Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Health & Beauty - 10. Burn It

How are you all feeling? Are you ready for the New Year? I hope after all the reading (and exercising and good eating) you’ve been doing that you are healthier than you were last year. And I pray that your relationship with God is healthier too. Have you put any of the tips into practice?

I have one last tip to share with you and some good news to leave you with. (You’re welcome :).

10. The Burn:

Did you know that exercise goes on burning fat, even when you sleep? That’s right! So put your feet up and let your hard work pay off. Now if you haven’t been working overly hard, let me give you some encouragement.

Even when you don’t feel like getting up for a walk, you’ll always be glad you did. You get to start the day with energy and purpose. You enjoy creation and cool morning air and get home with plenty of time and patience for the morning routine.

And when you don’t feel like getting up to read the bible, go to church, or go to bible study, you’ll always be glad you did. You’ll have extra energy, more purpose, learn and enjoy more about God’s Word and His character, and have more time and patience to get through your day!

And the best part of putting that effort in? The effects keep multiplying even when you aren’t aware of it.

Your body, mind and spirit are off to the best start. They are in gear, ready to keep you healthy, happy and honed for your daily tasks. You are training your body to continue in the way you want it to go, and starting your mind down the path you want it to follow for the rest of the day.

Keep it up! You’ll love the ‘new you’! Put your alarm on for the morning and start the day right. And 2011 is upon us, get in training now so you can start the new year with a new resolve, new passion, and maybe even a new dress size ;)

I hope that throughout the year you have received some inspiration and some tips to living well. I hope your clothes are a better fit after you put some of that into practice and you find that life is a better fit too.

Here’s what we covered in 2010…

1. Get A Diary
2. Weigh In
3. Get Ready
4. Metabolise
5. Resist
6. Watch Out!
7. Don’t Skip
8. Happy Meals
9. Get Out
10. Burn It

Let me know if it worked!


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Thursday, October 21, 2010

ps I won!

Just a little update in the Telstra saga - I was right! The contract was filled in incorrectly and the charge should not be an extra charge on my bill. It will however, still show up as $11/month but that should be a part of the overall agreed cost.

Moral of the story - dont sign anything until you read it thoroughly. Hopefully it might save you more than $11 one day!

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Health & Beauty - 9. Get Out

Lets have a little re-cap of what we have covered this year so far in our quest for a healthier body and soul. If you’ve missed any, or you want a refresher, you can find them all by scrolling down.

1. Get A Diary
2. Weigh In
3. Get Ready
4. Metabolise
5. Resist
6. Watch Out!
7. Don’t Skip
8. Happy Meals
And this month’s tip –
9. Get Out.

If you’ve been following along this year I trust you have already noticed that you will not notice any difference unless you put what you have learnt into practice. Maybe you are waiting to find out exactly what is required before making the decision to embarking on a lifestyle which promotes physical and spiritual health – good! Jesus encouraged his listeners in Luke 14 to count the cost, just as someone would when they were building a tower or going to war.

If you aren’t prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to see change, then accept that is where you are at the moment. Don’t keep talking about it if you are unprepared to count the cost, saying things like “Oh I try but it doesn’t work for me”. Be honest. I don’t mind hearing “I’m not doing to well with that at the moment” because that is the perfect place to start when you do decide to change.

Physical and spiritual health requires discipline. It is extremely rewarding, has great results, and isn’t really that hard if you get organized, get honest and get out, but you’ve got to be committed. So are you ready? Are you already on track? Well Get Out.

By far the most important factor in losing weight is going for a walk almost every morning or doing an equal amount of regular exercise. And the spiritual discipline I have found most helpful in keeping me healthy is getting up a little earlier each morning to pray and read the Bible. And once you are out of bed, it isn’t a trial at all!

I enjoy the fresh air and warm sunshine (alright – I am having a bit of trouble with that at the moment, cooler mornings under the doonah won over getting up for a walk), and I enjoy the freshness of starting the day with my Saviour. The rewards are well worth the cost!

So tomorrow morning, or even right now: get out, it only takes one step to be back on track!

See you out there!

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Cost

I am usually pretty switched on. I can pick an email hoax, a possible scam, and find out the 'hidden' costs behind things that are too good to be true almost every time. So I am kicking myself for signing a contract without reading the final clause and clarifying the salesperson's mistake filling it out. I even rang Bryce to check it was ok, so definitely was lead to believe that $35 was all a new T-Box from Telstra was going to cost me with my new home phone and internet bundle. I had a few concerns when I picked up the contract a few days after taking the T-Box home, but when I received the bill my fears were confirmed. I had inadvertently signed up for the $11 per month repayment option. (I didnt even NEED a T-box!)

I am just going to have to wear the cost unfortunately. I really really hate it when I undertake to do something and the cost is far more than I accounted for. Like when going to the movies costs $50, or helping someone takes all day, or a simple glitch takes a lot to fix.

