A True Friend is Hard to Find

This week has been hard. It’s been hard to watch the world crumbling in the comfort of my own home. The terror, the fear, the looting, the rage, the innocent lives hurt all in the name of racism. My heart breaks for this world. The brokenness and evil overwhelm me the more I go looking and search for truth and read accounts of peoples lives. It is soul destroying. Who can we turn to for law and order? Who can we trust in? Every political party lies in some way or another. I had a beautiful friend ask me a simple question this week. “Jennifer, how do I know what I’m reading is truth? I read one article that paints a position or event one way and then another that states the complete opposite.” It’s all so exhausting.

It’s got me thinking about the next generation. When we are out as a family my children will play with other kids they have never met. When they come back to us after playing they will talk all about their ‘friend’. It’s as simple as that for children. Anyone who is nice, any other child who plays with them is their friend. There’s no judgement. There’s no prerequisites, no pressure as to what they believe, their worldview it’s just pure and innocent love.

It gets me everytime. It brings me a warmth in my heart and at times it convicts my spirit. To love others even when I don’t know who they really are. Then I tend to think further, what makes a good friend? How do we find a true friend? How can we enjoy each other’s company as adults with differing points of view?

You know, just this past week I posted what I believe was a great speech by the President and with that post a friend of mine ‘unfriended’ me. I mean, when I type this out and read it for what it is it’s really embarrassing. I approached them and let them know I’m sorry to see they unfriended me but I still think they were a great person. Since when are we not allowed to have a different opinion? Since when is freedom of opinion allowed only if you agree with my point of view. Since when are people disrespected for their beliefs? I see it more like freedom of speech BUT only if you believe what I believe.

The peaceful protestors are being caught up with the violent protestors. I cannot understand why people are destroying other people’s property all in the name of #blacklivesmatter

Why aren’t we having the same ridiculous protests for #prolivesmatter #babiesmatter #jewsmatter #womenmatter #thirdworldcountriesmatter you get my gist. We need to stop this. We need to stop the abuse and hatred. Now this writing won’t change the world. My thoughts won’t allow people to see reason and logic. This is a very humble blog. I don’t have enough followers to make an impact.

This is my own outlet of my thoughts and dreams. But it feels good to get my words onto this platform. So I can leave it here and give it all to the one who can change things, the one who can make a difference in people’s hard hearts. The Holy Spirit. Only through the gospel can people really change. We must remember this in these trying times. Remember we don’t need the law if we live by the Spirit. Suddenly my children’s Bible memory verse feels so much more powerful. I understand it on a new level.

Just this week I’ve seen countless reports about the President gassing and shooting peaceful protestors for a photo op. That didn’t sit well with me and so it lead me to go searching. Looking for answers. I mean, really if he did such a thing wouldn’t they of put the man on trial! Or called for impeachment? Only two days later it appears in his interviews and also with the perspective of the DOD and Parks Rec. No tear gas or bullets were used to clear the street so the president could in fact visit St.Johns church. A church that was set on fire the night before by riots! All in the name of unity? Huh? Unity? That doesn’t gel for me.

I’ve stopped and had many moments. Moments when I’m alone. To ponder our meaningless lives and why we are here. What is friendship? Brotherhood? I didn’t want my children to see the depths of corruption of humanity just yet. They know some stuff. And they have to for their own protection, you know stranger danger and just plain old sin. People’s hearts are wicked. They understand the only good in them is when the Holy Spirit changes them. That is the good. When Jesus makes you new. You see things differently.

You know, I’ve had different seasons with friendships. Different likes or interests have drawn me to particular people. In my younger years it was who you’re placed with in your class. You connect with those kids because quite frankly you have no other choice. And as we get older we are drawn to new friendships along the way. Some fizzle out just naturally whilst others can sadly take a turn for the worst. I’ve experienced both in my short life. I’ve gone from countless friendships to once having children watching how that naturally changes. My focus is elsewhere. And then I wear a new badge as a ‘homeschool mother’ meaning friendships shift again. I can’t grab a coffee in my day. My best friends become my children. Catch up’s with friends stick to weekends or my new fav app ‘Marco Polo.’ I can connect with friends during the day whilst I’m busy being mum via text or Instagram.

But you know those true friendships. The ones that stick forever. That last through all seasons. Those are really hard to find. In my years I could tell you some stories that belong in a Melodrama Book series. I’ve had moments where I could imagine you reader sitting on the other side of the table at your fav cafe (let’s be real I just imagine it these days) sipping your delicious coffee with your jaw dropped over the stories of “so called friendships” ha! And I’m certain you would exchange the same jaw dropping stories yourself… maybe not to the same degree. Trust me.

However, jokes aside. I’ve come to learn through the Spirit to trust His gentle voice, the way He presses on my spirit and heart with a certainty in a person. I’ve learnt to pray for my friendships. I’ve learnt it’s of great importance to ask God for kind friendships where my whole family are blessed. Not just myself. Where we can give and serve as a family. And enjoy life giving friendships.

We were created for relationship. We were created to enjoy these good things given to us by God. Jesus had 12 close friends in His 30’s. That’s more than I have (ha!) yet in that bunch of great blokes He has 3 very close ones. Ones that came alongside Him and held him up in prayer, who laughed and cried with Him, who encouraged Him. Who were there even though they were flawed and got it wrong. Who weren’t afraid to say ‘sorry’ when they did the wrong thing. Who failed miserably and yet he forgave time and time again.

As I’m nearing my 40’s now I can see the saying is real, “A true friend is hard to find.” However, to find that true friend, we need to pray for it. We need to ask the giver of all good things to place the right people in our lives. In our circle. To become our community. And hear me friend, one or two good, solid God glorifying friendships are better than 20 fake ones. God can and will do this for you reader.

