Tuesday, 31 January 2012

12 in 2012 - January

After one month of aiming (rather ridiculously) high and trying to encompass 12 things into life...how am I getting on? Well...
1. To read my Bible more
I started off well with this and picked up my Bible in one year...which was still bookmarked at April from the last time I attempted to read the Bible in one year! Although I haven't been doing it every night, or even most nights, I have been reading a day or two once snuggled up in bed before switching off for the night. And I am enjoying reading parts of the Bible I would probably never otherwise read.

2. To memorize Scripture
If I'm honest, I have not even attempted this yet! My brain is currently a total mush and I nearly flooded the bathroom the other night because I forgot I'd started to run a bath! Hopefully next month I will start to post verses up around the place to help with this.

3. To pray more
I haven't really been journalling my prayers, but I have been praying more. The walk home from work provides a great opportunity to chat some things through with God...or just listen to Him. But it's not so easy to write and walk...although making notes in my phone has been useful, as long as I still remember to watch where I'm walking!

4. To be more thankful and content
Establishing a habit of saying thank you prayers with Ethan before his bedtime has helped a little with this. Some of the things he thinks to say thank you for are great reminders for what is actually important (although I'm not sure beards is one of them). But if I'm honest, the being content thing is not going well at all!

5. To watch less tv
So...I'm writing this while the tv is on in the background...which it tends to be most evenings! But I have managed to avoid getting 'sucked' into watching things I didn't want to, which has helped with some of the items below.

6. To read more
As I mentioned in my recent reads post, I was quite productive on the reading front over Christmas. I am still plodding on with a couple of books at the moment but they're a bit hard going. I've also been trying to read at lunchtimes at work, rather than wander round the sales or browse the internet...but then I struggle to put the book down and go back to my desk!!!

7. To take more photos and craft more
Hopefully the photos and posts on this blog will testify to my efforts in this area. And I did make some lovely napkins for my brother and sister-in-law...but I forgot to take any photos of them before I handed them over! Fail :(

8. To bake more
You've seen the biscuits, and I made cake too, but I do need to pick things up in this area. In terms of consuming baked goods...I've been amazing at that!!!

9. To encourage and uplift the women in my life
I'm not really sure that I'm the best person to review this item, but I have tried to listen well and encourage when I have an opportunity. I have been trying to not just think about doing something encouraging, but to actually do it...and if I do it when I think about it I'm less likely to forget!

10. To compare myself with others less
Lets just say...'could do better'.

11. To wear a dress or skirt at least once a week
I'm totally going to blame this on the extreme weather. I did wear a dress on our girly day in York, but I came home with cold knees! I'll definitely make more of an effort from now on.

12. To do more stuff with my hair
I have decided that I really need to get a hair cut. After 7 months, I think it's about time. I have been trying to vary the styles and methods of tying my hair up...but getting photographic evidence has been a little more problematic. But I have witnesses if anyone is really that interested!

So, that's January over already...I think I'd also like to find a way to stop time whizzing by so fast. Any ideas?!

Monday, 30 January 2012

We love to draw

Using a freezer bag to store Ethan's crayons was not the coolest thing...so I made him a pencil case from a pair of daddy's old jeans.

Now we carry our colouring pencils around in style!

And it also gave me a slightly obscure reason to show my new cake stand! Isn't it lovely?! Just so simple but classic. Now I just need to bake more cakes to display on it!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A day away with the ladies...








All in all a lovely day with lots of girly chat and catching up with friends.
This is something I need to do more often...tea, cake and chat are definitely gifts from God!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Our Jan 2012

Another round of photos from my phone during the month of January!
p.s. I know we're not at the end of January yet, but I'm away today catching up with friends in York and I'm hoping to have loads of photos to share from that.

