Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A Poem About Clay

I'm a lump of wet clay and I'm sitting
All alone, ugly and afraid
On a bench in the Great Potter's workshop
My life all before me laid.
All I must do is abandon myself
And give myself up to Him fully
For a lump of wet clay cannot make of itself
Something that brings the Potter joy.
The thing is, my friend, if I put myself in
The hands of the Potter Himself
I lose all control of the path of my life
And so I remain on His shelf.
But the thing that I find is so hard just to do
Will be what's best for me in the end
If I say to the Craftsman, "Come Lord, fashion me"
He'll gently stretch, shape and bend.
Sometimes the process is lavished with tears
And the tools that He uses bring pain
As the Potter makes of a vessel
That will bring glory to His great name.
But, though the process is painful and long
The safest place for that lump of clay
Is in the nest of the hands of the Craftsman
So here in His hands I will stay.
Through this journey I seek not my own glory
I desire that when others look upon me
They exclaim over my beauty, and wondrous design
This points them, not to I, but to He.
written on the 16th of June 2015

Sunday, 28 June 2015

A + A // Ski Crash Spectacular

- Trying to pour soup from a thermos into a cup in a moving vehicle and not realizing there's a sharp bend up ahead... No, I didn't spill it, but I came awfully close!
- So I went skiing recently (I've been a few times before and am an intermediate skier), and I had just done a run off the summit of the mountain. As I was dropping down into a lower run, I witnessed a spectacular crash across the slope. Someone went flying and one of their skis ended up quite a bit higher on the mountain than they did. So I thought to myself, I am going to be a Good Samaritan (because there wasn't really anyone else very near). So I skied across the slope, picked up his ski and started skiing down to him to deliver his ski to him and see if he needed help. However, as I came down to him I completely lost control and crashed myself! (I think it was mostly due to the fact that I was trying to hold onto his ski as well as my poles and ski myself... and it was a particularly steep bit of the slope...) Anyway, I ended up in a pile at his feet and both he and I were laughing uncontrollably. Here was I, trying to help him out, and I crash myself!! His ski that I had been holding flew out of my arms when I crashed and landed a wee way down the mountain. My skis came off and I spent about ten minutes trying to get them back on again. As I said before, the slope was really steep and whenever I tried to stand on the ski hard to get the bindings on my boot to snap onto the ski, my other ski would start to slide and over I would go again. It took me ages to get back together again. But I eventually managed it, when the kind gentleman who I'd originally set out to help helped me get myself sorted out. Oh dear. We sorted it out in the end. So funny though. And sort of ironic, when you think about it. (That was the first of only two times I crashed that day, just saying!)
- Asking a question, and then thinking about something else. The other person answers your question but you're so busy thinking about this other thing you completely miss what they said and have to ask again.
- Trying to play the violin while wearing a thick scarf. The two do not go together, which is slightly annoying.

- Being able to 'talk' to your sister by only using your facial expressions. And her totally understanding what you're asking and replying with her eyes. Such a cool thing! It mystified the people around us. They were like, "How did you guys do that?" And we were like, "We knew what the other one was thinking and asking."
- Having a nice big pun battle. Such fun. Haven't had one of those for ages.
- Knitting an entire soft toy in a week. (He's the mascot for a superhero themed kid's camp coming up soon.) I named him Steve. Here he is, waving hi to you all. :)

- Falling asleep in your warm, cosy bed, listening to the sound of gentle rain on the roof.
- Banana splits for dessert, with ripe bananas, cookies and cream icecream and homemade chocolate sauce.
- The book of Isaiah. I love the prophetic books in the Bible. So much wonderfulness in them.

Isaiah 43:1-3
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...

And that seems like a good note on which to close. :)

Have you ever been skiing and crashed spectacularly?
Do you knit? If so, what sort of projects do you make?
What's your favourite book of the Bible?
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Friday, 26 June 2015

Confessions of a frustrated violinist

This afternoon Danella and I played a few pieces on our various instruments for Grandma and Grandad, who are staying with us at the moment.

It was going beautifully. For most of the pieces, my fingers were doing what I wanted them to, my bow was going where I wanted it to go and my violin was sounding how I wanted it to sound. Then it happened.

I was rapidly playing a set of jigs on my violin, accompanied by Danella on the piano, when I suddenly stopped playing. It wasn't working. It just wasn't working.

No non-violinist will ever be able to understand the frustration. Maybe you violinists won't be able to either, because I'm not sure if it's just a Bonnie-and-her-violin frustration or a violin thing in general. It's where your fingers are doing the right thing, but you just can't seem to get the beat of the music and it sounds bad and you begin to make a whole series of silly mistakes. It frustrates me no end.

So  I stopped playing, and Mum and Grandma immediately want to know what's wrong. I reply, annoyed, "It's just not doing what I want it to do!!" and get asked to persevere because as awful as I thought it sounded, actually apparently it was "beautiful". So we continue, with me stuffing it up heaps and making it really hard for my longsuffering accompanist, Danella.

At the end I get told by my lovely relatives that my playing is beautiful and I'm just being silly. But I'm not. I know I'm not. I know that my playing was bad (or at best, average) and that frustrated me because it had been going so well up until those rascally jigs!

I am a violinist. I know when my playing is terrible.

The thing is, my expectations are colossal!! And my playing virtually never pleases me.

It doesn't please me because I have such high expectations. I want each note to be perfect. I want it to sound beautiful, pleasing to the ear. I want my violin to behave itself (and it often doesn't to my standards, being only a cheap violin). I want my fingers to move dexterously and at the right time. I just want it to sound nice.

