Noah | 9 Months

Another month, more progress. Every now and then, as I write these updates for Noah, I get déjàvu. Of course I do! I’m doing it all over with my 2nd child. Some posts, such as this month’s, are a little more mundane than others frankly because there isn’t anything exciting in Noah’s progress. I continue to write because I know that one day, I will look back and appreciate these memories.

Actually, that’s not fair to say there isn’t anything exciting.  To a new mum, I suppose the fact that your baby can move around in all fours (not exactly crawling but just getting more proficient in propelling himself forward) should be exciting enough.  Last month, we saw the first signs of him doing so. This month, we can be sure to use the term, ‘crawling’ loosely. Let’s just say, if you left him on the floor unattended, it would be a BAD idea. He can move around, reach for the most dangerous things, most commonly electric sockets and iPhone cables, and lift himself up to standing wobbly against the coffee table.

The sleep is still hit and miss so nothing has changed much on that front.

He’s had a taste of adult food on a few occasions when his dad would sneak in a smidge of ice cream or dessert. This boy definitely takes after his father, not necessarily on the sweet tooth. I mean, his appetite(!), to be precise…

I haven’t weighed him yet but at a wild guess, he would be just over 10.5 kilos.

One highlight this month is that I took a trip down to Melbourne by myself with the two boys and I am somewhat proud to say that God carried us and got us there in one piece. We were so privileged to travel in the new business class seats on Qantas domestic which gave us individual cabin seats. I was so blessed to have a sleeping baby all throughout the 1.5 hour flight, it was just amazing! Well done, Noah!

Meanwhile, his older brother has grown to adore him.  I can only foresee that Noah because the bossy boots in the family, overtaking his older brother’s throne.   Seth adores his little brother so much it shines through his eyes.  I’ve never seen such love before from a young 6 year old child.  I often hear about household domestics between siblings.  Perhaps I may be so blessed on that front to never have to deal with them?  Wild wishing there but on this trajectory, I only have to worry about Noah bullying his older brother, I must say!

 

Halfway there. So close yet so far away | Holy Yoga Journey

 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you. (Romans 1:11, ESV)

I’m more than halfway through immersion and this week, I’m flying out to Minnesota to finish off my training at retreat. 

This training is everything and more that I had wished for.  As my husband would say, “Many can only dream about such experience and discerned calling from God. What a huge blessing.” Indeed. 

I had wanted to post a lot more regularly about my progress but, as our teacher had warned, this program is full on! Since immersing myself into the training, daily priorities had to shift.  I’ve had days where the dirty dishes had to wait ( yes, very difficult to do but remembering “eyes on Jesus” being the focus of the immersion made it easier ). Let alone keeping up blog posts!

In the past 6 weeks, every weekday morning has been religiously dedicated to bible study and holy yoga practise.  I’ve made a conscious effort to use pen and paper for my journalling instead of reaching for their digital counterparts, such as Evernote. I’ve resorted to the digital bible already, so I think using or and paper for journalling is a happy compromise. Low and behold, it definitely helps with calming the mind and structuring thoughts. Perhaps I should use pen and paper more often.

I found my daily journalling to be very grounding. I was talking to a friend about it the other day and here’s how I described it, 

“You know what I’ve realised? It’s really hard to be a bad person when you have to read the bible every morning and immerse yourself in His Word.  You can be angry overnight, woke up on the wrong side of bed even. But when you quieten down and meditate on the Word in the morning, all of yesterday’s anger/sorrow is disolved and you start your day renewed, filled with energy and love.” 

It’s amazing how God touches you. You only need to try a little and He does most of the work for you. He is so faithful.

Combining my scripture journalling with the holy yoga practise is just powerful. You’ve just poured yourself with the living water mentally, then you move on to a physical devotion and meditation to worship Jesus on the mat. What better way to start each day!

My connection with God has been strengthened far more than I could ever imagine since starting my Holy Yoga journey.  I once thought that I was one of those ‘logical people’ who would be able to digest the Scriptures in a pragmatic, matter-of-fact way, allowing me to live out the deeds through the knowledge. No, God has proven me wrong. The Scriptures are very personal, as it is and should be. It is a personal revelation and experience that once you have experienced, you will feel.  Not just ‘know‘. You will FEEL

Some days I sit back and wonder how I could have done what I have done in the past 6 weeks – managing 2 kids, running the household and having all the energy to dedicate to the Holy Yoga training.  I tell you, none could be done without God’s grace. And everything can be achieved in His glory. 

Thank you, Father. Thank you, Jesus for calling me into this path. 

It has been wonderful.

Now that I am nearing the end of the course, I have mixed emotions of excitement and anxious on what the next steps will look like.  It feels like the end is near yet it is only the beginning. Lord, I need not fear because I know that You called me into this. I just need to trust. 

Next week I’m off to the U.S., transitting through LA to Minnesota. I can’t wait to see what the Lord has planned for us at retreat. I can only imagine all good things!

P.S. I’ve registered for the Therapy Program! Very exciting news and yes, another year of study ahead of me. I’ll save story this for another post. 

