Friday, 31 July 2015

Film Review - God's not Dead

I had some time on my hands and some actual energy so I thought I would find something to watch. I happened upon this film God's not Dead. I wasn't in the mood for being preached at or have my brain over stretched but I thought I would give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised. 

The film has a simple premise a freshman takes a philosophy class in which the teacher asks everyone to sign a piece of paper to say God is Dead. Of the 80 plus students he is the only one not to sign and here goes the drama of the piece. Intertwined in this are a number of other small stories and subplots. 

Does the film do anything out of the ordinary? To be expected the freshman produces some good arguments and wins the debate. However although the outcomes to the stories maybe be cliche I have to say it felt authentic. From the beginnin there were times when I wanted to skip to the end to see how it finished in places it felt slow. But when I relaxed I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The film was gentle non confrontational and showed that it was possible for young inexperienced to take on the giant and win. All this in the face of huge opposition and even your Christian girlfriend dumping you. 

I guess the point it made for me is that even in the face of opposition it's possible to hold your views stay calm and allow others to use their free will. I am relieved that the main point seemed to be free will. I cannot tell you how that filled me with joy. There was also no moment of condemnation really. If you don't believe well then burn. That was pleasantly missing. Hats off to the makers for keeping their cool and demonstrating love all exceeding. There was only one moment when I would have added an extra line. But then if I added that maybe the makers thought everyone else would do. 

The film is nearly two hours long however if you have the time it's a good watch. Remember though when you get to those places when you are fed up and want to skip to the end keep going it's a nice film. 

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Going Dutch - Finding a Home

A major part of any move is where you will live. The intensity of the need for a roof over your head is determined by many factors. Age, family, culture and more all play a part in how you feel in the process of securing somewhere to live. The process itself is determined by the organisation you are moving with or if you are moving alone. Then if you add that to moving internationally in a different language this process can be quite the undertaking. 

If you are just moving by yourself no matter the age this might be slightly easier. The minute you start adding other people this is where the level of complication can be increased. This definitely goes up if you are doing it on a budget. So this is where we find me. I am relocating to the Netherlands for a new life as a pastor of two churches in Eindhoven and Heerlen. It is not one of the main cities. I am moving my husband and two adorable little storms who are just starting their schooling experience. None of us speaks Dutch and we are moving with the church not a major corporation. So we have to find our own place we have no family there and we are relying on the good will of one of way friends and pastoral colleagues! Anyone say challenge! 

What challenges have we found? Well aside from the language here are a few things that we have found a challenge. 

Number of rooms vs number of bedrooms. This seems to mean anything from counting the toilet and closet to not counting whole rooms in the attic/loft! This proves very confusing when you want to put actual people in rooms. So read carefully and count rooms as you go to get an idea of what each estate agent considers a room. Some websites like Funda are better than others at this. 

It isn't actually or rent! We found lots of amazing properties advertised none of which were for rent they had already gone. Yes they were advertised and yes it looked like available however small words meant that they had already gone. Now this might not seem like a big deal but depending on the area you are in Holland, this can prove a real challenge. Where we are the property turnover is ridiculously high. So it was an added frustration. 

You find a property and this is where most of you will not have a challenge but we did. A stay at home father is not the norm. People have no idea why he would follow his wife and children where they are going. They have no idea why a man would do this. So they were really confused reluctant to rent to a family in this structure. We will come back to this point in another blog but this is all I would say for now. 

The minimum earning amount. This has been a real shocker. It doesn't matter what you do, what references you have if you do not earn enough they won't even talk to you let alone let you view or rent s property! How is anyone supposed to rent. What do low income families do? It all puzzled me. But we found somewhere phew! 

It's yours till it's not yours. This was a surprise again. In the UK most places you rent are expensive and come with a basic level of decoration. Here? No way. You would be lucky to find flooring let alone paint! The owner is like you do whatever you want return it in the condition you found it or better and we are cool! That's it. Put in carpet, flooring, paint wall paper. As long as when you return it the property looks the same or better they are not bothered as it is yours till you don't want it or don't need it! Well that's definitely not like the UK where they tell you don't hang a painting without permission most times! 

Finally you can't meet all the owners criteria and they can turn you down because you have the same surname as your husband. This one made us all laugh the most. As with most owners and in particular Dutch owners they want to be sure they are renting to suitable tenants. This question made us laugh the most why do you and your husband have the same name! Well in Holland you might not do that but in other parts of the world we do so I did. I know that seems strange but you have never heard of this. Ah man we are in trouble now. 

