This video is adapted from Johann Hari’s New York Times best-selling book ‘Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.’

This video came up on my Facebook feed and I found it so very interesting. I wanted to share it on my blog, to see if others may find it just as thought provoking and helpful as I did.

My opinion after listening to the video…

Loneliness and disconnection is horrible, and can have a horrendous outcome on a persons life. We all need to feel we are loved, we belong, we are accepted and we have a sense of purpose. Withdrawing into isolation from others is a reaction, and the alternative is the need to be proactive in a positive way. To turn your life around can be very challenging for those who already feel inferior, unaccepted and worthless. Extremely challenging for those who have already opened the door to addiction as a way of escape to the daily pain that life brings them.

A desire to change takes commitment, lots of loving support, choosing to be vulnerable, and also huge bravery! You can’t do it alone! Building new relationships with the right people is a huge step forward. Good counselling, loving family and positive friendships! But the warning I give is that we should never allow others to give you your self esteem. If they can give it to you, they can also take it from you! We are all damaged people. Life can be amazingly wonderful, but it can also be cruel! What we put into a relationship comes not only from our choice to be the best to another and love them totally, but also from our life experiences, good and bad. And we make mistakes! We are human and that is one of the conditions of being human!

Praise God He loves us unconditionally, and as we are! He never gives up on us or leaves us. In Him we are loved, belong, are accepted and our life has purpose 🙂 To have a personal relationship with God is solid! It’s like having your house built on solid ground. When the storms of life come, you can rest assured that your faith in this loving God, will help you stand firm. ‘For God so loved the world (everyone… even you), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (NKJV). We are all equal at the foot of the cross! Everyone! There is no bias!

I know there are lot of people that disagree with me about faith in God, but no-one can argue with the peace that I have from knowing who I am in Christ 🙂 I have no fear for the future as my life is in His hands 🙂 He is my hope for the future and my ever present help for today.


A Test Of Faith

In August 2014, I left New Zealand for our second son’s wedding in Poland. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that after the wedding, we went on a Tour of the Balkans, all of which is written about on here with many photos of the wonderful sights and places visited. After the tour I flew to London to Nanny our youngest grandchild for three months, followed by a wonderful Christmas in Sydney. I finally arrived back in New Zealand mid January 2015.

Before I left New Zealand in the August I noticed that a small freckle on my right forearm seemed to be a little darker than it used to be. I wondered if I should be worried about it, but decided that it only looked like a freckle and should be okay. I told myself it was moles that you need to be worried about.

Because of the position of the spot, it caught my eye regularly, and I would touch it and pray that it was okay and nothing serious. But it definitely was getting darker and it seemed to have a little line running from it.

This photo was taken on Robin's Birthday, the 2nd of January 2015. Can you see the spot? It had been on my arm for five months, that I can remember anyway!
This photo was taken on Robin’s Birthday, the 2nd of January 2015. Can you see the spot? It had been on my arm for five months, that I can remember anyway!
Here is a closer up view of it!
Here is a closer up view of it!

Our eldest daughter is a nurse and she remained in New Zealand while we had our overseas trip. We met up again four months later at our family Christmas in Sydney. As soon as Joanna saw my arm, she said that she didn’t like the look of the spot and that I needed to get it looked at by a Doctor as soon as possible. But I was in Sydney and still had two weeks holiday left!

This is the spot on the 24th of January 2015. Still on my arm, and I still haven't been to the Doctor!
This is the spot on the 24th of January 2015. Still on my arm, and I still haven’t been to the Doctor!

By mid February I decided that I really should get it looked at and went to my GP. He wasn’t too sure about it but had another Doctor run a clinic monthly who did surgeries for unusual spots or moles. And I was booked in to see him!

On the 2nd of April I arrived for my appointment and as soon as I walked in the door, immediately the Doctor said he could see why I had come, he grabbed my arm, and said that it is a Melanoma! He was almost certain, and so was his wife, his nurse! Oh my goodness, why had I left it so long to get it checked out? Please get your spots and moles checked people!

