Dreams Do Come True
‘My Journey Home to Love’ & Father’s Love Letter
Spring fashion sets sail Nothing Like Homemade Tasty treats from the kitchen
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LOVE. GLAMOUR. SOUL.
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Living in Balance Tanya Epis Ahoy Sailor - Spring Fashion
‘My Journey Home to Love’ Father’s Love Letter
‘What’s in a Name?’ Lynda Hammond ‘All the Kings Treasures’ C
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from the editor
ere in Australia it is time to celebrate our Fathers and so I wanted to share a little about the great ‘fathers’ in my world with you. Firstly, my husband David who is a fantastic father (and husband), he is a hands-on dad who adores our children and puts our family first. He has a heart to learn and grow in the things of God and we are truly partners in life; spirit, soul and body. Secondly my dad, Barrie who has cared for me and loved me for as long as I can remember, I could not have asked for a better dad. He has brought me up in the ways of the Lord (along with my mum) and we are blessed to have him as a Dad. He is always there for us and all the grandkids love ‘Pa’. Along with my dad, David’s dad Martyn is also a true blessing and we are privileged to have such good and loving men in our lives and in our children’s lives. Thirdly, my heavenly Father, who has been so ever present through out my life and who continues to astound me with His goodness and grace towards me every day. Knowing that I have a very real God on my side, that has a plan and a purpose just for me and whose love never fails propels me forward each day with renewed vigour. I am overwhelmed with how blessed I have been by each of these men in my life but I am also aware that not everyone’s journey has been as prosperous as mine. And with this in mind we have chosen to share a couple of journey’s this month that speaks to this issue. Candice Schmidt has also written a great article for Dad’s on how to connect with their kids. Whatever your journey has been with your own Father my prayer is that this month you will take time to draw closer to your heavenly Father whose love truly does not fail.
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Happy Father' you make the best veg sandwiches (Meg 4)
you always make time to listen (Sarah)
you play sports with me (Daniel 7)
you play with me on the Wii (Elisha 5)
you make me laugh with your silly faces (Jesse 5)
you go bike riding with us and climbing trees in summer (Micheal 10) you tell the funniest stories and play chasey around the house (Jack 6)
you take me camping in the backyard (elle 4)
you play fun games with me like bouncy-boo, puppet shows at bedtime and spinnning on the chair (Emma 4) 10 | www.indulgemagazine.com.au
we go to the beach together (Kate 7) you pick me up when I fall down (Amerlia 5)
We love you because... you tell the silliest jokes of the family (Caleb 8)
You are caring and give great hugs (Emily 8)
you play with me (Lucas 1)
You are always there when we need you (Charissa)
you continue to love me when I have spent all my money on shoes and handbags (Demi)
you snore the loudest in the house (Josh 8)
you just love me and I love you (Christy 9) you know how to make everyone laugh...even mum (sophie 6)
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Indulgewww.renitastuart.com | September 2011 | 13 Photography: Renita Stuart Photography
My Journey Home to Love While visiting a church earlier this year I was privileged to hear Barry Adams share his testimony. Barry is from Canada and has been in full-time ministry for many years. What impacted me that night about Barry’s journey was how his story helps us understand our own relationship to the Father. Whether we are aware of it or not, the relationship we have had with our earthly father can have a significant influence on how we relate to our heavenly Father. Here Barry shares about his awakening to the relationship the Father desires us all to have with Him. Words Barry Adams Background Photography Natasha Smith NSP Studio Photography
n every journey, there is a point of origin and a destination. While I most want to tell you about what I have discovered, I do want to shed some light on where I came from. And to do that, I need to tell you a little bit about my dad... He grew up in a home where his parents fought a lot and eventually divorced in his teen years. As a result of the divorce, he lost contact with his mother which was devastating for him. He looked to alcohol to dull the pain and became emotionally withdrawn. The only time that I remember feeling my dad’s approval when I was a child was when I did something to earn or deserve it. Whether it was getting straight A’s in school or winning judo tournaments, I learned at an early age that my validation came as a result of my performance. This led me on 14 | www.indulgemagazine.com.au
a life-long journey of driven-ness and me developing a ‘Type A’ personality. My father became a Christian when I was 14 years of age and he wonderfully led his entire family to Christ. Though my life radically changed at that time, my belief system about how I thought love worked was already set into place.
"I learned at an early age that my validation came as a result of my performance.” After graduating early from school, I spent 19 years in the newspaper advertising business. Though I experienced a lot of success in my career, there was always a restlessness and a compunction that I couldn’t shake.
I eventually became an associate pastor in my home church which I thought would help sort out my performance issues. However it didn’t work out the way that I thought it would. I went from having one boss in the newspaper business to having over 300 bosses in the church! Needless to say, my performance buttons were pushed in a big way and my driven-ness became even worse. In October 1997, I attended a conference in Toronto where I was desperate to receive a touch from God. During a special time of prayer for pastors who were in attendance, I had a young man pray for me. His few words were ultimately the catalyst that would propel me on the journey that I am now on. He said... “I see a picture of you as a baby in your mother’s womb... And God is your Father and He is re-attaching your umbilical cord to Himself”.
earthly father, my only frame of reference to a father, was the dad that I had. It was then that I realised that I had been relating to God the same way that I related to my natural father. While I had hoped to receive love from my earthly father through perfect report cards and judo trophies, I had hoped to receive love from my heavenly Father through every form of Christian service that I could think of. During the last evening of the men’s camp, I was asked if I would allow the main speaker, Jack Winter, to publicly demonstrate on me how he prays for people. As I stood facing all of these strangers, Jack asked me a simple question... ‘Barry, tell me about your relationship with your father. All of a sudden, I felt like I was a 5 year old boy feeling all the pain of not being loved. I broke down crying in front of all the men at the camp. Then Jack asked me to hug him like I would hug a father. As I wrapped my arms around his neck, he prayed a simple prayer.... “Father, let my arms become your arms for your son because he has never known a Father like you”.
