Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Welcome to September and my ordinary life


Today is the second of September and spring is just around the corner (thats perhaps a little optomistic). After what feels like a very long cold and damp winter it is nice to look at some pretty colours of spring and imagine the warmer months, summer frocks and sitting in the sunshine reading.  

These photos are all from my garden in past years. My garden currently looks rather sad and in much need of some warmth. The frosts have given it quite a battering but in a month or so it will look so much happier and in full bloom. 

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. (Hal Borland)

I have been mulling over why I blog (perhaps because the winter has been cold and dark and I have been indoors far too long and had three colds in two months!) — sometimes it doesn't seem to make any sense at all, writing away to myself hoping that someone else finds it all as interesting as I do!! In fact sometimes I think I should stop and not put so much time and energy into it all as it doesn't always seem worth it — which of course I am not likely to do, because I enjoy writing (even if I am not that great at writing). As  I ponder, seeing where I fit in bogland, I see that I fall outside of the many blogging groups which makes it difficult to find a niche. 

I don't homeschool (and never have) so have no connection to the homeschooling community.

I am not a stay at home mother or wife and those that do stay at home often don't understand why I work and some even exclude me from their blogs by making me feel like an outsider.

I don't write books to promote and never will.

I don't even have small children to share my trials with other mothers and I am not a grandmother.

I clean my home because I have to, I don't call it a calling. Reading is much more exciting than housework, always will be!

I love my home but I don't want to be in it 24/7. I dream of doing much in my life and it doesn't revolve around my house.

I am pro-vaccination and like to eat sugar when I want to.

I work full-time in a job I love and have met many wonderful working women who are doing a great job.

We aren't self-suffienct and never plan to be (no plans to move to an isolated island and live off the land!).

I love to be creative and see the world just a little different to others. 

I dislike dusting and ironing and doubt I will ever get excited over these two tasks.

I am just an ordinary (middle aged) woman doing nothing out of the ordinary, living in suburbia, going about her business quietly trying not to disturb the peace.  I get up every morning at 6am, drive my son to work, drive myself to work. Work all day in an office (a rather lovely office with pot plants and pictures of cats) and return home by 4:40pm every evening. I cook dinner each night, I do the washing and clean the house when necessary, take care of my family and chat to my cat. 

Life is ordinary . . . 

. . .  I need to find other bloggers who are ordinary like me and create our own niche!! Not sure what I would call it . . . . "The extraordinary lives of the ordinary"! 

Glad spring is on its way, I might feel more in the mood for writing when the sun is sharing its warmth and the flowers are in bloom. 

In the meantime, enjoy the pretty flowers below, they are anything but average. 


With the coming of spring, I am calm again. - Gustav Mahler





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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Rest a while




And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”

(Mark 6:31)


We all need to know when to stop and take a rest.  To walk away from the rat race and catch our breath. To not rush about all day cleaning the house when it could have been done at a slower pace. Not putting in all those extra hours at work just to impress the boss. 

There is no shame in resting; God intends for us to do so and there is also no virtue in refusing to rest… It is a time to replenish ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

The words in this verse were said by the Lord Jesus Christ to his disciples. He had sent them out on a mission and upon their return, they told him of all they had done, and the Lord responded with these words, directing his disciples to rest in a desolate place. A desolate place is necessary to recharge the mind and heart, let alone the body. Not a lot of rest can be found in a busy cafe or a room full of loud music (for most of us anyway), we need to find somewhere quiet and calming — a place where the world won't interrupt us.

If you are not well rested, how can you worship the Lord and carry out His work? With rest, we are far better able to undertake our work, focus on behaving Godly, be kind and caring to others, help our families, be more cheerful and joyful, have a healthier body. 

— a restless night doesn't create a happy mother or wife, however, a well rested mother and wife does create a much happier family!!

