Saturday, 31 October 2015


I got all I need when I got you and I
I look around me, and see a sweet life
I'm stuck in the dark but you're my flashlight
You're getting me, getting me through the night
Can't stop my heart when you shinin' in my eyes
I can't lie, it's a sweet life...

- From 'Flashlight' by Jessie J

This song continues on the main theme. When I first heard it, I kind of figured it was probably written about a relationship between a girl and a guy (or a woman and a man, whichever way you want to look at it). It's the sort of song people write nowdays. About how a relationship (the perfect relationship, no less) and being in love will make you happy and complete you.

I got all I need when I got you and I
I look around me, and see a sweet life

It sounds like such a nice, box-of-fluffy-ducks thought, doesn't it. Doesn't it? It does to me. :) A girl and a guy, together, in the perfect relationship, happy and fulfilled in each other. Aah, how nice. Surely this is how relationships work.

Hang on a minute. Maybe we should have a bit more of a think about this.

I got all I need when I got you and I

Excuse me? You what?
Since when did finding a flawed human being to attach yourself to gave you everything you need?

On the surface they sound like such nice, innocent lyrics. But they aren't.

This song - and countless songs and movies and media presentations like this one - are very responsible for society being what it is today.

You see, we hear songs like this and think, oh, the reason I'm not happy is because I don't have a boy/girl to love me. I'm not happy because I don't have a 'you and I'. But do you know why that's dangerous thinking?

Because it isn't true.

You get into a relationship. You get a 'you and I'. You will very quickly discover that being in a relationship does not make you fulfilled. Being in love does not mean you are complete. The other person will not, and cannot, complete you.

Because that's just how it works. You are flawed. So is the other person. (Spoiler alert: this fact is absolutely guaranteed.) Being in love will be absolutely wonderful, sure. But it will not be the fulfillment of everything. It will not make you a complete person.

Ladies and gentlemen, the only thing that can complete you, the only thing that can fill that empty, aching hole in your heart... is our Lord. God created you with a hole that only He can fill. People search everywhere for things to fill their holes... but they search in the wrong places. They think being in love will complete them, fill their hole, make them happy. And then they are surprised when it doesn't work that way.

Because in a relationship you must give all of yourself. You have to work at it. It's a journey. Give 110%, every day. And if you think marriage will be easy? Think again. (Read this blog post. It's brilliant.)

So what am I trying to say in all this? I guess I'm trying to say how foolish it is to get all wrapped up in lyrics like the lyrics to 'Flashlight'. They're nice lyrics. But whatever you do, don't expect all your troubles to magically end as soon as you fall in love.

One thing I thought of was the fact that the lyrics to 'Flashlight' could just as easily be sung about Jesus as about anyone else. No really, it's true. See -

I got all I need when I got you and I
I look around me, and see a sweet life
I'm stuck in the dark but you're my flashlight
You're getting me, getting me through the night
Can't stop my heart when you shinin' in my eyes
I can't lie, it's a sweet life...

I got all I need when I got you and I - yes, yes, yes! If we have God, our life is complete. Fulfilled. We have everything we need. So true. Philippians 4:19 "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

I look around me and see a sweet life - yup. God is faithful. Life truly is wonderful when you're following the Lord. :) Psalm 36:5 "Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds."

I'm stuck in the dark but you're my flashlight - John 8:12 "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." Jesus is the light of the world. He's definitely a flashlight, only brighter!

You're getting me, getting me through the night - When God is with us, we can go through anything. Job 1:21 "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." He gets us through any darkness, night or trials we may go through.

Can't stop my heart when you shinin' in my eyes - God is absolutely wonderful. As the hymn says, "Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all." We could never express the magnitude of our love for him... and that could never compare to the magnitude of God's love for us.

I can't lie, it's a sweet life... - We have been greatly blessed. Lamentations 3:22-23 "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

What do you think of when you hear the song 'Flashlight'?
Doesn't it make you so grateful when you think of all the Lord's wonderful blessings? :)
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Wednesday, 28 October 2015


Art. Aaaah, what a lovely thing. The ability to express one's thoughts by putting lines on paper. How nice.

One of my lovely readers (yes, I'm talking about you, Ashley) asked me if I could do a tutorial on how I do my art. First I was like, "sure!". Then I was like, well, I have no idea what sort of art I should do a tutorial on, and besides, doing videos are SUPER annoying (this is why I rarely *read: never* post videos) because they take literally forever to upload. So I'm going to do a post on art, sort of chatting about how I like to produce my art and maybe giving you a couple of tips here and there.
Firstly I'd just like to say that I'm in no way an expert artist. I am learning a lot as I go along, and I think that's really the best way to learn. There's no one way to draw. I'm just doing my best, hopefully producing elephants that look somewhat like elephants, and having lots of fun in the process.
Speaking of elephants, look who we have here!

Behold, you have before your eyes the first official peek into my sketch book. :P
The reason I'm showing you one or two sketch book pages is because I wanted to use my sketch book to illustrate (ten points if you get the pun) my first point.

Point Number 1:
The most important and helpful thing you can do to improve your art is to (yeah, you guessed it) PRACTICE!!!!

You know what they say - practice makes perfect. The only way to improve is to practice.
I'm always drawing. I'll be sketching the backs of people's heads while on the bus (case in point: First drawing on the left page of the photo on the right just above) and all sorts. I'm really lucky that there are great resources out there. One book I've been enjoying lately is How To Draw Everything, by Barrington Barber (note, if you get this book, you'll have to be a bit careful because some of the drawings in it are unnecessarily detailed, especially when it comes to the human body, if you know what I mean). It does have a lot of other great stuff in it though.

