Friday, 26 May 2017

Less is more

Recently I picked up my copy of Eugene Peterson's "The Message" and these words from Psalm 4 have been on my mind and digging into my heart again fresh the last few days:

Why is everyone hungry for more?
"More, more," they say.
"More, more."
I have God's more-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day
Than they get in all their shopping sprees.
At day's end I'm ready for sound sleep,
For you, GOD, have put my life back together.
Psalm 4 -MSG

For the most part, I'd consider myself a contended person, but there are times, wobbles, when the doubts, the wants and the "what ifs" creep in.  It's the moments where my eyes have slipped, and my ears have begun to listen to the world around me, instead of The Voice I know to be Truth.  It's a slow fade.  A drift.  A subtle stealing of joy.

Recently I heard someone use the analogy of a frog being thrown alive into a pan of hot water... it will immediately try to jump out before it's boiled alive!  Put a frog into a pan of cold water though, and warm up the water gradually, and the temperature shift will go unnoticed, until it's too late.  Quite the morbid picture, but a warning all the same.  The culture we live in, the world around us, will tell us things that so often we believe without even realising. One of the more obvious ones is the constant need for more.  "More, more"... "More, more"...  I believe that to be one of the biggest joy-stealers and hinderences to living out who we were created to be that we can listen to and take on board.  It will eat away at our contentment and satisfaction without us realising if we're not careful

So, that got me thinking to where I've been believing that in my life, and why.  Sometimes less is more.  Simplifying and learning to close out a lot of excess "noise" in our lives is a great starting point to rediscovering our "true self". How might a change in that direction help to bring some peace and contentment back into your own life?  A shift of perspective?  How about some of these to get you thinking... 

Less stuff, more space

Less talking, more listening

Less doing, more being

Less watching, more reading

Less spending, more giving

Less consuming, more creating


For more, take a look at these related posts:

Why doing less is the best way to do more

Living slow and urgent

Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Rest.  What does it mean to you?  Maybe it's taking a break from the kids; cup of coffee in hand and a good book.  Maybe it's a day off work to explore and discover places you've never been before.  It could be on a beach sipping a drink with an umbrella in the top or enjoying a well-earned Mars Bar at the summit of a mountain climbed.  

In our busy days and busy world, where accomplishments and achievements seem to reign supreme, is it even possible to truly rest?  Quiet is something most people are uncomfortable with and being alone equals loneliness for many, but what if those two things are keys to true rest...

"Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him..." Psalm 37:7

"Be still and know that I am God..." Psalm 46:10

Have you ever tried being still and quiet for 5 minutes?  It's a strange thing, especially if you're usually a "go-go-goer" like me!  But seriously, there's a time for everything and there's definitely a time for rest, a time for quiet, a time for being still.  It's a letting go, a breathing deep, and a release of control in many ways.  For me, it's in those times that I'm able to listen for God and to wait on Him.  They're moments to reset, recalibrate and regain perspective.  Without these moments/hours/days of rest, we're in danger of drifting and being dragged in a direction we never intended going in.  Maybe we're busy climbing a ladder, only to realise when we get to the top that we were leaned up against the wrong building.  Perhaps we're afraid to stop for fear that things will fall apart without us, or that we'll fall apart without the things... 

We were never made for a 24-7, 365 kind of striving.  A never-ending push for more.  Even God Himself created for 6 days and rested on the 7th. (Genesis 2)  It's in the resting, the listening, the silence, the solitude that we find our "true-self," we allow Him to help us re-discover who we were created to be.  It's in the resting that we learn to more than just survive...


For more on this read these related posts:

Re-dicovering your true self

It's often a good book that sparks my need to blog and share the wisdom and inspiration I've been reading!  Somehow the writing helps to cement it all in and give weight to what I'm processing for myself.  So really these posts are often just what I'm learning and growing in, and I share them in the hopes that they might inspire you too.  

