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My girly girl, pay parity and other thoughts on being a woman.

As the proud mum of a two-year-old girl, I am privy to the whimsical workings of her sweet little head. She is the personification of joy and we have such fun doing girly things together, like dancing around the dining table to the Frozen soundtrack, picking flower petals for a fresh batch of perfume and making “wiggly worms” from pink play doh. Every night as I tuck her into bed, she insists I tell a story with a “princess in pink dress, pink shoes, pink lipstick, riding a pink neigh.” For the record, I’m allergic to pink, so this has been quite a journey and proof that girly girls are born, not bred. So, as we come around to another International Women’s Day awareness campaign, it is her I think of first. “Be bold for change” is this year’s battle cry to achieve equality with men and, in particular, pay parity. And when I think of my daughter as she flits through the room in a tutu with fairy wand waving, I do want that …

6 Things I want to remember when I’m mum to a teen

I have seven years until I can say that I’m mum to a teenager. I shall relish those years; relish the toddler tantrums, the toilet training and shoelace tying. Because people keep telling me that when kids hit their teens, the rules change. Everything changes. Dark clouds form and the light and shade of parenting becomes more shade than light. Well, I don’t know if you’re all being a little bit melodramatic. To be honest, I’m not the sort to worry in advance about these things. I’ll let tomorrow worry about that. But as I engage with you parents of teens, and you tell me what is working for you, there are so many nuggets of wisdom that I’m desperately trying to retain, to file away somewhere in this lackadaisical brain so that seven years from now, on my son’s 13th birthday, I can pull out that file marked, Useful Tips & Tricks for Mums of Teenagers. I won’t rely on my brain, I’ll rely on my blog. Here is the start of a file …

The Year in Books (2016)

This post is more a personal record than anything else. A look back at the books I’ve read in 2016, the learnings from them, and the way God has used them to expand my Christian worldview. I’ve explained before that I am part of a book club. We call ourselves The Romans 12:2 Project, meet every five weeks or so, and read books that will expand our understanding of God, faith and what it is to be a Christian today. These are the books we read this year… of course, I did read beyond this selection, a few leisure reads (Maeve Binchy, Paullina Simons and even Lee Childs!) and additional recommendations from friends and family (Annette Mace’s book, and I can highly recommend The Grace Outpouring too, by David Roberts and Roy Godwin). But these are the books we discussed: The Gift of Being Yourself by David G. Benner Love, Tears and Autism by Cecily Paterson The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller Farewell Four Waters by Kate …

Into the Secret Garden of His Presence

I’d been thinking it all wrong. We were in church, singing. I love singing those songs that carry me to a place of peace and worship, songs that focus my attention on what I wish I’d been focusing on all week long; God’s love for me. So many distractions, still. I squeezed my eyes shut, raised my hands, palms up, surrender. When distractions buzz around my head I focus on Jesus – his name, his presence, even the image of him. I block out the reality of all the bodies around me and their voices and their eyes, I block them all out, or I try, so that it’s just the two of us. That’s what I did today. As the music crescendoed I pictured Jesus up there in the sky, high above me, looking down benevolently. There may have even been some fluffy white clouds at his feet. I’m surprised at myself. Even as I put the thought bubble into words. What was I thinking? What kind of stereotyped version of my Saviour had I conjured up …

A Wild Child of God

I’m no footy head. I do read the newspaper, but to be completely honest, as far as I’m concerned it ends after the classifieds. What’s that? There’s a sports section? Nope. Don’t believe it. So it was hubby who alerted me to an article on former rugby league player Jarryd Hayne (aren’t we the stereotypical couple!). This guy used to play fullback for the Parramatta Eels here in Australia before deciding to switch codes and countries at the height of his career. He’s kind of a big deal. To clarify – for those who, like myself, start to glaze over when sporting acronyms are bandied about – Mr Hayne now plays for the 49ers, an NFL (National Football League) team in the US. Everyone’s been like, ‘Why’d you do that?’ And Hayne gave an answer recently for an official 49ers podcast. “Every person in the Bible got put out in the wild,” he said. “God wanted to test their faith and see what they would rely on. And I felt like that, for me, was …

Loving Floyd – a Story of Hurt and Hope

You know when a friend does something really amazing and you just want to scream “I KNOW HER! I KNOW HER!” to ride on the coattails of their success a little? That’s what I’m about to do. Chantelle Pitt is a friend of mine and she’s also a newly published author. The hard story of her son Floyd’s short life and the profound journey God has taken this family on is now a book with real pages, chapters and even some photos! The book is titled ‘Loving Floyd’ (Ark House Press) and here’s the blurb: “Is it possible to experience unimaginable pain and loss and still want to talk to God? Is it possible to come to a place of surrender and acceptance regardless of the outcome? Is it possible to learn so much about God, yourself and others through the grief of the most precious gift now gone? LOVING FLOYD is the remarkable story of one couple who fought to the end to save the life of their unborn son. Relying on her raw …

Come Back to the Table

Our dining table was bought at an auction – Baltic pine top with turned wooden legs painted gloss black. People say it has character. Maybe that’s just a nice way of saying it’s old and tired, but I don’t mind. What appealed to me as I circumnavigated the eight-seater on the concrete floor of the auction house was the raw timber marked with knots, scratches, nail heads and indentations. It was like looking at the flotsam of many meals shared. I liked the thought that we could add our own marks to this table – and we have. There’s a splotch of red paint from the time my son loaded his brush to outline a fierce dinosaur on butchers paper. There are subtle impressions from the many times I have written shopping lists and letters. There are crumbs in the cracks and circular watermarks, coffee marks, wine marks. Secretly, I hope our kids will engrave their initials in it someday. Of all the pieces of furniture in the home, the table is perhaps the most …

The God of ALWAYS and NEVER

“Always” and “never” are adverbs most at home in the angst of an argument. “You NEVER help with the chores!” “You’re ALWAYS nagging!” Perhaps you’re incredibly civilised and don’t partake in domestic mud slinging, but for those of us who do, “always” and “never” conversations are commonplace. “Why do you ALWAYS say that?” “Why is it that you NEVER make time for me, but you have no end of time for your friends?” Aside from the fact that such statements are pretty much “always” untrue, they’re also pretty much “never” useful. They also demonstrate our humanity; the fact that we’re imperfect beings yearning for perfection. We are trying to fill our ALWAYS and NEVER desires with flawed people. Square peg, round hole. In reality, I can only trust the “always” and “never” conversations of one being. God. “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you,” he promises (Hebrews 13:5). “I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” Jesus affirms again in Matthew 28:20. These are promises that no man …

Twelve Weeks

This is a work of fiction that I wrote a while back. I feel rather vulnerable sharing it with you – for many reasons. Firstly, I don’t write a lot of fiction! And while I call it ‘fiction’ there are elements of truth embedded. You might be able to pick them. It’s also based on the topic closest to my heart: how immensely precious life is. I would be so grateful for any constructive feedback xxx TWELVE WEEKS Blood runs black beneath the nib hovering at Allira’s wrist. Jim smoothes the design on its scrap of paper before pressing back into flesh. He’s a redhead with blue-green eyes, freckled skin and a half-hearted goatee. The acrid whiff of cigarette smoke loiters at his teeth – he was drawing on a rolly at the shop’s steps when Allira arrived. He took his time to finish before walking in to set up. Allira sat on the couch to wait, gaping at the framed sketches of skulls, bare-breasted women and taloned creatures. The music was angry. Finally, Jim …