Saturday, 27 February 2016

I've. Been. Tagged.

Johnny, Danella and Ben jumping into Lake Kaniere

Good morning, friends!

I was surprised to find out that I had been tagged in the Liebster award by Mic from Mic's Room. But... I haven't done a tag for a while and tags are fun.... so... here we go!

1) Link back to the person who tagged you
2) Answer all 11 questions
3) Tag 11 bloggers who have less than a thousand readers
4) Ask them 11 questions
5) Let them know you've tagged them through social media

~The questions I must answer are as follows ~

1. Best Chapter in a book you've ever read?
Hmmm.... this is a very good question. I always like the chapter in the Anne of Green Gables book (I forget which book it is) where Anne realises she really does love Gilbert and they end up together. *yay for happy endings* It might not be the BEST chapter I've ever read but I do like it rather a lot.

2. A Book your most proud of (if not an author, a piece of artwork)?
A book I am most proud of. I'm assuming this is meaning some form of writing of my own...? I haven't written any books but I quite like some of my poems. Most of my favourite ones I've posted on this blog. 

3. A Book You Can Read Over and Over?
The Narnia stories. They never get old. I just love the allegory. Also I really enjoy re-reading the Hobbit.

4. Favorite Vintage Item
Vintage item?! I'm not one for purchasing vintage items, although I do often admire them. (They often cost quite a lot of money :P). My favourite vintage item is probably my little KJV New Testament. It's seriously ancient. Not sure how old or if it qualifies as 'vintage' but there you go.

5. The best Mom & Pop Store Near You
I'll be honest, I didn't actually know what a Mom and Pop store was until I googled it just now. Friendly Mr Google reckons a Mom and Pop store is "A colloquial term for a small, independent, family-owned business. Unlike franchises and large corporations, which have multiple operations in various locations, mom and pop shops usually have a single location that often occupies a physically small space." You know what? I don't think we have any of those near us. :/ I feel like we're missing out, now.

6. A Movie and Book You Like That is Not Well Known
Well it's not a movie (that I know of) but a great book is Hind's Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. Maybe that is quite well known. I don't know. Do you know of it?

7. Your Absolute Favorite Time Era
I quite like right now. Because I'm livin' in it.

8. What is Your Favorite Old Movie &/or TV Show?
Thunderbirds are GO! My brothers are mad on Thunderbirds shows... (they originally came out when my Dad was a boy). I quite like them because I've seen them all in the course of the boys watching them, haha. They are quite good. Currently they're showing a new version of Thunderbirds on TV but animated characters aren't nearly as good as the old puppet version!

9. A Matter Current America is Dealing With That Makes You Indignant
The matter that makes me indignant: toying with the idea of electing Mr Donald Trump.... I don't know much about American politics but I do know that Mr Trump would not be my choice of a President. Not that I get to choose.

10. Your Dream house would consist of...?
I really rather like older houses. Painted white (this one is not a deal breaker). With lots of roses and beautiful flowers everywhere. I do love beautiful flowers. I think a house with a kitchen facing the driveway/road so you can see (when in the kitchen) if someone is coming to the door would be good. And I have a thing for interesting letterboxes. I really want a quirky letterbox. Yes, that's my dream house. I don't mind about most of the other stuff. Just the letterbox, flowers and kitchen facing the right way will keep me happy.

11. Favorite Disney Character &/or Princess?
My favourite Disney character and/or princess is Anna from Frozen. For several reasons. 1: I can relate to her in a few random ways. 2: I haven't actually watched many Disney movies so I don't have many options. 3: I genuinely like her character.

And those are my answers!

Now I'm supposed to nominate 11 bloggers and inform them of their tag. I'm not even sure I know 11 bloggers who would be interested in doing the tag, but hey, let's have a go.

1. Shendl from Through My Eyes
2. Lexi from Times and Seasons of a Beautiful Life
3. Christine from Green Gables of Avonlea
4. Timothy from Tim's Blog
5. Sarah from Trusting in the Lord
6. Ashley from Precious Moments
7. Lauren from Pretty Things and Polka Dots
8. Paige from Paige's Pages
9. Hannah, Anna and Emma from the Three Musketeers
10. Matthew from Rising Dawn
11. Anyone reading this who would like to do it!

Hey, ten out of eleven isn't too bad. Struggling a bit there for that many! :D Hopefully you tagged folks don't mind too much.
I suppose I'd better write you a list of questions, then. Here goes.

