Category Archives: General/Random

Lessons From the Kitchen

I think God has set up the world so that the ordinary and natural things around us teach us too.

This week I have been making gingerbread with my boys. This batch was about using the same cutter because we needed them to be the same.

And yet – same cutter, same mixture, same person…. each one slightly different and isn’t that how it should be?

I think it’s easy to look at ourselves (our cookie if you will) and see the imperfections – the slightly too large head, the cracks, the too prominent or too soft features, a bit broken off here, a leg that is a little longer than the other…. instead of celebrating this we imagine that every other cookie in the batch is somehow perfect, without defect, cooked through perfectly.

 I actually think what we are invited to is an abundant and warm ‘embrace of our self‘. Recognising that the imperfections we see are part of what make us who we are. Sure, we walk with a limp, our bodies are too soft or too angular but we are in fact all of the same mixture.

Each one of us lovingly crafted and pleasing to the Creator’s eye who hasn’t decided to have a world of uniformed, sameness – a Creator who revels in the differentness of the same. 

Same ingredients – dust and spirit

Different talents

Different brokenness

All delicious

 As the boys’ new favourite t-shirts say, “Same, Same…but Different”


Submit or Resist?

I was driving from one side of Christchurch to another the other day and I was diverted several times.

Christchurch is awash with roadworks, pot-holes, detours, new roads under construction….it’s relentless. At one point I was driving along unfamiliar roads and being diverted  and I had one of those moments where I thought about how like life this can be.

I head off feeling sure of my direction, confident in my ability and along the way I hit pot-holes and suddenly I am driving very slowly, with great caution, quite uncertain of the direction I am being headed in.

At this point I have a choice – feel panicked and try to get back to where I think I should be heading or to trust that these diversions are taking me a safe way, the right way, that the diversions and signs are there for my protection and not to trick me or throw me off course

I can patiently negotiate these new paths taking time to think and be while the pace is slower or I can curse that I will be late, that I am diverted again, I can start to worry about having to do a right turn across a busy road because of this new route I have to take.

Maybe my life would be more fulfilling and I would learn more if I would take these diversions, detours, and road blocks as a gentle reminder to take time along the journey. Perhaps diversions are in fact an invitation into wildly trusting that Someone else knows better than me. An opportunity to understand that full speed ahead and trusting my own instincts might not actually get me anywhere good fast.

Do you resist diversions and 30km signs in your life or do you trust and relax? Do you submit or do you resist?

‘Business Time’

If you are a Flight of the Conchords fan you’ll be familiar with the song ‘Business Time’

there are some very funny (if slightly inappropriate lines in it) about how ‘we’re cleaning our teeth – that’s foreplay’

Tonight The Atlas asked me to order a book online and then we spent the next few minutes joking about how for me ‘that’s foreplay’!! (I am jesting!)

So he says – ‘I tell her to order a book online – oh yeah – that’s foreplay’

then he adds – ‘I let her loose in the fabric shop with a credit card – oh baby – that’s foreplay’

and finally ‘I send her into the op-shop to shop while I look after the boys – yeah baby’

All said and laughed about while he was doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen and I was on the computer – oh yeah baby!!

What can’t you resist?

** apologies to any readers that find this less than funny – clearly The Atlas and I think we are hilarious – that’s one of the reasons I love him so much! **

Creative Process

Most Thursdays I join in with Our Creative Spaces which is great place to go and have a look at what people have been making each week – there are sewing projects, drawing, songs, craft, quilts, crochet, knitting…. anyway.

This week the challenge was to talk about what inspires us, our tips for creativity and I guess our ‘process’.

Personally I am inspired by lots of things – colours and colour combinations often grab my attention and make me want to start making. There are definitely times when I see something and set out to make myself one. I’m not too worried by that because a) I know I will never actually make something the same and b) we all start from some jump point even when we feel our work is entirely original and uninspired by anything else we often find someone else just around the corner doing the same (or worse doing it better!) and c) I don’t sell my work so I am not effecting another person’s livelihood.

I was walking around a fabric shop with a friend one day when she asked me if I realised I was touching all the fabric and making noises – I hadn’t realised but I definitely recognise that I feel fabric and I often go fabric shopping with no set plans in mind. I see fabric and then I develop an idea.

In life I hate the thought of a ‘uniformity’ or ‘sameness’ for me the great adventure is indeed that we are CREATED, UNIQUE and we each have a PLACE in history. Somewhere to stand, something to do, a voice. I think this pervades into every aspect of how I create – I find following patterns to the ‘t’ impossible, I rarely follow a recipe exactly, I’d never make the look on the pattern envelope.