Well all this aside we have a place to live finally! Even though they want three times as much deposit from us. This is because despite all our patience with the questions our employees coming forward and dealing with stuff they were still not convinced! But we are happy to have more space than we have at home and security of somewhere to live! 

The Bermuda Experience

We have landed on my in-laws Island. It is a beautiful picture of paradise. The sea is the most beautiful shades of blue that melt into the blue skies. The greens of the trees and the countryside just pop out under the sunshine. I have yet to see the pink sand in person but if it's anything like the rest of the island then I am in for a treat. As you drive through the countryside the beautiful houses in bright colours pop out from their hiding places among the trees and winding roads. Bermuda is definitely a beautiful island to explore. 

The reception at the airport after two days of travel to be here was overwhelming. By the way it doesn't take two days unless you are on a serious budget which you know I am. The family were overwhelmingly happy to see us. There was a lot of them too. For me that was quite something I come from such a small family by contrast. The joy was that it wasn't unusual there was lots of other massive families waiting to see there relatives. How nice it is to have such a wonderful welcome as part of contrast. 

Walking around the island people are so friendly. You can't help but think that 22sq miles and 60,000 people has a good affect on friendliness. The real surprise is that it doesn't feel that denseley populated. I quite enjoy saying hello to everyone I meet reminds me that we can all be nice to one another. Especially when you are reading about what evil we do to one another a simple Good morning can do a lot to make the simple day to day happy. 

Then there is the most special thing we have done so far. The dolphin experience! I think it's the best place in the world to meet the Dolphins. They are happy beautiful creatures, who live in the sea who come into play with the people. That's the best description I can give. It was completely magically to watch the children in the water making friends with those highly intelligent Dolphins. My little storm will tell you that the dolphin spoke to him. What more happiness can you have. Well we are here for a few more weeks so we shall see. 

Friday, 17 July 2015

Going Dutch - Schools

I have encountered a system I don't really understand it's amazing. School in Holland. It's so different from the UK so I have a few disclaimers that I have observed. If you are moving to Holland from the UK especially a city like London these things will surprise you. 

Ofstead does not exist. I know cry with Joy you teachers no more silly inspections that cause you to cry. No more measuring system that means you have to push to only one uniform standard or face failing! However without it how do you know a school is a good school?  What is a good school? They also don't have league tables! So there is no measuring device for your children. How can we competitive parents cope without measuring how good our little darling is against other little darlings? Is it possible for our little darlings to achieve in life without measuring them against social norms from birth?! I might be oversimplifying the system or maybe I don't fully understand it yet however in essence after looking at several schools, government websites and blogs from expats this is really the bottom line. 

There is no Ofstead there is no league tables at primary age children. I will write about secondary school when we get there. 

As liberating as I find this being an ex teacher! As liberating as I find it as a parent of a child who I want to develop at their own natural rate. It left me after two school visits confused with what to do with myself. 

My second observation and maybe this is exclusive to the smaller cities that the big ones. However there are no fences! You know what I mean. In the UK where I live you have to scale incredible fences to get into the school or if your sensible go through lots of security gates and buzzers before being allowed in. Here the playground is open. There might be a small hedge or line on the floor or little hoops that distinguish the school playground from the grass it sits in. My little darling on his first visit was taken to the red lines on the ground and told not to pass them without an adult. I nearly fainted but apparently this works! I am serious little four and five year olds as well as massive 11/12 year olds don't just walk out and disappear and also strange people don't just walk in. This is going to take some getting used to. I mean I am glad the kids won't be fenced in sort of. 

The size of the play area. Baffled I was to see small playgrounds outside the school which the children used! I thought the Dutch were outdoors play based learning people and there was this tiny space outside with no fence outside. I was then told not to worry and as I looked up children were being taken all over the place for fun. I am pretty sure they didn't tell the parents they had a class trip. Oh boy this is going to take getting used to. I even went to a school where the children cycled from one sight to another unsupervised so they could use their new classroom. How can I do this. 

The great Dutch Half day. I kid you not most Dutch primary school children get a half day! In the area we will live the children get two half days! I am not joking. Two days a week they finish at 12. They still manage to have high literacy rates and highly educated people on half day school attendance! People in the UK could never cope with this. As it is they are trying to increase the school hours. Imagine what it might be like if your children were expected to be raised by parents and not the state. 

Overall I found the experience of being in Dutch schools off putting, exhilarating, thrilling and sometimes I must confess a little overwhelming. The teachers seem to genuinely love what they day and want what is best for your child. 

Most surprisingly I found that the teachers wanted what was best for my little stars! It didn't matter what it meant to the school what was important was my child getting the best they needed. 

