There is a NAME

There is a name that is above every other name, good or bad.

There is a name over every other name that is raising its head at this point in time. It is a name that is above fear, a name above panic, a name above pandemic. It is a name above disorder, above the chaos, above feelings, above injustice. It is a name above the name of EVERY disease, it is above evil and it is above Covid 19.

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We’re all reeling with what’s happening in our world right now. Fear is real, panic is real and there are moments when I feel moved by what I am seeing and hearing and I find myself giving in to fear.  I have to shake myself and remember who I belong to. I remember the Name of Jesus, my friend, and my delight and I quickly encourage myself with words from the good book, words I’ve held dear for a long time.

David says

1Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
2He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.

8Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah

 

‘I shall not be greatly moved’

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I’m not belittling the gravity of what’s happening around us. I for one have wept prayerful tears for Italy and for the nations that are hardest hit. Although my heart is heavy, I want to encourage us all to feed faith and not fear.

Media, although giving us good information and helping us to know how to practically battle this pandemic, it is also filling us with fear. In most cases, the name of ‘fear’ is lifted higher, exalted but we can and must fight this battle with FAITH. Let that be our focus, our battle plan.

If you’re not a believer, now, more than ever is a good time to reach out to the name I’m talking about, JESUS, he who is greater than all of this. No matter what the outcome, whether I live or die, I know he can turn this for your good. Your salvation can be secured today in Jesus by a simple prayer, by just reaching out to him in your little room, by faith, just a look in his direction and he’ll come running to you. Let him fight your battle.

Brazil running to Him…..

He’s like the wind, you can’t see him, but I know he’s there, he’s moving all the time and working things for my good, I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Oh that you could know how much he loves you, how much he wants for you to know and experience his great love for you.

How he wants to gather you in – to show you his love right now.

Turn fear into faith today.

I GLADLY CALL ON THE NAME OF JESUS – THE NAME ABOVE EVERY OTHER NAME

Pray for Italy

I have loved Italy ever since I was little.

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It’s a strange thing as I’m not Italian, but something within me has always been drawn to this incredibly vibrant, and in some ways, bombastic culture. Perhaps it was the Italian family who lived next door to my grandma’s house when I was very young. As I played in my gran’s backyard, the neighbor’s house loomed large, so much bigger than granmas humble house. White ornate pillars surrounded the palatial house, also white, three stories high. Lemon and olive trees dotted the large yard and constantly drew me to the crumbling grey stone fence that separated our backyards.

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My eyes peered over, fascinated by everything that went on in their back yard. I often stood there just watching and listening to the cacophony of words that sounded out, words I never understood. Bottling days were the best when I could smell the aroma of thick red sauce, laced with Basil, simmering on the stove in the not so little backyard kitchen. I could hear the women bantering and knew Nonna, had everyone under control, even the men. Somedays, her grandson, a couple of years older than myself, would invite me over to play. I’m sure it was just to avoid the work because, on other days, he ignored me.

A few years later my sisters moved to Melbourne and dated Italian men and one married a man from Calabria. I visited them often. To me, Melbourne seemed like a little Italy, continuing to fan into flame my love affair.

Later, I met my dear friend Catena, and together we embarked on an Italian journey of travel and language. We’ve travelled to Italy together on numerous occasions and sat in Italian classes, me a novice and Catena, returning to her roots. It’s been a wonderful journey and I know she would feel the same about her homeland and mourning the fact that we can’t just jump on a plane any time soon to visit this beautiful land we both love so much.

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Whatever the started this Italian fascination doesn’t doesn’t really matter. What counts is that all of those things, collectively, cemented a long love affair with Italian food and culture.

For now the doors are closed and the streets may seem empty but life goes on.

With so many people it’s impossible for it to sleep.

Did you know little Italy would fit into Australia 26 times? It’s population is over 60 million, that’s almost three times the population of Australia. A high percentage of the population is over 60 and they are at risk. The Covit19 virus is wreaking such havoc in our world and it seems to be hitting the elderly the hardest.

