Two wings lift a person up from earthy concerns: simplicity and purity. Simplicity should be in intention, purity in feelings. Simplicity reaches out after God, purity catches hold and tastes. ~ Thomas A’Kempis

Sunday, 4 July 2021

End of an Era

 


Hi friends and quiet followers,

My Dad 'Rae' passed away 4th July 2021 aged 81 years. He'd been ill for about two and a half years and more so the last year, following another heart attack. He also suffered from diabetes.

I didn't want to let this time go without recording it and also my feelings, as this is one of the ways I remember significant events in my life and also how I felt about it at the time. A couple of hours after he passed I felt a sense of calm, like I'd been holding my breath and was finally able to exhale. The past months have been harrowing for Dad, with many hospital stays, falls and bad ulcers on his legs that just wouldn't heal. His body was shutting down. Our life had taken on a rhythm of checking in every day or two to see how Dad was doing and also how was mum coping.  Mum's life was filled with appointments for Dad, care workers coming to their home to help and a lot of frights for mum when Dad would have yet another fall. He had so many falls at the end, yet never broke a bone - a true miracle. 

When my mum called us Saturday morning at 4.45am to tell us to rush to the hospital as Dad was dying, I didn't know it was possible to get ready so fast. I ran into his room upon arrival, but was too late by minutes. My mum was too late as well. We all sobbed our hearts out and couldn't believe Dad was no longer with us. Even the lovely hospital staff were crying and hugging us. Dad's was still warm and we hugged him and said our goodbyes, letting him know once again how much we all loved him. But more than anything we were so relieved for his sake that he was no longer suffering. Through all of this I have witnessed that ageing takes great courage.


One of the greatest blessings for me was that Dad had a faith in our Lord and while he may not have been one to talk about it a lot, he tried to live it out in his own ways. He had enough humility to know that we are all imperfect and just try to do our best each day as disciples of our Lord.


My Dad was in the army as a young man, but didn't fight in any wars. He loved my mum, his children and grandchildren. He especially loved gardening, specializing in growing shrubs and vegetables. He was not able to do this in later years as he had very little energy after his second heart attack. In the final months he didn't even have the strength to lift himself out of a chair and needed someone else to shower him.

Dad as a dashing younger man.....


Courting and marrying mum...



~ Lessons I've learned, some from Dad and some from witnessing ageing  ~

1. Caring for a sick loved one is not easy and no matter how patient you strive to be, you will lose your patience (says mum and later regret that you did). Bless her

2. Don't delay each day to live life well and live out the fruits of the spirit of: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self control.

3. Keep short accounts with God, friends and your loved ones. Apologise quickly when needed.

4. If you've always wanted to travel, and your health permits it and you have the finances - just do it !!! (now we have silly old covid 19 and can't) !!!. Mum and Dad made two vacations to Australia with other family members after they had retired (in their 60's and 70's), so it's never too late and they had a blast :)

5. Don't hesitate to share the gospel with those you love, even if they reject it, seeds are still sown and they can work through it with the Lord themselves and in their own time. My Dad made a confession to my husband just weeks before he passed. He gave his life to the Lord as a young man, but confessed again that he believed that Jesus died for his sins. My Dad had a very peaceful passing and told us all that he loved us. He didn't seem to have unfinished business. He accepted the state of his health and was ready to go on to whatever God had in store for him.

6. Don't waste time - We hadn't redecorated our bedroom or the kitchen since we moved into this house 14 years ago and I felt like I was wishing for things that could be done, but just not getting on with it. Dad taught me each day is precious, and time is short. So we finally just did it. My husband took 10 days off work and we just worked very very hard, staying up several nights until midnight to get it all finished. I posted before and after pics on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/__thelittlehomestead__/


                                                                       ~with curtains up ~

I'll include pics of our room another time when the lighting is better. I also sewed all the curtains for the kitchen, French doors and our bedroom myself. It was quite a challenge for me as I am not an experienced seamstress. 

