Monday, 29 February 2016

That in itself is a tremendous thing

Friendship, I am blessed to have known it and I treasure my friends. To me the value of my friends is far above rubies.

I grew up loving Anne of Green Gables.

In real life, our beloved dogs are named Gilbert and Minnie Mae as a testimony to my love and devotion to Anne and one of my all time bucket list wishes is to visit Prince Edward Island.

An aspect of the early Anne of Green Gables stories that I adore is Anne's loyal friendship to Diana Barry.  She loves Diana with her whole heart, she is her bosom friend. "A bosom friend" Anne explains to Marilla is "an intimate friend, you know - a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul".

I never thought Diana was good enough for our Anne, but after Diana is invited to tea with tragic results and the girls are forced to say an eternal farewell there is no denying their love for each other.

"Ten minutes isn't very long to say an eternal farewell" said Anne tearfully. "Oh, Diana, will you promise faithfully never to forget me, the friend of your youth, no matter what dearer friends may caress thee?"

"Indeed I will," sobbed Diana, "and I'll never have another bosom friend--I don't want to have. I couldn't love anybody as I love you."

"Oh, Diana," cried Anne, clasping her hands, "do you love me?"

"Why, of course I do. Didn't you know that?"

"No." Anne drew a long breath. "I thought you liked me of course but I never hoped you loved me. Why, Diana, I didn't think anybody could love me. Nobody ever has loved me since I can remember. Oh, this is wonderful! It's a ray of light which will forever shine on the darkness of a path severed from thee, Diana. Oh, just say it once again."

"I love you devotedly, Anne," said Diana staunchly, "and I always will, you may be sure of that."

"And I will always love thee, Diana," said Anne, solemnly extending her hand.

Are you crying .... oh my goodness I am!!  The point I was trying to make, before getting deliriously swept away in the beauty and romance of Anne of Green Gables, is friendship is such an important aspects of life.

Sometimes I find my life quite repetitive, very similar tasks over and over.

Also my life feels quite mundane, I am committed to loving my God, husband, family and planet but there is nothing headline grabbing about this, it takes a lot of small acts of kindness that I hope will one day add up to a life lived with love.

However, if I were able to line up and parade before you MY friends well .... I know you, and in fact the world, would be impressed.

My goodness, the people I get to call friends are the finest folk you could ever hope to meet.  They have strength of character and determination of iron,  their hearts are as big as the ocean and they love beyond belief.  They are passionate and caring and kind and funny and hard working and beautiful and I love them so.

Yes, I am bragging!!

My friends include my husband and children, my Mum and my sister, my nieces and the crazy people that choose to love me even though they really do not have to ...mwah xx

There was a time in my life when I was reckless with friendships but no more.  My friends do truly mean the world to me.  They shine bright sparkly glitter on even the dullest day and I feel truly blessed and to know and love them.

I do not want to give the impression that there are hundreds of people in this clan I talk of, probably be lucky to be pushing twenty and some friends I see daily or weekly or monthly or annually, but this does not have any effect on the depth or importance of our friendship.

So I would like to make a toast to all the Anne and Diana friendships out there, may your friendship live long and prosper.

Your friends should
motivate and inspire you.
Your circle should
be well rounded and supportive.
Keep it tight.
Quality over quantity,
- -

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Come, sit a while, and listen to your soul speak

Hello sweet souls

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth ... And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2). 

This is how the Bible starts. God spoke everything into existence ... 'and God said' ... from animals to oceans, from stars to humans, and the moon and the sun. Then on the very last page of the Bible Jesus says “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelations 22:13). 

This, to me, demonstrates that there has always been, and will continue to be, a spirit element to absolutely everything. The Spirit of God is in every single thing and every single person, from the very start until the very end.

This spiritual wisdom is ours for the taking, it is free for us to receive, if we quiet ourselves enough to hear it.

I absolutely love the spiritual aspect of life. 

In my Applied Science studies I had the opportunity to learn about Indigenous cultures, and I found the spiritual aspects of cultural studies fascinating.   

Indigenous people across the globe believed that animals, plants and everything else possessed a spiritual essence, and this belief was so fundamental to every day existence it was taken for granted and so they often didn’t even have a word to describe it.  

In Hawaiian Mysticism mana is a life energy that flows through all things and is highly individual and the Arapaho Indians believed all plants are our brothers and sisters and they talk to us and if we listen, we can hear them.

Today at Church I witnessed the Holy Spirit working as members of our congregation were incredibly encouraging towards each other.  There was a lot of ‘Great work’, ‘I really love how you...’, ‘Thank you’ and this isn’t really a common occurrence in our small country Church and it was beautiful and uplifting to witness.

I witness the Holy Spirit whenever I see somebody doing what they truly love, whether it is teaching or preaching, creating or growing, encouraging or loving, nurturing or providing.  When anything is being done with great generosity and kindness and love you know it is the Holy Spirit, because the fruits of the Spirit are ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’ (Galatians 5:22-23), without the Spirit these things are incredibly hard if not impossible for us humans.

