Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Look UP!

When things are tough and storm clouds block the sun.
When too much thinking is sending you in circles and you feel dizzy.
When memories of Egypt make you sick.
When the future is vague and decision making is daunting.
When life seems vain, heavy, pointless or just plain hard.
When you've forgotten why you're here and where you're supposed to be going.
When you know the destination but somehow you've lost the way.
When the way seems too steep or is covered in fog.

Where do you look?

Self help books, psychologists, friends, hugs, stories, inspiring quotes ... these are the tools of our world, and we hope they'll help us make sense of confusion, depression, anxiety, fear.

Danger!  Be careful where you look!

Don't look back ... blame, regret, shame, guilt ... a futile archaeological dig through the past
Don't look forward ... ambition, striving, anxiety, dread

Don't look in ... analysing, over-thinking, worrying, feeling inadequate
Don't look out ... searching for an easy fix, Knight in shining armour, mirage, million$

Don't look around ... comparing, coveting, fearing, judging, wishing
Don't look away ... avoiding, procrastinating, escaping, wasting life

LOOK UP ... to the Lord who knows you better than you know yourself!

Psalm 121: 1-2 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth."

A story ... I was always very good at getting muddled up in reflection and introspection, and thought myself into confusion and condemnation.  That's how I know about the traps involved in looking back, forward, in, out, around and away!

When I didn't feel worthy, no amount of praise from others made me feel like I was 'enough'.  Thankfully the Lord showed me a better way.  A year or two ago when everything should have been rosy, I was still quite bothered by ups and downs.  One day when I found myself in a deep, dark hole of seasonal depression, I went to bed to pour my heavy heartedness onto the pages of my journal.  I felt guilty, knowing I was focusing on myself, but I grumpily thought, "I don't even feel strong enough to pray or read my Bible!"  

The Lord nudged me though, with a gentle reminder, "Here I am" ... feeling somewhat petulant, I decided I would just open my Bible before writing in my journal.  

With that simple act, a switch was flicked!  The darkness was fading.  Momentarily I was frustrated that I wouldn't be able to capture the blackness in words ... but quickly I tossed aside that silly thought, and realised it was a blessing.  The Lord had thrown me a lifeline and a torch!  

The Lord showed me then that my mind can be a trap, tangling me in lies, but in His Words I have truth and freedom, assurance, and the peace that passes understanding.  That day, I searched out His promises in my Bible.  I stopped sulking and prayed even though it was hard to start.  And I took comfort in verses like this gem:  Galatians 2:20  "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

He has planted this experience in my memory now, like a nifty short-circuit.  If I feel things crowding in, I KNOW that if I just look at Him, He will do the rest.  He will give me rest.

Psalm 121: 1-2 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Interesting bytes

Just taking a moment to share some of the interesting bits and pieces taking place here recently!

We had a wonderful time at an athletics carnival this week last term.  The kids actually participated instead of shying out at the last minute!  No pressure, they just loved being with their friends and went in running races, long jump (J. won a ribbon), high jump, tug of war, hurdles, throwing and novelty events.  I'd love to share the group photo, but can't be bothered asking a hundred people for permission!

Obviously inspired by watching lots of Bear Grylls shows this year, the kids created a water filter using things they found in the yard and an old t-shirt.  They did it all while I was inside answering an email ... earlier they'd decided to wash toys and scrub pavers just for fun!  They mixed muddy water in a pit they dug in the gravel path, and I heard one child comment that it still tasted a bit dirty after the filtering process ... at that point I joined the conversation to say that although their filter might be great, there could unfortunately be pesticides or chemicals in the ground in which they mixed their water (we live in suburbia).  I didn't manage to catch it on camera.  They are keen to go camping so they can try out some other bush survival skills ... shelters and fire I can get excited about, but I'm not keen to replicate scenes involving snakes, bodily fluids, carcasses or knives!

A friend lent us an Engineering Connections DVD, in which Richard Hammond reveals the secrets behind some well known super-structures.  We spent several days last term learning about bridges, photographing and drawing them and building models ... the DVD increased our understanding of engineering exponentially!

Inspired by Suji, I created a free Weebly website to organise links to the websites the kids use.  The kids can now click on THEIR page, and easily access whatever they need to via neat drop down menus, organised mostly by subject.  MUCH easier and cuter than our shared, crowded Safari bookmark bar.

We discovered Storybird, which is a fun site where you choose from heaps of awesome artwork to illustrate stories you create.  I set up a 'school' for my family, where we have a class library of the stories we write using Storybird.  It's FUN!

E. and I went to Kid's Camp during the holidays ... 5 days of crazy fun and fellowship for about 60 Year 3-6 kids.  I was surrogate Mum for 5 delightful Year 3 girls, whilst E. shared a dorm with 8 other 8-9 year old boys!  Not a lot of sleep was had, but the fun included dawn walks, Gala Night plays, elective activities like Survivor, Bootcamp, Chocolate Making, Beading; a photo challenge.  The Olympics involved lots of water games ... and a flouro porridge war!

I have been reading a stack of highly recommended Home Ed. books ... they deserve (and shall have) a post all of their own.

Our days have been rich in recipe invention, books shared, Bible reading, bike rides & impromptu picnics, family, friends and fellowship.  We're all full of energy and loving the warm, sunny days of Spring.

How are things at your place?