Friday, September 30, 2011

Sam's Birthday


Sam turned three today, so we went back to the place where so many mixed feelings emerge, back to the city of Melbourne.  Back to the Melbourne Zoo, where we all spent so many hours while Sam was going through his surgeries.  This time my little boy walked through the gates, without an ng tube and full of expectation of all the animals he was going to see.  Let me tell you that this Mum's heart could not have been more blessed today.

The photo below was one that I sought out in particular, a marker on our journey with Sam.  Compare this photo today with one three months on, in 2008.

Thank you God, you have shown us love beyond compare, and we praise you.  You have shown us mercy through hard times, and have never left us.  Thank you for Sam, who was crafted by your own hands.  I hope you are pleased with job we are doing in raising him.  By your hand, we celebrate Sam's third birthday in Melbourne, a place of so much heartache for us.  Yet here in this place of haunting memories, you have planted a seed of light and hope, that is growing new memories to cherish, and piece by piece replacing the heartache with restored pieces of happiness.

He renews my strength.
   He guides me along right paths,
      bringing honor to his name. (Psalm 23:3)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Praying With Others

We live a blessed life.  We know that our path is not an easy one, but we know many who walk a far steeper incline.  We have come to know many families who have problems much greater than our own.  Problems that would threaten to consume them, except for the hope I see in their eyes.  Early in our journey with Sam, God spoke to me about walking with others in their hardships, and holding their hand, not carrying the load they bear.  You see we are each given a cross to carry.  If you know Jesus, the cross you bear will never overcome you because he promises that 'his burden is light', and 'he will never give you more than you can bear'.
Many times I have caught myself sliding toward a deadly drop, because I am holding onto the burdens of another.  All of us have been touched by brokenness and loss in some form or another, during these times we must carry our friends to Jesus, and hand their burdens to him.

It is for this reason that I made a choice some time ago to no longer pray for people...
instead I promise that I will pray with them.

For hope to grow into faith, words must be spoken to God.  Words of honesty  from the heart of the hurting, to the heart of God.  One cannot live on the faith of a friend, we must have our own encounter with God, if our faith is to grow and flourish. 

At the home where we now live, the front lawn is awash with a flood of tiny white daisies.  I watch them, how they begin the day closed, and then as the full sun bathes them, they lift and open their happy faces toward the light. 

When we lift our faces to God and pray, his light will overcome us, and even from a place of darkness, we will know his comfort, and presence.  

I long to see the faces of others shine like these daisies, raising their heads and dancing in the light.  

And so I will pray with you, and wait for God to do the rest.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Measuring Success

By which measure do you gauge the success of your day?

I know I often feel successful if I get much done in a day.  In my mind I think:

If I could just get the washing done, I would be happy
If I could just get the floors clean, I would be happy.
If I could just get some 'me' time, I would be happy.
If I could just sit down and write, I would be happy.

Happy meaning in this instance, that me completing these tasks, would make for a  a productive and successful day.

After weeks like this last one, God has once again realigned my compass, in regard to being successful.  If I had been using my compass this week, I would have fast ended up in a little town called Despair.  Both of the boys have been very unwell, almost to the point of requiring hospital.  I have had the flu, and Don has been away flying for the week.

Thankfully I chose to close my eyes to my compass, and instead went to God's word for direction.  His promises are steadfast and true, and lead to much more desirable destinations, such as Hope City, and Kickingsatansbuttville. 

You see, God knew this week was coming, and he allowed it. He saw that I was getting worn out trying to tread water, using my own compass as a guide.  He knew I needed a slap reminder, to refocus my loving gaze upon Him.  And he did not leave me in this time.  He prepared the week by sending my parents from QLD, organised a month ago, to help me, and love me in this time.  He knows what we need and he provides.  He did not allow the illnesses to linger.  I only had the flu two days!  Yes, two days! And both of the boys drank and ate despite their wretched gastro virus, that lasted almost a week.  Being continually hydrated is what kept them out of hospital.

We have had many unexpected gestures of kindness this week, phone calls, messages, a plethroa of prayers all being sent our way.  We have experienced God this week, in a warm and familiar way, the way that let's us know that He holds us firm, even in tough times. 

The end of this week took us to Melbourne City, a place we have not set foot in, since Sam had his surgeries.  This Friday Sam will turn 3, another year of victory, another year of living the promises of God. We visited the Victoria Markets and I shared with people at Koorong in the City, our story of God's goodness. 

 Jack (2), just before Sam was born, September 2008 at the Queen Victoria Markets.

Jack (5), Sam (almost 3) and Grandad, at the Queen Victoria Markets almost three years later, to the day.