"I realised that I had been relating to God the same way that I related to my natural father.”
At the time, I didn’t feel anything, I didn’t even understand what the picture meant. But for the first time in my life I realised what I had been looking for... and that was the love of a father. Over the next 9 months, I devoured anything I could find that had to do with knowing God as Father. In June 1998, a friend invited me to attend a ‘Father’s love’ men’s camp in North Bay, Ontario. It was during this weekend that God began to dismantle all my misconceptions of Him being a Father to me. Though I knew theologically that there was a big difference between God and my
I began to sob uncontrollably on Jack’s shoulder as the love of God began to fill my heart. It was like wave upon wave of love that was washing over a lifetime of disappointment. At that time, I did not feel like it was Jack hugging me but God Himself. Indulge | September 2011 | 15
After the meeting was over, I told Jack that I now knew what I was created for. To be a son to my heavenly Father. After being a Christian for over 20 years and even serving in full-time ministry, I had a new insight into why Jesus came to earth... To simply bring me home to my Dad.
"...for the first time in my life I realised what I had been looking for... the love of a father.” After this men’s retreat, everything changed. The driven-ness subsided and was replaced by a new sense of well-being that I had never known before. I realised that my heavenly Father didn’t love me because I did anything to deserve it, He loved me just because I breathed! I also began to see the Scriptures in a new light. From Genesis to Revelation I saw the Bible as one big love letter from Father God
to the world. One day in prayer, I asked God to help me get some of the verses that spoke of His love into one stream of thought. Not audibly, but in my spirit I heard God say... “If you put them in the right order, they will form a love letter from Me to the world”. In January 1999, I presented a sermon illustration called ‘Father’s Love Letter’ to my home church. Never in my wildest dreams, did I think that this simple paraphrased compilation of only a few of the Bible verses about love would find its way around the world. But it has in 95+ language translations. In John 14:8, Philip and Thomas say to Jesus, words that I believe humanity has been crying out from the beginning of time. “Show us the Father and it will be enough”. My prayer is that this love letter from your heavenly Father will draw you closer to His heart and complete your own journey home to His love. I pray that this year will be your best Father’s Day ever!
Barry and Anneliese Adams founded Father Heart Communications (FHC) in 2000 in response to the growing needs of the ministry of Father's Love Letter that had begun a year earlier. When FHC began, Barry was pastoring at a Mennonite Brethren Church in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada and Anneliese was working part-time while managing their busy household with three growing children. Before entering into full time ministry, Barry spent 19 years in the newspaper advertising business where he developed a passion to see the gospel shared through every form of media. Never in their wildest dreams did they imagine that this simple sermon illustration (Father’s Love Letter), first presented in January 1999, would end up being translated into 90+ languages and touching the hearts of many people around the world. Father Heart Communications has also created a website dedicated to hosting inspirational and teaching videos, live webcasts and blogs on the topic of the Father heart of God. To visit this website, go to www.fatherheart.tv 16 | www.indulgemagazine.com.au
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Father's Love Letter
an intimate message from God to you
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1 I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2 I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3 Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31 For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27 In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28 For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28 I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5 I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12 You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16 I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26 You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14 I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13 And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6 I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44 I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16 And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1 Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1 I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11 For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48 Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17 For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33 My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3 My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18 And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40
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For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5 I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41 And I want to show you great and marvellous things. Jeremiah 33:3 If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29 Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13 I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20 For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 When you are broken-hearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18 As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11 One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4 And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4 I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23 For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26 He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3 He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31 And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10 I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32 If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23 And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39 Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7 I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15 My question is Will you be my child? John 1:12-13 I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32
Love, Your Dad Almighty God Father’s Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications ©1999-2011 FathersLoveLetter.com
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What ‘s ‘s in in a a name? Name? What Nicky Hurle
n life, it is the nouns, or naming words, that give us the identities of the people, places and things around us. For each person, simple words conjure up images of the particular, for example the word cat will mean different things to different people as they recall or visualise cats that they have seen or have personal experience of. The same is true of the word ‘Father’. There are suppositions and assumptions of what a father is that are often far from reality for many people and unfortunately the negative aspects that we experience in our human existence often colour our relationship with our heavenly Father. I was brought up in a home where the word ‘father’ would bring fear and uncertainty, as it was often used as a stern threat; as a promise of serious consequences for misbehaviour or rebellion. Despite the fact that the outcome was often benign, the overriding effect was the traumatic wait by a child for the meting
“I was brought up in a home where the word ‘father’ would bring fear and uncertainty” out of discipline for what was often a minor misdemeanour. For me as an adult, God became the kind of Father who waited for me with a big stick, just looking for an opportunity to punish me for my slip-ups and show me who was boss. I once described him as the Obelix character from Asterix with the big club behind him ready to smack the living daylights out of me. 20 | www.indulgemagazine.com.au
Many of you out there in e-land, can relate to a picture of a father who has been violent, verbally, physically or sexually abusive, uncaring, super-strict, or absentee, and wonder how to put aside these awful traits of an earthly father who has broken our trust and spirit, to allow the true identity of the Heavenly Father through to our hearts and minds that we might embrace all he is and the healing might begin. I won’t lie to you... it’s not easy. How do we trust when we have been let down? How do we love when that love has not always been returned or has been conditional? Can we see beyond the ‘father’ that we have experienced in the flesh, to really know and believe in the ‘Father’ of the spirit? I am sorry that it’s not easier, but it is a matter of faith. First we have to accept by faith the “God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor 1:2122). Faith is the key to our relationship with our Heavenly Father; “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal 3:26-27) The Holy Spirit marks us as children of God and in so doing releases us from fear. Romans 8:14-16 explains that through the Spirit we are brought into adoption as God’s children, enabling us to cry “Abba, (daddy) Father” and that same spirit “testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” If we allow it, the Holy Spirit communes with our spirit to bring assurance and truth, so that we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt, through faith, that the Father loves
us, with an everlasting love, surpassing our expectations and bringing us peace even in the midst of our sufferings.
Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (John 3:1-2). Now we only know in part, but when we see the Father face-to-face, we will know in full, the height, breadth and width of the love he has for us as his children.
Second we must know and acknowledge the promises of God, communicated to us through His word. He promises, Deuteronomy 31:8, that “God waits with arms open He “himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do wide to receive you, whether not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” In Psalm you have had a good or bad 27:10 we are assured that “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive experience of an earthly me.” The Bible is full of promises about the father.” love, the joy, the blessings and the favour that the Father desires to bestow upon his children. God waits with arms open wide to receive you, By reading the Book, we will get to know the whether you have had a good or bad experience Author, establishing His word in our hearts and of an earthly father. As we have observed becoming familiar with His still, small voice. Father’s day this month, I have the joy and pleasure of a reconciled relationship with my Third we must practise the presence of God, own father. I am able to celebrate his presence especially in our times of doubt and fear; those in my life and thank my Heavenly Father for times where we feel rejected and unloved. We need to practise turning to him as the first port of the bond that now exists between us. As I work at that earthly relationship, so I still have to call, not the last. Acknowledging with our will practise the faith, connection and presence of that He is with us, regardless of circumstances, my Heavenly Father, building my understanding loving us and wanting the best for us, is part of of his love and purpose for me. May God bless the road to relationship. “For I know the plans your relationship with Him and set you free, if I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to needs be, from any obstacles or strongholds that prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give prevent you knowing his Father heart. you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you Nicky is a talented and seek me with all your heart. I will be found by passionate educator who has you,” declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13). taught in both Primary and This seeking of the Lord is a decision of the will, Secondary school in a career that is a vocational calling. something that must become a habit, not some She has a Biblical Diploma ethereal experience. Finally, we need to “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when
and a recently completed Masters in Gifted Education. Her involvement with young people spans more than twenty years in various roles including youth leader and mentor. Nicky is currently a House Parent at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra where, with her husband David, she is responsible for looking after the welfare of residential athletes. She is presently writing her first novel and loves reading, movies and music.
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All The Kings Treasures Lynda Hammond The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:14 A few years ago I had the amazing gift of being able to travel to England with my parents for a holiday. My mother and I travelled from Brisbane to England the day after my father and found that we had a few hours in Brunei. Because we had some time to fill in, we decided to book in for a tour. Part of that tour took in the Royal Regalia Building. It is a building that holds the Sultan of Brunei’s treasures. Before being able to get past the reception we had to take off our shoes and hand over our bags. Mum and I exchanged furtive glances. It may seem a small thing, but I can tell you we felt very vulnerable handing over our bags to these complete strangers! Would we get everything back? Would they take a look through to see what we owned? We had no way of knowing.
On the ground floor was the carriage that the Sultan rode in for his coronation. It was no ordinary carriage – it was magnificent! It was accompanied by a large number of soldiers in magnificent uniforms – a truly awe inspiring sight. It reminded me of my King and the hosts of heaven who will return with Him. The whole experience was a highlight for me. The Sultan of Brunei could have kept these things in his palace but had, instead, made provision to share them with anyone who would come in, take off their shoes and hand over their baggage. Our Heavenly King has so much He wants to share with us. The Bible says that we can’t even begin to imagine what He has prepared for those that love Him. (1 Cor 2:9). Imagine what would have happened if I had allowed my feelings of vulnerability and distrust to overwhelm me as I stood at the entrance to the palace. I was free to say ‘no’ and wait outside while the other tourists took in this feast for the eyes, but I am so glad I didn’t.
The building was truly amazing. It was filled with beautiful things - lovely gifts that had been given to the Sultan from every ruler in the world - kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers - when he was crowned. I didn’t know there were so many rulers in the world! The gifts were of every kind and very lovely. Gold, silver, precious jewels – they were gifts that often represented the uniqueness of their country. I had no idea this was what was done when someone was crowned. It was a very special tribute that, even though just a tourist, I felt honoured to witness. Corona
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i & Ro
MY PRAYER FOR YOU.... Is that you take off your shoes. Recognise that He is holy. Walk a life that is holy. What does that mean? It simply means that you are His and you won’t allow the values of this world to compromise that. That you hand over your baggage. In my bag that day were valuable items - passport, money, tickets. I also had less valuable items perfume, lipstick, a packet of lollies or mints. I probably even had some rubbish - old receipts and so on. (You know what our handbags look like on the inside!). We all have ‘baggage’ and I’m not talking about what is in our handbags. Some of our baggage is really valuable to us – hopes and dreams. Some of it is of lesser value; things we really could do without - bad habits. Then there is some baggage that we need to get rid of - hurts and bitterness. Do you trust Him with your baggage? That you understand, more and more, that your King of kings has so much to show you - His own majesty; the hosts of heaven that ride with Him; the fight they are maintaining on your behalf; rare treasures of every kind. That you come to this holy place on His terms, not as a casual tourist but as an heir. The treasures of this Kingdom are yours!