For me creativity is a lot about ‘play’ – mucking around with stacks of fabrics and stacks of patterns. Looking at wonderful inspiring images online or on books – my creative inspiration on Pinterest can be found here – and as Pooh Bear would say ‘letting things come, it’s the best way to write poetry (or create) letting things come’.

I often make changes as I go along – if something doesn’t work as I thought it would or if some great idea comes to me.

The things I have made that I am proudest of most often are things that came to me when I played with ideas or started creating on some crazy whim.

I love colour and I love variety I sew, bake, felting, craft, I’ve done stained glass window making, jewellery making, decoupage, lighting, embroidery, photography, quilt making, written stories and poems, …. I’m sure there is other stuff I’ve forgotten….point is I like the process of making – it’s the finishing I find tricky

I love:

the imagining

the ideas

the owning, wearing, giving a thing that is unique

So what is your creative process? Do you start with a pattern? Do your ideas translate as you expect them to? Do you see the creative process as playing or do you take it more seriously or in a more considered way?

Click on the Creative Spaces button on the right for other people’s tips and thoughts and projects

Other stuff I’ve made this year

All images are things I have made in the last wee while

Rambling Confessions of My Mind

I need a PA – so that she or he will turn the oven off when I leave it on and smoke the house out, this person could also respond to emails seeing as I am always forgetting and post mail that sits in my handbag and gets covered with crumbs and other debris until it is long overdue to be sent

I also require some self-control – so I don’t maim myself on a toasted sandwich – like I did last week, actual blister on my lip! Does any one else have trouble with ‘wait it’s hot’ or is that just me and my kids? I could also do with self-control when it comes to itchy tags – I wait until the itch makes me so enraged I rip the tag out – no dainty trip to the ladies with a pair of scissors for me – no I rip that thing out and usually make a whole in the garment at the same time – guess this is why I should continue to make my own label free clothes. Self-control could also spare me  from multiple trips to the pantry when I am bored, tired, …..insert reason here.

I’d also be partial to a finisher – this person would complete tasks – pretty much everything I start I find trouble finishing – those last few dishes? check, hanging out that last load of washing? check, that enormous half-folded pile of laundry? check, mending – do not get me started! Mending? who wants to mend or hem or sew that almost fallen off button back on? Who are you and when can you move in to my house? …. there are also half written thank you cards, half tidied piles, did I mention the laundry that needs folding – just follow me round and finish those tasks I started all at the same time – that’s me not you Mr/Ms Finisher – you can carefully work through each task one at a time and complete them properly, that is why you are in my life.

I could also do with some socks… yawn,  The Atlas put one of mine on the fireplace to dry it the other day and it melted so now I only have 3 and a half pairs…..I do hate socks – not the actual socks themselves (although there are some furry man-farmer socks The Atlas owns that I think are very, very ugly – not that it stops me wearing them in the cold) it’s the washing them, hanging them out and pairing them – it takes me to a very sad place. Really – I wait until there are no socks left in the house and then I finally wash them and it uses every peg and every ounce of my will to hang those suckers out…. Bounce even has a friend who has started wearing mismatched socks to be like him – he doesn’t realise it isn’t intentional.

So I just need a PA, a healthy dose of self-control, someone to sort out my sock issues and a finisher for Christmas, I could also probably do with someone to sort out my grammar, use of commas, over-use of exclamation points, dashes and ellipses….

I know it’s a good 20+ weeks away but never too early to put in your requests right?

What’s on your Christmas wishlist?

Congratulations to Jess B the winner of the Trade Aid Scarf – you’ll be hearing from me soon!

Making A Difference

There is a great saying ‘Act as if what you do makes a difference, it does’ or something like that.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how much our lives, our decisions, our behaviours are linked to others – how in this tangled web of the ‘human family’ we do belong to each other and even more than that: who we are and how we live doesn’t just affect us it affects people who will come after us.

(or maybe I’ve just been watching too much Touch??)

On Tuesday the Unfolding Hope drive to raise money to free people caught in slavery finishes…. and how easy and convenient it would be to pat myself on the back because I did something for someone else and then go back to living however I want to/choose to without regard for others….

Sometimes it feels ‘too hard’ and ‘too exhausting’ to be intentional all.the.time, sometimes I get ‘compassion fatigue’…. and I can’t say I am intentional all the time (in the morning I’m down right selfish….you don’t want to know me before 8am) but if we profess to ‘love others’ with our mouths then maybe our actions might need to line up with that?