The violin drawing on the left page above was done on the morning of a big orchestra concert. The orchestra was all tuned up and was waiting to be called down to the wings of the stage. I was sitting by my violin case so decided to just sketch my violin sitting in the case. An example of how you really can draw anything, anywhere. And really, anything is a great opportunity to practice your skills.

Right, now we'll move on from that little illustration (you know I'm quite proud of that pun, don't you). I'd like to talk about my favourite art supplies (or rather, the art supplies I have, with a commentary on the pros and cons of each supply).

The best thing you can have is this. A book in which to sketch in. Or paper. Any paper will do. Goodness, even dirt will do (you can use a stick to scratch with, if that's how you're planning on doing it). Just find something to use to draw on.

And, just as importantly, find something you can use to draw with. As long as you have something to draw on and something to draw with, you're really all set. Everything else is just extra. (Even the rubber and sharpener aren't completely necessary. Well I guess the sharpener is unless your pencil somehow magically self-sharpens.)

  The next two art supplies on the list are the coloured pencils and watercolour paints. Coloured pencils are great for if you want to colour something in. You have lots of control over what you're putting on the paper, how you're doing it, and the final outcome that is going to be made.

Watercolour paints have the advantage of being really easy to use and spreadable. I love these things. They are in fact, great for backgrounds, for when you want pastel colours, light colours, for when you have a big area to paint and don't want to waste acrylic paint, and just for when you want the outcome to be smooth and beautiful. With watercolours, you mix the paint with water, then brush it onto the page. It really makes a little paint go a long way. I love watercolours, personally. They are so versatile.

Next we have acrylic paints and brushes. (Note: brushes are also useful for watercolour painting.)
Acrylics. Hmmm.. Acrylics are great for when you're doing a detailed scene. Say, I'm painting a flower and I want it to really stand out. I'd use acrylic paints. They don't go as far as watercolours do, because you use the paint by itself. You can mix the colours more easily and make a wide variety. Acrylics are more difficult to make a nice outcome with, maybe easier to mess up.  
And the brushes. Brushes are great. Great for painting.

 The next category of art supplies I'm going to be talking about are pens. Now, if you're not really into artist pens, feel free to skip this bit. If you are, or are curious, read on.
The above are my favourite pens. They are Staedtler fineliners. They are smooth, easy to use, beautiful, come in a wide range of colours (I only have four but would love all the colours haha!) and are so fine. Fineliners are fantastic. They can be used for absolutely anything!! I've used them for decorating my Bible, writing letters, underlining, creating sketchnotes, creating art... really, anything. These things are fantastic.

Ah. These things. On the left we have some Faber Castell Pitt pens. These guys are really awesome. I purchased these tentatively because I wanted some artist pens and didn't really know where to start. It was a good choice.
I have them in four sizes - Bold, Medium, Fine and Small. They are all fineliners, apart from the Bold, which actually has a brush tip. Actually maybe the B stands for Brush, not Bold... anyway I digress! The Brush one is a great option if you want to get into brush pens. The only thing is, it's quite thick and will become worn down really quickly if you press hard. Be careful. The other three are nice. It's great having the different sizes to choose from when lettering.

On the right we have a gold metallic calligraphy pen. I'm not too sure why I bought this, seeing as though I don't use it much. I'd rather have had the silver one, to be honest! Still, I really like how it has two ends, a thick end and a thinner calligraphy end. It is a lovely pen and I have nothing against it, I just don't find it too useful for my purposes!

And last but definitely not least is my Kuretake Zig Calligraphy 2.0 pen. This is pretty cool. It is a proper calligraphy pen, with a lovely end and making a nice line. If you want to try calligraphy or just want a really cool pen, this is a great option. Just be warned though, this particular pen seems to be water based so be really careful if you're using it with watercolor paints or similar.

My biggest piece of art advice, is, as you'll probably remember,

I don't care how you do it, just do it. Actually doing art is so valuable. Drawing, painting, sketching, doodling... it's all very pleasureable and what's more, you'll improve the more you do.

You don't need a bunch of supplies. Pencil and paper is awesome. Anything else is really just extra. You do not need a whole lot of pens, either. I just happen to be a bit of a pen collector. It's quite terrible really.

I'm sorry, Ashley, this didn't really end up being a tutorial, did it! Forgive me!
If anyone would like any specific art 'advice' and you feel I may be able to provide it (who knows, miracles may happen), feel free to leave a comment.

Other than that, have a fantabulous day, and I shall catch you later.
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Sunday, 25 October 2015

Lilla Rose Flexi Clip Review

Hey everyone!

So for positively ages I've been seeing these wee flexi clips around. They are hair clips that are supposed to hold your hair amazingly, feel really comfortable in your hair and be really strong and durable. They are unique pins that come in an array of sizes to fit any head of hair, and colours to complement any outfit.

Anyway, Lilla Rose (the company who makes them) was having a sale recently. So I decided to see for myself if these flexi clips that I'd been hearing so much about really did what they were supposed to do. Besides, they really are extremely beautiful and I loved the idea of such versatile hair clips. So I purchased two - the Tidepool Treasures flexi in extra small, and the Soaring Butterfly in medium.

Then I waited. (Postage to New Zealand seemed to take forever! 11 days in total.)

And then... my beautiful flexi clips arrived.

The first one, Tidepool Treasures, is a beautiful silver clip with blue beading around the figure eight and an aqua blue starfish in the center. It is a lovely clip. I ordered it in extra small because I wanted a clip that could be used for half-up styles and this certainly is proving useful for that.

