Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Profound Character


"But a shallow life lives on its
and largely on its circumstances.

Those with profound character, however,
look beyond all these,
and move steadily ahead,
seeing the future,
where sorrow, seeming defeat
and failure will be reversed."

from 09/09 STREAMS IN THE DESERT devotion book.

This thought really stood out for me this last week.
I work with teens who live each day based on the feelings and desires of the moment.
It leads to chaos and pain.

I work with other teens who are beacons of integrity and conviction.
They stand firm for truth against the tide and their peers.
It leads to light and life.

Helping our children see the big picture,
to look to the unseen things that last for eternity is a challenge.
It is a daily choice to focus on the things of God rather than the things of the world.

May you walk faithfully with eyes firmly on eternity.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015



What is your expectation of your life journey?


Do you expect mostly sunshine and smooth roads?


Do you expect mostly rain and rocky paths?


Or are you expecting a mixture of terrains and circumstances along your life journey?



Well, that’s obvious, you think.

Of course life is a mixture.

However, what are you preparing your toddler for?

Do you entertain your toddler for every minute of the day or do you have a balance between focus play, side-by-side play and independent play?

Do you meet their every demand immediately of do you build in opportunities to develop patience by having them wait for a moment or two throughout the day?

Do you rush to help when they are frustrated or do you give them a minute or two to work it out themselves?

If they have a minor fall, do you fuss over them excessively, or do you encourage them to pick themselves up and keep playing?

If they wake in the night will you allow them 5 to 10 minutes to transition from one deep sleep cycle into the next or do you rush in immediately to comfort them?

Even at this early age, you can be laying a firm foundation for resilience in the tween and teen years.









Sunday, July 12, 2015

Parenting Pre-schoolers #3

Parenting Pre-schoolers: A Positive Practical Parenting Seminar
Questions from Dapto, NSW, Mums
If you take their dinner away uneaten, do you keep it in case they want to eat it later?
This is up to you.
I just gave them their milk at the end of the meal and moved on with the day. They would then eat at the next meal. This helped my toddlers learn very quickly that meal time was for eating. It also stopped food dominating the evening. Once dinner was over it was over.
How do I deal with my 4 year old’s bad response to my decisions?
You will do this with calm consistency.
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Do no change your decision. Stand firm and do not dialogue over the issue. Have an east-to-implement consequence and enforce this every time.
In times of non-conflict talk about appropriate ways to respond and the reasons why you need this response. Praise good choices.
How can I make toilet training a positive experience for my 3 year old?
Shopping together for big boy/girl pants before you start can add to the anticipation.
I did not expect my child to initiate at first so I simply added toilet visits to the pattern for the day.
So the chart would indicate when it was time to visit the bathroom.
Charts with stamps and stickers were helpful at first to motivate the new behaviour.
A small treat (e.g. one jelly bean) for each success was greatly enjoyed J
My 4 year old gets out of bed multiple times in the evening with excuses for another drink, toilet visit, a runny nose, itchy bite etc, etc, etc. What can I do?
This can be a cry for attention. This may mean they are either getting too much attention during the day and so are continuing to demand it at night. Or it may mean they are getting too little attention during the day and so are demanding it at night.
For both situations, it is important to balance the day with independent play activities and focused activities in-between the side-by-side activities that will dominate the day.
Independent play activities will ensure that the child is learning self-play adaptive skills and can learn to be content with their own company. Examples include room play, outside play and video watching.
Focus play activities will ensure they feel loved and important. A few minutes of undivided attention from the parent will ensure their emotional love tank is full and they do not need to act out to receive attention.
Before bedtime role play the expected response and explain the reward for obedience and the consequence for disobedience. Your calm consistency will reap fruit.
My little 3.5 year old wakes up at night from her dreams. She is not hungry or thirsty. How should I respond?
This could be the result of a number of issues.
First check that there is no physical reason for this such as illness or being too hot or cold, an outside noise or too much or too little light.
Then check to see if she can explain what is happening.
Then check her input during the day. Is it a screen image or book story that has caused the upset? An active imagination can be quite sensitive to this.
Then check your weekly schedule. Are you out every day? Over stimulation can cause disrupted sleep.
Finally check your daily schedule. Is there a balance between quiet, alone activities and noisy, busy activities with others? Constant noise, movement and people stimulation can also cause disrupted sleep.
When she does wake, calmly, quietly and quickly resettle her. This will teach her that night time is for sleeping.

