Sunday, 31 July 2016

dear teenage girl of today

When I saw you laugh at the vulgar, crass and crude, I was saddened.

When I saw you walking down the road flirtatiously eyeing every male that passed you, I was saddened.

When I saw you wearing things that would have been seen as scandalous when our parents and grandparents were growing up, I was saddened.

When I watched how you acted towards your parents, grandparents and towards your siblings, I was saddened.

When I saw the lack of respect and absence of such beautiful virtures as humility, generosity, patience, love and kindness, I was saddened.

When I saw the way you treated boyfriends as trophies, and things to play with and show off, and not real people with hearts, desires, fears and feelings of their own, I was saddened.

When I saw the extremely rude way you treated my co worker the other day at work when she was tired and had had a long day, I was saddened.

When I saw you whispering and giggling together and pointing at that old lady walking past who was having a bad hair day, I was saddened.

When I watched you shove past each other and the small children in order to be first on the bus so you could get a good seat, I was saddened.

You see, dear girl, your behaviour reflects on the rest of us.

I don't think I'm being prudish and stupid and not-with-the-times when I say that your actions are often obscene, ridiculous and disrespectful. I'm saddened when I see how you act, how you dress, how you speak.

I, too, am a female of today. And when I see you acting in this way I can't help but be saddened because I know that this is how society views teenage girls. Silly, giggly creatures who are only interested in boys and makeup. But what happened to make society view teenage girls this way? I have a feeling that as you began to act this way, society began to view you this way.

What happened to sensibility? What happened to respect for the elderly and authorities? What happened to being kind and sweet and gracious?

Why do you have to sacrifice kindness for stupidity?

I praise the Lord that not all teenage girls are like you. I know many wonderful teenage girls who refuse to participate in the gossip and sass and rudeness to others. Yet there are many of you and I fear your behaviour is starting to invade the girls younger and younger.

When I see you trading decency for indecency, kindness for rudeness, being nice for being obscene and respect for disrespect, it not only saddens me, but it breaks my heart.

Society was never meant to be this way. God made us to be a loving daughter, then to be a loving wife, then to be a loving mother, then a loving grandmother and so on. Not to intersperse loving daughter and loving wife with 'ridiculous, insensible, tasteless, coarse and unhelpful rebel-of-a-teenage girl'.

Please don't think I think I'm better than you when I say that your actions are ridiculous. I am simply concerned for our society and think that something must have gone terribly wrong for your character and your actions to be so accepted!

It shouldn't be like this.

a teenage girl of today who thinks sensibility shouldn't be a thing of the past

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PS. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my lovely, sweet, kind, gentle, hilarious sister Sophie who is turning a sweet 16 today! (This post wasn't directed at you, Soph. You know that, right? You do? Phew.) Hope  your birthday is fabulous. Many blessings on this next year of your life.

Thursday, 28 July 2016


Changes. There are always changes.

I don't like change. I even wrote a poem about it (so you can be sure it's a legit thing and not something I came up with just for a blog post :P). Change is something that happens to all of us.

My life is changing.

I turned 18 this year (which means I'm supposed to be at least a little bit responsible! :P)

We're welcoming another sibling to our family in just over a month (this is an exciting change, just in case you were wondering. :P).

Friendships keep changing. Some friends I've grown up with have moved away from my city to attend university elsewhere. One has grown more distant and the other has grown closer. (Weird how it works that way, isn't it!)

Other friendships are becoming weaker while others strengthen. It's all part of growing up. It would be nice to stay friends with everyone but it just doesn't happen. There are also the exciting changes of new friends and friends becoming closer, etc.

Danella and I have moved out of the house and into one of our sleepouts (Ben and Johnny have moved into the other one). It's a big change, trying to remember what's in the sleepout and what's in the house! And to make sure to wear layers under pyjamas because it's quite cold out there. 

I'm planning a trip to the foreign land of America for two and a half months, leaving part way through November. I'm heading over with another girl from New Zealand to help out at a Christian ministry (Above Rubies, for those who have heard of it). This will be a big change and I'm really going to miss my friends and family in New Zealand! Exciting, though.

I think it's helpful in the midst of change to remember that there is One who will never, ever change.

James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

He doesn't change! He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Such hope and a wonderful promise to cling to.

Have you been having changes going on in your life? 
How do you deal with them?
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Monday, 25 July 2016

What I've Been Listening To

Today I'm sharing some of my favourite songs I've been listening to recently. Here we go! :) Enjoy!

