Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Balancing life...

When it comes to trying to balance my life, I know that I can't 'do it all'. Its about finding out my priorities and working on them in a deliberate and focused way, giving glory to God and blessing those around me. So this is my plan!!
 
Week One
 
The most important thing to remember when I'm trying to learn about balancing my life out this summer, is that I need to give the first part of my day to God - every day - spending the first moments of my day giving Him my plans, and thanking Him for all He is and all He has done.
 
This can be hard, especially since I've told you all many times that I'm NOT a morning person!! But it makes such a difference. So part one of my 'balancing' will be to focus on spending time with God.
 
So my aim is this:
 
Get up a little earlier
and give God the first of my day.
 
So it'll work like this. Starting tomorrow I'll be getting up a little earlier - I'm starting at 7am and working backwards so that by the time school starts again I'll be regularly getting up at 6:00/6:15 to have a good hour to focus on God and plan my day, before the kids get up.
 
 
Week Two
 
The second area of my life is being a woman! You know the joys that being a woman brings out! The moods, the emotions and for me, the massive issue with food. This is something I've been struggling with for a long time, so I need to really give it over to God. I have prayed so many times, but I keep taking it back and then making a mess of it. Its embarrassing - to think that I could do more about it on my own than I can do with God... yeah... Nope!
 
So my second focus - alongside continuing to get up early - is
 
To REALLY give my journey with food to God,
to keep a food diary EVERY day
and to exercise or go for a walk EVERY day
 
I need it to happen for my health as well as to feel better about myself, so its a good focus for week two! Yeah!! Let's keep going!!
 
Week Three
 
This week's area of focus is my role as a wife - oh yes - something I sometimes get too busy to focus on. But not only do I want to love my husband, I want to set a good example of a loving marriage for my boys, and I want to glorify God through it. Not an easy job when you are as moody, emotional and selfish as me!!!
 
So my focused aim for week three will be -
 
Aim to show love and kindness to my husband,
meeting his needs and being a true help meet
and showing him how much I value and love him
 
Sometimes in the busy-ness of life, our marriages can be shoved down the list of priorities, yet what better way to show the love of Christ for His bride, the church, than to mirror that in our marriages, sticking together and putting the necessary work in to protect our spouse and protect our relationship.  
 
 
So that's my plan for the first three weeks - building on each other - to bring balance, harmony and a sense of beauty and adventure to my life, just where I am.
More tomorrow =)
 
Keep shining xxx
 
 
 
 


Sunday, 28 June 2015

Movies, books and dreams...

Tonight I watched a wonderful film - 'Shaun the Sheep - the Movie'. Yes I know you'll probably all have a laugh at that, but it helped hit home something I've been thinking about all day. Let me explain!!
 
Without giving too much of the film away, its based around the sheep trying to have a 'day off' from their usual daily activities. Their life has become dull and mundane, and they have happy memories of what life used to be like, before responsibilities and 'grown up' duties made every day seem to be in the same endless cycle. As you can guess it doesn't exactly go to plan, and I laughed my head off at their antics!! Today I am VERY easily amused!!
 
But it got me thinking about my life, about balancing all the different areas of my life at the moment and about a wonderful book I'm reading at the moment.
 
I am a wife, mum of 4 boys, friend, daughter, sister, classroom assistant, missionary, church member, Bible Class leader, housekeeper, student... as well as many more roles... and I struggle to balance it all and to thrive in everything I do. At the moment, as we head into the summer months, I want to find the balance of work, home, love, responsibility... I want to find excitement and distraction in the mundane housework and laundry... and I want it all to glorify God.
 
And that brings me to the book I've been reading this week. Its the newest book by Sarah Mae (author of 'Desperate', 'Frumps to Pumps', 'Core Lies' and '31 Days to Clean') and it is truly brilliant. Its called 'Longing for Paris'. She manages to cut deep into my inner thoughts, and it could be my life she's writing about. Its a must read, and I can't wait to have a give away when it comes out in August!!
 