The second one is a silver clip with a gorgeous silver butterfly placed in the middle. It has deep purple beading in different shades around the outside. It really is beautiful and has probably ended up being my favourite of the two clips I ordered. I got a medium sized Soaring Butterfly and am really happy with the sizing. It's a bit too big to hold my ponytail neatly, but holds buns perfectly if I'm careful with how I position it.


Company service - I found the company sensational and wonderful to work with. They were great with contact, dispatched the clips fast and really gave me a great experience. The clips are well made and certainly live up to the Lilla Rose promises. (There are even guarantees for if you got a size you didn't like.) The clips came beautifully (and safely) packaged. I was really happy with the company service.

Clips themselves - While I do love the clips, there are a couple of things I would mention:
- They aren't as comfortable to wear as I was imagining. The reviews I read said they were extremely comfortable, and the website said so too. While they certainly aren't uncomfortable, they do take a bit of getting used to and I can feel the clip is there, especially if I had to dig it into my hair quite deep to get it to hold properly.
- It's a bit harder to use them than I was expecting. All the videos on youtube on how to style them make them look so easy! It can be tricky trying to get them into position neatly, and then to hold all the hair and not fall out. They're easy if you know what you're doing. ;)
- I was a bit disappointed I didn't get a 'small' size. Extra small is just a teeny bit too small to fit my ponytail, and my medium is just too big! I didn't plan that very well, did I. :P There's supposed to be a 'perfect' size for everyone and while you can use most sizes, it's just not as easy. I think small is my perfect size based on my experience of not having it! If I ever get another one, I'm definitely buying the small size. (This isn't anything against the company or the clips, it's my fault for not researching the sizing well enough!)
- If you plan to buy a flexi clip, I'd recommend waiting till the company has a sale. They sometimes have quite big sales so it's wise to wait for one! The clips are surprisingly expensive so you'll want to choose wisely.

So, in conclusion!

I absolutely love the flexi clips. They are beautiful, and once you've played around with styling them a bit, work great! :)
Highly recommended, just wait for a sale on the company's website. ;)

I'm not being reimbursed in any way for my review, I just wanted to review them, just so you know. :)

Have you tried flexi clips? What do you think of them?
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PS. I'm away for a week from today, so any posts between now and a week or so from now are scheduled. :)

Thursday, 22 October 2015


Good morning, friends :)

Today I've got a little story to share with you. 

I learnt the hard way that if you paint watercolour over top of a Kuretake calligraphy pen, the pen will run! Big time!
As you can probably see, the lettering was done with different pens. The two lines of Calligraphy pen ran. They would have been fine if I hadn't been too impatient and lettered the words first (FIRST! Can you believe me? Neither) then watercoloured over the top!!
Oh dear. The price I pay for my impatience.

I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to life in general. (I tend to have a 'she'll be riiiight' attitude rather too often!) But when it comes to my art... I like it to look pretty. I want it to be beautiful. Imperfection is just plain old annoying!

So in times like this, when you make a major botchup (and it wasn't even a mistake - it was just because I got impatient *ouch*) what do you do?

You learn from your mistakes, of course!

As Thomas Edison so famously put it - he didn't fail, he just found a thousand ways to make a lightbulb that didn't work.

I'm not failing when I make art I'm not happy with. I am learning. I am gaining valuable life lessons along the way.

And then when I'm looking through my art book, admiring some art and flipping quickly past other pages, I'm reminded yet again of my imperfection. And of how I'm learning so much through this. How we can't rush things. How impatience is never a good idea.

I'm not going to try and 'fix' the blossom tree painting. I could try. And I think it probably would work. Because I learnt something through botching it up. And every time I see it I'm reminded of what I learnt.

So here's what I've learnt:

  • Imperfection is a great teacher if you will let it teach you
  • If you don't learn from your mistakes, there was no point making the mistake.
  • Never give in to your impatience. Especially not when you're contemplating watercolour painting over a Kuretake calligraphy pen. ;)

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PS. A big thank you to the lovely Margaret from Happy in Heels for her guest post on Bonnie's Blessings! It was lovely to have a bit of a break. Thank you!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Guest Post // Margaret from Happy In Heels

Hi! My name is Margaret and my fashion blog is

I hit a squirrel with an acorn.
I really didn’t mean to. It just turns out that I can throw an acorn a lot faster and more accurately then I thought I could. Oops.
But no worries, said acorn gave said squirrel nothing more than a bad attitude. I feel bad for the squirrel. Not because getting hit by an acorn hurts, but because it would probably be really embarrassing. 
A squirrel getting hit with an acorn is like a kid getting hit with an ice cream cone.
Embarrassment can hold us back from doing amazing things.
So can self-doubt.
I surprised myself by actually being able to hit what I was aiming for. Sometimes we don’t realize what we are capable of.
God intends each of us do to great things.
Hitting a squirrel with an acorn is really not that big of an accomplishment.  But I’m sure that one day I will accomplish big things so long as I don’t let embarrassment and doubt stand in my way.
And so long as I realize that I can hit what I am aiming for.

Thanks for reading my guest post and be sure to check out my blog at



Saturday, 17 October 2015


Thank you so much for all the lovely questions you asked me in my Ask me Anything post. I have had a vast amount of fun answering them all (my goodness you sure are curious.. I mean... anyway- you'll see what I mean, lol) and now we have them - the answers!

I answered all of them. (There are substantially more questions than last time, wow!) There was actually a surprising number of double ups so I didn't answer the extra ones.

Like last time, I've broadly arranged them into the categories to which they fit.