1. What is the scariest thing you have ever done?
2. If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what advice would you give them?
3. Who are some famous people (currently alive) that you would like to meet someday?
4. Do you like to plan things out in detail or be spontaneous?
5. What is your favourite joke?
6. Who or what in your life has influenced you the most?
7. Do you like spicy food?
8. If you could try out any  job for a day, which job would you pick?
9. If you could learn one random skill, which skill would it be?
10. What is the biggest personal change you have ever made?
11. If someone were to make a movie about your life so far, what would that movie be called?

Thanks for reading! Have a great day. :) And thank you once again for tagging me, Mic!
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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free...

Sun setting on the Hokitika beach, 2016

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free..... so if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
- John 8:32,36

I love truth. I've always loved truth. I love finding out what really happened, what the whole story is. I love ferreting out the flaws in people's arguments and setting them straight (not many people love it when I do it though, strangely). I love finding out the truth about something and broadcasting it. I love making sure everything is just right. I love truth.

One thing I love praying for when I pray for people is that they would be a lover of truth. That they would hunger after it. Because if people hunger after truth, then they will seek and seek and seek until they find it!
It's usually in the context of finding God. Because God is absolute Truth. God and truth are synonyms, really. And if people have a hunger and desire in their heart to search for absolute truth, I believe they will eventually find God. The Bible tell us that anyone who seeks with all their heart will find him. We are told to ask, seek and knock, before the door will be opened to us.

Are you a lover of the truth?

I'm not talking about nitpicking, like I sometimes do. I'm not talking about annoying-to-everyone-else-picking-their-arguments-apart. I'm talking about God's truth, of course.

His truth is what we should always seek.

There are a lot of slightly funny theologies out there. I went on a Bible camp at the beginning of the year and there were lots of people there from various Christian denominations. We had some really good talks (read: debates) on different theologies throughout the week, from what part the Holy Spirit plays in our lives to what Creation looked like! It exposed me to a range of different theologies and I really enjoyed it. We all believed in the same God, only, some people thought that Genesis's account of a seven day creation could be taken figuratively not literally (I believe it's literal, just saying).

A lot of people think that as long as someone's theology doesn't tamper with the main core beliefs of Christianity, it doesn't matter. We can all be loving and respectful of each other (apart from the occasions when you meet up with people of other theologies and everyone has some interesting discussions :P) because our theologies don't actually interfere with our salvation.

Which I agree with.

But for me personally, coming into contact with someone of a different theology makes me think. I don't merely define my position. I'm interested in what they have to say. I love different ideas because their idea just might be the right one. I always come away from the discussion thoughtful, because I want to believe the truth. I want to know the truth. It makes me research, to dig deeper into my Bible and see if I can find answers to my questions.

And that's what I want to encourage you to do. You see, as I said before, there are a lot of slightly funny theologies. There are a lot of ideas out there. One must be really careful that we don't stray off the straight and narrow path just because we've come into contact with some new idea that has shaken our faith.

Does that sort of make sense?

I have a relative whose faith has been severely damaged because of a church he attended. Apparently the things he heard in that church shook his faith so much he now doesn't believe in the Bible. He believes in God because he has had a few encounters with Him, but that is where it ends. My question is, if you don't believe the Bible is true then where does that leave you? It is hard to believe in God while not trusting in his very Word!

It is so dangerous to let your faith  be swayed by the things you hear. There are some very convincing people. There are some eloquent, silver-tongued people who will try to shake your faith.

Always go straight to the Bible. Search for yourself. Ask, seek and knock yourself. Find the answers to your questions and know what you believe and why you believe it. Love truth! Seek truth! At all costs, if necessary. Ask the Lord to give you a love for truth and to show you truth.

Truth sets you free. Seek truth.
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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Bonnie's Helpful Guide to Overcoming a Bad Habit

I've finally broken the bad habit that has been the bane of my entire existence.
I have stopped biting my fingernails.

Perhaps not permanently, mind you. I mean, if no scissors are handy and there's an annoying bit coming off then I might just bite it off. But I've got to the point where I'm not obsessive about biting them right down. And I'm so thankful of that! It's the resolution I make every year - to stop biting my nails - and have always, so far, failed.

I've tried countless times before. Clear nail polish, sticking plasters over the nails, sheer willpower, you name it. But something about the summer of 2016 was just right for breaking this habit and so I set out on my mission (not completely sure this try was going to be any different than the others!).

I painted my nails with clear nail polish (it wasn't coloured because I hate drawing attention to my short, stubby, bitten fingernails). I then re-applied it religiously when it threatened to chip off. And so my battle began.

