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29.3.10

The Mayonnaise Jar

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle,
When 24 hours in a day is not enough;
remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class
and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, wordlessly,
he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar
and start to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured
it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again
if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand
and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else
He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded
With an unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table
and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively
filling the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor, as the laughter subsided,
'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things - Family,
children, health, friends, and favorite passions
Things that if everything else was lost
and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else --
The small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued,
'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff,
You will never have room for the things that are
important to you.

So...

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time
to clean the house and fix the dripping tap.

'Take care of the golf balls first --
The things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand
and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled.
'I'm glad you asked'.
It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem,
there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'

Please share this with other "Golf Balls"

I just did......
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25.3.10

Depression Solutions - Eat Well & Exercise

As much as I don't want to write about this subject I know that I should. I don't want to write about it because I like to leave the past behind me and not dig up things that can be difficult to talk about. On the other hand I know that so many people are struggling silently out there and it would be plain selfish if I didn't share my journey. So from time to time I am going to post some thoughts on this as well as my struggle with suicide, insecurity & other similar subjects. If you or someone you know struggles in these areas and have questions or thoughts or suggestions please leave a comment in the comment box below. Before I get into this I do want to make it clear that when I offer solutions they are purely what worked for me and are not going to work for everyone and my views are definitely not medical views at all.

My first real experience with depression as about 10 years ago when I was 26 years old. I may have suffered a bit as a teenager but that's a bit of a blur so am not sure if that was depression or just normal teenage struggles. When I was 26 I started to loose my zest for life, I had no motivation & couldn't see anything exciting about life or my future. There was no real reason for this on the outside but something wasn't working well on the inside. I cried all the time, often for no real reason just felt really sad. I went to see a psychologist who mentioned the possibility of medication. I found the sessions with him very helpful as he helped me find out what exactly I was actually struggling with because I had no idea what I was so "sad" about all the time. I decided to first try a few things on my own before going down the medication route. There is no shame in taking the medication route at all but I asked God for keys for me and this is the journey He took me on.

1. Exercise. First of all I felt that I should go to the gym & get physically fit. I had never been to gym before but had enjoyed running & swimming in my early teens, so I have it a try. I absolutely LOVED it and have loved gym ever since!

2. Eat Well. The next step was to write down what I ate and drank every day & marked on the calendar which days I felt low & which days I was OK. I did this by putting a smiley or sad face on my calendar. It was very interesting to see that what I ate did affect me. It was a long time ago and I have forgotten a lot of what I wrote but I do find that sugar affects me a lot & caffeine. My best weeks are when I eat lots of fruit & veg along with "pure" food. I try to avoid food that has anything artificial in it.

After a few weeks of this I felt God prompting me to go for all the routine checkups that I have never bothered to do. So I went to the dentist, got my eyes tested & went for my very first pap smear - yuck! Well what happened next was just a miracle... but I will leave that for my next post!
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23.3.10

Daniel & Amy Dancing


I couldn't resist sharing this! It's so cute - Daniel & Amy having a little dance in our living room :) and yes you can spot me in the corner in my pyjamas ha ha! I tried to get them to dance in the middle so I wasn't caught on camera but... oh well now you know what I look like on a pyjama day!
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18.3.10

Busy Bee Week

I have nothing interesting to blog this week as I have had the busiest week of my LIFE! There is lots of great & exciting news, some difficult situations we had to deal with & lots of driving around, visiting & caring. It's amazing to see what is doing through our church & if I wasn't so tired I would write a really long post to tell you all about it - but I am way too tired! So how about you, why don't you tell me about your week so I can read all about it rather than write to you this week :) What is God doing in your life?
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15.3.10

Stepford Wives

When Eric brought this movie home for us to watch I was really nervous about watching it - I really thought it was going to be rubbish. Usually Eric has excellent taste in movies so put this bad choice down to the fact that he was a bit ill! Well as the old saying goes - don't judge a book by it's cover. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, it was not at all what I expected based on the "cover". A very entertaining movie with a great message at the end - we don't need to be perfect. Funnily enough this even fit the theme of our day ha ha, I was having one of those days when I just didn't feel good enough as a wife. All the things the wives did in the movie is exactly what most men would like their wives to be like & what we as wives would like to be like. Never-the-less our husbands love us even though we are not perfect all the time. Now Eric & I have a nice personal joke between us - he says to me; "You don't need to be a Stepford wife". Watch the movie you will see what we mean :)
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10.3.10

An Attitude of Gratitude

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." James 4:6

Recently I have noticed something and it has changed my life. The scripture above says that God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. This is always a good thing to keep in mind as I really don't want God to resist me!