Parenting Pre-schoolers #2

Parenting Pre-schoolers: A Positive Practical Parenting Seminar

Questions from Dapto, NSW, Mums


How do I night toilet train a 4.5 year old?

Check out my website

for a long answer to this question J.




How do I encourage self-play that is not with an electronic device?

This is so important. If they are small, you can start with one or two playpen times each day. Just have a few toys in there so not to overwhelm them with over-choice.

If they are toddlers or older, start them in room play for a small section of each day. Choose the same time each day (I chose straight after breakfast) and choose one bucket of toys (e.g. blocks or cars or animals) for them to play with. Explain that they can play right here until the music sounds. Keep the time short at first and gradually increase it.

Have outside play each day. This is important for developing gross-motor skills

Have table time each day for colouring, pasting and cutting. This is important for developing fine-motor skills.

Have a set time each day for electronic device play with a set start and end time. Not just before bed!


What should I do if my 3 year old just sits and will not eat dinner?

I would give them their milk and move on with the evening. If this is a pattern, then observe their eating pattern for the day. Ensure that snacks and juice are limited so they have a good appetite by dinner time. If it happens only occasionally, then don’t be too concerned. The appetites of the under 5’s can vary greatly due to growth spurts, teething and illness.


What do you do if your child is still fussing a few minutes after you have isolated them?

Just leave them.

They are not in pain or in danger or in need.

They are simply expressing their displeasure at your decision.

When they are calm, you can pick them up, give them a big cuddle and continue on with your day.



How do you get two parents on the same page?

This is so important. It is very rare to have both parents with exactly the same ideas on parenting. There needs to be lots of discussion. When an issue arises, it is okay to take a few minutes to work out how to respond. You will both have to compromise a little and come up with ‘our’ way of parenting rather than ‘’my’ or ‘yours’. No one response will make or break your child, so even if you later think you were too hard or too soft in one situation, it is totally okay to adjust for the next time.


How do you leave your child in crèche if they are unhappy?

It is best to leave quickly. Prolonging the goodbye usually escalates the situation.

If possible, hand your child to the same carer each time. That will help create familiarity and security for your child.

Say the same thing each time. I would say, “Have a happy time, I will be back soon.” This again creates familiarity and security and is the verbal cue for your departure.

Let the carer know that you are happy to be called back if your child hasn’t settled in 10 – 15 minutes. This time frame gives them a chance to hopefully become interested in a toy or activity that will distract them from your absence.

It can also be helpful to practice leaving and returning in other situations during the week. This helps your child learn that mummy always comes back.

Parenting Pre-schoolers #1

Parenting Pre-schoolers: A Positive Practical Parenting Seminar

Questions from Dapto, NSW, Mums


Is it bad to give them choice too often?

When our children are aged 2 – 5 years, it is important to make most of the choices in the day for them. We are older, and wiser, and it is kind to gently lead them. Toddlers will not choose vegetables over sweets for dinner, a nap over play time or a bath over a video. As parents we need to make these decisions for them. As they get older, we can gradually give them more choice.


How do I prevent back-chatting?

It is your calm consistency that will reap change. In a time of non-conflict, clearly explain how you wish them to respond to your instructions. Clearly state the consequence if they do not respond in that way. (the consequence will depend on their age and your personal preference). Then each and every time they choose to back-chat, calmly and consistently enforce the consequence.


How do I encourage an early response to a task (e.g. packing up toys) I have given?

It is your calm consistency that will reap change. In a time of non-conflict, practice packing up the toys at the speed of Superman, Spiderman (or whatever super hero they like). Then practice packing up the toys at the pace of a snail or turtle (or whatever slow animal they like). Next time you ask them to pack up let them know if this is a turtle-speed pack-up of a superman-speed pack-up.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Elisabeth Elliot - Just Do The Next Thing

Elizabeth Elliot met her precious Jesus this week.

She has been one of my favourite authors for over 30 years.
She lived on this earth for 88 years.
She lived well.
She spoke well.
She wrote well.
She loved well.
In times of sadness and despair she encouraged her readers to 'just do the next thing'.
This simple, and profound wisdom has been such a gift many times.
This article below is from Desiring God blog.

