Happy Heart Book Review: The Hair-Raising Joys of Raising Boys

Well, I’m a bit inspired to talk about books today, because last night I had an inaugural book club meeting. I’ve been in a book club before and really loved it, but it kind of dissolved when some of us decided to have babies and get busy with baby related pursuits.

So, it was exciting last night to be involved in another book club, and I must say I’m very excited. We’ve got a great book list to take us through to September and there are lots of very avid book lovers (in fact, I felt a bit out of my depth some of the time, I am most certainly not as widely read as many of them!) so I know we are going to have some totally scintillating conversations!

I had decided to write some book reports this year when I finished a book, because books are most definitely something that make my heart happy! My first book of the year, was not a top 20 or on a popular read list, but rather reflective of my stage of life.

My sister gave me two books on parenting boys for my birthday in November. I was eager to glean all types of advice from them, because as mentioned, like most parents; let’s make that like ALL parents; I have many parenting moments when I’m just not sure what to do next. I started to read this with great enthusiasm, ready to glean as much wisdom as I could from another parent who would no doubtedly have all the answers on how to cope with living with two young males.

I must say Dave Meurer did not live up to my expectations at all. He was remarkably unhelpful most of the time. I should have realised this when he started the book by berating me for reading the Prologue. I always read prologues, I often get nice bits of insight into the book or the author from them. But not this book. No the author instantly declares that prologues are useless, and then I got ‘in trouble’ for reading it. Strange. I kept reading, and I was completely baffled during the first chapters. Where was the sage advice? Where was the nuggets of wisdom? Where was the training manual?

Instead, Meurer described in great detail how infant males produce ungodly stenches and messes in their nappies. (Very true, but the point in devoting chapter 1 to this natural/unnatural occurrence?) Chapter 2 was telling me that my parenting was doomed due to having boys. Chapter 3 gave a spectacular example outlining why I would not be able to outsmart my young charges.

Somewhere during Chapter 4, (I’m obviously a bit slow, but I was so anxious to receive some earth shattering new parenting methods that would transform our family life), I cottoned on that this wasn’t your typical Christian parenting manual. I worked out that this book was a joke. Literally. I had to get out of the ‘self help’ mindset and realise the author was just trying to make me laugh! And laugh I did. If I could write a blog that is as funny as Dave Meurer’s writing, I’d be very proud of myself!

I found myself giggling during his reflections on his own teenage years when he’s parents detested his music choice and made him listen to a guy playing the accordian. Meurer determined that he would be a generous parent and let his kids listen to the Monkees all they liked, and now expresses disappointment that his kids do not want to listen to the Monkees.

There were smiles, and the occassional nod of agreement when I read the chapter titled, “Camping with Boys – OR – If God Had Intended Us To Live in the Forest He Wouldn’t Have Given Us Mortgage Bankers.” It was especially fitting because I did read it during our camping trip.

I should give Meurer some extra credit points though. He does have some nuggets of wisdom hidden throughout the book. I think I first noticed there were some tips I could use when I read about “The Ice Cubes of Happiness”, an ingenius way to very quickly get your lethargic child out of bed in the morning. Given that J Boy already has a tendency to sleep in, I instantly recognised that this may be something to experiment with if he’s dragging the chain once he starts school. He also made an excellent point (of course with the funniest of illustrations) that failure to understand is not necessarily disobedience, because sometimes males ‘just don’t get it’. (I’ve found that husbands can also be included in this principal sometimes.) I appreciated his advice that it is invaluable to insist your child come with the family to church. You can’t force them to make a decision for Christ, but you can teach them the invaluable discipline of attending church/youth regularly and you can give them the information necessary to make a decision.

I also loved his chapter describing the year he taught Sunday School to a difficult bunch of year 5’s. Of course being a teacher probably increased my amusement of this chapter, and I did have a snort or two of laughter when he declared that he had been so relieved that he didn’t need to teach year 5 again the next year, but got promoted to teach year 6. But what I really appreciated was his quest to not just give the answers, but to think deeply about spiritual matters and be able to defend your faith. It’s one of my hot topics, and certainly a goal of mine with my own boys.

