Sunday, June 29, 2008

Webby Goodness

Here's some things I've been looking at around the web:

Scrapbooking Inspiration: Looking for some scrapbooking inspiration? Look no further Gallery Standouts regularly updates with some great pages.

Photography: Katy Scrapbook Lady has a great series of posts on photography. The best part is she has lots and lots of links. I haven't had time to get right into them yet. Worth checking out. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

Faith: This is a great post on changing our perspective. Yes, it's not about me. Looking for the tow truck driver.

We have recently moved houses and we don't have any bookshelves so all my books are in boxes. I haven't pulled them all out yet to find my concordance so I've been using this one. Kind of handy.

Snow Reports: So we're hanging out for snow. If you're in Australia and a skier, check out this link for snow forecasts and models for your mountain.

Hope you all had a good weekend. Cheers.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Turning my Brain Back On

There's nothing like sharing your faith to make you actually think about your faith and the assumptions we make about Christianity. I have a close friend who is looking at the whole faith/God issue and we have recently been having some great talks. She has some wonderful questions. I became a follower of Jesus 16 years ago at age 19 and asked some of the same questions then but over the years the answers have become vague. As I have experienced God in my life the intellectual reasons for a reasonable faith have receded into the background a bit and been replaced by thoughts of who God is, how He works in my life and who He wants me to be. The questions that concern a believer are often different to those of someone looking from outside faith. Luckily for me my friend is wonderfully gracious to me and puts up with my inarticulate ramblings as I try to put into words what I know in my heart. I'm really enjoying engaging in these conversations and I often go away and do some research on some of the questions to give to her later. Hubby would say I love this kind of thing (he's probably right) but I'd kind of let it slide a bit after I had the kids. I'm sure I'm learning just as much as my friend is.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Today is my last 5hours of kid free time before the holidays so I had to run round and do some errands this morning. After that I went to the library and borrowed some books (I've got 8 there so it should keep me going for a while). This 5 hours when The Boy is at kinder always seems to fly by. I thought I might go for a walk but it's blowing a gale and freezing outside, so instead I'm rugged up enjoying some computer time without any interuptions. Now onto some news:

Nuts4digi.com is having a chat this Friday night so if you're free drop in. It should be fun, we're a friendly lot (no really we are).

Nuts4Digi June Monthly Chat
Join us for another fun chat on Friday June 27th in the Nuts4Digi Chat Room
Chance to grab the fabulous kit featured below!
TIME: 8 PM AEST (+10 GMT)
Friday June 27th
Chat conversion times:Los Angeles : 3 am Friday New York, Toronto : 6 am Friday London : 11 am Friday Paris, Berlin : 12 noon Friday Delhi : 3:30 pm Friday Perth, Manilla : 6 pm Friday Adelaide : 7:30 pm Friday Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney : 8 pm Friday Wellington, Auckland : 10 pm Friday
Theme: We will be discussing recolouring! Plus sharing tips and tricks for using your scrapping program!Be sure to bring along a tip or trick you use and you could win a prize! There will be goodies on offer for all participants too!




I've finished another layout.


Credits here

Speaking about blowing a gale and freezing we are going to Falls Creek next week to ski but there has been no snow. I've been checking the snow cams and just seeing grass. Today I checked and looks like they've had a dusting of snow and they are making it as well. There is some snow forecast for this week. Previous years we've been like the snow magnets, last year every time we went up there was blizzards, hopefully this year the snow will come through again. If it's going to be freezing here at least it could snow up there.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Some Native Birds

We live in a lovely area in Melbourne which is definately very urban but also has lots of trees and plenty of nice places to walk and great parks. So I can walk to great coffee and also to a bushy park with native birds. I went on a little walk last week to get a bit of practice with my camera (I've been a bit slack on my photography lately) and got these pics of some of the native bird life. The first two are of Rainbow Lorikeets and the last is a Kookaburra.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Questions

I don't know about yours but my kids always have heaps of questions so coming home from swimming in the car the conversation starts up out of the blue like this:

E: Does Jesus live inside us?
Me: It's the Holy Spirit which is part of God too.
E: Ahh, the Holy Spirit. Why is the Holy Spirit inside us?
Me: It helps us do what God wants us to do ... and to become what God wants us to be?
E: Does God want us to be a person?
Me: Yes
E: and he wants us to have a name?
Me: Yes
E: My names Ethan. ... How do we learn to talk?
Me: We learn to talk from our mummy and daddy and the people around us.
E: oh ...
Silence

Monday, June 23, 2008

My cute boy

I did this layout of E on the ferry from New Year's Day 2007. I think he's pretty cute.

Credits here.