It was cut out straight away and sent for testing.

Now this bandage doesn't look too bad does it! But believe me he took a huge hunk out of my arm!
Now this bandage doesn’t look too bad does it! But believe me he took a huge hunk out of my arm!

Because I am on blood pressure tablets it bled fairly badly and needed internal dissolving stitches to help stop the bleeding. A clean dressing was put on a week later, and the stitches were removed a week after that.

A little bigger than I thought!
A little bigger than I thought!

So from one little mole to an inch long scar. But a scar I can cope with. What I was concerned about was that the Doctor said that if it did test out to be Melanoma, the most serious form of cancer, I could be dead within eight months! Oh, he also said that even if I had come along any earlier, and it was Melanoma, the prognosis maybe wouldn’t be any different. I had two long weeks to wait for the results!

Now for the emotions to set in! As a Christian, I knew and believed that God could heal! That Jesus took all our sickness on Himself when he died on the cross for us. I also knew that sometimes He doesn’t heal, that it isn’t always in His plan. So I was faced with the possibility that I may die a whole lot earlier than I wanted to! Yet I had prayed over that spot many times over the last eight months and I believe God hears our prayer. I also know of a couple of amazing Christians who died of cancer, even thought many people were praying for them. And I know people suffering the effects of cancer now!

I really was in Gods hands and had to trust Him completely for whatever the outcome. I actually wasn’t upset at the fact that I could die, we all are going to die eventually, but I was worried about the process of death (yet, still hoping that everything was going to be okay). I know that I have salvation, that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour. I also know that I have His Holy Spirit within, as a seal, a promise that I am a child of God. So I know that I am going to Heaven when I die. Yes, I believe in Heaven! But I also became more aware of the many people who have no faith in God, and no hope for the future, and are going through the same wait as I was. Is it cancer or isn’t it? Am I going to die? What are their thoughts about death, and heaven and hell? Do they think that when they die, that is it?

The big questions of life huh! I believe us humans are made of body, soul and spirit. The body is the flesh and bones. The soul is the mind, will and emotions. But the spirit of man is what relates to God! The Spirit in us is the hope of glory!

As we just had a long weekend, Anzac weekend, on the Friday I drove a three hour trip to Palmerston North to pick up my grandchildren and then the three hour trip back home to New Plymouth. This to be repeated again on Monday to take them back home. While I drive along, I choose to listen to podcasts. This time I listened to three different ones on the way to Palmerston North. I was so excited in my spirit when I listened to them because the explanation of Death, Heaven and Hell was just great and an applicable topic for me! I would love it if you my reader would have a listen and then leave your comments/opinions later on. I guess the sermons are for Christians, but I am sure an unbeliever would also find them great to listen to, ponder about, and maybe be challenged about, especially if you are facing a life threatening illness! And I don’t want any of my loved ones to miss out on this free gift of salvation. Your eternity depends upon it! Please listen with an open mind 🙂

After a L O N G two weeks, I phoned my Doctors to get the results of the mole and flesh that was removed. It was a Melanoma but in Situ! Which means that the cancer was contained to the mole region only. There was 4mm of clear cancer free flesh under the mole. I am now booked in to go and get a further piece of flesh removed as the preferred clearance is 5mm! Really that is minor compared to what it could have been.

From this experience I recognise the fact that none of us know what we could face in the near future. Our days are numbered, and we don’t know when our time is up. What we can be sure of though is where we will end up. The choice is ours to make! But it has to be made while we are still alive and living on this earth. Accept Jesus and His gift of salvation, or reject Him?

If you want to accept and believe I have a short prayer for you to pray…

Dear God in heaven,

I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness. I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin. You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved. Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Saviour and according to His Word, right now I am saved. Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honour to you alone and not to myself. Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.


If you just cannot pray this prayer of salvation, as you aren’t quite sure about it all, just ask God to reveal Himself to you and I am sure He will. He loves you 🙂

So Very Thankful!

