Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anzac Day

 It's Anzac Day today and our family has attended a Parade this morning as we do every year. On returning home I discovered a friend from New Zealand had shared this video on her facebook page and what a song  to listen to and video to watch today. A treat too for this New Zealander living in Australia as this is the Kiwi version.

As the lyrics proclaim 'I will not forget'

Thursday, April 12, 2012

When you are Weary

Are there not days when you wish you could just do this!

'And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart'.
Galatians 6v9

For some reason, I always used to think this verse was for evangelists and missionaries. Perhaps because preachers always used it in that context and they didn't give messages that were solely devoted to motherhood, not even at the conferences for women that I used to attend. I didn't think it applied to me because I had completely underestimated the value of the work I did at home in raising a family. I have now come to appreciate how vital the work that I do in the home is. I realize that I am 'doing good'. I belong here with these people that He has brought into my life. God not only designed me to do this work and called me to it but he also provided me with a manual for motherhood. Have you ever heard it said that there is no manual for motherhood? I own one. It is a Bible and it is full of verses that address the daily issues that I face. And one of those issues is weariness and here is a Scripture that addresses it and teaches us a lot about a subject that I believe affects every single mother.

The first thing we need to understand is that weariness is not the same thing as physical tiredness, although physical exertion, a lack of sleep and being tired in our body will certainly contribute to weariness. Weariness I believe, has much more to do with our state of mind. Note that the verse exhorts us not to 'grow weary' - a process is involved. It can creep up on us slowly or the growth may be rapid due to circumstances beyond our control as one stress is added to another and soon we are carrying a burden that weighs us down.

I want to make it clear that I'm not speaking about deep seated emotional issues. I cannot address clinical depression even though I have some knowledge and experience in that field. (I used to be an occupational therapist) But you don't have to go through a trauma to be affected by weariness as a mother. The first step in dealing with it and not allowing it to multiply and smother us is to recognize what causes us to grow weary. What makes you feel weary may be a non-event or seem a trivial matter for others.

 I  started to consider what caused me to become weary and near the top of my list was weeds for they are one aspect of my work at home that I never seem able to keep up with, even though I now understand the benefits of mulch! This summer was wet and humid and I became weary of the weeds which were just rampant. It seemed a never ending task just to keep them out of the areas that we cultivate and it became an unpleasant task because the leeches were in plague proportions. On one leech infested day I gave up on weeding the orchard fence and decided to pluck a few weeds from under a palm tree close to the house. I was about to sit down and was just inches from the ground when I saw what I thought was a cushion. It wasn't a cushion. I ran like a madwoman. I had almost sat on a sleeping python! The very one in this picture that my son took great delight in photographing.

Weeds, leeches, snakes, ticks, mosquitoes and relentless humidity over summer were all taking away the pleasure of gardening and eroding any delight gained from living in a forest setting. I was losing all motivation for tending the gardens we had established that were providing organic, healthy homegrown produce for our family. I was starting to become weary in 'doing good' in the garden for the sake of our family's health and well being, something which I value highly. What's more, I had allowed myself to start questioning whether this property really was the right place for us. Negative thoughts were creeping in. It all seemed too hard - too much work. I was even fearing the future. How will we look after this place when we are older?  And knowing that the snakes will always be with us 'Will I move as fast then when I come across a snake?'

You might not have to cope with the knowledge that snakes are sunbathing in your garden or slithering around in your roof but I'm sure you can think of work around the home that you are weary of. It's often the tasks that need to be done for family members on a regular basis that are often taken for granted. It may be the laundry that is overflowing from baskets that refill faster than you can empty them into the machine.The floors that you try so desperately to keep clean that never stay that way.

And then there is the clutter. They say it wearies the soul and I believe this to be true. I don't cope well in a cluttered environment. The clutter doesn't even need to be visible. It may be an untidy closet that requires attention that no one else sees but you know it is there and that it needs sorting but you have no idea where to start or how you will even possibly find the time to begin organizing it. Pictures on pinterest of fancy wicker baskets in rows with labels neatly tied on with ribbon are all very well but you still don't have shelves in the closet to stack them on! Everything is just shoved in there and in some ways it is a picture of how your life feels right now.

