New Project: 365 Days of Thank You

As a blogger, regularity has never been my strong point. Hence the six week gap between this post and the last. Alas, I’m not writing to gain fame or a book-deal (lucky that – according to the pros, if you intend on becoming a proper blogger, you will post at least two or three times a day?)!

To say I am pleased with the outcome of the recent Sunflower Effect project is an understatement. $1343 for the beautiful women and children at Mercy House is a huge win! Not to mention discovering so many ways to raise money and awareness, on a budget. Thank you again to all of you for your support and help and generosity in helping reach – and zoom past – the $1000 goal.

It is time for a new project. This one is purely selfish… for my own sake… a form of therapy.

Dad & ITwo weeks ago today, my precious dad passed away after a brave, three year battle with pancreatic cancer. Sitting with him in hospital for a week, as he slowly slipped away was the hardest, most gruelling thing I’ve ever done. I will never be the person I was before November 2012 exploded into my life. Now, a fortnight later, the funeral is over and people have started getting back to normal life. All that remains is the journey of grief which, I’m learning, is long, frustrating and – flat out hard.

My relationship with my dad was not what I would’ve liked it to have been and I wasn’t able to share much of my life with him – just one of the many disappointments and losses I’m processing.

A friend gave me a map yesterday, outlining the grief process… it shows a path that winds around and around, through many different emotions – seeming to be getting nowhere – and honestly, during the last two weeks and especially these past few days, I’ve been fighting to keep myself from spiralling downward, hand in hand with those old bitter foes – disheartenment and depression.

To add to this, my youngest child, my precious little boy, is graduating from pre school today and will join his older sisters at ‘big school’ next year. While this is a happy and exciting day for him, I can’t help but feel sad and a little grieved… while having three young children at home and at different stages of early schooling has been hard work, after having little people with me everywhere I go for the past eight years, I will miss my little buddy. Along with this transition comes new questions – am I still needed? Will I have a place in the world next year? To some that may sound a little dramatic but bear with me, this is where I’m at right now.

So, in an effort to keep myself looking towards the future and at the blessings from God which can so easily escape my attention these days – I’ve decided to launch the “365 Days of Thank You” project.

They say it takes a year before you start to feel better after the loss of a loved one, which is why this project will go for a year. I feel daunted by the task – a year is a long time, 365 is a big number – but I need to keep myself looking at the good things, the blessings, the moments I can be grateful for.

I must warn you, this may not be the most exciting blogging project for readers. Some posts may be very short – even just a couple of words maybe – depending on where I am in myself and on this journey. I’m not aiming for literary or creative excellence – but I am blogging it specifically to try and keep myself accountable. Any encouraging comments, likes or shares posted on the blog, facebook, twitter or instagram (jonileimgruber) you can offer will be very much and humbly appreciated.

As we all know, the big black hole is way too easy to fall into and terribly difficult to climb out of so, if you’ll be patient with me, one day we will see the beauty God will bring from this time.

Thank you and I hope you’re doing okay, wherever you are on your own journey.

Joni xx

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

~Perfect (teleios) = that which has achieved or reached its goal, objective, purpose.*

*Beth Moore – James Mercy Triumphs

Don’t Ignore that Idea!

How tiny is this seed.. is maybe half a centremeter long..

..but look what it created in my garden, when I planted it and watered it:

Just because seeds are small isn’t reason enough to keep them hidden away, unplanted.

It’s exactly the same with our lives; changing other’s lives. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the problems of this world. Our minds become crowded with thoughts like, “I can only give a little bit.. I may as well not even bother.. What difference will it make anyway?” These thoughts are definitely not from God. In fact, I truly believe that the little seeds of ideas you’ve been mulling over for a while, the ones which would help you raise a few dollars for a charity, or the little things you could do to help a friend – they’re probably from God. God doesn’t immediately give us a massive, fully grown tree – He gives us a seed. And if we plant and water it, we’ll see what it can grow into.

That’s how I feel about $10. It’s not a huge amount of money but it’s a seed. As a challenge to myself, I want to aim to raise and/or donate $10 every week to Mercy House. I’ll have to get creative because I don’t have truckloads of time during the day. I’m going to have to be smart, work hard and be dilligent with the little seeds I have.. the list of ideas and opportunities is growing and I’m working on a plan so that none are wasted. I figure, if God gives me a seed, I really don’t want to waste it. What’s more, if He has given it to me, that means He’ll help me plant and water it, He’ll work my day so I have plenty of time, energy and inspiration. He’s there every step of the way when we plant and water the seeds He has given us.

It is impossible to see what can become of a seed until it has been planted and watered. Why not plant your seed and see what God can do with it?

What seeds, ideas, thoughts, projects have you been mulling over? Do you think it’s time to plant?