And it never pleases me. Sure, it does, when I play for myself. When I play for my own enjoyment my playing pleases me. Because although I still make mistakes, and am not happy with myself, I know it doesn't matter, because there's no one to hear. And I just play for the love of my music and my violin. And it makes me happy. :)

But when I play for others I get really annoyed at myself. Because it just doesn't sound as good as I want it to

I've been playing the violin for three and a half years now. It's a tricky instrument. I've read articles that claim that the violin is the most difficult instrument around. But because I'm 17, and because I'm proud, and know that others expect me to be better than I am, I dislike playing in front of others.

I said it. I'm proud.

That's my problem. I can't cope with failure. I can't look bad in front of other people.

Do you know, two days ago I played for the first time for people who weren't my family, very close friends or my teacher (not counting orchestra performances... I'm in a group so that doesn't count.)?

Danella and I were invited to play some harp and violin duets for a church senior's lunch. That was so freaky for me. I've been invited to play for other things before, but never done them, because I was so scared people would see me, an older girl, and expect incredible music to flow from my fingers. And I know I can't provide that.

That concert Danella and I played two days ago was liberating for me. I didn't play perfectly. I know I didn't. But all the old ladies and men cheered for us, and we got lots of lovely comments. (Even if it had been absolutely awful we still would have got lovely comments, because our church seniors are so encouraging and sweet!)

I thought to myself, "Finally! After all these years I can now be happy enough with my playing to play for other people!"

And then I blew it. This afternoon I was SO disappointed with how bad my playing sounded to me. I felt that I had let my parents down, for buying lessons for me these three and a half years. I always feel overshadowed by my incredibly talented younger sister Danella on her harp (she's been playing substantially longer than I have, too).

Why am I telling you this?

Because I'm disappointed with myself. And I'm disappointed with myself that I'm disappointed with myself.
(Which actually makes sense if you think about it for a while.)

What I'd really like to be able to do is play difficult pieces perfectly. So everyone would look at me and think I'm a wonderful person because I play so beautifully. (Can you see why God didn't allow me to start learning the violin earlier?!)

If I can't play perfectly, I'd like to be able to be happy with how I play. To come to the place where I don't feel embarrassed to play my average pieces in front of others. To just enjoy my music.

Because I do enjoy playing for myself. But the instant I play for others, I feel so bad.

And that's my pride....

Silly, silly pride, why do you care what others think about you?
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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Bonnie's Opinion: Relationships


If you're like me, you're curious about what I'm going to say on this topic. :P Yeah, I don't quite know yet either.

I would most definitely not have gone near this subject with a ten foot bargepole (at this stage in my life, anyway) if one of my readers hadn't emailed me this:

I'm not sure if you know anything about this topic or not, but I was wondering if you could do a post on relationships.
Like, what to do if you like a boy, and then you don't, and the boy stops talking to you, and you're hurt inside, or whatever. (I'm not having these issues, but it would be helpful if I could read something about this to help someone else. Do you know any good articles that talk about this?) And how to control your feelings and turn things over to God. And how young is too young to date, etc.

Wow. Um... thanks... now, how do I tackle this???!!

I start off by saying that I do not have all the answers.

I am a young single female who is not married and has never been in a serious relationship. So I am not exactly qualified to discuss this subject. Others more qualified than I have tackled this subject.

I highly recommend, for example, reading "Growing Up Duggar" which is all about relationships: with your family, your friends, the world, and boys. It is written by the four oldest Duggar girls Jana, Jessa, Jill and Jinger, and has a lot of practical advice.

But we go back to the question. I was asked to do a post on relationships. (This is it, by the way, just in case you were confused.)

I was more specifically asked "what to do if you like a boy, and then you don't, and the boy stops talking to you, and you're hurt inside, or whatever." Firstly, I don't know that "whatever" describes this very well. This is clearly a very specific occasion and has obviously happened to someone! :)

Feelings are unavoidable. We can't help noticing others. As we grow up, hormones and all sorts of lovely things like that start whizzing around in our bodies and we begin to notice that people of the other gender exist. I don't think that the problem is us 'liking' others. Because that sometimes just happens, and I don't neccessarily think that can be helped, in every situation. I think that the problem is more what to do with your 'liking'.

Do you think about that person a lot? Do you find yourself flirting with them when the two of you meet in public? Do you allow yourself the freedom to imagine what it would be like to be in a relationship with that person?

Those are all very dangerous things to do, in my opinion. And the reason is this. If you find yourself getting more and more emotionally attached to them (which will happen if you think about them) then you're getting stuck in a tricky situation.

Feelings can be unavoidable. It's what you do with the feelings that is up to you.

Unless you are ready for marriage and are praying for God to bring along the right life partner for you, my advice is to try not to think about the opposite gender. I know, I know, God works in mysterious ways and He may well decide to bring someone along when you aren't looking/ready for them. But I think it's a good general rule of thumb.

I am not going to go into the whole courtship vs. dating debate here. I'd just like to say that I don't think there is a right way or a wrong way to do it. I think it's more about the heart attitude behind what you do than which system you use and what you call it. Because I've seen couples dating who are pretty much courting, only, they call it dating, and I'm sure it works the other way too. No system is perfect. I think you need to do what you feel God wants you to do (and of course pray about it lots and talk to wise older people like your parents!).

I think you also need to analyse your reasons for wanting to get into a relationship. I think it's pointless to play around with peoples hearts for no reason! My advice is that if you are doing it because you like the idea of it, or because you crave approval from someone of the opposite gender, or because all your friends are doing it and you feel left out, or because you're getting older and you feel lonely.... those are all the wrong reasons, in my humble opinion. I think that relationships are serious things and should be treated as such. You do realise, don't you, that the decision you make about who you marry will affect the entire rest of your life??!!? No pressure! :)

So I've talked about my perspective on 'liking' people of the opposite gender. My advice is whenever you think about the subject, submit it to the Lord. A lot of people take their burdens to God in prayer, then take them away with them again! We need to 'cast' our cares on the Lord. And leave them there for Him to deal with. He is perfectly able to deal with our little situations! Whenever you think about that person that you 'like', take them to the Lord. Tell the Lord you don't know what to do about your feelings. Ask the Lord to take away that feeling of longing in your heart and replace it with His peace. And He will.