So what I’m asking myself and what I’m asking you is ‘how does my life make a difference in the world?’

I want to live my life generously, and I recognise to my shame I am so selfish – with my time, my finances, even in my friendships… I have a long way to go….. but my heart is open and I am willing to exercise this very short and weak generosity muscle and one day…. one day…. it will be strong.

If you would still like to donate to unfolding hope you can find out more about it

For those who have donated – money, promotion, time, goods for prizes, enthusiasm – my sincere, sincere thank you for helping me take another step on my generosity journey – you inspire me, I consider you my personal trainers.

Miriam x

On Taking Risks


I quite like feeling competent and talented…. and truthfully without taking any risks these are easy feelings to come up with.

If I do what I know I can do well and bemoan lack of opportunity for really having a chance to show my talents I can convince myself that it is the world missing out on me rather than me not being good enough.

This weekend I attended a masterclass with an amazingly talented woman, which both excited and terrified me – how exciting to spend a day focused on something I loved, how terrifying that I may discover I am not ‘the best’ at what I want to do.

Interestingly one of the really strong themes that came through for the day was about being comfortable that you are enough and not having to ‘try’ to be.

How much of our daily lives are a performance – trying to prove that we are who we say we are? or who we would like to be? When it comes down to our dreams are we really sure that, with some work and energy, we are enough……. are we brave enough to really go there?

Are you taking risks with your dreams? Are you getting out of the boat to see if you can indeed walk on water?

For a long time, too long, I have equated criticism with rejection – I’m not all there yet – but in creative pursuits, and maybe in all things, if you truly want to grow you have to be able to hear truth that hurts and embrace it because of what it will produce in you long-term.

We are SO privileged to live in a time, in a country, in a culture that allows us opportunity to stretch ourselves in the direction of our dreams….. the question is are you prepared to go to that vulnerable place?


Thankful Friday

School holidays…. yes I do love them (we’ve especially loved grandad coming to stay!).

and I am SO loving this wee vid made by a man who is dear to my heart and featuring a wee man also dear to me.

Go here to see it – I can’t get it to link here for some weird reason!

It’s Friday and the weekend is coming, oh yes and a weekend with good things in it too

What has made you laugh this week? Go on tell me

Other people loving stuff here

It’s Friday

This morning as I lay in bed unwilling to get up Flip came and sat in with me.

‘Mama are you sick?’

‘No, why my darling.’ (thinking I am about to explain how grown ups like sleep ins)

‘You smell like sick.’

and there started my Friday. Love it – I love how kids can be so insulting without anything other than – good conscience and a dose of truth.

This week I am loving generous people who are donating to and promoting – Unfolding Hope (click on the link for easy access and a donation button that works!)

I’m loving a very generous shopping voucher and a late night shopping trip to spend money on myself. (as a rule I don’t really shop with the boys unless absolutely necessary – no fun for either party – and judging by some of the comments I heard people making to their kids last night……)

I’m loving boys who play together happily day after day (except when they don’t, which is hardly ever in their defence)

I’m loving that when I went the to the library sale a few months ago I found a recipe book I had got out and tried to buy but it was out of print – $10 – thank you very much – and this very awesome peanut butter and dark chocolate fudge that resulted.

I’m a bit mesmerized by how it looks.

and I’m loving 3 boys who genuinely enjoy each other and like watching football highlights on you tube (I also appreciate that they are happy for me not to)

and inspiration for new projects…..

and opportunities to speak….

and let’s not forget the sun that is going to dry about 4 loads of washing for me today

and I haven’t forgotten make my week I’ll be posting that tomorrow.

What’s making you grateful today/this week?


On Saturday I had one of those awesome days where I achieved stuff

Finished 2 dresses

Made a cover for our supplementary number plate (by the way you can get a supplementary plate for $17.50 or you can get a fine of $150! – for use when we have the bikes on the back of the car).

I made a couple of personalised pencil cases for birthday presents

and a couple of clear velcro cases for the marbles and a very exciting new lego game (more about that next week)

Starched the boys initials above their beds new bunks!!!

(that’s a whole post some time – when the room is a bit more finished!)

and….. insert drumroll here…..

I made my first ever batch of jelly (the jam conserve type rather than the dessert type).

I am stupidly proud of myself – although I haven’t eaten any yet so I’m hoping the pride is not leading up to the fall!!

I love days like that!

And we’ve had 2 parties, a library trip, a black tie/Oscars themed 40th,  church and a whole lot of crazy…..

What’s your idea of a good weekend?