I have had the most amazing year! It started with a trip to Palmerston North, New Zealand, for the birth of Robin’s and my fifth grand child Ella in February. Then in March came a trip to Sydney, Australia, for the birth of our sixth grand child Luke. And following that in April our seventh grand child Sophie was born in London. Yes that’s right! Three grand children in three months! How often does that happen?

In May I had another trip to Sydney to catch up with that lovely new grandson, as well as two sons, two daughter in laws and three grand children, including Luke.

In August five of us left New Zealand for Poland. We had a wedding to go to! Second son Daniel was getting married to Marysia and nine family members were travelling over for the celebration. That meant I was meeting up with Matthew and grand daughter Casey, and Ben and Chloe from Sydney, as well as travelling with Robin, Judy (my sister), Len and niece Teresa. And, we were meeting little Sophie for the first time!

We stayed in Poland in a Palace! It was a fabulous place. Somewhere buried deep in my blog (around August 2014) is a picture of the palace. The wedding was amazing!

From Poland we went to Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania. This was all part of an ‘Insight Vacations’ tour called ‘The tour of the Balkans’. It was a marvelous experience and fully covered in previous blog posts as well!

After the tour I flew to London (alone) and arrived on the 15th of September. The rest of my family who did the tour flew back to New Zealand. I have had the most amazing three months here looking after my grand daughter Sophie while her Mum and Dad went to work. And I have made the most of that time! I have connected with a local Church and the super friendly people there by attending some Sundays, but also by taking Sophie to their playgroup most Friday mornings. It has been great! I also took Sophie to the local library most Wednesdays for music and movement in French! I loved it, and so did Sophie. That child just rocks to every beat of music with a huge smile on her face!

At every opportunity I went into London to ‘Hillsong London’ church and I would spend the whole day wandering around the popular tourist spots in the city. I spent a couple of Saturdays in the city as well so I could see everything! I have thousands of photos! I also took Sophie into London and met up with Dan and Marysia. After work we explored London by night. So completely different than during the day. The lights and sights are superb!

From the 4th of November until the 26th of November, my sister Judy came over from New Zealand to holiday with me. The second weekend she was here we flew to Switzerland for three days. We stayed in Zurich and discovered the city. We also did a tour of wonderful Lucerne and then went up Mount Pilatus by the cog railway. Oh my goodness those places are a must to visit! I have loaded heaps of photos here on my blog as well. Go have a look and be inspired to go there yourself! You won’t regret it!

Judy and I also went to two shows, ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Billy Elliot’, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We wandered through museums, shops, the winter wonderland and went on the London eye together. So many fun and memorable moments!

Dan and Marysia also took me to Oxford, and then Judy and I to Winchester to see the Christmas markets there! So many wonderful, amazing experiences! And it hasn’t ended yet! On the 19th, Dan, Marysia, Sophie and myself are flying to Sydney and meeting husband Robin, daughter Jessica and her boyfriend Conner who are flying the same day from New Zealand. We will all be staying with eldest son Matthew, Rebekah and grandchildren Leeara, Casey and Luke. And eldest daughter Joanna who is in Sydney already, waiting for us to arrive! We will be meeting up with youngest son Ben and Chloe before they fly to New Zealand to meet Chloe’s family for Christmas. We will be having a fabulous Christmas in Sydney together! It certainly will be a time of celebration.

When I think of all that I have experienced this year and of the wonderful provision from God to be able to do it all (and an understanding, loving husband), I feel amazingly blessed! I feel so full from all of the most wonderful experiences and relationships in my life, and feel so emotionally satisfied and happy. Sometimes I feel like my heart could burst with  joy from all these experiences 🙂

Now I am not sharing all this to show off, or to make you feel jealous of me, or to make you think that I am perfect, have an amazing personality, a great character, are better than others and somehow deserve this life. I am human, I make plenty of mistakes and I fail at times, my life hasn’t always been this wonderful in fact it has had many troubles. I am only in this place at this time because of my gracious and merciful God!

