Saturday, October 18, 2014

On Seeing the Need.....

I thought that I should better get this post in (well try) before tomorrow know just in case I have a baby.  I am not "officially" 40 weeks until Monday (20th) but I actually feel like baby could come at any moment. Almost like I am teetering on the edge......I know not to ignore those feelings but I also know that....well hey it could be days away yet too!  Today has been a long day, a dreary day with half the day been wet and gray. I did have a nice visit with my mother-in-law who came to help pass the day while my husband was away for the entire day!

I thought I would do some reflecting and you all know that I just love to do that ah!  Some reflecting on the things, people and situations that have begun to pop up in my life, things that I have never before really paid any attention to.  Ever since we launched Loving Arms  in June, God has been showing me more and more things and situations that have made my heart sad and more often than not moved me to tears.   I don't really want to see these things but I do.  I have known about 'the poor and the needy' in the past.  I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we all 'know about them' - 'them' being just numbers or statistics, 'them' being those that make the headlines on the daily news, 'them' that documentaries are made of, or 'them' that live in that part of town.  But now I am beginning to see them and to know them and it isn't pretty.  It actually hurts.

Perhaps that's why its easy for people to turn their heads and backs to the need. To judge. To despise. To think "well its their fault - they should get a job, they shouldn't have children, they shouldn't drink, they should help themselves".  (Yes its that bad - read any blog, Facebook page dedicated to raising awareness of the plights of the poor and you will see how vicious people get.) Its easier that way because then they have an excuse, a reason for not doing anything, to keep that world at arms length. All because if one sees the problem then they might feel that they need to do something.  And if so, they may have to ask what can I do and what is it going to cost me?  Those are hard questions to ask oneself...I know I have had to ask them of myself and it takes you to uncomfortable places.

Peoples stories are real, and some of them are heart wrenching and spirit moving. To see how people are living in our country, our wealthy country is so wrong.  No one should have to live like they do but peoples families are missing, friends are shallow, superficial or in just as bad as situation as the person that needs help and communities are too big, too guarded or too arrogant to see and to help.

But stepping out of the rubble...(picture rubble from a war stricken city with dust that hasn't settled yet and a group of dusty, dirty with torn clothes of people stepping out and up out of the dust and into the scene - cos that's the picture I have in my head) is a group/s of people banding together seeing a need and meeting it albeit with often a limited budget and resources but doing the best they can. Take one Mum of Seven  feeding the kids of a community every Friday night at a local community centre - all because she hates seeing them all hungry or a tough bikey type gang headed up by a hulk of a man feeding kids of local schools between 450 -500 sandwiches a day. Why because he has been there, he knows the hunger and he is choosing to do something about it.  What a guy!! There are many many more of these local heroes coming into the light filling needs when and where they can with the help of volunteers.

I think my point is - that we all choose to see what we want to, we all choose to hear what we want to and consequently we all choose what we do with that information.  I would also like to believe that everyone wants to help somehow but don't always know how or where to start because often problems seem so big and too tough to tackle.

For too long I lived in a bubble only seeing what I chose to see and believed what kept me safe from these painful stories that people are living. Its easy to live detached like that.  But even though it is scary and tough and I don't know where this journey of Loving Arms will go, I truly believe I am more blessed and a better person for choosing to step out of my privileged bubble that I have lived for so long. And I thank God for that everyday and every time we can help someone!

Matthew 25:35-40
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ - 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

38 weeks and....nesting!

I am not really in the mood for blogging tonight.  In all honesty all I want to do is blob on the couch, eat chocolate, have a massage, drink a choc/flake crushers milkshake from KFC and not have my feet swell so much they itch!  I have never actually had one of those milkshakes from KFC but I am pretty sure I would love it because they look sooooooo good.  I have even tried to talk my husband in to going into town to get one for me. But I can't sell an $8 dollar trip (petrol) for a $2 milkshake!  Darn it!!  And yes I do know that that milkshake is highly unhealthy but feet itch here!!

Over the past few days "I" have been nesting. I say 'I' like that because in reality I have had the list and my family is nesting for me.  Its called the 'delegation en mass', a bonus of having a large family!  I have the list and they have the muscle power and youthful energy.
(Oh I probably should mention that they were bribed with pizza and the Xbox)

The bathroom and the kitchen were on the days agenda because you know that one simply cannot give birth with an untidy bathroom cupboard, fly poo around the windows or messy plate cupboard!

The steam cleaner comes in super handy in times like these. 
The problem is is that EVERYONE wants to have a go! 

Just in case you were thinking that I didn't pull my weight, I did.  All that day I kept the normal household duties ticking along with things like baking morning tea, washing and folding it etc.

