Category Archives: Diaries of the Heart

THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER….AND MAYBE MORE ABUNDANT….

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and maybe more abundant….

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This saying is very true of stock both sheep and cattle.  Our cattle and sheep are always poking their heads through the fences to get to the greener and more abundant pasture on the other side.

We practice rotational grazing, and my husband has already locked up a paddock to cut for hay.  Well, we have a great time when we move the stock through this paddock to the next one as they want to stay where the grass is abundant.  It can take quite a while to get them moved with a lot of arm waving and noise.

This saying is very true for us as well.  We seem to be always looking over the proverbial fence at our neighbours and friends and comparing ourselves to them.  Their lives always seem to look more greener and abundant.

Now I must say that I am very content with my lot in life.  I love being home and teaching our children.  I love where we live and I am blessed with the fact that my husband can work shorter hours to be with us a bit more.  We don’t have an abundance of money but we manage to pay our bills and we are happy.  This contentment has been a long time coming with lots of life lessons to get there.

This said I still seem to look over the fence at what others have.  It seems my contentment is not enough to stop the looking.

I learnt a valuable lesson the other day.  I caught up with a friend that I hadn’t seen for quite a while.  She shared how her life was going and what had been happening for them.  I was quite taken back with what she told me.  I thought that their life seem to be quite easy going, finances being abundant, but I was wrong.  I realised that by looking over my fence at their life and comparing us I had missed out on the reality of what was happening.

On their side of the fence they were struggling to make ends meet and my friend was now working full time away from her home and family.

I need to not judge what colour the grass is or how thick and lush it seems to be because sometimes it seems better when it really isn’t.

I don’t always need to look at others and think what they have is better than what we have.  I need to turn my eyes to Jesus and crave Him in my life over anything else.

It says in Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.

It is stating here to keep our lives free from the love of money and be content with what we have.  To me this also means to stop thinking that others have more than us or are better than us and be content with what God has given us.  It means to not think we need to earn more money so that we can buy more things to keep us happy. Things do not bring the happiness and joy that a loving Father can bring.

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I really smiled when I saw this picture and thought this is so true as well.  Let us stop looking and start watering our own lives with the Word of God and watch it start greening and thickening up.

We don’t need stuff and money to keep us happy?  We don’t need to compare or strive to be like others.  God says He will never leave us nor forsake us, that is all we need.

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MOMENTS IN TIME

Do you have moments in your life that you wish you could erase???

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I do!!!  There have been times when I immediately wished I could take the words or actions back.  Other times it is years later that moments come back to me and I really cringe.

Sometimes I wonder whether I need to go to that person and apologise for something I’ve said or done and sometimes I do.

Why do these moments come back to our memory when we at least expect them or want them too?

I believe these moments are challenging and encouraging us in our journey with God, and also our journey of repentance as well.

If we put aside our cringing feelings we might see how what we said or did has affected others.  Most times these things have not been said or done out of spite.  On my part I put it down to true thoughtlessness, with my mouth working before my brain. This is something I constantly have to work on.

Sometimes I find the memory of these moments encouraging as I know that it was something that I did in my past and I wouldn’t do that now, maybe they show growth and maturity!!

It would be great if we could just press a button and erase these moments in time, but that would be the easy way out and often growth and maturity doesn’t come easy, and I don’t want to inhibit God and our journey together.  I don’t want to inhibit His lessons in my life. (although at the time it isn’t enjoyable)

I pray that God will continue to bring these moments in time back to my memory for whatever reasons He has.  I pray that He continues to work in my life and continues to guide me in my journey of growth and maturity.

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How have your moments in time helped you???

GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE

SUN RISINGGood morning, morning, hello sunshine, wake up sleepy head….

Are you a morning person??? Well I’m not and never have been.  I love that extra few minutes in bed and really struggle to get up early and get going.

My brain doesn’t seem to really kick into gear until about 9 am and my eyes don’t focus properly for about an hour after I rise.

I have struggled with getting up early since I was a young person.  I would rather have had a late night than an early morning.  My brother was one of those people who could get up at 5 am and study for his exams.  I would set the alarm but just sleep through it.

