Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

It's almost 9.30pm on New Year's Eve and I'm sitting on the couch in baggy clothes with a sick and teething toddler on my lap. Silently willing her to sleep. I can see my glass of red non alcoholic wine and chocolate donut waiting for me on the side table. There's a movie on TV and if my dear hubby and I are still awake at midnight it will be surprising! 

Despite the fact that today has not gone as I would have hoped and my evening is not glamorous; my spirit is not dampened. I am very excited, expectant and looking forward to 2014. Why because I know God has good things in store for me and my family. I trust Him. I know that He will direct my paths. 

God's Word tells me: 

Jeremiah 29:11-14 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. 

Isaiah 43:15-21 
I am the Lord, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator and King. I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick. 
“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry waste land so my chosen people can be refreshed. I have made Israel for myself, and they will someday honour me before the whole world. 

I can hear the early local fireworks starting and my baby is still awake so I will leave you with this blessing: 

Psalm 115:14 May the Lord richly bless both you and your children. 

Happy New Year! 

Love Nat xx


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Family Activities for Summer

Summertime is finally here! It took a while in old Melbourne town... Our weather is so unpredictable. 

So what can you do this summer with your family? I've made a list of things I'm hoping our family will get through. I hope it helps you too! 

1. Visit the museum 
2. Go to the beach
3. Fly a kite 
4. Make a time capsule 
5. Go to the park
6. Run under a sprinkler 
7. Throw a New Year's Eve party 
8. Make homemade fruit icy poles
9. Sleep under the stars
10. Have a campfire (unless it's a total fire ban day!) 
11. Watch the sunset
12. Go on a bike ride
13. Have friends over for a BBQ 
14. Go on a picnic
15. Play totem tennis
16. Go to the local pool
17. Have a water fight
18. Give your dog a bath
19. Make a cubby
20. Experiment with bubbles - make giant ones! 
21. Jump on the trampoline 
22. Visit the aquarium 
23. Play a backyard game of cricket
24. Make milkshakes
25. Draw pictures in the sand


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Birth of Jesus Christ

When was the last time you read the passage from the bible of Jesus's birth? 

Don't get too caught up this Christmas season. Remember what is important. Take time to reflect on the miracle and fulfilled promises of God through the birth of His son Jesus. It's not just the Christmas story. It is complete truth. It is our redeeming grace. The beginning of everyone's testimony; for it is through Jesus Christ that we have forgiveness of our sins and ever lasting life. 

I love reading about Christ's birth. There are angels, miracles, fulfilled scriptures, prophesies, songs of praise, signs and wonder, and of course the birth of a King! 

Take time now to read it again. You can read of Jesus birth at either 
Matthew 1:18 - Matthew 2:23
Or Luke 1:26 - Luke 2:40


Friday, December 13, 2013

Differing views

Standing for what you believe in can be quite a task. It doesn't sound difficult. In theory one simply stands up for, or speaks about what they believe. 

There are many ways to stand up for what you believe in. You can make a private commitment to something, have a quiet word to someone, you can live a lifestyle which shows your beliefs, a heated conversation, you can also wear clothing stating your most passionate points, you can declare it on the streets or from a roof top and then you can post it on a social media website. 

I've done it all at some point in my life. Making a stand for what you believe in is something... It shows others what you care about. 

Taking a stand is something that takes guts! No matter what kind of stand you take it takes gumption because you have to really believe in it whole heartedly. No matter what others think or what happens, hold fast to your belief and do not be swayed! 

Do not make a stand in the hope it will make you popular. Usually it has the opposite effect. 

Taking a stand will likely bring a voiced opposing view. Opposition. We see opposition in sport when teams or individuals compete against one another to win a match or a title. We see opposition in politics when different groups and leaders hold different views or priorities. Opposition is in the community when businesses compete for customers loyalty and a good profit. We also see it in the playground when one child wants to play something and another one doesn't. 


I remember back to VCE (senior/end of high school) in a Business class I learnt about groupthink. Groupthink is the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group, resulting typically in unchallenged, poor-quality decision-making. Eg; "there's always a danger of groupthink when two leaders are so alike". 

I often think that if everything was peaceful, and people didn't have the freedom or ability to have their say or make a stand then the country or even the world would become a huge groupthink. Groupthink on such a large scale would mean no opposition and no competition in life. Business would not be the same and people would be miserable. I don't want to think the same as everyone else. 

But getting back on track I just want to tell you; whatever you believe, it is more than ok to have a voice. Even if it means we agree to disagree. Just remember to have your say with respect for others. By that I mean don't call someone names or wish bad things on them and certainly don't be a bully. Share what you believe in love. Love don't hate! 

So think about what you stand for. And if you stand for something be prepared for opposition. 

In the Bible many Christians faced opposition and were even persecuted for their beliefs. Sadly still to this day people are killed in many countries for having a differing view. If you face opposition, trouble or persecution you are not alone. Read these words penned by Paul and be encouraged! 

2 Corinthians 4:8-18 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Same sex marriage - not an option!

This morning I shared a friends Facebook status that reminded and encouraged me to continue to pray for our Nation. 


So I prayed and then I got thinking. And I thought... Christians have not thought through the repercussions of what will likely happen if same sex marriage is legalised in Australia. 

I've jotted down a few points to help people open their eyes. To see. I hope that by reading this it will also urge you to also pray. 

