my life in the land down under

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The Romans Project

Monday 21st January:

In mid-2012 I joined a Christian women’s book group.

They had just started studying Ann Voskamp’s book ‘One Thousand Gifts’. This led me to Ann’s blog, which I now follow.

As the New Year began I was a few posts behind, when I came across her encouragement to memorise passages of the Bible. Last year they did the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6 &7). This year she, her family and many others have committed themselves to memorising Romans 1, 8 and 12, at just two or three verses per week. Resources are available to download from her website, so you can put together your own pocket-sized notebook. There are also some great tips to help with memorisation.

In the past, I have committed to memory a number of Bible verses and even a longer passage or two, but not anything of this scale.

After some indecision, we decided to give it a go, so went looking for a couple of suitable notebooks at Warehouse Stationery.

This is Week 1, Day 1. The challenge begins!

I’m believing this is part of the ‘signal’ in the ‘Signal vs Noise’ of our lives (see One Word).


Romans Project 2013 cover

The Romans Project cover

Romans Project #1

Romans Project notebooks

Romans Project #2

Just two verses a week

Romans Project #3

Tips on memorisation


Week 1

Update – Wednesday 30th January:

As I write this, we are halfway through Week 2 of the Romans Project. We’re doing it together so we can practice on each other. If you happened to see two people cycling around the estuary last week, and overheard one mumbling ‘Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus…’ under her breath as she rode along, it was me. 🙂




One Word

As 2012 ended and 2013 began, I kept reading about the concept of choosing a word for the year rather than a set of goals or New Year Resolutions. I’m certainly no good at keeping resolutions, and gave up on them a long while ago. However I still find myself wanting to make some goals or a list of ‘things I want to achieve’ each time a new year begins.

As I pondered what word to choose for this year, I came up with ‘Focus’.

Some definitions of ‘focus’: (noun) a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity; (verb) to concentrate, or (of a person or their eyes) to adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.

Some ways I could live this out in 2013:

decide on the right priorities and goals for me

keep my mind and heart on the goal(s) I’ve set

aim to complete things

don’t be so easily distracted by all the little interruptions and choices that take me away from the longer-term goals

avoid (or at least limit) time-wasting, both activities and thought patterns

be more mindful about what I choose to do (and not do), and how I use my time each day

be consciously moving forward

let go of past situations and relationships that have caused stress & anxiety

Appropriately to our interests,  focus is also a photographic term. What happens when you focus incorrectly? Maybe nothing in the frame is focused sharply – or maybe everything is equally sharp, and there’s no single object that stands out amidst the detail and clutter? Either way you could end up with a messy and confusing image, leaving the viewer wondering where to look.

Blurred Gum Trees

Blurred gum trees



Using selective focus and shallow depth of field makes the subject of the photograph stand out more clearly.

Monarch on Dahlia

Monarch on dahlia



I’m definitely not there yet. It’s so easy to get distracted from my goal(s) by a multitude of interesting or necessary things, and then reach the end of the day with tasks unfinished, and feeling frustrated at my lack of progress.

However, I will be doing my best to stay focused and move forward this year.

Are there more of you out there who are giving this ‘one word’ thing a go? I’d love to hear from you!

Related posts:

Ann Voskamp’s blog post on moving forward – When You Don’t Want a New Year but a New You

Hearing this song again last week – The Feelers ‘Stand Up’ – about letting go of the past and moving on.

Zack Arias’s video ‘Signal vs Noise’ – the need to simplify, and to decide ‘What is signal? / What is noise?’ in relation to my own life.

From CalmHealthySexy (a Christian marriage blog) – “Every time you say ‘yes’ to something, you say ‘no’ to something else.” – Learn to Say ‘No’.

Others who have chosen one word (thanks for the inspiration!):

Paperkeeper – It Takes Just a Nudge to Budge

Katie Swanberg – 2013

Too Darn Happy – Your OneWord is calling – Time to Answer

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Moving On

The following words are from a song that I found encouraging and meaningful a few years ago, when I was a new wife & step-mum. I heard it again recently and it still applies, though in different ways. It seemed appropriate to the start of a new year.

It’s time to open up the memories of your past
And its time to move on
It’s time to open up the shadows of your heart
And it’s time to move on

Cause it’s a great time to live and it’s time to
Stand up and be counted
It’s a great time to live and it’s time to
Stand up and be counted on

It’s time to open up and shed a little light
On your soul
Cause the box you put your heartache in got
Lost or swept out to sea
Now it’s time just to move on

Cause it’s a great time to live and it’s time to
Stand up and be counted
It’s a great time to live and it’s time to
Stand up and be counted on

It’s a long long road to carry on
I’ve got to stand up and be counted on
It’s a long long road and I’ve got to be strong.

It’s a long long road to carry on
I’ve got to stand up and be counted on
It’s a long long road and I’ve got to be strong.

It’s a great time to live and it’s time to
Stand up and be counted
It’s a great time to live and it’s time to
Stand up and be counted on

It’s a long long road to carry on
I’ve got to stand up and be counted on
It’s a long long road and I’ve got to be strong

It’s a long long road and I’ve got to be strong.

(Lyrics from ‘Stand Up’ by The Feelers – click on the link to see a video)

Several years ago we saw this group perform live, along with others – it was a good night.

The Feelers in concert #1

The Feelers in concert – lead singer

The Feelers in concert #2

Silhouetted musician

… But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Phillipians 3.13-14

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The Real Thing

Life has been pretty busy here in the lead up to Christmas, juggling work, family life and various other challenges!, so there hasn’t been much time for blogging.

However I came across these videos recently and wanted to pass on the links. These are special, not only because they tell the Christmas story in a fresh way, but because I came across them on a blog written by someone in the U.S., and when I watched them I realised they were made in New Zealand. So we came full circle. 🙂

The real reason for Christmas:

May you have a Christmas full of love, peace and joy.



Sunday Inspiration, 9th December 2012

Today’s first encouraging thought comes from Melissa Little’s blog The Inner Beauty of a Restless Heart. Melissa’s post ‘Don’t Worry. Be Happy’ struck a chord with me so I asked permission to quote her.

“If you have the mental power to imagine greater things for yourself, you also have the power to make it reality”.

So instead of looking at your life and feeling discouraged because you’re not where you want to be (and like me, you may think you’ll never get there), take responsibility for your life, make some changes and move towards your goals. If you can imagine it, you can make it happen. With God’s help, as John rightly reminded me.

Of course I’m preaching to myself here! 😉

For me the list of things that need to be done (or that I want to do) often becomes overwhelmingly long. This causes a lot of stressful emotions and makes it difficult to even get started. Then I’m really hard on myself for procrastinating, not getting things done, and not reaching the standards I set for myself…

So I was also encouraged recently by another blog post ‘All or nothing, or somewhere in between’ on setting small goals, rather than larger ones which are unattainable in the time frame available. Thanks to Helen of ‘Being, Nothingness and 1000 quilt blocks’ for these words of wisdom from your own experience.

I guess it’s all about priorities, time management, little steps, staying focused and being kind to myself.

What should my priorities and goals be, though? How do I know I’m following the right path for my life?

Today I was reminded of these verses from Proverbs 3. 5-6: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your paths.’

Now to put it all into practice. 🙂