Home Girl

Abilities to Aspire To


• The Ability to Listen without Judgement!

(Now who can do that?!)

• The Ability to let one speak to the point of satisfaction, without saying your piece!

• The Ability to Love without Judgement.

• The Ability to Love without constant verbal underlining of faults and failures.

• The Ability to focus on ironing out our own failures without looking at others.

• The Ability to focus on becoming the ideal partner without focusing on how much

we want our partner to become our ideal!

By Julie Lanham Jan 2003



Oh beauty,  we have lost our way.

We have forgotten what you truly are.

We have become shallow, judgemental and blind.

We have failed to truly see you, Oh Beauty. 

Painting:    Naissance de Venus                                                                                                                        by Alexandre Cabanel

I started writing this chapter after coming home from my overseas adventure with my boy. It spurred me on to look at how we as women see each other and ourselves.  I was further spurred on to continue the chapter on Beauty after attending our local celebration of International Women’s Day 2017.  

Why?  Because we watched a wonderful film.  It was the documentary, called Embrace,  which I would really, really love all women to watch.    And the reason is  because it touches on an important issue.    And that issue is the way  we, particularly women, see ourselves, the pressure we have put on ourselves to ‘look’ right and the pressure we feel others put on us   And how we feel we need to be perfect on the outside.  

I remember the first time I went to the National Gallery of Victoria to view an exhibition.  It was the first time I had also seen this type of art face to face.  The whole experience was mind blowing!    I can remember standing in front of this painting of a pine tree with glistening drops of melting snow and being amazed.  It introduced me to the world of art and painting, drawing and being more creative.   I was moved, changed and excited to explore this world of art and all that it had to offer.  I was excited and spurred on to paint, draw, sew and just do creative stuff.

I have recently had another art inspired moment that has changed the way I feel about myself.

Just over a year ago now we went on a wonderful trip overseas.  Five weeks travelling around Jerusalem and Europe having my senses invigorated and enlivened.  Not only visually but through sounds and touch and of course taste.  

It got me thinking about how we are bombarded in our western culture with images of what is to be the ‘perfect’ woman.  Slim, sometimes overly, pretty and always dressed to perfection, perfect makeup and beautiful skin.  It has left me looking at myself in the mirror and  feeling not up to scratch,  too lumpy,  too short,  too frecklely,  basically just ‘not quite right ‘looking (unless your particular ‘look’ aka freckles, gappie teeth or large eyebrows happens to be acceptable ‘look’ at the moment).  Europe,  Thank  you,  has changed all that.  And it , romantically, all came together in Paris.  

We had gone to many Art Galleries.  I had wandered through looking at painting after painting, sculpture after sculpture.  It was wonderful.  I had to have time out a few times to give my overloaded senses a breather!  

Many of the paintings and sculptures were of women.  I stood gazing for ages at them, they looked so comfortable with themselves.     Many of these women were naked and you know what?    They were not super slim, you couldn’t see ribs or hip bones.  There was no makeup or correct posture.  They were voluptuous, they were curvey.  They were comfortable with themselves,  standing,  sitting,  lounging,  or just plain ‘being’ in the middle of a painting.

Gradually I began feeling different about me.    I walked out feeling a sense of beauty from seeing beauty.   I felt good about me, my imperfections and ‘not quite rightness’ and began to understand that how I am is not ‘not quite right’.    How I am is womanly, is lovely and is about being healthy, happy and loving.

I arrived back home walking a little taller.

I am beautiful.

ps If you get a chance watch the trailer of ‘Embrace the Documentary’


Thoughts on life


I’ve been doing lots of soul searching. Since Dad had been sick, actually no it was definitely before that. The whole death thing has plagued my mind for a few years. You know ‘if you knew you were going to die would you change the way you do things?’….I have always hated the knowing that ‘yes things would instantly change’. So why not change them now? So I made a few …little changes, and in true ‘Julie style’ not consistently. I like to think that when I think of someone I endeavour to ring them or write to them or send them a txt.


So what’s going on at the moment? Well it perplexes me going to funerals. I will never forget going to a distant family funeral and finding out all this kool information about this person. You wished you had known them. Well I didn’t so that was ok. But what about when you know the person and you find out stuff about them? What does that mean?

I keep going back to the ‘24/7 consistency theory’ I have it hounding me. Be the same person consistently everyday, no matter where you are, who you are with, whether you are alone or not- be the same. I always say to my boys –‘ love your family first guys, don’t go out there and treat your boss real nice and your mates at school and strangers and come home and treat your brother like crap’ not gunna happen( funny thing…it does). Love your brother well at home, treat your family well, this is your proving ground, be consistent in the way you treat people. It’s hardest with your family.

Instead of pointing the finger I want to personalize things. I don’t want people coming to my funeral and finding out that to some people I was really loving and giving yet others saw and experienced me completely differently.

It’s like I remembered having a conversation with someone about someone they knew. This person they knew at work made everyone feel real special on their birthdays, they would do treats and all, but their family didn’t see this side. I went home and realised that I did cooking for others and often didn’t do special stuff for my family. I didn’t want my kids to be able to say ‘yeah mums a great cook but we never see it….’ From that day on when I cook for others I make double. If I make a lasagne for someone I make one for my family. If I make bickies for someone I make sure there are plenty on the rack for my family. If the bowl has been filled with yummy mixture …let them lick it don’t scrape the bowl so well there’s no pleasure in this …small pleasure!