1. Same sex marriage will begin to be seen as normal. 

2. Television shows and commercials will show families with same sex couples and families. (This has already started). 

3. When learning about family at school, our children will be exposed to this new age interpretation of family. It will become part of the curriculum. 

4. Our children and future children (your grandkids) will not know and respect the true meaning of marriage. 

5. And there will be spiritual consequences! 


The Word of God says: 

Ephesians 6:13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

We need to put on the full armour of God. This is not the time to forget or to take a leisurely walk. We Christians are constantly in a battle; not against flesh, but of the things unseen! Today even more so we should be taking up our weapons and fighting a good fight. I'm going to because I want my Lord to say well done good and faithful servant. Make your life count! And not just for anything, but for something worth while -- for the cause of Christ. Love, grace, & salvation! 

Please pick up your cross and follow him today... Into battle for our nation. 


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Christmas Giving

Last year in the weeks leading up to Christmas I decided I need to teach my girls all about Christmas giving. I was reminded of a great example that Kids Pastor Gillian Cameron spoke about a few years back at the annual Kidshaper conference, I decided we should give it a go.

So what did we do? We went to our local shopping centre with determination and excited spirits. Our aim was to find someone to bless, financially. In hand we had a $20 note. It's not much to most of us. Doesn't seem like it would make a a lot of impact. But something is better than nothing. As they say it's the thought that counts!!

We walked around (girls in pram, mummy pushing) looking at people, really noticing them. We prayed to God and chatted amongst ourselves about who it should be. Then while we were in line for the cash register at Kmart we noticed someone two spots up ahead.

Distractedly we purchased our items as quickly as we could. We didn't want to lose them. We had found a father pushing a young toddler aged boy in a trolley. We raced after them, I'm sure I looked a bit funny, it felt strange, you know out of your comfort zone type stuff. Then we gently approached the gentleman and boy.

I said hello and briefly explained to the man that I was trying to teach my girls about giving to others. Then I went on to say that I hope you don't mind but we saw you just now in Kmart and felt to bless him. I told him how I thought the little boy with him was adorable. He really was a cutie with blonde ringlets and a grubby face.

The look on his face was of astonishment, blessed and gratuity. He asked a few times if I was sure. I assured him I was sure and we just wanted to bless him. I believe 100% that God led us to the right person.

Yes it was really awkward and I felt quite silly and out of place. But without a doubt I can say the moment was led by God and special. I know we were there to bless others but I felt very blessed, overwhelmed with joy and honoured myself as we walked away.

This act of giving is now going to be a Christmas tradition and example of giving that I want my girls to learn and know. Teach them to give from a young age I say.

God, I pray that you would lead us to the right person again this year. Prepare their heart even now. Bless them! Amen.

I challenge you to "give" it a go! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Our Thanksgiving Day

Our family is celebrating Thanksgiving Day this year. Although it's not so much a celebration... More a participation in the act of stopping and allocating time to be thankful together as a family for everything that has happened this year. Well that's my version. If you were to ask me what America's thanksgiving was about or the history of it, I'd have to say hold on while I Google it. 

I know it's a very American idea and we Aussies have our own National Thanksgiving Day but I prefer to do it at the end of the year... Not May. This way I can be thankful for more! 

As Chrisitians we should have a grateful and thankful attitude constantly. With God every day is a good day really because if God is for us who can be against us! 

Also when we are in relationship with Him we can talk to him and offer thanks at anytime day or night. 

But I feel as though it would be a special way to remember, give thanks to God for His goodness and all that has happened in the year. 

Plus it's also an excuse for some good food! We'll be having a roast dinner of Turkey and lots of scrumptious roast veggies with hot gravy. Ooh and maybe warm dinner rolls with butter. Mmm. 

Does your family celebrate thanksgiving? And more importantly have you given thanks for all that has happened this year? 

I encourage you to set aside some time to be thankful. You don't have to make a public notice about it. It doesn't even have to include a Turkey. Just give thanks to God for all he's done and is doing in your family. If you've had a real crappy year, give thanks to God for He is good and His mercy endures forever! 

Happy Thanksgiving Day, 
Nat 

P.S. I believe the American's also eat pie. So maybe I can get us some pumpkin pie for desserts. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bad mummy moments

Ever had one of those mummy moments when you wish deeply that you could turn back the clock and do thugs differently? 

I had one of those moments this week. A scary event took place that I wish didn't happen. I know that I should have done things better.  I know that if I'd done things differently the event would no have taken place. 

I feel as though I put my precious little girl in danger. It's a terrible, sickly feeling. 

I'm not going to share the event but I will share this... 

Bad moments don't make bad mummy's. 



Don't let the feeling of guilt or any other feeling come in and pull you down. You may be right, things could have been different but remember God is always in control and he holds each one of us in the palm of His hand. That includes our children. He is always watching over and protecting His own. 

Use the bad moment to teach you what not to do next time. 

Don't let the bad mummy moment make you feel like a bad mummy. 

If you're struggling with it ask God to take away your guilt, concern, fear etc. ask him to guide you and teach you so that it won't happen again. 

Ask God to protect your children when you're around and when you're not around. He's good at it! 

I've gotta go put my words into action. I'm preaching to myself with this one. But I hope it encourages you too. 

Nat xx

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Costco shopping

I am so excited that Melbourne is having its second Costco store open tomorrow and it's near me! 

