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, Life, Love, Second Coming, Uncategorized

Irma, Harvey and Jose

As Irma pushes towards the coast of Florida most people will be readying themselves, their homes and their families for what has been described as one of the worst storms in the Atlantic.

Having been in the Philippines post Haiyan, I have seen first hand the devastation a storm of this size can cause. Coconut trees which bend to the ground in storms, snapped off like matchsticks; almost 100% destruction of housing; livelihoods destroyed as the fisher people’s boats were smashed against the shores; I have to be concerned for the people’s of the Caribbean and also for those in the low lying islands off the east coast of the US.

It’s interesting the thought, “Believe for the best, prepare the worst!” So a many fail to heed the cry and can become complacent thinking, “They always warn us and nothing happens!”

It reminds me so much of what happens when we talk about the coming of the Messiah! Jesus told us to be prepared! Watching and waiting because we don’t know what time He is coming back. Like a good reporting agency He gave us signs to watch for and be alert. However, many have become complacent thinking so many generations have been waiting and saying it looks close! Complacency and apathy should never become part of our faith lives. Look up as we read the “weather reports”, He is coming back and we need to be prepared.

For those in the path of Irma- Be prepared. Stay safe!

Blessings

Until next time

Narelle

 

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

IMG_0098

Posted in Christian living, cross cultural living, Life, Love, Uncategorized

ANZAC DAY – Memories of Philippines Arena

Today in Australia is ANZAC day. The Day when Australia and New Zealand remember those who fell in wars around the world.

I am re-posting this blog I wrote in the Philippines when we were working not far from where he actually landed, returning after a major defeat!

Philippines Journey – MacArthur landing October 20th 1944

I said, to the people of the Philippines whence I came, I shall return. Tonight, I repeat those words: I shall return!” This famous saying of General Douglas MacArthur spoken in South Australia after fleeing the Philippines in 1942, rang out to comfort the people of the Philippines whom he loved and spoke courage into a flailing war arena.

General MacArthur was an amazing leader on so many levels. I had been watching the movie with Gregory Peck playing the famous character just prior to going to the Philippines. I was interested to learn about this man and his role in bringing victory to the Pacific. I was surprised when I learned that famous quote was spoken in Australia and our troops played a significant role in the emancipation and defense of the Pacific region.

Surprisingly “Red Beach” named for the blood shed there, was also the place where MacArthur and his entourage came ashore at Tacloban not far from where we are currently living. This week there were great celebrations held here to commemorate this landing.

A few weeks ago while they were preparing the pool for the celebrations we were able to stand right next to the statue of the great general.  I was very disappointed when on Monday while we were in Tacloban we were unable to get to the beach to see the President and dignitaries etc, pay respects to that day of victory.

However, I am inspired by his speech and his love he had for the people of the Philippines:

People of the Philippines: I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil—soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come dedicated and committed to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring upon a foundation of indestructible strength, the liberties of your people.

I see similarities to the walk of a believer and follower of Jesus.

Firstly we are assured of His return. What some initially perceived as defeat on the cross was in fact the world’s greatest victory: Triumphing over death and bringing eternal life. He will return to win the final victory over the forces of evil here on earth. His blood shed for us has given us so much: salvation, healing in every area of our lives, eternal life, and an abundant life here on earth.

Secondly we have the certainty that daily we have victory over those areas of our lives that we all struggle with. Sin is a battle that rages on every side of us but we know that our victor overcame it and we are seated with Him in heavenly places. We are and can live in freedom with great joy and peace!

Today as I read the history of this great place I am reminded that earthly wars still rage around the world but we have a promise that we have a foundation of indestructible strength and live in liberty given through that precious blood shed for the world. Be assured – He Shall Return.

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

Upload May 14 011
General MacArthur Stepping Ashore at Tacloban
Posted in Christian living, Life, Love, Marriage, sexual issues, Uncategorized

A Good Marriage Does Good Like Medicine

I wrote this at 39 years married. We are now approaching 42 years! I wrote this blog in health and wellness for a reason. Having a healthy marriage can improve the health of people – note I say healthy; as a sick marriage can cause some major health issues, both physically and emotionalley. Here are my thoughts on maintaining a healthy marriage.

