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.

Sunday 11 January 2015

Doing what you can with what you have, right where you are.

I have followed Flylady for years! Her essays are so wonderful and I couldn't pick a favourite but what I love most is she says we don' have to do things perfectly for them to bless our family. We don't have to be perfect.

House work doesn't have to be perfect to bless your family! This can be like headline news especially to those of us who can be crippled by feeling such things as we don't cook as our cooking isn't good enough, we don't sew as our sewing isn't perfect ... and so on!

Flylady is all about doing what you can and making the most of what you have, the most of your time and being happy and grateful!

My friend Helen said something to me the other day. Helen is so hardworking and so careful to be a good steward with her time and money. I think she's wonderful. But she said to me something big. She said she felt bad that she is a terrible early riser. This was like a confession of sorts. She said she wishes she was but she just isn't!  We both love Proverbs 31 and have followed and loved wonderful Bible Studies and blogs full of great encouragement for women and it's pretty much a standard that an early start is a big thing.  And Laine (who you all know I love) is up so early with her Bible and praying before the daylight starts. If there is anyone I want to be like it's her.
So for Helen to tell me this I thought it was a big thing.
And I felt bad. As I have never told Helen how I am just terrible in the mornings.
I have never been a morning person. I have adapted and survived early mornings and for many years but this never made me a morning person. Even when terribly tired all my good ideas and creativity hit me at night. It is 10.15 pm now and I am just getting started! But I did discipline myself and we always had organised school mornings and the girls were never late for school or anything like that. But even as little kids they knew Mummy spoke in syllables not whole words in the mornings. Later came actual words. Much later came sentences. Sentences that made sense! But I managed and mornings were efficient, thanks largely to much evening before organisation and planning.

But something changed a few years aago and it was something bad. I went through a period of pretty severe depression and it was terrible. One thing I didn't understand turned out to be a fairly common thing. I would wake up in the mornings with by far the worst feelings of the day. In fact it didn't make sense. After a good nights sleep you would think waking up would be good! But I had unexplainable feelings of dread and would feel sick. As I would make my way down the passage to go to the bathroom in the morning a wave would come over me. It was terrible. It was a wave of "I can't even walk to the bathroom I might just sit down here on the floor for a while and cry". I seriously would feel I could't even make it to the bathroom! The morning walk down the passage was the walk of doom, for no apparent reason.
Finally I talked to my doctor and described this. It turned out to be a form of depression and it is the worst in the mornings. And when it is bad it is awful!
I tried different things. Pushing through it didn't work. I would feel worse and think I was going to be sick. Hurrying through it didn't work. I would feel like crying and start to cry.
I found my way and I did everything to get better but to this day it still happens sometimes (to a lesser degree) and  I am very careful about it as I remember too well that time.

So today my time is mostly my own and I can plan my day and how to go about it. And I allow for  my morning issues and I try to look after myself as you only need a few scares to realise how precious your health is.
The upside is it has given me empathy for women with depression or really any health problem that they need to work around.  We do not have to be perfect. I lost days to migraines when the girls were little. I had several years of severe iron deficiency! (Oh that was bad). But these things are minor compared to what some face!

I have mentioned my Nans' friends before. There was Loris Smith and Mrs. Mann. Loris had polio as a young woman and almost lost the ability to walk. But she walked again with crutches and so to move around at all she used them. She raised her children, cooked, ran her home and did everything with the help of crutches. Loris made me beautiful sewn baby layettes for both Chloe and Lucy. She was dynamite. She made gorgeous baby clothes for every baby far and wide. And she was so cheerful what a lovely friend to my Nan!

Mrs Mann was in a wheel chair. I still don't think I have ever known anyone as productive or generous. She knitted beautiful baby clothes for both the girls and also for everyone she knew. Mrs. Mann was always happy and busy.

Well, you would have to say both these ladies were Proverbs 31 women and both had to adapt to do it. And adapt they did! They could just have easily decided that they were disabled, that it was all too hard for them and they should be looked after. But no, they did the looking after!

Well, we all have to adapt. There is no use thinking that if things were prefect we would do this that or the other! We have to do what we can. And its amazing what we can do!

Years ago I read a testimony on Flylady and I've never found it since. I keep looking! But it was from a lady who could only stand up for a few minutes at a time. So she followed Flylady and in three minute bursts she did her hosue work, washing and all the things that need doing and what could be done sitting down she did this way. Her three minue bursts of activity kept her on top of things and she managed. Even when I have been sick I think of that lady! Whoever she is she blessed me so much! So I will do something for a few minutes and as many times as I can I do a burst of a few minutes. Over a day all these add up and the mess you expected from being out of action is not so bad!