Here is the reality of my life, and a little of my past and the sadness I have experienced….

In 1989, when I was 33 years old, I was living in a half finished house and I was solely paying the weekly mortgage payments. I was a single mother of four young boys and I was supported by the New Zealand Domestic Purposes Benefit, which was barely enough to survive on. My ex-husband had left me and the boys and he wasn’t making life easy. I was continually under pressure to ‘hold it together’ for the sake of my children especially when their emotions were also in a mess. They couldn’t really understand the changes that had happened in their lives, and to be honest neither could I.

Emotionally I was a wreck! Not only was I suffering huge rejection from my ex-husband, but I also felt rejection from those who thought I was somehow not worthy of their friendship any longer as I was now a solo mother. I had lost the title of being a wife and had also lost status in society, as I was now officially on a benefit! Some women couldn’t associate with me any longer as somehow I became a threat to them. As a single lady, I was seen as available, I could maybe attract interest from their husbands (even though I had four children). From men, they felt it would ruin my reputation to be seen with me? Of course, having suffered the devastation of a broken marriage I wanted to go break another marriage and cause damage in their life as well! Really? And being a single women with four children, it actually hurt to be with couples and see their happy family, knowing our little family was broken and suffering.

My ex husband played the blame game often (of course it was all my fault), and I developed the habit of needing to defend myself both to him and to the many he had convinced of his innocence, and to our past friends. And I’m not saying that I was completely blameless, but I was completely faithful!

Divorce leaves behind broken lives! And it can take years for those lives to be restored. And even when you think you have it sorted, something happens and before you know it, you find yourself back in the middle of an emotional crisis again! And as a survivor, you do get yourself back on track eventually, but it is a process, believe me. And I have fallen many times over the years. I am a whole lot better than I was, but it is still very sad how deep rejection, or the feeling of being unappreciated, can wound the very soul of a person! It’s also very sad to suffer at the hands of those who have never experienced the hardships of divorce and all that goes with it, and they cast you aside when you show any degree of weakness in your emotional life. I take hurts very deep, and have reacted upon that hurt spirit, rather than see myself as God sees me… totally loved unconditionally, and totally understood. And, I have had prayer and ministry for the brokenness, and I believe that God has helped me incredibly. The upsets from the past come further and further apart now and are much less severe.

As you would know (if you have read ‘About me’ here on my blog) I am a Christian. I know the love, value, acceptance and belonging that comes from receiving Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.  I know peace and joy, and I live a very rich and fulfilled life. I’m not saying that if you become a christian, you will have problem free living. I haven’t had life easy as a Christian, but I have a God who says ‘Cast your cares on me for I care for you’. And He never fails to bring comfort and joy. Yes… it is well with my soul! That doesn’t mean that the echoes of the past don’t come back to haunt me, and that you forget the events of the past, but with God’s help you can forgive and the memories are much less painful.

Many years ago a lady came to me in church, and said that she felt she had a scripture for me. It was Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Well I think God has blessed me with the reality of that scripture for a few years now but even more so in this year. Yes I am so very thankful for the wonderful year I have just had and I thank God daily for it! And I am so thankful for my wonderful family who I get to share this life with. And, I am also so very thankful for the friends I have, who have stood by me and loved me no matter what, and still encourage me to be the best me that I possibly can 🙂

I love you all xoxoxo

I wonder what God has in His plans for us in 2015!

Isaiah 61:3 To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of dispair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

Pre-Christmas in London

I am amazed at just how much effort is put into making the Christmas season so very special here in London. I guess we are no different in New Zealand but the largeness of this place just seems to make it all the more extravagant!

Firstly there is the ‘Winter Wonderland Show’ at Hyde park. Judy and I walked through on a Monday night after it opened over the previous weekend. Fortunately Monday night wasn’t too popular, and it was an easy walk through and very enjoyable. By the next weekend when I went again, it was crowded. You could hardly move with all the people, but there was a great atmosphere. People were happy and having so much fun. I took heaps of photos but think this you tube clip will help show just how BIG the place is!

