Posted in Christian living, cross cultural living, health and wellness, Life, travel, Uncategorized

Cruising the World!

Cruising can be a nightmare or amazing! Here are some thoughts and tips we have discovered in our very short experience.

I have always had an aversion to the thought of cruising. The only one I was interested in was not far from my home in Far North Queensland in Australia. That was because it was a lovely area but also because you were mostly close to land something I liked!

My aversions were a few:

  1. I don’t  like the ocean and get sea sick easily.
  2. You lose sight of land and those waves can be fearsome.
  3. You are with a couple of thousand other people on a tin tub in the middle of ocean and can not get away from them!
  4. Germs and food poisoning stories abound.
  5. Way too much food and I didn’t want to watch people or myself make gluttons of ourself!
  6. Way too many excesses all up with too many imbibing too much alcohol.

So all up it was not what I considered a nice holiday. However, one ferry ride we took across from Finland to Sweden was such a wonderful experience that I thought it might not be too bad to go on a more defined cruise.

We were offered a two for one deal and after Paul said he really wanted to go and visit Alaska we headed off for our 40th Wedding Anniversary with three thousand other people.

We opted to spend a bit of time in Canada before the cruise and loved the amazing country.

The cruise was for 10 days so we were indeed locked up with a lot of people but it didn’t feel to constricted. We opted to do a lot of walking in the ports rather than pay loads of money on tours organized by the cruise liner. We have since discovered that there are definitely options out there rather than join up with the masses.

Things we have learned on our very limited cruise experiences:

  1. Unless you are cruising an area that has spectacular views, don’t pay extra for a balcony – You are hardly in your room and when you are it is usually to sleep or nap so dark is good! And preferably not close to a lift!
  2. Higher isn’t necessarily the best! The sway is considerably more in the event of bad weather.
  3. Washy washy! Washing hands is imperative to avoid nasties. Health issues in such close quarters are really important as is what you eat and drink on land at the various ports. Take care!
  4. Be alert! Travel always requires that we remain aware of our surroundings. There are some not so pleasant people out there and situations, so be smart.
  5. Get off the ship and shop around! There are better tours that can be found at the docs and even outside the port fences! Get a group together and negotiate a fair price for your drivers as well as yourselves. We appreciated our small intimate group and our ability to negotiate our time and sightseeing, instead of being dictated to along with 70 other people.
  6. Get away from the tours to support local artisans and retailers. Bartering isn’t fun for me but if I feel they are giving me a fair deal I will buy. If I feel I am being ripped off I walk away!
  7. Have fun and get to know other guests. There are some amazing people out there to meet. Don’t just sit with your friends and family.
  8. Don’t be the rude, whinging tourist! Treat your cruise staff with respect and patience. Treat the locals with respect as well. They are trying to make a living in some pretty hard circumstances. RESPECT!
  9. Take phone numbers of your tour guides. It can come in handy. Paul left his phone in the taxi we hired and we were able to contact him and connect to get it back – and gave him a nice tip for being honest and driving back to us!
  10. Have fun! This a great time to relax, enjoy new sights as well as be pampered!

So just a few thoughts as we embark on our third cruise – This time to Italy and the Adriatic Sea – Just a little excited about it! This is my dream cruise!

Back soon

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

 

Advertisements
Posted in Christian living, communication, energy, faith, health and wellness, Life, Love, prayer, Uncategorized

Dance Like No-one Is Watching You – Know that He is Watching You!

Dancing – the activity of dancing for pleasure or in order to entertain others. Recently a Facebook memory came up of my grandson doing his crazy little dances he would do as he underwent Leukemia treatment. He liked to “Move it move it” to the music from “Madagascar” and kept us all smiling among the many struggles and caused lots of pleasure, entertaining us with his very different moves!

He taught me a valuable lesson at the time, “You can laugh, or you can cry! You can sit down and mope or get up and crack a few good moves!” We all learned to do some “butt dances” each time we finished a project, saw a good result, or had just had enough of hospital monotony!

Our boy showed us the moves!

At the same time of this memory another Facebook video came up of a little champion, Molly Jane, who has faced incredible challenges in her little life, outliving every prediction of death from doctors. The joy in her face as she danced to some buskers on the street was wonderful! If only they knew who was dancing and entertaining their fellow humans!

https://www.facebook.com/jessica.louises/videos/10213132765293046/?t=14 see her dance to the beat here.

The two videos sparked a memory of a scripture in me which says, “Rejoice always and again I say rejoice!” There are so many scriptures that refer to leaping for joy. Not just doing a shuffle but leaping for joy and in great excitement.