There is no way of knowing what hurles people face in private, many times we would never guess. But I'm sure many of the people we have looked up to as great examples have had to overcome or work around something. It doesn make you less, I think it makes you more. Imperfections, illness, difficulties... whatever it is, we can do what we can.

I love and aspire to be the Proverbs 31 woman. I can see the depth and scope of her work and that it is a life long thing. So I see all the things she did were not in one day, they made up her life. There are times when you have a tiny baby and just getting dressed is an accomplishment! There are seasons in which we do different things.

Just now I am more the Proverbs woman who works into the night, who's lamp goes into the night than the getting up before dawn woman. Please tell me she didn't do both at the same time or I will feel defeated!  I don't think so as the Bible refers to rest and quiet time.  And I believe we should look after our health so that we can go ahead and achieve the things we need to be doing and should be doing. We were made that we get weary and our bodies need sleep. We were made that we need nourishment. To get our work done we need to look after ourselves, get our sleep, drink our water, eat healthy food and work like little ants!

All kinds of circumstances can strike, health issues are a big thing in our lives. The can be game changers or they might be temporary. Acceptance is a part of getting on with it., finding strategies where we can manage the best we can.

It took me years to learn that I would lose less time over a migraine if I stopped and did what I could for it early rather than soldier on. It was Dr. Oz on TV who taught me more than any doctor I had ever been to about migraines. He said pain can be like the sea. If you get a little ripple on the water you have a hope of calming it or stopping it. But once it becomes a raging sea storm no one has a hope to stop it.
When I accepted this I acted immediately and rested and was less sick and lost less time to terrible headaches.

If a health issue is slowing you down please focus on what you can do and find happiness if you can, in what you can do. Look for ways to adapt and strategies to help you cope.

One of the biggest things helpful to me is to know when I have most energy and in those times have half hour sessions of just going as fast as I can to get as many things done as I can! Flylady makes it that you set a timer for 15 minutes and do as much as you can. My friend Mimi has Nifty 150s. They are  times she puts in two and a half hours solid efforts in the kitchen (or elsewhere) to get an enormous amount done. She might prepare loads of meals at once for instance. You adapt it to suit yourself. It might be three minute bursts like the lady I admired so much. But a few intense bursts of activity can have a huge impact on your days productivity!

Whatever it is I think everyone has health issues of some kind sometimes. We don't have to be perfect. Do what you can with what you have, where you are and your love and efforts will bless your family so much. xxx


  1. Annabel, truer words never spoken. Calming that ripple, be it momentary or lifelong, is a valuable life skill. And you are so right in saying that none of us know what challenges those we admire face on a daily or lifelong basis either. Some just collapse and some keep soldiering on. Sometimes a little 'collapse' can be a good thing though, and helps us gather our thoughts for a new outlook and a new plan of attack. And then some people just seem to be better at some things than others and each of us has our strengths and weaknesses. I say build on your strengths and do not torture yourself worrying and fussing about your weaknesses. I see you do that, as do I. Lovely post :)

    1. Thank you Mimi! I really value that.
      Calming the ripple, preventative medicine, heading things off at the pass! turns out to be so much better than recovering from the full blown version of anything!
      And yes a collapse can be good ie a pyjama day!
      Thank you so much. You appear often in my chat which I hope you dont mind... xxx

    2. I am flattered to be mentioned. And speaking of pyjama days, my daughter and I are having one today. Bliss!

  2. Lovely post as usual, Annabel. Such wise words. I am definitely not a morning person and neither is my daughter and one granddaughter. My daughter will be saying 'Oh mum' as she reads this :-) That is okay though as we are all different. I simply couldn't function at 4am which is when some people rise. I am often just falling into a deep sleep then. So it is important to listen to one's body clock and make the most of the times when we are bright eyed and bushy tailed and able to achieve what we set out to do.

    1. Thank you Nanna Chel. Oh how I remember not getting enough sleep with a baby and how hard that was! A very good woman told me that I should pray (when I had a small not sleeping well baby) that I should pray that the sleep I do get is good and sustains me. And I always did that then. And took every chance to nap or rest just to keep going. We are human and not machines after all! I hope the baby is doing well and the other children are loving a baby.
      Many thanks! xxx

  3. I loved reading this post Annabel.

    We are similar in so many ways, I think we are twins :)

    Funny how we think we are the only ones with problems, and then you read a post like this and realise that most people have struggles, whether they be big or small.