My advice to the person who found herself 'liking' a guy, then not 'liking' him, then feeling hurt because he stopped talking to her is this. People are fickle. You are fickle (You stop 'liking' him then feel  hurt because he stopped talking to you? I mean.... lol!). I don't think that this is massively to be concerned about, to be honest. I know what I'm talking about when I say that in life you will find disappointments. People change. You change. Only God remains the same.

My advice is to chase God, not boys. Because if you find God, everything else falls into place. But if you chase boys, your life will still be empty, no matter how loved you thought you would feel. Nothing is fulfilling except a life devoted to God alone.

I'm really sorry that you feel hurt about the boy not talking to you. But my advice is still the same. Focus on God. Focus on loving your family, and your friends, and shining Jesus into the world. Practice being a wonderful sister, a wonderful daughter and a blessing to those around you, so that someday, Lord willing, you will be a wonderful wife.

I think something that has been very important in my life is the relinquishing of singleness. (I wasn't going to mention this, because it's a personal thing, and I want to keep this post as general as possible, but I felt like it was important to mention, so here goes...) *plucks up courage*

I used to worry that I would never get married. That no guy would ever be interested in little, silly me. And I don't know if I will ever get married. Which makes me feel scared and sad because I don't want to be a spinster all my life!! (Much as spinsters are lovely people!) I want to have children and a husband.... and I've had to face the fact that I may never. I think that no matter how sure you are that you will get married, you should still give the Lord your life and your singleness. Every time I worry about it, I take it to the Lord, like I said above. And He brings me His peace to replace the ache in my heart. :) Because God is in charge of my life. And if His perfect plan is that I remain single to glorify Him and serve Him singly, then I will do that cheerfully because He knows what I need better than myself. It's a great comfort to have Him in charge. Saves me worrying about life!

Real quickly, because I know this post is getting long! The last part of the question: "And how to control your feelings and turn things over to God. And how young is too young to date, etc."

I think I've talked about how to control your feelings and turn things over to God. Basically, just pray. Tell the Lord that you can't control your feelings and you don't know what to do. Give your life, your dreams, your hopes to God... and step back, peaceful and happy in the knowledge that He will do what He knows is best. And so you can trust Him.

How young is too young to date. I think that twenty is too young to date. "What?" you say? :)

Twenty is too young to date if you are doing it for the wrong reasons, like I briefly touched on earlier in this post. Twenty is too young to date if you are not ready for it. I think that each person on this planet is different from every other. So there is no set age that is too young. Obviously, let's not go overboard, because I know sixteen year olds that are very mature and if the Lord was in it, maybe it would be His will for them to date and marry young. But I think that it's different for everyone and for that reason, we can't really set boundaries.

I will say that in my opinion, anything under about sixteenish is quite young and if you were dating that young, maybe you should evaluate your reasons and spend some time seriously seeking the Lord.

I'd like to close with a bit of a recap. :)

I am no expert on this subject.
The best thing to do is pray a lot. This is a difficult and confusing time of life, so it is wise to be as close to God as possible!
Feelings are unavoidable. It's what we do with them that we can change.
Try not to think about anyone of the opposite gender.
Take every feeling and every conflicting or confusing thought to the Lord. And leave all your burdens with Him. He can deal with them.
Be very, very careful about getting emotionally attached to people at the wrong time.
Courtship vs. Dating: no right answer. Talk to your parents, and pray about it.
Chase God, not boys/girls.
The decision you make about who you marry will affect the rest of your life.
Take the issue of you remaining single to the Lord, if it's something you're worried about. Keep doing that. The Lord will give you His peace.
We can't set one specific age as being 'too young to date' because everyone's different. Be very careful, whenever you do it, and carefully monitor your reasons for doing it.

Thanks for reading my humble opinion on this very complicated subject!!
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Monday, 22 June 2015

Traditions For a Birthday

So it's June, and we don't have any family birthdays in June. So I decided to write a post about our family birthdays. Traditions, what we do to celebrate, etc. Are you ready? Ready or not, here we go!

Note: Before we begin, just wanted to clarify that 'birthday child' could also mean Mum or Dad. Some of the things obviously Mum and Dad don't do, and as we've grown older, some of us older kids have ditched a few of the traditions mentioned here. The majority of them we all do, however.

In the weeks leading up to the big day:
- The birthday child makes sure every family member knows their gift requests (if they have any).
- The birthday child chooses what sort of cake they would like and makes sure the baker (of their choice) knows exactly how to make it and any small (or large) details that the birthday child requests.
- The BC (birthday child) puts all necessary cake making things (special lollies, fondant icing if required, etc) on the shopping list so it gets purchased.
- The BC hunts around in his or her drawer/desk/stuff container for their Christmas stocking and makes sure it is going to be easily locatable for the night before the big day.
- The BC puts in his or her request for a special 'birthday tea' (Mum makes the tea the birthday child likes the best. Chow mein or lasagna are popular choices for birthday teas.)

The day before the big day:
- The BC makes sure the cake baker bakes the cake. It doesn't normally get decorated until the actual birthday, however.
(Interlude: Here are a bunch of photos of a few of the cakes we've made and eaten to celebrate birthdays in the past... there is a recentish one, a few old, old ones, and some old ones.)

- In the evening, the BC pulls out their Christmas stocking and puts it outside their bedroom door. This is a very important tradition.

