Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Mistaken Identity

Image source
The girl in the chair with the long golden hair
Well that used to be me
A flirtatious smile unpredictably wild
Always trying to please

I was always walking one step ahead
Or so I thought until the monster crawled into my bed
Rewind and erase that shock look on your face
'cause your Mona Lisa is dead

A million words, a thousand days

The girl I used to be
Has a terrible case of mistaken identity
And yesterday's girl is not what you see
It's a terrible case of mistaken identity

The sun likes to rise and the moon likes to fall
And that's kinda like my life
I've played the role of the nice girl next door
Who gets cut like a knife

Now I'm not looking for apology eyes
And I don't want to spend a night on a bed of beautiful lies
Erase and rewind leave that sick girl behind
And fast forward, fast forward

A thousand days

The girl I used to be
Has a terrible case of mistaken identity
And yesterday's girl is not what you see
It's a terrible case of mistaken identity

That's not me, it's just not me
That's not me

The girl I used to be
Has a terrible case of mistaken identity
And yesterday's girl is not what you see
It's a terrible case of mistaken identity

 ~ Delta Goodrem 'Mistaken Identity'

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Protector

Image source

As I wake up this Friday morning I have a lot on my mind.  Filled with excitement at the thought of catching up with an old friend, yet feeling the weight of challenges that many of us are facing. Some have mountains that need to be moved, others have hard decisions to make, friends facing sickness, loneliness, pain..and the list goes on.  

One of my favourite scriptures in the Bible is Psalm 121, and with the weight of my thoughts, I turn to it this morning and meditate upon the beautiful, re-assuring words:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,

    the Maker of heaven and earth.
 He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
 The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

I love how Karl Jenkins entitled his arrangement of Psalm 121 'The Protector'.  How apt.  

While the word teaches us to rest in Him, doing battle against our struggles can be exhausting. He is with us (as so beautifully described in the Psalm above) but we are required to stand (to stand firm, no less!).  And I speak from experience (especially this week!) that standing and fighting, not bowing to pressures and challenges can be so damn exhausting - especially if victory doesn't seem to be anywhere in sight!   But the good news is, victory does come! If you can stay and not retreat I promise (actually He promises) that victory will be yours! 

Whatever you are facing today, know that The Protector watches over you.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Angels by Delta Goodrem

"Don't know how I got here
The past has come and gone
I just know I have found
The place my heart belongs"

Thankful for the merciful, everlasting grace of God that holds me together each new day.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

He stoops to conquer

image source

The following is taken from 'The Problem of Pain' by CS Lewis:

Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us. We "have all we want" is a terrible saying when "all" does not include God. We find God an interruption. As St. Augustine says somewhere "God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full – there's nowhere for Him to put it." Or as a friend of mine said "we regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it's there for emergencies but he hopes he'll never have to use it."

Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as He leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. While what we call "our own life" remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interests but make "our own life" less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness? It is just here, where God's providence seems at first to be most cruel, that the Divine humility, the stooping down of the Highest, most deserves praise. 

We are perplexed to see misfortune falling upon decent, inoffensive, worthy people - on capable, hard- working mothers of families or diligent, thrifty, little trades-people, on those who have worked so hard, and so honestly, for their modest stock of happiness and now seem to be entering on the enjoyment of it with the fullest right. How can I say with sufficient tenderness what here needs to be said? It does not matter that I know I must become, in the eyes of every hostile reader, as it were personally responsible for all the sufferings I try to explain – just as, to this day, everyone talks as if St. Augustine wanted unbaptised infants to go to Hell. But it matters enormously if I alienate anyone from the truth. Let me implore the reader to try to believe, if only for the moment, that God, who made these deserving people, may really be right when He thinks that their modest prosperity and the happiness of their children are not enough to make them blessed: that all this must fall from them in the end, and that if they have not learned to know Him they will be wretched. And therefore He troubles them, warning them in advance of an insufficiency that one day they will have to discover. The life to themselves and their families stands between them and the recognition of their need; He makes that life less sweet to them. I call this a Divine humility because it is a poor thing to strike our colours to God when the ship is going down under us; a poor thing to come to Him as a last resort, to offer up "our own" when it is no longer worth keeping. 