I've been going with the flow lately and been avoiding making too many goals (saves some angst) but I'm going to go out on a limb and say my goal for this year for scrapping is to get two shutterfly books done. One for the year 2007 and also one for our trip to Lord Howe Island and Sydney. Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Reading

We get the HeraldSun delivered everyday and on Sundays I always make sure I read two things. StylePolice, I know it's completely shallow but the comments are pretty funny, and the Faithworks column. Bryan Patterson often has something interesting to say. Today he talked about how Jesus welcomes messy people (lucky for me).

American Christian leader Mike Yaconelli, a generous and funny man who died a couple of years ago, was a champion of messy Christianity, which he described
as the refusal to pretend, to lie, or to allow others to believe we are something we are not. Happy to come clean about his failings, he proclaimed that it was OK to be imperfect. He even hung out with a group of Harley-riding, cigar smoking “uncouth” Christians who called themselves the Notorious Sinners.


Yaconelli said Christianity had a tradition of messy spirituality, with messy prophets, messy kings, messy disciples and messy apostles. “From God’s people getting in one mess after another in the Old Testament to most of the New Testament’s being written to straighten out messes in the church, the Bible presents a glorious story of a very messy faith,” he wrote.


“Spirituality is anything but a straight line; it is a mixed-up, topsy-turvy, helter-skelter godliness that turns our lives into an upside-down toboggan ride full of unexpected turns, surprise bumps and bone-shattering
crashes.


“In other words, messy spirituality is the delirious consequence of a life ruined by a Jesus who will love us right into his arms.

“Jesus is not repelled by us, no matter how messy we are, regardless of how incomplete we are.

“When we recognise that Jesus is not discouraged by our humanity, is not turned off by our messiness and simply doggedly pursues us in the face of it all, what else can we do but give in to his outrageous, indiscriminate love?”


Jesus takes our mess and makes it clean.

Also worth reading I've Gotta Be Me

Friday, June 20, 2008

Storytelling

I read this last night:

Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
Ps 66:16

Each month at church the newsletter has a wrap around section called NewHope Stories. It contains stories from people at our church about how God is working in their lives. They are quite varied from missionaries stories, baptism testimonies and heaps of others. Also the church was challenged at the start of the year to write our stories of how we found Jesus (mine here)and some these have been included as well. I love reading these stories, I find it so encouraging but also am always amazed at the ways God works. Sharing our stories and listening to others stories is a great way to encourage and build each other up in our faith and gain a better understanding of God as well.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spirit of Hanna

A picked a second CT kit this month and this is it: enKay's Spirit of Hanna
I absolutely love blue and red, they're my all time favourite colours and I was glad to snag this new kit by Nathalie. I love a kit that has a number of solid papers because they usually form the base for our layouts. This kit has 5 solid papers which gives you plenty of options. The patterned papers are a good mix of bold patterns and more subdued and all the papers are textured. There are lots of elements, of excellent quality. The stitched button holes are an original touch and come up a treat on layouts.

My first layout was for a sketch challenge at TDC.
and my second layout features a great quote that Mouse selected for the quote challenge at N4D this month. It's not too late to pop over and join in.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Freedom in Christ

Read Galations 5-6 the other night. There's heaps to get stuck into there but a few things that stood out:

It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not
let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Gal 5:1

and this:

Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself,
without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own
load

Gal 6:4-5


So I was having a complain to hubby about people trying to push their version of time with God onto me (down to when we should be alone with God - What's that about?, sorry, but I'm horrible in the morning). He reckons I just don't want to be told what to do. So I had to have a think about whether he was right and I have to admit that I'm wary about letting people put their expectations on me after working hard to break free of all that. The thing is my walk with God feels deeper than before. I'm excited to open my bible see what God has to say. At the moment I'm using a plan to read through the bible in a year which means there's fair bit to read but I love that because I love to read and I also get to read some parts of the bible that don't get much air time. I have my pen and just right down whatever pops up. I find that this often results in an extended conversation with God but not always. Usually I'll mull over stuff I've learnt the next day. This suits me but I know it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. I also want to be open to trying other things as well, but I find it a turn off when people act like their way is the best and only way.

Our faith is not a paint-by-numbers exercise but a relationship with Jesus. Relationships take time and there is no shortcut to intimacy. We are all unique and we will all have a unique relationship with God. Let's share our experiences of God but lets not force others to follow us, we are making disciples of Jesus not mini-me's. Let's encourage each other to nurture a deep, growing and unique relationship with Jesus. Let's resist legalism and embrace our freedom in Christ.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Busy Weekend

Had a busy but really good weekend just gone. Friday night we had my brother and sisters and their families over for H's 9th birthday. Went really easy on the catering - takeaway pizza and icecream cake and everyone had a fun relaxing time. The kids had a ball.

