2020 Plans and Prayers

How on earth is it March already?!

And this post, which I am normally very quick to get written in the first week of January is still sat in my drafts folder.  Has the year been zooming past quickly for you too?  As a mum on a mission life can sometimes seem to just slip out of our hands, and yet it is still really valuable to make sure that we take time to pause, review and put God at the centre.

2020 Plans

My 2020 has already started, but I want to encourage you to stop and make sure your year is going the way you want it.

  • New Job – I’m going to be honest here and say that this is taking over my life, but in an amazing, God given, happy way!  My role as Youth, Children’s and Families worker is such a blessing.  I love that now I get to spend my time intentionally connecting with families and children.  That I can put into motion events and activities I want to see happen.  This year I know will be filled with many thoughts and much time spent on work, but joyfully!  By the end of 2020 I hope I can say that I have made some amazing friends, worked my hardest for God and brought some new people into his kingdom.
  • New Kitchen – With the little bit of redundancy money I got from my old job, we decided to tackle one of the rooms in our house which really needed doing.  The kitchen.  If I’d written this in January it would have been a plan!  But now, in March, it is almost finished!  So it’s nice to know I’ve completed at least one of this years plans already!  This might also transfer into some other DIY projects over the year – hopefully the hall stairs and landing will get done and a possibly an upstairs bathroom.   But we will just have to wait and see.
  • Walking and yoga – As with most homeworkers, exercise can be hard to come across during the normal working day.  So this year I am prioritising trying to walk more and do daily yoga to help with those aches and pains (I feel like I am getting older!).  I’ve tried going to classes and other things but it just doesn’t work for me and fit in with family life.  So walking to school is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise.
  • Reading more – I love escaping into a good book, and I also know the value of reading books that will inspire my faith journey or help me in my new role.  So I am going to try to read at least 2 books every month – one fiction and one non-fiction.
  • Adventure/Pilgrimage –  We don’t have any holidays booked, don’t know what is happening with my husbands contract, and no clue how life will go this year, so I am embracing adventure and following God on this crazy pilgrimage that is life!  I don’t really have any plans or care where we end up as a family as long as God is there with us.  I hope by the end of 2020 that my boys have grown spiritually and us too.
  • Other stuff – I really don’t have any plans or know what 2020 holds for my side projects.  This blog, my bible journaling ministry and Mummy Meditations are all there but not my priority right now.  Perhaps God will inspire some others to take up these mantles.  Or perhaps I can weave them in to my new job.

Verse for the year

My word for the year is “ADVENTURE” and this links in with how pilgrimage is an “intentional adventure in to God”.  That is what I want for this year.  I can’t see or plan how it might pan out, so instead I am aiming to adventure in to God.  The verse that goes with this is:

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage”  Psalm 84:5

 

2019 Praise Points

Oh I so so love this time of year, looking back and looking forward.  As is my tradition here on my blog, this is the first in a series of two posts.  Every year has its highs and lows, it tears and joys.  But the most important thing is to praise God through them all and thank Him for what He has done in our lives.  So here is a quick summary of my 2019 (check out my plans and prayers from the start of the year here!):

