Monday, December 28, 2009

Post Christmas...Desiring God Blog

Hopeful Post-Christmas Melancholy

Posted: 26 Dec 2009 02:22 AM PST

(Author: Jon Bloom)

Each year Christmas night finds members of my family feeling some melancholy. After weeks of anticipation, the Christmas celebrations have flashed by us and are suddenly gone. And we're left standing, watching the Christmas taillights and music fade into the night.

But it's possible that this moment of melancholy may be the best teaching moment of the whole season. Because as long as the beautiful gifts remain unopened around the tree and the events are still ahead of us, they can appear to be the hope we are waiting for. But when the tree is empty and events are past, we realize we are longing for a lasting hope.

So last night, as Pam and I tucked our kids into bed, we talked about a few things with them:

  • Gifts and events can't fill the soul. God gives us such things to enjoy. They are expressions of his generosity as well as ours, but gifts and celebrations themselves are not designed to satisfy. They're designed to point us to the Giver. Gifts are like sunbeams. We are not meant to love sunbeams but the Sun.
  • Putting our hope in gifts will leave us empty. Many people live their lives looking for the right sunbeam to make them happy. But if we depend on anything in the world to satisfy our soul's deepest desire, it will eventually leave us with that post-Christmas soul-ache. We will ask, "Is that all?" because we know deep down that's not all there is. We are designed to treasure a Person, not his things.
  • It is more blessed to give than receive. What kind of happiness this Christmas felt richer, getting the presents that you wanted or making someone else happy with something that you gave to them? Receiving is a blessing, but Jesus is right—giving is a greater blessing. A greedy soul lives in a small, lonely world. A generous soul lives in a wide world of love.

It's just like God to let the glitter and flash of the celebrations (even in his honor) to pass and then to come to us in the quiet, even melancholic void they leave. Because often that's when we are most likely to understand the hope he intends for us to have at Christmas.

(Originally posted 12/26/07)

Grace Gems again....more on suffering

A poor shoemaker in his dreary little shop

(J. R. Miller, "The Wider Life" 1908)

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." 2 Corinthians 4:16

"For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die!" 1 Corinthians 15:53

The lesson of the imperishable life, has a special application to those who suffer from sickness or from any bodily affliction. It will help us to endure physical sufferings quietly and unmurmuringly, if we will remember that it is only the outward man that can be touched and affected by these experiences, and that the inward man may not only be kept unharmed, but may be growing all the while in beauty and strength, being spiritually renewed through pain and suffering.

A poor shoemaker in his dreary little shop in a great city, one day noticed that there was one little place in his dark room, from which he could get a view of green fields, blue skies and faraway hills. He wisely set up his bench at that point, so that at any moment he could lift his eyes from his dull work--and have a glimpse of the great, beautiful world outside.

Just so, from the darkest sick-room, and from the midst of the keenest sufferings, there is always a point from which we can see the face of Christ and have a glimpse of the glory of heaven. If only we will find this place and get this vision--it will make it easy to endure even the greatest suffering.

"For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down--when we die and leave these bodies--we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God Himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing." 2 Corinthians 5:1-2

Sickness is discouraging and is hard to bear. But we should remember that the doing of the will of God is always the noblest, holiest thing we can do any hour--however hard it may be for us. If we are called to suffer--let us suffer patiently and sweetly. Under all our sharp trials--let us keep the peace of God in our hearts. The outward man may indeed decay--but the inward man will be renewed day by day.

Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)

Grace Audio Treasures (choice AUDIO sermons)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Boxing Day

When I was a kid in Cape Town we always went to my great Uncle Fred's beach house for an extended family gathering. I can 'smell' the kelp and almond in the Christmas cakes as I write, and remember many very happy memories of Boxing Days growing up. Such gatherings have always been one of the things I have sorely missed since immigrating from South Africa ( close to 16 years now). Yesterday we went to visit 'old' Brizzie fiends and met up with a new South African family too. I realised that it is the longest Douglas and I have been in any one place together...nearly 6 years! We have had 6 Christmases here in Brisbane and have know these friends for as long. It was a wonderful feeling to have that continuity and feeling of belonging.

Here are some photographs of the pinyatta we took along - what fun!

Jarryn had to look for the lollies/sweeties so had to take his blindfold off.

The excitement mounts!

Watch out for Jo...Jon was worse still, unfortunately the filming was taken sideways and so hard to see, unless you turn your screen sideways:)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Celebrating Christmas

Celebrating Christmas is a special time of our year, as we remember the greatest gift of all gifts.....Jesus our Saviour! We had our Grace Bible Church's Christmas service on Christmas Eve, then went to Samford for my parents Christmas service on Christmas morning. Samford was the first church that welcomed us to Brisbane , although we have never been close enough to go there, we have always enjoy staying in touch!