I remember over the years there were times of trouble or dark times that I was encouraged by God to praise Him and to leap for joy. Sometimes it felt like I was a “little ridiculous” but I would praise Him with my voice and by dancing my moves for His entertainment! I was doing my “butt dances” or my victory dances before they had actually come to pass!

King David was mocked by his wife for dancing with joy, in his undergarments no less, as he headed up a procession towards the now Jerusalem! Good enough for a king – good enough for me to dance to my King in my home!

So recently amidst some challenging moments, I started to dance (or rather leap around). Let me tell you the first day it was a challenge – for the flesh and also for the knees and feet! However, the next day, it was truly a time of leaping in victory!

So lesson relearned! Rejoice ALWAYS and again I say rejoice! So I am following some young people’s lead, and doing a few moves to shake off the negativity and praise the God who gives us the victory and causes us to overcome!

Blessings and great joy

Until next time!

Narelle

Posted in Christian living, communication, faith, prayer, Uncategorized

The Battle Belongs to the Lord!

Recently my grandsons were playing cars. Nate the younger, had close to 25 cars lined up against his brother’s one. My daughter overheard him say, “Ok army! How can we defeat him?”

 

We look and laugh at the illogical balance of power but how many times as believers in the Lord of Hosts do we sit with such a huge army surrounding us and look at the one measly  tool of the enemy facing us and become overwhelmed!

The enemy pits his feeble attempt to discourage, disillusion, dismay or even cause us to doubt the goodness of God, and we are overwhelmed, wondering how we can keep going, let alone overcome.

It is time to realize the authority we have as believers in the God who measures the Universe in the palm of His hand! The Universe in the Palm of His Hand! Think about that for a moment and wonder that your seemingly overwhelming problem has already drawn His attention and you can lean in to your loving Father, Friend, Lover and He hears you!

I struggle too and feel overwhelmed but really it is only the tactics of intimidation the enemy uses and our own ignorance as we fail to see those who surround us: The heavenly hosts; the witnesses that have gone before us and our Heavenly Father and Saviour Jesus who sits at His Father’s right hand, cheering us on and interceding for us before the throne.

If God is for us, who can be against us! He has this! He has us! Let us not be overwhelmed and ask, “How can we defeat him?” The Battle Belongs to the Lord. We are His and He is ours.  Walk in that knowledge today!

Blessings until next time

Narelle

Posted in autoimmune, energy, health and wellness, inflammation, isagenix, Life, Night shade Allergies, thyroid, Uncategorized, weight loss

The Battle with Food! Keeping Unhealthy Weight Off!

My mum always struggled with food. Her weight burgeoned after she quit smoking in the early sixties. Food became her next addiction. However, really when I think what she used to eat I don’t think she ate excessively – a lot but mainly the wrong types of food.

She was told by a dietitian early in the sixties not to eat white bread as she was probably gluten intolerant – this before it became a buzz word for food intolerance issues! She paid no heed and bread was always her downfall.

I am not going to get in to gluten debate now as there are way too many who know more than me and I would suggest researching this aspect of food, but I would like to discuss is the battle with food many of us have.

I remember those nights of sitting alone at the dinner table after everyone else had left: Staring down at the now cold, limp beans and stew lying untouched on my plate, sobbing and trying to catch my breath from literally an hour of fighting with my mother over not eating.

The battles raged constantly over my eating habits until finally she gave in and allowed me to eat raw vegetables in the afternoon as she prepared the evening meal and she wouldn’t serve me stews allowing me to eat alternatives. (Even now I gag as I think of those meals – It wasn’t her cooking all the time just my likes)

She always made us a three course breakfast which I loved: fruit, cereal, protein of some sort and toast, with a juice. It was a good way to start the day because I rarely ate much thereafter until later in the afternoon.  In the tropics anything other than a crispbread would be a soggy mess by lunch time at school!

Now I look at it, I felt really good after that regime kicked in. Fresh vegetables and fruit as opposed to life sapping cooking, and very little red meat, with some cheese, little bread and minimal sugar – in any form! I felt good!

So fast forward nearly 50 years later and the battle with food continued but this time with me arguing with myself. Sugar entered my life in my late teens, as did caffeine and other forms of nasties. I still preferred, lightly steamed for raw vegetables, and not a great fan of red meat but introduced breads, pastas, and rice and other foods that didn’t agree with me. So now after years of progressive weight gain, and digestion issues I am discovering the theory of the “leaky gut” syndrome.