I know some people who may have the same problem with Christianity when they start to understand, or hear for the first time that there may be more involved than they were aware when they 'signed up'. I am extremely glad to say that there are is no small print in being a disciple of Jesus, no hidden clauses, no monthly repayment options, but it is important to know what is involved.

Some think that being a Christian means going to church occasionally and acting a certain way (when other Christians are looking). And when they are challenged to submit their whole life to Jesus they are a bit concerned that their way of life might be compromised and that this is 'more than they bargained for'.

Although the terms are interchangable to some degree, being a disciple (a follower) of Jesus is different to merely believing in Him. The word 'Christian' is only used 3 times in the NIV text, whereas the word disciple is used almost 300 times. Disciples in Biblical times literally follwed Jesus. They gave up what they were doing and went with Jesus wherever He was.

Many people today don't give up anything to be called a Christian but this is vastly different to what Jesus taught, and indeed different to what Christians have experienced throughout the centruries.

Jesus said "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23). He also likened the decision to someone counting the cost before building a tower, or going to war and said again in the same passage "Any of you who does not give up everything cannot be my disciple". (Luke 14:25-33)

Jesus does not ask us to give away everything that we have and do, but to be prepared to give it up for Him. And he advises us to count the cost before we decide.

There was one instance that Jesus asked a man to give it all away, because He knew the man would not be prepared to give it up. You can read that story in Luke 18 and apart from this man and the 12 disciples, there is only 1 other recorded instance of Jesus asking someone to follow Him. The rich young ruler in this passage declined the greatest invitation in history because he thought the cost was too great.

No cost is too great to follow the Saviour. Yes, there is a cost, but the reward is eternal life with God and abundant life here on earth! It is well worth it.

Have you decided to follow Jesus? If not, I'd love to talk to you more about it! Even if you are already a believer, yet so far have declined the invitation to be a disciple, its not too late! When you read the Bible you hold in your hand (or on your screen) the greatest invitation of all history. Never will there be a greater command for you to follow or offer for you to accept.

And as soon as you do, you will experience life to the full! Count the cost. Give it up. Follow Jesus and experience life like you have never known before!

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Health & Beauty - 8. Happy Meals

This was the 8th of 10 articles published in ConXion magazine's Health and Beauty Section in 2010.

“Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Tim 4:8).

How did your skipping ban go last month? Well, I hope! For those of you following along, we are now up to our 8th tip on the way to a healthy body and soul – Happy Meals.

At first glance you might think I am advocating a weekly trip to MacDonalds (which my kids would love!) but I hope you know me well enough by now to simply raise an eyebrow and continue reading.

If I let my kids order at Maccas their request would include large sized frozen drinks, burgers, nuggets, fries and dessert, but I know they only need a small meal to fill them. The point of a ‘happy meal’ is to have a small portion size – or in other words: Don’t have too much on your plate.

So often we put too much on our plate either because we lack something else in our diet or what we are considering looks too good to pass up. Learn to listen to your body and know what it feels like to have had enough. Take some time between serves, don’t say yes to a second helping straight away.

Start with a smaller plate – decide beforehand how much you need or can handle, and stick to it. I find, if I am honest with myself, a kid sized plate really is enough for me. Especially if I have been filling myself with good food the rest of the day. And actually, I have found myself saying, “No thanks, I don’t need that right now”, because I know I am full and not craving the sweet stuff which only makes me feel good temporarily.

The same occurs in life, I need to decide how much energy or time I am going to give and stick to it! There are so many ‘good’ things to do but only a few things will be truly what I need. And if I fill myself daily and am nourished by the Word, I won’t be trying to overdo it with things that make me feel good only for a moment.

It might be time to have a look at your weekly menu and see if you need to include some more nourishing items or cut back on the excess. If you put too much on your plate you will be overloaded by calories or stress, which may very well have been your problem in the first place. It requires a lot of self control not heaping up an extra serving of roast lamb and gravy, and extra big piece of cheesecake or saying yes to that newly offered position, but if you say no at first and sit back, almost every time you will find that it was necessary anyway. And if you change your mind, it is even more satisfying!

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Health & Beauty - 7. Don't Skip

This was the 7th of 10 articles published in ConXion magazine's Health and Beauty Section in 2010.

“Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Tim 4:8).

While there are many and varied ways to stay fit and healthy, there is one I would advise against and is the 7th in our series of Health and Beauty tips – Don’t Skip.

To the embarrassment of my children, I do occasionally skip along when walking with them (though they have asked me not to do that at school anymore), and I would like to have my childhood ability to skip with a rope but have somehow lost the coordination to do so effectively. The caution in this tip is not about skipping, but about not skipping things that build you up.

While cutting down is the first logical thing to do when you have been overloading, cutting out meals isn’t the right way to go about it. Your metabolism needs a kick start in the morning to wake it up and breakfast is the perfect and natural way of doing that. Even if you don’t feel like eating, make a healthy smoothie or try some other cereals or fruit. Skipping other meals in the day may also be detrimental to your health if you are not careful.