When you have had Christmas without extended family in years past, due to immigrating. You cannot but truly treasure the 'being together' when it happens....what a blessing to be with Granny and Grandad this Christmas! The rest of the family is always sorely missed. The longing to see them never ever goes away! My Oupa will be 90 next April, and it is nearly 16 years since I have seen my Oupa and Ouma. I miss my sister, Ruthie too. And Doug's Mom and sister, Hazel. ( At least his sister Pauline comes to visit with her famly every few years, but we still miss them too) I have not seen my aunties, uncles and cousins in nearly 16 years and I have never seen any of the cousin's children. How blessed we are to have our dear and precious children though and today(boxing day) we spent with dear friends...God is indeed good! So here a "few" of our Christmas photographs!

Morning tea


Mr Choc

Miss Choc

Cuddles with Groot Sussie ( Big sister)

Cuddles with Granny

New additions to Jessica's mug collection, from Granny and Grandad!

My Mr Clever Puzzle Man

Mr Shy ( or is he our Mr Clown?)


Three - got him!

Mr Sporty

Sisterly love

Miss Patient: Waiting for presents!

Time for Christmas cracker/bonbon jokes

Miss Creative: Eating her gingerbread man creation, with LOTS of lollies/sweeties

Emma's newly adopted second hand Velveteen Rabbit (Who could leave the abandoned Velveteen Rabit in a second hand shop, with nobody to love him!He now has to sleep with Emma in case the story really can come true! I should make up a modern story of our Velveteen Rabbit.)

My Mr Clever Puzzle Man the second: serious concentration!

Or is it Mr Sporty the 2nd? ( or Mr Serious...he did laugh and enjoy is day, we just didn't manage to catch a smile on camera:( )

What a joke....Jarryn had just been pretending to take a huge bite out of our Christmas cake, recipe from Simply Da Best, delicious! At two he can really enjoy a joke like this!

Mommy Joy

Our Table (before we ate!)

Christmas Pudding, recipe from Simply Da Best. Also meringues and ice cream, with home made concoctions.

Later we took our visitors to the park for a night time play, just missing the rain.

A very tired 'glow-in-the-dark' Christmas angel!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Blessings to you this Christmas

Matthew 2:11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh

As wise men may we spend the day worshipping God in all we do and may we have a blessed New Year giving God of the best gifts we can give!

Aspergers, a brilliant write up!

Here is a brillliant article describing Aspergers Syndrome! Do keep this link to read after your busy Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Please Pray

Our dear Christain friends in New Zealand have just been told there is nothing more that can be done for his cancer. Please can you uplift them in your prayers at this time. They were very close to my Mom and Dad who have just left New Zealand to live near to us, so they will be feeling this loss of friendship too. Thank you!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dear Dorothy

I can't get to comment on my or any one elses blogs/posts tonight for some strange reason? And I am too techncally challanged and tired to figure out why? So I will just coment on a comment here! The origional post was on Aspergers adn Neurotypcal. see
This is the comment

dorothy said...

Well written! As mom to kids all over the neurological spectrum I love to see other moms appreciating the differences in people. Life sure isn't easy in our homes - but is it supposed to be?
20 December, 2009 00:14

And my

Hi Dorothy....too true, sometmes God takes us places we never thought we would manage and yet we do manage in His strength and land up being closer to Him through it, by His grace....."consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds!" Coping well has a lot to do with the attitude you start off with, I think. (I so like your attitude and enjoy following your blog! Praying God will be close to you in the next few very busy weeks/months) See these other blog postings along a similar thinking!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tarry Home this Christmas

I dashed out to the shops tonight with my beloved and Jessica. Actually I spent most of the time sitting down waiting for them as I am not too mobile yet. I sat and watched all the frantic passers-by. Scurrying here and there and everywhere...looking for this and looking for that....And I couldn't wait to get home again! I sure do love to tarry home! What a blessing to be home with my children. And to have time to pause and enjoy Christ at this time of the year! All those shoppers seemed so frantic in their haste to be ready for the big day, a day that for most of them is void of eternal meaning - so it all boils down to having a big and happy party.

I hope you get a chance to tarry home and enjoy the real reason for the season this Christmas!

Monday, December 7, 2009

'Gogo' Joy is having knee surgery

In the last week I have been asked twice if I am a 'Gogo' (Xhosa for Granny. Of course no one here asked me in Xhosa) In reality I guess I am not far off from the age my Mom was when I had Jessica, my oldest and I guess culturally people here are not used to a lady having a baby of two with a 19 year old on the other end of the age spectrum - so the conclusion is - Jarryn must be your grandson. I am sure the greying hair doesn't help....I have hung out on principal (resisting dying my hair) as I am not ashamed of aging. In other cultures people with grey hair are respected more, it is seen as a passing into the age of wisdom! :) SO I guess I should not be so shocked that I have been asked twice in the last week if I am a 'Gogo'

Anyhow I did feel decrepit going to the knee specialist today- key hole surgery to be done on Monday, for ongoing issues that I have had for years. Monday....not because it is that urgent but it happens to be convenient for the surgeon and for me too. No one wants to be sore for Christmas so he had space to do me straight away, and besides it suits me in that I have my parents staying with me right now now to help, plus it is the beginning of the long school holidays - so I will have recovered by the time school starts again. There goes all the fun I was planning for the holidays :( But in reality I am relieved I will get it over and done with as soon as possible!

