grand total steps

10,000 Steps a Day for Charity

As some of you may know, I have been doing a 10,000 steps a day challenge throughout January to kick start my New Year in a healthy way.  I’m not here to preach at you that this is what you should all be doing, but just to share some of the ups and downs, highlights and achievements of my 31 days of attempting to walk more!!

I took on this challenge primarily to raise some awareness and funds for Teenage Cancer Trust (please do donate to my justgiving page here), the fabulous charity that I have the privilege of working for.  But I have found it immensely enjoyable too.  I liked to think that I walked a lot, but at the end of last year when I got a new phone with a pedometer app, I realised that some days I really didn’t.  On my full days working (I work from home in a tiny office) I would only clock up 2-3,000 steps, and on other days I was hitting maybe 6-7,000.  I decided that if I was to have any chance of achieving 10,000 steps a day I really had to make some changes.

boys walking

One of my walking trips out with the boys – puddle jumping as we went!

And I did!  With a Christmas treat of a new smart watch which counts my steps all the time, I was able to have sedentary reminders.  This was really helpful when working at my desk, as if I’d been sitting for too long it would vibrate and remind me to just get up and move around for a bit.  I also tried to get in one big walk a day, whether that was to school and back or down the canal in my lunch break – to reach 10,000 steps I needed a good half hour block of solid walking at least.

swans on the canal

A lunchtime walk by the canal on a very cold day saw the swans doing some skating!

I also made some other changes – you can read my post about getting in more steps here.  There were lots of tough days when I didn’t reach my goal, but then lots of days when I did lots more than 10,000 steps.  Overall I did 297,756 steps out of 310,000.  That’s an average of 9,605 steps a day.  Which I think is pretty close!!

grand total steps

What else have I achieved?  Well I have lost over half a stone (which really shocked me!!).  I am sleeping lots better (when you take away the stress of moving house!!).  And I feel like every day I have a goal to work towards.  I might not reach it every day, but every day I am trying and that’s what counts.  Walking is something I love to do and it is exercise that I don’t have to think about or force myself in to.  I can do it with my kids, and it fits in with my daily schedule.  It is even beneficial for me when working at home to get up and walk about so that I’m not getting back ache and other problems.  Even when it means walking round and round the kitchen table whilst the kettle boils, or up and down the bedroom as I brush my teeth, this challenge has really helped me to put some new healthier habits in place for 2018.

Walking selfie with boys

Quick selfie by a sculpture whilst on a walk

If you want to do the same, then why not try it for Lent this year?  40 days of 10,000 steps.  I know I’ll still be trying!!   Or you can take on your own challenge for Teenage Cancer Trust here.

steps in wellies in the mud

Getting In More Steps

steps in wellies in the mud

This January I have taken on the “Party Hard, Train Harder” challenge from Teenage Cancer Trust, and set myself the target of doing 10,000 steps a day.  It’s talked about a lot as a good goal to have for a healthy lifestyle so I figured it would be the first step on a journey to losing a bit of weight and fitting back into my wedding dress (a goal I have before my 10th Wedding Anniversary!!).

(YOU CAN SPONSOR ME IN MY CHALLENGE HERE!!)

Before I started tracking and thinking about this I would have a few days where I would reach 10,000 steps – mostly the days I walked my son to school.   Other days I would struggle to get up past 3,000 steps – these were the days I was working from home all day and doing not much else – and my average daily step count was probably more like 5-6,000.

I am now at the end of my second week of the challenge, and although I haven’t reached 10,000 steps every day (some would call me a failure) I have massively increased my daily step count.  There hasn’t been a day where I have done less than 7,000 steps, and those days have been rare.  My first week’s total was around 71,000 so my average was over 10,000 steps a day (yey!!).

