Thursday, 29 August 2013

Gratitude Devotional = Food for my Soul!

 Have you read Ann Voskamp's book 1000 gifts yet?  If you haven't I'd recommend it if you're looking for an encouragement and especially if you're working through some hard stuff and need a reminder to give thanks in the midst.

As a going away gift from the staff here I was given the One Thousand Gifts devotional.  I was so excited to receive it as I'm still journaling my own way to One Thousand Gifts.  You also might remember that my theme for this year seems to be thanksgiving.

The devotional is food for my soul.  I wanted to share a little section with you and hope that it encourages you in whatever today holds, and perhaps you'll just go out and buy the book so you can start the day off the same way I do these days: Bible. Devo. Gratitude Journal.  It puts my heart in the right place ready for whatever God brings.

" The year I was four, my sister was crushed under the wheels of a truck in our driveway.  That is my first memory, the day Aimee was killed.  Fears have formed me....The answer to anxiety is always to exalt Christ.  Calvin said that.  "If we compare a hawk with the residue of the whole world, it is nothing.  And yet if so small a portion of God's work ought to ravish us and amaze us, what ought all His works do when we come to the full numbering of them?"  Ravish and amaze?  Did Calvin number too?  Come to the full numbering, the one thousand, the endless numbering of the infinate grace of God?  My pen is on the counter... Doesn't my world also stablilize when I rejoice in Your works?  Cause me to remember it today, Lord: adore Christ to combat anxiety." - Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts Devotional 
Do you notice that when you choose to be thankful you're less anxious?  What do you do to practice gratitude in your life?  I'd love to hear your ideas.

Love from Across the Water

Thursday, 22 August 2013

August Update!

We're counting down the days here until our big move.  We're packing and cleaning and tidying and finding new homes for lots of our things that we weren't able to move with us to England.  It's busy, sometimes overwhelming, but definitely very exciting. The goodbyes are sad, but these last days here are fun and we're squeezing out every drop of sunshine that we can!  

For those we're leaving behind I'm thankful to so many who have become like family to me.  A hug, a chat, a cup of tea, even gifts of homemade soup and baked goodies for Ken when I wasn't up to slaving over a hot stove! ;)  

To those we're returning to I'm excited for the new adventures.  For sitting face-to-face and catching up, cuddling new babies, re-living old memories and making new ones... let the adventures continue! :)


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Living with Purpose?

 Warning!: Going deep again here today ;) I think you can handle it...

Growing up and going for lots of family walks I remember my Mum would often say, "Come on, let's walk with a purpose"... meaning, lets not dawdle around here!  

This last week I've been thinking about walking with purpose in life.  I'm trying to learn to be intentional about the choices and decisions I make daily, knowing that they affect the big picture.  But what's the difference between living intentionally and living purposefully?

1. A course of action that one intends to follow 
2. An aim that guides action; an objective
1. The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or a goal 
2. A result or effect that is intended or desired; an intention3. Determination; resolution

As I look up these two words, their definitions are similar but purpose seems somehow more weighty and deep: "The object toward which one strives or for which something exists"  

Living intentionally is all well and good, setting goals (which I love) and being driven by what you want your life to look like 10 years, 20 years, 50 years from now.  But what is your purpose?  What or Who are you striving toward?  The reason for your existing?  That is the real aim or goal.  That's the why behind all that we do, say or think.  

So, if like me you enjoy setting goals for yourself or planning for the future.  Have you thought about the why? For what or for Who are you living?  


Friday, 16 August 2013

TED Talk: Why 30 is not the new 20 // Claim your 20s!

I really enjoy TED talks and recently watched this one about the importance of being intentional with how you use your 20s.  There's some good stuff in here so I wanted to share it... enjoy!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Social Media Time Out!

I love pinterest!  Looking at beautiful photos, creative ideas and delicious food is really inspiring to me.  I'm inspired by pictures far more than words.  Instagram has to be a close second but pinterest is my favourite.  

Social Media is good and I think it's useful and helpful for lots of things.  I plan meals with it, choose birthday gifts, keep in contact with friends Continents away, and see family and friends get married, move house and have children.  But is it all good?

Do you sometimes come away from the screen feeling dissatisfied with the clothes you own? Or with your plans for a small camping holiday instead of touring Europe like you were just vicariously living through your favourite blogger?  Maybe there's a lack of contentment in your heart as you scroll through photographs of a friend's wedding, because you are yet to meet "Mr. Right", or because your wedding was no where near as elaborate.  Sometimes these good things can also breed in us a lack of contentment, jealousy and comparing ourselves with others, thinking that the life we have isn't quite good enough. 

Now and then I fall into this trap.  I was recently inspired by another blogger to take breaks from Social Media as part of my weekly routine.  So for this month I'm having Social Media free weekends, and I'm going to see how it feels.  So far on the days I've actually remembered to do it, I find myself going against what has become instinct to click through photos, scroll down status updates, check messages, and browse pinterest.  

I think this is going to be a good habit to break and to choose to remind myself to be fully present in the things that are before me every day.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Update: 33 items of clothing. 2 more months to go!

Well, this blog definitely keeps me accountable to the little challenges I've been setting myself recently.  Mainly my Project 333 challenge.  People keep asking me how it's going and so, I'm one month in and thought I'd post an update here too...

Firstly, if you missed my original post about Project 333, you can read it here.  But, basically, I challenged myself to live for 3 months with 33 items of clothing, including shoes and accessories.  I'm doing it because I want to learn to live simply and to take the focus off what's not important, and keep my eyes fixed on what is.  I believe our identity isn't in what's on the outside but what's on the inside.  (I just listened to a sermon on the life of David that talks more about finding our identity and security in Christ, not in looks, talents, career, health etc.  If you're interested you can listen to it here

I am not my clothing.  It's been a good challenge to take and to put less time and effort into thinking about what to wear.  I remind myself that people don't love me because of the clothes I wear... pretty sure my husband wouldn't even be able to tell you what I wore yesterday, and yet I know he loves me!

So, overall I'd say the challenge is going well.  I love having more space and less clutter, it's somehow stress-relieveing.  I also think that my radar has been finely tuned to notice more and more of God's desire for our lives in this area.  Taking clothes out of my wardrobe isn't a loss, it's a gain.  

On a practical note, I do struggle a little bit with 33 items only, (baring in mind that that also includes shoes, 2 coats, some jewellery and a handbag) because of the fact that I am like a child and can't seem to keep myself clean!!  Ah yes, my Dad always did tell me I needed a Pelican Bib to eat! (one of those with the tray to catch everything you drop!)  I'm afraid to say times haven't changed.  I also think that I should have planned out my items a bit more carefully, but I'm working with what I've got.

All that to say, I am enjoying learning to live more simply, in this area and in others.  It's a freeing feeling.  Have any of you set yourselves challenges in this area recently?  If you haven't I'd encourage you to join me.  It's not too late.  Maybe you just want to get rid of what you don't wear or doesn't fit anymore and see what a difference even that makes.  Maybe you want to go the whole hog and do Project 333.  Or, simplify in another area of life - hobbies, DVDs, make-up, computer games... Why not give away what you're not using and see what you think?

"For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God..." 2 Corinthians 1:12