Autoimmunesecrets.com really offers some amazing insights into areas that I have struggled with, (to the point of feeling suicidal, the same as described by one gentleman on this program). I had to find out answers pretty much for myself because Doctors couldn’t find answers with traditional testing, and thanks to my naturopath who persevered, we discovered food intolerance that were literally crippling me and causing me incredible pain.

My battle with food seemed to continue but in a different form, me against my body! Lately however, after hearing some of these ideas from the guys above I really feel like I have come to a better understanding with my body – “I will do what I can and body, you need to do what you do well!”

I have always been thankful for my body but the struggle was real. I am now addressing the gut and really concentrating on eating as I did when I felt well – eat well during the morning and afternoon, light at night. I still have some limitations but trusting that soon I might be able to incorporate night shades back in to my diet once again. In the meantime addressing the gut issues has resulted in loss of weight, and inches, as well as feeling well – my main focus always!

Isagenix Products

Ensuring I have enough of the correct vitamins and minerals, and utilizing other supplements to increase my energy levels and boost metabolism has been a major key to wellness. A customer asked me recently what I was using from the Isagenix range of products.

 Click here to see the some of the products I am using. I really recommend the cleanse regime to begin with and then follow up with the vitamins and energy drinks to keep going! Cleanse for life and I loooove the Ionix Supreme drink for warding off sickness or strengthening the immune system.  People comment on cost but my doctors visits or lack thereof over the past 4 years is testament to keeping healthy. I also calculated the cost of shakes and bars and find that it is very cost effective as meal replacements for a period. I also find that the amount of ingredients is usually over other comparative products – a nice bonus.

One other thing I am doing is working with my health program on my Samsung phone. It keeps track of my calorie intake, and usage, as well as my sleep. I am competitive by nature so competing monthly with one million other users and being in the top 2 or 3 percent in terms of steps per month is a great incentive for me! Find what works for you and use whatever it takes to release those pounds, into the blue yonder!

My accountability now sees me having released only abut 5.5 kilos or 12 pounds over a few weeks about 1 kilo or 2 pounds a week, a nice steady amount, and the inches are dropping and muscle is returning to areas that haven’t seen it for some time! My shoulders are thankful for the chest drop let me tell you!

Health is a journey but stay focused; do what you need to to stay motivated. I look forward to hearing some of you share about your journey to healthy living!

Blessings for now

Until next time Narelle

 

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

 

 

Praying in Power

Prayer definition: a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship. An earnest hope or wish.

Oh! I think of prayer in so many more terms than this! Supplication – the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly. Petitioning: make or present a formal request to (an authority) with respect to a particular cause. Other words that spring to mind are desperate, faith-filled, answered, persistent, connection, love, hope, and faith.

I have always understood prayer from my early years when I cried desperately to “God” to help me before I actually met Him. I cried out often as a young believer for His wisdom for situations; His guidance in my life; for the man I was to marry: for the children He blessed me with and those who don’t know Him personally; for situations of deliverance and healing for many around me who needed miracles! It is the breath of my life as a believer.

However, it is not easy.  I have struggled with regular prayer times or with praying consistently or even knowing how to pray in situations.

This isn’t a study in prayer: That is for a book or indeed many books! This is just an encouragement to pray; to cry out to our Creator, Father, Friend, Lord; to communicate with the Maker of Heaven and Earth! With the One who knows you and those around you so intimately. It is my heart communicating with His Heart! I have seen so many testimonies and answers from the power of prayer!

As a child I was what I would call persistent, others would call it petulant! Either way I was determined to get my own way! It was an unpleasant quality in many ways but as I have grown older that persistence and inability to accept certain things is something I am thankful for. There are certain things I will not give up on!

My family; my friends; those who have been under our ministry and in our lives; the many issues I see surrounding me that cause me to grieve as it does the Father; for leaders of our nations; for fellow believers; for non-believers; for harvesters for the harvest field; and the list goes on! We have so many things to pray and believe for.

Some question that we even need to pray saying everything is preordained by God anyway. However, He tells me that we are co-workers with Him! That working together comes together as we believe the promises of God and pray for those things He has instructed us to: Like Abraham believing for what he couldn’t see!

I see how prayer has saved the lives of my daughter and grandchild facing severe illnesses, and other tragic situations within our family. Not everything goes as I think it will or I think it should, but ultimately, I believe it will all work together for good!!!

I call and He says He hears and answers! I never speak to the Universe! I speak to the Creator of the Universe! Much more powerful!

However, as I said I have struggled at various times with not being regular or consistent enough in my “prayer times”. So hear are a few tips to staying in an attitude of prayer ALL the TIME!