..continuing with final lessons learned:
7. Be confident in the final time that you have left to do things the way you want to do them. Don't worry if other people are disappointed or think you should plan a different funeral. It's your final moment and I think its right that the person dying should be able to choose how they want things to be. Dad has chosen to be cremated and have a simple service back at home. He wants a few hymns and for there to be just family and close friends (mostly family) to just enjoy time together celebrating Dads life and recalling memories. It surprised me that Dad wanted such a simple, no fuss sort of send off. But I see that a lot of older people choose this option at the end, foregoing fuss and crowds and just choose something simple and intimate.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well that's all for now friends, I just wanted to be able to mark my Dad's passing and share the things he taught me in the final years God gave him when he was declining. I loved my Dad with all my heart, even though I didn't always agree with the things he said at times or how he sometimes acted. I chose to love him anyway and take the bad with the good. Learning to tolerate and accept each others foibles makes life easier. We all have room for improvement and God loves us still. My Dad was a man of integrity, hard working and meticulous. He kept careful records. He saved his money, lived frugally, but also well. He planned and gave my siblings and I wonderful childhood memories of great holiday camping adventures, which still remain some of the best moments that I recall from my young life. He shared nearly every Christmas with our family and we will miss him greatly. Thank you for your life Dad xo and Love to you all ~ Linda




















Sunday, 9 May 2021

Happy Mothers Day


 To all my dear followers who are Mothers, I just wanted to pop by quick and say Happy Blessed Mothers Day.


I'm so thankful that even though my husband and I were very young when we had our first child, he was loved and welcomed into our hearts and homes. Since then followed another son and a wee daughter. Of course these children are all grown up now and have blessed us with beautiful grandchildren to love. Life is good.


I pray dear Mothers that your child or children showed you love and appreciation today. I know as Mothers we can be our hardest critics and think our children might be scarred for life for the times we lost patience or said a harsh word. No Mother is perfect all the time and most strive each day to do the best they can. 


All mothers want their children to do well in life, and to one day marry and have children. If your anything like me you've probably prayed a thousand prayers for your children. When you see them  marry and then in turn become good parents, you feel like maybe you passed on something good after all, even if at times you felt like you didn't always know what you were doing - smile.  


It's a blessing that this special day is still celebrated ! It's a blessing anytime a wee child is
loved and welcomed and protected when in the womb. Their is no place more sacred and it should always be a sanctuary for a developing child. When I'm out and about and I see Mothers speaking to their children in a loving way, it makes me so happy inside because I know those children will grow up well and have good self worth. 


It doesn't matter how humble your home is, but only how big your heart is, how loving your arms are, and how gentle your words are that they hear.  When I reflect on myself as a young mother, I sometimes think I could do a better job now, but that's only because I have grown and matured through being a mother and not the other way around. 


Our children are very dear to us and I consider it a great privilege to be called mother.  
It brings me enormous joy to watch our own daughter grow as a wife and mother and even be inspired by the selfless choices she continues to make and to see our daughters in law also grow to become beautiful mothers. I consider it a high calling and a very worthy work of Love to be a Mother.

Much love to you all ~ Linda xo












Thursday, 8 April 2021

Changing Seasons


 Hello :) and happy belated Easter to you all,
I know as a Christian the birth of Christ, the death, burial and resurrection and Pentecost are the most significant events we get to celebrate, reflect on and give thanks for. I pray that this Easter for you was a memorable and joyful time. A time when you were able to be lifted up from earthly concerns and simply focus on all that Christ has done for you.


In my corner of the world we celebrated this way: On Sunday we hosted our little house church here (we meet in different homes) and a wonderful message was shared about the Passover and how the Israelites needed to obey God's command to put the blood of a firstborn, year old lamb or goat over the doorposts of their house so the angel of death would pass-over their homes and no one would die. Then their was an explanation of how Jesus is our Passover Lamb today. When we participate in taking communion, Jesus blood covers and protects us. When God looks at us He sees us as spotless, made righteous by His Son's blood and sacrificial death. It was a very meaningful, rich time of worship and fellowship. :)



Scottish minister Horatius Bonar wrote: Upon a life I did not live, upon a death I did not die; another life, another death, I stake my whole eternity. 
(I love this)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In other news - It's Autumn here now, and it just happens to be my 2nd favourite season; Spring being my first. :) It's a wonderful drawing in sort of time for me and there's a slowing down that I relish. More time is spent indoors and less on the garden as things finish off out there. I'm not a hot weather girl anyway so the cooler days suit me very well too. 


