Posted in Christian living, health and wellness, Life, Love, Parenthood, Uncategorized

The Birth of

I wrote this while waiting for my 6th grandchild to be born in 2012. What was it? Tell you later…

Well today is D-DAY Delivery day. What a long 9 months it has been. But we have so much to be thankful for.

Where do we begin with this past 12 months? Josiah’s diagnosis of A.L.L. Acute Lymphatic Leukemia saw us in and out of hospital until just recently. We have traveled a long road; diagnosis; shock, treatment, ecstatic as responses to treatment, and pain of watching him go through the distressing mucositis which ulcerated his entire mouth and esophagus down to the anus; loss of hair; ballooning and gorging from the steroids to all the fevers and sicknesses from a compromised immune system.

After finding out in April this year intensive chemotherapy was over and maintenance would begin we were shocked to discover Sherri was pregnant.

They were not sure how it happened. Come on – after 3 children! But the treatment of Josiah had caused a bit of a mental block as is often the case with parents with children undergoing treatment. So number 4 is being awaited. We are sitting here in the labor ward as I reflect on the past year and its highs and lows.

After the high of Josiah finishing his intensive program early, and discovering Sherri was pregnant, we were hit with another blow. Sherri was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension: A disease of the heart and lungs that ultimately and worse-case scenario ends in death of the mother, or perhaps requiring a heart lung transplant. However, after weeks of levels climbing we called for prayer!

Doctors were amazed when after only a few days in hospital undergoing bed-rest and no other intervention, her levels came down! Doctors went back to the drawing board because the levels of this disease, NEVER go down. Despite another diagnosis of some “Anomaly”  levels have not gone back up over the past 9 months. After a projected delivery date of 28 weeks, here we sit at 36 weeks awaiting the birth under very calm, happy conditions with Sherri’s strength intact and in fact stronger than at the beginning of the pregnancy with no symptoms of breathlessness or fatigue.

So we stand amazed at the hand of God over her life. I remember after spending a night of research lying, crying in the arms of my husband saying, “I wish I could take this on myself – I have had our family she has 4 little ones.” When all of a sudden even as the words came out of mouth I remembered that I didn’t have to take it on myself…that is what Jesus did at the cross. He took our sicknesses and infirmities upon Himself!

That same morning Paul came in to my office and said, “No one has to die to give her a new heart and lungs – Christ died to give her those.” With those two revelations we have been able to stand in faith and in her healing, praying and believing for safe delivery for not only her but her child also.

We also heard a tape on how Satan wants our Seed. But that is another story…Oh by the way – it was a boy!

 

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 Beekeeping, Christian living, communication, health and wellness, Hobby Farming, Life, Uncategorized

Baby Bees – Arrived

We are pleased to announce the arrival of our baby bees to the Darg-Kelvin family! After much anticipation and frustration, yesterday we were able to pick up to nucs or nuclear boxes with a queen and some rather unhappy bees who have travelled a long way; been inspected and then travelled to the farm in the back of a pick up.

We had expected them the previous week but thankfully they weren’t ready as the weather was foul! The week they were ready was amazing weather, this week back to foul! So they arrived in perfect conditions.

There was a bit of an issue as one of the boxes wasn’t sealed well and we had some “escabees”! Naomi sat in the back seat watching the escape, giving us a running commentary of how many were finding the  rushing air too much, and ended up blowing off the back of the truck! We had to don our suits as soon as we got home as they formed what is called a beard on the outside of the box and then got a little upset when we shifted them around to their new home. Some settled on Paul’s tool box so we had to take the truck and then the tool box near the garden to try and coax them in to their hive.  At this stage we have opted for the traditional box system but will look into investing in a “Honey Flow” hive from Australia, a system that has taken the bee world by storm!

Carol our mentor came to help us set them up which was much appreciated as there was some nervousness regarding certain aspects of setting up and she was like a midwife, guiding our questions and our concerns!