However I did also step up the next day and manage to sort out my entire room of donated goods for 'Loving Arms'. It took me all day and I could barely walk afterwards and my feet were incredibly itchy but I finished and I now have my room back. Oh my husband is extra pleased about that too. We no longer have to share our space with, step around and over baby baths, boxes of nappies, car seats and containers of clothes.  I can now open my side of the wardrobe without having to haul things out of the way.

Check out the progress!!

So here I am after my huge day yesterday you can understand why I am too tired to be doing anything extra. You wouldn't think that I had an hour and half sleep today.

So there you have it, short and sweet tonight.  We have one more week of the school holidays and I am really hoping the weather will improve, I want to get out and do something!!!
  How has the weather been at your house?

Talk soon xxx

Sunday, September 28, 2014

37 weeks and counting....

The count down is now on and I am now at a place where I have only a few small things on my calendar things that can be done if and when I feel like it.  Up until now I have been busy and it seems like suddenly here I am, 37 weeks (tomorrow) pregnant.  Whoa hold up...we get to meet this wee blessing in 3-5 weeks times!  I have eluded before to the fact that as a homeschooling mama it is like I have a full time job as well as being a stay-at-home mama. Life is busy but then isn't everyone's.
I do enjoy it but the pressure is there.

But for now the school holidays are here and there is nothing that is really demanding my attention. I can do what I feel led to do and napping in the afternoon is a high priority.  Do I dare admit that?
I will say that this pregnancy has been by far the easiest one so far. For this I have been blessed in itself. Of course I can't really remember the first two or three but by golly its has definitely been easier than the last two, especially the last one!  Its only now that I am beginning to feel the normal aches, discomfort and tiredness that pregnancy often bring. 

The rest of our kids are SUPER DUPER excited and keep asking me how much longer until the baby comes out.  Its hard for the little ones to understand that I don't actually KNOW when it will happen but just that it is sometime soon.

I excitedly washed some baby clothes and hung them in the sun to dry a few days back.  A sight that I will never tire from. There is something delightful about wee baby clothes hanging on the line. Especially the ridiculously tiny socks where one pegs envelopes the whole thing. CUTE!!!
I only ever wash the unisex things and one of each boy/girl thing. The job will be that much bigger if I washed everything I had only to put half of it away!

The more children that we have had the more I have come to realise the less 'stuff' you actually need.  I have "de-stuffed" the baby gear over the years and I am still doing it.  Perhaps its because of the way I parent that I can do this. In all honesty I don't even know if I will even bother with a cot this time around. It proved to more of a hindrance than a help last time.
The only piece of equipment that I think is essential first off is a car seat. If you don't have one of those then you ain't going anywhere.  Everything else I have found to be superfluous. So because of that I don't have a lot to get ready.

For me, one of the things I need to get ready is my head space.  This is the most important thing of all.  I am about to embark on a journey that will take great strength and stamina, so head space is important for that.  Secondly, there are things that when one is planning on birthing at home must prepare for so they can be accessed in plenty of time.  Things like a birth mat, buckets, towels, ice, flannels, baby's clothes ready and warming in the hot water cupboard, heat packs and hot water bottles, birth pool (if using) etc. Oh and food, lots of yummy things and sparkling grape juice to toast the new arrival and even a birthday cake!  
Those are the things I need to work on in the next week or so.

Someone once said after being present at the home birth of my fifth child, "that is was the most raw yet sacred event that she had ever witnessed". I love that description, so love it,because it describes the time and moment so well.

Please don't get me wrong, yes I am a VERY big advocate of birthing at home but also recognise that it most certainly not for everyone and hospitals do a jolly good job of caring for people who need it.  A woman will give birth best in a place and surrounded by people that she feels most comfortable with and for some that place is the hospital and that is perfectly fine.  My only wish for all woman is that she explores all avenues of care and that she educates herself well in pregnancy and birth and not just solely focus on buying the maternity clothes, the cot with the matching change table and the cute little baby clothes.  Those things aren't going to prepare you for the journey ahead.  Birth is a sacred event that encompasses the mental, emotional, and spiritual not just the physical. I don't think that birth and the act of giving birth is given the respect that it should. 

 God has blessed most of us with this gift of conceiving, carrying, nurturing and birthing the most wonderful gift ever.
Lets give it the respect that it deserves!

37 weeks pregnant (tomorrow)

Please excuse the strange look on my face.
 I was desperately trying not to laugh at my husband.

What are you up to these school holidays?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spring is Coming!!

"Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much." - Psalm 199:140

Over time I have made no secret that we have been going through a "winter" season and not just in the literal sense but in a metaphorical sense as well.  This winter has been nearly three years now and our spring "feels" like it maybe just around the corner. We are hoping and praying. Praise God!  Like the time as winter fades and slowing becomes spring where we see less frosty days, more glimpses of colour in places where there was barrenness and dead-ness and we see and feel more of the sun and its warming rays. So is it for us. Gradually we are seeing less and less of the hard, dark and gloomy days where everything seems to be just plain sucky, more glimpses of days where there is a little more colour in our moments and more experiences of lighter times, brighter days and days where we can bask in the warmth of the sun.

