2017 – plans and prayers

I  hope you have all read my highlights and praise points for 2016!  Every year I also like to pray into the next and make some plans and aspirations for what I would like to do and see happen.  Here is what I have planned for 2017:

  1. Trip to Rome – This has always been something that me and my husband have wanted to do, and so we agreed we would try to save the money to go as a joint 30th Birthday treat.  We already have most of the money stashed away for this so just need to get on and plan it!
  2. Fit back in my wedding dress – 2 kids and almost 9 years have not done my figure much good.  My mum finally gave me back my wedding dress (which had been safely stored at her house until she moved!) this year and I tried it on – very depressing!!  So my aim is to try to fit back into it by our 10th Wedding Anniversary (that’s in 2018 so I have plenty of time).  I will hopefully be motivating myself with a few exercise bike related challenges in the new year so watch this space
  3. Sam starting school – yes I become a mum at the school gate this year.  I am praying loads that I can prepare Sam for this transition and see him start school well.  We have applied to the local Catholic Primary School so praying that he gets in.
  4. House –  Now that the news of HS2 coming through our estate has sunk in, we are praying into what to do next in regards to our house.  Many people have already filed for blight and are planning to move on, so we are really looking for wisdom from God this year into when to move and where to move to.  We probably won’t be moving in 2017, but some guidance is very definitely needed!!
  5. 30th Birthday –  yes this is the year that I turn 30, and far from mourning the passing of my twenties I am celebrating the time that I’ve had so far and looking forward to the next 30.  I still have quite a few tasks to finish on my 30 before 30 list (although very happy to have crossed off “take my blog self-hosted” this month!).
  6. Romesh – As I said in my 2016 highlights post, I have now been working at Teenage Cancer Trust for 5 years.  Every year the charity hosts an amazing series of shows at the Royal Albert Hall with great acts, and every year I say I am going to go and don’t.  Well this year one of Rob’s favourite comedians, Romesh Ranganathan, is hosting the comedy night and WE’RE GOING!!!!  We have been amazingly blessed with a hotel for the night, so just the food to sort out and its paid for!
  7. Blog plans – 2016 has been a year of great growth and planning on my blog after completing my online blogging course in June.  I started Mummy Meditations, and I am hoping to grow this into a supportive community of mums connecting with God guilt-free.  I am praying into ideas to help you all in your daily mission, including creating more free printables and other resources.  There is lots in my head so praying that I can filter out the good ideas from the bad ones!   (to be kept in the loop do sign up to hear more at the bottom of the latest post or this post)
verse for 2017

Last year I also chose a bible verse for the year, which was:

“The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” Psalm 145:8

That verse helped me lots when I was dealing with tantruming toddlers and also with upset and emotional neighbours.  This year I have chosen the following verses:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

What are you plans for 2017?  Do share below.  And what would you like to see on my blog in the coming year – suggestions welcome!

new years habit for 2017?

If you are still thinking about what resolution to make for the new year, or just contemplating how to make 2017 a better year than 2016, then why not consider joining me and my friend Naomi in doing Mummy Meditations.  There is more info on it here, and we will be creating new and exciting resources for those who commit to taking part in 2017 – just sign up below to be kept in the loop:

[contact-form to=’rachel.ridler@gmail.com’ subject=’MM sign up’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Mr and Mrs T Plus Three

2016 – highlights and praise points

I was going to call this post “the good, the bad and the ugly” but after seeing a flashback to 2014 where I spoke about my praise points of the year I decided to ditch the negativity and chose to praise God for all that has happened this year.  Yes, 2016 has been a crazy year – Brexit, Trump, HS2.  But so much amazing has happened amidst that choas, so here are my highlights:

1. Celebrating 5 years at Teenage Cancer Trust – Not many people have the joy of saying that they love what they do or that they look forward to going to work, but I am one of those.  Ever since starting at Teenage Cancer Trust I have loved every second and grown and flourished.  I may have a had a few breaks for maternity leave, but this December marks my 5th anniversary of working for one of the best charities in the UK and for the best boss in the world. 
2.Many special birthdays – 2016 contained my Grandad’s 80th, Husband’s 30th and Dad’s 60th so its been a mega year for special birthdays!  All have been celebrated with joy and occasion, and I have loved being able to treat my husband to a few surprises. 
3. Reuben turning One – yes I survived a year of being a mum of two children!  Reuben is such a cutie and it was great to celebrate his first birthday this year.  We went out to a local farm for the day which both boys enjoyed.  Things are very different now to the first few months, and I am sure they are going to get even crazier when Reuben starts walking but bring it on!
4. Comelybank Community – 2016 did indeed bring the sucky sucky news of HS2 coming through my estate.  But instead of focusing on this, I am just so thankful for the new friends and community that has grown over the past 6 months.  I can truly say that I have some amazing neighbours and my christmas card list is three times as long this year because of it!
5. Grandparents moving closer – Both our parents were planning to move this time last year, and all the stress that comes with that.  Well I am well and truly praising God that both sets of grandparents are now in their new homes and closer to us.  This has been such a blessing when kids have been poorly, and hopefully will mean much more time with our families in 2017.
6. Spree weekend – Me and Rob had the privilege of being on Urban Saints Midlands and East Spree again this year and sowing into the lives of the service crew.  It is always refreshing to spend time with young people, and amazing when God uses us to speak into them as well (plus the joker of the day hat is always good fun!)
7. Family holidays – who doesn’t love a good holiday!  And this year was our first as a family of four.  We all survived a week in a tent at Withernsea and had lots of fun on the beach.  Looking forward to some nice time away next year too.
8. Rob finishing his masters – The biggest celebration of the year (in my opinion!) was my lovely husband completing his masters in theology.  He has studied so hard over the last 3 years and we are now praying into what his next steps are.  
9. Mummy Meditations starting and growing – after the guilt of not being good at daily devotions, this year I have enjoyed starting up my regular mummy meditations series on the blog to motivate myself to keep going it in and hopefully encourage other mums to do the same too.  It has been great to see this start to grow and blossom, and to welcome Naomi as a partner in this towards the end of the year.  Watch this space for even more developments in Mummy Meditations in 2017!

 

FLASHBACK: Reflections on a year of missional motherhood



Earlier today, facebook kindly reminded me that it has been a year since I started maternity leave.  A year since I took 6 months off to be with my two boys and away from the safety of my job.  It was a scary, but exciting, prospect as I have never been a good stay at home on my own kind of person (I get bored way too quickly!).  I wrote a lovely blog post about my hopes and dreams for that 6 months so I thought it would be good to reflect on whether I have achieved what I set out to do.

The first thing I wanted to do was deepen my relationship with God through praying and reading the bible during nighttime feeds.  Although this was always a challenge and a battle against falling asleep, I did manage to follow a bible reading devotional each day on my phone, normally whilst doing my morning feed.  I found this really helpful in learning more about biblical parenting as that was the reading plan I downloaded – one verse that I read early on really challenged me for the whole 6 months of my maternity leave:

“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” Psalm 145:8

This verse helped me when Sam was being a nightmare and struggling to adjust to having Reuben about.  If God is gracious with me, then I too should be gracious to Sam.  Yes there are times to be angry, but the best parenting I could do was being rich in love and compassionate, understanding the changes he was going through and helping to guide him through that rather than just shouting at him because I was tired.  

The second thing I wanted to do was forge new relationships with other mums.  I really tried to join new groups and meet up with mum friends (mainly just to escape the prison of my own home!!!).  This meant that I was able to develop some amazing mum friendships and start some new local ones too.  I hope that I am able to keep in touch with some of these, but even just being able to say hi when out and about is a great encouragement to me, and hopefully them too!  Motherhood is best done together – there is real strength in numbers. 

So I would say my 6 months off (and the following 6 months back at work) have been a huge success and not at all wasted.  I have grown as a parent (there are soooo many more challenges with two kids), I have grown as a child of God and I have grown many new friendships.  I feel so blessed to have been able to have 6 months off this time round instead of 6 weeks but now I am back into the crazy busyness of being a working mum, and I love it!!  

FLASHBACK – Catalyst

 

Catalyst


This was a word that God gave me in 2014.  It was clearly revealed that I wasn’t to be someone who just sat back and let life happen, but that I was someone who stepped out and brought about change.  At the end of 2014 I wrote a nice post saying how I had got on with that word in my life that year, and after that I let it be.  But the last week God has brought that word back to me – CATALYST.  I guess he is saying that I wasn’t just supposed to be a catalyst for a year, but for LIFE!!!  And so I wanted to reflect on the journey I have had with this word on my life before I start looking at how I can carry on this now.  Enjoy!

How to be a catalyst – written by a work in progress 

Catalyst – starting off with generous living every day

Back online with a bang

Roots and Catalyst – what become of 2014

Flashback – Looking back at our moving home saga

After all this chaos with the HS2 news, I wanted to take a few moments this month to look back on what a blessing this house has been (and will be) to us.  So here are the links to the whole of our moving home saga.  I really hope that if we do have to move again that it isn’t quite a stressful!!
 
Part 1  (almost cried when I read the last paragraph about being here for at least 10 years!)
 
Part 2 (loving the reminder to “focus on the day that you are in and let God sort out tomorrow”)
 
Part 3 (Does the verse “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain” apply to railways also???!)
 