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Joni x

*The Sunflower Effect supports the work of The Mercy House Kenya and Kristen Welch (


When Frustration Gets the Better of Me

I wrote this post about a month ago, when I was working my little toosh off, getting everything ready to launch The Sunflower Effect (if you don’t know what The Sunflower Effect is, click here for info). I thought you might like to read it.

Be encouraged 🙂


Frustration has been dogging me all day. I tried everything I could think of to get rid of the gnawing feeling in my gut. I did some housework, wrote a list, watched some Gilmore Girls but none of it worked (that’s how bad I was feeling – even Gilmore Girls didn’t work!!)

So finally I sat down and had a chat with God.. which should really be the first thing I do but it usually isn’t (note to self: change this habit!)

I told God how frustrated I was, about the fact that I really  want to make a difference in this world but that it just all seems too hard. I told him that I felt like I had hit a wall. How on earth could I do anything which would change the lives of those dying from normal, everyday things like being pregnant and having a baby? Continue reading

MOPs has a new magazine!

Everyone needs support when they have young kids. It’s a difficult, fulfilling, frustrating, exciting, exhausting time of life and we all need support. I had three kids in three and a half years. Those years were busy, exhausting and honestly – hard. I was 1000 km away from my family (and their amazing support) and my husband worked shifts.

I really needed support and I found it in huge, generous, lovely portions at my local MOPs (Mothers of PreSchoolers) at Red Cliffs in Victoria. Every fortnight we were greeted by friendly smiles and the smell of coffee. My children were cared for and had loads of fun doing craft, playing games and making friends. All the while, us mums were enjoying a lavish morning tea, inspirational talks and fun craft activities. The MOPS ladies always remembered my birthday with a card and beautifully wrapped gift 🙂 I made many, many friends there and felt loved and supported. I used to arrive home after MOPs, feeling like I’d been encouraged and refreshed – ready to face the next fortnight of nappies and baby food. MOPs was a bit of a beacon during a time which can get a little monotonous… (anyone with me?) Continue reading

Am I ‘Pro’ or ‘Anti’?

An interesting thought has been floating around my mind recently. I’ve been noticing that God seems to be more ‘pro’ than ‘anti’. It’s not a debate about whether or not He wants us to be active – He does. Rather, my questioning is on our position/method. What if God is more ‘pro’ freedom than He is ‘anti’ captivity? Or more ‘pro’ empowerment than ‘anti’ demoralisation? Basically the standards are the same but the position  has changed. Continue reading

The Power of One

Melissa from Dusty Highways posted on her blog about a subject I struggle with. She has expressed it so beautifully and in a way that bought so much relief and peace to me that I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy.

* * *

Dear Me, I am writing to remind you that you are you, and you can not do more than you can do. But there is, and always will be, water in your glass, however full…

Continue reading

She’s So High Above Me..

Remember that song by Everclear?

She’s so hi–gh, high above me, she’s so lovely.. She’s so hi–gh, like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc or Aphrodite..

I used to feel so threatened by that song. I figured I could never be the woman who made her man feel  like he didn’t deserve her. Like she was so much higher than any of his wildest dreams or expectations. How silly is that? Of course I could be that woman! As Christian women, we do the same…

Most of us already know the power of a woman but one of my favourite pieces of the bible goes to a lot of effort to show the magnificent, beautiful strength and power a Godly woman possesses. Yet it’s a passage which many women feel intimidated by and even discouraged. It’s one which has, unfortunately, at times been used wrongly.

It is Proverbs 31:10-31. The story of the ‘Proverbs 31 woman’.

Please don’t sigh and stop reading. I know you’re tired of having a check-list to live up to. I know you’re tired of not living up to it. But Proverbs 31 is not meant to be discouraging or to make us feel bad about ourselves. It’s not meant to be something we compare ourselves with.. and then use to harshly judge our performance. In fact, it’s meant to do the opposite; the story of the Proverbs 31 woman was, I believe, written to encourage, uplift and empower us. You see, if God created the ‘Proverbs 31 woman’ and if God created you and me, doesn’t that mean she’s within all of us? If the ‘Proverbs 31 woman’ is kinda like the perfect woman, then isn’t God moulding and strengthening us all to have her strengths in our own unique ways? Continue reading

Why I Only Donate To Christian Charities

Yep, when it comes to charities and charitable organisations, I’m discriminatory. This is how I see it; there are way too many people living beneath the poverty line. They lack clean water, food, shelter, safety, necessary medical care, education and on many different levels – freedom. These problems are huge but this is where God comes in – only He is big enough to fix them. He also has a plan.

Continue reading

What Kind of Teenager Are You Planning For?

Apologies for a late post this week. Life kinda got in the way 🙂

I wrote this article (this is the updated version) a while ago but thought it apt for this blog.. if Every 1 Matters, then how much do our kids matter?!

So I ponder this question. What kind of teenagers and adults do I want my kids to be? What kind of teenager and adult do you want your kids to be? Continue reading