Category Archives: About Me

The Purple Pirate Party: Anabelle turns Three!

About three months ago Sam asked Anabelle what she would like to do for her birthday party. Anabelle was adamant that it was to be a Purple Pirate Party, no princesses, no fairies and no teddy bear’s picnic, it was pirates or bust! (I’m pleased she picked pirates – I didn’t really fancy dressing up as a princess or fairy ;))

Anabelle was so excited about her party, every week she’d ask if this weekend was her party and everyone she met she asked if they were coming to her Purple Pirate Party, it was super cute! And finally the day arrived!

The weather was fitting for a pirate party, the sun came out early to defrost the yard and then the cloud and fog rolled in, fitting of any pirate crew slinking into port for mischief and mayhem.

Kids and adults were encouraged to come dressed as a pirate and the effort made was greatly appreciated!

We searched for buried treasure and sailed the high seas in our very own pirate ship! Captain Anabelle Joy had a blast with all her friends and family – it truly was an amazing day!

I’m so proud of Sam, she is one of the most creative people I know and this party’s success is all thanks to her. She made pirate bunting, pirate cupcakes, gingerbread pirates, and an amazing pirate treasure chest cake! The treasure hunt and pirate ship were amazing, thanks heaps to Dave, Dan and Tiff for helping us with the ship! It was a long time in the planning and it payed off for a wonderful Purple Pirate Party!

I can’t believe Anabelle is three already, it seems like yesterday I was holding her in my arms the day she was born. We love you Anabelle, are so proud of you and look forward to many more years of fun, happiness and joy!

Our Pirate Family

            

Captain Anabelle Joy

Pirate Ship

   

Treasure Chest Cake

   

Pirate Food

    

Treasure Hunt

    

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The Tithe Experiment – 1 Year On

This post is part of the Tithe Experiment series

Back in January 2010 Sam and I began our tithe experiment – it was an experiment that we felt God was calling us to, to tithe more and trust God to provide for our needs. Sounds a bit cliché but this was something we felt called to do and knew that God would teach us through the experience. Going into it we really had no expectations other than to be obedient and to allow God to work in our lives. The plan was to give as much as we could from our income and trust God to provide for our needs.

It’s now 1 year since we began and I’d like to share with you what God has taught us through the experience.

Right from the start this was an experiment and in any good experiment you must test and try different ideas in order to find the most effective and sustainable results. We found that our tithe experiment needed regular revision and adjustment.

Initially we decided to tithe as much as we could and to trust God for the rest. We found that this was sustainable for a while but that it led to a point where we were heading towards debt as a result. We felt that debt was not what God wanted for us so we adjusted our tithing to accommodate our new budget and our second child.

Through these adjustments God was making it clear that it was more important for us to maintain an attitude of generosity rather than attempt to stick rigidly to the “rules” we had set for ourselves. While it was good to put aside the tithe each fortnight we found that it wasn’t actually helping us to tithe “better”. For us, it simply became a cash reserve, another savings account that was saved for a rainy day or for an emergency. Sure it was excellent to have this account but it did very little in terms of helping us change our mindset towards our finances – and that’s our biggest lesson here.

We learnt that God didn’t want our “tithe” – the mandated 10% that we were required to set aside, what He wanted from us was to change our thinking to one of constant generosity towards whoever may need it at the time. The Book of Malachi spoke to us, God didn’t want our lip service and duty tithe, He wanted us to love Him and to love others and express that love through generosity.  For our family, we needed to be generous whenever the opportunity arose, to whomever that might be.

During the last year God has provided for us in ways we could never have imagined. Reading back over the posts on this blog I can see time and again a need we had and how God has met that need for us.

Let me be clear here though, we believe that we can never out give God, but we also believe that God is under no obligation to respond to our giving. We give because God first gave to us and calls us to love others and to be generous, not because we expect anything in return simply for being obedient. We found that often God gave back in ways that didn’t match our giving, i.e. not monetary or even in “goods” but with opportunities and relationships that have been exactly what we’ve needed.

