Showing posts from November, 2008

Plans of Hope

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

I love that the NIV uses 'plans' rather than 'thoughts' as in other versions. It may not be as accurate, yet the Lord has given me this verse at those times when knowing that He has a plan for my life that will bring me hope has been very very comforting.

The first time this verse really spoke to me - in fact the first time I ever really paid any attention to it - was when DH started seriously talking about moving from Australia back to New Zealand. At that time I couldn't see how we would ever be able to afford a house in NZ if we sold our home in Australia but God spoke to me through this verse and as time went on I learnt that His plans were far greater than we could ever imagine. (I still marvel that the house He led us to has more rooms that I dreamed of asking Him for!)

This verse was read in chu…

Summer is Here!

Last night DH and I went out for tea (dinner/supper/evening meal). It's a date we've been planning for months (years?) but have never got around to. Afterwards we went for a walk through the park surrounding the library and art gallery. At that time of evening it was still daylight and still reasonably warm. It was lovely!

Today we got our kayaks out for the first time this summer. The above photo is of a trip we took last year. Today the waves weren't quite so rough nor the wind quite so strong. DH and the boys seemed to really enjoy being on the water again.

I sat on the sand and cried. Yes cried! This morning I received a job offer and I don't know what to do. I keep going back and forth: shall I take it? Yes but what about ...? No, perhaps I'll stay where I am but then ...

It's not an enviable position. Less than a fortnight ago Son#2 was in almost the same position. He'd received two job offers in the same day. We told him to pray about it and helped him …

Spirit of Thanksgiving Part 3

I love the spiritual dimension of Thanksgiving: taking time to reflect on God's Goodness to us in the form of His blessings and thanking Him for them. I wondered how best to approach the task of listing all that we've been blessed with this past year and I came up with a little acrostic after reflecting on this verse from Matthew 7:11 and Luke 11:13 (NKJV):

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

So here are my blessings that came in the form of a GIFT:

Grace and Growth. When God allows difficult circumstances we are given the opportunity to grow in grace and maturity. I've had to learn to show grace during difficult circumstances at work. It's not been easy (and I'm beginning to suspect that I'm a slow learner because one set of difficult circumstances gets exchanged for another!) but I don't know if there is any other way I could have learnt…

Spirit of Thanksgiving Part 2

I knew it would happen: we changed the menu. We're still going to have turkey and stuffing but the baked potatoes have been changed to steamed potatoes after I realised I didn't have enough aluminium foil to do them in the slow cooker. Kumara and carrots are still on the menu but the broccoli and corn casserole has become zucchini and corn since fresh zucchini (or courgettes as the Kiwis call them) were on special when I went shopping yesterday. I've also made some yoghurt bread rolls to go with the main meal.

Son#2 and I have spent most of the day in the kitchen baking. I'm not sure what I did - washing up perhaps? - as Son#2 seemed to do most of the baking. We made two pumpkin pies: one with a pastry crust and one with a crushed gingernut biscuit crust. He also made a mud cake (for those that don't like pumpkin pie - DH is one that cannot eat vegetables for dessert!) and a yummy red berry fruit salad (which our American friend likes to eat with his vegetables but

Spirit of Thanksgiving Part 1

Last night I cooked pumpkin for a recipe that is definitely not traditional in this part of the world: Pumpkin Pie.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s an American import that I am more than ready to embrace (unlike Halloween). Our American ‘daughter’, who lived with us for eight months, first introduced us to Thanksgiving. That was quite an experience and you can read here how one Aussie-Kiwi family took to a traditional American Thanksgiving.

In keeping with tradition, we will have turkey and pie. We will also have what is possibly less traditional fare: kumara (a type of sweet potato once favoured by New Zealand Māori and now loved by most Kiwis); potatoes baked in their jackets (I’m planning on doing them in a slow cooker so I hope they turn out as well as the recipe promises); and corn, broccoli and bacon casserole. There will probably be other dishes but I haven’t thought that far ahead yet.

I’m not sure how many people will be sharing Thanksgiving with us. Naturally ther…

Christmas Parade

Yesterday we did the grandparent-thing and took The Most Adorable Granddaughter to watch the Christmas Parade. For over 45 minutes traffic was diverted as various floats took to our town's main street.

Where would a town be without its town crier?

The local brass band was next. We were thrilled when they stopped right in front of us and played Christmas carols.

