Just Be Kind, People!

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There’s a saying that goes “Be kind, everyone you meet is facing a battle you know nothing about.”

The other day I was scrolling through facebook on my phone. I was in a bit of a hurry, and so I was scrolling through pretty fast! Gracie saw me and she said “Mum, aren’t you even going to “like” anything?”

Part of me was like, well no, I don’t really have time. And the other part of me got to thinking…..

And so, I slowed down and started to really look at what was going on on facebook.
There were people celebrating birthday’s, celebrating kids achievements, friends in hospital, others fighting battles and others having lost loved ones. And then there were the ones that I thought personally were just words for the sake of it, attention seeking even!

But regardless of what was being posted, these people obviously felt it was worthy enough to share with the world. Whether it was heartfelt, trivial or a desperate cry for attention, all of these friends needed something. Validation, sympathy or simple kindness.

And then I felt bad for scrolling through so fast and not liking or commenting on anything! Now, I am not going to go through and like absolutely everything, because the simple fact is I don’t! I don’t get into political debates, I don’t like or comment when people are being rude or inappropriate and I don’t condone putting people down on facebook.

But the majority of my friends are putting genuine things up about their life, whether good or bad and so if I am on facebook, then I need to participate. I know some people do it, but I am not into the whole facebook stalking thing! If I am on there, I will let you know I am on there.

And so I am making a conscience effort to be kind! I am liking things, commenting and participating in this whole social media world. I am not liking out of pity or obligation, but when friends share their world with me, I think it is rude of me to not acknowledge it. Now, I am not on social media all day every day, not everyone shows up on my newsfeed and so there are things I miss but when I am on there, you will see me!

Part of me was thinking, well why should I like their stuff when they never like any of mine, they didn’t wish me happy birthday and they didn’t even like my favourite photo! But again, this is not all about me, and it is super petty to only like for a like! I am bigger than that, and hopefully, I am kinder than that!

So, I am going to be kind this week! How about you?
I am going to get over whatever issues I am personally dealing with and make an effort to be kind. As the saying goes “Everyone you meet is facing a battle you know nothing about.”

If you are on social media, take the time to hit the like button, which takes all of 2 seconds. Take time to comment on the things you see, and take the time to really see what is going on with your friends, you never know what it could mean to that person!

You will never regret being kind!

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Getting My Brave On…..

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This week I did something brave!

I didn’t save the world from famine, I didn’t rescue a kitten from a tree or save a drowning child. I didn’t skydive from a plane and I didn’t swim with sharks. But even though I did none of these things, I was still brave.

What I did do this week was be honest!
Now that is not something new to me! I do try and be honest in all I do, but this week my honesty was put out there for all the world to see!

I made a confession on social media that I don’t like cooking! I know, shocking right?

Now technically this is the truth, but it’s not something I generally go around telling everyone. In this day and age of Pinterest, facebook, and Instagram, it is easy to look at what everyone else is doing and try and keep up! To try hard at excelling at absolutely everything, and then feel like a failure when your souffle doesn’t quite look like it did on Pinterest!

And so I put myself out there, and I showed everyone that I am not the perfect housewife! I made my confession that actually, I don’t enjoy cooking and the less time I can spend in the kitchen, the happier I become! Just because my organized, beautifully labeled kitchen looks like it came out of the page in a magazine, doesn’t mean I know how to use everything in it!

But what I loved most about what came from my honesty, is the freedom it gave others to confess, that actually, it’s not their thing either! Now, I am not condoning that we women, never have to cook ever again, but it is freeing to know you are in the same boat as others. That you are not the only one who dislikes the kitchen, and it’s nice to know you are “normal” and you don’t have to be a Martha Stewart.

I had texts and messages from women thanking me for allowing them to feel ok about themselves. Thanking me for giving them permission to lose the high expectations they have placed on themselves. I also had women confessing that they too order food bags, and there is no shame in that! Just because you get some help, doesn’t make you any less of a housekeeper. I mean, we seek help in lots of other area’s of our lives, why not in the kitchen as well?