Part 4 (Need to put the “ask, seek, knock” principal into practice in this situation definitely)
 
Final Part (a bitter-sweet post but I am clinging to my verse and remembering that I do not need to fear now the heat has come, but that my leaves can stay green in Christ)

 

200 posts – Mum on a Mission has a flashback

As some of you might know, and others who have just discovered my blog might not, I have been at this blogging thing for over 2 years now!  It has been an amazing time and God has shown and taught me lots through it.  I am really happy that God keeps giving me inspiration and showing me how to grow and improve it so that you can all get even more out of reading it.

Today, to celebrate the publishing of my 200th post, I am going to start off some “flashbacks” to some of my first posts.  These were raw, often emotional and filled with the trials of everyday life with a toddler.  Life has changed and I have changed a lot with this, so hopefully you will enjoy seeing where I have come from.

The first post I want to share with you all is called “Pray as you walk ” and it contains a message that I truly believe in – BECOME A REGULAR.  You cannot expect to build meaningful relationships in this world if you don’t commit to something.  And yes it is scary to put yourself out there, try out new groups, new places, new scenes, but the rewards can be immense.  I am now still friends with the mum I talk about in this post, and have made many other mum friends through other groups I have attended.  So enjoy!

The word is alive – a year ago since the big move!

This time last year (well not exactly this date, but it was definitely a Friday!) I had spent the morning packing, moving, scrubbing and cleaning every last inch of our cherished house in Gainsborough.  I had locked up for the last time, leaving a basket of goodies for the new owners on the kitchen counter,  I had taken the meter readings and I had handed over the keys to the estate agent.  My new life in Doncaster was about to begin and it was with both sadness and excitement that I got in the car to drive to my new house.

A year on and some days I still can’t believe how blessed I am to live where I do, in a beautiful house with my amazing family.  This last year has flown by and has been a mixture of just getting on with every day life and really starting to put some roots down (a key word of mine for the few years!).  We have taken over a lifegroup which now meets in our home, made countless amazing new friends at church, met and grown relationships with our new neighbours, joined local groups and started to become a real part of the local community. 

There is a lot lot more to do – I know this is just the starting point and we have committed to being here for the long haul (whatever that means is up to God!) but I really believe that amazing things can happen when you commit to prayer and action.  A key moment for me in our new house happened this week.  We haven’t had the money/time/ability to decorate much of our new house, but we wanted to surround it in God’s word.  So a second (and key) bible verse is now displayed in our kitchen, which fits in nicely with our Feeding 5000 challenge and our family’s dedication to hospitality:

The word is very much alive and kicking in our house, and I want to encourage you to display verses in your home – whether it be ones that provide comfort, encouragement or have a special meaning to you.  Why not find a family vision verse, or mission verse?  Now everytime I go into the kitchen I am reminded that I should be hospitable to everyone, and that is a huge motivation for me.

 

Memories of Christmas

What are your memories of Christmas?  My most memorable Christmas presents over the years have been a dolls house, a netball post (I sucked at netball but I always gave it a try!), a walkman and most recently a vacuum cleaner (I know, I really do get some exciting presents, but when you are first married it is something you really need…).  But you know, the presents get used or wear out and eventually you forget all about them, and what you are left with are the real memories.



I remember being up really early and my mum playing board games with me until everyone else woke up so we could open presents.  I remember the nativity plays we used to do on Christmas Eve at our church and the rush to get from there into the car to my Nan and Grandad’s house.  I remember the open air carols in our town with the Salvation Army Brass Band.  I remember opening our stocking presents from Santa on my parents bed every year until I was about 21!  I remember always wanting to be a server at the midnight mass service at church because everyone used to come in from the pub and we would try to guess who was drunk.  I remember our neighbours down the street having an open house on New Year’s Day.  I remember loving the time I got to spend with my extended family.

I have some great memories, and I am hoping that I can start to build some for Sam this year and in the future.  But one thing I am desperate to make sure I achieve at Christmas is to reach out to others also.  Christmas is all about the good news of Jesus, and so I don’t want to miss out on using it to its full advantage.  That is why this year I have committed to putting on an open house for anyone and everyone – neighbours, friends, family.  I will also be collecting canned food donations for our local foodbank.

There are so many great ways that we can use Christmas for mission, so here is my list of quickfire ideas that you could use last minute (as Christmas is now only a week away!!!)