Lynda lives with her husband, Jeff in Dalby, on the Darling Downs of Queensland. She and Jeff serve on the team at Dalby Christian Family Church. Jeff & Lynda have four grown children and two grandchildren. Lynda is passionate to see people grasp how deeply loved they are by God, how significant they are to their world, no matter how small it may seem and to give them ‘fuel’ for their soul to keep them on their journey. Her desire is to bring ‘a word in season to him who is weary’.
“A FISTFUL OF DIAMONDS – Living on full when life serves empty” Fuel for your journey Sparkle for your day Respite for your soul Hope for your future
A beautiful hardback gift book, colour illustrated, with a silver ribbon bookmark
It will make you laugh, or maybe cry... but it will remind you how treasured you are, and how significant you are to your world! Available online at www.drministries.com or email Lynda – firstname.lastname@example.org $15.00 each - postage free within Australia
Indulge | September 2011 | 23
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SOUL Indulge | September 2011 | 25
Amira Project Princess Part y
Photography Natasha Smith NSP Studio Photography Ruth’s Makeup & Hair Tanya Epis
It is inspiring to see a person walk in their God-given potential. It occurs with the realisation that they have been created for a purpose beyond their self. Ruth Knight has experienced this epiphany. Ruth is the creator and organiser of the Amira Project’s Princess Party and Ruth shares with Charissa Steffens about her journey through life and why she works tirelessly to help young women understand their true value.
beautiful picture of Audrey Hepburn greets us at the door of the Amira Project’s 2011 Princess Party. Audrey’s glamorous yet demur
smile awaits the 150 young women who have gathered at ‘Mirra’, a chic function centre in the middle of Fortitude Valley. Inside, pearl pink balloons dance in the air, waiting for their new owner to join them. Neon lights shine, creative crafts abound, and pumping music permeates. As the girls enter, they are ushered through to an army of hair and makeup stylists who transform each one into a princess; the girls appear carefree and they remind me of the smiling Audrey at the door.
I remember reading a biography about Audrey Hepburn during my teenage I fell in love with Audrey in 26 years. | www.indulgemagazine.com.au
“Roman Holiday” and wanted to know more about the star. I recall being amazed as the author of her biography revealed that beneath the actress’ success was an insecure girl who lacked confidence. Audrey, it seems, was just like every other young woman who battles with her selfimage. Despite the smiles that emanate from the young girls in front of me this evening, it is this hidden issue that has compelled Ruth Knight to develop this very event. Ruth wanted to create an experience for ‘at risk’ young women where they would feel loved, respected and valued. With help from hundreds of volunteers and sponsors, Ruth and her team have taken over 1000 girls through this incredible experience that has changed the way they think about themselves and their future.
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uth knows all too well the damage that low self-esteem can wreak on a life. As a teenager Ruth developed an eating disorder called Bulimia Nervosa; “ it is a type of eating disorder which is characterised by regular binge-eating episodes followed by compensatory behaviour, which in my case was self-induced vomiting”, she shares. Ruth traces her behaviour back to dealing with her parent’s divorce and being bullied at school; she was 15 years old when the eating disorder began and it plagued her for ten years. As Ruth talks about her past she reveals “I kept it a closely guarded secret for over two years before I desperately sought help. I tried to get help from a few counsellors and I swung from crying out to God for help, to getting very angry with Him for allowing this to happen to me. I’d grown up in a Christian home and I knew that God loved me so I couldn’t understand why I was being allowed to experience the awful torment and pain that is a result of unacceptance and self-hate.”
“I couldn’t shake it, understand it or reason with it,” she further explains. “It was like a bully beating me down day after day, making me weaker and guiltier every time I ate.” Despite all of the anguish going on inside her there was a foundational truth that she could not shake. She reveals; “The only glimmer of hope that kept me from losing my Christian faith was that deep down I believed God had a plan, something I wasn’t yet aware of, a reason for all this madness. I kept reading my Bible to find that Jesus heals broken people. I read that Jesus calms storms and all he wants us to do is completely trust in him when we are most afraid.” As she came to the end of her schooling her lack of self-esteem and confidence was exacerbated when she failed Year 12. She disappointedly explains; “I didn’t get into University as I had hoped.” So instead Ruth decided to do something radical and packed her bags for India. She volunteered for Mother Teresa’s “Missionaries of Charity” in Calcutta and Delhi. It was here that Ruth was greatly impacted by the incredible need in the world, but also by the unfathomable love displayed by the Sisters who worked to bring healing and dignity to the hurting and poor. Her heart was “filled with joy and love” as she witnessed the difference that love can make.
