Tuesday, 31 March 2009

In other news today...

Today is my mum's birthday! Yay!

I can't be with her today but I will be seeing her very soon at the weekend, and I hope that she is enjoying herself in the lovely Lake District and relaxing lots (and not buying too many bargains!).

My mum is such a generous person and has taught me lots about having a giving heart in so many different ways. And she has always been a constant source of joy and laughter. You know, the kind when you're laughing so hard you can't breath and your belly hurts and you think you might actually let a bit of wee out!!!! My mum taught me how to laugh like that!

It's also my Auntie Adele's birthday. I know she hates being called that because it makes her feel old but unfortunately its the truth (that she's my auntie, not that she's old!) and I don't mind because I'm very glad that she's my Auntie!

Although I don't get to see them now as much as I would like to, these two ladies have been a constant source of inspiration in my life and have encouraged me to be creative, to dream big and to trust God with all my heart.

Thank you both for being wonderful women in my life, and Happy Birthday!!! xxx

Something that I've been thinking about...

...but couldn't have put it better.


Tuesday is a muse day

7 things I like about this week so far...

1. Buying two bunches of daffodils for 99p!
2. Displaying said cheap and cheerful daffodils at work.
3. Doing the weekly food shop at the supermarket in 5 minutes because we didn't realise it was about to shut, and having fun rushing round trying to find everything. That's what happens when you decide to try a different supermarket!
4. The sunshine. The temperature might have dropped a degree or 5, but the sun is still shining most of the time.
5. Knowing that I'll be spending time with my husband and some good friends tomorrow.
6. Knowing that I'll be spending at least some time on a beach tomorrow.
7. Colouring the numbers in rainbow order (I know I'm special)!!!!

I'm sure there are plenty more, but I think this will do for now!

Ooh, and I love this picture but I have no idea who took it :(

Monday, 30 March 2009

The Secret Millionaire

I love The Secret Millionaire programme on Channel 4.

Whilst watching it last night I suddenly realised something, that was probably obvious to most people who watch it, but it really struck me. Once the millionaires are placed in the community they are hoping to help in some way, they have to go and seek out opportunities where they can be of assistance, places and people to reach out to. They can’t just sit in their run down house hoping that the right people will knock on the door with fantastic opportunities for them to give their money to. They have to reach out the community, get to know the people there and the needs that they have. Then they can not only work out where to give their money but also how it will best be used.

It really struck me that we should be doing the same as the church. We shouldn’t be waiting in our buildings for the people that need our help to walk in and give us a clear description of how we can help them. People don’t work that way. Life doesn’t work that way. We should be out on the streets, in the community, searching out the people and groups that need our help.

Ok, so we don’t have millions of pounds to give away, but we have something far bigger and better than temporary riches. We have new life in Christ, hope, peace, security, value, joy and a whole list of other promises. We hold within us the potential to bring change to someone’s life, to give them life and not death. So, what are we waiting for? Why are we not out there seeking out the opportunities to make a difference to the people in our communities? What is it we're waiting for?

“Didn't I tell you everything's fine?
If there's a good and bad we're somewhere in between
Often I feel like we're all navigating blind
Could we get a change of pace to set the scene

We could stay another day in this confusion
Let it permeate us 'till we can't move on

But while we're waiting we could try saving the world
Or are we storing that up for a raining day?
I'm anticipating the time when it'll be my turn
It could be fun to try
I think that I'll save the world as a fun afternoon activity

Seventy thousand things to ponder today
Most significant are bottom of the list
Forty five million recipes and ways
To exaggerate and compound the stress

We could stay another day in this apathy
Let it permeate us 'till we're numb through

But while we're waiting we could try saving the world

Or are we storing that up for a raining day?
I'm anticipating the time when it'll be my turn
It could be fun to tryI think that I'll save the world as a fun afternoon activity

Brooke Fraser – Saving the World

Friday, 27 March 2009

Other kinds of fish...

