My 2019 Reading Wishlist

I love reading, but I often find that I don’t have the right books around me that I want to read, or sometimes I’ll hit a brick wall with a book that I really just don’t get!!  There is also that problem of finding time and planning it in to our already hectic lives as mums.  But I think there is great value in putting together a reading list for the year to inspire you and keep you going reading when life gets busy.

I have put together a few books on my list to inspire you, and the reasons why I want to read them:

  1. Raising Kids in a “You Can Do It!” World.  I have loved the “raising kids” series that 10ofthose.com have published, and have worked my way through two other titles already this year.  They are small enough to pick up when you have 5 minutes break, but really address current parenting issues in a relevant and biblical way.  This is the next in the series that I want to get my teeth into.
  2. Idols of a Mother’s Heart.  I was sent this book to review, and it’s been sitting in my pile for a while.  The first chapter has already captured my attention, as it refers to motherhood as a learning and stretching period for us as mums and I am fascinated to know more!  We often lay ourselves down on the alter of our children, but this book aims to dethrone the idols that we can so often pick up during motherhood.
  3. .  This book was recommended by a friend at church and as a self-professed worrier and stress head, I think this will be a useful resource to try and gain a biblical perspective on issues of the mind and to deal with them.
  4. .  I’ve read a few parenting books in my time, but this one was bought for me by my mum and I  am hoping to get a chance to read it over the year.  With two very clever and high energy boys, I want to escape the cycle of shouting at them and bring a sense of peace into the way we parent them.
  5. .  A classic marriage book that I have yet to read!  My hubby always goes on about my love language being gifts, and I get a bit annoyed with him as I have never taken the quiz to find out!  So we are hoping to sit down and work through this together over the year.
  6. I love Francine Rivers and the way that she weaves Christianity and biblical truths into her writing, whether that is by adapting stories based on the bible and taking them further, or writing new stories altogether with themes of love and restoration running through them.  This is one that I haven’t read yet so I’m adding it to my list!
  7. .  I have recently stumbled upon the author Jo Watson, and if you like a bit of chick lit escapism then her books are perfect!  Yes, there is always a happy ending, and yes it is a bit far fetched and romantic.  But they are lovely to get lost in the stories and characters.
2019 plans and prayers

2019 Plans and Prayers

 

2019 plans and prayers

Welcome to my second reflective post for the New Year – this time I am turning my attention to what I am planning and praying for in 2019.  If you missed my praise points from 2018 then catch them here!  Lets go into 2019 with prayerful hearts, dedicating this year to God. Here are some of my plans and prayers:

  1. ROME!!!  I write this once again, but we have now actually booked the flights and hotels so 2019 will finally be the year we visit this amazing city.  It was on the shortlist for our honeymoon, so this is our treat for the year.  If anyone has any recommendations on restaurants/tours etc that we should go to do let me know.
  2. DIY.  This year will be filled with a lot of DIY as we try to turn our 60’s house into a modern space.  Yes, this is partly because we want a nice place to live, but we also want to have a house that we can use for hospitality, a gift that we have both been given by God to bless others with.  This will hopefully see a new bedroom being created in our garage ready for another lodger, and the kitchen and other spaces being transformed so we can do more meals and open house days.
  3. Reuben starting school nursery. reuben in uniform My youngest is now the grand old age of three, and so after Christmas he has a 30 hour place at the school nursery.  He is so excited, and has missed nursery a lot the last 6 months.  It will also take away a lot of stress for me in regards to childcare, housework and blogging, as I will have at least one day a week where I am not working so can catch up on mum admin!!  I am praying that I can use this time wisely, and that it means I will be able to value the quality time I have with both boys after school instead of trying to be with them and do housework at the same time.
  4. Colour Conference.  This year I have signed up to go to Hillsong Colour Conference with the ladies from my church.  It is down in London, which scares me a lot, but I am praying now for an immense time of spiritual growth over those few days and for relationships to be build up during that time.
  5. Mummy Meditations growth. mummy meditations banner After launching the shop last year and rebranding, I feel like now is the right time to make Mummy Meditations even bigger and better.  I have been collecting feedback and planning new things, so my prayer is that whatever God wants me to do to encourage mums in their journey with him will be successful, and anything that is just my selfishness and pride will fall away.  I am praying for more mums to join us in this journey in 2019 too – maybe we’ll even reach 1,000 members!!
  6. Northumberland.  Yes I  am that annoying person who has their holidays all planned in and booked already!  Family time is so important, and so this year we are going to go and explore Northumberland with is castles, coastline and Holy Island.