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Ruth discovered during her time abroad how to trust in God for everything. “ As a single, young and penniless backpacker, I began to understand the real meaning of trust and thankfulness. It was the first time I had to rely on God for everything including my personal safety and where to sleep each night. I realised how lucky I was to be able to travel and meet so many amazing people around the world, many who had much less than I did.”
his time filled Ruth with a new understanding and purpose she had not known before. It was the beginning of her journey back from the brink. “I had a slow but sure awareness that God could see the big picture and He was holding my hand every step of
“I had to rely on God for everything including my personal safety and where to sleep each night.” the way. He gave me extremely clear instruction to go home to England and train as a nurse, which I did with much enthusiasm. I received high grades and I started to feel stronger. I ran a youth group and began fostering teenagers. I completed my nursing course and a diploma in counselling and eventually ended up managing a youth organisation working with homeless young people.” It was during this time that Ruth met her husband. “When I was 25 years old my broken wings were finally healed and I began to fly. I met a handsome young man who I fell instantly and madly in love with. Luckily he felt the same way and we married within the year.” She shares how she realised that “I was ready to be loved, I felt lovable and now love was not just a hope I craved, it was real and I could feel it.” It was then that Ruth began to “get excited about God’s strategic plan for my life. I knew that the skills and experience I was gaining were for a bigger, more divine purpose. I put my heart and soul into my work with homeless youth. I had something to offer and a mission to accomplish.”
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â€œI had a slow but sure awareness that God could see the big pictureâ€?
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n 1999 they moved to Australia and settled on the Gold Coast. Ruth decided to study at the University of Queensland for a Graduate Certificate in Adolescent Health and then she applied to Queensland University of Technology (QUT), where she completed a Masters of Business, majoring in nonprofit management. Ruth’s passion for the non-profit field has led to her starting her own consultancy business and undertaking a PhD in the area. “How about that for a confidence boost!” declares the excited Ruth. “I juggle studying with running my own business and loving my two gorgeous children who keep me on my toes. I have come such a long, long way.” In 2003 Ruth founded a non-profit organisation and she has worked tirelessly to develop life-skill programs and events to teach girls about values, self-respect and self-esteem. “I have a mandate to encourage and empower girls to be all they can be, not to be overwhelmed or beaten down by challenges in life, but to use them as stepping stones into a life of victory and accomplishment.”
about it by giving these girls confidence, parenting skills, mentors and meaning to their situation. God held my hand through some rough times, so that I could be strong and wise enough to do what I am doing. There’s no stopping me now!” declares Ruth. Witnessing the outworking of Ruth’s dreams at the Princess Party that night I would agree with her. She has taken her difficult circumstances and turned them around for a greater purpose than herself. The girls at the Princess Party are shining as they head home and it is not a result of the make-up and hair styling; they are young women flourishing in the warmth of love and beginning to understand their value.
One of these programs is called “Girls With A Purpose” and it is available for girls in schools, organisations and churches all over Australia. “It is making a difference in their lives and I give God the glory for such an amazing opportunity to be part of that.” shares Ruth. “My next goal is to open a supported housing program for teenage mothers. I know how hard being a mum can be, and when you are alone and homeless it’s not only you that suffers, it’s also your children. I’m deciding to do something 32 | www.indulgemagazine.com.au
If you would like more information about any of these projects please go to the Lifehouse Project website www.lifehouse.org.au
â€œI have a mandate to encourage and empower girls to be all they can be...â€?
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The Importance of a Dad
“Any man can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.”
We love to celebrate Father’s Day and honour our dad’s who do a great job. Studies show in a very real way that our kids and our society desperately need loving dads. Having an involved, caring father in the home improves children’s chances in every aspect of their future lives.
Children who have an absent Dad: vare more likely to display bad or antisocial behaviour and be violent. vare more likely to steal/skip school or commit a crime. vare more likely to experience depression and are at greater risk of committing suicide. vare more likely to smoke, use drugs, abuse alcohol and engage in premarital sex or risky behaviour. vare 5 times more likely to be poor. vare sick and have accidents, injuries or poisonings more often. vare more likely to experience child abuse or neglect. Children who have a caring or involved Dad: vhave better cognitive and developmental outcomes and do better at school. vshow less anxiety or crying when separated from a parent. vshow more consideration and empathy towards others and are better friends. vare happier, more confident, have a positive self image and are more popular at school. vscore more highly on tests of thinking and problem solving skills. vreact better to stress and change.
has a greater capacity to meet her child’s needs.
Qualities of a good dad
The enemy of being a “good enough” dad is thinking you have to be perfect and then feeling like a failure when you make a mistake. Your own childhood can be your biggest challenge. If your father lost his temper a lot, would put you down or never played with you, then you will have to consciously shake off these limitations and not make them yours too.
“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.” Anon Welcome your kids when they come to you. ENJOY them. Don’t miss those cues from your kids for connection when you are preoccupied. If they don’t get your attention being good, they may misbehave to get your interest ! Look happy to see your children and wife when you get home from work. Go and find them and greet them if necessary.
Affection “Small boys become big men through the influence of big men who care about small boys.” Anon
All kids need affection and hugs though dad’s love is usually more active and physical; it plays ball and wrestles; it may be an arm around the shoulder, a tickle or high throw in the air, a spin around in the garden or a pat on the back.
Watch over “A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child.” Knights of A caring and involved Dad helps Mum cope better and decreases her risk of depression so she Pythagoras 34 | www.indulgemagazine.com.au
Our kids need support. Little kids need help with getting dressed or being fed. Bigger kids need help with assignments or learning new skills. Kids need you to watch over them, help them and check in on them as you teach them life skills. Know what is going on in their life, who they are hanging out with, what they have been doing, what they are watching on TV and monitor their Internet access.
Set limits “Life doesn't come with an instruction book; that's why we have fathers.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Dad’s, you need to be in charge, not your child. Be bigger, stronger, wiser and kinder so they have a secure base from which to explore the world. Give your kids clear boundaries. Rules and routines are good. Kids need consistent, fair and appropriate consequences or discipline. Have family rules about what is okay and not okay and agreed consequences when rules are broken. Expectations of acceptable behaviour and fair consequences when the line is crossed teach limits and respect for rules and authority. Give the reason behind the rule. Mistakes are teachable moments to help your child grow in character.