Personal Questions / Questions about Me or My Family

Do you like it when people give you nicknames?
I actually do rather. If it isn't a horrible nickname of course... 

Are you a procrastinator?

Have you read The Lord of the Rings? If so, how long did it take you?
I have read the Lord of the Rings. It probably took me about an afternoon per book. I honestly don't remember because it was many years ago. I read the Hobbit again recently and enjoyed that rather more than I thought I would. The Hobbit is way more awesome than the trilogy. :P And yeah I'm aware that's an unpopular opinion. :P

Have you ever played any sports? 
I certainly have. I can swim, have been part of an athletics club, done gymnastics, played tennis for a few years and netball for quite a few years. I don't play any sports currently.

Who is your best human friend who is not in your family?
Well, probably none of my readers would know her! Her name is Kate, she's two months older than me and absolutely lovely. :)

How tall are you and everyone in your family?
I am 5 feet and 4 or 5 ish inches, lol. Everyone in my family is probably around about 55- 60 feet in total. (Haha I'm aware that's not answering the question :P The answer is I don't actually know everyone's heights)

Do you drink tea or coffee?
I don't like tea or strong coffee, I'll occasionally have a mochachino if the opportunity presents itself. Mocha's are great.

How much money do you have?
I have some savings tucked away in a bank account. 

Do you have many friends?
How many is many? I would say I have many friends. Not bucketloads, but my friends are wonderful so I don't need bucketloads. :) Besides, who is counting friends???

What do you usually have for breakfast?
A lemon and honey drink, maybe cereal, maybe toast, maybe leftovers from the night before. 

How much time do you spend studying each day?
Probably not as much as I should, lol! Half an hour or so music practice, most of the morning studying and some of the afternoon as well. Depends on how much time I have.

Do you, or anyone in your family get pocket money?
We don't get pocket money, but we do have to do housecleaning (every week) which we get paid for.

How many hours of housework do you do a day?
Ummmmm.... I have no idea. I just help at random times of the day and also fold the washing when the stack gets big and people start complaining of not enough clothing, lol :P

What is the latest you've ever gone to bed at?
Like 2 o'clock or something maybe?

Does your family ever get fish and chips? If so, how many scoops of chips do you get?
Occasionally we do. Not very often. I normally consume between a half and a whole scoop.

What makes you feel loved? 
Spending time with people
When people take the time to get to know me and don't just class me as "one of the Smithies"
Good conversations

What is the best compliment someone's ever given you?
People have given me all sorts of lovely compliments. The one that always sticks with me, however (and I actually have NO idea why because it's kinda random, lol) is when after I complained about something squishing my nose, my friend was like, "you've got a small nose, too". I don't even know why I think of that particular compliment, just because I've never thought of myself as having a big nose!! lol :) I'm weird sometimes. 

How many times a year do you make dinner for your family?
When Mum's tired and the other girls are busy.

How heavy are you, and how heavy is everyone in your family?
Now we're getting serious! Why on earth do you want to know my weight?? I'm between 30kgs and 60kgs, does that answer your question? How heavy is everyone in my family, probably about 500kg? Ish?????

What's the longest you've ever slept in?
I'm not much of a sleeper-inner. I can't bear to stay in bed past quarter past eight! 

What's the earliest time you've ever gotten up in the morning?
About 4 o'clock I think.

What do you play with your brothers and sisters?
Good question. It depends on which brothers or sisters it is. If it's any of my 'close in age' sisters, Abbie, Danella and Sophie, it will be a board game, card game, general chat or fashion advice. :P If it's just Danella, it's usually us making music together. She plays either the piano, flute or harp and I play either the violin or piano. It's lots of fun.
If it's Ben or Johnny, it will be a board or card game or doing something active (like hockey, frisbee or cricket in the backyard) together.
If it's Lydia, it might by playing with our Sylvanian families with her, it might be playing with her hair, it might be reading her books, it might be dressing up, jumping on the trampoline, playing houses, hospitals etc, or doing ballet with her.
If it's Caleb or Jacob, it will probably be one of the 'Lydia' category but with the exception of Sylvanians, ballet and hair. :P It also might be one of their favourite games like Pop Up Pirate or Memory.
If it's Jana, it will be reading books, jumping on the trampoline, dancing, carrying her around doing whatever I'm doing, piggybacks, 'horsy' rides, taking her outside to play in the sandpit etc.

How many minutes/hours of free time do you get a day?
Two hours, forty-seven minutes and twelve seconds. Well actually I don't know. It's different every day. :P

What's the furthest you've ever run?
I am hopeless at long distance, so probably round our block a couple of times, lol.

Faith/Christianity/what I believe / thought provoking questions 

What is one thing that makes you really sad?
When people don't realize how blessed they really are and take things for granted. I also hate it when humans cause unnecessary suffering for other humans.

When was the last time you cried?
Two days ago.

Have you ever thought you were about to die?
No, never. Oh actually, the thought fleetingly passed my mind during the Christchurch earthquake back in 2010. That was kind of scary.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?
I really don't know! Playing my violin in front of people requires some serious guts though.....

What's the most difficult choice you've ever had to make?
I had to make a really tricky choice a few months ago. Took a few sleepless nights and some serious prayer but I think I made the right decision in the end.

If either you or your best friend had to die, who would you choose?
Of course I'm going to say me. I'm not going to be all selfish. However, if it was a split second decision in a life-or-death real life situation, I honestly do not know what I would choose. I am a selfish creature. I do not know that I could honestly say I would choose myself. I sincerely hope I would when it came down to it, but yeah.

