Wednesday, 29 February 2012


Linking up with The Gypsy Mama today for Five Minute Friday.  Please extend me some grace - this was a little longer than 5 minutes when I wrote it,  but it speaks an ache and longing I was feeling earlier this week - thank you.

This post written by Lisa-Jo prompted me to spend some time thinking of those distant shores today.  This is where it took me ~

I have a photo on my mantelpiece of my sister and I when we were young.  I am 3 years old and my sister is 5. 

She sits on my mantle, and she also sits on my desk in a digital photo frame that scrolls precious memories of 2 summers ago when I had her company for 3 glorious weeks.
My sister lives on distant shores now.  Not of her making – it was me who followed my husband and a dream to emigrate and leave the land I call home.  Did I really know how that would be 3 years in – 5 years in?  What will that feel like in 10 years, 15 or 20? 

She said, “I don’t know….. I don’t know if I want to spend the rest of my life living this far away from you.”   I ponder this often and my heart echoes that sentiment, sometimes louder than the voice that spoke that truth first.

I didn’t know for so long what I had in a sister close by.  I took for granted that my sister would always be there.  I knew the way to her house and could drive from wherever I was like a homing pigeon when I needed to be in her physical presence. Now the closeness covers the vastness.  It travels the Atlantic and connects with her on distant shores by Skype, phone, email, and paper.  And I’m grateful for it.

But I miss the skin on skin of a hand held in solidarity, of face-to-face talking, of a hug that encompasses a multitude of memories and history.

A sister is a forever friend.   She is a confidante, a trusted source of wisdom, comfort and resource.  She shares history from childhood that bonds two people together.  She knows what it was to play together.  She laughs at our childhood silliness, our own made up songs. She was protector, tormentor, friend and foe. She knows me inside out.  She knows the best about me, and the worst.  She shares secrets, hard fought and won from parents.  She is my helper.  She knows what to do or say in times of trouble, and even if she doesn’t know, her companionship is enough.
She is amazing and I cherish her completely.  I took for granted how special having a sister is when I had her right there, and now I poignantly know it. I wish she was not so far away.  

Friday, 24 February 2012


We're writing with Lisa-Jo over thegypsymama for Five Minute Friday today.  Click the link and join us -


I take a breath and I close my eyes and I allow the Holy Spirit to fill me with courage.  Not courage of my own making, but His courage, His strength.  God has all the resources and power at his fingertips to make miracles happen and accomplish anything.  I don't have that power.  I don't even come remotely close.  I can work hard, but if I lean on my own understanding, I am shortchanging myself out of what could be.  It's hard to take this step of courage.  It's hard to stand on faith and I'm grateful that this faith is a gift.  True grit comes from having the faith to stay the course, to take the next step, to have the courage to follow when the plans I have, and the plans the Lord has may not match up.  Will I be able to do this great big thing called life?  Only in harmony, in obedience, in courage and in faith.  And I need as much grit, determination, courage and heart for when things are running smoothly as when things aren't.  Why?  Because ALL times are from God.  He allows all to happen to us to work out for our good, because God IS good.  I humble myself to give thanks and the grit comes with gratefulness, for knowing that what was broken can be healed and restored, and what was lost can be found, good news for me - good news for you, friend!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

She Makes it Look Easy

I'm racing to drop my children off at school and there are other mums arriving with their hair and make-up just so.  They drive the SUV that I would love to be in.  They are arranging their coffee dates for later and will go home to folded, put away laundry and an immaculate kitchen.  They will apply lip gloss then head off for that coffee date.  Later in the day they will prepare dinner from a fully stocked fridge and it will be served with a smile and a flourish to their hungry family.  The other mum has plenty of time to complete homework with her children at a relaxed pace, and will still have the energy to smooth away her husbands tensions from his working day.

