August 29, 2015

Family Camping – Home Valley

by Belinda Letchford

Last weekend our family finally got things sorted so we could go on a camping weekend.  We have been trying to go camping with some family friends for close to 2 years now!  The older the kids get the trickier it is to find a weekend where everyone is free from some sort of responsibility.  But we made it – and glad we did.

We had a bit of a rocky start though as Jess voiced a concern about the camping spot we had chosen.  1 hour before we were set to leave!  Pete had flown over the day before and though it didn’t look luscious (we have had a dry season this year) it didn’t look too bad and there were very few tourists.  But Jess had spoken to someone who said it was very crisp – and dusty – and brown.  So plan B.

Plan B was a site we had been to once before on the edge of the lake (Lake Argyle).  But Pete mentioned that as he flew over that part of the country the day before he vaguely saw fires out that way.  So we jumped on a fire watch website to confirm that was the case.  So plan C.

Home Valley riverside campsite.  This had been our original plan several weeks ago but we’d talked ourselves out of it as some of lot were working Friday / Saturday morning so we chose somewhere closer – but not to be.  So off we went – down the Gibb River Road to Home Valley Station.  I’m so glad we ended up here.  I hadn’t been there – and it was a great camping site – with a toilet/shower block (a bonus).

 

August 28, 2015

10 things that lead to Irresponsibility

by Belinda Letchford

There are 10 things that lead to irresponsibility.

Of course we all want our children to be responsible – but I find it is the subtle things that hinder us from reaching our goals.  When it comes to our children developing a strong work ethic we need to check to see how the things we do may be affecting their training.

Do we –

  1. Do everything for your children – just let them have fun.
  2. Accept sloppy, tardy work
  3. Accept your children’s lame excuses
  4. Forget to check to see if the task was completed and acceptable
  5. Regularly excuse your children from their responsibilities because something else came up
  6. Don’t carry through on consequences
  7. Protect your children from touch jobs that are challenging or new
  8. Act irresponsibly yourself (you are a role model)
  9. Encourage your children to see how the task will benefit their life (as opposed to someone else’s life)
  10. Encourage friendships that only meet your child’s needs

In the context of family life – each one of these things has a counter-balance.  There may be a good reason for doing one of the above things, there may be a season for one of these things to be happening – but it is when we become characterised by these types of parenting decisions and when these habits are established mindlessly in our parenting that irresponsibility will set in and become a habit of your child’s heart.

We tend to see irresponsibility as an action – or lack thereof – but it dwells firstly in the heart.  Irresponsibility is an attitude – it is an attitude that believes I don’t have to, someone else will, I don’t care.

These attitudes can start growing in a young child though we may see them more clearly in a pre-teen/teen.  If your child already believes these things then you have to re-establish the truth of personal responsibility.  Choose one area where they show a lack of responsibility and address it.  And then work on another.

Remember when we are teaching anything (or re-teaching) our process is:

  • Teach – Not only teach the actions you want but talk about they why behind those actions – the moral truth you want them to understand is responsibility, it is about them being an individual and taking ownership for their thoughts, actions and words.
  • Practice – give them plenty of time to practice the new habits you are working on – remember they aren’t habit just yet – they are just new choices, new actions. Give gentle reminders and encouragements to think about what they are doing.
  • Expect – once you see your child starting to take ownership then you can expect them to do it. At this point it has become a habit.  It is at this point you can add a consequence if they choose to be irresponsible because you know they are able and have chosen not to be responsible.

The role of being a parent is to do ourselves out of a job.  Our job involves teaching, training, helping and encouraging – and as we do our kids take on more responsibility and we take on less.

That last sentence is a key:  We must take on less responsibility in areas where we want our kids to be responsible.    We cannot hover, we have to let go and let them do their life  – that is afterall, what we’ve taught and trained them for.

There are 10 things that lead to irresponsibility.