Kids learn best when fathers show self-control as they bring consequences to wrong behaviour. Raising your voice in anger and being out of control is scary and unpredictable for a child and will break trust and often cause them to withdraw or behave worse as they can’t cope with their feelings or feel angry toward you.
Play “It is a wise father that knows his own child.” William Shakespeare
Dads are notorious for being silly and fun. Boys need someone to have burping contests with and to show them the lighter side of male life. Through play, especially the rough and tumble, fathers can encourage kids to explore their own
strength and manage their excitement. Dad’s can also help their kids understand where the boundaries lie and teach them what to do when they have gone too far. When games occasionally get out of hand, Dad’s can help their kids to control their emotions.
Love their Mum! “The most important thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” Theodore Hesburgh
Relationships that children observe and experience at an early age influence their own relationships later in life. Family relationships are interrelated. The way mum and dad interact, impacts the mother-child and father-child relationship. Make having a good relationship with your spouse a priority. Boys need a man to show them what being a loving and committed husband really means and they learn to respect what dad respects. If you love your little girl and love her mum then she learns how to be treated well when she is grown up.
Love Unconditionally “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” Jim Valvano Even when they do the wrong things they need to know you believe in them and will always love them. That helps them pick themselves up and desire to do better next time. Our kids need to know they are not defined by their current actions but by whom you know them to be. Speak into their potential and love them unconditionally.
Make time to be together and talk “It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping..” John Sinor vFind activities that you like to do together. Play with the dog, kick a ball, watch a game
Photography: Renita Stuart Photography www.renitastuart.com
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of sport, read a magazine, play Wii, go out for ice cream. Spend time doing what your child enjoys. Think of projects you can do together. vTalk as you do life. Ask your kids open ended questions like “How did you feel?” and “Why?” to keep the conversation going. Use your chats to talk about life and values such as noticing what is good in others, the need for will-power and determination, hard work and excellence, being honest and having a sense of humour. While your child watches your example, your words too have an impact. vDon't do jobs alone...repairs, projects, maintenance and gardening. Give them something they can do; Provide encouragement and instruction. Try not to go on car trips alone, not even to the shops. Use regular trips to have a chat. vRead stories and listen to your child read. Share interesting and enthusiastic conversation about the books and articles that you have read. vSay prayers at bedtime. Use the opportunity to build a routine of having a chat every night before they go to sleep. vTake your child out regularly on their own to do something fun together. vTry to eat a meal with your family all together often. This one activity has been correlated with better grades and success at school. Consider having an annual dads and lads weekend.
Ian Grant in his book “Fathers who dare win” shares that, a parent's moodiness, tendency to impatience or anger can have a serious effect on the confidence that a child and adolescent will be able to show. A father who is dogmatic, who prefers to talk rather than listen, talks about himself too much, or is too easily critical of the efforts, interests and friends of their child will find them reluctant to communicate. Similarly, a father who is passive or too involved in his own interests will blunt their child’s desire to tell him anything. If you feel you have lost 36 | www.indulgemagazine.com.au
touch with your child, try to connect in some way. Invite them to come along when you go on a trip, or suggest a game of tennis or footy. Read their body language, then try to put a name to what you are seeing. You might say something like: ‘You look down’, ‘You sound frustrated’, ‘You look happy’.... If he is despondent: ‘You look wasted. Can I get you a Coke?’ Later, ‘Do you want to talk about it?’ Then: ‘What happened?’, ‘How do you feel?’, ‘What do you think about it?’, ‘What are you going to do about it?’” Our relationships are important and how we parent affects future generations. I grew up in a divorced, blended family and even though I never lived with my birth father, he was an involved dad. He would phone me regularly, paid child support plus extras and he made the most of the holidays and time we had together. He helped me where he could and I knew he loved and cared for me. I have fond memories of trips to see a show or a theme park and hanging out at his house. He made an effort for connection and fun and also supported the routines, structure and rules I was used to at home. He never spoke negatively to me about my mum. He was a good dad. Live – Laugh – Love Candice desires to see people thrive in every area of life. She has been married for 16 years to a Paediatrician and they have lived in South Africa, New Zealand and Canada but have called the Gold Coast, Australia home for the last 4 years. They have four children between the ages of 4 and 12. Her passion is to “Live well, laugh often, love much”. She has a Degree in Psychology and a Diploma in Counselling. She loves to help people live to their full God-given potential spirit, soul and body. She enjoys counselling and watching God bring healing and restoration. She is a trained facilitator of ‘Toolbox Parenting’ which offers families hot tips on parenting well.
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Mid-Life Awesomeness Photography Natasha Smith NSP Studio Photography Words Susan Simonini
The expression 'the girls got spunk’ comes to mind after you meet Susan Simonini. She is one talented, cool chick who knows no limits. Here Susan shares about one of her recent passions... skateboarding. Grab your helmets girls and come along for the ride.