I, on the other hand, am not that mum.  I go home not only to breakfast detritus, but also last nights dinner dishes waiting to go in to the dishwasher, that is still waiting to be unloaded.  We were late for school because I couldn't find a hairbrush or my daughter's shoes.  My son's coat was in my husband's car, and don't even try and match a pair of socks.  The laundry basket is NEVER empty.  There are crumbs under the breakfast bar and a sticky patch on the dining room table from a juice spill last night that failed to get wiped.  There is dog hair floating round the floor and I swear there's enough to make a sweater.  I wonder what will be for dinner, or more when it will get made.   My day will not be filled with coffee dates, a tidy house or organised laundry.  It won't be filled with home finance spreadsheets that balance,  lovingly made cupcakes for my children that Martha Stewart would envy, or a gourmet dinner for my husband when he comes home.

The other mum I saw this morning has got it all together and part of me looks on wistfully wondering where I went wrong. Part of me admires her, and another part dislikes her intensely for running her life and home flawlessly and perfectly.  Her circumstances must be so much better than mine, right?

Wrong.  The comparison game is a dangerous game to play.  I may as well just press the self-destruct button.  Quite simply - that mum who makes it all look so easy is not so very different from me.

I only learned this recently when someone complimented me at school.  She said she admired that I was always so calm with my children, always spoke to them patiently and positively and didn't know how I managed to always get to school on time.  She said I was amazing.

Me - amazing!  Ha!  Had I become supermum?  You know the one who has got it all together?  For that other mum looking on that day, yes, I was that woman that made it look easy.  And that's when I realised the lie exists.  We're all just muddling along doing the best we can in whatever season of life we're in.  I'm learning not to play the dangerous comparison game.  I won't believe the lie anymore.

Instead when I see a mum who looks good in the morning, I'll compliment her.  Good for her for spending an extra 10 minutes styling her hair instead of throwing in a load of laundry.  If someone is on time, I smile knowing that they'll wash up their breakfast dishes after the school run.  I may not be able to go out to meet for coffee but I can invite my friend over for coffee later that day, and not worry about what the house looks like.  She's visiting me, not doing a dust inspection.

I now make a point of not having a "quick tidy-up" before my friend comes to visit.  Take me as you find me.  Let's lift the burden of pressure to be perfect and have everything together all the time.  I would rather be a mum and a friend who says yes, has time to meet with friends and play with my children.  I would rather take part in my children's life than just providing a sterile stage for them to grow up in.  I want to be real,  with all the mess that comes with it.  And maybe, just maybe that's what having it together is really all about.

Friday, 17 February 2012


On Fridays we write for 5 minutes with the gypsy mama.  Come over and join us!  Todays word is -


Delight!  When I hear this word, or say this word I smile.  Is it a word that is used overly much?  I hear it in greeting sometimes "I'm delighted to meet you."  But true delight can't be put in a box that way, and made small.  It is big, bigger, HUGE!  To me, it is an outpouring and overspilling of absolute joy.  What delights me?  When I really think about this the list is huge.  It's my children with their giggles, their individuality, their personality, their talents, their cross faces, their struggles, their delights.  They make my heart sing.  My friendships that build, and can be loving enough to be honest.  It's hot tea on a rainy day, no actually on any day!  It's playing at a children's play park trying to swing higher and higher than my son.  Seeing raindrops on petals, eating chocolate, letters from home and dancing - yes dancing my heart out!  There used to be a dessert in England called Angel Delight.  I wonder what the Angels delight in?  They sing praises all day long, and sing and pray for us.  Their joy and delight is immense!  What delights you?

Friday, 10 February 2012


This week over with Lisa-Jo we're writing for 5 minutes about Trust.  Visit to join us.

Go -

My children trust me.  They look up at me with their questions and simply expect me to know the answers.  They rely on me to collect them at school, to make their lunch and that there will be food and a bedtime story that night. They count on me to make sense of chaos and unhappiness when it comes their way and to lead them to safer ground.  They trust me.   Sometimes I feel so fragile that I long for that kind of trust.  That there would be someone that I can completely depend upon and who will never let me down.  There is only one rock that I can stand on and be sure that the ground will not shift.  There is only one I can trust with my whole heart.  As a child depending on their parent, I can be God's child and depend and trust my Father.  It is only Him that I trust fully with every fibre of my being, and even that can be a stretch!  I sometimes wonder if He really does want me on this road, but then I trust Him to make sense of that chaos and lead me to greener pastures, safer ground.