  1. Becoming a School Governor.  Early in 2019 I got a phone call out of the blue asking if I wanted to join the board of Governor’s at my son’s school.  I didn’t even know what a governor did, but after a bit of research, prayer and contemplation I decided to step up to the role, and I am so glad I did.   I have made new friends and colleagues on the governing body, as well as feeling like a part of the school in a way I wasn’t before.  It’s been a steep learning curve, but such a rewarding one.
  2. Mummy Meditations New Website and Award.  My aim for early 2019 was to get Mummy Meditations set up as a website in its own right and to give it a unique identity, separate to this blog and my random ramblings about life as a Christian Mum!  Just after Easter I achieved this and it’s gone from strength to strength, even coming Runner Up in the Up and Coming Category at the Premier Digital Awards.  My plan now is to truly make it a multi-author blog and to have new voices and writers join the team, to empower other mums in this season.
  3. New Job For Hubby.  This year we really stepped out in faith and God delivered a new job for my husband at the Bible College he trained at.  It hasn’t been plain sailing but he is definitely in the place God wants him, and there is a joy that comes with knowing that.
  4. ROME!!!!! Yes we FINALLY got round to our big trip to Rome.  It was planned for our 30th Birthdays, then as a 10th Wedding Anniversary trip, and this year we made it.  It was an amazing trip, and we saw so many great sights.  All the saving up paid off.  Now where to go next?!
  5. Two more rooms finished in our home.    We have continued to crack on with DIY this year, as well as investing in the conversion of our garage into an en-suite bedroom and storage room.  The boys bedroom got decorated in the summer whilst they were away and prep work in the hall/stairs/landing area has been slowly continuing.  Bit by bit we are modernising this sixties house!
  6. Lodgers in and out. Following on from the garage conversion, we were able to welcome a new lodger into our home this September.  We also said goodbye to our other lodger who had been able to save up to buy her own home!  We love the hospitality of opening up our home to others, and being able to be a platform to the next stages of their lives.
  7. New Job For Me.  Well this wasn’t on the books at all at the beginning of 2019.  I was quite happy in my job at Teenage Cancer Trust.   But unfortunately in September I got the news that my role was being made redundant.  I am amazed by how God has used this sad news to bring even more joy, as I start the role of Youth, Children’s and Families Worker at the church in my local community, that is linked to the school I am a governor at.  So although this hasn’t technically happened yet, it all got confirmed in 2019!  Watch this space for more news on how I get on…..
  8. Northumberland.  We went camping as a family up to Northumberland this summer, and enjoyed exploring the beaches, Holy Island and castles.  I can highly recommend it as the beaches were beautiful and kept us entertained for hours.
  9. Joining NewLife.  Another big change for us was moving churches this year.  It wasn’t something we planned, but we felt God saying it was time for us to move on to somewhere new, and we always find family in church wherever we go.  The pastors at NewLife in Scunthorpe have made us very welcome, and we’re looking forward to getting more involved there in the new year.
  10. Bible Journaling Opportunities.  This year has seen lots more chances for me to run Bible Journaling Workshops, including monthly funshops in Doncaster.  With my new job starting in January I’m not sure how much I’ll get to do this year, but its been lots of fun introducing people to creative worship this year.

Wow, that’s quite a list of things that I am praising and thanking God for this year!  And I was thinking it had been quite an emotional and stressful year, but there really has been so much great stuff happen.

Things I didn’t get to do

The only plan I didn’t get to see through this year was going to Hillsong’s Colour Conference.  Due to a ticket mix up I gave my place to someone else,  but I’m booked to go again this year with some friends so hopefully that will happen!

Soundtrack to 2019

A new addition to this year’s post, but I felt like I wanted to share two songs that have impacted me hugely in 2019, and will forever be the soundtrack to this turbulent time.

My Verse of the Year

My word of the year for 2019 was “SERIOUS” and the verse that inspired that was the following:

“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)

After a rocky 2018 and not taking prayer and God seriously, I wanted to change that this year.  In so many situations we have just had to have faith that God would work it out, to take Him seriously on His promises.  And looking back now I can say with confidence that we have not been disappointed.  This verse has been such a comfort and an inspiration to me this year, through job changes and consultation periods, and I have found that when I put things in God’s hands instead of mine, things work out much better.  2019 – you have been a true roller-coaster, but the ups have made the downs worth it.

Christianity and the Consultation Period

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball.

For me that was getting the news in September this year of being “at risk of redundancy.”

Being at risk of redundancy means that you enter what is called a “consultation period”.  It is a stressful time where emotions are high and your future is unknown.  You get a chance to discuss the plans with your managers, suggest new ways of doing things and try to figure out what happens to you next.

My initial reactions included anger, sadness, hopelessness, betrayal and upset.  I tried to embrace these emotions and just let them come out for the first few days – we are emotional beings and I can’t stop those feelings happening.  But after a few days of feeling sorry for myself and wanting to punch someone in the face (in the nicest possible way!), I pulled myself together and went to God with it all.