...are caught by boats that live in a harbour...


Selfish, me?

I’ve never really thought of myself as a selfish person.

I mean, I don’t really think that I display the attitude and behaviour described by the definition of selfish. At least I hope I don’t.

But recently I have noticed myself referring to the things I need, the things I want, the things that are important to me.

I don’t do it very often…but I still do it.
It’s more in reference to relationships than material things…but I still do it.
I don’t even understand why I do it…but I still do it.

Sometimes I get confused between self awareness and selfishness.
Is knowing that you like something a particular way, and expecting it to be done that way because that’s how you like it, self aware or selfish? Even if you only expect it every now and then? Even if you return the favour?

We all have needs and desires. We all have likes and dislikes. We all have different personalities and preferences. But where is the line between knowing what you like, want, expect, desire…and being selfish?

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Wet wipe

Sometimes I am a complete wet wipe. Even the smallest of things makes me cry.

But it's nice to know that no matter how long the rainy days are here for...the sunshine will always come to clear away the cloudy skies...


Monday, 23 March 2009

Spring has arrived in the Secret Garden

I'm a little tentative in titling this post as you can guarantee that the weather will turn nasty now that I have declared the arrival of sunshine, balmy days and general all round springyness.

Anyway, I was feeling bad because I hadn't taken many photos recently, mainly because the weather was so miserable and because I couldn't think of anywhere inspirational to go to take pictures. But then I figured that I should just take pictures of whatever I can and get creative and inspired in the process.

There is a private garden right across the road from where I work and I had been making noises about how it would be nice to maybe go over one lunchtime and take some photos when the weather was nicer. So, thanks to Phil's encouragement, I did that very thing last Friday. The weather was not looking very promising first thing in the morning, but Phil assured me that it would brighten up later in the day, and sure enough it did! Its not really a secret garden as its pretty big and anyone walking along the road, or even just looking at a map, can see its there. But you have to have a key to open the gates so only a few special people get to see what's inside!

To be honest, a lot of the trees in the garden are still very bare, but I had fun just snapping away and being outside in the sunshine for a while.

I've walked past the outside of the garden a few times and noticed this small building. I headed straight over to have a better look. I was interested to find out what it was, thinking it might be a lovely little pavillion or romantic seating. But unfortunately not. It seems to be a gas pump and meter going by the signs on the doors!


There was one tree which had blossomed. It was lovely.



Some unusual blossom...

At one point I was befriended by two rather large dogs. I'm not a big dog person (as in I'm not that keen on dogs and I'm particularly not keen on big dogs) so the vigourous sniffing and checking out that they were giving me was not very appreciated. But apparently they liked me so decided to sit down next to me and then follow me around the rest of the garden!
I know it looks like the dog is just about to relieve itself but actually it was much more polite and went around the back of the tree to do that!

Towards the top of the garden is an interesting shed/shelter building. I'm not quite sure what its there for but its obviously been there a while. There were several layers of paint peeling off the bricks and the paint on the iron roof was almost non-existent! It gave some interesting patterns and textures.




There was the remains of what must have been a path or drain at some stage, but only a short length of it remains now. The use of the small narrow stones and the way it meandered down the hill made it feel as if it almost flowed through the garden.

And upon closer inspection there was even a little bit of love hidden in the stones! I think noticing that made my day!


Interesting scale texture in the tree bark.

On this particular tree there were three different kinds of lichen, green, white and black!


Sunday, 22 March 2009

Beautiful Time

He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Ecclesiastes 3:11


Sunshine yellow




...with a bit of purple...


Thursday, 19 March 2009


I'm a simple kinda girl really. The smallest of things can really make my day.

Like the smell of spring, fresh warm bread, sunshine, laughter, a great cup of tea, matching my socks with my outfit and noticing that the clock reads 11:11 on my computer.

Simple things really x

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Running is hard

I was going to think of a witty title for this post but I can’t. My brain is frazzled after my exertions last night. And to be honest there isn’t really any other way to say it. Running is hard. Very hard. And not very glamorous!