Ringwood will be crazy tomorrow people. Everyone who loves Costco will want to be there and everyone who wants to know what Costco is all about will be there too (well over the next week at least)! 

For those that don't know Costco is a huge American style warehouse that sells everything from cheese, toilet paper, fresh flowers, car batteries, brand name clothing, books, appliances, large outdoor play sets, to diamond rings. 

Costco also has speciality areas such as car mechanic, optometrist, hearing centre, photo centre, and a place to grab lunch while your there. 

Now you do need an annual membership to shop there. Don't freak out though it is not expensive - only $60 a year for personal use. Cheaper for businesses. We easily make our money back. 

So I thought seeing I'm an avid fan and have been a member since it first opened in Australia I'd share some of my Costco shopping tips. 

1. Take some serious dough! You do spend a bit at Costco. Not because it is unreasonably priced but because everything is in bulk. If you plan on shopping there regularly it will only be your first visit that mucks your budget around. 

Check out this 5kg jar of Nutella :) 



2. The trolleys are big but not always big enough! If you buy toilet paper, nappies and nappie wipes your trolley is half full with only 3 items. If you add dog food to that list you should take a friend who is willing to push a second trolley. 

3. Clear out your boot before you go. Whatever you buy needs to get home so don't go with a car boot that is already loaded. 

4. If you are a bargain shopper, know your prices. I do most of my fresh food shopping at ALDI but I still find plenty of items worth buying at Costco. Costco has a bargain price BBQ chicken, especially when you see the size of the chook! 

5. Be game enough to try a few new products. Our family have enjoyed quite a few new things. One of my favourites is Pumpkin Pie. Yummy! 

6. Be prepared to just be amazed or shocked at first because of the sheer size of the place. It's kind of fun! 

For more details visit... 
http://www.costco.com.au

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How I Met My Father... Part 3

The best part yet! 

In 2011 I gave birth to our first child, a beautiful daughter, Olivia. Just 11 months later I gave birth to our second child, Isabelle. Two beautiful little girls. 

Both Robbie and I loved being parents. Watching Olivia interact with her Daddy (aka my amazing husband) was really special. The way he looked at her and the way she bonded with him was unique and a sight to behold. Just beautiful! It made me realise how much I had missed though not having a Father growing up. I had not thought of the little moments or day to day acts that a Father role would play until I had my own child. 

Not long after Isabelle was born in January 2012, I remember she was still wearing size 000's, I woke one morning to find a text on my mobile from Dad. This surprised me, we usually email. 

I read the text. It was short and didn't really give me all the information I wanted. But it did give enough info to make me stop! It said something like... 'Flying to Melbourne, my Mother passed away'. 

First I'd like to say that I was deeply saddened at the news that my grandmother had passed away. I knew less than 3 things about her. I didn't even know her name, but I loved her. As a teenager knowing that she was from Malta I had daydreams of my sister and I spending time with her in the kitchen learning how to make some passed down family recipe pasta. In my head she was like an Italian Nonna. She was strict, traditional, pudgy, with accent and loving. This version of her I knew and I loved. 

When she, my Nonna passed away my daydreams passed too. No traditional Maltese cooking. No pudgy hugs. Never seeing her smile. And no listening to a back in the day grandma type story. 

However, the text also brought great excitement. My Father by now would be almost in Australia. Our country. Here. So close. 

Questions flooded in: would we get to see him? Where would we meet? When? What would we eat? Would we meet other family, uncles, aunts and cousins? What would I wear? Why does my sister have to live interstate? Would we go to the funeral? Would people like us? 

I called her. She got a text too. We were like screaming monkeys! We were finally going to meet our Father. Dad. After all these years. In person. Face to face. How exhilarating and scary! 

Dad arrived safely and got to see his mother before she passed away. Praise God. I thought he had missed that time when I first received the text message. He spent some time with his family and grieved. 

We got a call from him saying he would like to meet us. Woohoo!! So we arranged it to be on a Saturday for lunch. My sister and brother in law would drive down from Canberra and stay the weekend. It was all set. I was so excited! 

However silly me with my over excited feelings and my sleep deprived baby brain, I said we'd do lunch at our house. I would cook. Haha. In my head it was nice and homey until the day arrived. I was in a tad of a flap with a house to tidy, meal to cook, a young toddler and a newborn. 

Thankfully my husband came through and was like a domestic angel that day. He remained calm. He did most of the cooking (which I planned to be roast chicken maryland and roast vegetables with gravy -- yum!) and helped tidy our small lounge dining area. Thank you Mr Boyle. 

My sister arrived looking gorgeous as always and I realised I had ran out of time to dress nicely. I was wearing newborn mummy, breast feeding, unattractive, sit on the couch clothes. Never mind. 

As we saw a car pull into the court and park in front of our house I was nervous. We were about to see what he looks like in person and talk to him in real life. Would words come out of my mouth? I hoped so! 

I was so glad that I had my church family that day. I had posted a message on our church Facebook page asking them to pray for us and the lunch meeting. I was overwhelmed by the loving messages and support given. And in that moment as he was walking towards my front door with a lady beside him, flowers and wine in hand, I felt the power of prayer. My church family had prayed and I tangibly felt Gods presence, peace, comfort, confidence and love. Yes there were still nerves but I was not a crumbling mess and I knew God, my Abba Father was with me and that would never change. 

