Thank You for Making Me a Woman

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I just wanted to share the lyrics of one of my favourite children’s songs – I used to sing it as a child, and now my kids sing it.

In this day and age, there is much confusion about what makes someone a man or a woman, and there are so many people convincing women that they should try to be more like men.

So I think it’s a great day to thank God for making me a woman – not a man, not a butterfly, not a fish, but a woman – because it really is wonderful!


If I were a butterfly,
I’d thank you, Lord, for giving me wings.
And if I were a robin in a tree,
I’d thank you, Lord, that I could sing.
And if I were a fish in the sea,
I’d wiggle my tail, and I’d giggle with glee,
But I’d just thank you, Father, for making me Me!

‘Cause you gave me a heart,
And you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus,
And you made me your child.
And I just thank you, Father, for making me Me!

If I were an elephant,
I’d thank you, Lord, by raising my trunk.
And if I were a kangaroo,
I’d just hop right up to you.
And if I were an octopus,
I’d thank you, Lord, for my good looks.
But I’d thank you, Father, for making me Me!

‘Cause you gave me a heart,
And you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus,
And you made me your child.
And I just thank you, Father, for making me Me!

If I were a wiggly worm,
I’d thank you, Lord, that I could squirm.
And if I were a crocodile,
I’d thank you, Lord, for my big smile.
And if I were a fuzzy wuzzy bear,
I’d thank you, Lord, for my fuzzy wuzzy hair.
But I’d just thank you, Father, for making me Me!

‘Cause you gave me a heart,
And you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus,
And you made me your child.
And I just thank you, Father, for making me Me!

‘Cause you gave me a heart,
And you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus,
And you made me your child.
And I just thank you, Father, for making me Me!




Juggling School with Babies

I’m still on a blogging break, but just wanted to share my latest post on the MOPS blog.

It took me by surprise how fast my daughter’s first year of school went by.  Weren’t we just here, settling her in for her first day, a month ago?

I currently have a primary-schooler, a pre-schooler and a toddler. They are quite close in age, and yet their needs are still so different! While much of our time with kids in the early years seems to pass by quickly, there’s something about the school years that makes time go even faster.

I was thinking about this the other day – what made the year go so fast – and I realised that it’s because all my time is now divided into “blocks”.
The day is divided up into the morning routine, school drop off, morning tasks, toddler’s nap time, school pick up, after school routine, dinner, kids bedtime routine and then (finally) adult alone time and sleep.

The week is divided into school/work days and the weekend. And the year is divided up into school terms and holidays. When time is broken into these clearly defined blocks, it’s easy to go on ‘auto-pilot’, moving through the blocks of our day and week and year without really thinking about how much time is passing.

So how do we make the best use of our time? How do we make sure we are using these “blocks” of time effectively and intentionally? Here are some principles of time management for when you have a school kid as well as little ones at home:

Continue reading here:

Taking a Break

Hi Friends,

I just wanted to let you know I’ll be taking a break from blogging for a little while (well, unless there’s something I REALLY want to write about 😉 ).

I know, I know – I’m right in the middle of a series. Sorry to leave you all hanging there!

But some things have come up for our family that mean we will be quite busy for a little while, and I can’t fit everything on my plate, I can’t keep all the balls in the air… insert other cliche about having too many things to do 🙂

See ya later, alligators!



14 Days of Love: Drop the Strategies

I’ll be blogging about marriage-related stuff every day leading up to Valentine’s Day this year. Please stop by and share your own thoughts. Hope you enjoy it!

I’m so tired of all the strategies. I’m so tired of moving through life like it’s some giant chess board, trying to predict how others will respond. Trying to think 5 steps ahead.


My husband and I have begun to do research on buying property, and I’ve been surprised at the level of game-playing involved…

Don’t act too keen, or the agent will push you for a higher price. Don’t make your offer too low, or you’ll be rejected out of hand.

Just the psychology of bidding at an auction is fascinating!

