Monday, August 26, 2013

8 things mothers should pray for...

As mothers we hold so much responsibility for the children God has placed into our care. We are responsible for their general well being and safety. We are responsible to make good decisions for them. We are responsible for providing them with nutritious meals and enough sleep. The list goes on! 

One area that I've really been making an increased effort in recently has been the area of prayer. I feel that as mothers we are also responsible for praying for our children and their the world in which they live. 

As I'm sure you've heard plenty of times before - prayer is powerful and prayer works! I can personally testify to many answered prayers. I love prayer and the opportunity we have by prayers to communicate with our Creator and Abba Father - God. 

If you have experienced an answer to prayer, I encourage you to make a comment below. For it is by sharing and hearing that faith is built in us. 

My list of important things to continually pray for to do our part as mummy's is:

1. Pray for their salvation. They may not be at an age of understanding yet but you can start praying that they will have a relationship with Jesus Christ and pray that it will grow and that they will cherish it all the days of their life. 

2. Parenting. Pray that God would show you daily how to be an even better parent. Ask him for his advice. He is the ultimate, perfect parent. 

3. Your country. The country that you live in. This is so important. Not only do countrymen and those who are in a public service position run, protect and serve our great nation but so do we; who continually pray for our nation, it's leaders, the laws and the everyday issues that affect its people. A strong nation needs prayers behind it. 

4. Your marriage. A loving marriage is not only a good example for your children, but it creates an atmosphere of love, forgiveness, happiness, stability and peace in your home. I have written before that a loving your spouse is one of the best things you can do for your children. If your marriage is not where you want it to be right now, pray for it and for your partner. 

5. Your home. This is an area that I am constantly working on. I am not a housework liking person but keeping your home orderly and peaceful is important. 

A kept (or unkept) home is also an indication of how you're going and where your life is at. This is one area that I really consciously have to try, hard. It is quite easy for me to put housework aside or not see it as a priority (and there are times when I believe it shouldn't be), but it still needs to be done. 

There have been a few years of struggling, setbacks and grief for our family and during that time my house was not clean or safe let alone kept. It was just a barely maintained house that provided shelter and warmth. Don't let it be that way for you! 

I have come to learn that if you can't do it, pay someone else. If you don't know how to do it well, ask for help. If you want better organisational skills or strategies read a book by Emilie Barnes. Sadly I can't regularly afford someone to do it for me at this stage in my life but God is good to me!! He has shown me new ways and strategies to keep my house. Keeping a home is not just regular, consistent housework and cooking. It is also the ambience of your house. Put on some worship music in the background, light some candles, make it smell good, let your faith in God be present, pray for each member of the family as you vacuum their room or change their bedding. Invite God to be the master of your home and guest at your table. 

6. Their friends. We all hope that our children will get along well with others and have plenty of friends. Instead of just hoping pray for it. And while you're at it, pray for good friends. Pray their friends will also know God. Pray their friends will be a good and positive influence in the playground. Pray that their friends will be friends for life. 

7. Their future spouse (husband or wife). I know it's early but no prayers go unanswered. So start sending them up now. Pray for God to start preparing your child's future spouse for marriage. Pray for God to bless them, guide them, protect them. Pray that their heart would be open to God and they would receive salvation. Pray that they would grow up knowing and receiving love. Pray that they would have a good relationship with his/her own parents. Pray that when the time is right that they would treat your child with respect and love. 

8. Them! You know what's going on in your child's world, pray for it. Pray for their personality. Pray for confidence and a healthy self esteem. Pray for joy. Pray for God's continual blessing and favour. 

You won't always be able to be around or be there for your child, but God will. So trust God now and start talking to him about what's important. Get on your knees and pray. 


Sunday, August 25, 2013

How did I cope with two so close?

I have an 11 month gap between my two baby girls. I had assistance (fertility drugs) with getting #1, then naturally while using protection #2 surprised us! But we are so so so blessed. I wouldn't want it any other way. 

How did I cope? Well my first daughter was 9 weeks old when it all began. So mentally getting my head around it was a staged process; 

Denial (it took me 2 weeks to test after we already had strong suspicions), 

Shock (could this really be happening after 3yrs of trying to get our first child), 

Grateful (happy, excited, feeling blessed, I'm going have another baby), 

And then concerns came... How can I look after two little ones? I'll never get any sleep! What will everyone else think? How embarrassing/awkward! Can I carry two? How will I give them both the attention they deserve? What if they both need me at the same time? I don't want the oldest to resent me/us/or the new baby. I was worried about bonding with the second becos I didn't spend the same time with her during pregnancy like I did the first. 

I found you must talk it thru constantly with someone supportive. I used my husband... I'm a lucky girl. He was great. He had concerns too so we worked thru them all together. 

While we talked things through we thought about and organised the practical side of things. We needed two cots (one converted into a toddler bed), two high chairs, the clothes could be passed down (tick), more towels and bed linen were needed. A new car seat. A new pram. 

Also remember God will not give you more than you can bear. Pray to Him. He will help you. He planned this. 

Try to stay calm and if you have a support network around you while your pregnant organise some time where you get to do something just for you. A bubble bath. A lunch date with a good book. A sleep in! 

Coming home with two...
It's fun, daunting and special just like your first time. Take it one day at a time though. Your oldest probably will have two sleeps, the newbie like 6 sleeps. Try to let them get this as much as possible. It's not fun when one is overtired. Two is worse! 

Don't plan to really go out - like play dates or big outings until your comfortable. I found it easier to get a routine. I stayed home for the first 3 months (on weekdays). 

