Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hope that does not disappoint

Tomorrow is the last day of school for our Malya Hope (for the term).  Its also my last CRE class and it is the day before Good Friday when everyone heads off for a long weekend, lots of chocolate, hot cross buns and usually family time.  

When I was pregnant with Malya (pronounced May-ah, silent 'l') I was extremely unwell and spent a good deal of the nine months in bed or in a wheelchair. It was, at times a dark time for me. It ended in such joy of course when our darling was born, but it was really tough even for months after the birth.  The entire time I held solely on to the hope I have in my Saviour, the hope I have for now and for ever and I had a constant feeling of joy amidst my suffering because of it. So Hope is her middle name and hope continues to fuel my faith and my life as she is about to turn 8!

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, 1 Peter 1:3

Tomorrow I'l recap the historical story of Jesus, the Creator, suffering and dying on a cross 2000 odd year ago and being raised to life for the grade 3's at Malya's school. I'll have 30 minutes to share the reason we have an Easter holiday with each class which for most of them will be the only mention of Jesus in their lives until the next RE class.  I realise this is a huge privilege and that many do not agree with CRE in schools and the weight of this responsibility feels heavy at times. My greatest responsibility is to God, to show up and to teach well and to share the hope found only in Him.  But I also have a responsibility to the school and the parents to be respectful of the differing backgrounds of each student. Of course I make it fun and simplify the concepts of Sin and Propitiation and Forgiveness to help the eager listeners understand. And there just might be some eggs hidden in my bag for the end of class for all of them (including the small handful who don't take part in CRE).

In our family we spend Easter focusing more than usual on the saving grace of Jesus and in the hope that does not disappoint. We eat hot cross buns on Friday and lots of chocolate on Sunday and we spend time together and laugh a lot. We go to church at least once, not because we have to or to feel better about ourselves, but to gather together with our extended family, our friends and likeminded believers to give thanks and give our hearts to Him who is and was and is to come.  He who loved us as imperfect and helpless as we are enough to take all of it and die miserably so that we can live!

This is a great article to read on the history of Easter bunnies (what have they got to do with Jesus?)

A friend wrote  this on her facebook page an hour ago and I 'LIKE' it very much -

'Here's the thing: it's nearly Easter, and the story is not about a bunny. Today I read the following quote, and am compelled to share it. As is the chronic shortcoming of text, my tone here is not apparent, so let me tell you before you read it, it is earnest desperate beseeching longing imploring with heart brimful with love:

"If Jesus is Lord of the universe, and his resurrection proves that he is, and he is not Lord of your life, who do you think will win in the end?"



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tea with me {with 'teacups too'}

What better time to enjoy a cup of tea than in bed while feeling a tad unwell, mildly hungover, or just deliciously relaxed.
Will you take tea with me on my bed? If you would we'd share cake too of course and this week you'd choose from banana coconut or vanilla-ry polenta loaf. Or if you come this very day it'd be classic chocolate cake we'd munch on (all gluten free of course).  My 'cake-a-week' thing has blown out to three cakes this week but I'm hoping to save some of the chocolate one for Tony's 3rd birthday party on wednesday.*

If you were here this morning sipping with me I would tell you how sleep deprived and sore I am after a crazy busy day yesterday. My sisters Birth House had its grand opening yesterday and it was a big day for her after so much prayer and work and dreaming had gone into it. She'll be a busy home and natural birthing midwife from now on I think even with her three most gorgeous little ones in tow.  It was a proud moment for me seeing such a beautiful space open and all ready for each and every new miracle and to give support for new, old and hopeful Geelong mums.

We dropped the girls to their friend Nate's party and rushed off to my friend Justine's wedding.  Its an understatement to say it was a big day and night for me and now (after drinking no alcohol at all) I'm one hungover little lady!
I'd be sipping lemon and ginger tea. No caffeine for me today after overdosing yesterday just to keep me upright.  What about you? Frothy chai brewed from scratch on the stovetop? Or a simple English Breakfast? I know I know, those of you who have already come for tea are nervously wondering if I've finally stocked some cows milk instead of just the lovely fresh goats, or the creamy bonsoy... Well, actually..... do you mind black tea? But truly I promise that next time I'll have milk for you. :)

Another week has flown by hasn't it? Its nearly Easter and school holidays and autumn leaves against cool blue skies.... More tea drinking, a little bit of boot wearing, windy afternoons and shorter days.  
Autumn brings with it an 8 year old birthday for us and Blake and I will turn ten in late May (Eek, still not organised for the long awaited he-and-me time).
What about you? What are you looking forward to in Autumn?

