Sunday, 4 December 2016

What do I crave? (A Five Minute Friday post)

What is it that I crave? I have come to the conclusion that different parts of me crave different and often opposite things. My mind in this season simultaneously craves mindless distraction and stimulation. My soul craves connection, restoration, spiritual direction. My body craves sleep and coffee. My fingers seem to crave a device to fidget with. 
Of all of these cravings, what should I give in to? What do I indulge? Those are often not answers I want to look at too closely. Cravings can be indicative of internal processes. I'm told certain food cravings can indicate mineral or nutrient deficiencies. Craving mindless distraction and rest is a warning sign of too much intensity and the need for a break. And yet indulging every craving is detrimental to my health, physical, mental and emotional. I need to spend more time reflecting on what these cravings are telling me and how I can meet that need in ways that will give long term gain rather than only short term relief. 
The end of term is in sight. Many things in my life start to wind down now. Christmas brings a kind of busyness but not the intensity I have in other seasons. It's time to indulge the right cravings.

This post was written for the Five Minute Friday link up, where a community of writers take the prompt word (crave this week) and write unedited for five minutes flat and share our thoughts with each other. Check out the other contributions here.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

What I learned this Spring

Today is the first day of summer, the first day of many of our Advent activities, the first day of the last month of the year. In the midst of looking forward to the Christmas season, I want to take some time to stop and reflect back on the season that is ending. I am increasingly thinking of my life in terms of seasons, both in terms of weather and seasons of what God is calling me to do. 
Here is what I learned this spring:

  • Momentum only lasts if you keep it up! I am able to achieve a whole month of posts, establish great momentum in my writing and lose it just as quickly. To say I loved writing in the Write 31 Days challenge would not quite be accurate but it did draw on a deep calling within me and that is a good feeling. I believe in what I wrote about and I am in the process of turning that series into a book. Finding the motivation to write has been so difficult since then, though. I find myself writing in fits and starts. This has made sense in this season as writing has not been a high priority. We will see what the next season brings for my writing.

  • I have far more good ideas in my head than I can act on! My to-do list each day vacillates from completely ridiculous in its expectations to almost empty. I have so many ideas and thoughts throughout the day that never come to fruition both from busyness at times and plain forgetfulness and can't-be-botherdness at others. I have to learn how to sift through them more realistically and prioritise more. The lure of easy distractions can be too great at times.

  • I'm going to be a calisthenics mum. My five-year-old daughter was asking to do dance and gymnastics classes. Calisthenics was a great option for including both. She did a four-week trial this term before deciding that she loves it and wants to continue next year. Time will tell if she sticks with it for the long-term, but for now, I will be a calisthenics mum. 

  • Transitioning to a new church campus requires more grieving than anticipated. Our church launched its new campus recently. Most of my friends and my daughter's friends remained at the existing campus. I am struggling to adjust far more than I thought. I anticipated being more excited but right now, I mostly feel sad and not at home yet. I am so glad that we have this campus to impact the community and know I will get to a place of belonging. For now, I am giving myself space and time to grieve and adjust.

  • Leadership sets a fire to my heart. Stepping into a new level of leadership has drawn out a passion for leadership learning in me. I am thriving on learning new things and am passionate about communicating that to other leaders. I feel a tug to call out leadership in others, especially those who don't see it in themselves, just as others have done for me.
This list was deeper than I intended when I first started writing. It is indicative of the season I have come through. Some seasons are light and fluffy. Others are gritty and rough. I will embrace them all as they come.

(If you are still looking for a way to celebrate Advent with your kids, it isn't too late to take advantage of this exclusive discount for Truth in the Tinsel and include a few activities in the coming weeks. Find out more here.)

This post is linking up with Emily P. Freeman

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Christmas is coming! Free gifts for you to help get ready

When you read the words "Christmas is coming!", did you feel a bubble of excitement or stress or maybe a bit of both? If I think about the gifts that need to be bought and the tasks that need to be completed by then, I start to feel overwhelmed. When I think of Advent, though, I am re-energised. It will soon be time to start the December celebrations and focusing in on the meaning of Christmas for myself and for my daughter. If you have been around my writing for a year or more, you will know that Advent holds a special place in my heart. This year, I am realising that what I choose to do during this season forms a part of how I lead myself and how I lead my daughter. 

Making intentional choices requires some planning and organisation in this busy season. Once again this year, I've created a free planner for you to use in planning out Advent activities. I have set out two columns for each day: one for the activities for my daughter and as a family and one for the focus I will be taking for that day personally. You could also use it as one for the activity and the other for the resources you might need. I used this planner last year and loved how it helped me to keep on track with my heart's desire to cut through the busyness and commercialism of the season. 