So thats my 2019 plans in a nutshell!  Most of all my prayer is that I stay close to God through whatever 2019 throws at me.

verse for 2019

I stumbled upon my verse for the coming year quite by accident, but felt like it was right for the new season I will be in.  Last year was about strengthening myself, getting through things, and recovering ready to bloom again.  This year, I feel God saying this to me:

When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.  When you come looking for me, you’ll fine me. Yes, WHEN YOU GET SERIOUS about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed” God’s Decree.”  Jeremiah 29:12-14 (MSG)

This verse to me was a wake up call – stop just messing around at the desires I’ve put in your heart and GET SERIOUS.  If you want to follow me, then you have to actually follow me with everything!  If you want those things then you have to actually pray about them.  If you want those dreams then you have to actually pursue them!  If I do these things, then I won’t be disappointed with what God does through me. Am I brave enough to do this?!! We shall see!

will you get serious with me in 2019?

Is getting back on track with God on your list of things to do in 2019?  Then why not join me and over 500 other mums in the Mummy Meditations Community as we look to study the bible, one verse at a time, during the chaos of motherhood.   Make it your New Year’s Habit!   You can find out more over in our Facebook Community.

 

praise points

2018 Praise Points

praise points

This time of year is fast becoming my favourite – the empty space between Christmas and New Year when you get to breathe (the chaos of Christmas is over!), reflect and regather your thoughts ready for the New Year.  So, in my first in a series of a few reflective posts I want to share with you all my praise points from 2018.

It is so great to look back and see what God has been doing over the last year, and this has been a biggie for me and my family.

  1. MOVING HOUSE!!!  Have I mentioned this at all?  Maybe not, but the big milestone event of new house2018 (which finally happened in May) was moving house.  That means that HS2 and all the stress that it caused is now behind us, we are settling in to our new home and community and have a fresh start as a family.  At the end of 2017 I asked for prayers of wisdom about where/when we should move, and as we stepped in 2018 I felt God saying it was time.  So we found a house that I fell in love with in January, and then commenced the 4 month saga with HS2.  But its over now, and we have so much space and quirkiness in our new home (even if it is a DIY to-do list!).mummy meditations mug
  2. Launch of the Mummy Meditations Shop.  September saw a brand new look for Mummy Meditations, and with it a huge step in faith as I launched the Mummy Meditations Shop with a selection of resources for those taking part.  It is a slow start, but hopefully one that will benefit all the amazing mums who take part in Mummy Meditations each week.
  3. Hubby starting a PHD.  This has been a dream of Rob’s for a while now, and this year the government launched loans for PhD students which has meant he can take a day a week off to start on this (possibly 8 year long) endeavour.  I know this is pretty scary for him, but its so great to see him step out and start it.
  4. 10th Wedding Anniversary. 10th anniversaryYes, we made it!  10 whole years without killing each other!! We had a night away in a lovely hotel in the Peak District to celebrate, as unfortunately our Rome trip had to be postponed again.  I can’t imagine my life without this man by my side – he is my champion, my comforter and my best friend.  Words cannot explain how thankful I am for having found him all those years ago.
  5. New school. sam new schoolA real stress for me over the last year was finding a new school for my eldest son and whether or not he would settle in it.  He loved his old school, as did I, and had a small class of close friends. I also had many mums I knew, so this was a big step into the unknown.  But it has really paid off, and his new school is lovely.   Sam is flourishing, on the pupil parliament, getting Star of the Week and making friends.  Has it happened instantly?  No!  But I am gradually making friends at the school gate, and love the atmosphere around the school with many extra things taking place for the kids and parents.   It is a still a church school, so I know that Sam is getting spiritual input too.
  6. Launch of Bible Journaling on my Bed.  Another thing I wanted to take forward into 2018 was my bible journaling passion.  This started with a new Instagram and Facebook account dedicated to my journaling, and has expanded into hosting my first two “Introduction to Bible Journaling” Workshops in my own home.   I felt so spiritually alive hosting these – the kind of feeling you get when you KNOW you are doing what God meant for you to do!
  7. Fitness, friends and fun.  This past year I have been leading a parents lifegroup at our church, and I am so thankful for the growing and deepening relationships I have with those women.  They have been my strength and joy this year.  I have also taken up Airfit and tried to take back my fitness with a couple of friends which isn’t going quite as well (my pelvic floor is not quite trampolining ready!) but is a good laugh.
  8. Family time. I am always thankful for the times we get to spend together as a family.  This year my boys have started playing together nicely, sharing a bedroom, and life as a parent is becoming a little bit easier.  We had an amazing few days in the Lake District camping (cut short due to moving house that week!), a trip up to Scotland and many more days out.  I may moan about them sometimes, but I really do thank God and praise him for my family. Ridler family
Things I didn’t get to do

