Posted in Christian living, communication, cross cultural living, grandparenting, Life, Marriage, Parenthood

Love is – Not Arrogant or Rude

20170112_153645Arrogant: having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.

Arrogant synonyms: haughtyconceitedhubristicself-importantopinionated, egotistic, full of oneself, superioroverbearingpompoushigh-handed, swaggering, boastfulbumptious, blustering, patronizing, condescendingdisdainfulcontemptuousimperiousproudvainimmodestloftylordlysnobbishsnobbyoverweeningsupercilioussmugpretentiousaffectedscornfulmocking, sneering, scoffing; informalhoity-toity, high and mighty, uppitysnootystuck-uptoffee-nosedfancy-pantssnotty, jumped up, too big for one’s boots, big-headed

Rude: offensively impolite or bad-mannered. “she had been rude to her boss”

Ill-mannered, bad mannered,  impolite,  discourteous,  impertinent,  insolent,  impudent,  cheeky,audaciouspresumptuousuncivildisrespectfulunmannerlyill-bred,  churlish,  crasscurtbrusquebluntungraciousgracelessbrashunpleasantdisagreeableoff-handshortsharpoffensiveinsultingderogatorydisparagingabusivetactlessundiplomaticuncomplimentaryuncharitableunchivalrousungallantungentlemanlyunladylikearchaic malapertcontumeliousrare underbred, mannerless

Love is not arrogant or rude. Hm..On looking at these I wonder at the times I have placed myself above others, with feelings of being of more importance. I also look at the synonyms of rude and see, sharp, short, offhand, unpleasant, disagreeable and see my myself in the mirror of His Word.

I know we are not condemned but the Word is a mirror and as I study the reflection of myself in it, I see the areas I still lack in walking in love!

Love is not arrogant, proud or rude. I am quick to judge others when they are rude to me, slight me, are disparaging, tactless etc, but judge my own self with a far less stringent measure, knowing I don’t intentionally aim to hurt others, yet think they do to me! I need to keep watch over my own self, my feelings and attitudes. It is no easy task and as I study this passage so easily quoted yet so hard to live, I am reminded that it is only by Grace are we able to walk this walk and live in that place of love. Love Him and others.

It is ok to love those who are friendly and loving toward us but when others turn their backs on us, treat us with contempt or hatred, are rude, arrogant, kill, maim, or torture us, how do we responded?

Do we respond in kind? One of my challenging scriptures (of which there are many) is the one that says we don’t trade insult for insult or evil for evil, but overcome evil with good! This is no small feat and again, it can only be done by His love outworking in us. We set the frame work of putting off those things of malice, bitterness, hatred, and putting on His clothing of humility and love.

Oh!!! This so easily flows off the keyboard or out of the mouth but to live this life…well like us all, I struggle to put off those things. Sometimes we continue to pick at the wound received, reciting, rehearsing the hurt, reliving the pain, and wonder why it starts to bleed again! Best to cover it with the soothing oil of love, and bandage it with His Grace and Mercy. Oh again so easily said, but such a challenge to do!

Anyway this is the mirror I stand in front of tonight as I think of Him and how He loved me even when I cursed His name and turned my eyes to the world, constantly looking for love, affirmation and security. His is the only love I can trust in fully and I must walk in that knowledge that I am so loved by Him and stand above reproach in the eyes of my God. So are you!

 

 

Posted in Christian living, communication, grandparenting, health and wellness, Life, Love, Uncategorized

Finish the Race Well!

Finish well.

Recently in my bible study I have been reading about the Kings of Israel and Judah. David’s kingdom was split early and there was contention thereafter with not only their common enemies but between themselves as one nation – a very sad state of affairs for a people who had been chosen by God to bear His presence in the sight of the nations!

What struck me though is how often the kings would start off well and due to influences of those close to them or other nations they slipped into ways that forsook their God who had delivered and set them free! They forgot the One who loved them!

I was extremely struck by one King. Uzziah. Uzziah was 16 years old when he became King and ruled for 52 years.  He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord – until he didn’t! He started off so well – setting his face to seek the Lord while Zechariah the prophet was around, and it caused him to prosper.  He fought battles and won; became famous and strong; built towers and cisterns; had large herds and incredibly productive farms because he loved the soil; made amazing weapons of war; and built a great army – until he became strong! Then he became proud forgetting God and becoming unfaithful to Him.

