Girls’ X’mas Lunch 2014 | Jonah’s Palm Beach

Another year!  I cannot believe it….

This year, we had new recruits for our X’mas Girls’ Lunch due to the usual suspects all being overseas.  I’m glad we can keep this tradition going despite the fact that 3 of us there has a newborn and most of us are busy mums.  It is an excuse for us girls leave our babies and hubbies at home and celebrate our right to female independence.  Well done for making it, girls.

And special thanks to Isa for upholding the ‘Christmas Crackers’ tradition.

Jonah’s was just amazing.  Some the girls have been, others not.  I don’t think it made a difference though.  Everyone enjoyed the view and the meal.  Still my favourite restaurant in Sydney.

So much for my 1200 cal limit.  I don’t think I’ll be sticking to this plan for a while….

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Sad Day for Australia & really, for Every One | Lindt Café Siege

I woke this morning to the breaking news…”Lone Gunman dead at siege and…..two other innocent lives lost.”

Only yesterday, my friend Isabel sent us a Whatsapp to say that Ryan’s colleague’s sister was one of the hostages.  This morning, I am shocked to hear that this 2nd-degree connection fell victim to the siege and that her 3 young children have lost a beautiful, successful mother while trying to save her pregnant colleague.

As a Christian, you question God.  You question why God would let that happen to the lives of happy, innocent children of His with such a bright future ahead of them.  It’s not just two lives that are lost, but the family and loved ones of those victims that have to bear this loss for the rest of their lives.  Why, oh why?  And to think that this could happen to any one of us. It does raise confusion and even anger….and how do we deal with those emotions? Pray more and ask God?  Get angry with God?

And while all of this sadness was going through my mind today and while I continue to scroll through Facebook’s Newsfeed with a variety of different posts and opinions on this topic, I can across this one.  This one that put me at peace.

Lastly, I will end with this: Remember to give your loved ones a kiss before you leave the door.  Every day.  Yes, EVERY DAY, no matter how busy you are or how much of a rush you are in.  Because, just because, you may never know whether it will be the last time they hear you tell them that you love them.  #Cherish

http://www.southwestccc.org/acts11/churchnews/lindt-cafe-tragedy-pastoral-letter/

Lindt Cafe Tragedy – A Pastoral Letter to the Church

Dear church family,

No doubt you have heard of the terrible events that have happened over the last day. In the space of a short 18 hours, an armed siege at Martin Place by a lone gunman had turned terribly tragic. Now three lives have been lost – two hostages (Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson); the gunman himself (Man Haron Monis) – and at least three others injured.

We are all different and we all process tragedy differently. Some of us are okay and will experience no noticeable impact in the aftermath. Others, however, may be more shaken and upset. Neither reaction is right or wrong. But your elders and pastors would like to take the opportunity to write to you a short note, in the hope that it may minister to you at this time, whatever you feel or don’t feel.

Now of course, we are still processing the tragedy ourselves. The points below are going to be a bit rough, slightly rushed, and they certainly won’t be our final word. However, we hope they’ll be a helpful first word from us to you:

In this time, let us encourage you to:

1. Feel

Give yourself permission to feel: sadness, confusion, pain, loss, fear; even anger, indignation, or rage.

The Bible is full of ‘laments’. Not a few of those laments also contain feelings of anger, indignation, and even rage. Take for example, Psalm 139.

It’s ok to feel. The uniqueness of the Christian message is that we have a God who feels. And isn’t Christmas about how this God stepped into human life in order that he might feel even more deeply, understand even more thoroughly, and in order that might be our sympathetic High Priest? (Hebrews 4:14-15)

2. Pray

Let the brokenness of the world drive you to speak to your Heavenly Father – openly, candidly, honestly. Pray even if words are hard to express. Pray even if it carries with it questions that you don’t have answers for. Pray knowing that the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express (Romans 8:26).

And of course, as sons and daughters of the One who holds all things in his hands, pray prayers of intercession for those in particular need at this time. Pray for the victims and their families; pray for the Muslim community who are especially fearful at the moment; pray for our law enforcement officers and agencies; pray for our politicians; pray for our city.

And pray that this will drive more people to seek hope where hope is found and repent before it’s too late (Luke 13:1-9).

