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.

dealing_with_setback

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 Faith like a mushroom:

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.

What…

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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?

Letting-Your-Inner-Child-Out-

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!
Claire.

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

MoltoPiccolo

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.)

 





On Becoming Wonder Women (from the Inside – Out)

7 08 2014


This post is brought to you by our very-busy-right-now (and super inspiring) Flourish event director, Amanda Towns.

Why is it that an event like Flourish captures the hearts of hundreds upon hundreds of women?

Why is it women say, “this is something I don’t miss” and “Flourish is the highlight of my year”?

Well… perhaps it’s the thought of a day away from the kids.  Or perhaps it’s the great food.  The entertainment.  The guest speaker.  Spending time with friends.  The fun, laughs, tears, challenges, or stories of hope.  Or maybe it’s our men!!!!

In my humble opinion, I think they’re right!   It’s certainly all of the above.  But I think there’s one more thing.

Strangely enough, I think it’s the inside out thing – the theme of our event this year.

It’s the thing you don’t see, can’t see.  It’s not blaringly obvious.  It’s something you probably haven’t thought of, contemplated or even considered.  It’s something that, if revealed, you might not even like or agree with. Maybe you’d even blatantly disagree with it.  It’s something super.  But it’s something quite natural.  It’s something super-natural.

It’s God.

I know, I know.  You were happy reading to this point but now I’ve pulled THAT card, used THAT word you’re not sure you’ll continue reading.  Hang in there.  I promise I won’t get weird.

Perhaps what you don’t realise is that Flourish was God’s idea from the very beginning.  It was His plan.  His design.

After all, He chose to create man and (dare I say, with a giggle) then go one better and create woman!  He chose to balance man’s masculine strength, power and grunt with a gentle feminine strength, passion and nurturing spirit.

God positioned Himself around some pretty remarkable women, and was neither intimidated by them, nor intimidating to them.  Anyway why should that be the case? He created each of them, you and me included, to fulfil an individual plan, purpose and destiny for our lives.

To use our strength to build one another up – not humiliate others or tread all over them. To use the passion and drive he placed within us, to be change makers in our world, instead of negative, whinging, party poopers!

Instead, picture this:

Picture a genuine love, care and concern, where women unite with the sole purpose of strengthening, building up, equipping, encouraging, cheering for each other, supporting, and championing one another instead of falling for the lie the world is telling us (and our children) which is more about jealousy, competition, bitterness and bitchyness.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got enough challenges in my life coming from all fronts.  I certainly don’t need them coming from my own gender.

Often (we) women whinge about how hard life is for us.  Relationships, children, employment, glass ceilings and all… Yet it is often other women that create those same hardships.

Can I be more honest?

Often it is me (but feel free to place your name right there) that creates that hardship for another.

We struggle to take our eyes of our own selfishness.  It’s time we began to focus on being thankful for, supportive of or happy for a fellow woman.  We’ve each got so much to offer our world, our communities, our families, our friends and our children. Why is it that we so often put our worst self forward?

I’ve had to change my thinking over the years. I’ve had to make some tough decisions. I’ve had to reverse the lies I’d been taught, the guilt I’d felt and the box I’d placed myself in to.

I’ve had to turn my thinking inside out.
Flourish exists to help you do just that.

Amanda Towns

It’s not too late to register for Flourish, Saturday August 23 (9:30am-4:45pm) at Door of Hope Christian Church in Launceston. Tickets are $65 (includes lunch).  Click HERE to register now.
wonder_woman_arms_crossed_stickers-r705d5917036d40de9ad81cdf9aa08530_v9waf_8byvr_512





Matthew Garwood @ Flourish, August 23

5 08 2014

Drumroll please…

Last year we brought you Reuben Koops, and wasn’t he brilliant?!
Well, this year we wanted to bring you another local-born talent making a name for himself in the music industry.  You saw him on one of those television talent shows… you may have seen him perform in one of Encore Theatre’s productions… his name is MATTHEW GARWOOD!

Matthew will join us at Flourish on August 23 to sing a tune or two – one of many exciting facets of the gem that is THE largest women’s event in the state.
Click HERE to register now.

Launceston singer Matthew Garwood

Launceston singer Matthew Garwood








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