Few floats showed the true meaning of Christmas. I'm reminded of the letter to the editor of a newspaper a few years ago, complaining that Christians had to bring religion into Christmas. I beg your pardon?! Sadly, in this day and age not everyone understands the reason we celebrate. These people do:

Photos of other floats:

The Most Adorable Granddaughter in the World watched it all with a solemn look on her face. She particularly loved the dogs and horses. Here she is with grandpa waiting for the mounted police officers at the close of the parade:

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a …

The Persecuted Church

These images of The Church of The Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo in the South Island of New Zealand are well-known - at least in this part of the world. We visited the church one cold Sunday afternoon in the middle of winter. We failed to read the sign at the door that said that the church was used by the Anglicans in the morning and the Roman Catholics in the afternoon. Without thinking we opened the door and found the eyes of almost everyone in that building turned our way. Thankfully the congregation numbered less than a dozen! The priest continued, totally ignoring us. I guess he was used to insensitive tourists barging in and disturbing mass.

Years ago an Australian friend gave me a card with the photo of the cross in the foreground and the mountains in the background (taken from inside the church) and I was able to say, "I've been there." Show these images to anyone who's toured New Zealand and chances are they will be able to say the same thing. Google "Chur…

Spills and Thrills

I've just returned from the local hospital where we spent over an hour and a half in the new medical and accident ward. Just as I was about to serve up tea (what we call our evening meal), Son#4 ran into the corner of a wall (how many times do we have to tell them not to run in the house), splitting his eyebrow open and requiring a couple of stitches.

Six or seven months ago he managed to split the other eyebrow and also required stitches (I don't know if he's trying to match the scars or make some kind of personal statement). At least that didn't happen as we were about to sit down to a meal but the time he broke his collarbone was at tea time - and we had guests.

This appears to be a trend in our family. Why have an accident that requires a trip to hospital at a convenient time? No, far better to make it as inconvenient as possible.

Like the time Son#1 cut his finger with a knife and had to have stitches. I was 8 months pregnant with Son#5, my husband was away, and I wa…

Living Epistles

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart (2 Corinthians 3:2-3, NKJV).

A number of years ago I heard this little quote: "Your life may be the only Bible that some people ever read."

If that's true, then how am I doing?

Does my life show Jesus' love to a lost and dying world?

Do I show mercy and grace even when it's difficult?

Am I compassionate?

Do I care for the poor and the needy?

Am I honest and truthful?

Do I 'practice what I preach'?

Do I avoid judging and criticising?

Do I go the 'extra-mile' with a willing spirit?

Do I avoid engaging in gossip?

Do I love my neighbour?

If I was accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?

If I am indeed an epistle - a letter from Jesus to this world - is the message clear, or is it …

Our Five Priorities

Recently a friend preached on what he believed our priorities should be as set out in Ephesians 5 & 6. This is his list of our five priorities as Christians:

First Priority: Our Relationship with God.Be ye therefore followers of God (Eph 5:1, KJV). Most Christians would agree that this goes without saying!

Second Priority: Our Marriage Relationship.Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands ... Husbands, love your wives ... (Eph 5:22-25, KJV). If you're not married, you can disregard this priority, but if not, then this is for you.

Third Priority: Relationship between Parents and Children.Children, obey your parents ... Honour thy father and mother ... (Eph 6:1-2, KJV). This is for everyone. Even if you don't have children, at some stage you have had parents, and if they are still living, you still have a responsibility toward them.

Fourth Priority: Responsibilities of Employment.Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters ... With good will doing service as to th…

Blessing or Curse?

Overheard at church yesterday: "My daughter's having her third baby in four years. I hope she's not going to be like [name of a mutual friend who has a large family] and keep going."

It's an understatement to say I was shocked.

Here was someone who is respected in our congregation for her insight and maturity and godliness, and yet she said that. It seems that as Christians we are willing to admit that children are a blessing (as the Bible says) but only if you stop at two or, at the most, three children. After that, people's views seem to change (I suspect as the selfish nature asserts itself).

I'm certainly no stranger to comments like this.

Our first son was born one year and one week and one day after our first wedding anniversary. After the old ladies in the church did the math on their fingers and realised it was 'all right', we started getting hints that we were selfish, immature and irresponsible to have a child so soon after marriage. It wou…

For All Men

I've seen this portion of Scripture quoted a lot on blogs and message boards recently, so why am I posting it here? Simply because it applies:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence (1 Timothy 2:1-2, NKJV).

I've been impressed with those American friends of mine who, while disappointed in the outcome of their presidential election, have not forgotten their God-given responsibility to pray for those in positions of power and authority.

However, I suspect it's easier to remember to pray when you have doubts and fears and easier to forget when things are going your way.

For I'm happy with the outcome of our election. I'm disappointed that some of the minor parties didn't get a few more seats in parliament, but overall I'm pleased. But, along with my many Christian friends …

God Of Nations

Tomorrow we go to the polling booths. In just over 24 hours we could have a new leader in government - but then again we could have the same leader. In recent days the words of one of New Zealand's National Anthems (NZ has two national anthems of equal standing: 'God Defend New Zealand' and 'God Save the Queen') has been on my heart. I say heart, because the words are an incredible hymn of prayer and praise to our God.

