Saturday, April 28, 2012

Take me to the Sea

Today began quietly enough.  We rose later and drove into the Latrobe Valley Airport to check out the Aero club where Don can continue his flying.  It is a great little club and we look forward to getting to know the other members.

Then on our way home we decided to keep driving and see what we could see.  We stopped by Yinnar to see where Sam will begin Kinder soon.  It is a quaint and beautiful little town down in the valley, surrounded by towering eucalyptus, meandering creeks and rolling green paddocks, hosting mainly dairy cattle.

We were so enchanted with our drive that we continued to Boolarra and then thought, 'We are so close to the beach, let's keep going!'  It has been well over 6 months since we have seen the seaside, so the adventure began.  Not an hour and a half from home we arrived in Inverloch, a beautiful coastal community and first explored the Shell museum.  It was a gold coin donation to view it and the boys were fascinated. We even saw a crab there that weighed more than Sam, just it's shell of course. It is well worth checking out.  We then continued down to the beach and enjoyed the windy yet dazzling vista.  The wind was strong but warmer than at home, and the sea air filled by senses.  The boys were ecstatic and found shells and cuttlefish, while pretending to be Bear Grylls upon the rocky retainers.

We then became aware that there was a short drive along the bottom of this part of Australia where we could take in the view so we set off in search of some more sights, between Inverloch and Cape Paterson.  We were amazed by what we found and we  were reminded once again at the splendour of God in His Creation, and the power behind it all.  The wind was whipping so strong Sam could hardly walk.  We threw out our arms and pretended we could fly while standing on the cliffs over the beach. 

Victoria is just so beautiful, from it's mountain ranges to it's roaring seas.  It does all sorts of things to my heart.  And it just wonderful that is all on our doorstep to enjoy for nothing but the fuel to get us there.  Truly we are blessed.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fragility and Fierce Determination

I am continually reminded about the fragility of our lives here on earth.

This past week I have learned of two families who have lost loved ones, one a little baby, another a Dad.  At different stages in life, but each so precious.  This happens on a weekly basis.  I watch as families hearts break and re-break as they realise their separation from those to whom they will forever love.

Sometimes I wonder why I continue to search and to pray for those who need encouragement, prayer and love.  Because it hurts to watch others suffer, it hurts to comfort others when there are no words that can possibly be their balm.  That doesn't mean that we shouldn't offer our words.  For I have learned in our own hardship that silence is sometimes the worst sound in the world.

I go through feelings of empathy, and frustration as I reach out.  I experience guilt, for my own son lives, when others have had to let theirs go...for a season. 

However I know why I persist..

Each of these things drives me to  pray, to call out to God to make a difference in the lives of those who are in anguish. To make something beautiful out of something horrific, to draw fragrance from a flower that is crushed and bruised.

And I see miracles...I see medical breakthroughs, illnesses healed, people transformed, not by my hand but by the hand of God.  And that desire to see breakthrough drives me onward, even though it hurt,s to make sure that hope remains alight. To search for that flicker of light in situations that seem so dark.

I may be a Mum at home, but I can reach all manner of people through blogging, emailing, Facebook and other communications.  I can reach out to the Mums at school, and the people I meet at the shops and just sit and listen to them, smile and offer an encouraging word.

It has been four years now and my life has been changed forever.  I can no longer look at the world the same way after what we live with Sam.  There is more to this life than what we can see.  It is real and tangible and is tightly entwined with our feelings, thoughts and actions.  We are more than flesh and blood.  And I have to believe that as I reach out to others in love, changes are made not only in the countenance of a person but also in their eternal spirit. 

As we head to Sam's next heart appointment on Tuesday, I wonder about this next part of our journey.  This past four years has been a steep learning curve and I wonder what God holds in store for us next. I wonder if you will claim his promise with us this week:

Sam will live and have life in abundance.  He will testify to the nations of his healing.

For I am a fiercely determined woman, who has a fiercely determined son, and we serve a fiercely determined God.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Promise Renewed

Driving home after collecting Jack from school today, we were excited to see before us a beautiful rainbow lighting up the sky.  A symbol of God's promise.  It shone with a brilliant gem on the darkened eastern sky.  As we drove I spoke with God.

You always give us double rainbows when we were in the right place for you.  That is in part how we know we are walking the path you have mapped out for us.  We haven't had that here yet Lord.  I would really love to see that again.

We arrived home, and I began to prepare dinner, lit a fire, and then waited for Don to arrive home. Don came home and the rain began to ease again.Gazing out of the window I gasped and called for Don and the boys...

He loves me.

He knows my heart.

Little things matter to God.

Here you are my love.  Accept this as a renewed promise of my love for you.  You have a hope and a promise that cannot fail.  Delight in this gift, and remember it is only a foretaste of what is to follow.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Walkthrough of Our Abode

Ok, so I'll be honest I wasn't game to take any photographs of the inside of our home up until now.  We had been living in that state of  semi-chaos that comes with moving home.  We have moved 10 times in 12 years, and with that comes a much more relaxed approach to the whole process including the unpacking.  We still have boxes to unpack three weeks after moving in and they will stay that way until I decide where I want everything.  If it is still in a box after 6 months we either don't have enough storage space, or we don't need what is in the box.