The rear of our house during renovations. We installed the lead light window and there is now a set of doors to the hall we created from an open breezeway (where I had my first ever snake encounter ten years ago!) but the walls are still waiting to be rendered and we haven't found a location for a laundry room so the washing machine sits outside in that same spot. I don't like showing people this side of the house. An unfinished home can also weary us.

As I am typing this I feel I am only just touching the surface of weariness, its causes and how it affects mothers and homemakers. What I have mentioned thus far are externals - they are what people see and for some this is a cause of much anxiety. They are ashamed and don't invite people to their home for fear of what they might think even though they eagerly desire to offer hospitality. The thought of someone calling in unexpectedly is too much to bear.

Lets add in some other factors that can weary us. The atmosphere in a home. There might be arguments between siblings, tension between a husband and wife due to financial pressures. A teenager who is giving verbal expression to rebellious thoughts. In the midst of this you are trying to toilet train the toddler and if you are homeschooling there may be a child who is struggling with some area of learning. You have thought about returning him to school because you are beginning to believe you are not cut out for this anymore.

There are mothers I know and admire greatly who have children and family members with serious and ongoing health issues. There will be mothers who might be reading this who have experienced levels of weariness that do not come close to anything I have ever experienced and I don't want to make any comparisons. I'm trying to address the everyday issues that we all face and have to deal with from time to time. The flu and stomach bugs, head lice and all those other things that tend to be passed on and shared with other members of the household have great potential to weary us. They may be short lived for the individual but it's the mother who finds herself getting up each night to different children and the 24 hour bug becomes a week long ordeal. She is physically tired but now sick and tired of being sick and tired, for she also succumbed to the bug. She is so weary. I haven't even mentioned pregnancy, giving birth and how having a newborn to care for can affect us. There is so much that can weary us as mothers.

On their own some of these events and occurrences may not cause us to become overly stressed. We can cope with a few piles here and there, deal with a bout of sickness and put off weeding the garden but add in a few trying events and mix it all together and the weariness starts to set in. If we are not careful we may cultivate it, for example, staying up too late searching the Internet for answers for a problem that has started to bother us or trying to settle in our minds our stance on a certain issue that has left us confused. Another means of cultivation is adding more than is needed into our schedule. Over committing ourselves to activities outside of the home and saying yes to too many requests is something many of us will identify with. If you are involved in ministry you will be very conscious of this. The disciples were not immune either. In Mark 6 .31 Jesus beckons them to "Come aside and rest a while". 'For there were many coming and going and they did not even have time to eat.' This same description could be used for many a household in today's society - we just stop at the fast food restaurant on the way home which is hardly nourishing!

The result of weariness taking root and spreading, is something the author of that chapter truly understood. It prevents us from doing good. We lose motivation, we are overwhelmed and want to give up on something that held great benefits for others such as that garden we established or more importantly, the nurturing and training of a child.

If you are walking the path of weariness today and are feeling overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood I want you to know that you are not alone. I would like to pray for you. Do not be afraid to share, even just to say 'I'm feeling weary today'. Don't think that what is wearying you is trivial because you know of others who are facing harder trials. We are meant to bear one another's burdens and in doing so we fulfill the law of Christ. (Ephesians 6.2)

Is it over two years since this picture was taken? I never imagined I would have a 20 year old son and a toddler!

In a follow up post I'll share more about how I deal with weariness as a mother. It's been almost a 20 year journey for me and I'm still in the midst of it with all my 7 children still living at home. How I wish I had taken hold of that opening verse years ago and seen that it was not just addressed to those in ministry outside of the home. Dear mother you are doing good and the Lord does not want you to become weary - why? The answer is in the second part of the verse 'for in due season we shall reap... if we do not lose heart.' And it is with those wonderful words of encouragement that I close this post. 'Do not lose heart'.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I haven't gone away - my blog is not updating

Is anyone else having problems with their latest posts not showing up on reading lists in the dashboard or updating on bloglists? My last post which is there on my blog (a wedding poem for a sweet friend) and published with no hiccups will not show up on the reading list on and I've tried a few fixes which made no difference. If I check on my dashboard or on other blogs it only shows my post from 3 weeks ago. People must think I'm having a break from blogging - I'm not! I'm just trying to figure out why my last post will not show up before I write a new one. I reverted to draft, added an update and republished. Didn't work. Looked at my feed and tried to figure if it was that causing the problem. I don't know for sure - so here goes I'm trying to see if this will post. If this shows up on your dashboard can you let me know or if you stumble across this and can offer me advice I would so appreciate it! Hopefully, I will be back soon!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

'Your Daughter's Getting Married'

 Oh how excited she was to dress up as a bride for a picture to illustrate this post!