Once again, our Rome trip was postponed for various reasons, but as I type this the flights and hotel are already booked for us to go in June 2019!!!!  We are combining it with a friend’s wedding in Italy – it was the push we needed to actually book the trip!  Quite chuffed that this was the only plan from my 2018 list that I didn’t get round to doing.

My verse of the year

Last year’s verse was Isaiah 35:1-4 (check out last years post for a reminder!), and I can truly say that many things in our lives have come into bloom this year, although still much more to look forward to (life never works out perfectly like you expect it to!), but I have clung onto the final part of the verse for dear life through the tough times.  There have been times when I have given up praying as it seemed nothing could change the situations we were in.  There have been times when I have been so angry with things that I could have punched someone.  But my God is faithful, and He has strengthened my feeble hands and calmed my fearful heart.  I come to the end of this year with new dreams and plans that God has put into my heart, letting go of the perfect vision I had of our life.  Life is messy but beautiful.  What a 2018!

In HER Shoes – Proverbs 31 Wife (Week 16)

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Well we’ve arrived – its the last week of the series, and oh my what a series!!! Who would have know the amazing blessings, encouragements and inspiration we would have got from these 16 weeks when we started?  We all started off feeling a bit condemned by this “perfect woman”, but over the weeks we have come to see the heart behind why this passage was written – as advice from a mother to a son – and that it was never meant to be interpreted by us in that way.

None of us are future Queen’s, and so many of the characteristics described are not transferable.  And yet God, in his awesome wonder, can use these words to equip us in our roles as chosen wives and mothers.  When I look back I see many more ways in which I can be a great wife, and see the many ways that I am already fulfilling this role for my husband.  But I also see ways in which I can spur my husband on, delegate more and not interfere, and focus more on my family’s spiritual health as well as just physical needs.

This week was no different, and with our final week we meditated on this verse:

“Honour her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate”  Proverbs 31:31

At The City gate

This was the first phrase that jumped out to me, as once again it is one that has been used in the passage before (in verse 23 where her husband is “respected at the city gate”).  The city gate was an important part of the city, where things entered and left but also where men gathered, big decisions were made, news was shared and criminals punished.  As I read more about the city gate, a lot of negative things came out – punishment, noise, control, taxation, intimidation.  How odd I find it that here the topic that is to be shouted out at the city gate is one of honour and praise!  It is positive!  This serves as another reminder that our God is back to front, upside down and out of this world.  Bathsheba wanted her son to be more like God, to be counter-cultural and instead of using the city gate for his dirty work, she wanted him to use is for good.  And who else would be better to influence culture than the future king?

what is our city gate?

So how can we be counter-cultural in our worlds?  What is our “City Gate” (as we obviously don’t have a physical gate in most of our communities where men gather!)?  One of the amazing mums in our Facebook Community mentioned that the school gate is quite similar – a gathering of people, all the noise and chaos, mums and dads chatting about the news and issues of the day, possibly gossiping about things or moaning about their kids.  How can we be different in this situation?  Or maybe the break room at work is your city gate, or the toddler group.  Lets praise and honour those in our lives and be a positive influence in these places rather than joining in with the negative.

what are you being praised for?

Initially I was very confused as to why her works would be the thing praised at the city gate and not her character.   But then the Mummy Meditations Community came forward with some great thoughts – that our actions are the outpouring of our character, and so good works are the result of that noble character.  Also, that perhaps this was counter-cultural too, that women wouldn’t normally be praised for what they’d done, just kind of expected to get on with it, so this would be really odd.  Finally, it was suggested that “works of her hands” might refer to her sons whom she had raised, and that they would grow up to be upright men who have a seat at the city gate too.

So, food for thought on our final summary post of the year!

  1. Do your works reflect your character?  If not, what needs to change?
  2. How can we be counter-cultural and praise others when they would normally be mocked?  Maybe this is our kids (its quite normal to moan about them in our culture and how hard parenting is) or our husbands.
  3. How can we ensure that our kids, “the works of our hands” grow up to be great members of their community in the future?
Next Year (and two actions for you to do!)

