Friday, May 27, 2016

Three cats aren't too many!!

Who can resist a kitten — they are adorable, cuddly and so sweet!!!

Two cats may appear to be plenty for one family, but three is purr—fect !!

After my husband gave into the idea of another cat (he wasn't keen), my son and I went to the animal welfare society (RSPCA) and looked at all the very cute kittens that so desperately needed a home (and there were many to select from) and we found one that was just perfect. 

We named her LILY.

Lily is gentle, laid-back, funny, cute, loves to play but very fond of sleeping in the sunshine and just right for our cat family. Ruby cat wasn't happy at first, but then she realised that she has a little sister who she can chase and be silly with (and boss about). They are now good pals. Charlie isn't happy, but we don't call her "grumpy cat" for nothing. As long as she doesn't find a kitten in her bed –life is ok—but don't expect to be friends ever, Charlie still doesn't like Ruby!!

Lily went to the vet the other day and I discovered that she isn't any sort of ordinary street cat—she is mostly Burmese, which explains her sweet-natural temperament. The vet and staff thought she was adorable and all wanted to give her a pat!!

Pink really is my colour!! 

My big sister is such fun and we will be best friends 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Stories in the news: Secret purchases

Australians spend more than $11 billion every year on guilty habits they keep to themselves. Clothes, gambling, guilt foods, adult entertainment and cigarettes came in at the top of secret purchases made, with women more than twice as likely to hide clothing purchases than men. The survey found, on average, that Australian men spent $4,596 on purchases they did not reveal to their partners, while women spent $1,476. Generation Y, aged 18-35, held the largest debt from secret spending at $2054, topping Generation X with $1173, and Baby Boomers with a mere $318. (Source)

Who buys things but doesn't tell their husband? 

Do you think your husband need to know about ALL your purchases?

Do you think your husband hides purchases from you?

USA Money Magazine survey (2012) (source)

  • 71 % of married Americans acknowledged keeping secrets about their spending from their spouses
  • 44 % said keeping secrets about money is acceptable under certain circumstances
  • 40 % admitted that they tell their spouse they spent less on purchases than they actually did (women lied mostly about clothing, shoes, and things for kids; men lied mostly about things for the car, entertainment, and sports tickets)

It seems that women and men alike hide purchases from their partners and doesn't make any differences if you are in Australia, UK or USA — we are all guilty.  Both appear to be as bad as each other, the only difference is what is being bought. Women buy clothes and shoes, whilst the men are spending on gambling, adult entertainment and alcohol. 

A survey has found that men are more likely to lie about their expenditure and hide items they have purchased from their partners - all in a desperate quest to keep their shopping habits under wraps. New research has revealed that almost double the number of British males confess to secret spending - described as actively hiding or lying about their expenditures - than women. Female respondents were more likely to downplay the price of purchases (73%) and pretend new items were old (61 per cent), compared to the male respondents who would rather hide the purchase altogether (64 per cent) and destroy receipts (59 per cent). (source)

I discussed this topic with a group of friends and all admitted to secret purchases at some point in time — however one older man said that he and his wife both have "pocket money" each fortnight and they can do what they like with it, no strings attached. They can save it, or spend it and this has stopped any secret purchases because the pocket money is for all those "guilty" purchases. 

‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. (Leviticus 19:11)

Healthy marriages are built on trust, communication and honesty — hiding purchases, denying that purchases occur or lying are all unhealthy and damaging to one's marriage. And it is also not how a Christian should be behaving—Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight (Proverbs 12:22). Lying about what you buy can lead to other lies in a marriage, must more serious lies and before you know it, the entire marriage is being built on lies and guilt. 

We need must be honest with our spouses and be open about how we spend the household finances (especially if money is tight) and if we are hiding things, it probably isn't for good reasons. Share with your husband what you have purchased and if your husband asks you to limit your purchasing or not be wasteful remember as Christian wives we are to submit to our husbands and that also includes how we spend money. 