Work out what you need (use a dietary calculator if you like) and do it well. Depending on your age, height, and activity level, you will require different amounts of calories to thrive. Too little and you may suffer from a weakened immune system or lack of energy. Too much and obviously your health and fitness suffers.

Don’t skip things that build you up. If you’re stressed out or overloaded, pray and think about cutting out things which have little value or aren’t beneficial to you or others. If you are starving for good activities, pray and consider volunteering at your church or in your community. Make sure what you fill your days with is promoting healthy growth.

If you do need to cut down, make sure you keep a good amount of things that build you up and are nutritious for your soul. Sometimes when people are stressed out they cut out church, bible study and women’s groups. Be careful, cutting out healthy things that build you up and keep you going isn’t usually the best option!

Plan your days to include food for your body and your soul that is the right type and the right amount for you at the moment. This may change as you increase in your physical and spiritual health, but do some research to find out what will be best for you and enjoy the feeling of being healthy!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Missing The Point

I was thinking about her all day yesterday. I was pondering what I could do to help her or encourage her. I couldn't really think of anything that would make her situation any better, but I did have a strong feeling of what I should write. I had it all worded, had my phone in my hand ready to text (and yes that would have been better than a call for this situation)... but I didn't do it.

It wasn't intentional. Something interrupted me and then I put it off and then I was busy and then it slipped my mind... Until this morning when talking to another friend who mentioned that she had done the very thing I was going to do. Now that is both reassuring and disturbing - Reassuring that God still sent the encouragement that she needed but disturbing that I missed out on being the one through whom it came. It's not a lack of rewards I am referring to but a lack of obedience. I am so sorry.

Writing that encouraging note obviously was what she needed that day. It seems to be that the prodding of my heart was probably His Spirit prompting me, even giving me the words to say. But I didn't!

There are always consequences for disobedience. In this case, I let down my King. I hate it when I do that (though He is very used to it by now ;). Someone else got given the assignment that was mine. But this isn't always the case.

Have you ever said or heard someone else say "oh, I was thinking of you right at that moment and was going to call" or "I was going to make dinner/mind kids/give a gift". I definitely give credit for "the thought", but I'm sure I'm speaking for those people I have let down as well when I say, I could really have done with that! Sometimes the assignment isn't completed because of our unfaithfulness.

God's plans are never thwarted, He knows the situation, and He knows in advance if you are going to be faithful with the mission He gives you. But He gives us opportunities to support, encourage, and bless others sometimes in amazing ways. And sometimes He chooses not to have a backup plan.

Don't miss it when God points someone out and prompts you to speak, call, pray, help or give. Don't miss the point of your situation - it may be that where you are, whether it seems a blessing or a trial, is yours to use to bless others. Don't miss the point of your existence. If you are still alive it means God isn't finished with you yet!

So each morning, check in with your commanding officer so you are ready to accept your orders when they come. Then when you get them, do it! And on that day, when your time of active duty comes to an end, you will stand before your King and He will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

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Monday, July 5, 2010

A Face In The Crowd

21 Days in hospital is a very very long time. It doesn’t actually provide an excuse for not writing, as there was plenty of ‘time’, however a 7 year old with a burst appendix and a number of complications stretching over 4 weeks and 3 hospitals can be a tad taxing.

Amidst the concern and tiredness and helplessness we have felt over the last month, there have been times of encouragement and blessing. Many of these glimpses of light in dark places came from the friendly faces that were sent our way, often in the form of caring nurses right when we needed them. In Bundaberg I joked that one nurse might be an angel but was even more curious when she popped her head in the next night and said “I just floated over here from the other side to check how you are”. I knew it! ;)

In Bundaberg, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, there have been those nurses whose smile and genuine interest and care really made my day and made our stay less stressful. It was the extra care in checking the canula, staying a little longer to listen to a girl’s concerns, allowing extra time to explain the procedure or give a hug or play a game. The kindness in their faces and the time they took to connect with us improved our outlook on our circumstances. I appreciated them so much and was almost ready to plan the kids’ university degrees when I noticed a similar face… at McDonalds, and then at the grocery store, and then in the lift.

Each of these smiles, conversations or offers of help brightened my day and I not only noticed, but remembered with gratefulness their small yet tangible gifts. You don’t have to be a nurse to care for people, and you don’t have to work in a hospital to help people in their time of need. So often, a person’s day can be changed by a simple smile, a helping hand, a kind word. If you do work where people are in difficult circumstances, then you have more opportunities than most of us to shine a little light. But for most of us, being that face in the crowd is about showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control wherever we are. And you may never know how you helped someone ‘look up’ on a dark day.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Health & Beauty - 6. Watch Out!

This was the 6th of 10 articles published in ConXion magazine's Health and Beauty Section in 2010.
“Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Tim 4:8).

