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

Love Doesn’t Insist on Its Own Way

Love doesn’t insist on its on way!

What is love? I will tell you what it is not!  It isn’t seeking to be self-satisfied by gaining its own way. You can choose to demand your rights, or you can chose to walk in love which is self-denying! In one translation it says, “Does not keep a record of wrongs done to it!” Ouch!

How many times do we maintain a list of wrongs? It may not appear you are holding on to someone’s “wrongs” until a situation arises and all of a sudden all those previous irritations, wrongs, abuses, offenses come rushing back and enter into the argument or situation. It creeps in making us feel and appear very ugly – as the southerners here say.

Ugly – unpleasantnastydisagreeablealarmingtensechargedseriousgrave; a good word to describe what it looks like to continually insist on our own way! Yet the world tells us we should be seeking to do what makes us happy or satisfies us and our own desires.

This word is contrary to that thought and not easy to fulfill. As a young wife I followed my mother’s example of holding wrongs or pain in until like Vesuvius an explosion would ensue, and all manner of “stuff” would come spewing out!

I followed suit and would retain and retain until finally it would all come out when the toothpaste was squeezed the wrong way! No wonder poor Paul would wonder what he had done. Of course it wasn’t the toothpaste – but it was the last thing on top of all other “wrongs”.

Thankfully the years have taught me not to allow perceived wrongs to fester until a weeping sore oozes out rubbish that is completely unrelated to an incident! Now I communicate what I am feeling without the emotion of anger attached. It is much more painless and usually results in a resolution. It also gives me time to assess.

What exactly am I reacting to? Am I responding to something that has more to do with my own self then the other person really wronging me? Is it really something that needs to be addressed to the other person or something I need to work out between myself and God? Is it something that is best left blowing in the wind?

So as I learn to walk in love I will not insist on my own way or keep a list of wrongs. I can let a lot of useless emotions go or confront in love something without the festering! Only in His Grace!

Until next time

Blessings and Love

Narelle

 

 

Posted in Christian living, gardening, health and wellness, Life, Love, Marriage, Uncategorized

Cruising Alaska – Prostitutes and Marriage

In December 2015 we celebrated our 40th Wedding anniversary and part of our 12 month celebration apart from walking the Camino,  included setting sail in May the following year for a cruise in Alaska.

It was a cruise Paul has always wanted to do and the weather, and cruise liner did not disappoint. It was very different to walking across Spain carrying a pack and almost felt indulgent! It was our first cruise for longer than an over night trip and I really wasn’t sure how I would handle living for 10 days  with thousands of other fellow travellers, eating and doing other “stuff” that I don’t particularly like doing eg drinking or cabarets etc.

But away we sailed! Firstly we spent a few days in Victoria. We would be passing that way later but we really wanted to see the Butchart Gardens without sharing with two thousand other people and for only a few hours. So we walked from the “Waddling Dog” a very quaint British feeling hotel that we fell in love with, including the resident British hound dog – 5th version of the Waddling Dog.

It was a small walk, only about 20 kilometers, but we enjoyed seeing the homes, paths through forests and meeting locals along the way. Walking really lets you see a place from a different perspective.

 

It was a comforting feeling to get the walking sticks back out.

We spent the day walking the amazing paths of flower gardens blooming with tulips and other spring beauties. I absolutely adore gardens and exploring them but the work required to nurture and grown them is colossal. Every sense soaked up the beauty and hard work created by Jennie Butchart and her team.

The next day a great friend of ours from the Camino caught up with us for a little while dropping us off to the ferry to take us to the mainland, with a promise to catch up when we came back with the cruise in a couple of weeks time.

We spent a week exploring British Columbia, staying at our time share in St Ives at Shuswap Lake.  The drive across and the surrounding country were magnificent and just how I always imagined Canada to be.

Returning to Vancouver a week later we then set sail up the Inland Passage.  The weather was amazing each day unveiling breathtaking scenery. Stellar was the word the staff and rangers used often!

One stop was Ketchikan. As we walked around the small town snuggled against the mountains, we discovered Creek Street. Creek Street is a great viewing spot to watch the salmon run although we were a bit early. There was a particular place though that saddened me. It is called Married Man’s Trail. This was the muddy path married men took to visit one of the 20 “houses of ill repute” found on Creek Street in ages gone by. Trust me the street isn’t that long or deep so they must have been falling over themselves!