For some women, secret purchasing is done because they are struggling with self control, being temped to buy more than they need and wanting to hide from their husbands the problem they have. It is better to discuss this with your husband as soon as possible and find a solution before it gets out of control. Satan loves people with no self-control and wants us to spend and be irresponsible. God wants the opposite .

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. (James 1:14)

I do like the idea of the husband and wife having pocket money (which is what my husband and I do already) — money that both can spend on those guilty pleasures without feeling guilty and no justification required. It doesn't have to be much, but it allows for fun spending that we all like to do from time to time. 

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Give to the winds thy fears

Give to the winds thy fears ~

Give to the winds thy fears,
Hope and be undismayed,
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears,
God shall lift up thy head.

Through waves and clouds and storms,
He gently clears thy way;
Wait thou his time, so shall this night
Soon end in joyous day.

Still heavy is thy heart, 
Still sink thy spirits down;
Cast off the weight, let fear depart,
And every care be gone.

What though thou rulest not,
Yet heaven, and earth, and hell,
Proclaim, God sitteth on the throne,
And ruleth all things well.

Leave to his sovereign sway
To choose and to command,
So shalt thou wondering own his way,
How wise, how strong his hand!

Far, far above thy thought
His counsel shall appear,
When fully he the work that wrought,
That caused thy needless fear.

Thou seest our weakness, Lord,
Our hearts are known to thee;
O lift thou up the sinking heart,
Confirm the feeble knee.

Let us in life, in death,
Thy stedfast truth declare,
And publish with our latest breath

Thy love and guardian care.

John Wesley

Monday, May 23, 2016

Doing good works quietly

"Everyone seem to want attention today. From the never-ending crop of willing contestants on reality TV shows to the banal infinity of YouTube performers, to nearly all of us spending so much time online, privately always hoping to garner ever more “likes” and followers — attention seems to be a goal for many of us today." ~ James Franco

No one is willing to work quietly behind the scenes anymore — willing to go unnoticed — not seeking  or desiring fame or fortune. Sadly Christians (individuals and families) are no better. They aren't willing to quietly spread the work of God, instead it has turned into a circus, they want to be on TV, they drag their families on TV, they end up on the covers of fashion magazines and other Christians follow their fashions and hairdos. Bloggers to some extend are doing just that — and women flock to their sites and tell them how wonderful they are and as we all love praise, it builds egos and makes us feel good.

God wants us to do good works, these good works include serving our families and helping others. Helping others may involve taking care of a sick neighbour to helping at the local charity soup kitchen to lending a hand at church. Sadly, we all know women that put their hands up for numerous activities and whilst they do a great job, they expect lots of notice and praise for the work they do. And sometimes they like to remind others about all the good things they are doing — they become boastful and no longer wish to be one of the invisible workers in the team.  In fact, they become rather unpleasant to be around. 

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)

No matter what we do, we should not expect praise (and that includes the work we do at home for our families), we should not seek glory and if we are noticed for the work we do, we need to use that recognition to glorify our Heavenly Father and not ourselves. We must not put on a performance to seek out more attention, to be noticed to grab the limelight. Because fame is like a drug, once you have a bit, you want more and the good intentions you started with begin to get watered down. 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Whatever we do, do it quietly and well. Do not seek attention in order to be noticed. People will notice if you do good things, but when you do them quietly and with grace and humility, they will see the goodness and not someone full of pride. Set an example to your children so when they do good deeds such as helping someone—that they don't automatically expect praise and notice. And when they help around the home, don't always give them pocket money, otherwise they will associate doing something nice with a financial reward rather than simply helping because its the right thing to do. 

Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. (1 Thessalonians 2:6)

  • We need to always remember why we are doing "good works", it isn't about us, its about God. It is never about us, our good deeds are our way of promoting God and sharing His wonders with unbelievers.

