Monday, 28 July 2014

Friend Envy

Yes, there is such a thing.

Anyone with very few friends experiences at various times in their lives

It hits you at times when you are most vulnerable ... it hits hard ... and it makes you wonder if you are really worth anything to anyone.

But it's a sin - the 10th Commandment - "You shall not covet ... anything that is your neighbour's" (Deuteronomy 5:21).

And so there is the problem.

I have 2 good friends - best friends; one I see fairly regularly and we have a set catch up time once a month, but she is a busy Mum and with all her family commitments there isn't the opportunity to just 'hang out' together. My other best friend is serving God on the mission field half way around the world (and is very bad at keeping in contact). With her, I used to be able to just hang out, chat, watch movies, do whatever or not do anything other than just enjoy being in each other's company. But with her move overseas, the distance has separated us, and I am left behind. Now she has recently got married and our times will never be the same again when she does return (if she returns).

I have always struggled with friendships.

Primary school years there is only one person I would say was a close friend, but we only saw each other at school. The rest of the time there were always friend groups that I was on the outside of - I didn't play netball, and didn't go to their church, so other than school there was nothing to build a friendship on.

Church life was hard too - the only other children, for the most part, were my brother and sisters; and we didn't always get along.

Between primary school and high school we moved, not just a short distance, but to the other side of the country. The people there all had their established friendship groups, as they had been together throughout primary school. Once again I went to a different church where there were no teens my age, or if there were they had other friends.

I changed schools again for my final 2 years of school and thought I had found a good group of friends. I had people to be with during recess and lunch and I was accepted in a group. No really close friendships though, as they were all non-Christians. But then came the final school event together and they suddenly showed their true colours - I was no longer welcome in the group and some very nasty things were said and spread around about me.

We did finally have some others at Church the right ages and I found one friend, but then I moved back to the other side of the country and she became better friends with my sister.

During my Uni days I managed to have 2 groups of friends - one at Church, the other at Christian Union (CU). There was one girl who I got close to - or so I thought. The trouble was I expected more of her than she could give and we both ended up badly hurting each other. The church friends had been together for a long time, so there was that trying to get into the group issue again.

I moved again and the contact I had with those friends has gradually dwindled. Most people keep in contact with friends from their past - they have life-long friendships that stand the test of time - as for me, it seems I only have friends for a season. Part of that could be my fault because I'm not good at keeping in contact - but friendship is also a two-way thing. Unless both people put into it the friendship cannot survive - this is something I've learned the hard way, as I put effort in to trying to have a friendship with people who do not reciprocate.

My experience over the last 10 years has been hard. The Church I attend has a lot of cliques. They say they welcome everyone - and to a point they do - but for the most part the ones of a similar age to me have been together for their whole lives, at both church and school. Because of this, they have their best friends and their friend group but don't include new people into that. This has been further complicated by all the weddings that have taken place - I am now the only woman around my age who is still single, and one of just a handful of single people over 30.

It's a lonely place to be.

And so here I am, longing for a friend, but also being too afraid of rejection to really try to get close to anyone any more. I'm tired of being the one to do the approaching; I need to be approached so that I know they really want to be my friend, not just me be theirs.

So, I guess I'm at war with myself. Pleading with God to let me have just one friend who is here; being reminded that when that person does come along not to make an idol of them; being scared of rejection; and in turn being frustrated that I haven't yet found another friend.

For 4 years I have been waiting for another friend; for 14 I have been waiting for a husband (but that's another story).

The hardest part is the war in my heart. In reality, God should be enough, with the friend and husband the icing on the cake. My head knows this, but my heart ...

Monday, 21 July 2014

ACRBA Tour - Better Than A Superhero by Belinda Francis

 21st - 25th  June 2014
is introducing

Better Than A Superhero
(Wombat books 1 May 2014)


Belinda Francis, illustrated by Kayleen West

About the Book

Who is better than a superhero? Find out about Jesus as you explore what he did and who he was. And most importantly how Jesus really can be your best friend!

About the Authors

Belinda Francis
Award winning journalist turned children's author Belinda Francis worked in newspapers, magazines and electronic media for ten years in South Africa before she and her family immigrated to Queensland.

Shortly after arriving in Australia, her elder son was diagnosed with ASD and she devoted the next few years to his early intervention, which with God's guidance, has paid off miraculously. Her second son, who had been born ten weeks prematurely, is now healthy and strong – evidence of yet another miracle. She and her family recently celebrated the arrival of their third child, a much-prayed for daughter.

While raising her children, Belinda wrote Better than a Superhero, her first published book, and threw herself into the local church and community. She runs the Sunday school program at her church campus.