There is a bridge that crosses over from the main township but the married men followed the trail to the “houses” so they wouldn’t be seen. I watched as many laughed and took photos with “girls” dressed for photo opportunities and all thought it was a good laugh. I didn’t. I thought of the many young girls who would have found themselves possibly trafficked but definitely abused by the men and as well ostracized by the “normal” women of the community.

I found it sad that men felt the need to visit the ladies of the night! The Street was also the place for liquor to be smuggled to in the era of prohibition! So it was definitely a party street.

What I find sad is how men relinquished their vows to visit prostitutes and still do. The Bible says that the marriage bed is not to be defiled. Having to look outside of marriage to be fulfilled is destructive on so many levels. There is of course the physical side of sleeping around which can attract any number of diseases. Then there is the emotional drain of secret keeping as well as becoming emotionally involved with someone else. Finally the spiritual aspect is the most dangerous. Jesus said even to look on a woman with lust was considered adultery! So bottom line looking outside of marriage for sexual satisfaction will lead down the path of destruction!  It will destroy your marriage, possibly your physical life and definitely your spiritual life.

I think of the Butchart Garden and the effort it took to create such a place of beauty out of an old quarry and I stand in awe of that work. Yet similar effort must be given to the marriage relationship to cause it to grow beautiful things. Nurture the relationship, plant good seeds, and keep it fed and watered with love. Also keep the marriage bed fun and faithful!

Don’t find yourself walking down a married man’s lane and heading to a Creek Street – either figuratively or in your imagination.  Marriage is too precious!

Blessings for now

Until next time

NarelleIMG_095020160512_105853IMG_0952

 

Posted in Christian living, communication, Life, Love, Marriage, Parenthood, Uncategorized

Keeping on Top of Attitudes

How often are we let down by our poor attitude, or those of others around us. Every day we meet someone who challenges our attitudes! It can be as simple as being challenged by our children or spouse before we have left the house. Then as we drive to work or shopping, the person who cuts us off on the highway. Then there is the stand in line or waiting on line for service!

This is not to mention traumatic situations that occur behind closed doors. These are severe stress situations that I won’t broach here too much as they create deeper issues that need to be addressed. However, every day in many ways we are confronted with how we handle testing situations.

Most of us can feel we are alright emotionally and spiritually until we are confronted by our own attitudes towards a situation! Its all good until it isn’t!

The Bible tells us to love others as we love ourselves. So many don’t love themselves and are incapable of  loving others in a healthy manner. So we need to start there by loving ourselves and who we are.

Recently I posted about turning 60 and having felt pretty much invisible during my 50’s. It was interesting to see some of the comments. I think women particularly who don’t have an established career which carries them through that period, find themselves once children leave home, redefining themselves and who they are at this stage. When we don’t know who we are or it is in a bit of chaos, we can find our attitudes start to get smelly. We must understand our identity is not found in what we do but whose we are!

When we forget whose we are and loose our identity at any stage of our life, when we are tired, stressed, have financial worries or health issues, we can find ourselves coming out with some pretty poor attitudes.

It’s then we have to fall back in to the arms of our Saviour and say, “Lord help me put off this stench and put on your fragrance!” The stench of the flesh is sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies.  His is the fragrance of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, patience, goodness, gentleness, faith, kindness.

When I place the mirror of His word up to gaze in to, I see that I must constantly move back into the Spirit. This is hard when you are confronted with situations that make you angry, hurt or offend. When we loose our peace and feel that churn within our gut towards someone we think about who has offended or hurt us, we need to forgive and begin to put on that fragrance again! 20151025_115756.jpg

It is our choice. We chose life or death every day when we are confronted with situations. Taking a deep breath and not allowing the overwhelming anger to envelope ourselves, is the first step.  Count to 10 wasn’t such a silly idea! Don’t confront at that moment in anger. Take time to calm down.

There is a lot more to talk about this but suffice to say for the moment is just breathe!

B – Back away, r – resist, e – emotional, a- action, t – think, h- healthy, e – emotions!

Until next time

Let it go – Let it go – (Frozen theme running through your head now?)

Blessings Narelle

Posted in Christian living, energy, Goal setting, health and wellness, Life, Marriage, Uncategorized

10 Points on How to Burn Out

Burn out is defined as – worn-out; exhausted. 