******

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto me and rest;
lay down, O weary one, lay down
your head upon my breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found him in a resting place,
and he has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
the living water, thirsty one,
stoop down and drink and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s light;
look unto me; your morn shall rise,
and all your day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my star, my sun;
and in that light of life I’ll walk
till traveling days are done.

Author: Horatius Bonar (1846)



These lovely flowers were a gift to me from my son and daughter-in-law for my birthday. They were so lovely and sunny. 

****

Monday, August 31, 2015

The history of the mini skirt/dress

The Mary Quant mini
I am one of those curious kinds that like to know why things happened or came about!! My latest wonder was the mini skirt and it's history, perhaps because the mini-skirt and I were born in the same year and have traveled almost 50 years together! 

Warning — this post contains some examples of the mini skirt/dress from the 1960s.  

* Did you know that Coco Chanel described the mini skirt as “Just awful” and the Netherlands banned the mini skirt for a limited time. Anyone in Greece was jailed for wearing a mini skirt in the 1960s. 

* Disneyland outlawed the mini-skirt and the gatekeepers would measure the distances from the woman's knee to her hemline and restricted her entrance until she ripped out the hem. 

* The mini was introduced by Andre Courreges in 1965. He felt that clothes were not keeping up with modern trends and wanted to introduce something that was modern, streamlined and easy to wear.  Courreges created the A-line skirt that did not cling to the body and was worn with white boots. (source)

Mary Quant minis, designed to be simple,
neat and clean and young looking. 
* Mary Quant (1960s) is considered the mother of the mini (the short skirt reportedly named after her compact car), and said in a 1995 interview with Vogue.They celebrated youth and life and tremendous opportunity. They had a kind of ‘Look at me’ quality. They said, ‘Life is great.’” (Source: Vogue

* Not only did the birth of the miniskirt coincide with that of the Pill, but all of that exposed skin brought attention to a woman’s sexuality. (Source: Vogue)

* Mary Quant wanted the skirt to show femininity and sensuality rather than being vulgar and tasteless. 

* The 1960s was the first point in history were fashion was lead by the young. Young women wanted to be radical and different, they wanted to be empowered and rebellious and they didn't want to follow the rules that women in previous generations had followed. They wanted to set their own trends and no longer be see as quiet and submissive in society.

* It wasn't until to the mid 60's (1966) did the short skirt become more wide spread. Mary Quant was producing minis that were set 6 to 7 inches above the knee


* The introduction of the pantyhose (tights) made wearing a mini much easier. It was hard to wear a mini skirt/dress with stockings, whereas pantyhose offered protection from the elements and no unsightly glimpses of stocking tops. Stockings died in the mid 1960s as a result as young women no longer wanted to wear the suspender belt, girdle etc.... (Source

* The mini led to a revolution in hair, shoes and accessories.

* Mini skirts became an increasingly popular in films and movies of the late 1960s. Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek movies) decided to integrate the mini skirt as part of the uniform of the female crew of the spaceship.

* ABC aired a television special called "The Mini-Skirt Rebellion in the US in 1967 and introduced the style to young Americans. 

* Whilst synthetic fabrics were invented in the 1930s and 40s, it was in the 1960s were they mass produced and were considered ideal for the latest fashion of the mini skirt and baby doll dress. 

* As fashions moved into the 1970s, the bohemian style of maxi dress took over and as the fight for women's rights grew, the mini wasn't seen as counterproductive (as in the wearing of alluring garments). 

* The modern mini is known as the "micro-mini" and you guess why, it is considerably shorter than the minis of the 1960s. Modern minis tend to be more figure-hugging and if loose, more likely to give others a view of their backsides. 

* The mini still remains controversial being blamed for encouraging men to rape women and this has led to many a protest by women stating that men need to control their behaviour rather than women changing their clothing. 