He became so proud he entered the temple to burn incense before the Lord something only the priests were permitted to do!  Azariah and 80 brave priests confronted him and drove him from the temple.  As he became angry at the priests, his forehead immediately became leprous. He became separated from his world at that moment. He lost his kingdom as his son took his place on the throne and he had to live separately from everyone until his death, and as well was excluded from the House of the Lord.

Pride and anger- these are what caused him to be struck by leprosy. We see from another example of Miriam who also suffered this fate, hers being a judgement for her jealousy and criticizing of Moses. These sins opened up their lives to this form of judgement. Uzziah’s case of leprosy started on his forehead which was a virulent form of leprosy.

They are good examples for us to learn from. So often we can run a great race in our faith early on and as Jesus warned in Revelation, lose our first love! Anger, pride, jealousy, a critical spirit, all of these can rob us of the final victory lap to the finish line.

A friend of ours recently said he has asked his father to show him how to age well. I think that is such an important aspect of this walk of life. So many elderly end up proud, critical, and angry causing people to shy away from them. There are others who maintain a sweet, positive spirit and they are a delight to be around. We can run a sprint powerfully but life is a marathon and it’s the finish that really counts!

As I consider some of the aspects of aging well, I think it begins and ends with staying in the Word of God, continually renewing our minds and spirits: Staying on fire with the Holy Spirit: Staying sweet in the spirit and not letting bitterness and regret, or resentment creep in and become like leprosy – a scaly disease which overtakes our lives! These will separate us from the Lord, our family and from our position in the Kingdom.

Live life well – until the end and hit your targets!

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

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Posted in Christian living, grandparenting, health and wellness, Life, Marriage, Parenthood, travel, Uncategorized

Achieving Goals – Change Now!

Again I wrote this in 2015 but still as relevant today two years later!! It doesn’t have to be the New Year to start to change your life!

The way to achieving your goals – START

I saw a great post the other day that basically said , “In 2015 I am going to complete the goals I set in 2014 that I didn’t finish in 2013 that I had set in 2012 etc”

How many of us do that? Set goals and then life gets in the way and bang before you know it the year has flown and nothing has been done to get you toward your goal. We should say we are setting up our good intentions!

One day a few years ago when I was jalking (jog-walking) along the beach I noticed something about focus.

As I headed up the beach I kept my eyes focused on a cliff that overshadows the beach area. Whenever I stayed focus, I could look behind me and see my footprints in the sand were fairly straight. When I strayed in thought and started to wander off , I could look behind and see my foot prints straying all over the place. I was still heading the right direction but I was deviating off course considerably without noticing.

I realized how important focus was to not waste time or energy or direction.

Last year was one of those years. As a couple we had determined a few goals. However, immediately, I became sick in the first few weeks of the year and was flat on my back. I read a book by an old missionary, Praying Hyde. It was inspiring to hear of the amount of prayer this faithful intercessor did: Praying all night, for hours, for days. I was inspired and determined. Things were going to change.

I set myself to focus on prayer, fasting and studying the Word. The days turned to weeks, turned to nearly 2 months. In that time I can honestly say I really didn’t “feel” like I had broken through to any great degree yet within a couple of days I was amazed how quickly God moved. One of those areas was for Paul to get work he loved and opportunities to open up before us.

We shouldn’t have been but we were surprised when literally a day after praying that way the phone rang and he was asked to go to the Philippines to help with the rebuild after Typhoon Yolanda.

He headed off while I planned to go to him after getting a few things sorted in Australia. Then a few weeks after that we received some very challenging news – our grandson Josiah had the leukaemia he had been in remission from, return. It was a blow to us all but our daughter told us to continue to make plans to go thinking they had another 2 years left of chemotherapy. However, a few weeks later it became evident the cancer was not going into remission as well as the doctors liked, enough to say it would never come back.

Bone marrow was really the only option in the natural to follow up on for him to survive – in the natural.

In the spirit we continued to believe that as his name says, Healed by Jehovah. Josiah was an amazing little trooper and literally from March through to October his life and the family’s life revolved around hospitals and doctors. For a 4 year old he was inspirational!

