My hope

Hope found in God

This quote speaks for itself but can I just say, if you’re looking for a great devotional resource, visit She Reads Truth, which is where I found these words. These study plans are written by a variety of authors – they are so genuine and heartfelt. I have the free app on my phone and am using it daily to help me delve into the Word in a new way. I’m loving it!

Abbie x

Where I write

I always imagine other bloggers/writers/people working from home sitting in very glamorous home offices with all their modern conveniences around them. True?

Although not glamorous, or even an office, I thought I’d share my space anyway. It’s just a corner of a room – a corner of the upstairs lounge I share with a TV, xbox, cheerleading practice mat and a mountain of lego. None-the-less it’s a corner I’m very happy with!

Up until very recently I’ve been blogging from the couch but I decided to claim a part of the house for myself. The upstairs desk had become a bit of a dead zone – a dumping ground (yes, guilty) for all the ‘we’re not sure what to do with it’ items.

Now it’s mine. I did a massive de-clutter and very cheaply made it as girlie as I could … to dissuade my husband and three sons from using it – maybe that’s my way of marking my territory!

It’s a sunny spot, with a lovely view over the neighbourhood rooftops and now that I’m the only one who uses it, it’s always tidy. My very busy diary (command central for our home) has it’s own spot, I have special mementos around me, my chargers are permanently plugged in (so not being ‘borrowed’ constantly) and things are always where I expect them to be. What more can a girl ask for? Blessed I am.

I’m still mostly inspired when I’m out walking or doing something completely away from the computer (my trusty notebook is never far away) but it’s so nice to come back to this gorgeous space and get it all down on screen.

Where do you write from?

My office space

Abbie x

Sharing

I stumbled on this quote during my Pinterest wanderings this week and it kind of freaked me out as it, almost word-for-word, says exactly what I’m working on in a draft post at the moment! I guess somebody out there is thinking the same way that I am.

So here’s a sneak into a post that will be coming up next week(ish)…

Share your story

Abbie x

Books books books! (a roundup)

Flying BooksAs a baby, my mum used to put me on the potty to read books. I guess that’s a form of toilet training?! I have always gained a lot of enjoyment out of it (reading, not the potty, just to be clear). Now, as part of my ‘live a life I’m truly happy with‘ I’m making more time to fall into the pages of books. Especially at lunchtime when I get 30mins at home between my paid job and picking up kids. It’s not hard, books a like an addiction for me anyway.

One of my most visited websites has to be Book Depository. I’ve been a regular shopper over there for years – the irony does not escape me that it’s cheaper to buy books and have them shipped half way around the world from the UK for less than half of what I’d pay retail here in NZ! It’s crazy, but I’m all about a bargain so online book buying for me it is. Again and again. I’m old school, I have tried eBooks but it just doesn’t feel right.

I thought I’d share a few books on my read and to-read piles. An eclectic mix of titles to be sure! I do love hearing other people talking about books and often buy  titles based on what I read in blogs. Don’t be looking for official reviews, just my #keepingitreal thoughts…

Lately I’ve Read…

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

I first read To Kill a Mockingbird for High School English (so a couple of decades ago, sshhhhhhh!). I remember that I enjoyed it but was really keen to read it again from an adult perspective. I’m so glad I did. It definitely has to be on my all-time top 10 because reading as an adult, I understand what a rich novel this truly is. Harper Lee’s language is stunning and her character development just brilliant. I never forgot protagonist and storyteller Scout, but it was a joy to get to know her, and her family again. This is a fairly simple story that tackles serious themes of racism, social separation, prejudice, justice, good vs evil, and acceptance of difference. Atticus Finch, Scout’s father and a key character is a wise teacher: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it”. He was ahead of his time, his lessons are there for us all to learn…

Heaven Is For Real – Todd Burpo

My daughter brought home the children’s version of this book from the school library which prompted me to read the full text – that and I always like to read the book before I see the movie. I found this to be a really well told story of one family’s account with ‘the other side’. For me, it didn’t challenge my beliefs, but it did make me think a little deeper, especially hearing this from a child’s perspective and having recently said farewell a very young family friend from this earth. All in all, an easy and enjoyable read. It’s non-confrontational and I would suggest suitable for anyone who is in any way interested in what happens after this life.