If you’ve seen anything on social media about Italy and the Coronavirus, despite the sudden lockdown, they are fighting back with their vibrant spirit! Young and old join together in songs for solidarity (Check out lovely Girl n Florence’s blog – who BTW I met when in Florence at Lisa Clifford’s Writers Retreat) from their apartment balconies, an old man plays the accordion as a younger one bangs out a rhythm on a tambourine while her little one dances next to her and they wave across to each other, defying the urge to give in to fear.

God is bigger than Coronavirus.

Right now, I feel sad that I may not see Italy any time soon. They’re in crisis. They need our prayers along with many others.

I say how about we learn a lesson from our Italian friends and let Joy ring out over fear. Carla Coulsen’s depicted their spirit in her book Italian Joy.

Let’s turn worry into prayers, trample fear with a song – this is definitely the best antivirus I know. ♥️

 

 

Don’t Give Up

For me, there’s something so exciting about starting something new.

Planning for an unknown adventure, paving the way for something you’ve dreamed about can be so invigorating.  I’m a pioneer at heart, a fire starter so setting out on a new journey is where I find myself at my best, that is until the honeymoon is over and the real rubber needs to hit the road in order to gain traction.

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It’s about then that things start to get a little tricky.

When the excitement wanes, frankly there are many days when you begin to wonder if maybe this journey wasn’t such a good idea after all. The dream starts to crumble and along with it, your motivation.

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The struggle starts.

Doubt, that feeling of uncertainty can come in like a flood. Lack of conviction can creep up on you inch by inch and snuff out the fire that once burned bright. Before you know it, you begin to question everything that brought you to the precipice. The one where you threw caution to the wind and bravely stepped out over the edge.

Suddenly the unknown seems daunting and you want to shrink back, forgetting this path that once seemed so right.

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In all reality, I sometimes feel like the blazing trail is all too much an uphill battle. One I could do without and I find myself silently thinking “why don’t you just settle for staying home and reading the book you brought about someone else’s exciting journey?” It’s so much easier to talk about our goals, our dreams, to read about how to get there rather than actually DO what needs to be done to achieve them.

It’s then that we need reminding that

“In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends to poverty” Proverbs 14:23

I’m not a quitter and I don’t want you to be. Keep believing.

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There have been odd exceptions when I’ve stepped out and things have taken off with little effort and the pioneering journey has been somewhat effortless. Like when we started Down South Gospel, our little country church that lives on today and one of my last ventures with a dear friend. We stepped out together. Within a few months, our Gourmet Grazing Table business gained so much traction that we found ourselves run off our feet as our popularity grew. Oh that every journey was easy.

 

I wonder where your journey is taking you?

Maybe you’ve started writing that book, the one you’ve dreamed of for so long and you have no idea how you’ll get it published or if it’s even going to be good enough. Maybe you’ve finally had the courage to step into the coaching career that you know you were made for. Perhaps you’re trying to find the finance to start a new business or simply save for your dream home.

Whatever it is – it takes courage and it takes determination too.

It’s in these doubting moments, the moments when we struggle that we need to encourage ourselves and those we walk alongside to stay the course, to be there for each other. The hard work will pay off.

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I encourage you today not to give up. Keep moving towards your goals. Baby steps at first, one after the other and then the bigger steps will come. You will reap a harvest if you keep going.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. ” Galatians 6:9

Sojourn

The Hebrew word Sojourn translates as ‘ger’ (pronounced gare) and means ‘a temporary inhabitant, a newcomer lacking rights, an alien’.

While we are not gypsies (a member of a race or people originally from Northern India, traveling from place to place) nor newcomers, we ourselves have become sojourners and it seems we have also adopted the “place to place’ part of the gypsy equation. I must say, while its quite freeing, its also quite a strange feeling to have no abode, no place to call home.

Something in me wants to settle, wants to nest and if it were only “I” – “I” think maybe, “I” would. My heart longs to let my roots go deep again, somewhere. Maybe a little cottage close to my little big ones, now bearing little ones all of their own.