Saturday night we had H's friends for a pyjama party. It was so easy, would recommend it to anyone who wants a low fuss party for this age. We started with tea of party pies and sausage rolls, chips and then fruit platters with chocolate dipping sauce. Then they painted their nails while we tidied up and got the cake ready. After cake they had a short session of dancing and happy snaps then we put on a DVD. Hubby and I made ourselves scarce then, he to the bedroom to watch the footy and me to the computer to do some scrapping - I even got a whole layout finished. Everyone enjoyed themselves and we were relaxed too.


Sunday after church we had small group over for lunch. Everyone brought something to eat and it was great to have a bit more time just to relax and talk. The kids disappeared and amused themselves. Unfortunately the boys decided to paint Harry our dog. It was hard trying to keep a straight face while I told them they weren't to do anymore painting. After that they decided to wash him with the toy broom and water from Harry's bucket.


Overall a great weekend although we were a bit slow getting started this morning. I was very tempted to skip my fitness challenge class at the gym but dragged myself along. This week looks pretty busy too but with lots of good things.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Small Group Life

My first invitation to a church activity was to a small group. I was hooked and I’ve been involved in a small group ever since. I just loved the friendships and the chance to really talk about important issues. I’ve led young adult small groups and been a member of three different adult groups over the years. I’ve had the privilege of sharing my walk in small groups with probably at least 100 people all of different ages, gender, marriage status and experience. I believe there is a lot of value in getting together like this as Christians.

Everyone is unique and because of this everyone has a unique relationship with God. As we study the bible together and share what we’ve learnt and also share our own stories and experience of God we gain a better understanding of who God really is. We can see a bigger picture of God and how he relates to his people. Meeting in a smaller group of believers gives us a chance to share these things more easily.

Small groups also give us a chance to practice love. I’ve found small group to be a place that we can get real with each other, share our challenges, hurts and triumphs. It also gives me the chance to learn to really listen, to value the person who’s not like me and to bear with each other when things aren’t perfect.

To my small group, thank-you for constantly challenging me and inspiring me, love you guys.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Don't box Him in!

A little while ago I was reading Job and this verse jumped out at me:

Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify
yourself?
Job 40:8

It got me thinking how we can try to fit God into our ideals and how we can limit Him to something that is comfortable, that fits what we want to do or be. When we do this it is idolatry because we are worshipping a god of our own creation. God broke open the box I’d put Him in. God is so much more than we can comprehend and he works in our lives that we wouldn't expect. I knew these things in my head but they hadn't ben ingrained into my heart and soul. It was painful to really see myself and to begin to question many things that I took for granted. Sometimes we need our hearts broken. When God puts it back together we are a little more like Jesus. I’m excited about how He is revealing himself and how to follow Jesus. My God is an awesome God.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom
and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgements,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
or who has been his counselor?"
"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"
For from him and through him and to him
are all things.
to him be the glory forever! Amen
Rom 11:33-36

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Julie Majewski's Blue Acres

My CT kit for this month was Lisa Majewski's Blue Acres kit. This kit has a beautiful colour pallette of rich blues, greens and blues. There are a heap of textured papers, the patterned papers are fantastic. These are complemented by a variety of frames, ribbons and flourishes as well as a range of brads and buttons to "fasten" everything to your layout. The previews ...

...and some layouts. We recently got a tree chopped down in our front yard and I was wondering where E had disappeared to. When I went outside I saw him pressed up against the fence looking through the gaps in the pailings. He is obsessed with machinery and tools so I'm sure he would have loved to get his hands on the chainsaw.

We moved house in April but had to wait to for settlement on our old house. On my final walk through of the house I took some photos - it looks a bit sad with nothing in it.

Obernewtyn Chronicles

I love to read and will read pretty much anything but I really love to escape into fantasy novels. This year I have been reading the Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody. They are set in a post-apocolyptic world. The Land where the series begins is ruled by The Council with the help of the religious Herder Faction. People or animals born with mutations are burned and any dissent is brutally dealt with. Some people are born with enhanced mental abilities and are called Misfits. The story follows Elspeth Cordie a young girl with the ability to read minds and communicate with beasts. I've really enjoyed them the only problem is that now I have to wait for the final book.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I probably WON'T meet your expectations

For a big part of my life I've been trying to meet the expectations of the people around me. Sometimes these might have been real, sometimes I might have just thought that was what they expected. All this caused a huge internal conflict because I knew that I was sacrificing some of the best things in life for the sake of other people's expectations of what a good mother/wife/person looked like. My anger and frustration would build and boil over. Finally it all got too much and I poured out everything I felt even though some of it I didn't understand myself. How I felt judged, and a failure. It didn't make a lot of difference at the time but over the year I gradually shifted my focus. I thought more carefully about what I thought was important and what my priorities should be. The voice saying "What will he/she think?" is still there but I'm doing my best to ignore it. I'm not going to let other people or myself squeeze me into some box.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Rom 12:2

I'm a work in progress but getting rid of all that junk and guilt has meant that I've made room for a whole lot of other good stuff, especially a deeper understanding of who God is in my life. Hubby came home one day a couple of months back and he said "You seem happy" and I realised I was - I've found my joy again.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Everything is not under control ...