I am not a runner. But I have decided to take part in a 5 mile run at the end of May. Well, it’s not actually a 5 mile run. It’s a 5 mile section of the Edinburgh marathon. But don’t worry, I will stop running after 5 miles and not even be mildly tempted to do the other 21!

Last night’s run was hard. I got a bad stitch and felt like someone was using my stomach as a punch bag whilst I was trying to run. It was not a pretty sight. I was sweaty, I cried, I grimaced and I got a bit angry at Phil for not finding it as hard as I was.
I was so glad to get home and collapse on the floor!

As I chatted to Phil about my frustration at finding it so hard I started to think about the progress I was making and the journey I was on. Only a few weeks ago I couldn’t run for more than a minute without wanting to give up. I took some comfort from the fact that I had actually improved quite a bit in just a few weeks even though the process was hard and painful.

Running is a physical discipline. It takes motivation, commitment and consistency to see changes and improvement. It requires determination to push on when it’s hard, when it hurts. It has called for me to see the bigger picture, to look beyond the immediate struggle, to see the overall progress and look forward to the continual improvements.

I started to think about how this relates to our spiritual disciplines and how it can affect our journey as a disciple of Jesus.

We’re surrounded by a world of instant results, instant gratification, and instant solutions. Working hard for something or waiting for something is not what we’re used to. And this can affect our approach and mindset when it comes to our spiritual disciplines too. I know that it has affected me.

Prayer is harder when we don’t see instant results, or when the results we see are not what we would expect. But we are called to continue to pray with perseverance.
Reading God’s word can be hard when it challenges us, or when it doesn’t make sense straight away. But we are called to seek out God through regular reading of His word. Fasting, witnessing and serving are also areas that require discipline. A motivation and consistent commitment as with any physical discipline. A determination to continue even when it’s hard, even when it hurts.

It would be unrealistic of me to expect to run the 5 miles easily after just one session or one week of training. The same is true for our spiritual disciplines.

If we commit to these disciplines, God is gracious to help us see the bigger picture. To understand His perspective and His timing. And to give us the strength we need each step of the way. He also provides us with training buddies who come alongside us. Those people around us who encourage us, challenge us and help us to grow.

After all, we are all in a race everyday. The race of life. And God will help us to run the race well, if we are determined and commit to our part in training for the journey.

I've noticed...

...that recently this blog has been a bit wordy and there have been very few pictures. This is mainly because I need to get out more and take some more pictures. I will try harder this week I promise.

But for something that I know will be very easy on the eyes, check out these lovely wedges I'm lusting after from Clarks...

I think I am in love with them! x

Monday, 16 March 2009

But this is how I feel today

Over the last few days I’ve just not felt right. You know when every little thing just seems to get on your nerves and you can’t shake it off? Well, that’s been me this last week. I’ve been irritable, moody and downright annoying. And worst of all…I knew it!

I knew that I was in a funny mood and I knew that it was affecting the way I was interacting with others. I knew that my behaviour wasn’t always what it should be. But sometimes it’s hard to move past how we feel and still act in the right way. To have the right motives and attitude when we just don’t feel like it.

But our actions should not follow our feelings. Our actions should be consistent and come from a heart of love, a heart of grace. Our actions should direct our feelings. Which is easier said than done, I know!

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus”
Philippians 2:4-5

I know that I find this hard, especially when I’m in one of those funny moods. So how can I grow to have an attitude like Jesus? What things can I do to help?
Although I’ve learnt to recognise when I’ve not got the right attitude that is only half of the battle. How do I stop myself from allowing my feelings to rule? How do I stop my mood from dictating my actions, my words and my attitude?

I can pray (lots), read examples of Jesus’ attitude, be accountable to someone, be humble, be open to change and pray some more.