After about two days it was REALLY annoying. I found myself touching the ends of my nails with my fingertips all the time. It felt weird to have the ends of my nails so long. It felt odd. It just wasn't right. But I stuck it. And they grew.

Slowly, sure. But they grew.
After a few weeks they got to the point where it felt different to play the violin because the nails on my left hand fingers were now long enough to interfere with my vibrato technique.

So I don't think I can let them grow much more.

But I've got to the point where I no longer bite my nails while reading a book. I can bring my fingers up to my face and take them away again. The urge is no longer there.

I think it's safe to say I've beaten the habit.

So how did I do it?

If you're like me, you find it EXTREMELY hard to overcome a bad habit. I've been trying to stop biting my nails for years. Ever since I can remember, in fact.

I've heard it takes three days to form a habit and three weeks to get rid of one.

Whether those exact numbers are true or not, the numbers are similar anyway. Breaking a habit takes more perseverance, willpower and energy than making a habit does.

So how do you break a bad habit? How did I do it?

I'm not an expert. All I've done is broken one habit that's plagued my existence. (Actually, two- when I was about eight I stopped sucking my thumb. Maybe I am an expert. :P)
But I'm sure we've all got bad habits that could do with a bit of breaking, so if you are interested, read on for my (hopefully) helpful guide to overcoming a bad habit, drawn out of my experiences.

1. Make sure breaking the habit is something you REALLY want to do.
Bad habits hold you in a vice like grip. So much so that you have to be pretty persistent to break free. You've got to really want to. If you're lukewarm or don't see the point of breaking it, don't even bother.

2. Set standards in place that will help you in your habit-breaking journey.
Tell some people about your goals. They can encourage you and hold you up to what you've started out to do. Try different methods for breaking your habit. Things like not just trying to remember to keep your fingers out of your mouth, but putting nail polish on so the nails taste awful. Do things. The more boundaries and standards you have in place before you begin, the easier you will find it.

3. Actually START.
There is no point in spending all day planning the habit breaking. There's nothing quite like actually starting. There's no day like today, no time like right now!

4. Reward the little triumphs.
Appreciate when you've come somewhere. Maybe you're two days into your challenge. Maybe you're two hours into it. Give yourself chocolate and celebrate your accomplishment. Motivation can be easily lost, especially when the going's hard, so keep at it and recognise some milestones.

5. Be strict on yourself.
Don't say to yourself, "Oh, I'll just ---- once". No, you will not bite your nails once, you will not give in to your temptation once. You were doing so well! Keep it up. Once you succumb once, the complete give in is just around the corner. Be a bit strict on yourself and realise that it's the only way you're going to break this habit. If it works for you, use punishments. Donate money when you slip up. Do fifty press-ups. Whatever works.

6. Follow it through! Don't lose motivation!
The most dangerous time for giving into temptation for me was about a week into it. My nails were annoyingly long, I was close to giving in. But remember why you're doing it. (Go back to your reasons in step 1.) Celebrate how far you've come and DON'T GIVE UP!! :) You can do it!

7. Recognise a victory and celebrate it.
Okay, it's four weeks after you've made your commitment and you're finding it a bit easier now. If you reckon you've actually broken this habit, maybe you have! Celebrate it and be happy! You did it. Don't keep trying ridiculously hard for another year. Maybe you're just as far from biting your nails now as you will be in three years time!

8. Stay on top of your victory once you are victorious.
When you've recognised your victory and broken your habit, don't casually slip back into your habit as time passes. Stay on top of it. You did all that hard work to get here - why go backwards? Do you really want all that hard stuff again?! Keep remembering where you've come from and why you did it.

 Look what this is - me wearing coloured nail polish for the first time in my entire life! For some reason it was really exciting. My nails have always been so short I never liked polishing them and so drawing attention to them. Pink sparkly nail polish to celebrate was definitely a good choice.

Hope you found that helpful! :) Have you ever broken a major bad habit?
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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Family Holiday 2016

Good morning!

I have some sad news to share with you first of all. My Grandma (Dad's Mum) passed away on Monday night. We'll be heading down to the bottom of New Zealand for the funeral (held on Friday) today then spending time with relatives for the weekend.
We'd appreciate your prayers for both our family and the extended family at this time! Thank you so much.