In my second job we worked flexi-time.  That meant that you could start work anywhere between 7.30 and 9.30 am and could finish from 4 pm onwards.  If you wanted a day off you could work extra hours until you had enough time saved up.  I am sure you can imagine that I wasn’t one to start at 7.30 am and it was rare that I got extra days off.

I struggled somewhat through the night when our babies were little, but somehow I managed to get through it.

Now that our children are getting older I see similarities between them and me.  I especially notice how our younger children react in the morning.

No 2 son wakes up extremely well, he used to be out of bed first and be playing with his lego way before we would be up.  He sleeps a bit longer now but is still quite chirpy and happy in the morning – not like me at all.  He is more like his father who believes that the early morning is the best time of the day.  I think it is the best time of the day to sleep in!!!

No 2 daughter unfortunately is just like me in the morning.  She loves to read at night to get to sleep, and sometimes sleep takes a while to come.  When this happens she struggles to get out of bed in the morning.  Most mornings she isn’t really chirpy and happy.

This has really opened my eyes to how I am in the morning.  I am now aware that I can be grumpy and irritable.  I have been trying to get to bed earlier and be more cheerful in the morning to show her that this is a better way to be.

Proverbs 31 is an amazing chapter in scripture and I am sure we all try to emulate this excellent wife, but I definitely struggle with verse 15.  She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.

How do I rise while it is still night (dark) and organise breakfast for everyone?  How do I find an enthusiasm for getting going in the morning???  How do I show my younger daughter how to do it if I can’t do it myself???

I have a choice.  I can choose to get up and be grumpy or I can choose to get up and be happy and cheerful.  I need to choose the latter.  I’m going to pray each night for God to give me a good restful sleep and ask Him to help me get up and get going.

I want us all to start the day with a good attitude and be enthusiastic in all that we do.  I want to endeavor to do all to His Glory and not my own fleshly desires.

How do you wake up in the morning??  Do you struggle or are you one of the ones who are naturally cheerful??  What do you do to get up and get going???  Any ideas will be gratefully received???

 

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EMPATHY – WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN

The Oxford Dictionary describes it as:

The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

I often pray for empathy because sometimes I struggle to understand totally the feelings people have when they are experiencing difficult situations.  We can probably understand their pain on a certain level but unless we have, or are going through the same thing can we really?

We have a close friend with cancer.  He had an operation on his bowel and then chemotherapy and then an operation to remove a tumor from his lung.  He went a very short time before another spot showed up.  He is back on chemo again and is waiting for the results.

Now we have had feelings of shock and sadness during this period, but we don’t really know what it is truly like to face our own mortality in such a way.

Four years ago we were expecting our fifth child.  This was our 3rd child after a ten year break.  We were thrilled, even my fifth c-section didn’t put me off.

Everything was going great until 26 weeks and our baby passed away.  It was one of those situations that always happens to someone else and now it was happening to us.  Now I can truly understand how other people feel who have lost a child.

Going through this loss has really helped me develop a greater empathy with people.  It has given me a passion to help people however I can and has made me sensitive to their needs.

I’m not saying that I want to go through difficult situations so that I can have the ability to understand the feelings of others, but I do pray for deeper empathy and understanding for people who are.  We as a family want to be able to support others through their difficulties.

Empathy will help us help them in any way we can whether food, friendship and always prayer.

What situations have you been through that have enabled you to empathize with others, and how has this led you to help them??

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PS:  Just the other day I was talking to the wife of our friend that I mentioned above with cancer.  We were discussing their future and what would happen when the results that came through weren’t good.

She stated that they have really had to look at who they put their trust in.  They acknowledge that God is in control and He is leading and guiding the situation.  They understand that even if the prognosis isn’t good He is still in control.

They believe that they have a life to be lived and every day extra is a blessing and they will keep on keeping on until they can’t.

We really admire them.  It is easy to say “God is in control” when things in your life are going good, but to be able to say it when things are bad is the ultimate.

I still can’t truly grasp the depth of what they are facing, but their faith is encouraging my faith and their trust in God is encouraging mine.  Our relationship is deepening and we are now really good friends.  We pray that God will keep him with us for a long time but know that if he is not to conquer this cancer then he will be in Heaven with the Lord and that should be our greatest desire.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not on our own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:5 – 6

 

NO 1 SON

Today I want to tell you about our No 1 son.  He is 19 years old now and he is a wonderful young man.