I hope you enjoyed my coverage (or perhaps lack of, consider mini skirts today cover nothing) on the mini. As to the question of modesty and mini — well, I think the answer is clear. Minis don't cover anything (more so today than in the 1960s)  and therefore couldn't be classed as modest in any way.  And whilst I believe that men need to control their lust, we as women do need to make sure we don't reveal all and allow men to trip. 


******

Friday, August 28, 2015

Art Friday: Luigi Benedicenti


Artist: Luigi Benedicenti

Take a bit of these incredible food - all calorie free as its paintings and not real!! Amazing realistic art that will make you hungry. 


















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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Be careful what photos you post or share

I follow Trim Healthy Mama (THM) on Facebook and often surprised by women who post photos of themselves in revealing clothing such as swimwear to show off their weight loss. I am equally amazed at women who show off their tummies (revealing skin) when pregnant. 

Whilst I use social media and have witnessed its many positive attributes — it also has a very dark and evil side that some women have forgotten about. This blog post is a timely reminder to be CAREFUL when posting photos, think twice. It is also about sharing intimate photos of yourself with someone else. 


Firstly to pregnancy — it turns out my concern was well grounded. Pregnancy support groups are warning expectant mothers about the dangers of posting photos of their bellies online in case they are stolen for use on porn sites. Groups in Australia, New Zealand and Canada said people posing as pregnant women had solicited photos for use on pregnancy fetish sites. (source: ABC News

We do not live in an innocent world, even beautiful photos of pregnant women are being used on fetish sites by those who are sexually deranged and get turned on by pregnant women.  Once your photo is on a social media site, you have no control over who copies it and reuses it elsewhere. And if you are one of many who use your real name — that too can be linked to your photo and be placed on sites that could cause you (and your family) much distress. One photo can spread like wildfire and you will loss control of it. In fact when I was looking for a photo for this post, I was amazed at the number of photos of semi-naked pregnant women on Pinterest — some quite revealing. 

Whilst this sounds alarming — it does happen and we always need to think twice before posting photos that you don't won't others to look at in a perverted way. I would likewise say the same about photos of mothers breastfeeding their babies — be careful where these are posted, it might just be innocent to you, but it may not be to others. 

The sharing of intimate photos isn't something perhaps you do  — BUT it is done by many men and women without thinking of the consequences. Women often (however this isn't exclusive to women) take selfies of themselves in revealing positions and send these photos to their boyfriend/partner/husband via a smart phone.  Couples video themselves having sex never thinking that everything might go pear shaped. When the relationship turns sour — these imagines can find their way to one of the many "revenge porn" sites as a way of getting back at their ex. Once one intimate photo is placed on one of these sites (and there is around 3,000 sites) you have no control over it at all and getting one photo remove is almost impossible, just imagine if many are posted. For ultimate revenge, ex's have been known to post these photos on prostitute sites making the woman look like she is a prostitute. 

Many photos are deliberately posted with names and addresses attached and women find themselves bombarded with sexually explicit requests, which can ruin future relationships, people have lost their jobs are a result, it has caused embarrassment and humiliation to friends and family and in some very tragic cases, result in suicide. This problem has become so bad that countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and some US states now have new laws in place to prosecute such crimes and it can result in a prison sentence. 

The message is simple — BE CAREFUL in what you post or who you post photos too. Train your young adults to be careful what they share on Facebook, teach them about on-line bullying and the dangers of intimate photos. 

Think twice, is it worth it? Because, once posted you no longer have any control over it. 

That also includes photos of your children. 

We live in a very evil world and what you might think innocent is seen through a different light by others.

******

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I need Thee every hour


We like to think we are strong and independent, that we can handle anything that comes our way. However, as soon as life crumbles around us, we realise we desperately need our gracious Lord and can't cope without Him. We need to hear His voice, to feel His arms around us. God is our refuge, He is ever faithful and He never changes. His compassion never fails and we need Him every hour. 

