Thursday, August 28, 2014

Quick update on my activities

Quick update on my activities

What a busy week thus far - busy nice, not busy bad!!  

Even after a hectic day where I may feel weary by the time I crawl into bed, I still feel so blessed that the Lord has provided me with a suitable job, a loving family, a cosy house and cute cats. I have no complains and very content with my lot in life.  Why would I complain, many people are far worse off than I am. I have many reasons to say "thankyou Lord" over and over again. 

My quilting classes have come to an end and I feel as if I have learnt enough of the basics to go off and make my first quilt (this one will be a gift). This is the start to that new quilt and I am using a block known as a "Disappearing nine patch" and its fun to make.  Looks far much more complicated than it really is. Its my sort of quilting block!!

I had a birthday last week (yes a year older but I am not sure if I am any wiser). I went to the Craft and Quilting Fair in the morning (and came home with more fabric and bits and bobs for quilting, as one does!!) and in the afternoon my sons and daugther-in-law took me out to lunch.  It was a beautiful day and I felt very blessed and spoilt.  I received lots of lovely gifts, however son and his wife gave me the most interesting (besides a book) - a cat (above) that looks very much like a bear!! I call her my Catbear!! She is very soft and looks pretty sitting in the corner!

Spring is in the air - still a bit cold but there is a hint that warmer weather is just around the corner. I noticed that my first jonquils are flowering, the snow peas are doing very well, the kale is almost ready to eat and I can't wait until the sweet pea started to flower.  The Australian wattle is all in bloom (not that my husband is excited as it gives him hay fever) and looking gorgeous. I just love the golden colour. 

Whilst I was at the Craft and Quilting Fair I picked up some ribbons - aren't these just gorgeous. No idea what I will use them for, but I am sure one day when I am blessed with a granddaughter they will become very handy!!

And a very special thankyou to all the wonderful ladies out there who have left encouraging comments that I have received over the weeks. I love hearing your views on topics that I write about and I don't mind if you disagree with me.

And I will leave you with these bright and cheery yellow skirts. I am on the hunt for some bright yellow fabric so I can make for myself. Yellow goes so well with navy. 

And do check out my blog on Monday as I have a young guest writer sharing her sewing and handicraft skills.  Miss Holly is 10 years old and a talented seamstress. 


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book review: Birth Cry

Book review: Birth Cry - A personal story of life of Hannah D. Mitchell, nurse midwife 

Author: Shirley Roland Ferguson

Birth Cry documents the journey of an ordinary woman (born in 1907) from a very poor, hard working Christian farming family from Missouri who works her way through school all the way to University to become a nurse midwife (long before women were encouraged to attend university). 

Hannah, through her entire life, followed the Lord. Her faith was always strong and it never left her. Whilst she had ideas of what she wanted to do - such as marriage, God often changed her plans and took her to places she least expected. She never married  and suffered heartbreak over a broken engagement but she accepted what God asked of her and continued to follow Him through her entire life. She is a great example of how we need to behave - we may want to do one thing, but God has other ideas that are quite different to what we had dreamt. Don't fight God, follow Him as Hannah did. 

Hannah committed herself to God's perfect will and found comfort. 

So what did Hannah get up to:
  • She helped her brother run a chicken ranch. Very tough and didn't last very long.

  • Bookkeeping during the depression.