Belinda is passionate about raising children up in God's kingdom and excited about the ministry opportunities the book will undoubtedly open up.

Kayleen West
An award winning artist, her work hangs in private and corporate collections in France, United States, Italy, and the Australian Embassy in Ireland and in government collections in Australia.

Although an initial childhood dream was to write and illustrate for children, Kayleen was encouraged to venture into a career of an exhibiting fine artist and later a graphic designer.
Returning to her original passion in 2009, Kayleen is now a published children's Author and Illustrator working on her third children's book and writes Christian content for magazines and blogs.

Kayleen is the author and illustrator of Without Me? (Wombat Books, 2013) and the illustrator of Better than a Superhero (Even Before Publishing, 2014).
For more information:  

My Thoughts:
This is a fun book! I enjoyed reading it to the children I had in creche a couple of weeks ago. The illustrations are great, they just jump off the page!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Skinny on Prayer - Skit Guys

Don't be put off by the beginning of this or the way it seems to make a mockery of prayer - make sure you watch it all the way to the end!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Value You Place

I've often had people tell me that they don't read Christian fiction because you can't learn anything about God from those books.


Some of the things I have learned best have at least had their beginning through reading a Christian fiction novel. Here are some of my thoughts on this:

1. As you read a book you begin to walk with the characters through their "life" (yes, it's fictitious, but for that time you are in the pages they have become real), and as you do, the lessons they are "learning" become absorbed into your subconscious or even take hold of your conscious thoughts.

A character will "share part of their life story" with another character and that becomes real - it's like when someone shares their story with you and you realise that they have dealt with an issue like you are currently facing and you ask them for advice (of course, you can't ask the character for advice, but the other character either does that or offers their story of how they coped/dealt with something).

In the case of a novel, the struggles a character is having and the way they allow God into their life can challenge/encourage/motivate you to do the same.

Some authors will even have their characters going to church and put in the book parts of the sermon they are listening to - which will generally have been a sermon the author has personally heard when they were attending church one Sunday. Lori Wick is one such author.

Others who have really impacted me through their novels include Robin Jones Gunn, Dee Henderson, Irene Hannon, Cathy Marie Hake, Janette Oke and Colleen L Reece.

Many of the novels on my shelves have little post-it-note tags where I have found something that impacted my life and got me thinking more about God, learning more about His character or things I can listen to, learn from and put in practice in my life.

2. If you are witnessing to someone, they may not willingly pick up a Bible to read, however a well chosen novel that gives a clear Gospel message can be a way to share with them in a way that is not so obvious, but nonetheless powerful and effective.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Flat Pack Furniture

I'm getting really good at putting flat pack furniture together.
I've put together at least 15 items from Ikea, not to mention numerous others from a variety of stores. Just don't get me started on the desk I bought from Aldi - let me just say NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My most recent experience (that is within the last 4 hours) has been crazy.
A cupboard from Bunnings. Firstly, we needed an extra shelf - which they sell - but was located about 10 aisles from where the cupboard was. Then the package was REALLY heavy - but some very helpful staff got it on the trolley for us and put it in the car. Once we got it home, we decided the easiest way to get it into the house was to open the box and carry the individual pieces in one at a time. So far, so good.

So the basics are the same with all pieces of furniture ... screws, tools needed ...
However, this time the instructions were not complete - you had to download them from the internet. What if you don't have access to the internet at home? Or wherever you are putting it together? The instructions in the box were certainly not detailed enough to put the cupboard together.

Then, there is the issue of how much space you need to actually be able to construct the piece - about 3 times as much space as the finished product will take. So, furniture was moved around so that I had enough space to put it together (which of course means I have to put it all back when I've finished).

Well, it has been finished - except that one of the hinges popped off because the chipboard split, so now we have to figure out how to fix that. GRRRRRR.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

2014 TBR Pile Challenge - Mid Year Update

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I haven't forgotten this challenge that I set myself, but I also haven't read any books on my original list since April.

During April I managed 4 taking me to just over half of the pile 16 out of 29:

  • Home Warming by Emilie Barnes
  • The Golden Road by L M Montgomery
  • The Simple Home by Sharon Hanby-Robie
  • Australian Stories of Hope and Joy by various authors
Lots of books were added to my TBR pile since April and I have been reading them plus a few old favourites!

Ok, so when you think about it I'm really not doing so bad to be half way through the pile by the middle of the year, but most of the ones still on the list are non-fiction and I never read them as quickly or as often as fiction.

Hopefully I will keep you updated more often and will actually get through more of my pile!

How are you going with your TBR pile?