The long awaited day itself:
- The BC wakes up at whatever time suits him or her. They rush to the bedroom door and peek inside their stocking. It's always full of exactly the same thing every year, but it's still terribly exciting. It will be full of a mandarin or orange (depending on the time of year and how lucky they are), a wrapped lolly and a $2 coin. This is what each of us gets in our birthday stocking every year. It's a tradition. :)
- The BC arises and dresses. They then walk out to the dining room, where they seat themselves at their usual place at the table. The place is known as the 'birthday chair' and has sprouted two balloons on it during the night. The siblings (who usually arise early on a sibling's birthday) will have brought their various presents and arranged them around the placemat of the BC. The BC is not allowed to open them yet however, oh no! They must wait, tantalised by the shape and size of the mysterious gifts.
- Abbie brings out the special breakfast for the birthday child. For some reason, one of our birthday traditions is that Abbie makes them breakfast. :) She usually does something like pancakes with berry sauce or some other fancy thing. For my last birthday she made donuts. On Abbie's birthday one of us makes her breakfast.
- After the birthday child has breakfasted at their leisure, they have a very impatient time of waiting for Mum and Dad to get up. They aren't allowed to open any of the presents so tantalisingly arranged around their place at the table.
- When Mum and Dad get up, Mum brings out into the dining room the presents from themselves, grandparents, and uncle and aunty. This is now the big moment the birthday child has been waiting for.
- Everyone gathers round as the birthday child is allowed to open the gifts. There are often cries of "That one's from me" and "Open that one next" or "I know what's in that one!"
- After the gifts are all opened, the birthday child will usually (if they are an older child) write down exactly who gave them what so they know who to write thank you notes to. If they are a younger child, they generally skip this step.
- The BC now has a free day. If the birthday falls on a weekday, the BC is very lucky, because they don't have to do schoolwork on their birthday. If it is on a weekend, however, the birthday child doesn't get to miss out on any schoolwork because they wouldn't have done it on that day anyway.
- They will usually get a special lunch if it is so requested, maybe nachos or homemade pizza or pumpkin soup.
- The birthday child also has the whole afternoon to do what they please in (provided they aren't going to any activities like swimming or a music lesson or sport practice). The birthday child is also exempt from any of their usual or extra chores on their birthday.
- Often the birthday child will help to decorate their cake during the afternoon of their birthday. Some birthday children like to leave it all in the hands of the capable baker, while others consider it much more fun to oversee and/or participate in the affair.
- In the evening, the special placemats are brought out. The birthday placemats are flower ones, with roses and lupins on them. (The everyday placemats are roosters on a green background.)
- The specially requested birthday tea is dished up, and everyone eats. After that it really gets exciting.
- Daddy pours everyone a glass of sparkling grape juice.
- One of the older girls puts candles on the cake and someone is sent to man the lights.
- The candles are lit and the lights are all switched off.
- As the older girl brings the cake from the kitchen bench to the table, everyone sings the birthday child "Happy Birthday", closely followed by "For He/She's a Jolly Good Fellow". We then all clap to the number the birthday child is turning. So if Jacob was turning four, we would clap four times. If it was Mum or Dad, we'd clap for substantially longer. :)
- The cake bearer parades the cake around the table so everyone can get a good look. Then they set it down in front of the BC who blows out the candles, and the light person switches the lights back on.
- Someone dishes up the cake. If the BC is an older child, they do it, if not, an older child does it. Danella often ends up getting the job for some random reason.
- After everyone has eaten far too much cake, we do Birthday Blessings. Birthday blessings is when everyone prays for the birthday child. Everyone prays, from those who can barely talk, right up the line. We thank the Lord for the birthday child and the wonderful blessing it is to have that person in our family. We ask for the Lord's hand on their life, and that they would have a wonderful year.
- Then everyone is excused from the table and we all do our normal evening activities. Usually the birthday child is allowed to stay up a bit later than normal, and will play a board game with either Mum or Dad, or if they're lucky, both.

And that's it!! I didn't actually think we had that many birthday traditions, but looking back on that list, there is quite a few!

What birthday traditions do you have in your household?
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Saturday, 20 June 2015

A + A // Camp, Conference + Hug Connoisseur

My goodness, I haven't done an awkward and awesome post for yonks! Must be time for another one, don't you think?

- Spraining your ankle on the second day of camp and hopping/hobbling around for the rest of the week.
- Being introduced to new people by someone else and having the someone else stand there and elaborate on your virtues for ages..... SO awkward....
- Beginning to tell a joke and remembering halfway through that you don't remember the punch line. Thankfully someone else knew the joke already and thoughtfully provided the punch line.
- The joys of travelling with lots of little ones... having your seat kicked repeatedly for five hours straight by the child behind you, being deafened by the baby beside you, and being covered in little bits of apple by the aforementioned baby beside you who delights in chewing bits of apple and spitting the mouthful all over you. :) Ah, travelling.
- Filming a video and disliking your attempts ten times. The eleventh time the video was sort of slightly more acceptable than the last few had been!
- Starting the same sentence three times, and someone talking over you every time.
- Having a silly conversation with someone and digging yourself into a hole. Awkward much.
- The fact that Jana has broken the family record (which I, in my babyhood, previously held) for the most disgusting thing a baby in this family has done. I won't go into the details, but Jana's escapade involved the toilet that one of the younger ones had neglected to flush. It also involved a lot of disinfectant after it was discovered. Don't ask what Jana did. Or what I did. Trust me. You don't want to know.
- Struggling for ages to make a programme. Spreadsheets, what fun. My Excel skills are extremely limited.

- Spending time with old friends and meeting wonderful new ones.
- Coming home from conference to a warm house and a lovely tea cooked by the wonderful members of your family who didn't go the conference. A nice meal after a long trip is delightful.
- Watching funny/silly youtube videos. Like this one.
- Getting hold of an absolutely incredible book (that you've been wanting to read for ages), and purposefully reading it as slowly as you can because you're enjoying it so much you want to prolong the pleasure. I almost never do that.
- After what I told you about Jana in the second to last point in the 'Awkward' section, here's a cute photo of her that I found hidden in the depths of a computer folder recently. It was taken in February this year, when little Miss Jana turned one.