 1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.[a]
 3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness[b]
   for his name's sake.    Psalm 23

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


It's a gorgeous sunny day so as the children tumble out of school we stay at the park to play.  There is laughter and energy and running and all is well with the world.  Then it happens - I see my son walking away with his head down.  It is not a slow stride, it is one that he has when he is angry, but there is sadness coupled with it too.  I call his name and he throws me a look over his shoulder - his face is set.  I just need some time alone, he says, and walks purposefully to the trees, where dens and forts and places to hide are abundant.  There is another voice from behind me shouting across to him "OK - I'm sorry!"
I look back to the play area.  My son's friend has joined my younger daughter and her friend and they cross the monkey bars with glee and squeals.  The friend looks every so often for my son and I breathe wondering whether to get involved or let them sort it out.
A few minutes pass, then the friend gets down and goes looking for my son.  I watch as they speak to one another in the distance - the friend looks earnest and I know he apologises, then my son raises his hand in a stop gesture and turns his back and walks away.  My heart sinks.
The friend returns to the park.
I let a few more minutes pass then I call my son to me and gently ask what's going on?  He doesn't want to talk about it.  I try again, and again he says he doesn't want to talk about it.  I take a breath then say, I saw your friend coming to say sorry, to try and make it right.  Can you not accept his apology and make friends?
Then come the words with the tears, flying like bullets, an angry torrent.  He is mad because "everyone" tells him he's wrong even when he knows he is right!  I take a sharp breath in at this brokeness before me.  I understand the hurt of being undermined and having the wind knocked out of you by others who repeatedly disagree with what you say, or challenge you by expressing that they believe the opposite to be true.  I keep calm and say I understand.  I acknowledge his pain, and then I gently remind him that perhaps he expressed all of his anger that has built during the day and directed it towards one friend.  I point out that this friend has tried to make it right, has humbled himself and apologized and asked forgiveness.  Can he find it in his heart to forgive?  The tears still come spilling and the anguished voice says "but its hard!  It's hard to forgive when it still hurts!"  It rattles me to the core.  Isn't this the truth for us all - for me now?  Simply the injustice of it all.  And how do we keep forgiving and giving grace when it just isn't fair. 

Looking at the broken heart of my son before me causes me to stop, and the brokenness of all this world hurts me.  We start this lesson young.  How do I explain this when I wrestle with this myself?
Isn't this the lesson we need to learn and live over and over again.  In this broken world we forgive because we are forgiven.  How can I accept grace if I can't give grace?  What does living a grace filled life look and feel like?  We forgive, because there is a liberating joy in knowing we are forgiven, that we are renewed and that the mess of it all can be turned to something good.  It's simple - I need to be forgiven and receive grace therefore I give grace and forgive.

Click the link and spend 5 minutes reminding ourselves how to fight bitterness and learn to forgive.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Keeping it Real

We're writing for just 5 minutes this morning over with Lisa-Jo at
Why not join us this morning

Keeping it Real

This is it - this is real life.  This day by day routine we have.  I get up half an hour before my children every day for a few precious moments of calm and peace before the chaos ensues!  But it's not chaos - its vitality, energy, youth and life.  The quiet is where I can meet with God.  The quiet is real and He is real, and mighty and can give me all I need for the day ahead.  It isn't long before the troubles come flying, with a broken toy, a cross word, a fight over a toy, lost homework and the expulsion of energy it takes from me to smooth the waters, calm the storm can take its toll.  These "difficult" moments can very quickly turn in to my perceived reality of a tired and tricky existence if I don't pause long enough to give thanks for it all.  Keeping it real means a life of grace.  Being able to both receive it and give grace away - over and over again.  Real is to be present in each moment as it unfolds, let the drama and the joy play out and just give thanks for it all in real time.