Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Green with Envy!

Tomorrow, a very dear friend of mine (Lightening) is leaving for a HUGE holiday.

She is taking her husband, and her three kids along the East Coast of Australia in a caravan for three whole months.

I'm so jealous!

I'm also extremely happy and excited for her. If anyone deserves good things to happen to her it's Lightening. She has been an absolute blessing to me and I treasure her friendship immensely.

But I'm also sad.

I won't see her for three whole months! I know I will hear from her, and I will be able to keep tabs on her via her blog, but that's not the same as a cuppa and a chat, or a prayer after church when I really need it. And she always seems to know when I really need it.

Lord, please be with Lightening and her family as they make final preparations today for their big trip. Please watch over them as they travel and grant them safe passage. I know they will bless everyone they meet, and I pray that they meet many interesting people and enjoy every moment they spend together.

Monday, June 29, 2009


I have a friend who I'm quite sure is in my life to repeatedly give me lessons on grace.

She frustrates me.

Sometimes she makes me really really angry.

But I still love her. Most of the time.

This weekend was a time when she really got me hot under the collar. It happened on Saturday. And I stewed over it for the rest of the day. Then I stewed over it all night. By the time it was time to go to church on Sunday I was all set to confront her. For those of you who don't know me that means I was really cross! I avoid confrontation like the plague! Hate it!

So, I get to church and Melissa, who was worship leading and playing the piano at once asked me if I could sing the songs for her.

Even though I was grumpy, I still said yes to that. Never pass up an opportunity to sing!

So there I am, standing up in church, singing worship songs. Looking straight at my friend who I was really really cross with. And do you know what? The anger and resentment just left me. It was completely lifted and I was able to forgive her once again.

She will annoy me again. Without even knowing she's done it. She is notorious for treading on people's toes, and I'm quite sure she has no clue that she has upset anyone. Even when someone tells her, she is so thick skinned it just doesn't compute.

But she is also one of the most loving, giving and genuine people I know. If you ever need help she is always the first one there. And when she stood facing me in church today, her face shining as she sang for the glory of the Lord I remembered that just like me she is the daughter of a King, and it's not my place to judge her. I just have to love her for her who she is and keep forgiving her. Even when she doesn't know she has upset me, and doesn't even realise that I'm forgiving her.

And that's really hard sometimes.

Makes me realise how lucky I am that I have the Lord who keeps forgiving me. Keeps showing me grace when I deserve the opposite.

Friday, June 26, 2009

God's Garden

A couple of weeks ago I had a great time with my Dad's fantastic camera around our farm and garden. The resulting photos fill me with wonder at God's creation, and joy that I am His child. Stopping and "smelling the roses" like this makes me so thankful and full of praise, and the worship leader in me is immediately reminded of a song....
Into your hands, I commit again,
All I am for you Lord.
You hold my world in the palm of your hand,
And I am yours forever.

Jesus I believe in you,
Jesus I belong to you,
You're the reason that I live,
The reason that I sing,
With all Iam

I will walk with you wherever you go

Through tears and joy

I'll trust in you

And I will live in all of your ways
Your promises forever
Jesus I believe in you,
Jesus I belong to you,
You're the reason that I live,
The reason that I sing
With all Iam.

The song is called "With All Iam" and it's always been a special one to me. It just really speaks to me...

And in case you are wondering, the moisture on the flowers isn't from being watered. It's from RAIN!!! Over the last few days we have had a wonderful, steady soaking. Thanks so much for your prayers, keep up the good work! Regular rain through to September will ensure we have a viable crop.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I've been wondering lately just what the Lord has in store for my future.

I've been trying not to worry (and failing miserabely!) about the future path my children will take. Whether they will find a job they enjoy, a person to love them, a happy and productive future.

And then there is Kym and I. We have endured 4 consecutive bad years on the farm. Only three of them have been officially called a drought, but the other was what's called a price drought. We had the grain, but the prices were so low it wasn't profitable.

