bushfire warning


It’s probably going to be the hottest day of spring 2013 so far.  An estimated 31 degrees (Celsius) that will warm up our city and prepare us for the coming heat of the Australian summer. The promised sun, surf and sand…the freedom of walking and running outside… seasonal change is coming, and we are gladly fare welling being chilled to the bone, electric blankets and huddling around the heater.  And it’s only September!

But with summer in Australia comes the usual threat of bushfires, the drama of summer storms. Today we’ve witnessed the familiar sights and sounds of fire, ravaging areas of bushland and reaching devastating fingers into suburbia, on the outskirts of our city.  Destructive waves of hungry devastation that leave lives wrecked and hanging in the balance.  We are perhaps less ready for this because it’s so early in the new season…

These ‘fire storms’ that become an encroaching menace during our hot weather seem to be starting earlier now, engulfing more.  They can create even their own weather patterns.  They stop at nothing until they’ve been quenched by the water bombing, the hosing, the back burning…

Ever been in your own ‘fire storm’?

Here we are, motoring along with the ‘seasons’ of our lives all planned, neatly tucked into our futures and unfolding them nicely in a way that is called ‘happiness’, (maybe even ‘blessed’! ) We are satisfied with the way that we have achieved life’s equilibrium in our current season and so are often not ready when the storm hits.

And then it’s here…

As we shade our eyes from the sunlight of the day, we can hear the distant rumble of the thunder.  It gradually grows closer; the flashes of light surprise us, heralding a drenching of rain.

That lightning showing up on our horizon.

Ignition.  And the storm begins.


Your storm could manifest as disease, financial pressure or the death of someone close.  It could be the breakup of an important relationship, the loss of a dear pet or the change, by choice or not, of your occupation.

But it’s a storm.

Ever felt the ominous rumble, seen the light flashing of your own approaching tempest? 

Your storm may have been months, years in the brewing, and you felt that it was coming.  Or it may be one of the unpredictable ones that just creep up on us when we’re not looking.  Out of the blue, so to speak…

But it’s started to create now its own weather pattern within your world.  It’s demanding attention, seeking your very emotional health as its victim.

Whatever ‘storm’ you feel is approaching, or that you are in the middle of right now, or that you may be anticipating in the future, there are valuable life lessons that they can bring us.

Distant thunder is often just noise.

–       Fear of an approaching storm is often more debilitating than the reality.

–       If we can calmly evaluate the approaching storm, dealing with it accordingly, we can benefit.

–       Fear of the unknown can unnerve us. Faith in the midst will empower us.

–       Hunker down…look up!

Lightening can strike twice in the same place.

–       It’s as simple as not putting yourself in the direct ‘firing line’ of a storm.

–       Learn from your storm, take note of what to avoid next time. Reflect on what causes its ignition…

–       Take shelter! Remember that a bushfire actually creates its own weather pattern.  So can the emotions of your storm.

Wait for the rain – it will come.

–       We often ‘move’ too fast, not waiting for the inevitable refreshing of the rain that follows.

–       Help will come if we listen, look and understand where to call for that help.

Build with the new shoots.

–       Rain brings new growth, don’t let it die, but use it well.

–       The ‘green shoots’ are what bear the promise of a new future.

–       Enjoy the next season, don’t re-live the pain, but use the lessons.

Do you remember that famous story of Jesus calming the storm in Matthew 8?

I am forever amazed that no matter what kind of tempest assails me, no matter how deep I am down in the whirlpool of life’s storms, He can always rescue me.

It’s just a matter of making that call…

Jesus…help me.

“Then He stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down: ”Silence!”.  The sea became smooth as glass”. (Matt 8:26)




SUBSCRIBE with email or RSS
sp sp

Father’s Day – five things I’ve learned from my husband

It’s Father’s Day this coming weekend in America, and because we have so many friends in the USA who are Dads…here’s a salute to you and your families!

I’ve learned so much watching my husband Michael parenting our three great kids. Here are five lessons learned (bullet points because I know men don’t like detail!)


Encouraging another is about giving from an unselfish heart. Running the sidelines at his son’s weekly football match – since Ryan was six… yelling at the referee, patting the players on the back, joining in the victory song – it’s all about championing the kids! When He and Ryan ran the New York Marathon a few years ago, the situation became reversed as, when the pace slowed, Ryan placed a gentle hand, supporting and giving strength, on his Dad’s back. Champions breed champions!

Encourage yr son!


