Friday, April 29, 2016

Art Friday: Brenda Cablayan


Artist: Brenda Cablayan

Brenda is a painter living and working on Oahu, Hawaii. She started her art career as an illustrator, then turning her attention to fine art. Her most common scenes include rural and urban scenes, beaches and agricultural fields. Working from her photographs, she pulls her inspiration, first from the real image, then to the colors, abstract and real shapes in the photograph.

For more of her wonderful work, check out her page: LINK

















Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I cannot, but God can


"I cannot, but God can"

We live in uncertain times and the worlds continues to be a scary place—bombs being detonated in airports and marketplaces around the world, we never know where terrorists might strike next. People are maimed and killed in gun crimes, we have racial unrest, wars in places like Syria causing mass movement of humans, we have disease, moral decay, corruption in high place, trouble families, women still dying as a result of domestic violence, neglected children—pain, sorrow and suffering on all sides.

At times it feels as if we are all alone in our suffering and it would be nice to crawl into bed and pretend nothing bad is happening in this world.  All things are given to us for a reason, we may not understand why, but they are and we just need to accept them — even uncertainty.  However, God doesn't want any of us to suffer and is always watching over us, which is why He says "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

When life is getting a bit much, turn off the news, find your quiet place and pray, read your bible, sing some hymns — lean on Him and He will give you rest and the strength you need to continue your day. Its amazing how you feel after timeout with God. He really does quench the thirst.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)

"God is not content to let us sink. He is teaching us how to tread water—to literally mount up out of our sea of fears and anxiety, to step out in faith, to dare the impossible, to place the soles of our feet onto the shifting surface of life and keep moving ahead. Those who learn this lesson of faith have a quiet peace in their eyes, even when the darkness gathers and the seas of life tun rough and threatening. They have confidences in the face of trials, of sorrows and even death itself that everything is ultimately going to work out as God intends. There is not a work of complaint or grumbling. They regard their circumstances as necessary to what God wants to do in their lives—which is always for their own good and for God's glory. Such people are a joy to be around. When you go to encourage and comfort them in their trials, you come away with more encouragement than you gave" ~ God's Loving Word by Ray C. Stedman (page 187)


As sisters in Christ we need to look out for each other and keep an eye on our sisters to make sure they are coping ok—with their families, their homes or with life in general. We don't live in isolation with big fences separating us from our neighbours (if you do, its time to knock them down) — we need to help and support each other as much as we can.  The Lord never once said "I'm too busy to help", He always found the time and we too need to behave more Christ like. 

To all my sisters-in-Christ, you are in my prayers this week. 

xxxx




When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day i half done;
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Fathers full giving is only begun.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and girth again.

Annie Johnson Flint



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Modern day modesty



In modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing (1 Timothy 2:9)


There is a funny idea that dressing modesty is to dress frumpy and looking unattractive, to remove any "womanly" features so to avoid any form of sexuality. Modesty has nothing to do with being dowdy. 

When one dresses modestly it simply means covering up so others don't have to see plunging necklines, lots of leg and flesh — to not dress in a manner than will attract the attention of men and cause them to lust. It has nothing to do with looking ugly and plain and it doesn't mean you can't wear colour or lace, modern designs or something very pretty.  This series of photos are of the Duchess of Cambridge on her recent tour of India — she has made modest look beautiful, elegant, graceful and feminine. Her hair is beautifully (but simply) done and her jewellery is also very tasteful (not tacky).  Notice the hemline, it is now longer than it use to be after the Queen "suggest" it should be lower to  look more modest. 

Her look is not the "Hollywood look" that is more about showing as much flesh as possible and has nothing to do with  being feminine and pretty. It is so encouraging to see a young woman dress so beautifully and classy and yet modestly. She is a modern young women that shows those who struggle with ideas of modesty that it can be done and still look good.

However, one can dress completely modestly but her heart is not in the right place — our clothing and accessories should never dominate our lives, attempt to draw attention, eat up our money and become an idol. It is what is in our hearts that truely matters most, it is all about "women professing godliness, with good works". (1 Timothy 2:10). Modestly is about our behaviour and attitude and not just about clothing — our clothing sends the message of being discreet and feminine, but our actions demonstrate our desire to do good works for God. 