If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and come to Him because there is "nothing better" now to be had. The same humility is shown by all those Divine appeals to our fears which trouble highminded readers of scripture. It is hardly complimentary to God that we should choose Him as an alternative to Hell: yet even this He accepts. The creature's illusion of self sufficiency must, for the creature's sake, be shattered; and by trouble or fear of trouble on earth, by crude fear of the eternal flames, God shatters it "unmindful of His glory's diminution". 

Those who would like the God of scripture to be more purely ethical, do not know what they ask. If God were a Kantian, who would not have us till we came to Him from the purest and best motives, who could be saved? And this illusion of self sufficiency may be at its strongest in some very honest, kindly, and temperate people, and on such people, therefore, misfortune must fall. The dangers of apparent self sufficiency explain why Our Lord regards the vices of the feckless and dissipated so much more leniently than the vices that lead to worldly success. Prostitutes are in no danger of finding their present life so satisfactory that they cannot turn to God: the proud, the avaricious, the self righteous, are in that danger.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Head of the year

L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu
This morning something wonderful happened. While it may not have been the sound of the shofar I heard, it was definitely a calling. I felt the gentle wooing of my heart and enjoyed the most intimate time with God that I can ever remember. The really bizarre twist to my whole experience is that I realised it was Rosh Hashanah, and while I'm not an observant Jew (in fact I consider myself a Christian, but my roots are Jewish and I am blessed to enjoy such a rich heritage that overlaps so much with my own faith) so much of what was dealt with in my heart this morning was all themed towards the message of Rosh Hashanah.

From what I understand (and it is limited!) at the heart of Rosh Hashanah is our relationship with God – our maker, our sustainer and our redeemer. And central to that is our acknowledgement of God as King of the whole universe, our brokenness and failure and need for repentance and lastly new birth, second chances, the promise of sweet new beginnings...a new year.

Today I feel like a newborn – fresh and alive. Blemish free. Ready to start a new year, a new life. And, I am so grateful for a new beginning.   

Psalm 65 & Psalm 103

Monday, 10 September 2012

To love is to be vulnerable

click here for source
Thirty four years ago today, at 2 months early a baby girl arrived in the world.  There was no fanfare.  No joy.  No excitement.  No family waiting in anticipation in the hospital waiting room.  Just reluctant mother and baby. And soon, just baby. 

Fast forward to today, and here I am once again alone.  Not entirely true...I do have 3 beautiful children of my own, but on days like this it seems like I am truly alone in this world.  Sometimes I tell people I prefer it - I'll say 'I'm a lone wolf' and to a great extent I am. I am not fussed by my own company, and in my experience I am more successful acting alone rather than relying on others.  Don't get me wrong. I love people.  I do.  I thoroughly enjoy other peoples company and I would do just about anything and have done for any friend or family member that I love. 

I grew up in a large family, but always felt alone. In the line of siblings I fell in the middle and everyone above and below me was paired up. So, I spent many hours alone in my room, reading and listening to music – 2 pastimes I still thoroughly enjoy today.

For a long time I was a people pleaser – even so up until a few years ago. I felt I needed to behave in a certain way to be accepted by the people I loved. But these days as the real Amy is emerging, certain friends and family are keeping their distance. And, to be totally honest I feel abandoned by those people who I have loved and supported 100% no matter their decisions or actions in the past.

There have been a number of events over my life that have steered me towards being closed up to others and so I have to wonder if my predilection for solidarity is a habit learnt from childhood or as a means of protection from the outside world that has taught me being alone is less hassle.

CS Lewis once wrote:
Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping in tact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

Yes. To love is to be vulnerable. I pray that as another chapter of my life turns, despite the cost I never lose the ability to stay open to others.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


image from elliott.org
This time 2 years ago I was in England packing up what had been our life for over 3 years.  It was a stressful time.  A few weeks prior to this we had a call from home that required us to get back ASAP and within 7 short hours our kids had said goodbye to their friends and we were all on a plane back to Australia not knowing what to expect.  From there we made the decision to move back to Australia permanently.

As I was 2 years ago, I am today once again standing at the gateway of a new future, one that I can't really even make out or know what it holds.  I am doing what I have to do to get through the door of tomorrow.

It is incredibly scary, frustrating and sad.  And yes, I feel completely overwhelmed, stressed and tired.  But I keep moving onwards.

I am overcome by the beauty and love of friends that I am surrounded by.  I am equally overcome by the audacity of others who have equated friendship or association into being a major shareholder in my life, painfully making their opinions known on the direction I am taking.  It is a hard time, made harder by those that do not understand, nor have any insight into this heart of mine.

