Monday, February 15, 2016

Why do we hate Mondays?

Mondays get such bad rap, people generally hate Mondays and moan and groan a great deal about getting up on Monday morning. In fact it is the most complained about day in the week and the one day people are late for work or take a "sickie".

It is not really fair, as Monday has done nothing wrong at all, it is just another day in our seven day week but treated so poorly. 

Why do people hate Monday — people live for the 2 days of the week (Saturday and Sunday) where they can do whatever they please (which isn't really true anyway) and hate the idea of having to return to the drudgery of Monday (which is how many people see their work or school). 

Its rather sad that we complain about Monday . . . and Tuesday . . . and Wednesday  . . . getting slightly more happy by Thursday . . . feeling good by Friday . . . love Saturday and Sunday and then back to MONDAY.  How we waste our lives, waiting endlessly for two days of the seven day week. Its rather tragic to be honest. 

Is Sunday or Monday the first day of the week?  The first day of the week varies all over the world. In most cultures, Sunday is regarded as the first day of the week although many observe Monday as the first day of the week. According to the Bible, the Sabbath or Saturday is the last day of the week which marks Sunday as the first day of the week for many Jewish and Christian faiths, while many countries regard Monday as the first day of the week. According to the international standard ISO 8601, Monday is the first day of the week ending with Sunday as the seventh day of the week. Although this is the international standard, countries such as the United States still have their calendars refer to Sunday as the start of the seven-day week. (source)

The meaning of Monday: The name of Monday is derived from Old English Mōnandæg and Middle English Monenday, which means "moon day".

Monday arrives every 7 days whether we like it or not, we can’t stop it arriving so we need to deal with our attitude towards Monday. 

* We need to remove the negativity from Monday and replace it with joy and cheerfulness — hey, it will be a great day, lets welcome it with a smile and some energy.

* We need to see Monday as a brand new day full of possibilities where we can do anything.

* We need to see Monday as a a day to bring happiness to others

* We need to be thankful that we are in good health and able to enjoy Monday and have the opportunity to do something wonderful.

* We need to count our blessings — yes, the beginning of a work week can feel tedious — but if you have a job be grateful, if you are at home—wonderful, just appreciate what you do have, like the fact that you woke up today!

* Turn Monday from a negative day into something special and thank the Lord for giving us this day.

Lets make Monday a great day . . . lets make every day a great day and praise the Lord that we can enjoy the days He has given us. They are all special in their own way.

This is the day the LORD has made;

We will rejoice and be glad in it.

(Psalm 118:24)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Art Friday: Visiting the art gallery (Part 2)

Art Friday: Visiting the art gallery 

Contemporary Indigenous art

Last week I wrote about the importances of taking children to the art gallery (LINK). Another reason to visit art galleries is to look at art from our Indigenous population. In Australia most people have very little contact with Australian Aborigines and when asked about Indigenous art they also have a stereotypical idea — paintings like the ones above. However, the South Australian Art Gallery (where I went to in January) have a modern collection that is very different to these more traditional "dot" paintings and I was very impressed by them. 

They aren't to everyone's taste and perhaps "too" modern for some, but these were my favourites.  

George Tjungurrayi - Western Australia. Untitled painting.
Ray James Tjangala and the painting is called "Snake Dreaming at Karilwarra"
Tony Albert, Alair Pambegan and the installation is called "Frontier wars: Bonefish story place"

I love this room - the walls were dark and the lighting dim which really set off the art work and make each piece stand out. The room was very calm and peaceful which is perfect for look at art. 

These skirts (which are suspended, hanging in mid air as if by magic) were a big favourite of mine - they are called "The Namatjira Collection" and are watercolours painted in the tradition of a famous Australian Indigenous artist — Albert Namatjira — and have been painted by his ancestors. They have a rather old world charm to them and reminded me a little of those old fashion lampshades. you found in homes from wester-year. This is a lovely exhibition to walk through as they move slight ever so slightly in the breeze.

The glass sculpture (about) is large and impressive. It is called "Thunder Raining Poison" and is a five metre high "cloud" of 2000 hand-blown glass yams.  It is suspended from the ceiling and one walks around it with great care. The artist who created this work is Yvonne Scarce. 