Please understand that our winter hasn't been all bad or doom and gloom and while we have had some pretty low days and weeks, it has been an amazing time of cutting back, pruning, reassessing, and walking out our faith one small step at a time.  We have seen God move for us in the last three years than we have ever seen him move in our entire lives. Yes people we are a living testimony that Gods promises are true and his miracles are well and truly alive today as they were over 2000 years ago!

Yes things may have not gone to plan like we thought best but Gods plan for us as individuals, as a couple and as a family has been far better than we could of imagined for ourselves.  Our steps of faith have literally been one day at a time, one meal at a time and one bill at a time.  We have grown in character and in faith over these years.  I can say that while times and days have been hard, damn hard. I will be forever thankful that we had these years.

But in all that......there is a time for everything, a season for everything and I am up for a change now and "feel" that our spring is around the corner. I am believing for it now. And while I am thankful for our winter, and know that our winter has been important,,,,I am tired of winter. Its time for spring! Time for the sun, time for the flowers and the new life that spring brings.  (hey maybe that's why this baby will be a spring baby).  Unfortunately we all need winter times to bring us back to Him, back to our Creator, back to needing him and recognising that we are nothing without Him and without Him everything is pointless.  Without winter we simply cannot have regrowth and new life, redirection or refreshment.

Without winter one cannot simply bloom!

On a lighter note.....thanks to a beautiful friend and her gift to us, we now have a new "member" to our family, Meet....Clara.

She has made herself at home, like a favourite great aunt who comes to stay and sneaks peppermints to the kiddies when the parents aren't looking.  Oh how I love Clara. She is grandly beautiful!!

Only five to seven more weeks to go until we meet our wee blessing!! I have never been one for due dates so somewhere towards the end of Oct-ish, whenever this one decides to make its way into the world.  Exciting times!  Yes I know I need an updated pregnant belly photo...I'll work on it, promise!

One of my favourite things.
For me it epitomizes the new-ness and sacred-ness of a new blessing into the world. 

What season are you in?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Getting my Knit on!

 I am not in the least bit arty, at all. In fact if you ever see me displaying some kind of artistic streak or creativeness then you can be rest assure I am faking it because I have 100% copied the idea from someone or somewhere else.   Yep that's me a big fat faker when it comes to anything arty or creative.  Which is maybe why I like craft rather than art.  Usually with craft you follow a pattern, recipe or step by step guide and if done correctly you will more or less end up with a perfect end product.  Yes that looks the same as everyone else's that has followed the pattern but a perfect workable end product all the same.  I am sweet with that.  It freaks me out when I ask for a recipe from usually one of my chef brother in laws and they say..."Well start with a hunk of that, season it with a handful of that,add this to it and maybe a bit of that and you will be all good"  Ah hello?  I need measurements and amounts people!   Recipes and directions are my best friend.  Without them.....well we would be eating out of tins.

So as of late I have rekindled my skills and knitting needles for knitting and crocheting. Yes we all know that it sounds like I am 72, sitting in a rocker with a brightly coloured crocheted blanket over my lap....but these skills are becoming more and more trendy now and there are some very cool patterns out there.  I prefer to tackle small things for teeny tiny people (babies) as I know I am more likely to finish the item if I see the end in sight.  The last time I tried to knit something for myself ended up being for a little sister who was 7 years younger me! It took me that long!

So here is a peek at the type of things I have been crocheting and knitting lately!

What inspired me to start up my woolly craft, was the need for woollen clothing for wee babes in our community not to mention my own wee blessing due in the vicinity of 7-9 weeks (I don't like due dates).  So apart from knitting a cardigan and booties for this blessing that is currently having a party inside me, most other items are being tucked away for whenever they may be needed. I am getting quite a collection. I only wish I was faster at it either that or I had more time to sit and knit.  But I am not and I don't so I have to make the most of a spare 5-10 mins where I can flick through 5-10 rows at a time. They soon add up!

If you are keen then I encourage you to pick up some needles. Better yet pick some up from the local op shop, they are way cheaper than buying them new. I usually pay between .50c to $2. Which it doesn't make it that much of a disaster when your 20month old feeds them through the gaps in the deck or uses them for drum sticks and consequently snaps the ends off them.  Its all good if you have only paid .50c for them!

Also the world of YouTube and Google can be a wanna-be knitter or crocheters best friend.  You can find out and be shown how to do almost any stitch you come across right there.  Its like having your very own knitting tutor right beside you!  You just type in the stitch name or even just the abbreviation and PRESTO you have a demo!