Burn out was a catch cry from the 90’s and 2000’s and having experienced 2 of them, I somehow wish I could warn everyone about how not to burn out. It is no fun being carried out of a building because you can’t stop crying and lying in fetal position unable to communicate just what is happening as you cry for days on end. Or watching as your husband literally wastes away in front of your eyes and can’t walk 6 paces due to burn out and physical exhaustion. They used to call it a “breakdown” and it is a fair analysis of what happens when your body, soul or spirit revolt and say enough.

Many in the 21st Century are so consumed with achieving or keeping on that they neglect to take the time to consider their life’s journey and how they are actually functioning until the wheels usually fall off or a major health scare forces them to reassess their life style.

Hear are 10 points to follow if you want to burn out!

  1. Over work, unfulfilled and exhausted – Any job that is taking more than 60 hours is too much. You need a balanced time for work, eating, resting, exercise, and relationships. Unbalance will cause you to burn out. Taking on tasks out of your expertise or responsibility will also cause excessive stress and anxiety – all rushing you towards a burn out.
  2. Have only a few hours sleep each night. Sleep is needed to re-rejuvenate the body. It also helps us to lose weight. I was impressed when I went to the headquarters of Huffington Post not long ago and saw sleep pods! The previous owner Ariana Huffington discovered that sleep isn’t overrated and that she shouldn’t wait until she dies to sleep. She brought sleep pods into the office discovering napping can increase productivity. Solid, sweet sleep is a gift from God!
  3. Don’t exercise regularly. Regular exercise can not be overemphasized. It doesn’t have to be ridiculous amounts but must be enough to get the heart rate up and blood flowing. Stretching exercises are gentle and help build strength as well. Fresh air also brings about sanity in this sedentary and craze filled world.
  4. Don’t eat healthily. High carbs, high sugar and high fat diet will see the body experience high highs and low lows. Change to a lot more water than coffee and sugar drinks – even juices. Go for it…fill up on those but don’t be surprised when your finally tuned machine starts to react to improper fuel.
  5. Neglect relationships. When you lose touch in your relationships you find yourself alone and lacking in emotional support and well being. We need each other. 10 hugs a day are essential for emotional well being and growth. Start counting today and be surprised how little you actually touch another human being during the course of the day. Don’t make this one creepy though..use wisdom!
  6. Don’t put devices down or multitask. Having a device in your hand constantly and multitasking with them all the time, means we are never free from pressures or interruptions. The brain can never shut down or fully concentrate on the present again separating you from relationships.
  7. Give out to too many or don’t give to any others. Again the issue with only being focused on self or too much on others means you become unbalanced like a wheel of a bike with a bulge in the tire. You can still keep peddling but it will be an unbalanced ride. Set yourself healthy boundaries!
  8. Stay in chaos. When you are overworked, overtired, over-pressurized, over extended, the last thing you feel you have time to do is get organized. However, starting to bring order out of chaos will certainly alleviate stress. Use whatever form of list-making that feels best for you, electronic or a diary. I remember when I was going through my burn outs, part of my recovery was taking control of what I could take control of – my kitchen and house! Start small if you  have to, including your work space. One lady called the Fly lady started to control her sink. I heard an officer from the Corps recently say if you want to overcome in your life start by making your bed! All good advice and a key to starting to climb out of chaos in your life.
  9. Don’t say No to anyone who asks anything of you. Learning to say no brings health on many levels. It helps you to build strong boundaries as well as keeps your work load under your control.
  10. Neglect your spiritual life  You are a spiritual being and when you only focus on the body and soul or mind you are again like the bicycle with the gammy wheel. Prayer and meditating on the Word of God brings healing and health to your body,   mind and spirit. Taking time to just sit and contemplate is nearly a lost art. When was the last time you lay on the ground and watched the clouds roll over head – without glancing at your phone in between? Or sat and listened to the birds around you instead of the ear plugs blasting music or even motivational speakers in to your ear?Life is too short!

Do the above for long enough and you are sure to find a time in your life when the brakes will suddenly go on and you won’t have a choice but to stop. Better to chose now and take time to readjust the speed and direction of your life.

Blessings

Until next time Narelle

Drop me a line and tell me how you have made a change this week to slow the pace down or readjust your settings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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, 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, 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

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Celebrating 40 years with our zany Josiah and family!
Posted in Christian living, grandparenting, internet marketing, Life, Marriage, Parenthood, pornography, sexual issues, Uncategorized

Pornography and sexual issues

fifty-shades-darker-mask
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 Life, Marriage

To Have and to Hold

This past week we saw the demise of yet another marriage with the pending divorce of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. It was sad, amusing, sad, interesting, and again sad to read some of the comments from those whose lives revolve around the lives of others.