How are you? Is it cold where you are? Are you enjoying the selection of winter dishes and fruits? My kids are enjoying strawberries but missing mangoes. Are you still getting up early for that walk or is it a bit chilly? We have covered a lot this year so far: Get a diary, weigh in, stock up, metabolise, resist and now 6. Watch Out!

And this article is inspired by a tiny phrase I guarantee you will all hear this week if you listen out – “Just one”. You might hear it at morning tea, in the supermarket, at coffee, at home, or in your head.

Are you the type of person who can not stop at just one?

Just one biscuit. Just one cup. Just one slice. Just one minute. Just one day.

‘Just one’ is never enough! If I buy into the lie of ‘just one’ I end up compromising everything I have worked for that day, that week or that month!

If I am working towards my physical health, I have to realize what certain foods do to my body and my hunger. If I eat sugary or highly processed carbohydrates, I crave more of the same. A packet of fruit Mentos or some McDonalds fries and a Coke make me feel good temporarily, but not for very long, and I end up eating more of that kind of stuff.

And if I compromise on spiritual values such as loyalty, honesty and integrity, it gets easier and easier to do worse and worse. So, for me, it is way healthier and easier for me if I don’t.

Allowing just one untruth can lead to lying. Sharing just one story can lead to gossip. Taking just one look can lead to lust. Saying just one word can lead to slander. ‘Just one’ is a temptation I cannot afford to entertain. The consequences far outweigh the immediate gratification.

In terms of your indulgence in unhealthy food, the consequences vary between individuals but if you indulge in unhealthy behaviour, the consequences will slowly but surely lead down the same path. If we are physically unhealthy we are unable to function efficiently and if we are indulging in sin – going our own way instead of God’s way – our relationships with God and with others suffer.

It is possible to stop at just one, or not start at all – “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

So next time you are tempted to have ‘just one’ or ‘just one more’ stop and think about the consequences, look for that way out and ask our awesome God for a helping hand.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

For A Laugh

My kids have provided us (and some of you) with many chuckles over the years. Due to popular demand, here is a list of just some of the things they have said and done...

Little Miss H started with the quotable quotes when she was 2, SuperMan J Jnr bloomed a bit later (about 4) but is still rolling them out at almost-6!

J: Does God love people with no hair?
me: Yes of course, he loves everyone the same.
J: Yes, but does he liiiiike bald people as much as the other people?

J: When I grow up I am either going to be a farm keeper or a tooth fairy.

J: Did you just hear that big bang on the roof - the BANG with the little bangs and then the rolling? Well that wasnt me, I didnt do that.

me: A is for apple, B is for ...
J: Jump!
me: No J, B is for box.
J: No Mum, in Super Mario, B is for jump.
I stand corrected.

J: I'm NOT jumping on the lounge, I'm jumping OFF the lounge

Josh was playing UNO with God but God kept losing because He didn't say UNO in time and had to keep picking up two extra cards.

J: Is it spring? Can you put us in a cave and we come out at Christmas time?
me: Yes, Yes I can.

me: Go to your room
J: Well I'm not going to my birthday then!

Sep 05
D. {Putting H's boots on}
H. Ow, a ‘pea’, a ‘pea’!!!!
D. {takes H's boot off – a plastic letter “P” falls out!}

H. Mum there is a spider in my room. It has…..(thinking…1….2….) 3 legs.
D. I thought spiders had 8 legs?
H. (thinking again……) oh like an optopus!

H {to Mike taking his vitamins} Are those tablets to make babies or stop babies coming?

D Hannah, mummy doesn’t feel like talking any more
H That’s ok mummy, Ill just talk to Jesus

The Getting Off Thing – Can Opener

The Killing Thing – Fly Spray

24 Sep 05
H. When is the storm coming?
D. When its ready.
H Is it having time out?
H. Does it have to stay in its room?
H. Did it disobey its mummy?

April 06

H I know everything
D Actually you don’t know everything. What is my middle name?
H {doesn’t know, learns J,B,D’s middle names}
H Now I DO know everything!

May 06
D Drying H hair with towel
H ow, Ow, OW …. Do you remember what ow means?

May 06
H When Jejus was on the cross, and Jejus is God, when he was on the cross and he was talking to God, who was he talking to – himself or another God?
D [tries to explain father,son,spirit concept of God]
H Oh mum, I’m just a kid, I don’t understand.

June 06
H When do people die?
D When they’re old, very old.
H …..isnt it cool Mrs Perry is still alive!

Aug 06
[all of us driving very early to the airport to go to Melbourne]
H [sees the sun rising]
H look! We went for a drive and we found the morning!!

Sep 06
H [birthday – opening presents]
H [gets bananas from nanna and grandpa (cost $12/kg re cyclone larry)]
H Wow! Are they real??

Nov 06
H [incessantly asking questions in the car]
D why do you ask so many questions?
H cause I don’t know everything yet!
D oh [I'm in for a long haul aren’t I!]