    My mum had polio in her early teens. This stunted her growth which meant she stayed the same size forever. Even her inner organs didn't grow any more. But she went on to get married and have two children. We were normal sized, full term babies and healthy. Mum said she had a few problems early on with her legs and had to wear calipers (I think that is what they were called) for a while, but she was able to walk on her own and has lived a good life. She had post polio problems for a while too in later years but the symptoms seem to have passed as well. She is a women that loves God, and her husband. She never complains, and works very hard. She is a well respected member of the community, and is always willing to help in time of need, no matter who you are. I would say she is a great example of a Proverbs 31 women. And she is a fantastic cook! I on the other hand (like you), take a great deal of time to get started, mornings are not the best time for me. Night is when I achieve the most, and sleep the less :)

    You are very blessed to have God beside you, and your dear friends that you speak highly of. They can be a real blessing even if some you haven't met in real life.

    Tania xoxo

  4. A beautiful post Annabel. xoxo

    You put into words what so many of us are thinking or struggling with. Thank you for these healing words. They are good medicine. xoxo

    1. Thanks Kaye. I think there is a lot of not knowing what people might be going through. I am sure many times we would be surprised!
      Im glad it might of helped you a little bit.xxxx

  5. So true Annabel, Im a work late person too, and slow in the mornings. I find it really hard to go to bed early but like you I can get a lot done at night to help my mornings go better.Thank you for the encouragement :-) xx Maria

  6. Annabel lovely calming words and as usual very adroit. If I were vain, I could almost think that you were writing to me. Loved it.


    1. Thank you Fiona. mmm well we were having a discussion about some of lifes little challenges and adapting to them.
      We can be very hard on ourselves and have very high expectations. We need to be able to heal, rest, recover and build ourselves up.
      It turns out we all feel the same (if you read the comments) which is kind of reassuring in a way! xxx

    2. Yes Annabel it is not really surprising at all that we all feel the same. Underneath it all, we just want to be the best we can be and sometimes we are way too hard on ourselves. Love your writings.xx

  7. Dearest,
    There was a time in my life when I was an early riser...then I married a musician/night owl and gave birth to four more night owls. Outnumbered! I have had to adapt :)
    As far as what you said about dealing with health issues before they become unmanageable I heartily agree with you! I learned the hard way when my leg developed a blood clot during the last month of pregnancy and we had three small children running amuck! YIKES! It is very humbling when you have to get help for basic household tasks...something I am not prone to do!
    God bless you!

    1. Thank you Marybeth. Oh you were outnumbered.
      Andy is a musician also! (He is a drummer and guitarist and been in many bands and drum teacher)
      A blood clot and three small children... what an example of HAVING to rest. That is so hard. What a thing to go through. I do think these things help us understand how it is for others though and give us understanding.
      We have to navigate through all kinds of things that is for sure! Thank you so much for sharing

  8. Dear Annabel, I feel like this post was written for me. It is as though we sat with a cup of tea and you reassured me (and others) regarding so much that many of us struggle with. The depression issue-my heart understands yours. There is so much I want to say but feel I must focus on this: do not feel bad for not being an early riser, but rejoice in the fact that you are a Proverbs 31 woman nonetheless! My pastor emphasizes that we must take scripture in the context that it was written, who it was written to, the cultures and customs of that time, etc....your lamp oil burns willingly with your hands, like the merchants's ships (shopping for the best deals), considers a field, buys it, plants, girds her loins with strength, perceives her merchandise is good, etc etc her children (your children) Chloe and Lucy rise up and call you blessed! Yes, Flylady is right. Celebrate your strengths! Please do not focus on your natural tendency to be most productive and creative at night and equate that in any way as a weakness. It simply is not so. I was like that too until my mid-thirties, when my twins came along. I still don't love mornings, but This is how it is. You're a productive woman, period. No guilt. He created you to be perfectly imperfect Annabel, just the way you are. I lovingly leave you with Romans 8:1,2...1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Thank you for a beautiful, encouraging post. Hugs and more hugs

    1. Dear Colette,
      Thank you for your kind words! I think twins would re define "tired" for me I have always admired Mums of twins and multiple babies!
      Thank you for all your comments on some older posts too I read and post them all but have only replied to a few.
      There are many of us that have struggled with depression at some stage. I think sometimes it is sheer exhaustion, being overwhelmed and many things....
      Thank you for your encouragement and support I appreciate it so much! Love

  9. Thank you for this post Annabel. By far I achieve much more in the mornings however not a 4am start. I am trying to get back into my routine and this morning I managed it but my body was not happy about it, though I keep telling myself that another 30 days and I would have a habit formed. For me I get up and walk the dog in the early morning (6am). I take this time to pray and to enjoy the gifts I have been given, the joy of a flower in bloom or this morning the magnificent colours of the early morning sky.