The name MURPHY gives it away really…fun-loving, crazy times with an ever enlarging clan every Christmas. Passed down through the generations, this part of Michael’s emotional health has been forged from being one of seven kids and realising early that life is not necessarily going to revolve around “moi”….even though I think it should! And our kids have realised this too…so well that I know as parents they are going to blitz it! The only one who takes you seriously is you!

crazy MRM Santa


Enter Murphy’s Marvellous Mystery Tours – days when Michael would give the kids the day off school, driving off into yet another adventure as he sang, danced and joked his way into their hearts while showing them that life is about the memories that we hold in the future….Kids always remember the times when we make them feel special, loved and valued as individuals.

And nothing can compare with the two family weddings we’ve experienced. The time when Michael walked his eldest daughter down the aisle was a deserved honour and privilege that Dads and their daughters will always remember, and deserve to enjoy.  And with many more memories to yet be created, it’s looking like an exciting future.

Pink headphones & MRM


As my adult kids hear this, I can see them bow their shaking heads like sages, and with a knowing look at each other, remembering that nothing was ever a situation NOT to be learned from….

And I love that!

Michael has always turned situations around for the good of his kids, understanding that God will always deal with them for good in the light of their future.  And as parents, sometimes we need to let Him do just that….

One eyed


Random but necessary! He’s always been one to carry the burden of his family well. And that includes taking the weight, sharing of the burden, walking the extra mile with each of his kids. From pacing the floor to get the babies to sleep on his shoulder, to working with his youngest daughter to launch her first book, and to learn how to speak and teach effectively for the Kingdom….he carries the cares of his daughters and son continually.

I think they made a great choice of Dad – all three of them! But personally, I think I got the jackpot – I got a top husband, a great Dad for my kids and a future that holds even more life lessons to be learned.

carry your wife' bag!

When you carry your wife’s handbag, Michael, people notice…even from behind.







SUBSCRIBE with email or RSS
sp sp

“I don’t know why things happen as they do – Dealing with Disappointment

This week in Orlando, Florida, a very special conference is being held by my publishers….Influence Resources.  I am SO sad to have to miss this!

Originally it was intended that I’d be signing my books there and meeting many people who have also published books with this amazing company.  I could have learned so much, made so many new friends and had new experiences.  Indeed, I find myself at times wistfully daydreaming about the Florida sunshine as I contemplate what a great gathering they are having there…without me!  Being winter here in Sydney definitely doesn’t help matters!

But I’m needed here right now.  Sometimes life just doesn’t go the way I planned it.  And it’s disappointing.

“The feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations”...that’s how my dictionary describes what’s going on right now for me. When I expect one thing, and it turns out that it doesn’t happen quite that way.  Often, dealing with disappointment can leave us depleted in many ways…our energy levels drop and our hearts dwell on the negative rather than the positive things of life. We can become withdrawn and treat others differently, often as though it’s their fault!

In the chapter of my book, Dancing With My Daddy, called The Team, I tell the story of a 10 year old immigrant girl and her disappointment. A day when things definitely didn’t go as she wanted them too.

How do you overcome disappointment when an earthly father lets you down?  Well, many of us learn that lesson early, and this story is just one of the many that could illustrate the point.  You might say,  “But every one lets their kids down.  Just get over it!”  And of course, you would be right.  But when we ‘just get over it’ we tend to bury the hurt along with the incident. 

And many people have incidents of ‘let down’ that are so much greater than this one, but the hurt always goes down deep, with its descent gathering to itself every other time that we have been let down.  The package lands with a resounding thump at the bottom of our hearts, that heavy combination of weary hurt affirming our lack of esteem on the inside.  And there it sits, sinker-like, as in the depths of an ocean of broken dreams, waiting for the Discoverer to dig it out of the deep hiding place, exposing it to the Light that heals. 

The trouble is that hurt is a bit like nuclear waste: it takes a very, very long time to break down, if ever, without a miracle. ..”

The miracle is, of course, that Jesus can heal our disappointments.  I am believing for the complete healing of someone very close to me at present. And whether we can acknowledge that our simple disappointments in the every day are just as important to surrender to the Healer as these massive needs that life brings to us at times, we must remember that all of us face them, on whatever scale, every day.

Disappointments – they can even cause us to think of ‘giving up’.

But giving up cannot be on our list of options.

2 Corintihians 4:8 says this: “When I am pressed on every side by troubles, I am not crushed and broken.  When I am perplexed because I don’t know why things happen as they do, I don’t give up and quit.”

And now….excuse me as I spend some time choosing my ‘better option’.  For me it’s time to listen to some uplifting music, thank God for His intervention in my life, and think on the future.




SUBSCRIBE with email or RSS
sp sp