- Seeing daffodil shoots coming up out of the ground. It's little things like that that cheer me up and remind me that winter won't last forever.
- Winter is nice, though. Getting to wear nice thick jerseys and wooly socks... the simple pleasures of life! And snuggling into bed at the end of the day and pulling up lots of blankets over you and being nice and toasty and warm... I love being warm.
- Hugging people who give good hugs. There are definitely people out there who give better hugs than others. I should write a post someday on how to give a good hug. I'm, like, a self professed hug connoisseur.
- The fact that I am nearly at five hundred posts! I have something slightly awesome lined up for then... prepare to be excited... and.... wait for it.......okay, you're officially allowed to be excited now!

And with that news I shall leave you.

Are you a self professed hug connoisseur? (Extra marks if someone else thinks you are, too.)
What's your favourite thing about winter?
Ever sprained an ankle?
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Thursday, 18 June 2015

have a brilliant day :P

This was sent to us by a friend as one of those funny chain emails. It's a whole lot of final exam answers... answered by 16 year olds.... I'm posting it because it's seriously HILARIOUS!!
I hope you get as much enjoyment out of it as I did. :)


Remember these kids are our future!​
The following questions were set in last year's Finals examination.

These are genuine answers (from 16 year olds).

Q. Name the four seasons.
A.. Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Q. How is dew formed?
A.. The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.

Q. What guarantees may a mortgage company insist on?
A.. If you are buying a house they will insist that you are
well endowed.

Q. What are steroids?
A. Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.

Q. What happens to your body as you age?
A.. When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.

Q. Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A.. Premature death.

Q. How can you delay milk turning sour?
A.. Keep it in the cow.

Q. How are the main 20 parts of the body categorised (e.g. The abdomen)?
A.. The body is consisted into 3 parts - the brainium, the borax and the abdominal cavity.
The brainium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs and
the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels: A,E,I,O,U

Q. What is the fibula?
A.. A small lie.

Q. What does 'varicose' mean?
A.. Nearby.

Q. Give the meaning of the term 'Caesarean section'
A.. The caesarean section is a district in Rome

Q. What is a seizure?
A.. A Roman Emperor.
(Julius Seizure, I came, I saw, I had a fit.)

Q. What is a terminal illness?
A. When you are sick at the airport.

Q. What does the word 'benign' mean?
A.. Benign is what you will be after you be eight

Q. What is a turbine?
A.. Something an Arab or Shreik wears on his head.
Once an Arab boy reaches puberty, he removes his diaper and wraps it around his head.

Hahaha! I read them again just now and can't stop laughing.... :)
Here's my prayer for you, my blog readers, just before I close.

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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Significance of the Swaddling Cloths and the Sacrifical Lamb

Good morning, friends!

Well, it is my great pleasure and privilege to share with you today something very awesome. We were at a conference last weekend, and we were blessed to hear lots of wonderful speakers. Something that one of them said was so cool and amazing that I just had to share it with you. It's slightly complicated-ish, so bear with me, but trust me, it's well worth it!

The Significance of the Swaddling Cloths and the Sacrificial Lamb

Luke 2:8-12 KJV
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

So here we have some shepherds, and they're busy in the field, keeping watch over their flock of sheep. Suddenly an angel turns up and tells them that the Christ has been born, and he's wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

Why were those words so significant? What special meaning would swaddling clothes have to a bunch of shepherds?

Well, firstly, the shepherds in those days were not ignorant. To be a shepherd was a highly qualified job, believe it or not. They were called shepherd-priests and were well trained in all the Scriptures. Why? Because they had a very important job, that of caring for and preserving all the special sacrificial lambs.

Numbers 6:14
There they are to present their offerings to the Lord: a year-old male lamb without defect for a burnt offering, a year-old ewe lamb without defect for a sin offering, a ram without defect for a fellowship offering....

In ancient Israel, in the Old Testament times before Jesus came, lambs without defect were very precious because they were the ones that were used for the sacrifices and offerings. God had commanded that only perfect animals were to be used. When a ewe was about to give birth, the shepherds would take the ewe into the special birthing place. There, inside, the shepherds would catch the lamb, and if it was perfect, without spot or blemish, would wrap it real tightly in swaddling clothes and lay it on its back for an hour. It would lie there, struggling away, getting stronger and stronger. Then after an hour or so the shepherds would unwrap it and stand it up by its mother to drink. They would do this so the lamb would gain strength trying to escape from its swaddling. If they didn't do this, the lamb would struggle to stand on its own and would fall over trying to drink from its mother, which would make it not perfect, and unable to be used for the sacrifices.

So a potential sacrificial lamb was wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Do you see the significance of what Jesus was wrapped in now?

As soon as the shepherds heard that the baby was wrapped in swaddling clothes they would have been like, "sacrificial lamb!" Being shepherd-priests, they were well trained in the Scriptures and were familiar with all the prophecies about how the Messiah would come.

Don't you think it's awesome that the very first people the wonderful news was told to were shepherds... the ones who would understand the significance of what was happening.

The shepherds would put the potential sacrificial lambs in swaddling clothes. They found Jesus in swaddling clothes.

Jesus was perfect, without defect, spot or blemish. He never sinned. And He sacrificed himself... for the sins of the world!

Christ was the ULTIMATE sacrificial lamb.

Isn't that amazing!
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Sunday, 14 June 2015

Find God First, Everything Else Will Follow

Hi everyone!!

Today's going to be an unusual post. It's going to be a reflective post. An opportunity-for-you-to-add-your-thoughts post.

It all started when the thought randomly popped into my head (as thoughts are apt to do), "The more we get to know God, the more we find that we do not know ourselves."
I was a wee bit surprised that that thought popped into my head. Because after contemplating it for a while, I decided that I heartily disagree with it, for several reasons, but you can decide for yourself whether you disagree or agree.