  1. FINDING TIME  AND A PLACE -There are definite times of seeking God including fasting and devouring the Word of God but we shouldn’t be under condemnation if that time includes walking along the beach, sitting in your car (take care driving with this one), under your breath even in the shopping mall (they just think you might be on your phone or from another country as you pray in tongues!) and the list goes on! We should not be legalistic enough believing that there is a certain time or place that HAS to occur. However, finding a “war room or space” in your home and a time that works for you, is still an important aspect of prayer. Don’t get bogged down in details of where and when, just start and start again when life overwhelms you!
  2. WHAT TO PRAY FOR – Recently I heard a young woman speak of how her mother has been an inspiration to her as a young mum in the area of prayer and explained how she prays. She sets aside each day particularly to pray for certain things – e.g. as she is home doing house work she prays. At work she will pray for her colleagues and those around her etc. So she covers a lot of spiritual ground in her week! A prayer journal will help with this and also help you keep track as you see God working situations out before your eyes. It will also help you maintain focus and faith as time works those answers out! There are so many words in the Scripture we are told to pray for: boldness; the labourers to go into the harvest field; leaders etc that we will rarely have trouble filling time in! This doesn’t include the times of prayer reflection where we are not petitioning God for anything other than just to bask in the  presence of the Father – a wonderful place to be.
  3. HOW SHOULD I PRAY?  So many think of praying as the “Lord’s prayer” only. That was just a format not necessarily a chant we need to recite and then walk away feeling as though we have down our “bit”. Prayer is a much more intimate moment than that. The Lord’s Prayer is powerful and does set the form work for pouring in to it amazing prayer times. But there are so many forms of prayer including prayers of warfare, intercessory, supplication, thankfulness, laments, forgiveness prayers; praying the Word and Promises of God and the list goes on. There is also the power of praying in tongues which sometimes will leave you groaning with such deep sorrow in your spirit. There are many types so don’t become religious in form, but let it come out of relationship with our Lord and Saviour! Be honest to Him and yourself! He is your Heavenly Father and longs for relationship with you!
  4. HOW LONG SHOULD I KEEP ASKING – As long as it takes and then some! I have been waiting over 20 years to see the fulfillment of promises I have been praying and believing for. Pray without ceasing! Persistence in a situation will see a resolution one way or the other. Never give up! You shouldn’t see what you see – You need to see what God sees! This is not denial – It is speaking faith! Don’t let the enemy take from you. He comes to kill, steal and destroy, Jesus came to give you abundant life! Never give him ground that belongs to you! You are a mother a grandmother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister – so many need you to stand with them as a warrior woman. You need to find your place of peace in so many situations. Never give up! Be like the might man of David, whose hand, while fighting for a lentil field became frozen to his sword! Don’t give up until you see the victory come to pass! Be like the persistent woman and the unrighteous judge! Keep calling until that door comes open!
  5. PRAY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT – I was blessed as a new believer to be baptised in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues just days after I became a born again believer. This was His power flowing through me; rivers of living water, compelling me to pray at different times when I didn’t know who or what I was actually praying for at the time. Some of these were life saving events that I eventually found out about! You just need to ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit – the Comforter, the Promise; The same Power that Raised Christ from the Dead!

Lord I pray over this article, that the many who read will become so enthused to seek Your face through prayer, and see the power of God unleashed into situations they are facing and may they see the victory come to pass. That they will see you as Abba (Daddy) Father – In Jesus Name – Amen!

Enjoy your prayer adventure about to unfold before you as you look to the Lover of your Soul and begin to commune with Him in a new way!

Blessings Until next time

Narelle

PS I would love to hear from you: your struggles; your answers; your praise points. Your testimony could help others!father cradling a child

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

A Time to Move – A Time for Change

While undergoing missionary training I will never forget the comment by our lecturer who said the life of a missionary is one of good-byes. Never a truer word was spoken!

We said goodbye to elderly parents, siblings, our older children and in time our grandchildren as we moved across nations. I said goodbye to my father not knowing it would be the last time I saw him alive.

Goodbyes and change are never easy. As “third culture kids” missionary children are quite adept at change but nevertheless it is still a major grief process for them as well.

Grief is the word I use because ultimately no matter how “exciting” a new venture is whether it is leaving country, town or house, there is always going to be elements of grief associated. Here is a quick overview of what you leave behind.

