The Germ Grinch

It is Christmas night. Late. And the day has been a riot from the moment when Mishal began throwing up at 3.30am. The rest of the day has been long - the usual mountains of wrapping paper, jolly music and cracker pulling, but add in there doling out hand sanitizer and medicine to half a dozen ailing folks who are clutching their tummies and groaning, multiple loads of washing and disinfecting toilets, buckets and floors. Now it is nearly midnight so this won't be a long post. Maddy is still being violently ill every half an hour and is a pale shivering shadow, and the others range from mild cramps to lying prostrate in great distress. Greg is sleeping downstairs in the girl's den so he can get up to them in the night and I have the bubba upstairs who hasn't actually thrown up during the day but whose molars are causing her no end of pain and distress. Sleep is a high commodity. So is humour. But tomorrow is another day. And will hopefully hold both. I am singing 'Silent Night' in faith!

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Cradled in Arms

Newborn delight. Longing has been born and beats within a heart. I drink up each love drop as I pore over perfect face. Arms gently press around this small warm comma. Downy hair velvet under lips. Satin skin. Whisper lashes. Contented breaths at total peace. Rosebud mouth. Translucent folded ears. Moon crescents on minature fingernails. Cashew nut feet curled in.
Love. Utterly, profoundly in love. Value and worth incomparable. Peace. The world fades beyond the sweetness cradled in arms. My child.


Jesus, my Saviour, borne out of the essence of this same author of life-love, was introduced to our humanity in such a way. His appearance was in the singular most precious wrapping of all time. It staggers me when I turn my heart to the cross, that this love - so beautiful - was sacrificed for me.
Discern a new reality, identify with the heart of Mary and Joseph, parents and partners in loving this new life first.
Let tears come that we are ourselves are the ones cradled in the arms of the Father and He drinks us in with the delight only a parent has. Our resting form is wholly dependant for nourishment and life and He is full to the brim with the provision of salvation.


The Miracle.

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Fruitcake and Family


Season's Greetings All!

I want to report that this place has been filled with nothing but giggles, carol melodies, spicy baking smells and lashings of Christmas joy and love.
And it is true.
What is also true is that we have had our fair share of scorched fruitcakes (not to mention the bottom of the cake tin falling out with contents onto floor as being transferred to oven),
soggy gingerbread cookies, mountains of linen to wash for guests arriving, tantrums (not just the kids :)) baby immunisations and mess. The baby is now walking. And falling over. The girls are feverishly counting down days and we have been busy sewing and wrapping and generally creating Christmas havoc.

Where ever you are in the world, our family and friends, we send you much love and hope the reflection on our Saviour's birth affords much warmth to your lives this season.

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Yielded

Ever eaten salad with a spoon?

Or sat amongst the boxes and set up a Christmas tree in all its finery before unpacking anything else because the reason for the season was more important to recognise than equipping the cutlery drawer?

Or given the kids Christmas mince pies for breakfast and toast and marshmallows for lunch?

Or been so physically fatigued at night that you actually can't sleep due to the ache in your legs?

The last few weeks and days have taken on a surreal quality. In my semi-suspension I am functioning methodically, going through the motions of packing and unpacking, making meals (albeit nutritionally shoddy ones), changing nappies and generally living in limbo. Without defining forms of routine and normality, my perception has softened to a hazy blur. My senses are peering through smeary glasses, slack muscles are protesting and creativity has dwindled to an ember but as I have been here before; and there is again a little intact part of me somewhere that registers all is well. Upheaval, temporary plans and make-shift systems notwithstanding, I am at peace.

My latest treat for myself was signing up for the latest session of my online Soul Pursuit Group as they dwell on the season of Christ's birth. A part of my brain was shrieking that I could not possibly feel fulfilled or contribute from such shaky creative territory – with each and every artist's tool at my disposal buried in deep boxes in storage – however, I felt such a connection with the group last time that I couldn't miss it. The initial theme proposed for pontificating was entitled Barn Smells, which is quite the irony to consider really. From my abode on the opposite end of the accommodation spectrum, an apartment devoid of a single shred of grass, much less hay, the closest I have come to livestock (with the exception of our three grubby offspring) is the puppy behind glass at the pet shop. So as I have been lying awake at night I have been imagining a little of what it must have been like for Mary with the whole baby/donkey/stable thing. From my loose and wobbly perspective, these are the identifying factors that I have been able to make out, and from them have found fresh respect for the young woman who bore the Son of God. I am overwhelmed at attitude of her yielded heart despite the magnitude of her physical and emotional discomfort and dislocation.

She was in transit.

She had to leave the familiar behind her and hit the road of considerable personal inconvenience with Joseph on a journey that positioned her for her part in an immense destiny.

She would have been mighty uncomfortable. Hello? If anyone had tried to put me on a donkey when I was nine months pregnant, they would have suffered great abuse at suggesting I even attempt to rise to such heights. If by some small miracle I was able to be manoeuvred aboard a hairy undulating back, sitting upon it for hour after hour would certainly have induced labour, not to mention a mood most unbecoming for a lady.

She was unprepared. No little cot made up with a teddy propped in the corner. No night light. No frilly, freshly laundered nursery linens. No tiny little folded clothes. Nothing smelling of talcum powder, soap or roses.

I was quite staggered that this mother, equipped so generously by nature with the urge to nest and nurture, was removed from her comfort zone and placed in ungracious and rudimentary surroundings to deliver The King of Kings.

That her support system involved a young husband and some farm animals. There would have been no back-up plan, no 911 to call in-case things went wrong. No hot shower to soothe her aching body and certainly no soothing china cup of tea afterwards in her favourite armchair.

And that the little guy who deserved the best the globe could offer, sucked up his big first breath of air from a dusty animal's shelter. Straw, dung and earth were the elements on offer, grubby linen swaddling cloth and rough hewn wood.

I wonder what all this did to Mary. Her craving for a home, for the familiar and for security, never mind just a shred of comfort, did not influence the heart of God. He was happy to allow a girl caught in a momentous situation, to lose all the props of routine and normality in transit. He was okay with her labouring to birth in temporary and rustic surroundings because He had a plan that super ceded her every need and want.

He sheltered her and her faithful provider with a roof over their heads.

He allowed her the warmth of animals slumbering nearby.

He lit the dark sky with cosmic brilliance so she had light to see.

And I am pretty sure a sense of peace beyond the trappings of human routine, would have been her constant companion, along with wonder as she surveyed the marvellous blessing in her arms. I am certain that this feeling completely erased the unsettled-ness and the fact that the tangible tools of her motherhood trade were unavailable. Instead it seems to me as I read this story, that her quiet and determined approach led to the unfolding of the profound truth that the Messiah did not come in pomp for the rich and learned, but in meekness to all, and that it was her gracious attitude that enabled this event.

And to think I am irked by eating salad with a spoon. What a lady Mary was. What a journey she was sent on to change her perspective and give her a new grip on the handle of reality. And what a reminder it has been for me, puddling along in my uncertain land of plenty, to stop and yield with faith on the journey.

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At last we went to the Zoo that the girls have been talking about being able to go to for a year. They bounced and squeaked with glee the entire way round. Kenzie held the camera and took over one hundred photos. Yep, 125 to be exact. Like 7 of the cheetahs alone, which are her favourite animal at the moment. It took my laptop an hour to choke its way through downloading them! We all know what the exhibits look like, so here are some of our chickies :)




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