15 August 2013

Coping, adjusting & living

It has been a week now since we arrived back into the country.  It has really taken me awhile to adjust, not only physically (jet lag & tiredness) but also culturally & emotionally.  It seems strange.  Life seems weird.  It also seems kinda boring, yet un-doable, same old boring yet really busy.  I can't really put my finger on it just yet, but there is a restlessness -- a wanting more, unsatisfied with now. But maybe my call for now is to enjoy life fully in the present & for me to be the change.  That's my challenge & taking one day at a time...each step the light for my path comes with me & I know that God will reveal where & what to next as He wishes.
Two posts that I have read today really hit the spot.  The first "When feeling overwhelmed doesnt go away".  I really liked this bit:
Perhaps one of the greatest hindrances to our contentment is the expectation that life ought to be easy.
He is not looking to WHEN to have joy in the circumstances, but WHO to go to in the midst of them.

Life isnt easy -- get over it! And enjoy!

Then the next post was "How to have the best Birthday, the best today, the best any day".
And although this is long & about the authors birthday challenge, the bit I liked was:

It takes ridiculous courage to reach out of your comfort zone.
And then you might catch his eye and say — What if the truth is: every comfort zone is really a death trap.”
That every comfort zone is the zone where you get comfortably cooked. That every comfort zone is where you’re the proverbial frog slowly cooked to death in oh, such comfortable water.
Get out of your comfort zone to comfort others — and the Comforter meets you there with more comfort than you can imagine.   

Food for thought...

10 August 2013

Life & Sudoku

As I pondered the fact that it is annoying to have more questions than answers Jay commented to me that sometimes it feels as though your life is like a game of sudoku. 

I enjoy playing sudoku & I even more enjoy beating Jon while playing (we used to have timed games & see who could complete it the fastest!) even though it is a game of logic & generally I sux at anything logical. (Secretly I think I'm quite a logical person but that it just takes me some out loud crazy thoughts to get to the right logical conclusion!)

Sudoku by logical deduction & reasoning allows you to place numbers in little boxes. Similarly it feels as though our life is often like that. Some numbers (or decisions) are obvious by way of elimination yet others require previous numbers to fall into place first before you are able to see where they go. Others require a whole lot more thought process and often by a huge amount of deduction, reasoning and differing  perspective are you then able to place a key number which helps the rest all fall into place. Sometimes too you are fairly certain that you have a choice of just 2 options for one box but again you are waiting on other situations to help clear up which of those two is right. 

As we have taken 6 weeks to go back to Ukraine & assess our life there it seems we have come back with some numbers sorted out but with a lot more question marks or possibilities in other squares. It seems as though now it is a waiting game & seeing how God guides & moves other boxes around as to the certainty of the next number which in turn will bring other things clearer & more sure. 

Sudoku is not subjective -- there is only one right answer for each box. Sometimes you wish life would be like that -- an absolute for each decision -- but who really wants to be a square person with numbers all in the right sequence?


1 August 2013

Change & moving

These past few weeks have been rather emotional as we have been back in our house here in Ukraine. It has been hard but good, sad yet happy. We had heard of brokenness & victories. Life has moved on for us & people we know here (that is normal!)
As we near the end of our time here we have been trying to reflect of what God wants us to do.
Should we try to sell the house? Do we want to move back here? What is a call? How are missionaries effective? We have had lots of discussions with many people & our brains are full with conflicting thoughts.
Today bought some clarity for me. As I was listening to the Audio Adrenaline song
"He moves, you move" it started to get me thinking...
We need to wait for God to move. The last instruction we had received was to go home & have kids. We have not yet received any other or the next instruction. The pillar of fire is still above this house in Ukraine & in NZ. We are waiting & still fulfilling the last instruction.
While we wait we need to be busy carrying on with life & learning & growing & making the most of every opportunity. Not waiting & wasting but waiting & growing.
Conclusions while here:
1.  Back to NZ for another term (2-3 years)
2.  Most probably not back to serve in Rzhyshchiv
3.  Need to have project (most probably linked with camping) to come back to.
Although many things seem to be still up in the air, this small seed has given me some sort of hope that we are on the right track -- we don't need to see the full path ahead -- just trusting one step at a time.
God gives us light enough to guide our way not a massive spotlight to reveal to the end of time -- kinda glad about that!