How old do you want to be when you die, and how would you like to die?
How would I like to die. Shivers. (No that's not the form of death, that's me shivering at the thought.) Peacefully, of course. Who wants to be tortured to death or be ripped apart by sharks? I would like to know death was imminent so I could say my last goodbyes, make sure my family have picked nice photos of me to put up at my funeral, etc. And hopefully at a ripe old age! But all these things are in God's hands. It's really not my decision, haha. :)

If you could think of something that would make you cry what would it be?
Someone I love passing away... really tender touching moments.....God touching me....

Do you have a young man interested in you, or are you in a courtship with anyone?
I am not in a courtship with anyone, no.

What church do you attend, if any at all?
I attend C3 Church Christchurch with my family. It's a great church.

Have you ever dealt with insecurity or thinking you're not worth anything or maybe ugly in your life, and if so, how did you deal with it?
I've dealt with a bit of insecurity here and there, just you know, looking in the mirror and not liking what you see... I think it's something a lot of people struggle with. I wouldn't say it's been major, but it sometimes crops up here and there. And yes, I deal with it by affirming myself through Scripture. Trying to see myself as God sees me, as His beautiful daughter. 

What do you think is just so unfair?
Life. :P

(I just had a thought - I could have renamed this section "Dying and Crying Questions" :P)

Questions about my favourite things / 'Would you rather' questions

Would you rather be smart and ugly or dumb and beautiful?
Ooooh this is such a good question! Haha! I'd probably have to go for the first one, just because I'm not sure how dumb I'd be if I really was beautiful and the thought of being really dumb (Like not-knowing-your-own-name-dumb) scares me. Besides, my closest friends and my family would still love me even if I was ugly. And I'd still be smart. :) 

What is your favorite book?
The Bible of course! It's such a great book. You should read it sometime. 

What is your favorite day of the year?
MY BIRTHDAY AND CHRISTMAS OF COURSE.... how was that not obvious

Would you rather have fingers as long as your legs or legs as long as your fingers? :p 
Oh dear, both scenarios sound kind of depressing!! I wouldn't like being really short so I guess I will say fingers as long as my legs. Then, too, I could reach stuff without getting up from my chair. Maybe that wouldn't be all bad. Lol. Good question!

What is your favourite book of the Bible?

What is your favorite riddle?
Go look at my "About Me" page. :P

What are your favourite worship songs?
I love lots of worship songs! I can't pick one favourite, but I love these ones.
- I Exalt Thee
- Great is Thy Faithfulness
- As The Deer
- How Deep the Father's Love for Us
- Glorified

Question(s) about blogging

What is your favorite blog that's not yours?
I really like Olivia's Fresh Modesty blog. It's a great fashion blog. I have lots of favourite blogs though... You can find a whole lot of my favourite blogs in a list on the sidebar. 

[Really] Random questions

If you had to choose to live without one of your five senses, which one would you give up?
Hmm. Probably either sound or smell. Maybe smell. Yes, smell. I feel like it's the one that would be the easiest to give up (not that any of them would be easy to give up!). 

What is your most bizarre talent?
Not sure. I can do the splits... is that bizarre? Also I can whistle. Someone told me recently that whistling is a dying art. That's sad. Whistling's awesome.

What is the most dangerous thing you've ever done not counting skydiving?
I have honestly got no idea, sorry.

How many words per minute can you type at? How many words per minute can you read at?
I checked it a while ago and it was 92 wpm typing speed. Reading speed I'm not sure.

What's the fastest you've ever biked?
35 km an hour maybe? 40 perhaps. Not sure.

Have you ever dreamed you could fly?
Yes I have, and it is pretty awesome. :) You should all try dreaming it sometime.

Have you ever dreamed you could breathe under water?

What is the thing you have drawn most recently?
This. All completely freehand. 

Which film would you rate a perfect 10 out of 10?
The movies by the Sherwood brothers. Fireproof, Facing the Giants, Courageous, Flywheel and the latest (BRILLIANT) one, War Room. Every Christian should see them.

What is a passion of yours that you can't talk about because no one around you 'gets' it?
Haha there's a really silly one... it's spelling and the English language. I love words. My sisters are great, playing games like Boggle with me. But in my wider friend circle, it's mostly homeschoolers, and there's this big stereotype that homeschoolers can't spell. So no one really has very good spelling and it kind of annoys me. That was such a ramble sorry!

What's been your best birthday ever?
I loved turning 15 and 16, both those birthdays were on a camp and everyone made it really special. Turning 17 was pretty awesome though, I was at home but I had to go to work. My two coworkers made my birthday incredible... one of them gave me this LONG handwritten letter about how much I meant to her and I still read it often because it is just so sweet!!!! Katie, you're awesome by the way, if you're randomly reading this. :D

Can you tell us another of your jokes and riddles? You seem to know heaps.
Hmmm... okay, here we go. 
What's white and can't climb trees?
A fridge. :P

What's been the biggest fright you've ever had?
I do not know, honestly. I've had several big frights.

How do you start a conversation? 
If it's with a girl, I often compliment her on something she's wearing. That's a good conversation starter. If it's with someone else (or I've already complimented her) then I'll talk about anything - the weather, ask them how they've been, ask them what's the best thing that's happened to them all day, ask them what they're doing on the weekend... etc.

What is the longest time you've gone without sleep? ;)
Hours and hours.

Have you ever wished that you could go invisible?
I certainly have. I often think it would be dreadfully useful to be able to go invisible! But you know what they say - eavesdroppers never hear anything good about themselves, lol.

What is your very favourite baby's name? 
That's my secret! Haha. I like traditional Biblical names for boys, and for girls I like long pretty names. 

