Saturday, 3 January 2015

Goals galore!!

Yesterday I shared my thoughts on how last year went right/wrong with regards to my goals, so today I want to share my plans for 2015 with you.

I'm excited by the thought of a brand new year, a visible symbol of how God's mercies are new every morning to us. So instead of setting year-long goals, I'm working a month, sometimes a week, at a time, pacing myself and hopefully giving my best all year long. 

So as it's 2015 I thought I'd give myself 15 goals and I split them into the 5 main areas I want to improve in my life. Let's have a look...

1. Time with God
As I mentioned yesterday I struggled with this during the last few weeks of 2014 and so it's my main focus for 2015. So I have three goals for this area...

I've just started prepping the Isaiah study so I'm very excited!! And of course praying for my hubby and boys is the best thing I can do for them. I'll be using the monthly plans I've used previously - linked here and here

2. Health - getting fit and healthy 
You know, if you've read any of my blog, that I struggle with my weight so this will be a big one for me yet again. My three goals for 2015 are... 

I know I did the whole 'swimming' thing last year but that was on holiday, and so this challenge is to go swimming with them in our LOCAL pool! Much harder and much more embarrassing!! 

3. Love - being a wife and a mum
I love being a wife and a mum, but being overwhelmed causes me to take any stress out on them, as they are the ones who know me best - so I have three goals in this area too... 

This will hopefully just help me to focus on them, love them more and show them, in a way they can relate to not just that suits me. 

4. Home - keeping house
Oh boy - when life overwhelms me this is one of the first things that goes. I get pleas like 'do I have any clean pants or socks?' constantly and it really hurts me when I get so far behind that these questions become necessary. So my three goals for 2015 are... 

I really do want my house to be a home and for my home to be a haven that my hubby and boys can relax in and regain their strength in. 

5. Shine for the King
This one should be obvious but I like the accountability of stating my goals for this year. I want to focus more on people this year and really show them God's love. 

This just helps focus me - and I have all five of these wee pictures on my wall to remind me of my goals for this year. Yes the year will get busy and yes things will happen to derail all I'm trying to do, but I want to focus on God most of all and all the rest will follow. 

Blog-wise I'm going to be following - JOY - finding true joy as I look at: 

I will be focusing on JESUS first, with titbits from my daily readings, things I've heard or read, or sermons I've been privileged to listen to. Remember that everything I write is to me first - I write this blog as a journey and it's what I'm telling myself to do - or shouting at myself to remember!! 

Then I want to focus on OTHERS - with a focus on giving, helping those who need it, and sharing God's love to all around me. This will involve challenges to myself to learn more about organisations locally, nationally and internationally that help people, and then finding ways to help them. 

And finally, because it's my blog, the 'Y' is for YOU - or me in this case!! In these posts I'll be sharing my life with you - the real, honest, messy but wonderful life that God has given me so I hope you'll enjoy reading, laughing and crying with me over the year! 

Let's get ready to SHINE!! 

Friday, 2 January 2015

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2015!!! 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas break with lots of rest and time with loved ones. I can't believe the holidays are nearly over already - they have flown by!! And on Monday we'll all be back into routine, school and work, with all the decorations packed up and presents put away. 

This is the time of year we make those horrid 'resolutions' that never seem to work out and make you feel like a failure about a week into the year. Not a good feeling! Last year I made my list of 14 things I wanted to do in 2014. What I hadn't figured on was the fact that life has a habit getting in the way! 

So last year I wanted to: 
• Lose a stone - yep I did this!!! Unfortunately I put a couple of pounds back on over the Christmas period but I did do it!!! 
• Get a back massage - yes another one done!! I went on an amazing spa day with one of my bestirs and enjoyed a very relaxing massage :) 
• Go for afternoon tea - I did this one but in a slightly 'out of the box' way!! Two wonderful friends invited me to their house for afternoon tea rather than going out - and yes we had cute sandwiches, gorgeous coffee and delectable little desserts!! 
• Do a whole GMG session in my notebook - I did complete the session BUT not in my notebook. So this is something I'd still like to do at some stage. 
• Take each of the boys on an outing - I did this one without realising as I've taken the bigger two to the cinema for a treat and I've done plenty of wee things with the smaller two!! 
• Go swimming - I did this!!! And it was probably one of my highlights of 2014. Although it was during the summer and we were on holiday, it still counts and I must have gone in about 4 times!!! 
• Take hubby out for dinner - we had the most intimate dinner ever - we had fish and chips for lunch in our car in a garage carpark... But it was a spontaneous meeting - he was in between meetings and I was just finished - and it was so lovely it made me smile all day long! It really is the little things in life :) 
• Make a will - opps... Not yet.... 
• Give blood - again not yet :( 
• Do a random act of kindness - yes :) I've done a few of these this year, from taking someone a meal, to paying for something, to random small acts like holding a door, smiling and talking to people just when they need it most. This is something that is amazing - and you get so much more from doing it than they do from receiving it. 
• Get a family photo taken - I've had nice photos taken but we haven't done the official one yet so this is a 'kinda' one!! 
• Share the gospel with someone - I've shared bits and pieces but not the gospel in its entirety. This isn't something I'm pleased with. It was definitely something I wanted to focus on last year. 
• Write a '31 days' series - yes - I'm hoping to share it later in the year but I did it!! A wee hint is that involves turning your house into a haven :) 
• Make something for the house - again this is a big fat yes!!! And I'm so pleased with myself that I'm setting myself mini creative challenges this year too!! 