The streets are all lit up with amazing Christmas lights but the shop windows have become like a super competition to see who produces the most WOW factor. Let them fight it out I say while I wander through the crowded streets and admire their efforts!

There are plenty of you tube movies about each store as well, especially as they finally unveil their window displays to the public. Here is a Harrods video…

And another store that is very well known. It was voted the best department store in the world!

Here is a sample of their in store decorations! They really are amazing!

Another store with the big reveal is Fenwicks. This Fenwicks is in Newcastle but there is a huge store in Bond Street, London.

Walking home one night Daniel and Marysia took us into the store Fortnum and Mason. I’d never heard of the store before but I was certainly in for a treat. This store is for the RICH! I’ve attached a you tube clip of this store. Its by a chap who seems to make a living making You Tube videos about London.

John Lewis is another big department store and it’s Christmas lights are turned on with the Oxford Street light up, but they have an advert which is televised during the Christmas season. The little penguin named Monty has become very popular. Everyone wants a Monty Penguin and his little girlfriend Maude.

I frequently buy online from Debenhams Store for presents for London friends. Here is their Christmas advert and you can see some of their instore decorations as well.

Here is a link I found with a write up about each shop and their window display.

And here is what Covent Garden got up to getting their 2014 Christmas decorations up! And believe me it all looks amazing!

We were lucky enough to wander through Covent Garden and see these wonderful decorations in person.

Another big thing is when the Christmas lights get officially turned on. The public come out in force to celebrate the event. It’s like a huge concert and goes on for hours.  Here is Regent Street lights switch on 2014

I could only find a longer video for Oxford Street but what a celebration it was!

This short video is a general shop window one…

Libertys of London had a real celebration for the window display reveal. Once again it’s quite a long video but shows the excitement involved in this Christmas season at Liberty. It’s a wonderful store but once again quite expensive!

And if you walk along Southbank, the River Thames walkway you will also see the Christmas Markets. Actually this guy has done heaps of video clips on You Tube about Christmas in London.

I have noticed that there is a huge lack of Nativity scenes in London’s Christmas Celebrations. How sad is that! We are definitely seeing Christ taken out of Christmas, and with the stores each competing for sales, I guess ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’ doesn’t help provide them with store purchases. The meaning of Christmas has become buy buy buy! Gift giving even when you can’t afford it. Well gift buying anyway!

The best gift of all and it doesn’t cost a cent is the gift that God gave 2014 years ago. It was in the form of a little baby, God’s son Jesus Christ. He died 33 years later as a sacrifice for our sins, and so that we could have eternal life. This gift of salvation is free, you only have to accept it! John 3;16. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that he who believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Having attended Hillsong London a few times while in London, I have been amazed at their influence in this city. The church is huge and is growing daily! Now they are having a Christmas celebration and it does include Jesus! It does has Father Christmas but would certainly share the true reason that Christmas is part of our lives today. Here is a video of last years production. It is 29 minutes long but a great look! If that sounds too long for you though, there is another link on my page for this years service, go to that one 🙂

To find out more please open/download the link below and check out the provided information 🙂

Hillsong Christmas Carols Press Release_CVH (1) (1)

So… it will be at Wembley Arena again and the cost is 5pound per person. The 7.30pm Carol service is full already but there is another service at 3pm. This will be a Christmas celebration that you won’t forget in a hurry. In fact it could be life changing for you 🙂

Have a look…

I’m actually really sad that I can’t go to this Christmas service. I leave London on the 19th of December, but for those of you who live in London, don’t miss out!

Don't miss out! I'm sure it will be a Christmas Concert you will remember and be thankful for...  for eternity
 Please share with me how the evening/afternoon went. I’d love to hear all about it 🙂

I am in London!