I am not sure what the school will be like when we finally arrive but guess what I have hope. It's been a long time since I had hope in an education system. 

Monday, 13 July 2015

Going Dutch - Children

My disappointment ran super high yesterday. I was talking with a friend about childcare. I explained that in the UK I had to take my youngest with me to work. It was something I fought for. I was a youth pastor and while not a single young person minded I did have issues with some of my senior members. It was a battle but it worked. My friend promptly informed me that never in Holland. 

I cannot tell you how distressed I was. I heard wonderful things about Dutch Culture. I had read how flexible they were surrounding part time work and making families a priority. My bubble had been burst. It would be the same as the UK in her words worse. The Dutch understood childcare issues but didn't want to see them. 

Now since we are moving as a single unit. How is this going to work? In the UK we had lots of support from family and friends but here we would have no one. How could we possibly be everywhere doing our job serving the church with no flexibility towards our position as parents. Someone would always be left holding the baby.  

Going Dutch might not be the dream I had hoped for but I guess I will have to wait and see if it is any better than my home. 

40 Day Fast - The Lessons

I have a feeling of overwhelming pride not in a bad way. I am just so happy to say I completed my 40 day fast. The first one in my whole life but guess what I did it. I have so many lessons to learn from this. 

Main question is did I achieve my goal? Well I am not sure what my goal was but I knew that I wanted to do one with no fuss or fanfare just get from one end to the other. I had a side goal of weight loss which was naughty but true. The first I did. I don't think my fast really affected anyone. Just me. Everyone else got to live uninterrupted by my fast in face very few people knew. Even when I thought it would be hard I did it. Disappointing however was I probably lost a few pounds. But since that shouldn't have been a goal oh well I shall survive. 

So what did I learn? 

1. I need to spend more time in prayer. I am terrible at sticking to it. I have now installed an app to help with this. I am going to try. 

2. I generally talk to myself and God. I have a mixed dialogue of telling myself and God lots of stuff all day. This is good but also needs to be focussed more. 

3. Bible reading with a family is hard! Getting up early means not being there when someone wakes. Going to bed later means not being there when someone goes to bed. Doing it during the day means finding space aside from the children and that means not being there for all the little things. Trying to incorporate them into the study means setting it at their level while rewarding means no depth for me which should be happening in personal time. Find time and stick to it consistently. It's what I tell those I teach an counsel and guess what that is what works. Make the sacrifice and sticking it. 

4. Drinking is important for a happy body and mind! The Lord didn't set our bodies up so that we could ignore how they function. Please please please drink more and more. 

5. Random food! I didn't realise how much stray food went into my mouth. I thought I didn't snack until I realised that I ate as I made food for the kids. Who knew random food arrived in my mouth so frequently. Hopefully 40 days has broken that habit. 

Would I do it again? Yes yes yes. I want to at least twice a year. It is so worthwhile! It is so important and rewarding and actually works on every level to remind us that our bodies are the temple of God look after them holistically. God wouldn't want it any other way. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Bat and ball and fasting!

Hey there. So here is a new challenge how to run around in the sun with a rumbunktious child playing bat and ball in the summer sun when fasting. It's normally a challenge to keep up the energy. The little one is crazy in energy and has me running most days. Fasting however adds an extra level of danger to me and my sanity. 

I have to say the key I have discovered to my fasting experience has been keeping hydrated. Without liquid I fade quickly. My body is unable to cope especially in the sun with the little ball of energy. 

The lesson I have definitely learnt is I need to drink more. I say this to the children all the time. However for myself I have often not had a drink for the whole day. All I can really say is Lord please help this be a permenant change and not just because it's necessary during fasting or I faint! 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

My last UK sermon

Yesterday should of been filled with deep sadness but instead a small church plant ensured I had a lot of fun. I travelled alone to my final UK preaching appointment.  This was a fitting end to my ministry here. God and I on the road together.  Off I travelled to Watford. 

I must confess to having a lot of fun. We had a great ice breaker. We had a fun sermon and then I closed with the words Jesus thinks you are special and if there was only you on this earth he would come and do it all for you. You are loved and precious. 

I hope I remember that wherever I may go. As a final sermon I am so chuffed that God gave me those closing words. I think that what we say is important. Despite the many challenges I have faced ministering in the UK I would like it know. That God loves each and every one of us. We are special to him. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015


Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. (Hebrews 10:23 NLT)

Here is something that we can struggle with. God can be trusted. We like to do things by our own steam but God can be trusted. If he said it. He will do it. 

There is a difference between inaction and waiting on the Lord. Inaction means doing nothing waiting on the Lord means doing the things you know you should while waiting for clear direction as to where to go next. 

