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.

Moving house

Moving house can be one of the most stressful times in your life. So is losing your job, divorce, end of a relationship or the death of a family member or close friend. So we have 2 of those happening right now. AND a number of those have happened with in the last 6 months. I am so thankful that I can put my hope and trust in the Lord. Moving can be stressful but I really feel that God is carrying me atm. Psalms 130:5  says: “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope”. AND Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” These scriptures give me comfort and strength as we wait on God and trust him for the next season in our lives. “Praise God” that he gave us his God breathed bible for instruction and comfort.

We have moved before. In 2006  my husband and I sold our house along with most of our belongings and moved from New Zealand to Cincinnati, Ohio US of A with our  kids. Then we moved again to another country from the USA to Australia. Where we had to co-ordinate things that were stored in New Zealand and also boxes of books etc from the USA.  And now we have another pending move. Each change was ordered by God we had no doubt at all. And he blessed us abundantly we would never have known his complete unfailing love for us if we had not stepped out in faith not knowing what the future held for us.

Moving house was easier in the USA, because by then we had some of our things stored in New Zealand and only arrived in the USA with a few suitcases for our possessions. When we arrived in the USA a lovely church organised a home for us including some food in the cupboards. Talk about Godly people being Jesus to us in a tangible way. By the time we got to the States we got good at giving things away, selling them or just chucking out all that rubbish that collects and clutters up our lives. The biggest change was to entirely give up our own personal wills and have them align with God’s will for us. When leaving the USA we were able to give our belongings to some overseas students who had next to nothing. What a blessing and a joy to give.

Moving out of our home in New Zealand was huge for me. We left a home with an ocean view (we even had a view from our bedroom) to live in the mid-west with no ocean in sight. Not even the smell of salt in the air. In the end moving house and countries was one way to declutter our lives. Albeit a drastic way to declutter!

Tips for a less stressful move:

1. Get organised in advance. If you leave everything until the last-minute it will be stressful. In New Zealand we sold our house and then rented it back from the new owner. This gave us time to sort and organise the house and all our stuff before moving day.

2. Start selling or giving away non-essential items as soon as you can. Don’t wait! Leaving things to the last-minute will add stress to an already potentially stressful time.

3. Organise your important papers and personal information. Get a folder for essential documents like passports, medical information, birth certificates. Make sure you photo copy passports (if moving overseas) of all the members of the family. Give the children copies of your passport as well. Sort out your personal photos. We scanned all our photo’s so we could take them overseas with us on a hard drive and know they wouldn’t get damaged in storage. We gave small album of photo’s to each of the kids special friends. I also made up a tiny album for each of the kids to take with them of important friends and family to pop into their bags and to show new friends.

4. Make up a new family saying. Don’t forget to encourage the kids. Ours was/is “every last step on a journey is a new step in an adventure.” They loved this and while traveling we would often say this family quote.

5. Take this opportunity to simplify. There’s no point in keeping stuff you haven’t used or probably will never use. Storing, moving or sending it to another state or overseas may cost more than replacing it. If you haven’t used it in  6 months then it is time to let it go. Don’t get rid of anything you feel is personal or sentimental and that you may regret not having in the future. In saying that you can’t keep every tiny little scrap of paper your child ever drew on either. We took photo’s of some items the kids had made or pictures and kept those on a hard drive. Easy to store a hard drive than a million bits of papers and sock dolls etc.

6. Have a garage sale or eBay your stuff.

7. Packing. Start packing up things early. Especially books you are not reading and any non-essentials. Buy a huge roll of bubble wrap, tape, cardboard corners for pictures, marker pens, mattress covers. Try local shops and ask if they want to get rid of their boxes. They often are happy to reduce their rubbish pile.

If you can afford it, seriously consider having the professional packers do your packing for you. Then you won’t need to bother with packing apart from personal items and you will save your back. Most times we pack ourselves BUT the times we have had the professionals in it was much less stressful and our backs were thankful too.

Give the kids a limit to how many boxes they can fill with toys. Let them pack some of their boxes themselves. Get rid of worn clothing or things that they will grow out of. If you don’t limit the boxes you will have everything from a scrap of paper to soft toy’s coming out your ears.

My best advice I can give you while packing is to listen to happy music. I listen to Christian and or jazz music on the stereo or computer while I pack. And if you are packing on your own why not listen on your iPod. You can’t be stressed and grumpy if you a listening to Godly or perky music. You know what they say in Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” You need all your strength while in the process of moving.

8. Friends and Family. Don’t forget to put aside time to visit and say goodbye to friends and family. Go out for dinner or have coffee and enjoy spending time with your friends. Some friends or family may not be able to understand your leap of faith and may get upset. Listen and encourage them. Often they are more upset because they themselves can’t do what you are doing and feel uncomfortable. Sometimes it is because they feel you are leaving them behind. Reassure them that we all have seasons in our lives where change occurs. Make sure you have Skype and/or e-mail to keep up the contact. Now is the time to let unhealthy relationships go.