I have to admit, I have on occasion hoped for us to have to leave. I've often yearned for something new, a new adventure, a change of pace. But it doesn't seem to be my reality. I grew up in a nomadic family. I have lived in almost every state in Australia and I love the idea of new horizons to explore.

My husband is a very good farm and financial manager. Which means we are still quite stable, even after so many bad years. Obviously the Lord has a plan for me. It would appear that that plan involves me staying put.

Which is ok. Really.

I have travelled enough to appreciate that this is a wonderful place to live. It feels isolated at times and sometimes it's frustrating (when you can't get your washing machine fixed because it takes a week to get the parts from Sydney), but it's still a fabulous place to live. And so safe. Our kids have so much freedom.

I guess I just need to remind myself again to leave it all with the Lord. He will look after my kids. He will see to their future and to mine. Nothing is too big or too small or too hard for him.

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's not fair.

You have my permission to stop reading now....this is going to be a bit of a rant.

When I left school in 1987 we were in the grips of recession. I remember being terrified of not being able to find a job. It consumed my every waking moment.

I was lucky, and was able to find a good job straight out of school, so my worry was unfounded. But the memory of that uncertainty and fear hasn't left me.

Since then times have been pretty good for our school leavers. Most kids leaving school have a choice of jobs, they have been able to select the field they want to go into without the "beggers can't be choosers" mentality that I and my classmates had.

Until now.

Right when MY kids are preparing to leave school and enter the workforce.

So now all that uncertainty, and worry, and stress is back.

It's just NOT. FAIR.

Why do I have to go through all this again?

At the moment thoughts of what career path to take are consuming Stephanie's every thought. She knows what she wants to do but she is afraid that there won't be a job for her once she finishes her studies. Stephanie is artistic. She loves makeup, cosmetics and the beauty industry. She loves colour and design and her dream is to become an interior decorator. And she would be so good at it. She has such an eye for colour and her attention to detail is fabulous.

She loves fashion, and design, as we saw in the beautiful gown she designed for herself for her debutante ball.

She is already selling herself short by coming up with compromises. She is telling herself that she needs to steer away from what she wants to do and think about what she feels is possible.

I did exactly the same thing. I found a good job and that was the end of chasing my dreams.

It breaks my heart to see her following in my footsteps, because she is afraid, because she lacks confidence in herself and because she is putting so many limitations on her own abilities.

The best thing I can do for her is pray. And this I will do. I didn't know the Lord when I was going through this struggle myself. I'm not sure that Stephanie beleives in the Lord either but she does have a Mum praying for her, which is more than I had.

Lord, help Stephanie to follow her dreams and reach her potential. Please show her the path that you have planned for her and help her have the courage to follow it. Please watch over her as she thinks about her future and help her to look to the future with courage and excitement rather than fear and trepadition. Help me guide her as you would like her guided. Help me speak words of wisdom and encouragement when I struggle to remain calm and patient. Give her some direction Lord, and show her that with You anything is possible.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


In the middle of the night last night I came up with what I want for my 40th birthday.

I am 40 this year, just before Christmas. I've been in denial about it for quite some time but now I've come up with something that will make me look forward to it.

I'm just not sure it's possible.

I would love our family to fly to Perth to spend Christmas with Kym's brother Brad, his wife Ainsley and their dear little girl Jessica. Jessica is 3 and we have already missed so much of seeing her grow up.

How Beautiful is this little girl? I'm only a little bit biased!

There are a few obstacles.

The cost: While not completely prohibitive, we would have to start saving yesterday.

Harvest: Shouldn't be an issue unless we have an absolute bumper year and it takes a really long time! Or, if we have lots of breakdowns (perish the thought), or rain (can't harvest wet grain).

Grandpa: Kym's Grandpa is 90. And while he is still pretty healthy we are starting to treasure special days with him more and more. Every Christmas with Grandpa is special, but we are starting to wonder if each one will be the last, and none of us want to miss that last Christmas.

