Thursday, 25 May 2017

May the Lord bless you...

So today's prompt in my little challenge is making me think a lot! But unfortunately it's all too personal to share with you guys! 

So today, instead, I wanted to leave you with my verse for today (from the wonderful You Version Bible app). 

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’'
‭‭Numbers‬ ‭6:24-26‬

Wednesday, 24 May 2017


I am not very ambitious. I don't have any great plans - they have all kinda gone a little pear-shaped! So I really didn't think I had much to say today. 

But then I read this definition of the word and thought about it a little more. 

AMBITIOUS: having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed.

I may not be ambitious in the way the world sees ambition - going from one job to the next, climbing the ladder, improving your salary and lifestyle as you go... 

But when it comes to a drive to succeed I'm definitely there! When I set my mind on something I can definitely focus on it and have a strong determination to succeed - whether it's last summer when we finally cleared the garage, or the last couple of months when I've been chatting to a wonderful lady to help me get more organised and get routines I can use. 

Like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead, when I'm good I'm very good (at focusing and going for it that is) but when I'm bad I'm horrid! (I've already admitted to my lazy streak ☹️) 

So when I read my verse for today I thought it perfectly apt. 

I long for my heart and God's will to be perfectly in sync, knowing that He will give me the desires of my heart when they match His will for my life. 

And so, as I continue along our blogging journey, instead of being ambitious work-wise, I am seeking to be ambitious in my walk with God and in the goals I have set - to lose some weight and to blog through the journey. 

As Frances of Assisi said - 

"Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

Keep shining xx 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Moving on...

Today's prompt was to think about something that you have felt unable to move forward from, and then think about one simple step you could take to move on from it... 

A very interesting one. I've a few things in the course of my life that I've struggled with - most a bit too personal to share unfortunately - but one thing you just have to look at me to see is my struggle with my weight. 

I have been a binge overeater and an emotional eater for nearly all of my adult life. The last time I remember being 'thin' was a memory I have of getting a new dress at uni. It was short (I wore it with thick black tights) with long sleeves and was lovely. The one thing I thought was hilarious was the guys in our group asking me where the other half of my belt was when I arrived warming it! It really wasn't that short - just seemed like that since I was used to wearing really long skirts!! It was a size 10. And yet back then, I thought I was big. 

Of only we could go back to the time we thought we were fat! 

Even when I got married I was up to a size 14/16, and gaining weight having after 4 kids, it just decided to stick around. 

I was very good at maintaining a weight while I was binging - not through bulimic methods, but by managing to eat very little on days when I wasn't binging. I knew how to be good - I just lost it at certain times and went mad. 

Now when I talk about binging I'm talking about eating a lot of food in a very short space of time - like I could eat  a packet of 4 Dairy Milks, a packet of Fifteens, a couple of chocolate eclair (the buns not the sweets!), a multipack of crisps, a packet of salted nuts and maybe a bag of sports mix - all within a short period of time and without actually raising any of it. 

It always was an automatic thing, and as I said, completely tasteless. But it happened again and again and I couldn't stop it. I've even been known to bake because we had nothing to eat in our house. Or nip to the garage just to buy binge food and then hide it in the car. 

And even though I know I am putting myself at risk each and every day, I've not addressed it enough to make me take action. I'm still fat - as fat as I've ever been - and I need to get healthy. For all of our sakes. 

Why can't I move forward? I think a big part of this answer has to be my perception of being thin. I have always thought I'll be much happier when I'm thin, or that life will look differently when I'm thin, or people will like me more when I'm thin. But the other side of that coin is very much 'what if that's wrong'... 

At the moment I'm 'happy' being the fat girl who makes fun of herself and makes everyone laugh - whether because I'm funny or out of pity, who cares - but if I haven't got that anymore and I'm assuming that things will be ok, what if they aren't. What if I become someone obsessed with their looks right weight? What if I end up not being someone people are going to still have a laugh with? What if things change for the worse? 

It's these 'what if' questions that keep me here and I need to move past them. So here is my step for tomorrow. Tomorrow I will not eat any chocolate or crisps, and will only drink water. 

Hopefully that's a small enough step that I will actually do it, but as we're learning, every step counts. 

My verse for today was

This is what the Lord says—the Lord who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the Lord: Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.”

Jeremiah 33:2-3 

and I really do trust that as I delve into this deeper, God will help me to find the way I need to go, and reveal the secrets that I need to know. He knows all - all I need to do is trust Him. 

Keep shining xx 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Letter to my younger self...

Today's prompt was to write a letter to yourself... so here goes... 

Dear Tanya

This is a wee note from your future self wanting to let you know everything is going to be ok. At the moment you are struggling. I can see it in your eyes as you stare back at me in the mirror. I can see it in the way you justify everything to yourself - how you manage to keep going while everything inside you dies is amazing and you deserve to see that. 