3. Cling

It’s times like these that the hope that Jesus brings becomes even more tangible and real. In times of tragedy, the angel’s words announcing the coming of the promised ‘Saviour’ at the first Christmas all of a sudden doesn’t seem so cliched does it? (Luke 2:11)

It’s so easy to forget that the message of salvation implies we need to be saved from something. Perhaps yesterday’s tragedy is an apt reminder of its true meaning. We need rescuing from the brokenness of our fallen world. We need deliverance from the brokenness that we as a rebellious humanity have brought into God’s perfect world. We need salvation from sin; from its consequences both now and on the day of Judgement. We need saving from ourselves and the evil one who holds the world captive to do his will.

Jesus is the promised Saviour. By his death and resurrection he has dealt with sin once and for all as our representative and substitute. By his resurrection he has opened up God’s new promised future and has brought it into the present. And he will return again to make all things new (Revelation 21-22).

This Christmas, cling to these gospel truths with a tenacity that you have perhaps forgotten. Cling to them even through tears and taste just how sweet these truths can be.

4. Talk

Find opportunities to talk about these things. Talk about your feelings. And even if you don’t feel strongly about what’s happened, talk about it with others who may be trying to process their feelings.

In our Heavenly Father’s sovereignty, perhaps he will use this tragedy to awaken a sleepy world. While others may be processing it in their own way, God’s people can truly act as priests to our grieving society, speaking hope where hope cannot be found.

And parents, don’t shy away from the opportunities to speak to your children about these events, as is age appropriate. Use these times to bring your family closer to each other and to the Lord.

5. Love

And finally let love, which covers over a multitude of sins, be the balm that heals our hurting city and country. This is an especially opportune time to love our neighbours, and even our enemies.

Love our Australian Muslim neighbours  who may be feeling threatened and fearful. (#illridewithyou is a great example.)

Love each other enough to take time to mourn with those who mourn.

Love the world enough to speak of the hope that Christ truly brings this Christmas.

And keep loving and trusting our Saviour. Even in bad times. Especially in bad times.

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

(Habakkuk 3:17-18)

Your brothers in Christ,

The elders and pastors of SWCCC.

Julia Lin’s Birthday | Pyrmont Point Park

They couldn’t have picked a better date and time, given the recent random weather. It was just right for an outdoor park party. Not too cold, not too warm.

The setting was just beautiful and well, with all the lovely decorations from the birthday host’s business – Itty Blooms.

The boys all enjoyed some soccer. The food was amazing, considering everything was just cooked on the portable BBQ.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Julz. I can’t believe you are nearing the big 3-0. It seemed like yesterday when we just met at ‘3’, when you were only 16!

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Noah | 3 months old

I’m backdating this post and as I type, Noah is already 13 weeks.

In the past 3 weeks since my last 11 week post, much has happened.

For a start, today marks my ‘breastmilk weaning’ completion (21st December).  It is exactly 3 months after Noah was born.

To get to this, I have had to slowly cut down from 5 pumps a day, down to 4 and then 3, and progressively down to 2 and finally once.  This took 3 weeks to get to and it didn’t come easily.  I had to fight through the breast engorgement and much feeling of guilt.  And even today, as I cleaned and packed my breast pump away (for sale on Gumtree), I felt a tremendous amount of guilt.  It’s totally irrational, as it was a conscious decision.  Plus, if I look back on my emotional health, I am in a much better state today than what I was 3 weeks ago.  Nonetheless, it doesn’t take away the guilt of wondering whether I should persist.

I have also hired a nanny/housekeeper, which has eased my life tremendously.  Vanessa is the biggest help to my life.

With these two things combined, my life has gone from barely manageable to being so manageable, I almost feel inadequate.

My parents also moved out of ours last week, leaving me feeling empowered to manage this household myself, while being able to have a life of my own.  I’ve taken it so far as to starting conversations already with business partners to resume my entrepreneurial dreams again [ I will save that for another post ].

And how is Noah doing?

He is my sweet darling.  The weaning onto formula has upset his stomach a little and he has been a bit constipated. He has also thinned out a little, potentially from the change in diet.  But that hasn’t stopped him from smiling and coo-ing. Unlike his brother who was fed S26 Gold, we have put Noah on Bellamy’s Organic Infant Formula.   I’m keen to hear any comments on how this compares to S26 Gold.  We’ve just heard that S26 Gold has a reputation for causing constipation, hence our decision to put him on Bellamy’s.

He has a tendency to smile and my mum and I the most.  The fat little Buddha, or Sweet Potato, as my mum and I have called him…he loves to smile and even chuckle at us to draw our attention, even if we aren’t intentionally playing with him.