Grandpa in January this year, on his 90th birthday. Surrounded by photos of his great grand children. A wonderul, giving, kind and very special Grandpa.

Beach Holiday: Kym and the kids can do both holidays but I can't. We traditionally spend most of January at Grandpa's shack at the beach. The kids love this time and would be horrified if we missed a year. It's not an expensive holiday as we don't pay accomodation and it's only a 40 minute drive from home. The issue is that if I take time off over Christmas to go to Perth, then I won't be able to have time off to spend at the shack. Last year I travelled back to work each day from the beach and that was Really. Hard.

But on the plus side, it would be wonderful to spend Christmas with members of our family we don't get to see very often. Not to mention spend it with a three year old! Teenagers don't exactly get excited about Santa anymore, and I really miss that!

My dear friend Kath lives not far from Perth, so I would be able to see her as well. Also Steph would be able to see her friends from when we lived over there.

I shall put it to the family and see what they think....

A note on the washing machine saga...still not repaired, hopefully next week. BUT last night I came home to find clean, folded laundry on my kitchen table....Kym took it down to his Mum's and she did our washing! My mother in law is one of those well meaning but always in the way type mother in laws. She has a heart of gold but drives me INSANE! But today she is my favourite person in the whole world...

Thursday, June 18, 2009


You wouldn't believe it.

After spending a weekend in Adelaide (and spending is the key word here) I came home to a mountain of washing.

We got home on Monday night and threw it all into the laundry to be dealt with whenever one of us had the time and energy.

Tuesday night I went to a Ministry Team meeting, so no washing happened.

Wednesday Kym decided to get it started as we had some sunshine.

And the washing machine has died.

Why now? Why does it have to happen when I can't open my laundry door because of all the dirty clothes stacked up? Why now when I can't afford another washing machine?


Kym is bringing it into town this morning, he has had a look and thinks its something to do with the electrical circuit. Hopefully whatever it is will be cheap, quick, and easy to fix.

In the meantime the kids have school photos today so last night I hand washed their uniform! They had other clean uniform but they wanted to wear the newer, less faded ones for school photo day. Which is fair I guess. We have dragged my old washing machine out from the back shed. It only spins, so after handwashing I put them through the spinner and through the dryer (which still works thankfully!).

You know what's really annoying. This washing machine isn't even that old. We worked out last night that it's 5 years old. I've been married almost 20 years and this is my second washing machine. The first one lasted 15 years. They sure don't build things like they used to!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Beekeeping for Beginners!

Something that I discovered this weekend is that bee keeping is really involved!

We went to Adelaide this weekend so that Steph could visit some art galleries as part of her art program this semester.

We stayed with Kym's favourite aunt, and her husband who is a very experienced bee keeper, or to be technically correct, apiarist. Marty's family own the largest apiary in South Australia and are well know in bee keeping circles so Kym was keen to learn all he could from him over the weekend.

Kym is most excited, and after spending about double what he expected is now fully set up to keep 5 hives.

Above is the basic set up of one bee box. You need at least two of these (even better, three) to keep a happy hive. The queen lives in the bottom box and lays all her babies in the honey comb there and the box on top is the honey box. The queen is kept down in the bottom with a queen excluder mat. I told you it was involved! Most boxes come with metal lids which we don't use in South Australia. We only use wood because the metal gets too hot in summer and a mass of melted wax, honey and dead bees is not a good thing! One thing Marty said to us over and over again was the most important thing was to have happy, healthy bees. If you look after your bees the honey will come, which is logical really.

The next big purchase will need to happen in spring time when the honey is "flowing" (that's what bee keepers call it, I think it's a great phrase!). We will need a honey extractor which is a big metal spinner that you put your frames in and spin the honey out.

One of these babies will set you back anything from $800 to $8000 depending on how many frames it holds, and whether it is automatic or done by hand. I'm telling you right now we won't be doing it by hand!