There were moments of impending dread when I read. My boys are little, his are big. So he may have given me a glimpse at my future. This glimpse may have removed a false sense of security that I had. I had presumed that having boys I had avoided all the bathroom dilemmas that I myself had experience during teenage years, growing up with two sisters. Oh no, Meurer describes in great detail his wife and his intense (to the point of considering bank loans for extensions) bathroom frustation during their boys teenage years. Uh oh!

If you have boys and you want to avoid the typical parenting author style, “I have all the answers, read a drink from my fountain of wisdom”, this is the book for you. It will amuse you and make you smile, and sometimes that’s all you need during this journey, because most of us need the confidence to acknowledge that we are doing a pretty good job. Sometimes a little chuckle is all we need to gird our loins before the next battle. Or, if you are lucky enough to be having a non-battle day, this book reminds us to enjoy the moments of parenting – all of them and to not be too proud to laugh at ourselves, (and occassionally laugh at our kids too!)

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Be Expectant and Have Faith!

I have already mentioned I had a homegroup on Friday night. I have typed out what we discussed and thought since it’s all there, I may as well share it with the world, and if God can talk to you out of any of this, hooray! It’s always a good thing to receive a word from God, that’s for sure! So here’s a Bible study if you are short on something to use for devotionals this week!

I pray that God will increase your faith for what you are believing for!

2011 – A Year of Faith and Expectancy
I believe as a group God wants to take us to a new level this year. Two words that coming to me are EXPECTANCY and FAITH.
We need to be expecting God to intervene in our lives as a result of our prayers. Yes, the prayers may not be answered within our time frame or in the way we want – but so what! God is God. He is sovereign and in control. We need to keep asking and believing and be trusting in him.
This year, I want our faith to grow. We can go to the next level. God can only take us as high as we are willing to climb. Let’s climb to the Summit. Sure, the mountain may be treacherous, the slopes slippery and the prospects daunting. But with Him NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. (Matthew 19:26) We can reach the top, and when we do, will not just view the Promised Land, we continue until we are walking in it.
EXPECT, EXPECT, EXPECT! For to do so is HOPE. When we start to dare to hope, our faith starts to grow.
Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
I want to start fostering that seed of hope that is already in you.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of God. Romans 10:17
Listen to the Holy Spirit, start building the Word of God in your heart, and start putting it to action. Start with the little things. Include God in your daily life, asking him first. Rely on God before all other advice you seek. Make him your first point of reference. Ask God throughout the day for what you need. Expect him to answer. Look for the events that you can report back on how God has answered your prayers. When you are confident with asking for the small stuff, move on with confidence to the next level, that you previously had doubted you would see a response.
Jesus granted requests according to people’s faith. Think about how each of these exhibited their faith, and ask God to show you what you can do to exercise and act upon your faith.
Matthew 8:5-13 The Centurion.
We need to pray with confidence that God has the authority on Heaven and Earth to answer our prayers. It can and will be answered in a moment. Remain in faith until that moment comes.
Matthew 9:20-22 The Woman with the Issue of Blood.
Matthew 15:21-28 The Canaanite Woman. Illustrated being persistent and bold.
Matthew 17:20 A little faith is a lot – it goes a long way. Why? Because a little of our faith taps into God’s infinite power.
Mark 11:22-26 Be encouraged to believe in faith for what you ask for.
Luke 12:28 We are deserving to receive of God.
Romans 4:18-21 Let’s be fully persuaded in God’s power.
Romans 10:17 Get into the Word! It builds your faith.
2 Corinthians 4:13 Speak out what you are believing. Don’t be silly or spiro about it, but in the right context, speak out words of faith.
1 Corinthians 2:5 …so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. Come to God first. Put your confidence in Him before all others.
In Him and through Him we may approach God with freedom and

confidence. Ephesians 3:5

Let’s stay strong as a group this year and grow in faith with one another.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some of us are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another. Hebrews 10:23-25
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Flourless Chocolate Cakes

Last night I had some lovely ladies around and we talked about God and ate chocolate cake. What a great combo! I’ve said I’ll post the recipe on my blog, so here it is! These little beauties are super quick to make. I made them in 20 minutes while rushing around hiding the last minute bits and pieces before my guests arrived. And they are gluten free, so it was a great way to attempt fattening up my skinny gluten free guests! 😉

Thank you Donna Hay for another delicious cooking moment! They were yummy, soft and melt in your mouth, with lovely chewy bits around the outside. This came out of her Modern Classics 2 book. (Love that book!)

