Friday, August 1, 2014

The Value of Remembering: why World War One matters to you and me

4 August 2014 marks 100 years since the beginning of World War I, and I believe there are two good reasons to pay attention to the commemorations.

A STARTLING MEMORIAL: Pictures taken at the Cenotaph after the Dawn Parade, ANZAC Day. I wouldn't normally pair aqua with fire-engine red, but it was just ten days after our house fire and I had little choice in what I could wear. The angora/wool hat and layers of wool and polar fleece kept me warm. The waterproof skirt kept me dry (and clean) when photographic urges brought me in contact with the ground. =)

What Made New Zealand a Nation ?

First, Britain’s declaration of war on Germany marked not only the beginning of New Zealand’s involvement in WWI as part of the British Empire, but also the birth of New Zealand as a nation.
Our national identity was forged during those traumatic years.

The values that held us together during war and built our society after it were, to quote the RSA*, "compassion, comradeship, courage and commitment". Do we want these values in our lives, in our neighbourhoods today? What are we doing to teach them, to exercise them, to honour them?

Do We Actually Value Values?

Second, the price of international peace and security was massive for a small and pioneering country such as we were in 1914. Our forebears gave much to secure freedoms they thought worthy of sacrifice. The tragedy is that subsequent generations have neglected to nurture these freedoms or deliberately sought to erode them.

Today, these centenary commemorations have a very personal application. Lest we forget and mourn our loss of freedom and righteous values, let's recognize and emulate the integrity of our forefathers. Faith, family, country. Are they still worth dying for?

What we're doing about it

Click this link  for more details on "Women of Courage", presented by Isabel and Narelle Worboys during the "WWI Commemorative Concert" at the Dannevirke Town Hall, 3 August 2014.

* "Declaration of WWI was birth of nation"

Sunday, July 27, 2014

WHAT COLOUR IS YOUR GOD? How a coat can misrepresent your character

I used to wear a charcoal grey winter coat. It was a nice coat and I liked it.

One day at a cosy Girly Getaway gathering with a focus on clothing that works for you, an image consultant gave me an ivory wool coat to try on.

The other ladies gasped and said, “You look warmer!”

Did they mean my body temperature had just risen? No. They were commenting on my personality. The colour I was wearing meant that now, instead of cool and distant, I seemed friendlier and more approachable. My character hadn’t changed, but the way others read me was influenced by the colours I wore.
This was very motivating for me to learn more about the seasonal palette and how God has designed me to fit into it*. This also makes me wonder about the way we read God. How do we know His true character? Are we relying on the “coat” some person told us God wears? Or do we trust the Book He wrote for us about what He’s really like?

Here are some of my favourite things He tells us about Himself in His Word, the Holy Bible:

  • He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (Deuteronomy 32:4)
  • The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. (Psalm 145:8)
  • For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (Psalm 100:5)
  • ...the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: (Jeremiah 32:18-19)
  • Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. (Psalm 18:35)
  • …let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them... (Psalm 5:11)
  • The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer**; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (Psalm 18:2)

That’s the colour of my God. What colour is your God?

May your week be filled with the colours of truth and hope!

*My natural colouring looks at its best when arrayed from the Spring palette.

**God is indeed my deliverer. Want to hear how He delivered me three months ago? To play the video now, click here: BUMP in the Night: Supernatural Rescue from a Fire

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Beauty Tip for Glamor Girl [Modesty WOF]

Here’s a beauty tip noted upon encounter with a dust-robed Ford Thunderbird that didn’t quite live up the promise of its number plate.

When driving out to take the air,
O Glamor Girl, do have a care
The dust upon your pink
Has showered down the sink.
A luxury interior
Is best enhanced by clean exterior.
What fellow yearns for flirt and dirt,
Or wink and stink?
No gentleman, I think.
Be sure your feminigning ways
Are true to what your signage says.

I’ve had a good chuckle creating this poem and poster, but it’s also a good reminder to “put my car in” for a warrant of fitness. If I claim to be a modest woman, how well does my behaviour and appearance match this? What about my thought life, and the way I speak?

When I dress in the morning, what attitudes am I putting on? Am I grooming my soul with as much care as I groom my body? Or, conversely, am I so focused on my inner grooming that I neglect my outward appearance?

Perhaps I need to devote time to improving my presentation skills. Maybe I’ve been lazy in both beauty skill and modest attitude.

Like the mechanic at the garage, I run a check list and when I see something that could impede the safe and efficient running of my “vehicle”, I note it and take steps to repair or replace the problem parts.