But the very reason I decided to try the food bag was not so I could avoid cooking but so I could give my family nutritional, wholesome meals, with a wider variety than we have had. I am not negating my responsibilities, just trying to make life a little easier on myself, and if a food bag can do that for me, then I am all for it? It just gives me more time to plan my Christmas theme and do the things I know I am good at and really enjoy!

And so as I look forward to getting another food bag this weekend (I get one every other week) with 5 new recipes and everything I need to cook them, I know my family is excited for meal times and I can rest easy knowing I am not failing in the kitchen but just finding ways to make life more enjoyable. And if along the way, I can help others to be brave as well, then I think I am winning all round!

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Fiercely Independant…..Or Am I?

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I am quite an independent person really!
I don’t really like being told what to do and I can look after myself. I am fiercely strong-willed and would rather work things out on my own than ask for help……or so I thought?

I had lunch with a good friend yesterday and boy, did he turn my world upside down….in a good way……I think!

You see, this friend has a way of speaking right to my soul. Bypassing what my lips (and body language) are saying and getting straight to the heart of things! There are not many people in my life who can do that, or that I would even allow to do that! But with him, there is never condemnation, put downs or extreme reactions to what my heart is saying and there is always, always love and acceptance.

And so this is a safe place for me to explore who I really am. For me to figure out the crazy dreams and plans God has placed in my heart. For me to be honest about my fear of failure and to talk at length about the struggles I have living in my own skin.

Our friendship has grown over the years and I still blame (yes, I use the word blame!) him for who I am today. Many (many) years ago he spoke into my life and it honestly changed the direction I was taking and confirmed the plans God has for me. He see’s things in me that I am yet to see, and encourages me to not just be me, but the best version of me that I can be!

I use to get nervous meeting with him as I didn’t know where our conversations would take us, but now, well now I just get excited as I think I am finally embracing who God has called me to be, and he helps me to explore that. Sure, I still need a good kick every now and then, and a reminder to get rid of my negative self talk, but I welcome the challenge and encouragement to become the best me!

To be honest there are just some things that Phil can’t help me with. Bless his heart, he has tried! Boy, has he tried, but for various reasons, it takes someone outside our marriage to unlock certain things within me. Phil is very aware of our conversations and everything is out in the open. Be assured, everything is completely above board and I do share everything with Phil….once I have processed it through my internal processing mind! And you know what?  It is making me a better wife and Mum along the way, so Phil is fully supportive! I mean what guy wouldn’t be if he was getting a better version of his wife?

My mind was swirling a million miles an hour as I went to bed last night, processing everything we had talked about at lunch. As I spent time in prayer, again I was excited at where I am headed. Now I am under no illusions that this will be a cruisy ride. I know there will be ups and downs and I know it will require hard work, but when excitement takes over from fear, it changes your mindset and all things seem possible!

So as I ponder my path this week, I want to leave you with this question…….who is speaking into your life?

Who is it that you trust so explicitly that you would completely open up to? Who is it that you would let your guard down with, become vunerable with and dream bigger dreams than you ever thought possible?

Go and find that person, and become all God has called you to be! Go. Now. What are you waiting for? Seriously…..go!

 

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Getting My Big Girl Panties On…..

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Boy, what a week!

It has been one of those weeks where life just seems to get crazy. Phil was off in India and Indonesia, Tuesday night saw me at the hospital with a friend for over 5 hours, ending with me getting 3 hours of sleep that night! The rest of the week was a combination of being taxi driver, meal maker, house tidy upper’er, sermon writer, assignment finisher, counselor, encourager, cheerleader, sermon preacher, event planner and not to mention, solo parent!

But you know what? I nailed it!
Now, I don’t often blow my own trumpet, in fact, I am the first person to put myself down and point out all my faults, but this week I was awesome! I don’t know what it is with Phil away but I just turn into superwoman! My house is even tidier than usual, meals are planned, washing up to date and my pantry is labeled and all the cans are in even rows! Yep, this week I have been awesome!

To be honest, it could have easily gone in the other direction! Any one of the above could have sent me off the rails, and made me crawl into bed with Netflix and a bag of chippies, never to surface again! If someone had warned me of all the things that would happen last week, I would have said “No way, there is no way I have the capacity to cope with all of that” but the thing is….I did! And I coped with dignity & grace and didn’t even yelled at the kids once!

