At the End of the Day

In his book Miracle on the River Kwai,Ernest Gordon tells the true story of a group of POWs working on the Burma Railway during World War II.

At the end of each day the tools were collected from the work party. On one occasion a Japanese guard shouted that a shovel was missing and demanded to know which man had taken it. He began to rant and rave, working himself up into a paranoid fury and ordered whoever was guilty to step forward. No one moved. “All die! All die!” he shrieked, cocking and aiming his rifle at the prisoners. At that moment one man stepped forward and the guard clubbed him to death with his rifle while he stood silently to attention. When they returned to the camp, the tools were counted again and no shovel was missing.

What can sustain the will to die for others, when you are innocent? Jesus was carried and sustained in his love for us by “the joy that was set before him.’

John Piper

Strategic Planning

I have recently been involved in strategic planning for work. Secretly I love all that stuff. Big picture ideas, vision, imagining how you would like structures to be embedded, how to manage people, define roles, clarify processes. I believe there is real value and energy in talking through your ideas, in being given permission to imagine new scenarios and to dream. But we need a safe place to do it. A place of confidence.

Do you ever dream big with your spouse? Your family or friends? I think sometimes the busyness of life, the demands of caring for small people, ageing parents, a sick child or nursing your own poor health means we become jaded and can no longer see the possibilities of next week, let alone next year.

Make some time to dream this week. Let your thoughts go as you journal, as you chat with a friend over coffee, as you converse during date night with your spouse. A strategic plan for your family and your future can be an amazing thing. It allows you to reinstate those things you value but have perhaps lost sight of.

Our family wants to be missional; we want to share meals, tell stories of Jesus, we want to do life with others and build community. So how do we do it? There are some good ideas here.

Honest: Why not to finish C25K?

I love sharing stories. I tell other people’s stories probably better than my own. Jean’s blog is all about being honest and allowing the everyday struggles of life to be seen, as she spends time with Him.

This post on why Jean won’t be finishing the C25K program is inspiring. I am sure Jean is not the first to start the program and not finish. But the clarity and honesty with which she has thought about why she must end the training is a great encouragement. It makes me realise that we need to think harder about out motivations, be honest more and realistic often. We need to take our responsibilities to ourselves and others (spouse, children, family, friends, community) seriously.

Running has given this woman so much more than she anticipated. But she wants to give others the best of herself. With the decision made she has certainty.

Today feels like a new beginning, the start of a new pattern, a new way of being.

Edit Busyness to Rest

The Siesta – Vincent Van Gogh

Epiphany. Rest. I need more rest.
Not just sleep, the long, uninterrupted time at night.
But I need to make time during the day to rest, recharge, review and be restored. It may be a power nap but time in a chair with a cup of tea and something to read quietly for 20 minutes may be just as effective. Last week I had a day when kept myself busy, doing chores and a range of odd jobs. It felt so good to tick off some of those tasks on my to do list ( the one in my head). But by the end of the day as dinner and bath time arrived I was exhausted. A grumpy, impatient Mummy Me stomped up and down stairs, spoke harshly and sighed lots. I was bad company for my man and my kids. I went to me room. To rest. To repent. To seek guidance and take the time so that I could see that without regular rest, I was destined to be anything but the woman He wants me to be.
So this week I am working of editing the busyness during the day. I need to build in times of quiet, even if it is only 5 minutes. And this is not rest at the computer or in the shower. But a time to sit down, slow down and recharge. Rest will enable me to be more productive, more patient and gracious in the long term. A better me.
Epiphany. Rest.

Money for the Kids

I have failed at the pocket money thing. Ask our kids and some of them may recall various different schemes we have had to distribute pocket money over the years. The bottom line is that we need to be consistent and I forget. We don’t encourage the kids to spend a lot of money and we have a framework of sorts in place for purchasing big ticket items. But is is holidays and the kids will have the opportunity to travel and see new things and no doubt want to purchase a trinket or treasure, a game or a book.