This is your friendly W.O.F. reminder. Fiat lux! [Let there be light!] In God’s light, we shall see light.*
Best wishes,

*Psalm 36:9

Sunday, April 27, 2014

BURNED OUT: when the fiery furnace of TROUBLE gets even hotter

All the best laid plans can go AWOL when you blink, and that’s what happened to my intention to sew a month of fixes for my worn-out modest wardrobe.

My “blink” happened when our dishwasher caught fire in the middle of the night, 13th April 2014, and we were flame-and-smoked out of our home.** I had completed one sewing project that very afternoon, a nightdress pattern I’ve adapted to cope with inadvertent social situations. There are two reasons I’m thankful I wore it immediately.
  1. I was modestly covered when I had to leave the house in a hurry and watch the fire brigade rescue my worldy goods from destruction, and I wasn’t worried about tripping over the saggy-baggy knit in the dark, which I would have been in my 2-year-old nightdress.
  2. All my sewing equipment, paper patterns, and fabric that were laid out ready to start the next project were damaged by soot from the fire. Thus would have been my new nightie if I had left it out to admire it like I usually do with finished projects.

When your plans are halted so abruptly, and when you realized how near you came to losing your home and your life, it takes a long time to work through the shock and find a way back to routine. Any sort of routine. And you constantly have to extend grace to yourself (and the rest of family) while you work (and sleep) your way toward that goal.

There is frustration at every step, and extra obstacles on top of that. It’s taken three times longer than promised for our “emergency” dry cleaning, and there’s no sign of it yet. If I thought I was short of clothing three weeks ago, I’m even shorter now!

My peculiar health challenges, my location at the ends of the earth, and my preference for full length hems mean I can’t just go out and buy new clothes. It was ten days before I was able to borrow a sewing machine and get a sewing station set up in the motel where we’re camping while our house is cleaned and the kitchen rebuilt. Even then, it was a challenge getting patterns and fabric.

However, there is also blessing at every step. My sisters sent a Care Package of small, essential sewing tools, a treasure box of love notes from the children, food supplies (the ingredients that keep me well are hard to source), and the loan of a sister for three days to help me make new sewing patterns and cut out fabric.

Friends and strangers in our small town have reached out with kindnesses that warm our hearts. A footstool and fresh baking for Dad. Pre-prepared meals and kitchen space for Mum. A windproof jacket and a sewing gauge* for me.

*Not currently available in accessible shops.

A surprising blessing is that I’m just a block from the Cenotaph war memorial and I was able to walk to both the 5:30am Dawn Parade and 8:30am Civic Parade on 25th April, ANZAC Day. My camera and I lingered after each service, meaning I was able to enjoy a roaring sunrise in solitary splendour and capture photographs of the Cenotaph standing sentinel in the fiery rays. I hope to feature these in the new ANZAC music video I’m planning, “The Rose and the Red Poppy”, inspired by my hat.

What I'm wearing:
Peaked Knit Cap (lined) from Postie, with RSA-issued poppy and rose by Boutique Narelle
Butterfly zip polar fleece from The Warehouse, shaping and button styling added by Boutique Narelle
Acrylic fringed scarf from The Warehouse
Waterproof rain skirt by Boutique Narelle
Wool socks from Kathmandu

Red leather lace-up shoes from Envy

I don’t recommend the colour palette I’m wearing, but at times like these, you make the best of what you’ve got!
I could write a book on how God has brought good things out of our traumatic situation. I see His hand at work every day, reminding me that when we trust Him with everything, He can turn even the direst situation meant for our harm into something beautiful. We have much for which to thank Him.

Right now, I’m thankful…

…that my netbook and camera were in my studio where soot damage was much lighter, mostly affecting furnishings;

…that a friend has offered us free use of their WIFI (and comfy lounge) so I can upload this post;

…that as I came online for the first time in nine days, I found messages of love and encouragement.

What perspective can I share from this position of Burned Out, when the fiery furnace of Trouble just seems to keep getting hotter?

I’ve learned to
  • release the expectations I had,
  • embrace flexibility,
  • cling to God for grace, peace, and patience to take each day as it comes, and
  • cultivate an attitude of continual thankfulness for what He has given me.
By doing this, I’ve found remarkable joy in the midst of these challenges.

I pray that through whatever trouble your life throws at you, you too will find the way to persistent joy amid your trials.
Fiat lux!

**For more pictures of the fire, click here:
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