So from the 14 goals I set last year I completed 9 of them, kinda completed 2 of them and failed miserably with 3 :( 

So what happened? My life happened. I am the first to admit that I try to do too much and constantly get overwhelmed - seen in the fact that even poor Dawn has only just received the second part of her prize - at least I hope she has by now!!! - and it makes me feel all over the place. I want to curl up in a wee ball and just hide away from everything :( 

So when I started my classroom assistant (teaching assistant) course in September I tried to get ├╝ber-organised and ended up uber-confused!! I'm in my sons' primary school two mornings a week for my placement, and I'm in tech one day a week for the course, so it's been all go...

But the thing that I noticed most about the last couple of months was that for the last 6/8 weeks of the year I didn't open my Bible or even try to make time for God, making it much much harder on myself. He is my strength. He is the only one who can keep me going and keep me balanced, and so that will be my focus this year as I finish my course and try to do everything else as well. 

Tomorrow I will share my plans for 2015, personally and for the blog, and I would love to hear what you are going to focus on this year. This truly is our year to SHINE - 365 days just waiting to be filled with things to bring glory to our Father. 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Happy November!!!!

Hi everyone!!!

Happy November!!! 

You may or may not have noticed that this month I took an unofficial bloggy break. I'm afraid that life in a house with 4 boys, a husband, and all the after school and extra-curricular activities that they fit in left me feeling quite overwhelmed and way behind in my laundry, cleaning and menu planing, to name just a few things....

So I've picked myself up after a lovely break away with my Mum and Dad - amazing how much that always helps!! Even us big kids just need our mummy sometimes!!! - and I'm back!! 

While we were away I watched the news - I know I'm shocked too but it happened to be on and I was too relaxed (not lazy - relaxed!!) to change it!!! - when a very interesting topic came on. They were discussing energy and the crisis that may or may not hit the UK if we get a very bad winter this year, as apparently the output is only just more than what is needed and if we get a really rough time we could be in for some energy restrictions. 

This got me thinking about how much we rely on electricity in our everyday lives, and yearning for days of old when life seemed to be a little simpler. 

For instance - I'll run through my day and see how much power we use...

6am - washing machine timer goes off setting load on wash
6:30am - heating goes on for an hour
7am - alarm goes off on phone... which is charging 
7:30am - electric shower
8am - washing moves to tumble dryer

Boys out at school / Hubby at work / Me either at school or at home
If home - washing machine and tumble dryer get used again and I usually have either the iPod or tv on as background noise. 

After school :
4:30pm - after the homeworks are done the boys watch TV or play on the tablets 
5:00pm - I cook dinner using our electric oven
6:00pm - the dishwasher runs 
7:00pm - the immersion might go on for bath time or the boys will have a shower (electric)
Also the heating goes on for another hour and of course all the lights are on. 

WOW! That's a lot of power and a lot of devices used in the course of a typical day. I've been talking to the boys about what might happen if we have restrictions - more fires being lit instead of the heating going on, nights by candlelight - all the nice stuff!! But the reality is finding ways to do laundry, dry clothes, and cook our meals. 

We take so much for granted and its sinful how wasteful we are in so many ways. Just thinking about a life without electricity or with limited energy has me dreaming of the days when we weren't so reliant on our iPhones or iPads or TVs or tablets... When we knew what was important - family game night in front of a roaring fire, or meals around the table where people actually talk to each other, so I'm determined to bring some of this back into our family life. 

Don't get me wrong - we do have our meals up at the table each night and the boys love playing board games - but I want to be more intentional about shutting down things we don't need on and start thinking about simplifying life a little. 

So I'm planning on starting by simplifying Sunday and bringing it back to a technology free age, where we can set it apart, make it special and spend some lovely quality time together playing games and reading - yes we may even get proper books out!! :) 

Just a couple of thoughts running through my crazy head!! I'll let you know how it goes!! :)

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

And the winner is....