Right now you are going through what will be one of the darkest times in your life. You are a pregnant woman with a toddler - and with that comes emotional turmoil as it is, but you are panicking because there is a darkness inside you. 

You think you are crazy. You think you can't cope with being a mother. You think you would be better off dead. But you'd be wrong. So very wrong. 

That husband you love, fight with and then love again, will still love you and cherish you 12 years down the line... 

That little boy who you are tucking into bed and snuggling with each night is going to turn into a wonderful teenager who loves God and is an amazingly polite young man...

That baby you carry will turn into one of the kindest and most thoughtful of boys and will make you proud every single day...

And then there are the two little twinkles in your eye that you haven't even - can't even - consider yet. Oh Tanya - they are so handsome and such good boys...

Yes - you are going to end up with four amazing sons who you love with all your heart and would do anything for. The best four gifts ever. 

I know it's still hurts right now. And it still overwhelms you. And I know you just want the pain to stop. 

But there's a way that is far better than anything you are thinking. God has you in His hand and trust me when I tell you He always will do. He has come through for us time after time after time and He never leaves us or makes us feel unworthy. 

He gives and gives and gives again. He lifts us up so many times and truly does carry us on eagles wings. We love Him more now and understand His love for us so much better but we still fail Him sometimes. 

But we are learning. And as we learn we grow to be more like Him. 

Life is good. Now (for me) you have a great job, a wonderful family and amazing friends. And guess what - you made it out the other side of that darkness with a huge smile on your face. 

So I want you to remember who you are. You are the daughter of the King of Kings. You are a child of God. You are beautiful, brave, loving, cheerful, caring, encouraging and unique. And God loves you more than ever. 

Your body is not your own - it was bought for a price on the tree of Calvary. You can do this - you just need to trust in Him and let Him take control. He will carry you through. 

You are amazing. And I'm so glad to be you. 

Loving you as God does

Tanya xxx 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Facing our fears...

Today's challenge is talking about fear and finding the courage to investigate our fears and try to eliminate them by understanding them and changing them. So here goes! 

A recent fear that I would like to overcome …

I've been thinking very hard about this one and I've come up with two fears that I have. I fear that time is passing too quickly and that nothing is staying the same, and I fear that everything stays the same and nothing changes... and yes I'm very aware that they seem total opposites! Let me explain my thought process. 

I have 4 amazing kids who are now 15, 12, 10 and 8. Even though I often struggle in my journey in the land of motherhood, I have wonderful memories of when they were little, when they hit each of the big milestones and all the years in between. In fact the other day we sat and watched back at some of the old video clips we'd taken and laughed at squeaky voices, baby faces and the onset of teenage moodiness! 

But often I fear that I'm missing out and not actually getting to enjoy them in the here and now because there's always so much going on. We're always running about, trying to get home-works done, dinner made, activities attended and an early enough bedtime! I sometimes feel like they are right here in front of me but I'm missing them.  

And what am I planning to do about it? Well - this summer instead of going away for a holiday as such (we're going camping instead!!), we are going to spend time with the boys being tourists in our own town/country and I'm planning on giving each of them time with mummy (whether they like it or not!!!).

I want to be right in the middle of their lives because these are precious years and I want them to remember their childhood with fondness and love, just like I do. 

But the second part of my fear was that everything stays the same and nothing changes. Let me explain this - as I've mentioned before in this challenge, I struggle with laziness, procrastination, finishing things I've started, mental health issues and a messy house syndrome! I long for things to change - for me to grow into my life and actually make the differences that need to be made for me to be the person I'm meant to be, and to be happy in it. But at the moment it's not happening. 

That's part of the reason I took in this challenge. I am trying to spend time with God as I think through the daily prompts and process my fears / actions. I want things to be amazing. I want my house to be spotless and running like clockwork. I want my kids and hubby to feel truly loved. I want to know God more and grow in Him. I want to lose weight so that I am the healthiest and fittest me possible. 

But that's a lot of work and most times it's overwhelming. And so I fear that by the time I get to 50 nothing will have changed and I'll still have my list of things I want to happen. 

So what am I going to do with this? Well, for starters, I'm in the process of getting organised and getting a daily/weekly routine that fits us as a family. I've now rewritten it 3 times, and I will continue to tweak it until it works. And then I'll move onto the next area and the next - one step at a time - knowing that every little helps and every step is a step closer to what I want. 

I'll keep you informed as we go along and let you know if I ever get it sorted!!! 

Keep shining xx 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

I am vulnerable

I didn't think this challenge could get any more difficult but wow is today's hard!!! 

I am vulnerable... 

The definition of being vulnerable is "capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt."

For most of us, it means opening up to people, letting them see the real me and hoping they still like me. It's a very hard thing to do. 