God has me on a journey at the moment that I am (finally) ready and willing to embrace!

As most of you know, this whole “Pastor’s Wife” thing has been a struggle for me. If I was going to be honest, I have not embraced it and I have fought God a lot over the last year. But a couple of weeks ago something happened. I was in Church like I am every week, but this week God decided that He wanted to speak to me (loudly) during one of the services and I spent the whole service blubbering like a baby. I couldn’t stop the tears, and I don’t think I would have even if I could have. There’s something about humbling yourself and being real in front of your Church family!

God said to me VERY clearly that He has given me grace over the last year, but now, now it is time to get off my butt and lead the women like He has called me to do.

Now, this wasn’t a bad telling off, it was more of a gentle reminder of who He has called me to be!

He said to me “You need to teach my girls how to fight. You know what it’s like to fight for your life, fight for your marriage and to fight for your kids……so teach my girls.”

WOW!

I guess I do know all those things, and I guess I can teach that to other women. Gosh, maybe this “Pastor’s Wife” thing doesn’t need to be as hard as I thought it would be. I can do those things and by golly, I will do them the best that I can.

And so as I head into this week, it’s another week without Phil, and still, so many things to do. But after last week, this week honestly feels like a walk in the park!

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# Love My Life.

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If you follow me on Instagram…..wait, what? You don’t? Well, you are missing out on a whole lot of my crazy life, so if you would like to, you can follow me here!

Anyway, if you do follow me on Instagram or even facebook, you will notice that I finish a lot of my posts with #lovemylife.
Now if you didn’t know me, you could think that I am bragging about my life. It could make you look at my life and wish you had it, and you could think that I am not genuine, I mean really, who loves their life….all the time? Well, actually, I do! But the reason is, I do it as a reminder to myself that I am blessed.

Like I have told you a thousand times, my life is not perfect! Oh my goodness friends, it is far from it! There are so many ups and downs in my life that I’m sure I am constantly living on a roller coaster. Some days I wish it was more of a steady, even keel ride, you know like “It’s a small world” in Disneyland. Where you sit in this cute wee boat and you meander through the river on a slow peaceful ride through different countries of the world, listening to the ever soothing “It’s a small world” being sung to you while you do nothing but sit and relax. But no, that is not the way God has called me to live! He thinks I am better suited for a ride like Space Mountain, a roller coaster which is completely in the dark where there are so many twists and turns, you have no idea what is coming next. All you can do is pray and hold on for dear life.

And so I live this crazy life and every day, just like you, I have 2 choices. I can face life head on and accept willingly the path God has me on, or I can fight God every step of the way and whinge and whine my way through life.

I could complain about how busy full my life is, I could whinge that my to-do list is never ending, I could whine about how tough life is, but really, how is that going to help? Honestly, that way of looking at life is certainly not going to bring the joy I am searching for or bring joy to anyone that comes into contact with me.

But many years ago after an extremely hard season in my life, I made the decision to not be a victim but to be victorious in the way I live my life. Every morning I wake up and choose to love this life God has given me.

Now I am not trying to paint an unrealistic picture of my life on the internet. I like to keep things real, but I also don’t think the whole world needs to know all my struggles and problems, like I have said before, that privilege is saved for family and a few good friends!

And so I will continue to #lovemylife and I will continue to love it and live it to the fullest. So next time you see me #lovemylife, please don’t think I am bragging, but remember I am being thankful for all that I have. And hopefully, it is a reminder to you, that you too can choose to love your life!

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Drowning?

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So last time I wrote, I was being brave and making some big decisions!

I would love to tell you that I have nailed them and that everything is awesome, but in reality, life is not that simple!

On a positive note, I have completely removed the word “busy” from my vocabulary. It feels so good, and I wish I had done it earlier. Again, it doesn’t mean I don’t have stuff to do, it just means that I am learning to look at things differently and keep all things in perspective! It’s amazing how one small word can make such a big difference, but it can!