Love, Josephine xx

Holy Yoga | Son Series Challenge

This is one of my first social media challenges… You know the ones where you have to hashtag the challenge name? My friends have tried to lure me to do food ones or a-photo-day ones in the past, but I’ve avoided them because of the level of commitment required. I mean, a photo a day! That’s quite a lot of work, which frankly, I have prioritised to do other stuff. 

With this Holy Yoga one, though, it comes timely as it started together with my instructor immersion training. It couldn’t have come at a better time.  Not only did it help me breakdown each pose and encouraged me to learn more about my own anatomy. Most importantly, it made me practise the discipline of daily devotionals and meditation. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.

The biggest learning for me was to genuinely “let things go” when they aren’t perfect. With each day and each pose, I got better at it. 

“I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceeding broad.” (Psalm 119:96, ESV)

Each pose was a breakdown of the Holy Yoga Son Series C and the final project was to produce a quick video with a personalised flow.  The photos were mostly taken inside my own home or in the neighbourhood. How blessed I am to live in a city where I can just walk out and be in the great outdoors.  Thank you, Lord, for everything you bless me with. 

  
And here’s my final project for this challenge below!  

Noah | 8 Months

My little one is 8 months and I am enjoying this time with him a lot. Hubby has been away for a large part of this month, meaning a lot of alone time with both my boys, especially Noah. 

God may have decided this is the month for character building, and thus gave Noah 2 weeks of sleepless nights while his father was away, leaving me up to a fortnight of sleep deprivation while looking after Seth as well. Although towards the last few days before he turned 8 months old, and coincidentally after his father returns, we saw an abrupt change in his sleeping patterns. As I type, he is now able to sleep through the night.  Officially. Yes, from 10pm to 8am without waking. (I hope I am not jinxing myself 😜) 

Weighing in at 9.1kg, this month saw Noah start on proper solids and a regular solid dinner every night. With Noah being sick since he was 3 month’s old, I have resorted to making his solids so I can be sure they are packed with nutrients and vitamins to keep him strong. 

Here’s an example of what I blend for him and freeze in these cubes that I got from Kmart. They are the best, I find. Unlike the ones where they are like ice-cube trays and you have to break them out pretty much all at once, these ones you can defrost one per night individually.

They are all boiled vegetables in chicken broth with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Then blended in my NutriBullet. Voilà!

  
Noah has most definitely started to teeth. His two bottom teeth are now sticking out and looking incredibly cute. 

He is now able to pull himself to propel himself forward on the lounge rug. Looks like the beginnings of a crawl. It won’t be long before he’ll be moving around on all fours!

Lastly, I must make this comment. I don’t see how this is the case but judging from the reactions I get from passerbys on the street, I have to admit Noah attracts just that bit more attention than his gentler older brother. Must be the cheeky smile and the fat cheeks. Until next month, baby!!  

 

Purpose vs Call in Life vs Calling

 Is there a difference between our Purpose, Call in Life and Calling?

As we prepare ourselves for the Holy Yoga Ministry, our first session focussed on establishing the difference between our Purpose, Call in Life and our Calling.

This session was led by Brooke Boon, founder of Holy Yoga.  She highlights the importance of understanding and differentiating the 3.

For those of you who are also interested in how we can articulate this differentiation, have a go first! Below is my version as part of my reflections from my first Holy a Yoga class. 

So, what is the difference?

Our Purpose – To glorify God, to do all things in His honour and praise Him. 

But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. – Exodus 9:16

To have a relationship with God and do all things in His glory. To glorify Him. 

Our Call in Life – The Divine invitation to embrace salvation.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, – Ephesians 1:7  

Not to be confused with our ‘calling’, our call in life is accepting Jesus Christ as our saviour and following His walk in life. No one can make this ‘call’ other than our King above; or through His chosen authorities. God’s dominion alone. We do nothing here but simply ‘respond’. We do not have any dominion over others’ acceptance of Christ but to serve our calling and walk with Christ. 

Our Calling – Serving Him and surrendering into God’s authority. The Christian walk.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, – Ephesians 4:1-2

This is our serving, or our response to our Call in Life. Our calling is our expression of glorifying of God and doing His work as he pleases.  It is the Hebrew answer, “Hineni” meaning “Here I am”.  God’s calling may not always be obvious if you have not encountered His revelation. But trust in Lord and do everything in the name of Christ, for that can be your simplest form of fulfilling your calling.

Amen? Amen. 🙏🏼

How I Minimised Hair Loss | The Honest Co. & Recommended Organic Brands

Honestly, no…. Honestly.

During my pregnancy, I got given Jessica Alba’s The Honest Life book as my birthday gift. I remember wanting to immediately throw out all the processed foods out of my fridge. I didn’t, of course, because that would be just a wasteful life and nothing ‘honest’ about that. But having learnt about all the chemicals that exist in processed foods and many cleaning agents, I slowly started to make my own cleaning products with natural ingredients. And have since completely weaned myself into organic skincare.

I’m not a complete organic freak, admittedly. I still use bleach for whitening bathroom tiles and that white shirt that I love. Bleach King is what its name stands for. KING of the household, indeed.