I haven't really thought about it much before. So I googled it (as you do). And here are the top five search results I came up with.

You'll notice that they are slightly different from the original statement that I came up with. Which is okay. Because I know that my brain is weird, and possibly no one else has thought much about that sort of thing before.

But those search results got me REALLY interested.

Take out the first one. That seems to be just a pinterest board and looks like something slightly different.

Look at the titles of the middle three search results.

"Knowing Thyself is Key to Knowing God"
"Know Yourself That You May Know God"
"Notes on the more than human saying: 'Unless you know..."

Oh my goodness!

This is terrible!

I couldn't believe (and still can't) that people say this sort of stuff. Because knowing myself is key to knowing God how??? How can knowing myself better help me know God better??!!

If you think about it, it makes no sense at all.

Look at the last google search result. The Rick Warren one. I highlighted it to illustrate the contrast between the middle three and it. It's directly opposite to the others.

The other three said (paraphrased slightly), to find God, know yourself. The last one said, to find yourself, focus on God.

See? Direct contrast. Opposites.

To me, the whole thing seems slightly weird. How could people think that the key to knowing God better is to know yourself? God is the centre.. the source... the alpha, the omega, the beginning, then end. You see, to aim to know yourself better for the purpose of knowing God better is very self centered. It makes it seem like you're in control... that you're the goal, not God. That in you lies the key to everything.

Friends, please listen carefully. In you does NOT lie the key to everything.

God is the key to everything. End of story. You do not have the answers. God does. He is perfectly in charge, and is absolutely everything... in itself.

This is sort of complicated, and forgive me if I'm not explaining it very well!! It makes sense to me and my prayer is that it will make sense to you, too.

Society nowdays is full of this whole "man is everything" philosophy. A quick search (click here, for example) reveals a colossal quantity of self-centred 'inspiration'.

Such as this:

The problem with this sort of mindset is that it implies that you are everything, that everything starts and ends with you.

It doesn't!!! Nothing could be further from the truth!!

God is everything. He has always been, and he always will be, everything. There is nothing wrong with 'finding yourself' (whatever that actually means?!) as long as your focus is on God. You see, if your priorities are right, your life will make sense. If God is your all, then everything slots into place. That Charles De Lint quote has God and us swapped round. It should be "You've got to find God first. Everything else'll follow."

That's partly why there's so many messed up people in the world. Society has switched us with God, and it's not working. 

Focus on God... and I think you'll find that you do find yourself. I think that the more you know God, the more you will find that you'll know yourself.

What do you think?

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Friday, 12 June 2015

Tour of my Bedroom

So I was thinking that maybe, since most of my blog readers don't know me personally, it might be kind of fun to do a sort of 'tour of my bedroom', in photos, so that you all get to see where I sleep and study. There are quite a few little personal knick-knacks and random things in my room that I'd like to show you. :)

So firstly, I just want to clarify exactly what my room is. It is our guest room. We don't have guests too often, so I've personalized it somewhat, but when we do, I get kicked out. :P We don't all have our own rooms! Most of us share, and it's only been in recent times that I've been shifted to my 'own' room. Besides, the bed in this room is dusty and gives most of my family members hay fever if they sleep in it. I'm not affected by it so guess who sleeps in it. :P

This is my desk. It stands in the right hand corner of my room. This is where I do all of my studying, and you'll most likely find me at it if you come by our house on a weekday morning! On the floor by the desk is my work backpack, with my uniform in it, and my cycling gear, for biking to work twice a week. 

Closeup of what's on the desk. The cross stitch was made by Sophie and says, "Hang in there". I love the picture. :) The blue thingy on the left is a birthday present from a friend, it's a 'desktop fishing set' and has a lot of little fish-shaped paper clips. I think it's kinda cute. The papers on my desk don't normally live there and I nearly took them off for the photo, but then left them on in the end because I wanted to show you that my room is most definitely not always completely tidy! I'm human too... 

This framed poem sits on the wall above my desk. Mum wrote it for me when I was born. It's a name acrostic. I treasure it immensely... it's very special to me! The butterfly on the frame is actually a hair accessory I think, but I like it on the frame and think it looks cool. It goes with the room decorations, which is mostly why it's there.

Here we have my windowsill. From left we have my rock collection, a framed rabbit etching I did yonks ago, and my four wee dogs.

On the right of the dogs is my name sign. Johnny made it for me out of popsicle sticks and gave it to me a wee while ago.

And here is a close up of my dogs. Well, I say dogs, but the second one from the right is actually supposed to be a white tiger cub, I think. I included him with the dogs because he's cute. :P I used to know the names of them all, and I feel terrible that I've forgotten them!! The only name I remember is Max... he's the black one on the right, and my favourite, hence why I remember what I named him.

My rock collection. I picked them all up on various family holidays. I'm  no rock expert, I just like the look of them. The far left one is all shiny. The second-from left one is my favourite because it's in the shape of a heart... I just think that's so cool! One of my brothers gave it to me. The second-from-right one is shiny on the inside, you can't see from looking down at it. The far right one is obsidian and has glassy bits on it.

My little stool beside my bed. I have a few books on it that I'm reading at the moment. I've also got my torch, lip balm and alarm clock. Above the stool on the dresser is the due dates for my law course progress reviews. I see them every time I get up and go to bed and it reminds me when I'm supposed to be handing them in.

On top of my dresser now. Wow, there's a lot of stuff isn't there!!

We'll start from the left and work our way over, shall we?? :) On the far left is my desk calendar that got given to me by someone, can't remember who! I change it each day and it reminds me of the date. Behind it is my red panda Perry, and on his left (our right) is my soft toy spaniel, Ezekiel. I've had him since I was very young. He holds a very special place in my heart. ;)

Moving right along. In the foreground are my three painted stones. Far left is one I purchased quite a few  years ago. Middle is one Danella painted for me a few months ago at my request, and I wrote the words on the front and my favourite Bible verse on the back. Far right is one that one of my younger siblings painted. Behind the stones are two china figures, a bird and a rabbit, that sit on my dresser for some random reason.