"Modesty is more than just a hemline, it is an interior disposition that influences not only our dress, but our thoughts and actions" 

(by Leah Darrow)


Modesty means propriety. It means avoiding clothes and adornment that are extravagant or sexually enticing. Modesty is humility expressed in dress. It’s a desire to serve others, by not promoting or provoking sensuality. Immodesty, then, is much more than wearing a short skirt or low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride, on display by what you wear. (C. J. Mahoney)







Modesty isn't about covering up our bodies because they're bad, modesty isn't about hiding ourselves . . its about revealing our dignity. (Quote by Jessica Rey)


Monday, April 25, 2016

Retirement in the 21st century

After years in the workforce, most people look forward to retirement with much eagerness and count down the days until they can relax and finally put their feet up.

Retirement is a relatively new concept —  when the Australian retirement pension was introduced in 1910 (paid to men from 65 years of age and women from age 60) it wasn't a huge expense to the government because life expectancy was only 55.2 years for men and 58.8 years for women. Most never had the opportunity of accessing the aged pension. However, things have changed considerably and we are all living much longer — on average, men to 80 years and women to 84, therefore many people are likely to have a number of years of retirement ahead of them. Because of this increase in life expectancy and the concern of very high costs to government, current governments have raised the pension age to 67 and wanting to increase it to 70 in Australia — not allowing anyone to access the aged pension until  they reach 70. Likewise, they will tie in superannuation (personal retirement fund) also to these ages. Whilst this doesn't affect myself and others now in their late 40s and 50s, it will affect our children and anyone in their 20 and 30s. People will have to work much longer than in previous years. 

The bible doesn't mention retirement and that is understandable for the reasons mentioned above — most people didn't live long enough, instead they worked hard and then they died.  It is said that the Romans had a life expectancy of about 25 years. The story of much of human history. Today's world population will live more than 280 billion extra years than those born under the Caesars. Living longer has had major impacts on society. One being retirement and how to keep some many people busy and not idle.

However, even though we may retire from our places of work, we should never retire from serving the Lord, although the way we serve Him may change. The bible gives two examples — Anna was an elderly widow who ministered in the temple daily with fasting and prayer and in Titus 2 older men and women are to teach younger men and women how to live.  There are many ways to serve the Lord, from helping others, working in the community as a volunteer, visiting the local nursing home to talk to the elderly who do not get any visitors, helping younger families in need, helping one's own family or even making things like blankets, quilts, scarves for the homeless. 

One's older years are not to be spent solely in the pursuit of pleasure. Paul says that the widow who lives for pleasure is dead while she yet lives. This is contrary to modern views of indulging in pleasure activities once retired. This is not to say that retirees cannot enjoy golf, social functions, or pleasurable pursuits. But these should not be the primary focus of one’s life at any age.

“Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.” (1 Timothy 5:5-6)

For those already at home, retirement is often a continuation of what they are doing.  But things do change when their husbands retire from employment and now home full-time. Many women struggle with this, suddenly having their husband around the house during the day when they had enjoyed this quiet time alone. Husbands without activities can really find retirement difficult (and their wives complain that their husbands are "under their feet" all the time) and they need to find things to keep their mind and body busy and active during the day. My dad use to help some of the elderly ladies in the neighbourhood with their gardens, other men join "Men's sheds" and build toys for underprivileged children, others start new hobbies etc... 

My husband retired a few years ago and is at home (he is older that me) and I am still at work.  He is home almost all the time as he isn’t one for going out much and finds plenty of things to keep him occupied. My husband does the gardening, he walks the dog, does maintenance around the house, work on a few hobbies and areas of interest (which take up the bulk of his day) plus he will wash the clothes, make the bed, clean the floors,  cupboards doors, wash windows, dust (occasionally), clean the bathroom etc.. He likes the variety of activities and enjoys doing them. It took a little time to get use to him doing some of these activities that I thought were my domain — but to be honest, the house belongs to us both and we need to share the tasks that need to be done. I don't ask him to do these things, he offers — often as a surprise for me. 