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They say that young ladies should look at how a prospective husband treats his mother before they make their decision.  If this was the case my son would be the best choice.

He is loving, caring, considerate and generous both with his time and his money.  He is always willing to help me around the house and actually got a bit miffed at me the other day for mopping the floor for him because he said it was his job.

He hasn’t always been easy to deal with and had a difficult period before he turned 13.  When we  have talked about some situations that occurred he actually said that those weren’t his finest moments!!! God is so gracious and merciful.

I used to be concerned about how he would turn out but somehow I knew deep down that God would lead him in the right direction, and now I marvel at the truth of that.  We kept on with his training and discipline and education at home.  We kept him away from bad influences and we kept together as a family so that we could walk through situations with him, explaining, teaching and correcting as we went.

Now he is an adult and we still lead him and give him advice, but we step back now and let him make his own decisions, always being there for him when he needs us, and he has stepped up being there for us as well.

He works as a shearer now and is employed around the district by numerous landholders.  We are so pleased with how he handles himself in the wool sheds when he works and (because he is young) how he takes the ribbing that comes with the trade.

I will really miss him when he gets married and moves to a home of his own.  I pray that God will give him a Godly wife whom we can love and welcome into our family.  I also pray that we will allow him to leave and cleave so that his wife becomes the most important person in his life.

For now he is still here at home growing, learning and striving to be the best person and shearer he can be.

To God be the glory great things he hath done.

A wise son makes a father glad,  but a foolish man despises his mother.  Proverbs 15:20

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SHEARING FACTS

A shearer is a man that shears the fleece off a sheep.  We live in a grazing area which is predominately sheep and the sheep we have here need to be shorn at least once a year.  It is still a strenuous job and is tough. like the men who have to do it.  There aren’t too many young men who want to take up this occupation because of the work involved.

 

HAVE WE PRESENT DAY MOTHERS GOT IT SO BAD???

On Sunday we attended an anniversary of my husband’s first school.  It was a one teacher country school half way between their home and town.

There were many people there from around the area and a lot of people attended who had moved away as well.  So it was nice to catch up with some of the people I knew from when we lived on the family farm when we were first married some 25 years ago.

There was one person that I caught up with that left me with a lot of food for thought.  She is actually the mother of one of my dearest friends.   Her name is Mrs T and she is about 86 years old.

Apart from just catching up on our family and how our grandchildren are going she actually shared with me about her life as a young wife and mother so many years ago.  She gave me an insight into what life was like before we had power and all the mod cons that we do now.

When they were first married they lived in a one room hut, which still stands today.  They had no electricity and she milked 10 cows by hand every day.  She had 4 children under 5 and by the time she had the 5th child she was milking 20 cows per day.

She made all her own butter, soap and candles. She sewed all her children’s clothes on a treadle sewing machine.  She had a huge vegetable garden and heaps of fruit trees.  She preserved around 300 bottles of fruit per year and also vegetables.

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When the children were little she had a girl helping her with daily chores and with the children.  I would suggest this would have been a great support to her, as her husband was busy with the farm and wouldn’t have had time for inside work.

I asked her whether all this work, with little help bothered her and she said no.  Her opinion was that that was how it was and you just got on with it.  Wow and I complain when the floor gets dirty and I have to plug in the vacuum cleaner!!!

They built a timber home when the children were little and eventually bricked this home.

I remember her vegetable garden at this home and the large amount of fruit trees and it always astounded me.  She also had an amazing garden of trees, shrubs and flowers, you could tell that she really enjoyed gardening.

I jokingly asked her when she slept when her children were little and her daughter replied “not much”.  It’s no wonder she is struggling with her health with all the hard work she did years ago.

So how hard is it for us modern mums really????  We have power and running water and toilets that flush.  I know that I have a supportive husband and children who also help around the house and with outside chores.

I wasn’t actually looking forward to going, but it turned out to be a great afternoon.  Not only did I catch up with some old friends but I got an insight into what life could have been like for me had I been born some 80 years ago.

It has made me realise that I should stop complaining about the little things and be grateful for all the mod cons and gadgets that I have that make my life easier and chores quicker.  I am also grateful for the children I have that help me out and collect the fire wood and hang up washing.

My experience today makes me want to get up in the morning and be a hardworking wife and mother, to strive to make our house a home.  It makes me want to be diligent in my housework and in teaching my children.