'Your Daughter's Getting Married'
A Poem for the Parents of the Bride

No, not my daughter! That day, God willing, still lies ahead for me. It's been some time since I shared one of my 'poems for people' but I have the perfect excuse today. My sweet friend Carrie from Farming on Faith is busy preparing for the upcoming wedding of her daughter Hannah. It's not long to go now and I know it is a 'bittersweet' time for Carrie, as it is for all parents of the bride, especially when their daughter has been living at home up to the time of their marriage. Weddings are joyful occasions but for the parents it is also a time tinged with some sadness, a time for goodbyes and letting go. It heralds a new beginning for both parties but it is not the end of the story - just new chapters in this precious life we have been given by the Lord to live.

It was these sentiments that I wanted to express when I first penned this poem many years ago. My Pastor's daughter was getting married and I wanted to give him and his wife a card but couldn't find one at the store which was specifically for the parents of the bride. I had to buy a blank card and was thinking about what greeting I could write when the idea of a poem popped into my mind. I wanted the verses to be personal but felt the Lord prompt me to pen them in such a way that I could share this poem again in the future. That it could be a blessing to others as they gave their daughter's hand in marriage. The handwritten words on a scrap of paper have been sitting in my little cardboard folder of poems; they have never been published until now. I have also added a few extra verses after reading Carrie's recent posts at her blog. So Carrie - this is for you and for any other mothers and fathers who read this who may be about to see their daughter marry and leave the family home. I pray they bless you in this season of your life. It was designed to be read just prior to the wedding day or on the morn of the wedding itself.

I wonder if she will want to wear her momma's veil on her wedding day?

Your daughter's getting married
Her wedding day is here
Very soon, she'll walk the aisle
You know you'll shed a tear

For it only seems like yesterday
Your precious girl was born
The memories of her childhood
Fill your thoughts this morn

Today she looks so beautiful
A radiant, lovely bride
Amidst the gasps of admiration
Your heart will burst with pride

You worked so hard to raise her
And taught her all you can                                            
Now all those things that you inspired
Will benefit her man
They'll soon exchange their vows                
She's going to be his wife                                              
No longer living in your home
But still part of your life

She'll always be your daughter
She knows how much you care
And when she feels she needs you
She'll hope that you are there

A speech of appreciation
Will later come your way
For your special contribution
To your daughter's wedding day

When the music fades
And all have bid farewell
Do not let the sadness of your parting
Be on what you choose to dwell

For the story isn't over
More chapters are to come
Turn the page together
A new day has begun!

 by Ann at

I am more than happy for any of my readers to share this poem to bless other parents or mothers of brides. All I ask is that you acknowledge the source and myself as the author. Thank You. If you do use or intend to use my poem I would love to hear from you. It is after all one of my poems for people!

I have one more picture to share which I thought most appropriate for this post. It was not photoshopped! My daughter came across this mossy heart on a rock when she was hiking in a National Park recently. I hope that you enjoyed the poem and Carrie this picture speaks to me of the solid foundation of faith in Jesus that you have given to your daughter which she together with her beloved is going to build her own marriage and home upon ... the rock of Jesus. What a gift that is. What a blessing it will be in their lives!

Update: Carrie's daughter was married this Easter weekend. I'm very appreciative to Carrie for sharing my poem at her blog and delighted that it touched her heart. Carrie was able to read my post because I let her know about it but it appears that this post is not appearing in reading lists on dashboards or being updated on blogrolls. They are only showing my last post from 3 weeks ago. Is this an issue for you at the moment? I'm not sure how to fix this so adding this update, reverting to draft and republishing - something I found on the blogger help forum that worked for someone having the same problem. Let's hope it works this time for me - this is my second attempt! If it doesn't I'm going to have to work out whether it is a feed problem or something to do with the new country specific URL and having a custom domain. I have no idea! If you are reading this and can offer suggestions or advice on how to fix this I would be very appreciative. Have lots of ideas for new posts just need to work out these glitches so they are sent out to people!


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