Author: Claire van Ryn

I made a terrible mistake.

Please bear with me as I explain to you a journey I’ve been on to remedy an unwitting choice I made that rubs against the grain of everything I stand for. This is going to be hard. It’s hard for me to share, yes. Extremely so. But hard too because I know that many of you who read this will be in the position I was about nine months ago.

A psalm a day keeps…

We were like marbles rolling around in a bowl. All around us, 360-degrees, mountains loomed in colours rich, dark and earthy. As the sun rose above the horizon’s lip, shadows began pouring like ink into the crevasses. Hubby Phill and I were at Lees Paddocks in Tassie’s highlands, having hiked in the afternoon before and set up our squeezy two-man tent beside the rickety old hut there. Why didn’t we stay in the hut, you ask? Spiders. Rats. Enough said. The syrupy sun thawed the valley quickly and we pulled on the same clothes, the same boots, cramming unwashed hair beneath hats, ready for some exploration. And the mountains. As we trudged over tussocks, scrambling over fallen trees and lively streams, the shadows changed the mountains’ appearance. The inky black penned in new crags and cliffs; this rock more pronounced, that ledge fading, this ridge slanting at a different angle. Every time I lifted my chin to appreciate the purple-grey-blue-green of the heights, a new vista. Same mountain, new perspective. This year I am reading …

The gift God gave me this year.

“How’s it been, readjusting to normal life?” I’ve been asked. “Has it been difficult?” After our three-month caravanning adventure from Tassie to Cooktown and back again, you’d’ve thought it WOULD be difficult slotting back into the daily rhythms and responsibilities. Of school lunches and ballet lessons and housework and meetings and juggling jobs and groceries. Instead of beach days and markets and ice-cream and beach days and walks and cafes and beach days. But it hasn’t. And when I look back to that jewel of family time on the road, seeing new things every day, living simply and without much need for clocks and calendars, I recognise something very special that God gave us this year. Time. Yes, he gave us three months. Of time. But those three months have given us an appreciation for the true value of our time. And I’ve said this to so many people lately, but it’s true and I want to share it again. Our family dynamic is so very different since we’ve returned. We relish the time we …

Buy your very own copy of FLaM

It’s gloriously sunny in Launceston today, and my heart is full. Mostly because I have a whole day ahead of me with my sweet four-year-old daughter, and we’re going to go for a walk together, exploring, collecting feathers and leaves and flowers. I love these days. I’ve also just stepped off an extremely abundant period of fullness. That’s my attempt at saying “busy” in a way that conveys how it was also joyous and fruitful and wholesome. The good kind of busy. Some of you would have been at my book launch on Saturday, and wasn’t it wonderful? (scroll down for a photo gallery from the event). It was a beautiful celebration of what God has been doing with this project, with me, and with a bunch of other people who helped pull it together. Thank you for joining us. Now, I have many boxes of books that I would like to sell. Primarily because all profits go to the work of Emily’s Voice and a doctor/nurse family who have just moved to serve the …

Come to the book launch. Yes, you!

Hi, ho! I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front. Apart from the #caravanryn travel updates of course. Wanna know why? Because I’m planning a book launch. I’ve never done one of these before and it turns out there’s lots of itty bitty logistical things one must throw energy at. One such thing is inviting people to attend. Which I’ve done. But I have thus far failed to cordially invite YOU, my faithful blog subscribers. So here is your official invite. And I know many of you are from far-flung places and aren’t exactly going to hop on a plane for the occasion, but it’s nice to be invited, right? And for those who CAN make it, gosh I’m looking forward to seeing your lovely faces. It’s gonna be a great time of celebrating what God has brought to fruition. The details FLaM (Faith Like a Mushroom) book launch Saturday October 27, 5pm Foundry, 22 Cameron Street, Launceston The book Is it even a book? THAT is a very good question. My friend has …

The day I directed traffic like a boss.

Ever been to the Byron Bay lighthouse? If you have, you will know that the narrow road winding to the carpark is often traffic-logged with tourists driving, walking and cycling their way to the attraction that gives epic views of the main beach, township and the vast ocean where whale sightings are par for the course. It is no different the day we visit. We are at a crawling pace when our car stalls. No worries. Turn it over, rev the engine, off we go. It stalls again. Phill and I look at each other. He manages to start it up again and we move forward. A metre. Before it stalls again. On a steep corner. Cars are banking up behind us at this point because they can’t see past to safely overtake. Hazard lights are on. This is where I channel my inner Fat Controller and walk onto that road and start directing traffic like it’s my day job. Stop to you sir, in the white Jeep. Proceed to you madam, in the red …

The #caravanryns experience in three words

We’re nine weeks in. Gulp. Where did that time go? It means we’re just a bit over the two-thirds mark. Four weeks to go. If we’re counting down. Which I really would prefer not to do, but I just can’t help it. The clock keeps ticking. LESS IS MORE. These are the three words I’d use to describe the mysterious beauty of stuffing our lives into a van and taking it on tour for three months along with our two, mostly adorable but sometimes excruciatingly frustrating children. Less space = More outdoors. Our van is on the small end of the scale at 16-foot. It’s about the size of my son’s bedroom at home. And rather than housing a single bed and a built-in robe, it fits a kitchen, dining table, lounge, a queen bed and a double bed, a wardrobe, overhead cupboards and room for a pony. Jk. No pony. Unless it was tied up under the awning. That would be achievable. But the point is, my upbringing (and perhaps yours too) has taught …

Oprah would’ve been proud! FLaM advanced release.

FLaM is in print! And some of you are like, DUH! I have been busting to give you un update on the progress of FLaM, and now, finally, I can. Because on Saturday, after a full day of stuffy airports making the trip home to Launceston from sunny Cairns, I did a sneaky advanced and exclusive book launch to all the 400 women who attended Flourish 2018. At the Flourish women’s conference held at Door of Hope Christian Church I had the privilege of sharing the stage with media and singing personality Emma Mullings, and two-times olympian Elka Whalan. Flourish director Amanda Towns interviewed me on my 2017 no-new-clothes-for-a-year challenge, and how it related to the day’s theme of seeking out contentment in our lives. And then… (drumroll please!)… And then we did an Oprah! Or an Ellen. As a surprise gift, Amanda announced that Flourish had bought copies of my yet-to-be released book FLaM for EVERY WOMAN IN THE ROOM. And the servers flooded the aisles, bringing copies of the book-cum-magazine to everyone. Perhaps you …

We lost our youngest in a caravan park

He comes sprinting back from the jumping pillow, white stackhat still strapped beneath his chin, eyes blue puddles of alarm. “I can’t find Adelaide!” Ok, calm down, I say to our seven-year-old trooper. What happened? And he motors through a reply that comes out as a paragraph of words mashed into one breathless line. They were jumping. They stopped. They decided to come back to the caravan. He wanted to go one way. She wanted to go the other. Before he knew it, she was gone. I instruct him to stay at the caravan and wait until Daddy returns from the shower. Tell him I have my phone, I say as I begin jogging away. Away through the village of vans stacked side by side like bags of flour on a supermarket shelf. Why didn’t I get one of those identification wristbands for strong-willed children like most thinking mothers do? Why didn’t I simply write my phone number on her arm? Or tattoo it. Joke. Why did I trust her in the care of her …