My mind slowly turns to warming foods such as soups and stews, to making sure blankets and quilts are washed and aired and also sorting through our wardrobes, putting away excess summer clothing to make room for bulkier Winter woollies. 


On Good Friday we drove 3 hours to Lake Taupo for the day to pick up a large cupboard that we purchased for our bedroom. I've said in other posts that the storage in this old house was not very good, and as I'm the sort of person that likes everything to have it's place, its meant we've either purchased more storage cupboards or had extra things built. The wardrobe in our room is small - its divided into two sections (half mine, half my husbands) and I've always found it squashy and inadequate, so that's why we finally (after 14 years) purchased an extra one. The lady we bought it from said it was handmade by a Dutch man and I love it. It's very roomy and the drawers slide out well too. It's just perfect for what we need. I'm including some extra pics so you can see the set up.  It's actually like a large cupboard with two big drawers at the bottom, so now I have plenty of room to store everything. 

*Please excuse the hideous lime green stripe around the wall. We are yet to decorate this room lol :)

My husband also added extra shelving in his little wardrobe for clothes and shoes (and he's happy with that much space) - men lol - and he has separate drawers for other clothes too. That's all my scarves hanging on the door :)

It's all in an effort to reduce clutter, so I can vacuum easily and not have any shoes or other things on the floor to slow things down, or to gather dust. If you hadn't noticed organisation is one of my favourite things to do :) I've slowly worked my way through every room, cupboard, pantry, hot water cupboard etc in the house and I even tidied up the little area under the sink to make everything more assessable. Who else likes doing this sort of thing in their home? Is it only me, or does this sort of activity bring you a feeling of peace and calm as well? It's the orderliness of it all that I love too. I know exactly where a thing will be when needed so it saves time as I don't need to go in search of it :)

Just more Autumnal joyful images.... stacked firewood, plain biscuits filled with bran and spices, neatly trimmed hedges - all things I appreciate.

Autumn is a sensory experience too: I do love all it's sounds - the crunch of leaves underfoot, rain on the roof - especially at night and the crackle of the fire which will be lit as we get ever colder weather. I like feeling the wind on my face as I go outside to get the washing in or to pick a late apple. It's all good. It's seasons, its life and continuity. It's familiar and that brings me peace.


~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I felt my last post was a bit dreary (even though its my real life) and mostly just concerned my own health and that of my parents. I am very pleased to say mine has greatly improved, but my Dad still has ongoing health issues - because of his heart, diabetes and his age (80 yrs).

Over the past two years it's caused me to have to make changes in my life so that I can be more available to visit and support my mum and also take times of rest so my own health remains stable. I'm often one to balk at change, but really it's God's way of nudging me ever so gently to help me to reprioritise and to be available in a joyful way and not with a stressed or grudging spirit. It's meant I'm not as busy with my business (out of necessity) and I think that's a good thing too, as more balance has come back into my life. I'm getting my priorities right again. My home is cleaner and tidier too :)

This year I consciously chose to not do as much preserving/canning at the end of summer as I've done in other years because I just didn't want to feel as stressed or weighed down with it all. I wanted to enjoy my days more and do other things, and I can tell you it's been good. As I said earlier I've mostly been focusing on cleaning and organising our home and helping my parents. 

My ultimate goal is 'balance' in life, relationships and in the home. I want to have a place for everything, preferably in a cupboard or on a shelf and if theirs no room for it and we don't use it much, then it is given away or donated to the op shop/thrift store. I want to have more time for people and there needs. I need to take care of my health - it's a major investment... and I think it's working too :) Everything in my life is flowing better. I first started talking about al this a few years back, how I felt my life was out of balance and that I wanted change. I'm starting to see the fruit of all that effort now.

