Category Archives: Blessings

Just an update on my life

You may have wondered where I disappeared to. I intended to post something each week but I have been MIA for several weeks now. It’s been hectic here. The roof above my bedroom sprung a leak about six weeks ago and the usual stresses of repairs, workmen and insurance claims ensued. The roof is repaired and I am no longer sleeping in the lounge room so that in itself is fantastic.

Phoenix moved back to my place so there was the usual musical chairs of getting everything set up and moved around so that Phoenix, Dakota, her husband and my niece could all fit back in our three bedroom place. It’s great to all be back under the same roof though. Dakota and her husband just bought a house, which is pretty exciting. Moving day will be in a few months. They are also expecting a baby! This is also very exciting. The baby is due early January.

I took a break from editing my Historical romance manuscript to work on my fantasy manuscript. It’s been a really enjoyable creative outlet for me but I’ve become a little obsessed again. I started this one about nine years ago and it became really complicated so I stopped. Now, I’ve peeled the story back once again and I’m starting over. It’s been a great way to deal with all the other stresses in my life at the moment – a great form of escapism.

I was quite ill with a stomach infection and I had to go to hospital because the pain was so bad, although it appears that I’m now back to normal, no permanent damage done, praise God. I haven’t been in that much pain before though in my life, I don’t mind telling you.

Work has been a giant stress-ball of chaos now for about two months. My tether is wearing a bit thin. Today, I read 2 Corinthians 1:3 – 5: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”

As I read those verses, I felt as if I was being reminded that God is love. Everything we must face and endure, we do not face and endure alone, because he is with us, comforting us and loving us every step of the way. It helped ease my burden today when I read that and I hope that when you read this, that God uses it to encourage you too.

I am currently worried about my grandfather and trying to give his life and health over to God. My grandpa’s hip dislocated last Wednesday so he’s been in hospital ever since. Now, a dislocated hip is not in and of itself life threatening. However, he’s not in good health to start with. At the moment we don’t know what to do because surgery is a real risk. Not having surgery though appears to mean that his hip will continue to dislocate itself. There’s a very real chance that he won’t survive the surgery so we’re all praying for a solution. All of your prayers would be much appreciated.

I know though that, even as my heart aches with indecision and worry, God is in control. I can trust him with this situation. He will get me through it.

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What a weekend!

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Well, I haven’t posted much lately and for that I’m very sorry. Let’s see – I was sick with the flu for 5.5 weeks and last Tuesday morning I was woken up at 4.30am with a neck spasm. It hasn’t gone away yet and I’m quite uncomfortable and in pain. It’s made sitting for any length of time quite impossible, which is making work impossible as well.

I’ve been to see an Osteopath but apart from stretching the muscles and providing a massage, there’s not a lot she could do. I’ve been instructed to take anti-inflammatories, pain relief as needed and apply heat packs regularly – all of which I’m doing. Although, I have to say that by about 3pm in my work day, the neck muscles are fatigued and that’s when they really start to grumble.

Anyway, that’s not all that happened over the weekend. I was taking it easy because of my neck. Phoenix and I were originally going to see a movie but school holidays just started here in Melbourne. Because of that, we decided to stay home and watch a movie instead. We’d just finished the movie and I’d just gone into my bedroom to check on my laptop, which incidentally appears to have died, when I returned to sit down on the couch. Not ten minutes later, I hear running water. I said to Phoenix, “Can you hear that? What is that?” She stands up and looks behind the chair – no water. She opens the bedroom door and her whole face drops.

“Your ceiling is leaking water!”

Sure enough, there were two large cracks in my bedroom and water is just pouring down on to my bed. We both start moving furniture and bedding and possessions, all the while, wondering who we should call. Finally we settle on my uncle before continuing to clear the room of all possessions.
We were both seriously concerned that the whole ceiling was going to cave in. By this time it’s really starting to bulge with water. It’s even affecting the far corner of the room and appears to be spreading outward.

Anyway, my uncle arrives at 5pm and asks for a ladder – note to self, buy a ladder! – but after asking a few neighbours, we are still ladder-less. He backs his truck up and is able look over the roof end. He thinks a couple of the roof tiles moved, which in and of itself is not the biggest problem, except we have had non-stop rain for the last five days and the drain pipe for the second storey’s roof empties directly on to the now-exposed area above my bedroom. Hence, a big watery problem that is quickly becoming the swimming pool we always wanted – only kidding! The room got wet but it wasn’t under water, praise God!