“If being two of the most beautiful people, having millions of dollars and a lovely family of children doesn’t mean you can make it, there is no hope for us (mere plebs) – (inserted by me)!” was just one of the many comments of the news of the split.

I find this sad. Sad that people have to live their lives dictated to by the lives of celebrities or at least feel that they have no options should celebrities not make it; Sad that they don’t have enough faith in their own relationships to hold together through all of the trials of life; Sad that they feel their comments can contribute to the situation they really know nothing about. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors? Who knows the real reason two people separate? What propels or compels them to terminate a relationship?

I don’t know.  But I find it disturbing that so many married couples young and old are walking out on relationships. I don’t want to stand in judgement because we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and there goes me but for the Grace of God! Recently I heard the story of a lady who was married to a “wonderful Christian man”, ‘who beat the “crap” out of me nearly every day’.     No one would believe her. I recently saw a Facebook Meme that says, “Over 3000 women had died since 9/11 but only 2 from terrorism – which one are we still talking about?”

Violence in the home is one of the biggest killers of women particularly, but not exclusively. We don’t really know what goes on behind closed doors!

I am not speaking in terms of this kind of violence. No woman or man should stay in a situation that endangers themselves and especially their children. However, I know that even those challenges of domestic violence can be worked through and a marriage stay together. My parents were one such couple. Dad was an angry man and I remember well the times he hit my mother and my siblings. His anger moods alone were abusive and terrifying. But Mum chose during those years of no government assistance to stay with him. She was committed to him and in his own way he was committed to her and us. I remember a conversation in his later years where he actually spoke lovingly of our family and how he had to provide for us all and to him that was enough to show love. He did change in his older years and mellowed a lot. He was a man who towards the end of his life, as a qualified counsellor, I could diagnose as having a paranoid personality disorder. This diagnosis earlier in life might have saved a lot of heart ache for our family. But my mother was committed to stay with him and as a believer in God she prayed often for strength to carry on and she nursed him right up until he died, with that strong sense of commitment and love,  but not without tears. They were married for 52 years.

Why do I share this? As I stated I don’t think we should stay in dangerous situations but relationships aren’t always so easily compartmentalized – abusive, non-abusive. The point is, it is sad that in a relatively normal relationship, if there is such a thing, many people are giving up very early in the relationship. The struggles don’t end after you have lived with someone for many years. There seems to be a growing number of older people moving out and moving on after 25-30 years of marriage or even more. I remember meeting an older woman who had left her husband after nearly 40 years of marriage.

I don’t know if it is expectation or exhaustion that is the final straw. My mother was exhausted toward the end of her life. I can’t say she had a happy life but she did stick with her principles and persevered and she did miss him terribly when he died. Talk about complex! The older I get the less I feel I understand about life, love and relationships, which is why I go back to the Word of God as my guide.

It says, “Let not man pull asunder what God has put together.”  It is Jesus’s comment to divorce. Asunder is such an old word but has the meaning of tearing in two, tearing apart, tearing in pieces. I don’t think that sounds like a gentle or amicable separation or uncoupling! It is bloody, messy and painful for all involved especially the children, but also the entire extended family not to mention the two parties involved.

The Father’s wish and plan was that we marry for life until death, but knowing the condition of the heart of man, that is not always going to be the case and He gave instructions for divorce in terms of infidelity. However, I have even seen marriages come back from infidelity, including my own, stronger than ever before.

There are danger periods that counsellors look for in couple therapy.

4- 7 years – The first few years of adjusting to the relationship. Children have most likely started coming too so this brings new dimension and perhaps issues to a relationship.

15-17 years – Children again! Teen age years are starting to add pressure to the relationship. Aging parents can start to become an issue too and add pressures. Finances and lack of intimacy create further stressors.

23-27 years – Middle age is upon the couple and they can start taking stock of where they are at, what and whom they have become or not become. A time of reassessing can sometimes cause couples to look outside the relationship for stimulation or more satisfaction. Children are leaving home and chinks that were covered with the busyness of life can become exposed.

And the newer period, 30 -40 years – The newer danger period where couples start to look at the other person and wonder what or whom they have spent most of their life with and ask was it worth it? They feel their lives fading and can feel that time is too short to be unhappy. Hopefully they are heroic enough to see the years to come as further time to stay with a person they can complete their life with and start to work on latent issues. We should be learning and changing until we draw our last breaths! Our later years can be better than our former years!