I long to plant a tree and watch it grow, to gather some hens and shut them in at night, to plant a seed and delight in watching a flower bloom, to set up a desk with pretty pens and paper, to place a soft comfy chair nearby so I can rest when I tire of writing, to hang my favorite pictures on the wall nearby.

So many things, beautiful things, seem just out of reach.

And yet perhaps, in time, I would tire of this too. Perhaps I would soon long to be free of those roots and those chickens. Perhaps I’d be willing to take those pictures down from the wall again and place them back in the box from whence they came so we could set to the road again.

Why are humans so fickle, never at rest? Always longing for something better, something bigger. Something more exciting?

In the book of Timothy, it says

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6-10

So, my challenge to myself is to cultivate contentment. I have thought long about this, this contentment. This is something I yearn for, perhaps even more than those things above mentioned. I have contemplated contentment over and over. Some months back I even created a little logo with the idea that there might be people out there just like me, longing for contentment. So I added those words there, underneath the “write a little every day” logo, thinking maybe I would create something called the contentment co.

I didn’t.

But the word stayed with me and another word came alongside it.

Two words,

cultivate,

contentment,

cultivate contentment,

yes, cultivate contentment.

 

 

What Now

Patience.

Peace.

Joy

I’m needing these three things.

In the in-between – again.

I have to remind myself that this is the life we’ve chosen and while the gypsy life can be hard at times, it’s adventurous, it’s unnerving but at the same time, it’s wonderful.

We’ve flown over sea, driven over mountains, made wonderful new friends and bonded deeply with family, that for such a long time, have been separated by distance. We’ve had so much fun seeking out the next place to visit albeit on travelers’ shoestring. We’ve found cute little cafes in the middle of no-where.

Bathed in hot pools and swam in ice-cold rivers. Surfed oceans where waters rush in over big grey cobblestones, quickly lifting feet so they don’t hurt in the rush. We’ve listened to the beautiful sound of the Tooey as it sings its song each morning and camped with visiting family and friends on a cliff high above the sea, watching the gentle ripple of misty blue waves rolling in while a warm fire burned beside us.

What’s not to love about all that?

But now?

We’ve chosen to always put our days in the hands of our creator and so we wait knowing he has the next step carefully mapped out. We don’t know exactly how it will play out but we’ve taken the first step…I said yes to a job in the city when ideally, we really wanted to be in the country but it was meant to be … and I remember ‘just take the first step’

Then the second… tickets booked and the men’s will soon return.

The rest will unfold.

One foot in front of the other.

This is our life right now – a dear friend called it “Zany” and well, I think she may be right!

The Next Step

Sometimes it’s hard to see what lays ahead and all one can do is take the next step.

For me, this is an uncomfortable space. I want to know it all. I want to have it all mapped out and yet as much as I endeavour to do this, I know that certain things about our future can’t be framed, not right now. Once again our life sits gently in the hands of the creator as we wait for it all to unfold.

Sure, we have some ideas of what it may look like, even plans, but in choosing to live a gypsy kind of lifestyle, the unexpected is inevitable.

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When I started to write this post, it would still be a few days until I set out for the airport and another adventure.

Perth, and suddenly I’m back, sweltering in the West Australian summer heat again.

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I’m happy to be in back my homeland. The smell of the gum trees after a summer rain but I’ve left part of my heart in New Zealand, my men, more family, difficult. I’ve laid down roots in the land of the long white cloud and so the parting, tho joyful, was mixed with other emotions.

I’m home now, feeling somewhat displaced. Knowing all my goods are lying idle in a shed not far from where I sleep. Am I staying, am I going?

The unknown.

BUT oh how wonderful to be with family, my children, grandchildren, my mama, my brother, nephews and nieces too. Christmas time. Birthdays too and soon to see my travelling sister.

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Tis the season to be jolly and jolly I will be. I’m heading South soon to be with all my own for the festive merriment. Happy Days. Crazy Days.