Nov 06
D sorry that sometimes I don’t speak nicely to you
H yes mum, sometimes you say naughty words like ‘go away’
D I'm sorry, I do love you very much you know
H sometimes you have a bad attitude
D yes, sometimes I do
H but you know, I still love you even when you say naughty words and have a bad
D thanks H
H no worries mum

8 Dec 06
H [at a freinds house when Corinne broke a glass]
H you should have been more careful
C yes I should have
H God can fix that you know
C I don’t think he works like that H
H [to B (also 4yrs)]
H she just doesn’t understand
H come on B, lets pray.

14 Dec06

H I'm tired of being a kid mum. I wanna be an adult
D Why’s that H?
H You get to make your own sammiches and do cool stuff like that

March 07 (J's first quotable quote)
D {takes the plug out of the bath}
J goodbye water, thanks for having me!

April 07

H oww
D whats wrong?
H i have those sprinkles that go on your feet when you’ve been on the toilet a long time
D pins and needles?
H yeah!

And you may have already read these ones...

H: Who was Captain Cook?
D: He was the first man from across the seas to discover Australia in 1770.
H: Did he die?
D: Yes, that was a long time ago.
H: Yes I know, Peter Pan pushed him off the boat.
D: That was Captain Hook!

My 3 yr old son was commentating while we were driving on the way to 10 pin bowling the other day:

J: Thats not bowling
J: Thats not bowling
J: Thats Mr Hannicks
J: Thats not bowling
D: Who is Mr Hannick?
J: Where Daddy's car is!
D: The Mechanic?
J: Yeah, Mick Hannick.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Health & Beauty - 5. Resist!

This was the 5th of 10 articles published in ConXion magazine's Health and Beauty Section in 2010.

“for physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Tim 4:8).

Well, we are almost half way through the year, and half way through our 10 tips for living healthier, both physically and spiritually.

How’s your health? Do you have more energy and enthusiasm than before? Are you finding it easy to live a healthier life? Have you had any rough patches? Have you quit already?
Tip number 5: RESIST! It is a short word but it takes a lot of practice ;)

If you are like me, you would have expected there to be hiccups and obstacles in the path to healthier living. I refrained from buying a new pair of runners because I wasn’t even sure I’d last out the week let alone a year! Some of you, however, would have been surprised about how easily you were tempted to stray from your path of right living.

Why is it that when we attempt to cut down on something that we find it immediately irresistible? There have been times in my life when I haven’t even lasted half a day on a diet! I think the reason is that we don’t find a good enough replacement.

If we don’t have some yummy salad ingredients in the fridge it will be even more tempting to snack on biscuits or have that leftover pizza. And if we don’t have a supply of Bible verses committed to memory it will be more tempting to continue in unhealthy thinking.

If worry is your midnight snack then memorise Philippians 4:6-7
If you have a secret stash of impure thoughts use Philippians 4:8
If you occasionally down a cup of cursing learn James 3:9-10
If you order a slice of gossip with friends remember Ephesians 4:29
If you find yourself with a mouthful of bitterness chew on Ephesians 4:31-32

Have a stroll through the grocery department and note down ingredients which will be good and filling substitutes for your previous diet and have a read through the Bible, especially the Letters, noting down helpful verses which will be good substitutes for your unhealthy thoughts.

As you develop a healthier body you will crave those sweet things less and as you draw closer to Jesus you will love Him more and spend more time in His word which will decrease your desire for those things which are harmful to your health.

It is then that you will “do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life”. Phil 2:14-16

Resist, and shine on!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Give It Up

I've been working hard lately on trying to teach my kids respect for others and showing love. If you ask my 5 or 7 year old my rules about respect they will tell you the 3 P's - Respect for Parents, Respect for other People, and Respect for Property. However getting them to live out these principles is a lot harder than remembering them!

I want to instill in them things like giving up their seats for older people, opening doors for others, speaking kindly, making eye contact, responding to greetings, not reacting in anger, and giving up the right to have the biggest piece, the first place, the best prize.

I was reading through Ephesians and these verses helped to draw all that together and bring it home.

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
(Ephesians 4:29-5:2)

Instead of words that build others up, I had been exhibiting a bit too much of the unwholesome variety. Not looking to others needs but my own. Not characterised by kindness and compassion. Not imitating God but imitating others. Not giving myself up, but living for myself. I don't think most people would have noticed, it was a slow change. I was busy, tired and getting a little run down. But instead of reaching for the Spring of Living Water, I went into drought conservation mode.

But looking to yourself only makes things worse. It harbours bitterness, promotes anger, encourages brawling, and lets slip slander. Soon you don't even notice the needs of others because you are so caught up in yourself and expending all your energy trying to make yourself feel good again. It's a lost cause. No amount of water conservation is going to bring life to our land, we need God to send rain. And no amount of effort on our part will quench the thirst within that only God can fill.

We don't have to 'hope' and 'wait' for God to refresh us and fill us with his life giving water, all we have to do is contained, almost hidden, in those verses and is like turning on a tap to our parched souls. Look at the 'just as' phrases: '..just as Christ forgave you.' '..just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us..'.