While you are waiting on the Lord, I hope that you do not become inactive. 

Crying a necessary evil

As a woman, crying, I think you have a love hate relationship with at least I do. I have been sent the message either directly or indirectly that crying is bad. Crying is a sign of weakness or manipulation of other people. Crying means you are out of control, immature or just plain manipulative. My relationship with crying has been somewhat strained over my life time. 

Recently however I have begun to accept that crying might not at its core be any of those things. I have learnt that crying is a physical response for an unseen pain be that physical, emotional or psychological or a mysterious other. Having adjusted my mindset I find myself able to cope better with crying. That is until you are faced with it too regularly. 

I recently sat with some friends as we discussed the hormonal torture teen girls can have with excessive crying for apparently no reason. The surge of hormones in their little bodies can mean the simplest action can result in unmerited crying. One of the parents said they could tell I was a mother of boys as I didn't have the whole cuddle for hours while you cry for no reason attitude. They then were shocked to find I grew up in a house filled with women. My mother a single parent raised her three daughters without input from any male influences. The surprise was all over their faces. Then they almost fell over when I said there was very little crying in our home. I remember crying quietly in bathrooms whenever it would hit me but I never cried in front of my mum and certainly didn't spend hours being comforted. They had attributed my lack of crying to living in a male dominated home when that is not a characteristic of men it seems that it is just a characteristic. 

In the UK gender stereotyping is at an all time high if you ask me. Despite all attempts to change it. Pink is for girls blue is for boys. Girls cry and boys don't. This oversimplification of life leads to many problems. Crying being one of them. Is a man less a man if he feels the loss of something and cries. Is a woman less of a woman is she does not have a good cry every now and then for no reason. 

I don't think I am suggesting that everyone should stick to one method but surely crying should not be attributed to gender but should be attributed to whatever circumstances surround the crying. So if your a hormonal teenager then guess what crying, anger, chattering, and many more can be attributed because your body is trying to get the balance of hormones right. If you have suffered great pain then you might just cry and sometimes you might not because your body is overwhelmed to actually do that. But rather than demonising crying as a weak girly thing and thus putting women down how about myself included just confess that crying is a physiological response to an emotional stimulus. 

The Ant

Today my little storm and I had the privilege of seeing strength in action. We stood at the bus stop minny busy watching for a bus. As my little storm was crouching on the ground observing the floor. Suddenly with excitement he asked me to look too. There was an ant carrying a leaf bigger than itself. It was about twice the size of the ant. 

We marvelled as we looked at the ant as to how God had made this funny little creature. A creature so small with so many parts but so strong and powerful. Then when it moves with all the other ants it achieves what seems impossible to us big people. We continue to watch the ant overcome the obstacles of the pavement till it went into a hole we hoped was its home. 

As I looked for the bus my little excited storm said mummy look. He picked up the rest of the leaf the ant was carrying and dropped it in his home. He said mummy I helped the ant. 

I learn many lessons from my little storms bit today was a profound moment for both of us. He might be a child but he can move mountains with hardwork, teamwork and determination. God ha given him a team of family who love him very much and he can move mountains with Gods help. 

I learnt that I maybe one person but with Gods help I can do it. I can carry a heavy load. 

The little ant is a busy hardworker doing all he can to change his life. What can we do with determination, hardwork and a good team? 

40 Day Fast - in the midst of the challenge

Hi today I am in the midst of the fire. You ask me what challenge are you facing? Well I could list all the little things that have bought me to the point of crying in front of someone else or I could say life. Life isn't easy. We can all identify with that. Each one of us can say life isn't easy. I may not know each thing that makes your life challenging but knowing my own challenges I can empathise with you. So today I am in the middle of life's drama. The difficulty is that I want to give up on my fast accept defeat and roll over. 

What should I do when I feel like lying down on the floor an giving up on life?! Make good choices. Do the things I know that make for the best life in the end. Move forward no matter my feelings. This is not easy. Often I find myself sitting alone or in a crowd with tears in my eyes wondering how am I supposed to do another day.  But each day I get up and I breathe through it anyway. 

Today I am choosing to continue my fast.  Not because I feel like it. Not because it's solving any of my problems. Not because I am trying to bribe God into doing what I want. I am choosing to fast because he loved me first. Because he loves me first I will fast to draw closer to him no matter how I feel. 

So I write this with tears in my eyes completely and utterly low and desperate with no way out of my situation. I choose to go beyond that and walk and live and fast. 