If you, like me, want to take a first step on a training journey but aren’t ready to become a serious runner or anything (you know work and kids get in the way….), then here are some of my tips for getting in more steps:

  1. Walk whilst you are brushing your teeth – seriously.   This is dead time otherwise, and if you have an electric toothbrush that times your teethbrushing then that is 2 minutes of pacing up and down that could add a few hundred steps to your total.
  2. Go to the bathroom on a different floor – OK so maybe it’s just me that lives in a three storey town house with a toilet on every floor, but rather than going to the nearest one, why not actively choose to go to the toilet that is furthest away.  Or if you work in an office building, go to the furthest bathroom on your break.
  3. Walk whilst your kids are eating or watching TV – I eat my dinner after the kids are in bed, so normally during their tea time I am sat doing nothing or playing on my phone.  Now I am actively choosing to be up walking around whilst they are eating and watching TV.
  4. Walking whilst working – I work from home, so I’m often just sat at my desk on my computer.  Now I am trying to think what tasks I could do whilst walking.  Could you do phone calls whilst walking up and down the stairs?  Or thinking tasks maybe?
  5. Try to take one big trip out every day – I always think about trying to do one bit walk out everyday.  Whether that is to take the kids to school (my son’s school is 1.1 miles away so I clock up a good 6000 steps going there and back) or a walk down the canal in my lunch break, the only way I can reach a good total is to be out for half an hour or longer every day.
  6. Park a bit further away – This one sounds really simple, but how many of naturally just park in the closest space.  Why not park a couple of roads down when doing the school run and walk an extra bit.  Or park in the far corner of the car park at the supermarket.  All those extra steps will add up and get you closer to your total!
  7. Give yourself some fun weekly challenges – if you like taking photos or just a bit of a game, then each week set yourself a challenge that will encourage you to get out walking.  Maybe its to find the muddiest path, or the highest mountain.  You could write them on slips of paper, put them in a box and let your kids pick on each week.  That way you’re all enjoying getting out walking more!

Don’t forget to pop over to my justgiving page and leave a little donation towards my fundraising goal!

advent happy mail

Advent Happy Mail

advent happy mail

Here’s an exciting advent idea for you!  Every day in advent, send a letter.  In this digital era, lets take this advent to get back to writing and encouraging others through it.  Just download your advent happy mail poster below, and everyday cross off one person from it.  You could even change some of the squares and put your own ideas if you want.

what is happy mail?

Happy mail is something that you receive in an envelope that makes someone else happy!  It is not a bill, statement or junk mail leaflet, but a thoughtful item of mail.  It is something you’ve put a bit of thought into and done to make the recipient smile.  The mail doesn’t have to be a parcel, it can just be a well meaning letter, or lots of other things too.   It could be an extra special Christmas card with an envelope you’ve decorated to make them smile!  There really are no rules or limits.

To give you some ideas and inspiration, here are some useful links:

GET YOUR FREE ADVENT HAPPY MAIL POSTER HERE!!

I will be sharing over on my facebook page and instagram account some of the happy mail items that I am sending out, so do check it out for inspiration. I would love to see what you send too, so share your photos using #adventhappymail

free advent happy mail poster

Share The Joy Linky @ The Family Patch
app for loving your community

Can an app help you love your community?

app for loving your community

can an app help you love your community?

I live in Doncaster, and despite it being crowned the “most chilled and least stressful place to live in the UK”, most people’s reaction to this announcement is “oh that’s a shame!”. You see, Doncaster isn’t the nicest place in the world (although I’m sure it’s not the worst!). It is a typical slightly rundown town surrounded by ex-mining communities.

the problem i face in my community…

Sometimes I walk around my town and feel sad. There is litter, broken things that no-one has fixed, buildings that no-one cares about and general signs of poverty all around. It makes my heart sink and my soul feel heavy. I cry out to the God who created and loves this world – why has it become so unloved by those that live in it?

Practically I try to look after my little corner of the world – my house, my garden, my estate. But try as I might, I can never clean up everything. Even when I go out with the community action team at church and litter pick the streets for a couple of hours it isn’t going to change everything. And yet the impact of just simple litter can be HUGE. Health, crime, anti-social behaviour, loss of business are all things that stem from and can be worsened by the presence of litter in a neighbourhood. Once that pride in a community is lost, it is difficult for it to be rebuilt.

a new strategy…

So I decided a new strategy was called for. I could not be a one woman army who tackles the whole of Doncaster’s litter and other problems (there would be little time for looking after my kids if I did that!!).  But I could flag up every problem I saw that made me sad to live here so that someone else could deal with it.

