Thursday, 27 September 2007

What a read!

by Rev. Ronald McFadden

If you're not married yet, share this with a friend. If you are married, share it with your spouse, and reflect on it.

An African proverb states, "Before you get married, keep both eyes open, and after you marry, close one eye."

Before you get involved and make a commitment to someone, don't let lust,desperation, immaturity, ignorance, pressure from others or a low self-esteem, make you blind to warning signs.
Keep your eyes open, and don't fool yourself that you can change someone or that what you see as faults aren't really important.

Once you decide to commit to someone, over time his or her flaws, vulnerabilities, pet peeves, and differences will become more obvious.
If you love your mate and want the relationship to grow and evolve, you've got to learn to close one eye and not let every little thing bother you.
You and your mate have many different expectations, emotional needs, values, dreams, weaknesses, and strengths. You are two unique individual children of God who have decided to share a life together.

Neither of you are perfect, but are you perfect for each other?
Do you bring out the best in each other?
Do you compliment and compromise with each other, or do you compete, compare, and control?
What do you bring to the relationship?
Do you bring past relationships, past hurt, past mistrust, past pain?
You can't take someone to the altar to alter him or her.
You can't make someone love you or make someone stay.

If you develop self-esteem, spiritual discernment, and "a life", you won't find yourself making someone else responsible for your happiness or responsible for your pain.

Manipulation, control, jealousy, neediness, and selfishness are not the ingredients of a thriving, healthy, loving and lasting relationship!
Seeking status, sex, wealth, and security are the wrong reasons to be in a relationship.
What keeps a relationship strong?
Communication, intimacy, trust, a sense of humor, sharing household tasks, some getaway time without business or children and daily exchanges (a meal, shared activity, a hug, a call, a touch, a note).
Leave a nice message on the voicemail or send a nice email.

Sharing common goals and interests. Growth is important. Grow together, not away from each other, giving each other space to grow without feeling insecure.
Allow your mate to have outside interest. You can't always be together.
Give each other a sense of belonging and assurances of commitment.
Don't try to control one another.
Learn each other's family situation. Respect his or her parents regardless.
Don't put pressure on each other for material goods. Remember for richer or for poorer.
If these qualities are missing, the relationship will erode as resentment, withdrawal, abuse, neglect, dishonesty, and pain replace the passion.

The difference between 'United' and 'Untied' is where you put the I.

Monday, 24 September 2007


The Sandpiper by Robert Peterson

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.
"Hello," she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.
"I'm building," she said.
"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring.
"Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."
That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.
"That's a joy," the child said.
"It's a what?"
"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."
The bird went gliding down the beach. Good-bye joy, I muttered to myself, hello pain, and turned to walk on. I was depressed, my life seemed completely out of balance.
"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.
"Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson."
"Mine's Wendy... I'm six."
"Hi, Wendy." She giggled. "You're funny," she said.
In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me.
"Come again, Mr. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."
The next few days consisted of a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother.
The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. I need a sandpiper, I said to myself,
gathering up my coat. The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed.
"Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"
"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.
"I don't know. You say."
"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.
The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."
"Then let's just walk."
Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face.
"Where do you live?" I asked.
"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages.
Strange, I thought, in winter.
"Where do you go to school?"
"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation." She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach,
but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day.
Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.
Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy.
I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.
"Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd rather be alone today." She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.
"Why?" she asked.
I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought, My God, why was I saying this to a little child?
"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."
"Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and -- oh, go away!"
"Did it hurt?" she inquired.
"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.
"When she died?"
"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.
A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed, and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-coloured hair opened the door.
"Hello," I said, "I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."
"Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies."
"Not at all -- she's a delightful child." I said, suddenly realizing that I meant what I had just said.
"Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukaemia. Maybe she didn't tell you."
Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.
"She loved this beach, so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days.
But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..." Her voice faltered, "She left something for you, if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?"
I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope with "MR. P" printed in bold childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues -- a
yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed:
Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms.
"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," I uttered over and over, and we wept together. The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study.
Six words -- one for each year of her life -- that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the color of sand -- who taught me the gift of love.

NOTE: This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It happened over 20 years ago and the incident changed his life forever.
It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and each other. The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.
Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas can make us lose focus about what is truly important or what is only a momentary setback or crisis.
This week, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means, take a moment... even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses.
I wish for you, a sandpiper.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

A Promise from God

Joel 2:23 (NIV)
Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.

If you've looked at my blog before you may have noticed at the bottom of the page is the verse of the day. I often wonder who's life the verse will touch as they see it, either on my blog or someone else's page. Today it was a verse that I found relevant for me.

If you live in Australia or have watched the news where you live you should be aware that Australia has been experiencing a drought, which has been ongoing for nearly 10 years. We are constantly reminded that there are water usage restrictions and that there may be other restrictions as well, due to the influence that a lack of water has on so many other areas of life.

This verse has served as a reminder to me that God hasn't forgotten that we need rain. He has seen what is happening to His world and has promised that He will send rain. He doesn't say when it will come, just that it will come and in the amounts that we need to continue on living on this world.

Ok, so right now it isn't autumn down here in Oz, but it is spring, and the verse says that both autumn AND spring rains will come.

Thank you, God, for this promise!!
a kind and thoughtful deed
Or a hand outstretched
in a time of need
Is the rarest of gifts,
for it is a part
Not of the purse,
but a loving heart.

-Helen Steiner Rice

Monday, 17 September 2007

Changing Times

This weekend involved a lot of driving, sitting, and preparations.

