Carpe Minutam – How To Seize The Moment

27 11 2014

I wonder if any of you smouldered with annoyance as you read my entry last month on ‘breathing time’.

“It’s easy for her to say,” you thought. “She doesn’t carry the workload I do or face the challenges I face.”

just-breatheMy life is less hectic now than it used to be, but I have been through some intense seasons. Eleven years of home schooling four children while carrying several other responsibilities reminded me, daily, how desperately I needed God’s help. It was those out-of-my-depth times that taught me how vital it was to breathe.

There are chapters in our lives when finding big chunks of time is near impossible. That’s when taking hold of the little moments is a more realistic aim. You’ve probably heard of ‘carpe diem’, which means ‘seize the day’. How about ‘carpe minutam’, a close translation of ‘seize the moment’? A moment is better than nothing and a lot can happen in those precious seconds.

I don’t profess to have everything figured out, but here are a few ways I’ve found helpful in seizing moments of stillness in the midst of hectic times:

  1. It sounds obvious, but it’s so easy to hold our breath when we’re pushed for time. Just stand still, take ten seconds to breathe deeply and appreciate the oxygen that’s available to you. It’ll help your brain function better too.
  2. Look out the window. When the walls seem like they’re closing in, gazing beyond them helps bring perspective.
  1. Venture outside. Stroll around the garden or go for a walk. Immersing ourselves in God’s vast creation reminds us that He is big enough for whatever challenges we’re facing.
  2.  Start a journal. Writing can help clarify our thoughts and fears. It’s also a useful means of recording our journey through life and how God speaks to us.
  3. Surround yourself with good fuel. When I was a busy mother of three littlies, I kept a Bible next to my breastfeeding chair, stuck favourite quotes on the walls and kept a stash of parenting mags in the toilet. Even a momentary glance often brought fresh hope and enthusiasm for my role.
  1. Carpe diem. Invest in a day away. Yes – a whole day; a rare treat that can bring deep refreshing. When I was single and worked full-time, I discovered the value of having an ‘adventure with God’ every few months. I’d grab my Bible and journal, jump in my car then drive somewhere I’d never been before. After a long walk through lush bushland or along a golden stretch of sand, I sat with my journal and wrote down any pressing needs or questions. The stillness and solitude quieted me so I could hear God’s gentle whisper.

My husband and I now take separate ‘retreat days’ when we can, with the year’s beginning a particular priority. We reflect on the previous 12 months then ask God for His heart for the year ahead. Everything gets written down and later shared with each other. Those notes become a great source of inspiration as the year unfolds, with all its twists and turns.

Whether for a fleeting interlude or a leisurely ramble, connecting with God is vital for us to function as the women He created us to be. Sometimes that breathing time can be like buried treasure – hard to get to in the midst of all the rubble. Just like treasure, though, the more we have to battle to reach it, the more precious it is when it’s in our grasp.

9622-ea_be still and know that I am God.png

(Psalm 46:10)

Sue Brown.

Breathing Time: Necessity Not Luxury

22 10 2014

Anyone strolling past my window would have thought I’d gone absolutely nutty.

There I stood in the middle of the kitchen, casting track pants and socks to the right and left, wriggling into my jeans, pulling on my jumper, all the while hurriedly making lunch and texting a friend to find out her address. Crazy, I know, but somehow I thought doing it all at the same time would save precious minutes.

You see, I was in a rush.

I had packed that particular day full with events, scheduled right down to the minute. When a few unexpected extras were thrown into the mix, I went into a spin.

Do you ever have days like that? Days where you feel like you’re rushing around in a mad frenzy?

As women, young and old, the list that can get us running is endless: study, work, family, home, school, church and community responsibilities. Being busy can be satisfying. Too much activity, however, can be our undoing.

Five years ago my over-loaded life led to multiple bouts of stress and sickness. I was the striving super-mum, desperately trying to juggle too many balls. God spoke firmly, directing me to lay down all the involvements that I held with passion at that time. All of them. I felt naked, void of identity and stripped back to bare bones.

Over many months, though I fought it, God gently taught me how to rest. I learnt that He loved me even when I didn’t achieve anything significant. His constant encouragement released me to enjoy taking life slowly and appreciate the littlest things. Gradually, my health and frayed emotions were restored.