Also sharing and linking with others throughout the week:  

Throughout the week I share with one, or more of these blogs (see more details on my Link Parties page)

Mom’s the Word, Mom2Mom, Mummy Mondays,  Monday’s Musings,  Thoughtful Spot, Mama Monday MusingsHip Homeschool Moms Blog Hop, Titus 2 Tuesdays,   Coffee and ConversationFinishing Strong (Middle & Highschool years),Women with Intention,  Whole Hearted Home,  Thriving Thursdays, Hearts for Home Shine Blog Hop,  All things with PurposeA Little R & R,  From House to Home,  Fellowship Fridays,  Homeschooling Highschool LinkupTip Tuesday with Debbie in Shape

 

August 25, 2015

Words I live by:  God’s Grace is Sufficient

by Belinda Letchford

Words I live by: God's grace is sufficient - though sometimes I forget!

 

Earlier in the week I read of a writing challenge Tuesday at Ten – and thought following this blog may give me some inspiration to write.  The week’s theme was “Words to Live by”.  I had a few ideas that I pondered on over the week – and yet nothing came together.  This morning I read 2 Corinthians 12:9 and my heart clicked:  not only was this a central verse to my life as a mum – it was something I felt to dig into today.

 

About 20 years ago I was struggling with our lifestyle.  Peter’s work was taking him away from home for days at a time.  When he came home it would often be a quick overnight visit where he would touch base with the family, restock, check the farm and be off again.  This wasn’t what I signed up for!!  I had 2 little ones at the time.

 

This feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted has come at different stages ever since.  It wasn’t always because Peter was away.  Our daughter Naomi was diagnosed with a tumor and was on 5 months of chemo.  This meant leaving my older kids with a dear friend and travelling over 3,000 kilometres every 3 weeks for treatment.  It meant weekly treatments at home.  It meant extra care as her immune system was low.  It was tiring.

 

There is loneliness as friends leave town, there is betrayal as friends misunderstand, there is sadness as friends walk away.

 

There has also been issues and conflict that we’ve walked through in our local church situations.  These conflicts are devasting and each time have wiped me emotionally, socially and physically.

 

There have been times when I’ve hit a brick wall and didn’t know how to help Daniel, with limited professional help that understood his situation.

 

These are the things of life.  God doesn’t promise a rose garden, but he does promise:  My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 

 

Over the years this promise has been my main-stay.   God’s grace, God’s power is free to work when I am weak.  I certainly have been weak!  And I have certainly seen God’s power at work.

 

We often merge the ideas of mercy and grace and it leaves us as forgiven sinners.  This is true – we are forgiven, but Jesus rose from the dead, conquering death not just to forgive my sins (his blood, his death was enough for that) but he rose so that I could have life.  He sent the Holy Spirit so that I may have his power – his grace.

 

Grace is the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in me, to enable me to live like Christ.

 

 

I want to be Christ-like in everything I do:

  • As a wife
  • As a mother
  • As a homemaker
  • As a homeschooler
  • As a friend
  • As a neighbour

 

I know that I have been saved – and I have received the Holy Spirit to be at work in my life. The Holy Spirit

  • Transforms my life to the image of Christ – 2 Cor 3:18
  • Teaches me – 1 Cor 2:10
  • Helps me Pray – Jude 1:20
  • Comforts me and gives me peace – Acts 9:31
  • Gives me joy (even in the midst of trials) – 1 Thess 1:6

The Bible tells of many other things that the Holy Spirit does, this is just a short list.

 

If – and when – I rely on God, and his spirit in me, I can do the things that God has for me.

  • I can have the strength to deal with my children while my husband is away
  • I can have peace while my daughter goes through surgery and treatment
  • I can joy even when lonely, I can have compassion to see other people’s hurts and I can have love enough to make new friends.
  • I can have forgiveness when others hurt me
  • I can have wisdom when I hit a brick wall and don’t know where else to go.

 

God’s plans for me are to glorify him – not just in the worship sense, though that is of course my heart’s desire to worship Him, but as I depend on Him instead of digging deep into my own reserves – then I am changed, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be more like Christ.  This glorifies him – it doesn’t glorify me.

 

So today, as I feel depleted, as I feel exhausted, as I feel inadequate and overwhelmed I need to turn to God’s promise:

 

My grace is sufficient for you,

for my power is made perfect in weakness.

