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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Test

Hi.
I have no idea what this will do but I'm posting this from my blogger dashboard. I can no longer preview my "blogger" blog because it doesn't really exist. I'm now on wordpress. If you see this through google friend connect or something then please note I have the same URL but you will have to subscribe or follow me on facebook or twitter to be notified of new posts.
Thanks.
Karlee

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter now I have a son

Easter this year means a whole lot more to me than ever before.

I've pretty much always had an awareness that Jesus died on the cross for me, for you, for whoever will follow Him. I understood that he suffered a great deal of pain, more pain than I could ever imagine. Although at times I'm selfish and overwhelmed by life, Easter has always been a reminder of God's love, sacrifice and grace.

This is the first year though that I've been in church at Easter as a parent. Last year Alexis had hand foot and mouth disease so Corey, Alexis and I (and William in the womb) were not allowed to go near children. There was no Easter stuff on tv (which I was horrified by) and we were sleep-deprived so we just sat around at home eating hot cross buns and chocolate. We enjoyed making up our own rules as until that point we had just followed along with what our families did. Gee I missed my family and my church though.

This year I have my babies and they are, touch wood, well. They've been sick over the last few weeks but they are on the mend. I've been sleep-deprived, the house was trashed, I've been collapsing under the stress of trying to clean it up while still feeling dodgy from sleepless nights. I've been cranky, I've been stressed, I've feeling useless, worthless, overwhelmed, all those (and more) things that young mums feel when it all gets too much but still God is good.

God is good regardless of my circumstances. God is faithful. God is just. God is powerful. God is able. God is loving.

On Thursday night we went to a "Good Friday" service. My mum kindly offered to watch Alexis at our house so we could concentrate. I jumped at the chance because a) Corey was drumming b) I knew there would be candles c) in case they played a graphic crucifixion clip which although great for getting the point across to adults and older children I didn't want my daughter watching. d) so I could focus on Jesus.



I still had William with me though. He had slept in the car so at first he was still groggy and snuggled in tight. I love sleepy cuddles! Then he noticed the lights dancing around the room from the mirror ball. (They have it for youth group. It's always there at church but because church is in daylight hours we've never noticed it.) He was talking to the lights, squealing with delight, and bouncing around my lap trying to catch them. It was so gorgeous. I tried to keep him quiet because of the nature of the occasion. I was cuddling him in close patting his back trying to get him to sleep while he laughed at me and flashed his beautiful gummy smile. I love this boy so much. I love the innocence of children. I love my son.

"For God so loved the World that He gave his one and only son," suddenly takes on a whole new level. The thought of something happening to my son makes me physically ill. The fact that God sacrificed his son for us is not something I can brush over my shoulder. And Mary! I'm not catholic but when I get to heaven I'm going to find her and give her the biggest hug. I see the face of a woman mourning, hopeless, as poor Mary watched her "boy" be whipped, mocked, beaten, stripped naked, paraded around like a criminal, exhausted, taunted, nailed, speared, and eventually killed. Yes Jesus was a grown man but to her he would still be her little boy. She carried him, she birthed him, she nursed him, she taught him to crawl and walk and raised him. The fact that my mother cleaned my house last night shows how much a mother still loves their adult child. (Thanks mum!) Mary would have been heart-broken. Still God is good.

God is good because Easter doesn't stop at Good Friday. On the third day Jesus rose to life again and that is why we celebrate. I'll post some more about that at a later date but for now, know that Jesus died for us. He died so we can be saved from our sins. He suffered horrendously for us even though He never sinned. He was innocent. God was there.

When bad things happen to good people we find ourselves asking, "where is God? Doesn't he care? Does he even know what's happening?" God knows what it is like to suffer. He gave up His son. That's how much he loves us.

Let me leave you with a modern-day parable that my pastor read out last night. I'm not sure of the source. It's a little long but I recommend you read it.