Through that intense time, my approach to life had been transformed. Like a butterfly finally emerging from its restrictive cocoon, I was able to unfurl my wings and launch into the world again, this time choosing to rest regularly. I’d discovered that taking time to breathe wasn’t an optional extra. It was a vital component of a life well-lived.


Source: A Spacious Place blog

Source: A Spacious Place blog

God created us to work, play and rest. He understands our need for space, both physical and emotional, because He planted it in us, right from the beginning of humanity. He is not a hard taskmaster. Though we push on in our driven lifestyles, He longs to rescue us, quiet our hearts and renew our souls. Those moments of stillness with Him give us opportunity to reflect, count our blessings and gain His perspective. Insights come that give us new vision and enthusiasm for our tasks. Most importantly, times of rest sift our motivations. They help us see clearly why we do what we do, and whether we should continue the way we have been.

I read a quote in my teens that has been a comfort to me many times since. “There is time for us to do everything God wants us to do.” In other words, we won’t run out of time if we’re walking with God. Above everything else that screams for our attention as women, our primary task in life is to find out what He is asking of us and do it wholeheartedly. Nothing more. It could be something as simple as loving our family. It could be something which has worldwide impact. Either way, we can be confident that if we follow His call, our life will be fulfilling and He, knowing what we need, will bring the right balance between work and rest.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23: 2-3a.

Sue Brown.

Setbacks. Are They Really Setting You Back?

10 09 2014

“Live life large.” Isn’t that an inspiring statement, a call to go beyond the ordinary and enter into the fullness of life that we were created for? When I reflect on those words spoken by Karen Wilson at Flourish last month, excitement stirs.

You see, I’m a dreamer. I’m already on this journey of seeking to live a meaningful life. When I finish my time on earth, I want to know that I’ve fulfilled my God-given purpose. I want to have enriched other people’s lives.

Many dreams reside in my heart. Some are grand, some are small. Some are just a tiny seed, waiting for an appointed time to burst forth. Some are broad – I want to be a nurturer of people, particularly women. Others are specific – I’m longing to complete the book I’ve been working on for five years.

Those dreams are like a fire inside me, constantly pulsing and urging me to press on and see them fulfilled. Momentum grows as I take each step forward and with it, expectancy. Maybe this is possible. Only one thing threatens to quench the flame – the setback – that unexpected occurrence that brings my passionate pursuit to a standstill.

Setbacks come in many forms – weariness, sickness, family crises, the highs and lows of life in all its unpredictability. Discouragements come too, both from my own self-appraisal and from the words and actions of others. Those disheartening thoughts and words hit hard, telling me it’s impossible to reach my goal, that I just don’t have what it takes.

When setbacks come, I seem to be lifetimes away from doing anything close to large. The dreams appear out-of-reach, unachievable. I feel very, very small; fully aware of my own inadequacies and the impossibility of the task.

Perhaps, though, that’s where I’m supposed to be.


Here’s what I’m realising: If it’s God Who has made each of us unique and planted His dreams in our hearts, surely we’re supposed to pursue them hand in hand with Him. Living life large requires the support of someone ‘larger’ than ourselves. Someone greater, who never tires, never doubts and never gives up. With Him all things really are possible. All through history there are stories of ordinary people who did extraordinary things by living with their trust firmly in God: Wilberforce, Captain James Cook, Mother Teresa and numerous others. Normal people, frail and limited, who stepped out with their confidence in God’s ability to do what they couldn’t. I can learn much from their examples.

I’m also discovering that setbacks can be the making of us, depending on how we respond to them. God uses difficulties to provide internal preparation for the external fulfilment of our dreams. Though I often view them as an unnecessary hindrance, they have the potential to help me get closer to where I want to be. Like a chisel in the hand of a master craftsman, those apparent setbacks chip away at my self-centredness, impatience and pride. They show me what’s really in my heart and help to clarify my direction. Perhaps living life large is less about achievement and more about transformation. It’s not purely about what goals we accomplish. It’s also about who we become on the way.