The biggest lesson we’ve learnt is that God wants us to be generous at every opportunity rather than give because we have to. I’ve felt that the 10% tithe might be outdated or that it’s used as an excuse not to be generous, but these thoughts require more reflections, a future post perhaps ;).

God is faithful and forever generous and we have never lacked anything we have needed. We have had to wait upon God for our needs and often He has met them in ways we haven’t expected – there have been tough times (and continue to be) but we have seen God’s faithfulness and that deepens our trust in Him to provide in the future.  God is more interested in our attitude, than our time, money or our felt obligation to tithe.

We no longer have a ‘tithe’ account but are working hard to be more in tune with people’s needs and to respond quickly and generously when the opportunity arises (which we find is almost weekly). We feel this is the way God would have us live.

It’s been an interesting year for us and the journey of course doesn’t end here. Generosity is our focus for 2011, to give our money, time, talents or whatever else is needed, when it’s needed and as we have opportunity to do so

What do you think about tithing/giving? Is generosity the key or tithing or…?? Please share your thoughts with us.

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Making Changes in 2011

I’m excited about 2011!

This year I’m taking a risk, following my dream and stepping out to make things happen.

For a long time I’ve been seeking opportunities to live my passion, to do what I love and be able to make a living from it. I’ve decided that the time is now, if I’m going to be true to myself and true to my value of living an authentic life, then I need to challenge myself, confront my fear and step out and give this a red-hot go.

So, I give you Edwards Coaching!

Coaching, mentoring and facilitation have always been my passion and where a lot of my strengths are. I long to see people, businesses, churches and organisations living their lives to their fullest potential, excelling in what they do, and living with Purpose, Direction and Meaning.

Edwards Coaching is the result of over 12 years of experience helping people find purpose, direction and meaning and helping them to achieve their goals.

This is me, following my passion and seeking to make a difference in this world.

It’s exciting and its daunting, it’s a world full of unknowns but it’s one that I’m ready to embrace because I want to build the life I want to be living!

I’d really appreciate your support in this venture, please visit the website, pass on my details to your networks (twitter, Facebook, etc, I would REALLY appreciate this!) and let me know what you think! 

I’m more than happy to chat with anyone interested in reaching their goals or wanting facilitation or workshop services, the internet means nowhere in the world is out of reach and that’s exciting!

I’m especially interested in helping Churches and Not for Profits so please drop me a line so we can chat about how I can serve you. 

So this is my challenge for 2011, to work hard and follow my dream to establish my business helping others.

What are you going to achieve this year, what are your goals? Let’s share them and help each other to achieve them!

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Filed under About Me, church, Family, God Stuff, leadership, Life Coaching, Random

Saturday Morning Guests

Saturday morning, we had some unexpected visitors drop by.

I happened to look out the kitchen window while making breakfast for Anabelle and myself and saw this:

So I called for Sam and grabbed Anabelle and we headed out to greet our guests, Anabelle LOVED it!

They’re obviously pet rabbits and had made their way into our overgrown garden to munch away on the dandelions. There are a few gaps under our back fence they squeezed through – we still have no idea who they belong to, but its awesome to have “pets” that we don’t have to look after 😉

These guests are welcome anytime, we’ll just have to keep an eye out for them 🙂

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Simply say “Hello”

On a resent flight with my family I was walking my nearly two-and-a-half year old daughter down the aisle to our seats. These days we select to sit in the very last row of the plane in an attempt to not annoy too many passengers when the kids are restless. 

As we were boarding, Anabelle was leading the way down the aisle and as she did so she was making a point of saying hello to every person she passed. Aside from being super cute I found it interesting to watch the reactions of our fellow passengers as Anabelle said hello. The general reaction was one of complete shock and surprise that someone actually said hello to them on an airplane! 

I don’t know about you but for me it seems that the standard etiquette on an airplane is to sit down, face forward and try not to bother anyone else around you – which includes saying hello. Of course we usually give a smile and the occasional ‘hi’ to those we’re sharing a row with, but overall we don’t talk to each other, the rule seems to be quite clear that you keep to yourself. And that’s fair enough I guess. 