There is so much we can learn from the older generation and their wisdom on being wives, mothers and keepers at home.

It makes me want to rise up before the grayheaded and be thankful for her wisdom to a present day mum.

I am truly blessed.

You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honour the aged, and you shall revere your God. I am the LORD.  Leviticus 19:32

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also , and he praises her.  Proverbs 31:27-28

How have you been challenged in your life and homemaking by the older generation??

PS.  The candles that Mrs T made were made with tallow or animal fat, not bees wax.  I found this fascinating…

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THE BEAUTY OF THE BUTTERFLY

butterfliesWe delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to accomplish that beauty…

The other day we met No 1 daughter and her children at a town half way between their house and ours (about an hour driving each).

It was a wonderful day and we finished off our picnic lunch by having a cuppa at the local cafe and found this delightful and thought provoking picture on the wall.

This brings to mind our children and our relationships with them.  I now marvel at the beauty of the relationship we have with our older two children, but these relationships have gone through some immense changes to get to where they are.

When our children are young its a relationship of parent and child. We love, instruct, discipline and encourage, with tighter reigns on what the child is allowed to do.   It is not really a relationship of friends.

As they grow from toddlers to early teens it again changes.  It is still the parent/child relationship with instruction, disciplining and encouragement but it is somewhat evolving.

As with our children we start to encourage them to be adults, to be husbands and wives.  We lead them into home based business ideas and allow them time to develop them.

My husband took our No 1 son to TAFE once a week, where he could learn welding and machining and all that stuff in a controlled environment amongst other adults.  He was one of a few homeschooled children that have done adult trade education before he was 15.

Our daughter was already sewing for others by the time she was fifteen.  She also worked one day a week in our local fabric shop (owned by a close Christian friend) and what she learnt there I couldn’t have taught her.

When they were young adults the relationship was still of parent/child but we  developed a great friendship.  A friendship that still has boundaries of discipline but once again even that discipline is evolving.

My daughter and I are born talkers.  We both need to talk out the things on our minds.  We can chat for hours and still find things to say to each other.

No 1 son isn’t quite as talkative but when the time is right he shares his ideas and future plans and once again their is friendship.

Now they are adults, No 1 daughter is married and living the life we all prayed for.  Our relationship is still of parent/child but it doesn’t involve discipline.  It is truly a love, teach and encouragement relationship, and now it goes both ways.  I am sure she loves me as much as I love her and she teaches and encourages me everyday. We can still talk on the phone for hours on topics from what we are cooking for tea through to deep spiritual issues.  She is quite wonderful and we are blessed by this relationship, both myself and my husband.

Our No 1 son is now 19 and is quite the young man.  Our relationship is definitely one of Mother and Son but we are great friends as well. Now comes the time when we must trust in God for his safety and well being.  His father and I encourage him in the right choices but also step back and allow him to make his choice.  I tell you what – this can be hard.  We have to trust that his training and relationship with God will lead him in the right direction.

Both children know that we are always there for them whenever they need us.

So you can see that our relationships have now gone through many changes, both for them and us as parents but these relationships are beautiful and we delight in them.

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HOSPITALITY – GIVE IT A GO

I really enjoy cooking for people, especially when they are having difficulty doing it themselves.

We seem to have quite a few people at our church who are suffering from cancer.  My heart goes out to them and their families, and my constant comment is all I can do is pray and cook.  There is nothing more we can do for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ than to care for them, our Church family really is our family.

I feel so blessed to be able to help people.  But I want to be humble with it as well and I like my husband to deliver the food, in that way he takes the praise and not me (otherwise pride can get in the way). I just want to know that the food tastes alright!!!

Sometimes I have doubts about my cooking abilities.  My family are always saying “that was great Mum”, but they love me and have to like it.  So it is hard to cook for someone, especially when you don’t know their tastes or whether they are fantastic cooks or not and whether your food will meet their standards.

I have found that none of the above matters.  All that matters is that you care and you give.  I find that when I cook for others with them in mind it all turns out well.

A point to remember is that when people aren’t feeling well they don’t feel like cooking (well I don’t anyway) so a meal will always make their day brighter.

