Thursday, 14 April 2016

Life is good

This is our dog Minnie Mae and she is filled with joy, it is like she literally bounds around all day projecting the positive affirmation "life is good" into the universe. As a result she does so happen to live a good life.

I don't bound through life with the same unbridled enthusiasm as Minnie Mae but whenever I utter the words "life is good" to people outside my little tribe I often get a look suggesting I am less intelligent, and perhaps uneducated to hold such a childlike view.

I get responses like these:

  • Oh yeah, maybe for some
  • It is alright for you to say that, you aren't dealing with tragedy or grief or homelessness or depression or illness or domestic violence
  • Really, yeah it might be alright for you  

 No matter what I see and hear I just can't help but feel in my heart that life is good.

I am not denying bad and evil exists, it does, in bucket loads, bad things happen to good people, I know that and it saddens me.

Yesterday I saw a little girl at Breakfast Club eating her free cereal and drinking her milk with such ferocity, it left me wondering how hungry she must feel most of the time if she comes to school with no breakfast.

Or knowing that there are small girls and young women trapped in sex slavery, kidnapped or tricked, beaten and raped until their soul is destroyed at the hands of heartless, awful greedy people. Life is not good to those poor sisters.

When I think of the massive number of worldwide refugees, people forced to flee their country, or the asylum seekers locked up on a Manus Island, living in fear. The disturbingly high rates of domestic violence, child abuse, drug and alcohol dependency, increasing suicide rates, the list goes on.

There is so much bad in the world, terribleness at every turn, on the radio, on the television, on social media in the newspapers, in our neighborhoods, schools and on the lips of people we talk to.

So why do I still feel that life is good.

God says "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".  We have all been born with this knowledge coursing through our viens and it is in worship, prayer and living life in constant relationship with God that this knowledge grows and strengthens.

I am confident nothing good can come of focusing on the bad, it will make your heart harden, you will become a bitter, cranky, withered up person with all the joy and energy sucked out of your soul.

You know that song "Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones" ... I don't want dry bones.

To love magnificently in the face of all the bad is surely powerful and wonderful.

"The tallest oak in the forest was once just a little nut that held its ground", I want to be a little love nut holding my ground and eventually become a big oak, surrounded by other big oaks that have all grown from love.

Surely this will make a better world, if more of us believe life is good, if we feel safe and loved we will all make kinder and better decisions and choices that in turn will make life good, not just for us but those around us.

So are you a love nut that will hold your ground, do you want to live life like Minnie Mae, full of joy and wonderful anticipation of all the great blessings that may be coming your way today. I'd love to hear from you.

With much love
Justine x

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The loveliness of holidays

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands" Psalm 19:1

We have just had a week holidaying in Brunswick Heads NSW and it is spectacularly beautiful, it is easy to appreciate and acknowledge the handiwork of our creative and artistic God when beauty abounds so profusely.

When the waves break on the edge of the water and stir up the sand, it honestly looks like golden glitter. The water is so clear and warm and the waves so soft that as you dive beneath the surface it is easy to imagine you are a mermaid. Everybody was happy and friendly, there were smiles galore. The diversity of delicious food created from fresh, local and organic produce was simply breathtaking. The live comedy show we saw had us laughing until it hurt, you know that almost out of control, tears streaming down your face, child like amusement. 

Get this, they even have wine on tap at the very awesome Hotel Brunswick. Every day we spent at The Bruns was magnificent and every experience we shared was memorable.

After this perfect time of bliss and happiness I took some time to reflect on what I had learnt over the week so I can bring some of the wonderful joy from holidays into my every day world.

Friendly people are awesome
Do you know the saying "Life in an echo, what you send out comes back", well obviously I was deliriously happy while I was on holidays and it felt like absolutely everybody else was too. It seemed everybody wore a smile from ear to ear, every person seemed friendly and chatty. Was this just how I was seeing the world through my rose coloured glasses, was my heart so full of love that it didn't really matter what anybody else was doing because all I could see was joy. or is everybody just genuinely happy at Brunswick Heads. 

Either way it proves how important it is to be aware of your own state of mind, and the benefits of surrounding yourself with happy people and enjoyable experiences because it really does impact on your perception of reality. 

Live music, local beer, sea breezes and dancing children are a wonderful combination and a fabulous way to spend a Sunday afternoon
Hotel Brunswick is set outside under enormous poinciana trees surrounded by lush green hedges, and there is wine on tap, say no more!! We had a wonderful afternoon, however it is just one of the many reasons I could not live in Brunswick Heads, I think I would quickly become a regular at that pub.

Some things just happen on holidays, and that is okay.

Beach towels are no longer cool ... apparently
We watched in awe as we saw beautiful people, both men and women, gracefully walk from the water to simply pick up a wrap of some description off the sand, skilfully drape it around themselves to become a stylish dress or masculine scarf and then leave smiling and laughing together.

Us on the other hand arrived at the beach with two beach umbrellas, four beach towels, sand toys, snacks, sun screen, drink bottles and a whole lot of noise. Nothing happened gently or delicately and we left as chaotically as we arrived, but with a few extra special shells.

It really is nice and fun to see how other people do things. Maya Angelou said "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better". There is always so much to learn, experience, observe and enjoy and going away on holidays often provides a wonderful opportunity to expand our minds and see and experience new things that will help us do better in our own day to day life.

Everybody really is beautiful
Sometimes I can forgo getting into the water because it just seems too hard by the time everybody else is in, plus my swimmers are just some bargain bikini I picked up last holidays, they don't really fit properly and I need to apply so much sunscreen before I go swimming ... blah blah blah.  This year I got in the water, repeatedly and thank goodness I did, it was supremely divine. It made me relax and cool and happy and as I looked around everybody on the beach did look beautiful. No matter what their body shape, or swimmers, or hair colour or skin tone ... every single person who was enjoying the water and the sun and living in the moment radiated beauty and joy. 

I am sure there are plenty of other things I avoid in life because I think it is too much effort or I'm not good enough or I don't have the right clothes. Whatever, such lame excuses and I am just robbing myself of joy. When you jump in, experience all that is on offer, it really does not matter your ability, you outfit none of it ... when you are being true to yourself and having a red hot crack you are beautiful. "To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others, You need to accept yourself" Thich Nhat Hanh

Even if you don't post it on Facebook it still happened
Say what now ... I do not believe that!! I tried so hard to live in the moment, not take too many photos, just share and experience with those I was with, without any need to share it with the world. FAIL ... I failed big time. I really truly tried and did not post anything on social media whilst I was on holidays but the minute I was home I just had to brag, I had to show my photos ... sorry.

Thank you Brunswick Heads for the wonderful holiday, we absolutely loved it, we felt truly blessed to visit this magical part of the earth and God willing we will be back again, soon xoxo