What would be the best birthday gift that you could ever receive?
That is a very good question. I'm not actually sure, to be perfectly honest with you.

What's the fastest you've ever driven in a car?
Me driving, 115 km an hour. Someone else driving, I'm not sure. 120 maybe?

What's your time in the hundred metre sprint?
When I was 11, I was timed at 17.7 seconds. I would have no clue what it is now. Probably a bit faster than that.

Are you the fastest in your family? If not, who is?
Not counting Dad or Mum, I have been the fastest pretty much my whole life growing up. Danella often gives me a pretty good run, but I can usually beat her. However, my brothers are now very speedy, so I'm not sure I'll be able to retain my title for much longer!

What's the longest book you've ever read?
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss seemed to go on and on. The Bible is a pretty long one too, does that count?!

What's the longest movie you've ever watched?
I have no idea.

Questions about my future

What do you want to do for a career?
At the moment I'm studying to be a legal executive/secretary, so I'd like to get a job in a law office at some point. I'd also quite like to do mission work at some point. And of course hopefully get to be a mum at some stage!! :) It all depends on God's plan, really.

How many kids do you want to have? 
The perfect number.

What is one awesome thing you would do if you were Prime Minister of New Zealand?
(okay, I'll confess. I asked this question to myself :P) 
I would make everyone who has a house with road frontage plant a blossom tree on their lawn.

Do you plan to play any sports in the future? 
My Dad is part of a volleyball team. I'd like to go along to his games and maybe even join in at some point in the future. I haven't really done much volleyball at all so that's something I'd like to do. I'd also like to be able to play soccer to a reasonable extent... not sure if I'll ever pursue that but anyway!

If you could travel to any one country in the world where would it be? 
I'd love to go Israel and get to walk around where Jesus walked. That would be amazing. Other than that, the US has always fascinated me. At some stage I'd like to go over there. 

Would you rather travel back in time or go into the future?
I would probably rather go into the future. I already know what's happened in the past, I do not know what's happened in the future. Therefore since I am curious I would rather see what happens in the future.

Thanks so much for asking me questions! I hope you enjoyed reading my (sometimes frustrating) answers. (But seriously guys, honestly, why do you want to know my weight?!) And that Prime Minister question, my goodness!! (oh wait, that was the one I asked myself).

Anyway, thanks for asking, and I hope you have a fantabulous day.
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Thursday, 15 October 2015

Martin the Warrior... and..... God?

So there's this wonderful series of young adult fiction called Redwall. The author, Brian Jacques, wrote heaps of these books. They're great books. Most of them have a very predicable storyline - some group of baddies (usually foxes, stoats, weasels, rats, ferrets or some combination of those animals) attacks either Redwall itself, or the Badger fort of Salamandastron. A young woodland creature living in one of those fortifications (or sometimes its one who lives elsewhere, just to change it up a bit) must rise to the challenge, raise up an army of peaceful woodland creatures (badgers, hedgehogs, moles, mice, hares, squirrels, otters and shrews, usually), and lead that army to victory over the forces of evil that have invaded their peaceful home. Over the course of the story, many battles are fought, countless songs are sung, great feasts are consumed and new friends are made. They are great stories.

I'd say in most of the stories (I hesitate to say 'all' because I simply cannot remember now if I've ever read a book where this hasn't happened) a character turns up whose name is Martin the Warrior. In the stories towards the beginning of the Redwall timeline, when he is alive, he is simply portrayed as a great warrior who has to overcome some issues about his past. However, towards the end of the timeline, when he is dead (and this is where most of the stories are written) he 'speaks' to the woodland creatures, giving them guidance. He often tells riddles to creatures while they sleep, when they wake they've forgotten his words but the words come back to them later in the crucial moment. He seems to watch everything that goes on and provides guidance to the creatures that need it. There's a great tapestry of him hanging in the feasting hall of the Redwall creatures. They sort of regard him as the greatest of them, the lord, almost as a God, in some situations.

When I first encountered Martin the Warrior I was kind of like woah, who is this guy and what does he think he is doing? Talking to creatures when he's supposed to be dead... that's a bit dodgy!

But then I realized that although this is a completely fictional story, I think there are some parallels in Martin the Warrior that we can draw to our great God. Obviously, the two are very different (Martin's a mouse for goodness sake!) but there are a couple of similarities. And we read books like Narnia where there's a lion who provides a picture of Christ. Martin could provide one too, only, you'll have to use your imagination a wee bit more!

Martin has a strong sense of right of wrong and refuses to allow injustice to occur

God is like that. God obviously has a strong sense of right and wrong (he did create the whole earth which means he created morality, right and wrong etc).

Proberbs 11:21
Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.

God does not let injustice occur. While it may happen here on earth, in Heaven there will be a grand settling up of all accounts and God will fix everything. Each person will receive exactly what he or she deserves. God is the perfect just judge.

Martin practically dies but then comes back to life

This one will really require a stretch of the imagination, haha. :P In the book Martin the Warrior, Martin and his friends rally Mossflower's resistance forces and lay siege to Kotir (the evil fortress), knocking down its walls and ultimately flooding it, with Martin slaying Tsarmina (the evil cat) in a bloody duel. The warrior mouse suffers grievous wounds from this battle, but is ultimately nursed back to health.

Jesus died on a cross, having done nothing wrong. Martin nearly died because he gave his life for his friends and for the conquering of evil. The difference is, of course, that while Jesus did it with the consequence of saving the whole earth forever, Martin did it for saving the land of Mossflower from one evil force. And while Jesus was dead for three days, Martin did not actually die, being unconscious and in a critical condition for twenty days.

