Pure Joy …

2016-12-28-19-48-07   Is there such a thing as P U R E   J O Y  ? 

Look at that perfect rose .. It wasn’t made by human hands ..

I think the saying to ‘take time to stop and smell the roses’ is darn good advice !

The word Joy conjures up a lot of thoughts and mixed emotions for me.

The joy of watching my grandchildren line up for a turn on a HUGE waterslide (pronounced ‘HOOOOOOOOGE’ by Miss 5 ) ..

The smiles on their faces as they get to hang out with their cousin at a movie under the stars.

The giggles that I shared with a friend recently, over the price increase of an ice cream cone at Macca’s (serious – belly-wobbling , tears – running – down – my cheeks, therapeutic – kind of giggles) !

The liberating joy of being understood AND accepted for just being you ..

The joy and building anticipation, of an impending holiday.

A ticket to a movie or show.

Joy amongst the pain and sadness in life – is such a blessing.

How do you find joy ?

What makes you smile ?

STOP .. NOW .. Just do it – I promise the investment in yourself will have lasting benefit.

Finding the good things that bring happiness into our world are so important. It doesn’t have to be a grand and expensive option – it may be as simple as stopping the housework to soak in the pleasure of a coffee with a friend . Reading a chapter of a book . Stopping to admire some scenery on your way home on your daily work commute.

Going for a walk – or watching the kids play …

I don’t know about you, but I can so easily – get caught up with work – or the things that need to be done . Just stopping for Ten minutes can be a reboot !

Definitely worth the effort .. The other stuff will still be there when you finish 🙂

‘Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.’

Psalm 86:4 New International Version (NIV)

 

 

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I just can’t put it down …

The book beckons … I read .. I cry .. I put it down  .. I pick it up … read some more, put it down .. cry .. pick it back up.

This cycle continues .

I make a cup of tea. Hang out washing .. pick up the book .. read … cry.

GRIEF.  Still raw.

This book was lent to me by someone who truly understands the depths of grief.

Some days I struggle to face the world, my job, my responsibilities. Feel like I’m losing my mind ..

Some days I struggle just to be me ..

Just doing the familiar – the eat – sleep – go to work stuff is mostly on auto pilot.

I want to be present – I want to love, show love, be loved, love myself – enjoy life (and I can sometimes) – but my brave face is often not a true representation of what lies beneath ..

The burning desire inside of me is to run .. far away .. E S C A P E

I don’t even know from what I want to escape .. I yearn to be reckless .. get out of control .. take risks – but I know that none of those things are me .. Would it even make me feel different – better – satisfied ?

I doubt it at all .. primarily because none of those things can make a person return to this earth – take away grief – heal a broken heart.

I’m pretty sure that grief is different for all of us – it’s not something that has a timeline or a time limit . Grief changes us. We have a ‘new normal’ .. whatever our normal is ..

Nothing feels normal to me anymore – some things are certainly familiar – but somehow there is someone else lurking within me that screams to be heard – Like a jack-in-the-box .. but with a really scary face .. It is the face of the unfamiliar, the unknown, the fearful.

These things I do know . God loves me and is real. I have family and friends who care (and if I actually let them know how I was truly feeling, perhaps they would have an opportunity to demonstrate that care) .

What makes me hold it all together ? I wish I knew.

Do I have all of the answers ? Definitely not.

Can I keep going? I will.

How can I find the purpose of my life in my sadness ? I pray that time will tell.

So -right now – I am choosing to take comfort in God’s word.

4 Blessed is the one
    who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
    to those who turn aside to false gods.[a]

Psalm 40:4 New International Version (NIV)

 

 

 

 

 

Familiar Medical Logo ….

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Flouorometholone Eye Drops

So often I  see people write or quote these three little letters

‘ F M L ‘

I’m sure that they do it in such a flippant way, that they don’t realise how it really sounds …

But –  if you stop and think about it’s meaning – it makes out that life is so bad that it’s not worth living  … Or that’s certainly how it sounds to me .

It makes me cringe at times, to be honest.

I’m not saying that life can’t be tough – or frustrating – or that we don’t get hurt and feel crappy – or exhausted.

I am saying that we ALL have stuff going on in our lives that makes us sad and I love that people are real and honest about not pretending that it is any other way …

Life matters – It has ups and downs for everyone.

All of us.

No pretence necessary.

It’s good to laugh and have fun with your friends … make happy memories with your family. It’s also good to tell them when it’s tough and it sucks and you just can’t handle stuff.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

It’s also OK to say NO when you need to ..

No – I cant work overtime … No I’m already doing something.

No – I need to spend time with my family, friends, husband and/or children ..

Truth is – we can miss out on so much of the important stuff if we say yes to everything that comes our way. Time passes and you can’t get it back.

Flatout Making Lasting memories … That’s what FML should really mean 🙂

‘No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.’ 1 Corinthians 10:13

Morninngggg !

Some days  …

You just wake up and have the comfort of realising just how much you are loved by God …

Today  .. Is one of those days ..

I awoke to a beautiful message. Including some precious photos that I’d never seen before .

Wow … what a beautiful start to my day …

The kindness of the person who had sent them – truly made my day .. and I hadn’t even got out of bed yet ☺

To know that God puts people in our lives – who touch our hearts with such generosity of spirit is a blessing.

A surprise card .. or a phone call.
A text message. A spontaneous coffee catch up.

These acts of thoughtfulness are a reminder of the fact that we aren’t doing life alone.

I love that !

It also makes me want to reach out to others.
To notice that they are hurting .. or lonely .. or that they might need a friendly, listening ear.

These last few months, life has been really tough.

I lost my beautiful friend.