Flourless Chocolate Cakes

180g (6oz) butter, chopped
220g (7 1/2 oz) dark cooking choc, chopped
1 1/4 cups caster (superfine) sugar
3/4 cup almond meal
1 cup cocoa powder, sifted
5 eggs

Preheat oven to 140C (280F). Place the butter, chocolate and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Place the almond meal and cocoa in a bowl and whisk in the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs gradually, whisking until well combined. Grease 12x 1/2 cup capacity non-stick muffin tins.
Spoon in the mixture and bake for 30 minutes or until firm. Allow to cool in the tins. (I had trouble getting them out of tins, better to use butter I think over cooking spray.) Serve with thick cream or chocolate glaze and fresh berries if desired. (I didn’t have cream, but ice-cream went down a treat!)Makes 12. (I made 13)

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A Lovely Day

After Tuesday’s parenting low, we had an excursion to Ipswich on Wednesday.

Every year we go to the Ipswich Rail Museum’s “Day Out With Thomas”. Jonty absolutely adores the whole event. So much so we got an annual pass in 2009. We didn’t last year, but he begged to go the train museum all year, so I’ve got another one this year. Toot toot! (They have lots of special events for the kids with well structured activities, the kids love it.)

J Boy’s behaviour was exemplary – all day! He was sweet, responsive and back to his well mannered self. Hooray, and a big sigh of relief.

Lookie at that face! Such delight. Such a delight! If only parenting was always like this.

The fact is, you’ve got to have the hard moments and stay strong if your child is going to grow up to be a productive man or woman.

One more picture because it makes me smile. Here I am hanging out with The Fat Controller!

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Not So Happy Heart: Parenting Trials

My initial motivation for writing this blog was to record the amusing moments of parenting. Since I write better when I have an audience, a blog is a good fit. Having started blogging it seemed natural to include other titbits and the occassional word of advice, just in case I do have a real live audience! (Fingers crossed! I love it when I hear people are reading, so please feel free to comment, here or on facebook, for those I know in person!)

One thing I hope is that if other parents are reading, they can identify with my parenting moments, have a smirk, and perhaps feel better about their own parenting. (Either because you have been there, done that, or because you haven’t been there, you never intend to do THAT, because your little darling is far more evolved than my offspring.) Being the happy heart that I am, my stories do tend to celebrate the happy moments of motherhood, the ones, even though awkward at the time, are a great story to laugh about.

But let’s be real, parenting is never laughs all the time. In the interest of keeping it real, let me share today’s episode with you. A moment when my heart has not been happy and one of those moments in motherhood where you wonder what you are doing wrong, how you should do things right and desperately pray that your child is going to eventuate into a decent human being should he advance in years to become an adult.

We were having lunch when J Boy…

(I think I’m going to have to call him J Boy, because to call him “J Bomb” right now is too close to the truth, describing his explosive temper. I called J Bomb since he was a baby because I said he was ” ‘da bomb”, as in all things good. I also call him J—- Boy, kind of like Danny Boy, so in the tone of positive speech I shall continue.) 

J Boy pipes up. “I don’t want to be a left hander anymore. I want to be a right hander.”

