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. 
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Posted in Christian living, Life, Philippines, travel, Uncategorized

Philippines Journey – Bucket Baths and Bombs

It was fun remembering this time! The “war” of fireworks were fun although possibly a little reckless due to the nature of housing surrounding us including bamboo walls and the Nipa (or thatched roofs).

Recently we had our 39th Wedding Anniversary and decided to take two days over the holidays to visit a nearby resort – hot showers, different food, good signal…or so we thought!

The food was gourmet Italian, with lots of it and no rice! The shower..well let’s just say our bucket bath gives us much more pressure than their cold shower heads and I have a great husband who boils my water for me in the bucket to take the edge off, especially when I am washing my hair. No such joy from a cold shower!

What is a bucket bath  I hear you ask? It is just that – A bucket of water with a small ladle usually, to tip over yourself whilst standing on top of a small toilet in an concreted area for a bathroom.

So the method goes something like this.

  1. Soap up all over.
  2. Once soaped ladle water all over; as quickly as possible if slightly chilly.
  3. Continue process until clean.

Here is where the going gets tough at times though especially married to my pyromaniac husband.

  1. Dodge firecrackers or have a heart stoppage as he sets them off in the small CR (comfort room) while you are bucketing the water over yourself.

He is having a ball with all the fireworks he bought “for the village kids” for Christmas and New Year. So far we have had wars between himself and the carpenters in the bunk house below us; Firing rockets over the tops of the village kids and shooting at them them across the housing.

I have loaded a few of the carpenters and kids up with boxes to retaliate but think it will not be to my advantage as no doubt they will come back to terrorize me as they attack Paul.

You hear it all over the village. “Kuya (Respectful Uncle) Paul!!!!” as we drive, walk or stand on the verandah. Everyone knows it’s him setting little bombs off around the village and town.

But he loves it! The carpenters all cheer each time he bombs their room. He led his little apprentices today with their Picalos and Weeties (the rockets that go Weeee and then explode) showing them how to light them with mosquito coils and send them out through PVC piping!

I am to the point where if I take a bath I try to do it with him in the cubicle next door at the same time, just so I don’t have to experience the shattering of ear drums.

These are some of the happy challenges we face here on our Philippine’s Journey. I really don’t mind doing life with this crazy pyromaniac but just remember if you are anticipating coming for a visit don’t expect most of the creature comforts you may be used to – not here in Pagnimetan anyway..bucket baths and bombs await!

Happy New Year! And enjoy your fireworks wherever you are..

Until next time

Narelle and Paul

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Great Tiramisu but cold showers to celebrate our 39th Anniversary 2 and bit years ago!
Posted in Christian living, Life, Philippines, travel, Uncategorized

Philippines Journey – Monkeying Around

In 2014 Paul had been asked to help rebuild a village in the Philippines for Operation Blessing, after one of the largest typhoons on record wiped out many villages and islands. Separated for many months as I stayed to assist our family in Sydney, Australia, I finally joined him in the September of that year.

These are some of the blogs I wrote and posted on another site during that time. I share them again in no particular order.

It’s raining – still! Another tropical storm has caused torrential weather for the past week or so and our tiny room provided gave us little shelter from the wind and rain.The previous nights were hilarious as we woke during the night shifting our small foam mattress and mosquito net around the room, to find a place that was dry and no potentials for drips from the roof or over-spray from the driving rain coming through the walls. Yesterday between wind gusts Paul and one of the boys surrounded two weather walls with tarpaulins. Oh blissful sleep!

I woke this morning dry, with dappled light of our sawali walls beaming little spots of light and was so excited! “The sun!” Grabbing my sarong I raced outside to see grey clouds rolling in from the sea from the north and the sun trying pitifully to shine through the clouds from the south.