This post then is no exception.  I've just recently finished reading a book called "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" by Peter Scazzero. It's been an interesting read, and there's things in there that are prompting me to make some specific changes in my life.  Some great nuggets of wisdom and I'm selectively choosing to share just one... maybe to tempt you to read the whole book for yourself!

"Living your God-given life involves remaining faithful to your true self.  It entails distinguishing your true self from the demands and voices around you and discerning the unique vision, calling, and mission the Father has given you."

I have seen and continue to experience this to be true in my own life.  I believe that God has created each of us unique, and with great purpose.  We all have different gifts, talents, interests, abilities and things that get us fired up!  Yet, in a fallen world, these things can get lost.  Our cares of what others might think of us, the pursuit of security, comfort, position, success, wealth, popularity can take over. The overwhelm of busy days, crammed schedules and a never ending to-do list can push out our "true-self".  We end up running in survival mode for too long and never really thrive.  

So how can we close out some of the noise and get space and band-width to rediscover who God created us to be?  I'm going to be blogging through a bit of a series on some of my thoughts over the next few weeks.  Come along and journey with me? 


For more, read these related posts:

Living with purpose

What's the point?

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Hygge - what's it all about ?

There's been this trend for a while now and lots of books have come out all about "Hygge" the Danish art of happiness. I'm a bit late to the party but I've just been enjoying one of those many books that I picked up recently and it had some lovely instagram-like pictures in it and looked worth a browse!

If, like me, you've somehow managed to miss the Hygge-train until now, the word is pronounced "h-ou-gir" and although we don't have a word for it in the English language it's that feeling of peace, contentment and like everything is right in the world at that given moment. It's about resting, relaxing, togetherness and being fully present.

"Its in the Hygge that I put life on pause and remember to enjoy the little things" -Lea Sommer 

I love everything about all those things, and without having had a word for it until now it's something I very much seek out for our day to day lives. Being a stay at home mum means that there's lots of routine and rhythm to our lives as we revolve around mealtimes, naptimes, bed times... eat, sleep, repeat! At times it can feel monotonous, but the antedote to all that is to slow down and and truley take in the moments. I even have a little piece of framed calligraphy on my mantle piece to remind me: "Wherever you are be all there"

"To me, hygge is a moment of letting go - a moment without limitations of time, duties, stress or distractions. A moment of love, warmth and time to gather round the small things: a card game, a book or a bath.... Hygge is that extra time I give myself to fully enjoy a special moment but at the same time something that magically happens every single day if I simply open my eyes." - Nanna Mosegaard, mother of two, Norrebro, Copenhagen 

That said, sometimes life doesn't seem so #hygge after all. Everyone knows the rat race, the stress of busyness, too much to do on too little time. There's a time to work and a time to play, and it's the rhythms of working hard and being productive with our days that make those sweet moments even sweeter.

For me, I'm naturally task oriented so it often takes a lot of discipline for me to set aside the to do list for a while to enjoy being fully present with my boys or to slow down enough to let them "help" me in my tasks and enjoy each other that way.

What would hygge be to yout?
For me it's sweatpants and reading books under a blanket with my boys, 
candles lit enjoying drinks and snacks and good chat with friends, 
cosy pjs tucked up under fresh sheets listening to the rain outside, 
eating a well earned picnic on top of a Lake District peak with my man by my side 
or enjoying a cup of good coffee and a piece of dark chocolate.... 
now those, I believe, are glimpses of eternity!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Do something about Dinner!

Hello again!  I hope you're all still where you want to be with any New Years Resolutions you've made now that January is well under way.... and if not, it's not too late, just jump back on!  If you're in need of a little inspiration, here's my third and final New Years Resolution:

**Do something about dinner!

This one might sound a bit silly in light of the "depth" of my other two, so let me explain!  Whether you call it dinner time, supper time or tea time, if you have little kids, or a job that runs late or school runs, clubs... whatever, that early evening hour or two where everyone is tired and hungry can get a bit chaotic.  (Not to mention the hanger that has been known to rear its ugly head around here!)  In our house the addition of a one-year-old finding his feet has just recently added to the pandemonium to the point that I knew something needed to change.  So, I did what any other millennial might well do... and asked for advice on Social Media!  I guess I was hoping for some kind of life hack that would take the stress out of cooking the evening meal, but still leave us with something healthy on our plates come 5:30pm.  

