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.