Thursday, July 31, 2008

Little boxes...

A song that came back to memory tonight:

Little boxes on a hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same
There are red ones
There are green ones
There are blue ones
There are yellow ones
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same

A cute fun song back in the day, but looking at the words now it kinda has a more sinister meaning - "And they all look just the same".

I've been packing boxes over the last couple of days for our big move this weekend. And I've come to realise that you can label your box with a big blue pen, you can pack it right, stack it right, transport it right, but you still don't really know what's inside that box until it's opened! "Ooh be careful, don't drop that one - it's fragile! I think it's fragile. Does it have fragile on the box? I'm sure I packed glasses in there. Or was it books...."
Yes even me, organisational queen (according to husband), still can't figure out what I've put in there!!!!!

So back to that creepy song.....

Have YOU ever felt like you're in a box? Like everyone has you figured out? They've put a label on you. They know your likes or dislikes. What turns you on or off. But all they see is the box. The red, green, blue or yellow colour made out of the same stuff as them.


I wonder sometimes what we'd all look like if we were turned inside out. Spirit and soul on the outside for a change - now that's an interesting concept! Your dreams, your fears, your hopes, your failings - all there for the world to see. Yikes. But then, also reality and freedom rolled into one.

Have you ever looked straight into a persons eyes when talking to them? You can see so much more than just eye balls and lashes. Sometimes you catch a teeny glimpse of wonder. A flash of a dream. A glance from a miracle. I dare you to search deeper than the 'boxes' you see around you. What's inside is more valuable and so much more precious than anyone will ever realise - although, God has already figured that one out!

My other thought on this, is to let people in. Obviously you can't go around having a deep and meaningful with every single person you talk to! In fact please don't do that!! But what I'm saying is, let YOU be the person they see. Not the 'label' on the box. Not the humanity that encloses the masterpiece, but the real you. Your vulnerability can bring freedom, healing and wholeness to others. And it also gives people permission to do the same.

Little boxes on a hillside...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Up close and personal.

So I clean for this elderely couple up the road from us. And when I mean clean - I mean CLEAN! When I was interviewed for the job I was told that I'd be doing some vacuuming, mopping, cleaning the shower and basins and a bit of ironing. I thought "Sweet! I can do that", and the pay is great for 3 hours of work.

So I turn up for my first day and the cute little lady shows me round and fills me on the way she likes the mopping done. I'm standing there thinking, "yay I don't mind mopping floors, it will be done quickly" when all of a sudden her words interupt my thinking and she says, "hands and knees with a sponge, is that okay?"

I say "yep sure that's fine", but meanwhile I'm REALLY thinking "you have GOT TO be kidding me!" Her next words brought a little comfort, "I've got knee-pads for you to use". Oh yay. So here we go. Not just one floor to 'mop' (which for me mop now stands for Mean On Purpose!), but there are four floors for me to do.

After a month and a bit of cleaning for this couple I've got the hang of sponging down a couple of dirty floors, and I've even learnt how to iron properly. I forgot to tell them that I don't iron. I just put Tim's work shirts in the hot water cupboard and WALA. Warm and only slightly creased - sweet!

So I was on my hands and knees today as it was cleaning day. And I started thinking about sin. Well actually I first started thinking about being Cindarella cleaning for her wicked stepmother, and then I got more spiritual and thought about Joseph being a slave to Potiphar, cleaning his floors.

But back to the thought about sin....For the last couple of weeks I've felt the hand of God heavy on me. Can you relate to this? When sometimes you almost dread being in His presence cos you know He is dealing with you? You can't quite put your finger on what He is doing but You know He is doing something there? Yes I see that hand thank you!

Now the house I clean is already a clean house. I mean it's like brushing your teeth for the third time in a row. So I actually have come to enjoy cleaning it every Tuesday. I was thinking about our lives, and how sometimes we think our 'house' (our heart) is clean, and sometimes we believe that if we were any more righteous than we are we might get caught up into glory with Enoch! But I've come to realise that even the cleanest of houses still have dirt. And it's not until you're down on your hands and knees that you see the grime and there it is - right infront of your nose.

But my point is that you have to get down on your hands and knees. Up close and personal. When we humble ourselves before God, we are then able to see our sin for what it really is, because we allow Him in our vulnerability to do so.

Rod's comments last Sunday really took hold of me. When we ask for the fire of God, He is going to purge us. Sometimes it hurts to see the state of our hearts and I sometimes come away thinking "ew, is that really in me?" I'll never sponge a floor down again without thinking about this!

But the best bit is when God comes and washes over the dirt and (like the mopped floors) leaves a clean, shiny surface that He can see Himself in.

Thank you God for knee-pads...

(Did I mention the fact that I got to clean with a toothbrush today? Yep, I'm sure there's some revelation in that one...)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What NOT to wear...