So no matter our spiritual or political beliefs can’t we just see past this and show love? Can’t we look for a need in someone and fill it. Talk about the real issues in life. Ask ourselves how can I help the poor and lost and be a friend in someway to all mankind? How can I be as Jesus was to the best of my ability. In doing so we display Christ. And the gospel will no doubt be spread.

Ultimately there is one true friend who will never hurt or shame you. Who will never throw slurs at you or talk behind your back, who will never lie or cuss at you. A friend who would lay their life down for you. In fact this friend already has. Now, that’s true friendship.

Peace, love and grace to you reader wherever you are at.

Jennifer X

A Reality Check during COVID-19.

August 21st 1942:
“Now our Secret Annex has truly become secret. Because so many houses are being searched for hidden bicycles, Mr. Kugler thought it would be better to have a bookcase built in front of the entrance to our hiding place. It swings out on its hinges and opens like a door. Mr. Voskuijl did the carpentry work. (Mr. Voskuijl has been told that the seven of us are in hiding, and he’s been most helpful.) Now whenever we want to go downstairs we have to duck and then jump. After the first three days we were all walking around with bumps on our foreheads from banging our heads against the low doorway. Then Peter cushioned it by nailing a towel stuffed with wood shavings to the doorframe. Let’s see if it helps!”
Anne Frank

It’s now the year 2020. Turning on my coloured LED 65” television- I sit back in my comfy leather lounge, taking a sip of my Merlot. I focus my attention to the words being plastered all over my screen, ‘Pandemic’, ‘outbreak’ and ’Covid-19’. As I flick through the stations each network streams the same information. The reality is harsh and the numbers of victims from this virus rise daily.

But I cannot seem to shake something that disturbs me throughout this time. I’ve had to sit and really think on why I feel uneasy. This is definitely not an anxiety from the Covid-19, this is different. A real disappointment in much of the human race. Why do I come off social media feeling flat and sorrowful? Don’t get me wrong, I still see so much good will. I see kindness in the humanity offering free sanitiser kits, meals, songs to keep spirits up. I see people connecting in ways I haven’t seen before. I’ve written some other thoughts on this in my previous post. Yet, there is no doubt a negative side to all that is going on. The elephant in the room that needs to be addressed.

I have sat on this for the past few weeks. I have watched and listened and observed behaviours. And then I’ve thought about pandemics and crisis’ throughout the history of our earth. 

Drawing questions on all that’s coming about, ‘are we any different as a human race when disaster strikes?’ ‘Do we show deep kindness and sacrifice?’ ‘Did people fight over petty items like toilet paper when say The Spanish Flu hit in 1918 killing 50 million people?’ 

I have to say- human nature doesn’t really show much of a shift over history. We start wars, we fight, we bleed, we offer peace. Some forgive, some still plot in vain and so the cycle continues. I also see and read about great acts of bravery. Sacrifices made by men and women of old. Throughout wars and diseases, so many pull together for the greater good. This gives me a hope. I feel I can take a deep breath and say “not all is lost, not all is bad.”

But there is still this wave that hits me from time to time. Something doesn’t sit right with me reader. I’ve worked out what it is. It’s sweeping our world, mainly the first world countries. A different pandemic alongside the Corona Virus. It’s a ‘I’m hard done by’ mentality. The complaining I’m hearing, and it’s time we get a bit of a reality check!

As I sit back on my comfy lounge and watch the latest rules to come out from our government, a government who are working tirelessly to support all Australians, giving money (which non are entitled to, be thankful for where you live!) to support everyone who’s lost a job (and on that note, It’s been heartbreaking to see and witness those close to me suffer) or while their job is on hold. I am astonished at the vicious comments thrown toward the cabinet. This cabinet are continually listening to the public, trying to help and care for MILLIONS of needs all while trying to flatten the curve. They aren’t going to get it all right but they are trying their best under a pressure we have never felt. 

My goodness reader, I think of my grandparents going through the Great Depression. Rationing out food. Sickness, diseases all happening around them while battling the Nazis. Another reality check from the luxury of your home, a roof over your head, hot running water and with fast speed internet you can order take out, groceries and don’t forget your comfy pj’s to self isolate at home all day. You name it. It’s only a click away… and it ends up at your doorstep. 

I wonder how we in the year 2020 would cope if we were teleported back to the year 1942. How would your mental state be then?

I know some of you out there need social interaction. I get it. I know you thrive and grow in your connections. And you should. We all should. We were made for relationship. But again, I shake my head is disbelief. Let’s get some perspective friends, we click another button and we can connect. There’s Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Messenger, WhatsApp and who knows what else is at our finger tips (Sorry, homeschool mum here who’s been self isolating since 2011). We can get through this. My friend- what about the years of war that saw minority groups in hiding, not speaking to anyone for years. Children locked in cupboards for fear they would be taken from their parents. Imagine the fear you would have to implement on your children in order to keep them quiet every single day!

Shame on us as a society… we ramp each other up with our memes of not coping after three days in self isolation. Yet we don’t hide in the same way. Our fear isn’t the same. We proclaim our insanity from our rooftops and the comfort of our luxurious hot baths for being present at home for a few days. Look at the excerpt from Anne Frank’s Diary… and tell me friend, do your hands shake? Do you look white in the face for fear of sudden death. That the enemy will burst down your door at any second to wipe out your entire family? 