What for you may ask?

My brother got married this weekend!!!
He's the first of us to get married.

It was a beautiful wedding. No crying, but some of us came pretty close (including my brother, although if you asked him I'm sure he would deny it).

Of course weddings mean changes in the family. I now have a sister-in-law!! And as much as I love Sarah, there will be some changes. Dave isn't totally ours anymore. He's still my brother, but more importantly for him, he is Sarah's husband. It will be interesting to see what will happen at Christmas time, and other normal family times.

No photos yet. I'm still using a film camera, and the films haven't been developed.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Monday, 10 September 2007

New Car?

Raising my sights

Raising My Sights
By Terri McPherson

My six-year-old granddaughter, Caitlynd, and I stopped at a Tim Horton's donut shop for a blueberry muffin. As we were going out the door, a young teenage boy was coming in.
This young man had no hair on the sides of his head and a tuft of blue spiked hair on top of it. One of his nostrils was pierced, and attached to the hoop that ran through the hole was a chain that draped across his face and attached to a ring he was wearing in his ear. He held a skateboard under one arm and a basketball under the other.
Caitlynd, who was walking ahead of me, stopped in her tracks when she saw the teen. I thought he'd scared the dickens out of her, and she'd frozen on the spot.
I was wrong.
My Grandangel backed up against the door and opened it as wide as it would go. Now I was face to face with the young man. I stepped aside and let him pass. His response was a gracious, "Thank you very much."
On our way to the car, I commended Caitlynd for her manners in holding open the door for the young man. She didn't seem to be troubled by his appearance, but I wanted to make sure. If a grandmotherly talk about freedom of self-_expression and allowing people their differences was in order, I wanted to be ready.
As it turned out, the person who needed the talk was me.
The only thing Caitlynd noticed about the teen was the fact that his arms were full. "He woulda had a hard time to open the door."
I saw the partially shaved head, the tuft of spiked hair, the piercings and the chain. She saw a person carrying something under each arm and heading toward a closed door.
In the future, I hope to get down on her level and raise my sights.

Reprinted by permission of Terri McPherson (c) 2000 from Chicken Soup for the Grandparent's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Meladee McCarty and Hanoch McCarty.

Friday, 7 September 2007

A Pause Button

Do you ever feel like a pause button has been pushed on parts of your life?
Meanwhile the rest of it is racing along, and you wonder how all the parts are ever going to be connected again?
There's some sort of elastic holding you all together, but still allowing for the parts of you to draw away from each other.

You can't think of one thing in particular that caused the pause (or maybe you can), but it is there. You don't have control of it, and that's scary. You wonder if ever the parts do reconnect whether they will fit properly. It's kind of like a jigsaw puzzle with enough pieces missing that the picture doesn't quite make sense.

How long will the pause be in place?

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Aussie backyard becoming a dying icon - Yahoo!7 News

Aussie backyard becoming a dying icon - Yahoo!7 News

Wednesday September 5, 10:36 AM

Aussie backyard becoming a dying icon

Australia's outdoor lifestyle is being threatened by the disappearance of an Aussie icon, according to new research.
Queensland's Griffith University professor Professor Tony Hall said the backyard was fast becoming a thing of the past with new estates brimming with sprawling low-set homes taking over from the traditional suburb.
The former UK town planner began his research two years ago after he moved to Australia and noticed homes and their backyards seemed to contradict the open-air lifestyle for which Australia was internationally renowned.
Using aerial photographs and home and lot measurements, Prof Hall said a "dramatic" change had taken place in the 1990s in all areas except Adelaide where homes now stretched out to lot boundaries, leaving little room for outdoor entertainment and play.
But while urban sprawl was happening in other countries, they were not losing their back yards the way Australian families were, he said.
"What people in the suburbs are doing is spending their money on what they perceive as floor area rather than lifestyle," he said.
He said people were building "cheap", square, single-story homes rather than more expensive two-story homes which would allow for maximum floor area and a back yard.
"Walls and the windows cost money, the second story costs money, but this gives you the cheapest way," he said.
"But it's not very nice living in terms of you don't get no view out and it's not a very nice environment compared to the older suburbs."
Prof Hall said his research had concluded the trend was being spurred by people building to increase resale value and longer working hours which meant people were rarely at home.
"The real problem I think though is what is happening to the Australian lifestyle - what's happening to this idea of the outdoor lifestyle, the barbie, the swimming pool?" he said.
The trend also would have damaging effects on the environment with the homes costing more to heat, cool and light.
The lack of trees also meant a lack of biodiversity, a poor microclimate with loss of shade in hot weather and increased runoff in wet weather, he said.
He said a return to the traditional backyard could only be achieved through planning regulations.
"Because if we don't then people won't be able to change in the future," he said.
"If they suddenly decide they really wanted barbies and swimming pools and things like this, and outdoor clothing drying, they wouldn't be able to because there isn't any room anymore."

I found this article very interesting, and basically I agree with it.

One thing I could add to Professor Hall's research is the growing number of people who live in areas with larger house blocks choosing to subdivide their property and build a unit or second house at the back. This is also reducing the size and number of backyards.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

In case you are interested ...

For those who wonder about my cross stitch projects, today I created a new blog just for all the projects I'm doing.

It won't show everything I've done in the past, but I will try to include projects I'm about to start, am currently working on, and those on my wish list.

The first one I've posted is In Her Garden .

The new blog is still in the very early stages, but as I go I'll keep adding extra things.