So some of you have seen my fashion fo-par (spelling?) on Paisley Jade's sight. Bright pink socks with orange flowers, underneath a black and white paisley wrap dress (Kristy wanted to cut it up and make some bear or something out of it...MY dress!), and 'oh yuck' the bowling shoes - which by the way must have been designed by a man cos they are NASTY! Don't they realise that green and brown don't go with everyones outfits? Now black would be a cool colour for bowling shoes. Maybe I'll design some cos come on, they are EEEEEERRRGGGGGLLLLY!

Anway as we do with our blogs I've noticed, alot of our practical life experiences usually turn into some amazing spiritual insights. So here is mine which include my socks. Yes socks can bring revelation to your life. Just open up your hearts here people.

My socks which I probably would never show in public were (for the record) worn under my boots (which double as a weapon by the way, and no, I do not own a motorbike). So no harm done. No one can see my bright pink froggy socks because I was wearing boots thank you very much!

So we go to 10-pin bowling to bond, as we do. And the boots come off, and the socks stand out like a sore thumb. Blend it with those 'make me gag' bowling shoes and WALA! Fashion disaster from Na'am. "No ones supposed to see these!" I'm thinking, but what can you do? The game continues.

So my thought for the day is, when our situation changes, our true colours show. Sometimes when things get tough or hard, what is REALLY in our heart comes out whether we like it or not! The outer layer comes off, and we show who we really are. And sometimes it's good. And sometimes (like these socks) it's bad.

Thankfully God wants us to come to Him just as we are. With our issues, with our heartaches, with our attitudes - just us. Isn't His love just amazing? I know I was judged for wearing those socks (sniff sniff). And I'm beginning to realise more and more just how conditional our love is towards eachother. Someone stuffs up, or hurts you and your attitude and 'love meter' drops towards them.

But God's love is unconditional. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died on the cross for us!" Wow. It blows me away to think that even while our backs were turned towards Jesus and all that He offered, His love has never changed towards us.

He loved us first. Socks and all.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Outta here...

So I was lying in bed a couple of mornings ago when I hear this, "OH MY GOSH!!!!!"

My darling was in the bathroom having a moment. I'm wondering what on earth is going on in there? All he's meant to do is take a shower. Nothing technical, nothing too dramatic, just shower that's all.

So his "Oh my gosh" episode continues and while I'm lying there wondering, his exclamations grow in volume and intensity. (Let me remind you at this stage that I am the calm one in the relationship. It takes a lot to rattle me, so I find amusement at my husbands expense!).

"What did you do?" I say, still wondering how a simple shower can turn into chaos.

"The towel rail has just come off." So I go to have a look, and sure enough Mr has somehow ripped the left side of the towel rail off from the wall. Okay here comes an instant flashback from our Waipu holiday. I thought we were only into breaking other people's things. Apparently not.

"The towel was all bunched up in the one side so I just pulled it, and it came off."

"Of course." I said, examining the damage.

So we can't fix it. We're musicians. (This was a thought I have had many times before we got married by the way. None of us are fix-it type people. At least we know people.)

Okay lets see. Well the broken towel rail can go along with the cupboard handle that has come off which goes along with the front door that doesn't open or close properly which goes with the toilet door that sticks which goes with the two rooms which don't have curtain rails which goes with the tv which doesn't have an aerial which goes with the fire alarm we can't reach which goes with the door which we can't fit most furniture through which goes with our garage which we can't fit our car into.......

Nice....I'm adding it to my collection of why I want OUTTA HERE!

Needless to say, it has been a rather nice area to live in. At least we have a roof over our heads, so thank You God!

Can't wait to watch the guys hoist our furniture off the balcony again. Yep I'm serious! Will have to take pictures of that one.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Do you know who you REALLY are?

I knew someone once who wasn't afraid of failure. He was afraid of succeeding! How ironic is that? I then realised that he was not the only person who felt like this. I used to fear succeeding, because I thought that once I was in a place of success that I would fall from it and that I wouldn't be able to rise again. I am still shrugging that one off, but it does make me wonder just how many more people battle with 'being' who they truly are.
Have a read of this awesome quote from South Africa's president Nelson Mandela:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It’s our light - not our darkness that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, “who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
won’t feel insecure around you.
We are born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."
It really made me think when I read it a few years ago about who we really are in God. I believe that the church is coming into a new freedom in Christ. As revival comes nearer, God is challenging our hearts on some very deep and personal issues. It is time for the church to realise who she is and what she is capable of doing when she steps into her rightful authority that God has given her.
Goodbye fear. We've have enough of you.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Daddy knows...

God has a funny way of speaking to us sometimes. Here's a story that hugely encouraged me yesterday, and I hope it encourages you too.