I've just made a big creamy potato and leek soup to send with Blake to church this afternoon. Of course I had a mug full myself and it was so yummy and warm I am now officially ready for the soup-season.  I may have to switch to a-pot-of-soup-a-week instead of cakes, a much healthier option and far handier as easy meal substitutes than baked goodies!

So yes count me in for soup and crusty bread at your house Em and thanks again for the tea date (link) :)

*Tony is Harper's much loved teddy bear. We decided he was indeed due for a birthday soon and she insisted he was to turn 3.  We have planned his party, sent out invitations to his three lala loopsy friends, and will be playing birthday celebrations on our day off together this week. Of course she is super duper excited!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

My {little golden nook} and some weekday creating

Can you hear my big Sunday night sigh?

The week is done and a fresh one begins tomorrow. I can't even remember why its been such a busy week. Harper has been sick and I now suspect a UTI, the poor poppit. Our 'Maisy' had her first ever sleepover party. We've all gone from forever hot and sleepless, to cold and just a little crazy.

And we ticked a few things off our 'finishing touches' (long) list...

:: Our little reading/cuddling nook is almost complete

:: My current favourite homey book 'Granny Chic' by Tif and Rachelle, best read IN the nook

:: I finally sewed together my vintage hankie curtain for the cubby shelf (there was such joy all around when we found my 'lost in transition' sewing machine this weekend)

:: A fun lamp upcycle project for Miss M's room

:: Every day is a crafty day for little H plus evidence that all is far from perfect here with boxes still to unpack

:: A 'tea and cake date' in the cubby was a big event for the stay-at-home two


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A weekend by the sea

No words necessary to describe the relief at having our man back for a whole weekend of family fun.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tea with me {and cake too}

If you were to tea with me this week you'd most definitely have to come in the morning.  Our cooling system is yet to be reset and this never-ending heat wave reaches its daily climax by 12pm. You'd find me hot and a little bothered but  bright and cheery enough and dying to sit for a cuppa and a chat with you.

As you walk through from the front door you'll be delighted with the bright and airy space beyond the wide panelled hallway. You might perch on a bar stool while I fluff about in the kitchen and you'll look around you at how open and spacious it is in our new living space. You'll see a few boxes, some half finished projects and bare walls and spaces but you'll like what you see (I hope).
I'd make a pot of tea for us both and we'd sip icey cold water while we wait for it to brew. And of course you'd HAVE to try my earl grey tea cake. Its almost finished and I'll have to fight the urge to bake the same cake so I can try something new for this weeks cake-a-week.

I'm wondering how you are managing in this heat. With school and kindy runs and daily errands and no relief in sight it can be so exhausting. Are you coping ok?

We have just had two gorgeous days at the beach.  We pretended we were away camping (it was too hot to actually camp we decided) and we skipped church and other weekend commitments, packed the esky and hit the waves, just the four of us. It was truly the first time spent together in months and it felt so good. A weight has shifted from my shoulders and I feel like I have my husband and life partner back. He's been so busy renovating our house for so long now. Its not finished yet, but he needs a break and he needs to be with his kids and they with him.  

So I'll tell you how grateful I feel right now. Filled to the brim with gratitude. And relief too. I feel more rested and more inspired.  I might tell you though, how I've felt so spiritually dry for the last few months. I might even ask you to pray for me.  With all the busyness of moving in and out of different places, christmas and the new year starting I've let distractions settle in, I formed unhelpful habits, things like watching (more) catch-up TV which I began using to help survive the stress and loneliness without Blake around.  I've let mindless distractions crowd out my most important relationship.

And now I can't just pop it on my to-do list along with all the housey jobs.

        To do:
        -paint stools
        -make curtains for cubby
        -catch up with God and work harder at being His friend.....

Nope. Thankfully I don't have to try harder or even try to find Him and hope He's still my friend. I simply have to fall into His arms and rest in Him. Then ask Him to help me depend more on Him.
But I do have to set aside time and make time spent reading His word and prayer a priority. Not for His approval but for my own survival and my own joy and to honour Him.

I'd want to know how you find time for Him. Do you remember to pray continually?  Or if you don't believe like I do, from where do you draw strength? Whom do you lean on and where do you find your hope? I'm interested, and I'd love to know.