Romans 4:25
He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
When Martin eventually dies late in life, his spirit acts as a guide to creatures in need of guidance

Martin will also speak in moments of crisis and give his charge some vital instruction to save their life. This reminds me of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us guidance and draws close to us in our hour of need.

John 16:31
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

After the battle is over, Martin and his friends construct Redwall Abbey in its place, forever a safe bastion for good creatures seeking respite from the wild world.

Redwall Abbey, to me, is a picture of the comfort and security we have in God. When storms arise, we are safe and secure in His arms. While His arms don't have buttresses and a wall around the outside, we are forever secure in Him. We aren't promised to never have trials, but He has certainly promised to be with us when we go through hard times.

The animals who lived in Redwall Abbey weren't promised a life free from adventure and hardship (in one of the stories an evil rat called Cluny the Scourge actually manages to capture the Abbey at one point). But their lives were secure.

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......

Have you ever thought about the books this way?
What parallels do you see between the Redwall books and/or Martin the Warrior to our lives as Christians?

By the way, just letting you know that my post of answers to all the questions I was asked is going up live on the 17th. If you want a question answered, better ask it before then! ;)
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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

On Passing On a Word of Knowledge

Recently I've been struggling a little bit in a certain area of my life. You see, I pray at random points throughout the day. But the main time I spend in prayer is at the end of the day, when I'm getting into bed, and lying in bed, just thinking about the day and praying for the next day and all the people round me. And I often ask God to 'pop' people into my mind that He wants me to pray for. Often the people will be my family members. Sometimes they'll be completely random people I don't know that well but are going through a tough time. Usually I won't know why I'm supposed to pray for them, I just do. I just start praying and gradually the words I speak get more 'pointed' (I guess) as God reveals things to me to pray for.

But then there's the times when I get 'words' or I feel like God shows me things about the time of life for the person I'm praying for. And I feel like I should pass the message on to the person. But then I second guess myself. Is it really God showing me these things? Or am I just praying really random, completely unrelevant things for that person? Is it me who is coming up with these things for the person? Or is it God? And (here's the big one!) how do I know?

This is something I've been struggling with. Do I tell the person the message I feel like God has shown me? Because it might seem really weird. The person might not find it relevant at all. They might wonder why I'm going around passing out 'messages from God' without actually hearing from God at all. They might... I can think of all sorts of things that might happen!
But, on the flip side, if it really is God speaking to the person through me, I want to be obedient to Him. I usually end up passing on the message I get, but on the odd occasions when I haven't passed the message on, I don't 'get' things for others for a while. It's almost like God's saying, "Well, if you're not going to pass on what I give you then I won't give you anything."
And I want God to use me. I want to be an instrument in His hands.

So there's the struggle I have. I guess it all boils down to whether it's actually God speaking to me or not. And how do I know?

Well, here goes.

John 8:47
Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.

Isaiah 30:21
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

John 10:27
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

John 14:16-17
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

All throughout the Bible there are instances of God speaking to people. And God does speak to people now. I know he does. (If you want to read more about God speaking / the Holy Spirit, I highly recommend Catherine Marshall's book The Helper. It's great.) 

So since we know that God speaks to us humans, how do I know whether it's God or my own mind?

Well, to some extent I want to be wary of overthinking it. God spoke to Elijah with a still, small voice. And that's the way he speaks to us often. Sometimes he uses other people or Scripture, but often it's just the quiet voice in our minds directing us. And this is where it gets confusing. Which voice is God and which is my own mind?
General rule of thumb - if the voice in your mind goes against Scripture, chances are it's not the Holy Spirit. God will never contradict himself.
I think there is a whole lot of importance in obedience. I was reading in Ezekiel this morning and found a whole section on how much more God values obedience than sacrifice. That's what Samuel told Saul, too. To obey is better than sacrifice.
So if we've heard God's voice and we know what he wants us to do, what is there left to do?
To obey.
(I'm mostly preaching to myself here, 'kay?)
I'm not to care about what others think of me. Of course, I must be gentle and loving in the way I deliver God's message and I must respect others. I wouldn't go blabbing to the world what I should tell to one person in confidence.
Speaking of confidence, but in a different sense this time(!), I must have confidence that what I have to say is from God. Such confidence is boosted when the person (this is what happened the other day actually) tells me how what I told them was really helpful and relevant for them in their stage of life and they were really thrilled I'd taken the scary step and passed on the message. So you never know.
I'm curious about you -  how does God speak to you? Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and passed on what you feel God wants you to pass on?
Have a blessed day!
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Saturday, 10 October 2015

A + A // Bee stings and Blossoms

- Having your hair pulled back tightly in a bun for work. Then coming home, letting your hair out and having a massively sore head for the rest of the day because your hair was up so tightly.
- When you get the hiccups and you're trying to be serious. Not good.
- Finding out that when you had said something to someone, they had misinterpreted what you had said and gotten a conclusion from it that you hadn't meant at all. Fortunately the general outcome was good though.
- Accidentally calling a random stranger "Mum".
- Going for a long walk in the hills with some friends and getting a horrendous stitch halfway down. Having to stop and wait while your silly stitch slowly goes away and your friends all awkwardly stop walking and stand round watching you. Whyyyy is it only me who seems to get those things?!
- Biking along and suddenly feeling something go down your top. You hear an ominous buzzing sound, and panicking, slam on your bike's brakes, feeling a sharp stinging sensation on your chest. You rip open your jacket to find that a bee had flown down your front and stung you just below your neck. While you were biking.
- Getting instructions muddled up and doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Arrrgh.
- Being at an event where everyone is talking to everyone else and having no one to talk to. So you find a likely-looking person who is on their own and wander nonchalantly over towards them. You hold out your hand and say, "Hi, I don't think I've met you before. I'm Bonnie." They tell you their name, stare awkwardly at the ground for a millisecond then promptly walk away. Leaving you standing there alone once more.