No matter what your season is right now, I’m hoping you can embrace it and have the most joyous of times too.

Thanking Jesus for all he has done and is yet to do but for now I’m just taking the next step.

 

Take Time

Yesterday we set off again for another Kiwi Adventure.

Our little gap year has been all about making space to catch our breath, taking time to smell the roses so to speak. Lately tho, we’ve had a few unseen pressures and we’ve both been a little tired and a tad stressed.

Perhaps having one car, borrowed at that and needing to travel in three different directions, morning and evening, adds to the sense of pressure, however, this is the kind of compromise one encounters when one has chosen to live small, so it’s ok.

We know how important it is to make time for each other and so, this weekend we set off for another meander through this beautiful country.

Up early, bags and bathers in hand and we were out the door long before the teenager had opened his eyes! Hubby had heard about a watering hole on the river near where he’d been working the past week or so. “How about we head out that way,” he offered, it was like a dangling carrot to get us through the week and I was keen as mustard.

We chose to drive past the turnoff that led to the river and instead, head for TIKOKINO Sadly, Tokikino turned out to be a sleepy little town, on its last legs, however, it did have some cute vintage houses with lots of potential and a Pub / Cafe, but that didn’t open till 11am and we were hungry so after a two minute loop of the town, we drove onward and came upon ONGAONGA.

What a lovely surprise it was, small and quiet, but lovely just the same. What was especially lovely was to discover the heartbeat of the little cafe convenience store. We sat out the front at the green iron-framed setting and waited for our much-needed breakfast.

It was great spot to watch the farmers drive up in their mega machines and casually parked across the street. Truckers stopped in for a bite to eat breaking up their journey, while young blokes, sporting red bands gumboots, drove their utes almost to the front door, up close to the petrol bowser near where we sat. The window wound down their window so they could yell out hello. 

This is Mathew Ascott from Scott Ag.

We watched as the owner ran out of the shop, leant into one passenger’s window for a quick hello, grab his EFTPOS card and return with a pie and drink. It seemed everyone here knew each other but we didn’t feel on the outskirt. They even stopped to chat with us.

If you get a chance to call into ONGA ONGA don’t forget to check out the historic townsite and drop a coin in the Restoration Box across the road from the Cafe and then walk down and check out the historic buildings on the edge of town.

Our enjoyable brunch was followed by a trek back toward Maraekakaho to find the river hole we’d been told about. After crossing a number of OneWay bridges at the last one we saw a gate on the side just before the bridge (see in the pic above) and made our way down to the river to cool off. Delightful.

Breathtakingly cool but well worth it. I only wish I had swimming booties as walking over the river stones is a bit tricky and somewhat painful in bare feet.

You’d think that was enough of an adventure, but no, we thought we’d have one last refreshment stop on our way home. “Filly and Chook” is a bar/cafe and too it’s credit does have a lovely outdoor seating area under pretty trees, so much potential. It caught our eye on the way out to Tokokino. I’d like to say it was a worthwhile stop, but neither of us was very impressed. It wasn’t the building or the surroundings so much, but rather the ‘atmosphere’. It just didn’t seem to fit the country surrounds and seriously lacked warmth – perhaps the grumpy owner didn’t help matters.

It felt like the buildings were just plonked on the edge of a property to make money and had no heartbeat. Needless to say, we won’t be going back in a hurry. To be fair, there is hope because the property is for sale. Perhaps someone will come in and breath in the life it needs.

If you didn’t get out this weekend, I hope you at least enjoyed reading about our little venture. #karafamadventure

The Winding Road

Below is a post I wrote back in 2014.  I’m sharing again because sometimes looking back can be profound. What a journey we’ve had since that day.

Busselton to Perth – Hospitals – Life-Threatening Verdicts – Operations – Hope Rising – Perth to New Zealand – New Horizons – New Culture – New Friends – New Zealand. New Zealand to Perth. Adventure all the way. Not always easy but well worth the ride.

