Friday, September 30, 2011

What is a Christian?

In this article, Shaun Groves explains simply and clearly what it means to be a Christian.
"Jesus is not in need of my acceptance – I am in desperate need of His. And in response to His acceptance of me I call Him “Lord.” I repent, or shift my allegiance, from my comfort and happiness, from my will and my way, to Him. Jesus is Lord – Master – King!"

Definitely worth reading.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review: "Birth Skills"

When I first became pregnant my younger sister, who had given birth to a baby 8 months before, told me to buy the book "Birth Skills" by Juju Sundin. I was very skeptical that it could do anything to help but she kept insisting that I read it just in case I found anything that helped during labour. I read the whole book a couple of weeks before I went into labour and I am so glad that I did.

At the beginning of the book the author says these things:

"Labour pain is healthy pain. As labour progresses and the pain really established its presence, there will be no time to make decisions about how you will handle each contraction..." "... it is essential that you understand that labour pain is healthy pain. It is caused by the uterine muscle actually working." pg. 7

All the skills that she teaches in the book are based around this principle:

"If you bombard your nervous system with non-painful thoughts and physical and emotional actions, you can dull your pain further through distraction and redirected focus of attention".

Basically what that means is that if, when you are in pain, you can take your mind off the pain or distract yourself in some way, you won't focus on the pain as much and it won't feel so bad. Also, if you are focusing on the pain, you tend to panic and freeze up. If you have something else to focus on then you feel more in control.

When we are in labour adrenalin is pumping through our body like crazy.

So... what can you do to take your mind off the pain? When labour first begins it is important to try and rest - you don't want to wear yourself out too early. Once the pain is more intense, try any or all of these strategies.

1. Focus on your legs not your pain.
* Use the movement of your legs to burn off adrenalin and take your mind off the pain.

2. Breathing and vocalisation
"Simple: pain makes you hold your breath! If you hold your breath in the first stage of labour you make the pain worse". pg. 49

3. Visualisation.
* Visualise images or events in your mind.

4. Stress balls.
* Squeeze or bang the balls together to help get your mind off the pain.

5. Keywords
* Repeat words or phrases over and over.

My Final Tips

1. Pray. Pray before you go into labour and during labour. Ask God to give you strength and peace.

2. Take some comforting verses from the Bible in with you to read or memorise a couple of verses to say over and over in your head.

3. When you get to the hospital inform the doctor or midwives of your desire for a natural birth. Ask them not to offer pain medication unless you ask for it or unless it is medically necessary.

4. If you are induced and the pain starts quickly, start using the strategies straight away if you need to. If you find one or more birth skill isn't working for you try something else. (I told my husband about the skills and he reminded me of different things to try when he could see that something wasn't helping).

5. If you have tried everything to help with the pain, do not feel like a failure if you need medication. Every labour and birth is different, no one should judge your way of doing things.

6. Nothing comes before the safety of the baby and the mother so listen to the advice of the midwives and doctors. The end goal is to have your beautiful baby healthy and safe in your arms. It doesn't matter so much how they get there.

7. If you still have a few days left before you go into labour, try and sit forward with your legs apart as much as possible on a lounge or on a fit ball (as opposed to lying down or putting your feet up). This will encourage the baby to be facing the right way when it comes out which makes labour easier.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

180 Movie: Everyone needs to watch it!

Wow!! I just watched "180", the movie by Ray Comfort and Living Waters ministries. It was incredible. Before I became a Christian a few years ago I admit that I would have answered the questions about abortion like a lot of the people in this film. I could have come up with scenarios when abortion would have been justified. But killing a baby in the womb for whatever reason is murder. I really hope you will watch this movie as well.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Family-Friendly DVD Series

I stumbled across the Love Comes Softly DVD series a few years ago and loved it. In case you haven't heard of it, there are 8 movies based on the series of books written by Janette Oke. The movies are written and directed by Michael Landon Jr, and are set in the 19th Century.

The main character Marty travels west with her husband to try and find some land where they can build up a farm and begin a family. Tragically though, Marty's husband is killed and she must make the difficult decision about whether to stay out west or return to her family. The other movies in the series then tell the story of Marty's family as it grows and changes through the years.

This series is family-friendly and I can't wait until my children get a bit older and we can all snuggle up on the couch and watch the series together.