I feel the presence of the Spirit in many ordinary moment, whether I  am in nature, when my bare feet or hands are in direct contact with earth, sand or sea;  or when I am with those I love most or at Church or when I pray, meditate, or when I am smudging our home or at any time at all really.  Yet when I am stressed, worried, fearful, scared, angry or tired the Spirit seems much harder to hear.

My hope is that increasingly more of us will open our hearts and minds to the power of the Spirit, more of us will take the time to be quiet and listen to our souls, that more of us will be able to live our abundance and all of this will soon come to influence the way we manage our environment; the way we love, raise and educate our children; the way we build our economy and the way we interact and exist together locally and globally.

Poet nayyirah waheed writes:

do not disrespect your heart, by
hearing what it needs, and
giving it the opposite.

I have much hope for the future, I hope this era of denying the Spirit is coming to an end, and my prayer is that we listen more closely to our heart, and have the courage to acknowledge the power of the Spirit in our lives. 

Written with much love

Justine xx

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Love the one you're with

Hello sweet angels of the earth

My mind is all higgledy-piggledy so I go outside and walk on the earth .... and unexpectedly the thunder rumbles and the rain falls ... a passing thunderstorm and I run in the rain and stretch my arms up to the heavens and I let the fresh sweet smell of rain on hot earth fill my senses and it is a beautiful unexpected gift.

My heart is filled to the brim with the message of love the one you're with.  Love the earth you are standing on, love your body, your skin, your thoughts and love your partner and your children and your friends and your community and your Church and unreservedly love this time right here right now.  Love the one you're with, cross the line, reach out, open up and love where you are right now.

I don't think this means settle for where you are, I don't think this message equates to this is as good as it gets,i t doesn't mean don't question the status quo absolutely not.

Be thankful today so you can appreciate all that is still to come.  It means if your heart is filled with love you can appreciate all the good in your life, you can make good choices and sound decisions.  It means you will feel good and people you meet along the way will feel good for spending time with you.  It means the world will be a better place.

Our time on earth is a passing gift, a time to live and grow and love and enjoy.  So many people have trodden on the earth before me and they will continue to after me and I don't know how long I have, nobody does.  I want to spend my time planting seeds of love and joy, because I know these seeds will grow and the harvest will be reaped for generations to come.  Galatians 6:7 "Don't be misled -- you cannot mock the justice of God.  You will always harvest what you plant".

Every time I watch an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? an Australian television documentary series on SBS I am astounded at the effect the experience has on all involved.  All of the celebrities are deeply moved when they uncover the actions and life experiences of their ancestors, many of whom lived hundreds of years ago, still impacts on the everyday life of people today.  Not only do we reap what we sow, so will our future descendants, what you think, say and do really does have long lasting consequences.

Feelings of inadequacy still creep in for me, I feel like I should do more, my house should be tidier, I should work more hours and earn more money.  Sometimes I get filled with fear about silly things like superannuation and university fees for our children and needing more clothes or shoes or a new car but this is just the message large corporations and the government are compelled to relentlessly repeat so they can make money - it is not a message coming from love rather it comes from greed and fear.

So on this beautiful Friday can I encourage you to catch your thoughts and words, and take time to love the ones you are with today, tomorrow and every day there after.  If you are in a place where this seems excruciatingly impossible call on the Lord as Psalm 34:18 says "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit".

May you experience an avalanche of ordinary moments this weekend that fill you with love, and may you take the time to appreciate and treasure each one.

Written with much love
Justine xx

Sunday, 14 February 2016

The beat of angel wings

I love!!  I love love.  I love to surround myself with love, people I love, places I love, I feel incredibly blessed, and sometimes deeply drained, because I regularly feel overpowered by feelings of love. I love!!  I also get furiously mad, I get filled with such anger and frustration.  Sometimes I want to yell or push or smash or retaliate or hurt but thankfully mostly I don't because love triumphs, mostly.

I genuinely believe we can live a life overflowing with love, God chose to create us out of his great love "I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). Love can hurt, badly, when we have it, when we give it completely and it gets snatched away, and out of fear of loss or hurt or pain or of the unknown or of rejection we simply withhold our love, we try to keep it on a tight tether, maybe try to keep the upper hand, try and stay in control, maybe we hold back as a survival mechanism.

Love to me is soft and gentle and good, and should not need to be withheld ever.  It brings with it joy and sadness, it brings with it triumph and loss, it brings with it a myriad of feelings I am unable to articulate but each one worthy of being felt and treasured.  I have witnessed the deepest heartache and pain the loss of a child has caused, but would that parent ever wish they never loved with their whole heart, never.  I have seen a devastated spouse bury their true love, on bended knee crying and wishing for just one more day.  Do they regret one ounce of the love they shared, I doubt it.

Has anybody ever said "My greatest regret is that I loved too much"?

I try and imagine love as soft and gentle as a butterfly, it can not be captured or held against its will, it can not be manipulated or bought or sold, love is in the rhythm of our bodies, it is the beat of angel wings, it is not of this earth, and it is magnificently gloriously wonderful and bold and ever present.