Do the Next Thing

Adrien Segal / June 18, 2015
Do the Next Thing
This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness. ―Elisabeth Elliot
Elisabeth Elliot was my spiritual mother, and this week she died.
I was raised by a wonderful earthly mother and father who were practical, down-to-earth, gracious, and hard-working. Sadly, my parents, by their own admission, were not born again. The things my parents taught me, though often right and important, were simply about developing character and strength, civility and manners, hard work and independence so that I would contribute positively to society. These lessons are good and right, and probably needed today more than ever, but after I was born again in 1982, I began to see that there was much more to learn about life and my place in it.
When I was awakened to new life in Jesus, I began to appreciate that my life was not simply about being the best person I could be or about building a happy life for myself. Quite simply, my life was not my own. It belonged to God, the one who created me and sent his Son to die for my sins so that I might have new life in him. I was to live for him — for his glory.
My church back then taught about God’s love, but it did not teach the Bible well. I got my best Bible teaching in those days from radio preaching and from Elisabeth Elliot. As a young wife and mother, I would try to listen every day. Her program, as I recall, was only 15 minutes a day, but so much was packed into those few minutes.
A Woman Who Knew God
Here was a woman who knew the Lord. Here was a woman willing to serve the Lord no matter where he called her. Here was a woman who suffered the loss of her young husband as a martyr on the mission field, and then stayed for several years to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the same people who killed her beloved Jim. A few years later, she lost a second husband to cancer. Elisabeth Elliot suffered beyond what I could even have imagined as a wife and mother. And her response to it all? Trust in God, obey him, and do the next thing.
“Do the next thing” became a mantra at our house. My husband and I still use it more than twenty years later to encourage each other. Elisabeth would always have a Scriptural basis for her counsel which was straight-forward, no-nonsense, and unsentimental. It was easy for young, exhausted, me-generation mothers of toddlers to fall into self pity, but each day Elisabeth Elliot would graciously, but firmly, pick me back up. She’d remind me that my lot was a calling from God, and that it was nothing that millions of women hadn’t done before me with fewer resources and conveniences.
Obedience and Happiness
She stressed consistency in discipline, and affirmed regularly that even small children are capable of obeying if parents, especially mothers, are firm but loving. I learned that the happiest children are the ones whose mothers and fathers have the courage and strength to lovingly discipline well. And I learned the importance of obedience, not simply for my children, but for myself.
Before I became a mother, as I got to college in the seventies, the social climate had turned upside down and it seemed everyone rebelled against obeying anything but your own “inner voice.” To my and millions of others’ eternal benefit, Elisabeth Elliot boldly confronted that lie. A life of obedience to a God who created, saved, and loved me would never harm me. My obedience to him would never make me miss happiness and satisfaction. To the contrary, obedience was the surest, fastest path to my greatest joy.
A Call to Older Women
The Bible stresses the importance of older women speaking into the lives of younger women:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3–5)
I am grateful Elisabeth Elliot devoted her life to doing this for women in my generation. In just minutes a day, she helped me love my husband better. She helped me raise happy and obedient children who love the Lord. She helped me see that my greatest calling is to live each day, each moment, doing the next thing to the glory of the Lord. That’s a pretty wonderful legacy.
May I and others like me be obedient to God’s call to do the same for the generations of women that follow us.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015



I read a newspaper article recently that was identifying the trend for ‘mummy bloggers’ to focus on the negative aspects of motherhood. These type of articles receive rave reviews for their honesty and transparency. Those who write articles sharing how much they love parenting are loudly disapproved off.


It seems it is trendy to complain.


There is no doubt that parenting is hard work.


Sleepless nights.


Unwell children.


Sibling rivalry.


Constant whining.


Never-ending piles of washing.


Yet the joys of parenting are immense.


Cuddles and kisses.


Beautiful smiles.


The sweet ‘I love you’.


The delight of the first step, the first word spoken.


The pride in the first attempts at writing, counting and reading.


So should we complain about the hard bits of parenting or magnify those treasured memory moments?


Maybe a balance is best.


Parenting, like any occupation has good days and bad days. 


We can acknowledge the hard moments, the hard days and the hard seasons. Yet we can choose to focus on the positive aspects, the snippets of fun and light in the middle of the busyness. We can choose to see the good and we can choose to remember the best of each day.

Each night I write in my journal. Most nights, it is only a few lines. Occasionally I write a whole page. I record one thing I am thankful for. I write why I am thankful for that. This is such a simple act that takes only a minute or two in my day.

Yet it is so powerful. My eyes are open to the little moments in the day. My heart is open to enjoying that special moment. I treasure that small act of kindness. I value the interaction with a friend or colleague or child. I am more thankful for the many, many little things in each day. My heart is grateful.

I am content.


So, yes, be honest about the ‘hard’ elements of parenting. It is not fun for every minute of the day. That’s okay.

Enjoy the journey.

Enjoy the season you are in.

Enjoy today.

Enjoy this moment.

Be content.