 

 

God’s grace: It is more than being forgiven: it is the power to live, becoming more like Christ.

 

The question I have to ask myself – am I relying on God’s power dwelling inside of me?

 

Words to live by: God's grace is sufficient - though sometimes I forget!

 

Connecting with Tuesday at Ten where others are sharing Words I live by and what they mean to me.

 

Also sharing and linking with others throughout the week:  

Throughout the week I share with one, or more of these blogs (see more details on my Link Parties page)

Mom’s the Word, Mom2Mom, Mummy Mondays,  Monday’s Musings,  Thoughtful Spot, Mama Monday MusingsHip Homeschool Moms Blog Hop, Titus 2 Tuesdays,   Coffee and ConversationFinishing Strong (Middle & Highschool years),Women with Intention,  Whole Hearted Home,  Thriving Thursdays, Hearts for Home Shine Blog Hop,  All things with PurposeA Little R & R,  From House to Home,  Fellowship Fridays,  Homeschooling Highschool LinkupTip Tuesday with Debbie in Shape

August 21, 2015

Finding a Reliable Passion

by Belinda Letchford

Finding a reliable passion.

 

We hear a lot about going with your passions, with allowing our children to study in keeping with their interests, with finding a career path that supports your passion but there is a flip side too. Some time ago one of my teens made this very tongue in cheek comment “Don’t have a passion – not ‘gunna’* do it!” Now we were talking about a very optional issue and they really were not sincere but it pricked my ears. Was there some truth?

We use this idea of passion to help us make decisions as to which way we should go, what things we should do.  There are two aspects of passion

  1. An inner connection with something
  2. An emotional response

We need to be careful not to get these two mixed up – though they are both valid experiences.

 

Our Inner connection with something

I believe inner passions are both something we are born with and something that is nurtured – both, equally.  I believe God has given us passions and that we are shaped by those passions.  I believe passions can be kept alive and passions can be squashed.

As a parent I have wanted to observe my children, let them explore and discover those inner pulls that spark passion in them.  These things can’t be boxed – we can see our children characterised by certain interests, certain heart responses, but sometimes these are only for a season, sometimes these shape our kids but in themselves aren’t lasting, sometimes they remain with them as a strong thread of who they are.

We can recognise those passions, and yet those passions need not be the ultimate summary of who our kids are – or who we are when we look at our own passions.  If that were the case we would be encouraging Joshua to be a steam-engine driver.  Trains where his passion – so deeply passionate.  But he was also passionate about cricket. And history. Philosophy. Politics.  So many passions – but they don’t define him, and sometimes they don’t even direct him.  It would be the same for all my children, and for myself as well – and I’d hazard a guess – you too.

Sometimes though these inner passions can teach us skills and prepare us for the tasks ahead of us.  As a young adult I studied interior design in my spare time and my passion was small spaces – little did I know I’d live in a one-room shed, or a caravan for a few years.  I was well prepared!

My husband Peter is passionate about being stewards of the earth, about feeding people with the product of the earth – and yet he has been working as a vet, mostly with herd-management and well-being issues.  Every so often he gets to speak into the issues around his passion.  He says though, sometimes you’ve just got to get in and do a job.  And that is true.  Sometimes our passions may not be our full life.

And sometimes we get the privilege of working with, living out our passions.

 

An Emotional Response

Then there is the emotional response of passion.  This passion can easily direct our choices – we feel so enthusiastic or we feel so uninspired.

When we feel enthusiastic we need to walk with caution as well.  Though making choices based on our feelings often leads to spontaneous fun, it can also lead to heart ache.  We need to be wise – and understanding our emotions is a part of that.  But we can’t ignore our emotions either – we were made with emotions, God is okay with emotions – but they need to be governed by principle at the same time.

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the might, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.  Proverbs 16:32  – we are to rule our spirit, our inner self.

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.  Proverbs 25:28

There  are many situations where we have to push through the lack of passion.