I am loving the poetry of Nayyirah Waheed and one of her poems reads
if you are softer
than before
they came
have been loved.

We are loved, it is infinite, we are surrounded by pure loving energy, each one of us can access and live in this love we just have to want to feel it.  To be vulnerable, to open our hearts to it, to speak it out over our homes, lives, family and friends, it is free for us to share and give and gracefully receive, it is in words and deeds, and in places and things, it is abundant.  It is a choice, love is a choice.

So my prayer today is that all of us choose love, set it as our highest goal, our most revered ambition, that we let go and fall into the loving arms of our Creator, that we see love swirling around each one of us, being breathed in and out, opening out our chest and letting love flood in to fill every part of our physical being and to just be a little bit softer, on ourselves, on those around us and on our planet.

Go softly my love xo

Friday, 5 February 2016

Five things I have learnt this week

Mahatma Gandhi said "Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever".

My sister, a teacher, is always telling me about how anything in life is possible if you are committed to learning.  She is not necessarily talking about studying a structured course or the type of learning that will get you a certificate to frame and hang on the wall, rather the every day learning that comes from having an open, interested, alert and engaged mind.

Twenty-sixteen is shaping up to be a turbulent year for me in terms of spiritual growth, breaking down long held and unhelpful paradigms and planting the seeds of my dreams in the soil of reality. So it seems it will be the perfect opportunity to track some of my learning along the way.

1/ Psalm 34:3-6 says " Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.  The poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles".

I am not sure I had read this before this week but I love it ... there are so many more beautiful lines in the Psalm "Seek peace and pursue it" and "The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit", 'Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good", it is full of love and hope and reassurance and it has been a real blessing for me this week.

2/ I attended Radiant Light Yoga for the second time and it was truly amazing.  I have never experienced anything like it.  For just a few minutes in the 90 minute session I felt a soul soothing happiness, a total release from the pressure of life and it was magnificent.  I can't wait until next week.

3/ Rain makes us happy.  It truly does, it is renewing and uplifting, it brings hope and joy and the promise of new life and prosperity and  abundance.  It cools everything down and settles the dust of the land and the spirit.  Awww sweet sweet rain how we love you so.

4/ Wise and kind friends are golden.  This I already knew but I was reminded of it this week.  Proverb 27:17 says "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another", who we spend our time with can deeply enrich our lives and kindred spirits are nourishing soul food.

5/ When you photocopy documents to be certified make sure it is an absolutely true and correct copy without even a full stop missing, otherwise you will not get your document certified.

Life is more exciting and interesting when you are always looking for new things to learn ... my sister is definitely right.

Have you learnt anything this week you would like to share?

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

You can't handle the truth

Tonight after the rain, the stars were out, the crickets chirping and the frogs croaking, I walked up our driveway crying out loudly because the words my daughter said to me before she went to bed were straight from my heart and I hated hearing them from her.

At dinner tonight I asked our eight year old if she had been asking another little girl in class for answers.

Well what followed was a bunch of excuses, tears and dramatics about not being able to concentrate, not knowing enough big words to answer the question, not being allowed to go on the computer all the time ... she was obviously getting desperate to avoid being blamed for something.

I tried to explain she wasn't in trouble I just really wanted her to answer her own questions and use her own mind.  I didn't care if her answer was wrong or right just so long as it was hers.  I went on to say she was amazingly clever and creative and thoughtful and could answer any question any way she wanted to.  Please I begged just use your own mind. I believed every word I was saying, I was speaking absolute truth.

A lot more tears and hugging and she said 'I am not clever Mummy, I can't answer the questions, I won't get it right' and at that she sobbed rolled over and went to sleep.

I tried to shrug it off, that she was just tired and emotional but five minutes on and I was crying.  All the time I tell myself, I am not clever at anything, I can't do it, I can't do life as well as those around me, I am a failure and I am worthless.  My own insecurities that I try so hard to hide and mask I have inadvertently, through actions and deeds, passed them on to our precious daughter.

I walked up the drive crying, looking up to the stars, calling out to God about all my failings as a mother, wife, individual and I cried really really hard and hoped for answers.  After a lot of wrestling I turned and walked home and I knew, the only way she will ever feel worthy is if I feel it and demonstrate it first.  No matter what I say to her she is somehow seeing straight past the words to my thoughts and heart and she is cutting straight to the crux of it.

I don't know how to feel worthy, I try genuinely hard, I have every single day of my life, I have tried but I just don't feel it.  I do know I am God breathed, I know that Jesus loves me, I believe I was created in God's image and I am somehow part of His perfect plan.  I know these facts in my head, but I still do not feel worthy, it is not a truth I can easily accept but tonight demonstrated  how absolutely crucial it is otherwise I am going to accidentally burden our children with similar unhelpful and untrue worries about their worth.

And so this parenting journey continues ... it is so raw and honest and soul wrenching and challenging on every level and I just need to be real with myself before I can pass on any real wisdom to our babies and it scares me because I don't know what real is, what if I can't handle the truth.