It is about the atomic bombs that were released at Maralinga in South Australia in the 1950's and 60s, jointly by Australia and the United Kingdom. The bombs not only poisoned the landscape, but turned sand (from the desert) in glass. The indigenous people of the area were unable to return to their native lands (Kokatha and Nukunu people). 

The radioactive landscape from the bombs turned an opaque shade of green that also colours some of the hand-blown yams, which Scarce has made.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Keeping the romance in your marriage

Last week I wrote about "Ways to Love and Save a Marriage" (LINK), this week, as we approach Valentines Day I thought I would look at "keeping the romance going" — not just on Valentines Day, but every day of the year.

When we are tired or weary, it can be hard work to almost impossible being romantic — the house is looking messy, dust is everywhere, the kids are noisy, the bills are piling up, dinner has to cooked, washing to do and don't mention the dishes  . . . feeling grumpy, overweight and unattractive and husband is oblivious to it all. I think we have all been in this space more times that we want to admit during our marriage. 

But . . . its not a space we want to be in for long as it is not healthy for us and nor is it good for our marriage. 

We need to pull ourselves together and get romantic because part of maintaining a healthy loving marriage is the romances. And we don't want to be another statistic.

Firstly—go to your quiet place and prayer for guidances and encouragement from God, you need His help to put the sparkle back into your marriage —you can't do it on your own. 

Secondly — get your act together — tidy the house and do those dishes — it really does make things feel so much better when there is order in the home.  It doesn't need to be perfect, but some level of tidiness make a home far more inviting and one that your husband will love to come home too.  

Thirdly —sorting out the children may not be quite so easy — but it is important to bring romance back into the house so the children do need to do their part. They need to see what a healthy marriage looks like and you are their role model. Your children don't come first (this can be hard for some mothers to get their heads around), they come after dad and this is something they need to understand.  Tell the children that by the time daddy is home the house needs to be cosy and comfortable for him and mummy needs lots of help. Its also important for children to understand that mum and dad have time together that doesn't involve them and they should learn this from an early age. 

Fourthly — have a shower, put on a nice dress, do the hair, a splash on some perfume, a little makeup and some jewellery and you will feel like a new woman. And your husband will notice!

Take some advice from the Danish and their concept of Hygge — and burn a candle or two, remember that your house doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be a cosy cocoon for your family. 

So the house is in order, you are looking gorgeous, the candles are lit, now we need something romanic to do — here are some ideas, I am sure you have plenty more to add!! Some of these ideas will require a baby sitter or an early night for the children, some can involve the children too!

  • Watch a romantic movie together whilst eating popcorn!
  • Go for a romantic walk to watch the sunrise or sunset
  • Write a poem for your spouse and frame it
  • Gather up your favourite photos and create a collage to hang in the bedroom
  • Make a book about why you love your husband and why you are thankful for him
  • Candlelight dinner for two with the best china
  • Family picnic on the rug in the living room (if cold) or outside if sunny and warm
  • Make the entire day full of his favourites: the breakfast of his dreams, the dinner of his dreams, TV that is his favourite, his music, etc. Don’t say anything about it, surprise him all day long
  • Learn how to dance together — this can be great fun (for some!!)
  • Create a CD with songs that make you think of your sweetheart, and give it to your husband
  • Turn off the TV and lay a boardgames on the floor surrounded by nibbles and lots of pillows and candles
  • Leave little notes in his lunchbox so when he opens it at work he finds these beautiful notes. 
  • Choose specialty foods, such as wine, cheese, fresh bread/dessert from a favourite bakery and enjoy in front of your warm fireplace
  • Write a “Top 10 Reasons Why I Love You” list.
  • Create your own bookclub of two —choose a book in which you are both interested, fiction or nonfiction. Read a new chapter each night before bed. This cozy tradition will allow you to spend some quality time together and often makes for thought provoking breakfast conversations.
  • Bring homemade cookies or brownies to his office
  • Stash a love note in his shoe, on the steering wheel in the car, on the bathroom mirror 
  • Write a love letter and post it to your husband
  • Share a bath
  • Make a homemade gift
  • Treat your husband to a massage
  • Go for a drive, buy an ice-cream and go for a short walk together
  • Take you husband on a mystery day out and take a picnic lunch with you. 

with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:2-3

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

In the sewing room: Update

I've been a busy girl in the sewing room — no not really much in the way of sewing, more about re-arranging things and buying new furniture for the room in hope that I will do more sewing!!!