When we recognise what God did for us in Jesus - dying for us so that our sin is paid for and we can be reconciled to God, and when we dwell on that love and that sacrifice and allow the truth of that to truly sink in, we are transformed from the inside.

Because God has forgiven me, I forgive others. Because God loves me, I look to the needs of others. Because Jesus gave himself up for me, I will give up my 'rights' for others.

And when THAT is my focus, I have more joy, more peace and more passion than ever before.

It doesn't make sense that giving up our right to ourselves will set us free, but it does. It doesn't make sense that giving up our striving will give us peace, but it does. And it doesn't make sense that giving up our heart will give us life, but it is the greatest change you will ever experience.

You just have to give it up.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Health & Beauty - 4. Metabolise!

This was the 4th of 10 articles published in ConXion magazine's Health and Beauty Section in 2010.

for physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Tim 4:8).

In the past 3 months of ConXion I have encouraged you to live healthier both in your physical and spiritual life. The first three articles were about getting organised - get a diary, weigh in and stock up. The next few will be about getting honest. If you are brave enough, read on.
This months topic is Number 4 – Metabolise.

Metabolism is basically how you process what goes in to your body. A ‘fast metabolism’ is very good at using and reallocating the good things in the food that you eat. A ‘slow metabolism’ is less efficient and often a lot of possibly good stuff goes to waste because it is not used.

I tried the ‘slow metabolism’ excuse for my extra weight until I read a little and realised a little something. Metabolism is directly related to how much muscle and fat you currently have. This was bad news as I had lost one more excuse, but good news, as I could do something about it.

In order to teach my body to use the nutrients and energy in food in the best way, I have to daily remind it of our goal. Aerobic and resistance exercises help to reduce fat and increase muscle which in turn increases metabolism.

In the same way, in order to make the best use of the material and circumstances I come in contact with each day, I have to train my mind so that it keeps more of the good stuff and less of the bad. I need Aerobic exercises – time with my Heavenly Father and in His word and Resistance exercises – time with others both in fellowship and service.

I’ve realized that skinny people don’t just have good metabolism, most of them actually do exercise and generally eat well. And ‘good’ people don’t just have a good conscience, most of them spend time reading the Bible and seek to honour God in what they do.

Now that you have all that you need (structure, accountability and resources from our first 3 topics), its time to give up the excuses and take some action to improve your health both physically and spiritually.

Train your body and you will get more out of life. And how much you get out of the Bible and get out of church has more to do with how you have trained your mind than how it makes you feel. It wont happen overnight, but if you keep it up, you will notice the change, and so will those looking on!

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Health & Beauty - 3. Get Ready

This article was the 3rd of 10 appearing in ConXion Magazine's Health and Beauty Section in 2010.

OK ladies (or gentlemen ;), you have your diary to get organised, you are committed to weighing in regularly to keep accountable, the third thing to do is get ready!

1. Get a Diary
2. Weigh In
3. Get Ready

In order to improve the health of your body or your life, you need to make sure you have the supplies that you need, otherwise there is no chance you'll make it past the first hurdle.

For exercise, I required shoes and clothing for walking, sync'd my ipod, got rid of my favourite biscuits, chocolates and sweets (that was fun ;) and stocked up on healthy alternatives and water bottles.

For my spiritual toning up I dusted off my Bible, put away my magazines and got out a good devotional book and occasionally an uplifting novel.

What you choose to put in will have a direct effect on your progress both physically and spiritually.

To tell you the truth, I was going to buy a new pair of shoes to start my daily walking, but I couldn't guarantee this whole exercise and eating healthy thing would last more than a few days so I didn't! Most of the time, our good intentions are thwarted by opportunity. The snacks in the cupboard, the ice-cream in the freezer, the morning tea at church. The trashy novel that we haven't finished, our favourite TV shows, magazines, music or the internet.

We can be reassured though, that we are not alone. Throughout history God has always provided his people with instructions on how to live life to the full. The Bible is our manual for living and is full of troubleshooting tips for problems of life such as this.

"Whatever is whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Phil 4:8. If you want to eat right, it is good to have a list of foods acceptable and available for you to substitute what you used to eat. And if you want to live right, the same is true. Think about these things, or, as my mum says, "what goes in, must come out!" She neglected to tell me that the 'out' would happen on my hips!

So as you embark on or get real about your journey to spiritual and physical fitness, make sure you have all that you need and remove the obstacles you are able to. But thats not ALL you need… its not all about your effort and preparation, God wants to help to overcome those struggles, limitations and hinderances, if only you would submit your life to Him. "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose" Phil 2:13.

Off you go, Ill be praying for you :)

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Health & Beauty - 2. Weigh In

This is the second article published in ConXion Magazine's 2010 Health and Beauty Section.