25 June 2013

Life's Good -- LG

It's not about having everything 
It's about being & living & pushing through & loving & giving & getting up to go again. It's about believing & seeing from a different perspective. It's about doing small things & hard things. It's about the actual grind of life & transforming the everyday numbness into the everyday moments. Fairy tales & fictitious stories are just that. Feel good loveliness but no substance of day to day real life. The way your life is portrayed to others can so often be a pretense, an outward appearance of having it all together, because who wants to look like you haven't made it or are struggling. But the truth be told we are all the same -- mere mortals who all struggle, some are just better actors at hiding it than others. Comparison with others is the greatest killer of hope. 
Hope that as a small seed there is a chance. Hope that even though its not like the others it's still ok. Hope that with what I have, who I am & giving it a go life will become the story of fulfillment without regrets. 


20 June 2013

Housework: Whose job?

Not long after we were married we meet a couple whose premise was, "If you are both working fulltime, then $20-$30 a week for sometime to clean your house is not much for the weekend relaxation & peace of mind it gives -- especially for the wife!"  We both thought this was a great idea & although only once in our lives so far have we done this, I must admit, it was really nice when it happened.
As you know I have been thinking a bit lately about productivity & the new role I find myself in as a stay at home Mum.  It is a role & job & I have heard often the classic -- "Mothering is a fulltime 24/7 job, you are a counsellor, teacher, nurse, taxi driver, you do this & that & whatever, lade da de da."  I dont disagree with that but at the same time it makes me cringe because it seems as though it comes from the need to justify your work & make yourself feel a bit better about a job that no one really likes to do.  I wonder if we have our thinking a bit out of whack on this one.
I read this article the other day "Strong marriages depend on dad's involvement with kids and chores."  I enjoyed what it had to say & got me thinking back to paying for a housekeeper if you are working fulltime.  I also was reflecting on another article " Motherhood is a calling & where your children rank"  and although I dont fully agree with everything in either articles it really made me wonder about how we view being a stay at home Mum.
Here's where I am heading...  My job used to be school teaching.  I would be at school from about 8-4 (approx) each day (or the days I worked).  I would sometimes have extra work to do but mostly my job fitted within those hours.  Before & after school my life consisted of pretty normal things such as grocery shopping, cooking & general living stuff.  I would also have hobbies, time with friends, volunteering in the community & down time relaxing.
Said no one ever!
Now I have changed careers -- I am now instead of a school teacher a mother.  I am with my child for about (at the moment) 8-10 or so hours a day (the rest she is sleeping) and in those hours I have differing tasks that need completing & stuff that needs to happen -- that is my job.  It does seem a lot longer hours than I am used to, but like any new job it takes awhile to adjust to & learn the ropes.  The rest of my life should still have the other things in it, like it used to.
My job is not to keep the house clean, or finish all the washing or make sure the loo is cleaned & baking is in the tin -- these are things that I do because it is part of my general living stuff.  If my fulltime job (being a Mum) gets in the way of these things, then maybe we need to look at hiring some one for a few hours a week.
Maybe for some this is no big deal -- but for me this is a new way of thinking, a revelation that has changed the way I perceive what I do.  I hate cleaning & would never voluntarily become a cleaner -- and being a stay at home Mum is not that -- I am a mother -- that is my role/job.  I find this rather freeing & helps me to see my day in a different light.  And just in case you are wondering -- I love my new job :-)
Well that's what I reckon -- what do you think?


16 June 2013

Eclectic Links

Another lot of random links coming your way.
With cleaning out my closet & selling extra stuff around the house, it seems to have a "de-clutter" theme this week!

1.  Living with less
Getting more stuff means you need more stuff & more problems -- this guy learnt this in an interesting way!

2.  Getting rid of 6 things
Keeping on this same topic, this article has some interesting points -- not sure if I could get rid of these 6 things but how did we ever live without these only about 10 years ago??

3.  The Taco is Amazing
Another interesting post from Jamie -- we often need to loosen our grip on life -- I like that! :-)

4.  I don't wait anymore
Interesting angle on purity... "When I was 16, I got a purity ring.  And when I was 25, I took it off."  

5.  Book Depository -- free delivery worldwide!
I am an affiliate of the Book Depository, so if you are thinking about buying any books online -- they are having a big sale this coming week & if you click through to their site from this blog then whatever you purchase gives me a commission! That's nice of you -- thanks :-)

6.  Bible v Cellphone
I stole this from someone's status on Facebook, because I thought it was really good: 
Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone? 
What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets? 
What if we flipped through it several time a day? 
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text? 
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?
This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?
Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.
Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities?' And no dropped calls!