So that decision is going well. My other decision I made was to slow down and find my joy. I am determined that there is more to life than running a million miles an hour and running ourselves ragged, for really, no good reason at all!

How is that working for me you ask? Well, not so great this week! I am trying to make time in my busy full schedule but this week feel like I am drowning, and just trying to keep my head above water…..let alone find joy in it!

It is a busy full season at the moment with lots going on. I was trying to make plans with friends to have dinner with them and the earliest we could do it between our schedules was mid-November….now is that crazy or what?

As I survey my “to do” list I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. For every 1 tick, there are another 5 things left to do. Breathe Kathy, just breathe!

Again, please don’t hear me wrong! I LOVE my life and all we are doing, I wouldn’t change it for the world. But God is stretching my capacity and as we all know, that is not always easy!

So I continue to intentionally find the joy around me, and often it’s in the simplest of things: the kids hanging out with us when they don’t have to, the time I get to spend with Phil, just the two of us. Sitting on the deck with a hot chocolate and steering at our wee slice of paradise. Knowing I have friends and family praying for me. Getting a text out of the blue from a friend checking in on me. The fact that Christmas is only 108 sleeps away!!!

The best thing to do when you feel you are drowning is not panic! Panicking doesn’t help. At all. With anything.

So I am breathing, I am intentionally seeking joy and I am thanking God every day for my Blessed life. I am keeping things in perspective and I am enjoying (yes, I said enjoying, not enduring!) this season, knowing that it is just that. It’s a season, and we all know that a new season will follow.

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I Made A Decision!

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This morning I made a decision. Actually, I made 2 decisions.
Now, I guess there’s nothing in that sentence that is outright life-shattering right? I mean we make decisions every day, don’t we?

What will I have for breakfast?
Will I make the bed or not (actually for me that not a choice, I can’t function if my bed is not made!)
Will I or won’t I have my quiet time with God?
What will I cook for dinner?
How many pieces of chocolate will I have at 4pm?

If you are any kind of grown up, you will make an average of 35,000 decisions every day (kids only have to make 3000 decisions a day…..no wonder I often wish I didn’t have to adult!) But that is a lot of decisions people, no wonder we are often so tired!

But this morning’s decisions were different.
As I sat on the couch with my smoothie after everyone had left the house, I was having some quiet time and just steering out the window. Sitting there steering, daydreaming and listening to worship music, I was contemplating the last couple of weeks.

Coming back from the States is always hard for me, the longing to be back there is something I can’t explain and something I have learnt to accept happens every time. As I sat and thought about all that is going on around me, I felt that dreaded familiar feeling rising up within me. I purposefully tried to slow my breathing down, but I found myself going to my default mode…….BUSY! I don’t have time to sit here….I am so busy!

Busy looking after my family.
Busy looking after other people.
Busy with Church work.
Busy with cooking and cleaning.
Busy with life.
Just busy, busy, busy!

busyBusy is not a new concept for me. I wrote a while back about being so busy I didn’t even have time to wait for some fries (you can read that here) or questioned if I would even slow down for a million dollars (you can read that here)

But to be honest, I have grown to really dislike the word. Busy:
1. actively and attentively engaged in work or a pastime:
busy with her work.
2. not at leisure; otherwise engaged:
He couldn’t see any visitors because he was busy.
3. full of or characterised by activity:
a busy life.
4. officious; meddlesome; prying.

As I read the dictionary definition it made me dislike it all the more. There is nothing good in that word…..well not for me anyway. So I came to my first decision……I am removing the word busy from my vocabulary!

I will not use it anymore, in any sense of the word. It is gone, removed, taken away from my world. Now it doesn’t mean that just because it’s gone, I won’t have things to do, I am not that naive, but it does mean that I cannot and will not use it as an excuse anymore.

I had someone ask me the other day if I had a busy day and I went to say yes, but stopped myself and told them I had a full day but it was all good!

I know it is going to be a conscious effort but if I am going to change my world then it is going to take some conscious decisions to do that! And I know without a doubt breaking busy will also help me find my joy again!

breaSo as I head off to a conference for the rest of the week, I am going to take a deep breath and enjoy it, not looking at all the things I could/should be doing instead, but enjoying the time away with my favourite Preacher Man and some uninterrupted time with God! (I am also taking my new book “Breaking Busy” by Alli Worthington)

As for my other decision, tune in next week to find out what that was……

 

 


Finding My Joy!