As this is the last post of the year, and the next series doesn’t start until 6th January, I don’t have a next verse to share with you all.  What I would love for you all to do is have an amazing two weeks of rest with your families, read whatever you want in the bible, and if you stuck for ideas then check out my “10 things to do in the Christmas Break” post.  I do have two small actions for you to do right now (pretty please!):

  1. To make sure you get the announcement for the next series then do join the Mummy Meditations Facebook Group and sign up to the e-newsletter via this link.  The new verse will be announced on the 6th January, but there will be new resources in the shop, testimonies from some of our amazing members and much more before it starts!  Why not invite a friend to join us?
  2. I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts on Mummy Meditations, what difference it has made to you and how I can make it even better.  So please fill in this quick survey and share your thoughts.

 

 

10 things to do this Christmas Break

WE ARE THERE!!!  Yes – parents across the UK have heaved a big sign of relief as the busiest term at school is over and we are now in the Christmas holidays.  Yes there might be a few days of excited pre-Christmas children to put up with before the big day, but you made it.

So what now?  I am sure there are many things on your to-do list, but I want to share with you 10 things that I will be doing over my Christmas break this year to invest in both myself and my family and set us up well for the start of 2019.  Perhaps you’d like to join me in some of them:

  1. REST and RELAX.  This is your Christmas holiday too, and you shouldn’t have to do all the jobs of all the child care.  Make sure you plan in time for you to rest and relax.  And if that means not planning hundreds of trips or activities, then thats fine!  Let the kids be wild for a bit, let them play with their new toys and watch hours of TV.  It is not going to break or ruin them, but it might just give you that bit of space and recharge time that you actually need. Accept offers of help from family members (or ask if you need help), curl up with a good book or have a nap and rest.
  2. FIND A BIBLE VERSE FOR 2019.  Maybe you already do this, maybe you don’t, but I have found it useful the last few years to pray over and find a verse for the year.  This gives me something spiritual to focus on, and often it reflects where God is taking our family that year.  I find comfort in it when life is hard, and I often write it somewhere so I can see it throughout the year and reflect on it. (You can read mine from last year here)
  3. REFLECT ON 2018.  Did you have a list of goals, aims or activities that you wanted to do in 2018?  Then take a look back and see what you achieved or didn’t.  That way you can congratulate and celebrate the successes of the year, take stock of what didn’t go to plan, and maybe refocus for the year to come.  Its great to do this at least once a year, as we often forget how far we’ve come!  Me and my husband like to do this on New Year’s Eve together with the next step…
  4. WRITE GOALS FOR 2019.  Whilst we are reflecting on the year gone by we look to the year ahead and write some goals and aims we have for the year.  This keeps us focussed, and the span various elements of our lives.  They might be personal, work related, hobby related, spiritual.  Whatever you want to do in the next year, write it down and keep it safe!  This really helps us to get rid of the unnecessary things we are doing and focus on what we are passionate about for that season.
  5. MAKE YOUR FAMILY YEARBOOK.  Whilst looking back on 2018, you might also want to remember the times you’ve shared together as a family.  I like to do this by creating a yearbook with all the photos we’ve taken.  We download all the photos from our respective phones and filter through for the best, then I put them in a photobook online ready to be printed.  I love this time of remembering the highlights of the year, birthdays, holidays, big events.  And to have these in print makes them even more special.  Photo books normally cost around £35 so its a good way to use any Christmas money you might get!  (We love this one with the cut out numbers on the front from photobox)
  6. CREATE A READING WISHLIST.  Leaders are learners, so as the leader of your household (and whatever other ministries you are involved in!) you should be planning to learn more over the next year.  Whether that is books, audio books, podcasts or you tube videos, make a list of topics you want to grow in over the next year and research what books and resources will help you do that.  Then collate a wishlist of what you want to read/watch/listen to over the year.  Be realistic – we are mums and don’t always have a lot of reading time!  So maybe 1 book a month might be achievable, or 1 every couple of months.  Why not add a few books for pleasure to the list too from your favourite fiction authors.   Watch this space for my list…..
  7. WRITE A FAMILY BUCKET LIST.  I am sure we all get lost in the routine and busyness of school, swimming lessons, football, etc.  So its great to sit down with your kids and chat about what extra things you might like to do this year.  We did something similar over the summer holidays, but a bucket list for the year could include places to go, activities you want to try, restaurants you’d like to eat at, people you’d like to visit, films you’d like to see.  Let everyone contribute and them type it up and frame it, so you can tick things off throughout the year.  Then when you have a free Saturday, you can look at the list and do something fun together!  Make sure you add a mixture of free/cheap/treat things to the list so there’s always something to suit your budget. (Here’s ours from last year – I think we managed 9 out of the 20!)
  8. PLAN IN THE BIG THINGS.  Buy yourself a planner, calendar or diary and book in the important things of the year right now!  Holiday weeks, special birthdays, trips to family members.  The non-negotiables of life go in first, and then the things that you really want to find time to do.  Without planning, we can miss out on some great things and seeing important people, so make sure you plan to have a great 2019.
  9. BUY NON-PERISHABLE SUPPLIES IN THE SALE.  This might just be me, but I like to alleviate the stress and cost of next years Christmas really early by getting non-perishable things in the sale now.  Christmas cards, wrapping paper, even reduced gifts to stash away.  You can also get the next size up clothes for your kids ready for the coming year, and even buy all the birthday cards you will need now and write them ready! If you can take some stress out of 2019, then do it!!
  10. RECYCLE THOSE CHRISTMAS CARDS.  Maybe you don’t get as many now, but we always try to recycle what Christmas cards we do get.  The fronts get cut into tags for presents next year, and the bits with names on get put into a box and made into prayer cards so we can pray over those close to us over the coming year (thanks Gospel Centred Parenting for this fab idea!).