The guys (my hubby and my bro in law) opened the front door. We were standing in the lounge nervous and expectant. The moment was here. Really here. Arrived. The moment I had dreamt about for many years. It was not how I had envisioned it but in the moment it was perfect and true. I was meeting my Father. 

My very first impressions of him: tall, nervous too, warm, loving and he looked like a Dad. Whatever that is. 

He brought me flowers - and my heart melted. He was teary and overcome with situation of meeting two of his daughters for the first time. It was evident he had loved us and longed for this day too. 

I'm not going to go into all the details but the lady was his sister and she was just coming to drop him off and make sure that he was ok in the initial getting to know you. They both mentioned how peaceful our home was. 

We talked, ate good food and drank for hours. We got to know each other a little. Much more than you can via email. 

We heard how he had searched thoroughly for years. He had even hired a detective to help him, taken trips back to the last place our mum had lived, looked up legal records and sent letters. It was nice to hear that we were searched for. We were wanted. For me it was like hearing I was not abandoned or forgotten. We were loved all those years. This did my heart well. 

We also learnt -- the boys picked up -- that some of our mannerisms and features were from our Father. This made me smile. I was like him. 

On all accounts our first meet was a success. I enjoyed his company. I had a nice Dad. I was falling in love. 

And that is the story of how I met my Father :) 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

LOVE

Love. There is so many things that come to mind when I say that word. There are many kinds of love. 

Just this morning I read a devotion about Gods unconditional love. How wonderful Gods love is! 

There are many bible verses that reference love. Some very well known verses that instantly come to mind are: 

The love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13
The ultimate act of love in John 3:16 
Two commandments in Matt 22:37-40

But after watching The Help on DVD I am disturbed at how little some people love themselves and others. 

Why must we put others down, ridicule them, discriminate against them, ignore them or just be downright rude?! 

In the beginning the Bible tells us we are made in Gods image. The Bible also tells us that God is love. So we should be living in love. 

What is love: thankfully the Bible also tells us... 

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." 
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

So please I encourage you and beg of you that you would be mindful of others. Remember we are made in love -- in Gods image. Remember that we are all worthy of love. We all deserve patience, kindness, respect, justice, forgiveness, truth, faith, hope and love. 

Be loving to those you know and those you don't know. 

Be loving to those who you like and those who you don't like. 

Be loving to those who are clean and those who seem unclean. 

Be loving to those who are just and those who are unjust. 

Be loving to everyone! Just as God has loved us, so we should love them. 



P.S. lets love our children this way and teach them also to love others. That's a legacy worth leaving! 

(Photo taken from the Word app - a short daily devotional) 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Forget the ducks!

Ever felt like God is pointing you in a certain direction but you don't feel good enough or ready? 

I've been in this position but there are also many before me who have also been there and done that. 

Have you heard the saying... 

Jacob was a cheater,
Peter had a temper,
David had an affair,
Noah got drunk, 
Jonah ran from God, 
Paul was a murderer, 
Gideon was insecure
Miriam was a gossiper, 
Martha was a worrier, 
Thomas was a doubter, 
Sarah was impatient, 
Elijah was depressed, 
Moses stuttered, 
Zaccheus was short, 
Abraham was old and 
Lazarus was DEAD! 

God doesn't always call the qualified, he qualifies the called. 

So it doesn't matter if you don't feel ready, 
or you think that you could be more prepared, 
or that you don't think it's the right time.
 
If God is telling you to do it... Called you. Just go and do it! 

There is a lovely young couple in our church. I met up with the lady just last week and we were talking about this. Specifically for her and her family God has called them to really go out of their comfort zone. But she was so confident and passionate because spiritually she has her eyes set on the path God has planned for them. I believe it's because they've taken that step of faith and obedience. And because of that God is now putting all other things into place for them. He has made a way. It was so encouraging to hear. 

Dare to do what God has called you to. Remember being a godly mother is a big calling in itself. 

You are here for such a time as this! Do not be afraid. You don't always need all your ducks in a row. Step out in faith. God will have your back. Trust Him. 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Manners - Part 1

What are manners?

A quick google search tells me there are two dictionary definitions. 

manner
ˈmanə/
noun
plural noun: manners
  1. 1.
    a way in which a thing is done or happens.
    "taking notes in an unobtrusive manner"
  2. 2.
    a person's outward bearing or way of behaving towards others.
    "his arrogance and pompous manner"

I'm more referring the the second definition; a persons outward bearing or way of behaving towards others. Or my translation -- how we should act or interact socially, using kindness and respect. To be courteous and thoughtful. 


A few examples of manners: 

Manners in conversation:
Saying please and thank you
Saying good morning or good afternoon 
Looking and listening to someone when they are speaking to you
Not barging in on a conversation
Introducing new people to a conversation/room
Using the correct tone of voice (inside or outside voice) 
Saying excuse me when leaving a conversation or room

Manners at the table:
Give thanks to The Lord - say grace
Using a knife and fork correctly while eating 
Asking if you can leave the dinner table

Manners when in public:
Offering the elderly or pregnant ladies a seat
Men open the door for ladies
Holding a door open for those following behind you
Saying pardon me when you burp or rumble (aka fart, bottom burp, relieve gas etc.) 
Saying God bless you after a person sneezes
Offering assistance to those in need 
Waiting your place in line - don't push in! 
Wear appropriate clothing
Don't use bad or rude language
Be polite

Manners for friends:
Sharing with others
Ask for something don't just take it and don't snatch
Offer a guest first pick of the meal
Think of others feelings

Why write about manners?