Having said that if you're having a bad day, put them both in the car and let them fall asleep. You'll get at least 40mins to yourself. Don't drive the whole time. Just pullover when they're both asleep and take a nap yourself, read an iBook or text a friend. And don't feel bad if you do this a few days in a row. We all have needs. They need sleep. You need a break. Win:win! 

Plan ahead... Make a list of ppl who can help. Attribute jobs to them on paper, then call them and ask them. Give them specifics. Eg; mum in law to come every Friday to help with dishes and tidy kitchen at 11am. Or sister to bring around a meal every Monday. Hubby to vacuum on Wednesdays before work. 

As you arrive at your newborns 4 months old period things will start to settle. You will be comfy going out. You will have a routine. You will have developed your own way of coping. I used to do the grocery shopping with a 14 month old and 3 month old in a capsule. People often looked. Some offered help. Sometimes I needed it, sometimes I didn't. 

At 5 months we were great at walks, baby story time at the local library, shopping and a few play dates. 

As bub turns 7 months old the world will almost be perfect.... Enjoy. 

A few recommendations if you're in the same position... Invest in a capsule and if you can afford it get the Chicco double/together stroller (it holds a capsule). Well worth the $$. 

It can be done! 
Nat x 

P.S. I found it so precious mostly! Especially when the two bubs interact. 

P.P.S. Oh and while I was never one who wanted to have my kids watch tv at all. I have learnt that it doesn't hurt and it actually helps :) 

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Bombers Are Not Flying Up!

Regarding the poorly managed and lacking morals, Essendon football club: 

I would like to applaud the brave and courageous mother who in the face of adversity and opposition stood up for her son, for other mothers and their sons. 

Thank you for doing what is right. It is a mothers responsibility to care for and protect their children. I can see that it would have been hard. But you did it. Well done! 😊

Also thank you for making it clear and bringing back this whole saga to the point. It is about respect of human life. Not who is getting what punishment, or who reported this when they shouldn't and people's names being tainted with mud. Get over it! Where is the care and compassion?! Where is the respect?!

To those at the centre of this issue. Grow some balls! If you were in a position to have stopped this or you were a leader and you didn't know everything about your club then you were at fault. No questions. No excuses. Fess up. Accept it. Apologise profusely. Take whatever punishment you're given. Don't fight back (because if in years time the players get cancer or other side effects it will be on you. And the fear of that and the unknown is not fair and not right). Retire immediately. 

Forget yourself. It is NOT about you, it is NOT about the club, it is NOT about the afl. 

It is about doing what is right and it is about taking care of the players. 

If I was a mother at your club, heaven help you, I'd be shouting from the roof tops and seeing all of you in court. 

Of strong opinion, 
Natalie


Monday, August 12, 2013

Grief.

Today I want to touch on grief. I don't want to be morbid about it or dwell on it. But there is a time for grieving (see Ecclesiastes 3). It is ok to grieve.  

This year I've had my fair share of loss. I've lost three precious souls that were all close to me (all relatives too). Although it has been what you could call a rough patch, I'm am very pleased and feel blessed to know that they are all in heaven. All three were at peace with God. This makes me smile. 

Grief is different for everybody. No one looks the same and no one grieves the same. You can grieve an object, an asset, a dream or possibility, a relationship, animals and people. 

The initial loss can be shocking no matter how the loss came about (suddenly or over time). It is the moment we first hear of the loss that will change our world. 

The next phase of grief as I see it is the memories and reflection. When we lose someone this includes a service or ceremony. Our grief here is raw and new.  We know we will never see them again and that knowledge hurts. But we have not yet experienced a great deal of life without them, so it does not yet feel real. 

The third phase is the 'real' part. The part where you keep on living. Life goes back to normal except for that gap. Little things happen and you think I must tell... then you remember. Or you expect to see them as you walk into a room. You miss their smile. A special date passes by. And every time one of these little things happen, you remember, and your heart aches. It aches, there is a sense of loss, a gap. Now it is real. Now you really know that you will never see them again.  

I'm in the third stage at the moment and it sucks! But I know from experience that there is another part not a phase (like the others) because I don't think this one ever changes or moves on.  It is the period of time when it doesn't hurt anymore. The little things happen but instead of it hurting you just remember. The gap is not as big or there at all. You have moved on. You are living life. You have survived your grief. 

To stop grieving does not mean to stop loving or to stop remembering. It simply is to stop mourning, to stop hurting. It is to live without a feeling of loss. 

The whole thing takes time and again it's different for everyone. But you don't want to grieve for too long. Life is out there. There are other people in your world. Don't become a victim to overwhelming sorrow. Be happy again. God has new things in store for you. Go enjoy life. 

Nat xx

Psst... Although this is written like its for others/you. I'm preaching to the choir and I need to take a leaf out of my own book! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Beauty spots!

Do you see freckles or beauty spots? 

What we see, is not what God sees! Gods thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are greater than our ways. Amen. 

There may be something in your life that you see as average or less than average. Maybe to you it's like a smudge of dirty make up. Guess what? There are other ways to see it! That smudge could also be a reminder of a loved one kissing you. A precious memory.  

Allow God to change your perspective, you mindset and your attitude. Ask Him to renew your mind and give you His perspective. 

If we believe the Bible, then we believe it wholly, not in part. So we believe God can change our perspective and our situation. We also believe that God is in control. He gave us spots for a reason. 

Those freckles that we see are there, but to God they are beauty spots. Change your thinking and you will see them as beauty spots! 

Nat xx

P.S. I pray this makes sense to you. I get it and I felt in my heart to share it... so God please let it make sense and encourage someone. Amen!