Each year since Sam's birth he has had dramatic circumstances surrounding his birthday.  God has a plan for his life, and the enemy does not like it.  A week after his birth day he crashed in ICU post surgery.  A week after his first birthday he suffered a stroke, from which he was almost immediately restored.  On his second birthday he had an accident that required a helicopter ride to the hospital.  Each year we celebrate Sam's life in victory, the attack comes.  So I would like to ask you for your prayers, prayers of protection and courage, both for Sam and for us. We will not keep quiet about God's goodness to us.  When I look at photos like that above, and see the distance traveled, all it does is increase my faith.  It increases my faith in the unwavering love of God, that overcomes all adversity. 

So, going back to measuring success, God's words ring true in my heart;

'Success is not measured by earthly measures, but by My standards which are far more accurate, with the results being eternal.  On your darkest day, you are successful, because as you become less, I become more.  When illness and turmoil surround you, I see your heart and it shines like the noonday sun.   Your few words in anguish, are worth more to me than hundreds of voices in jubilant song.' 

Success is life lived in the palm of God's hand.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Wild Week

This week has been HUGE.

Both little boys have overcome a nasty gastro virus.  I have overcome the flu.  Don has been away night flying and studying, and my Mum and Dad have been visiting. The beginning of the week was very rocky, but eventually we have made it through and even managed to have some fun in the end.  Here are some photos to tell the story, as I am still catching up, both mentally and physically.  Thank you to all who pray for us.  Your prayers meant the difference between recovery, and a possible hospital stay.  Hope you are all well and blessed :)

 Above: Granny and Sam
Above: Grandad and Jack

Below: Sam, salmon fishing at the Salmon and Trout Farm, at Marysville.
Above: At Marysville

Above: Celebrating Sam's birthday a week early, while we have visitors.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The 'S' Word

There is always something exciting for me, about beginning a new venture.  I like the hint of risk and danger, the fact that I may succeed or fail.  Those who have been following for while, know that I love to try new things especially around the home.  There has always been one task that I have managed to avoid, and for good reason-sewing.   

Yes, that's right the 's' word.  

We have had the same lounge suite, since we have been married.  Previous to that it belonged to my parents, and so I figured out recently that it has to be at least 20 years old.  The leather on the seats has crazed and had worn through in some places.  Jack and Sam had made a new game out of picking little pieces of foam to throw at one another.  So in an effort to try and save our lounge for this next short season of our lives in Melbourne, I took on the challenge of sewing.  Today I began to make covers for the cushions on our lounge. 

 As you can see below, injuries did occur...(and required a new sewing machine needle).  The battle continued, and it was touch and go there for a while...

Until there was a breakthrough, which created this new stripey cover, putting an end to foam flicking fights.  There is now also the added bonus, of me feeling like I can invite visitors over, and offer them a reasonable seat.


And in the end, the machine and I have come to an understanding, a  kind of mutual respect: until the next time.

Ahh, the taste of victory is sweet!


For everyone will be tested with fire. (Mark 9:49, emphasis added)

None of us like the thought of walking through fire.  It does not seem logical that we would enjoy something that threatens to consume our very being.   From a young age we are taught to be wary of fire, to steer clear of it, and enjoy it's warmth from a distance. However being in the midst of it is far from enjoyable.  When my husband burned his finger many years ago, he said it was one of the most painful experiences he had ever endured.  A burn also takes a great length of time to heal, and in doing so still leaves a scar.

The above verses may initially may seem threatening, but are in actual fact a promise that we would do well to lay hold of.  

Everyone is going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you'll be well preserved from the eternal flames. (Mark 9:49 -The Message)

God does not allow the trials and tribulation in our lives to consume us.  He uses times of testing to refine us, to bring us into closer relationship with Him. 

A year before our youngest son Sam was born, God gave me a vision in the night, of our family walking through liquid fire, and being preserved in the midst of it.  We were spent, but preserved. 

In this way God controls the ferocity of the fire, much like a controlled burn of the woodland.

Controlled burning:
Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for foresters.
Controlled burning stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees, thus renewing the forest. (Source)

Just as in the forest, fire cleans out the debris in the underbrush, and prepares us for new growth.  It stimulates all of the seeds (truths), that God has been hiding in our hearts, and as they emerge the charred black remains begin to flourish, with vibrant green shoots, which stand in stark contrast to the barren wilderness.
These spiritual changes are what others see, when we emerge from times of hardship.  Outwardly, we seem to have been worn beyond recognition, overcome by past circumstances, and a shadow of our former selves. Then suddenly vibrant new growth appears, and transfixes those that thought we had succumbed to the fire.   I for one am thankful for the times of fire in our life.

