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!!!! 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Lessons from the Doctor...

Yesterday I posted this on my facebook wall...

As I thought more about it I realised just how much there is in this. So I thought I'd share a few thoughts with you. 

I know I'm emotional - and it may have been mentioned on here once or twice!! - but this was beyond emotional. As the episode played, and we meet the 'mad' Vincent Van Gogh, who was of course chasing and fighting aliens ( it is Dr. Who remember!!), we meet a man who is lost and who is completely alone. He has no noone around him. And when a Amy and the Doctor tell him they'll be leaving soon he actually cries. He is a broken man who thinks he is less than he is. He thinks he is useless. He has people everywhere, every day, telling him he is worthless. 

And to top it off, he sees the world in a different way to everyone around him. 

Now that storyline is enough to bring anyone to tears - especially when, as the viewer, you know that he is an amazing artist who committed suicude at the age of only 37. 

But that's not what got me. In an attempt to show him that he is more, he is worthy and he is special, Amy and the Doctor take him to modern day Paris to the Musee d'Orsy where he gets to see an exhibition of his work, surrounded by people who love it, and meet a curator who says this: 

I started crying as soon as the Tardis landed in Paris... I knew what was coming. To watch someone as they realise that they are capable of achieving so much more than they ever thought possible was incredible. Total emotional overload. And yes I know it's TV and they are only acting, but as I watched I looked around at my four boys and realised that I want them to know that feeling and grasp that truth without having to time travel in a magic blue box! 

You see as Christians, believers in the one true God, we trust that He has an almighty plan for every single one of us. We are here on this earth at this exact time for a purpose. And that purpose should bring glory to God. 

And as we look back on our story, my four boys all are growing up, like Van Gogh, seeing the world a little differently than everyone else. Because they see it as a place where they can live their lives to serve God and glory Him in all they do. They see it's wonder, beauty and the awesomeness of God's creation. They see His fingerprint all around them. 

Unfortunately pain, suffering, persecution, depression and loss may still come. They may well go through periods in their lives where they get a little lost. They may experience an illness or a mental health issue like their mum and Vincent can Gogh. 

But when trials come, they will be ready to trust their Heavenly Father, and they will be able to stand firm in the wake of persecution or pain... At least that is my prayer for them. 

But the one thing I'm certain of is that they have a God who is bigger than any problem and He has the power they need to get through it all. He will bring them out the other side in victory, and they can be certain that His plan and His purpose will help them to be the best they could ever be. 

They will hopefully grow up knowing that God created them to be amazing - to be the best they can be so that their lives bring Him glory. And that's the best feeling ever. That's the feeling you get when you know you are in the centre of God's will - no matter what's going on around you. And the feeling you get when you know you've heard His words and obeyed. 

Its a special feeling that I think they captured in this episode of Dr. Who, even if it didn't help Van Gogh to overcome his internal demons. 

As we watch each episode I don't expect to get life lessons or words of great wisdom - it's entertainment after all - but I love it when God steps in and blows me away with His truth. 

Whatever you are doing today - do it well, do it for God and be amazing. 
Keep shining xx 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A picture of hope...

This weeks photo was one I have shared before - one that was taken in the middle of the summer when I took my eldest son to Scotland for a wee treat. 

As we explored Stirling Castle on the second day of our trip, we went down into the dungeons, where there were no lights and very few windows. They had converted several of the cells into different rooms where you could experience different parts of lcastle ife - like the music they listened to or the clothes they wore -but on the other side they had these dark cells, where there was nothing but stone walls, stone floors and a gate. 

But in this cell I found this little plant. There was a single ray of light shining down, and through the cracks in the stone floor a little plant had sprouted up and was growing. I didn't capture the image as nicely as I wanted - in my first attempt at the picture I used the flash and just got wall!!! - but I love the fact that it sits so clearly surrounded by darkness, yet living in the light.

It just reminds me of the words we read in John 8:12 -

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, 
“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, 
you won’t have to walk in darkness, because 
you will have the light that leads to life.”