Mummy: “Why is that?”
J Boy: Launches into a lamment that he wants to use a pair of right hander scissors with a lion on them, that I once gave him, forgetting he couldn’t cut with them. When I realised, I got him another pair of scissors, alas with no lion on them, and swapped the right handed scissors for a toy Bunnings forklift. Now that the forklift is an old toy. He wants to scissors again.
Mummy: In a very annoying grown up way explains that you cannot change being a left hander, that God made him that way, left handers are rare and special, we will check with his new kindy teacher that he really is a left hander and no he can’t have the scissors, and howling at the top of his voice is not going to make me give them to him.
J Boy: Starts reluctantly eating vegemite sandwich, while loudly stoping to whimper and protest every few bites.
The Baby: Is in a remarkably good mood, and is oblivious to all tantrums. (Is familiar with sounds, since he has been hearing them since he was in utero) Wanders over to check out J Boy’s lunch, to make sure he isn’t missing out on anything. Receives a wallop in the head with a monster truck by glowering big brother.
J Boy: Howls even more loudly when his mother applies some force back to him to make him consider that it is not nice to be hurt by somebody else. Runs into playroom, starts looking around for something to destroy.
Mummy: Recognises her sons volatile ways, follows closely, takes all things out of his hands so he can’t throw. Speaks soothing words, encourages J Boy to continue eating lunch.
J Boy: Returns to table. Starts eating calmly, gets up runs into the direction of toilet.
Mummy: Is relieved that crisis has been averted and is grateful that potty training days are over.
J Boy: Returns to table, staring down Mummy.
Mummy: Did you flush the toilet? (Knowing he did not.)
J Boy: No I didn’t.
Mummy: Go and flush it.
J Boy: I didn’t go to the toilet.
Mummy: (Faint feeling of apprehension appears.) What did you do?
J Boy: I damaged The Baby’s cot.
Mummy: Rushes into the nursery to witness our beautiful white sleigh cot has several deep gashes down the sleigh caused by a matchbox car. She starts yelling.
J Boy: Starts smiling.
Mummy: Is horrified that he could do such an act and be so proud that he has received this reaction. Calms down, (well tried to appear that way), Talks about how upset she is. Talks that she wanted her grandchildren to use this cot also. Laments that the gouge is too deep to be sanded back. Says that Daddy will give a smack when he gets home. Something that Mummy tries to reserve only for momentous occassions since she doesn’t want her child to dread Daddy’s arrival on a normal day. Also says no swim in the afternoon, no dessert, no TV today. Feels some level of guilt for heaping so many punishments on it, then remembers the weeks that she spent searching for the perfect sleigh cot when she was pregnant with him and all the money that she spent on it and then also throws no Nintendo DS into the list of punishments, feels guilty again, then remembers that he has continually tried to damage things when he is feeling angry, and decides to stay strong in the desperate hope that maybe her son will understand the gravity of being destructive.
J Boy: Pleads in vain for leniency. Eats lunch solemnly
The Baby: Continues to be incredibly cute. Mummy talks to him in general Baby chit chat.
J Boy: Tries to say something, I can’t remember what.
Mummy: J, Mummy is too upset to talk with you at the moment. Keep eating lunch.
At this point, I can’t remember how things disintegrated. The J Boy was ANGRY.
Mummy: Sent The J Boy to his bed, put on a CD player and said he needed to have some time to calm down and he could come out when the music stopped. Also gave stern warning he was not to get off his bed or throw things.
J Boy: Throws Books at wall. Increasing dent count in the wall of his bedroom. Receives a smack for his efforts.
J Boy: Throws picture from off his wall. Receives a smack for his effort. Presses pause on the CD Player.
Mummy: Presses Play. Is punched in the back for her efforts.
The Baby: Show signs of extreme tiredness. Cries if put down. Still smiling if Mummy holds him.
Mummy: Decides to ignore the upheaval in the bedroom. Puts Baby to bed. Amazingly, he goes straight to sleep, although there is clunking in the next room as more books are hurled at the wall. Decides that Baby is tired enough to sleep while vacuum hums. She vacuums in an effort to drown out the commotion The Boy is causing.
J Boy: Is extremely agitated that he is being ignored. Throws the CD player.
Mummy: Breaks down into big sobs. Cannot believe that the boy is still intent on damaging others property. Is desperately hoping that he will not be the type of man who throws and breaks things when he is mad, cries more because it appears that this scenario is entirely likely.
J Boy: Cries, because Mummy is crying. Then pulls the curtains down off the wall.
Mummy: Rings the Accountant. Hears his voice. Breaks down cries hysterically. Forgets to speak.
The Accountant: Arrives home 5 minutes later. Commences battle with J Boy.
Mummy: Cries some more because it’s not nice to listen to.
The Baby: Continues to sleep. It has been an excellent time for him to revise former habits of being a light sleeper.
J Boy: Begrudgingly apologizes while father stands at his shoulder, then promises that he still isn’t really sorry at all. Goes into battle with The Accountant for round two.