(Picture source)

What appears in the charred ashes, is the most breathtaking new growth you will ever see, this side of heaven.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Hero

My boys love their Dad.  On our way to pick up Don yesterday afternoon, we were excited and talked about how we were going to collect my husband, and their Daddy. Jack piped up with, 'He's not my just Daddy Mum, he's my best friend.  He adores his Dad, and desires to grow just like him.  I remember doing the same thing with my Dad and Mum.

I am blessed to learn from my children.  Our children know how to mirror behaviour, and change their character to what they believe is the behavior of their hero or role model.  The photo above is a classic example.  It is Jack's way of drawing close to his Dad.  It is his way of saying,
'I'm watching you, and I am becoming like you. See me Dad.  Do you see me?'

Oh, how we as Christians need to be more like that!

We need to draw close to God by learning from Him, watching Him, experiencing Him every day of our lives.  We need to change our behaviour to reflect His, and we need to look adoringly at him and say, 

'I'm watching you, and I am becoming like you. See me Dad.  Do you see me?'

It is only by God's grace, and Holy Spirit's work in our hearts, that we can be changed.  I don't know about you, but I want to copy my heavenly Dad.  I want to be changed day by day to reflect Him, so that when I get to see Him face to face, He can look at me and see His likeness.

God is wonderful and glorious.  I pray that his Spirit will make you become strong followers and that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith... (Ephesians 3:16-17)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MAF Interview

We had our first MAF interview today.  Two lovely people from the MAF Cairns team, chatted to us about MAF, and then asked us questions.  It was quite informal and fun (secretly). It went for about an hour and half and as we spoke, the words we shared were typed. 
One thing that people quickly learn about Don and I, is that we love to share.  Ooooh boy, do we love to share.  The poor man had a hard type keeping up with me on the keyboard. They asked us about growing up, our journey to date both with God and without.  Our calling to MAF, and about Don's training and mine. I actually had a great time. 
As Don completes his training over the next months,we will complete the MAF application process, which is quite a process in itself.  The next interview in April next year, is a more formal process, and in between then we will complete psycho psyche tests, and medicals etc.

Please talk to God about these things for us:
  • Don is heading off for the week next week to do night flying and is in preparation for that.  Pray that his medical comes through quickly, his mind is focused and for him to be refreshed.  He is very tired.
  • I have a book signing at Koorong Blackburn on Saturday.  Pray God sends people to be encouraged.
  • Mum and Dad B are arriving for the week on Sunday.  Pray for safe travels and great times.
  • For Jack to get better from his cold (that developed yesterday), and for Sam not to get it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Day Too Long

My eyes are weary from waiting to see you keep your promise...Psalm 119:123

...and so while I wait, I will delight in the little things in this beautiful life you have given me.  My spirit is tired and stretched, so I hold firmly onto your hand.  Sam waits patiently for his new heart, living to the best he can with part that he has.  It is I who grow weary Lord, because I see him struggle with the cold weather, his ice cold fingers red and blue, his red mottled cheeks.  I see him struggle for breath, trying to keep up with his big brother, coughing uncontrollably when exerted too much. I am challenged Lord by this path that we walk, and I cannot do it alone, my own heart cannot bear it, I must be filled with you, if I am to last one day longer.

So as I wait on you and your restoration for all of us, we enjoy delectable cakes from the bakery...
long walks in the park...
and sharing our journey whenever we can, to encourage others in their trials.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Battles of the Mind-Promotion

When you publish a book, it must be made available so that people can read it.  In order for people to know that your book exists, you must promote your book.  I love to share with others about our story.  I love to see the look on their face when I tell them that the three year old boy standing beside me, lives on half a heart.  I love to tell them how God has delivered us from one hardship after another, to bring us where we are today.  I love to give the glory to God. 
I enjoy speaking on the radio, probably a throw back to when I used to teach school of the air. One day I would love to have the opportunity to receive questions or comments from listeners. 
I love speaking to groups, large and small, seeing their tears and smiles of triumph, as they empathise with us. 
Book signings give a great opportunity to be able to share one on one with people and also allows them to share their story with you.

Today I found out that Word Bookstores, in their infinite wisdom, have decided not to go ahead with  in-store book signings any longer.  Whether this is a once off decision or a blanket affect, will be seen in time.

So today I was hit with conflicting feelings:

Rejection-do I take this personally?  I am sure if I was a big name American author there would not be a problem.  They do not value my work.  They do not value our journey.