It was very exciting to watch them start to settle into their new boxes. There were 5 frames sent in the nuc and we set up another 5 frames in each box to begin the process of building wax onto and collecting honey to make brood and build their numbers. We have opted for plastic starter frames and it was recommended we give them an extra coat of wax and we also plugged the edges with wax to stop hive beetles hiding in there (a design problem apparently).

We are feeding them a sugar mixture for a few days just to keep them settled. Our flower garden planted around their new home will be amazing but they have so many honeysuckle vines and a local wild violet that is out and blackberry vine flowers and all the flowering trees on 16 acres, we think we won’t have to sugar feed them for too long!  I am sure we saw quite a few out already searching for flowers after they spent some time circling around their new home orientating. It is amazing that they circle their area getting their bearings on the hive and then take off within such a short time.

We saw one queen in one hive but not the other. So we have to go back in the next few days and have another look otherwise it can be a little problematic and we will have to get another queen asap.

They also had a little “swimming pool” built for them out of an old bird bath. They need water so we just decided to put the bath close by.

It was fascinating to watch as they settled and started immediately to clean up their new home. We watched as a few came out with the dead bodies of their counterparts, either squashed or perhaps overheated during transit.

“Bring out your dead!” Naomi commented, as we watched them toss them off the side of the hive. We left the transport box as the few stragglers found their way into the hive and cleaned off any useful material on the inside of the little box. They were leaving nothing behind and getting rid of anything that wasn’t productive to the hive!

Three bee lessons from today!

  1. Stick close to the source. The ride on the wind might be exciting but will soon send you reeling when it picks up speed! Those bees who thought they should look outside of the hive soon found more than they bargained for! Our God is our source of life just as the queen is. Always stick close to where He is regardless of the temptation to experience the “excitement” of the world!
  2.  Stay on top of things! They are not called “busy bees” for nothing. They are always busy, as should we. Not just flapping our wings either but with purpose and vision for what we are doing! They cleaned up the good things, wax, pollen, any thing else that was beneficial to their hive and left the superfluous or potentially harmful things behind! “Get rid of those things that so easily entangle us,” Paul the apostle says! Those dead bodies were immediately tossed. What do I need to toss from my life that is potentially smelly and disease spreading?
  3. Be prepared! There was no way any of us were going to go near our little bee friends today without the correct clothing. Suits with hoods, to stop them coming up to our faces, every zipper closed and Velcro closed to stop crawling critters as well as leather gloves with elastic to keep them closed. It was soo hot and we looked like space   walkers or rappers in Naomi’s case as her suit was too big and her crotch hung down passed her knees, but it is worth the safety factor. Don’t try to walk this life without the proper clothing! Paul again tells us in Ephesians 6 about the armour of God. So many times we become blase about the fight we are in and forget to put on the armour that helps us fight against the enemy. That is a blog in itself…but just a quick reminder we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers!

So we start our journey into keeping bees! I am sure we are going to learn a lot more as we keep pressing on!

Until next time

Be blessed and keep busy

Narelle

 

 

 

Posted in Beekeeping, Christian living, health and wellness, Hobby Farming, Life, Uncategorized

The Birds and the Bees!

Our bees are coming! Well so they tell us. It is a bit like waiting for an overdue baby! Each time we get excited that they are coming – they tell us our nucs are not ready.

For the uninitiated such as myself, a nuc is not an N – U as in umbrella  and  C as in cat but an N – U as in unicorn and C as in cat or short for a nucleus. It is where a queen has separated and started to form a new colony. They then put it into a box with 5 frames and on delivery you put it in to your waiting brood box.

Then the true wait begins. They orientate and start to gather pollen and nectar to make honey feeding and breeding their babies as fast as they can to inhabit the hive so that they can work to produce their food – honey. Our first aim they tell us this year is just to keep the hive alive. The percentages are extremely high for the death of hives throughout the nation here and across the world.

Without bees we are told there will be some big issues! So we are going to do our best to get these babies through the winter and hopefully enjoy the taste of success as well by being able to rob a little of their efforts for ourselves and our effort.

