The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday 30 December 2014

The garden of your life.

Today is the last day of the year. 2014 is coming to an end. This is a time of thinking about the year we have had. Goodness, when I write down all the important things that happened this year it is a long list! When I write down all we achieved that is a long list too! And my list of the ways we were blessed is a huge list and I'm sure there are many things I take for granted too and should be grateful for! Writing things down really makes you think about them and truthfully if I didn't do this I would have forgotten many amazing things that happened this year!

Tomorrow is a fresh new year. A planner with nothing written in it!  Just now it looks perfect and full of possibilities!

Planning is important. So important! The proverbs 31 woman didn't lay on the lounge all day she was one busy woman. She was a planner. She considered a field and bought it. She didn't wake up one morning owning a field. She considered it, planned it.  She has considered what to make and sell, what foods to bring from far away places, what needs doing so her family is ok in the depths of winter. Once winter arrives she is not afraid because she planned ahead and is all ready for it! It wasn't all a happy accident, she planned it!
To do all she managed the Proverbs woman was a big planner. You did not mess with this woman. If you suggested to her she spend her hours on line gambling I'm pretty sure she would not have listened to you! 

We reap what we sow! If you plant turnips, turnips are going to be what comes up. Which is excellent if you love turnips!
What do you want growing in your garden? If you want a garden full of hollyhocks and roses they are what you need to plant. And what do we need to weed? What weeds have come up in your garden that you know you don't want taking hold?  This is a funny one. A weed will creep in and you don't even notice it. But they are sneaky! Suddenly they have a strangle hold on on everything! Well, your garden out the back and the garden of your life are much the same thing.

Years ago a weed in my garden was soft drinks. In considering changes this year I remembered this. It was many years ago. And it wasn't very much maybe I bought two bottles of soft drink a week. But I decided to stop that. I can't even guess how much money that has saved me over ten years or so or how many chemicals from my body (and my families) and how many calories! Oh my goodness those numbers would be huge! 

If you are going to plant seeds plant the seeds of the virtues. Plant more faith, hope and charity. Plant seeds of things that are going to build up your faith, build up your family and home.

Every new years I give myself a pep talk. I look around for others to give me a pep talk! We need that. It is like if we were elite sports people but we didn't have a coach. We would probably slip into laying on the lounge and get ourselves the sack! Nope, we need to keep on track, set goals and plan.
If you are on a ship and about to set sail you need to chart a course! Or you could set off and see what happens I guess. But there sure are places I'd rather end up than others!
Similarly you can chart a course and then not bother to navigate daily and end up no where near where you were meant to be! We have to keep a close eye on the progress... 

So get out your pen and paper and start listing what you want more of and what you want less of and come up with a plan! If you have things that are just too daunting try the Flylady method of setting a timer and getting stuck into it for 15 minutes a day. Put on music and go for it. You will be amazed that even after a week you are winning!

I still cannot think of any better way to keep yourself on track than reading Lanie's Letters. The key she had was that our goals and our efforts should be focused on what we should be doing and finding great happiness in it. We need to know what our mission is. We need to know how important it is. We need to know there is no one else that can do this like we can. At least partly thanks to Laine when the girls were small I knew exactly what my mission was. There are a lot of people who want to distract you from your mission! They want your time, your money and they don't care about the welfare of your family. This is what advertising is! No! You have to be the guardian of your home and family. And yourself. If you don't know what your mission is how can you stay on track?

Do you know what the Bible says about how important your job is? The world likes to tell you that you are wasting your time rearing children, wasting your time in your home. Have a read up and you will see that taking care of little ones and all the things of a household is work that will affect GENERATIONS. Don't be swindled out of this. Gather and keep encouraging words in your heart.
We might have children that have grown up (like me) and the Bible tells us what we can be doing with any spare time we might have. Our lives are so full! I hear all the time about empty nest syndrome etc. If we open our Bibles we discover we have important work to do and how vital that work is. We also need to be thinking how we can look after ourselves and our health to keep on doing our work for as long as we can. To be well enough to enjoy it! Now not everyone enjoys good health in which case we do what we can! If you would like more inspiration on things to do when you don't know what to do have a look at what Kelley did this year. Well, one of the things Kelley did! The Pillowcase Project. In the current post she takes you inside the childrens' hospital and it is a very worthwhile read.

We all have twenty four hours in a day and seven days in a week. It is amazing what you can do and it is also finite. There are times that we have to make tough choices as we have to choose what to say yes to and what to say no to. Girls, we have to be tough on this. If we are weak and say yes to everything our family is going to suffer, we are going to be a mess. Our goals and dreams will be forgotten and replaced with someone else's. 