Rationalisation- They are a business, they care about making money.  The problem is I was trying to help them sell books, so this makes no sense.  It was not costing them anything to have me in-store, so it is not about that at all.  It actually costs me in time and money to be there.


Realisation -This book journey is not about me, or bookstores.  It is about encouraging people and ministering to them with God's love.  Is is about believing that God has removed this opportunity for reasons currently beyond my sight, and I love him enough to trust Him. I am not out to make a name for myself, only give honour to His. 

And so I will pick myself up from this current state of confusion, lift my eyes to him, and know he has better things in the future.

God please give me the courage to keep putting myself on the front lines for you. You took all of the lashes, the shame and the death for me, let me endure this with your grace. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Fellowship -sharing in common, an intimate relationship of internal affinity, and likeness.

When I became a Christian, I inwardly cringed every time someone would use the word fellowship.  It was such a strange and seemingly 'churchy' word, that talked about the warm and fuzzy get togethers that Christians had.  And I was right.......but oh so wrong.

When I first became a Christian, my heart was hardened to all things that seemed religious, including the language.  I felt the language to be exclusive of so many, and I wondered what purpose the words served, if not to divide the church from the outside world.  

As God softened my heart and taught me more about what is means to follow Jesus, much of the critical negativity left.  One by one he has knocked down my defences with love.  The biggest of these hurdles was baptism, the most recent has been fellowship.  

The Greek word for fellowship, Koinonia, is not about religion and exclusion, but rather abundant love and inclusion.   

You see, I discovered it was impossible to have true fellowship, the way God intended unless we are of one accord with Christ.  

As we seek after God's own heart, we are joined together, sharing in common, an intimate relationship, both with God, and each other.  Our purpose and our goals are the same- for Him to be glorified in our lives. 

It is something that I am so grateful for, this wonderful relationship with other believers.  Our relationship goes beyond the weather, the football, sharing recipes and stories.  It digs deeper to the heart issues, the God issues, and the fun stuff too.   

One of our opportunities for fellowship, is this wonderful support group every fortnight.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Vibrant Untainted Light

There is something alluring about oil lamps.  The gentle glow they provide is inviting, warm, and comforting, and yet their light is bright enough to spill into each corner of the room.  Oil lamps have been around for many centuries.  The pictures below show how they have changed over time. 

The lamps change much; their styles and materials vary, according to cultural change.  There is one things that remains constant throughout their time journey - the oil.

There are many passages in the bible that speak of lamps, most of them in relation to God's people.  People are constantly changing, just like the lamps have over the years.  They look differently, speak differently and live differently, but one things remains unchanged; they are still fueled by the same oil, Holy Spirit.

To this day, you must use clean, fresh oil in your lamp.  Using clean fresh oil ensures that the light is strong and constant.  Using unclean, or old oil in your lamp has dual affects.

1. Firstly, there will be an odour.  If you continue to use old oil in your lamp, there is every chance the vapour it is emitting will cause everyone to vacate the room.  We must keep a fresh infilling of God's Holy Spirit if others are to be drawn to His light.  We cannot live on someone elses annointing, a past annointing in or even yesterday's a annointing.  The fresh oil comes from spending time daily in the presence of God.

2. Secondly, the flame will smoke and soot.  If you continue to use old oil in your lamp, the soot and impurities from the flame will dull the light being omitted by the flame.  On newer lamps, it will even soot up the glass completely.  Clean oil is essential to burning a clean bright flame.  

When was the last time you allowed God to renew the oil in your lamp?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Awesome News!

Today was crunch time for us.  We have moved interstate knowing Don has been called by God to do the flying course to serve with MAF.  He has been training, and we have been paying the large bills that come with it.  All of this time waiting for CASA to approve Don's medical.  They found an anomaly on one of his ECG readings, and this caused a number of appointments with doctors and a cardiologist.  Today he went to the cardiologist for his final check - a stress test.  And....

There is nothing wrong with his heart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We had a quiet assurance, but still the cloud lingered over our shoulders for the last 5 weeks.  Now the cloud has lifted, and shortly he will be approved to fly solo.  Praise God for his faithfulness.
Many times over the last weeks the doubts have come, especially when I am about to pay another huge flying bill. 'What if this doesn't work out?'.  And each time I would answer back, 'It will be well, God has promised, his word always comes to pass.' And then I would pay the bill.  Faith is lived out in actions.

 Don's a happy camper in the Cessna
 Sam, calling in his position.
 Jack, climbing the tree.
 Sam helping Daddy mow the footpath.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dad's Day Dynamics

Dad's Day is celebrated all around Australia this Sunday.  And while many of us adore our Dads and have warm and precious relationships with them, many do not.  This time of celebration can actually be a time of pain, horrible memories, broken dreams and sorrow.