As I reflect on just what goals I set myself during that time of prayer I realize just how much we did achieve what we set out to do despite the challenges and forced change of direction!

Reflecting on goals these are my 5 steps to achieving them in 2015

  • Check your progress.

One of the keys to setting goals is to look behind.  Watch just how far your footprints have deviated off course or stayed on course depending on your focus.

  • Celebrate the victories along the way.

One of my goals was to lose 20 Kilos by Dec 2014. I managed 17. Am I unhappy with that? Of course not but I am still inspired to complete my goal this year and in fact need to add another 5kg on to that amount to achieve my final goal weight.

  • Be realistic.

A building has to have a plan, projections, a budget, a time frame and resources to see it happen. A plan doesn’t happen just by writing it down but that is the start and you need to start. Be realistic in terms of what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve. But by the same token – dream big. 

  • Let go.

  If it turns out you didn’t really want to do or become something, be prepared to let it go. Keeping on keeping on for the reason of staying the course is senseless. 

  • Don’t Give Up or In.

 Just as important as step 4 is to keep moving forward despite road blocks and humps. Despite life’s challenges goals can be achieved they just might look a little different or be on a different time line.

The Chinese are calling this the year of the sheep…We proclaim it the year of the Lord’s favour. As you wait on the Lord you will be successful in all you do!  Let’s get started. Blessed in 2015….

Now that I look back over that year I am in such amazement at just what that year produced…more on that later!

 

 

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Achieving my goal to walk every day! Something I struggled hard to achieve after years of inactivity. 
Posted in Christian living, grandparenting, internet marketing, Life, Marriage, Parenthood, pornography, sexual issues, Uncategorized

Pornography and sexual issues

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I remember a conference I was at a few years ago for internet marketing. The training led to examining such sites as Second Life where people live as avatars in a fantasy world but pay in real dollar terms. As of 2013 it had over a million users engaging in this fantasy world.

The discussion led to other sites where avatars engage in violent sexual acts on-line. During the discussion some ignorant person commented and said, “Well at least it keeps them off the streets and from acting out.”

Why do I say ignorant? Because these people obviously do not understand the phases of addiction. As a counsellor and former manager of a rehab, I have seen and studied addiction and addicts. What initially gratified will eventually no longer satisfy and a stronger more potent form will be required to try to reach the first “hit”- but will rarely succeed.

What initially satisfied with being played out on-line, in the mind, in house, can eventually lead to a much graver scenario being required to maintain or worse, increase satisfaction. The more times graphic situations are played out on-line, visually etc. the greater the action required to fulfill that desire.

Why do I broach this subject that is already so widely discussed?

Recently I noticed an article regarding the views of 15 year old girls and how they are handling or not handling the epidemic of pornography from their young male peers and the pressures they are facing in terms of sexual relationships. I was so saddened to hear the depth of expectation to perform sexual exploits to have a relationship.

I remember as a 15 year old the pressures around then,in terms of magazines, books etc. that opened the mind and eye gates to pornography. Now there are so many more avenues to contend with, for not only young people but older people also.

When we have such movies and books as 50 Shades so sought after by women – I have to ask myself two questions – Why? and When?  Why would women support such violent relationships being portrayed and then cry “foul” when men are confused with “NO”! When will we learn that what we eat we become! What we watch and read – well……I am still in shock as to how many women have sought after this book and movie, including young Christian women  with the reasoning – “But he loves her.” Sorry people wake up! This is a lie from the pit and  not the kind of love anyone should aspire to!

Lust and its acts are never going to be contained without Christ – we are human and it is a condition of sinful man, but when we see laws abolished or not upheld with limited prosecuting of those who participate or sell pornography; magazine placement in stores go unchallenged or un-protested; TV shows, questionable movies and books supported by viewing and purchasing;  we can be assured we will reap the results. Violence against women and children increases. Unplanned pregnancies of teenage girls, and subsequent abortions rise. STD’s continue to plaque the population. We reap what we sow!

I love it when I hear of young people who have kept themselves for marriage and marriages that are untouched by the smell of the fire of lust.

I don’t stand in judgement of those who have failed in those areas, because it is only by grace that any of us stand, and I know the pain of these failures, but I pray for a standard and a voice for righteousness to arise to see this flood of lust and greed stemmed. I say greed because the bottom line is they are only selling what the market demands!  And it is not just those who call themselves non-believers. I have known men in church life to visit prostitutes regularly or struggle with pornography in a big way!