I was having a shower and thinking about the big day ahead when out of the blue God reminded me of a childhood experience:

Us 3 girls each had a bike, and one afternoon dad took us to our school yard to help us learn how to ride our bikes without training wheels. So off we went with high hopes and expectations - I was 8 of course. Anything can happen when you're 8!

After a little while of trying to balance, dad holding the bike seat and giving me a push, I got over my speed wabbles and off I went! I was riding my bike all by myself. I was so excited and couldn't wait to go home and show my mom what I could do.

As soon as we got home I pulled my mom outside and told her to watch me. I couldn't wait to see her face! I hopped back on my bike but couldn't balance. Over and over again I assured her, "I can do it, I CAN do it. Just watch me, just watch me, I can ride my bike." But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get the hang of it.

I was so upset and frustrated with myself. Of course my mom said, "It's okay I know you can do it, you can show me again another day," trying to re-assure me. Then the thought occurred to me. Daddy saw me do it! He knows that I can ride my bike.

And that my friends is what God is saying to you and to me. He knows. He knows what we are capable of. We don't have to strive and try and prove ourselves to anybody else. So let's try and remember that when we are having those days when we feel inadequate or faithless.

Daddy knows...

Sweet muffins from Heaven!

Well Kristy and Arna, you girls have inspired me to do some baking. I don't often bake but when I do I really enjoy it!

So, if you ever get to eat one muffin before you die, then this is THE muffin. White chocolate and date muffins. Wow. I had a baking sesh with a good friend of mine a week ago and she shared this amazing recipe with me. So yesterday I needed a distraction from the thought of having to preach, so into the kitchen I ventured! And wala....

The amazing thing about these muffins is that the white chocolate caramilizes on the outside of the muffins and goes all sticky! I know! Can it get any better than this?

Caution: You can only eat ONE of these muffins in a sitting. If you try to eat another you WILL throw up (or in an extreme case have a lot of gas - there are dates in these after all!) Very rich. Very deadly if you overdose.

So go on give it a go. Its just the basic muffin recipe, and then you chuck a whole heap of cut up dates and white chocolate buttons. And because it is a heavier muffin (full of daty goodness) it won't rise as much, but that's okay, we don't judge - we leave it up to our tastebuds!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tarewa Road - here we come!

Well miracles still do happen and some of them come in the shape of houses!

For ages we've been looking around for another place to rent. Something cheaper so we can save and pay off loans (Tim's loans of course - as I went up the aisle DEBT FREE! I just want to add that piece of information. But then he is in a profession, and not...)

Anyway, we needed something close to town like in Maunu or Morningside or even Raumanga but just couldn't seem to find anything that we could afford.
On our weekend away Tim and I decided to bless someone financially (see peps - giving is go great!), and almost as soon as we walked through our front door the phone rang.
"It's Wyn here and I'm working for a mate in his house in Tarewa Road. They're looking for tenants are you interested?"
First of all I thought this just sounds too good to be true. And then I heard the asking price and yep it was more than we are paying now, so immediately my brain said 'no.' I then had the notion (I get these every now and then, sometimes they hurt) that if we had another flatmate we could sooooo live there. And we prizes for guessing who.

So HALLELUJAH! and a dance of joy later, we pile into the car and go see the place. It's an older home but the atmosphere is homely and the landlords are busy painting it and doing some repairs. It has an open fire place and a massive lounge, not to mention two separate garages and heaps of storage space down below. It even has a lemon tree! Now that's a bonus!

So God is once again the hero of the day. He is faithful and He looks after His kids - even the ones who break other peoples stuff and nearly burn down their kitchens!
Now Tim can walk to school....tee hee....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Waipu. Why not?

A weekend away - YAY!
My darling and I decided to 'disappear' for the weekend, so to Waipu we ventured. We have realised over the last year or so that we are one of those 'clumsy couples.' It seems that no matter where we go or where we stay or who we hang out with, we are bound to break something, embarrass ourselves, or cause bodily harm to eachother - by accident of course.

So we stayed at a lovely little bach. And on Tim's first shower, he managed to scold himself with hot water, jump out of the shower in shock and proceed to grab the towel rail and rip it from the wall in an attempt to steady himself by not revealing all to the elderley neighbours! (The shower being outside and all). Meanwhile I was wondering why his shower seemed so short and there was no singing accompaniment...

I of course nearly set a smoke alarm off by burning our french toast one night. Not wanting the alarm to scare our hosts I naturally (and normally) ran around like a mad woman opening windows, sliding doors and putting on fans. I made sure I had a towel nearby incase I needed to fan the smoke away from the alarm. Tim being in histerics not helping!!! (According to husband I have a 'thing' with smoke alarms). Whatever....

And out of everything we could have left behind, I left Tim's toothbrush! How on earth did I forget that?! It was right next to mine! Guess he needs a new one anyway.

To be continued...