Bridge To Haven – Francine Rivers

I love Francine Rivers and I’m always excited to pick up one of her new novels. This was no exception! The story centers around a girl and the extensive searching she needs to travel (physically, emotionally and spiritually) to find herself in God. True to form, we do wind to a fairly predictable conclusion but the journey there is full of lessons for the characters and ourselves. Another quick enjoyable read.

 

 

 On My bedside Table:

The Hiding Place – Corrie Ten Boom

Looking forward to reading the words of this super-inspiring woman who was a hero, sacrificing her own safety to keep her Jewish friends safe from the Nazi’s, ultimately landing herself in concentration camps.

My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece – Anabel Pitcher

The review I read ended with “In conclusion, I reiterate: Read this book. You will not regret it. (You might cry though.)”. It sounds intriguing. My Sister is about a family learning to deal with loss in the aftermath of Terrorist attacks in London, which I’m sure will bring in tears and some touchy themes. I’m in…

Whatever After Series – Sarah Mlynowski

This is a new series I’ve stumbled on which seems to mix up the well-known fairy tales a bit. The first book in the series is winging its way to me, if it’s any good it will appear in my daughter’s (age 7) Christmas package (my kids ALWAYS get books).

The Imperfectionists – Tom Rachman

This book is set in Rome. I love Rome. But I think it was this line in the overview that tipped me over to buying it: “The Imperfectionists touches on the fall of newspapers and the rise of technology but, above all, it is a wise and moving novel about unusual, endearing characters”.

Shantanaram – Gregory David Roberts

Recommended to me by the lovely Amanda, a fellow blogger, I’m pretty sure she said something like this being one of the best books she’d read in a long time. Starting in Australian (close to home for me) the story moves to India where it seems to introduce a truly rich, international cast. I’m excited by this one.

 

So there you go, a random lot. I’ll keep you posted on the ‘to read’ books in the future. With summer holidays coming up (four weeks of work and counting…) I anticipate a bit more reading time. A good thing that, there are still 28 books on my Book Depository wish list!

I’d love to hear what you think of any of these books, or, if based on these, you can think of any others I might like…

AbbiesBabble

A new page of Babble: Quotes

This morning I added a new page to abbie’sbabble. Quotes – see it up there ↑ in the menu bar? Well if not, you can get to it here.

This new page is a collection of the images I have created with words, lyrics, quotes, sayings that I find inspiring. I think words are incredibly powerful so I try to keep mine positive. As well as keep a steady flow of positivity in what I read and listen to.

These images/words have all appeared in abbie’sbabble before. It’s nice to have them all in one place to browse through though. I sure do go for those nature backgrounds don’t I?!

One of my many wonderful discoveries in this blogging journey has been that I do love playing with ‘design’ programs. I say ‘design’ like that as I use the most basic, free, online versions, and I am by no stretch of the imagination a designer. But I am a very visual person and creating the imagery for my blog is something I really enjoy. It’s not something I’d done before and it sure is nice learning a new skill, albeit at a basic level.

Hopefully there’s something there that speaks to you. If you’d like the link to a post for a specific image, drop me a line: abbiesbabble [at] gmail [dot] com

Enjoy.

AbbiesBabble

 

Scripted Sunday: Youer than you

This is one of my all-time favourite quotes. I’ve done this today for my daughter who is having challenges at school with a bully. It’s hurting her self-esteem in a big way so we’re really trying to affirm at home that each one of our children is special, wonderful and amazing in their own way. And as the four kids are different, so are they different to every person they meet in the world. And this is ok.

