Sunday, May 11, 2014

Perhaps a not-so-happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day isn't as easy for some as it is for others.  For many years I struggled with it, while we struggled to get pregnant.  Now that I'm a mum, it doesn't fill me with such dread, but I am acutely aware that this day will not be quite the celebration for everyone.

To the woman whose deepest desire is to be a mother, but can not fall pregnant;

To the mother who has a child who she had to say goodbye to too early;

To the child who has lost their mother;

To the mother who is separated from their child;

I know that there are no words to comfort you during this time, but I pray that you do find the peace you need today.

To the woman whose deepest desire is to be a mother, but can not fall pregnant, I pray that God grants you the desires of your heart and fills your womb with a baby.  If this is not God's will for your life, I pray that God gives you peace and comforts your heart.

To the mother who has a child who she had to say goodbye to too early, I pray that you are surrounded by people who understand your pain, who know that your beautiful child will always be in your heart and that your child can never be replaced.

To the child who has lost their mother, I pray that you find peace in your heart.  I pray especially to the child who's dealing with their first Mother's Day without their mother.

To the mother who is separated from their child I pray that whatever it is that is keeping you from your child, that God would work a miracle so you can see your child or at least be able to be in contact with them.

I know that I have not covered all scenarios that cause Mother's Day to be not so joyous for people, but you are still in my prayers.  I can not fully know how you must be feeling, and will not pretend to understand.  But I can and do pray for you; for those of you who I know, and for those of you who I do not know.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me  all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Monday, May 5, 2014

2014 Girls' Weekend in Sydney Day 2

We all woke up on Day 2 with an adventure in mind... we were heading up to Channel 7 to look in on Sunrise being filmed live, with a hope to meeting the crew like we did last year.  We even had brought some gifts for them... a couple of souveniers from Cairns and framed limericks for each of them.  And we did get to meet them and present them with their gifts...

After Sunrise, we were then able to meet the lovely hosts of the Morning Show.  Larry and Kylie are always so friendly, but Kylie really made such a big fuss over the gifts and it just made us fall in love with her just that little bit more!  Don't worry, Larry was still his very charming self!

We then took advantage of our time in the city and did some shopping and lots of walking.  It was then time to get back to the hotel and prepare for the start of Colour 2014.  We had something very special organised for the first night!  Last year, we allocated colours to ourselves and used that as a bit of a theme and we decided to continue that again this year, but taking it up a notch!  One of our rooms became a hairdressing salon as we set up a process for colouring our hair!  The effect was pretty good, although I think my hair turned out more yellow than green!

These were our allocated seats for the night.  Unfortunately a little disappointing, being so very high up and right to the side, but we tried to make the most of it and decided to try our luck at the 'public' seating at the next session.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

2014 Girls' Weekend in Sydney Day 1

Last year 4 friends and I headed down to Sydney for the Hillsong Colour Conference, plus other adventures on a girls' weekend.  We had so much fun, that we decided to do it again, adding one more lady to our group!

Once again it was an amazing trip, which I can't wait to share with you here.  So, without further ado...

We excitedly set off on our big city adventure and were greeted by this limo for our transfer to the hotel:

We got dressed up for a lovely dinner out:

Following dinner was the highlight of the evening... off to see The Lion King stage show.  Here's what I wrote on FaceBook regarding that amazing evening...

Oh. My. Goodness! How am I ever going to get to sleep tonight? I'm on such a buzz from the Lion King. A-maz-ing. Like a childhood dream come true. Crying at the beginning in awe of the costumes and squealing with delight that where we were sitting (box seats!), is where the show started... One of the characters stood right beside us while the spotlight shone on him/us while they sang the opening 'credits'! A truly wonderful night that I will never ever forget. 
 An inundation of photos to follow, but I can't help it!  It was a magical night that I will never forget!

An unexpected surprise as part of the Box Seat seat experience!

An amazing view from our Box Seats!