After weighing up some great suggestions I have decided to batch cook and freeze meals during nap times, days where the boys aren't at home, or when I have an extra pair of adult eyes to look out for them while I cook.  

So far this has been working so well.  I actually don't know why I haven't thought of or done this before!  It's meant that the evening "witching hour" isn't so witchy anymore because I can give my full attention (mostly) to the (very needy) needs of the moment.  My stress levels are lower, and I no longer dread the tea-time pandemonium.  I feel like I'm able to be more present, enjoy my boys and set the tone for a better start to the evening.  And, probably best of all from my husbands point of view, he gets to come home to the smell of good food without the frazzled wife, screaming kids and demolition-site looking home!  Win win!

If you're inspired to do something similar, here's some links to recipes that I've found work really well for this kind of batch cooking and freezing.  Enjoy! And if you try doing things this way I'd love to know any recipes you've enjoyed and how it's been making positive changes to the routine in your house too!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Creative joys

Towards the end of 2015 I read a book called "The Fringe Hours" it's a book that I still think of and that still inspires me even though I haven't read it again since. It's impacted the way I think about creativity... and so my second goal for this year is 

**To make more time for my creative joys! (And I call them that because making and creating really is my happy place!)

I wrote about this back in 2015 after I'd finished reading that book, and I really can't put it any better, so here's some thoughts from that post:  

"She writes that we're all creative by nature whether we realise it or not, we've been made by a Creator God and made in His image, and so that made so much sense to me. The problem is that we spend so much of our time and our days consuming that we forget about the joy of creating. 

So I've purposed to organise myself and prioritise time for creativity above other things...What would those (creative) things be for you? It's the gifts and talents God has given you, the things that you get excited about or that make you feel fulfilled and satisfied. The things that bring you joy and others too. How amazing would it be if we all set aside some of the consuming to get creating instead? I think we'd live fuller, more interesting and satisfied lives and probably bless others in the process.

So that's my challenge, to create more and consume less... Screens, TV, social media... To make time for things that matter by filtering out the things that don't. To prioritise the fulfilling and side-step the time-wasting... "

To thrive. Not just survive!


Friday, 13 January 2017

The Game-Changer

My first resolution or goal or whatever you want to call it is this:

**To wake up earlier for some time to read/pray/have peace and quiet before the day gets going.

 For those of you who don't know, I have a one year old and a two year old, both of whom are BUSY! Our days are full but so good. I usually like to take time while they're both napping to read and journal, sometimes with a bible study guide like the Beth Moore ones that I've been enjoying a lot recently. I know that my nap time days a numbered with my oldest though and so wanted to get into a habit I can stick to long term. Also, the days don't always get off to the best start when I'm woken up by being jumped on and pulled at and have to just hit the ground running... I'm hoping this new habit can change that. 

I recently listened to a podcast interview with Kat Lee called "The Mom Game Changer" where she talks about her Hello Mornings idea and the 3 minute morning 30 day challenge. It was so inspiring, you can listen to it here.  I've been intimidated with the thought of getting up any earlier than absolutely necessary because sleep is so. so. precious these days. This interview really helped me to feel like this goal could be an achieveable one for me, even in this season of life with little kids, and actually how it might even be the best time to start, so that I can do each day well instead of just trying to survive.

I'm already feeling the positive benefits of starting out my day this way. If you're wanting to make a change in this too, here's a few ideas and tools to inspire you...

Kat Lee - 3 minute morning 30 day challenge
Beth Moore Bible Study Guides
Lara Casey podcast interview on "Cultivate what matters"
Ann Voskamp's blog and One Thousand Gifts devotional