I think if you have a good marriage you are less prone to many of the other stresses of life which cause dis-ease and sickness. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. I am not saying that married couples are healthier than singles I am just saying that being in a happy relationship is definitely a healthy way to live.

Someone asked me the other day what did we do to have a good marriage?

I had to stop and think about it. There are quite a few answers to that one but I guess the first one comes from what I carried down the aisle on our wedding day 39 years ago instead of the traditional wedding bouquet – A Bible. A bunch of flowers is lovely but are a bit like some expectations after the wedding – Nice for a day but die quickly thereafter. I wanted something that would reflect what I wanted from my entire marriage not just the wedding day…a foundation of Truth.

We had decided that at the very outset, the Word of God was our foundation. We also really only sang one song during our service – Turn your eyes upon Jesus which is what we have done over the 39 years (41 now).

Has it been easy? No. Have there been tears – on both sides? Absolutely! Have there been fights? For sure! Has there been anger? Of course! Has there been love? Lots!  Fun? Insane amounts!

We never started off on an easy footing. We were both young. I was 17. He was 20. We were dirt poor. We both carried incredible baggage. We were both insecure in many areas. We both were determined – in good and bad ways. We both loved the Lord.

There have been some really hard times where divorce could have been an easy out. I guess I was particularly proud and determined not to have my parents and others say, “I told you, you were too young.” I was also determined that the enemy would not have his way in destroying yet another marriage.

I believe the enemy, Satan, has been trying to destroy two institutions ordained of God for millennia – marriage and the church. So we did not want to be a statistic and we have fought hard to keep our marriage together and strong.

I also know we are often our own worst enemies, desiring our own ways, living for ourselves and not desiring the best for others above our own needs. This spells disaster to any relationship.

There have been a lot of learning experiences but these would be my top 10 steps if applied, for a relationship to survive .

  1. Keep Christ number ONE – by being in relationship with Him and keeping the Word of God as your guide and praying together. We always say to each other there is Someone we love more than the other. He is our #1.
  2. Forgive, forgive, forgive, Keep short accounts – 1 Corinthians 13 saved our 4 year old marriage when I realized I didn’t ‘love’ my husband anymore – meaning I didn’t feel like I loved him. I had to learn what true love is. I learned not to keep a record of wrongs…more on that in a later blog. Never forget; You are not perfect – neither is your partner!
  3. No/Know you can’t change the other person – you can only change yourself and how you behave or react.
  4. Give 100% without expecting anything back – When you give with that kind of love you will receive it back. I know we are told it is a 50:50 arrangement but when you only give 50% there are bound to be some issues down the track.
  5. On the same token – love yourself – Don’t neglect yourself and become a doormat. Know what you want and express that as well. Don’t lose yourself in the other person.
  6. Communication is a must. Learn how to communicate effectively with your partner – we are not all the same and have different ways to express ourselves.
  7. Keep passion alive – This is a blog in itself..but if you lose the passion in your relationship you set yourselves up for looking elsewhere for excitement. After the kids leave home the two of you are left and that is a lot of years looking at each other if you don’t find fulfillment in each other anymore. Don’t let the kids and life, dictate your passion. Fall in love with each other frequently.
  8. Keep intimacy alive – different to passion…Non-sexual touch and kind words are important. Learn to do things you like together.
  9. Be kind to one another – Spiteful, critical, demeaning words do damage and are hard to take back.
  10. Keep humour alive in a marriage – have fun! Life is hard enough without losing your ability to laugh at yourselves and the situations you face together as a family.

Keeping your marriage healthy and fun will aid a long way to keeping you each healthy. So plan to make this year a turning point in your marriage and enjoy the experience.

 

Until next time

Narelle

20151227_192509
Celebrating 40 years with our zany Josiah and family!