If we want to live life large, we must expect setbacks. But perhaps we don’t need to see those challenges as obstacles. Maybe, just maybe, setbacks aren’t setting us back at all. Maybe, in the crucial areas of the heart, they’re moving us forward.

by Sue Brown

Sue is our newest contributor to the YourFlourish blog and we’re so chuffed to have her on board.  Please join us in celebrating her obvious gift for expressing truths through the written word by sharing her posts with your friends.  Here’s a little more about Sue:

image“Originally a Sydney girl, I have lived in Launceston for 20 years. I met Mark, the love of my life, while attending Bible college here and we now share our home with four children, aged eight to 18. 

I’ve had a desire to encourage women since my early twenties, particularly in breaking free from the crazy stereotypes the world tries to put on them. I delight to see ladies of all ages grow secure in God’s perfect love and flourish (yes, flourish!) in their uniqueness. Being a woman on the journey myself, I gladly share my struggles in the hope that what I learn will encourage others.

Aside from keeping our busy household running, I love to potter in the garden and visit hardware stores. I’m also writing a book which shares the story of my anorexia at age 20 and the healing I’ve experienced since. Life is an amazing gift and I have much to celebrate.” 


Intermission: Between the Cancer Death of One Child and the Birth of a New Baby

28 08 2014

Originally posted on Claire van Ryn:

If you were to ask me, “Who is the most inspiring person in your life?”, chances are I would name Rebecca Fogarty.  She is a dear friend, one who has navigated extreme hardship with Godly wisdom, dignity and courage.  I want to be like her!  She’s also extremely eloquent, so I won’t rabbit on. These are her words, another This Little Life story that demonstrates the inherent value of life.

(Rebecca first shared this story at the 2014 Flourish women’s event in Launceston)

“Intermission. The break in the middle of the show that allows you to get something to eat, go to the loo or talk to the person next to you. Intermission is also the name we have given the last nine weeks. It has been a time without children…between children. While excruciatingly painful it has also been a valuable chance to rest, to talk and to think.


View original 954 more words

Release Your Inner Child!

26 08 2014

For those who were able to join us at Flourish on Saturday – we sincerely hope you had fun, made some new friends and were challenged to LIVE LIFE LARGE!

Karen was on fire, bringing us a message that questioned the way we live.  I was particularly challenged by what she shared about the ‘inner child’ concept.  In her practical, toolkit manner, she gave us five tips for letting our inner child free… do you remember them?


Here they are:

1. Rediscover your gifts and talents.  Ask yourself, ‘what do I love doing?’ and do it more!

2. Spend time being creative.

3. Play lots.  Give yourself permission to laugh and enjoy the moment.

4. Don’t ignore the company of others.  What if, in our worst moments, we reached out to others instead of withdrawing.  Reach out, don’t retreat.

5. Step out in courage. Take a breath.  Face the fear.  Step out.
Don’t be afraid to shine

These are sketchy notes, I know, but hopefully they will act as triggers so that everything you learnt on Saturday isn’t lost as you go back to your busy routines.  Make sure you let the words permeate.  Make sure you allow your life to be touched and changed.  Be strategic if you need to – print this out and stick it on your fridge.  Add ‘play dates’ to your diary.  Take up a creative course.  Pray for God to open your eyes to the people around you and how you can reach out to them.

Sound too scary?  You know what to do:  take a breath, face the fear, step out.

P.S. For the month of August you can get tickets to next year’s Flourish event for the super duper reduced rate of $45!  Click here to register now – in fact, why not get a big group together so that you can tread this journey as a team!

Prepare for Some INSIDE OUT Thinking

19 08 2014

My little girl is the sweetest bundle of cuteness you could possibly imagine. Allow me the indulgence of a gushing mother this one paragraph, please! She has eyes like the sky, lashes that curl back to her eyebrows, milky skin and a smile that melts my heart so much, it hurts.

We named her Adelaide because it was her great-grandmother’s name and because it means ‘noble’.

A few of us mums were recently sharing the songs we croon to our bubbies as we’re rocking them in our arms. Mostly silly songs with lyrics lovingly tweaked or improvised.

Adelaide’s lullaby is stolen from the animated kids television series called Madeline – another three-syllable name.

“I’m Adelaide, I’m Adelaide, and though I’m very small,” I whisper-sing into her hair.
“I’m Adelaide, I’m Adelaide, and inside I’m tall.”