Another thing we have noticed is the relationships that have been built when we give someone a meal.  There have been people at church that we have just not connected with and the barrier has been dissolved when they see that we care for them.  My husband always says that you get nothing out of a relationship unless you put into it.

My husband and I really want our children to understand what it is to care for people.  To know that giving is a great gift both to ourselves and others.  My No 2 son comes into the kitchen on a Friday (the day I cook) and says it that for us and when I shake my head he says oh it’s for so and so at church – my No 1 son says why do they get all the good stuff!!!  All joking aside, our children need to learn how to give and love others.

So if you have some doubts about your ability or are a little bit scared to cook for others here are a few tips that I follow.

  • Soup – soup is easy to make and teamed with some lovely bread it is a great meal.
  • Onions and celery are always my friends and are usually the first ingredients I use in a casserole.  They give any stew a great flavour base.
  • Make a tin based casserole, tuna, corn, champignons, evaporated milk.  Heat all this up, add some cheese and mix with pasta.
  • Bolognaise – every child I know loves spaghetti bolognaise.  Often I switch the spaghetti with noodles which makes it much easier to eat.
  • Muffins are great for a sweet accompaniment and once again they are easy to make (try my prize winning chocolate cake recipe if you don’t have one it’s very easy).

So if you feel there is someone at church, a neighbour or a friend who needs a hand, get out your recipe books or just make an old favourite, put on a smile and knock of their door.  I guarantee you they will appreciate it and your heart will soar.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

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If you have some easy casserole ideas or something special that you make for people, please share it …

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ON BEING A GRANDMA

I can’t explain the feeling that I got when I first found out that I was going to be a Grandma.

It was pure joy!!!   But underneath the joy it didn’t feel quite real either.  Who would have thought that I’d be a Grandma at age 45.

We have been truly blessed to be Grandparents at such a young age. We get lots of comments about being too young (which is quite nice I must admit – especially on those days when you feel a bit old and tired).

There was also some feelings of regret.  Why, you ask????

I suppose they are just irrational feelings that come at the end of a stage in your life.

We had No 1 daughter eleven months after we were married and awaited with anticipation for No 2 child to come along.  But we waited and waited and after 5 1/2 years he appeared.  His birth was not what I would call a pleasant experience and it truly put me off.  It wasn’t his fault, just a culmination of stuff that happened.

Life continued on and we moved house and changed jobs and sent the children to school and then decided that we would homeschool.

Those same magazines and articles that encouraged us to homeschool were also talking about children being a blessing and a joy.  The truth hit us as we allowed God to take over the control of our reproduction.

It took 3 years for me to conceive No 2 daughter.  Whilst watching our other friends have baby after baby I sat there asking God why, when we were doing His will, why wasn’t He fulfilling our desires.  I understand His ways to be  perfect and we just needed to wait (although it wasn’t easy).

No 2 daughter arrived almost 10 years after No 2 son.  She was beautiful.  We then suffered a miscarriage 16 months later, there had been some issues right from the start of that pregnancy but we were believing God to heal.  Once again His ways are perfect and His plan is perfect (and once again it wasn’t easy).

No 2 son arrived 2 1/2 years later and once again he was beautiful.

It amazed me that when I was young I didn’t conceive and needed some help with fertility medication and here I was at age 40 starting to be fruitful.

Another 14 months after No 2 son was born I was pregnant again, wow this was great.  We were so excited that it was so easy to handle the “oh not another one” comments from family and friends. But sadly this child was meant only for Heaven and she passed away at 26 weeks gestation.  This was true pain.  Lord we are doing your will, what is going on.

Her birth and our hospital experience was wonderful.  I have never had such an experience, the staff and doctors were really amazing and because we had been to the same hospital two times before there was a comaraderie that I didn’t experience the first 2 times.  God really blessed us through this experience and once again His ways are perfect.

Since then we haven’t conceived again and I suppose we wait to see if it will happen again.  I am scared somewhat to become pregnant but God is in control.

So to see our daughter having babies is such a blessing.  To be able to hold their little bodies and get to know them is a joy.

When our oldest granddaughter saw me last time she raised her arms and trotted over with a big smile on her face.  That was just the best feeling (and makes me teary now just writing about it).  It doesn’t matter to me that she probably does that to all the people at church – she did it to me and I know that even at her young age she knows me to be her Grandma.

Life is surely complete.

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