Friday, October 21, 2016

Art Friday: Chris Wormel

Artist: Chris Wormel

Chris Wormel was born in 1955 in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire (UK). He had no formal training as an artist, working as a road-sweeper, rubbish collector, postman, and a factory worker. An interest in landscape painting led him to buy a set of wood engraving tools in 1982, and to teach himself how to use them. His first commercial book, An Alphabet of Animals, published in 1990 won that year's Graphics Prize at the Bologna International Children's Book Fair. 

He has published some 14 illustrated books and acted as illustrator of others' work on at least 18 more. His work has also been published as greeting cards and he designed the artwork for a series of advertisements for Adnams, a regional brewer based in Suffolk.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Truly beautiful homes

"Home was intended to be so much more than just a place of bare essentials" Sally Clarkson

To make our home truly beautiful one must have God as the centre of all activities. Guest must feel welcome and there is an air of generosity, peace, calmness and love. Your children will grow up to remember their home as a place of warmth and kindness, where all those who visit felt comfortable to gather and talk about things that mattered to them. In all likelihood, these children will grow into adults who will create the same sort of home.

A beautiful home must also be free from influences that can pollute and disturb the tranquility — today this is much harder than yesteryear as we are surrounded by bad influences such as television, trashy magazines and social media (via our phones and computers). People today recognize the damaging effects that television and social media have on impressionable children, and, for that matter, on teenagers and adults.  Neither the television or smart phone should be allowed to rule the home. 

Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established;  By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches. (Provers 24:3-4)

The next time you are sitting in your lounge room or sharing a meal with your family, ask yourself:  Do I truly feel at home? Am I doing everything possible to build a healthy family and household?  Do guests feel welcome here? And, above all, does God feel comfortable in my home?

Homes today are often seem to operate on an ad hoc basis. . . they are simply bus interchanges where people meet to grab a bit to eat, sleep or get change and go off to do other activities. Homes are no longer the gathering places for friends and family and for some families it is a rarity to sit down and enjoy a meal together let alone a conversation of any substances. 

"If we look at the lovely world that God designed, we can see a pattern for what He has intended for us—a home environment filled with colour and creativity and order, a welcoming provider of lighter and refuge, a pace where memories are made and shared. Instead of creating us to live in a house of weariness and colourlessness, God has made us to live in a home full of soul-beautiful elements" ~ Sally Clarkson (The Life Giving Home)

Importantly, your home doesn't only provide a place of comfort to your husband and children you are also role modelling to your children what "home" looks and feels like so they too can create their own home once they fly the nest. 

Even if you haven't done a great job thus far, it is NEVER too late to make changes in your home. Look around, what can you do to make it more friendly, welcoming, more Godly?  Look to the bible as your manual – check out these verses Proverbs 9:1, Proverbs 14:1, Proverbs 24:3-4 and Proverbs 31:27 as they are a great help. Remember, building one's home has nothing to do with money, rather wisdom, understanding and knowledge. It is through skillful management with intelligent and biblical principles that one builds a solid home on rock. 

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Be still

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! (Psalm 46:10)

We no longer know how to be still, as I wrote a few months ago, busyness has become the new norm and for some women they create busyness so they look successful to others.

But God wants us to "be still", to stop what we are doing so we can hear His voice.  Sadly in this modern age, we make so much noise and distracted by some much turbulences we can't hear God when He calls out to us.

We need to hear His voice as it is our guide throughout our day.

The word still is a translation of the Hebrew word rapa, meaning “to slacken, let down, or cease.” We need to be still, to let go and surrender our lives to God.

We need to come to a place where we are willing to submit ourselves to God and acknowledging that He is in sovereign control and admit we are incapable of controlling our own lives and only God can be in control.

Most people are too arrogant to admit this and we think we are highly capable intelligent people who do not need God—how wrong we are. We must know that He is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere), omnipotent (all-powerful), holy, sovereign, faithful, infinite, and good. Acknowledging God implies that we can trust Him and have surrender to His plan because we understand who He is.

When we are still and surrendered to God, we find peace even when the earth gives way, the mountains fall, or the nations go into an uproar and kingdoms fall. When life gets overwhelming and busyness takes precedence, remember Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Run to Him, lay down your weapons and fall into His arms. Acknowledge that He is God and that He is exalted in the earth. Be still and know that He is God.

For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30-15)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Too many shoes?

Can a girl have too many shoes?

Do you wear all the shoes you own?

Do you want more?

Do you buy a new pair every season?

Due to a foot problem, a young woman was required to buy a comfortable pair of shoes that would help her feet recover and due to the price, bought only one pair. This is what she discovered after wearing one pair of shoes all year:

Ultimately, my year of wearing one pair of shoes taught me a few things: that you can learn to enjoy having fewer choices and that, truly, no one really cares what's on your feet. Unless it's especially bright, interesting or ugly, it's background noise. How do I know that? Not long before the shoes finally died, a colleague who'd seen me almost every working day for the past year stopped me in the hall and said: "Cute shoes! Have I seen those before?”