  • There are times when I struggle to have my morning devotions and yet when I push through this lack of passion a hunger grows in me that only God can satisfy.
  • There are times when I struggle to fulfil my responsibilities around the house and yet when I push through this lack of passion the rewards such as Prov 31:1 “the heart of her husband trusts in her confidently” and vs. 28 “Her children rise up and call her blessed.”
  • There are times when we struggle in relationships and yet when we be a friend “who sticketh closer than a brother” true relationships can grow.

 

The only Reliable Passion

At the core of the idea of using our passions to help direct our choices is the belief that God has created within us a ‘direction in which we shall go’.  I believe God’s heart for us is that we desire Him and His ways – more than anything else.

I have always found Psalm 37:4 a bit of circular reasoning – and yet a foundational verse in my life.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

We read this with a ‘gimme-gimme’ attitude and we think that if we delight in God we’ll get what we want.  But truth is if we delight in God we will delight in what He wants – which is us to delight in Him!

When it comes to finding our passion, and being directed by our passion Jesus is to be the center of that – and He is the only reliable passion that I can have in my life.

We know without a doubt He wants us to (Matt 22:37-40)

  • Love Him with all our heart
  • Love our neighbour as our self.

This means we need to do all that we can to bring these two commands to pass –whether we are passionate about the details or not. Of course, without a passion to love God we are left with good works and this is equally dangerous to our Christian faith.  So our first heart cry needs to be “Jesus I want to know you – I want to love you, passionately!”

I can be swayed by the value I place on the inner passions I’m created with, I can be swayed by my emotional response to circumstances – but if my eyes are on Jesus, if my heart is set to get to know Him, and delight in his truth then I will find my way.

 

This is how I’ve encouraged my kids as they grow into young adults and ask so many questions about who they are, and what they are supposed to be doing with their life. At times there are many doors open, at other times it seems as if they are standing in an empty room with no doors.  And as hard as it is, if they keep their responses in line with what Jesus would have them do in that situation, they will be walking with him.

The same for each and every one of us.  We may not be in the best situation, we may have lost dreams, frustrations, hurts – and yet if we keep our eyes on Jesus, and respond to every situation with Him in mind – then we will be living according to our passion – our passion needs to be Jesus.

That is not to say it is easy – no, things can be hard, we can look for a way out, we can say, as my daughter did all those years ago: no passion – not ‘gunna’* do it!

So what to do?

Pray – In the day when I called You answered me; and You strengthened me with strength (might and inflexibility to temptation) in my inner self.
Ps 138:3

Pray – I am convinced and sure of this very thing that He who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ (right up to the day of His Return) developing and perfecting and bring it to full completion in you. Phil 1:6

Pray- Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. Prov 4:13

So when we are tempted to let something go because of a lack of passion I encourage you, as I encouraged my daughter, to seek God and he will develop a passion within you that is consistent with His Word.

 

*gunna – slang for  going to!

Finding a reliable passion

 

Also sharing and linking with others throughout the week:  

Throughout the week I share with one, or more of these blogs (see more details on my Link Parties page)

Mom’s the Word, Mom2Mom, Mummy Mondays,  Monday’s Musings,  Thoughtful Spot, Mama Monday MusingsHip Homeschool Moms Blog Hop, Titus 2 Tuesdays,   Coffee and ConversationFinishing Strong (Middle & Highschool years),Women with Intention,  Whole Hearted Home,  Thriving Thursdays, Hearts for Home Shine Blog Hop,  All things with PurposeA Little R & R,  From House to Home,  Fellowship Fridays,  Homeschooling Highschool LinkupTip Tuesday with Debbie in Shape

August 19, 2015

The Sweet Reward of Speaking Soft Words

by Belinda Letchford

There are rewards when we speak soft words - it calms relational conflict.Today I am a guest at Joy in my Kitchen  I’m talking about speaking soft words and how that benefits us all.   This has been a lesson I’ve had to learn, and am still learning:  soft words, gentle answers calms relational conflict.  But more importantly the lesson that I have had to learn is to rely on God to change my heart because my words spring out of my heart.  I hope you pop over and read this post, and stick around and get to know Abi’s journey as well.

The Sweet Reward of Speaking Soft Words.

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