Home Sweet Home

I imagine most of us have driven home from somewhere special or out of the ordinary in the last week. Christmas time seems to draw us together with our family, friends and community. It is not always an easy road to take though – families are fraught with unspoken conflict, lack of forgiveness, misunderstandings, grief and loss. For many people it is a season to reconcile, make a new blended family work, sought out a new family arrangement with parents who have parted ways. It is a hard road home.
For some it is the everyday, bumpy ride home that is ordinary. The hum drum job that is going nowhere, the car full of tired, hungry, cranky kids or the feeling of stress after you have stretched the budget for Christmas gifts and have ignored the mounting bills that must be paid. Home is not always sweet.

One of the joys of where we live now, is that we enjoy coming home. It is good to get away. But it is good to return home. I am thankful for my family. But even more grateful for my Father God – I am a part of His family and life here and now is one big journey coming home.

This is a photo of the road home……..

The Eye of the Storm

Christmas Night – twas not a silent night tonight. We drove back home from the city and into a wild storm. We could see the clouds mounting, gathering force and energy in the sky. It was almost apocalyptic in size and shape…….

Then hail stones the size of golf balls pelted from the sky. The freeway traffic came to a standstill and we took cover under a bridge, cars side by side like in a parking lot.

And then half an hour later we drove through sunshine and bright skies.

Nature reminding us of the Creator on the day we celebrate the birth of Christ. Nice one.

The Reason for Christmas

This should be obvious…..you would hope. But for many it is not. Christ is the reason for Christmas. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. If you are not sure who He is and why you need to know you may find this list helpful. John Piper says there are 12 reasons for Christ ….for Christmas:

  1. “For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37).
  2. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8; cf. Hebrews 2:14–15).
  3. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).
  4. “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
  5. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
  6. “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:5).
  7. “For God so loved the world that whoever believes on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16).
  8. “God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).
  9. “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
  10. “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against . . . that the thoughts of many may be revealed” (Luke 2:34ff).
  11. “He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).
  12. “Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarches, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy” (Romans 15:7–8; cf. John 12:27ff).

All I want for Christmas….

Really I don’t need anything for Christmas. My focus should be on others. I should be buying a goat from TEAR and helping a village to have access to clean water. I should be more thoughtful about my Christmas shopping. But a big feature of life right now is that I am not as organised as I would like to be and this is a difficult thing to admit.

Poor organisation inevitably leads to spending above the budget, wasting time and energy searching for missing objects, presents (yes, where did I hide that?) and important invoices and documents. It means I am always running and not making time for refreshment – quiet reflection, prayer and meditation. I don’t have the headspace to really see what needs to be done and what the best way to do it might be.

So I have decided I want “organisation” this Christmas. It is not so much a gift to me but a commitment from me to do the ‘first things first’, identify what is important, schedule in time for the valuable stuff….yes it may mean buying or making some gorgeous new planner/stationary. ( The Project Girl) was a favourite last year!) However, this gift stands to benefit us all. My kids will be better cared for, my home cleaner and tidier perhaps, the food on my table more thoughtful, the time with me Man more meaningful, the connection with friends more regular, my spending more manageable and my giving more generous.

We don’t need stuff. Here in the Western world we rarely lack for the material things. But we need time, love and encouragement. We need Faith in the one who created us.We have been blessed with some amazing people. Cherish them. Love them. Pray for them.

How do you organise your life?

Pre Christmas Burnout

I think I might be at risk of pre Christmas burnout. Here in the Southern Hemisphere we try and prepare for Christmas while simultaneously attempting to do all the end of year, final hurrah for every conceivable group and association one finds membership in. Yes…it is school class break ups, playgroup, final ballet performances, graduations, concerts, presentations, work parties, ‘casual” drinks with friends. There is some urgency too that one must make contact with long lost friends, bake and make, wrap and work out the credit card. All the while I feel numb….so, so tired. Do you do this too?

I had a major baking day yesterday. The smell of chocolate and cinnamon filled the house all day. I love doing it…..but I am rather time poor. These cookies from Donna Hay were a point of inspiration.

Donna Hay’s Latest Magazine….cookie goodness

I found this post by Rachel Jankovic, Of Kids and Christmas quiet encouraging. Maybe it will help you out of the busyness too….

Frankie and Jasmine

So …if you have been reading a long lately you may be aware of my friend Jasmine Mansbridge and her great art work. Well, now you can read more about her on  page 100 in the latest issue of Frankie magazine issue 45 which was released today. What you don’t know about Frankie? In their words:

 

frankie magazine is a national bi-monthly based in Australia, aimed at women (and men) looking for a magazine that’s as smart, funny, sarcastic, friendly, cute, rude, arty, curious and caring as they are. We cover design, art, photography, fashion, travel, music, craft, interiors and real-life stories – we aim to surprise and delight readers with every turn of our beautifully matte pages, and have a good old laugh while doing so.
Get a copy now……

Breakfast without Tiffany

On the weekend we had the pleasure of going out to breakfast as a family. When we were much younger, lived in the city, had no children and double income we would go out to eat first thing on most Saturdays. We would have good food, loads of coffee and read the paper – all of it. Now….well it is harder to feed 7 mouths and make it real and affordable. There is usually less time to sit around, it is harder to go out with five children and not have cafe and restaurant owners appear a little nervous as we enter. But our kids are great with food and this breakfast event was fabulous. Good service and food. And the kids were alert and hungry. There were no mini me breakfast plates ordered…but adult size eggs and bacon, sourdough and extras. One child had corn beef hash browns, I had grilled field mushrooms with Buffalo Mozzarella and poached eggs and my man had a warm fruit compote. All lovely.

So breakfast is back on the list of things we do as a family. Where and when do you go out to eat with your family?

Byaduk Second Hand Store

A weekend drive past this local store and the treasures of yesterday are tucked away in the middle of nowhere. Some great furniture and retro finds and vintage fabric. Hmmmm……just not sure about the gnome being collectable? But I like the chair and the interesting artwork. Have you ever seen anything like it?

Chairs like these are in need of some fabric reworking don’t you think?

Really not sure who this is meant to be? Religious maybe? Christ – no.

Unknown gnome – hiding. They all should be hidden don’t you think?

Fabric stash…..

Road Trip with Mumford & Sons

I have had the chance to take a drive with my son lately…and I really enjoyed the selection of music he wanted to share with me from his iPod.

Mumford & Sons, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bon Jovi, Jay-Z, Bruno Mars, Angus & Julia Stone, Diddy, Lecrae, Green Day….to name the few I remember.

An eclectic mix of music, new and old.

Lovely. He is growing up. I love the fact that we have music in our home. It feeds the minds and souls of all 7 of us, each day.