And here we have my wee miniature trophy and piece of paua. The paua I found on a recent trip down south. I'm hoping to make it into a key ring tag one day, but I haven't gotten round to it  yet. 

And the trophy. (A close up because I'm proud of it!) I made it myself. The body is actually out of a torch that gave up. The handles are tin foil, rolled up tightly and squished into shape. Then I hot glued the whole thing together. It used to look better, but one of the  handles fell off so I reglued it and then it looked a bit funny. Oh well. 

Some of my (many) soft toys. Top is my teddy bear, Theodore. Next is a duck my grandparents gave me for Christmas many, many years ago. His name is Christopher. In his lap sits my netball umpiring whistle. You can't see her properly, but next to Christopher is my little hand sewn rabbit, who I need to find the time to finish sewing (she doesn't have feet or a proper hat yet) and haven't named yet. If you want to see her, scroll back up to the photo of my entire dresser top. She is right in the centre there.

And here is my whistle. Well actually it's a bullet shell a friend gave me, and taught me how to use it to whistle. It's hiding at the back of my dresser which is why I took a separate photo of it. It's actually really cool.

Back to the desk. Next to that is the mirror/wardrobe, and next to that is a random painting we found in some random place.

And (last picture, thank goodness!) here is the back of my door. I wanted to show you all the flowers I have on it. They are cut out of an old calendar. The picture on the wall is a print of one an artist painted, we visited his gallery a few years ago. And underneath that is all my law course textbooks and papers and stuff.
Whew, that was a rather long post! It was almost too long for one post, but not long enough to break into two sections and post separately. Oh well. You made it through. Congratulations!!
What lives in your bedroom? Do you tend to collect and display random knick knacks and things?
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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Two 'Lifes'

One of the things that I learned on the camp I've just been at is absolutely amazing (well, all of it was, but this is especially good!) and I wanted to share it with you. So here it is.

Genesis 2:4-7*
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

It's the bit I highlighted that I want to talk about today. How God breathed into Adam's nostrils the breath of life.

In the original Hebrew, there are two forms of 'life'.
CHAYA - is the singular form, and means literally, 'life'.
CHAYIM - is the plural form, and means, 'lives'.

It's interesting that in the Genesis passage the word used is not the singular form, as it would appear from how it is translated into English. But 'chayim' is used. Which means lives.
So translated properly, the phrase should read, "breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives".

Breath of lives? Why on earth does it say that??!

Let's look at Genesis 1:29-30.
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

 Again, I've highlighted the bit I want to talk about.

Now this is really interesting. The Hebrew word used in this context for 'life' is 'chaya', which, as you'll remember, is the singular word. So it has been accurately translated here when talking about the animals, but previously, when talking about Adam, it should have been translated 'lives'.

What is going on here?

Let's think about the two** Greek words for life.

BIOS - refers to biological life. Has a very set time frame, a beginning and an end.
ZOE- used for divine life, or life of God. It doesn't have a set time frame. It is eternal, going on and on and on.

Isn't it interesting that God gave Adam 'lives', whereas he only gave the animals 'life'?

I'd like for us now to look at a whole bunch of New Testament Bible verses and think about which Greek word for life is used in each instance.

2 Tim 2:4 (KJV)
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Luke 8:14-15
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.  But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

The Greek word used in each of the two above verses for 'life' is 'bios'. Remember, 'bios' refers to biological life. Keep that in mind, and have a look at these verses.

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

1 John 5:11
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

The Greek word used in each of the two above verses for 'life' is 'zoe'. Remember, 'zoe' refers to divine life, the life of God, life that goes on for ever and ever.

Genesis 3:1-5
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

We know that Eve ate the fruit that she wasn't allowed to eat. What did God say would happen to her? That she would die. And what happened to her? She didn't die straight away.

Now let's connect all the loose ends.

So God breathed two lives into Adam. Bios (human) life, and zoe (eternal) life. When man sinned, the zoe life was cut off from them. So they didn't die straight away. But they were left with only  human life, bios life. They couldn't live forever and ever in eternity with God anymore.

John 1:4
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

The word for 'life' used here is 'zoe'. This verse is talking about Jesus. Jesus had both lives - bios, having an earthly body, and zoe, being God's Son.

So how do we get that second life?

When we place our faith in the living God, He comes and lives inside of us.

Colossians 17
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

When Christ comes and lives inside of us, we have our bios life, which stops when our life on this earth is over. But because we have the eternal life found in our Saviour, it's not all over.

In fact, it's just the beginning.

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*All Scripture quotations are from the NIV version unless otherwise indicated.

**There is a third Greek word that refers to life, 'psuche', which talks about your emotional and psychological life, but it's a bit of a roundabout one and doesn't really have any bearing on what we're discussing.

Monday, 8 June 2015

A Bit of a Random Post + Information on Changes

Good morning, friends!

This is going to be a bit of a random post, so please, bear with me!

I wanted to share these photos with you because I think they are awesome!! :) So on the camp I was at last week, we played fire soccer. Fire soccer is basically soccer with the ball set on fire. It's quite scary to watch, but fun to play, I'm told!

Unfortunately I could only watch and take photos. I couldn't play because I had sprained my ankle. A week later, I'm still hobbling around everywhere! It's a bit annoying but oh well, that's life.