Don't get me wrong - I realise that in writing my blog I am making myself vulnerable, but that's online, and even when people I know read it, most wouldn't talk about it so it's still kind of hidden. I don't know who reads it and who doesn't so the fear of rejection isn't there. 

And we are all scared of rejection. I wrote a whole blog post on rejection this time last year, but ironically I've not posted it yet - in case it's too vulnerable! 

We don't want people to be able to see all the parts we hide - because we don't want them to think less of us. 

But we really need to for a number of reasons. 

Our Pastor is doing a brilliant series in church at the moment on being real in our relationships - especially within the church. He is helping us to open up, be vulnerable with each other and love one another. John 13:34 actually commands us to "love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another". 

But vulnerability also helps us in our relationship with God. If we have good friends that we can really open up to, they can help us grow. James 5:16 tells us to "confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed." 

This doesn't mean that our friends can heal us or get rid of our sin, but what they can do is pray, encourage us and help us to make the right decisions as we go along our daily lives. I am blessed truly by having friends like this. They allow me to open up and they allow me a safe place to be vulnerable. 

And yet there are still so many parts of my life that I keep hidden for so long that I would be terrified to let them out. 

This summer I took a really big step on this and was truly blessed by some amazing friends. 

I am a hoarder and suffice to say I had a huge problem in my garage. I don't let people see inside there - like never - but this summer I let my best friend, my sister and another wonderful friend in to my garage and let them see me. And do you know what? They saw, they loved, they helped and we conquered!! I now have a play room in my garage where piles of stuff used to be. 

Being vulnerable is good. 

But most of all, being vulnerable helps us to learn the following in real life - 

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
1 Corinthians 12:9-10

God truly comes through loud and clear when we trust Him with our vulnerabilities and weaknesses. He gives us the strength and power to do what we need to do, allowing us to truly glorify Him in everything. 

I don't know about you, but this definitely helps me be vulnerable. Because deep inside I know God has me. And even if the worst happens and people can't handle the real me - God always can and always will love me for the real me. And to be that's the sweetest gift of all. 

Now... there are two more questions in the 'prompts' and I'll share them here - but to be honest I'm scared of looking inwards to answer these. 

  • In what area of your life are you afraid of being rejected?
  • How have I been limiting myself by avoiding the fear of being rejected?

They are definitely going to need some thinking about! So I may share my answers at the end of my 30 days... 

Keep shining xx 

Friday, 19 May 2017

I am capable...

Today's topic is being capable. It's thinking about the many small steps that bring about big changes, and how amazing and how capable it makes you feel. 

That's the idea anyway. 

In my life so far I don't think I've achieved much. I was blessed with a wonderful family and got to go to a great university but when I got there it all fell to pieces. I started one course, failed an exam (an important one!) and changed to a different one. 

Unfortunately for the next 3 years my attention was elsewhere, and I ended up coming out of uni with a pass degree - yes it's a degree but really - it's not worth the paper it's written on. No one wants a pass degree. All it does is show you went to uni and messed around for 3 years. 

I had an offer to do a primary school PGCE at Coleraine - but they don't take passes. 

I had an offer to go away to England and do it - but guess what they don't take... passes. 

So I went back to working in the shop I'd grown up working in, and stayed there - not even going through the ranks - just staying as a sales girl. 

Then we got married and went to work with a ministry organisation. Again I didn't really have a place - I was working with my husband, raising our boys and then doing some actual ministry work with some ladies... but I don't feel like I achieved anything. 

And finally I managed to get through my Classroom Assistants course - and get a job that I love in P1. 

And yes I feel like I achieved something getting my job and being able to go to work in a place I love, but apart from that, there's nothing great about my life in this area. 

No big fears that I worked towards and no big things I overcame to achieve my dreams. Nothing. 

Now I know that I'm extremely blessed, and I know that there is a lot of wonderful things about my life - don't get me wrong - but this topic is achievements, being capable of things and working towards goals. 

And unfortunately I don't really think I've done that. Someone recently asked me what I'd done with my life and to be honest I struggled to answer.  

So I'm struggling with this one. It's very thought provoking. I know ultimately God has a plan for my life - but I sometimes feel like I've messed up and missed it - or that I've let it pass me by without even seeing it. 

Thankfully the second prompt is a lot easier!! 

Who made you feel good this week? What did they say?

This is a wee short one - not because I don't have people who have made me feel good today, but because I'm surrounded by wonderful people and it's way too personal to share on here. 

I have a wonderful family who build me up and help me grow, a wonderful set of work mates who are an amazing team, and extraordinary friends who love me. They all help me - whether it's a wee timely text, a hug or a word of encouragement and I couldn't do life without them. In this I truly have won the jackpot and I can only pray that I am as encouraging to them as they are to me. 

So there we go! 

Keep shining xx