October 20th 1942:
“My hands still shaking, though it’s been two hours since we had the scare… The office staff stupidly forgot to warn us that the carpenter, or whatever he’s called, was coming to fill the extinguishers… After working for about fifteen minutes, he laid his hammer and some other tools on our bookcase (or so we thought!) and banged on our door. We turned white with fear. Had he heard something after all and did he now want to check out this mysterious looking bookcase? It seemed so, since he kept knocking, pulling, pushing and jerking on it. I was so scared I nearly fainted at the thought of this total stranger managing to discover our wonderful hiding place…”
Anne Frank

There it is, another reality check. Here’s my biggest concern, speaking of being present… our children, our families. They are to be our number one priority. However, all I’m seeing everyday are posts on how people cannot wait to get rid of their kids. Don’t get me wrong, the memes can be hilarious. I love posting laughs and I love posting ways to help and connect you as a family, but it’s going too far. So many parents openly complain that they cannot wait until this is all over and the teachers can take their kids off their hands. They (the parent) need a break. The parents are suffering… whinge, whinge, whinge. 

Let’s read this as a wake up call! Maybe, just maybe if you stopped and saw how strong and healthy your children are, how free and happy your children are, you might just stop whinging for a while. Hardly any time has passed and we complain about juggling jobs and children, schooling, cooking… managing this season of life. Yes it’s hard. I’m certainly not saying it isn’t. However, let me tell you. If you are currently reading this you are more fortunate and blessed than over half the world. 

Take a moment reader, look over to your children, watch them as they sleep, play or even bickering with siblings and now put yourself into a time where working, schooling and cooking couldn’t happen because of the poverty, because you would be homeless. So go hug your kids a little tighter. Be thankful for everything you have. We WILL get through this. Put schooling on hold for a moment if you’re struggling, change what you need to and work on your family. Work on hugging and listening and laughing together. Build that bond, because nothing is stronger or more important.

And do yourself a favour. Stop publicly complaining about your children. One day when you’re old- they will click that Facebook or Instagram button and see your complaints about them. How do you think they will feel?

Rather, let me encourage you to write to a friend personally and confide in them. Ask them for help. We are all struggling in different ways. Reach out to each other personally. 

Let the world know- your family is everything! Don’t forget this when you tuck your babies in at night in freshly washed sheets after a warm bath and a nutritious meal. Please, don’t forget the families in those third world countries with the same pandemic right now. And how little they are protected. Imagine what they sleep on at night. Imagine what they are eating for dinner. Imagine the lack of resources they have. Can I hear the words, REALITY CHECK?!

Let’s remember this is just a season. Embrace the sleep-ins, embrace the mess, the cancelled sports weekends and give thanks. Give thanks for those that risk their lives daily on the front line to keep you and your family safe. The doctors and nurses that cannot cuddle their children good night or eat that nutritious meal simply because they cannot take a break. 

Now that’s a sobering reality check if ever I read one.

Jennifer X

Beyondblue 1300 22 4636
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
Lifeline 13 11 14
Mindspot 1800 61 44 34

Have you thought of everything when preparing for baby?!

Here I am, 38 weeks pregnant with our fifth child! It’s all getting so close now. It’s all so exciting… the kids are buzzing, heck mum and dad are buzzing. I’ve finally set up my birthing area and it feels quiet and cosy. I have my diffuser with oils, candles, towels, soft mats and Bible Verses scattered around my room to provide me with the assurance I need. I look at my birthing space multiple times a day and know soon I will be there. I picture myself in that little area. I can see me breathing through each surge- preparing to welcome our baby. 

I find the more times I prepare for the arrival of each of our children the more prep I do. I add another idea, something to make our lives easier or healthier or manageable. Just little things to keep our family strong while we are in that little newborn bubble of love. And let’s face it. We are a large family. These little tricks done early enough bring about the peace and quiet time I cannot wait for. A time where we just be together, not doing, just being. No distractions, slowing down.

So here it is, my list of ideas provided you’ve already got all the baby essentials and your hospital bag packed. (See here for my baby essential ideas).

The month or two before bub arrives I make litres and litres of broth and chicken stock (if I’m in a hurry). I then create soups, stews, bolognese And lasagnas out of the rich nutritious broth! We pack all these into the freezer in containers. And it lasts us months! Mama gets a break and daddy has the pressure taken off him also. 

I will say here, be kind to yourself and pick recipes (because you are heavily pregnant) that is slow cooker friendly or where you can leave it simmering without watching over it! Summer babies are a little easier with food preparation. We had plenty or fresh salads and BBQS!

So, you’re food is sorted. Let me ask you, when was the last time you changed your bedding? Technically we should be doing it once every two weeks. And we certainly try to. HOWEVER, right about now is a good time to strip the beds and wash them. You want to do this one or two weeks before baby is born. 

Try your best to use low to no toxins in your wash. It can be incredibly harmful for you and your children’s skin. Pick a sunny day to dry them out on the line if you can. Sunshine is a natural steriliser. It kills germs. When you make your new baby’s bassinet/cot up with bedding, don’t make it too early. It becomes a dust catcher. You will know when it’s a good time, do so and then cover it with another sheet. That way the sheet catches the dust and you can wash that easily, not worrying about setting up the bed all over again…. I know, you’re welcome 😉 

I’ve linked the wash I use here. (Check out my gorgeous friends Essential Oil page. Well worth it!). 

My friend, if I can make time to make this simple, pure, clean wash then I know you can. Try it out!

HOLD ON!!!! Before washing those extra clean, soft sheets you need to do something hardly anyone I know does! Clean you washing machine and dryer! Look at your user manual… get it out and read about how to clean these machines. If not, call the manufacturer and ask them to email you a copy. It’s worth it. As for the barrel and where you place your washing detergent this is how I like to clean it. 