But I keep moving onwards.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A Pixie Hollow Party

Well, it was my little Susanna's 4th birthday and she chose a Tinkerbell/Disney Fairies theme.  This was an incredibly easy party to create thanks to the new Disney movies based around Tinkerbell and her beginnings in 'Pixie Hollow' - a wondrous place where all the fairies and pixies prepare for Spring on the mainland (aah, you have to watch it to understand!).

So, first of all here is my little Tinkerbell.  Isn't she cute?!
1. Here is the party table
A close up

2. Choc-Mint 'Flower Pots'
3. Sugar! White choc covered Oreo's with sugar butterflies
4. Pixie Bubbles to take home
5. The 'Birthday Cake'
6. Butterfly Cakes
7. Flower cakes
1. The table
Although I didn't do it justice, (because I couldn't find my cream damask table cloth!) I highly recommend the tutu skirt for the table.  It is so easy, and so effective.  I loved it and like I said before, it would have looked much better with a cream tablecloth, not the pattern one that was half covered up!  Click here for a tutorial on making a no-sew tutu dress.  I tried to make the table look as 'Pixie Hollow' as possible.  The garland string of roses were purchased from Spotlight for $15 each. 

2. Choc-Mint Flower Pots
To recreate a garden look, I made up a pack of instant chocolate pudding, added some peppermint essence to it and when they were set, coloured some coconut, green with food dye (for the grass) then added lavender and mint to make it look like a flower pot/plant. The inspirations for these came from here.

3. Choc covered Oreo's
My inspiration for these came from here.  However, the pop sticks I purchased were too thick for the cookies, so I improvised!

4. I purchased a pack of little bubble bottles and printed labels.  Bubbles are a hit with most kids!

5. I really lucked out with spotting the gorgeous Disney Fairies Cupcake Stand at spotlight for $12.99.  I was considering all sorts of cakes, but I decided using the stand would emphasise the theme and make it easier on me!

6. Butterfly Cakes
These were made using a cut portion of musk stick and sugar hearts (purchased from Cake Decorating Central), then drew on the antlers with a ready made icing tube.

7. Flower Cakes
Icing piped with a zip lock bag! Decorated with sugar roses and tiny little sugar butterflies - all available from your local Woolworths!

All printables designed by me. 

If you have any questions, leave me a comment! Thanks xxx

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Value of Human Life

As a Christian, I am horrified to admit the jury is still out for me when it comes to abortion.  I say this because murder outside the womb is no different to murder inside the womb. It's all that...murder.

I value human life, but you can bet your bottom dollar if I walked in on someone molesting my child and a loaded gun was handy consider that humans life gone!  Or, maybe if somehow I was transported back in time to Germany 1928 and I had a clear shot at Hitler.  Imagine...the murder of that one man could save the suffering and misery, not to mention the lives of millions of people.  How many Einstein's perished in the Holocaust? How many Leonard Bernstein's or Itzhtak Perlmans? Or, how many Sigmund Freud's? I also do wonder how many great lives never got a chance to shine outside of their mothers womb?  How is it possible that I can say this and at the same time wish Hitler never took a breath outside his mothers womb?

If I put on the mind of Christ I see value and hope in every life.  Even Hitler. I know there is a verse in the bible that says God looks beyond what is and sees what can be.  But can I? 

During my life, growing up I saw first hand the suffering of so many children who in my heart of hearts I wished had not been born due to the intolerable neglect and abuse they sustained in their tiny lives at the hands of their 'parents'.  What hope is there for those children who have experienced such despicable conditions?  What becomes of their lives and the lives of their offspring?  Sadly the stats tell us more often than not if they are kept in this environment they are destined to inflict the same kind of treatment onto the next generation and so on.  I want to cry.  I don't understand any of this.  I don't understand why some are saved from this, while other little ones endure such atrocities.

I value those little lives - the ones that are being neglected and abused.  But the person that bought them into the world doesn't. Where is the value of human life there?

The reality is, I am not the judge. I am not the jury.  I cannot say what is right for one person, and wrong for another.  I cannot say one persons life has more value than another.

I do not like abortion, but it happens.  It makes me sad.  I hold no condemnation for someone whose had an abortion or for someone who is considering an abortion. And, for the record....either does God.