All of a sudden it all stopped. J Boy started talking normally and being cute. Trots off to the toilet to do a poo. Something that often needs to be done after such fights. It is an underlying cause, but we are unable to convince him that a movement is necessary in the days preceeding.

I’ve gone into a lot more detail here then I intended, but it’s been strangely theraputic. Plus, I’m going to keep this and show to J Boy when he is J Man, some of the grief he caused me.

I know that you can probably spot a whole heap of parenting errors. So can I.

There’s also that feeling of helplessness, and confusion as to what the right thing to do is. There’s so much parenting advice out there. I know I’m not using politically correct methods. There’s always the doubt that I should be. I have every confidence if I used such methods, there would still be conflict, and then I would be thinking I should go back to the methods of the past.

Put simply, there is no perfect parenting, there is no perfect child. The most we can do is love them with all our heart and do everything with their best interest in mind, pushing aside our own agenda. That and a HUGE dose of prayer and reliance on Holy Spirit guidance.

Later in the afternoon, J Boy shows that he is truly sorry by arriving in the house with a handful of sand.

Mummy: What are you doing in the house with all that sand?
J Boy: It’s to fix the cot up.

Remember I had told him that the cot was so damaged it would not be able to be sanded?

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Out of the mouths of babes.

Today was the first time we have gone back to swimming lessons since Christmas. We often visit my grandparents afterwards since they live nearby. I alternate visits with my maternal grandmother one week then paternal grandfather the next. When Jonty heard he was swimming today, he instantly asked to visit Nana afterwards.

“Should we visit Nana or Great Grandad?” I clarified.

“Nana.” He promptly answered. “I weally wuv Gweat Gwandad. But he only has wheels and things at his house. Nana has biscuits.”

The wheels he is referring to is Great Grandad’s walker and wheelchair. Not match to bikkies.

After visiting Nana, eating her cream biscuits and drinking lemonade. (Big treat!) We went and bought a kindy backpack and hat, before heading to kindy for an hour for ‘drop in day’. The biggest event of the day was choosing the ‘locker’ where he will store his bag, etc. J Boy chose the pink fish locker since the dinosaur locker was already taken. Choosing a dinosaur was not surprising, but a pink fish? I wouldn’t have picked that! He was very resolute with his choice though.

The sand pit was a big favourite and where he spent the majority of his time until mat time. He joined in the singing with gusto. Another surprise considering he mostly refuses to sing at home!  He did add his own flavour to the songs though. When all the children built their houses while singing and collapsed to the ground at the end,  J Boy stood tall holding his little hands up pointing to the sky for his roof and declaring, “My house is built of rock.”

He was also eager to participate in conversation. Right up to the end when Mrs. C was winding it up and about to say goodbye, The J Bomb pipes up, “I have an air mattress at home.” Mrs. C paused momentarily and decided to go with the bizarre statement.

“Oh, and when do you use that?”
“When I go camping.”
“Do you go camping much?”
“Yes.”
Apparantly three nights of camping is a lot. I kind of agree, but definitely has more enthusiasm for the activity then me.

At this point the others all started joining in. Totally random comments are embraced in kindyland.

Once we were home, I worked out what his thought pattern had been. Earlier Mrs. C had mentioned that there would be a rest time during their day at kindy. J Boy commented to me, “I’m going to need to bring an air mattress to kindy because my bed is a bit heavy to bring so I can have a rest.”