The two big purchases were from Ikea — the trolley now contains all my projects in one place and it very handy (and stylish too!). The other purchase is the two sets of drawers. One lot contains all my sewing (finally in one location) and the other all my stationary and paper — once again, all in the same place for once. My son was so kind and put everything together for me whilst I rearranged the room to fit the new furniture in.  I really only went to Ikea to buy the trolley with no intentions of buy drawers but these looked so useful and they are very deep so contains lots of space. I had to buy two because Ruby (yes, the cat) needed to be able to lie on top and stretch out. As you can see below - she fits beautifully and loves her new space (bed) near the window!!!

What one does for a cat!!!

I have finally got my act together and cut out the fabric for "Kathy's Quilt" — aren't the colours lovely — I do love purple (once upon-a-time it was a not a colour the ordinary folk wore, it was tricky to produce, therefore very expensive so it was only a colour worn by the wealthy). Glad it is now cheap to make (!) I too can enjoy the colour purple!!

I don't really need anymore clothes (my wardrobe is bursting at the seams) — but I found a simplish pattern for a summer dress that I thought I would try. The red fabric is very soft and will be lovely on a hot day and whilst the dress isn't perfect, it will be great to wear around the house when it is hot!

Some people are so skilled at sewing, I am not one of them. No matter how hard I try, I always seem to have a problem or things don't quite sit perfectly as they should. I think sewing is a gift which some people are born with and others (myself included) make do with what basic skill we have!!!  But I keep on trying and not giving up - one day I will get there!!!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Judging women for their decisions

When I write these sorts of blogs posts I tend to get very few comments and very few visits, I am not sure why — is it because you strongly disagree or has this made you think a little about how you perceive women like me. Please read so the next time you meet a woman who works you will engage in a conversation rather assuming that our activities as a working woman are unGodly and that we don't love our homes and children as much as you.

My parents sent me to school when I was 5 years old, I attended the local public school before moving to an independent private school for the remainder of my education. I was a hopeless student, but I loved all my friends. 

My children attended child care and then to school.

I have friends who went to boarding school.

Other families home school with mothers at home.

As parents we are making decisions about all accepts of our children's lives, including their education and its very important to understand that your decisions is not the only option available to parents and nor is it the only "correct" way of doing things. It is simply one of the options open to families and we all need to respect and accept other people decisions when it is different to ours.

I read a comment the other day that said that working women who placed their children in childcare were "repugnant". . . . in case you don't know what that word means — revolting, disgusting, offensive, vile, foul, loathsome . . . . thanks and yes, it was written by a Christian. 

I read more and more comments and blogs by Christian women who are incredibly critical, judgmental and in some cases scathing about women who work and place their children in childcare and go on to send their children to school.  The comments can be cruel, hurtful and sometimes downright nasty.  I would like to remind all women that as Christians we are to love our neighbours as ourself and these comments are far removed from loving anyone. Lets support each other and show a little kindness — more Godly behaviour and less worldly.

Firstly — the decision of a mother and wife to work is no one else's business — and often when we dig a little deeper, it is not a matter of career selfishness or ambition but rather a selfless woman helping her family, yes, selfless. This isn't vile or foul or loathsome, instead she is a hardworking woman helping her husband (as a helpmate should) and doing the very best for her children.  As long as any decision her and her husband have made are done through prayer and it is the path God has opened for them, then it isn't your business to be critical.

Do you know the plans that God has for other women, no, and for that reason we need to trust God and not try to point fingers. Being home 100% of the time may not be possible for all women, it doesn't make them any less Christian. 

Secondly — many children attend childcare and whilst you may think it is a terrible thing to do, the evidence is to the contrary. A number of longitudinal studies have been undertaken in both Australian and the UK and the data is clear — children do very well in childcare and thrive. It isn't the nightmare that many like to portray it as in their attempt to make mothers who use care as horrible selfish women.  My children loved childcare. We picked carefully and made sure we were very happy with the staff.  We had no issues,  our children did not suffer, were not unhappy, keen to attend, loved all the activities and have very fond memories.

If you don't like childcare for your children, that is perfectly ok — but do not judge other women for making this decision sometimes when they don't really want to.

Just remember that there are around 8.6 million single mothers in the USA who are working — many don't have a choose, lets support them rather than being hurtful and pulling them down. Lets built them up with our need our prayers, our encouragement and not being judgmental. 

If you can stay home and care for your children, that is excellent and the best option available for many families and lots of Australia women are doing just that. Those who do work, are often doing part-time hours to make sure they maximise their time at home. Women (families) are making wise decisions on the most part and many are not selfish women thinking only themselves. It is sad that some Christian women have such a low view of other christian women and the decisions they make.

Lets build up women and not tear them down. Lets encourage rather than discourage, lets love rather than play judge and jury. 

Thirdly — I loved school, I may have been a hopeless student but I loved all my friends at school and it is those friendships that I remember most about attending school.  If you have decided to homeschool, great, I will fully support and encourage your decision. If you have decided on sending your children to school, excellent, I will support you in that decision too. Because, it isn't my place to lecture you or your family and the decisions you have made.  There are pros and cons to both homeschooling and attending a school — how and why we decide is up to us as individual parents and as long as each child is receiving a high level of education then the decision made is fine. 

Whilst schooling may not be an option in the area you live in, perhaps the schools aren't very nice or too rough and you can't afford private schooling — I might have excellent schools in my neighbourhood or I can afford to send my children to a private school. Schools varies in different countries and across neighbourhoods and that can be factor in deciding what to do. Christian bloggers shouldn't jump to conclusions when they read that other families are attending a local school.

The same goes for university — you may not want to send you daughter (or son) to university and that is your decision. I have different views on higher education and I may not agree with you, however, instead of getting in to confrontation (and judging others) why not choose a conversation instead.  

Finally — Do not judge or call others names when you disagree. It is unChristian, very unpleasant and hurtful to others.

In a perfect world, mums would be able to stay home and care for their children and it would be wonderful, but many cannot so they have to make decisions that might not always be perfect, but believe me, their children will turn out just fine if their homes are full of LOVE and grace.

It is easy to demonise other people's chooses because it is different to yours and forget that yours may not be perfect either.

Stop looking over your shoulder at what others do, focus on your family and let God look after others. You have no idea how He works in other homes and to honest, it isn't your business.

As women, we are here to offer support, encouragement, love, a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, a smile of friendship and not calling others names.  Take the bible verse "Love thy neighbour" to heart and the next time you meet a mum in bogland that works and maybe have her children in childcare . . .

. . . don't start to lecturing her, ask her about her day. 

Ask her how things are going, talk . . . and you might find out some amazing things about this woman and become good friends. 

There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise promotes health.

Proverbs 12:18

Friday, February 5, 2016

Art Friday: Visit to the art gallery (Part 1)

Art Friday: A trip to the art gallery

I love visiting art galleries and a big believer that all children should visit art galleries as often as possible to develop a love of art. It allows children to see the changing styles of art, ask questions about different art styles and techniques, do research into the stories behind particular paintings they see, research the history of times that these paintings occurred, learn about different artists etc..  For older children, they can research the sort of music was being written at the time these artists lived, the politic landscape, the value of art, who did these artists paint for (some were in the employment of the King or Queen), famous authors who lived at the time of these artists (for example Dickens was great friends with a number of famous artists). How about art theft and art stolen during the Second World War. 

Younger children may not have the attention span to see the entire gallery all at once and it is best to break it up into smaller visits. Some may need a rest during their visit — even some adults need to rest awhile (!) and most galleries provide chairs and benches to sit on. 

If your gallery allows photography (not all do), it is well worth taking photos of those that are favourites so the children can look at them in more detail once home and do further research. Don't forget to take a photo of the label so you can remember the name of the artist and painting. If you are blessed to live in a city with a major gallery, you may have the opportunity to see some master-pieces which are well worth visiting. 

The paintings in todays post were taken a few weeks ago when my brother, his wife and I visited the Art Gallery of South Australia. My all time favourite painting in this gallery is called "Evening Shadows" by H. J. Johnstone (Bristish). It has always been a favourite of mine and I think it always will be:) If your children find a painting they really like and can take photos, why not take some close ups so they can look at the details of the paintings once at home. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Finding joy in household chores

 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might  ~ Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whether you live in a house, unit, apartment, condo, tent, caravan, cabin, houseboat or tree house — you will have chores that need to be done. You can't avoid them — well you can, but it will make your environment pretty unpleasant in no time flat. Whether we like it or not, household chores need to be done and we can't escape the drudgery of it. 

Even today in 2016, most chores falls to the lady of the house even though women around the world  are in constant battle to get their menfolk to help (it can be one of the major points of tension in a marriage).  Some say that housework is solely a woman job and we shouldn't even be asking men to assist. I look at it slightly differently, whilst women are managers of their homes — everyone in the household contributes to the mess, therefore it would be nice if everyone helped in some small way.  It is a great way of training up the children (or rather a necessary training as they, once adults, will have their own homes to care for) and there are a many jobs around the house that men can do and their contribution helps towards the overall running of the house and home and in turns creates a lovely environment to live in. Its all about team work and a husband and wife are a team.

Just remember HYGGE, the Danish concept of home that I wrote about in a previous post!!

Some women outsource — my mother had an ironing lady for many years, others have a cleaning lady  who comes weekly or fortnightly — but most of us do it ourselves.  Interestedly, with more women in the workforce, the standard of cleanilness has declined in the last 30 years. Women no longer iron the sheets and vacuum the drapes like they use to (I don't even iron my tea towels). Ovens and fridges are no longer cleaned as often and houses are far more dusty. Overall, less housework is done now compared to the 1950s or before.

My motto for housework is simple — do a little each day and stay on top of it, otherwise it doesn't take very long before you start to drown in the amount of the work that needs doing. If a little is done each day, no one needs to spend very long doing housework. And if the load is shared among the family (my husband vacuums which is such a great help), including the children—the workload is no longer daunting. 

Regardless of how I do my chores, there will always be chores I strongly dislike doing — cleaning the shower and bathtub, cleaning the fridge and ironing. Whether we like these jobs or not, we still need to do them and as Christian women we need to have the right attitude towards our chores . . .

. . .  a godly attitude of servicedoing each chore joyful and hopeful with a smile on one's face! And remember, that once done, the pleasure of a sparkly clean house is very rewarding for all.

* Lets be thankful that we have a home of our own to clean and take joy in what God has provided for us. We need to thank the Lord for the beds that give us a good nights rest (even if we have to make them in the morning), for the washing we have to do (as it means we have clothes to wear) and for the crumbs on the floors as it means we have food to eat (even if we have to sweep and mop afterwards).

* Look at our chores as a blessing and find the positive in this work — that we have a home to clean, that we are able to clean our homes and that we have a family that will appreciate all our hard work (even if they don't say so).

* Remember, our chores keep us busy and active and that in turn keeps us out of mischief (too much time on the internet or watching TV) and that is also a good thing — "She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness." (Proverbs 31:27)

* And no matter what we do — including the yucky chores and keeping our homes in order we need keep this firmly in our minds: "do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men" (Colossians 3:23)

* Focus on why we are doing these chores — its not about pats on the back or rewards for having the cleanest house in the street: "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." (Philippians 2:3-5)

So whilst we grumble and avoid doing chores and for some women, happy to live in messy homes (saying its more important to spend time with the children) — we do have a responsibility to keep our homes clean, tidy, hygienic and in order and in turn, all our hard work will create a wonderful environment for all to enjoy.  We aren't doing this for ourselves, we do all things for the Lord, including a clean home.

PS focus on the end product - whilst you might make a mess cleaning up the bathroom cabinet — what a great feeling once it is all done and the room is neat and tidy. 

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries. —A.A. Milne


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