A lot of the advice we’ve come across says to stand right up the front and look the auctioneer in the eye. Make the first bid, and make it a strong one, to set the tone and potentially scare off some competitors with a lower limit. Always get your next bid in quickly – act like you don’t even need to think about it. This gives your competition the impression that you will outbid them every time and will wear them down.

I said to my husband the other day, “Can you imagine if buying property was not solely about money? What if sellers had potential buyers fill out applications with not only their monetary offer, but also some information about their family and why they wanted to live in that particular house? And then the seller sat down and actually picked the buyer they thought was the best fit for the home, not necessarily just the ones offering the most money?”

Hey, I can dream…


I also have certain strategies I use if I’m walking alone somewhere at night.

Even if it’s just walking back to my car, if the area is a bit dodgy, I’ll often call my husband or my mum and just talk to them on the phone, telling them where I am and what I’m doing, so that if anyone did attack me, they would be able to call the police straight away.

And if I’m dropping a girlfriend home at night, I will stay in her driveway until she is inside the front door (my dad taught me that one).


To some extent, we even need strategies in parenting.

Things like, not bursting out laughing when your kid does something incredibly funny but also really naughty. Or following through on the consequence you warned them of when you would really like to just say “Fine! Just do whatever you want!”.


But marriage…. marriage is the one place we should just drop the strategies.

I’m talking about carefully planning the way you discuss things with your husband so as to have him agree with you. I’m talking about the facts you reveal and those you withhold.

I’m talking about being guarded with your feelings and thoughts, only sharing them when they will reflect well on you or you can predict his response.

I’m talking about offering respect and submission, not because it’s what God requires of wives, but because you want to get something in return.


Drop the strategies and go for openness instead.

You might not get what you want, but you will get what you need. And that is intimacy.

True intimacy can only come when we leave behind all the schemes and plans and just let our husbands see all of us, even the parts they may not like.

(More thoughts on this tomorrow 🙂 )

14 Days of Love: Remember when…

I’ll be blogging about marriage-related stuff every day leading up to Valentine’s Day this year. Please stop by and share your own thoughts. Hope you enjoy it!

“Remember that time in the spa on the cruise ship in Norway…?”

It’s a phrase my husband and I say to one another from time to time*, usually prompted by a misty morning or a moment of peace together… moments that evoke that amazing sense of peace and awe we felt back then, a year into our marriage.

It was about mid-morning, and our cruise ship was due to dock into the port for that day within the hour.

But we were a carefree childless couple, so after a sleep-in and a breakfast so late you should really call it brunch, we decided we felt like a dip in the heated spa at the back of the ship.

Technically, it was summer.

But when we stepped onto the outer deck area, there was no sun to be seen and a fine, misty rain fell gently on our skin.

As we walked our way down to the back of the ship, we could see that there were plenty of people out with their rain coats and their cameras – hanging over the rails trying to get a perfect shot of the unfolding scene.

Thankfully for us, the misty-rain seemed to have put everyone else off the spa, which sat out in the open.

So there we sat in the spa together on the back of the cruise ship, the warm water surrounding our bodies and the cold rain lightly falling on our shoulders and heads.

People continued milling around the deck, but we might as well have been completely alone as we sat in awe, absorbed by the beauty of the clouds draped low around the steep hills of the fjord.

My husband wrapped his arm around me and said, “We’re going to remember this moment for the rest of our lives.”



And he was right.

I do often think back on that moment. It’s a source of joy and delight, often at times when those things are lacking.

We have other “go to” memories too… memories that only require a one-sentence prompt for us both to be thinking the exact same thing.

Our first date at the botanical gardens… That time we drove through the flood waters… When we climbed on the roof in a lighting storm…

I was thinking about the value of having these precious memories together, especially through the hard times of marriage.

I mean, having babies and small children gives you a whole other set of memories. But it doesn’t feel like it at the time… it just feels hard.

And sometimes when I was in the midst of dirty nappies and recalcitrant toddlers and never-ending mess I would think back to these amazing memories we made together and wonder if there would be any more to come, or if our days of fun and spontaneity were long gone.