I'm so excited because I heard the other day from my Sugar Pie Sista DeNiece that they have made two more movies in the series, Love Begins and Love's Everlasting Courage (which will come out later in the year). Hooray!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Way of the Master

The Way of the Master website has a lot of great resources that teach Christians how to share the Gospel with non-Christians. There are free videos that show you how to answer difficult questions and how to point people to their need for a Saviour. You can also buy tracts and books and even get personal training at the Evangelism Training Academy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cedarmont Kids DVDs

If you're looking for a fun, Christian sing-along DVD for kids then I recommend the Cedarmont Kids Collection. We have Bible Songs, Sunday School Songs and Action Bible Songs and our two year old daughter loves them. She has quickly learnt the words to some of her favourite songs such as "Jesus Loves Me", "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" and "Down in My Heart". Each DVD is approximately 30 minutes long and shows children singing the songs in different settings.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Book Depository

If you love ordering books online but hate paying huge shipping costs then have a look at The Book Depository. They have FREE shipping on all books to anywhere in the world and most of the books that I have looked up have also been cheaper to buy than other websites. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Little Boy and His Ball

When I first became a Christian I was working as a kindergarten teacher. Each day I would go to school and hear and see things that broke my heart. Children came to school without breakfast, with very little food in their schoolbag, without a jumper in cold weather, telling me stories of policemen coming to their house in the night, and more.

One little boy in my class was very quiet and shy and cried easily. I had met his father only once when he came up to school and lost his temper with me over a minor incident regarding homework.

One day this little boy had brought in a small ball from home to play with at lunch. After lunch he came back to the classroom crying. When I asked him what was wrong he told me that someone had thrown his ball onto the covering over the play area and he couldn't get it down. He was worried that he would get into trouble when he got home for losing his ball.

I looked out the classroom window and could see the blue ball sitting high up on the metal shade cover. I told him not to worry about it, that I would ask the groundsman to get the ball down for him after school. All afternoon I kept a close eye on that ball through the classroom window. When the bell rang and the children went home I went searching for the groundsman. Someone told me that he had already gone home for the day. My heart sank.

I walked back up to the classroom and climbed onto a brick wall about 1 metre high to see if I could reach the ball. It was way out of my reach. I couldn't help but think about that little boy and pray that he wasn't getting into trouble from his dad at home. I stood there looking at the ball and I asked God to please help me find a way to get it down.

At that very moment (I am not making this up!) a wind blew the ball right across the metal covering and into my hands.

I don't believe in coincidences. I believe that God answered my prayer because he wanted to let me know that he was walking alongside me during those difficult days.

The next day I gave the boy back his ball and he gave me a very rare and special smile.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Sound of No Hope

This post was written a while ago by a woman named Jaynee Lockwood whose blog I have enjoyed reading for the last couple of years. She is married to a missionary and is a mummy of 12 children. The family live in Mexico where they preach the word of God to people in the local towns.
When a local boy was killed in a car accident the Lockwood family went to visit the boy's family and tried to offer some comfort.

Here is the post.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Homeschool Freebies

Homeschool Freebies is a great website that lets you download a teaching resource each day for free. They have lots of ebooks, unit studies, games, lesson plans, audio programs and classic books.

A new freeby is posted each weekday and is only available for that one day, so check often to see what's available.

Excellent Paper Craft Website

A few weeks ago I found The ToyMaker website which has lots of free paper toy patterns that you can simply print off, cut out and put together. Click on Free Toys at the top and it will take you to a huge list of animals, dolls, cars, boxes, puzzles and more. We made the finger puppets and they turned out great.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Beth Moore: The Hairbrush

Beth Moore is an American evangelist who has produced lots of videos, books and studies to teach and encourage Christians. Below is the link to a video of Beth sharing a story about an old man that she saw at an airport. This story made me laugh and cry and convicted me of the importance of listening and obeying when God speaks to us.

The Hairbrush

Monday, September 12, 2011

Charlotte Mason

If you're a fan of Charlotte Mason and her philosophy of education then you will love the website below. It has a free Charlotte Mason curriculum, an online version of her six-volume homeschooling series and links to other great resources. I highly recommend it!