Everything is not under control ... well not mine anyway.

This really is a no-brainer but of course being human I have to give it a go. So being a mum I try to control my kids - a major exercise in futility ... their environment - and again not possible ... a clean house? - I have 3 kids who are not under my control ... hubby - not likely. I think the desire to control things and especially people ultimately leads to abuse and you can see that in most spheres of life (unfortunately including the church).

This year I've taken hold of God's promises, that he is in control and he wants good for me, and for the ones I love because He loves them too. I've known this in my head for ages but I see that I haven't lived it. I don't have to strive so hard, and worry, and plan because it isn't up to me. I'm not saying that in an I don't care, whatever happens, happens way, but more that I need to do just what God places in front of me in each day and let Him take care of the rest. I still dream and plan but I'm ready for the sudden right turn that puts me on a different track. I know it's part of being human to want to do it my way but when I put things in God's hands I'm free from fear and pressure to achieve and it's a win for everyone. Instead of striving for control I'm free to love the people around me and just enjoy them.
Then Jesus said to his disciples:"therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Luke 12:22-26


Monday, June 9, 2008

Tooth Fairy Requires Remedial Training

DD lost two teeth recently. For the first one she put the tooth out and after the SECOND night with the tooth still sitting on the shelf she writes this sign for the front door asking the tooth fairy to please stop and pick up her tooth ... it was a very nice letter although understandably a little annoyed. I suggested that because we had just moved the tooth fairy might have gone to the wrong house (you know they do that). A couple days later she loses the next tooth and again the tooth is still sitting on the bench in the morning, luckily with some quick thinking I pointed out the dollar on the piano was from the tooth fairy and I was sure she would be back for the tooth after she had emptied her bag. Yes we have a bad, bad tooth fairy.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

He really satisfies

Speaking of being hungry for God ...

Blessed are you who hunger now,

for you will be satisfied.

Luke 6:21

Thursday, June 5, 2008

God's grabbed my attention

I've been following Jesus now for 16 years and I can't believe it's been that long. Like most people there has been ebb and flow in my walk. My faith has been alive and never reduced to just a duty but over the last months I feel like God has grabbed me up and got me listening. I have rediscovered my hunger for God and the things of God. The yearning to know more, to have a heart for the things of God, to do the things that God wants me to do. To fight against the weeds that try to choke off God and make life just one huge to do list. God is there at the top of my thoughts, in my heart and in my dreams, and it's exciting.

When I look back a bit I see how has moved things to give me the space to think about Him, to know him again. It's not just more time because we've just moved house which was quite busy, although the kids are at school or kinder so I have a bit more breathing room. I think though the space was mainly created in my head. God has been readjusting my thinking it two areas in particular which I'll flesh out in another post. By making room in my head he's been able to get my attention and keep it.

So now that there was some room, the challenge came. At church earlier this year we studied Walk Across the Room and one thing stuck in my mind - that Jesus is the greatest gift. I felt God saying to me "Do you really agree with this, because it doesn't look that way from here." After a bit of wrestling I decided that yes I really did believe Jesus was the greatest gift but I also realised how far I was away from living that truth. God's really taking this time to teach me more about Him and also about myself. Hope you don't mind if I blog to work through the things I'm learning. Getting the thoughts down will hopefully cement what is in my mind, flesh out the detail and stop the swirling thoughts going round and round.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Julie C.'s Leonard the Leopard

My second CT kit for May was Julie C.'s Leonard the Leopard. She has a whole series of these gorgeous At the Zoo kits. They have great papers, a mixture of traditional elements (bows, flourishes, stitching, buttons, flowers) as well as cute animal doodled stickers. This kit has yellow, green, orange as the main colours with touches of black and red. The kit was really versatile and lots of fun. There was a variety of bows and flowers, buttons, metal and also a tied frame which I haven't used yet. The doodles are SO cute - love them.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Story (in 100 words)

Earlier this year at church the pastor put out a challenge to write our faith story in about 100 words with no jargon, so I've been pulling it out periodically since then crossing out stuff, rewriting, it's not that easy to get it down to 100 words. Anyway I finally finished (just over 100 words) and here it is:

For me life was all about family, friends, study and having a good time. While at uni I met my future husband who admitted one day that church was important to him. I decided to check it out. I was expecting lots of boring people following a lot of rules, but visiting church and small group really turned my preconceived ideas upside down. These were people not unlike me. They were enjoying themselves, they weren’t following a bunch of rules, they talked about being loved by God and in turn loving God and about Jesus who made it possible. I decided to follow Jesus myself. Now I feel secure because I know God holds my life in His hands and He is faithful.

Questions, comments? - Feel free.