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I was having coffee with a close friend the other day and she asked how I was.

I gave my usual “I am good” and went to carry on our conversation, but she looked right past my words and into my heart and she asked me again “No, really, how are you?”

I fought back the tears and spoke the words I knew were inside of me but were holding them back for fear of it being real….”You know what, I think I have lost my joy.”

joy2There. I said it. Out loud for her to hear. I have lost my joy!
And as the words echoed out loud, I let myself feel the sadness that has been eating away at me for some time.
I let myself dwell on what that meant. I let myself think about when and where I lost my joy. I thought about what this meant not only for me but for those around me as well.

Now please don’t get me wrong. I love my life. I am beyond blessed and I am so grateful for where I am, everything I have and for the love of family and good friends. But somewhere along the way I have lost my joy.

Joy is not a word I would often use. I would say I am happy, I am content, I am excited (yep, I tend to use that one a lot!) I am grateful, but joy, well it’s not one I tend to use.

But the minute I spoke it out loud, I knew that joy was exactly what I was missing.

So I spent some time reflecting on this and I realised that joy and happiness are very different things. I can be happy without having joy. I can be happy because of outside influences, but joy, joy is true contentment that comes from internal factors like faith in Christ. True joy is everlasting and not dependent on our circumstances.

The Bible teaches that happiness is fleeting because it often depends on things outside of ourselves, but true joy is eternal because it is based on our relationship with Jesus Christ, which is itself an everlasting source of joy.

So back to me and my joy….or lack of it!
I need it back! I need to find my joy again. But as I’m learning, it is not something I can go and just find. It is not something that I can create, or conjure up. If only it was as easy as popping into K-Mart and getting some when I ran out! Nope, it is something that comes from within. It is something that I am only going to find when I spend time with my Creator. When I spend time with the One who knows me better than I know myself! When I take the time out of my ‘busy’ life to invest in what really matters. When I stop and listen….really listen to who He says I am.

So this week I am on a mission! I am determined to get the ‘joyful Kathy’ back that I once was. To rediscover who I am and what that looks like. To fill my soul with the only thing that can give me the joy I so desperately need!

Here I go, friends…….

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Speechless!!

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Don’t you think its funny when you are meant to be a writer and you have no words…none!
This is day 2 that I have sat here and tried to fill this page with words……but Nothing! Zilch, Nada! Not a thing!

It’s not that I don’t have any words, I mean really, I am a woman so I am not likely to run out, right?. But it’s more that I don’t have adequate words to convey what is in my heart!

So I am opening up my heart and writing what pours out….

It’s been 2 days since I have been home from Texas and I am beyond grateful at what God orchestrated while I was over there. 14 days of sunshine, hamburgers, shopping, amazing hospitality, good friends, new friends and uninterrupted time with God, planning, dreaming and believing with Him for all He has for me. And in the middle of that was Declare. The reason I made the big trek half way around the world. The reason I left my family. The reason I stepped out of my comfort zone. And the reason I knew God had called me to go.

Declare Conference this year, was more than I ever dreamed it could or would be. After the bar being set so high the last couple of years, I went this year wondering if it was just going to be a fun holiday. It’s a long way to go, and a long time to leave my family for just a fun holiday! I knew God had more in store for me, but really, how could it top last year?  What more could God have for me?

As I prayed on the plane over, God reminded me that He has given me a voice for a reason. He has called and equipped me to speak into (women’s) lives and that He has a bigger plan for my life than I can see, think or imagine at the moment. He assured me that writing is still a big part of my ministry and even though things seem to be changing at light speed for us at the moment, He has still called me to write. He also reminded me that connection is critical for what He has called me to.