The first time I really listened to the words and understood them was years ago when we sang it in church. I think it's the only time I've ever sung a national anthem in church and it left a marked impression. Up until that time I had stood silently when the New Zealand National Anthem was sung. It wasn't my anthem and I felt that by not singing it I remained true to my own anthem and heritage. But since that day, I sing it not with patriotic passion but with praise to our God and Heavenly Father.

I must admit that I do wonder how our Prime…


Aftermath: resultant conditions: aftereffects collectively

Given the definition, there appear to have been several aftereffects of last night!

Firstly, there were no fireworks last night. The predicted weather arrived and we had heavy rain and high winds. This morning, my garden looked a little worse for wear. There were roses and petals over the ground (the yellow 'ball' on the ground in the photo is a perfectly formed and opened rose that the wind obviously removed from its branch) and lots of tiny green plums. The roses will recover and with less fruit on the branches, hopefully the plum trees will put all their energy into growing bit fat ripe plums by mid-summer. No trees appear to be down and we still have power, so there is much to be thankful for.

Secondly, last night we learnt the results of the American presidential election. I'm not going to discuss the results but I do wonder: What will be the aftermath of such an election?

Thirdly, last night we also watched the e…

Guy Fawkes

Also known as Bonfire Night, Cracker Night, or Fireworks Night, Guy Fawkes Night celebrates the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot of the 5th November 1605 in which a number of Catholic conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London. Eventually Guy Fawkes confessed and was hanged along with other conspirators.

Since then the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries have celebrated it at some time during the year. In New Zealand it is celebrated on the anniversary of the plot, November 5, and is marked by bonfires and fireworks. The sale of fireworks in this country is regulated and they can only be purchased by those 18 years and over for the four days leading up to Guy Fawkes.

We don’t usually bother with fireworks but tonight if the weather permits (some really nasty weather has been predicted which would most definitely put a stop to any fireworks) we might take a drive and watch the display of others’ fireworks from up on the small hill…

Twenty Things I Like

To counter the recent post on Ten Things I Dislike I decided to do Twenty Things I Like (I already had it in mind when I posted Ten Things I Dislike but thank you BellaMama for your suggestion):

1. Spending time with family. It’s even more special when we can all worship together since that doesn’t happen very often;

2. Hearing The Most Adorable Granddaughter say, “Nana”;

3. Late night talks with my sons. I don’t know why they want to have “deep and meaningfuls” late at night, but I’m glad they trust me enough to talk to me;

4. Seeing my kids get on with one another and with their sister-in-law and niece;

5. Picking produce from my own garden and serving it up to my family;

6. When a recipe turns out and looks and tastes fabulous;

7. Seeing my name in print;

8. A clean house;

9. Curling up in bed with a good book;

10. Long hot summers;

11. Completing a project I’ve been working on such as a knitted jumper or a new quilt;

12. Talking to The Most Adorable Granddaughter (she’s so cute when she’s on …

Ten Things I Dislike

1. Being kept waiting. I don't mind if it's at the doctor's surgery or in a queue because those times I expect to be kept waiting, but when someone says they'll be somewhere at a given time and don't turn up, then I really don't like it.

2. Housework. Contrary to popular belief (apparently because I do so much of it) I do not enjoy housework. Dusting and ironing are my particular pet hates. I do housework because I can't stand a messy house and because it's one way of showing my family that I care for them but if it suddenly got done without me having to lift a finger you wouldn't hear me complaining.

3. Being made to feel guilty. I really dislike feeling that I have to do something out of a sense of guilt.

4. Saying 'no'. See number three.

5. The sight of blood. My family thinks this is hilarious considering I was a nurse in a previous existence (i.e. before children). It never used to bother me then but it bothers me now. I've even been kn…

Pretty? Perhaps!

Recently I was caring for The Most Adorable Granddaughter in the World and I needed to clip her hair back out of her eyes. When I finished she asked, "Pretty?"

I assured her she looked very pretty.

"Nana pretty," she replied.

Oh I wish! Since then she has said it several times. It's nice to know that when viewed through the eyes of an almost-two-year-old, that I pass muster. It's been said that children and fools tell the truth ... I wonder. I look in the mirror and I see all my faults - but then I'm not looking through the eyes of love.

Today I measured my hair. I had hoped for quite a bit of growth because it feels as if it's grown since my "trim" but it appears that I've gotten nothing more than my regular growth of half an inch per month. The tape measure showed just over 33" or, more precisely, 84cm. Before my "trim" I was 34.5" and afterwards I reckoned that the hair stylist had cut almost 2" off. I then had…