude and not just about clothing — our clothing sends the message of being discreet and feminine, but our actions demonstrate our desire to do good works for God. 

"Modesty is more than just a hemline, it is an interior disposition that influences not only our dress, but our thoughts and actions" 

(by Leah Darrow)

Modesty means propriety. It means avoiding clothes and adornment that are extravagant or sexually enticing. Modesty is humility expressed in dress. It’s a desire to serve others, by not promoting or provoking sensuality. Immodesty, then, is much more than wearing a short skirt or low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride, on display by what you wear. (C. J. Mahoney)

Modesty isn't about covering up our bodies because they're bad, modesty isn't about hiding ourselves . . its about revealing our dignity. (Quote by Jessica Rey)


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