So I thought you might like to have a little walk through our place.  It's not much, but it's home and we make sure we live in it as such. I especially welcome our family and friends far away to join me on this little tour in the hope that one day soon, you may relax in one of it's chairs or hug me when you enter the door.

When you enter the front door of our home, you enter what Don and I have affectionately called the sitting room.  No they are not plastic garbage bags but leather look beanbags.  Don and I spend much of our time in the is room when the kids go to bed,  watching the fire and reading.  We have officially been without TV now for three months, and seriously don't miss it.  We watch DVD's and read stacks of books, as well as have awesome internet.  The boys have not asked for the TV once!

 From the sitting room you can see the kitchen...

As you walk down the hall, you will find Jack's room with a view to the East of the mountains (And yes, I know you are all jealous of my carpet ;)...

And our bedroom...

And Sam's Room...

The bathroom and WC...

Our walk through Laundry... do you want fries with that?

 The Lounge Room is through the laundry and has three doors.  The one in this picture we do not use.  There is also study and storage room off of this room.

This is one of the outside verandahs where we often sit and ponder the universe and all that is in it.

So one day, I hope you will join me for a cuppa here.  Though if you come in Winter though you are more likely to sup with me by the fire while we watch the mountains from the window.

Thank you for sharing my home with me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Warrior Never Rests

Our battle with Sam and his heart are more than a book to us.  The life that we have been called to is not chosen by me, and is not easy. Most people read the book "Sam's Heart" and are left with a sense of prevailing hope and faith, and I am glad because that is it's message.  However I also want people to understand that our battle is not over and until the trumpet sounds in victory, we can never rest and let our guard down.

It is true that I can rest in the promises of God yes, but resting in God does not mean throwing your shield and sword aside and laying idle in waiting.  You see we battle daily both in body and spirit against all manner of resistance and struggle.

In his body Sam has always struggled to gain weight.  It has been almost a year now since he has gained any weight.  Because of God's mercy and grace Sam has been  healthy and free from illness for most part of the last 18 months.  And for this we are thankful beyond measure.  He runs small distances but I sometimes notice increased breathlessness when he speaks and eats.  At his last review we were told that the valve in his heart is leaking more than the doctors would like.  Still he runs, climbs ,and strives to keep up with his brother.

Spiritually Sam speaks often of Jesus and the angels.  He tells me of the times when God speaks to him at night. Worship music is Sam's delight.  He has also had many encounters recently with 'dark ones' that come to him.  He has recently had to deal with that interference as well, and God is teaching him to be brave and courageous.  It is no mistake this is happening now so close to his review with the doctors.  Laugh if you wish, call us crazy, but this is the reality of life for our family. 

This battle is not over for us.  We cannot breathe a sigh and then go back to our normal lives.  This is our normal life.  Just like the hundreds of other families walking the same path we move forward each day with hope in our hearts, for we dare not embrace anything else.  There is a difference for us though we have peace in the midst of it, knowing that despite the challenges, the victory is won! 

Sam came running to me this afternoon wearing his little green gumboots, grasping a handful of sunny yellow dandelions, 'Mum, Mum, I love you!'

God, if today was only made for me to hear those words, I thank you.  I thank you for Sam's life that you have breathed your love upon Him and made him dance this side of Heaven.  And we will shout it out loud for all to hear.  How merciful you are!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Settling In

Jack had his first day at his new school today.  He had a 'SUPER!' day, in his words and made it memorable by losing a tooth that was already loose. 

I have also included some Easter photos.

Sam had a visit to the doctor today, just to say g'day and get some scripts for his medication.  Tonight he took all of his tablets without me having to crush them. He thinks he is most grown up.  One day he won't need these medicines anymore, it is one of my prayers and beliefs.  There is just something very wrong about giving warfarin to your child.  It is somethng that I will never accept.  There have been no long term studies on the effects of warfarin therapy on children.  Pray with me on this will you?

I also wanted to share with you some of the more recent sunsets here, which remind us of God's presence daily.

And finally my husband Don, my love and life companion,keeping the home fires burning.

What do you see when you take a step outside and have a look at your life? 

For me it changes daily.  God is always revelaing more to me of who He is and what our family is to Him.  Not only does it bring great happiness to me, but the Bible tells me that it also brings a smile to the dial of my God.

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.(Eph 1:5)

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Cup of Fresh Water

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.(Romans 12:2)

It's a simple truth isn't it?  One that we have heard many times.

Recently my five year old son Jack and I have had many discussions around this truth.  Let me give you an example.  There was a movie that Jack really wanted to watch.  The conversation went like this

But I really want to watch _______. 

Why do you want to watch it?

Everyone else at school is allowed to watch it.  Why can't I?

I'm sure you've all heard this one before.  I have even tried it myself with God a few times. 

This is how our discussion ended

Do you think Holy Spirit would be happy if you watched it?  Have you asked God?

No, He wouldn't like it. 

Why do you think He wouldn't like it?

It would give me bad dreams.  Like that other one did.