I know that I don’t always do these things when maybe I should. I don’t always turn to God when I struggle with my attitude. Sometimes I rely on others to make me feel better. I make others responsible for my mood, my feelings and my attitude. But only God can help to change my heart and only I can be responsible for the way I act and the things I say.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Blah blah blah...

I’m a talker. I talk a lot. I don’t really know why.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Ephesians 4:29

This is a challenge. One I need lots of help with.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Time for the cat

The cat was sitting on the hedge. Not in a hat. Not on a mat. But on the hedge. From my upstairs seat on the bus I could watch him trying desperately to balance on the branches whilst maintaining an air of feline superiority. The hedge was at least 6ft high, giving the cat a prime position to pounce on the unsuspecting passers by. If only he could balance long enough to jump!

It’s not a usual sight to see on the daily commute to work. It amused me greatly and I wanted to point the little fella out to those around me. But that’s not really the kind of thing you do on a bus full of strangers. I just kind of hoped that people would notice him themselves.

However, as I glanced around the upper deck I saw that only one or two others had spotted the adventurous cat. Others were too busy to notice. Reading the free paper, listening to music, sending text messages, talking on the phone. Too busy to notice the things going on around them. The quiet things, the little things.

In our modern culture, speed and efficiency are best. Multitasking and effective time management are important skills to be developed and honed. We constantly rush from one activity to the next ensuring that we don’t waste any of our time.

Waiting is frustrating. Queues are frustrating. Time wasters and traffic jams are frustrating. Because we feel they’re not productive uses of our time.

But just because our time is full, does it always mean its productive? Is time spent rushing and stressing and working on 5 things simultaneously really what we should be aiming for?

If we find something to fill every spare moment we have, if we are constantly living in a state of hustle and bustle, we miss the quiet things, the little things that are all around us. The things that speak to us in a whisper not in a shout.

“Be still, and know that I am God”
Psalm 46:10

Sometimes we just need to slow down, quieten down. Stop and listen. We need to enjoy the journey, not just rush to the destination. We need to be open to the moments that can happen when we’re not too busy, not too rush, not too stressed. The opportunities that require our time in ways we cannot always plan for or understand. But that God can use to speak to us and to use us.

This is something that I have been thinking about quite a bit recently and I’m sure that I’ll come back to these thoughts again. God continues to challenge me personally about how I utilise my time and how I make myself available to Him. I don’t want to miss the whispers from His heart, the gentle encouragements, the moments that can make a difference. I want to make sure I have the time. Time to be what He needs me to be, when He needs me to be.

And maybe, possibly, the time to watch a funny cat too!

Monday, 9 March 2009


I read this today and it made me think.

There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day.
Alexander Woollcott

I'm not too keen on...

...the cold.

Especially when I'm inside. I'm just not designed to be cold when I'm inside. I stop working properly! And I don't really like it!

p.s. Thinking warm thoughts doesn't help! I've tried it...lots!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Ageing Wisdom

If I am to believe the images I see in magazines and on TV and the various advertising campaigns for cosmetics, then my aim as I grow older is to look as young as I possibly can. Apparently it’s not good to be 40 or 50 and look like you’re actually 40 or 50. It’s not good for people to see that you have aged.

I find it sad that the world does not value age or the benefits that come with age. Instead it is viewed as a weakness, as a limitation or disadvantage. We are led to believe that as our bodies age we become less attractive, less valuable, less important.

But what about the wisdom and experience that comes with life, with age? The memories and moments shared that are far more precious than our outward appearance.

As a young woman surrounded by all the images the world throws my way, I have to distinguish and filter out those things which are false, unhealthy and unwholesome. I have to decide everyday what priorities rule over my life. What messages shape my thoughts and decisions.

If I spend my time constantly trying to maintain my youth, I miss the opportunities to enjoy life to its fullness. I waste my time looking back to the past, thinking about the way things were, the way I was.

But I am not the person I was.