Sometimes in the middle of the night, when I sat there breastfeeding a tiny baby, eyes hanging out of my head with exhaustion, I would look over at my peacefully sleeping husband (with a little bit of envy over the fact that he was sleeping) and think over all the wonderful things we did together. Then I would let out a little sigh of nostalgia, and tell myself that we would be a fun couple again one day, and determine that I would – for my part – make the effort to have the kind of marriage we’d both be able to enjoy long after the kids were grown up and out of home.

Shared history is important because it makes us desire and work towards a shared future.

This is the value of making memories together (in the fun times and the hard times). It’s part of the glue that holds us together.


The challenge is to keep making memories.

Don’t let the struggle of life steal your sense of wonder at the world and at each other.

Climb the hills.

Watch the birds.

Take in the sunsets.

Laugh at the stupid jokes.

And do it all together.


*While I was writing this post, I called out to my husband, “Hey babe, I’m writing a blog post about the importance of shared memories in marriage. Can you guess which memory I’m thinking of?” The Norwegian cruise memory was his second guess! Just goes to show how important this memory is to both of us.

14 Days of Love: Is it Possible to be Too Thankful in Marriage?

I’ll be blogging about marriage-related stuff every day leading up to Valentine’s Day this year. Please stop by and share your own thoughts. Hope you enjoy it!

I can barely walk one metre in this house without seeing something that makes me instantly thankful for my husband.

I walk outside, and I can see the solar lights he rigged up along the driveway so I don’t have to put the bins out in the dark. My heart swells with thankfulness because of how thoughtful he is. I turn around, and I see the grass he mowed and the sprinkler he laid out to water it.

I walk back inside, and I see his work bag sitting on the shelf, which reminds me how hard-working he is in providing for our family.

I walk into our bedroom and see his boxer shorts on top of the laundry pile and I’m so thankful that I have a husband to do laundry for (don’t snigger, I’m being serious 😉 ).

I walk past the kitchen and see the dishes he washed yesterday, because he wanted to lighten my load at the start of the week.

Of course, I’ve had bad days (oh hello, menstrual cycle!) when everything actually annoys me about him, and the thankfulness has to be more intentional because it’s just not happening naturally. And in the past, it hasn’t even been bad days – it’s been bad months!

But thankfulness is something that we strive to cultivate in our marriage. It just seems to keep the wheels turning more smoothly when we are quick to recognise and appreciate each other’s efforts.

One of the ways we do this is when we’re lying in bed at night together, we each try to say 5 things we appreciate each other doing that day. (Actually, we have fallen out of habit with this, so writing this post is a good reminder for me to pick it up again!).

For example, I might say:

  • I really appreciate you working so hard and faithfully for our family, even though it’s difficult at the moment.
  • I really appreciate you putting the kids to bed.
  • I really appreciated you suggesting we watch that movie together tonight.
  • I really appreciate how well you love me.
  • I really appreciate your feedback on that blog post I was working on (lol).

The thing with any kind of habit like this, is that you need to let go of any expectations about what you want to hear and even that the other person will remember to do it. At different times, either my husband or I have forgotten, and the person who remembers will just jump right in with their own statements of appreciation. Or sometimes one of us is too tired to do a whole list, so we just say “I appreciate you too”.

If you are holding out to hear them say they appreciate some specific thing you did that day, it’s a recipe for resentment and ruining a good thing! Just take responsibility for your own part.


Now, moving to the question in the title of this post…

Is it possible to have too much thankfulness in a marriage?

Is it over the top to say thank you to each other for normal, expected things – like me thanking my husband for going to work, or my husband thanking me for making dinner?

I’ve read in various places before where people seem to think it is possible to be too thankful in a marriage.

The thinking goes like this… that if we say thank you to our husbands for things like washing the dishes or putting the kids to bed, then they will come to expect a “pat on the head” for every basic parenting or household task they do. That this somehow makes them think they are “special” and that it gives them a big head.

Well, I disagree with that perspective.

Personally, I want my husband to feel appreciated and respected. I want him to know that I see all these things he does – even the little, basic things – and that they really mean a lot to me.