Who might that someone else be? Well they came in the form of an app on my phone, that goes by the name of My Doncaster Council. (Yes the council).

Our local councils are there to help do tasks that no-one would normally do if it was left to us. They provide public goods and services. We pay them through our lovely council taxes to look after our local environments so that we don’t have to. But lately councils have had to cut back on a lot of things, and so they won’t be out patrolling and checking the local area as much. We can be their eyes and ears on the ground. The app I have means that I can report litter, fly tipping, graffiti and a whole host of other things right there and then. I can post photos and videos so that the council can see exactly what the issue is. I am doing their investigating for them.

will my community feel the love?

Why is this loving I hear you ask? Because I want my community to feel good when they step out the door. I want them to have pride in where they live, to be healthy and happy.  We joke that it’s a British pastime to moan.  Well I want to try to report everything that would be the cause of that  moaning (although I can’t change the weather so we’ll always have that to moan about!). I don’t want to just keep walking past the litter and the broken things and expect someone else to do something about it.  I am loving my neighbours by using this app to get them fixed and cleaned up.

Why don’t you see if your local council has an app too…..

quirky christmas gift ideas

Quirky Christmas Gift Ideas for 2017

quirky christmas gift ideas

Whoop Whoop!  It’s Christmas shopping time, and I wanted to share with you all some great shopping ideas you might not have thought of (that are secretly on my own Chritsmas list)…

For the men in your life
James Acaster Classic Scrapes

A few weeks back, me and my husband went to see James Acaster live on his Classic Scrapes book tour and it was a hilarious evening.  If you or the man in your life enjoys funny stories then this is a great present for them.

 

for your mum and best friend

gingerbread tea towelEven if you have a dishwasher you still need to dry some things, and everyone will love this quirky and amusing Christmassy themed tea-towel.  Designed by Frog and Gnome, this would make a great present for your mum or a best friend who has a good sense of humour!

Find it here on the Cheerfully Given website.

 

 

for your bible journalLing bestie

book tab punchSo this really is on my gift list and will make it easy to create my own bible tabs from whatever paper and design I want to.  So if you are in to bible journalling and have a bestie who loves it too, then why not get them one of these (and maybe you can borrow it!!!)

 

To keep in the cupboard “just in case”

creative bea christmas decorationI love this little Christmas decorations which feature bible verses.  I have ordered three as little additions to some of my Christmas presents, but they would be perfect to keep in the cupboard in case someone gives you a gift that you might have forgotten to get one for….

You can find these on Creative Bea’s website, and they come in silver sparkly or plywood and are only £3-4 each

school sign

Being a Christian Mum at the School Gate

school sign

For the last few weeks I have been wondering how best to use the opportunity of being a mum at the school gate to share the love of Jesus.  I don’t want to be a weird mum who stands in the playground and preaches, but I also don’t want people to be completely unaware of my faith either.  It is a very difficult balance, but I am determined not to let this opportunity pass me by.

I asked the lovely Captivated mums their advice and ideas on how to do this, as I know many of them have school age children and have walked this road before me.  The collective advice was to be normal, make friends and let things grow from there.  As you would in any other situation, just being there for people, showing you care and taking an interest in their lives can make a huge difference, and it is how true friendships are formed and trust developed.

This was great advice, and I have already been praying for opportunities and boldness to get to know the other mums and dads a bit better.  This is easy with some and harder with others, but I will persevere!

As well as doing this I am planning to do some other things along the way to show love and demonstrate my faith to the parents and staff at the school.  Here are some of my ideas, and I hope you will share yours with me too!