I needed His guidance on what to do next, how to respond in love and how to be a great witness during all this.  And here is what I came away with:

  1. Be there for those who are going through it.  Yes this is a tough time for me personally, but there were other colleagues also going through this.  This provided a unique opportunity to show them love and support where I might not have been able to before.  I am speaking encouragement into their lives and sharing part of how I am dealing with it.  I am living out my faith in front of them (even though we are all remote workers so hardly ever meet up in person).
  2. Be at peace with what God wants you to do next.  After praying it through I felt an immense peace about accepting the decision of the leadership team where I work, and moving on.  By sharing the peace I feel about this with those at work, even though that meant I am accepting redundancy without knowing what was coming next, I showed the faith that I have in God to come through for me.  I went into my one to one consultation meeting with this peace in my heart and it showed in the way that I was able to talk so positively about my decision.
  3. Treat those in leadership with love throughout the process.  Consultation is a high stress time for all those involved.  Those in leadership have had to make some very tough and heartbreaking decisions for the good of the company.  And despite my desire to death stare them all when I found out, I know that is not the right way to do things.  In my one to one consultation I was able to empathise with those conducting the meeting and that meant that when I shared what had upset me, they actually took it more seriously.
  4. Seize the opportunity to share your faith.  In times like this people start to see how others react, they look for solutions to their problems, and this opens up doors to share what your way is.  I was actually able to share about my experience in church during my one to one consultation meeting with people that I have worked with for 8 years and never said a bean!!!  The unique conversations and emotion lead discussions give space for these conversations to happen, so seize the opportunity if it comes.

I am now at the end of this process.  Friday will be my last day before I am made redundant.  But I am so excited that having trusted God in this process, I have a new and exciting job to look forward to starting in January.  If it wasn’t for the consultation period looming in my mind I may never have applied for this new role, so I am thanking God for it.  Yes its been stressful, there have been visual migraines and tears and nights where I just wanted to curl up in a ball and it all disappear.  There have been tense phone calls and butterflies in my stomach before meetings.   But over it all God has been sovereign and I have trusted He knows best.

I am hoping that me sharing this story now gives some hope to anyone going through something similar.  Keep going in the uncertainty and cling to God.  That is all we can do.

 

 

 

Plastic Free July, Parenting and Powering Down

So its been a little while since I’ve had head space to write on my blog.  Personal circumstances have been stressful, and whilst we’ve been trusting God in the waiting, its not always conducive to coherent thinking!!!  But I wanted to pop back and share a few of my thoughts from the last few months, and hopefully inspire you in your parenting journey.

Plastic Free July

The first thing I want to talk about is Plastic Free July.  Now, you probably think that I’m mad for signing up to take part in this whilst my head is already swimming, but I decided that I had ignored my part in plastic pollution for too long now and it was time to do something about it.  Now, our monthly budget is pretty slim so we haven’t been able to make all the changes I wanted to, but the boys have really enjoyed thinking about how to use less plastic.  So here are some of the things we have done (or are thinking of doing) if you want to do the same:

  • switch back to using bar soap (or rubba dubba soap as the boys call it!).  Its mega cheap compared to liquid soap and lots less plastic used.
  • consider using a local milk man with glass bottles.  We are still considering this one because there are many pros and cons – one being financial, but also we use a lot of milk in our house and there is the possibility of it going off on the doorstep.
  • Order toilet roll from “Who Gives A Crap where it is wrapped in paper, recycled and delivered in bigger boxes for economy.  If you want £5 off your first order here’s a voucher for you!
  • Start making ecobricks with your single use plastics.  It stops whatever plastic we do have coming in from just being thrown away into landfill.  Find out more here.
  • buy reusable lunch boxes, packaging and beeswax wraps for food out to stop the use of clingfilm.
  • Take a travel mug with you wherever you go and remember to ask for take out drinks in it (you might even get a discount!).  I have a “keep cup” and I love the swivel lid that locks into place to keep your hot drink from spilling.
  • Take reusable shopping bags with you EVERYWHERE
  • Try to choose lose vegetables in the supermarket

Ok, so we’ve not done amazingly, but I’m quite happy that we’ve made a start with some little changes.  Hopefully if we all do it will start to send a message to the suppliers that this is the way we want it.  Find out more about Plastic Free July here.

What can you do to help reduce plastic usage this July?

Parenting

So we are all aware that the summer holidays are here, and I have been meticulously planning our calendar and summer holiday bucket list.  Parenting has been up and down over the last few months, with a few blips in behaviour, so I want to make sure this is a positive summer where our boys grow in faith, love and knowledge (and have fun along the way).  Amongst our daily tasks as drum practice, chores, bible study, reading, cooking dinner together and handwriting practice.  We are also planning a charity event too for our neighbourhood.

What do you have planned for the summer?

Powering down

Me and my husband lead a youth weekend at the beginning of July, and the theme was “unplugged”.  It really got me thinking about making sure I have time to power down from life and connect with God properly.  It’s a bit depressing that this is constantly something I have to remind myself to do.  But technology is an addiction that is tough to break.  I am really valuing the “HOLD” app on my smartphone to help me with this (it gets me rewards like free popcorn at the cinema!) as it stops me from serial checking my phone all the time.