It has been brought to my attention (and it's obvious) that this is an area that over time is being forgotten and neglected. I'm not sure if it's because there are more working parents or if people just don't care anymore but I think these are the basics that we should be teaching our children. Manners are not difficult. Toddlers should be learning these basic principles at home and I feel as it is a mummy's job the teach them. 

Manners help us throughout the rest of our life. Manners help us to build good character and in the future they will help us to: make friends, be a good example, be a leader, get a job, find a soul mate and to be successful at whatever we pursue. How can manners do all this you might ask... That's easy, we will will have learnt the basics in how to be good, kind and thoughtful that it will be second nature, natural and effortless. These qualities can be hard to come by in the world. 

Think about it... How many times do people cut I front of you while driving? Or at the supermarket have you ever had to ask for assistance instead of having it offered? 

I grew up being taught manners. They have certainly kept me in good stead. They are like a moral compass. Treat others as you would want to be treated and use good etiquette - these basics will set you apart and more importantly it's the right thing to do! 

If you want to read more examples of manners see this link... 
http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetailsKids.aspx?p=335&id=2526&np=287 

Chicken Soup

My favourite soup when it's cold outside or when I'm sick is Chicken Noodle & Corn Soup. It's my favourite because it tastes good but also because it is soooooo easy! 

I decided to share it with you. Even though it's supposed to be warming up -- it's almost summer time -- here in Melbourne this week the weather has been cold and wet and my whole clan has been unwell. Including me. So it was made up once more this year because there's something about it that just makes you feel better. 

Ingredients
1 sachet of Chicken Noodle Soup mix
1 litre of tap water
1 can of creamed corn
1 egg whisked lightly
1 cup of shredded chicken (optional) 

Method
1. Combine the sachet of soup mix with 1 litre of water. Bring to the boil. 
2. Turn heat down. Add corn and chicken. Stir gently. 
3. Allow to heat through for 5-10 minutes. 
4. Turn off heat/stove and slowly pour the egg into soup while stirring soup. 

Ta-da! It's ready to serve. Enjoy. 

Tips: 
1. The heat of the liquid immediately cooks the egg. By slowly pouring the egg into soup while stirring soup you are left with a white stringy egg look. If you pour the egg in all at once you will get a big clump of egg in your soup. 

2. Don't worry if you don't have any chicken to add. I usually eat it without and it's still awesome. 
I'm so glad my mummy taught me this recipe. I'll definitely be passing it onto I my girls. 

I hope your family is well and enjoying nice weather wherever you are. 

Love Nat xx


Monday, October 21, 2013

Spiritual Blessings

Tapping into the spiritual blessing that God has for each of us... 

God has an inheritance for us even now while we are living on earth. As sons and daughters of the King we are entitled and privileged. We have resources and authority and power that others don't have; and God wants to give us more! 

God wants to bless us abundantly more than we can even think possible. Just as we love our children and want what is best for them, God feels this way towards us. We are His children. 

God does not call us to be strugglers or under achievers. He calls us victorious, over comers in Christ Jesus. We are above and not beneath. We are the head and not the tail. This applies to all areas of our lives. Not just a portion of it. 

So how do we tap into Gods amazing spiritual blessing and goodness for our lives? How do we be the head and not the tail? 

1. Praise! 
Praise Him in the morning. Praise Him during the day. Praise Him in the evening. With every breath that you take let it be a breath of praise. 

If you are not naturally a praiser. Then pray that God will help you sart a new attitude and renew your mind to be free to give praise and honour. Give thanks to Him. Be grateful for all has given you and all that He is doing. 

Start talking about His goodness. Even if no one else is listening. Speak to the walls of your house. Speak it out. The spiritual realm cannot be seen but when we praise God things happen! 

If you have children encourage them to praise Him. No matter their age. Praising God has no age restrictions or conditions. 

Are you doing the laundry today? Thank God that you have clothes! 

Are you sick in health? Praise God that you have accessible doctors and healthcare in your good nation. 

Are you being a mum taxi? Put worship music on while driving. Tap the steering wheel. Smile and sing. 

Are you tired? When you lay your head down to rest, thank God you have shelter and a bed to sleep soundly - no matter how many times you may be woken. 

Eating today? Say grace before your meal. 

2. Read Gods Word! 
Even of it is just a paragraph in the morning get some of Gods Word into you. The Bible tells us that His Word is like living bread. It sustains us. It literally feeds our soul. 

If you are driving get the Bible on cd. 
If you are bored on a lunch break, download a Bible app n your phone. 
I know some people are not readers. But God wants to impart things to us. Give it a try. 

God is sitting at the kitchen table waiting for us to come and take some delicious, homemade, nutritious original recipe, living bread. He made it and it is good! 
God did not compile the Bible just to tell of His story or His goodness. It is for our benefit. To tap into all that He has for us. 

Make time for His Word. 

2 Tim 3:16-17
'All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.' 

I hope you feel encouraged today. God has been speaking to me about this for my family and I'm sharing this because I want your family to tap into all God has for you and your family too. It is there for us to take. Why not?! 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

No More Dummy

Yesterday while shopping as a family our oldest, Miss Olivia lost her dummy. Nobody noticed for the first hour. Until we got back to the car. 