My handsome brothers posing in their hockey uniforms

Don't you just love this?? Jana and I in our matching purple stripy tops. :) :) 

Annndddd.... Jana and I again because I love this photo!
So some of you may have noticed, and some of you may not have, but I've recently updated all my blog's pages.
I've got a new page entitled: "Blog Purpose + Why This Blog Exists" which sort of sets out my mission statement and reason(s) for having a blog. I love this page. I think it clarifies exactly why I do what I do quite nicely. Have a look at it and let me know what you think!
I've got a new page entitled: "Blog Post Directory" which is something I've been wanting to do for ages but haven't gotten round to it! It's a directory which includes a long list of a lot of my favourite /most popular posts, and it's a list that will constantly grow as I continue to blog. I love this directory because it has all my 'best' (in my opinion, anyway!) posts. And it's easy to find something. Everything is neatly categorised in an orderly manner. Do check it out. You might find something interesting you haven't read before.
I've updated my 'About' page, and given it a new title: "The Girl Behind The Blog". The new page is similar to the old one, but it's subtley different and new. I like it. Have a look.
I've also updated and modified my "Meet My Family" page. It still has the same title because I couldn't think of a title I liked more. :) I have some new photos of some of my family members, and a few other little changes here and there.
The last modification was to my guestbook. Now, I had originally had that as a sort of random page, with people invited to comment when they discovered it. So I had about fifty comments of people saying they had found it. A while ago I decided that was a bit silly, so I updated it to be a guestbook. I thought since I already had like fifty 'signatures' to that page, I could make it a guestbook and have a sort of headstart!! But the problem with that was that all the new readers who came along became confused. So I've deleted all the "I found this page" comments, kept the ones that are still relevant and revamped the page. :) I've also given it a new title, "Ze Book for Ze Guests" because I wanted something a bit different from your average 'Guestbook'. Do head on over there and 'sign' it.
Thank you so much, dear readers, for your patience while I was revamping and changing up my pages. I'm so happy with the new (and newly refreshed old) pages!
I considered doing a 'contact' page, but I didn't in the end, for several reasons. One, because I already have a contact form on my sidebar, and two, because no one EVER uses that contact form so I figure a page for a contact form would be used just as seldom, and three, because I can never find a contact form host that I like using. ;)
One thing I wondered about with my new pages was what pages to have in there. So here's my question for you. Is there anything else/different you'd like to see? What sort of pages do readers like? I'd love to hear your thoughts on what pages to have. After all, this blog is for you, so let me know what you'd like.

Sophie working some magic in the kitchen

A beautiful sunset we had recently

I thought there were way more photos on the camera that I could put in this post, but obviously not. So you'll just have to content yourselves with these. :)
I'd like to leave you with a thought/quote that has been following me around recently:

"Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words."
-Francis of Assisi
Don't forget to leave me a comment and let me know what you think about all the changes!

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Friday, 5 June 2015

Bonnie's Opinion: What is God's love language?

Photo taken by me, looking down our street

Ever heard of the five love languages? (If you haven't, click here to find out more and take the love language test.)

Real quickly, there are five love languages. Quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service and gift-giving. Most individuals on this earth feel more loved by one of the languages than the others, and show love best by using that language. For example, my love language is physical touch. Hugs are very special to me (in fact, if I go for a few days without physical contact with anyone, I start to crave it!). I just love to cuddle up next to someone on the couch. And I show love by giving people hugs and back rubs.

I was thinking about this whole idea of love languages recently... and wondered, what is God's love language?

First of all, I immediately thought of my own language and was like, yip, God's love language is physical touch.
Obviously, God can't exactly hug us physically since he's in a different realm, but he touches us emotionally. The Holy Spirit can be very tangible. People can be healed from physical problems. Our lives are changed when God comes and touches us. And what is more physically touching than Jesus who was sent to live on earth to die on a cross for our sins? That was a physical thing to do. And it touches us. There's another aspect of Physical Touch in our relationship with God, and that is the physicality of our worship – the raising of our hands, bowing down or dancing before him with abandonment as David did. Or the laying on of hands in prayer.

But then, maybe God's love language is words of affirmation.
Philippians 4:13“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” God strengthens us. When we are feeling discouraged, tired and weary, God encourages. Isaiah 42:3 "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out." I have found many times in my life when I've felt like I needed encouragement, and God was right there, beside me, supporting me when I needed it most.

Or maybe God's love language is gift-giving.
I think that the greatest gift of all ever given was the gift of Jesus, which was a gift God gave. God having a love language of gifts would make sense. God loves to give gifts. He gave us this earth, trees, sunshine, fellow human beings... those are all wonderful gifts. And he loves it when we reciprocate and give him the gift of ourselves. We have nothing to offer him... but ourselves.

I wonder if God's love language is acts of service.
Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Remember that time Jesus came and washed his disciple's feet? (Find it in John 13:1-17.) He was displaying acts of service wherever he went in his ministry.

Perhaps God's love language is quality time.
God loves to spend time with us. He loves it when we spend time with him. He loves to talk to us, interact with us, spend time with us. Luke 10:38-42 tells the story of when Jesus went to Mary and Martha's house. He didn't find Martha's acts of service as valuable to him as Mary's quality time, who sat at his feet, just being with him.

And then I looked over my list and was like, I don't think any one of those love languages is specifically God's love language. You know what? I think God speaks love in all languages equally.

Each individual feels most loved when we speak love in their special language. But God, being omnipotent, all loving, and all wise, speaks all languages equally. He knows how to speak to us most by speaking to us in our love language (not all the time, but often). And when we speak any of the languages to him, he feels loved. I don't think he feels more loved by any one than another, he loves them all.

Romans 5:8 - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Peter 5:6-7 - Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Psalm 86:15 - But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Have you heard of the five love languages before? 
What's your love language?
What do you think God's love language is? 
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PS. Thank you so much to my four lovely guest bloggers who posted for me over the last few days. :) Unfortunately one of the ones I had lined up to post had to pull out for unforseen circumstances, but that's life. :)
I've been on camp for a week and it's been incredible. I've got lots of exciting things to share with you about what the Lord has been teaching me.