    Does this mean that I am always fruitful and full of good labours, sadly not at all. We all have our battles within and mine is procrastination. I too suffered depression for years and it was a struggle just to get out of bed at any time but now I know that when that feeling starts again that it is best combated by outside exercise, gardening or walking for me and by good diet.

    I would truly love to be a more productive woman and a better steward of my blessings and each day I aim to try a little bit more to achieve this and I think that is all I can do. Admit my failings and try to learn from them. The encouragement from good CHristian woman like yourself and and y the many followers you have all help me to reach this goal.

    1. Mel you have had half a year of having to adapt in the extreme and you did very well. But I see aside of that you and I have shared some things...
      Did I mention elsewhere that Vit D tablets really seem to help me when I need them...
      Christian women encouraging and supporting each other is a huge help. It is a huge help to me. I couldnt do without it.
      I hope your day went well and you are not too tired. I think it will take some adjusting after the break so dont be too hard on yourself! xxx

  10. Hello Annabel, this is such a true post.

    As I was reading through your words, it just sounded so much like me, so maybe we could be twins :)

    I am not a morning person either, and it takes me all day to catch up and I do most things at night time. I do rise early at 6am to get my son off to work, sometimes I stay up and sometimes I go back to bed for a while. I know when I rise early and stay up, I achieve so much more. Rising later makes me sluggish. Daylight savings is a pain because I am not tired at night, but I most certainly am in the morning!

    It is a post like this that I come to realise that there are other people fighting their own battles whether they be big or small. We all have battle scars.

    My mum had polio as an young teenager. It stunted her growth both inside and out. She never grew anymore from that time on, and is still a very tiny lady. She was lucky not to be left disabled although she did have a few issues with post polio symptoms a few years ago. She mentioned that she had to have calipers on for a while and was able to go on and live a pretty normal life. She married and had two healthy babies of normal weight. My mum is a very caring and kind person. She loves God, my Dad and her family. She is a hard worker and a very well respected member of her community. Mum would drop everything to help a person in need, no matter who they were. I would say she is a Proverbs 31 woman :) Wish I was more like her. I do try everyday :)

    Tania xx

  11. Annabel thank you for your gentle, encouraging words. No doubt as the woman of Proverbs 31 was a sensible woman, she would not have heedlessly burnt her candles at both ends. She was also a creative woman and so would have known the benefit of doing physical work during her peak energy times and mental work and planning during the times when her thinking ability was at its peak. We need to take rest and have quiet times to restore ourselves and allow our mind to wander and make connections between ideas and to open the way for inspiration and to meditate on the goodness in our lives and to give thanks. I often wish I had more stamina so I could keep on going instead of working in bursts. Lack of stamina is probably the biggest domestic challenge I have faced during my life. It has improved over the course of my life but I still wish I was one of those persons who could just get in and do a couple of solid hours of housework or cooking. However I also need to stop and remember that very capable housewife of Proverbs 31 had female servants and I have none so perhaps that makes a little difference? :-)

  12. Third time lucky :) I have tried to post here twice already, but don't know where my comments are going, somewhere into cyberspace lol.

    Annabel, I Just wanted to say this is a beautiful and honest post. Many things you mentioned are the same for me. Behind closed doors, everyone is fighting their own battles.

    God Bless you this week,

    Tania xx

    1. Thanks for persisting Tania!
      I think we mostly never know what people go through in private and would be very surprised! We are more normal than we think! (lol)
      Remember how much you do, achieve and how many people you look after!
      Thank you so

  13. Annabel, thank you for taking the time to write such a lovely post. My best time of the day is between 10:00 am until 3:00p.m. I try and get all my work done for the day during those hours, and anything left over is completed one task at a time after that.One of the priorities I have had since being married is to have dinner cooked and the house tidy for the evening. There are many times when I wish I could rise early or stay up late to keep my husband company....he's a night owl, but trying to operate in that way only led to being over tired and difficulty sleeping.
    A beautiful encouragement that I shall carry with me. Love Helen xxx

    1. Dear Helen,
      Your best time of the day is a good number of hours. This is a big bonus as you can achieve so much in those hours.
      I think accepting what works best makes us MORE productive and protects our health. Isnt it funny how we are all different. I learned from FLylady to take breaks and have cups of tea then go on. This was a breakthrough as I used to go like crazy then burn out. With the breaks I get so much more done overall! I am so glad I learned to do that! Love


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