1. An alternative use for packaging!
2. The new cool calendar 'we' were given for Christmas...up and doing its job!
3. A very apt t-shirt
4. Failing at trying to take a picture of my hair to show I'm trying the different hairstyles thing (12 in 2012!)...but look at how sparkly my ring is!!!
5 & 6. First visit to the recently refurbished library...playing with the toys and not reading any books!
7. Showing daddy how to play the instruments at the museum.
8. Play-doh!
9. Traveling is tiring!
10. My lovely new flask...it has been used already.
11. I always knew I'd built a house one day...
12. ...complete with roof garden!
13. A new pencil case for the E-man made from daddy's old jeans.
14. Regretting trying the straddle the step length-ways!
15. I'm not always sure how I feel about seeing the moon as I leave work....pretty but a little sad.
16. Japanese night!
17. A fried egg for breakfast...at my desk!
18. Drawing round our hands.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, 27 January 2012

21 months

Things have been a bit quiet on the blogging front this week as I recover from a weekend with my family.
It was lots of fun and this months photos of the E-man are courtesy of my sister who took some lovely photos of him while we were staying with her and my parents...and this is why she features in them.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Biscuit, anyone?

Just to provide evidence of some of my baking this month...

My version of Mary Berry's 'Fork Biscuits' from the recipe in her Baking Bible.
I didn't follow the last step as I found that they were too crumbly to squash with a fork, maybe because I made them with goat's butter for a dairy-free friend rather than cow's butter.
They were still mighty tasty though...which is the important bit!

I also made the lemon yoghurt cake from the same book but didn't take any photos as I finished it about 11pm and just wanted to go to bed!!! It was delicious so I'm sure I will be making it again and shall definitely provide photographs...how else am I meant to show off my new cake stand from Christmas?!?!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Recent Reads - Jan 2012

As I have quite a few books to read for Interact...and to encourage me to read more in general (12 in 2012 remember!)...I thought it would be nice to do a regular(ish) post about the books I've been reading. This month is a bit of a cheat as I haven't actually read all of the books in the photo but I wanted to show off some of my Christmas and birthday presents...and I also included a couple that I read before Christmas, so not technically in January!

But anyway, here's to the first of hopefully more Recent Reads...I promise to make them shorter in the future!
Recent reads Jan 2012
From the top:
God on Mute - Pete Greig
This book isn't on the Interact reading list but was recommended by one of the seminar speakers and a few other friends. Once I started it I couldn't put it down. It was very easy to read and helped to answer, or at least  explain, some of the questions I had/have about prayer. I found it very down-to-earth and practical and was just what I needed to read during this current season. I think it is a great foundational book on prayer and every Christian should read it.
God's Lavish Grace - Terry Virgo
This book and the next two are on the Interact reading list. This was quite easy to read. I liked the practical illustrations used to show why we need God's grace and to explain how this grace works and how we should live in response to it.
Why Trust the Bible? - Amy Orr-Ewing
The first couple of chapters were a bit of a challenge for my more logical mind, but the majority of the book was straight-forward. I liked the clear explanations and discussions about some of the questions people have about the bible's origin and history.
How to read the bible for all its worth - Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart
I was hoping that this would be a more straight-forward read like the book above, but its pretty heavy going and 'meaty'. I'm currently still in the middle of this one trying to take as many notes and absorb as much as possible! Exegesis and hermeneutics are new words to my vocabulary and this book neck-deep in them! A good read but quite challenging!