So last week I had a wee giveaway on the blog and all you had to do to win was sign up to receive the blog emails :) Easy!!! Thank you to everyone who entered, or to those who already get the posts by email and who were automatically entered! I out all the numbers into a random number generator and came up with the winner -

And the winner is - DAWN MACKENZIE :))

So Dawn not only has won a copy of Messy Beauitful love (which will be winging its way to you from their publishers) but has also won a wee box of goodies to go with it! I hope you will get as much out of this wonderful book as I have, Dawn. And well done!!! :)

And for the rest of you - the book is available on Amazon and all good bookstores - and it's well worth buying! Keep shining xx 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

'Messy Beautiful Love' launch day!!!

It's finally here!!!! Today is the launch day for Darlene Schacht's brand new book!!! 

So what can I say about 'Messy Beautiful Love'....?

Every so often I read a book that changes my life - but I absolutely love it when I do. And this is one of these books.

Darlene is so honest, so graceful and so challenging in the way she has written this book that it makes it one that you will read again and again, and be challenged by again and again...

She deals with issues that face every marriage including those that may not be spoken about very often. For instance, how many of us compare our husbands to other men in our lives, or to other people's husbands, or to characters we watch on tv or read about in a book? 

For instance, my dad is an amazing handy man. He can turn his hand to anything and everything, and since my husband's skills lie in other areas, we always ring my dad with a list of things that need done in my house! It would be so easy for me to think less of my husband because he can't fit shelves on my wall or can't build my flat-pack filing cabinets, but I know he can do so much - just in other areas!! 

And I always find if I read too many romance novels that I start feeling discontent. Thoughts like wishing my husband would fly me off in his private jet to Rome to a 5 star hotel just because... get dragged down with the realisation that he doesn't have a private jet, or the money to whisk me off to a 5 star hotel and the fact that we still have 4 boys to cart off to someone before we could do anything at all!!! You have to love reality!! 

But when you start to think about your husband in positive light, realising that he is unique and a gift from God, then you start to see how lucky you are and how much of a blessing he is, rather than comparing him. 

This is just one of the challenges you get given reading through 'Messy Beautiful Love' and there is so much more. 

So apart from telling you to READ THIS BOOK, I want to remind you of the giveaway happening this week. If you want to join in, read THIS POST and get in!! 

More about the book again tomorrow :) 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Giveaway time!!!

It's giveaway time!!!! :))

Tomorrow is the official launch day of Darlene's new book 'Messy Beautiful Love' and we have a giveaway to help excite you all about it!!!  

But first, I realised when I was posting last week that even though I have over 100 people who have 'liked' my Facebook page, (and thank you SO much for that!!!) they don't actually get to see all my posts because of FB's changing policies. So I'm going to run our wee giveaway in an attempt to make sure you get my posts where it's easy to read - your email!! 

On my blog there is an area at the top right where you can subscribe by email and the posts go straight into your email account. I do this with the blogs I follow because that way I can read them without having to get caught up and distracted by going on Facebook!! It's a great way if keeping track of series posts and of finding out about competitions etc. 

So this week I'm having a week-long giveaway with lots of lovely prizes. As I said at the top, it revolves around the book launch or Darlene Schacht's wonderful new book - 'Messy Beautiful Love' so my main prize is a copy of her book!! It's truly amazing and worth winning - or buying if you can't wait!!! 

But because I want you to feel well and truly appreciated, we have a couple more lovely prizes to join the book. You'll win:

• A copy of 'Messy Beautiful Love'
• A lovely box of Starbucks tea or coffee (the wee ones you can pop in your bag!) 
• A big bar of chocolate (to eat while you drink your tea/coffee and read Darlene's book)
• And a lovely candle (to set the mood to 'relax' mode) 

All you have to do to enter is subscribe by email!! If you already have done (or when you do) this then you can earn an extra entry by liking and sharing this post (yes on Facebook!!) and you can earn extra entries by liking and sharing the giveaway posts every day this week... 

BUT you have to subscribe to be entered in the first place!! 

This book is so good that I feel so privileged to be able to offer it to you like this. This will change the way you look at your marriage and will help you really love your husband in a better, more God-glorifying way. And you can't get better than that!!! :) 

So go on and get signed up - if you aren't in you can't win!! 

Friday, 12 September 2014

Giveaways galore!!!!

Next week Darlene's book 'Messy Beautiful Love' is released!!! This book is SO good that I can't wait for you all to be able to read it!!! 

Well... I have some FANTASTIC news for you all!! Not only did I have the privilege of being on the launch team but I also have been given a copy of the book to give away to one of you wonderful readers!! 

It will be part of a week long giveaway which will start on Monday - so keep an eye out for what you need to do!!!!