Jesus is the only way to eternal life - and the only way to truly live in the midst of this dark world of ours. When I see this picture I'm not only reminded of the 'Light of the World' who came into the world to save us from our sins, but of the hope that He brings to a hopeless world lost in its own selfish desires. Praise God that He loves us that much!!! 

Monday, 8 September 2014


As we continue with our mini-series on growth and we learn how to mature in our faith, we reach W. 

W - walking in the power of the Holy Spirit

So what on earth is this? I think your thoughts on the Holy Spirit will probably vary considerably with your upbringing, but don't worry - we're not talking about anything too charismatic here. 

When we chose to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit we decide that we are giving complete control of our lives to God - the Father who loves us, the Son who died for us and the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 

Walking in the power of the Holy Spirit is simply deciding each second to do what God wants and not what you want - to give Him control rather than our selfish desires. 

The Holy Spirit, being part of the Trinity, is amazing. It is the Holy Spirit that comforts us, guides us, rebukes us, sustains us and is always there - that amazing feeling to know that we are never alone comes from having Him in our lives. 

But so many of us don't view Him like that. Some people are suspicious when you start to talk about the Holy Spirit - as if it's some sort of magical mystic power that helps you do whatever you want... 

Not at all. The Holy Spirit is simply the mysterious power of God living in us that helps us do whatever we are doing... 

Let me explain! We cannot begin to fathom God. And so we cannot begin to even start to understand the Holy Spirit and what He does in our lives. And when you think about all those times you felt God's voice, knew to make one decision or another but didn't know why, or just felt like God was there in the midst of a hard time - that was the Holy Spirit at work in your life. And when we are walking in the centre of God's will for our lives, He helps us to do whatever we are doing - to the best of our ability giving all the glory to God. 

Totally awesome - in the true meaning of the word!! 

So how does understanding who He is (a little) help us walk in His power day by day? 

We need to make sure that Christ is at the centre of our lives and that He has control over our actions, thoughts and lives - not us. We can so easily get caught up in doing things - even for church - that we take control back and run with what we want to do, but it's not what he wants for us and we miss or ignore the gentle voice that tells us to stop. 

But when we have God at the centre everything goes better. We may still experience illness or pain, and we will definitely experience trials and temptations, but we know He is control and He will help us. 

And that brings us to spiritual breathing. Again, I'm not going all yoga-mystic on you!!! 

Spiritual breathing is where you actively and consciously exhale and inhale - 

• You EXHALE the sin, impure thoughts or whatever is taking back control in your life by confessing your sin and asking God to forgive you, thanking Him for His faithfulness - 1 John 1:9

• You INHALE giving God back control and taking a new step in your journey with Him, in faith and trust, knowing His plans for our lives are better and bigger than than we could ever imagine - 1 John 5:14-15

It really is that easy - once you feel yourself trying to take back control, or if you haven't given control over completely yet, take some time in prayer to breath spiritually and give God back the reigns. It is totally worth it. 

Cru (what used to Campus Crusade for Christ) have some excellent teaching on this - and I thought I'd share this small extract showing how this all fits together. Have a wee read of this...

I pray you'll get some encouragement out of this :)
Next week we'll be looking at the 'T'. 
Keep shining xx 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Messy Beautiful Love

This month I'm highlighting and reviewing the brand new - not out yet - book by Darlene Schact which is beautifully entitled 'Messy Beautiful Love'. 

It's a brilliant book. I know I love books - but in the first four chapters I have laughed, cried and read so many challenges - so many things I need to put right in my own life - that I think it has quickly become my favourite book and no doubt I'll read it several times after this!!! 

The book opens with a chapter that will have you rethink everything you ever thought about Darlene. She has always inspired me, but I hadn't heard her story before, so it blew my mind. I can't give too much away - you NEED to read this book!!! - but suffice to say I have known of families going through similar things but with VERY different outcomes. The honesty, humility and graciousness with which she writes only causes you to weep even more tears and thank God for her testimony. 