Then we will need to purchase some honey containers to put our honey in for selling! 5 bee hives apparently yields about 500kg of honey, which is quite a lot of honey!

Kym is now looking into planting lots and lots more trees around our farm. We already have a lot of our property revegetated but now he's looking at it from the perspective of having something flowering all year round for his bees.

I haven't been all that involved in this whole process unless Kym has asked my advice on something but I'm really enjoying watching how excited and animated he is about it. With farming being the way it has these past four years it's wonderful to see him really animated about something.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


There is always hope.

To our Lord, no one is hopeless, or a lost cause.

Something I would do well to remember...

This week something wonderful happened on Sunday. Stephanie came to church. She got up, dressed and asked if I would mind if she came along. Mind? I think not!

I told her I would love her to join me. And so she did.

I can't describe the feeling of standing next to her singing worship songs. Actually mostly I just listened to her sing them. She didn't know them all, as she hasn't been to church in quite some time but she is a fast learner and picked them up really quickly.

I love listening to her sing. But listening to her sing worship songs, now that is something else entirely.

She has a beautiful, sweet, clear voice that is well suited to worship! I hope and pray that she uses her gift solely for the glory of the Lord some day.

I'm not sure what made her decide to come. Whether it was to see her friend Sophie (whose wonderful positive influence on Steph is something I am eternally grateful for), or to please me, or (I dare not hope) because she wants to know the Lord.

Lord, thankyou for the time I spent sharing worship with Stephanie this week. These moments are so precious to me and I pray that Stephanie will grow to love you and live to worship you.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A little something I shared in church today.

This weekend is a long weekend in South Australia. One of the good things about being part of a Monarchy is we get a public holiday for the Queen's Birthday. Even though her birthday isn't in June...but I digress.

Due to it being a long weekend there were quite a few families going away and so not going to be at church. We decided to make it a congregational service for this reason. A congregational service is pretty much just sharing among the congregation.

We still have a worship leader, and we still sing worship songs, but the sermon is opened up to the floor and anyone is welcome to share something.

We had a couple of families do plays from the parables which is always entertaining.

A couple of members shared from their hearts about God's creation, and how amazing it is that God's plan is perfect and when we have our hearts right for the Lord stuff just happens.

I read a poem that I had prepared for my Niece's baptism a year ago, but that service got too long and I never ended up using it.

Here it is...

Prayer for the Children

We pray for the children
Who bring us vegemite kisses,
And fistfuls of dandelions.
Who sneak lollies before dinner
And can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those who never get dessert,
Who have no safe blanket or comfort toy,
Who watch their parents watch them die.
Who don't have rooms to clean up
Whose pictures aren't on anyone's mantel
Whose monsters are real.

We pray for the children
Who spend their pocket money on rubbish,
Who throw tantrums in shopping centres
And pick at their food,
Who shove dirty clothes under the bed
And won't be kissed in front of their friends.
Who squirm in church
And squash flies in hym books.
Whose tears we sometimes laugh at
And whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime
Who never get enough to eat
Who have never been to the dentist
Who aren't spoiled by anyone
Who go to bed hungryand cry themselves to sleep
Who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for the children who want to be carried
And for those who must
Who we never give up on
And for those who give up on themselves
We pray for those we smother
And for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.
Lord, we pray for all the children.
Let all the children come to you.

I started out wanting to write a prayer, as I was the worship leader for my niece's baptism and I'm not good at praying off the cuff. It wasn't meant to become a poem, but that's what happened!

Hope everyone has had a relaxing and restful Sunday.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Spa Party

Last night Steph held a Mary Kay spa party at our house. A spa party is where we treat the guests to a facial and a foot spa. We ended up with a few more people than we bargained for...a few people cancelled mid week, so we invited more, and then the original people decided they could come afterall! It was pretty hectic and Steph was exhausted afterward (she gave 16 foot massages!) but she gained a lot of experience.