Ambleside Online

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Story of the Beaded Necklaces

When I was a teacher I would wear lots of different beaded necklaces to school and inevitably one of the children in my class would comment on them. When they did, I would tell them this true story.

A few years ago I had a lovely necklace with light mauve and pearl coloured beads around it. I really liked it and I wore it often. A few months after I got it I wore it to a friend's house and she told me how pretty it was. The following week I felt like God asked me to give the necklace away to my friend. I didn't want to give it away because I liked it so much and I hadn't had it for very long.

Anyway, all day I had this nagging feeling that I needed to go and give her the necklace. So that evening I went over to her house and gave it away. I left feeling happy that I had given my friend a nice gift, but disappointed that I no longer had my favourite necklace. I remember saying to God something along the lines of ..."Well, I gave the necklace away like you asked. If you could give me another one I'd be really grateful, but if not, then thank you for helping me to obey you."

A few months went by and I forgot about the whole episode until one day I was out shopping with my grandmother. I saw a beaded necklace in a shop and decided to buy it for myself. When we got back to my nana's house we were talking about the things we had both bought that day and she said "I didn't know you liked necklaces like that. I have a few old ones packed away that you might like." She took me into her bedroom and pulled out a jewellery box full of beaded necklaces and gave them all to me!

I really believe that God chose to bless me with those necklaces because I obeyed Him. Of course, I don't believe that we should expect God to bless us in that way whenever we bless others, sometimes just doing something nice for someone else is the real blessing for us. But I do believe that if we don't obey God in even the little things that He asks us to do, then we won't know what we're missing out on.
This story has also been posted on my other blog Summer At Home.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Review: "Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman"

I bought the book "Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman" a few weeks ago and read it through in a couple of days. Written from a Christian perspective, it offers encouragement and practical ideas to help women plan their time and activities to be most effective in their work for God.

This book is easy to read and the author has a friendly and humble style of writing. It's not a to-do list that details one way for every Christian woman to live, but includes stories from the author's life that show what has and hasn't worked for her in regards to time-management, keeping up with different roles and responsibilities, maintaining a positive and hard-working attitude, organising Bible study notes, influencing and encouraging other women for Christ, and even taking care of our appearance.

My favourite part of the book has to be the author's passion for being a good witness, remaining accountable to other Christians in her own walk, and looking for opportunities to share the Gospel with unbelievers. Here is a quote where the author is describing what our life will hopefully become once we have been saved:

"Let's presume (and I pray it's really true) that all of us now, I writing and you reading, are safely one the bank. Here's where "cream-puff religion" - no strain, no pain - has deceived many, leading new Christians to believe that once they're out of the canoe onto land, they're in heaven! So a few months later when they still have problems, they're disillusioned.

Actually this is the time when we brush ourselves off, set our eyes on that distant City, and start walking. Cross country, woman. Realise what you were saved from, and know that that place is so fabulous it's worth hiking over over hills, through thorns, through rivers up to our lipstick, over cliffs - anything to get there."

Over the last few weeks I have read this book from start to finish again and also opened it up to read just a chapter or two when I had a few minutes to spare. Every time I read some of it I come away feeling inspired and encouraged.

I'm not sure if this book has been re-printed recently as not all online bookstores sell it but you can find it at Amazon, The Book Depository and Booktopia.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

John Bevere "The Bait of Satan"

For the last few weeks my Bible study group have been studying the series by John Bevere titled "The Bait of Satan". It's about the way Christians need to respond when they have been offended. He also talks about how to forgive someone who has offended you. This particular video in the series is excellent and if you can spare the time I feel that everyone who watches will benefit from it. At one point he tells a story about an 8 year old boy who died and was rescued from the gates of hell and brought back to life. Where we will go when we die is something everyone needs to think about.

Here is the link to the video.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Testimony

Hello and welcome to Laurelia Cottage. I'm not a writer or a preacher but I love God and I love sharing what He has done in my life. If I find a book, video or article that I find helpful or encouraging then I want to tell other people about it. This blog is a place to do both of those things.
This is my testimony, written nearly 5 years ago.

10th October 2006
How I became a Christian.