- Passing my restricted driving test first try! I can now drive on my own! Hooray! :)
- Mastering a tricky piece of music.
- Genuine people. What the world needs is more honesty and genuine-ness, folks! People who work hard for something they believe in and who won't give ground.
- This wee trick (try it on someone ;) )
You: I bet I can get you to say the colour green within a minute.
Them: You can't!
You: Say the colours of the American flag.
Them: Red, white and blue.
You: I got you! You said red!
Them: No, you said you couldn't get me to say green!
You: Hahahaha you said green.......
Them: -_-
-Teaching Jana to do something new. I taught her that whenever I make my fingers into a gun and go, "bang, bang", she pretends to shoot me back. It's very cute. (Here she is, laughing at how cute she is.)

- BLOSSOMS EVERYWHERE!!!!! So pretty!!
- (And while we're on the subject of 'so pretty', can we just pause a moment to admire my beautiful sister Lydia?)

- Being very excited about exciting things coming up.
- When you decide to purchase something and then find that it's on sale or the tag is wrong so you get it for cheaper than you thought you were going to.

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Thursday, 8 October 2015

Ask Me Anything!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, may I present to you:

The Second Bonnie's Blessings original Ask Me Anything opportunity!!

The first was back in March. Remember that? Here's the original post and here are all my answers.
(Just in case you're curious).

I've been thinking for a while that it would be cool to do another Q + A blog post, answering any more questions of my readers.

Here's how it's going to work. You (yes, you!) now have the opportunity to ask me any question. You know that burning question you've been dying to know the answer to for months? Well, now's your chance! All questions asked are anonymous. I won't know who asked them. (Unless you put your name on it, of course!) You can ask me anything you like and as many questions as you like. The more you ask, the more I'll answer.

Needless to say, if a question is asked that is in bad taste or that I don't feel comfortable answering, it won't be answered. :)

Other than that, unless I'm asked like a bazillion questions I'll try to answer them all!! :)

All questions will be answered in a blog post that will be coming soon.

What do you want to ask?
If you're stuck, here are a couple of ideas..... (Feel free to ask really interesting questions that will get me thinking, not just "How many times a day do you brush your teeth?" type questions, just by the way)

- How do you start a conversation?
- What makes you feel loved?
- If you could go back in time, to which point in time would you go back to?
- What is the best compliment someone's ever given you?
- What is the longest you have ever gone without sleep?

Have fun!! Looking forward to seeing the questions you come up with! ;)
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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Happy birthday, Jacob!

Today is something very exciting.

My absolutely incredibly amazingly awesomely superbly wonderful brother Jacob is turning the ripe old age of FIVE! (Five! Can you believe it! He's growing up so fast!)

Jacob is absolutely awesome. He's funny, cute and really smart. He is constantly saying things that make us laugh. He brings a real ray of sunshine into our family. :)

Jacob, I hope you have an awesome birthday!
Stay the brilliant, fun loving boy you are!

With all my love xxxxxx
your sister
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Sunday, 4 October 2015

Blogger Tutorial: The "Copy Image URL" button

Greetings, friends!

Today I've got something very special to share with you all. Now, this is something I've only just figured out for myself, so apologies if you've known it for yonks. This is a Blogger tutorial for those who have Blogger blogs. :) Sorry, Wordpress or non-bloggy friends.

Anyway, this tutorial involves adding an image to your blog post without having to go through the rigmarole of saving it to your computer files. It's fast, neat, quick and easy. All you have to have is Blogger (and, I'm assuming, a Windows computer... not sure if Apples would do this or not.. but anyway!).

Obviously, if you source your images off Google images do be aware that some of the images are copyrighted. Use images from there with discretion. (If you choose not to use Google images, you can do this same method from a lot of sites, I haven't experimented with many but I'm sure it's possible. :P )

Also note that Pinterest will let you use this same method. It's possible to get an image from just about anywhere on to Pinterest by doing this same thing. It's different of course because Pinterest is not Blogger but you're able to do it pretty easily.

For quite a long time I'd been frustrated because the process of saving images to files on the computer annoys me. I knew it was possible to upload images from URLs but the question was how to get the URL! Uploading the image to Photobucket was way too complicated. And then I found a (very simple and obvious) way to do it.

Step 1:
Go into Google Images (or Facebook, or Pinterest, or Bonnie's Blessings, or wherever you're sourcing your image).

For my example, I'm just google image searching the word "scenery".
I decide I like the look of the purple lake.

Step 2:
Click on it to open the image.
Here's my purple lake.

Step 3:
Once you've opened it up, right-click on the image.

Step 4:
Select the seventh item in the option box. This should be called "Copy Image URL".

Step 5:
It won't seem like it's done anything, but it's saved the image URL to your clipboard. This means that you can now continue.

Step 6:
Make sure you're on a new Blogger draft post. Click on the image adding icon.

Step 7: Instead of using the 'upload' button to upload a file from your computer, select "From a URL" to paste the ULR directly from your clipboard.

Step 8: Once you've opened that up, click Ctrl + P to paste the URL directly into the URL field. You should see a copy of the image below. Click on "Add selected".

And you are done! Wasn't that easy!

Did you know that existed and what it can do?
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