So, do you have your diary? Last month you read about the need to get organised to begin to be healthy in both body and soul. The first necessity on the list was to get a diary so you can set aside time, both to exercise and to spend time with God.

The second thing I challenge you to do is to weigh in.

1. Get a Diary
2. Weigh In

I was given a Wii Fit for mothers day and so every day, even when I know I have done the wrong thing (eaten badly or missed exercise), I weigh in and it keeps track of my progress. It gives me good tips on exercise and healthy eating. If I haven’t weighed in for some time, it comments on my tardiness and encourages me to get back into it. If my weight has gone up more than a certain amount, I have to explain! And what’s worse, that explanation is recorded! But if I have been exercising and eating right, the result is encouraging and it’s nice having ‘someone’ to share it with.

Now that’s stretching the analogy a bit far, my little talking wii balance board is hardly a friend (and doesn’t scold me for turning him off just before the explanation part so I don’t have to ‘fess up!)

You need to be accountable to aid in being disciplined, so that you can recognize the consequences of making wrong choices, and so you can be encouraged in the good that is being done. And, even though it might require time and transparency, you need some other ladies to do that with.

Just like a good Bible Study group, the accountability and encouragement keeps me coming back. There is great teaching on good Biblical truths, accountability as to how I am really travelling with God and with others, and encouragement to make the right choices throughout the coming week. Knowing a friend will ask me if I’ve been spending time with God is an excellent motivation for those times when it would be easy to drift out of the habit.

You need to weigh in regularly, and adjust your behaviour and habits if you want to be healthy. Join a group; they will give you training, companionship, accountability and encouragement. Join a church or ladies Bible study; we’re here for the same thing!

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Heb 10:25

p.s. I wanted to get into shape for a special occasion, and worked harder as the day approached. How much more should we be getting into shape for the imminent return of our Lord!

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Health & Beauty - 1. Get A Diary

This is the first of 10 articles that appeared in ConXion magazine's Health and Beauty Section in 2010.

You see the ads everywhere you turn: in the shopping centres, on television, on the internet. Everyone is looking for a quick way to get thin. Lots of people are looking for convenient ways to get fit. Some people want to look like their favourite celebrities. But what Jenny or Tony don’t advertise, is that there is no quick or easy way to lose those unwanted kilos or build up those flabby muscles. It takes hard work and determination.

But wait, don’t skip over to another page just yet! Each month in Conxion we will share with you a simple yet effective tip to get you started and help you stay on track for a healthy life. And for those of you worried this will turn into a ‘Christian Womens Weekly’ or a ‘New Christian Idea’: fear not! – “for physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Tim 4:8). And so, realising the great importance of shaping up spiritually, and the parallels between physical and spiritual discipline, allow me to share with you the overview for this Column.

1. Get Organised
2. Get Honest
3. Get Out

And our first of ten points we will cover this year is… Get A Diary.

Not very profound, but it may be just what you need to start. There is no way you can be disciplined in the physical or spiritual aspects of life if the rest of your life is disorganized. I have tried desperately to disprove this theory by struggling to accomplish everything while being disorganised but it only leads to stress and failure.

You need to set time aside for important things, and be able to look back and evaluate how you spent your time. It is vitally important you set aside time to exercise, and even record your diet or your weight, but it is essential for the health of our soul that we spend time with our Heavenly Father each day. It’s a great resource to look back over what He has taught you, how He has helped and grown you, and what verses His Spirit has highlighted to encourage or challenge you.

I feel much saner with my diary because I am able to write down the tasks or concerns occupying my mind, and I feel the same way when I start the day in prayer to God. I can share all that is bothering me, concerning me, or just busying my mind, and when I allow Him to put them on His ‘to-do’ list I am able to go out into my day tackling one task at a time.

It’s the perfect time to get a diary – it’s the start of a year, it’s a great time for new-years resolutions, and the diaries are on special! What are you waiting for?

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Friday, February 19, 2010


We got a good deal at the Tender Centre on a Foosball Table. Bryce noticed it from the other side of the auction house and was interested immediately. It grabbed his attention and he thought it would be great for youth group. It had a low reserve and for a sturdy table was a great price.

We almost didn't pick up this great deal however, when I dismissed my husband's suggestion because in my mind, half the handles were missing. We were all the way over the other side of the auction hall before I voiced my reason and he pointed out with a smile on his face that 'half the handles' are on the other side!

I wonder what other people see when they look at us. I hope they see something of interest, grace that grabs their attention, peace that sparks their curiosity, but I know that some people are turned away by an apparent flaw - we have relinquished control of the big decisions and direction of our life - half the handles are 'missing'!

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of things we are responsible for and enough to keep us busy, but there are some moves we were not meant to play. For those tragic or tricky situations, it is so freeing knowing we can trust Him who made the table and holds the handles. And once we relinquish control of having to do everything ourselves and worry about the outcome of things we have little or no control over, we can 'play' our part in conjunction with him and see the table of life how it was meant to be. We can watch the plays unfold and give credit to the strong and quick hands on the other side.