In HER Shoes – Proverbs 31 Woman (Week 15)

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Welcome to the penultimate summary post of the series!!!  I hope all your Christmas preparations are going well and that you are ready for a well earned rest over Christmas (although when do us mums truly get a proper rest??!).  Just to lighten your load (and my own) we will be taking a two week break over the Christmas period from Mummy Meditations.  This will give you a chance to focus on your kids and your own time with God, reflecting on the past year and looking forward in your own personal way. 

DON’T WORRY THOUGH – I’ll be back to start a new and exciting series on the 6th January which I hope you will all join me in as a New Year’s Habit! There will be new resources, hopefully a new website, and much more! So watch this space….

In the meantime, lets take a look at this week’s verse:

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” 

Proverbs 31:30

Who is this verse for?

The biggest thing I wanted to remember whilst meditating on this verse was that it was never written for us.  It was written by Bathsheba as advice to her son Solomon.  And so when we take this heart and say “well I can’t be nice and charming to others, and I can’t try to be beautiful” we are taking this verse out of context.  

Men are, have been and will always be attracted to beauty and the way women look.  Its just the way that they were made.  We saw this in previous women that we looked at, such as Rachel and Leah who were sisters, but Rachel was the more attractive one and that is why Jacob fell in love with her.  .  But just because this is the natural way that things happen doesn’t mean that it is the way it should be.  We all sin, but that is not the way that God wants it to be.   Bathsheba is trying to get her son to break the mold and see past the physical.  As a king this would have been very important, as there would have been lots of pretty ladies, each with their own agenda, trying to woo him and become queen.  Bathsheba is trying to protect her son from future pain that choosing a wife just based on looks could have.  

What kind of wife is best then?

So Bathsheba isn’t saying that beauty and charm are bad, just that they can be misused.  So what kind of wife does she suggest is better than that?  One who shares the same CORE VALUES as him, one who FEARS THE LORD.  Yes, Bathsheba knows that the most important thing for the future king of Israel is that they will stay close to God, as she has seen first hand the harm that can happen when they stray.  The easiest way for him to do that is to have a wife by his side who is also following the God of Israel, as she will support him, pray for him, bring him back to God when he wanders and help him make good decisions for the nation.  Those of you parenting on your own or with a non-Christian husband – how hard is it to make those tough decision without support or with conflicting beliefs influencing you both.  Wouldn’t you love for it to be easier and simpler or to just have someone there to bounce ideas off?  That is what Bathsheba wants for her son.

How does this apply to me then?

So all of this has really been directed at Solomon.  How can we, as modern day women, apply the lessons from this verse to our own lives?  I think the obvious application would be to not put as much value on our appearance and outward attractiveness, but to concentrate on our relationship with God instead.  Yes there is some truth in that – we should always prioritise getting to know God over other worldly things.  But I think the heart of this verse is about being a great partner to our husbands, as that is what Bathsheba wanted for her son.  How can we, as the wives that have been chosen, spur our husbands on to do great things in their work, family and other aspects of their lives.  How can we keep them close to God, or bring them closer if they don’t know Him yet?  That is the thing that is worthy of praise, that is the mark of an amazing wife. 

