Singing in the Rain

This morning was cold and rainy. Although I had planned to go somewhere, I decided to stay at home instead and have a rest and get a few things done--if it's possible to do both! (There have been extra appointments this month, and I have been extra tired.) But when I dropped the children off to school and Jo at preschool, I first needed to take Lydia for a blood test. There is a medlab just down the road, so I should have been home again quickly. 
But no. First, I had to wait in line. Then when it was our turn, the lady told me she can't do blood tests on little children, so I would have to come back later or go to another town. I decided I would come back later, but first I asked her if it would matter if it waited another day or so. It had already been a week since we had been to the doctor and gotten the blood test! Where does the time go? After looking on the computer, she said I needed to get it done that morning at the Masterton hospital.
I felt a little annoyed and frustrated.
 Firstly, that she couldn't do it. How useless to have someone who can't do children!
 Secondly, that I had to go to Masterton, when the doctor had told me it was fine to do it in Carterton. I should have just done it when I had seen the doctor at the hospital last week! 
Thirdly, that it was not going to be a quiet stress free morning after all!
So we drove to the hospital (15-20 mins). Thankfully, it was not busy and we didn't need to wait in line. Usually Lydia doesn't cry for blood tests anymore, but this time she got very upset. I couldn't do much since I had to try to hold her still. But another lady came in with some distraction toys. They could sing and dance and make noises which helped Lydia to relax. One of them was a duck that was dressed in a raincoat and held an umbrella. It sang a song called Singing in the Rain. It helped distract Lydia, but it convicted me! It was raining literally outside, but it was also raining frustrations. And I was not singing, I was stressed and grumbling.
Right then I decided to stop grumbling and choose to sing in the rain instead. As the Bible says, Rejoice in the LORD alway, and again, I say, Rejoice.
Whenever we are frustrated and things are not going to plan, we have a choice. Either we can get annoyed, stressed and grumble. Or we can choose to be thankful and rejoice. Grumbling only makes the situation seem worse, while rejoicing helps us to relax.
Learn to sing in the rain. We need the rain. All sunshine makes a desert!


A Time for Busyness...

Last night one of my sisters took our three oldest children to her house to stay for two nights. As much as we love our children and they love us, it was a treat for all of us! A break for us and a special holiday for them.
The plan was for my husband to work on his building project and I planned to get lots done at home, while I only had one child to look after. Where should I start? Gardening, lawn mowing, shopping, cleaning, decluttering, baking, making soup or catching up on odd jobs? There are always many things to be done.
But this morning my husband changed his mind. He decided to make a holiday of this day and not go and work (He often works on Saturdays). So I also decided to do the essentials and forget about the rest.
It was a relaxing day--we went shopping together which we hardly ever do and Johan made a special meal for dinner as he loves to cook.
Instead of getting things done, we relaxed and spent the day together. I'm glad of that. It was a day well spent.
Sometimes its easy to think that busyness equals productivity. That time well spent equals lots of jobs crossed off my 'to do' list. But that is not always the case.
There is a time for everything. A time for work and a time to relax.
There are days that we get nothing done. Maybe we have a sick child or we are sick ourselves. Or maybe the jobs we try to do don't go well--like the other day when I mixed up a big batch of bread dough by hand and it turned out so bad I had to throw the whole thing out. A waste of time, energy and ingredients. Some days are filled with frustrations and at the end of the day we have nothing to show for our day.
But there are more important things in life than ticking off 'to do' lists. Things like spending time with God and growing in our spiritual life. Things like spending time with our husband and making time to do things together or sit down and talk. Things like taking the time to read to our children, play with them, teach them how to do something or just to enjoy them. Things like enjoying God's creation and the simple pleasures of life. Things like rest and being refreshed.
I tend to be like Martha--I value busyness too much.
Time with God and cultivating relationships are more important.
Jobs--keeping our house clean and getting things done--are important. But we need to remember they are just a means to an end. They are not the purpose of our life!


His Eye is on the Sparrow

The other morning I was feeling burdened by different things. So when the girls were off to school, I sat down for a while, and wrote all my concerns/requests down in my prayer journal. I was also reading Matthew 6 --the passage about not worrying.
When I had finished, I got busy cleaning the kitchen. I looked out the window and saw a flock of sparrows feeding on a piece of bread.
I had just read this verse in the Bible a few minutes before.
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Matthew 6:26
It was so neat to see such a visual reminder out my window!
Then that night before I went to bed, my husband read the Daily Light. 
The last two verses were  Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.Luke 12:6-7
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


Showing Love

A few days ago, my four year old by said to me, "Mummy, do you think I love you?"
"Yes, I think so."
"You are going to find out if I love you!" He replied.
Sometime later I found a picture he had made lying by my bed. According to him that meant he loved me.
A day or two later, he asked me, "Do you love me?"
"Of course I do," I answered. I tell him often. How can he doubt?
"Then why haven't you given me a picture?"
I had to give him a picture so he didn't start to doubt my love! Since then, my husband and I keep finding pictures and little gifts in our bedroom from our children.
In his childish way, he has a point! Love is shown in our actions. It is a Biblical principle. "For God so loved the world that he gave..." John 3:16  "God commendeth (demonstrated, showed)  his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
My love language is words of affirmation, so words mean a lot to me. But words without actions are meaningless.
So how do we show love?
1. God
How do we show love to God?
Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments."
Mary showed her love for Jesus by wanting to be with Him, sitting at His feet and listening to His words. She also showed her love by giving Him her expensive perfume.

2. Husband
How do we show love to our husband?
We can show love by giving him respect, letting him lead, listening to him, cooking for him, spending time with him, honoring his wishes, praying for him, speaking highly of him instead of critically and responding physically to him--to name a few.