We purchased a plastic frame we were told is a good way to start and then found a design flaw which allows hive beetles (a pest) to crawl up into the sides and top and bees are unable to get to them. So last week I sat for hours pressing soft wax in to the frame edges to stop the beetles being able to get in to them. We will see if it works.

Paul, Naomi and I also prepared a lovely garden bed for them, sowing an amazing amount of wild flowers so they can feast throughout summer.

I am surprised at the amount of feeding you have to do currently as opposed to years gone by when the hives were virtually set and leave. Now there is quite a lot of “farming” needing to be done including keeping pests etc out and overrunning the hive. Paul is having flashbacks to his childhood when he used to watch his uncle care for over 80 hives. He is amazed at just how much he remembers, which is just as well. However, we are blessed by a lovely neighbour who is also secretary of the bee keepers guild we have joined who has agreed to be our mentor. My phone calls and emails are testament to her patience with us plus she is great at pulling ticks out!

It is all exciting and hard work as we work on the farm putting in loads of vegetables but we are enjoying the harvest of our first spinach and lettuce already! I love that you can taste the difference!

On the home front at the beach house we have been blessed by the two families of doves making their nests on and under the front verandah. What a sweet delight to watch the mummies and daddies do shifts in sitting on the nest and feeding their now hatched young!

They have both chosen prime real estate, one on the head of a stuffed antelope and the other under cross beams under the verandah. Both are out of the elements and away from predators!

Nature has been all over us with ticks and chiggers (don’t ask) but the birds and the bees are a nice bonus! Oh and don’t forget the 5 or so snakes we have found as Paul cleaned the wood pile! Unlike Australia – they were all harmless! We are arranging for an epee pen as part of our beekeeping tools and as well I made up an essential oil mix to keep the ticks at bay!

A recipe I found is as follows:

a base of coconut oil, drops of peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, tea tree, lavender essential oils. I also added some water to enable spritzing but found on the first attempt I added too much, which watered it down too much. It does need to be reapplied frequently due to sweating and wearing off. I am happier using that then poisons.

So a lot of fun and hard work in the past few weeks, which meant having to make time while the weather is good to get things in to the ground and growing! But which meant little time at the computer to write!

So a change of pace at the beach, and then back over to the farm to hopefully await the anticipated arrival of our Nucs! Will keep you up to date on our journey into beekeeping.

 

Until next time (with photos of our newer babies)

Blessings Narelle

 

Posted in Beekeeping, health and wellness, Hobby Farming, Life, Uncategorized

Beekeeping 101 – Beekeepers “ordinaire”

What do you do when you haven’t a clue? You go back to school, which is what Paul and I did recently enrolling in beekeepers 101 course. The books have come out, internet, you tube and any documentaries we can watch to learn how to keep bees!

We aren’t beekeepers extraordinaire just “ordinaire!” But we are learning what constitutes a healthy bee hive.

Saturday we spent at an “open hive” where you examine what a healthy or not healthy hive looks like.

We have their little houses ready to go and their field planted with wild flowers, mowed and ready to welcome our bee-babies into their new home. I feel like an expectant mother awaiting her babies!

I guess it will be a bit like motherhood though, where no amount of books, information sources and classes can really prepare you for the practical lessons we are about to learn.

The reward will be loads of sweetness which sounds very much like parenthood!

Here are some of our pictures in our space age type bee suits and the group ready to examine hives. The newbies are the ones with the clean suits – everyone else is covered with goop from the hives which I hear can get rather messy – again another allegory to parenthood!

Anyway just thought I would share our latest journey into the world of beekeeping!

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

Posted in Christian living, health and wellness, Life, Philippines, travel, Uncategorized, walking

Philippines Journey – Every day struggles – Perspective

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The ship that washed ashore..This took and saved lives. It crushed others while saving others as they crawled aboard as it was swept across the bay! 

 

November 2014

Over the past few days we had to do some business in Tacloban a larger city a hundred or so miles from where we are staying. It was the largest city hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda or Hyan.  This mammoth storm devastated so many lives. They will “celebrate” the anniversary in a few days’ time.