For the young ones out there newly married, I say, stay the course! It does get better. Not easier necessarily but better! Love grows deep where there was a shallow selfish initial love. The love grows to a caring, heartfelt, selfless love if two people are committed to each other and the marriage. For the older couples, hold the course. You are still able to change until the day you die. If you feel you are growing apart, find common ground and reboot the relationship on that level. Don’t grow weary in doing good, you will see a return on the harvest. Fight for relationships.

For those who have undergone the pain of divorce, I offer the thought that even God the Father, Husband, Lover, to we human beings, knows and understands the pain of rejection, betrayal, and being set aside for the love of others and “things”. We reject His efforts for intimacy and relationship yet He continues to love and forgive. My only advice comes from an old pastor’s wife wisdom, confirmed later by professionals, “Leave at least 2 years (the typical period of healing from grief) before you become involved in another relationship.” Divorce is spoken of as the “living death” as there is never a complete resolution of the relationship such as death, particularly if children are involved. To move on too quickly could lead to areas of life not being healed, and falling into similar relationship issues with the next person.

Stop following the celebrities and tv shows and movies for how to do relationships well. Look to older couples who have made it and find out just what they did or didn’t do. Look to the Word of God to find answers on how to deal with the challenges of two people becoming one! Not an easy task anyway you look at that! Pray – For wisdom and strength. Work – stay committed and work at the relationship. Nothing good was ever attained just because. It takes hard effort. Happiness does not mean joy! We don’t have to be happy every single moment of our lives. We can have a deep sense of joy without the trimmings of being “happy”, but we can also have some good times along the journey of life and learn to laugh a lot more together!

I know Paul and I have been working for the past 40 years to become a great marriage….We still are. We have come through many challenges and heartache but thank God for each other and for our God who has kept us throughout this time.

I recommend if you are having issues in your marriage, prayer, perseverance, counselling, and more prayer, can change your marriage to be the most exciting, loving one you can ever imagine..into old age!

Blessings

Until next time

Narelle

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Celebrating the significant 40 years – coming into the promised land!
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The joys of the next generation..
Posted in Marriage, travel

Green Peas and other Green Stuff – A New Day Has Begun

Well, finally! It’s here…Green Peas and Other Green Stuff! My new blog!

I have had numerous other sites that I used for blogging but this one is my first in Word Press that hopefully won’t disappear like the others. So Green Peas you ask? What does it mean?

As a child growing up in Australia, the one thing I couldn’t stomach or maybe there were a few, but the worst were the vegetables my mother cooked. At that time, a common form of cooking was to cook your vegetables in baking soda. It was supposed to green the vegetables but in my mum’s case nothing helped when you boiled them deep in water and copious amounts of salt for much longer then required. Even now I sit here and could gag at the thought of eating them! (Foot note: She did improve as the years went on!)

Anyway – Green peas and beans were probably the most chuckable for me and came to typify everything I found hard to swallow. Many times life cooks us up a pot of the unpalatable stuff.  The interesting thing now is I love vegetables – any and all. There are very few things I don’t eat and in fact I appreciate food so much more – probably too much now! So sometimes what seems hard to bear can turn around and create some wonderful moments we otherwise would not, could not have appreciated.

This blog will be about all the things that go into the pot of life – relationships, journeys, questions about life, thoughts, health, adventures, trials, victories – the list is endless.

As a couple of over 50’s in Paul’s case over 60 we have some stories to tell and some we won’t – but this blog will be a sharing, caring place discussing some of the hard questions of life, and sharing the joy of moments as well. We would love to share our lives with you and invite you to come along, comment, add thoughts and just enjoy.

It’s a new day for us, not just the blog, but this stage of life as well. We have been travelling and doing things that we dreamed about for many years. Semi-retired, kid free, and young enough still to explore our world we have become aged hippies as my eldest daughter called us! Living out of suitcases for the past two years, we have done and seen some amazing things. I will re-post many of the posts from our time in the Philippines and also add some of my older posts from previous years, more for my own benefit as a reflection on the years past.

I love a scripture that says we go from glory to glory. Life is not about remaining as we are but moving on in this journey and loving each step of the journey as we go on changing and growing until the day we die!    Let’s live until we die!

I trust this blog will be a blessing to you..

Till next time,

Blessings Narelle