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Sawali walls

We took a chance and decided to get out and climb to the top of the hill where the evacuation cave is situated. Paul used to climb near to the top with the boys and help them carry all the chain-sawed coco-lumber, down to the village below. The most he said he could do was five times up and down! He became a bit of a legend as the other guys only managed a couple or so times up and down in a day. It is a long way up and even longer coming down carrying timber on your shoulders. They were some of the challenges they faced here in Pagnimetan as they rebuilt the village.

We set out to walk up the hill, check out our evacuation cave and just get fresh air. Our walk was a bit slippery over the jungle grasses and vines scattered across the coral rock and fallen coconut trees but not too difficult.

To our delight we spotted a couple of troops of monkeys higher up the hill – babies and all. The main issue though was making sure we didn’t step into hidden sink holes or cave openings in our excitement to follow them trying to get a decent photo.

Huddled under our umbrella, perched on large coral rocks, sheltering beside some trees to shield us from driving rain, I felt the ghosts of past “explorers” in these hills.

These areas were navy bases for the Americans during the war and there are still remnants of their building foundations and pathways in the village area. I am sure they would have set out on more than one occasion patrolling in the region and perhaps up this hill for a good lookout position.

We heard and saw a monkey coming down one of the coconut trees and decided to follow him, except he disappeared over the cliff to his family further down. It was worth the detour from our trek up the hill to see the view out over the reefs and toward “my” radar hill. We always look towards this hill from Radar Hill, but this morning we turned the table.

It was a spectacular view but we were a bit concerned with the continuing showers and after exploring a little further up the hill decided not to risk losing our footing and falling into a sink hole so started to trek back down. Paul couldn’t resist and pulled a couple of his Piccolo fire crackers from his pocket throwing them down two sink holes – in the name of exploration of course just to see how deep they were! The smoke billowed out of various hidden openings so guess it did prove a point. Just not sure what!

Back to Operation Blessing base for a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs, beans and swamp spinach and a warm coffee..a great start to a couple of days enforced holiday due to the rain and holidays for New Year.

Until next time

Narelle and Paul

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Haiti – Quick visit

Recently I paid a return visit to Haiti. As an Australian staying in the United States we are required according to our visa waiver conditions to leave the country for an unspecified period of time every 90 days. My daughter who runs a not-for-profit organization in Haiti had been trying unsuccessfully for quite a few months to get back down to see her girls. So we all decided to head down there as our exit strategy.

The last time I was there it had been an extremely challenging year with our grandson newly diagnosed and under treatment for leukemia and I was exhausted. I was also not personally feeling well so this trip was nice to follow up with.

Haiti is a country that defies many minds and hearts. It was the first country where slaves gained their freedom but it came at a great cost. Countries set embargoes against them, during that period in the 1800’s until recent times, causing incredible challenges to this small country.

Slavery although abolished still thrives though with children and women at risk of exploitation. Greater minds then mine have tried to find a solution but despite all the huge financial amounts of aide this country has seen come and go, it still suffers with insane poverty and all of the issues that festers.

Naomi and the many other organizations though that create work and good working conditions for her girls, including health and regular income, is helping to change the lives of those around there.

There are so many complex situations though including the one of escouad  or pooling of finances. One person gets it all one month and so one. So virtually you would get paid once a year in the case of Naomi’s 12 girls!

My heart breaks when I see the hardship of so many families around the world who all they want is a better life for their children!

I loved visiting with them but now starts the hard work of selling their goods so that we can send more of the profits down to them. Our next goal, is to build them a functioning kitchen that will provide a place for them to cook out of and sell food.

They are also keen to learn hair dressing skills to supplement their incomes and help provide skills to improve life for the next generation.

So lots to consider. If you can consider purchasing some of the amazing jewellery and metal work from our site! You can change a life!

https://www.facebook.com/KadoGift

Until next time enjoy the laugh of this little one. He was tickled with the blocks of wood cast offs Paul gave him!