  • We are never to be "boastful" about our activities and make a big song and dance to gain attention. Don't shout about your good deeds to the masses. God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

  • Good deeds shouldn’t be done because you think it will get you to heaven—it won't. 

  • Do not bemoan the lack of notice when you have done something at home i.e. cleaned the house or ironed the clothes. At times it might feel as if no one noticed or cares. But the truth is, all our unnoticed works may not always be seen by our children or our husbands—but they are appreciated and your family knows you do wonderful things for them to make their lives comfortable. 

  • Be willing to reach out and help someone, even if it might be an inconveniences to you—good deeds aren't about saving the world, they are about helping one person and making a difference to their day. 

And finally, when you see other Christians doing good works, let them know—a quiet thankyou note, a bunch of flowers as a way of saying that you support and encourage their good works. Sadly Christians can be very critical of other Christians, instead of building them up and supporting their work, they tear them down and find fault in them (because you could do it far better than they can). Why not  offer to help them in their activities, help behind the scenes, give encouragement. 

”Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden."

 (1 Timothy 5:24-25)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Art friday: Angus Clifford Racey Help

Artist: Angus Clifford Racey Help

1913 - 1970

English children's author and illustrator, designer of postcards, greeting cards, jigsaws, playing cards and wrapping paper. 

His first success as an author and artist came during World War II with stories written for her. When the war came, Anne was packed off to a less noisy part of the country, but she still insisted on her story, and so Helps wrote them down for her, drew pictures to illustrate them, and sent them to her. During that time, Racey and his wife Irene Helps lived in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, and were hosts to many young American soldiers based in the town, besides running a hairdressing salon. On one occasion a publisher happened to drop in and pick up one of Helps's handwritten, illustrated booklets. Helps was invited to London to discuss publication of future work. (source: Wikipedia)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Educating girls

66 million girls have NO access to education across the world (UNESCO)

Girls attend class at a school in Mingora, the main town of Swat valley in Pakistan. Mingora, Pakistan, 2013 

Education is one of the blessings of life—and one of its necessities. That has been my experience during the 17 years of my life. In my paradise home, Swat, I always loved learning and discovering new things. I remember when my friends and I would decorate our hands with henna on special occasions. And instead of drawing flowers and patterns we would paint our hands with mathematical formulas and equations.

We had a thirst for education, we had a thirst for education because our future was right there in that classroom. We would sit and learn and read together. We loved to wear neat and tidy school uniforms and we would sit there with big dreams in our eyes. We wanted to make our parents proud and prove that we could also excel in our studies and achieve those goals, which some people think only boys can.

But things did not remain the same. When I was in Swat, which was a place of tourism and beauty, suddenly changed into a place of terrorism. I was just ten that more than 400 schools were destroyed. 

Women were flogged. People were killed. And our beautiful dreams turned into nightmares.

Education went from being a right to being a crime.

Girls were stopped from going to school. 

— Malala Yousafzai, 17 years old, Noble Peace Winner, 2014— a young girl who spoke out about the rights of education for all girls and was shot as a consequence of her words. 

Two-thirds of the 774 million illiterate people in the world are female. (UNESCO)

Education for girls is as important as education for boys. In third world nations, those women who are educated are less likely to died in childbirth and their babies are more likely to survive. Educating women around the world has had a critical affect on society—it has saved lives and it has brought many women out of poverty, it has reduced malnutrition and it has a positive impact on the health of all family members. 

No matter where a girl lives, she should have access to all levels of education if she so wishes to attend. Girls should not be restricted to basic education just because their parents believe her only future is at home raising children. Both the Talaban and ISIS believe that girls should not be educated because they do not need an education as a housewife or mother. The Talaban and ISIS  fear women who have been educated as the lack of education controls the position of women in society—at the bottom of the pile.This isn't new, men have used education as a method of control for centuries and strongly believed that women were incapable of education like men as our brains were wired differently.