As I spent 3 days reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, God spoke into my life in ways I couldn’t even imagine. Dinner conversations, chatting in line for the bathroom, or running into people in the hallway of the Hotel, I knew God had gone before me and pre-ordained my steps and who I would run into! God doesn’t leave things to chance or coincidence. Nope, He knew exactly who I needed to connect with and was with me every step of the way. He even made this introvert girl, who so often feels like a fish out of water, feel like she was where she needed to be, that she actually fitted in! And as for those 1 am talks with my roommate….I seriously have no words for what she means to me or the crazy God connection that we have!

photo credit https://www.facebook.com/cocopaigephotography

To Eryn, Michelle, Anne, Kristin and Jen….I am grateful beyond words for you all. You stepped out in Wild Obedience when God asked you to put on a conference for Christian Women who blog. You allowed His Presence to be felt. You allowed me to be a part of a group of women who are making a difference for His name. Because of these women, the path God has me on has been altered, and the journey I am walking, has now become a journey with like-minded women who do what I do, and most importantly, get why I do what I do! I am part of an Army of Women that God is raising up. Each has their own voice with their own story to share, but we all share the same heart and we are all doing it for the same reason…….Glory for God.

I am still blown away by the generosity of the Declare Team, who presented me with the very first ticket to Declare Conference 2017! Again I was left speechless, but this gift means more to me than I could ever convey. I am so thankful to God and these women who have Blessed me beyond words!

photo credit https://www.facebook.com/cocopaigephotography

photo credit
https://www.facebook.com/cocopaigephotography

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photo credit https://www.facebook.com/cocopaigephotography

 


Declare Link Up!

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IMG_5637Ok, so this is my third year at Declare!
I know right….who would have thought!

That first year as I jumped on the plane (actually 3 of them!), travelled for 22 hours, flew thousands of miles and completely stepped out of my comfort zone, I had no idea what kind of impact it would have on my life. But boy oh boy, am I sure glad I did. I have made the most incredible life long friends, and this year as I get ready to travel again I am not nervous at all but filled with pure excitement at seeing everyone again….and making new friends!

So here are my answers for the link up:

1. If we were meeting in person, how would you introduce yourself? (job, family, career, ministry, where you live … share whatever details come to mind)

Hi, I’m Kathy. Yes, I do have a strange accent, and no it is not Australian! I live in New Zealand with my husband Phil and our two fantastic teenagers, Jackson who is 18 and Gracie who is 16. Our family is crazy and that is just the way we love it!
Phil and I have been married for 20 years this year and are passionate about seeing God restore broken relationships.
Recently we shifted towns and are now Seniors Pastors at a local Church. It’s challenging but we love it!I have just launched a new ministry for young girls called “Daughters of the King” and have our second event coming up soon!
I love writing, organising, Christmas, french fries and Jesus!

2. What is your favorite thing to write and why?

I love to write from the heart! I am currently studying at Bible College so have been doing a lot of theological writing and so I love to get back to blog writing and write whatever comes to heart. I know God has called me to encourage women, so this is who I target my writing for (although I do know of lots of men who read my blog!)

3. What is your favorite thing to read and why? (If this question is too broad for you avid readers, what’s a favorite book or blog you’ve read lately?)

During the year I tend to stick to self-help books, books to encourage me and books which will help me to grow. Over the holidays (our summer is Dec/Jan) I LOVE to read Amish novels, as they just take me to a whole nother world, one so much simpler than the one I live in!

mickey4. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

Go to Disneyland! It is my most favourite place (yes, you guessed it, I am just a big kid!) I have been 4 times (which is no easy feat from NZ) and I am definitely planning on going back!

 

 

5. What’s one thing you love about your blog and one thing you’d like to improve?

I love that it is my own wee place in cyber-space where I can be myself and write what I like with no expectations from others! One thing I would like to improve on is my knowledge of behind the scenes operations!

6. [Lightening Round] Would you rather …

  • Read on Kindle or paperback? Paperback
  • Drink coffee or tea? Coke Zero
  • Go to a musical or a movie? Both!
  • Vacation at the beach or the mountains? The Mountains
  • Have an exciting night out or a relaxing night in? Depends! Mostly an introvert but do love a good night out!
  • Watch sports, play sports, or no sports? Watch sports

Thanks for taking the time to get to know me a little better.
Looking forward to seeing you all in a few weeks!

 

imageKathy
xxx