 
 
Her website has this to say...
For anyone who has ever daydreamed of another life . . .
Most days, you wouldn’t trade what you have for the world. You love your husband and your kids, and you are grateful to God for your life. But there are days when you feel as though life is rolling over you in waves and you are just going through the motions. You find yourself aching for something more, something that is calling to depths of who you are, maybe for something you can’t even name.
For Sarah Mae, it was Paris, a place that is known for breathtaking beauty, inspiring art, and exquisite food. But as she searched her heart, she found there was more to her longings than she anticipated. Join Sarah Mae in Longing for Paris, a soul-searching, light-filled journey for the woman who knows she can’t uproot her life to discover herself and her longings, but who desperately wants to uncover them so she can get unstuck and choose a life that is filled with beauty, adventure, and deep joy . . . right where she is.

I will be writing my proper review shortly, but this book is one that has truly impacted my life and helped me to realise that I need to have my adventures and truly live in each moment that God has given me - no matter where I am.

So this week I will be looking at how to do that... in all the different areas of my life. I will be continuing to look at the reasons I blog next week, but as we move into the last week of school I want to be prepared for a summer of fun, balance and life rather than 8 weeks of fighting off boredom, struggling to get the necessary chores done and achieving nothing.

I hope you'll enjoy this, and if you can, pre-order the book here!!!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Reviewing my goals... part 2

Sorry I've been MIA a little - it's amazing how much time I had to write when stuck in hospital and how little time I have now!!! But I'm going to try to be a little more organised from now on!!! So back to reason two... 

The second set of goals that I wrote back in January were these - 


Oh boy!! These have not gone well at all!! My self-discipline has totally gone out the window and I really need to get back on track with this. 

So... to review... 

1. Well so far I've lost half a stone - which is going in the right direction but not at the rate I want. I need to get moving on this major time because the heaviness is killing me. I need to get back to moving and shaking... In my own special way!!! 
2. Yeah - there's no way this is happening anytime soon... We have our holiday coming up in July, and that may have to count because I can't see myself getting in the pool here until I've lost a good wee bit of weight. I'm too self-conscious and too embarrassed by my size - yet I haven't done much about it yet. I know that's a contradiction - but that shows where my self-discipline is at the moment. 
3. This was way too high for me to aim!! The BR programme is about half an hour each workout, and it's majorly good. But it's high movement and at the moment I couldn't even do 5 minutes of it. So I'm going to rethink this and be a little more realistic!!! 

So my new improved goals for the rest of 2015 are - 

1. Lose a stone. Yes, this one stays, but I'd like to lose a stone between now and Christmas. If I lose 1lb a week I'll be able to do it and more! But it's starting to eat right and do the little bits of exercise and start the weight loss moving again! 

2. Go swimming with the boys. I am still keeping this in as I really do want to do it, especially since they enjoy it so much. I will use our holiday swimming times if I haven't crossed it off by the end of the year, but I'm working towards this and really want to do it at home in Ards! 

3. Do an exercise programme each day. This is much more achievable if I use my '10 minute' DVDs because not only are the segments only 10 minutes long but there are also lots of different versions for me to try! There is target toning, kickboxing, yoga and get fit mixes. So hopefully this will work better!! 


The rest of my goal review is private - asking myself lots of hard questions and making realistic and SMART goals, but I'll maybe share them at the end of the year when it's all done!!! 

Next reason tomorrow... 

Reason 2 - Journaling increases your chances of achieving your goals

I really loved journaling the ‘Who I am’ thoughts. It has really encouraged me to think outside the box and become much more confident in who God has made me and why He loves me. So I’m excited to get moving further down my ‘Top Ten’ list and see what other gems we have!

So the next reason to journal is that writing down your goals, in SMART ways, increases your chances of achieving them. 