Many families today do not have Dad at home at , or they may have two or three people they call Dad.  Many have memories of an abusive Dad, an absent Dad or a Dad they have only met in their dreams.  Many have lost their dad's to illness, or a life well lived.  So much heartache, so much lost love, all way too much to bear on this one day a year.

I wonder if you can find some time this Sunday to pray for someone you know that needs healing and restoration, because of a broken Dad/child relationship.

And if you are someone who has lost relationship with your Dad, don't give up hope, I want you to know one thing.

Your heavenly Dad (God), created you and he loves you more than anyone on this earth ever could.  He created love so he knows what it is all about.  He will never leave, you, let you down, be late, forget your birthday, put you down, reject your affection, shatter your dreams or abuse you.  He waits for you with open arms to hug you today and tell you how much he loves you.  He delights in every detail of your life, even when you ignore him and pretend he's not there.  His love for you is outside of time, it will never end.

And to my Dad:

I love you Dad. I love you more than I ever have, because God has shown me what true love is.  I love that I get to share my family with you.  I love watching you with Jack and Sam, as you play together and get to know one another.  I love that I can always call you, even when you are so busy.  I love that you have always thought of our needs above your own.  You are precious to me.  I know I can't give you a hug in person this Father's Day  but I will in two weeks.

xx Cole

Friday, September 2, 2011

Just Like Daddy Does

Sam has fallen head over heels in love with aeroplanes and is now following in his Dad's footsteps to become a missions pilot. Every time a plane flies overhead (very often) he shout and says 'Daddy's plane.  Plane, can you see it Mum!'.  He tells everyone we meet down the street that 'Daddy is at work at the airport.' and the photos below show how we have been spending our days at home.
Preparing his tools.

 Making minor adjustments to the tail wheel before take off.
All kitted up and ready to go.  'See you later Mum, gonna go fly my big airplane now, bye, bye, bye!'

It's moments like this that I sit back and marvel at what God does in the heart of his children.  Sam has had so many struggles. We pray, believe, and live for his restoration and healing.  All the while God shows glimpses of what he has in store for Sam.  He has a plan, dreams he is building in his heart.  I can tell you his physical heart may not be perfect in the eyes of many, but he has more soul heart than most.  So much has been revealed to me about the importance of the human struggle here on earth, and what God can accomplish in our lives if we will just trust him.  And I am prepared to look foolish in the eyes of some, to trust in my God, dream big, and trust him entirely for the details. 

People look at Sam and see a little boy with an incomplete heart.

God looks at Sam and sees a little boy with a piece of his own heart.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Nostalgia:  a yearning for the return of past circumstances, events, etc.

Ok well, I wouldn't call it yearning, but it is so fun to remember. Here are Don and I, on our honeymoon 11 years ago. We were only 20 years old (you do the math).

And these bottom two photos of yours truly, we taken from slides.  Yes, remember those!  That's right, I was born before the invention of digital print media, and proud of it too.

What are your favourite photos of you as a child?

Just Stop Swimming.

For the last two weeks, as we head off to bed, Sam has been praying one thing.

'Desus, pease fix Mummy. Ame....n'

It was only last night that God finally gave me the revelation of what that meant.  Since relocating to Victoria, we have been very busy, tired, and had little time spare.  We have been swimming, and swimming and do not seem to be able to get to surface to catch a breath.  That kind of swimming is tiring!

I have been striving to get things done each day, and while it is good to have goals, I have been seeking fulfillment in the achievement of my goals, instead of seeking the One that fills me. God knows what He has placed before us, He knows what we are going through. He alone knows the times for everything, so once again, I need to let it all go and trust Him.  I need to float along with with river.  It is easier said than done, but is made easier by this:

God uses the lips of my son, to tell me, that he misses me playing with him, that I am not the Mummy he is used to being with, and, he wants God to fix his Mummy and make her whole again.

So, instead of swimming today, I choose to float, and I ask your help to carry me along the river.  Your prayers are what help propel us forward, so here are a few of the mountains that need moving:

  • Don has a doctors appointment today with the Cardiologist, to sort out his CASA medical once and for all, so he can fly solo.
  • For Sam to start gaining weight again,as it has slowed over the move interstate.
  • For all to go well with registering our car in VIC next week.
  • To help me get over needing a routine-it just isn't possible at the moment.
  • I want to write and I need to write, the words are flowing so well, but there is little time.
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