My eldest daughter, Lorah, has helped me understand this principle. As I have watched her and learned from her I have seen more and more of how important it is to be grateful. This is not directly humble but I do believe being grateful is a part of a humble nature. By nature, Lorah is always grateful. She never demands or expects anything and this attitude actually makes you want to give more to her. If we are out shopping and she asks for something I don't want to say no to her. The way she humbly asks is so lovely that I just want to give her WHATEVER she asks for. Most people are attracted to Lorah - she is so lovely to be around, so generous with kind words & generally kind to everyone. I have watched her intently for a while trying to pin down what makes her so awesome and one of her key qualities is an attitude of gratitude. It's genuine!

There are other people in my life that aren't so grateful. They are more pushy, more proud and more demanding! I noticed that I resist them. I don't want to say yes to their request and I don't really like being around them. Their company is not pleasant so I limit my time with them. As I have observed how I treat Lorah and how I treat other people I have been able to really understand what this verse in James means.

I have been working on this part of my character and I am intentionally working on being a grateful person. One of the things I am working on is going out of my way to express gratitude. I still have a lot to learn but I am sincerely grateful for the people in my world and I want to learn to give them the gratitude that they deserve.

Most importantly I am seeing how much more gratitude I need to express to God. He has done so much for me and there have been times when I have expected things from Him, times when I have demanded things from Him, (the whole name it and claim it movement can be quite demanding), times that I have become familiar with all He has done for me. If He has resisted me in the past I don't blame Him. I wouldn't want to be around someone like that either. Please & thank you & other manners probably don't make a difference to God but I use this way of speaking to Him to show Him the respect He deserves from me. It's not about the words though it's about the heart attitude. When I ask for things I ask nicely as a grateful child to a Father. When I sin and ask for forgiveness I am truly grateful for the cross.

The word grace in James 4:6 comes from the Greek word "charis" which means amongst other things, gratitude. So it could read like this; "But He gives more gratitude. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives gratitude to the humble". Perhaps as we humble ourselves before Him will grow an attitude of gratitude?
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7.3.10

The Tongue

This Sunday I preached the second part of BATTLE OF THE MINDS. I had a long, hard look at the tongue! It's quite something to see how evil our tongue is - yuck! At least we have the Holy Spirit to help us tame out tongue & the mind of Christ to help us know what to speak :) Let's all help each other to speak in a way that pleases God & if one of us fails in any way gently encourage that person to try again. If you are in a situation where there is gossip - get out - by any means necessary! If you are feeling down don't speak it out but speak words of life into your own life. Most importantly read your Bible, get to know God's will for your life & speak it into you life and those around you. Let's speak our life better!

Well that's me done with preaching for a bit - I hope I managed to give Eric a nice little break & I hope that I managed to speak the Word of God to our Church. It's such an honour to be allowed to preach at Church, I know some Churches prefer that women don't preach - so thank you Eric for trusting me & for giving me to opportunity to grow in this area I am really grateful xxx

Have a listen to the full message here
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3.3.10

Marriage Tip #7 - Work on Your Marriage


I know this may sound simple & obvious but recently I have been surprised at how few people actually intentionally work on their marriage! At church we are running a couples evening called The Love Dare, based on the book by the same name. We are working through one dare a week over a lovely meal. It has been so amazing & such an eye opener. When Eric & I started this I thought that our marriage was just fine. I went thinking we were just there to lead & help other couples. Much to our surprise we realised how many things we need to work at. The Love Dare is an awesome book & so is the Fireproof movie that this book is based on. As we have begun highlighting areas in our marriage we have seen how essential it is to take time to work on our marriage.

I have realised that if we don't intentionally build our marriage we may actually be breaking it. You end up getting familiar, tolerating mediocrity & generally slacking at the things that used to be important to you as a couple. There is no doubt in my mind now, that it is essential to always be working on our marriage. We have several marriage books that we work through from time to time but there is something more powerful about getting together as a group & being accountable & real with other couples.
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