Why is greater value placed on youthful looks over wisdom, on outward appearance over inward experience? Surely the marks and wrinkles that grow and develop over time are visible signs of the life we have lived. Our wrinkles come through laughter and expression, and enjoying moments with friends. Our lumps and bumps come through our life experiences and each one of these helps us to grow, to change, to mature.

So what if my figure is not ‘perfect’…I know at least two people who think it’s pretty amazing! And surely having a healthy body should be more of a priority. I would rather be 40 and look 40 and have a life that I can share and bless others with, than be 40 wishing I looked 20. I would rather put my time, energy and resources into things that will be here long after I’m gone. I’d rather value the things that are worth valuing than seek to be something false, unhealthy and unwholesome.

And I hope that a small part of the way I age, grow and mature will make a difference to those around me. That it won't be the norm to want to turn back time. But that we will each grasp hold of each day, enjoying life and gaining wisdom, whatever wrinkles may come because of it. 

Thursday, 5 March 2009


I knew they’d be there, in the back of the wardrobe. Longing to see the light of day. Patiently waiting for their moment. Yearning for the love and attention of someone, anyone.

As I reached into the box and dragged out two handbags I’d not used in years, I felt a sense of happiness knowing that they would hopefully be passed onto someone who would care for them more than I was doing. Who would enjoy them more than I was. Who would use them more than I was!

But I also felt a tinge of sadness. Giving them away was hard. Much harder than I thought it would be. Especially as I hadn’t even used them in years. Somewhere between buying the bags and now I’d become attached to them.

When we become attached to things they get added onto our life. Much like when you add an attachment to an email. The bigger the attachment, or the more numerous the attachments, the larger the email becomes, and the longer it takes to be delivered. The additional weigh of the attachments slows the email down. And the additional things we add onto our lives can slow us down or hold us back.

I love my house group and the time we have to discuss God’s word and have fellowship with one another. Last night we discussed the call to live a simple life before God. Not striving for great wealth or status, but seeking first the Kingdom of God and working to store treasure in heaven not on earth.

Something that struck me was our tendency to become attached to ‘things’. Sometimes, even without realising it. ‘Things’ which will one day rot and decay and be gone forever. ‘Things’ which can cause us worry and stress when we are called to have no worries and rely on God’s provision for all of our needs. ‘Things’ which cause us to turn our focus inwards rather than upwards and outwards. ‘Things’ which weigh on us and slow us down.

How different would our lives be if our attachments were to things which last forever? If we attached ourselves to people? Built stronger, deeper relationships? Searched for opportunities to help? Looked for ways in which we could meet a need? Gave away our things, and ourselves?

"If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you'll lose it, but if you let that life go, you'll get life on God's terms. " (Luke 17:33)

Life on God’s terms…what’s that like? It’s abundant and full and overflowing. More than we could ever achieve or hope to gain on our own. More fulfilling, more refreshing, more satisfying. So why struggle to hold onto the things in your life, the attachments? Why not give them to God and receive life on His terms?

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


I like to be organised. I like to sort things and store them in boxes so I know I can find things later. And I know where to look to find what I’m after. I know what to expect when I open the box, I know what things will be inside.

Maybe that’s why sometimes we put ourselves into boxes, into categories and even stereotypes. Then people know where to look to find us, or they know what they’ll be getting when they start to open our box.

But what if we don’t fit into a box? What if we can’t be contained? Why should we be defined by someone else’s expectations?

We are created in the image and likeness of a God who cannot be contained, who cannot be kept in a box. Maybe we should look to Him first and seek our definitions from Him. For only He truly understands all that He has put inside us, whether it fits neatly into a box or not. Only He knows how best to use our skills, abilities and passions. And He will never judge us or ask us to sit tidily in a box that we were not created to be in.

And because stories are always better with pictures...

Monday, 2 March 2009

The Fug

I have so many thoughts going round in my head. So much that I want to write about. But when I try to get things together its all coming out a bit blah! Like biting an orange and getting lots of the pithy bit and none of the juicy, tasty bit. 

I think I'm in a bit of a fug!