There are a heap of free knitting patterns to be found on line as well or if you browse sites such as Etsy and Craftsy you will find thousands of patterns usually for a small fee of a couple of dollars. You pay by credit card and you can instantly download the pattern on to your computer.  Really its just so easy and doesn't leave you with a whole lot of excuses for you not to be able to have a go.  Its really just up to you!

Go on, have a go!!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Wonder of Learning

One of the best things about having children is watching them discover the world around them in which they live.  I love watching them develop their own interests and believe me they are all so different. I am a firm believer of not leading a child to interests and channeling them into something that you are interested in, no matter what age but especially when they are young.  Yeah sure its easy to introduce and to get excited about things that you like personally.  For me its much easier to get enthusiastic about reading and crafts etc than it is about soccer, gaming and dogs. But I do my best to be interested in these topics especially if they are giving me a blow by blow account of a particular on screen battle or the detailed account of the latest soccer game.  I enjoy knowing that my kids are enjoying things and pursuing the things they love.  Haven't quite got my head around the dog thing though!  Of course a lot of children who are regularly exposed to interests of their parents do tend to develop the same interests along the way.

So at present I am really enjoying watching wee Jesse (20mths) discover his world and develop such an intense passion and interest for tractors, diggers, (any heavy machinery actually), drumming and animals.
The look of immense excitement on his face when he spies a tractor three paddocks over or he hears a cow mooing in the distance is truly priceless!  So you can imagine his reaction when the calves in the paddock next door naughtily broke out of their pen and broke through the fence and into our section.  All his Christmases had come at once!

 Sneaky sneaky calves!

When I can't find Jesse, over the fence is the first place I look and today was no exception. 
 Can you see him?

How about now?

Jesse making conversation with a captive audience!

No fear just totally curiosity!
No 147 was extra abiding and came up close for a pat!

We have to make nearly daily trips to see the calves! 
And of course Jesse loves to play in the sawdust too!

This week also saw excitement for my eldest son Casey (13) he finally was able to purchase (with the help from a blessing from a friend) his long time dream to upgrade from an ordinary bow and arrow like below.

To this serious looking 'now-we-are-talking' compound bow and all its paraphernalia!

He has been saving and patiently waiting for one of these and I love that he has finally has exactly what he wanted! Like any parent, I just want to see my kids happy and happy he is!!!
I am dying to have a go..but haven't yet!  I am now sure I would be able to pull it back!

Most of you would know that we are a homeschooling family and one of the driving forces behind our home school is interest based learning.  Over the week I have watch my youngest son nearly fall of his chair with excitement over finding video clips of 'real life' machines, shove a book on Cranes in my face 57 times a day and drum in rhythm with knitting needles and pots to music.  I have witness my eldest son research, read and write about bows, the history of bows, the parts of a bow and read bow hunting articles with an enthusiasm I just love. This is learning people - self directed learning. And it blesses the socks off me!

I think we are going to have to purchase a drum kit in the near future! 
 He does this every single day!

Somewhere along the way though for a lot of children this passion, this intense drive to learn everything there is to know about something gets lost along the way.  Why is this I wonder?  Are they too busy?  Is there too many options out there to learn about, to know at a deeper level?  Do we parents not nurture or encourage the interest because it doesn't interest us?  Do we not value this kind of learning as true learning?

What are your children passionate about??

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Snow Time

I know I know! I know that at the beginning of the year I set myself a goal to write at least one blog every week.  To date I have kept up with meeting that goal but tonight you will have to forgive me as I make this one nearly all photos. (its not really cheating)  I am just far too tired, fighting off a nasty cough and have not long got home from a lovely weekend away.

We were blessed to be able to take the kids away for the weekend and also make a trip to the snow. First time ever for all of the kids!  It was a real treat too!

The following is some photos of our time at the snow!

Checking out the amazing view from a pit stop on the way up the mountain!

I have to say Jesse wasn't entirely impressed with his snow outing.
Perhaps it was because his mother forgot his bag with his gloves in it and he was forced to wear his cousins pink socks as gloves!

One of my little snow bunnies!

Not impressed at all!!

Unfortunately (or fortunately) this was as far as we got up the mountain as the road was closed to normal vehicles and only with chains or 4wds were allowed up!

The main goal for the day was snowman making!

Wee snowmen were popping up everywhere!!

Of course the boys main aim was to throw snowballs at each other but mainly at Dad!

Something is missing......not sure what though!

Oh there we go, it had to have sunglasses and pink ones at that!!

 Jaydens master piece!!

After our trip to the snow we had a lovely soak in the hot pools too! Bliss!
It was a great weekend and like all weekends away, it wasn't long enough!

What did you do this weekend??