I can't believe that one of my friends was actually able to capture this moment.  A little naughty, but I'm so grateful she got this picture!  This shows the very beginning of the show, with the character right there beside us (that's my head to the right!)

Some fun after the show... the Rafiki character is from the Madame Tussauds exhibit, not the real thing!

And that was the end of Day One in Sydney.  To start off on such a high, it was going to be hard to top that!

Stay tuned for further posts on our adventures in Sydney!

Scammer Warning 01

When I get scam emails, I get so angry.  Firstly, because they're actually trying to get my information illegally, to rip me off.  Secondly, and this is the worst, because someone innocent is going to fall for the scheme and have their identity and/or money stolen and that really gets me mad. So, I thought I would do something new on my blog and start to update you on scams I get, and point out why they are scams, to try and educate people and stop these scammers from succeeding in their shady business.

I have to say, these scammers are getting clever in their schemes.  Yesterday I received the following email (click on it to enlarge):

It looks pretty legitimate and I had to do a double-take when I first looked at it.  However, there were a number of things about this email that started to ring alarm bells in my head:

1. I never ordered either of these products.
2. The price for these products was too high to seem to be actual purchases.
3. I've never noticed the line on iTunes receipt before, talking about my account being hijacked.
4. No legitimate business ever asks you for financial data in an email.

So, instead of clicking on any of their links, I went to my online bank statement to see if any money had been taken from my account, supposedly to buy these products under my iTunes account.  The receipt date was 28th April, so there should have been an amount on my online statement within 2-3 days of this transaction.  There was none, so I was able to breathe easy knowing that no one had hacked into my iTunes account.

My next train of thought was getting angry with these people trying to scam innocent people.  This receipt looked like the real thing and it would be easy and understandable for people to fall for this.  I want to protect people from getting scammed, so please spread this post to everyone, to ensure they are aware.  Below is a legitimate email receipt from iTunes, with a "spot the difference" explanation underneath (again, click on it to enlarge it).

i. = iTunes
s. = scammer email

1. (not shown here).  The email address that sent the email:
  • i. was sent from an '' email address
  • s. was sent from a random email address (which I didn't think to get a copy of as an example before permanently deleting the email like I do for all scam emails)
2. Order number:
  • i. is different from the receipt number (in the subject line) and contains numbers and letters
  • s. is the same as the receipt number and does not contain letters
3. Billed To (1) (Address):
  • i. states my email address and current postal address
  • s. only states my email address
4. Date:
  • i. Titled: "Issue Date" and only has the date stated DD/MM/YY
  • s. Titled: "Receipt Date" and has the date stated MM/DD/YYYY and the time
5. Billed To (2) (Payment Type):
  • i. States the type of card used (i.e. MasterCard, Visa, AMEX) etc. with the last four digits of the card
  • s. States my email address
6. Heading:
  • i. "Tax Invoice"
  • s. "Receipt"
7. Headings of items purchased:
  • i. "Item" "Seller" "Type" "Unit Price"
  • s. "Item Number"  Description" "Unit Price"
8. End notes:
  • i. Does not not mention if your account has been hijacked and does not ask for personal/financial information
  • s. Gives a link to go to if you suspect your account has been hijacked and advises "you will be asked some specific questions about you and your financial data to prove you actually owned the account".  This line out of everything should set off the BIGGEST alarm bells.
There are some other differences at the bottom of the email, but the ones stated above are the major ones to look out for.

NB: Regarding number 4. and 6. The differences could be partly to do with whether you purchase in Australia or the USA.  The scammers will have used an American email to make up the receipt, so the title "Receipt" might be legitimate there and the date format used by them is in the American format.

Please pass this information around, especially to friends and family who are more vulnerable to these sorts of scams, who aren't very internet savvy.  Stop the scammers from succeeding!

Unfortunately this post is showing the scammers how to improve their emails in future, which I am sorry about doing.  However, if it stunts their success even a little in the meantime, then I feel I've done my job educating everyone on these scams.  Each time I get a scam email, I will be posting an update here on my blog.