Firstly, I LOVE the song Lord of the Dance. I was reminded of it recently when it was sung at Grandad's funeral (it was one of his favourite songs) and I've been listening to it quite a bit since then. This is my favourite version of it ever. Those acapella voices... wow. Just wow.

I love this next song because it reminds me of my potential... we truly are limitless! It's easy to look at us and down-talk ourselves. But sometimes what we need is some positivity! This song is a great reminder that we are limitless. I love the bridge especially.

There's a really cool story behind this song, Blessings. I heard them talking about on the radio the other day and was amazed! The words are so powerful, too! And such truth. She also has a beautiful voice.

Last but not least, this isn't a song but it's a really funny video that I thought you might enjoy. Studio C is awesome! This particular one is one of their best, I'm convinced of it. I showed it to my younger siblings and they were laughing hysterically (as was I).

What sort of music do you listen to? Do you have a favourite artist/album/song?
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Friday, 22 July 2016

A wee chat about.... death

Today I want to talk about death.

Ecclesiastes 9:1-4
So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no one knows whether love or hate awaits them.  All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.
As it is with the good,
so with the sinful;
as it is with those who take oaths,
so with those who are afraid to take them.
This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.  Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

I hadn't thought much about death (obviously, you can't really escape thinking about it a wee bit) until my Grandma passed away in February of this year. Then my Grandad (her husband) passed away at the end of June. 

Kind of makes you think.

As Ecclesiastes points out (and it points it out several times, not just in the one passage above) the same destiny overtakes all. Everyone. Not one person escapes it.

Everyone dies.

And, you know what? I think it's good to think about death. Because death-related issues like euthanasia and abortion and even the terrorist attacks overseas keep coming up. It's important to know where we stand on issues like those as a Christian.

And not only because of that, but since everyone dies, you're included.

Yeah, you can't really get out of this world alive.

So that being said, how should we treat death? I think it's helpful to think about it sometimes. It kind of gives you perspective. It makes you treasure your moments on earth. It also makes you think about eternal things and that's never bad!

Here are a few of my thoughts on death.

Life is uncertain. Treasure your moments here on earth! Live well, laugh often, love much (I know it's ridiculously cliche but I think it's true!!!!!). Spread joy. Bring a little piece of heaven down here and spread it around wherever you go.

Know where you're headed. Jesus's words were: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:3).
Heaven is where Jesus is. It shouldn't hold fear for you if you trust in Him! (I wrote a blog post about being afraid of the future - which to me would include dying- feel free to check it out!)  Our ultimate purpose as humans is to be close to God. And Heaven is where He dwells. I can't even begin to imagine the amazingness that Heaven will be.. and of course, my Saviour, my King, my best friend, my Lord and Master will be there. In person. And so will I. It should be something to be looked forward to, I believe, and not to be scared of!

Blessings to you all!post signature

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

A + A // card tricks, comments and creamy mochaccinos

- Sleeping in the sleepout and having that early morning dash to the house after you get up because it's so. cold. outside.

- Telling a [wonderful] joke and having a very tiny, very polite ripple of laughter go through your hearers. Like seriously, did nobody actually appreciate it??

- Johnny: "The thing about wearing lots of pairs of thick socks is that you have to keep putting more on." Me; "???" Him: "You wear a pair of socks for a while. Then your feet start getting cold so you put on another pair of socks. For a few days/weeks that's fine. Then your feet get cold again so you have to put another pair on as well. You get cold no matter how many pairs of socks you wear! That's why I always go back to one and work back up from there slowly." Me: *wearing three pairs of thick socks* "Oh."

- Forgetting how old your sister is and constantly saying she was 17 when she was actually turning 17 that week. Like, I should know how old she is. She's always been 14 months younger than me. And always will be, too.

- Discovering that I have no less than SIX blankets, a thick duvet and a thin quilt on my bed. I mean, it's pretty cold in the sleepout but six blankets sounds like a lot. I'm nice and warm though, which is good!

- Being told something that just kind of floors you and makes you go, wow, I would never ever ever have realized that. Crazy.

- Hearing other people's embarrassing moments that just make you cringe on their behalf (but also make you feel better about your own constantly embarrassing and awkward moments!!).