Thankyou for coming. You've inspired and encouraged me as always. I can't wait for our next heart-to-heart.

I'm linking up with the gorgeous Em at Teacups too for this fortnightly post.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tea and cake

Before we moved home I decided in this little hard working brain of mine that I would not just have a vast array of tea on offer for those who care to visit and stay a while, but I would endeavour to always have fresh cake in the pantry, fridge or oven to share with one and all.

Because tea and cake are just so perfect for one another and I really want them to be best friends around here, along with aprons and smiles.

So I'm starting today with my 'cake-a-week' challenge, and of course I am not starting with a simple chocolate or butter cake.  I'll save the carrot cake and my favourite apple tea cake for another week.  I'm starting out with an Earl Grey Tea Cake, my first ever and I'm a little bit excited because it is gluten free which suits me and my littlest to a tea! And I just LOVE earl grey tea.

I've used a recipe from here but changed it to suit my Thermomix so I'll share it with you so you can share tea and cake with me wherever you are.

You will need:
               300g of brown rice 
               150g chickpeas (for garbanzo or besan flour)
               1/2 Tbsp baking soda
               1/2 tsp sea salt
               2/3 cup canola oil
               1-1/2 cups brewed Earl Grey tea 
               1/2 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
               1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup (I used 1 cup because one bottle only had a cup in it!

I know, there are no eggs or chia seeds in it! My cake is cooking as I type so I am a little worried that I'll be sharing a failed recipe with you, but isn't it great for those with allergies? No dairy either.

So wiz up the brown rice on speed 9 for 30 seconds and set aside. Then mill your chickpeas in the same way (definitely block your ears for this one!)
Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix gently on speed 4.

Mix all of your wet ingredients in a separate bowl and then combine in the thermomix and mix together on speed 5, scraping down now and then. It may take a minute or so.

I noticed two things.
The mixture is very runny! Fingers crossed.
It is an expensive cake to make! I used a whole bottle of pure organic maple syrup and I was ½ a cup short.

Pour into a lined loaf tin and cook on 170 C for an hour or until it springs back when you touch the top.

Once your gorgeous smelling cake has cooled, enjoy it with your favourite tea.

Verdict:  My cake is extra super delicious and perfectly moist and springy! Its too sweet for me even with only a cup of maple syrup, but perfect for my little people. So definitely cut back to one cup or less.
I can't wait to serve some to my friends this week, esp. my earl grey-loving friend Kellie 


Monday, March 4, 2013

An imperfect home and a full heart

This morning my friend Sarah popped in for a cup of tea and a peek at our 'new' home. We sipped black tea and munched on my 'rustic' looking almond meal choc-chip cookies while we chatted easily about our surroundings, and about our little ones.  We discussed birthday parties because her little boy's is coming up and my biggest little has been invited to her first sleep over party and lets just say there is only one person around here who is excited about it!*

Sarah, my amazingly talented thrifting friend brought with her the best house warming gift for me: A vintage Atlas for decorating, an Eloise Wilkin 'big' Little Golden Book, and some gorgeous vintage wallpaper which I'll be using to upcycle a chest of drawers. Excited!!

She peeked at my untidy work-in-progress wardrobe and I gabbled about the plans I have for each space to make up for the current disarray.  I noticed all the unfinished paintwork through her eyes and we could have tripped over numerous yet to be sorted 'miscellaneous' piles and boxes.  But there are a handful of corners in our home that are complete enough to make me glad to be here and glad to share it.

 There is enough order in the pantry and the laundry and the bedrooms for me to be content and get on with life.  We wholeheartedly agreed that an imperfect home that still has order to it is much more inviting than a perfect home.  But oh my, you should see the garage and the front lawn, and the study/crafty space.  Blake is finishing our en suite vanity as we speak and then I have a list of shelving for him to tackle.  Its hot hot hot this week in Geelong and the cooling system is not yet up and running and this time last year we were having regular swims at the beach before autumn really hits. I have rugs to make and walls to decorate.  We are keen to get a little more order happening so we can have church here for our new Sunday afternoon meetings.  Its a crazy season for this little family.  I'm glad I have friends like Sarah to help keep me sane.

*Blake and I have been dreading the sleepover parties starting. We feel like if we let her go it will be the start of hundreds of them (huge exaggeration but easily done when one is as mortified as I am), she will want one for her 8th birthday in April (which we will say 'no' to), we don't know the parents very well, and she will come home exhausted and will take out her sugar hangover on us!