My lovely friend Mimi says we are the guardians of our homes and budgets. Laine said a similar thing... she was not going to let anyone de rail her from her mission. You are the CEO of your company and if you watch soap operas all day things are not going to go well!
If you were the boss and you were hiring someone to take care of your family would you hire you? Or would you sack yourself?! If you knew how important your job was you would be making the most of every minute.

So here are some of my goals for 2015!


To build up my pantry (cellar) and establish at least three months food supplies plus emergency supplies such as fist aid, candles etc.

To build up our emergency fund.

To make sure I have an hour and a half of busy physical exercise. This can be swimming, walking, gardening, housework...  I love it if our exercise can also make our homes sparkle and our gardens grow!

To turn my craft room into a craft cupboard and make the room into a little nursery as I am going to be a Grandma. 

To study up on being a Titus 2 woman and use Lanie's Letters as a year long bible study.

To make all of the birthday and Christmas presents for 2015 and get started now.

To join Samaritans Purse childrens' gift boxes.

Some of the weeds...

To use my time well. I got rid of a fair few wasteful things in  2014 and gained time. More of doing that!

Stop buying anything unhealthy and tempting and bringing it into the house.

To minimise the things that discourage me and drag me down. That is most often seeing negative articles or hearing people talk this way. We are to think on nice things and we are responsible for that. Replace anything that drags your spirit down with good stuff!

Whatever it is develop a plan. One of my key strategies is to know I will say yes to things that I should be saying no to! I used to be terrible with this. So whenever I am asked to attend something, donate to something or whatever I have practised and I say that I have to consult my diary and if I am available I will get back to the person. This is a life saver. My Mum was a big yes sayer! She just couldn't say no. She developed a system where she would blame the doctor. So she might say "I would love to but the doctor says I need to keep the children home" or some such thing! lol. But, you know, our hearts want to say yes, we feel guilty and we end up all over the place. And we mustn't! So I defer to my diary or else blame my husband! If it is someone about money I might say "I would have to discuss this with my husband" and I won't budge. And after all that would be true if it was significant. But that's one plan that works for me. 

Another is not to rely on willpower. My willpower is awesome during the day. Then it goes dormant at night apparently. So if I have biscuits in the house (for instance) they won't bother me during the day. But late at night they will cry "eat me" from the cupboard. So rather than rely on my dodgy willpower I just don't buy biscuits and I make them only for special occasions and gifts (and give them away promptly). You can beat yourself at your own game by not bringing the tempting thing into the house. Really that is easier. Don't set yourself up for failure. Set yourself up for success!

Even the biggest goal is made reasonably do-able by breaking it down into small daily tasks. Then you will achieve it! So break it down and work out what you need to do daily or weekly and write that in your planner. If you sit quietly once a week and look at your gaols, why you want them, why they are important, and keep that focus, you will get there.

Sharing your goals with someone can be so helpful. My friend Helen and I are building up our pantries together. We have decided we are both going to do this in 2015. This will be on the blog most weeks. Doing this we have great fun and end up talking about it and what we did. That is so helpful in keeping on track! Many things become really good fun when you have someone to travel the journey with. We can all share our goals and encourage each other. That is one of the things that "building each other up" is about. (1 Thes 5.11) I will be out doing something and will think "Oh, I can't wait to tell Helen about this!" :)

I will show you my planner in the next week as I set it up. 

Think about everything you have to be grateful for and about your dreams and goals for 2015. Be a planner and take steps every day to plant the seeds that you want to see grow in your garden. Sooner or later you will see them bloom! 

(This angel was my Christmas present from Andy! She is now in the garden and I can see her from the kitchen. He picked her out for me himself it was all a complete surprise! I was just amazed as I had always wanted an angel like this!)

Have a very Happy New Year! xxx


  1. That is a lovely post as usual, Annabel...and so true. I was thinking of the same thing when I was weeding one day and how necessary it is to get all the roots out. I wish you all the best for 2015!

    1. Happy New Year to you Nanna Chel! Yes I thought while we need to sew what we want to reap we had better do some weeding! Many thanks! xxx

  2. Annabel, this post is just beautiful on so many levels! I truly am just beginning to really digest what the Bible says about how important my job is. I needed this pep talk, thank you so much. Tomorrow (I am in the US) I will be celebrating New Years Eve with my husband and 3 of our 5 children. I am excited to grab my planner, and because of your post I will not forget to list all of our blessings and accomplishments for the past year. I am thrilled to have found your little corner here, so full of pretties and encouragement and inspiration. I will be planning and praying and praising along with you. Happy and blessed 2015 to you and your beautiful family. Much love from Arizona, USA

    1. Dear Colette, Thank you so much! And welcome! I know you will feel really blessed when you write down all your blessings from this year. It is a wonderful exercise. I forget things...
      We are just about to celebrate NYE with dinner. And its warm here of course! So different on the other side of the world. But God's Word is the same and so are His promises! I am so glad to get to know

  3. Happy New Year Annabel, great words. I think you are not unique with your willpower - I can be strong as all heck during the day and whammy at night willpower goes to bed long before I do.
    Oh I can't see the Angel from Andy - all photos from this post and your Christmas at the farm post load but the Angel doesn't. Speaking of photos, Chloe is the spitting image of you, gorgeous.

