One Thousand Gifts

So I have read the first chapter from “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. It is completely and utterly captivating. I can’t wait to read the rest of the book. Ann is a talented and gifted writer. If you want a revelation and a life changing read then this is the book for you.

If you want to do what I did and read one chapter for free before you buy.

Or you can buy the book from and also
The video is from YouTube and is a trailer for Ann’s book.

When the ground shakes

I am reminded of Romans 15:13 scripture… “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

This scripture is a beautiful reminder that in spite of circumstance or what we see around us or our frame of mind, we can trust and rely on God and know that He is our joy and peace. Even when it doesn’t feel like it and the ground is shaky.

My home town in Christchurch, New Zealand had another earth quake today. This one is far worse than many other after shocks and earth quakes Christchurch has had previously. In school at age 5 you are taught about earthquakes and you are taught to hide under school desks in an emergency. Our immediate family currently lives in Australia and we have recently come through floods and Cyclone Yasi. But of course we still have friends and family who still live in Christchurch are going through a hard time right now. I have heard from most of my loved ones and they are safe but I haven’t heard from my oldest friends yet. We started school together at age 5. Her family live in the city in an apartment so I am very concerned for her and her young family at the moment.

I don’t have the answers to this devastation but I know the one who does. What do you do when the very ground underneath you can’t be trusted and shakes? What do you do when the ground is swaying and rattling. When buildings are turning to rubble in front of your eyes. What do you do? What can you say? All I can think is that we can hope and trust in the Lord through the Holy Spirit. When devastation, fear or hard times hit sometimes you can’t get your head around it all and you don’t have the answers. During these times all I can do is to surrender my head, heart, fear to God and trust in Him and know He is always good no matter what. I can’t do it in my own strength only through the power of the Holy Spirit.

My love, thoughts and prayers are with Christchurch today.

Genuine Concern Or Just Plain Nosy that is the question.

Are you genuinely interested, concerned or just plain nosy about other people?

I enjoy reading my friends and also other people’s blogs. Love blogs about homesteading, family life, christian living, hobbies, farming, and house renovation stories. So is this out of interest or is it plain nosy? Well… I think anyone who blogs publicly is more than happy to share their stuff even if you don’t know them. They want people to be interested in them. So nope I don’t think that is nosy at all, it comes down to motive.

When we went into Ministry I learn’t the hard way that some folk are just plain nosy. Some folk would question my children to find out information about our family, ministry or other people in the church. Of course some folk were genuinely and sincerely concerned. And then there were the others that just wanted to be nosy and have the latest gossip.

There were many times I had to stop speaking in mid sentence because I couldn’t share information. Even simple questions like; have you seen such and such, how is such and such? Often they were loaded questions. For example if I had seen… say, a recently young married couple then people would leap to thinking their marriage was in trouble. Or if I had confirmed that I had visited someone in hospital, then they would know such and such was sick. Many times I would stop mid sentence and say something like “ask such and such next time or aren’t they lovely or such and such makes a fantastic curry.” I had to refine the art of changing the subject and quickly exit without answering their questions. It is difficult not to offend someone when they ask you a direct question. Even if they shouldn’t be asking that question in the first place. Nothing can be more horrid than unwanted nosiness.

Magazines and Television are full of stories about the rich and famous. We don’t know them so in those cases we are being nosy. It is part and parcel of being a Celebrity. They need the media to further their careers and they want people to be interested in them but there is a fine line for them and for us too. Nine times out of ten it is nosiness that is motivating us to want to know what is going on in their lives.

And then there is Facebook. It is a great way to keep in touch with friends in one single profile update rather than phoning or emailing each individual friend. However it can also be a trap or source of information for those nosy friends of friends.

I think a good way to work out the difference between being genuinely interested in someone else and their life is to check your own motives. Do we think, pray, have concern or feelings for the person we are interested in? Do we see that person or have a friendship with them? Do we have contact with that person on a regular basis? Are we wanting the best for that person and their family? If we know they are going well in life are we genuinely happy for them? Or if we know they are struggling are we genuinely concerned? Or are we wanting to compare and contrast their lives, homes, clothes, job or family to our own? Are we wanting to feel superior to them? Or do we have no real feelings for them at all and simply want information about them out of nosiness?

My life is pretty much an open book. In saying that, I do value my privacy just as the next person or blogger. There are things that are only known between Jesus and I. There are things that only my husband will ever know. I have friendships that I value that are over 35 years old and some are as new as a few months old. When we live in community it is normal to develop friendships. There is information shared which is part of getting know someone. There is give and take in sharing our lives with each other. That is not being nosy that is friendship. Having friendships and being a friend can be scary for some people because they can’t hide when they let someone get to know them “warts and all.” When we choose to trust a friend that is a precious gift. Trust can be easily broken but not so easily repaired. So I reckon it is a good idea to look at our motives from time to time and check as to whether we are genuinely concerned for someone or if we are being just plain nosy.

Anyhoo… that’s MTCW (My Two Cents Worth) for today :o) I hope you have a un-nosy and super blessed rest of your day ! ! !