Bless his heart. Not entirely random after all.

9 sleeps to go and counting!

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Rhubarb, Rhubarb.

I used to love eating rhubarb as a kid. Mum grew it in our vegie garden and stewed it. It used to be one of my favourite desserts with ice cream.

So, I have grown my own rhubarb plant. Sadly, for some reason that I do not know, it’s more green then the lovely red colour I’m familiar with.  Perhaps, one website suggests, it’s because I let the leaves compost around the plant. You shouldn’t do that apparantly. But this is the plants first year of life, so that reasoning doesn’t apply here.

Google has told me that this is fine to eat. So this week, eat it we did.

This year Santa gave me some cooking DVD’s. I wasn’t too enthused, despite my love of cooking, I rarely cook anything I see on TV.

I hadn’t heard of Annabel Langbein , “The Free Range Cook”, before. But once getting over the initial shock that she was a kiwi. And bit my irrational Aussie pride to admit that she was a very skilled Kiwi, I am loving the tasty dishes she whips up in her country kitchen.

So, I chose to eat the first harvest of rhubarb as a Raspberry and Rhubarb Crumble. Here’s the recipe if you are interested. I can confirm that it is delicious. So can the J Bomb. He took two mouthfuls, looked up and said, “This is yum Mum!” I know it doesn’t sound much, but that’s the first time in his 4 1/2 years of life that he has articulated a compliment for my cooking of his own accord. I always know when he’s enjoying something. (He literally hums while he’s eating stuff he enjoys! We call it his good food motor.) But it was a nice moment to hear the words coming from his mouth.

Fruit Crumble

Annabel suggested 1/2 cup of raw fruit in each dessert. It can be any type of fruit. I think mine had slightly more than, I just filled up the ramekins. This is my green rhubarb!

And then I added the berries and mixed through. On the DVD Annabel used some lovely fresh raspberries she picked up from a local market. I used frozen, and they tasted just fine.

Annabels tip to avoid a soggy crumble was to add 1/2 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cornflour and sprinkle on top.

For the topping:

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup ground almonds
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup almonds
2 teaspoons mixed spice.
250g melted butter.

Mix all the dry ingredients together then stir in the melted butter. Press the crumble over the top of the fruit and bake in the oven. Mine took about 20 minutes.

Yummo!

This is a huge crumble recipe. I only made half the recipe and it made six individual crumbles and still had some leftover. (I was trying to conserve pantry ingredients in case the trucks weren’t able to get through for awhile. No need to worry as it turned out.) Annabel says you can freeze it and use later. Or she says you can spread it out on a baking tray, cook then sprinkle over desserts or yoghurt. Or mix the crumble with condensed milk, press into a baking tray to make muesli bars. (Drizzle with white chocolate once cooled.) I’m definitely going to try making these homemade muesli bars next time!

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Not So Happy Heart: Toowoomba Floods

I started writing this on Tuesday after the floods, but for some reason just haven’t been able to concentrate enough to write anything substantial. I feel it’s necessary to finish this post before continuing. For me and the people I do life with all conversations right now are centred around this event, it doesn’t seem right to ignore it, in any forms of communication.

I regard Toowoomba as my hometown. I live 20 minutes outside the city itself. If you live in Toowoomba, I would nominate that place as my base, but to everyone outside the region, Toowoomba is my town. It is where I shop, work, fellowship, take my kids to the parks, playgroups, swimming lessons and all the other stuff kids do, visit my friends and generally just live life with friends and family.

I have been following the flood news over the last few weeks. Particularly Bundaberg. I lived in Bundy for over two years when I was a teen. My father still owns farms up there, so we often go up there for a week or so at a time several times a year. I’m very familiar with the place, so when I saw all the footage of the floods there it was mind boggling. We were actually all set – I had my bags packed and everything – to go up to Bundy over New Year until we realised that the roads were all closing, so we abandoned our plans. The next day the flooding started.

