30 October 2017

Mining for Gold

Our local newspaper, The Northern Advocate has a weekly column for the different Pastors and Ministers in Whangarei to write a guest piece (called Perceptions of Faith) and it was my turn last Saturday.  Here's my article... and even as I re-read it I'm so challenged.  May we all become people who are skilled at mining for gold.

Mining is hard work – not that I have any personal experience as a miner.  When I hear the word “mining” I think back to the early images I’ve seen in movies and read about in books.  Images of hard working men come to mind, covered in sweat and grime, risking so much - even their lives, to find something precious that is a much-needed resource or jewel.

A while back at a parent/teacher evening at our school, I received a challenge from one of my children’s teachers.  It was the challenge to look for the gold in my child.  I've thought a lot about this phrase over the last months and have not only pondered searching out the gold in my kids but also in my marriage, my job, my community, my church and my everyday life.

As I said before, it takes effort to mine for treasure – you have to look hard and sometimes you need to search for a while to actually uncover the gems hidden beneath the rubble or behind the hard, cold walls.

It's easy to focus on the negative stuff isn't it?  I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I find it way easier to stand around and point out the dirt and grime, the cold hard walls in the tunnels and the problems and risks ahead, than to make the effort to actually go mining for gold and precious jewels.  It’s so much easier to point out what my kids are doing wrong, their flaws and imperfections... doing the same thing with my husband, my neighbours, my home, my job and the everyday ups and downs of life.  Taking the time and effort to actually look for the gold and precious jewels and even verbalise it and point it out to others is life changing, yet so often I just can’t be bothered.

If something is life changing, surely, we should take notice and make the effort to do it?

Try it... I dare you to find some gold in your kids, your spouse, your job, your house, that annoying person at work.  See if you can verbalise it to yourself and them (obviously your house won't be impacted if you point out it's 'golden' points, but you never know!).

I’m so thankful that God is someone who looks past the dirt and muck in our lives and sees the real us.  He loves us even when we are a mess, and is the God of second chances.  He speaks out the gold in us before it’s even found – I’m so glad He looks beneath our cold and hard surfaces for the treasure hidden beneath.

1 Samuel 16:7b says “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I want to be someone who is realistic about life, but knows how to focus on the good stuff at the same time.  There are so many treasures hidden in the people around us, in our lives – we just need to roll up our sleeves and start mining for it.

Keep looking for the gold in your life and those around you - and remember to verbalise it to those special little ones around you (including the lanky 6ft ones), because there is plenty of gold sitting right there, you just sometimes have to do a bit of digging to uncover it.

28 October 2017

Farewell ❤️

Today our family farewelled a precious Dad and Grandad. 

Symon's Dad passed away suddenly on Wednesday morning and the last few days have been a whirlwind of emotion and shock. 

Today we celebrated the life of Burton Page Drake at a beautiful service. The most evident thing was his love for his wife, his family and Jesus. 

Farewell to an amazing man - promoted to Glory ❤️

Burton Page Drake 
14/8/38 - 25/10/17

04 October 2017

Spice Jars

Just before Symon and I were married, the lovely ladies at my workplace put together the most beautiful basket of goodies for my surprise hen's party. It was filled with all the things you could need when setting up house for the first time, including packets and packets of herbs and spices. I was thrilled and couldn't wait to start using them.

Fast forward now to nearly 22 years of marriage, 3 reno houses, 4 kids and a menagerie of pets over the years, and if you were to take a peak in my pantry where the spices and herbs were supposed to be, you would find a half used packet of cinnamon, an out of date and discoloured packet of 'some type of herb that I never knew what it was for' and a tumbleweed or two (or something similar).

That was until today mind you...

I decided it was time I grew up and actually started being an adult and using big-girl things like herbs and spices and other adult type things that proper cooks use. It was time to organise my life, which of course means sorting my herbs and spices!

There are a few different kinds of spice racks and containers available to purchase, but I really wanted to do something different yet cost effective and also allow room for adding more over the years as I grew in my 'big girl' use of flavours. 

So here's my little journey on organising my herbs and spices...

I found these neat small craft jars at Kmart for $3 for a set of 3. Great size for storing herbs and spices and easy to clean and reuse.

In a perfect would I would have loved to have used Chalk board paint (like I did here) on these jars, but decided for now just to use washi tape and a marker. Both of these options mean you can change the labels as needed.

Once I had labeled and filled my jars, I stored them near my cooking and baking area in the kitchen for quick and easy access.

I love them and hope I will be more inspired when I cook and bake to use them! I've also written on the jar bottoms some of the foods that go great with each herb/spice. 

Already I've been a lot more creative with my cooking and baking, thanks to a little bit of organisation! 

For more "How To" ideas, go here.

02 October 2017

Peanut Butter Fudge (microwave recipe)


I love fudge sooooo much.  I also love peanut butter.  So what could be better than peanut butter fudge!

I came across this simple recipe recently that I adapted for myself and have made it twice in the last 2 days and love it!  It's so easy and quick to make, and so delicious!!!

It only takes around 5 minutes to prepare, 4 minutes to cook at a couple of hours to set!

225 grams of butter
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 cups icing sugar

Combine the butter and peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Cover and microwave for 2 minutes on high.  Stir then microwave on high for 2 more minutes.

Add vanilla and icing sugar to the peanut butter mixture and stir to combine.

Spread the mixture into a tin or dish (8 inch) lined with buttered baking paper.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Once set, slice into cubes and enjoy!!

For more delicious recipes visit 

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