The Next Chapter Unfolds...

Life in the tropics.

Life in the tropics.

It's happened, before I thought it would!

Almost twelve years ago our family left Townsville to live on the Gold Coast so that our son, who is an IT guru, would have opportunities to work in that field. Our time on the Gold Coast was an interesting time full of challenges but a fun place to call home. Our son is now an adult and well on his way to an interesting career in IT.

Knowing he was settled, left me wondering where my future lay. Yes, of course, I'm a writer that was obvious, but where do I feel the freedom to write with no distractions. Part of our travels around Australia was to find the place where we were meant to be. Leaving my life behind on the Gold Coast was quite a challenge, but I also found it exciting to work out where the next chapter of my life was about to unfold. Living down south was exciting, but it wasn't for me climatically, so we headed north to the warmth, and discovered we belong up here in the tropics with humidity, balmy nights, open spaces, palm trees and the beautiful Great Barrier Reef at our doorstep. We were scuba divers at another time in our life.

Extended family living here also strongly influenced my decision to live in Mackay. In my adult years I've never lived in the same town as family, so Mackay has offered this wonderful opportunity for me to connect with them.

Another bonus was meeting author, Rose Dee, whose first book will be released in mid-November, 2011 by Even Before Publishing entitled Back to Resolution. It's great to meet and support each other on our writing journey.

So, it's official, we've decided to make Mackay our new home. Our house on the Gold Coast is on the market and we're searching for our new place to put down roots. We've lived in Townsville on three different occasions in the past, so it's no surprise we've returned to north Queensland. Mackay has regular flights in and out which are relatively cheap with lots of flights daily. The hour and a half trip to Brisbane means our son can visit often when he needs time out from his busy schedule, or I can return to the Gold Coast when I want to catch up with him and old friends.

My change of lifestyle isn't as dramatic as Gina's in my book, African Hearts. Gina was a woman with courage, understanding her strengths and moving forward to grasp new experiences. I learned from Gina that fear is real, but it can be overcome and there are many advantanges to going places that seem way too scarey.

Travelling in the van has given me the opportunity to meet many people throughout this vast country; connect with my readers and other writers; and to give me new fodder for my future projects.

I haven't been to Western and central Australia, but those places are still on my list of places to visit. It's time for me to be still for a while and focus again on my next work which is almost complete. When the time is right, I'll step out and seek all that the great central and west has to offer.

Where are you in your journey of life? Are you in a time of being, or are you caught up in the excitement and stress of change? If you're in the latter, hang in there, you'll soon be in that new place. I encourage you to hold on tight and enjoy the ride. You'll grow from the experience and have new resources to call on in the future when you next take a leap of faith.

Don't Worry About Tomorrow

Several years ago I had a stress attack that left me with a brain that I'd thought would never think again. Stress can have a negative impact on our lives and yet, stress is what gets us up every morning to go to work, to look after our family and to care for ourselves.

Stress is caused by the imbalance of overwork and little relaxation. I was too busy wanting to be super mum that I forgot about my own needs. I was running my own business, my home, and I was homeschooling. My husband got ill and needed surgery. His business also needed someone to run it. You guessed it, more responsibility for me. I had little in reserve to cope with this added stress. Something had to give, unfortunately it was me. I ended up in hospital for three days and it took two years to get back on my feet.

My stress was the bad kind of stress. I allowed it to pile up on top of me, ignoring the headaches and sleepless nights, saying I could do anything. I was pushing myself to an early grave and I didn't know it. I had no choice but to slow down.

I came across a Bible verse: Matthew 6:34 - "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

I meditated on this verse for several months and the truth set in. I wanted complete control of my life so much I worried incessantly about situations that weren't under my control. As soon as I stopped worrying about these situations my stress levels dropped dramatically. My life turned for the better and I started planning for God's purpose for my life instead of mine. I planned my goals and schedules, but I lived my days in the present, hour by hour, working toward my goals. My mind became clearer because it wasn't cluttered by worry that robbed me of energy and life.

If you're a worrier, I encourage you to start meditating on Matthew 6:34. Worrying about tomorrow is time wasted because God has a purpose for your life. Put God in your plans, cease worrying, and your tomorrows will start to have a new sense of purpose and wonder you'd never thought possible because God is for you, not against you.

Free: God's Lifeline ... Any Time, Any Place

Ring ring ... ring ring. I answer the telephone.

"Hello, Laura, this is God. I haven't heard from you for some time. I know there's been trouble ..."

How would you react if God used the telephone to connect with you when he felt neglected?

My insides squeeze so hard I can hardly breathe. Every excuse I can think of races through my mind. I take a deep breath and admit the truth. He's right, I haven't spent time with him for ages. I've been focussed on putting out the bushfires in my life.

Sound familiar? Could I have done life better?

Most certainly. I forgot God has been watching me during this stressful time. The things I believe were important have made me forget about everything I hold precious--my family, my friends and my God.

God saw my position and wanted to lovingly remind me he's there waiting for me and so are my family and friends. I could have done the past couple of months much better. He reminds me I have access to an enormous amount of power that will get me through tough times, if only I will stop and think for a few minutes.

Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God..."

If I'd been still, I'd have heard his comforting words. I'd have felt the peace he places upon my heart in troubled times. Instead I became self-focussed trying to solve my problems myself. God knows my deadlines, my fears, and my inadequacies. In the turmoil I forgot his gracious power that is available to me.

By living in spirit, I am connected to the one who created me and it is by the gift of his mighty power he will encourage and empower me to be creative and achieve great things for him. I forget so easily that no phone is required to speak to my heavenly father. All I have to do is be still, pray and listen for his loving voice.

I'm a slow learner. Stress is a part of life, but not the bad stress that cripples my thought processes and makes relating to my family almost impossible. I've learnt during recent months I have no control over what happens in my life, but I can take time out with Jesus to pray and ask for forgiveness when life gets out of control. If I read his word, my priorities will fall into place because he is in control through the Holy Spirit, not Laura in control through the flesh.

Next time you're feeling wrung out, beaten and faded like an old rag, be still and listen for the one who really cares for where you're at. His peace and grace is enough to get you through no matter what challenges life throws at you. You don't need to pick up a telephone to speak to him, and he doesn't need a telephone to speak with you. Be still and know that the lifeline to God is free--any time, any place.