- That hunt for pens when there are none to be found... anywhere. Strange how it's always pens, paper clips, blu tack (sticky stuff that sticks stuff together), cellotape and scissors that is always missing. We own heaps of those items but there are never to be found, even though they have clear locations. Frustrating.

- Creamy mochaccinos made with cream from our cow - seriously the best thing in the world!

- Collapsing into bed when you're really, really exhausted.

- Learning new card tricks and practicing them on your siblings. Then having your siblings show you more card tricks and being like, wow, these are actually really good! #BenandJohnnyaremagic

- Being asked to judge a competition at a public speaking group you used to attend. It's going to be really fun! And being asked is such an honour. :)

-Those early morning milkings where before you begin your hands are FREEZING and after you start milking your hands warm up really fast from the warmth of the cow and the exertion of your hands

- People who leave sweet comments and brighten my day

- The Google Images result for 'cute bunny' - SO ADORABLE!!! Also a surprising number of the cute bunnies have their tongues out, which is kind of weird since the rabbits we used to have didn't randomly poke their tongues out. But it's cute so whatever. Also I just wanted to mention that one of the pictures on the search result was wearing a WOOLY HAT. It was ridiculously cute. (Sorry. I'll now stop going slightly crazy of these cute bunnies.)

- Stunningly beautiful sunrises. *sighs*

(You're missing things if you like this if you don't follow me on Instagram!)

- Putting up pictures in the sleepout and making it a bit more homelike. One picture I purchased in China at an art market and I've never put it on a wall before now. I've been saving it for our sleepout. So exciting to see it on the wall!

- Quiet afternoons practicing music with Danella.

Do you play an instrument?
Are you forgetful of information like people's ages?
What small items are always going missing in your household?
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Saturday, 16 July 2016

Art Tutorial // How to Draw a Flower Embellishment

Okay, so here is a little 'How to Draw' art tutorial. I show you how to draw a cute little flower embellishment (pretty up envelopes, notes, cards, whatever).

I literally was like, "I need something to post! How about a video? They are quick and easy!"
Then I was like, "Okay, so what do I video? I know! An art tutorial! That shouldn't be too hard." So I sat down and filmed it within like five minutes.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

A massive happy birthday to my brother Ben who is turning 14 today! Yay!
Tomorrow (17th) Ben and I are heading off to kid's camp. Ben's a cabin leader and I'm assistant director. Don't worry, I've scheduled posts to go up while I'm gone. :)

Have a fantastic week!
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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Shatter Me For You - my heart's cry

This is raw and straight from the heart! I wrote it in June and thought today maybe I'd post it. I'm definitely not writing as many poems as I used to so enjoy this one!

Sunrise over our property

'Shatter Me For You' - my heart's cry

Draw me closer to Yourself
May we never be apart
Encircle me with arms of love
And melt the walls of my heart

My stubborn, sinful self
Needs to know who is in control
So take the lead and shatter me
Not in part, but Lord, the whole!

Ruin me for You, oh Father,
Take the barriers down
When I'm lost inside your love
is when I'm fully found.

Don't let me disguise my hurt
And soldier on through tears
Bare my heart before You
You're El Shama, the God who hears

I don't want the easy road
If it means I can know You more
So Father, here's my surrender
You've fought and won the war.

*changes subject*
Happy birthday to my lovely sister Danella who is 17 tomorrow (14th). Have a wonderful birthday and a wonderful year, Danella!

May you be blessed abundantly!
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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Recent photos

Before we start, I just wanted to share this article that I thought was interesting. It's Time to Talk About Submission

I thought today I'd share some of the photos we have taken recently. Most of these are from our trip down to Invercargill for Grandad's funeral. Sorry for the bad quality - they are either from my cellphone or Danella's, and since we both have the same kind of phone the quality is equally terrible. :P Warning: there are rather a lot of selfies in this lot of photos.

Stopping in Dunedin to feed the pigeons and ducks in the park is always a big hit! 

These photos were on the way down. We stopped there again on the way back and there were SO MANY more pigeons! They were landing on us while we fed them. It was awesome. I don't have any photos of that unfortunately.

In Invercargill, at a place called Anderson Park. Beautiful big colonial-style house that used to be an art gallery but is now closed to the public. Still beautiful grounds, though. (This was in the afternoon after the funeral, hence why we are all dressed up.)

Anderson Park had a beautiful vege garden and these interesting apple trees that were growing over trellises. I've never seen trees grown like that before.