Both my parents were raised in Catholic families and went to Catholic schools. When they became adults they did not attend church or have a personal relationship with Jesus. My sisters and I were baptised shortly after our births and attended our Holy Communion. I grew up through my childhood and teenage years with a limited knowledge of Jesus, taught at school in Scripture lessons and at Christmas time. I attended a Catholic Church less than a dozen times over the years, usually at Christmas or Easter. I did not understand anything about the service or why people kept standing up and sitting down. I did know the verses they were repeating and I remember feeling out of place. Sometime around the age of 20 I had a small urge to attend church, but I pushed it aside, more concerned with travel and studies at University.

Funnily enough, these two things led me to visit a very different kind of Church with a wonderful Christian lady. When I was 21 I went on a University exchange program to the United States where I signed up to have a host family. This was a family who volunteered to meet with me every few weeks to help me adjust to being so far from my own home and family. The host family were Christians and one day they invited me to the local church they attended. I was shocked that the minister was wearing normal clothes, it was packed with young people my age; there was a band on stage that lead the congregation in modern songs and people seemed to be truly focused on the message, as if waiting to hear something that would change their lives. The whole experience was somewhat strange and amusing to me.

During my next visit with my host family my host mum and I were chatting at the table in her kitchen when we got into a discussion about her faith. She told me that she read the Bible regularly, met with other ladies for Bible study and prayed to a loving God who answered prayers. She also told me that being a Christian wife meant submitting to her husband as the head of their house. In their family, this meant that they would discuss things but that her husband would make the final decision because he was responsible to God.

I remember thinking at the time all of this was happening "Well, that's great for them but I've got more important things to do and think about". I was getting involved with a man I had met at University and the relationship began to consume most of my time.

Over the next couple of years I travelled back and forth from Australia to the US, Canada and England. Each time I returned home, often confused and lost in where my life was headed I had an urge to go to church.

During my last trip overseas the urge to find out about God became a little stronger and I braved -40 degrees weather in Canada to attend the local Catholic church there. Once again I did not understand anything, but was too scared to try other denominations, as I did not know which were the "cult" like ones that the majority of religious folk shunned.

The relationship that had been keeping me overseas deteriorated and I returned home in January 2004 at 25 years of age. I had a very strong resolve to find a church. It seemed to stem from a belief growing inside me that if I could figure out the whole "God" thing and what Christians believed then my life would change for the better. I asked my mum if she would go to some different churches with me and to my surprise she said yes. I think she thought it would help me to settle back into life at home if I made some new friends and connected with a Church.

We went to a few different churches and found one we were both comfortable with. We started attending regularly and someone mentioned a lady called Joyce Meyer who had a television show on very early in the morning. I started taping her show and absolutely devoured every thing she said about the Bible and how to have a personal relationship with God. In obedience to what God placed on my heart I began tithing and reading small parts of the Bible.

Not long after this I got down on my knees next to my bed (that's how I thought I was supposed to pray) and asked God to send some Christian friends into my life to help me understand everything I was learning. The next week at work I happened to be talking to a new girl and asked her what she did on the weekend. She told me that she had gone to mission fair run by a local church to find out about going on a mission trip. I asked her if she went to Church and she said yes. I told her I had just started going. She attended a different church to me but invited me to her Bible study group. I said no thank you but luckily she was persistent. She asked me a couple more times until I said yes.

I very nervously went to the Bible Study with her that night not sure what to expect at all. The group was small and friendly about my age and I sat there silent, trying not to look totally out of place. I was embarrassed that I couldn't contribute to the discussion and had trouble finding the Bible verses they were referring to. At the end of the study the study group leader's wife asked me if I would like to do a one-on-one study with her to learn about the love of God. I agree and we set up a time.

For the next eight weeks we met on a Monday afternoon and read through parts of the Bible together while following a study booklet about God's love and grace. God was surely at work because it was as if my eyes were opened to a whole new world. Everything I was hearing made perfect sense and I accepted it all as truth. My new friend also spoke to me about being baptised again, this time as a believer in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I felt a strong conviction to follow this command from the Bible and eight months after returning from overseas I was baptised at my church. During this time I joined a Bible Study group at my own church and continued on my journey. The group were very supportive and showed me lots of love as I began to heal from past hurts.

It has been just over two years since that time and the Lord has blessed me in so many ways. My faith continues to grow as I try to live each day in a way that brings glory to God and fulfils His purpose for my life.
If you want to learn about becoming a Christian feel free to email me or have a look at these websites: