Showing posts from October, 2008

The Definition of Love

I’m a hopeless romantic. I’m the ridiculous maiden waiting for the knight in shining armour to rescue me. I expect love to be like in the fairy tales – ‘happily ever after’. It took me a long time to realise that the love of fairy tales and Hollywood bears little resemblance to the real thing.

Recently in church the teaching was on Ephesians 5 and the responsibility of husbands to love their wives. The speaker had three wives get up and tell how their husbands showed love. DH leaned over to me and whispered that it was just as well I wasn’t asked because I’d have nothing to tell. To prove him wrong (it doesn’t happen often!) I went home and wrote down some of the ways he shows me love:

* Going for walks, talking and holding hands;

* Being my best friend. I can tell him anything and I know I can trust him not to judge or blab to others (and he’s even learnt when I need him just to listen and not give advice);

* Cuddling me all night long even if it means he doesn’t sleep well;

* Telling me…

Happy Birthday Son#3

Today is Son#3's birthday - the last birthday our immediate family celebrates before Christmas. It's been a tradition in our family that we don't even start planning for Christmas until after October 27. Before that we're too busy celebrating birthdays.

We had serious concerns the night before Son#3 was born as to whether he would be born alive. Scans had revealed that he did not appear to be growing as he should and heart traces showed something wrong with his heart. The preciousness of life was on all our minds (and hearts) as at the same time DH's twenty-one-year-old sister was dying of cancer. New life in the family seemed like a precious gift and when Son#3 was born alive at over eight pounds (so much for being small!) and without serious health issues (there was a small problem with his heart but it rarely caused him any trouble and has resolved now) it seemed like the Lord had sent us a gift at just the right time. Of course we consider all our sons to be gi…

Psalm 96

Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.

For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens.
Honour and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Give to the LORD glory and strength.
Give to the LORD the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.

Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns;
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved;
He shall judge the peoples righteously.”

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the wood…

The Lord's Day

There was a time when Christians - and even non-Christians - showed respect for the Lord's Day. Sunday trading was unheard of, and only those persons that provided essential services (police officers, nurses, etc) worked on Sunday. Things have changed and those that still choose to keep the Lord's Day holy (separate) are in the minority.

In our home, our sons have been taught that Sunday is to be honoured as the Lord's Day. It is not a day for paid employment, for finishing homework or assignments, for catching up on jobs that should've been done throughout the week, or for playing sport. Since many of their friends see nothing wrong with doing any of these things, our sons have been considered old-fashioned or been pitied for having over-strict parents. However, to my knowledge, not one of them has ever rebelled against this practice and has even upheld it when pressured by employers or coaches to work or play on Sunday.

Why have a day that's set apart? Simply beca…

How Easily I've Forgotten

I'd forgotten how tired one can get looking after an almost-two-year-old. DIL#1 is feeling unwell with this current pregnancy, and since today was my day off work, I offered to take The Most Adorable Granddaughter in the World to give her mum a break. I mean, how hard can it be to look after just one little person? I look after twelve every day - with the help of two other teachers - but surely one on my own couldn't be any more difficult.

I learnt otherwise. Today I realised that I'd forgotten how much work a toddler can be - especially when they're in your home. I feel as if I've spent the day cleaning up messes! And this despite The Most Adorable Granddaughter actually being quite good at picking up her toys. It's just the biscuit crumbs and the spilled noodles and all the other bits and pieces that collect on the floor and which weren't there yesterday.

This morning I had a brilliant idea and thought I'd get The Most Adorable Granddaughter to help me …

Finding a Name

Years ago I told my kids that I'd love at least twenty grandchildren. Between the five of them that shouldn't be too hard to arrange. As far as DH and I are concerned, the more the better.

To date, we have one gorgeous little granddaughter, affectionately known as "The Most Adorable Granddaughter in the World". Last night we learnt that Son#1 and DIL#1 are to make us grandparents again. To learn of new life is a thrilling experience and we are definitely excited at the news.

I just wish we didn't have to wait until June next year!

Just as the parents have things to think and plan for, I've got to think and plan what I'm going to call this child. "The Most Adorable Granddaughter" is all very well if it's another little girl (I could just add numbers I guess to denote birth order, although that could become confusing after a while) but not exactly appropriate if it's a boy. I have a feeling that Baby Name Books are not going to be the leas…

The 'Why' Question

Two weeks ago a friend's half-sister died in childbirth, leaving behind the newborn son she didn't even get to see and three older children for her husband to care for.

Less than three hours ago I learnt that a friend and colleague has breast cancer.

We can ask 'Why?' but we know why. This is a fallen world. Disease, decay, death are the consequences of man's sin long ago in the Garden of Eden.

It doesn't make it any easier to bear. But it does answer the why.

I'm hurting for my friends today. One is struggling to come to terms with her family's grief. The other is confidently resting in her Heavenly Father's arms knowing that He has promised to never leave her or forsake her.

We know that God is Sovereign. Nothing takes Him by surprise. We may not understand why He allows these things to happen to people we love, but we know - we know - that He is in control. And because of that we can have peace and strength and hope.

The Count Down Begins

In truth it began a few weeks ago, but yesterday Son#2 finished his course and today flies back up home. Well, almost home. Tonight he'll spend with his brother (Son#3) and tomorrow DH will pick them both up and bring them on home.

Son#2 will stay here to study and sit his final exam but Son#3 will only be here for a week or so before going back to the Hostel where he boards during semester. He's coming home because he feels that he'll get more study done at home than in the hostel where there are far more distractions.

Son#3 will sit his exams in a few weeks, then will come home to find work as part of his course. We think - hope! - he already has a job lined up but with a recession on, it's not been an easy task.

Son#2 will sit his final exam and then he'll be looking for work. Not just to fill in over the summer or to earn some extra money, but for real! This is life, honey, welcome to it!

Son#1 also has his final exam coming up in a few weeks and Son#4 and Son#5 wi…

Don't Get the Wrong Idea

This isn't a food blog and I make no pretensions about being a good cook. In fact I remember years ago a new bride proudly telling me that in the month she and her husband had been married she had served up a different meal to her husband every night. At the time, I thought that I probably couldn't claim to having made 30 different meals even though we'd been married several years (of course, I'd feed my husband every night - or most nights - but we often had similar meals from one week to the next). I might have passed the 30 mark by now but I tend to stick with tried-'n'-true recipes that I can whip up quickly and which I know my family will eat (I must admit though that I've been blessed with a family that will eat just about anything).

Today is my day off, and as often happens on my day off, I had the urge to get in the kitchen and do some baking so that when the boys arrive home from school they'll be greeted at the front door with the smell of bak…

Is Anyone There?

My blog has been 'playing up' occasionally and not always updating my posts nor showing me updates on other blogs. But I'm not sure if it's all my blog's fault or if it's because no one's actually posting at the moment. Several of my friends' blogs that I love to visit haven't been updated in recent days/weeks.

So if you are posting and I'm jut not getting updates (either on my Dashboard or when I visit your blog which still shows day-old posts) please drop me a line. I really don't want to miss out on anything.

And if you're just not feeling like blogging at the moment, that's okay too. I'm suddenly finding myself with nothing to say. Though I suspect that's because I'm busier than usual and there's just so many things going through my head that I can't make sense of any of them. But hopefully that will change soon and I'll be back here to 'talk your ears off' once again.

Fruity Fruit Cake

No butter or oil, no sugar, all wholemeal flour and it still tastes good! I made this on Saturday when I spent what seemed the whole day in the kitchen baking and doing dishes. I had to make DH's birthday cake and I also made streusel-topped chocolate chip muffins and while I was at it decided that I'd make this cake again. I haven't made it in such a long time. I don't know why because it's easy to make, delicious, and I never feel guilty when I have a slice!

I'm afraid there's only one photo and it's not that great, so you'll just have to take my word for it that this cake is worth making. (I've noted the metric to imperial conversions at the bottom of this post.)

Fruity Fruit Cake

410g-425g can sliced peaches or apricots in natural juice (you can use other fruit such as canned pears or pineapple, but I feel that peaches or apricots help lift this cake out of the ordinary. Note - DH doesn't like it when I use pineapple but then he's not …

Happy Birthday DH!

Today DH turns fifty! Sshh, it's not something that he wants many people to know. I don't think he's concerned in the least about getting older - he just doesn't want a fuss made. And definitely no party!

So today we'll just have family together and we'll have a simple meal and finish it off with Chinese Ginger Syrup Cake for his birthday cake. And then we'll probably watch "Bathurst" (the Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama near Bathurst, Australia). Yes it's a car race - the only car race that I watch. Not because I'm particularly interested in the cars or who wins, but for several hours I get to see familiar countryside as they race round the track. It's a taste of 'home' for me and something I can do with DH.

I had offered to buy DH a new rifle or binoculars for his birthday but he hasn't found any yet that he likes and which are in our price range (who would have ever guessed that binoculars could be $1000 or more - definit…

Small Quilts

There are many definitions of 'small quilts' but for me, a small quilt is one that is too small to crawl up under on a cold winter's night. If it can keep you warm, then it's not a small quilt.

Other quilt sizes that I use (both 'official' and 'unofficial') are 'lap quilts' (keep you warm while you sit up watching your favourite movie), 'wall quilts' (can be any size but usually lap to single bed size - I don't include small quilts in this category), and 'bed quilts' (which are any size from cot/crib size through to a giant king bed size).

Miniature quilts are often scaled down versions of full-sized quilts. They are small quilts but not all small quilts are miniatures. Hope that's clear!

Small quilts usually do not require a huge investment in time or fabric or money and can be great if you want to:

* Try out a new pattern but are not sure yet if you like it or have the technical skill to execute it well. They're also g…

It Couldn't Happen to Me

It couldn't - but it did. Just recently I walked into a salon and specified a 1/4" trim and came out 2" shorter. Plus the stylist cut my hemline into a gentle U when I prefer blunt and it was crooked! After tears and consulting DH, we decided to pretty much leave it alone apart from removing just the tiniest amount from the right side.

Sigh! I've heard of others having such experiences but I didn't expect it to happen to me. I wasn't nervous about visiting this salon. I'd been before and they were always good about not taking more than I asked for. In fact, often they'd only take half of what I'd asked.

Admittedly, visiting the hairdresser has never been a great experience for me. I've often come home in tears because I expected the stylist to do the impossible and make me beautiful, or because I'd agreed to layers which would make the top layer curl up way shorter than the rest, but I'd never had a bad cut ... until now.

Not only was I …

Cinnamon Swirls, Baked Doughnuts, and Other Things

Sons#4 & #5 were bored this morning. I could've given them a list of jobs to do instead I suggested they do some baking. After riffling through my recipe books they chose Cinnamon Swirls and Baked Doughnuts. The doughnuts are still rising, but the cinnamon swirls were yummy and are all gone.

This is a great recipe to whip up if you like cinnamon rolls but are in a hurry, or if you're avoiding yeast. It's a basic scone recipe just jazzed up a little. I'm going to be really kind and share it here (sorry no photo - the rolls were eaten before I could get the camera out).

Cinnamon Swirls

In a bowl place 2 cups SR flour (or 2 cups plain flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder) and a pinch of salt. Rub in 90g butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 2/3 cup milk and mix until a soft dough forms (this is even easier if done in a food processor). Turn out and knead lightly then pat out into a rectangle.

Mix together 60g softened butter, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 teaspoon c…

Another Round

I've finished the jumper I knitted for Son#4 and as I was doing so, the realisation came that this is probably the first jumper I've ever knitted for Son#4. I knitted for his older brothers when they were little, and because I like to use pure wool, those jumpers were in good enough condition to hand down (in fact I've kept some of them and The Most Adorable Granddaughter in the World has worn them on occasion when she visits). With several little ones in the house there wasn't time to knit especially when there were already good jumpers to be had. The same with Son#5.

I felt sad when I thought about it but now I have knitted a jumper for Son#4 and unlike his older brothers, he's actually been seen wearing it! (Okay the first time he had his pyjamas on but at least he was wearing it.)

This one I knitted the body in the round (but not the sleeves because I didn't have small circular needles and found that it didn't easily work with the set I did have). In the …

A Prayer for Family and Friends

We're studying Ephesians at church and in our small groups at the moment. A few weeks ago we looked at Chapter Three and at the end of the chapter there are some beautiful beautiful verses that are perfect for praying for our loved ones. I'm going to share them here not just so I can remember to pray them for my loved ones but so that you can pray them too:

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man;

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or thi…

Many Hands Make Light Work

Yesterday DH, Son#4, Son#5 and I tackled the wilderness that is our garden. Well perhaps I'm exaggerating and it wasn't quite that bad but it was bad. It had rained the day before so pulling out all those weeds wasn't as hard a job as it can sometimes be, but some of those weeds had some deep weeds.

As I grappled with the weeds my thoughts turned to the sin in our lives. Sometimes sin has taken such a hold on us that it takes a lot of effort to root it out. Other times, like some of the smaller weeds that I didn't notice the first time around, we're blind to it. Either case, it must be removed. (Wow it's amazing how 'deep' you can get just weeding the garden and the parables that can be found if you only open your eyes.)

Today, with all the weeding done, came the fun part: planting. We decided we needed more hands and enlisted the help of The Most Adorable Granddaughter to ensure the tomatoes, corn, chilli, capsicum, radishes and cucumbers were correctly …

Hair Cut

I cut Son#4's and Son#5's hair today. I had offered to take them to the hair salon but they declined and today as I was cutting his hair Son#4 said, "We didn't want to refuse you the privilege of cutting our hair. We know how much you love to do it." Yeah right!

I'm always scared of messing it up even though I've been cutting my sons' hair for over twenty years. You would think with all that practice that I'd be perfect by now, but I'm not. Still, they seem pleased with the job I do and tell me I do a better job than the hairdresser (okay, what do they want?)!

DH has sometimes wondered what I'd look like with short hair. Not that he wants me to cut, he just wonders. The few photos I have of me with very short hair are not very good. Today as I was cutting Son#4's hair I realised that it's a very similar colour and texture to mine (I do think mine's a little thicker though). I told DH, "This is what I used to look like with s…

The Good Samaritan

Today the family of Austin Hemmings will say goodbye to a beloved husband, father, brother, and friend. I don't know Austin, but his story has captured the hearts of New Zealanders, and many today will grieve with his family.

Last Thursday, Austin Hemmings went to the help of a woman calling for help, and paid for it with his life. He died where he fell, on a city street during rush-hour traffic.

I doubt he could have foreseen the consequences when he went to the woman's assistance or the fact that the assailant was going to turn nasty. To help a stranger is something that many people have done without hesitating. Just a few blocks away my DH was walking from his motel to the venue where he was to have dinner. He saw the police and the paramedics and the roadblocks, but it wasn't until later that he heard what had happened. Would he have stopped to help if he had been asked? Probably - and yet now some people will think twice. Such an act has caused some to ask: "Is it …