Perhaps not to the extent of obsession. I mean, it’s not like we aren’t exposed to chemicals in one way or another. But it is consciously minimising the exposure to love our bodies, the temples that God has so graciously blessed us with.

So, the review in hands is Jessica Alba’s Honest Co. Bathing range. (A good friend of mine got this as a souvenir from Hawaii). It was a gift set that consisted of:

  1. Shampoo/Body Wash
  2. Face/Body Lotion
  3. Conditioner
  4. Body Oil
  5. Bubble bath gel 

Verdict?  AWESOME! 

Since using the shampoo, I have seen a significant reduction of hair shedding. 

The body oil I actually use on my face at night, as a moisturiser. It’s isn’t as rich and I would probably stick with Organic Rosehip on the face in the long term, but this oil is definitely great for the body. 

So there goes a quick review for those looking for another brand of good, natural products. 

Other brands I also like:

  1. Juniper Australia – I love this brand for their handcreams and Skin Firming Serum, which I use as a makeup primer and I get this from the local vitamins store, Mr Vitamins. 
  2. Springfields – I love their Jojoba and Rosehip oils. 
  3. Trilogy – I stumbled across their Replenishing Night Cream when it was on sale and have loved it, especially for drier months.
  4. Rosehip by essano – I literally bulk buy their foaming facial cleansers when they go on sale. I find it is strong enough to remove makeup, even my mascara, but doesn’t leave my face dry. I still recommend using jojoba or rosehip oil on a cotton pad to remove waterproof makeup first before facial cleansing. 
  5. This cheap but super effective cucumber eye gel literally feels like putting on cooled cucumber slices over my eyes, except it’s a squirt from a bottle. It’s only $19.99 AUD but does a better job in de-puffing tired eyes than La Mer, I think! Say Yes to cucumber. Yup, that’s the name of the product!

Hope you enjoyed it! 

How Do You Define Precious Motherhood? | Is the modern day image distorted? 

On our Mother’s Day sermon, our pastor reminded us of how modern age  perception has distorted our views of what the role model mother is.  And how we should refer to the Scriptures on the true definition.

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.  Proverbs 31:10

Here’s my view. Whether the media and Hollywood wants to admit it or not, they have shaped this distorted modern day view.  And here goes:

A successful, role model mum does not just wear an apron at home making the best meals for their children, providing for the household and ensuring everyone is well fed (including her own self). The modern day successful mum:

1. is juggling between a high-flying career and soccer mum duties, like it is possible to do both perfectly. Let’s just accept that it is an impossibility.

2. looks unrealistically supermodel-like and hits the gym 5 times a week  (thanks to the rise of juice diets and workout plans that have exploded in the past 10 years, easy access to plastic surgery, etc.) Not to mention there’s a race on who can lose all her baby weight the quickest post-birth.

3. has a nanny to help because the double household income will allow for that. Or for those without help, refer to point 1 again.

4. looks immaculate and chants ‘positivity’ as her mantra. Yes, everyday. Where is the social empathy of ‘sharing’ and empathy on women’s support? Oh sorry, wrong answer.  Society nowadays condones sharing of issues and slams that as being weak. No wonder there is all this suppressed bitterness, passive-aggressive comparison and disingenuous concern in mothers circles! How many times I’ve had a friend simply voice an opinion in a Whatsapp Group chat only to be immediately compared with her worse-off friend? Honey, she’s not asking you how bad your situation is.  Save your ‘at least you….’ for your husband, please! Women, we are here to support one another. Pray for your friend! Hear her out! Give her an emoji hug! Whatever you do, please skip the ‘Oh, at least you…..’ We are reminded that in God’s eyes, we are all the same.  Sorry, clearly this is a very sticking  point for me. So, moving on…

5. have kids who are well-groomed, sent to the best schools…all because the mum did the most research and sacrificed her dignity or pre-pregnancy vitamins for the school entry fees.  Either that, or she flaunts her own social status through her child’s education privileges.

I suspect the points in discussion here require dedication and I do not underestimate that. But it also comes with sacrifice. Often, subliminally, at the expense of your relationship with your child(ren), husband and family.  The devil always has ways to justify why we should strive for those things. Perhaps we could hone in the same level of effort to strive for real beauty?

I could harp on forever and I should really stop on the sarcasm. But that word vomit was necessary.  Far too often, I find myself being a culprit. I wonder how many women will fess up to falling into that category of somewhat striving to be what the modern age successful mum looks like.

Well, I do. I wave the white flag. I do. I surrender. Because, what defines a woman’s worth is not her charm nor vanity. It is the inner beauty, the genuine kind intent, the real sacrifices that she makes for her children, family, friends and others that we should value.

Let this post pause you for a moment.  Even for a minute. Let’s reflect and make for better role models and create a better place for our children.

Lord Jesus, I confess I sin with most if not all of the above. Every day, I strive to avoid fitting into the pressures and distorted views of modern age definitions. Please give me strengths, grace, love and patience to overcome the temptations. 

After all…

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  Proverbs 31:30