Madeline  8

In truth, those words ring true as a mantra or a blessing I will sing over her infancy because I would like very much for her to blossom into a young woman who knows that no matter how ‘small’ she is on the outside, she is ‘tall’ within.

I want her to know that she is a noble woman – not because she is pretty or well-spoken or successful – but because she IS.

Does that make sense?

Nothing she can do will diminish her nobility, her value. She is a reflection of her Maker. She is a ripple of perfection.

Life will sully that blissful vulnerability I see before me now and mar the beauty of innocence. But it cannot take away the value that God places on her. That is indelibly written on her very core.

So, that’s all. I just wanted to share this little bit of Inside-Out thinking in the lead-up to Saturday: Flourish Day. Be prepared to receive some more Inside-Out inspiration from Karen Wilson as she shares her own journey and the life-altering revelations she has found along the way.

See you there!

It’s not too late to come along to Flourish this Saturday! Click here to register now.

To Market, To Market…

13 08 2014

Our regular Flourish attendees will know that the Flourish Handmade Market has become a drawcard of the event.  Truth is, it feeds that ingrained female yearning to SHOP!

Moon Girl - one of the stallholders this year.

Moon Girl – one of the stallholders this year.

This year we have 22 market stalls with all manner of creative wares for you to peruse.  Here’s what you can expect (most stallholder names are linked to a Facebook page/website/blog for more info):

LoveEllie Handmade: Jewellery, stationery, scarves and home decor.
Babushkas Bazaar: Wool, silk and linen scarves, hats, vests and jewellery.

Expressions Handmade: Cards, framed die-cut pictures, crocheted cushions & headbands, earrings, necklaces and terrariums.

Willow Tree Lane: Earrings, pendants, pendant packs, hair slides, clips, bookmarks and rings.

BrandG: Unlined shopping bags, woollen animals, cushions and iPad, tablet and e-reader covers.

Out On A Limb: Handmade cushions, children and adult quilts, baby quilts/doonas, bibs, softies toys, door sausages, aprons, bunny rugs.

Willow Tree Lane

Willow Tree Lane

Biara Candles: Handmade and poured 100% natural soy wax candles and melts.

LJ Creations: Children’s clothing, bibs, pram blankets and toys. Bags, purses, belts, notebook covers etc.

Little Seed Handsewn: Handmade bibs and baby items, women’s accessories, jewellery and home furnishings.

Mossi: Handmade adult and kids wheatpacks.

Bagonia: Handmade handbags from furnishing fabric.

Tassie Cozy Kidz: Girls and boys clothing (size 0-6); dresses, skirts, boys’ shorts and dolly dresses.

Daisymeetsgrace: Home decor, nursery accessories, stationery items. Using natural fibres and fabrics (cotton/linen etc.), organic where possible.

LJ Creations

LJ Creations


Molto Piccolo

Molto Piccolo: Clay, wooden and textile jewellery and felt toys.

Tassie Dazzle: Handmade jewellery made from free trade felt, Tasmanian timbers and other materials.

Dotti’s Bibs and Pieces:  Girls’ reversible skirts, boys’ shorts, onesies, bibs, library bags and beanies.

Robin C Design: Necklaces using pearls, semi-precious stones, handmade glass beads, resin and wood.

Moon Girl: Coasters, notebooks, canvas collages, brooches and earrings, bunting and decorative items made from vintage children’s books, comics, origami paper and other papers.

Unique to You Personalised Jewellery and Scentsy: Hand stamped stainless steel jewellery and beaded jewellery. Electric melt warmers, laundry products and skincare products.

A Treat for You: Polymer clay bead and disc necklaces, ‘create your own’ necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Painted cube necklaces.

Love is On Its Way: Shawls and scarves. All money raised is sent to EMPART for the “Love is on its way project” to train women in India.

Spoon Man: Jewellery made from upcycled spoons and forks. Earrings, rings, bracelets, bangles, pendants. All money raised is sent to EMPART.


Phew! What an incredible line-up of talented crafters and designers!  The market will be open from 8am until Flourish begins at 9:30am, and then again during lunch.

And before we sign off – if you haven’t registered for Flourish (August 23) – it’s not too late!  Click here to register online now.

(A special shout-out to the lovely Keryl Robinson who coordinates the market each year.)



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