  • Commit to praying for your child’s teacher and their class and let them know.  It is an amazing blessing to pray for someone, and even those who don’t share your faith will be complemented that you have taken the time to think of them.  As my son goes to a Catholic Primary School this wasn’t such a shock when I emailed his two class teachers to let them know I would be praying for them and the class.  I also asked them to send any prayer points over the year, whether personal or for the class in general, and one of them did!  I might follow this up with a card at each half term to remind them I have been praying.
  • Setting up a parents prayer group.  Someone on Captivated mentioned doing this and I think its a great idea!  Not only can you then reach out and forge relationships with other Christian parents, but you can cover the whole school in prayer.  I have heard of these groups blessing teachers on parents evening with meals and loving on the staff too, so I have enquired about whether there is one or if I can be involved in setting one up.  Again, this is probably a bigger mission opportunity in a non-faith based school.
  • End of Half Term Party. My son has already been inviting every member of his class round to his house for tea, and with us living a bit further from the school than I would like this makes it difficult.  But I came up with the idea of maybe hosting an end of half term party, where he can invite a few friends for tea on the last day of half term.  That way, he gets to play with his new school friends and I get to properly meet some of the mums and dads.
  • Suggest a class whats app group. Some parents in Captivated mentioned that they have a class whats app group where they can share reminders and invitations with other parents.  I am not sure whether to suggest this yet, but it is definitely an option to build community amongst the parents.

What has worked for you at the school gate?

monthly inspiration from rachel ridler mum on a mission

October Inspiration

monthly inspiration from rachel ridler mum on a mission

I am BRIMMING with inspiration for October!!!  So I hope that you will enjoy my collection of links, likes and lovely things that you can find below…..

  • Tiny Treasure Boxes – I love love love the Treasure Box People and me and Sam really enjoy working through the bible stories together every month.  Well now they have launched a box suitable for under 3’s!! Becky shares in this facebook live what is included in the new Tiny Treasures Box.
  • UCB’s Bag of Hope – I mentioned these over on my facebook page, so here is the link to the bags of hope that you can use to share the love of Jesus with trick or treaters on Halloween.
  • Parenting for Faith Course – I am really interested in doing this free course, and the video linked explains why this is might be useful for parents like me who want to help their children grow up in faith.
  • The Man Upstairs – Go Chatter is a really interesting you tube channel creating videos that try to draw out what we think about certain topics.  This video questions where we get our image of God from and its a really good question to ask ourselves sometimes…
daily acts of kindness devotional

Mum on a Mission Reviews Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional

daily acts of kindness devotional

Today an amazing book launches – The Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional.  Now for anyone who has followed my 40 Acts journey over the last few years will know, I love showing kindness to others.  It is something that can really show the love of Jesus and talks louder than words.  The only things limiting me are time, money and inspiration.

If you are in the same boat as me, then why not invest in something that will give you all the inspiration you will need for A WHOLE YEAR!!!  That will mean that everyday you have an idea that you can take out to the streets and put in to action straight away.  No having to think about what to do, no giving lame excuses for not doing it.

And do you want to know the best part?

A lot of the acts of kindness in this book are designed to draw in your family too, to help you instill values of kindness and generosity in your children.  How amazing is that!!

kindness bible verse

The stories of the ladies who wrote it are shared in the devotional sections and linked back to bible passage, bringing a warm approach to this.  They are not judging or forcing you to be kind, but inspiring and nurturing you into it.  They have a real heart to turn from a life looking inward, to our wants and needs, to instead looking outward and meeting the needs of others.  I know that when I have done acts of kindness with my son it has blown me away, so why not give it a try yourself?

autumn reading wishlist

Autumn Reading Wishlist

autumn reading wishlist

After writing my Summer reading wishlist, I have felt really inspired and motivated to buy and read the books I mentioned.  So I want to carry that on every season, starting with my new Autumn reading wishlist.  This time I have included some books for the boys too, I hope you enjoy it!