The last few books were presents:
Death Comes to Pemberley - P.D. James
From what I can gather from the back cover...this is a new classic from P.D. James bringing together her talent for detective mystery and her love for Jane Austin. I am setting aside a special time over the Easter break to enjoy this book properly and I shall write and hopefully rave about it then!
Skin Secrets - Liz Earle
I have been a lover and user of Liz Earle's skincare products for a while now (thanks to my mother introducing me to and continuing to supply me with). I have already skim read this during a couple of Ethan's nap times. I like the fact that its chock-full of tips, tricks and treats for general all-round healthy living and, despite its title, doesn't just focus on the skin and outward appearance.
Simple Sewn Gifts - Helen Philipps
This is another one that I've managed to skim through during nap times. A lot of the projects involve cross-stitch and the instructions are very prescription which is not really my thing, but there are lots of good ideas and certainly some things that I would like to try. I think I would adapt or customise most of the projects in this book to make them more 'me' but its certainly got some good inspiration and places to start.
Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts
This was a birthday present from my lovely boys and I couldn't be more thrilled with it!
I used to have a book like this years ago but it was damaged and lost and I missed having such a great resource. Its a great reference on all things sewing with useful and practical information and tips on fabrics, thread, techniques etc. There is a wide variety of projects and ideas including embroidery, dying, printing and each example is comprehensive but still open enough to allow for personalisation and individuality (plus the presentation and photography is lovely).
I think/hope I will be dipping into this treasure chest of a book lots and lots. I already have many present ideas that I would love to make from this book...now I just need to find the time to do them all!!!

And to finish...the amazing glitter nail varnish that I think I am in love with...Rimmel no. 500 Disco Ball.
Love, love, love it!!!

Sunday, 15 January 2012


To my husband,
I'm sorry for the times I get annoyed because you haven't read my mind.
I'm sorry for the times I have a strop because you didn't do something my way.
I'm sorry for the times I expect things from you that I haven't communicated/are unrealistic/are unfair/are selfish.
I'm sorry for the times when I don't appreciate, or let you know I appreciate, the things you do and the person you are.
I'm sorry for the times when I'm grumpy and don't try to be understanding.

And I'm sorry for the time I waste being moody when I should be bringing fun, happiness, joy and peace into our home.

Thank you for being so patient with me x

Friday, 13 January 2012

20 months

Ok, so we're a bit past 20 months now but I thought it was time for a bit of a catch up!

Recent adorable moments (I know that's all people are interested in!)
- Making sure we all put our hands together when we say our prayers! I'm not even sure where he's got this from as we've not really done it while praying at home. Plus, the first time he said 'Dear God' in response to me telling him we were going to pray! I think I actually cried a little!
- saying 'love you mummy' or 'love you daddy' without prompting.
- saying 'happy birfday mummy' at regular occasions on the appropriate day!
- cooking in his new kitchen...usually making bread like daddy!
- lining his trucks and cars up (even in the library)...definitely his mother's son!
- saying thank you a lot...and excusing himself after wind!
- counting his fingers - it's like insy winsy spider doing a maths class!
- telling us about his friends and getting upset when we can't go and see them (not quite so adorable)
and so many more I can't remember!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Maps of the Night

I've always loved maps and I've always loved images of the earth from space, so you can imagine how much I love these pictures of the earth at night taken by NASA.
A brilliant and beautiful combination of the world created by God and the world created by man.

Find them here.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Fear - Part 3

So I can hardly up sticks and move somewhere to be a missionary. That would be irresponsible with a young family, and also not in agreement with my personality, character and the person God has created me to be.
And I'm not going to start random conversations with strangers on the bus just to feel that I've achieved some evangelistical tick-list!

So how do I ensure that my life, everyday, in the nitty-gritty here and now makes a difference?
How do I make sure that my life is one of significance?

Here's a few ideas for starters:
- I can train up my child in the way that he should go - Proverbs 22:6
- I can speak kind words - Proverbs 16:24
- I can trust in God - Proverbs 3:5-6
- I can welcome people into my home, family and community - 1 Peter 4:9
- I can speak truth - Psalm 15:1-3

And I'm sure there are more.
I think it's a good place to start because these things feel do-able, achievable, possible!
They are challenging but encouraging!

So, what do you think?
What things do you fear?
What can you do about it?
Can you add to my list?

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Fear - Part 2

What then do I fear?

If I'm honest, I fear being a failure.
But not just failing at regular things. Failing at life.
I fear not using my life for something worthwhile, for something bigger than me.
I fear not making a difference to people.
I fear not showing those around me the love and grace of Jesus.
I fear my life being insignificant.