So it's not that I won't let you watch it, but that you need to make the right choice to show God how wise you are.  In the bible He tells us that we need to guard what we see, hear and think.  Other wise we take things in that might hurt us. So really when you think about it, those other boys at school are the silly ones for watching things that might give them bad dreams.  I guess it's up to you to choose whether you really want to watch those things or not.


Yeah, I don't want to.  There's heaps of other things to watch.  I feel better now. 

I think you've made a clever choice, you must be growing up.  Let's think about what else you can watch.

So much of what we allow into our hearts and minds hinders the work that God is doing in our lives.  In going through things like this with my family, it reminds me to be vigilant with my own mind and heart.    I am not talking about cutting myself off from the world and entertainment, but being wise in my choices.  We are given Holy Spirit as a guide, and we must if we profess to know Jesus, take his advice in all we do- in the bookstore, in the video shop, surfing the net, watching TV, in our conversations. 

Think of it like a drinking fountain.  If you want to drink of clean fresh water, you don't pollute up the water do you?  I want my life to be a tap for God's living water.  When someone comes to me thirsty I don't want to hand them a cup of mud, but a refreshing drink that will leave them feeling loved and revitalised. 

This week has been a reminder to me to clean out the filter on my rainwater tank.  When was the last time you checked yours?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

On The Road

Adventure seems to be born into the spirit of all, at some point in our lives. 

Yesterday morning as I absorbed myself in the unpacking and chaotic organisation of our tupperware, I realised that I had not heard from Jack or Sam for at least 15 minutes.  Usually I can hear them playing and suddenly the airwaves had become silent. I tread outside and called out, which usually elicits a reply telling me they have not gone far.  There was no answer, 

So I walked up the bank to our backyard, calling as I walked.  Still nothing.  As my Mummy instincts kicked in, something told that all was not well.  I walked briskly (ran) up our 200 m driveway to the highest point of our property and called again.  This time I heard the faint reply; Jack's voice brought relief to my heart.  But where were they, I followed his voice, which contained no panic or worry and began to walk up our dirt road.  Over the small rise in the road I saw them emerge.  Happy as can be, totally oblivious as to have caused any concern. 

Hi Mum, we are adventuring.  We saw Rosellas and everything.

Where is Sam?

He is coming

Here I am Mum (Sam)

Jack is carrying a rope, wearing his trademark gumboots and walks with the air of a mountain man.

Sam trails behind, having walked 500m or more carrying a waterbottle the size of his arm.

It's Ok Mum, we brought water.

You know the feeling a Mum goes through in times like this right.  Panic, anger, relief, unparalleled love and pride.  So by the time they have walked all the way back to me, I have mellowed somewhat.  I am not angry by nature and cannot remain cross for long even if I try.  Just ask my husband.

I sternly tell the boys that they are not to leave the property without us, and that they are not to go past the fence and the end of our driveway.  I remind them about the dangers and  that I am not worried about them looking after themselves,but about what others may do to them.  It is a very quiet culdesac on unsealed road, so traffic is scarce.  No matter, there must be rules.  We agree to review the rule when Jack is at a more advanced age.

You should have told us Mum, I didn't know.

Yeah, I know, sorry mate.  Well you know now hey?

In my mind I travel over the fact that I assumed they knew the boundaries.  I should know by now you can assume nothing with kids.  Just like when you bring a new dog home, you must walk the boundaries of your property, making sure they know where the borders lie. 

Meanwhile I lift Sam into my arms and I marvel at him.  Barely out of breath, he has walked a country mile, carrying more than his own weight.   A little boy with a heart that is wanting all manner of healing, adventuring with the his brother.  Full of excited stories, and proud of his own efforts.  I carry him back to the house to save his already tired little legs. 

I tell you this story not to alarm you, but to share a little piece of my joy.  My joy at having kids who are not afraid of a challenge, who see opportunities and take them up heartily.  I rejoice at their growing friendship and trust and care for each other.  I rejoice in the fact that they follow rules as long as there is a logical explanation.  And most of all I rejoice in God who gave them the lives that they now have.  I am astounded at Sam's stamina, and his ability to endure all manner of things, though he may do them more slowly, there is no mountain to high for him. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter and Love

Love is... a new puppy.

Love is...the embrace of family and friends

Love is... the wind upon my face reminding me that the Creator of all of this...

paid the ultimate price, so I don't have to.

Love is and always will be, because God Himself IS love.

At Easter we remember that love is spelt

S  A  C  R  I  F I  C  E

with a capital JESUS.

And that is how I know what love is.  So I can shower it madly upon all whom I meet.  Holding naught back, as I know the Source of love will never run dry.  What is love to you?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Big Move and Visit

We have arrived at our new home.  Below is a photo montage of our last week.  It has been a big one!  We have had many trying moments, breathtaking experiences, minor concerns, money miracles, and a whole lot of laughs.  The words view, warmth, exhaustion, mice, huntsmen spiders, country, space, koala, rosellas, power out, water problems, refund, puppy, and a whole lot of family love all combine to give some idea of our new life here so far.  Gran and Pa went home today, and the week certainly flew by.

Happy Easter!  And God bless each one of you.  HE IS RISEN!!!
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