I don’t want my family finding out I was a generous person but they never saw it.

Life isn’t so much about doing things for yourself, it all goes back to the new commandment ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ John 13 v34.35.

So if I knew my life was to be cut short would I do things differently, honestly? yes. But I do want to endeavour to make each day worth while with those around me.


Lisa Hayman Photography

Loving in an imperfect world


So Fathers Day…..


Julie Renouf Photography

thorpe-photo-shoot-069Fathers Day has come and gone and now that my Dad isn’t here it is a day that is a little sad.  I hate those adds about fathers, argh it kills me and I start to get the lump in my throat and tear up immediately.  I miss him, life is different without him and there will always be an empty space.

My dad and I didn’t always see eye to eye. We often disagreed with each others way of seeing and doing things..almost everything, what I did with my money, what I fed my kids and the places I would go.   But there was always one thing that was certain I always knew my dad loved me.

I hate the fact that now that he’s gone I’m understanding more about why he was like he was. I’m seeing him better and its all making sense.

We are trying to love in an imperfect world.  We are broken people endeavouring to act in an unbroken way.  This is so hard.  It is crazy to think that we will coast through parenting….loving and caring for others, without hurting them in some way.  It is impossible to think that we will be perfect and not have issues no matter how ‘good’ we feel we act or how ‘good’ we are.  We are broken people living in an imperfect and broken world trying to be perfect, love perfectly and expect to be perfectly loved back.

Fathers day isn’t about being the perfect father.  It isn’t about being disappointed about not being loved perfectly, although Father’s day is about love, but not just about your father loving you.  Its about you loving your father.  Its about forgiveness, its about overlooking the disappointments and hurts and looking beyond that.

It always seems to get back to Love.

Letting go….


DSC_1783I suppose it’s a bit like unrequited love really; the love a mother feels for her children, and for that matter the love anyone who has ever cared and loved a child into adulthood.

You know them so well.  You have nurtured them, wiped their tears away, fed them, played with them and taught this little person into a man.  You know them inside and out, you know them almost completely.  You know how they will react in certain situations, you know their likes and dislikes.  You know sometimes how they think and when they’re bothered by stuff.  You’ve seen them struggle with hardship and seen them excitedly happy…because you were there.

You’ve listened to their dreams and wonderful ideas.  You’ve listened as they’ve whispered their deep secrets to you as you cuddle up at night.  You’ve watched as they have developed a straight line into intricate and magical creatures.

So almost unexpectedly they are men.  Oblivious to this connection you have had with them, with ease they cut the strings to fly and explore without you, they are adventurous on their own, and this is as it should be.

But now their connection to you is different to your connection with them, they know little of what you know of them.  They have grown out of that special intimacy that you once had with them as a child.

So what to do?  what to do with the longing of connection?  The longing of the intimate conversations of the past.  The dawning of a new day with adventures that don’t have space for you in them.

Letting go, my idea and comfort is this:

If you have raised children that are keen for adventure and able to be independent, you have raised well.

If you have raised a person who has their own ideas and values, you have raised well.

If you have raised a person who as an adult is not afraid to hug and say ‘I love you’, then you have raised well.

We now stand in the wings, ready with open arms.  We must allow our children to now discover for themselves.  We have let go we have not pushed away.  Never forget they still need time to grow and discover, it can often be a painful and hurtful time, they are still growing.  Our job is to continue to love and show love.


Start each day in a happy way…




We sing a song at playgroup where the words say ” I woke up this morning with clapping hands”, it continues through various movements like “I woke up this morning with… dancing feet” then “tapping toes”  .  I love this song because it reminds me to do just this… wake up and do something happy, nice, positive and good.  My favourite is “I woke up this morning with a smile on my face” this is my goal, to wake up and smile and say “hello new day”.  Yep I know it probably sounds a little corny but it might just start the day ‘in a happy way”.  If you grew up a teenager in the ’80’s you may remember Holly Hobby?  I was a huge fan when I was 13ish.  I even dressed in clothes (sometimes) similar.  But she had cute little sayings and I think we had a plaque or card one that said “start each day in a happy way” and it just stuck.

Life is sometimes hard and its easy to wake up and lie there and say to yourself…”argh another day…”.  So have a little think about the small things you enjoy and take the time to do just that …. start your day in a happy way.

We have children and jobs and partners that need our attention and you know sometimes we can take them with us on our challenge to start our day.  Because I love cuppas I decided to introduce my boys to the tradition of having them.  So I introduced them to pots of tea when they were young and we would sit down to some tea in the morning.  It became a tradition in the mornings as we would have some family time together sharing bible scriptures and praying whilst sipping our tea or coffee.

My challenge is to find my ‘happy way’ simply each day.

Hope you find yours.

Its the small things…


I don’t know about you but sometimes I cant see the forest for the trees…  I miss little things because I’m looking at well the big things happening around me.  So what this means is I coast along and miss little things that actually help make each day lovely.  What exactly does this really mean you ask?  For me it means slowing down a little.  You know the saying ‘Stop and smell the roses’?  It means exactly that…stopping and smelling a rose.  Seeing things, everyday things in a different light, enjoying sights and sounds, smells and tastes.


So what is this blog about?  Its about the small things, the little things that help make each day something special.

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