  • A Christmas Family Godventure by Victoria Beech – I have always been inspired by the christmas godventure bookresources that Victoria from Godventure produces, and I will be lucky enough to go to a workshop she is running down in Nottingham next month.  I also want to make this Christmas really meaningful, now that Sam has started school and will have other voices influencing his opinions of it.  I will be getting a head start by reading through this and thinking about what activities we will do in the lead up to Christmas – why not buy yourself one in advance too?
  • Eric Says Thanks by Dai Hankey – After reviewing the third book in this series, Eric Says Please, I am loving Dai’s style of writing and way of communicating biblical principles through story.  I would like to get this for the boys to read – maybe it will go on the Christmas list!
  • by Jodi Picoult – I am enjoying having a novel on the go at the moment, as I don’t have to think too much whilst I am reading.  I picked up this book from our local Re-Read stand, where you can donate books and take a free one too.  I used to love Jodi’s books which take a legal grey area and challenge your thinking on it.
  • by Francis Chan –  We started reading this book as a lifegroup and following the DVD series, but we got stuck halfway through. It was really eye opening though as to what our relationship with God should truly be like that I want to make sure I finish it this year.

What books are you planning to snuggle up and read now that the nights are drawing in?

autumn reading wishlist

rory henderson

A Cuppa With Rory Henderson

 

rory henderson

I am carrying on my series of “cuppa with” interviews by chatting to the very talented Rory Henderson, who has been working on something very exciting…..

1. Introduce yourself to us in one sentence ….

Hi, my name is Rory and I’m a graphic design student that likes to make nice images.

2. What is it that you create?

boatEverything! That may be a slight exaggeration, but I enjoy a wide range of things. I like to make posters and videos and all sorts of imagery. I mostly use a computer, but I always involve a large range of techniques in what I do, like photography, illustration, CGI and typography. I especially enjoy working with others, as it means I can help them express their ideas in the best way possible. I try to be as flexible as I can as an artist, and that means I usually end up producing a wide range of things for a wide range of ideas. At the moment my interest is primarily in typography, but in the end I could probably be summed up as an image maker. There’s so many different ways out there to make art, the endless possibilities are very exciting. And I’m only really at the beginning of it all!

3. Tell us the story of how it all started.

I never considered doing art seriously until after looking at potential universities, when I found out that you could make a career out of being creative, who knew! I wasn’t even taking art as a subject at the time, so I took some convincing and encouraging from friends and teachers, but I ended up making a portfolio in my free time which showed me how much I enjoyed being creative, and got me into uni. I originally wanted to do a subject called creative advertising – as the emphasis was all on idea generation and being innovative and thinking outside the box – but I am thankful that I ended up doing graphic design, as it offers me such freedom in my creative practice.

4. How do you include your faith into your work and what you make?

Because I make a wide range of things, I often end up working on projects that don’t allow me to express my faith in my art. But I try to always include it, to whatever extent possible. The graphic designer however is almost always serving others, so I can do this to the glory of God! Creating and being creative is a wonderful gift and it always makes me think how much my own creations pale in comparison to His.

I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity of my most recent project, a collaboration with the blog Gospel Centred Parenting, as it allowed me to put the expression of faith as the most important aspect of the project, with the aim of communicating that to families and helping people grow in love for Jesus. The project was a set of Jesse Tree Ornaments, each with a design relating to a story from the Jesus Storybook Bible to help families anticipate Christmas. For this I reimagined old woodcut techniques, and it was incredible being able to follow Jesus through all these stories and make images out of them. I really enjoyed this and hope others enjoy them too, and I look forward to more opportunities to share my love for Jesus through art!

(I spoke to Cathy from Gospel Centred Parenting earlier this year – catch her cuppa with interview here!)

 

 

 

5. Do you have any inspiration or encouragement for us?

When I create things, rarely if ever am I fully pleased with the end result or the way things turn out. I find it incredibly encouraging that our own creator doesn’t feel that way about us! We were made through him and he rejoices and delights in that creation, so much so that he would die for it, for us!

6. Please share a photo of your favourite mug!

This is my tiny minions mug! Sorry, I’m not much of a tea or coffee drinker but it works just fine for hot chocolate.

rory henderson

Thanks so much for having a cuppa with us Rory!  You can browse Rory’s other work on his behance page