  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons of bicarbonate Soda
  • 6-10 drops of lemon essential oil 

Then put a small amount of this recipe into where you place the detergent and fabric softener. 

Click the self clean cycle, or your longest cycle. I like to have my water nice and hot also! Easy peasy! Don’t forget to drain out your pipes to clean out that dirty water also. All this takes us 5 minutes! Then we come back 2 hours later to a sparkling and fresh smelling washing machine. 

Ok, we’ve washed the sheets. CHECK. Made the fresh beds up (who am I kidding, I can’t do anything at this stage in pregnancy when it comes to manual labour. Find someone to help you! James makes the beds in our house.) 

We also use these last few weeks to get a check up at the Drs. The whole family goes. We don’t want to pass any little germs onto baby. They go through enough with labour. It’s their time to get strong and chub up!

Besides the food, bedding and doctors we buy those yummy little chocolate worming tablets…. um, no, I’m happy to report we’ve actually never had worms (maybe it’s the homeschoolers environment, not surrounded by tonnes of kids. Ha) but we try to remember to do this at least twice a year. And also one week before baby is born. 

Tick!! That’s another strange thing we do that not many people think about. 

If you have other siblings for baby, think about what you would like them to wear for those first precious photos. Have a place where they are packed away and ready for daddy to dress the kids. That way there’s no confusion and you’re not bombarded with questions right after birth like ‘what do I put the kids in? Is it warm enough? Where’s such and such’s pants?

It’s a good idea to show the kids what they will be wearing too. So they are on board and there’s no tantrums etc. 

We also disinfect everything. I make a simple spray using EDENS GARDEN Guardian and Fighting Five. I also have a spray to cleanse the rooms where I just buy it. I don’t make this one myself. Click here

Have all your vitamins and healthy kits ready to go for when bub arrives. So everyone is building up a strong immunity. We are about to purchase our very first homeopath kit. I’m so excited! And begin to make incredible Elderberry Syrup. I’ll add my recipe to the blog in the next few weeks! I promise it will be easy. 

Now let’s talk mama to be. What will help you most to be ready to endure labour? Exercise, plenty of water, meditation, reading? All these things I believe are vital! Do them! And do them as often as you can.

I’ve been meditating on God’s promises to me through His word. This is strengthening my mind for the road ahead. Drinking lots of water and Red Raspberry Leaf Tea! Giving my body the energy stores it needs. Taking the right tablets for my body, trying to sleep (damn insomnia) and one week before baby girl is due I have my hair booked in, mani, pedi and a lash treatment! (I know!!! I won it with the best in the biz. Genesis of Nellie and Ellie! I keep saying this will be my most glamorous labour haha). But seriously, be ready the way you want and need to be. Talk to your partner about what you need and how he can support you best. Talk about your birth plan and how you would like it to go. They are your biggest support. After all, you are carrying their child 😉 

Talk often as a family and pray together about your life and the new baby. Chat to your children about what you expect from each of them. According to their age and what they can manage. At the moment Noah has the idea baby will be sleeping in his room (at 3am I will be wishing ha ha) and Scarlet thinks she will be wearing her all day when she is playing and schooling. Aquila acts out where she will sit on my bed to rock the bassinet! It’s all soooooo cute! And I adore them with all my heart for thinking like this- and they can do some of those things. Just not to the full extent. Welcome it, explain how important they are in this family and how much you appreciate their help daily and even more once baby arrives. But also remind them, they too are your babies and you love them just as much and want to dote on them also! Allow for those moments too… probably when baby is sleeping!

And that’s it from me… for now! Just a few little extra things you can do to prepare and to be the best for your family. You can feel ready for baby to grow and thrive. 

I would love to know if there is anything out of the box you do to prepare for a new baby? Something no one ever talks or thinks about! 

Here’s to preparing your home now to reap the rewards later. Breath, and be in the moment. In the present, with your whole family.

Jennifer X

… Where My Wandering Will Finally Cease

Dear Weary Wanderer,

You’ve been searching, trialling and waiting. In this season you feel disappointed. I know you’re agitated with man and the never ending search to find where you belong. I can hear you loud and clear- ‘It doesn’t have to be perfect. All I’m asking for is a community, friendships, God glorifying, biblically based…great worship, somewhere I can raise my kids….’ Am I asking for too much? Ah, when I think about all the things I really want in a church family, it’s always followed by a sigh. A sigh of lost hope. A reality check. Yep, they are all wonderful, good and RIGHT things to have- however, at the essence of every church is humanity. It’s important to keep this in mind, I’ll come back to this point soon.

Churches are lead by men and women who part and parcel (So I like to believe) are trying to do the will of God and create a safe space for people to worship and connect with one another after a hard week living in the world. I like to see it as our safe haven. Let me be clear here, church is first and foremost to worship God with other believers. We should leave feeling re-charged for the week ahead, ready and able to take on the grind and suffering of the world. Covered in the armour of God and ready for battle (figuratively). 

In my 36 years of living I’ve seen church done well and church done very poorly. I’ve left church services thinking ‘why do they run the service in this way?’ Or ‘how are they caring for their congregation if they don’t cater for all people?’ Or even ‘I feel lonely, I’ve been here for years and still don’t know anyone.’ These comments ring true to many of us. 

Reader, you might be struggling right now with your current church or ‘church hopping’ so to speak. Trying to find the right balance for you or your family. Can I encourage you with these simple words.

We were not meant for this world. Our home is not here, our spirits long for Jesus and Heaven. We are Heaven Bound.