Next week

I would love to hear your thoughts on this verse, so don’t forget to share them over in the Facebook Group. Next week we move on to the final verse in Proverbs 31:


Honour her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:31

I hope you will join me as we meditate on this verse together.

arise and call her blessed

In HER Shoes – Proverbs 31 Wife (week 14)

Welcome to another week of Mummy Meditations!

I hope you have been encouraged by the comments and thoughts shared in the Facebook Group. This week we have been meditating on the following verse:

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all””

Proverbs 31:28-29
DISCLAIMER:

This verse was written about a fictional Queen who would be a match for King Solomon.  I’m pretty sure none of us are queen’s in here, so this verse is not about pressure to “surpass” all other women, but to figure out how we can be the best for our own children and our own husband in whatever situations we find ourselves in.

Setting the scene each morning 

So this summary post might be a bit different to others.  Mainly because the word ARISE has been the one standing out to me this week. I mentioned it in the middle of the week in our Facebook Community, but today is a prime example of how our mornings can affect the rest of the day.  With one little negative comment, I put my husband in a bad mood when he got out of bed.  He went into the boys in a bad mood, and hence they messed around and got punished.  This put them in a bad mood, and the sequence continues.  Does this sound familiar to you?  Do you ever wakeup and dread what the day is going to hold, so you are already in a foul mood when it comes to getting the kids dressed and out the house for school?

arise and call her blessed

Those first few moments in a morning set the tone of the day.  Yes, other things can happen and things can change, but the first few moments are very powerful.  That’s why so many people advocate for getting up early to spend time with God. But if we can’t do that, then this verse has been challenging me on how I speak about those around me first thing.

The kids and husband in this verse get up and immediately call their mum/wife blessed and praise her.  Wow, what that must feel like!!  To have the first words said to you be ones of love, and adoration, rather than “IS IT BREAKFAST TIME!!!”.  But you know what –if that is what we want, then we have to start that.  We have to wake up every day and bless our kids and our husband and speak out praise over them.  We can set the culture in our home and we can set the mood of the day, so lets make it one of praise and love.  If we start doing that, then quickly it will filter into everything else.

So what are the first words out of your mouth on a morning?  Is it “I love you” to your husband?  Is it “hello handsome!” to your boys or “hello beautiful!” to your girls?  The morning holds such promise for the day ahead so lets use it for build up our family, rather than spending it screaming at each other. 

Next Week

Don’t forget to share what God has revealed to you through this verse, as it may be something completely different!  Next week is our penultimate week in this series, so do join me and hundreds of other mummy meditators in pondering on this verse: 

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:30

In HER Shoes – Proverbs 31 wife (Week 13)

 

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Happy Sunday Evening everyone.  I thought that I would put this post up slightly later, as I am sure you are all busy decorating your houses for Christmas!  What a joyous time of the year it is, and yet what a stressful time too.  This weeks verse has come perfectly timed, as I think it speaks some really useful messages as we enter December.  It is:

“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness”  Proverbs 31:27

watching over

The big thing that has been niggling at me this week is this concept of “watching over”.  We had some great definitions and examples of what this might mean shared on the Facebook Community.  These included:

  • To protect someone and make certain that that person is safe:
  • Making sure everything is sorted for our families so that we don’t have to worry about things
  • Nurses on the night shift watch over their patients – they don’t touch or examine them but they watch and check to make sure everything is ok.
  • Making sure things don’t go badly, so giving attention but not interference

Its this tension between caring for, looking after, making sure things are safe but also not interfering or taking over.   Its the mum “watching over” as her kids learn to cook and cut things with sharp knives.  She is there to make sure the environment is safe, the kids are prepper and taught before being let lose and to watch for signs that things might go wrong.  But she is allowing the child to step out and learn a new skill and do it themselves.  This is a beautiful thing, and yet so difficult.  b

I think there is something huge for us to learn from this as mums, and that is that we have to stop interfering!!!  We have to let our household take care of itself once in a while, and watch what happens.  We as mums are getting more and more stressed, trying to control everything and sort everything, when that is NOT what we are supposed to do!!  We are supposed to delegate, we are supposed to train and teach others to take some of the load.  Yes, we are there to make sure nothing goes wrong, but we are not hand holding all the time.  That is what we should aspire to, and I want to challenge you today to take stock of how you treat your kids and your husband.  Are you interfering all the time and taking over, or are you watching over and allowing them to fly?