3. Children
How do we show love to our children?
We can show love by spending time with them, praying for them, teaching, training and disciplining them, listening to them, letting them help us, doing fun things with them, protecting them, gifts, hugs and cuddles etc.

4. Others
How can we show love to others?
By giving practical help or gifts, listening, spending time, praying for them, talking, having them as guests in our home, sending kind messages, being there for them, etc.

Do your actions show your love? 


Don't Try to Hide from Problems

I haven't written a poem for a very long time, but the Lord gave me this one tonight while the house was quiet. This summarizes what I have been thinking about tonight.

Don't try to hide from problems--
They have a way of finding you.
Instead, put them in the Lord's hands,
He will use them to bless you.

Don't try to run from trials--
They have a way of catching you.
Instead, run to your Heavenly Father,
He will carry you through.

Don't try to hold on tightly--
To all the things you hold so dear.
Instead, learn to love the Lord best,
He will always be there.

Don't be afraid of tomorrow--
Of what the future will hold.
Instead, remember that God knows best,
And He is in control.


Happy Memories

I wrote this post a few weeks ago, but never published it. But now that it is school holidays here in NZ, I have started thinking about it again.The point of it all, is that if we have time and creativity, by making the most of what we have, we can fill our children's lives with happy memories without it getting too expensive.

What happy childhood memories do you have?
I have some big special memories, like having a holiday in Tasmania with my Dad and big sisters when I was ten years old. I also went to Brisbane twice for teen camps. 
But most of my childhood memories were very simple and inexpensive, using what we had around us. I grew up homeschooled and living on a farm, so most of the activities were farm related.
These memories include
climbing trees, 
going shopping with big sisters, 
husking corn, 
singing at resthomes,
 eating dinner down the farm when the hay had just been mowed,
 picking blackberries, 
going for bike rides,
 washing the cow shed yard with the high pressure hose, 
helping with herd testing,
hot chip picnics at the beach, lake or river, 
cutting up chocolate bars into small pieces for everyone to share, 
playing lego, 
horseriding , (We had our own horses)
 new babies, 
birthday parties, 
looking after pets, 
having friends stay in the holidays, 
grocery shopping at night and then putting things away, 
sled rides behind the motor bike (Those were the best!!),
collecting and swapping stickers, 
bonfires and fireworks, 
outings with my grandparents, 
delivering 'meals on wheels' with my grandparents,
 having dinner at other people's houses,
 visiting other people and having visitors ourselves,
playing in the hay barn,
doing our hair in 'rags' to make ringlets,
watching air balloons fly over our farm,
and sitting by a river watching boats go past.

My children are growing up a little different to me in that they go to school and they live in town. I can't give them all the same memories that I had. But no matter how or where we live, there are plenty of simple ways to fill our children's lives with happy memories. Although it is also important to have big special ones here and there, they're not necessary most of the time. Even when life has its bitter seasons, the memories can be bittersweet. When Lydia was in hospital, our children had their first bus ride and train ride, they had a trip to the zoo, they went to a big museum, and they had exciting times at their grandparents and at Ronald McDonald!
So the challenge for me and for all of us mums is this:
Be creative and make the most of what you have to make happy memories for your children so one day they can look back and write a list like I've just done!


Eyes to See

Yesterday morning at the breakfast table I was reading the children a Bible Story and the title was 'Eyes to See.'
It was a story about Elisha. His servant woke up in the morning, went outside and was horrified to see soldiers surrounding the city. He told Elisha in panic. Elisha encouraged him, "Don't be afraid. There are more fighting on our side than the side of the enemy." Then Elisha prayed that God would open the servant's eyes that he would see. When the servant looked up again, he saw that the hillsides all around were covered with horses and chariots of fire. God's angels were protecting them. (For the whole story read 2 Kings 6).
Reflecting on this story, I realized that I am often like that servant. All I see are the difficulties and the trials. I need my eyes to be opened to all God's mercies and all the blessings that surround me.
This last week has been difficult, but in spite of it all, I have been surrounded with many blessings.
Here are some I've written down...
1. A Christian school and preschool.
   I have never been so thankful for school before! I don't think I could have coped very well if all my children had been home those first few days.
2. It happened on preschool morning.
I only had Lydia at home that morning and she doesn't ask questions or notice if I am upset!
3. It didn't happen in the school holidays.
4. I wasn't very far along in my pregnancy.
5. It wasn't very painful.
6. The night that it happened my husband was up most of the night coughing, which meant he had a reason to stay home from work.
But after he had gotten some sleep in the morning he felt a bit better, and so he could just be home with me.
7. The scan showed a complete miscarriage, which means I didn't need to go to hospital.
8. A friend cooked us a meal.
9. Another friend dropped us off buns and soup.
10. My scan was free.
Beforehand they told us there would be a fee, but afterwards they said we didn't need to pay.
11. The beautiful bunch of flowers somebody sent.
  Every time I enjoy their beauty I am reminded that I am loved!
12. This was not my first pregnancy.
  We already have four children.
13. I met my new midwife the day before, so I knew who I was ringing up!
14.I hadn't taken my prescription for my folic acid etc. to the pharmacy yet. 
I was going to do it when I dropped the children off at school that morning. But I realized something was wrong before I went out the door.
 15. The lady who did my scan was the same lady who did my scan when I was pregnant with Lydia.
Since she had found something wrong with Lydia, and then finding this baby was gone already, she was afraid I might never want to see her again because of the bad memories. But in stressful circumstances, I always find it comforting to see a familiar face rather than a complete stranger.
16. The hope and assurance of heaven.
17. The kind messages, emails and phonecalls we got.
18. The song my sister sent us.
19. Biscuits in our letterbox when I needed to do baking.
20. All God's precious promises.