Well….. I have arrived! And I am so happy to be here. Sophie is gorgeous and she doesn’t seem to mind that this strange lady has taken over looking after her every day while Mummy and Daddy go to work 🙂 And I am so very thankful 🙂 Imagine if she was so shy and cried every time she looked at me. Instead, when she sees my face she smiles and talks to me in her baby talk…. I love it! I am such a super spoiled Nana 😉 and I love her dearly. We are going to have so much fun together for the next three months!

I arrived Monday afternoon and Daniel and Marysia showed me around the local area. Three parks within a half hour walk! I ventured out  for my own discovery walk Wednesday afternoon. I wanted to see what the local area had to offer a visitor from far off who was a little scared to take buses and trains yet! I found lots of little dairies, hairdressers, land agents, fruit and vegetable shops, off licenses and a mini supermarket. There is a school over our back fence, so joyful sounds of children playing are heard at play times, lunch time and after school. Within two blocks I found a very old church dated back to 1884. It was called ‘Christ Church’ and is a Baptist church by denomination. The notice board advertised bible study groups, friendship groups, the Sunday service times, and a mothers and toddlers playgroup held every Friday morning! Yay… I decided that this will be my weekly activity and also a great opportunity to meet other locals, also very good for Sophie to be with other babies and help with her social development 🙂

So today is Friday! Playgroup day! Arghhhhh… And I am off!

I am feeling a little apprehensive! I don’t know anyone! New in town! A foreigner! And a little old to be a playgroup mummy! How will I fit in?

I loaded the nappy bag with everything I may need for Sophie. It was bulging!  I had forgotten just how much stuff babies may need on outings! And off I went!

I survived and I’m now back home again….

Yay! I had a great time 🙂 This playgroup is held at  ‘Christ Church’ on Bellevue Road corner. The ladies that run it are extremely friendly and caring. They made me feel very welcome 🙂 There were 12 caregivers/mummies that came along with what seemed like hundreds of kids! Man it was noisy! I’m not used to so many children’s play noises all at once anymore. Sophie loved it! She happily lay on the floor kicking her feet and joined in making noises! The young mums were very friendly as well, but best of all, there were two other Nana/caregivers, who I approached as soon as I could, and then sat with for the rest of the morning. One was her first time as well, and the other her second. We happily chatted while watching and interacting with our grandchildren and other children as well. I got offered cups of tea with plastic plates and plastic biscuits, which I played along drinking up my ‘cup of tea’. It was fun!

Next week I am meeting up with Helen at the local coffee shop for coffee together before playgroup. Helen is looking after her grand daughter every Monday and Friday. She drives a little way to playgroup! Both her and grand daughter Jessica are lovely. I may have found a new friend within a week of being here. This is such a great start and I am feeling very happy and contented.

I came home with a very sleepy Sophie who is now way out of routine. She didn’t want to drink her second bottle of the day with all the fun going on around her. I finally managed to get her to drink it when we got home, and she is still sound asleep. It’s now 1.15 and by now she is suppose to have had her lunch time solids and another bottle! Hopefully she will be a hungry little girl all afternoon or Mummy Marysia may growl at me hehe!

I also had a lovely skype chat with my man at home in New Zealand while Sophie is sleeping. This day has been so good and it is only early afternoon.

Okay Sophie…. enough sleep. Nana is ready for our next adventure together 🙂

Joy? – the secret!

Ever had one of THOSE weeks? Well I have just had one and barely survived! Okay a slight exageration here, but it was a tough week!

Started off on Saturday night. I came home from a very busy afternoon shift at work and ended up having a stupid discussion/argument with a person who I love very much! Yes, my halo slipped badly! I don’t know why I bothered to get involved in the discussion as I already knew we were poles apart in our opinions on the matter. Normally I would try to keep peace knowing that our relationship was way more important than ‘who was right’ at the time, but fatigue took over and I didn’t back down. Consequently, I have made a call to say sorry, and to try to get our relationship back to good standing. But I guess it may still take time. This was definitely a time when I could have done with God putting a guard on my mouth. I guess my strong self will was much bigger at the time! Hmmm a lot of self examination went on for the next few days.