Your than you

It’s always good for me to fall back to my handbook for life as well. The Bible. I love Psalm 139, especially the verse “I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful (v14)”. How cool is that?!. Each one of us is unique. Our amazing Creator, took time to make every single of us different. In His eyes we are all special. Cherished. Loved. And as our girl struggles with self-esteem, we’re trying to help her find the things that make her unique that she can stand firm on. And to remind her that no matter what, she is loved and cherished by God and by many people. It’s just unfortunate the attacks of one girl have done so much damage.

AbbiesBabble

Remember the golden rule

We have a golden rule in our home. Well, we have a few. But this one, I wish was a universal thing. For our family, we take a Biblical stance. But I’m pretty sure it spans across all religions in some form. Really, it’s just common sense. I believe the world would be a better place if we could all just apply this:

Golden Rule

Or some others way to put this:

  • So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12)
  • Treat other people how you want to be treated
  • Put out into the world what you want to get back
  • Don’t treat others in a way that you wouldn’t want to be treated
  • Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself

We can say it different ways but it comes down to the same thing as far as I’m concerned. We all have the power to make this world a better place simply by thinking about our actions and never treating anyone in a way that we wouldn’t accept for ourselves, our mother, our little sister, our best friend…

Now I have to tell you the gorgeous logic of my seven-year old when applying this rule. Often at home I just have to give one of the kids ‘the look’ and utter the words ‘do unto others…’ and that’s enough to put perspective on a dubious behaviour. So it’s fair to say they know the ‘rule’ well. I recently posted about troubles Nat is having with bullying – part of these discussions have included me telling Nat that she doesn’t have to like her bully, but she does still have to treat her respectfully. Well, here’s Nat’s logic:

“But mum, she’s being mean to me all the time. So that means she is OK with me being rude back to her. You KNOW. Treat others how you want to be treated. She’s fine with mean cos that’s how she treats people.”

What’s a mama to say to that? haha.

AbbiesBabble

I have my own circus to deal with*

Not my circus
photo credit: pasukaru76 via photopin cc

Note to self: I don’t need to get bogged down in other people’s crap drama. It’s okay to walk away. I do need to stop taking on board things that I can’t, and don’t need to control. I have my own circus to nurture and protect as priority. My circus is full of people who care for me, and I for them in return. I will be there for those people without question because we support each other. I must not let someone else’s show cloud my own.

*Never a truer word spoken!!!

IT’S A MATTER OF FAITH

This week I went to the funeral of a little girl who was just 20 months old.

When I initially heard the new that Iola (spelt with an ‘I’ said like a ‘Y’) had died I was of course sad but also angry. I think perhaps angry at God. My question was ‘Why’. Why would He take a gorgeous treasured little girl for no clear reason. It just didn’t make sense to me.

I posted about how I was feeling and I’m glad I did. This is why I blog. To process my thoughts. This time, the answer I needed came not from my own thought processing but in the comments to that post.

It’s a matter of faith.Faith

The reasons why, they’re in God’s hands. He DOES have a plan and it’s not always for us to understand.

This is where faith comes in. This is what faith is. Accepting without knowing.

Which funnily enough, is a conversation I’ve had a few times in the last few weeks. Even before Iola passed. At that point though, under the emotion of grief again rising in my life, I wasn’t able to connect those recent conversations with the questions I was crying over.

So faith. What is it really? I’ve thought a lot on this. Not because I’m questioning my faith but perhaps to have a deeper awareness.

Also, blogging challenges me to articulate my thoughts and beliefs in the written form. Which I love. It has driven me to study and really understand, to be able to clearly explain myself on some really important topics – here and in comments and discussions with other bloggers (love that!).

Anyway, I digress. Back to faith. Perhaps it’s a different definition for everyone. We can look to the dictionary, the Bible, the internet and to our own hearts. For me, faith isn’t something I’ve really thought about. I know what/who I’m faithful to and where that sits in my life. But I never questioned exactly what faith is.