Now that’s no excuse to stop meeting together at church. We cannot say, ‘Well I’ve tried, I can’t find a church family. I’ll wait now until I’m in heaven.’ My friend that is a harrowing thought and dangerous at that. We are creatures of habit and relationship. We crave love and we crave intimacy. We need to find a church home on earth. 

Though it be temporary, rest assure your Heavenly Father knows your heart and its longings. He understands the waves of anxiety you might feel as you walk through those church doors, or the hurt and pain a fellow brother in Christ might have inflicted upon you and the thought of continuing at the same church is impossible. Jesus knows, Jesus gets you. He knows the inner workings of your heart. He knows when you don’t feel like your church is the place for you to worship anymore. He sees when you have given all you can to serve and love others and when it comes to you, no one is there for you… maybe? I don’t know. All I know is that these are the cry’s of my heart over the years. Or cry’s of a friend deeply needing a tender ear to hear and a heart willing to pray and stand firm for them in prayer and supplication. 

If only you could find the perfect church now my friend. If only I was here to tell you, ‘LOOK, LOOK READER…I found the perfect church! It’s on the corner of I’m pulling your leg and watch my nose grow by the second.’ Ha! Truth is, there is no perfect church here on earth! None! Oh there are churches I have loved to visit (always the ones I have to travel overseas to enjoy) and there are churches I’ve been comfortable in. Perhaps too comfortable- forgetting to look outward to others in the community who might need to connect.

My friend, if you could take a moment, actually longer in prayer. Asking and seeking God for answers. Ask Him to clear your mind as to what you and your family are needing for a church family and where you can serve best. We’ve found over the years, looking around it’s always great research the churches in our area, listen to a few of their sermons, read up on their core values and beliefs. Attend at least a few times to get a good feel of the culture. That is unless you get a huge red flag upon the first visit… then my advice is RUN! (I’ve written about red flags in this Blogpost, but please don’t be as complying as we were. (You save yourself a world of messy tears!) AND TAKE YOUR TIME, OH WEARY WANDERER! There is a season for everything.

Sometimes our best memories and deepest connecting as a family has just been home church. Taking a break, regrouping and focusing on what God wants for our lives and how we ended up where we are. Be fed with worship music and sermons. These seasons are always wonderful. Embrace them. Embrace some time together. Doing your own Bible Studies.

Sometimes when we have been in and out of churches we felt embarrassed to tell friends or family. I felt pressured to find somewhere to go so I looked ‘Christian’ again. I was ashamed when we weren’t in church. As if something was wrong with me/us. I felt the pressure to not be honest about being absent from church. We felt the weight on our shoulders to tell others how much we loved attending church. It was all false… it was completely the opposite.

There was a time I didn’t want to go to church at all. I needed time to heal, to come back out of the depression and feel like I belonged again. That takes time. Do not rush that. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in you. Layer by layer restoring that which has been broken inside. 

Oh Jennifer, where is your strength in Christ? My friend, can I encourage you to take charge of this season and just kindly and gently explain to people who might ask questions ‘we are taking a break to focus and ask God what church is best for me or our family at this time.’ See, it’s not that hard to do… However, don’t let it be for long. Let me be clear here. It’s also imperative you do not become complacent in this new routine. Do not delight in lazy Sundays with sleep-ins and long breakfasts. Yes, these are good for the mind and belly from time to time but they in no way feed your soul. Allow Jesus to take hold of your hand, your family and steer you into the right direction. To the right church for your family to grow, strengthen, serve, love and be a beacon to those around you. 

Our spirits yearn and plead to be with our Heavenly Father to be united with Him. One day we will never feel let down, ashamed, hurt, wronged, an outcast or not worthy. Christ came to save us. He came to bring hope and to create order where there was none.  

This is not my home, I am Heaven Bound. 
Where my Wandering will finally cease. 

Jennifer X

Ecclesiastes 3 New International Version (NIV)

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Out My Window

Hello Dear Reader,

I’m writing to you 35,000 feet above sea level. Coming home from a short stay in Coffs Harbour. And the views above my great country are always spectacular. Those pristine waters along a golden coastline are breathtaking.

I find it remarkable that the waters know where to stop. The path has been paved and they stay on its course. They travel it perfectly. They come in and they go back out. They go no further. How do the waters know the path to take? The journey back and forth for thousands of years?

I look out my window and I’m awe struck by the pillars of clouds, so large and so soft. As a child I imagined falling into the large cotton candy types and feel the softness under every part of my body, imagining the clouds forming around me. Expecting those clouds to know how to catch and hold me perfectly. As we grow our understanding of cloud formations develop and our dreams are soon dampened by science and reason. But when you are flying slowly past the vast cloud formations, seeing their dazzling white brilliance, science tells me they can hold thousands of tonnes of water. This too baffles me, they hold this weight without falling to the ground in a catastrophic heap.

I see the beauty in the mountains that rise high up, they look as though they can reach the clouds or the tops of the sky. Covered in a canopy of green. But not just one colour, the greens are lush and bleed into one another with a thoughtfulness to detail. Surely there is an artist to this landscape. The sea of green could fill my children’s pencil container four times over. Just one colour, many shades. How can the blends of one colour depict the worlds greatest artistry?

As far as my eyes can take me. As wide as they can see, I behold the caramel flat plains below and on the horizon my mind flickers like the pages of a book- trying to decipher all the kinds of living creatures that live and survive our harsh conditions in Australia. I cannot fathom how they not only live but actually thrive in such conditions.