These photos are now from the way back to Christchurch. I was asked by a friend to 'take lots of silly selfies of Danella' so here's one to prove that I at least tried. :P Sorry, Sophie and Danella, for putting it up here... can you forgive me???

How can I enjoy the trip when Danella's legs are on top of mine?! 

We stopped in Timaru. There's a beautiful spot near Caroline Bay that has an impressive structure. You can take a glass lift up really high! Here are my siblings outside it.

View from the top

I have some crazy siblings :P

View of a beautiful park behind me and the sea

Sophie and I 'hanging' out

Sister selfie - a re-creation of  one I took ages ago. Danella's phone is new so she insisted on taking heaps of selfies so she can 'practice'.

Back home again, on our property. We had a bonfire.

And roasted marshmellows and sausages. It was great.

What have you been up to?
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Thursday, 7 July 2016

Meet Abby

Say hi to the newest member of our family... a lovely house cow who is named Abby!

She was named by her previous owners and knows her name so we won't change it. It is a little confusing, since my oldest sister's name is also Abbie. Pronounced the same way, spelt differently as you can see.

She's so good when we milk her and stands patiently. We're still learning and it takes quite a while but it's so nice to have lots of milk and cream from our own cow!

Anyway, enough discussion. Wanna meet her? :)

I know, right, isn't she cute?!

Jacob, Jana and Abby 

When I first posted this, my post ended here. However, the first commenter was Ashley who asked if I could post a video of someone milking her. Today's milking team was Danella, Ben, Johnny and Lydia. They happened to be milking when I read Ashley's comment so I went out and took a super quick video of them milking which I have embedded below. They had been milking for a while so the milk wasn't coming out as fast as it was at the start. They were also getting tired so switched with each other a bit.

Hope you enjoy it! Sorry for my cellphone's bad quality. There's also a bit of chatter in the background.

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Monday, 4 July 2016

How to Take Notes

A while ago Timothy, one of my readers, asked me to do a post on taking notes (for sermons, for instance). I'm happy to oblige! Here's my post on taking notes.

Firstly, it can be tricky knowing where to start. You're listening to a sermon or a talk and you are supposed to be taking notes. But how? What is the best way to do it? You can't go crazy writing down everything the speaker says, can you?

Speakers/pastors/teachers/lecturers are all the same in one main area :they all use a lot of words to illustrate what they're trying to get across.

They will usually have a main point that they want you to grasp and then some minor points to help get that across. They might have a list of things they are trying to teach ("7 Steps to Eating Healthy") and they'll explain each thing in the list.

Which means that your job, as a note-taker, is to weed out the main points from the illustrations and explanations.

Your goal is to write down the main ideas.
You obviously can't write every single word they are saying (unless you know shorthand or write/type ridiculously fast) so you're just going to be writing down the main things.

So you have to learn to distinguish the main things from the explanations and illustrations.

This can be easy (some speakers make it really easy) or it can be hard (those speakers that waffle on and on in a really confusing and elaborate and hard-to-follow style).

Now that we know what we have to do, how do we do it?

1. Listen carefully.
Try not to miss important things because you're busy writing down other important things (keep listening while you write!). Sometimes you'll have to write fast to get it all in, sometimes you will wait ten minutes between writing anything.

2. Practice.
When you read something or listen to something, try thinking to yourself, "If I was taking notes on this, what would my notes be?"
Practice pulling the main idea out of what you are hearing.

Here's a little practice exercise for you.

Read the paragraph below. There is a main idea in the paragraph that I'm trying to get across. Your task is to try and figure out what it is.
Summer is a wonderful time to spend at West Beach. It is a beach with light- colored, soft sand. The coastline goes on for a long way and many people enjoy walking along it. Children like to play in the surf and walk along the rocks that are visible at low tide. This is a fun beach for people of all ages.
What's the main idea? It's that summer is a wonderful time to spend at West Beach. Sometimes the main idea will be in the middle of the explanation. Sometimes at the beginning, sometimes at the end. You must listen closely and write down the main ideas. Don't mistake illustrations for main things.

3. Find a style that works for you.
Everyone takes notes differently. I quite like doing little doodles and illustrations to illustrate my notes. Some people write notes in paragraphs, some people bullet point. Find what works for you.

It's helpful to start your notes with the speech/sermon/lecture title and the speaker's name. Then it's all yours from there!