Imagine you are at Mcdonalds with your family on a Wednesday night when somebody runs in and says “Turn on the tv news quickly. Two women are in Canberra hospital dying from a mystery illness. Within hours it is predicted that this thing will sweep across the country. People are working around the clock trying to find an antidote. Nothing is working – people are being affected all across the country, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne.
All of a sudden the news is out – the code has been broken. A cure can be found, a vaccine can be made. It’s from blood that hasn’t been infected. So all across the country, people are being asked to do one simple thing. “Go to your nearest hospital and have your blood type taken. That’s all we ask of you. Go quickly – the lives of all human beings are threatened.”
When you and your family get to the hospital late Friday night, there is a long line and doctors and nurses are coming out and pricking fingers and taking blood and putting labels on it. Your wife and kids are out there with you and the staff say “Wait here in the parking lot and if we call your name you are dismissed and can go home.” You stand around sacred along with your neighbours, wondering if this is the end of the world.
Suddenly a young man comes running out waving a clip-board and yelling a name. What? He yells it again, and your son tugs on your jacket. “Daddy, that’s me.” Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy . “Wait a minute, hold on….” And they say, “It’s okay, his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We just want to make sure he doesn’t have the disease. Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging each other, some even laughing. An elderly doctor walks up to you and says “Thank you sir. Your son’s blood type is perfect. It’s clean and pure and we can make the vaccine that will save millions of people.
As the word begins to spread, people are screaming, and praying and laughing and crying. But then the doctor pulls you and your wife aside and says “May I see you for a moment. We didn’t realise that the donor would be a child. We need you to sing a consent form”. You begin to sign and then you see the line stating the number of litres of blood to be taken is empty. “How many litres” you say. And then the doctor’s smile fades as he says “We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren’t prepared. We need it all. We are talking about the world here. Please sign. We need it.”
“But can’t you give him a transfusion” you say. “If we had clean blood, we would. Would you sign?” In numb silence you do. Then they say “would you like a moment with your son before we begin?”
Can you walk back where he sits on a table, can you take his hand and say “Son, mummy and I love you and we would never let anything happen to you that didn’t have to be. Do you understand that?” Just then the doctor comes in and says “I’m sorry we’ve got to get started. People all over the world are dying. Can you leave, can you walk out while he is saying “Dad? Mum? Why? Why? Have you left me and forsaken me?”
And then the next Sunday, when they have the ceremony to honour your son, some people sleep in, some go to the beach and some come with a pretentious smile and just pretend to care, would you want to jump up and say ”My son died for you – don’t you care?

I know Jesus wasn't a child when he died but there are key similarities. The people of the world were dying and the only cure was pure blood. Jesus had to die to save a sick world. He asks us, "do we care?"

Happy Easter everyone. May the grace of our Lord be with you. :)

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Has your toddler's hair got your stomach in knots?

I did not receive payment for this post but I did receive the products featured free of charge. All opinions are my own. 



My daughter Alexis has soft, blonde, curly hair. It is absolutely beautiful but it is prone to knots. She does not like to sit still for us to comb or brush it. Sometimes the only way to get it looking decent is to wash it and start again.
Or resort to drastic measures.
That was until I was sent a package in the mail from Platinum Media and Communications inviting me to review this:


Johnson's No More Tangles hair care range is the next step up from their classic No More Tears baby shampoo. Being specifically designed for toddlers, No More Tangles products carry the Johnson's No More Tears guarantee of being safe for little eyes and maintain the baby soft feeling we all know and love.

The first thing I tried was the detangling spray. My sister Amanda and her daughter Isabella were over, so the two of us tried the spray on our two young girls. Their hair was dry and hadn't been washed for a few days. Alexis' in particular was pretty knotty. We used a generous amount of spray and we were able to part their hair and detangle it with relative ease. We did notice though that the hair was wet to touch and smelt like chemicals. Based on that experience alone I decided that the de-tangling spray would not be something I'd use every day but it would be fantastic for special occasions and if she got her hair so knotty that it started to hurt her.

The next thing I did was try the shampoo and conditioner. I washed Alexis' hair and my hair in the shower together. Sometimes the only way I'll get a shower is if I bring Alexis in with me. What I love about this product is that I can use it in my hair as well as hers. I like that I can relax knowing that if it splashes into her eyes it won't damage them but it won't turn my hair into a fly-away fuzzball. If you're like me and your toddler wants to do everything the same as you then they will get a kick out of being allowed to use the same shampoo and conditioner.

From using it in my hair I found it to be non-greasy, non-smelly and not itchy. Two days later my hair was still soft and not greasy (which is rare for me as I have dead straight but oily hair). I only washed it because William threw up in it...

From using it on Alexis I realised just how brilliant it is. I really like the shampoo and conditioner combination. It got rid of most of the tangles on its own. I didn't read the instructions properly and rinsed the conditioner out instead of leaving it in, but honestly I don't like the idea of leave-in conditioners, especially because my 5 month old has a hair fetish. A few stubborn tangles were left over, which we combed out relatively easily with a slight amount of detangling spray while the hair was still wet. The spray worked a lot better for Alexis in wet hair and it didn't smell at all. I think as a three-part hair care system for toddlers it is brilliant.


Here is what I found in short:
Things I love:

  • the shampoo rinses out incredibly easily. This is so important when trying to make sure you get all the shampoo off the head of a toddler who just won't stay still. 
  • the shampoo is clear and in a coloured bottle. I like this because with the old yellow shampoo in the clear bottle my daughter used to think it was juice, which used to scare me silly. 
  • the spray has a twist lock
  • the conditioner comes out slowly so you don't use too much
  • gentle on the eyes 
  • doesn't make the hair greasy
  • It works
  • It is from a brand we know and trust

Areas for Improvement:

  • I would love to see the design of the conditioner bottle changed to make it slightly harder to open because at the moment my 2 year old can easily flip it open. I think for a children's product this is disappointing. It won't stop me buying it though. 

The results speak for themselves.
Beautiful

When Alexis' hair was still this lovely after a sleep and a trip to the shops and back (complete with floor-dwelling tantrum) I was definitely impressed!

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