What helps you power down so you can connect with God?

 

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!

Implants, menstrual cups and reclaiming my womanhood

DISCLAIMER – this is a bit of an over-sharing kind of post, so only read on if you’re ok with that!!

For many years I have been a user of hormonal contraception, with just a few brief windows when we were “trying to get pregnant”. I knew how to be responsible, and so once I knew I was getting married I started on the pill in preparation, before moving on to the hormonal implant which I have been on ever since. At first I thought the implant was a miracle – my periods stopped completely the first time I had it (and who wouldn’t want that!). You don’t have to remember to take anything each day, and it is not affected by illness or other drugs. I could happily enjoy married life safe in the knowledge I wouldn’t get pregnant. After my first son was born I knew straight away I wanted it back in, and the same after my second son. I was safe and sensible, and for almost 10 years it has seen me through. But today I finally said goodbye to my implant for good. Our child-bearing time is over, and more permanent measures have been taken to ensure this (I’m sure you catch my drift!!). And whilst I am glad and thankful of the security the implant has given me during that time, I am so over the moon to no longer have artificial hormones swimming around my body.

You see, our bodies are a temple, and whilst I don’t always look after it that well (I am a fan of the takeaway curry and have a sweet tooth), I am well aware that some of these great ideas of the 21st century affect our bodies in ways we can’t even explain or understand. As a woman, I am supposed to have monthly periods. I am supposed to ovulate. I am supposed to get pregnant. Having extra hormones to stop those things, although seemingly convenient, must play haywire with our natural rhythms and cycles and who knows what else. I am well aware that hormone changes can affect your mood, your weight, your desire for sex and even cravings for different foods. So bring on my hormone free body and all things natural!! It feels wonderfully freeing to know that I am not being affected in these ways anymore, and I look forward to seeing what that is like.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Recently I have also started using a menstrual cup (I thought I’d throw that out there given the deep sharingness of this post!), and I have to say it is a GAME CHANGER!! For so many years (apart from the few where my period stopped altogether and the blissful period free time of pregnancy) I have begrudged having to use sanitary pads. Running back and forth to the bathroom, hiding pads up your sleeve to smuggle them in, the inevitable leaks (sometimes onto cream carpets – not a great moment of my life) and having to get a note to get out of swimming at school. It is not a fun part of womanhood if we’re honest. But having a menstrual cup means that there is no smell, there is no ticking time bomb if you forget to go to the toilet every few hours. You can happily get on with life for up to 12 hours without emptying it. If you’ve had kids then you’ll already be accustomed with hands and other objects being up in your stuff, so really there’s not much difference there. There is a bit of an ick factor when you empty it and come face to face with what your menstrual blood actually looks like, but one month in and it will feel totally normal.

So, why am I sharing all this with you?  Well I guess in a way I feel like I am reclaiming my womanhood a little.  I am stopping letting the world take over and dictate how my life must be – controlled by hormones and a slave to my period.  No.  I am a woman and I can make my own choices thank you.  You don’t need to follow me or copy me in this (we’re all at different stages in our reproductive lives and have to make decisions accordingly), but maybe just take stock of how your contraception can affect you and think about whether that is the best thing for you and your family, as it might be having a bigger impact than you realise.  x

relaxing bath

Give Yourself Some Sanctuary

A few years ago (OK, maybe it was 7 or 8) my husband and I went to a taster day at a bible college.  We were looking for a place for him to study theology and I wanted to check it out with him too.  We had a “sample” lecture, and the lecturer (whose name I cannot remember) said that in life you need to remember to keep refilling your tanks.  Whether that be social, emotional, spiritual, mental, physical.  Whenever one of those tanks runs out, thats when you’ll be in danger.

For a parent, we often find that physically we are run down from sleepless nights or just the energy it takes to run after the kids or get them to and from all their activities.  We are mentally drained from thinking about everything the family needs to do and everywhere they need to be.  We are emotionally drained from trying to deal with tantrums, figure out what the baby wants or be super enthusiastic about something they are in to at that moment.  We might find we are spiritually drained too from not finding enough time to spend in the bible or just sat with God.  Everything about parenthood leaves us drained and our tanks running on empty.

relaxing bath So when Sanctuary Bathrooms approached me to have a bit of quality relaxing time, indulging myself, I was in!!! They wanted to know what would make the perfect night in – well I’m not sure if it was perfect (our bath tub in our new house is super shallow so parts of me get cold – it definitely needs replacing with one of Sanctuary’s lovely baths!) but it was definitely what I needed.  I was able to chill out in the bath with space for my cuppa and my book on my new bath shelf, and also treat my body with a face mask and body scrub.  Thanks!!!