40 day fast - gratitude

Every now and then a series of events will leave you speechless in gratitude. That is how I find myself now. We have just celebrated a little ones birthday. This is the first time we have done it at church as the cost is normally prohibitive. But I asked for help. This is not something in me to do most times. But I did and now I am overwhelmed with gratitude. 

Gratitude is an often overlooked state. Most times we teach our children to say thank you and be grateful while all the while displaying some questionable behaviour ourselves. However it's never too late. Instead of being constantly busy preoccupied by life stop and be grateful. 

Friday, 19 June 2015

New Sandals on a Budget

I am off on my holidays this summer (can anyone say grateful for miracles and hardwork of hubby). The thing is I am not good at wearing flip flops. Next issue no funds. So I happened to be browsing online and happened upon the genius idea to revamp a pair of flip flops into a pair of hot shoes! 

Here is my take on it bear in mind flats and I don't mix. The pain is excruciating. 

Take one pair of wedge eternal the toe shoes. 

Add one scarf you don't wear although you love. 

Cut the scarf in half and wrap around the toe of the wedge and the plastic part. 

Instantly new shoes. Guess what they made them instantly more comfortable because of the soft fabric. I cannot take plastic against my feet because it hurts so this was the best discovery ever. 

Thank God for small mercies. I now have a more comfortable pair of shoes to wear while walking around with my two storms in a hot country. Essential for life. 

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Lonely and Misunderstood

Do you ever feel like no one understands you? 
Have you ever carefully constructed what you are going to say and then e completely misunderstood? 
Are there moments in your life when there seems to be no one who understands? 
Are you grateful that God understands but really wish there was a physical manifestation so that you wouldn't feel so lonely? 

These are some of the things I have felt from a very young age. I was/am grateful that I have a Heavenly Father as my earthly one abandoned me and my step dad while fantastic did not stay with my mom. So having a Heavenly Father who I could cry to with no fear of judgement or resentment or anger was amazing. Problem was I needed a hug. 

Over the years I was blessed to have beautiful people in my life who I loved and cherished. Unfortunately it didn't last. For reasons I never understood my friends would cut me out. 

Then I got married and had kids and quite frankly life took a turn for the worst. Nothing I did worked no matter how hard I tried it seemed like failure was destined to plague me. 

So I find myself at a turning point. Things are changing. But nothing has changed. In the future there will be great changes to my life but for now i plod on lonely and misunderstood. 

I feel grateful that I have God in my life as no matter how difficult each day is He is there to carry me through. I have learnt so much about being lonely and how to combat it, I feel like I could offer a class. But the thing I have learnt the most? Enjoy the company of God and enjoy your own company. If you do that lonely seems to be a way of the past. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday was a really hard day for me. It felt like the bottom fell out of my world. Like all of a sudden we would not be able to move on with her life. I felt like waving we white flag and admitting defeat. 

I finished my fast in the evening and told God I wouldn't give up but at that moment I couldn't cope. I had something to eat and lay on the sofa for a few hours. I watched a show called Chuck and just allowed the moment to pass without consuming me. 

After a few hours my bones began to other or activity. So I got up and began te process of putting myself in order. It was not fast and I didn't achieve the earth but guess what I did it. The main thing was that I did it. I went to bed that night thinking ok all is not lost get some rest. 

Sometimes life can feel like a process of hanging on for dear life. The one thing my fast has helped me to do is to just allow the lows to pass me by. Let it wash over me and wash away. It's not easy and it's not like it won't be back tomorrow but instead of adding to the misery by beating myself up about it instead I acknowledge and let it pass. 

Each day can feel like lifting a leg I sure where to put it down. But I am learning that in front of me is definitely better than behind me. 

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

40 Day Fast - a little observation

I am managing everyday to fast.  I really thought when I was younger that there would be no way something like this was possible. God is good and he is keeping me. I do find I want to eat better as a result.

My observations are that fasting keeps your mind going back to something. As a parent who stays at home it is very easy for me to lose perspective.  With the fast I at least remember every day that God wants me to be better. Sometimes this can feel difficult but for the most part at least someone is watching over me and keeping me going in the right way.

I really admire all those stay at home mums that study their bible regularly.  I admire those stay at home parents who start businesses, write books,  run successful blogs and do so much more. Next to them most days I feel inadequate.  I can barely cope with staying awake. But the fast has done one thing given me a focal point. It has at least made my mind try to do better than simply stay awake and watch my favourite show.

I am considering making fasting a part of my year. That is massive deal. With all the changes I have gone through and am about to do I am grateful to have the opportunity to fast. It really is moment changing. 

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Sabbath Fun - Mini Construction

I am trying to resume my sabbath activities for families. Today I put my patience to the test by trying out mini construction kits with children younger than the stated age. Also I was outnumbered so they had to exercise patience.  