*the rest of this post was written a few days ago*

Today I'll be sharing with you the photos from our family holiday to Hokitika and Picton. These are my favourite ones from my cellphone. The photos from our family camera are yet to be uploaded to the computer cos life has been hectic (as I am sure you can imagine) but when they turn up we'll see if I will share some of those too in the near future.

Here's Dad, trying to pack all of our stuff into the van before we left. We have rather a lot of *necessary* stuff. But it all must go in somehow!

These two aren't helping much!! :P

We're off, driving over Porter's Pass and Arthur's Pass to get to Hokitika.

A rest stop in the Arthur's Pass township.

We're there! Having lots of fun at Lake Kaniere. We stayed in a little house not far from the lake. (Lake Kaniere is about fifteen km from Hokitika township). Caleb's in the canoe, the motor boat is manned by some other random person.

Daddy the frog-man... 
Fun fact: Dad loved snorkelling and yachting in his younger days. He was also a fully qualified amateur radio person which means he had to learn morse code, which he still knows.

We went for a walk to Dorothy Falls

Here's my family by Dorothy Falls! I'm taking the photo, hence why I'm not in it :P

Up the Water Race track

What's a good way to get a photo of everyone, including the photographer? Selfie of course! 

There was some lovely native bush around the house where we stayed. (And lots of sandflies, surprisingly.)

Here's Ben and Johnny in one of their rare 'They agreed to pose for the camera!' moments

Sophie by the lake

Danella by the lake

Launching our little Optimist yacht a friend gave us

Look at this cutie! Jana is such a water rat. She LOVES the water!

*sings* I am saiiiiling....

Daddy in the dinghy (hey that was some cool alliteration)

We watched the sun set from Hokitika beach one evening. Now, Hokitika has an annual sand and driftwood sculpture competition every year. The hand in the picture was from the competition. Someone made it out of driftwood. Can you say, 'talent'? :) It looked cool in front of the sun going down.

See the size of that dragonfly???

Now we're on to our Picton photos. We drove home from Hokitika, spent a night back home then headed off the next day for Picton on the Saturday of Waitangi weekend. This photo shows some of us at the railway station, watching the trains.

We spent some time on the foreshore of the Picton waterfront. It's a lovely spot. They had this pond where you could sail little boats.

Jacob and his boat

They have all sorts of interesting things on the waterfront!

One of the things we did in Picton was a 45 minute walk to Barne's Dam. It's a pretty impressive dam and a beautiful bushwalk.

The dam wall is really high

A beautiful sunset one night from the window of the house we stayed in  (a friend's holiday home)

All of us except Mum and Jana went on a boat ride out to Ship's Cove, which is where Captain Cook landed when he arrived in New Zealand. It's a beautiful cove in the Queen Charlotte Sound.

It was drizzling with rain but still a lovely stop at the cove

Really interesting

The boat

Cove view from the jetty

I saw two adult oystercatcher birds with their two little babies. The babies are about one third of the way from the top of the image. They were covered in grey fluff and were so cute! The adults did not want me going anywhere near their precious babies. :)

On the boat again - a sister selfie!

Oh look, there's the ferry coming in! (The ferry goes between the North and South Islands of New Zealand, from Picton to Wellington.
And that's that... hope you enjoyed the photos! 
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Sunday, 14 February 2016

Musing on Valentine's

Ah, Valentine's Day. The official day for the couples to celebrate and the single people to mourn. :P
Firstly. Valentine's Day makes for some interesting Internet memes, am I right? Here are a couple... just 'cause I knew you'd enjoy them too! :)
Yep. You've been warned. It's dangerous going on social media a week on either side of February 14th.
Haha. Subtle.

The passive aggressiveness! :P
Anyway. Valentine's Day.
Some people see V's Day as a day to celebrate being in love with that special someone.
Some people see it as a chance to buy yourself lots of chocolate and commiserate with yourself that you don't have that special someone.
Some people purposefully forget it exists.
And some people... (namely, me!) see it as an awesome opportunity to say I LOVE YOU to the people that mean a lot to you (in a completely unromantic way)!

So, whether you are an old friend of mine who stalks my blog, a new friend of mine who stalks my blog, a friend I've met through blogging and have never met in person, a plain stalker who isn't a friend at all (I don't actually think I have any of these), someone who's reading my blog for the first time, WHOEVER YOU ARE, I love you!

You, my friend, are awesome!

I wouldn't be blogging without you.

Stay fantastic. (And maybe eat a bit of chocolate to celebrate Valentine's, 'kay?)
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Thursday, 11 February 2016

Sunburnt Legs and Sin

*back from holiday now* - will post holiday photos when I get them sorted out! :)

See this photo from our holiday? 