And, while I don’t do things for the purpose of receiving his praise, I also love to hear his thankfulness directed at me.

When he thanks me for making his favourite dinner, does it give me a “big head” and make me feel like I’ve done something “extra special”? No. But it does give me a great sense of accomplishment and joy.


Ladies, there’s no such thing as being too thankful in your marriage. (Unless you are literally annoying your husband with how much you say it). Don’t listen to people who would rob you and your husband of this great joy – the joy of being thankful and appreciating what you’ve got.




14 Days of Love: Valentine’s Day Ideas based on the Love Languages

For my husband and I, our enthusiasm for and participation in Valentine’s Day really varies year to year, and depends on what else is going on in our lives and if either of us remembers to do anything.



But I was thinking about how Valentine’s Day is made out by marketers to be all about spending money on gifts to show your love. And gifts just aren’t that important for some people!

I’m sure most of you have heard of the concept of love languages… the idea that each person has one or two main “languages” through which they receive and show love.

(Disclaimer – I haven’t actually read the Love Languages book :O )

So here are some of my ideas on ways to tell your husband how much you love him, in a language he will understand.

Quality Time

  • Have a date night at home after the kids are in bed – eat a special dinner together, watch a movie and then debrief over dessert!
  • Play a computer game together.
  • Play a game of chess.
  • Go for a bike ride together.
  • Organise a date out of the home: book babysitters in advance and then have a progressive dinner – one place for dinner, another for dessert, and somewhere else to watch the sunset.

Physical Touch

  • Give him a proper back massage, with oils and everything.
  • Set your personal best record for the longest kiss (bonus: gross your kids out by making them hold the stop watch!)
  • Have a shower together.
  • Secretly challenge yourself to touch your husband in some way every time you pass him throughout the day.

Words of Affirmation

  • Write your husband a list of everything you love about him.
  • Send him text messages with specific things he has done that you appreciate throughout the day.
  • When you part ways in the morning and come back together in the evening, make sure your words are uplifting and warm.

Acts of Service

  • Clean out his car while he isn’t looking.
  • Tidy up his computer area.
  • Ask if there’s any odd jobs he’d like you to help with.
  • Put on fresh bed sheets.


  • Buy him a gift voucher to his favourite place to get lunch.
  • Buy his favourite chocolates and coffee.
  • Get him something that he needs but keeps forgetting to buy.
  • Wrap yourself up with a big ribbon.
  • Make him a key ring with a picture of you both.



Please share your own ideas for ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day based on the love languages in the comments!



14 Days of Love: The Frozen Raspberries

I’ll be blogging about marriage-related stuff every day leading up to Valentine’s Day this year. Please stop by and share your own thoughts. Hope you enjoy it!

When I was a uni student, I used to babysit the kids for a mother’s Bible study group one morning a week.

It was great getting to play with the kids for a couple of hours a week, but I also appreciated growing closer to the women in the group – women who I saw as being a few steps ahead of me in life.

Right before I got married, the ladies from the Bible study group gave me a folder they had put together.


In this folder was an encouraging letter (above), a bunch of quotes from various authors and bloggers (about the Christian walk, marriage, motherhood, etc.) and some “tried and true” recipes that these ladies frequently used in their own kitchens.

It was such a thoughtful gift, and I still use it now – pulling it out to use a recipe every now and then, or reading through the quotes.



Anyway, a few years ago, my husband was pulling things out of the freezer to make room for some groceries. This is a particular skill of his, because he is ruthless about throwing away anything that has gone off or won’t be used. Anyway, this particular time, he found a packet of frozen raspberries and asked me, “do you need these?”

“Oh yeah, I’m going to use those,” I said.

Anyway, several freezer clean-outs (and many months… okay, years) later, he asked me, “Why are we still hanging onto this packet of raspberries?”

I said, “I don’t know – someone once told me to always keep a packet of frozen raspberries in the freezer!”

“Jess, it’s been YEARS! We’re throwing them out.”

I never really knew who told me to keep the raspberries, just that someone had, and it seemed to be important.