A friend asked me recently if I was worried about a certain situation and if I was going to intervene to force the outcome I was hoping for? Nope. The handle is on the other side. Should I have stressed about my skin cancer op? Nope. Handle's on the other side. Was I fretting when Josh was in hospital with aneurysms in his heart? Nope. Handle's on the other side. Oh but I was praying! And it was the best thing I could do.

There are decisions that have to be made, calls to be made, applications to be written, challenges, confrontations and work to be done. But next time you are about to take control, pray about whether it should be done, whether it is your responsibility, and remember - some handles are on the other side.

Game on :)

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Thursday, February 11, 2010


I didn't mind my kids being around my feet as they were toddlers but I have been finding myself lately saying things like "move", "get out of the kitchen", and "what are you doing here?" (in a kind motherly way of course ;).

They LOVE to help in the kitchen. And for a brief period of time, they are even enjoying washing up (though unpacking the dishwasher has sadly lost it's novelty). When I have tasks for them to do, I like having them help, but sometimes I discover the results of them 'helping' withouth being asked or 'helping themselves' when I step onto a floor covered in sugar or see a trail of chocolate sauce or vegemite handprints all the way from the kitchen to the lounge.

Sometimes they are trying to help me and other times they are helping themselves but unless I have actually given them a task to do, they are often just in the way, or getting into things that aren't good for them.

I like to be helpful too, and often I have great ideas of how I can help God in my church, in my family, help other people or even help my self. But I am getting the feeling sometimes I might be in the way. Sometimes I am allowed in God's kitchen - the steam room where things are happening. Sometimes he asks me to pick up a mess, or give some refreshment, or add some spice to what He is doing and I love helping Him out! Its definitely the best feeling ever. But, like my kids, then I hang around and start doing things myself which just makes a mess or throws off the timing or I help myself to something which wasn't meant for me.

Its high time I just sat down, watched Him work, chatted about things and asked if there was anything He would like me to do. And He might even say, "Alright, since you asked, this encouragement is just about ready, you can serve it up for me" or "Yes, I have been saving this step for you". I know He is the one who does all the preparation, planning, measuring, timing and garnishing and He gets all the credit, but I just LOVE it when He lets me help :).

Where are you at the moment - Right beside Him following instructions? Helping out or helping yourself? Or doing something unproductive and not in the kitchen at all?

Well...move! ;)

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Apply Daily

My skin is much healthier if I take care of it and give it lots of moisturising. My face is smoother, my feet are nicer and my hands even have less wrinkles. And when I take time out for renewal on the inside I also have less rough bits ;). So here's a little tip to combine the two.

Daily Moisturising Routine

1. Face

As you moisturise your face, think about the times in the last day where your countenance has not reflected God's, when your lips have not spoken kindness, when you used your looks to bring condemnation rather than encouragement, when you spent too much time looking at something you shouldn't.

Then pray that for the coming day your lips would speak truth and encouragement, your smile would brighten someones day, your eyes will see people as God sees them, that your ears would truly listen to what other's are sharing, that your whole being would reflect Him.

2. Hands

As you moisturise your hands, first concentrate on worship - hands lifted in praise to God. Spend some time reflecting on God's goodness and character. Have a psalm open beside you and pray the words through. Thank God for answered prayer and for His blessings in your life.

Next focus on prayer for others - hands folded in petition to God. Pray for your spouse, kids, parents, siblings, friends and others who come to mind. Memorise some applicable verses to give you specific things to pray for like Philippians 1:9-11.

Now think about service - hands busy at work. If you don't have anything particular planned for your day/week/month, ask God to guide you to an area He would like you to serve in. You may already be doing it, so don't assume otherwise, but ask anyway. Pray that whatever tasks you put your hand to would be as if you were serving Him, that He would bless your work and the people it affects, and remember to give the glory to Him when He accomplishes what He planned.

And then think about the times your hands reach out to hold another's. Whether it be your spouse, your children, or someone in need, pray and ask for God's grace and love to have the time, energy and forethought to be thinking of these special people God has entrusted to your care.

Your Feet

These may just be the most neglected but most used part of your body. Pray as you work on the dry areas, that God would show you the dry areas in your life which need attention. As he reveals things, commit them to prayer and then seek to spend more time on those areas in the coming days. He might show you that your soul is dry and needs more time with him, that you need to put your faith into action more or that you need more time with other Christians.
Think about the general direction of your life. Ask God if its what He wants you to be doing, and if not, that He would show you what needs to change.

Trust him for the daily steps you need to take. Tell him if you are worried or apprehensive about something. Let Him add it to His heavenly 'to do' list. Ask Him to direct you to specific tasks he has set out for you in the coming day. It might be to help a stranger, it might be to make dinner for a friend, it might be to tell someone about Him for the first time.

Apply these steps daily and I guarantee you will feel renewed inside and out and you'll have fewer rough spots than you did before ;)

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do." Eph 2:10

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