We split the group in two since we had so many. Half did the facial while the other half had their feet soaked and massaged and then we swapped. Here is a group of Steph's classmates looking gorgeous in their clay masks! If you are wondering what the writing is on the back of my kitchen door, it's our family growth chart! That mark at the top is now Scott.

Here is Steph hard at work. She made roughly $150 from this party and I'm thinking she earned every cent! Her thumbs were cramping up by the end of the evening!

The ladies had a wonderful time. There was a great deal of laughter and fun. I'm thinking I would like to go to one of these parties because they look like a lot of fun! Being the hostess as well as the consultant is really hard work!

Tonight we have a family over for dinner. We are cooking a camp oven and spending a relaxing evening around the camp fire, toasting marshmallows and chatting. One of the upsides of living on a farm, we can light a camp fire whenever we like! Looking forward to it!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Working Mother Meltdown...

I'm sure you've heard of it.

It's a phenomenon that occurs when the working mother is juggling too many balls and someone throws her another one and everything comes crashing down.

That happened to me this morning...

Steph is holding a Mary Kay party tonight at our home (she is a Mary Kay beauty consultant with quite a bit of help from her Mum). This week has been a busy one for us. Monday night we had our grand final of squash (my team came second), Tuesday I baked in readiness for Steph's party, Wednesday night we went out to tea for a friend's 40th birthday, Thursday was netball training. And of course everyday between the hours of 7:45am and 6pm I am travelling to work, working, and travelling home.

Got home from netball training around 8pm and set about scrubbing the bathroom till is shone. Since Steph is having a spa party I wanted guests to be able to use the bathroom if need be.

Was feeling quite smug with my efforts this morning as I showered in my sparkling bathroom when dear husband said "you could have done a bit of housework last night"

I didn't yell and scream, that's not my thing. I held it in and tried not to react. And failed. I'm not sure whether it was the banging of cutlery as I made Scott's lunch or the sniffing as I held back angry tears but something tipped Kym off to the fact that he'd crossed the line.

He apologised, still justifying his position. "I always leave things to the last minute" was one of the comments he made. And his sorry was more like a sor-RY. The kind of apology that he begrudgingly gives to try to get himself out of trouble. He said "sorry, but..." There should be no "but".

I'm being a bit hard on him. He was genuinely sorry that he upset me, but still adamant that he was right.

I will get it done. I usually do. It bothers me that he has so little faith in me. That even though he has apologised he still thinks I'm not doing a very good job.

And I may not be.

But I can only juggle so many balls...and I'm doing my best.

My best may not be good enough sometimes, but it's still my best, and it's still all I can do.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Loving Discipline

The sermon at church this week got me thinking...which is what is supposed to happen, just doesn't always!

Our speaker talked about being surrounded by our church family, and how it is our duty to encourage, uplift and sometimes lovingly correct each other.

In the past week or so I have been grappling with whether or not I should speak to Stephanie about her attitude.

She is quite negative at the moment. Stuff is changing in her life and she doesn't like it. One of her best friends (Trent, who was her partner in the recent Debutante Ball) has found an apprenticeship and is leaving school. Another friend has an operation on her back coming in July and won't be at school for the rest of the year (she is having her spine fused, scoliosis). Another has moved to Queensland. Still more will go away to Adelaide next year.

The way Stephanie is coping (or not coping) with this is with extreme negativity. She constantly finds fault with her team members at netball, she is difficult to get along with at home, she twists everything you say to her into something negative.

I want to her to speak life. I want to tell her that if what she has to say isn't uplifting or encouraging then please don't say it. I want her to understand how ugly she sounds. How her harsh words and tone of voice make her really hard to be around sometimes.

I have tried a couple of times to broach this subject. And so far I have failed to get the message across. I'm struggling to find the right words at the right time and praying that something I say will sink in.

Lord, please help me find the right words and the right moment to speak to Stephanie. Please help Stephanie cope with the changes happening around her and let her look toward her future with anticipation instead of fear. Most of all, open her heart to You, because that is the answer to everything.