Bread of idleness

Its funny really that this over controlling is then immediately contrasted with not being idle.  As mums, this is a really tricky balance to strike, and I think that the passage is saying we have to get that balance right.  Yes, we shouldn’t do everything for everyone and not let anyone else get a look in, but we also shouldn’t sit back with our feet up as everyone else in our household takes the strain.  How often do you try to do everything, as let you kids just enjoy themselves, to then burn out and end up slumped on the sofa unable to do anything?  I mean, I love a good slump on the sofa, resting and recovering, but there is a difference between resting and being idle.

  • REST – cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength
  • IDLE – (of a person) avoiding work; lazy.

This is the big difference – rest is for those who HAVE worked, idleness is avoiding doing any work in the first place.  If you have been running around after the kids all day and you are exhausted, then it is absolutely fine to have a sit on the sofa, checking your social media with a nice cuppa in hand.  That is the rest that you need to face the rest of the day.  BUT if you haven’t done a thing, and just can’t be bothered to do the jobs that need to be done in the house so are sitting on the sofa avoiding those jobs, well that is being idle.

So rather that demonising sitting on sofa, watching TV and checking our phones, lets take the time to examine why we are doing that instead.

putting this into practice in the lead up to Christmas

As I said at the beginning, this verse has come for me at an very opportune time.  Christmas, especially for those of us with kids in school, can be ridiculously busy.  We can feel exhausted and over worked, stressed and not joyful.  But this verse says stop trying to do it all!  Delegate and let others do some of the Christmas chores – the kids can decorate the tree, the hubby can go to the Carol concert, the grandparents can take them to see Santa.  YOU don’t have to do it all.   Lets be there to watch over all the festivities, but not feel like we have to do everything.

Also, lets remember to rest.  Find times of peace, to meditate on our verses or ponder the Christmas story, or to just scroll through Facebook!  But don’t become idle avoid doing the jobs that need doing – they’ll only pile up for the week before Christmas and make you more stressed!!

So channel that Proverbs 31 woman this week and enjoy the start of the festivities!!!

Next Week

We move on to the following verse to meditate on over the coming week:

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all”” Proverbs 31:28-29

I do hope you will join me and the other members of our Facebook Community in discussing this verse throughout the week.  The free phone lock screen will be available tomorrow, but in the meantime check out the 99p sale over in the shop:

 

us all with santa

Review: Wish Upon a Star with Santa at Meadowhall

wish upon a star meadowhall

Are you looking for something a bit different to do with your kids this Christmas?  Are you sick of the same old Santa’s grotto, where you wait in line for an hour at your local garden centre for your kids to rattle off what they want and then head on out, missing the magic of Christmas altogether?

wishmas forestWell then, you might want to take a look at the “Wish Upon A Star” Christmas experience at Meadowhall in Sheffield.  Yes, Santa is there in the mix (so your kids won’t be disappointed) but there are lots of other great surprises along the way.  They have dubbed it an “immersive theatrical experience”, which basically means there are very good actors looking after you and impeccably dressed theme rooms as your go through.

wishmas forestThe premise is that you are on a journey through the “Wishmas Forest”, meeting the “wish gatherer elves”.  This takes you on a 30-40 minute trip through 3 rooms.  The first is the forest, so it is decorated with Christmas trees and lots of tree stumps for the kids to sit on and watch a film explaining it all.  There is a very chirpy elf who teaches the kids the wish gatherers salute – something the boys found hilarious as it is a mixture of silly noises and actions.

From there they go into a second room with a giant telescope in the middle and a male elf who tells the story of Santa crashing into the forest.  All the whilst, we are told that shooting stars carry wishes.  The boys loved this room as there were big bean bags to curl up to and listen to the story, then they all got to look through the giant telescope and spot a shooting star.

From there we went into a workshop themed room where the kids could decorate cardboard stars with their wishes on.  This was a nice practical activity after a lot of sitting and listening, and there was glitter, ribbon and pens to decorate with.  I did feel that this was quite a basic craft, and that perhaps a little more could have been spent on a bigger mix of materials to decorate, or they could have been wooden to look a bit more substantial.