The idea. 
Make something that they can have as a special toy for sabbath. With little ones I have discovered church can be made so much more interesting with the addition of toys they only get to play with once a week. Sometimes if you have enough little things then maybe only once a month. To my little ones it's like Christmas every sabbath. Woo hoo result if you ask me. 

The kit was from the pound store so was reasonable priced if all things failed. My little destructive ones building something would be novel. In addition the kit is made of metal how bad could the breakage be. 

The little mini kits worked well. Lots of conversation. Lots of cooperation. Lots of patience and it's nice project to do as a team.  

For very small children. This is a matching exercise you will actually put it together. 

For medium children it is the ability to follow a sequence of events. Some will be able to do quite complicated parts others will be quite bossy. Enjoy the process. Sit in it you have no where else to be in that moment. 

For preteens and teens. You could pick more complicated pieces or have it as the gifts they make for younger ones there will be more than one parent who would appreciate that gift the next sabbath. 

Whatever you do remember sabbath is rest you have no where to be. Nothing needs to get done. Try and relax that's easier said than done most days of the weeks! So take the time to try something with your children it may seem like hard work but they will have a life time of memories. And maybe just maybe you will bond or find a new interest together. 

Friday, 5 June 2015

40 Day Fast - Peace

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT) 

Peace. I crave it more than happiness. I think currently the world overrates happiness. They pursue at all costs. Problem is the cost can be at the expense of peace. 

Peace is that calm in your soul. I love that God gives us peace that passes all understanding. That in the face of all chaos you can breathe and not faint. I have been in my share of crappy situations and I have to say it's peace that has gotten me through not happiness. 

So during this time maybe I will search for peace.  

Going Dutch

I am sitting in a coffee shop. Drinking a very large beverage with a good book The Highway Code for Happiness. It has occurred to me I need to journal my journey. 

It comes as no surprise to you that I am a pastor. It comes as no surprise to you that someone would hire me in such a role.  What might be more surprising is that I am packing up everything and leaving England for Holland to do this role. It is so exciting. But at the same time it's hard work. 

Here I will share my journey to going Dutch. So far I have learnt one thing. If I don't learn the language I am completely an utterly stuffed! 

Language is important! 

So even though the Dutch language is challenging I will do my best to get to grips with it. But before I can even do rhy I have to learn to drive. Write and read a whole load of stuff.  Move house change children schools. And there is a million things inbetween. It's not impossible but the real title of this should be Going Dutch with Nothing. 

I am going Dutch with nothing but willingness to do what God has asked of me.  

I have no finances to make any of this happen. I just have super willingness to move when told to move. It shall be interesting to see how all this pains out. 

God can do anything. So I am going to clean out my ears (in other words heart and brain) and get with his programme. 

I am going Dutch on a budget with a family. Bring it on!

40 Day Fast

I am enjoying the fast. Well kind off. I must confess the downside is feeling inadequate. I don't say that lightly. As a mother of two hugely energetic sensory storms no two days are the same. But now I am fasting and intentionally trying to lift my mind higher I find myself increasingly disappointed at my parenting ability. 

I have always wanted to be loving, kind, relaxed, fun and engaging with my storms. But the truth be told I am worn down or worn out.  I find most of the time I have to tell them off. I long for times when I don't have to tell them off. I long for times when it's not just one everlasting discipline day. It's not easy at the best of times but now I am fasting I feel that sense of inadequacy quite acutely. I look at myself and think shouldn't I be doing better. 

Please do not misunderstand me I have wonderful storms who I love with all my being. These kids though are not easy on me. With everyone else they are the Angels I know them to be. But with me they spend all their energy testing their boundaries and their mummy. This makes for amazing kids but at times it makes for a mummy who spends a lot of time close to tears. They are amazing but also infuriating. I am so incredibly proud of all they have achieved but I wish some of the fun everyone else has would run off on me. 

Today is Friday. We are preparing for sabbath. To be honest that's what we should be doing. What will be doing? Battling over playtime, dinner time, bath time, reading time and most importantly bed time. At this point I will be ready to concede it's sabbath and I should rest! 

I am praying during this fast that this pattern changes. I really want to be more involved with the children positively. I want their experience of parenting to be positive.  I want them not to associate my name with hate which is what they currently say when they say mummy. I want it to be better than it is. I want to look back in years to come and smile at the fun. 

God can do anything and my heart is willing and ready for change.  