Nothing prepared me for the shock of seeing my own town’s flooding. There’s something surreal about seeing the place where you do life be so damaged. To see photos, note obscure background landmarks, and instantly know where it is. It can be quite numbing.

On Tuesday morning I rang a friend. The J Bomb went over to her house to play and then we were going to meet up in town for a play session at and indoor play centre. It was bucketing down all morning and just as I was about to leave when the The Baby went to sleep. At the time it seemed inconvenient, I rang my friend and we decided to abandon the town plan. It is just as well, because we would have been driving right in the areas where and when the flood hit worst. Now I am grateful that I did not firsthand witness the devastation or be caught up in it myself.

The ‘inland tsunami’ that swept through our town is an absolute freak of nature. The reason it has been so devastating is because unlike the flooding in other areas, there was no warning, no time to prepare, no time to seek safety. Toowoomba is 700m above sea level. We sit at the top of the Great Dividing Range. We do not have a river running through our town. The water that caused the immense devastation was flash flooding from little creeks, that for the last several years, while we have been plagued with drought, has mostly run dry.

The flash flooding ripped up cars and tossed them around like matchbox cars. It destroyed businesses and homes. Most tragically, it has destroyed and taken lives.

I am grateful that all that I know are safe and sound, be it with some damage to some peoples houses. Our church also has been flooded, but everyone working there at the time is safe. My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who have lost their life due to this terrible incident.

But the great Australian spirit of mateship and solidarity continues. People are working hard to repair and build our community. People are being generous and giving and supporting those around them. This will not defeat us.

It is my sincere prayer that God will continue to be with the people of Toowoomba and Queensland. That through our trials, His name will be glorified. I pray this will be a time where people learn to rest in the hands of the Almighty and that this event will a marker in their lives of a time where they could come to God and receive from Him.

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Superhero Cape made by Not Quite Super Mum.

Well my second new year ambition is underway! Throughout this week I made a reversible superhero cape for my nephew for his birthday. The J Bomb was a very willing model and has given it a test run and is glad to report it’s flying capabilities are fantastic provided you have a good imagination. (Pardon the mess surrounding the model, but I have admitted to not being a good housewife.)

I saw this little number last year at Serving Pink Lemonade and filed it away in my mind as a good project if I ever got motivated. Motivated I am at the moment, so I thought I would make a homemade inclusion in my nephew’s birthday present to be sent off this week.

All the instructions can be found at the above link, if you are also feeling inspired. It was quite easy to make, and I think I shall make a few year throughout the year. The J Bomb would love one of his own, and I can’t wait to make a pink number for a friends little girl.

The good thing about showing off on a blog is that you can’t pick it up and see my wonky sewing. Luckily, the five year old that will become the proud owner shouldn’t be too picky. Also thankfully my sister-in-law isn’t the judgemental type so I’ve no problem with it being viewed with disdain by a mother who considers herself to possess super capabilities. (We all know those super Mum’s are out there.)

The J Bomb was very keen to supervise the whole process, so I had to sew with him leaning in and watching the machine with great interest.


(Don’t you love my makeshift clothesline on the back of the chair?)

 Some of minor changes I made were:

1. Not using the actual pattern. Perhaps not the wisest move, but we don’t have a printer and I wanted to get started. Next time I just might need to improve the neckline.

2. When I did get the template for the super symbols they were a bit small for my liking, so not having a photocopier to enlarge, I enlarged with free hand. I think it still turned out OK.

3. I know Superman typically has a red cape and doesn’t have a white and flouro orange symbol, but that was the only colours available at Spotlight, and since they were all on special (I think the cape probably cost me about $4) I decided to exercise artistic license in the name of frugality.

4. I didn’t aplique around the edges of the felt. It seemed like a waste of time, as I don’t think it’s going to come off. Plus once I start sewing, it could have possibly ended up worse rather than better.

5. I added two velcro fastners so it didn’t flap around.

So all in all, I’m pretty happy with myself! Isn’t there such a feeling of accomplishment when you complete something homemade? Even if it’s not perfect!

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