Yeah, that one. That's me. Those legs, those poor, fiery hot, tender and ridiculously painful legs are mine. They are attached to me and I am therefore responsible for them.

Have you ever been sunburned really bad? I have. The last time (before the time I'm talking about) I was sunburnt bad was a few years ago. I often get a bit burnt, but not usually really bad. 

It is painful. Your legs feel like they are burning up.. for days. Then when they start improving and the red fiery colour starts slowly turning brownish, you peel. Sheets of your skin start coming off and your limbs look really unsightly! Peeling can last for days and weeks.

The crazy thing was, my legs were only unprotected in the sun for a few minutes. I don't know how long it was but it didn't feel too long. I am usually careful about sun exposure because I know my fair skin burns easily. I use sunscreen, a hat and stay in the shade!

But all it took was that small amount of unprotected sun exposure. (New Zealand has one of the highest levels of UV radiation and getting burnt is really easy).

I regretted those actions many times over the next few days. (I discovered lots of things I hadn't known before. Cold, wet towels on the legs being great relief, did you know that?)

But all the regret in the world can't change something. And all the sunscreen I've worn in the past didn't help me when I was burnt! It's the present that makes a difference. 

I should have been sitting in the shade. Or put sunscreen on. I certainly paid the price for my actions! And learnt a lesson.

It struck me that my spiritual life could learn a lesson from that too. My sin is like getting sunburnt.
No matter how many times I've sinned (or not sinned) in the past, it's right now that is important. If I don't resist temptation, there are a lot of painful things that will happen. I will pay the consequences of my actions!

And those consequences might be nasty and continue for quite a while. Like my sunburn.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Some Funny Videos

Since I'm not home from being away yet, I thought you might like to see a few funny videos. :) Cause who doesn't love funny videos???

Annnnnd here's a cat one. Because funny cat videos can never be watched enough times.

Have a brilliant day!
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Friday, 5 February 2016


Photo of Sophie when she went on the DofE cycle trip recently, captured by Danella

Recently I've been reading through some of the prophetic books in the Old Testament. I've been reading Hosea recently. And loving it.

A lot of people think that the prophetic books are boring and not applicable for us today. But that is completely wrong! God's word is still alive and active and ready to speak to you. There are things to be learnt from any passage of Scripture.

Hosea had the dubious honor of having his life used as a living moral object lesson for Israel—instructed by God to marry an unfaithful wife, he spoke movingly and earnestly about God’s sorrow at Israel’s “adulterous affairs” with false gods and His willingness to forgive.

There are a lot of  moving passages and some beautiful imagery. I wanted to share chapter 11 with you.

Hosea 11
“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.
“Will they not return to Egypt
and will not Assyria rule over them
because they refuse to repent?
A sword will flash in their cities;
it will devour their false prophets
and put an end to their plans.
My people are determined to turn from me.
Even though they call me God Most High,
I will by no means exalt them.
“How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboyim?
My heart is changed within me;
all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger,
nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man—
the Holy One among you.
I will not come against their cities.
They will follow the Lord;
he will roar like a lion.
When he roars,
his children will come trembling from the west.
They will come from Egypt,
trembling like sparrows,
from Assyria, fluttering like doves.
I will settle them in their homes,”
declares the Lord.
Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
Israel with deceit.
And Judah is unruly against God,
even against the faithful Holy One.

I just love those verses. I love how the wrath and righteous anger of God is so eloquently portrayed against His boundless love and longing for His people to turn from their sin and follow Him after all He has done for them. 

Passages of scripture like this one have not been put into the Bible for no reason. God wants to demonstrate how He cannot abide sin. Sin has consequences. Our sin is so great that God had to send His only son to fix it! 
But that is where God's love is shown, too.

It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.


My heart is changed within me;
all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger,
nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man—
the Holy One among you.

He led his people with love and kindness and fed them and supplied their every want. And that's what he does for us, too! He is full of love and compassion.
Each line in the chapter just reeks of God's love and how he yearns for Israel to come back to him.

But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.

You can hear God's heart in that, can't you? How he longed for them. He called to them, but they blatantly ignored his voice. In fact, they went in the opposite direction.

It's moving and beautiful to read passages like this one. And they teach us, too. It brings me sadness when I think of how my sin grieves my Lord so much. But joy and unexplainable gratitude when I think of his love for me and of how he demonstrated that love.

May you be blessed greatly this week!
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