Blessings Narelle

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Posted in Christian living, Life, travel, Uncategorized

Tragedy of False Legacy

Recently I watched sadly as three hundred years of history was struck down with an excavator, hammer and crowbar, the rest was burned until absolutely nothing was left to tell the stories of yesteryear.

This house was built in the 1700’s. Now what was happening during that time?

Let’s take a look:

The British and Spanish were battling it out over territories

There were wars between the French and the Indians

The United Kingdom was formed and Britain started to expand the British Empire throughout the world

Alaska was discovered by Europeans

Hawaii was discovered by Europeans

Australia was discovered by Europeans

James Watt discovers the steam engine. Joseph Priestly and Daniel Rutherford independently discover nitrogen.

The American Revolution against Britain occurred.

The French Revolution occurs, ending in the execution of the king and queen and thousands of others.

This was an amazing era of discovery and change. On Capeville Drive, Virginia, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a house was built: A two story, home of above moderate size and appearance for the period. I don’t know who built it or even the history of the area other than there were substantial cotton plantations in that period in that area. You can imagine the owner building a lovely home for his burgeoning family, filled with dreams and aspirations for their future in this brand new country.

It survived a civil war, surrounded by fields that you can easily imagine saw incredible pain and deaths.

It was bemused as modernization came and tractors replaced horse driven plows.

It continued to watch as its young men marched off to two world wars, and other wars in far off countries.

It observed in silence as its country faced civil unrest. It stood in awe as man walked on the moon and more space exploration took and amazing discoveries in science.

And then, it was left to decay. Families died or were dispersed. Pickers came and took whatever they could take to break up and sell. People took no notice as the large trees, and vines encroached and left it struggling to stand.

Then one day a few weeks ago, three hundred years toppled to the ground. We took what we could of any remaining good timbers to re-purpose in another old beauty, but the rest was shoveled up or burned along with the 200 year old pecan trees standing guard over history. It was a confronting sight. All because the owner, a farmer of crops needed to have an unobstructed path for his free-roaming irrigation system!

It had served its purpose and the foundations had long since become hazardous but she was still a magnificent lady who had endured so much! It felt like she deserved better.

But that is the end of all things in this world – decay, corrosion, and decline. King Solomon said it well that despite all of his wealth and wisdom everything is vanity because no matter what we amass the end result is we leave it to someone else. We can’t take it with us and ultimately it will all decay.  It made me think of the importance of leaving a truly lasting legacy! An eternal legacy!

Jesus says don’t lay up for yourself treasures on earth for that reason, but lay up for yourself treasures in heaven. What are those treasures? He is our treasure! Set our hope on the living God. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Let’s pursue with diligence and energy the eternal things of life.

Until next time

Blessings Narelle `

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Posted in Christian living, Life, travel, Uncategorized

Goals for the year?

Ok…so my one goal to myself for this year is going to be to write something every day…That is about the only thing I will set in glue. The rest are just going to be plans…

My true goal though I have decided is to LOVE – that is what Corinthians tells us to do. Seek the best and Love is the best.

That is what I posted on Facebook for New Year,

so that makes it public and I am accountable, right? The funny thing was I met two amazing women at the local pub here on Eastern Shore in Virginia on New Years’ Eve  (only place open and didn’t want to sit out in the cold until 10pm to watch the crab pot fall…more on that later). I had posted about love that day and guess what we talked about for a couple of hours…you guessed it LOVE.

One girl has just divorced her husband and was feeling the pain. I mentioned about the love Paul the Apostle talks about in Corinthians 13! It turns out that was the verse they read at their wedding! More pain for her right there, as she felt that she had definitely not been walking in that realm of Love in her marriage.

Love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, not arrogant, or rude. It does not insist on its own way; It is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing; but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends.

The next morning on the first day of the year whilst attending a gorgeous little Baptist church here in Cape Charles, with a couple of new friends, the pastor preached on  – you guessed it, a call to duty to LOVE.