  • Went to John Brown University with her brother to become a teacher (her mother was very encouraging of educating her daughter), however in her second year God had other plans for Hannah and through Him, she changed from teaching to nursing and this became her calling. Whilst  financially it was almost impossible "The Heavenly Father provided the means. So, it was with great gratitude that I made preparations to enter the first of many educational doors that would continue opening throughout my life". For those who doubt sending your daughters to college/university - God may have plans for your daughters you least expect, don't fight Him, trust Him. 
  • Hannah's plans were to marry and work overseas as a missionary - God had other ideas and sent her to the Kentucky Hills (1938) to work among the impoverished migrant community as a midwife. She not only delivered babies, she took care of everything from snakebites to gunshot injuries and she brought many people to Christ as her faith shone strong. 
  • God doesn't let us get too comfortable, in 1944 God decides it is time to move Hannah, this time to South America. "Thank you Heavenly Father, I prayed again and again, for His Providence, by hiding me in Christ. My life had changed direction many times, most of the changes contrary to my plans and painful to me to accept. But I probably will never know of the numerous times that a Providential God has shield me from deeper hurt, and real calamity, even an early death" (page 205). We need to remember to thank God for any plan he throws our way, rather than grumbling because it isn't what we want. 
  • In 1948 Hannah moves back to the USA to teaching midwifery (shortly after receiving her Bachelor of Science) in Atlanta. She was given the task of lowing maternal death rates that were very high in the area. She continued this until the 1969. 
It was at this point that her health started to fail, but once again she never stopped trusting in the Lord "I went to bed at night saying . . . In God have I put my trust . . . The Lord is my strength . . .  I will not be afraid for the terror by night . . . ". Even though her health was failing, she never stopped sharing the Christ's word with others and it wasn't until 1990 did she stop teaching bible classes.  Sadly Hannah was one of many in their latter years is struck down with dementia and after spending time with her sister-in-law was placed in a nursing home.  Hannah never at any stage doubted where all her skills, knowledge and energy came from  "All my talents must be attributed totally to Him."

I loved this book and could hardly put it down. Hannah never dreamed that her life would take her along such an interesting path, but it did - but not by her own doing - but as a direct result of her Heavenly Father. We too must do the same, even if the path is painful and not what we want. We also must allow our children to do the same, even if it isn't what we had planned. God is always right. 

Five stars

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)


Monday, August 25, 2014

We are all different but the same

If I gathered a group of Christian women together I would find that they all very different; they would look different, do the same tasks differently, bring up their children differently, even talking differently  and there is nothing wrong with that at all. 

Some may be great list makers, others wing it

Some may be very organised, whilst others live in a happy muddle

Some may love to cook, others may be great at sewing

Some may be very feminine in their dress, others practical

Some many be very creative, others not as much

Some may work outside the home, others may have a home based business

Some may be mothers, other have not been blessed with children

Some may be very quiet, others a little more boisterous

Some have been born rich, others poor

Some are very busy, others have lots of spare time

Some have lots of energy, others may not

Some have chosen to home school, others have not

Some cover their heads, others don't

Some wear long skirts only, others wear pants

Some have suffered much sadness in their lives, others have only known joy

Some are older, others are younger

Some great listeners and others great doers

Some love detail, others love the big picture

Some are leaders and others are followers

We are all different and that is what makes a group of Christian women so special. 

We will never all be the same because of our family circumstances, the country we live in, the way we were brought up, our mothers influences, our husbands, in what area we live in, our education, the number of children we have, our health, our wealth, the passions we have, our likes and dislikes . . . 

Because we are different and do things differently, we need to respect these differences (and I am not referring to sinful activities here) and not think of our fellow sisters in Christ as lessor Christians, lesser homemakers, lesser mothers . . . because they do things differently.  I am not a list maker, I don't own a "housekeeping folder", I never will - however I am very organised and chores get done and I love being a keeper of my home. However I not excited about housework, but I do love to cook and sew and make things pretty. I can be quite noisy and I love people. I like to smile and bring joy to others. I am feminine in my dress and come from a comfortable home financially. I have never known poverty or ill health, however my marriage hasn't been smooth sailing.  I love being creative but I am hopeless at singing or playing music. I love to read, but don't ask me to write a book. I didn't homeschool my children and I believe in vaccination. 

Sadly Christians have a bad habit of takes sides - the homechooling team, the anti-vaccination team, the working team, the "you can't be a homemaker unless you are always at home" team, lots of children team, living off the grid team, head-covering team . . . .  Why do we do this to ourselves, why can't we be accepting of others? We cannot accomplish what God has for us to do it we do not reconcile with one another. In His most impassioned prayer on the night before He was crucified, Jesus pleaded with God to unite His followers.