Please pray I will have peace and that I will be able to get everything organised before Monday. All Christmas things will need to be finished off ( nearly done!) Cars need to go in for servicing and a big grocery shop done etc Pray also that the children will have peace, and remain settled. When I was ill with the miscarriage a few months ago the children were quite unsettled....I am hoping that Granny's stability will help. Also Doug will have time off between Christmas and New Year, so the timing could not be more perfect!

Below is a glance at our toiletries bought last week...giggle ....for a small shopping expedition, although we were very low on toiletries! Once my knee is done I will be able to push trolleys again without any pain or jamming- yippee! At present I always have to take a strapping young lad with to help with the trolley....which I rather enjoy in any case!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Treasuring God in our Traditions

Here is one of my most favourite books! And you can read it online now, which is great as I must have lent my copy out to someone or else it has been unpacked in a strange place! Below is an exert from their web site or go to their web site yourself!



List Price: $14.99
Our Price: $10.00

Topic: Parenting
Format: Softcover Book
Pages: 117
ISBN: 1581345089
Publisher: Crossway Books
Product Code: BTGT

Treasuring God in Our Traditions

Only God can bequeath God to our children. But he uses means. He uses God-centered traditions and Bible-saturated family patterns and grace-laden heirlooms.

Only God can give our children a taste for the sweetness of God. Only God can awaken them to his worth. But year in and year out there are traditions that show them: God is our Treasure.

After more than 30 years of marriage and childrearing, Noël Piper opens her home to you. She invites you into the happy, imperfect Piper pattern of life. Come with her and enjoy the way she helps us treasure God in our traditions.

Read this book online:

More from Noel Piper

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gratitude and Despair

Gratitude is so much better than despair.
Sometimes the only difference between the two is prayer.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sew, I have another new blog

My first love is God, second is people - aren't those kids just gorgeous! And then I have to admit material comes in at third...YIKES, that sounds a bit scary but it does! But behind that statement is a bigger picture that has a lot to do with my love for God and people! Let me explain...

Sewing, quilting, patching, landscaping....for me it is all fabric art. I have a million 'dezigns'/ideas floating in my head and drawers stuffed with 'dezigns' on pieces of paper! And I have of course with 8 precious childrne and homeschooling, too little time to make them.

I am addicted to dezigning, despite my lack of time ( I just cannot help myself, my brain always has something new idea in mind) And I am passionate about creating, only as I am relatively disorganised it seldom happens, unless I make it happen.

I am hoping that if I try to blog weekly in this particular area, that I will be inspired to keep up with doing something little every week...well that's the plan at least, we'll see if it can happen?

My latest interest is landscape can see the unfinished results of our recent class sitting at the front of my sewing nook in the lounge above: Mt Barney, Australia, designed by Priscilla Lawrence.

Priscilla also designed a postcard quilt for us, here - very nearly finished! I learnt such a lot from this class! And wish I was not so far away from the ladies and the Uniting Church in Ipswich who have helped me so much to enjoy sewing!

Here is Jessica busy at the sewing machine, getting tasks done for class, she thinks my machine sews much better that hers, so we had to take it in turns! It does have a nice SLOOOOOOW button which is great for control with tiny fine work! But Jessica has decided she prefers painting to quilting as it is more instant. Whereas I love the feel of the material in my hands and the slowness of it. I find it therapeutic if I am stressed, as it gives me time to meditate and think things through...ahhhhhh!

Why 'dezign', why patch, why quilt etc?

I love creating and although it is a bit of a luxury in some ways in my already busy life ....I feel it is one way in which I can reflect my wondrous creator in my tiny way. He is the ultimate artist, the lover of my soul, despite my tardiness in loving Him as I should. Each of my own original 'dezigns' that I do, I always try to bring across some Christan message for people to see. I like to make something of Christ visual. I like to make an impact to influence others to love this one and only wonderful God as well. For I feel Christianity is the only religion that offers a relationship, rather than a list of rules to go by. It is the only place where God does all in saving us and we just accept this gift. My God gives me life in all it's fullness and I aim to try and help others see how wonderful He is through my fabric art.

I have a bigger dream too, a dream of selling patterns as a business one day. Now I know I won't earn much money from that but I would also like to be able to set up a system where I can help ladies in third world countries earn a living. You see for us it would be pocket money but in a place like South Africa, it could be the bread and butter for as many as 8 people to one earner!

When I was training for Social Work in Cape Town, South Africa, I was involved with helping
start a 'self help' sewing group, near Stellenbosch. I wonder what has happened to my group of ladies and their children. One lady had twins who would now be over 20! In South Africa we called these sewing groups 'self help' groups, or co-operatives. Self help groups in the Western Countries are for Psychological problems like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). But in South Africa, they are a group of people working together in order to find a way to earn a living.

Much is being done in South Africa as you can see from this web site , But so much more is needed with the high unemployment rate but with the ever increasing widows and orphans issues, this need can only grow. I feel passionately that we need to all pull our weight as Christians and fulfill our Biblical calling to care for widows and orphans, as much as we are able to! I would like to somehow be able to help in a small way with my 'Joy'zown dezigns'.

Come and enjoy the journey with me!