She then talks about life early on in her marriage, where work and family life collide... And I totally agreed with her. As a sports ministry worker my hubby works from home, and there have been plenty of times when I rather ungraciously wished him a million miles away! Times when the boys were sick or when I was feeling very anti-social and just wanted to curl up in a ball and lie in bed... Or when he has an international conference call and I had to try to keep 4 rather hyper kids nice and quiet... Or when I was annoyed because life wasn't going my way, when I was feeling extra selfish and I wanted to lazily sit and watch TV in our living/office. 

Yet reading Darlene's account is making me totally rethink my attitude. Realistically he's actually not home that much since he spends most of his time coaching and in meetings and I need to realise that I am so blessed and so privileged to have my husband working from our home. I'm blessed because sometimes when I'm in the middle of a job for him and for out ministry he can nip in and do the school run, and because I am there to encourage him, pray for him, make him lunch or cups of tea and do little jobs for him right when he needs it. And I get to have some time just the two of us. My selfish attitude has been dulling my blessing. 

When I look at it from a servant-hearted perspective it changes everything. I need to be less 'this is my house' and more 'this is the home of a family that serves God'. It really does change everything. 

I know this is just one of the many challenges I have had hit my heart since starting this book, and I relish the thought of what's next. 

If you want to get your hands on this you can still pre-order it and get a pile of wonderful complimentary goodies:) Simply head over to the 'Messy Beautiful Love'  website and follow the links. You can even get a free chapter to whet your appetite!!! You won't be disappointed! 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Picture perfect...

I took this picture the other day to prove to my son what colour his eyes were!! But as I looked at it I realised that the eyes really do tell a lot! 

There's a saying that the eyes are the window to the soul... and eyes really are amazing. They show our expressions and can tell the truth about whether we are truly happy or sad. But more than that, I found two beautiful verses I wanted to share with you. 

"Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. 
When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light."
Matthew 6:22

And remembering the purpose of our blog... when do we shine? When we are filled with the light of God's love...

"Open my eyes to see
    the wonderful truths in your instructions."
Psalm 119:18

This is one of my favourite verses - we need to remember to ask God to reveal His Word to us as we read. And I, for one, am very thankful that He chooses to open our eyes every time we open His Word. 

So the next time you look in the mirror - take a good look at your eyes!
Keep shining xx 

Monday, 1 September 2014

Getting back to GROWTH

A couple of months ago - before the chaos and fun of the summer hit- we were looking at the letters of the word GROWTH and thinking about how they help us to grow and mature in our Christian life. Well, for the rest of this month, every Monday we'll continue this wee series and finally get to have a good idea of what we need to do to grow to be more Christ-like in our daily lives.

So today I just want to recap on the letters we've looked at already...

We introduced the thought of GROWTH here and looked at what it meant for the four areas of our life. Then we started by concentrating on the most important - our walk with God. So we started by looking at:

For this letter we talked about how amazing the Bible is, with it's many different scribes but one theme, one focus and one true author. It really is the only book where the author can talk to you directly as you read through it's pages every time you open the book. We need to spend time daily getting to now God, and the best way to do this is to spend time in His Word. 

When we came to 'R' we looked at praying and what it means to actually communicate with our Heavenly Father. We need to keep the conversations with Him frequent and although we need to remember who we are conversing with, He wants to hear everything - no matter how stupid or silly we think it is. That's how much He loves us! 

And finally, just before the summer break, we looked at the thought of obedience and what it looks like every day. We looked at how reading the Bible is great, but reading it with an obedient spirit, yearning to find out what words of wisdom God has for us, and wanting to put His Word into practice, makes it wonderful. We found that using systems like the Precepts ministry or Good Morning Girls helps us to get the most out of our time with God, as they teach us how to really read his Word for ourselves. 

And in the next few weeks we'll look at -

W - walking in the power of the Holy Spirit
T - telling others out Christ
H - having fellowship with other Christians 

I'm very excited to be back and to be challenging myself as I think honestly about my walk with God. And I hope you'll enjoy the last few posts with me, this month, as I trust God will challenge us and help us both to keep shining xx