My dad is 83 and lives alone. He has been retired for a number of years and spent much of his retirement as a full-time carer of my mother. As a result he learnt to cook, clean, buy clothes for his wife, buy the groceries plus continue with gardening, growing his vegetables and helping others. He is the keeper of his home which is not the tradition of the past but due to our longevity this is become much more common. In fact, these activities are really important for his well-being and keeping him healthy. If he stopped doing them, I think his health would really suffer — they give him a reason for getting up each day. 

We can all look forward to retirement as it will allow us to reach out to those in need and to spend more of our day serving God. 

But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

(Joshua 22:5)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The winner is . . . .



Firstly, thankyou to everyone who participated in this giveaway — it was excellent to see so many enthusiastic people. 

I know you are all waiting to see who won . ..  

Congratulations to

Theresa 

who requested the lovely pencil case. 

If you are still interested in any of the options I listed, please contact Clara as she loves custom orders, her work is lovely and the costs are affordable. I particular like those tea towels, they really do jazz up the kitchen, especially when you can personalise them to suite your colour scheme and style. 

A special thankyou to Clara for making this giveaway happen. She is a busy mum, wife and homeschooler but still has the time and energy to sew. 



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Stories from the news: more women deciding to stay at home



A recent study published in the Psychology of Women Quarterly found that while females of Generation Y are more accepting of working mothers, there is an increased desire among them to stay at home, compared to the generation before. Thirty-two per cent of millennials in the US believe men are best suited to be the breadwinners and women the homemakers. This figure is up from 27 per cent in the 1990s.

Women have choices and that is excellent — families can make decisions that best suit them and change their arrangements as children get older. Women are no longer tied to the home as they were in the 1950's (when they were not allow to work once married) and the sigma of staying home is lessening so women are much freer in making chooses that suit their families. Women can move in and out of the workforce as it suits them and I am all for this flexibility.  This is how it should be and women (along with their husbands) should be able to make these choices without the worry of what others think.  And that is what feminism was really all about — giving women choices and not forcing women to choose between work and home (sadly, that message got lost in all the noise).  

In Australia, there is a similar subset of young people with traditional attitudes towards the role of women in the household and workforce. Dr Jennifer Baxter of the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) reports there is a significant portion of 15-29-year-olds who agree with the statement: “It is better for everyone involved if the man earns the money and the woman takes care of the home and the children.”

Many Australian women work part-time, more so than elsewhere in the world so they can balance their lives. The part-time employment gives the family a little extra cash (and this is important considering the cost of housing in some cities) but allows mum plenty of time with her children. I think this is the best of both worlds, especially for mums who like the dabble in work but still has her heart at home. 

Sophie, 25, and her husband Leon came to an agreement very early on in their relationship that she would stay at home while he worked full time and studied. She is proud to be called a housewife, but admits, “These days, it’s a bit of a dirty word. Stay-at-home wives and mothers are very underappreciated.” Despite the ‘stigma’, Sophie sees motherhood as “the most important job anyone could have” and is happy raising her one-year-old son, Charles, at home.

I think in time as more women choose to do what they think best, the stigma will lift. In many instances, it is a little bit of jealously — most ordinary women would like to be able to be at home some of the time, but can't due to mortgage demands etc.. A few of my friends would love to retire early and enjoy all their hobbies and spend more time with the grandchildren — but due to financial commitments and their superannuation funds (personal retirement fund) it wouldn't make sense to give up work early. 

Dr Margaret Henderson, author of Marking Feminist Times, agrees the swing back to traditional gender roles is a reaction to millennial upbringings. “They’ve seen their parents’ marriages break up and [have grown up with] working mothers and [seen] the pressure that puts on the family,” she explains. “And so they think staying at home is the easier option.”

I think parents, when making these decisions need to to forget what everyone else is doing and do what is best for their families and its great to see that many Australian families are doing just that.  In fact it is very encouraging to read.





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