All the actors were very friendly and encouraging to the kids, speaking to them individually (which was achievable as there is a limit on the number of families going through in each session).  They were definitely in character, which the kids loved, but I found a bit annoying and far fetched! If you are not a cheesy Christmas person then this might not be the thing for you.

santas grottoFrom this room we were taken in to see Santa.  Now this was my favourite part.  It was a very intimate and cosy room, and Santa spoke with the kids about how Christmas is a time for giving and not just receiving.  He sprinkled some extra glitter on their wish stars and asked them to close their eyes and make a Christmas wish for someone less fortunate than themselves.  Sam, my eldest, ran over and whispered in my ear that he wanted to make a wish for his sponsor child in Africa, which just melted my heart.  Reuben, my youngest, wished for pine cones!!!!

There was no asking them what they wanted for Christmas, just a really sweet moment where they had a photo with Santa and got given a Mr Man book (an amazing gift as my boys LOVE the Mr Men!).  They left having had a lovely 40 minute trip. I left feeling slightly overwhelmed by jolly elves, but all in all it was a much better experience than standing in a queue for 5 minutes with Santa somewhere else.

price listThe best thing about this was that you book a slot online, so there’s no waiting about.  The groups are small and the price is actually very reasonable considering all that you get.  Its £6.60 for kids and £3.60 for adults (obviously only the kids get presents!).  So if you are happy with a non-traditional Santa’s grotto then book online here.  (Photos and mementoes were extra – here’s the price list)

 

 

 

My only concern (and final comment!) is that in trying to make this a magical experience, are we diluting the true Christmas message?  By adding wishes, and wish gathering elves, are we just confusing our kids more?  I am not sure, and on the surface it seems harmless, so I will let you decide upon that yourself.

Rachel x

us all with santa

In HER Shoes – Proverbs 31 Wife (Week 12)

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Happy Sunday Mummy Meditators!  Thanks for coming over to read my summary post on this weeks verse.  Have you felt challenged to change the way you speak this week?  I certainly have, and I want to share why and how with you below.  This was the verse we were looking at:

“She speaks with wisdom; and faithful instruction is on her tongue” Proverbs 31:26

following on from last week

Last week we spoke about how the Proverbs 31 woman needed to be clothed by God in the things that she was lacking and would need for the tasks ahead of her (you can read the summary post here).  This week, we see that after being equipped in this way, she is able to speak with wisdom.  I don’t think its a coincidence that this verse follows on – in order to be able to speak with wisdom we need God’s help!  We are not wise on our own (something that Solomon would find out when he asked God for wisdom) and so we need to remember that this is something that God can “clothe” us in too.

speaking when needed

One thing that God really challenged me on this week whilst meditating on this verse was that speaking with wisdom also means knowing when to speak and when not to.  She doesn’t just speak all the time and have a mixture of wise and unwise words, she only speaks with wisdom.  That to me means that I need to cut some of the crap.  I need to think over whether I am saying something wise, or just talking for the sake of it.  I need to choose my words, especially when it comes to my children, to make sure I don’t regret any of them.

Instruction is the overflow

What is on the tip of your tongue?  What comes out of your mouth when you’re not even thinking?  Its the overflow of your heart, what you are truly thinking and feeling.  Maybe its the snide comment that you say whilst half thinking that reveals how you truly feel about someone.  Maybe its words of love and care.  If our hearts desire is to instruct and care for others, then that will be on the tip of our tongue everytime we open our mouths.  But if negative thoughts and hate are in our heart then that is what will spill out.  So maybe this week, rather than trying to figure out how to control our words, we need to examine our hearts and see what is overflowing out of them.

faithful or kind?

I asked our Mummy Meditations Community to look at some different translations of this verse, and it brought up something quite interesting this week.   Some of the translations used the words “faithful instruction” but others had a very different slant.  In the Passion Translation it says “loving instructions”, The Message uses “she always says it kindly” and ESV “the teaching of kindness is on her tongue”.   There seems to be a tension between faithful and kind when it comes to the translation of this word, and the original Hebrew word (hesed) is such that it can’t be directly translated into our language.  The word represents loving kindness and being faithful to promises ,and so that is why it is translated as either faithful or kind.  So really, we can take both those words to heart when we think about our instruction (something that is at the forefront of what we do everyday with our children).  Lets try to make sure it is both faithful (that we keep our promises and are loyal to what we believe) AND kind (done in a gentle and loving way).

Next Week

We are now into the last month of our Proverbs 31 wife series, and we head into some really interesting verses to finish off this poetic passage.  Next week we will be meditating on this verse, I hope you’ll join me in the Facebook group to discuss it more:

“She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27

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