  1. Family and friends – You are almost certainly leaving behind many you love, in some cases never to see them again or perhaps with an interlude of many years.
  2. Familiar places – Familiarity breeds contempt but mostly it breeds a sense of comfort. We like to know what the packaging says on what we eat. We like to go to our favourite hairdresser, car mechanic, business operator, or any of the many other connections we make when settling in to a place.
  3. Church family – We know these people. We have journeyed with them for perhaps many years. We know what to expect in a worship service or at least be able to understand what is being said and sung!
  4. Our precious things – Sadly we all are attached to the “Things” in our lives. When they are packed away and we don’t know when or if we will ever see them again there is an element of grief attached to that also.
  5. Work and school – Leaving behind familiar work and school situations, friends and colleagues. Also leaving again the comfort of familiarity as we move on to the unknown.  Encourage them to stay in touch with old friends as I do myself. You will of course drift away from certain friendships but I do try to stay connected with friends and families as well as old work mates.
  6. Memories – We accumulate just as many memories as we do “stuff”. To leave these behind can be heart wrenching.

Allowing ourselves to walk through the process of grief is imperative and to each of us this will look different.

I remember one of my little girls I taught, going about the classroom just before she and her family were due to leave the country. She was touching each book, special place, saying out loud this would be the last time for…  She also talked frequently about her last experiences; sleep over, concert here, etc etc. It went on for a few weeks and towards the end of the school year she wanted to have a farewell party for her little friends. Her mother eventually came in very concerned.

I asked why?

“Because when I leave a place I don’t say goodbye. I just leave without looking back or really having a farewell anything.”

To me, her daughter had the better coping mechanism! She was finalizing her memories, and giving healthy closure to her relationships! You must give yourself and your family time to grieve and process. We each do that differently!

Grief comes in many shapes and forms but if not dealt with well, can leave lasting negative impacts, particularly on children. Here are some practical helps I have learned over the past 30 years of traveling and change.

  1. Family and friends – Set them up for the farewells. Give them time to process and also try to be as cheerful as possible. I remember crying myself to sleep each night before we left country as I faced the prospect I might never see my parents again. I had a tape that I was playing and after the tears it brought peace to my soul. “Because He lives I can face tomorrow!” None of us knows what tomorrow will hold whether we stay or leave but we know that He does know and we can trust in Him. He will take care of those we leave behind. Grieve certainly, but then find your peace in Him.
  2. Familiar places – When we go overseas it is always a challenge to establish new connections but we face it positively and with anticipation of finding new friends. Someone said to me just the other day about Paul, “He doesn’t know a stranger does he.” I think that is a key. We embrace the challenges of finding the new! If you complain and whine and harp back to the “old place” you will definitely feel the negative affects of change. Embrace positively. Talk to new friends about their best people they have found for tasks until you set up your own network of the familiar.
  3. Church Family – I thank God I am part of an amazing world wide family! It is not just one denomination or people group. It is “church” the body of Christ and in our many years of travels we have been blessed by many different church family. It is good to get rooted in one family but not always possible. Keep your arms and heart open to the family.
  4. Our precious things – We always take just a couple of precious things with us, including photos (now more easily transported with digital photos). This is really important for children and I don’t recommend leaving behind their favourite toy. I remember one woman who said each time they moved as a Navy brat, she had to leave her toys behind! They don’t need to take it all but the really precious ones for sure. I also made sure we took a couple of familiar Christmas decorations, to make it feel like home. Naomi has one donkey made from a wooden peg in first grade that has traveled the world and is still placed on her tree each Christmas!
  5. Work and school – For adults it will require time to adjust to new work place routines and colleagues, and so it is with children – but on steroids! They are already facing daily challenges, particularly teenagers, but to uproot them at that age creates a whole different set of emotions and issues. I remember in my 5th or 6th grade Janice left town! I couldn’t believe how it made me feel to think I would never see her again! Encourage your children regularly! Naomi found her strength and peace as she left school, family and even country with two scriptures. Psalm 91 and Joshua 1. Be strong and of good courage. You can encourage them to grow through the time rather then succumb to the pain of grief.
  6. Memories – These you will always have. But you are pressing on, moving forward into new memories. Take the time to talk with children and encourage them to start to believe for new memories.

Change is inevitable no matter where you are or what stage of life you are at. Paul gives the analogy of a boxer. If you resist a punch it will hurt but if you move with it, it won’t hurt as much. The more resistant you are to change the more it will hurt. A positive, respectful attitude towards each other will help you all move through the process and enjoy the journey.

You have a choice on how you handle change – Choose life or death. Choose to live in a positive, embracing mode or resist and fight with a negative attitude. It is up to you. There are so many wonderful new adventures you can enjoy.

Until next time

Blessings Narelle