It was deduced that she had put it down or dropped it while looking at the toys in Target. 

At first we told her she would have to wait till we got home. Then whilst driving home my dear hubby suggested that maybe that's it... It just stays lost. 

So after I agreed with hubby that 'yes we can roll with it', I thought to myself we'll just see how it goes. I can always cave and give in later if it became too difficult. 

I hadn't planned on her having a dummy this long. My plan was to wait till just after she turned two. After the final big teeth were cut. She was not a happy girl when getting new teeth. 

But not long after she finished teething, we were house hunting, and then Grandpa and Granny passed away. While she was grieving for Granny it was difficult for us all and was just not the right time. She needed that constant and comfort that her dum dum provided. 

So five months down the track she's closer to 3 years old, we have settled in a new house and are living life again. Now seems right. 

We explained to her that she had lost her dummy at the shops so we would try to help her be a big girl and not have a dummy anymore. 

The rest of day was not too tricky. She asked a few times about her dummy and we gently reminded her that it had been lost at the shops. The reminders were taken well and she thought through what we were saying. Her expression was as if she was remembering 'oh yes, that's right'. 

Bedtime approached and we both as parents were anxious about how it would go. Her dum dum had always played a big role at bedtime since she was a newborn. 

She said goodnight to Daddy and we did her usual bedtime routine. It didn't go bad at all. It did take longer for her to settle and fall asleep. But 1 hour and 10 minutes later she was sound asleep, off to la la land. 

In that 70 minutes we talked, hugged, kissed, had a little pout, she told me she was sad, she had more milk, accidentally spilt some milk, prayed twice (once with mummy and the other with daddy) and then I promised her she could choose some new hair clips in the morning at the shops if she could be a big girl and go to sleep. 

Then she closed her eyes, rolled over and went to sleep. No tears. No dummy fairies. 

Thank you God that we could be honest with and help Olivia through this small milestone in her journey. What an amazing little girl. So brave!

She slept through the entire night and we went shopping for hair clips this morning. 

Still good with no dummy! 

P.S. we have nothing against fairies. It just worked this way for us. 


Children of the Light

Ephesians 4:17-32 
With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. 

Paul the author of Ephesians urges us to live as 'Children of the Light'. The put off our old, sinful behaviours and be an example of Gods love. We are to be His shining example. As it says what we do as Christians will be associated with His Spirit as we are now His. 

"And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own." 

So my encouragement to you today is: Don't take offence or feel condemned. Trust in The Lord and all His goodness, that includes forgiveness. Make a point of moving forward today - a step to making your light shine brighter. None of us is perfect. But by Gods grace and through His Holy Spirit we can be a shining light to those around us. How bright our light shines is up to us. 

"...let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes."

See the scripture tells us to let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. By then it says,

"Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy." 

We are the ones to put on our new nature. We have to use self control, patience, good judgement, our listening ears (as I would say to my little girls) to listen to the Spirits guidance. 

It's not always easy. If it was easy everyone would be doing it! 

As mums we can be a light to other mums. Eg; We can use gentle words with our children especially web they have done something wrong. We can also give them boundaries so that even from a young age they are learning how to use patience and self control. 

So go forth and be shining beacons that reflect Gods love today. Putting on a new nature. 

Nat xx


Monday, October 14, 2013

How do you feel loved?

The local Christian radio is asking families to ask this question. 'I feel loved when you...' 

So what makes you feel loved? I feel loved when I have my darling husbands complete attention. I don't like to compete with the television, his thoughts or anything else. I'm selfish in that way! ;) 

Start a conversation with your kids and ask them to finish this sentence, I feel loved when you... If they are little you might have to give them an example. As parents you may already think you know. But ask each child and give them the opportunity to give their answer. They might surprise you. 

Psalm 139:14 says, "Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. " 

We are all made individual, unique and special. We are not the same! Learn what makes your children feel loved. 

They will most likely feel some love just by being asked! 


Friday, October 11, 2013

There'll be days like this...

Ever had one of those days when you're feeling crappy, the kids don't seem to be themselves, you feel like no one is listening, the housework needs doing (badly!) and sadly all you can manage is to feed the children, throw a load of laundry on and to wash the dishes. 

Don't worry! If you've got little kiddies there will be days like this. 

There is a saying 'it takes a village to raise a child', I believe this is true. No matter how hard you try and how much you do, there will come a time that you will need help with something. 

We all have our weak spots... Some people are not good at asking for help, others need help with house work, cooking skills, moral support, motivation, a rest, advice, organisation tips, baby sitters. 

Identify your weak spots and reach out to someone. It's ok to need help! 

Jesus was perfect and he still went to His Father God for His needs. Also Jesus had the support of His family and the disciples. 

How is your support network? If you're struggling in an area or you need someone to come along side you for a period of time, ask God to bring the right person to mind and approach them with His guidance. I'm sure they will be willing to help. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

In The Name of Jesus

Tonight I was reminded of an old song that we used to sing in church when I was a young child. 

In the name of Jesus

In the name of Jesus,
In the name of Jesus
We have the victory,
In the name of Jesus,
In the name of Jesus
Demons will have to flee,
When we stand on the name of Jesus
Tell me who can stand before,
In the mighty name of Jesus,
We have the victory. 