The other resource that has become central to the Advent focus with my daughter is the Truth in the Tinsel ebook. Last year was the first year we did the activities daily and we LOVED it. I also loved the printable ornaments which made this achievable. (You can have a look at our Advent activities from last year here)

For the first time, I am able to offer you an exclusive discount code for you to purchase the Truth in the Tinsel ebook for yourself and your family. I am so excited to share this with you. You can sign up below to receive both the Advent planner and the discount code by clicking on the image.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Common thread: Five Minute Friday

Have you ever experienced that phenomena where every day a common thread seems to run through the messages that you get? I have been experiencing this for the past few weeks. Almost everyday, through podcasts, sermons, social media images, a candle made for me by a friend, I have found the verses from Matthew 11:28-30. The message of resting in God and learning the unforced rhythms of grace has been a resounding boom. It has seemed strange for this to be the common thread of late. This is an area that God has been dealing with me about for years and I feel that I am in a good place in many ways. I carve out time for myself, explore the ways I am most restored in rest and have been spending more time in deeper relationship with God learning to draw strength from Him not rely on myself. And yet, here I am with the verses brought to my attention in a hundred little ways. It makes me nervous in a way as it feels like I am being reminded of this in preparation for challenges to come. It makes sense in many ways as I take on the full role of MOPS State Coordinator and the added responsibilities of this. I pray that these reminders will force the lesson deep within me for those days when I need it most.

This post was written as part of Five Minute Friday on the prompt word "common". The challenge is to write unedited for five minutes on the prompt and join the community of writers doing this each week. 

Friday, 4 November 2016

Journey- Five Minute Friday

This post is written as part of Five Minute Friday, where writers take a prompt word and write for five minutes without editing. After an intense writing stint in October. This is just what I need to get back into writing for November. 

When I saw the prompt word for today, I smiled. "Journey" My week started with a post about the continuing journey I am on in my leadership and writing and it will end with a fast paced reflection of that journey. I have spent the past two days at the Global Leadership Summit here in Perth. I am filled to overflowing with inspiration, ideas and plans. I have so much to digest, chew over, discuss and implement that it will take weeks to work it all through. I have come away with a renewed sense of the life long journey that leadership requires. If I am ever arrogant enough to think I have this all figured out, I pray that I will encounter new ideas and thinking to shake me out of that. 
I was blessed to have my journey intersect with an old friend at the summit too. We were housemates at uni and don't get to see much of each other these days. I was very aware of how far we have both come in our journeys of leadership and life. Despite the times apart and the infrequency of contact, the bond is still there and the beautiful gift of encouragement she has is still flourishing. I love those times that God brings of unexpected connection to speak into my journey right when I need it.


Monday, 31 October 2016

The journey continues: Where to from here

We have reached the end of this series but the journey of stepping up in leadership is an ongoing one. I never want to get to the place where I think I know everything and get too comfortable. I want to be a life long learner, especially when it comes to my leadership. I hope that you have the same idea.

It was my intention for this series to encourage and inspire other leaders walking this journey. I also wanted those who don't see themselves as leaders to recognise the influence and abilities that they have already. Through my experiences and reflections, I want to empower leaders. 

I knew from previous years what a challenge a daily series can be. It has grown and stretched me. It has forced me to take long looks at myself and evaluate areas of my leadership honestly. It has helped me to identify areas where growth and learning is needed. I now get to apply what I have learned as I take on my new role.

This series has had the added benefit of giving me renewed momentum in my writing and clarifying the direction I want to take. This blog has always been a vague idea for me. Now I know where my heart beat is: Encouraging others in leading themselves, leading their families and leading others. Over the next few months, I want to focus my writing to fit with this heart beat and make changes on the blog to reflect this. I would love for you to join me in this.

For the past two years, reaching the end of Write 31 Days has left me with somewhat of an anticlimax. This year, I have a project. Writing daily limits the depth that I can go in my writing. The feedback I have had from this series makes it clear to me that there is a need for these words. I will be turning this series into an ebook. I am looking forward to expanding on the reflections and ideas to produce a resource that can reach many more on their leadership journey. If you want to keep in touch with this project, subscribe below and you will be among the first to know when it is available.

What I am most interested in now, is how I can help you. What do you struggle with in your leadership journey? Where do you need the most encouragement? I would love to hear from you.

And now, I celebrate completing this challenge!

Subscribe to the Stepping up in leadership series

This series is part of the Write 31 Days challenge. You can read what others are contributing here

The Five Minute Friday book has released! Profits from this book go to two charities in South Africa. I am eagerly awaiting my copy to arrive. Get yours by clicking on the picture above or searching for it on Amazon. 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Sunday Scripture: Psalm 91:1-4

These verses have long been among my favourites. They combine the messages of abiding, rest and feathers that God has been talking to me about over the past few years. I am learning more and more that my leadership ability is going to be directly proportional to how much I am living in Christ. These verses feel like a wrap-around blanket of peace. 

Feathers have so much significance to me. You can read about that here. I pray that you will be able to experience for yourself the shelter of His wings in your own journey.

Subscribe to the Stepping up in leadership series

This series is part of the Write 31 Days challenge. You can read what others are contributing here

The Five Minute Friday book has released! Profits from this book go to two charities in South Africa. I am eagerly awaiting my copy to arrive. Get yours by clicking on the picture above or searching for it on Amazon