Maybe this 40 day fast won't be so bad after all. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

40 day fast - sadness

Today I was prepared for a different kind of day. Yesterday there was physical pain today took me by surprise. So it seems the habit of putting stuff in my mouth is going to be a hard challenge to break but I am willing to give it a try. However today was not all about that. 

I have to say it surprised me that sadness could overtake me today. I don't know why sadness can happen anytime to anyone so why should I be surprised now. But there I was at the end of the day overwhelmed by sadness and sleeping. It can happen to anyone at anytime. It's nothing to be ashamed of. I have accepted that today. 

Today I acknowledge that life has taken its toil on me. I have changed at my core.  It would be nice to one day have my core back. But should it never return I need to find a new resting place at peace with God. Maybe this 40 day fast is just for that. 

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32 NLT)

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

40 day fast - pain

This is the second day of my 40 day fast. God has truly blessed me. Today I realised my greatest challenge was not to absent mindedly put food in my mouth. I am being taught to be present for every breath. 

I realise now that too often my mind is on autopilot. Get through the day without really taking in what is happening. I miss so much with the kids when I am like that. I don't celebrate the little things. 

The pain however is real and today I realised that maybe just maybe the reason my mind has wondered is because my body has given up on me. The more in control of my diet and mind I become the more pain I feel in my body. I cannot account for it yet but I am grateful that my pain threshold has been challenged enough for me to bear quite a lot now.  

So day 2 I am smiling through the pain let's see what day three has in store for me. 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Bucket List

I will start this post by telling the truth. I do not have a bucket list. Despite numerous inspirational moments when it has crossed my mind I don't have one. I am not going to do one either. 

So why am I writing the post. I was sitting watching Bones and this particular episode was based on the bucket list. Everyone had a bucket list except the main character. The conclusion of the episode she says she has all she needs so why does she need a bucket list. 

Do I have all I need? Well need yes but my life doesn't look all fancy like hers? No no no. I have a long way to go. But here is the thing if I spend my life chasing a list of things won't I always feel unfulfilled. I have chosen a different route. Acceptance and joy. Joy doesn't require lots of stuff it requires peace and acceptance. Oh and most importantly God! Big smile  

Staring a 40 day fast

I have been thinking about longer fasts for many years. Have I done anything about it? No. I have always been, well, a little scared if I am honest. I love food and the thought that I couldn't cope without it for 40 days was quite overwhelming. But this weekend I made the decision to give it a try. 

Normally you would do this with a prayer partner but at this time in my life I am quite alone. Probably need the fast in that case. You should probably have good reasons for doing a fast and furthermore it helps if you are following a good programme. So here is the thing I have none of those thing.  The only thing I have is a desire to fast, the faith to do it and te hope that it will be a life enhancing experience which I will stick to. 

So what's my plan. Well I am going to fast all day from food. I will have only drinks and at a push fruit but no food hall pass my lips. I have several bible reading plans on the go at the moment so I am going to use those till they run out and then ask God to help me find something appropriate when they run out. As to the prayer partner well since I don't have one I am going to write it all down here as I go along to make sure I am actually doing what I am supposed to. 

I have a prayer request a mile log and hope that I will be at peace throughout the whole journey. Guess what? I am actually relieved to be doing this with you. 

My first challenge today was not to put random food from the kids in my mouth. I avoided all other food but random bits as I was making or sharing or left overs jheeze. How often do I pop something in my mouth. So today I pray for better habits! 

God bless 

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Home church fun

What do you do with 4 kids, a toddler, a baby and 3 adults? Home church of course! So our first try this week at my sisters suggestion (awesome idea). 

Phase 1. 
The children were brilliant opening prayer, song, aunties children story, their bible readings, a song and then closing prayer. 

Phase 2 
Sabbath School 
I used some of my resources that I had collecting dust on my shelf. I was so happy to break open the books and see how the kids did with them. 

First we started discussing what prayer is. This with the aide of magnetic words. They put together their prayers and then each said a prayer. It was so lovely to see how their prayers developed after our conversation. 

Second was putting together their own stories. I have to be honest I was surprised at how the task suited all ages. Ok the little ones needed more help. The middle one was competitive and wanted to finish same time as his bigger cousins. But they all read their stories proudly to the others. Better than mummy having to read the stories. 

Phase 3 
No good day complete with a good meal. We all chipped in and made some good food. This the kids loved, they ate like they had never seen food before. I guess all the hard work was worth it.

Phase 4 
A good movie. 
This time it was Jonah Vegetales. Awesome fun. 

Phase 5 
A gift. 
The kids made key rings for friends. 

They did a brilliant job. 

When we asked them what there favourite part was. They all said having church entirely at my house. Brilliant. Job done. 