Annie S. Hawks wrote the hymn "I need thee every hour". Annie, a young wife and mother, writes that one sunny day in June, 1872, she was busy with her household tasks. Suddenly she became filled with the sense of nearness to the Lord. She wondered how anyone could go through trials and sorrow without God. She realized that God was near in joy or in pain. Annie then penned the words to “I Need Thee Every Hour.”.

When Annie’s husband died sixteen year later, she found that her own hymn was among her greatest comforts. She had not understood how her words had touched so many hearts until the shadow of a great loss fell her way. (source)

We can only find complete peace when we truly rely on God for everything. 


I need thee every hour
(Words by Annie S Hawks, 1872)


I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

Refrain
I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessèd Son.


Refrain


Monday, August 24, 2015

How well do you know you neighbours?


How well do you know your neighbours?

Do you chat often?

Do you help each other?

I live next door to an elderly woman who lives alone. A few weeks ago my husband helped her when her front door got stuck and she couldn't open it. Last weekend I did her annual tax return as she finds the computer to difficult these days. I often chat with her when I am watering the garden in summer and we share DVDs and books and I have even given her a cup of sugar when she had run out!! She is a lovely kind lady and we get on very well. If we meet at the local shops we stop and have a chatter, sometimes quite long.  If she goes away we collect her mail and water her garden. She does the same for us. 

I read in an article the other day that only 52% of Australians would invite a neighbour into their home and 50% would recognise their neighbour if they met their on the street. Most people don't even know the name of their neighbours. (source)

There was a time when neighbours knew each other well and the photos above were common place scenes. Women chatted over the fence about their day-to-day life, they minded each other's children, their shared things from their homes. When in need, one knew they could rely on their neighbours. 

One argument for the decline in neighbourly relations has been contributed to women going off to work — I agree that has played some part in it, however, I work and still able to chat with my neighbour on weekends and in the evenings. I think it is more of an excuse, like most things — if you want to get to know you neighbour you will find the time. 

I think we are loosing the ability to have friendly chats (and I don't mean gossiping!) and keeping an eye out for our neighbours  Have you travelled recently on the bus, no one chats to the person next to them any more — they are too busy listening to music or on their phones. Likewise, chatting with their neighbour is also a lost art. Chatting about the weather, asking after the children/grandchildren, discussing flowers in the garden are no longer something that people do as much as they use to. When I was young, we lived in a small rural district. When we went to the local town for groceries my mother always stopped to chat with the ladies she past. Not only did she know them all by name, she knew their husband's name, where they lived, children etc... it meant chatting wasn't difficult.  It also meant that shopping to much longer than perhaps it does today!

However, I think our mindset has changed considerably — many of us live in self-contained homes surrounded by fences in suburbia — something sociologists call "side-be-side isolation". When at home, we shut ourselves into our homes, watch more TV and on our computers. With less people gardening and children outdoors playing — we have less time interacting with those near us. Since the 1950's, house blocks have increased in size (nearly doubled) increasing the distances between neighbours. At one time putting a high fence between neighbours was seen as hostile, now it is mandatory. There is a growing fear of strangers and that includes our neighbours. We no longer allow our children to play in the front garden or on the street (part of our growing fear and anxiety of what could happen) resulting in our children mingling less with other children on the street.

Instead of living in a community, we live in isolation among strangers.

Once we knew our neighbours well enough to know they were safe for our children to visit, now we live in fear.

Once we could rely on our neighbours for help, now we don't know them to even ask.

Once we cared about each other and looked out for those in need —now a elderly person can die and no one in the street will even notice. Their mail overflowing, newspapers piling up — but we don't want to get involved.

It is all very sad that we have reached this point after centuries of mingling with our neighbours and creating rich communities — in only a few short decades we have completely turned the tables.

Neighbours enrich our lives and we should get to know them once again.

 . . . Give our neighbour a smile, be friendly, offer a word of encouragement, lend a helping hand, show the love of Christ and be a good and kind neighbour.



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