A Good Cup Of Tea

A Good Cup Of Tea…

I definitely love coffee especially to kick start the morning. I have a yummy Fair Trade Organic Coffee that my Husband and I love. BUT I also like to have a good cup of tea too. It has taken me a long time to find Tea that I love. If I don’t love it then I won’t drink it. Maybe you are the same?

Below is a few general tips on how to make a good cup of tea.

My favourite tea at the moment is Japanese Green and Mint Sencha Tea. Brewing loose leaf tea produces a yummy cup of tea. I prefer to use loose leaf tea because I can always taste a slight paper taste if I use tea bags especially in Green Tea. Some stronger Black Tea you may not notice any paper taste. I think brewing loose tea leaves captures more of the tea’s flavour. Typically I use individual stainless steel tea infusers but a pot of tea is always lovely when you have more than two friends over for morning or afternoon tea.

Best advice is to make tea the way you like it. And if you don’t know how you like it, try making teas lots of different ways until you find a tea you love.

General Rules for Tea making: Use 1 teaspoon per cup. If using a teapot add an extra spoon for the pot. Well that is what my Grandma always did so I do it too.

Warm your Cup and/or Teapot. This only takes a minute and really does make a difference.

You want to use good clean fresh water. Tap water is ok if you have fantastic water. I use filtered water.

Do not over boil the water. It drains the water of oxygen.

Brew Time:
Do not brew your tea for too long. Over brewing will leave a bitter aftertaste. Larger leaf teas can be brewed for longer than the small cut leaf.

Brew large leaf teas for around 3-5 mins and finer cuts teas between 2-4 mins.

Black teas that will be served with milk or lemon should be brewed a little longer, 4-5 mins for large leaf and 3-4mins for finer cut teas.

Green Tea should be brewed in water that is below boiling point. Try using 1/4 cold and 3/4 boiling water. Green Tea can be brewed several times.

White Tea should be brewed in water that is below boiling point.
Try using 1/4 cold and 3/4 boiling water. White Tea can be brewed for up to 10 minutes and brewed several times over. Each brew reveals a new layer to the tea.

Rooibos tea can be brewed as long as you like without ever going bitter in taste, unlike other tea there is no tannin in Rooibos tea.

Herbal tea: Use one teaspoon of herbs for each cup. Add boiling water to plunger/teaball or teapot. Let the herbs infuse for at least 5 minutes to ensure all the goodness is released. Add honey or lemon as desired.

Recommended water temperatures for different Teas.

Black Tea
Around 88°C to 94°C
3 to 4 mins
Tiny bubbles begin to thread along the surface.

Green Tea
Around 65°C to 77°C
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 mins
Column of steam just begins to rise.

Oolong Tea
Around 82°C to 94°C
5 to 6 mins
Tiny bubbles begin to thread along the surface.

Red Tea
Around 88°C to 99°C
3 to 4 mins
Just under a full boil.

White Tea
Around 77°C
5 to 7 mins
Column of steam just begins to rise.

Around 82°C to 94°C
5 to 15 mins
Tiny bubbles begin to thread along the surface.

What about adding milk to your tea?
It’s all about individual taste. Milk is acceptable in most Black teas. It can however mask some of the delicate flavours. I add milk and sugar because that is the way I like to drink my Black tea.

Green tea, White tea, Oolong and Herb tea don’t taste very nice with milk. These teas are normally made black.

Rooibos: In South Africa it is more usual to drink rooibos with milk and sugar, but elsewhere it is usually served without and is served black.

To sweeten or Not to sweeten?
Honey is recommended as a sweetener, sugar is also fine in most tea. I use honey or white sugar in tea. I use raw brown sugar in my coffee. Remember it is your tea and you should make it the way you like it.

Fruit Blend Teas are the most recommended for an Iced Tea Infusion, however most teas can be used.

Iced Infusion:
Use cold water and mix approx 1 tablespoon / litre.
Leave in the fridge for 4-8 hours.
For the best result, leave overnight.
Then serve over ice.
Add lemon or fruit to bring out the fruity flavour.
Add honey or sugar syrup as a sweetener.
To make sugar syrup – combine equal parts sugar & boiling water, stir until dissolved.

Assessing Your Finances

Below is a great financial resource we have been able to point some lovely young people to recently. It is written by Trent from The Simple Dollar. Below is a snippet from him to give you a flavour of his financial advice and solutions. I’ve included a link to him also.


A wise man once said “The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.” It took me a long time to summon the courage to admit that it was my own mistakes that led me to financial armageddon. It required me to admit that not only had I been making mistakes since my earliest days, but also to admit that many of the ideas I had learned in my life and built through my own experiences were completely wrong.
In order to understand these mistakes, I am initiating a ten part series of posts, a part to be posted each weekday for the next two weeks, in which I outline those various mistakes and what they did to pave the road to financial armageddon. More importantly, I hope to learn (and perhaps you will learn, too) how these mistakes can be corrected, not only for myself, but for others around me, such as my children. Hopefully, my mistakes laid bare will bring some insight into your own financial mistakes and perhaps lead you to your own epiphanies.