On the Tuesday I decided to take my Mum and sister to the ‘Tuesday Special’ movies. We went to the movie ‘The fault in our stars’

Have you seen it? Oh my goodness…. it is not a good movie to go to when you are already feeling emotional! I cried the whole way through. Actually the whole theatre cried! One lady was even sobbing! But really, it is a movie to see. Go have a look for your self, and remember to take your tissues please 🙂

Then I had a call to let me know that church friends of ours adult daughter had had an asthma attack. And she died! She died! I still can’t believe it. She was beautiful, active and a great personality. A mum to three young lads and a devoted wife. She was also sister to two other young ladies who we know really well. What a shock to the whole family. My heart breaks for them all! Gina was farewelled on Saturday morning to a crowd of approx 650 people. Sadly I had to work so I couldn’t attend, but my thoughts have been with them all constantly.

And throughout the whole week I have been sick. It started with a sore throat, and a whole week later I am still coughing…. all day long! I worked Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon and then Monday afternoon and had several coughing fits during the time. Talk about embarassing! Nose running, tears falling and a tickly itchy throat that demanded several coughs to fix! Thankfully other than the wasted feeling after a coughing fit, I actually don’t feel too bad.

And what did I learn from my week? Below is my reading from this Saturday. As I read the first portion of the scripture I felt like it was describing my week. A week of despondency!

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, 
neither shall fruit be in the vines; 
the labour of the olive shall fail, 
and the fields shall yield no meat; 
the flock shall be cut off from the fold, 
and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, 
I will joy in the God of my salvation. 

The LORD God is my strength, 
and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, 
and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. 

Habakkuk 3:17-19 KJV 

But the last part of the reading helped me to refocus! Yet I will rejoice in the Lord and joy in the God of my salvation, and He will be my strength! No matter what is happening around me! God knows it all anyway and I can trust Him with the details 🙂 Praise God!

The Joy of the Lord is my strength!

Where does your inner strength come from?



It’s Easter!

Every morning I read ‘The Word For Toady’. It’s a devotional book that I receive every three months from Radio Rhema, New Zealand (RBG). For each day there is a scripture to read followed by a little message that explains the scripture a little further. The explanation is written by Bob and Debby Gass from UCB International.

Now I have been receiving these books for approximately 20 years! How do I remember to read it, you ask? Well, I have it sitting on a shelf in my toilet, and when I go to the toilet first thing in the morning, I read my ‘Word for today’. Too much information….you say… Well it works for me! Hehe 🙂

This morning is the 18th of April, and it is Good Friday here in New Zealand. The title for today’s reading is ‘You get another shot’, and the scripture for today is…

‘…”Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom”…Jesus said… “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.”‘ Luke 23:42-43 NKJV

And the further reading today just touched my heart, and I want to share it with you.

Author Charles Swindoll writes: ‘If ever there was a deathbed conversion, that was it. The thief lived his entire life a sinner, a hoodlum…in no way did he prove himself worthy…so what had he done to receive eternal life? What did Jesus accept? Faith – simple, unadulterated, unproved faith in Christ. That’s all God requires and all we can offer. The snapshot of Jesus’ life the thief saw convinced him He was the Son of God.

Their dialogue teaches us three important truths: (1) No one is ever too far gone. Think of someone you’ve written off… ‘Oh, they’ll never come to know Christ. I’ve tried everything…he’s never going to respond’. When you’re tempted to think anyone is beyond the reach of grace, remember the criminal on the cross. (2) Your real message is your life. Socrates once called words ‘stupid things’. When your life draws the attention of lost people, you have sufficient proof to back up the words you use. When you let God do the work in their lives, and yours, you’ll be amazed how He brings the appropriate words. (3) All God requires and accepts is simple faith. If you’re working hard to earn your way into the Kingdom…you’re on the wrong path. Think about it – how many works will be enough? When salvation is by faith, all the work and all the glory are God’s.