I like this quote by Sarah Young (based on scripture): Each moment you can choose to practice My Presence or to practice the presence of problems. 

Problems won't actually just go away on their own (although sometimes they do :), but usually something needs to be done. My attitude and what I do about them is what's important. Having a plan is necessary. Being prayerful and purposeful each day is another vital key and having achievable goals means I will gradually make progress and good changes will come. The Lord has been helping me to be focused and I am grateful :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well I think I will close with a pic sweet little Freya in a splashy tub - our oldest son Max and his wife Marias wee girl, dear wee Isaac John (newest little grandson) and also one of Laura Joy and Poppy May. Don't they just bring so much joy, these little grandies. I think they are the icing on the cake of this life. 




~ Poppy and Laura Joy ~
eating Smores.

*Be blessed and thank you so much for stopping by. I appreciate you all so much xox ~ Linda




Friday, 26 February 2021

Feeling Poorly

 

Colin Campbell - Cooper 'Hollyhocks'
Shalom, Sorry it's been a month since I last wrote anything. It's been a busy time, blessed and also challenging. My only daughter had her 5th baby one month ago; their first little boy. He was delivered by 'C' section, which wasn't what was planned. She'd originally wanted a home birth, but through a series of events, which can only be put down to the Lord very firmly having His hand on our daughter, Isaac John was born at the hospital. He was breech and foot first. A home birth could have been disastrous as they live in the country. Here in the picture below, little Isaac is one month old, such a wee treasure and showered in kisses every day from all his sisters. Isn't God good !

Here at the homestead I got some sort of virus just after baby was born. I haven't been tested but don't believe it to be Covid, as there are no cases in our area and I haven't been anywhere. As I have asthma, any kind of cold/bug that I get inevitably goes to my chest, sucks all the life/energy out of me and it takes quite some time for me to get back on my feet with the full energy I had previously. This particular virus which I am still getting over put me in bed for four days and even now almost 3 weeks later my energy levels are still low. I'm eating well, take multivitamins, vitamin C, Zinc etc you name it I'm on it  :) but still I'm zapped. I know from previous episodes like this the best thing to ensure a full and lasting recovery is rest...REST.....rest. A little sunshine, fresh air and light exercise, if it's a warm day with no cold wind is okay and beneficial too. My problem though is my life is so full and busy with commitments that I just can't take weeks to get fully well? Do other people have this problem? I believe it to be quite common, especially for busy mums, people who work  outside the home and or work from home. We just don't rest like we need to. 


~
The other problem is there is no one to do the jobs if I'm not up to task.  Please understand I do have a wonderful husband and he does help where he can with simple meals and some housework when I am very sick...but illness just messes with my head. 
The only saving grace I have is prayer and knowing I can talk away to God about it all as much as I need. His word too is a great comfort to me and most often you will find me in the psalms. The way David prayed and laid it all out before the Lord assures me that I may as well just say what's on my heart as He knows anyway :)

~


One of the days  when I was in bed I was just so exhausted, and knew that we needed to eat something healthy, so I just dragged myself out of bed and put the crockpot on. I made chicken soup with as many vegetables as I could stuff in it, herbs, beans, split peas etc. We ate from that for several days. I even froze some of it...and yet the bug lingered on. But life carry's on and showers need to be cleaned, floors need to be mopped, washing must be kept up with...home business orders must be packaged, product needs to be made etc. In between doing chores, I made a cup of tea and sat on the couch until I had some energy to carry on again. 
On top of that my father went back into hospital and so my poor mum needs supporting and encouragement. He's out of hospital again now, but terribly thin and mum cares for him like a nurse.  