Well, I solved the mystery… I was looking through my folder from the Bible study mums the other day and found this:


“Keep a packet of frozen raspberries in the freezer and you’ll always be able to throw together one of these very simple desserts…”

Haha, there you go!

(By the way, I now only buy raspberries when I have a recipe in mind 😉 )


The reason I bring up this story is to make a point about marriage advice (and I think this point applies to other advice as well).

The point is that we should all think carefully when applying the advice of others to our own marriages. People are different and marriages are different with different dynamics. Sure, some of that is the difference between “healthy” and “unhealthy”, but even if you just look at healthy marriages – they won’t all be the same.

The advice from one of those ladies to always keep a packet of raspberries in the freezer probably worked really well for her. But it ended up just taking up space in our freezer. (And making for a running joke – “Hey honey, I bought some frozen raspberries!” – “Noooooo”)

When people offer advice, they mean well. But how good the advice is for you will often depend on the specific dynamics of your marriage and your life.

So when you read marriage advice, take it with a grain of salt frozen raspberry.



14 Days of Love: The Husband Survey

I’ll be blogging about marriage-related stuff every day leading up to Valentine’s Day this year. Please stop by and share your own thoughts. Hope you enjoy it!


A few years ago, I created and printed off a survey for my husband called the “Loving You More” survey. Basically, I wanted to get his opinion on things I did, from marriage stuff to parenting to homemaking, in order to see how I could better show my love for him across those areas.

You might be thinking, “Why don’t you just, like, have a conversation about it?”

And yes, we do have conversations about those things. And my husband does frequently let me know if there’s a particular thing he’d like me to focus on.

But the reasons I like to do it as a big survey, on paper and everything are 1. I tend to forget things if they aren’t written down, 2. I love any kind of list-type thing 3. Having it all in writing allows me to be more intentional about meeting his needs in the long term and 4. He said last time that it was really thoughtful of me to take the time to create and then implement a survey about his needs/wants.

So I’ve decided to do it again, because it’s been years since the last time and things have changed quite a bit!

If you don’t have the time to do a survey like this or it’s not your style, a simpler way you can implement this principle is to ask your husband at the start of the day if there’s any one thing he would really like you to get done, and then make that a priority that day.


I wrote several detailed questions for each of the following topics (I won’t share the questions here, but if you’d like a copy, I’m happy to email it to you):

  • Housework (Which jobs are most important to him to have done, where I’m doing well, where I need to grow, etc.)
  • Food (Favourite meals, what should I cook more, preferences for types of meat, etc.)
  • Sex (Rating various aspects of our intimacy, what I should work on, what is going well, etc.)
  • Communication (How I speak during arguments, how I can grow in communicating respectfully, what he would like me to talk about more, etc.)
  • Spiritual support (What I can be praying for him, how I can be supporting him as head of our family, etc.)
  • Expressions of love (Which of the love languages – given in practical examples – mean the most to him, etc.)


Have you ever asked your husband to rate you in any of these areas? Feedback is a valuable thing to receive 🙂


What I’m Planning to Read This Year

Last year I read hardly any books. In fact, I’m not sure I completed any!

But I did read a lot more of the Bible and get back into the habit of regular, in depth study of the Bible.

So, really, I’m happy with the amount of reading I did last year.

But this year I would like to push myself to get back into reading books for pleasure and books that will enrich my life, as well as continuing to read and study the Bible in depth.

I’ve decided that in order to cultivate this new habit, I need to make it appealing.

So I’ve decided that in the evenings, when my husband is doing stuff at his computer, that would be a great time to curl up on the couch near him and do some reading.

I’m also going to pick out a special mug that I will drink my tea from during reading time. And I might even light a candle.

The idea is to set the mood for reading, make it something I want to do, and then hopefully it will turn into a habit.

Here is my reading list for the year :


I’m about 1/5 of the way through “Humble Roots”, and it’s already the kind of book that I want to highlight whole pages of and blog about them. But I will spare you. Go read it yourself!

Another book I’d like to read is “Hands Free Mama”, which I have as an Ebook, so I will (ironically) need to read it on a device.

What will you be reading this year?