Never doubt your acceptance into His family when you come His way. The thief didn’t doubt…He didn’t have to make any promises. He believed with all his heart, and was saved.’ You can be too!

You too can read the ‘Word for today’ everyday. I will put the link for todays message below and then you can read each days new message via the internet…..enjoy


Church High Tea Garden Party

Every year in October-November we host a Huge Rhododendron Garden festival here in Taranaki, New Zealand. And our church decided that as we live in the area we should have our own garden party, and make it extra special by having High Tea as well. What a lot of fun! Sadly my Rhododendrons had finished flowering, but the garden still looked lovely, so I offered my place for the event. We had a couple of planning meetings, decided what each of us were making/doing, and with the date of November the 24th picked, it was all on!

A single invitation
30 made and approx 30 ladies came to the afternoon 🙂

I made some invitation for all the ladies and that sealed the day and time…Sunday the 24th from 2-4pm! I also made some centrepieces for the tables and a doily garland to look extra special.

A table decoration
A table decoration
Our decorated tables
Our decorated tables
Under the gazebo with a nice sparkling grape juice :-)
Under the gazebo with a nice sparkling grape juice 🙂
From the craft room to the gazebo
From the craft room to the gazebo

We invited a special lady to come along and share her fantastic fashion secrets with us. Irene is a beautiful Christian lady who has four grown up children. She has an amazing life story which she shared and then she presented us with many options of what to wear with one black dress! She was so inspirational and we all went home with ideas for transforming our wardrobes!

One way of dressing up the black dress
One way of dressing up the black dress
The little black dress!
The little black dress!
Amazingly Irene walked beautifully on high heels on the grass
Amazingly Irene walked beautifully on high heels on the grass
A red and black ensemble
A red and black ensemble
So pretty
So pretty
Irene looked beautiful and we were amazed
Irene looked beautiful and we were amazed
Thanking Irene for sharing her talent and life story with us :-)
Thanking Irene for sharing her talent and life story with us 🙂
Honouring Irene
Honouring Irene
Irene's creations
Irene’s creations

The food was the icing on the cake…haha! Listening to Irene and then chatting over a cuppa and a cup cake….nothing could be nicer 🙂

an enjoyable time together
an enjoyable time together
There's our Sue again
There’s our Sue again
Watching the fashion show
Watching the fashion show
Look at all the ladies :-)
Look at all the ladies 🙂
Mothers and daughters :-)
Mothers and daughters 🙂
Rest and relaxation
Rest and relaxation
Getting to know each other better
Getting to know each other better
time to chat
time to chat
Our set up
Our set up
Pouring our 'Champagne'
Pouring our ‘Champagne’
Time to eat
Time to eat
Our lovely Sweet Sue
Our lovely Sweet Sue
Doreen says her thanks you speech
Doreen says her thanks you speech
Pink vanilla cup cakes!
Pink vanilla cup cakes!
Such yummy food
Such yummy food
Chocolate eclairs and strawberries....oh my!
Chocolate eclairs and strawberries….oh my!
such a display!
such a display!
Yes.....we ate well
Yes…..we ate well
Smile ladies
Smile ladies


And then look at the lovely ladies who not only helped to create the lovely afternoon, they also stayed until every last dish was washed.  Along with Doreen, Shirley and Erin were the most stylish helpers a gal could want!

Doing dishes in style :-)
Doing dishes in style 🙂

Concert for Christchurch

From 12.51 pm (the time the earthquake struck) until 12.51 am, New Plymouth St Marys hosted a concert in support of the people of Christchurch. Northpoint was given the time slot from 10pm until the finish. Joanna and Jessica were asked to sing some songs. You should have heard them!!! They were amazing 🙂 Jess played the guitar beautifully and their voices just blended together so well. I sat there feeling so blessed and so very proud. I am sure God has BIG plans for both girls! I just wish I had taken the video camera along so I could share them with you, but I didn’t, so I have attached links to a couple of videos of them playing around at home. Have a listen and tell me what do you think? Good or Great?