  • invite your neighbours/colleagues/people at playgroup to your church nativity service or carol service.  Everyone likes to feel Christmassy at this time of year so its a great chance to get people through the door to hear the real message of Christmas
  • do an act of kindness – whether that is a present for someone you know is in need, a donation to a charity or a foodbank or leaving a Christmas card with a message of hope in it somewhere public – it could make a huge difference to someone
  • take part!  Just by being involved in some of the Christmas activities in your community might open up doors to talk to people about the real meaning of Christmas.  So rather than sitting inside grumbling about Santa and commercialism, get out there and spread some joy!
  • make some handmade treats and hand them out to those who are lonely this Christmas – perhaps an older person down the street, a nursing home or women’s refuge.  Tie a bible verse to each one with ribbon or put a nice note saying “praying for ….. this Christmas”.  People will value that sentiment if nothing else and if that prayer is answered it will open doors for future conversations.
Well I am out of ideas, but just want to encourage you all to make some amazing memories this Christmas.  (p.s. please share any great mission/Christmas ideas you have below…..)



2014 Highlights and Praise Points

December comes and the year draws to a close – at the moment we are probably all rushing around trying to finish Christmas shopping, attending Christmas parties and school nativity plays.  It is crazy busy, but I want to encourage you all to make a praise wall for 2014.  This is looking back at the highlights of the year and praising God for all He has done.  It is also looking at the challenges you might have overcome.  When New Year comes I will look ahead to the amazing things in store for 2015, but for now I just want to be thankful for all the 2014 has held.  Here is my praise wall:



  1. Moving house.  I am sure you will all remember to trials and joys of our house move earlier in the year.  We were finally in by the end of March and the last 9 months of the year have been fantastic as we enjoy the blessings of the house God gave us.
  2. Sam’s first birthday.  We survived a whole year!!!!  It was hard work at first, but now I am so glad that I gritted my teeth through all the sleepless nights because Sam is a joy and I couldn’t imagine life without him.  He has such a cheeky little character.  We celebrated his first birthday with a trip to the Deep – Sam loves the fishes.
  3. Sam’s dedication.  It took a little while to schedule this in due to our church having building work done, but we were finally able to dedicate our little boy to the Lord this year.  It was a great family day too as we got to have everyone over for dinner at our house afterwards.
  4. Family holiday.  This year we took Sam on his first proper family holiday – just Me, Rob, Sam and Archie the weekend bear from nursery!  It was his first time camping and he loved it.  He also loved the beach.
  5. Family and Church Family.  This year both our family’s have been amazing in supporting us but we have also been so thankful for our new church family at Legacy Church Doncaster.  They helped up move house, they have watched Sam, they have looked after our rabbits, they have given us a new microwave when ours broke, they have all been amazing and gone above and beyond to love us.
  6. Centre Parcs.  We got to enjoy a lovely restful week with grandparents at centre parcs this year.  Sam loved the ducks (aka Swans, ducks, moor hens – any bird to be honest) and getting to go around on my bike.
  7. Shine.  This is fairly fresh in my mind but such an awesome experience.  I got to lead the creative arts session and share my testimony on the weekend.  All the feedback from girls has been staggering as to the difference this has made in their walk with Jesus.
  8. Pudding club.  So last year my new years resolution was to start a pudding club, and I did!  I have enjoyed it so much, it has been a great opportunity to meet new people, develop friendships and enjoy some good pudding.  Will definitely be carrying this on into 2015….
  9. God’s promises.  Finally I wanted to praise God for the fact that His promises stand true.  This is something I have learnt this year.  Sometimes it takes longer than we would like but if God reveals something to you then He will honour that.  For this reason I have Jeremiah 17 displayed proudly on my living room wall – the verse that God revealed to me last December about our new house.
 

Love is….

So this will be a very “short but sweet” kind of post today.  I was clearing out some things that my mum had given me from my old bedroom and came across a journal that I had kept the first summer I started going out with my now husband.  We had only been together a couple of months whilst at university before the summer hit and we were destined for three months apart – a huge deal when you are young and in love.  So I wrote a journal to try to keep myself sane during that time.  And here is a passage I wanted to share with you all:


“When I am with you now I am beginning to understand more and more what love is.  I can understand more why Jesus died on the cross to save us.  He did it because he loved us so much.  And I can totally understand that now.  There is so much that I would sacrifice in order to save your life.  I would give up my money, my career, and ultimately my life, in order that you may lead a full and happy one.  I’ve never felt that kind of love before, and I guess Jesus’ death has never spoken so clearly to me before, so thank you.  To think about how much it must be hurting God and bringing Him to tears when we sin, and how much he must love us to send His son as a rescue plan just blows my mind away..”


I was 20 at the time I wrote this, just experiencing true love for the first time.  And now I am (almost!) 10 years older, I have a son and a lot has changed about my relationship with my husband. I am experiencing love in a completely different way again and learning even more about the extent of God’s love for me in the process.  Never under-estimate the power of God to speak through you ordinary life and to teach you about his perfect love through your own love in the world.