Jesus spoke these words in Mark 16:17-18 These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” 

This song is catchy yes but these words are powerful. Wanna know why they are powerful? Because it is the truth. And the truth will set you free! 

So I urge you right now to declare Jesus over your life and your family. Declare His love, His power and His presence, His goodness, His healing power, His joy, His blessing (...you get the picture) over your lives. Jesus Christ is victorious and we are in Him! 

Sing this song if you know it, and sing it with might. Declare it. Believe it. If you don't know this song, read the words out loud over and over. Let the words sink into your spirit. Believe it. 

Do you know Jesus? Or do you just know about Him? If you don't know Him in a personal way and you would like to, I want you to be encouraged to invite Him into your heart right now. 

Pray a simple prayer... 

Dear Jesus, I invite you to come into my life. I want to have a real relationship with you. I believe in you. Please forgive me of all my sins and help me to follow your ways. Amen. 

Now lets start living a victorious, powerful life in Him. Be bold. Declare the name of Jesus. Jesus is powerful and mighty. Amen!! 

Nat xx

P.S. if you prayed that prayer for the first time, please let me know. I want to send you a Bible and small gift. 


Monday, October 7, 2013

How I Met My Father... Part 2

And so the wait began... 

Not long after we had the initial phone call (in October 2008) from Find My Family, we got another call asking us (my sister and I) to take part in a DNA test. We didn't need to pay for it. A test kit would be sent to us each and we just had to make an appointment to see our doctor with identification. So off we went. A simple swab test. All done. 

Around May 2009 we got an email from Find My Family asking if we could both be in Sydney for a couple of days in July. Of course we wanted to go! But Robbie (my amazing husband) and I had had a difficult year and had already pre planned and paid for a two week holiday to Queensland. Which also happens to be the time of year that we celebrate our wedding anniversary. So it's a big deal. 
And so knowing that this might be our one and only chance, a chance of a lifetime but still wanting to honour my husband and our marriage, I rsvp'd that I could not make it. Thankfully my sister did not seem too worried or upset. So we convinced ourselves it would be ok. After all they had not told us they'd found him. It was only meant for initial filming, getting to know us kind of stuff. 

For the next year I called the Find My Family production a number of times for updates. I was given either a 'nothing to report' answer or even more annoying 'sorry we are not in production and are not sure we will start another series'. Boo! 

One day I believe it was May 2010 I got a call from my little sis saying that she'd had enough of waiting she was going to call them and tell them she needed answers because of health issues. Which was more than true. My sister does have a bad heart and we knew nothing of any medical conditions from our Fathers side. She was going to press the issue and be for some answers. So she told me to stay by the phone. Off she went to make the call. 

Bring bring, bring bring... I answered her call. "They found him!!" And my darling little sis had it arranged that we would get all the details they had within hours. They had contact details, they told her that he seemed very nice, all DNA tests proved to be 99.9% accurate. The only down side, she told us that we wouldn't be filmed and our story would not be used for television. Ah hello? We don't care! We didn't want to be on tv. Lol. 

We were so excited! {Insert happy dance and delighted screams here }

A lady from Find My Family called me called me to confirm. She suggested that because he lived in England that she would email all three of us the contact details at the same time. From there she recommended we let him make an initial call. 

Oh my goodness! Stop for a minute and imagine what it would be like after 26 years of hoping and dreaming to finally speak to someone of great significance to you. It was going to open a whole new world. 

Within an hour we had an email with contacts details for the man we had long been looking for, our Father. 

Now we know she said the wait for his call. Let him make first contact. Well we just couldn't help ourselves. That and we wanted our first contact with him to be together. We drafted an email by phone since we were living interstate from each other and sent it off. I'm not sure he received it before he called though. 

He rang me. Our first call was short and sweet. There were tears. Not a lot of words. We were both nervous. It was difficult to do this sort of thing by phone. I didn't know what to say! 

We decided to get to know each other by email. The emails were long, regular and honest. I loved receiving them. I'm much better at communicating my thoughts and feelings on paper so I was very happy with this. 

What a day! {insert smile} 
Thank you God! Thank you for giving me the desires of my heart. 


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Choices

These are my notes taken from a message by Pastor Darlene Zschech. She spoke this message at Adore women's conference 2013...

Choices

If there was one thing that u could do to change the world, what would it be? 

Read Duet 30:14-20
(read it here www.biblegateway.com ) 

Your choices matter. Every day has the opportunity to bring life or death. 

The Holy Spirit is a person not an atmosphere. Be open to Him as He directs our lives. That we would choose well how we spend our time and our lives. 

Esther had the responsibility of making great choices. Esther 4:13-14 

He calls us not out of his need but for our fulfilment of serving him. Salvation is not dependent on what you do. You can choose not to participate. But God created us for purpose: To bring change, answer, resolve. In advance he prepared things for us to do. 

You were created for warfare. What is bugging you/me? 

Perhaps you were born for such a time as this. 

Just like Esther; in verse 14 if you don't stand up someone else will. 

Us women have a lot to say. We spend our time talking about so much that doesn't make a difference or that we can't change. Use your words wisely. 
Don't be dulled down by the size of the challenge or paralysed by success or the fear of man. God wants you to say yes. 

Challenge: when the Holy Spirit speaks to you say yes. Don't let your no be automatic. Wait on God. Perhaps a yes! 

Read 2 Chron 16:9 God will strengthen you. 

Read again Duet 30:14-20 Put him first! 