He has continue to sleep his 6-7 hours, waking between 6am and 7am after his 11pm-midnight feed.  So, he still hasn’t gotten to the point whether he is sleeping 7-8 hours like his older brother, but he’s still a pretty good baby.  And he certainly smiles a lot more than his brother at the same age.

His night grunting has died down a little.   So, in a few months’ time, we will move him back from the travel cot upstairs back into our bedroom.  I suspect that will be when he starts teething anyways so it will be easier for us when he starts waking up in the middle of the night during that period.

His 100 days is coming up.  While there have been talks between my mum and about throwing him a 100-day celebration, which happens to lie on the same day as my mum’s birthday, I think we’re going to just have a little family celebration given everyone’s away or tied up in Christmas festivities.

Let’s just say, from my crazy text message to my hubby about my daily schedule to the life I have today, a lot has changed.  I am really enjoying being a new mum for a second round and I am managing a lot better this time round.

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Ladies Who Lunch |The Boathouse Balmoral

This jetsetting friend of mine is hard to catch but whenever Gen and I catch up, we have the best time talking business and what’s next in our career ambitions or life goals. The funniest thing is that every time we catch up, we both seem to have new goals.

Do we just get through our achievements too quickly (unlikely!) or never really persist through our goals??? Perplexed.

Nonetheless, great food, great company. Can’t ask for more on a Hump Day lunch at The Boathouse in Balmoral Beach!

Love the Quinoa Salad and Grilled Fish of the Day.

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My Crazy Workouts | Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

Unlike her competition, Kayla Itsines does not include the word ‘challenge’ in the name of her workouts. Often you’ll hear ’12 week transformation challenge’ or ‘bikini body challenge’ etc etc. Whether intentional or not, it’s a smart move. It makes you think it’s a ‘guide’, as the name suggests. And it is. But it’s not that simple. It’s the most CHALLENGING guide ever.

Hashtagged BBG1.0, this guide is accompanied by the h.e.l.p eBook and sold together as a package for AUD$120. Most would cringe at the price to pay for 2 PDF files, for lack of a better term, or what Kayla calls her eBooks. But she’s right in saying that it’s under $1.50 a day. And it’s true… If you do the workout every day. So, would you?

Up until this point, I have been sounding negative about this whole Kayla Itsines thing. But let me tell you this. I think it’s worth every cent and yes, I’m willing to pay $1.50 per day to get this bikini body. The price you are paying is not just money, you are paying 30 minutes a day and a huge amount of hard work and dedication. For what? For comments that I have been receiving recently…

“Omg, Jo… How do you get back in shape so quickly? How old is Noah again? What, TWO months ONLY? No…. How could you have had a baby!!)”

“Jo, I’ve been seeing your Instagram pics. You are amazing. You inspire me.”

“Jo, your skin… How does it look so amazing. It’s just glowing!”

Thank you for all your lovely comments and let me share with you all the secret to attracting these compliments.

That’s what the $1.50 a day does for you. The results.

I’m half way through the guide at Week 6 and because I am modifying some of the ab exercises to suit my postpartum needs, I haven’t been able to start the heavy training on the abs yet. So, my stomach is still looking a bit flabby. But considering it was only 11 weeks ago when it was twice its current size, I’ve gotta be pretty happy with what I have now.

Nutrition and what you put in your mouth plays a huge part in this. You’ll see that I dine out quite often. However, I always make sure I stick with the healthy choices on the menu. Once a week, I allow myself a cheat meal, which is usually a nice dinner with my hubby. Otherwise, it would be indulging in a small pack of chips or a serving of dessert.

Every morning, I will have a smoothie packed with all the essential nutrients that fuel my workouts. Gotta love the NutriBullet! I swear my skin and hair have been glowing from the natural Omega 3/6 oils extracted from the nuts and seeds I consume and the boost of Acai Berry powder that I add into my smoothies.

This journey of the crazy workouts has not been easy, although I love eating healthy and my clean eating. At 46.5kg (I’m 5 foot 1″), I’m still 4-5 kg away from my pre-pregnancy weight. Another 6 weeks, fingers crossed Kayla will get me back in my desired weight AND tone up that flab!

I’ve been glad to hear that I’ve inspired quite a few girlfriends. But the ultimate inspiration? Kayla Itsines!

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