What do I mean? Well – a goal not written down is only a dream. You can have amazing dreams, but until you sit and think about how to do them, and whether it is actually achievable, they will stay as that – dreams. In order to move them along you need to use the ‘SMART’ criteria – and this is what keeps your dreams on track and turns them into goals that you can work towards. SMART goals are - 

S – Specific - your goals need to be as detailed as you can if you actually want them to work…
M – Measureable – you need to be able to see clearly if you are achieving them so you need to be able to measure how you are doing in them
A – Attainable – goals may originally seem way beyond your reach, but this is where you break them down into smaller steps, each one helping you reach your final goal. 
R – Realistic – your goal must be something you are WILLING and ABLE to work towards – there’s no point in writing down something that is never going to happen – like becoming an Olympic athlete when I’m not in the least sporty!
T – Time bound – you need to give your goals a time boundary, because those that go on for years and years risk never being completed. 

So with these rules in mind what are my goals? 

Wow – this is still a very hard questions to answer! I am very good at coming up with weird and wonderful ideas – and I love to dream, but how can any of these be translated into achievable goals? I don’t even know which ones I’d really love to come into reality. 

At the start of 2015 I wrote out a list of goals I thought I wanted to achieve this year. But although I tried to be SMART with them I don't think I succeeded! So over the next day or two I'm going to review my goals and see which ones have been completed /still apply / need changed completely!!   

Starting off - our first 'goals' were - 




REVIEW: 

1. Oh dear... I'm not a morning person (I think I may have said this time and again...) so this hasn't worked very well at all. It's been something I've been getting better at when I've been in hospital, since they wake you up so early and I've been using this time as a quiet time, but at home I can't get out of bed. So this definitely needs changed to make it more realistic. 
2. Oh dear oh dear... The book of Isaiah, while I did start going through it, was more than I could cope with this year. I'm afraid I gave up and have flitted around with different passages ever since. So this needs looked at as well...
3. This is the only one I've definitely been doing. And although it's not a set time every day, I have definitely been praying for them all each day. In reviewing this one I want to become more medical and pray for them in a more regular and cohesive way so I've got an idea to try! 

As you can see, my first set of goals need a lot of work! So using my SMART criteria, here goes my new improved goals for 2015. 

1. Get up at 6:15am each morning for a week to spend time with God. I will be starting to get up a little earlier and a little earlier until I reach my 6:15am mark and then I'll be doing this for a week - and then another week- and then another week... You get the picture!!  I really do find starting my day with God helps me in an unbelievable way, so I'm determined to get this discipline into my daily routine! 

2. Study a book of the Bible using the 'FOCUS15' method and my colouring pencils! You'll notice I haven't chosen a book yet. I'm thinking about starting in the book of Luke, but I, going to give it a bit more thought. I want something realistic and doable... And I have a new template to help me get the most out of each chapter so I'll share that with you in a little while. 

3. Pray regularly for my husband and boys. I want to be more focused in my prayers, so I intend to pray for a different character trait/topic each morning as I make their beds. They are trying to do this themselves but I will be going behind them to tidy/straighten them out as they aren't great at it yet!! So it's the perfect opportunity to get praying for them individually :) 

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Who I am... part six


I am free…

“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free”

John 8:36

I mentioned freedom a couple of times earlier. It’s a strange thought – after all we’re not exactly slaves are we? But freedom comes in a variety of forms. And for the purposes of this I’m not even touching on the A21 Freedom campaign and human trafficking – it’s a wonderful organisation and campaign to get behind but we’ll focus on that another time.