That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (John 17:21)

So lets focus on what is important:

Putting God first

Being our husbands helpmate

Loving our children

Loving one another

Giving generously

Forgiving quickly

Be kind always

Never hate

Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment’ (Matthew 22:37-38)

If we all have these in common, does it matter whether I write lists or home all day, whether I homeschool or only have two children, fit more into my day than you? Does it matter whether I can cook well or sew? No, it doesn't. As long as our families are content and happy, we are our husband's helpmates, our homes are cosy and we all do as the Lord Jesus Christ has asked of us. 

Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established. (Proverbs 16:2)

So lets focus on what is important and not worry that you aren't doing the same as another blogger (or the woman next door).  Remember their life story is likely to be very different to yours.  We need to live by faith, we are accountable to God in the chooses we make. Focus on what God wants for you and your family - it is likely to vary from one woman to another and one family to another. And that is perfectly ok.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Art Friday: Renato Muccillo

Art Friday: Renato Muccillo

I LOVE these landscape scenes and I really hope you do.

For some reason I find them very peaceful and calming, what a talented artist. 


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Who taught you to read?

I am forever thankful for theses who taught me read. 

For those who had the patiences to persevere as I was a difficult student who found reading hard work and therefore didn't enjoy it until I was around 11. 

Thank you to my mother and my teachers.

I cannot imagine a life without books or the inability to read well. 

I have travelled the world (and beyond) through books, I have weeped, laughed, smiled, giggled and fallen in love through books.

I have read books I couldn't put down  and stayed up late to finish and I have read books that were a struggle to finish, a little like climbing a mountain. And occasionally I come across a book I can not finish, but that rarely happens. 

Books are part of my life and I couldn't imagine ever been separated from them!

Who do you have to thank? 

Reading is dreaming with open eyes. 


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Waiting tries our faith

Surely I am coming quickly.
(Revelations 22:20)
In a German prison camp in World War II, undiscovered by the guards, some Americans built a homemade radio. One day news came that the German high command had surrendered, ending the war. Because of a communications breakdown, however, the guards did not yet know this. As word spread among the prisoners, a loud celebration broke out. For 3 days, they sang, waved at guards, and shared jokes over meals. On the fourth day, they awoke to find that all the Germans had fled. Their waiting had come to an end.
A number of Bible stories center on waiting: Abraham waiting for a child (Gen. 12–21). The Israelites waiting for deliverance from Egypt. Prophets waiting for the fulfillment of their own predictions. The disciples waiting for Jesus to act like the powerful Messiah they anticipated. Jesus’ final words at the end of Revelation are “I am coming quickly,” followed by an urgent, echoing prayer, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (22:20). For this, we still wait.
Here’s the question I ask myself: As we wait, why are we so often fearful and anxious? We can, like the Allied prisoners, act on the good news we say we believe. What is faith in God, after all, but believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse?
Faith looks beyond the shadow
Of dread and doubt and fear
And finds the Savior waiting
And always standing near.

(By Philip Yancey from Our daily bread, 18th August)


I pray daily, sometimes many times in the day, but there are times when my prayers don't appear to be answered — sometimes I wait months, years for a response, some I am still waiting. At other times the response is much quicker  days, hours, minutes. It can be very  frustratingly but this is what having faith is all about. Waiting strengthens our faith.

There are many things I pray about, the safety of my children, that the Lord watch over my husband, my brothers and sister-in-laws, my parents, my friends, our health, putting food on the table, paying the bills etc . . . 

But one thing I have prayed for often is being able to stay home and not have the responsibility for being the main income earner. I must have faith in the Lord that one day He will answer my prayers, in His timing and not mine. For those who pressure women to return home — remember, it is all about what the Lord wants and not what you or I want.  If He has other plans, it is unfair to pressure women and make them feel guilty, sad or to make them bitter and cross.

They must be guided by Christ and not by man.

I always remember that Sarah waited years and years for her prayers to be answered. 

Waiting tries our faith and so we wait in hope.


Monday, August 18, 2014

The ageing society

The heaviness of grief presses down with a terrible weight. I have lost all my family members - first my parents, then Paul, Russell, James and Mark (brothers). As the oldest sibling, why am I the one remaining? Why has the Lord allowed me to live, the old maid, with no husband or children?