My short plane flight has me seeing but the smallest percentage of my country let alone the magnificence of the entire world. I’ve been meditating. My friend I don’t stop writing here. I don’t finish wondering. I don’t sign off perplexed about the makeup or my world and the designer of it. I don’t look out to see a fog of cloud in our decent with confusion in my heart or mind. No, these small things alone, the creation around me, above and below. Directs me to a great artist. Who had a canvas and decided to paint the most brilliant piece of art any eye has seen. An artwork no one can come close to accomplishing such inspiring, heaven focused, earth proclaiming majesty of Jesus Christ.

Yes,

It is all Him, with but a word and it was so.

And then, he died for it. 

Stand and allow Him to encompass you and hold you perfectly.

Jennifer X

To The Mother Who…

To the mother who’s up late at night on shift work or housework for her family.

I see you.

To the mother who gives up her needs and desires and puts her children’s first.

I know.

To the mother trying to pay her bills, overwhelmed by the future.

You’re not alone.

To the mother in the wee hours of the morning, sewing costumes, packing lunches, washing and ironing clothes.

I understand.

To the mother who gets up early and makes her family breakfast. Nourishing their bellies.

I applaud you.

To the mother who attends every sporting match, is the loudest cheerer, the biggest supporter, the proudest smile.

I can tell.

To the mother who has sipped countless cups of tea, playing make believe, kicking soccer balls and making cubby houses.

I am proud of you.

To the mother who falls to the floor and picks up their child when they are hurt. Who kisses away every tear, who patches the scrapes and cuts. Who holds their precious child in their arms until that child finds peace. 

I know.

To the mother giving wisdom, sharing her knowledge and faithful advice to her children.

I’m encouraged by you.

To the mother balancing work, homeschooling and motherhood.

I care.

To the single mother who does all this on her own, giving of herself in ALL she does as a mother not just to her own children but to many.

I’m here.

To the mothers who are still trying to conceive, longing to hold a baby of their own. 

I hear your cry’s. 

To the mothers who have lost a precious babe. Who’s heart breaks to hold their little one just one more time.

I feel the ache in your heart and arms. 

To all mothers who give with every fiber of their being, for their family. And do it with grace and gentleness every single day.

I rise and call you blessed,

Happy Mother’s Day.

Jennifer X

For Simone, my friend.

The Wife of Noble Character

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Is Sin Crouching At Your Door?

I don’t know about you but once we had children special holidays became magical all over again. The joy of Christmas and Easter stirred up something within me. I was adamant to make new traditions as a family and keep them for their entire childhood.hopefully to pass onto their children.

Every year I seem to add a new tradition to Christmas and Easter. And the lead up with activities, crafts and books is all part of the excitement for little children. 

Sounds pretty perfect right?

Ah, but this year for Easter Sunday we experienced things a little different. Things went terribly wrong. Our human nature took course and man oh man did we have a parenting fail. Sin was most defiantly crouching at our door- it was as though it took James and I by surprise. We opened the door and the floodwaters poured in like a tidal wave that wipes through a village.

My kids are very good sleepers, with daylight savings clicking over the children now wake between 6:30am to 7am each morning. And that’s fine… however, the night before Easter Sunday James and I weren’t wise and we decided to binge watch a series on Netflix. I know, I know, for all you mums and dads out there. It was the wrong move!! The next morning you feel like you’ve been hit by a train. So, that being our first unwise move. Noah came into our room just after 5:30 in the morning, standing next to James’ side of the bed began spelling out in a whispering tone, ‘D.A.D.D.Y’ … and again… and a third time. James was out cold. I snapped at my son and told him to go back to bed. I was shocked at the time of the morning (forgetting it was in fact Easter and that was the reason why he was up so early.) I tossed and turned in bed on minimal sleep… it was torcher! The the girls woke, again, excitement filled their little hearts. 

Sleep had left me, I threw off my covers, crawled out of my bed and as my feet hit the floor I became a mutated monster…. my war path was in full fury… I was a beast not to be reckoned with. I lead with my hunch back, teeth gritted, smoke coming from my ears, grunting. Lasers from my eyes hunting anything that moved to prey on. Yes, sin certainly had its way with me. 

I came out and the children were bouncing around ‘can we look for our eggs mummy? Please mummy? I’m so excited…’ were just some of the sentences I remember as I cringe thinking back to their little full hearts.

I hear a noise, from upstairs, it’s the ‘other’ he too looks like the mutant monster, only bigger, stronger and louder. And he’s faster than the mother, to paint the picture further he had hurt his leg so the the limp only added fear to the hearts of the little people. His steps seem to resemble rigid, stiff like surges. Every step would inflict a distress, a panic, a horror like a nightmare that not even the valorous could shut their eyes to. 

Yes, yes my friend- am I making you feel like you got this parenting thing in the bag? I assure you we certainly aren’t winning any awards. 

The little people frightened and not wanting to make a sound say quietly eating their breakfast. The ‘others’ began bickering with each other. It appeared that they had turned on one another. Trying to prepare the eggs that they should of had organised the day before (instead opted to watch a mini series) and spitting fire from their mouths at one another in front of the innocent. 

After some time of arguing we (the others) parted ways to try and look semi decent for church…. my goodness. If this isn’t a parallel I don’t know what is?! From demon to angel.

Still, waiting…. the children sat…. waiting. I glanced over and saw their downcast faces. That’s when I stopped- the monster in me literally stopped in my tracks. There it was. God pressed on my heart and showed me the truth. What was I doing? At this point I was in the girls bedroom when I called everyone in for a family meeting. We had to pray, right then and there. We had to get rid of this and make it right. We couldn’t do it without God changing us from within. You see, Satan knows when to attack. He knows when to strike. Think about this reader, this was the MOST PIVOTAL DAY OF THE YEAR. The day all Christians cry out in joy, with tears streaming down our faces we uplift the Lord Jesus and say ‘thank you, thank you for what you have done for us, for me.’ This is a time where we reflect upon the pain, there has never been anyone in all of history who has gone through the depth of pain and suffering for no reason, He did nothing and yet suffered so that we might have SALVATION! This is the day the Lord has made! We fall to our knees in adoration and worship. 