Oh Lord, you are my only strength, the one in whom I look to each and every day. Come in your power. Your word says by your stripes we are healed. I stand on those promises and speak them over so many other people I know, my dad and even my own self. Lord heal our Land, take away this scourge of disease from our world, that's caused such havoc and untold misery and grief. So much uncertainty..yet Oh Lord I seek your face, I trust in your unfailing love. I know my troubles, my bad breathing will eventually get better...I know these days that I have to drag myself though, where even just making the dinner requires a great effort will pass...health will return. You are ever so faithful God. I know this to be true, even though discouragement tries to camp outside the door of my heart and make me feel like I can't cope; I know leaning on you, and with encouragement from Holy Spirit you get me through. The sun rises on a new day. 


I'm still cooking, baking and caring for my family, trying to help my daughter, endeavouring to phone and let our other children know we love them and pray for them every day. These days are just not easy. I can't lament on and on about the difficulties, the tiredness when my lungs don't work as good. People get tired of hearing about it. But God sees and understands :) His ear is always attentive. He is only LOVE. I hope this little piece of writing isn't too dreary. I truly hope someone else who may have Asthma/allergies, who knows the exhaustion at times, will be encouraged to pour there troubles out to God, to rest in His loving arms.

Linda xo



 

Monday, 25 January 2021

So True

 Hi everyone, just popping on here quickly to share a quote that was in my inbox today...when I read it..I said out loud "so true !!" You might appreciate it's wisdom too. 

  A Longer Lens, by Collin Huber

One of the advantages that comes with age is the ability to view life through a longer lens. I’ve witnessed this in grandparents and other seniors who have played influential roles in my life. Without their model, I don’t know where I would have learned to believe that a prodigal child can be restored; that marriage is a gift of grace, even in hard seasons; that hope for calmer waters in difficult times is no trivial posture, but a mighty act of faith.







The image of this elderly couple out for a walk brought this to my imagination: They live in a small retirement home now, but are walking past their old large home they once owned, that they raised a family in. At once the wife is transported back in time and can see it all over again as if it was yesterday. She can hardly pull herself away.

Be blessed everyone, love those in your life,
with all the time you have.
xo ~ Linda

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Once Upon a Time ....words

 

Letter Writer - by Joanne Mathilde - Dietrichson

Hello dear readers,
As I spent time with the Lord this morning the thought of 'words' was heavy on my heart. I wrote this:

We are living in extreme times....'words' are rampant, opinions are held up as 'our freedom', slandering is common, hatred and defamation are everywhere. Words are no longer measured.

Once upon a time the only way to communicate was via a visit or a letter. If a letter was written, one could read it over when it was finished. Once the words were on the paper, sometimes the venom, the hurt had been squeezed out of us and we might sit back and think or say "Oh I can't say that, I could never send that". 

However once that letter went in the post, the mail box, there was no way to stop it, to remove it, to take it back. 

The next day one may 'feel differently'. Anger might have abated, prayer will have helped. Time...even just time would bring with it clarity and perspective. Maybe we would see the situation in a different way, new light might be shed on it.

However if the letter was sent the damage would be unstoppable. There was no telegram, no texting, no phoning, no internet. If we had that moment back again and we 'paused', giving thought to the repurcussions and the hurt that the 'letter' - our thoughts, our words might cause another soul 'mentally', 'spiritually' and no doubt 'emotionally', would we send it?

Like I said at the start we are living in callous times. Words are being used for evil intent, to tear down and destroy. Maybe without realising it fully 'words' can become arrows in the enemies hands. May we instead be a fragrant aroma, writing words that encourage and bring life.

~ ~ ~

Be blessed, I pray this encouraged or helped someone this day. And please take a moment to pause before writing or hitting send. Let all we say and do be for His glory alone and strive to help in any way to bring joy, peace and love to another this day.

~ Linda x

~ Yes or No, by Charles West - Cope 1872 ~

Further reading:
J A M E S Chapter 3 
Taming the Tongue
3 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness


End of an Era

  Hi friends and quiet followers, My Dad 'Rae' passed away 4th July 2021 aged 81 years. He'd been ill for about two and a half y...