So anyway, by about 5.30pm, my neck was screaming at me and I’d become quite useless. My sisters and my brother-in-law managed to get my stuff squared away so that I’m now sleeping in the lounge room until the bedroom is sorted out. I did make dinner and fed my niece so that I wasn’t completely useless.

Anyway, what a weekend! I wanted to conclude with two things that I am so thankful for:
1. The leak occurred while Phoenix and I were at home so my bedding and clothes etc were not damaged;
2. The leak did not occur during the night before while Phoenix (who crashed in my bed) and I were fast asleep;

Anyway, it will remain to be seen how quickly the damage can be repaired. I don’t want to know how wet it must be up there! I will no doubt keep you posted.

Just an update on Dad’s surgery

His surgery was meant to last 3 hours but it actually went for 5.5 hours. I can tell you that by 8pm last night we were all watching the clock and wondering why we hadn’t heard anything. It’s hard not to imagine the worst in times like that! They called (finally) at 9.20pm to say he was in recovery, where he stayed for another hour. We finally got to see him at 11.10pm. He was quite pale and uncomfortable but he was lucid and recognised my sister, Phoenix, and I.

He lost 2 litres of blood during the surgery, which is quite a lot really. His blood pressure was low and it’s still low this morning. Apparently the surgery had some non-life threatening complications that meant it took a lot longer than anticipated. Irrespective of that, we were both relieved to be able to see him and talk to him. He was pretty glad to see us both as well.

Praise God because He has answered our prayers!

I’m smiling as I type that because it’s true. Dad’s here and now we can just focus on his recovery, which really is the best news.

What a wonderful blessing!

Today presents its own challenges

My Dad is only just over the 60s line in terms of age but in my head, he’s still in his fifties. His health has been strong and he’s not normally one to get sick, except for the annual man-flu infection. Today, he goes into hospital to have his prostate removed. He was diagnosed with a benign form of prostate cancer (and I’m so thankful it was benign) and so he decided to get proactive and have it removed.

I agree with his decision for the simple reason that he’s in good health and his fitness is good. Plus, he can afford to take the time off work because his business is running smoothly.

I haven’t stressed about this procedure in the four weeks since he told me about it. Until last night, that is. I couldn’t sleep a wink until 4.30am and then I slept through my alarm and was late to work. I don’t know exactly what it is but there is something so inherently unsettling at the thought of my Dad in hospital. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I still see him as I did when I was four years old – tall, strong and invincible, with sun-tanned arms from working outside on the farm.

In the last two weeks though, he started stressing about the whole thing and I think I absorbed his stress so much so that he was able to sleep like a baby last night while I could not!

I believe that God is in control of all things and I trust that He is in control of this too. Today though, I think I will need to keep reminding myself of that until I hear that Dad’s through the surgery and in recovery.

Please keep my Dad in your prayers today.
I certainly will appreciate the prayer support!

I’m going to label this as a blessings post because of God’s promise to always hold our hand in times of worry and stress. That is a blessing, no matter what the outcome.

February Fires

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“Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.” – Joel 2:23

I love that verse because it reminds me that the Lord is in control of everything, especially the seasons of our lives. You might not always want abundant showers on that day when you plan to go to the beach but the Lord is faithful and he sends you what you need, when you need it.

On 9 February 2014, my dad’s property was threatened by the bushfire. My sisters and I immediately raced out there to help. We arrived, not really believing we would actually have to fight the fire. I mean, he has lived there for 30 years – we grew up there – and never has he ever had a bush fire on his property. (He did have an accidental fire when he tried to get rid of blackberry bushes but that was a very different situation. It was winter and the fire was easily controlled.)

The February fire was different. About four hours after we arrived, we had the gutters organized, the dogs located and put in their runs and the cattle and horses were safely up in the small area around the shed. Dad had his sprinklers set up, with two on the roof, and his pump and water system were tied up and ready on the back of the truck.

Then I hear my sister (let’s call her “Dakota”) yell, “I can see fire!”

I look up and sure enough at the top of the neighbor’s property, you could see a line of fire. This kicks everyone’s feelings up notch. My other sister (let’s call her “Phoenix”) and I texted some very faithful friends to start praying and we turned on the water.

By an hour later, the fire had hit the paddock that my dad leases next door. A CFA water bomber was dumping water on the area at regular intervals but the fire was still progressing towards us. Dad and Phoenix got on the back of the truck and headed out to put it out before it got any closer. Two trips later and that paddock was under control. At some point here, the CFA left to fight the fire over the road.