7.  Three things I would like to make... & one crazy video
These are yummy!

Very cool fire pit :-)

I think I might have to learn to crochet


14 June 2013

Today's score

Well today's productivity score (see last post for reference) would probably be a 4/10 based on external factors! After a 3:30am wakeup that never really ended (unusual fro Gabriella) there has not been a lot of energy or excitement about today! On my to-do list was the sheets, baby's washing, finish painting the bookcase, plunket visit & make more of baby's food -- of which I have accomplished two!
I am wondering if our minds/society/education & schooling have us so hard wired into extrinsic or external benefits.  I do a job because I get paid or because someone can notice it & pat me on the back.  Doing stuff for only intrinsic or long term gain is that much harder to get motivated for.
I'm still in the process of trying to figure out a new way of scoring productivity -- any ideas?  
Also thought about what our society & culture has as expectations toward mothers -- I am interested in studying this a bit more as to why so many mothers I have talked to over the space of my adult life & how many blogs & facebook followers that are mothers who struggle with the baby/toddler years & being "stuck at home."  Has this been the case for other generations & cultures? What do we as a community & culture expect that produces these frustrations?
On the video I blogged yesterday talked about feeling isolated.  Yesterday for me I spent the day with people coming in & out of our home, feeding & hosting them, chilling around the fire (or heating up actually) and just spending some good quality time.  It felt good and although I wouldnt want that all day every day, I wonder if we as a society have walled ourselves off from normal "village" life.  Part of me would love the community & relationships that develop from living in a commune, marae, village or extended family situation.
Be interested in your thoughts...leave a comment if you wish :-)

While you are thinking about it have a look at this for a laugh


13 June 2013

The productivity curse

There is no preparation for being a stay at home Mum.  It is something I have always wanted to be & so thankful that I can now be one.  But the reality is so very different from the ideal (another post brewing on this particular topic -- watch this space).
I have at other times in my life not been able to get a job, or only worked part-time but all of these have been short-lived & I have filled the time in many differing ways.
I'm not saying that now I am a stay at home Mum that I have oodles (love that word) of time on my hands, but I do find myself stuck in a "productivity" mindset.  I have always been a " to do list" kind of person, so nothing has changed there, but now that I am scraping the barrel on my list & the jobs are getting less & less interesting, challenging, or desirable (ie stuff I just keep putting off but needs to be done -- such as sorting out the photo albums!) my days are getting to become rather routine & boring!
Here's a great video that addresses all of that...
I love to be creative, to be busy & do stuff.  I love to re-engineer situations & make chaos into order.  This satisfies me & makes me feel "productive." If my day consists of washing, fiddling on the computer, cooking, feeding & not much else (often because I don't feel like doing much else) then I have to deal with my thought processes of not being productive.  Maybe this is an overly strong work ethic (hmm on second thoughts, I don't think I have that disease!) or the way I was bought up (idle hands create mischief) or a case of listening to myself instead of talking to myself, but maybe also I need to define what "productive" is so the guilts don't kick in & each day can be a productive day for me.


  [proh-duhk-tiv-i-tee, prod-uhk‐]  Show IPA
the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services: The productivity of the group's effort surprised everyone.
Economics the rate at which goods and services having exchange value are brought forth or producedProductivity increased dramatically last year.   

When I use this definition I don't feel like most days are productive.  When I searched the internet & found "7 drivers of workplace productivity"  the seventh one really struck a chord with me.  It was "measuring what matters."  Re-defining productive as measuring what matters I think is a great revelation to help me see each day as productive.
So what does matter?
1.  My baby is feed, happy, loved, trained, clean, extended, provided for & safe.
2.  Our home is clean, happy, welcoming, mostly tidy, warm & safe.
3.  Our marriage is feed, nurtured, not taken for granted & fun.
4.  I have some creative outlets that extend my brain & I have some thing to show for it.

I dunno, have I missed something?  Am I on the right track?  Will this redefinition actually help me to see things in a different light?  Can I turn this into a to-do list so I can visually cross things off?

Does productivity need to be measured in "what did you do today?"  Do productive things show up over time rather than in day increments?  Does productivity have to be seen?

 Is life made up of doing small things & hard things?