No words can possibly describe how her death has affected me.
Grief deeper than I’ve ever experienced. Or ever thought possible.

It has brought changes and decision making. Appreciation of people and of my surroundings.
It has left me feeling let down, uncared for. People have surprised and shocked me.

I realise that this roller coaster of emotion is due to the fact that my friend knew how to be a friend. Knowing her has made me a better friend to others.

Her legacy lives on …

So .. I say .. hug a friend today ..

Arrange that coffee date.

Send the text.

Write that card.

Don’t hold back .

It could be just what the Doctor ordered !

For them and for you 🙂

It even says so in Proverbs 25:11

‘ A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed ‘

T E N

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Time goes by so quickly.
Way too fast.

I started writing this post last Saturday .. It marked 10 weeks since my friend Lyndall went to heaven.

I hadn’t even finished the introduction and it’s Saturday again.

One week later …

So that title should really read

‘E L E V E N’ ..

 

And doesn’t that perfectly illustrate just how quickly time goes by ?

In that week, so much .. and possibly, so little – has changed.

Pregnancies announced at work.
Nice lunch dates in beautiful locations. Victories gained for family members. New challenges. New triumphs .

Life goes on .. But … I wish it would slow down … I don’t want it to go on as normal – when my life has changed so much …

There are days when I just long for my friend to be here .. just a phone call away. Just ‘down the road’, as she put it ! (3.5 hours down the road is the reality) ..

There are times when I want to scream how much I am hurting inside.
I wonder why no one seems to even notice?

Am I so good at seemingly just ‘getting on with it’ ? If so, I dont intend to be fake.
You might think I’m a trooper . . or stoic .. or tough … but I’m definitely not.

What keeps me going is the simple knowledge that God is in control – no matter how things look to me. I may not even fully understand that – but what I do know, based upon my past experience with Him, is that He keeps his word. That – He – is definitely – trustworthy.

So … if you’re scared .. Or you doubt .. or if you are just plain inquisitive . . Can’t hurt to talk to Him right ?

Ask God to show you who He is …
Seriously – what have you got to lose ?

PS .. you don’t have to be perfect.

Just honest with yourself about not being able to do life all on your own ☺ because truly …

No one has it all together .

Isaiah 51:6 NIV

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.

Love , Life and Loss ….

A week ago today, I lost my best friend …

That’s very hard to write.

You know that some people are just so special, loving, beautiful, kind, funny, amazing, generous, faithful and faith filled.

Lyndall is an extraordinary woman. Yes … I said … IS … and always will be. No past tense.

I know where she is and she knew where she was headed.

That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with how I feel right now.
There is a gaping hole in my heart.

Her legacy of loving acceptance and the practical way she lived out her faith have been used by God to grow me.

If I’m honest I can be a little (lot) selfish . . And generosity doesn’t come naturally to me.
Hey .. don’t get me wrong .. I do my best .. I care .. but I still need to withdraw sometimes to get myself back on track.

My friend just kept going. In so many practical ways .. behind the scenes of the large church, she lived out her amazing admin skills . She was like a conductor directing a seamless symphony .

When Lyndall was involved in anything .. she gave it her all ..
Anything she was involved in became a success.

The reason for this . She loved our God so much that she did it all for Him.

She did it because she loved God and wanted others to know Him.

Her loving and godly influence will always remain in my heart.
The comfort of a friend who never judged or criticized me, is a gift that I will take with me, through the rest of my days.

‘As iron sharpens iron , so one person sharpens another’.
Proverbs 27:17

Dedicated to my precious friend,  

Lyndall Anne Bailey 27.01.1961 – 20.02.2016

 

 

More than a Survival Course

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From little things BIG things grow …

 

It may sound cheesy .. and it’s definitely a song line ..

but ‘From little things , big things grow’

Another day .. some glorious weather and a busy intersection ..

This week has seen some amazing weather changes where I live .. extreme heat .. mega humidity,  lots of wind and rain .. and those classic Aussie afternoon thunderstorms !

The photo above was just irresistible to me ..

It is an Australian native banksia, which has sprung up and is growing in the most unlikely place. It’s decided that the pedestrian island of a busy road is the place to be ..

On a work day morning last week, and during the misty morning rain .. After having walking past this little baby tree for several days in a row, I could no longer just step on by ..

I needed to record it’s survival against the odds ..

So, even though I was almost late for work, I stopped to snap this picture ..

And … I am glad that I did .. because since then .. it has sparked an interesting conversation with my husband and really made me think about life in general.

It never ceases to amaze me how God uses some small piece of His creation to help me to regain my focus .

If a tiny seed can land in asphalt and find enough water and nourishment to begin to grow ..
How much more can we thrive in the life we’ve been blessed with?

We don’t need lots of money, or a great title, or a Palace to live in.

We do need love, relationship, and to be content with what we already have.

By relationship . . I mean the ability to ‘relate to one another’ ..
That comes in many forms depending upon our circumstances .. There are spouses to relate to .. our parents, children, siblings, friends, colleagues, customers. So many opportunities for positive (and negative ) conversation.

Sometimes we do feel like we are just surviving like that little plant on the road ..

I’ve discovered that making the most of each and every day is better than just surviving ..
it IS living ..
It doesn’t mean you have to perform some amazing feat ..
Just a catch up conversation can be the biggest blessing in anyone’s day ..

A surprise dinner ..

Taking the time to listen to something you love. The sound of the trees rustling, or the waves hitting the shore can be ever so therapeutic. Birds …
Some music . .

“[30] Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. [31] Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away “

1 Corinthians 7 : 31-32 NLT

Thank you for taking the time to read this – I pray that in some way you might be encouraged …