Over the past few days I got angry. We had so many issues with our telecommunications system here. The phone chewed through the internet and had no ‘load’ left after only a couple of days. I don’t want to go over it all again but just to say two days of phone calls and visits to the office resulted in us having a lot less money and more grey hairs. It made both of us so angry that we both let slip a couple of little words that aren’t full of grace. For Paul that is only the 2nd time in nearly 40 years I have heard him use a word like that..Mine was tame.. Told the girls on him! He was going to call to let them know about mine..but I wouldn’t give him the phone!

ANYWAY! You get the picture that we were a little close to boiling point. I have had to repent since. I was surprised at how angry I was over this small challenge. Then last night as we were finalizing our shopping for the center here in Pagnimitan village, I got caught up in the shopping center along with quite a few other people. We were glued to the huge television screen as they replayed some of the horrors of the Typhoon last year.

The devastation was unimaginable: Bodies lying uncovered or sparsely covered in the streets and under buildings. Demolished cities, towns, villages; Ships washed ashore (still there till now); no food, water or shelter.  Surges that took ships, large trees, buildings, people in its wake some never to be found again. It is hard to comprehend what they endured.

Recently I took a walk with a friend along the beach near the village around change of tide. Her fear was palpable as we watched and heard the waves crashing and the tide turning, rapidly pushing water through the narrow opening that passes by their village. The storm had surged and pushed the sea through their tiny village demolishing everything in its wake. She stopped walking on her way to the nearby “pool” – a coral swimming pool near the edge of the reef.

“Mam. I’m sorry mam. But I can’t go any further.” She couldn’t move any closer to where the waves were large and loud.

Fear is still real to these people with the memory of the roaring wind and water that wreaked havoc on their lives. That is why I repent of my anger over the trivial trials of daily living when so many around this globe face overwhelming circumstances and can still manage a smile. Perspective..you can never lose sight of just what the important issues of life are. Small daily challenges are the little foxes in our lives that try to disturb and destroy. Don’t let them steal your joy and peace. Keep a balanced perspective in life.

The Bible tells us not to be anxious over anything……..anything…… yet every day we allow our anxieties over what are really trivial matters control our thoughts, our mouths, our emotions. It is tiring and ultimately futile.

Don’t be anxious over anything; commit it to God and see Him do miracles and signs and wonders in your life.

I loved talking with my walking buddies the other day. We were walking our 12k walk again. As we walked one relived some of the more humourous stories that came out of the storm. One woman was stripped of her underwear during the surge and wasn’t aware or as was anyone else either, until her husband blabbed it out to everyone as they gathered together after the storm. Or the man who came running to tell of the church collapse that killed 18 people – for the news to be overshadowed by the fact he was standing in front of about 20 people naked and not realizing it.

It has become my saying when I am tempted to slip into first world frustrations – At least I have my underwear!

So stay the course with joy! You still have your underwear!

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

Posted in Christian living, energy, health and wellness, Life, Philippines, travel, Uncategorized, walking

Philippines Journey –  Walking Life with Friends

Loved rereading this blog and remembering our walks…Friends forever!

Written in 2014 –

This weekend my Philippines journey continued with a walk of 12k. Well 11.6k according to my pedantic husband.  I walked it with a new found friend.

Next year I want to walk 800km, needless to say I need to train for that, which I have been doing in Australia starting the beginning of this year. When I heard about Josiah’s relapse this year I walked – for about 6 km even though I hadn’t been walking far at that time. I found it helped cope with stress-filled situations. Throughout the year I continued to walk.

I walked by myself on some spectacular walks. I walked with friends and family and even my dog. I took an 85 year old who has a pace-maker on a nature walk that she had never seen in the 50 years she lived at the beach.  (She made it there and back BTW) It was wonderful to share the joy of these experiences with others.

I have loved it. Even though getting up or getting going can be challenging it is always worth the reward of the feeling the effects in my body after exercise and I love observing the beauty of God around me. The challenge was to try and do different walks all the time.