1. Don't stay silent! 
Read Heb 11:6 
Faith without deeds is dead. 
Choose to be uncomfortable. Choose to believe. Choose to walk the walk. 
"Inactivity is the thief of our times."

2. Don't let anybody tell you that you are too young or too old. 
God will use you! God will use us to impact the lives of others. Esther didn't know she was saving her nation. She was just a young woman orphan. 

Read 1 Tim4:12 and 1 Pet 4:10
Employ your gifts

3. Don't allow time to talk you out of what you want to do. It might be an issue that's been around for a while. It might seem too hard and too big. Maybe you are here for such a time as this. Just because it has not been done before, doesn't mean it cannot be done. People will always try to eradicate hope. 
 
4. Gods answers often make no sense. He asks you to do crazy things. He takes the little things to change a nation. Once she speaks (Esther) she has to commit. Get some resolve some attitude. There's no going back. You have to trust Him. 
Without faith it is impossible to please God and with God all things are possible. Amen. 


Friday, October 4, 2013

How I Met My Father... Part 1

I thought that now was a good time to share part of my testimony... With lots of new friends (and some not so new) I'd like to share part of my story with you. So make some tea, get comfy, read on and get to know me. 

I was born in our nations capital, Canberra to a mum who had been desperately trying to fall pregnant for more than 10 years. I was born wanted and loved. I was like my mothers miracle baby... Finally she had a child to call her own. 

Although my Father was not in a committed relationship with my Mother, they conceived another little girl, my younger sister. We are thirteen months apart and I adore her! 

Our parents did not continue their relationship and so we grew up not knowing or seeing our Father. In fact we knew only a handful of details about him, which when the time came, made it very difficult for us to look for him. In my mind though, he was a good man and I dreamed about the day that we would first meet. 

The first time that I had a desire to find him I was 12 years old and in 7th grade at high school. I told my best friend everything I knew. Name, date of birth, he had been a scout leader in Ringwood Victoria, he had three children older than I from another woman, tall, curly hair and Irish/Maltese heritage. That's it! So my friend and I started a mission. We were going to find him. 

Over my six years of high school we attempted many times to the best of our ability, to find him. Once we tracked down a girl with the correct surname who we hoped would be my step sister. Another time we sent hundreds of emails during our library visits to men all over the world with the same name that we had found online using yahoo.com. Then llastly we called people of the same listed in the White Pages Victoria telephone book. 

We feel that we came very close with one of our emails. It was an email address registered to a man with the same name and date of birth. It was a United Kingdom email address which also made us more curious. My mum had said that he did plan on going to England after they went their separate ways. But did he go to England? And was he still there? The email we sent bounced back saying that the account had been closed. 

I never really discussed these plans or my feelings with my mother and it wasn't planned that way. It just was. 

At the age of fourteen, at the beginning of 9th grade, I gave my life to Christ and became a Christian. This did not change my curiosity and desire to know my Father, but it did give me a secure knowledge and a comfort that I did have a Heavenly Father, Abba Father who was watching out for me, loved me and would never leave me. My relationship with my Abba Father became strong! I depended on him, trusted him and by letting him into my whole world, I saw many miracles and answers to prayer. 

This flows into a lesson I learnt through one small scripture verse. That 'if I delight myself in Him, he would grant me the desires of my heart' (Psalms 37:4). So my search continued but less intense. I believed I wasn't doing it on my own and that it would happen one day. 

I tried to look for him again, the year after I got engaged (we were engaged for 19 months). There was a movie that was released to DVD titled What A Girl Wants. It was the story of a young girl who had a similar story who went to England looking for her Father. Well needless to say I watched this DVD a number of times. It always made me cry and it always gave me hope. Though this particular search got interrupted by the sudden death of my older adopted brother and our wedding preparations. 

In 2005 after I had been happily married for a just over a year my little sister got engaged. I was so happy for her! While visiting with her in Tasmania she told me she and her fiancé were looking for our Father. They were hoping to find him in time for their wedding. I wasn't too sure about the idea then, I was worried that she may get hurt and told her I didn't think the time was right. She didn't find him anyway.  

In September 2008 I tried again but with a new approach... Ask someone else to find him for us! I was casually spending time online one weekend when I saw an online advertisement for a television show Find My Family produced by channel 7. Basically they put families back in contact with each other. I thought this is just what I needed. So I applied online there and then. I don't remember even mentioning it to anyone. I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up. 

But amazingly one month later while in Tasmania for another sisters wedding (My mother married when I was two years old and had three more girls), I got a call. It was Find My Family! They called!!! I answered the call in my mums lounge room in Hobart, while there were people everywhere. it was just days before a big family day. People were flying in from interstate, being settled and catching up. I couldn't believe who it was calling and at such a time as this! They were calling to confirm all the particulars I had listed on the application and ask if I had anything more. I didn't but I quickly explained to everyone (in the room) what I'd done and who was on the phone. There were shocked faces, smiles of delight and screams of happiness. The phone was passed to my mum and she talked with the producers for what seemed like 30 long minutes giving them her side of the story and anything else she could think of that maybe useful. They had decided to take on our case. They would look for him on our behalf and be in touch. Of course it meant we would have to be on tv. But I'd decided that was going to be ok if it meant we found our Father. 

We celebrated loudly that afternoon and then we waited. 


To be continued... Part 2 coming soon :)