So I have been thinking about pocket money again. Some things I know need to be foundational. We are a busy, large family and there are a lot of chores and household jobs to do each day. Again we are not good at implementing a routine on this, but in essence pocket money should not be linked to doing chores. We all need to regularly contribute to how our household runs. I also know that pocket money needs to be age appropriate and that as parents we need to make suggestions for how it is to be used.

I love the SAVE SPEND SHARE approach that Michael Grose advocates. With  little and big people it would seem that having three jars (not boxes, piggy banks or purses) that are clearly labelled works best.

Giving children pocket money is an opportunity to encourage kids to save – for a range of larger items that they need to contribute to like a bike or a new basket ball, to spend – a sweet treat, a new book or some Smiggle stationary and share – contribute to the the family’s sponsor child, charity or missionary friend you support doing work overseas.

The aim is to encourage children to be independent and to understand that having money is an opportunity to exercise responsibility. Being given pocket money is not an invitation to spend more, want more or have more. In fact it should have the opposite effect. We want to reduce covetousness and create opportunities to communicate with our kids about how money works in this world – for good and bad.

The BIG question is how much do you give your kids? This is one area where being fair seems unfair. The four year old should not get the same amount as the 13 year old.

So what do you do? Mums, Dads, Grandparents, friends …….. share your wisdom.

Revealing our Dignity

Jessica Rey

Modesty is not trendy. Do a simple google search for modest  dress and you will overwhelmed by frumpy, dumpy and daggy items of women’s apparel. Think full length tents pulled in at all of the wrong places! So it is always refreshing to see a smart, savvy woman advocate modesty and fashion. Jessica Rey’s new line of swimwear is anti – bikini. But her swim line offers women a real alternative. And I find this refreshing.

Q Ideas presents this compelling talk by Jessica Rey about the history of the bikini, modesty and fashion. Did you know the original bikini was meant to fit through a wedding ring!? Jessica Rey argues that within the construct of modesty, there is a freedom—that modesty isn’t about covering up what’s bad, but about revealing dignity.

Pretty in Pink

 This week I made another great food discovery. The lovely David and Luise from Green Kitchen Stories. A beautiful website and blog with hundreds of truly amazing recipes and pictures of food that make you want to cook – healthy, clean, vegetarian food.  And just recently they have published a book, which will be on my Xmas wish list.

But let us not get distracted. Here is a dessert that is good for you, truly. And for some reason it has the wow factor. It must be because it is so pretty in pink.  

Frozen Pink Cheesecake
300 g (2 cups) almonds
10-12 fresh dates, pitted
2 tbsp coconut oil
a pinch of salt
2 cups fresh (or frozen) raspberries & strawberries
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup honey
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup 
quark or curd (you could probably also replace it with a fat Greek or Turkish yogurt)
1 cup fresh summer fruit and a couple of edible flowers
Grind almonds in a blender or a food processor for about a minute. Add dates, coconut oil and salt and run the processor until it all comes together. Flatten it out on the bottom of an 8-inch non-stick spring form. Store in the fridge while you make the filling.
Blend berries, lemon juice and honey. Stir together mascarpone, curd and the blended berries in a large bowl. Pour it on top of the crust in the spring pan and put it in the freezer for 1-2 hours (you can keep it in the freezer for days but then you have to let it soften a bit before you serve it) .
Top the cake with fresh fruit and a couple of flowers. Serve immediately.

Don’t Forget to Breathe…..

I wonder what stands out as you read this? Is there one message that sums up what you are feeling today? Or do you react to the overall mandate that you really need to look after yourself – yes, you. Yesterday I did a Pilates class for the first time in so, so long. Today I can feel muscles that I have not stretched for a long time. It hurts to move. But this too feels good. But the best thing about the class was that I had to focus on breathing, long deep breaths. Sometimes life is so busy that I forget to breathe……