And it was as though the tiredness (the feeling of that train hitting me) left me… well maybe it didn’t, but I didn’t notice so much anymore. I wasn’t self focused but rather looked up to heaven and the to my little ones. My heart softened, my anger left. My sin was thrown onto that cross, He took that burden and all my others. Everything that I have even done and will do in this lifetime, I was so overwhelmed. A gentle reminded and a great sigh of relief. Tears flowing down my cheeks we embraced. We held our babies tight and asked them for forgiveness. I explained in my utter state of depravity “today, this morning, daddy and I sinned and hurt you. We do things wrong too. Adults do wrong and children do wrong. Will you forgive us?” (there were more beautiful words in exchange, words I will cherish in my heart forever. I don’t need to share them here but you get the gist.)

There is something we can learn from children and the way in which they love and offer forgiveness. There is no conditions, there is no discussion or judgement. They throw their little arms around you and say ‘of course I forgive you!’ The same love we were supposed to be remembering that very morning. Jesus’ love and forgiveness without conditions.

That right there reader, is children displaying the love of Christ. Their hearts are filled with love and tenderness. 

And so, after rebuking Satan from our home we invited the King of Kings to rule. And the Holy Spirit to reign in our home once again.

And I did friends, I felt His Spirit dwelling with us again. I called out to the children ‘take two’…. ‘Happy Easter Scarlet, Happy Easter Noah, Happy Easter Aquila, Happy Easter baby Selāh. Yep, we hugged, yep we had a brilliant Easter egg hunt, yep we went to church… James and I still felt rubbish. And that’s going to happen sometimes. God isn’t a quick fix. We stuff up again, we fall short, we sin, we are lead and convicted ever so gently, we seek forgiveness, we know that sin is nailed to the cross with our Saviour, we lay our heads on the pillow, we wake and start all over again hoping, praying we are better for Him.

A family centred on Christ,

Happy Easter.

The Son has set us free. We are free indeed!

Jennifer X

Five Ways To Entertain Your Kids Whilst Breastfeeding

If you’re pregnant and have other children, or a homeschooling mama or just juggling life with many little people I want to give you some helpful ways to tackle keeping your children ‘entertained’ whilst breastfeeding/schooling. 

Now, depending on your children’s age you may not need to worry. If they can read and write you can simply set them up with a task or the special job of reading/playing with their younger siblings. Make this title very important and allow your older children to feel valued and trusted for this task. Also, explain (over time leading up to and when the new routine has been set up) to the younger ones how much their older brother and sister love them and they are here during this set time of day to help and care for them. Explain clearly and without too many sentences (if younger) what you expect. Section off a room, even place a gate onto a doorway so the children cannot get up to mischief during that time. 

Righteo- Touching on the above step… Children cannot succeed in accomplishing correct behaviours if you aren’t first demonstrating them and reiterating what you would like them to do. Starting at a very young age is a wonderful time! Small, easy tasks to help with family life. You may not have older siblings to help out. I will say this, EXPLAIN WHAT YOU EXPECT FROM YOUR TODDLER VERY CLEARLY AND SIMPLY.

This needs to happen during your pregnancy, through all the excited, positive chats about how much baby will love them, how much you need their help, how much your child will love and be gentle toward their new baby sibling… through all these chats you then need to begin stating what you expect. Ask your child for ideas of what to do during this time so they feel like they have created their own routine in a way. The key is always keeping them involved.

When mummy feeds her baby what can you do during that time? 

What’s something special you would like to do whilst mummy is nursing?

New Beginnings Before New Baby has Even Arrived: It’s helpful to show your toddler/children photos of when they were breastfed. It’s a very special bond and a time where baby gets all their nutrients to make them strong and healthy. Explain, baby will need to drink lots of milk. 

Idea 1: Nursing when mummy is doing so. This could be with a bottle or even a baby station, bathing , dressing, putting into bed. Creating their own routine.

Idea 2:Special books that only come out for this time.

Idea 3:Play Doh and Stickers in a book. Kids love playing with stickers.

Idea 4:Lego/Duplo 

Idea 5:Fine Motor Skill Activities. For eg: Wooden Threading SetShark biteand Crafting Sets 

Don’t be afraid to put their favourite show on once in a while or to cut mummy guilt, try a children’s documentary. So many right now on Netflix. We love anything with animals and the planet… oh, and under the ocean! Click herefor ideas.

Note:You have the advantage here mama to slow your children into a new routine… disclaimer, newborns don’t need absolute silence to feed. They will not become distracted and come off your breast. So, this transition can begin with your children sitting next to you doing their thing. Slowly as baby grows you might move closer to another room, then the new room with the door open… etc. 

THINGS TO AVOID: 

Paints

Textas

Outdoor play (until they are older)

Objects they are not allowed to touch within close reach.

Oh mama, I’m laughing out loud at these ones…. I can imagine what you would be walking out to…. You can thank me later.

Happy Nursing!

Jennifer X

5 Steps To Finding Rest

Rest, or as the great Psalmist called it, Selāh. We are currently on summer vacation here in Australia. It’s the time of year where school is out, late nights are had, picnicking, swims and holidaying. For us this year we are having a ‘staycation’. And I gotta say, it’s been one of our best holidays yet. It feels SOOOO GOOD to be back home! Sydney has some pretty amazing beaches. And so many that I’ve never even set foot on. I actually didn’t realise how many beaches we actually had. Well over 100 actually!