Only being able to wear one pair of shoes has changed the way I dress as a whole. Because I physically can't follow some fashions that rely on certain footgear, I'm less interested in being on trend and more interested in wearing things I like. I buy fewer clothes and like what I buy more. Now, I dress less to suit my shoes, and more to suit the activity I'm dressing for. Kind of like most men, I guess. (source)

We spend a lot of money on shoes —American women can spend up to $20,000 on shoes in their lifetime (source), many will never be wore. 

Most women own around 20 pairs of shoes, but generally wear only 5 (source). The reasons for not wearing the other 15:

1. Too uncomfortable (too tight on feet/too high heels) (64%)
2. Hard to match with an outfit (55%)
3. Scared to damage/were very expensive (41%)
4. Were given as a gift and don’t like them (37%)
5. Didn’t like them as much when I got them home (21%)

The message — we don't need to fill up our wardrobes with many different shoes—its true ladies, we don't need lots of shoes—and just imagine how much we will save and how much space we would have!!!

We need to think wisely when buying shoes—how comfortable are they, what will they be wore with and how often will I wear them. 
  • We need our Sunday best shoes—often a nude or classic black as they go with everything, these can be wore for formal occasions, weddings, to church, not wore often but still important. Perhaps a court shoe and a smart sandal. 
  • We need shoes that are suitable for work or smart outings—once again go for a  colour that will match everything in your wardrobe. If you are on your feet all day in your job, look for comfort over looks. 
  • Shoes for around the home —something flat and comfy that can be slipped on and off during the day. You may need another part for outdoor activities such as garden.
  • Shoes for walking—something sturdy and comfortable, often it is better to spend more to gain support and durability.
  • Shoes for popping down the shops in—ballet slippers and flats are great in all seasons and can go with any outfit. 
  • A couple of good pairs of sandals are also very useful in hot climates. 

We might need some variation for summer and winter, but to be honest, many shoes can be wore in both seasons, in particular in Australia. Boots are well worth purchasing in cold climates.

Ultimately shoes are to get us from A to B comfortably without hurting our feet. Shoes are to keep our feet warm in winter and give us protection from the elements. Shoes are important and we do need to wear them, but we don't need lots of them. As Christians, our focus shouldn't be on the latest fashions or or trying to impress others with our fancy shoes—we should be careful with our money and buy wisely, we should not be wasteful, therefore any shoes we do buy, we should wear often. 

So the next time you have an overwhelming desire to buy shoes, remember the verse from Matthew 6:19-21 in regards to earthly treasures and ask yourself — do I really need these shoes? The answer is probably no. 

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Blog posts of interest: 

Monday, October 10, 2016

To be content 24/7

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. (Philippians 4:11-14)

"None of us can control the environment of our lives completely. We try of course, and take every precaution to insult ourselves against external shocks. Nevertheless, accidents on the road stop traffic; storms crash down trees, biopsies come back positive. Th list is endless: flat tires, power outages, layoffs at work, sprained ankles, sick children." (a)

Have you ever really thought about what Paul was writing in the verses above — no matter the situation, sunny bright days or sitting beside a sick child, we must be CONTENT IN ALL THINGS AT ALL TIMES. To be content when life is good is easy, but to remain content when life is falling apart is so much harder and most of us fail dismally. 

However, we cannot and do not do this alone — in fact God never wanted us to struggle with contentment alone, He wants us to always lean on Him and find our contentment through Christ who strengthens us. The list of Paul's trials are daunting, but he had within him an internal "fountain of sufficiency from God, whether he was well fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want" (a)

So the next time things go pear-shaped (car accident, money issues, problems with the children or illness), remember that God is both a powerful and loving God and His plans are always good and right. We may not understand the reasons at the time, but we must trust in God and find contentment through His strength. 

Many Christian women bloggers recommend to working women to pray constantly so they can come home full-time to where they belong. I have prayed earnestly and still find myself working and it was at this point that I realised that God's plans for me were different to others and for some reason He has placed me outside of the home working in an office rather than at home. I have learnt to accept this and have found contentment in God's plans for me.  Someday I will fully understand God's plan but in the meantime, I will do my very best to please Him and be content in ALL things.  

If we want to have 24/7 joy, we must not see joy only coming from good things, we need to learn to extend our joy and contentment to include the not so good and the downright nasty. 

I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.

(a) sourced from "Contentment: The Secret to a Lasting Calm" by Richard A. Swenson

Friday, October 7, 2016

Art: The countryside

Art Friday: The South Australian country side

One very wet afternoon a few weeks ago, my two brothers, their wives and myself hopped in the car and went for a lovely drive in the countryside. The hills were emerald green and everything very damp — but as you can see, it was the perfect time for photography. Australia has the image of being hot, dry and brown — but as you can see from these photos, after a good winter, the hills are just beautiful. 

What a view

Once used in the manufacturing of hops

These flowers are commonly known as Red Hot Pokers

Grape vines covering the hills

This building is for storing fruit - the area we were visiting is known for its apples, stone fruits etc


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