    1. Fiona thank you so much! Happy New Year to you too!
      I cant figure out about the angel, I can see it and I have had comments on it so possibly it is too many images? I hope you might see it next time or else have a look on the facebook post. Andy did a really good job finding this on his own! Many thanks and I hope 2015 is wonderful!

  4. Andy picked out a beautiful angel for you Annabel! I can just imagine you gazing out at her. A lovely post to finish a great year of beautiful posts from you. It is so wonderful reading comments from posters new and old here (friends) I look forward to being connected to this community of like minded women again during 2015!

    Have a lovely new years eve and a very fruitful 2015 to follow! xoxo

    Jess is having warm up pains, so really on that home stretch now! Lucy won't seem far behind. It is amazing how time flies, very exciting!

  5. Love, love, love this post Annabel! Some of your goals ring true for me, I cant wait to start a fresh new year.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours!

    Love Tania xx

  6. Glad, glad, so glad to read these encouraging and inspiring words as 2014 comes to a close. {So very nice of you to mention the Pillowcase Project, too.}

    Hugs and Happy New Year,

    1. Happy New Year Kelley and thank you too for the inspiration in 2014. I can't wait to see what you get up to this year! Lots of love,

  7. Annabel there are no words...just are truly an inspiration..xx

    1. Thank you Jacqui you are very kind!
      Have a wonderful New Year. I hope 2015 is a great year for us all. Although I have to say Im starting quietly as we had a late night last night! xxx

  8. I just love a new year. It a new beginning and a fresh start. I spend some time in January planning out the year's goals for my budget, gift budget,and family / personal goals.

    1. Me too Wendy. It is very exciting to me. Full of possibilities! And a time of review. I am off and running now into it!xx

  9. Annabel, another gem of a post. There is so much in this, that I am going to reread it tomorrow.
    One of the helpful hints that I picked up at a seminar for women recently was to tell people that you needed to check your calendar and you would get back to them. If you have something that you really feel you don't want to or can't participate in, then in your calendar space you write a meeting, and you have a meeting with yourself. That way you can truthfully say " I'm sorry, I have a meeting that day".
    I have also heard people do this to save over scheduling . They regularly fill their calendar with family dates, and personal time and then those dates are already taken. Thank you for such a beautiful post. I'm sure that we are going to have some wonderful times together this year. Love Helen

  10. What a great post! Happy new year to you!
    I have not made out an in depth goal list but I like yours so much, I will use it as a guideline.

  11. OK, today I see the angel, it was not there before. Worth waiting to see actually. she is beautiful

    1. Thanks Fiona! Im glad that is fixed. I really love her. Every time I look into the garden there she is. Very serene!

  12. What a great post - this is the second one that I have read about weeds and it is something that is certainly needed in my life. I am blessed by your encouragement of planning and not saying yes to everything!
    Thank you for your words :)

    1. Thank you Tania! New Year is a wonderful thing and good time for weed spotting! In any other profession saying yes to everything would prevent a person being able to do their job yet no one thinks this with motherhood and homemaking. It is wonderful when you feel your work is important enough that you MUST say no to things that threaten the peace and routine at home. Many times I find its things that threaten the budget... I am much better now at saying no to those! Thank you for such a nice comment!

  13. Happy New Year Annabel. The seeds of virtue I would like to plant this year are thrift, prudence and forehandedness - very old fashioned ones. I wonder how I will go? Annabel have you considered having a read along of Laine’s letters this year – blogging the link or just listing which of Laine’s letters you are reading during the week and those of us who are interested could read them too? It's just a thought, please ignore if I am being too brash. Another inspiring post Annabel, many thanks.

    1. Sherri I love the virtues you have chosen to plant! I dont mind your suggestion at all and I think its a good one. And Laine has said she is happy for me to re post her content or bits of it. I am kind of waiting to see if Laine gets her new web site up or not... if she does then maybe I will just refer to bits and pieces but if no maybe I will add chunks so more people get to read them... I will ask Laine how she things the website is going for this year. And as you know Im using her letters to study myself as they are so lovely! Thank you Sherri and have a wonderful 2015! xxx


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