I cancelled my gym subscription as I hate exercising within 4 walls. I secured local walks maps from the council. I have walked Sydney city, suburbs and beaches. There have been hikes on rugged bush tracks and relatively easy walks on cement paths. It has been wonderful. The temperatures have ranged from 2 to late 20’s. There have been some light showers which I don’t mind but I can’t quite come at thunder and lightning.

And then…I came to the Philippines. It’s impossible to get Paul to walk with me. To date I think we have taken one stroll along the beach together. The locals suggested it was not a good thing for me to walk by myself, something I prefer to do.

I found a couple of women who I wore out on their first walk and haven’t seen since – of course due to work and family commitments! The numerous passing typhoons did nothing to encourage walking. I was getting desperate.

Then the Pastor next door spoke to his wife who goes jogging every day. After a couple of weeks she invited me to join her, which means I slow her down. To complement our walking we include some challenges for her and me also. These include the 11.6km walk to Surf Camp a beach, 11.6km away from our village!  Today we tackled Radar Hill whose road almost requires 2-hand drive to climb it.

For me, it has been wonderful having a walking buddy. Every morning at 4.30am I hear a, “Good morning, Mam”. Some mornings I beat her to it and am up. Other mornings I beg God not to let her wake up! And still others I just wish she would go away. The other day I had a headache of epic proportions. It had raged for 2 days and I was feeling it that night. The pain was awful. After Paul massaged my head and neck, sleep came – so did Medi!

“Good morning, Mam.”

“Good grief,” said I from my befuddled mind. I even suggested to Paul I not go but he wouldn’t let me off. So I dressed and started out and the head cleared in the early morning air, validating his, “I told you” so attitude.

Yesterday Medi and I found another walking buddy as we left the village around 5am. We laughed and chatted our way down to Surf Camp. Did I say it was 11.6km away? The longest these girls have walked and they were very proud of themselves. I would have walked back but wasn’t sure they would cope – 🙂 Paul came down and picked us up – much to their delight.

Life lessons I am reminded of:

  1. Some days you feel good – Other days you don’t. You have to suck it up and push through the barriers, setting your mind to achieve your goal. Nothing will be achieved through wishing and wanting.
  2. Make sure you have the correct equipment – I bought great shoes this year and have forgotten the pain of yesteryear’s ill-fitting shoes. Make sure you have correct gear to do the job well. My previous walking partners tried to walk in “slippers”-“flip-flops” or as we Australians call them, “thongs”. No wonder I haven’t seen them since!
  3. Friends keep us motivated and honest. Medi and I challenged ourselves to get to the top of Radar Hill this morning even though each corner revealed another new level of incline. Continue to stretch your limits. Although it pays to have some back up for support if you need it. Don’t be content with comfortable.
  4. Walking works out the stressors of life – I have walked out a lot of anger, sadness and frustration this year. Find practical ways to deal with stress preferably not an addiction.
  5. Enjoy the journey. Our new walking buddy kept stopping to find new plants, and flowers, etc. We talked, we looked, we explored. Our times mightn’t break records but really in life is that all we are about – How we can beat others? I wonder at an amazing seaview, smell the dank rainforest, revel in a breaking dawn. I weep as we walk along and my companions share their stories of survival, loss, and hope. The journey is much more than just reaching the target.
  6. Celebrate the achievement. I so often forget to do this. My grandson Josiah has taught me how important it is to celebrate each milestone you achieve. You have to celebrate those times when you have reached a goal. We did a little whoop yesterday at that beach thankful we made it in the oppressive tropical heat and weren’t collected by any of the numerous cars, trucks, motor bikes or trikes on the narrow cement road! Celebrate then move on and up.

My son-in-law recently said to me about living in the Philippines, “Do you think you will like it? How will you go without your friends?” Too easy – make new ones and of course stay in touch with my old ones..

Keep moving forward with your goals. You can walk to anywhere in the world. You just have to start and keep walking. You can do whatever you believe you can do. You just have to start and keep going.

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

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Our spectacular sunrise on the way to Surf Camp!