et me set the scene. It is the second day of spring. 23 degrees, the beach is perfect, there is a slight offshore breeze and I am having a morning coffee with a girlfriend at our local vintage themed café. I am considering taking my skateboard for a cruise. Peachy! Fast forward 2 hours and I am lying on my couch with a bag of frozen peas on my face. I have gravel rash from chin to cheek, a split lip and my overzealous dog keeps trying to lick it better – basically I look and feel like I have been beaten up. In fact I briefly consider
that is what I will tell all those complete strangers who ordinarily avoid eye contact at all costs, but suddenly become intensely interested in your wellbeing at the slightest hint of violence or scandal. But alas, the reality is somewhat more embarrassing albeit just as theatrical. I unceremoniously face planted during that fateful skate, after skidding into a patch of sand – the perfect demonstration of the principle of inertia (the only thing I remember from high school physics) - my skateboard stopped and I didn’t. And to make matters
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worse I had an audience, including one comedic genius who announced “that was graceful”. Thanks mister. Now aside from the fact that I had splattered my pride all over the pavement, having a stack on a skateboard is actually not that uncool. The embarrassing thing is that I am…..40. I am married. I have three children. Now rethink the whole scenario. Be honest. Did it just take a giant leap from “skate or die” coolness to something resembling the phrase, mid-life crisis? And did I just go from being the person that giggled behind their hand at the man with the comb-over
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driving a red sports car, to being the one secretly ridiculed? Is the giggler now the gigglee? It is not a concept of which I have been completely unaware, I just haven’t given it much thought – frankly I have been having too much fun, until today. I bought my skateboard (which by the way is a longboard, I am not so silly to be tic-tac-ing and olley-ing and whatever else 10 year olds are doing in skateparks – RAD) after my husband encouraged me to learn to ride. Admittedly the thought of falling on concrete was
â€œToo many women get to an age where they stop living their life with freedom and joy because they become frightened.â€?
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daunting, but not bowel-clenching scary, so away I went. What I wasn’t prepared for was the attention I received. I have experienced every reaction from snickering and outright laughing, to compliments about my bravery and thumbs-ups, to downright open-mouthed amazement. My husband could be doing back-flips on his board, but I will still get the stares and comments. And the only conclusion I can reach is that it is just so rare to see an (almost) middle-aged woman breaking a stereotype. But what is so sad is that any hostility I have met has mainly been from young women, including a 20 something who just looked at me sadly, snorted and shook her head – what the? Is it too weird to see someone who could be your mum on a skateboard? I suspect I am treading on pretty young painted toes by doing something that is clearly not cool for my age.
".. it is just so rare to see an (almost) middle-aged woman breaking a stereotype.”
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not a big believer in the whole 40 is the new 30 theory. I am the age I am and that’s just fine. I am not under the illusion that skating (or surfing or motorbike riding) will stop the sands of time and I am not trying to re-live my youth.
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I left my high-waisted shorts, striped midriff off-one-shoulder t-shirts and printed ray-bans in the 80’s where they belong (although they would go for a song on eBay now). But I do still feel the same inside as I did when I was young, so I am not going to stop living just because I am afraid. Too many women get to an age where they stop living their life with freedom and joy because they become frightened. Frightened of what people will think, frightened that they will look silly and frightened of being hurt. Ok, so the last one might not be an imagined fear – but just because at the moment I look like Mel Gibson in The Man Without a Face, it shouldn’t be an excuse not to have fun. My face will heal and so will my bruised ego. If I could say anything to a younger generation, all those beautiful bright young things, don’t give your mum and us oldies a hard time – be supportive and smile at us from time to time even if we look like fools and embarrass you. We are paving the way for you to act young your whole life. And to my sisters, challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone - try something new this month, this week, today. Inspire your own generation and the next one… and don’t forget your helmet.
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Living in Balance
Dr Cris Beer
e are often advised and reminded to live a more balanced life. But what does it actually mean to live in balance? Some say that perfect balance occurs when all areas of our life are equally juggled with perfection. Others point to a more realistic notion stating that balance occurs when we identify what to focus on for that season and choose to juggle that well; whilst at the same time allowing other areas of our life to be less focused on for a time. Whichever definition of balance we wish to embrace I believe this shouldn’t be to the neglect of our health, which so often goes by the wayside when we get ‘busy’. God actually designed us to be balanced internally in spite of outward circumstances. This is typified in the ‘mind-body-spirit’ connection that exists in all of us. Whilst we are living on the Earth in physical bodies we are not able to separate these three parts that are said to make up our being. Scientific proof is now in keeping with this line of thinking with evidence that our thoughts affect our physical health and energy levels and our physical health in turn affects our thoughts. This is especially true with thoughts that line up with God’s Word. Science has now shown that those who read scripture have healing and ‘happy’ hormones, called serotonin and dopamine, released into the brain that can literally remould negative pathways to create new behaviour that is both positive and beneficial. This brings new meaning to being transformed into the image of God; as depicted in Romans 12:2. Yet one of the biggest internal balance-disruptors in our life today is stress.
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Stress and imbalance Research has shown that emotional stress in the form of a perceived threat such as timepressures, relationship breakdown, even boredom, loneliness, or frustration; as well as physical stress such as recent pregnancy and fatigue all deplete stress hormones. When this occurs over a long period of time, the result can be premature ageing, problems with memory, concentration, and cognition, emotional instability, abdominal fat deposition, insomnia, and a host of other health problems. If this is sustained, we become overwhelmed, inefficient, and prone to chronic illness and burn out. One way our body attempts to regulate this stress is by releasing sugar into our system from our internal sugar stores to be used to ‘fight or flight’. This causes sugar cravings as a way to replenish stores, but also as a way to nullify the emotional pain of stress. We may also seek for other inappropriate ways to numb the pain, which sets us on an addiction pathway which is literally etched in our brains. This is obviously not going to help the situation but just intensifies it due to guilt and shame, which causes more stress. Balance So what can we do about it? God is a God of balance or put more simply, moderation. Ecclesiastes 7:18 says that “The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.” All of nature including the internal mechanism of our body works by maintaining balance; a process science has coined homeostasis. So how can balance be re-established in our bodies and minds when we have allowed ourselves to become grossly off-balance? Balance can be re-established and
maintained by matching every action with a counteraction, and by this we avoid extremes. So for instance if we work, we need to rest. If we are sedentary, we need to move. If we don’t eat well one day, we need to eat better the next day etc. This doesn’t have to be done perfectly. Don’t put that pressure on yourself.