A perfect night-in for me is one that refills some of those tanks – that provides physical rest for my body, but also mental and emotional rest from the strains of the day.  That means switching off from thinking about my to do lists and not having to answer to anyone else for a few hours or deal with their emotions.  A good soak in the bath with a book is the perfect way to do that.  moisturising face mask

Apparently a relaxing bath helps to stave off colds and improves your mood, so I need to schedule in some more!!  I think the bathroom is definitely one of the places that we fill our tanks and have me-time, so thats why it was one of the first rooms to be renovated in our new house.  We are even looking at putting en-suites on some of our rooms, so perhaps we’ll find space to squeeze in another bathtub….

Have you given yourself some sanctuary lately?  Why not go and treat yourself right now!

 

NOTE: I received a blogger box of treats and bath shelf from Sanctuary Bathrooms in exchange for taking part in this campaign.  

Starting something new is scary

mummy meditations mugThe last few months have seen me start many new things.  I have started my Mummy Meditations Shop, selling goods to help those studying in the Mummy Meditations Community.  I have started a new series in Mummy Meditations on the Proverbs 31 wife.  And scariest of all, I have started running my own “Introduction to Bible Journaling” Workshops under a new banner of “Bible Journaling on My Bed”.

All of these things have three things in common:

  1. They are amazing!  I love doing them and my heart is filled with joy at new possibilities
  2. They are all things God has been prodding me to do for a while now
  3. They all TERRIFY the life out of me!!

I was sat in my lounge last Saturday with 2 minutes until my first ever bible journaling workshop started, no one else had arrived yet, and I was so terrified.  But I also had this amazing sense of peace, that God had lead me to this place and would carry me through.  That translated into an amazing morning of teaching 5 lovely ladies, and sharing my passion with them, and I was able to praise God for the whole weekend afterwards.

I was once again reminded of that feeling of my spirit soaring with God’s when you step out in faith.  And I wonder why I don’t do that everyday!!

This verse sprung to mind when I was trying to describe that feeling:

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” Isaiah 40:31

It is only when our hope is in God and we are relying on his strength to bring us through something that we experience that feeling of flying and soaring.  There is something so special and unique about feeling utterly ill-equipped and yet God coming through for you. Have you had that?

What are you doing that is both scary and amazing at the same time?

 

Starting from scratch – mission in a new place

So, the eagle eyed among you will know that recently we moved house.  It was a really exciting move, away from a stressful situation, and into a new and exciting place.  But with the arrival of a new school term, with my son starting in a brand new school, I was suddenly struck with how we are starting from scratch.

Starting from scratch with the neighbours.

Starting from scratch with the mums at the school gate.

Starting from scratch with different school routines.

Starting from scratch with our local places – library, post office, swimming pool.

Everything is brand new, and that means having to start all my relationships from scratch.  And when I looked at having to get to know teachers, kids, parents, office staff at my sons new school this week it was all looking a bit daunting.  I thought about the mums from the old school, the chatter on the school yard and the friendly welcoming faces that would have been there and I felt sad.  I thought about all the teachers who I had gotten to know at the small school of 140 pupils and my heart-wrenched. I had lost my whole network.

But then today in our parents lifegroup, another mum reminded me of something.  That those former relationships didn’t start up over night.  Not at all.  It took 4 years to get to know my neighbours like I did.  It took a whole year for me to get to know the mums and teachers at the school.  I cannot expect to jump back in to a place of intimacy within this new setting.  Instead I should just see where things go.  Let things start organically rather than forcing things to be like they were.

So I will start off with chatting to the neighbours I see out on the street.  I will start off with trying to smile at some of the parents in the yard.  I will seek out new opportunities to get to know people – such as joining the library and going along to the school church for its coffee morning for new parents on the first day of school (what a great idea!).  I don’t need to be super confident or even to look at ways to “do mission” here yet.  I just need to get to know people.  In my own time and my way.  That is a very relieving and releasing thing to realise.