Let the kids have their friends stay over and let them stay up as long as they can. You could have a movie marathon and let them sleep in the lounge or put the TV in their room and watch movies all night. You will find that those kids who can’t stay awake will happily sleep while the others chat all night long. Especially teenage girls!!!

9. Moving day. Don’t pack up your kettle or coffee machine up until the last-minute. OR if you do be sure to make time to run to the cafe’ for takeaway coffee. I guarantee you will be needing a tea or coffee on your moving day. Finally have a good clean up or hire a cleaner. At the end of a stressful day you will be thankful to see the cleaners come and magically clean your house up.

10. Enjoy your new adventure and new home.

40 Random Things About Me

Random Things About Me

1. I was born in New Zealand.

2. I wish I could be a vegetarian, but I enjoy eating meat too much. I don’t really like seafood, but I cook it for my family. My husband LOVES seafood.

3. I love cats and rabbits. In the state where I live it is illegal to own a rabbit.

4. I am trying to work out what I want to do and be when I grow up. Time is running out.

5. I had a sister who died before I was born.

6. I went out with green eyebrows. No one said anything. My baby was only a few weeks old, sleeping in my room. I didn’t want to put the light on and wake her up so I put my make up on in the dark and I picked up the wrong coloured pencil. Oops.

7. I love the ocean. When we lived in Cincinnati in the USA, I put salt water in bowls around the house because I missed living by the ocean so much.

8. I played the viola when I was a child.

9. I have lived in three countries. New Zealand, United States of America (Cincinnati in the state of Ohio) and Australia.

10. I left school when I was 15 to go to work. I went to night school while I was working to get my High School education.

11. I’m a mother and wife.

12. I love singing. I have many favourite songs. I like loads of different types of music. I sometimes lead the worship service at our church.

13. I’ve travelled to many countries. Turkey, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, England etc …

14. My dad was born in the Netherlands. I have had a dutch passport (it has expired). I love Holland.

15. I have trained in drama and have worked in the theatre, television industry and I have also worked as a movie extra for Peter Jackson in his movie “Heavenly Creatures.”

16. I got a little claustrophobic while crawling through a cave. The young women in front of me got stuck. None of us could move in or out of a small crawl space. The more she panicked the longer it took to get out. We literally had to dig ourselves out, one handful of dirt at a time. It was frightening for the poor girl and for everyone else.

17. I have home schooled our kids. I love state schools (the good ones). I love home schooling and home schoolers. There is a time and a season for everything.

18. I wish I had nice finger nails. I am pretty rough on my hands and do lots of crafts and ruin my nails. I have weird thumbs that look like a toes. My poor daughter has them too.

19. I love fresh flowers especially Tulips.

20. I wear my croc’s far too much.

21. My favorite color is orange and I also love dark red.

22. My husband designed my engagement ring and had it made especially for me.

23. I wish I didn’t have to have a Gluten Free diet. Within half an hour of having any gluten I get very ill.

24. I have to dye my eyebrows regularly because being a redhead I have almost no colour in my eyebrows. I once thought about getting my eye brows tattooed so I wouldn’t have to dye them anymore. My best friend talked me out of it. THANK YOU for that…phew!

25. I wish my dad lived longer. He had a stroke when I was a teenager and never recovered. He lived in a tortured body for another 14 years after the stroke. He couldn’t speak but could sing hymns.

26. I have driven “legally” on both the right side and the left side of the road. It was scary driving on the right side for the first time.

27. I adore Mac love my iPod and love my iBook.

28. I don’t have a favourite book of the bible. Far too hard to pick. I do lead a young women’s bible study at our house and enjoy our Beth Moore study’s the most.

29. I am terrible at mathematics.

30. I still have my best friend from when I was five years old. We start school at age five in New Zealand and my friend and I were in the same class.

31. I have two older brothers.

32. I love high heel shoes but my feet and back don’t.

33. I love Corrie ten Boom’s book “The Hiding Place.” One of my favourite quotes from her is “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still” and “God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies.” After reading Corrie’s book it gave me the strength to choose God’s will over my own no matter what the cost. Our family then moved countries from New Zealand to the USA and my husband went to University and got his MA to become a qualified Pastor.

34. I sometimes wish we still owned our house with the ocean views. I miss sipping my coffee and watching the boats sail by from our bed in the mornings. I feel guilty and selfish for missing a house.

35. I bought my first house when I was 21 years old. It was a cute 100 year old rail men’s cottage.

36. I had a snake in our house. The kids and I freaked out as it slithered passed their feet. I hate snakes. My husband was out and so I vacuumed the snake up with my new vacuum cleaner. Shhhh… don’t tell anyone. The snake was 27cm long. I know it was small but huge in the gross factor. I don’t like snakes in my house.

37. Whenever we go to restaurants my darling husband is always disappointed and tells everyone we should have stayed home because I would have cooked it better than the chefs. Too funny. Or does it remind you of the husband in the Australian movie “Castle?”

38. I don’t have any tattoos.

39. I love wearing nail polish on my toes. I have blue sparkly polish on ATM.

40. I love playing Xbox and wii games with my family. I am not competitive I don’t care if I lose or win. It’s just a game !! ! !