However, the fire was now making its way down the hill at the back of our property. Dad raced down in the motor bike to rescue a neighbor’s herd of cattle and miracle, upon miracle, these panicked cattle did not scatter. They had walked themselves up to our back gate as if they knew that they were safer with us. Then when the gate opened they ran themselves straight into our round yards! It was somewhat amazing! Cattle never do what you want them to, especially in a panic. That was clearly God’s hand at work.

Dad was able to lock them in and take off in the truck again, this time to fight the fire that was now in our back paddock. Dad knew that we couldn’t let it get to the long grass at the base of the hill. If it hit that, it would race straight up to the house. We (Dakota, Phoenix & I) alternated going out and standing on the back of the truck with the hose – I make that sound like it was no big deal but that’s only because it’s hard to convey the jolting, rushing, flooring the gas that the truck went through in those moments, with us on the back trying to hold on to the water tank with one hand and point the hose effectively with the other, all the while fighting the smoke as the wind blows it directly into our eyes and mouths. We were covered in bruises as a result of all the jolting.

It was an experience and to be sure I could not tell you how long we were at it. I know we refilled his 1000 litre tank several times and we moved from one paddock to another trying to stop it from spreading any closer to either the house or the gully – if it reached either of those places it would have too much fuel to burn.

At some point the CFA arrived – I know it was dark on Sunday night by this stage. They were incredible. My sister had called them earlier that day and was told that there were no off terrain vehicles available at that time but that night, we didn’t just have one off terrain vehicle – God brought us 4! Four off terrain vehicles and two supervising vehicles!

Phoenix had been praying ever since she made that call, asking that if God could send one off terrain truck, could he please send four? He answered with a resounding ‘yes.’

That night we thought the threat was done but there was another flare up the next morning at 9am in the gully. Dad and the CFA tried to get it out as soon as possible. But it took off up the hill (away from our house in the opposite direction). Only a small area in our other neighbor’s paddock was still alight. The CFA were called away by about 2pm. By 4pm the fire had gotten up momentum and was spreading through our neighbor’s paddock straight for his house.

We headed down and did another run at the fire. But the paddocks were too full of grass and thistles. The fire had too much fuel. We had several attempts at it but we couldn’t put it out. At this point the neighbor had no water and no CFA support. They were relying on our truck. Then Dad realized that the fire had hit the paddock adjacent to our gully. If it burned its way through that paddock it would be right back on our land – unburned side. Then God delivered another miracle in the form of the CFA arriving in force. Dad was able to leave with a clear conscience and tackled the fire threatening his own land. By 8.30pm, the fire was out in that bottom paddock and the neighbor’s fire was contained.

Dinner that night opened with a heartfelt prayer, thanking God for his faithfulness and his provision. The next two days saw us checking and rechecking for any embers that were still alight. It was a new experience living out there – no power, no running water – so no ability to wash the stench of smoke off or charge our mobile phones – and no ability to leave the property until the police road block ended. If we left, they said they wouldn’t let us back in. We ended up having to ask my Uncle to meet us at the road block in the truck with some diesel and a small generator. It was a miracle that my step-mum had kept an old analogue phone receiver so we could still use the phone line. She also had an old CD player that operated on batteries so that we can listen to AM radio and keep updated on any changes in those first two days.

I can’t tell you how eerie it was on those first two nights to look out my Dad’s windows and see nothing but blackness and the ring of fire. I had Johnny Cash in my head all week – you know that song, “Ring of Fire?” The tree trunks glowed in the darkness on the horizon, bright red ember burning all night long. On Tuesday (I think?!) two days after the fire started, the police finally opened the road into the area and my Aunt and Uncle came by to check on us.

We stood outside and pointed out the property lines and where the fire had been and you know what they said? They both said that it was as if there was a dome of protection around Dad’s land. Now they aren’t believers so they didn’t quite understand why that made the rest of us crack up with laughter.

You see, my Dad has lived there for thirty years and as I said before, he’s never been threatened by a fire. He’s also never been set up to fight a fire and he’s never had a fire plan. Two weeks – just two weeks – before the February fires broke out – my Dad was woken up from a dead sleep at 3am one night. He couldn’t go back to sleep because inside his head a thought buzzed and drummed incessantly – “You need to get ready for a fire and you need to get ready now!” He got up in the middle of the night, turned on his computer and ordered his water pumps. They were delivered the next day to his work address. In the next week, he had the pumps set up, the 1000 litre tank delivered and the hoses attached. A week after that – we were fighting fires! Praise God!