No idea of the future but just enjoying the ride.

So if your feeling like it’s time for a change – go for it. Take the adventure, you won’t regret it. Change is so wonderful. Yes, you’ll be stretched but you’ll also grow, perhaps exponentially, and remember wherever you go, you’ll always be a blessing when you carry our creator with you.

THE WINDING ROAD

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Life can take some twists and turns. Looking back there have been a few twists that I never saw coming. Like last year when our life changed for what appears to be forever. Events can alter your seemingly unchangeable existence. Just when you get comfortable and accept the status quo…bang…the one in charge of it all suddenly decides to hand you a new map and you have to make the decision of whether to take a risk and follow into the unknown, or resist the offer and try to stay safe with what you know.

Choosing to stay safe could risk stagnation. I don’t think for a minute this map is ‘a new map’ I believe the pages were written from the beginning, we just never knew that this would be where it would take us.

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Photo by Josh Sorenson from Pexels

“Suddenly” can sneak up at any moment, overruling our quiet predictable lives.

Although headed for the same destination, the route is about to make a change. I have a feeling we’re in for the ride of our life and I’m excited!

I’ve said yes to the challenge so until we get to the bend in the road, I’m holding on to what I know and keeping my eyes on the Son ….just like in this picture, He is lighting the way. I can’t see around the bend yet, but I know something is waiting there.

In awe at the smallness of mankind and the greatness of the one who loves us!

This is my Story

THIS IS MY STROY THIS IS MY SONG

“My earliest memory is of the boy down the road throwing a cricket wicket through our lounge room window. It was my birthday. I don’t know why to this day that he did that. Maybe he wanted to come to my party. Maybe it was just an accident. I don’t know – but I do remember seeing broken glass everywhere and being scared, really scared and feeling like it was it all my fault.  I hadn’t done anything wrong but I was afraid.  My little friends and I nestled tightly around my party table that sat by the window. While mum cleaned up the broken glass I pretended I was ok. But it wasn’t ok and I quietly worried about how I could fix that window.

Looking back now, I realise it wasn’t just the window that needed fixing.  There were far bigger things to be worried about. Fortunately, I was young and carefree and somewhat oblivious to all that was going on in our little world.

I have mixed memories from those early days. Some happy memories but many clouded with fear. I was only six at the time and things were tumultuous to say the least. My dad was sick. Mental illness had plagued him since his early twenties and was it getting worse as each month passed by. He had been diagnosed with both Manic Depression and Schizophrenia and we were all trying to come to terms with the erratic lifestyle of living with someone with a mental illness. As life went on and I grew older I wrote songs that helped process that journey.”

THIS IS MY STORY THIS IS MY SONG is something I’ve dreamed about for a long time.  As a young girl, I loved singing Grandma’s favourite hymn ‘This is my Story’. When she died we were all so sad but a little seed was planted in my heart that one day her legacy could live on as I shared our story in song and tell how through all the years, “His Story” was woven completely and perfectly into our story.

Below are the words to the song I wrote about life with my father who through God’s amazing love, despite his brokenness, was also carried safely home into the loving arms of Grace.


AS A LITTLE GIRL          (Recording Coming Soon)

As a little girl I’d sit upon my daddy’s knee 

Listen to the preacher

Knew that he was talking to me

Saying, “Jesus loves you and He wants you to follow Him

Just a little girl but I knew that I would follow Him

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Now people might say that our house was not a place for a child

See, daddy was a gambling man and he suffered from a troubled mind

But mama, she was praying and taught me of my Father above

I was just a little girl, sheltered in the Father’s love

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I remember the day when daddy he had to leave

I didn’t understand it then but now I know my mama did it for me

Shattered dreams for a child that was so young

Just a little girl and my life had only just begun

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If you’re looking for the answers to the questions in your mind

Gotta reach out to the Father, He’ll help you leave the past behind

Never said it would be easy, never said it wouldn’t hurt

But you know He’s never left me, He’s loved me through the hurt

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