I personally like to use bullet points to go along with my doodles. If, for example, the sermon was on Jeremiah 29:11 ("For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope"), the speaker might be talking about how God weaves his plan through the tapestry of our lives.
He might be illustrating this with examples from his own life.
He might have a bunch of ideas that tie in to that.
He might talk about what plans are.
He might spend some time discussing God's purpose in suffering.

I would do a bullet point for most of those and then sub points with them to correspond with what the speaker was saying.

The most important thing is to find a style of note taking that works for you.

4. Find friends.
There are some helpful 'friends' of note takers out there.
Powerpoint is your friend. Often the speaker will have his or her main ideas on a presentation or slideshow that you can base your notes on. This is helpful!
A good pen is your friend.
Concentration is your friend. Try not to let your thoughts wander too far from the speaker and your notes.
Brevity is your friend, although beware of too much brevity. You want to write enough notes that a person reading your notes will still understand what the speaker was trying to get across to the audience.

5. Be careful with illustrations
You can't write down the entire example.
However, if you write down something like, "Be like Mr X" then when you reread your notes later on, you likely won't remember who Mr X was or what he did that was so notable!
As you listen to an illustration, think to yourself "Is this important enough to include in my notes?" If not, don't include it at all. If it is, write what's important, enough so that you'll understand it later, and leave out the rest.

Those are all the tips I have for taking notes. I hope that what I had to say was a wee bit helpful.

Do you take notes?
What is your advice for someone starting out with note-taking?
Are you a doodler, long paragraph writer, bullet pointer or something else?
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Friday, 1 July 2016

Text Tag

Before we begin with the original post, I just wanted to say, praise the Lord for scheduled posts! Life has been crazy hectic this week. My Grandad passed away on Sunday (26th) so we went down to Invercargill for the funeral. Grandad had been very unwell for quite a while(it didn't help that my Grandma -his wife- passed away a few months ago). Those of you who knew, we greatly appreciate all the prayers and love and support you have shown to us. You are amazing.
Blessings to you all. Now on to the scheduled post.
Thank you Hannah from Completely For Him for tagging me!

//Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to them.
//Answer the original 6 text-themed questions.
//Add a typography/word related question for those you tagged to answer.
//Tag 6+ bloggers
//Include these rules in your post.

1. What is your favorite letter of the alphabet?
Probably B. I mean, it is the first letter of my name... and it's the first letter of the word Blessed, which not only makes me think of my blog but also makes me remember how ridiculously blessed I am! :) It's the first letter of Beautiful (which makes it beautiful) and Buns (not cinnamon buns but buns in general are pretty good) and Butterflies and Beaches and Blueberries..... I could go on and on!

2. What are three words that you love?
Cellar/seller - a sing-songy word that sounds nice
People - I love people
Celebrations - Celebrations are amazing! Also it is a nice word.

3. What are three words that you hate?
====I don't hate any words. I just dislike some words.====
Moist - uggggh, just the sound of it!
Lugubrious - umm no thanks :P
Fester - reminds me of untreated wounds and the word itself is just not good

4. If you could create a word, what would it be, and what would it describe?
I've created several words over the years. One I created a while ago is 'greepy' - a mixture of creepy and glum and gloomy, I guess. Mostly greepy. It describes dark, morbid, slightly sinister situations.

5. What are your three favorite punctuation marks?
The exclamation mark - something is funny or exciting!
The comma - it means your thought isn't finished yet, it doesn't indicate finality and an ending.
The hashtag - I don't know if that counts as punctuation but can we just agree that #hashtagsareawesome

6. What are your three favorite fonts?

Hannah's bonus question: What is your favorite quote?
Aaaargh, I have way too many favourite quotes. The two I have on my Facebook page under 'favourite quotes' are the following. I like them because they remind me to be positive. I also really like the CS Lewis quote and the AW Tozer quote from my most recent Awkward and Awesome post.

"The glass is half full and the other half was delicious."

“Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?'
'Supposing it didn't,' said Pooh after careful thought.

My bonus question: What is your favourite girls name? What is your favourite boys name?

I am tagging the following bloggers who I think might be interested in taking part in this tag. If you're not interested, that's quite cool, too. :) 
Mic from Mic's Room
Clare from Clare's Spot
Paige from Paige's Pages
Ashley from Precious Moments
Kiley from Country Gurl
...and if you like words, text, letters or this tag looks a little bit appealing, I tag you!post signature