However it was great to see Anabelle shake this all up simply by being a happy child that wanted to greet her fellow passengers. There were one or two who gave her a huge smile and bent down to talk to her. There were those that simply ignored her with a bothersome look on their face (the kind that says “oh great a kid on the flight, they better not be noisy…”). And then there were those that were totally taken by surprise and had to double take, “did I really hear someone say hello to me?” and by the time they turned around to see who it was, Anabelle had moved on to greeting the next person down the aisle. 

 It’s amazing how one simple gesture in a situation where it’s unexpected can make such a difference… It made the plane a nicer place even if only for a moment and made me wonder when the last time was that I had done something to brighten someone else’s day. 

It’s the little things, the simple things, that can make all the difference – when was the last time you said ‘hello’ and brightened someone’s day?

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When things don’t go to plan…

Last weekend I attended the Global Leadership Summit here in Canberra. This was my fourth year attending this conference and as always it was a time to challenge myself, my thinking and be taught by some of the world’s top church and business leaders and innovators.

This year was no different, I was challenged in my thinking and behaviour, I learnt new things about leadership and met some great people. This was the first year I attended without being in a formal church leadership role, in fact the first time that I havent been in any formal leadership role and as such I was approaching this Summit with a fresh perspective and new eyes.

I had a list of things I wanted to “get out” of the Summit this year, particularly in relation to a new business venture I’ve started (more on that soon) and was eager to see things from this new perspective. What I discovered was something more powerful than I could have prepared myself for.

As it often happens, I had a set of goals and plans for the Summit and God also had a set of goals and plan for me too. They aligned in some places but in others I was taken completely by surprise by the things God was revealing in my life.

As many of you know, the last 2-3 years have been difficult for me in relation to my employment, service and attendance at a church. In short I left the church I was attending and havent been going anywhere regularly since. I thought I was fine with it, I’d moved on, but in reality I havent and it’s something God made really clear to me.

I had my plans for the Summit but God had his plans for my life. 

I’m grieving for a loss in my life – a loss for what might have been. I had to walk away from things that I had invested huge amounts of time and energy into, where there was promise for growth and empowerment of others and a chance to make a real difference – because the support systems that were promised never materialised. I was challenged to my core and found that I could no longer continue to pursue that path with integrity and needed to walk away. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I was naive to think that it would be easy to move on without a need for healing.

To be honest I was really surprised to find that I had these issues and so was Sam when I told her about them. I don’t think its going to be an easy process, in fact I’m not really sure where to start but I’m really grateful that God took the time to reveal these to me, because they are things that will only hold me back and I don’t want anything to get in the way of what God has for my future.

Often we complain when things don’t go to plan in our lives, but often, if we look under the surface we’ll see that it’s for the greater good, that there’s always something to learn from it and the opportunity to become a better, stronger person for it.

I’d appreciate your prayers as I walk this path to healing and would love to hear any advice you may have. Have you travelled a similar path, what helped you get through it?

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Filed under About Me, church, God Stuff, leadership

Like Daddy, like Daughter

The other Sunday we decided to go visit Uncle Sean and Aunty Kym at the Equestrian Centre they manage. It was a beautiful day, blue skies as far as we could see and finally it was getting warmer after our cold winter.

Anabelle LOVES it at the horses, all that room to run and play, dogs and cats and of course horses! Anabelle’s not too keen yet to sit on one (although she did sit on one just before we went home) she loves to feed them and chat to them. You can hear her saying “hi horsey” as she walks past – so cute!

Uncle Sean has a music room down at the house where he has his drum kit set up. This made me happy because my kit is packed away in the garage and its been a long time since I’ve had opportunity to play so I jumped right on and bashed out some tunes. Anabelle’s face lit up when she saw me playing and asked “me too?” – how could I resist that! So I showed her – once – how to do a simple fill and drum roll and then let her loose. To my amazement she immediately began to copy me perfectly and then went nuts having a ball, she’s a natural!!

Needless to say I’m one happy daddy 🙂

Now I need to find space to set up my kit at home – maybe in the garage… if Sam says it’s ok, of course 😉

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