So I think what I will do in the next few blogs is dissect just what love is, how we get it, and how do we walk in it.

We are fed so many lies from the world on love eg. It’s a feeling.  It goes away. It makes us completely happy – if it doesn’t it mustn’t be right; have changed; have no hope so time to move on.

So I am going to dissect all of the above thoughts on love and see how I fare this year as I endeavour to walk in the Fruit of the Spirit one of which is love and just see how that is worked out in my life.

Trust you will enjoy the journey with me..and comments will be welcome!

Until next time Narelle

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The Great Crab Pot Drop of Cape Charles. It is dropped or rather lowered from the crane. Taking over from the Time Square Ball…only in America
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The Two of Us in front of the crab pot
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The great Crab Drop of 2017
Posted in Christian living, Life, travel, Uncategorized

Faces on the Wall part 2

I wrote this earlier in the month but have been staying at a farm with no internet and snowed in…It is still relevant though.

Someone commented on my first post “Faces on the Wall” and said she couldn’t wait for the second installment of which I had not intended to write one. However, the last few days have prompted me to yet again contemplate just how our lives are a vapour.

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David’s famous Faces on the Wall.

My daughter started it with news of a young mum killed in a car accident leaving her two young children fighting for their lives, around Christmas. Then we saw all the faces of those in the entertainment industry or “famous” people who have passed this year including Prince, David Bowie and George Michael to name a few. Then in the past few days Carrie Fisher and for those who remember her Zsa Zsa Gabor. Carrie’s mum, Debbie Reynolds, one of my all-time favourites from the past, followed her daughter quickly afterwards.

So many famous faces fading away! Some are only youngish, in their 50’s and yes that is young despite the under 30’s disbelief. Some are in their golden years, 80 plus. But whatever the age their lives have all come to the same end, death.

Now this is not a great subject to bring up amidst the celebrations of Christmas and New Year but it is the most “real” reality there is! We will all face it. We all will only face it once! We will all have to suffer the absolute pain of losing a loved one. Death was not meant to be! We were created for everlasting life. Death came through sin, and the pain of death, physically and emotionally will be with us until the end of this age.

We all try to avoid the subject. We all try to avoid the inevitable, believing somehow that it will pass us by. But the bitter truth is that we will all go the way of death.

However, the truth of everlasting life and resurrection is what we are promised through Christ. He told Lazarus’s sister that if she only believed in Him, the Resurrection and the Life, she would see her brother again. By this time Lazarus had been dead for 4 days and had even been placed in a tomb. Martha was confused and thought Jesus meant at the end of time Lazarus would be resurrected, but in this case He meant He would raise Lazarus from the dead. Can you imagine the absolute fear, joy and wonderment of having your loved one come back to life after having buried them?

Our western culture is very anesthetized to death and sickness, keeping it all very secluded, separate and clinical, requiring anyone who has suffered a loss to complete their grieving as soon as possible so as not to make other people uncomfortable.

Other cultures are not so emotionally detached from death with various celebratory stages of grief continuing long passed the death of the person. Choosing to remember, celebrate, commemorate, and cry over their loss and the life of their loved ones.

But at the end, no matter how we do or don’t grieve death, I am much more concerned with how I live. Have I lived with purpose? Have I loved with purpose? Have I impacted my world to the best of my talents and abilities? At the end of time when I stand before my God, I want to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant!” In the end that His approval is all that matters in life.

I can be rich; I can be poor; I can travel and do amazing things; I can stay in the same place all my life; I can be famous; I can be nobody that anybody recognizes; but if He doesn’t know me then my life has been in vain. It’s His voice I want to hear say, “I know you”.

My prayer for you today is that you will come to know Him so that you will be able to experience the Resurrection and the Life.  He is Life and without Him we are dead even if we are alive.

Talk again soon

Blessings Narelle

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A WW2 relief on the memorial in Washington. Death is a reality of the Battlefield.