Just because a woman becomes a wife and mother should not restrict or limit her education. Girls should have access to further education if they so wish, if they want to study science or medicine or mathamatics or engineering or teaching — girls and boys alike should be allow to follow their dreams. Just because I am a girl doesn't mean I shouldn't be allow to access education as my brothers have. I am thankful that I have been able to access university, that I live in a country that believes in the rights of education for girls and in fact encourages girls to attend and that my parents believe strongly in education for both their sons and daughters.

Don't limit your daughters education to only those things she might need "at home", let her discover and learn about things she is interested in — it may include activities that are not traditionally aimed at girls. Why can't a girl learn about biology, medicine, construction, animal welfare if she finds it interesting. 

No education is ever wasted even if the girl never uses her education in a workplace. 

What we learn is used throughout of lives. 

Even if a woman gets married and decides to not use her studies in a professional manner, what she has learnt will always be useful.

Whilst higher education (university/college) is important, education can come from many different sources. Maybe a certificate course or two at a local community college — home economics, community care, older aged nursing, nutrition, community nursing, IT, graphic design, sewing, animal care to name a few. These are often far more practical courses and perfect for any young woman who wishes to remain at home once married. They could complete a number of these courses and all would be useful later in life. 

But never look at higher education as a waste of time or money when it comes to your daughters.  They are not second-class citizens and remember they are the ones teaching the next generation. We don't want the same mindset as the Talaban and ISIS when it comes to education and girls. 

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

~ William Bulter Yeats ~

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Shoes throughout history

Renaissance Italy provides one of the most striking instances of the shoe’s extreme history. Venetian women of status popularised the wearing of a style called the chopine. These platform shoes were often crafted from wood or cork. And 15th-century Venetian gentlemen were very keen for their wives to wear these extremely high shoes, according to Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator at The Bata Shoe Museum. This was because of the way it hindered their mobility – and therefore, the idea goes, they would be less likely to run off with other men. Indeed, very often these women would have to be accompanied by attendants to ensure that they didn’t topple over. Chopines would be an average of around five and a half inches but their height was rumoured to have reached up to 20 inches. As elevations became more extreme, Venetian sumptuary laws were even brought in to address the ridiculous nature of these shoes. In 1430 the Venetian Major Council forbade the wearing of chopines that were more than three and a half inches in height. Chopines were by this point condemned as an insult to God, perilous to the wearer’s souls as well as their bodies. (source)

Fun facts about shoes!

* In the early 1300s, Britain established the first means to measure shoe size. King Edward II declared barleycorn as the basis for shoe measurement. He ruled that the length of three barleycorns were equivalent to one inch, making this the standard for sizing. 

* For centuries, heels signified a high social standing rather than gender. It was also crucial for men riding horses to have a heel on their boot in order to stay in their stirrups. 

* According to a recent study, the average American woman has at least 19 pairs of shoes in their closet.

* Due to the trade close Italy experienced in the 1940s, steel was no longer available, so designer Salvatore Ferragamo experimented with new materials thus creating the wedge shoe. 

* Sneaking around and sneakers go hand in hand. According to The New York Times, in the late 1800s, people started using the word sneakers because the rubber sole allowed you to “sneak” around without making a sound. 

* In Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries heels on shoes were always coloured red.

* Shoes all over the world were identical until the nineteenth century, when left- and right-footed shoes were first made in Philadelphia.

* The first lady’s boot was designed for Queen Victoria in 1840.


Today is a fun revisit of shoes of the past - I have to say I would be thrilled to see shoes from the 1920s to the 1950s back in the stores, some of those shoes are just beautiful!!  They have so much more character, colour and femininity than modern shoe.

What sort of shoes do you like to wear? 

Victorian lace boot made for the great Exhibition in 1851

Slap-soled shoes belonging to Frances Walsingham, lady in waiting to Elizabeth I, and daughter of her spymaster, Francis Walsingham.
Evening shoes designed by Roger Vivier for Christian Dior c. 1958-1960

1900 throught to the 1940s


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