Queens Beach, Sydney. We found this beach after a long day at the Zoo celebrating Scarlet’s Birthday.

Anyway, so all this ‘staycationing’ has got me thinking about rest. How do you rest friend? Do you take time in your week to rest? Or is it something that rarely happens? And if so I want to hear from you. I want to know how you rest?

Where I find rest will be completely different to you, we find joy in different objects, people and scenery. For myself rest has been found at sea. The salt in my hair and in my face, the sand between my toes, swimming with my babies and picnicking. All at a SLOWER PACE! We sleep in, we enjoy the moments together. 

I’ve been asking the kids most days what they want to do? And the answers don’t surprise me. It’s all about being together and having fun. 

Whatever it is these are my 5 steps of creating a little more rest in your life.

  1. Turn off social media for as long as you need. An hour or two, even a day or more can be so refreshing. That calls for all phones calls, emails and television. Connect with your family and not with what’s going on it the world. 
  2. Start your day in meditation. Give your day, events and even what you know you have planned for the week ahead or month over to God and LET IT GO. HAND IT OVER AND BREATH! 
  3. Don’t commit to work when it’s your day or time to chill out. You can always do it the next day. This time is rare and precious but so important to revitalise. 
  4. Do what gives you rest/joy. If it’s coffee then go out for it. If it’s yoga, go do yoga, the beach, hiking, camping, dining. Whatever you love to do and have time focusing on what you love to do, DO IT! 
  5. Stop and think about all the things you are grateful and thankful for in your life. See the good in what you have, count your blessings. What you have in life is so very much more than others in this world. 

Can I encourage you to find what you really love, what brings you peace and rest and clear your schedule to just stop! Do it! Enjoy! And come back at life and all it’s busyness refreshed and strengthened at what lies ahead for you.

Truly my soul finds rest in God, my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1

Jennifer X

Just A Moment…

If I sneak up stairs now… If I set my children up with a game or activity I can run away, for a moment to be with you. I just want to be with you. I want to sit with you and hear your voice. Feel your presence. I need you to get through my day.

Sounds like a romantic novel or the beginnings of a new relationship doesn’t it. These are just my own thoughts towards God.

A few years ago when I had thoughts and prayer requests come into my mind I would think to wait until I was alone, in my quiet time and speak to God then… the result being once I sat down to spend time with God- I didn’t remember anything that was on my heart or in my mind to talk to the Lord about.

Why couldn’t I take a moment? Why couldn’t I stop, be still and ask Him that question? Or for help. Or praise Him for something incredible He has been doing in my life or others. I had to keep business (or the busyness of life) seperate to God. My time seperate to God time. I didn’t have to do that. I didn’t have to have seperate my day. You can be a structured person or a go with the flow kinda person. The fact is if you don’t have Jesus with you in EVERY SINGLE MOMENT you have no hope of succeeding in your day let alone your life.

Let me ask you this… why would so many thoughts or requests come into my mind to speak to God? When’s the right time to have alone time? When’s the right time to steal a moment with your creator? To seize the day, carpe diem!

The answer is plain and simple my friend. AT ANY MOMENT! You need Him to breathe, to have life, your whole entire being, your purpose is made to glorify and magnify Christ. And when you can give Him your day, your hours and minutes and seconds, if you can surrender all of that to God. If you can say ‘Lord I need you. I need you to help me to get through my day.’ You’ve taken the first step. So it’s good for your soul to steal a moment to praise Him, to thank Him for the day He has made, rejoice my friend. Be glad in it. If you find your day is hard and too difficult to get out of bed or even leave the house or perhaps have that conversation with someone who only causes hurt or harm, I say firmly in love, go, run!

Run to his arms. And tell it all to Him. He already knows but He wants you to have a relationship with him. So speak to Jesus and ask Him for guidance. Ask Him to make your paths straight and you will see. Oh reader, sit back and watch the Lord work His majesty and wonder in your life.

Sometimes it’s as simple as getting you through the day. Getting you through all the housework, the teaching, parenting, working and dealing with what life throws your way. Other times He will touch your heart and soul so tenderly and heal you from deep within that no human can do! No psychologist, no councillor no matter how trained could give you what He can.

Once I figured out that God was prompting me to speak to Him at any time of day, I did whatever I could to be alone with him. Like a lover, was the Lord to me. I would run to my car to ‘grab something’ just for a moment with Him. I would leave early for an event to park and pray. Anything just to find Him in my heart. Hear me when I say reader I still struggle to run to Jesus first. I’m a work in progress and Jesus is refining me everyday. However, when I do get it right it’s the reassurance the Spirit brings to comfort me and find order to my life.

So, what am I saying in all my ramblings reader? My thoughts are this. Run to the arms of Jesus, over and over again. Choose Him. Steal moments in your day to just read a bible verse, say a prayer, commit your day to Him.

But sometimes I don’t get a break with the children? That deadline has to come in. I need to do this first. I have to, I must, soon… and so on. Don’t allow the lies of the enemy to convince you that things will be better once you do everything else before coming before the alter. GO NOW AND THEN THESE THINGS WILL FALL INTO CORRECT ORDER. Honour Christ and He will honour you.

I know, I get it. Life is busy and you are needed the second you open your eyes in the morning. Might I encourage you to set a healthy habit friend. As your eyes open, as your body begins to awaken in bed ready to begin a new day, awaken your heart, soul and mind with this simple prayer.

Christ First
Over and over again
I choose You
I commit my day into your keeping
I commit my family and my dealings
Take charge
Protect me and my family
Amen

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
—Matthew 11:25-30

Jennifer X