As I was thinking about these things a friend tweeted the following:

And it completely resonated with me. That is what I fear.

But what do I do about it?

Follow Bianca here.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Fear - Part 1


Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back
I know you are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

The words glared down from the screen and those around me sang enthusiastically. But I couldn't sing the words. I hid as much as I could while standing in a congregation, my scarf pulled up around my face, tears streaming down my cheeks. 

Whom then shall I fear?

The thing is, I'm fortunate enough to live in a family, culture and society where I don't really fear anyone on a regular basis. Whom then shall I fear? It didn't seem to answer my questions, clarify my anxieties.

God: What! 
Me: What?
God: What then shall I fear?
Me: Sorry Lord? 
God: You heard me right.
Me: What then shall I fear?
God: Yes. What do you fear? Even though I am always with you.

Now that was a different question entirely. And one that I needed to think about and answer. And work through my muddled up thoughts.

The Lord is my light and salvation - whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

Song - You Never Let Go by Matt Redman

Friday, 6 January 2012

A year of classic cinema

12 films in 2012

As I mentioned in item 5 of my 12 in 2012, I would love to watch a 'classic' film each month this year, and maybe turn it into a classic film/date night.

Now I'm asking for your help!
I know the term 'classic' will have different meanings for each of us, and I'm not just talking about old or vintage films. There are some modern classics that are definitely worth seeing (Zoolander anyone?!)
My only conditions are that I have not seen them before (Phil might have seen them but I've got some catching up to do) and that they are not horrors or anything that would scare me (I don't want nightmares).

So, I'm opening the floor to suggestions, recommendations and ideas. What classic do you love? What are your favourites? What classics do I 'need' to see?
The more the merrier...maybe we can continue the idea into 2013?!

Just to help - some 'classics' I have seen already:
- The Shawshank Redemption (we happen to own 3 copies of this!)
- To Kill A Mockingbird
- Citizen Kane
- The Green Mile
- Memento

Ideas currently on the list:
- The Great Escape
- Pulp Fiction
- Sleepless in Seattle

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Wardrobe Malfunction!

I've spoken before of the unpredictable and usually unpleasant nature of the Scottish weather, but this Christmas it seemed to follow us!

This was my inspiration for my Christmas Eve outfit...

However, I stepped out of the front door to gale force winds and miserable rain! Thank goodness I was wearing tights, but yes, I possibly gave the neighbours an interesting view!!!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A little look...

...at our New Year's celebrations.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

12 in 2012 - Part 3

12 in 2012 blog title

So here are the last few items of my 12 in 2012 list...and you'll see some of them are a little more fun!

9. To encourage and uplift the women in my life
It's not that I don't want to encourage the men in my life, but I do have a heart for women that I can't explain. I hope that over the next 12 months I can learn to grow in areas of encouragement and kindness towards all the women that I encounter. That I can build them up, love them and share with them in many ways.

10. To compare myself with others less
I think this is possibly associated with numbers 3 and 4, but I know that I have placed the comparison game (and lost) far too much in 2011. So I'm praying that God will prod me (gently) when I begin to compare anything about my life with others...this is a difficult lesson that is taking a long time to work through!

11. To wear a dress or skirt at least once a week...and not just on a Sunday!
Over the last couple of years I have added a few dresses and skirts to my wardrobe with the intention of wearing them only to find that I have a tendency to pull on the same, predictable items (usually jeans) day-by-day! Obviously, the weather in Scotland doesn't always lend itself to certain ladylike fashions, but I'd like to be a bit more adventurous and actually wear some of the things in my wardrobe and not worry so much about what other people might think (see number 10!)
Plus, I just think it will be fun! And I may share photos of my outfits!