7 June 2013

Eclectic Links

1.  Was interested in reading this column in our local paper this week -- the breakfast (or food in schools) debate has me in two minds & I thought this guy addressed it well.  It also got me thinking about maybe re-training as a social worker...I know I think about re-training as something every year but ya never know...

2.  I have spent a bit of time working on the camp website updating the banner & logo and style.  I'm not yet 100% happy with it, but it is lots better than it was.  You can check it out here...www.lonsdalechildren.blogspot.com 

3.  I fell down the stairs on Monday -- was really sore -- but thankfully only hurt my ankle & got a huge bruise on my thigh!  Been putting RealDealHurtCream on it & has started to heal up really well.  Could have been so much worse.
4.  This is a fascinating article about what the Finnish government give each expecting mother.  It would be cool to plot the contents in image form & discuss the ideology over time.  

5.  McDonalds has failed in Bolivia because their idea of food is that it is slowly & lovingly made! Awesome :-)

6. Colin Meads who received a Queens Bday honour offers young 5 life lessons.  I especially like his first & last one -- some good advice.  

7.  A few funny you tube videos to finish the week off...
NZ TV Advertisement featuring one of my students from last year
Makes you think about "short term missions" Helping Africa?


5 June 2013

My thoughts

Today I look back & choose thankfulness...
Gods faithfulness & love
The direction & choices my life has taken
My life partner -- our children
Gods blessing
Our health & wealth
Passion & vision

I look forward & choose increase...
In Gods work
In our family
In our influence -- salt & light
In our intentional living 
In our marriage 
In the impossible 

I pause now to enjoy the small things that are the sum of fruitfulness...

For its in the little parts, the moments, the every day mundane things that our course is continually set, our attitude developed & sails trimmed as we journey through life.
Choosing to pause & enjoy the small things which are the sum of fruitfulness, rather than looking for the next thing or thrill -- life is good NOW!
In all of our insignificance, we & all we do plays a significant part in the whole picture -- life in PERSPECTIVE. 
We build precept upon precept & day upon day as we choose. Each time the choice makes a mark & moves us more toward the outcome -- life is INTENTIONAL. 
Choose the outcome but also choose each day to live in the light of the goal. With both things held in tension the small affects the big & the big affects the small. Little becomes big, big is broken down into little. All of it is a choice through which the impossible can be achieved. 
Life is a CHOICE -- to enjoy & make the most of :-)

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." -- Robert Brault


30 May 2013

4-6 months

Preparing for camp, camp & the aftermath of camp! Plus a visit from the Deacons over Easter. Gabriella started sleeping in her own bed for both day & night time sleeps.  She has started solids, and is now down to only 2 & a half  sleeps during the day time.

She can pretty much sit up by herself, although the rolling isn't really established.  She is talking & smiling a lot & shadows fascinate her. Random :-)  Her giggle is pretty cool too :-)


Some new ideas & hobbies

Well with our last camp done & dusted, my  "to-do list" has definitely dwindled down to just stuff that is on there but I don't really want or is pressing to do!
So with the weather getting colder, the fire more frequent I think its time I selected some more hobbies to keep me from getting bored & annoying the whole world! (O and also spending money online shopping!)

So I think I will take up knitting -- no don't laugh I'm serious!  It seems that everyone I see knitting just does it while life happens around them & then you have this cool thing done before you even know it!  Plus I believe in the power of wool & if I make stuff for Gabby it is small & shouldn't take me so long.  Well that's my logic anyway!
I wonder if I should start with something like this...

The other thing I want to start is playing the ukulele.  Irene gave one to Gabriella the other day at cell group & she was fascinated by it.  So the next day I got our one out & thought that I should really learn to play this thing -- how hard can it be.  So the race is on now, will I master 3 chords & a few songs before Gabby or will she beat me to it?

Any patterns or tips to help me in these endeavours would be much appreciated :-)

28 February 2013

3rd month

By now we had established a pretty good routine.  Gabriella was sleeping through the night mostly & I kinda had an idea of what to expect.  She was wanting to play with toys & even started "talking."
We enjoyed a trip to Oponoui for our family reunion & lots of catching up around home.


28 January 2013

2nd month

This began on a trip to Auckland for Xmas with my family & then on to Taupo to be with the MCDougalls & the Deacons, then via Tauranga & back home.  We also went to camp for a week, and had a weekend away in Taupo Bay.  A great busy summer :-)