Pornography does damage on so many levels: Lives shattered, physically, emotionally, and most importantly – spiritually. Paul and the other apostles warned us constantly to withdraw from sexual immorality, in whatever form that comes.

We know though that when we repent we have someone who is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins! He can set us free from the bondages of sexual issues.

We will never see a complete demise of sexual deviancy in this world, because it is a matter of sin but we can alert our young people and remind ourselves of the need to guard our hearts always and start to speak up for purity!

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

 

Posted in grandparenting, Life, Parenthood, travel

Faces on the Wall

My son-in-law has an obsession – apart from his wife! He loves old pictures, frames and heads. He doesn’t care who they are, he just puts them up on his walls. Eyebrows are raised often when people learn they are not relatives or in fact anyone he knows. There are the famous and perhaps even infamous and also just the obscure who have lived and died with just their families knowing of their greatness.

Recently we were in Jerusalem hence my absence from writing. It was too amazing and so little time to do everything including sleep let alone write! We were there during the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot, a Jewish celebration where they live in temporary outdoor structures called sukkahs built on balconies, yards etc to remind them how God brought them out of Egypt and how they lived in tents for 40 years. It speaks of the providence and provision of God covering them always.

During our stay we were staying inside the Old City at the Jaffa Gate, and decided one night to attend the light show in the Citadel of David just next door to us. The light show is projected on the walls of the old Citadel and the history of Jerusalem is told through the conquests and occupations by so many as the faces pass through the ages on the walls.

It gives you such a sense of history which in my home country Australia, we lack. Our European History only extends a few hundred years –  Our aboriginal peoples, thousands of years but we lack the structures to remind us that people lived here.

It struck me this week again just how fast life is. As the lights flicked through the centuries and the photos testify of lives come and gone, you are reminded of just how quickly life passes. We are as the Bible says just a vapour, a mist. It’s there and gone. This past two weeks I remember those who have been gone for a year now. I think of those who have been gone much longer. I don’t want to sound morbid in fact the opposite is more true.

I think of their stories, their lives lived, their inheritance they have left in the love and lives they cherished. I think of the impact they have each made in their worlds. They may not have been famous or infamous but each life impacts others. I just feel humbled that each day we get to breathe and live to love and impact on others with that love. I most likely will never be famous and hopefully not infamous but my trust is that my deeds are noticed by those who matter most to me, and that I can impact those around me with love and purpose and hope. My greatest ambition is to stand before my Heavenly Father and hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter in to the joy of your Master.”

Know that each of us has a story and a purpose to our existence. Live confidently in that knowledge and live until you die!

It’s good to be back. Talk again soon.

Blessings Narelle

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A Young Shepherd Boy projected on to the walls of David’s Citadel. 
Posted in grandparenting, Life, Parenthood

Stab to the Heart

The blessing of grandparenting can never be underestimated! I remember our old Pastor and father in the faith Norm Smallcombe saying that grandparenting was better than parenting. I could never imagine that being the case as I sooo loved being a mum. But I will never forget the moment I met our first grandbaby girl. Mickey was nearly 8 months before we saw her as we were living overseas at the time of her birth. She was amazing having the sweetest, most gentle nature. She was just getting a few words out and as her mum, my daughter, Sherri was undergoing tests and hospital rounds at the time, Mickey and I become fast buddies.

I was experiencing burnout at the time and very fragile. My recharge for my emotional batteries was time with family. Mickey was marvelous at helping that healing process. We sat, chatted, played with hoses and I helped teach her to walk. She was a delight to watch as her new cousin/sister Amiee entered the world. She was very protect and in awe of the new arrival. Our little Amiee Jessica Rose with the rosebud lips! My heart was so full with the first of these favourite grandbabies arriving on the scene.

I will never forget my heart break as the newly toddling toddler tried to follow me down the escalator to the waiting plane to take me back overseas. Talk about stab to the heart!

But we were privileged and I don’t use this word lightly as many grandparents don’t get the privilege to spend as much time as we have been able to, with our grandchildren; some not as much as we would have liked due to distance and a family crisis. We lived very closely to others for quite a few years.  Let me indulge a little here in ensuring all of the gbabies are covered in my brag!

Then there were three as Tahlia arrived, a couple of years later. The little dot was such a cutie and had the most amazing head of hair and an incredibly beautiful smile. Joy is her middle name and she was that! My favourite third born had arrived.

The fourth to arrive was the first in our line of boys. Josiah came with an incredible time of breath holding – by his daddy and by me as we watched him not breathing for a few minutes after his birth. His mum is as mums do, tuned in and wanted to know why he wasn’t crying. I never lie but that day we spoke in faith despite what we saw, a blue lifeless baby,    “He’s fine. He’s beautiful”. Enter gbaby 4 and our first grandson! I wasn’t quite sure how to work with appendages after so many girls but soon got the knack of changing diapers!

Then the fifth gbaby arrived…another boy Xavy came unexpectedly and we weren’t able to see him until he was a few months old but he is such a delightful little man – emphasis on the man. I wonder at this little whizz kid. So sensitive and thoughtful and wanting! “I want my debices!” being the cry many times after mum has confiscated the phones or ipads!

Number 6 Nathaniel was another unexpected baby but not for me! I knew on the day of the Josiah’s birth that there was one more to come for our daughter Sherri. At the time he wasn’t planned arriving at a very trying time with Josiah undergoing leukaemia treatment! What a little gift of joy, persistence, and character is this little one.

And then there were 7 with the arrival of Zoe this year! Her name means beautiful life and she has the loveliest smile, laugh and cuddles and has indeed brought life and love to her family.

All are our favourites, 1- 7 worth.

# 8. We are soon to meet another one of our adopted gbabies…Toby..looking forward to getting to know this young man and also maybe shoot some hoops with him!

We love them all so much and miss them as we travel around the world. What I didn’t expect was the phone call last night!

Two of the boys 4 and 6 made mum call us, “Can we come over to your house?” We are currently in the US they are in Australia! Hmm…

“Sorry buddies. It would take two plane trips, a train and car to get to you!”

“But Nanny you and Poppy and us can get a tent and go camping! Ok!” Stab to the heart! I really hadn’t realized just how much our gbabies miss us as we miss them.  I felt blessed to be so apart of their lives.

I remember in 2010 returning from China after the huge earthquake in the Chengdu area when Paul was working on rebuilding a village there. An old lady we were caring for back in Australia had one surviving son she hadn’t talked to in 2 years. She had many possessions, homes and properties and chastised me for not having our own home at that time.

“You shouldn’t be going off doing stuff for the Chinese! (very prejudiced was our Maisie). You should be getting money and property together and not wasting your time on others!”

“Maisie,” I said quite assertively to this woman who was used to having her own way and opinion, “I have just come back from China where generations were wiped out due to the one child policy and death of children, grandparents, parents etc. I have three beautiful daughters, and lots of grandbabies. I am considered such a blessed woman. I am so rich it is ridiculous.” She never said another word to me again about acquiring “wealth”. However, at her funeral a couple of years later I found out that two years earlier, (about the time of our discourse) she contacted her son, and resumed relationship with him until her death! In fact I had the privilege of being with her as she passed and him being there.

We should never underestimate the relationship we have with the next generation or the responsibility to pray for not only our children but our grandchildren and their children. I love the old patriarchs in the Bible who were able to see down to that next generation and be around to enjoy having them sit on their knees. The west has lost something in our culture of the old not being part of the new! My girls were blessed and a blessing to their grandparents, nursing and being part of their lives on many important occasions. What a joy that was for them and for my girls?

Call your Mum and Dad. Invite them over for afternoon tea or a shopping outing. Do something to include them in your family. I love the internet now for allowing us to not be too separated by distance to be able to see and speak to our gbabies. Photos, videos, calls fly backwards and forwards between us all to stay connected. The best connection though is to keep praying for them as they manoeuvre this life.

I will never take for granted or forget the hugs and cuddles, afternoon teas, and times of beautiful food with my gbabies or the adventure walks dragging them along Nanny’s walks, cycling with the red cart, beach runs, life and death discussions, movies, and shoot outs at Laser tag! I certainly hope they remember.

 

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

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2013 

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2013 – the last time we were all together…miss this mob!
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The Latest Edition/Addition Zoe