12. To do more stuff with my hair
Again, this is one for fun...and to try and get me out of a hair rut!
I tend to either straighten my hair and wear it down or just tie it up in a quick ponytail. My morning routine doesn't often allow time for faffing around with different hairstyles, but I would like to be a bit more adventurous and expand my hair repertoire! A decent haircut may be a good start!!!

So, there's my list...12 things to work on in 2012.
I'll try to report on how I'm getting on each month...so 12 reports across the year! You're allowed to keep me accountable and make sure I'm honest in my efforts!

What do you think?
Do you have any plans for this New Year? Any things that you'd like to grow in or develop over the next 12 months?

Let's encourage each other to aim high and stay strong throughout the year!

Monday, 2 January 2012

12 in 2012 - Part 2

12 in 2012 blog title

5. To watch less tv
It's amazing how many hours can be spent (wasted) each week just watching whatever happens to be on the box! I'm so guilty of just relaxing (slobbing out) and loosing time to the idols of various tv channels. Well, no more! Hopefully!
I suppose the root of this one is to be more in control and take charge of my time in a better way. And it leads onto the next three items. Quite often I complain that I just don't have enough time when really it's that I don't steward my time well. The tv is definitely one of the biggest drains of my time so I'm going to try and be more disciplined about what I watch and how much time I spend sat watching something, when I know that I could/should/would like to be doing something else.
However, I am hoping to watch one 'classic' film each month this year. More on this soon...

6. To read more
Less time watching the tv will hopefully mean more time to read! I have many books on the Interact reading list to work through (I'm getting there slowly), as well as many others that are on my personal to-read list. And probably more that will be added during the year!
And hopefully more reading will mean a few book reviews for the blog!

7. To take more photos and craft more
Again, less time watching the tv will hopefully mean more time to take photos and craft! I have been given a macro lens and a couple of great crafting books for Christmas/birthday this year, as well as a subscription to Mollie Makes magazine. Every year I have great intentions to take more photos and make birthday and Christmas presents for people, and maybe even sell some on t'internet...but I always struggle to finish things...or even get started.
I've joined up with a couple of the other girls at work to start a crafting time one lunchtime a week which will hopefully help keep me going! And, of course I will share my endeavours with you!

8. To bake more
Once again, more time will hopefully translate to more baked goodies!
Then hopefully my new Mary Berry's Baking Bible and all the baking accessories I have been gifted will not just be used but completely abused!!!

Numbers 9 to 12 up tomorrow...

Sunday, 1 January 2012

12 in 2012 - Part 1

12 in 2012 blog title

Happy New Year!

So here are the first items on my list of 12 things I'd like to see growth/improvement/development/enjoyment in in 2012...

1. To read my Bible more
Like most people, I struggle to find the time (or make the time) in a busy day or week to have a regular time of Bible reading. I make the effort to read it for a particular study, or to find encouragement but I don't really read it just to draw near to God and get to know Him, His character, His heart better. I'm praying for a greater desire for His word in many ways. I'm hoping this will also help me to seek first His Kingdom day-by-day.

2. To memorize Scripture
This is kind of tied into number 1, but I don't just want to read God's word...I want it to dwell in me and to make a difference in my life...to change me. So, I'll be making an effort to write out verses and passages and post them around the place so that I can learn to call on God's word at all times because it is within me.

3. To pray more
This is more about establishing a regular discipline of prayer and also making the effort to journal my prayers and conversations with God. I know that I really benefit when I record how God is speaking to me and how He responds to my prayers. This is something I really want to grow in.

4. To be more thankful and content
This last year has been difficult for me in a few ways and I have noticed discontent creep into various areas of my thinking and speaking. I think that working hard at number 3 will help with this item in some ways but I also think that I need to give it specific focus.
We've starting saying prayers at bedtime with Ethan and mostly these are prayers of thanks. Every day he says thanks for food to eat and for each one of us. It's been such a witness to me of how blessed we really are and how much we have to be thankful for. This is something I need to remember more and want to build into our family life in 2012.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6

Numbers 5 to 8 coming up tomorrow!