That’s why when we spoke with my Aunt and Uncle we knew without a doubt that there had been a dome of protection around Dad’s land. God’s presence had been felt during the entire ordeal and even now looking out at the scorched earth, it is a reminder that God’s hand was working over those nights.

Now, I should finish by saying that I know that many people were not so lucky and I certainly don’t want to be insensitive to their feelings. I know that God is in control of every situation, including the terrible ones. If God had not protected Dad’s land, I know that it would not have been because He abandoned him in his hour of need. It would have been because He had decided to send abundant showers and it was taking the form of a loss. I have faith that He would have given us the strength to cope with it.

Anyway, thank you to all those people who heard about our situation and prayed for us. We were all praying too but we were also distracted, as I’m sure you can imagine. I just wanted to share my story with you and praise God for his many blessings. He is a faithful God.

Enjoying a little Blessing

Psalm 37:7 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”

Sometimes it can feel as if it’s always someone else’s turn to be blessed by God. Sometimes if we focus too much on the good things in other people’s lives, we can become obsessed with the idea that God has forgotten about us.

I’m reminded of the opening few scenes of the Jim Carrey movie Bruce Almighty. Bruce becomes convinced that not only is God NOT blessing him, but He’s actually getting a kick out of “kicking him when he’s down.” This thought can begin a vicious circle of anger, frustration, envy and depression – all of which get in the way of you being able to earnestly seek a close relationship with God.

I’m thinking about of all this today because this morning something unusual happened. I wanted to share it to highlight the way that sometimes the only thing standing in the way of God’s blessings is your own thoughts.

A local radio station has been running a competition where they piece together two celebrities’ voices and ask the listeners to name them in the correct order. If you get one right, you win a small amount of money. If you get both names right, you win a big amount of money. I’m not naming the radio station because I don’t have their permission to mention them in something like this post. Maybe you know what radio station I’m talking about, maybe you don’t – the identity doesn’t matter anyway.

I’m a loyal listener and I used to try to call in regularly in an attempt to win but getting through was always difficult and so recent times have seen me stop trying to get through altogether. Over the last few weeks, I’ve caught myself being hit by the jealousy bug on the odd occasion when someone got through and even when they won. These thoughts were part of a bigger issue in my life, which can be summarised as “God has forgotten about me. He doesn’t realise what I’m coping with at the moment. I’m alone in this.”

Well, this morning I’m driving in to work and I hear the two new voices for the week and immediately I know who the second voice is. I’m convinced 100% that I’m correct. The cue to call in sounds across the air waves and what do I do with this 100% certainty? Nothing. The cue to call passes and a song starts up on the station.

I’m not dialling because right at that moment my thoughts were – “there’s no point even trying. You can never get through. I can just listen along like usual. It’s not like I’d actually be right and get through!”

Then a new thought came to me – “How can God bless you if you don’t throw your hat in the ring?” There’s a great quote from a movie that sometime occurs to me. The girl in the movie was saying how she wanted a particular job and her father reminded her that her odds go up substantially when she actually submits her application. So I dialled the number – busy signal. I dialled three more times and to my absolute shock, the phone was answered by the station. I was through! I was the second guesser. My heart thudding in my chest, I wait for my turn. I listen as the first guesser says her two names – she doesn’t name the ones I was going to say (much to my surprise) and then I hear that she’s incorrect and it’s my turn. I gulp a bit as I submit my two names, sure that I’m at least partially right and wait.

The announcer tells me that I have one voice right! I can hardly believe my ears. My hands are shaking. Now, I could have allowed those thoughts to return again. “You didn’t win the jackpot. God clearly isn’t hearing you etc etc.”

But I refused. Instead, I was grateful for what I had received. Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that if you have the right attitude and pray seriously for a million dollars, God’s going to deliver you the winning lottery ticket. That’s not how it works and that’s also not really my point. God isn’t a magical genie who will grant your wishes.

Instead, my point is that sometimes it’s my own negativity that prevents me from accepting God’s blessings. He enjoys providing blessings to his children like finding a car park in peak times, or getting the fire brigade to your door in time, or allowing you good traffic on Sundays so that you can get all your errands done. Or, as he did in his marvellous way today with me, blessing you with a small win on a radio station!
I’m going turn my negativity over to God for his help going forward this year and try to keep myself open to how ever He chooses to move in my life. Perhaps that’s something you might like to work on as well.