I face a future dependent on others; even my personal hygiene will be left to a caregiver. I am being stripped of pride, vanity and independence. Far from home, friends and church, my nightmare will come true. I will soon fade into obscurity, a statistics of a life lived. 

My sadness I reminiscent of how I felt when I was forced to retire because of my health. 

From the book  "Birthcry" by Shirley Roland Ferguson 

Hannah Mitchell (1907 - 2000) was a remarkable woman and I will tell you more about her in another blog - but I felt that this quote sums up the aged of today. We are now living longer than ever before, however our quality of life in the twilight years is not always satisfactory.  Last week I wrote about the importances of a dignified death (Link), how can we do this when we can't even manage to treat our elderly in a dignified manner.  

One hundred years ago we lived approximately to our mid 50's or 60's. In fact the aged pension in Australia was set at 60 because most people would either never access it, or would only require it for a few short years. Now our life expectancy is in the low 80's. Sadly for many who reach this milestone find themselves in nursing homes suffering from diseases such as dementia (which is what Hannah Mitchell suffered in the last years of her life). Or they are like my mother, suffering poor physical health but ok in her mind. Nursing homes are depressing places and in fact many who end up in nursing homes suffer from depression and anxiety. Mental health is not just an issue for the young, it also affects the elderly. 

It might surprise you that the highest rate of suicide (per 100,000 people) is in fact the elderly.  For men aged 85 years and over, the rate is 37.6 per 100,000 people (compared to 25.4 for those aged 45-54). It is important to note, that this is still a very small number of people (56 men) as the number who reach 85 years or more is diminishing. However, 56 men in Australia in their late 80's felt their life was no longer worth living. That is so sad. 

Once upon a time families use to take care of their own, it wasn't unusual for find three generations living under the same roof. Nursings homes weren't an option. However, for many elderly folk, they became a burden to the family and many women who were left to care for their mother or father (or in-laws) became quite bitter about this arrangement. We must not glorify the past when it wasn't always good. For many years we have neglected our elderly.  We just don't value our elderly as they do in some cultures such as in Japan and China. In fact, it isn't new at all. In 1 Timothy (5:8) we can see that it happened in biblical times too. Christians were behaving worse then none believers and neglecting those within their own household. We must not ignore our own families and let them suffer. We do have a responsibility.

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (1 Timothy 5:8)

Placing a parent into a nursing home is sometimes the only option -  for example if they require 24 hour nursing care, it just means you need to take extra effort to make sure their lives are worth living. 

You do need to choose a nursing home wisely - some are far worse than others.

They need to know they are not "fading into obscurity". 

They need to know that they are valued, loved and wanted.  They need to be told this often.

They need to know they are not a burden to society.  

They need to be involved in conversations about their living arrangements and not talk about as if they weren't there.

They need to know that their wisdom (accumulated over decades) is still valued. 

They need to know that others are praying for them and that they haven't been forgotten. 

My dad visits my mum every day and the one thing he has noticed is the number of residents who never have visitors, not even at Christmas, Mothers Day or Fathers Day. These are people who do have family who I can only assume are "just too busy" to care. So the next time you walk through a nursing home, stop to chat to those who rarely get visitors, smile, offer a compliment. It will make their day.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. (Leo Buscalglia)

As I said in my post about death, the elderly do deserve to leave this earth in a dignified manner, they do deserve our respect and our love, our kindness and they do deserve to feel wanted and not alone.  No elderly person should ever feel unloved and alone. You wouldn't neglect a child, why neglect someone frail and old. 

I will end with a quote from Hannah Mitchell (Hannah's last entry in her journal):

Even though I am moving into the shadows of my long life, I have the assurance that my Heavenly Father will be with me. Even when I can no longer pray or acknowledge Him, He will he there. At the age of eighty-three, I know that I am closer to going to my heavenly home now than ever before. I know that when I sleep for the last time, the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself will awaken me to a new world untouched by human hand. . . I am ready Lord, Thy will be done.



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