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Sabbath fun.

When you have kids sabbath can be the best day and worst. Woo hoo no work or school but oh goodness none of the usual fun things to do. Goodness me. So this week I had a great gift a mother child colouring book. 

So me and my little storm undertook the task with nana. I have to admit the numbers were in my favour. Two adults an one child. But I can highly recommend it. Sit down together and colour with or without the book. Colouring was therapeutic for me and my storm. 

It doesn't matter whether it's perfect. Just that you enjoy the process. Big bonus. You don't have to be able to draw. This obviously means anyone can do it. 

Have fun and enjoy. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Yesterday I Cried Out

Have you ever reached a place in your life where all you can do is cry out? Yesterday that was me. I was walking the children as they played and all of a sudden I was overwhelmed. I could see my life and how wrong it all was. I could see how hard I had tried to change everything. I could see that I had failed miserably. With nothing else left I stretched my arms and looked to the sky and cried out to God deliver me. 

This must have been quite the picture as I was just walking down the street! I wasn't asking to die I just needed my soul delivered. I needed my faith restored. I needed comfort from all the pain weighing heavy on my body. I needed financial deliverance from the struggle of life. I needed God to step I and change my circumstance. I needed deliverance! 

What happened next? The kids needed me to take a photo of nature for their project! So there was no great lightening in the sky appearance of God. But I tell you the truth I understood why the writers of psalms cried out to God. Because sometimes you need deliverance! 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Garden Module.

I am feeling adventurous for a non-outdoorsy kind of girl. I am going to do a learning book on the garden for my storms. After the success of the whale project I am enthusiastic to try something new. 

I found this great blog that has some awesome modules. 

I got the idea to make a mini garden in a pot for the storms. We have a shared garden and my storms are constantly asking me to plant things. That isn't exactly my strong point or possible in our current situation. However being creative and making a self contained garden in a plant pot seems well within my possibilities. 

The husband suggested leaf rubbings and tree rubbings so a trip to Kew Gardens to start the project should be exciting. 

In addition to this we have collected quite a few books about local butterflies and birds so this should be fun. I can imagine frustrating but I am imagining super fun too. 

Well I will keep you posted on how I get on. I believe as a christian we have a duty of care to the planet and this module helps to teach my storms this so off I go.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Pom Poms an easy sabbath craft

Always looking for something fun to do with the storms on a sabbath afternoon. After much bugging mummy I finally conceded that it would be fun. I remembered how to make a Pom Pom but I figured I should have some fun on Pinterest checking out what I can do. 

What a surprise there has been a move on in Pom Pom making. So I thought I would try out a traditional method then something more fun. 

So made the circles out of paper plates. Then cut the whole in the middle and covered them in clear tape to make them robust. I thought I would try and make it out of fabric as opposed to wool. The pictures are below and I hope it makes sense. My storm loved it. As in the end we made finger pom Poms. 

The thing that makes me laugh the most is he made one Pom Pom and then he was finished. 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Bible journalling a new start

I have decided upon a new regime. I will arise early 5 mornings a week and study the word and pray. My starting motivation was all wrong even though my intentions were good.

I started because my life has been in a mess for five years now and I suddenly hit a wall I couldn't climb over. So I thought thats it I cannot do this God will fix it. Well having studied and taught long enough I know that ultimatums and God do not go hand in hand.

My week got hijacked and the best layed plans went to waste. But of this one thing I did stick to getting up early and studying my bible. Is it hard? Yes I have small children plus a nephew a house guest and a husband gettjng up early is no joke. It takes commitment and dedication. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Anything you feel passionate is worth the work.

So here is the picture of the first page of my new journal. Over the next few weeks hopefully I will post some of my inspiration here. I am a creative soul but an artist well thats yet to be decided. I think it doesn't matter as much as actually trying and putting yourself out there for God to use.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Bible Journalling - Matthew 2

I love this text as I learnt new things. 

Did you know when talking about the wise men or Magi it says they knew it was His Star and He was the king of the Jews. 

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Bible Journalling - the sons of Noah

To be honest although I have read the bible through the bits where they list people does not help anyone. 

That is till now. I found a reason to read all those names. Because each one became a little coloured person. 

Bible Journalling - Noah

So I have been dwelling on the story of Noah recently and really wanting to do something. I finally got the chance this morning in church. It was a nice morning. 

Happiness is a rainbow heart and picture that actually works. For someone who can't draw I was quite impressed with this and it worked. 

Saturday, 3 January 2015

I get joy

I am loving bible art journaling. It's beautiful to look at a text in a different bright colourful way. 

Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD! (Psalms 96:1 NLT)