Alkaline your tissues – Stress creates an acidic internal environment. Highly processed foods and too much caffeine do the same thing. An acidic environment can create fatigue, joint pains, lethargy, and emotional imbalances. To balance this out, make sure you are consuming plenty of living foods (i.e. food that looks like they’re in their original form – fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, and wholegrains).
Below is a practical list of steps you could attempt to incorporate in your life to maintain internal balance, and thereby avoid the damaging Mobilise your tissues - move more. Look for ways that you can move more incidentally effects of stress on your body, mind, and spirit. throughout your day and do something extra every second day that you enjoy for 30mins or Practical Steps Re-programme your tissues – this is only done more. Sweat, but don’t over-do it (once again via God’s Word, for “they are life to all who find think moderation). Interestingly, serotonin is them and health for the whole body.” As already released when you exercise at dawn or dusk. mentioned above, you can only heal and change Energise your tissues – eat the Bread of Life your negative habits by renewing your mind – and drink Living Water daily we were designed that way. and seek healing from Re-focus your tissues – take the focus off what The Great Physician. Connect with our you don’t have and start being thankful for Maker and ask for what you do have. Focus on doing something the Holy Spirit to for someone else. Science has shown that help make tough alpha brain waves, which are brainwaves when decisions. That’s His we’re at peace, are in operation when we are job and He’s an expert being creative and when we’re helping others at it. i.e. peace comes when we do what God has called us to do - a resolve that surpasses all human understanding. It’s impossible to think Cristina was born negatively when we’re operating in alpha waves. in Portugal to Rehydrate your tissues – we are made of 60% water. Water balances out our tissues, flushes away chemical and toxins and makes our body more efficient. How obvious can God make it – he’s created a liquid that is preservative-free, colouring-free, and calorie-free. So drink up! Repair your tissues – sleep and rest. Find appropriate ways to release tension and stress. Make a list and keep this close-by. Decide in advance to perform an activity on the list when we feel tense.
Portuguese parents and immigrated to Australia at the age of 5 years old. She has lived and studied for the most part on the Gold Coast. Cristina attained university degrees in Biomedical Science and Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery. She is also a qualified personal fitness trainer and nutritionist. “I have a special interest in holistic medicine, with a focus on natural and anti-aging medicine”. She is currently working in general practice on the Gold Coast. “I have a burning desire to see people live whole, healthy, and balanced lives in the fullness of God’s plan for them”.
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Ahoy Sailor! Set sail for spring
ya x n a T e v o L
Nautical style pieces abound this spring! Check out the great range from Queenspark
+ + e u l a V
This fun ruffle dress from Jag is a spring winner!
s l l i r F n u F I love this great little number from Katies. 50Picture | www.indulgemagazine.com.au courtesy of Westfield Online www.westfield.com.au
p Picture courtesy of Westfield Online www.westfield.com.au
Grecian Delights! Gracefully Grecian will delight this summer! Enjoy the flowing flattering style that is essentially feminine. These key pieces speak for themselves so keep your accessories to a minimum. Hair and make-up should be light and natural.
Supre Pictures courtesy of Westfield Online www.westfield.com.au
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Homemade! Granola Prep 15 minutes | Cook 30-45 minutes
3 cups rolled oats 1 cup chopped hazelnuts 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries 1/2 cup dried blueberries 1 cup desiccated coconut 1/4 cup dark brown sugar 1/2 cup maple syrup 1/4 cup vegetable oil
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Angela Frost Food Editor
1. Preheat oven to 180°c. Line a large oven tray with baking paper. 2. In a large bowl combine oats, nuts, dried fruit, coconut, and brown sugar. 3. Pour the maple syrup and oil over the oat mixture and combine well. Pour mixture onto the baking tray and cook for 30-45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes until golden. 4. Cool, then store in an airtight container. Serve with fresh fruit, yoghurt and milk.
Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins
Makes 12 | Prep 15 minutes Cook 30 minutes 1 1/2 cups self-raising wholemeal flour 1 cup self-raising flour 1 cup raw castor sugar + 1/4 cup for topping 1 tsp baking powder 1 egg 1/2 cup rice bran oil 1/2 cup buttermilk 1 tsp vanilla essence 300g Frozen Blueberries 1. Preheat oven to 180°c. Line a muffin pan with muffin cases. 2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. 3. In a small bowl combine egg, oil, buttermilk and vanilla essence. Add to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add frozen blueberries and combine. 4. Spoon batter into prepared pan and sprinkle each muffin with extra sugar. 5. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and cooked through
Bacon & Cheese p Croquettes
Prep 20 mins | Cook 5-8 minutes | Makes 6 large 2-3 cups of cold mashed potato 1 red onion- chopped 2 bacon rashers- chopped 1 egg 1/2 cup grated cheese 2 tbsp fresh parsley- chopped salt and pepper to taste Panko bread crumbs or any dried bread crumbs oil for frying 1. Fry onion and bacon together until cooked. 2. Place mashed potato, onion, bacon, egg, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper into a large bowl and combine well. 3. Shape into 6 large sausage shapes then roll in bread crumbs. 4. Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add 1/3 of the oil, cook croquettes until golden and serve.
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