So back to freedom in our lives. What exactly do we need freed from? Well how about sin for starters? We all have something that tempts us back time and time again – some sin (usually secret) that catches hold of us and drags us back into its depths where we lose control and end up worse than ever before. And it can different things. For some it might be spending money, or eating, or smoking, or drinking, or watching porn, or reading books you know aren’t good for your mind at all… if it’s something you do in secret, then it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing. And how does it get you? It tempts you, and then after you partake of its delights (for me its food), it reminds you of why it’s wrong, why you were supposed to deny it and stay away from it, and makes you feel the guilt and shame that pulls you in so the cycle starts all over again. I’ve been there – many times – but God didn’t design us to live like this. He didn’t want us to live in the fear of being discovered, or the guilt of your hidden sin or the depths of shame you feel as you wallow in what’s just happened. He died to give us FREEDOM. Freedom from sin. Freedom from that guilt, fear and shame. Freedom from the negative thoughts that the devil uses to drive us back to the cycle again and again. Freedom from the hold sin has on us and from the world around us. Freedom to enjoy being His daughters. Freedom to praise Him and worship Him in all circumstances. Freedom to do the right things, with His help, breaking the cycle again and again and again. Freedom from all those things that hurt us, and freedom to enjoy life His way. WOW!! Now that’s a life I want to live!!



Keep shining xx 

Friday, 29 May 2015

Who I am... part three


I am the daughter of the King…

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus”

Galatians 3:26

Not only did God send His only Son to die on the cross for us, He then adopted us into His family – we are His children – so I can quite seriously state that I am a daughter of the King! If you think about the whole issue of adoption it is amazing. I know that lots of people don’t have good stories to tell, there are too many flawed human beings out there. BUT one story I know is the story I think about when I think about God adopting me into His family. When chatting to a friend of mine recently I found this out. When you are adopted, by one or both of your parents, you no longer need a birth certificate. If you need identification for anything, your adoption certificate takes precedence and becomes the only thing you need to tell people who you are. So think about that… no longer are you the person you were. You truly are a new creation – with a new name and a new identity. Amazing! And then we went on to chat about her amazing story – of someone who took on the role of dad to her when he married her mum, loved her unconditionally and never ever mentioned once in her whole life that she wasn’t his. So much so that most of her friends had no idea she was even adopted in the first place. Total unconditional love. And that is the example I want to leave with you. God loves you that much. Totally and unconditionally and completely.



Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Who I am... part seven




I am worth it…

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

Romans 5:6-8

 

We all know the ads. Cheryl (Cole) struts her stuff on screen advertising L’OrĂ©al’s latest creations, before she smiles at the camera and says ‘because you’re worth it’. It’s a great catchphrase because every woman in the world wants to feel like they are worth it – that they are worth spending time and money on and worth the attention. But there is one way we KNOW we are worth it.

When we read the verses above we need to read them slowly, taking in each thought. It’s too easy to read verses that we know well and read them quickly without really thinking about them. So let’s stop and think why we are worth it…

“When we were utterly helpless…” – we were totally lost in our sin and the darkness that comes with a world of sinners. There is no way we were going to be able to save ourselves – we needed a miracle.

“…Christ came at just the right time…”- and that miracle came at the PERFECT time. Not too early and not too late, just exactly in His perfect timing. Not when the world thought the Messiah should be born – when God did.  

“… and died for us sinners.” – the ultimate sacrifice. He died taking our punishment for our sins so that we didn’t have to. He was PERFECT remember, so He had no sin of His own to atone for – just ours. And He took them and nailed them to the cross so we could be free.

“Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.” – The world’s view of right and wrong is so very different to God’s – we may think it would be ‘heroic’ to offer to take someone’s place if they were family or someone you thought highly of but not someone who has done you wrong.

“But God showed his great love for us…” – we need to remember that even in the midst of everything, God loved us and He showed it openly, for everyone to see, in the most miraculous and perfect of ways…

“by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” – again – wow! The perfect man dying for sinners – to redeem us from sins He would never even think about, never mind do… for all those hidden secret sins and the bigger ones that get found out… for everything we’ve ever done, said or even thought… for it all. And why did He do all of that?

Because we’re worth it.
 

Keep shining xx.