Let’s look at some meanings/quotes on faith:

“Confidence or trust in a person or thing” Dictionary.com

“Complete trust or confidence in someone or something” Oxford Dictionaries

“Isn’t faith believing, all power can’t be seen” Josh Groban – Lyrics – To where you are

“Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe” Voltaire

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light” Helen Keller

“Faith is not a thing to grasp, it is a state to grow into” Mahatma Gandhi

“Now faith  is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see” Hebrews 11:1 (MSG)

Obviously for me, given that I’m really talking about faith in a Christian sense here, the biblical references are important. But I do love the quote from Gandhi as well. Faith is not a ‘thing’, I believe it is a condition of our spirit which can evolve and grow as we walk our journey with Christ.

I am going to define faith as:

“An inner attitude, a knowing, that comes from believing in things unseen”

I think there is genuine faith and empty faith. I think that faith and works are closely tied together. I also think that faith is greatly pleasing to God and is the essential ingredient that underpins our relationship with Him.  I am going to explore these thoughts, and how they relate to me further, so keep an eye out for future post/s on this subject.

I’d love to hear your thoughts so far…

THE JOY OF READING

I found these words in the book I started reading last night.

Joy of reading

This is why I read. To open my imagination, thus meeting new people and places, and experiencing new things.

After my disappointment with The Fault in Our Stars, I was overjoyed to dive into a new book and immediately meet characters I wanted to get to know.

I only managed 50 pages last night but I can see that Jennifer Donnelly’s A Gathering Light is going to sit well with me. The protagonist, Mattie, has an intense love of words which is quite enough in itself to help me relate, let along her conflict between desire for education and family.

The quote above is  Mattie’s words – you can see why I love her already!

Original photo credit: moriza via photopin cc

INTEGRITY

Integrity

This term our three youngest will be focusing on the Core Value of Integrity at school. I think it can be defined in a lot of different ways and am really looking forward to our teatime round-the-table discussions as we get further into their learning. I would like to think I am a person of integrity in all aspects of my life so should have some wisdom to impart!

Let’s throw some words/ideas out there and see if the kids come back with the same things:

  • Honest / truthful
  • Strong sense of morality and ethics
  • Consistency in personal choices

 

FACING THAT FEAR

This was on my list of quotes to post. A great post by Amanda Grace that I can relate to in many ways prompted me to bump it up the list…

Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it. Bill Cosby.

THE BUSY IS WRONG

Your Busy Is Wrong.

On Sunday I heard this: “If you’re too busy to do that, then your busy is wrong”.

Your BUSY is WRONG.

This has been in my head for days now and ties together a few things that have bugged me lately.

Continue reading “THE BUSY IS WRONG”

NO NEED TO BE PERFECT

No need to be perfect

For a self-confessed perfectionist and control freak, this is a big life lesson for me at the moment. I’ve read this quote a number of times and felt compelled to create it in a form for my own space – a note to self you could say.

You can click through to this post for an example of where I’m learning to NOT be perfect. Yep, I’m taking my imperfections (control freak-ism is not good!) and showing my family that we are all capable choosing to change – and following that through.

“It is only a 60-inch journey from our head to our feet; but often times, it is the most difficult journey we embark upon. To move an idea from our head to our actions requires discipline: discipline to cut out distractions, discipline to get started, and discipline to get better.”

Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist

“Here’s the thing – the damage to our spirit always lives in the story we tell ourselves. Shit happens. People behave badly. They bully, they call each other names, they act unskillfully. People do what they do. What we decide about ourselves in those moments is what matters most”.

Andrea Scher – Superhero Life

“You are you and that is true, there’s no one in the world who’s you-er than you.”

Dr SeussDr Seuss

I love these words. I also love the way Dr Seuss delivers big life lessons in a simple way. Continue reading “A WORD FROM DR SEUSS”