Saturday, 30 January 2016

Quiet: a Five Minute Friday post

My Friday night writing plan was bamboozled by a daughter vomiting so carved out a little window of my Saturday instead. Writing today on the prompt word "quiet" for Five Minute Friday where we write for five minutes without editing or over thinking. (P.S. how do you like the new look on the blog? I felt like a change.)

Quiet. The often longed for thing for a parent. I have a fairly quiet child and am blessed to have times when she is quiet and I have that time to myself. That doesn't always impact on the state of my soul. Finding quiet in my soul is entirely separate from what is happening around me. I can be in the most tranquil place but have chaos and loud inside me. I can be in the midst of a crowd with noise and find that stillness within. I long to have peace, quiet and stillness as an abiding theme in my soul. While anxiety is certainly not as prevalent within me as it has been in years past, it rears its ugly head. I am reminded of how much is often going on under the surface that I am not tuning into. I know I am not in that quiet internal state but my reactions to my daughter, my husband and seemingly inconsequential occurrences around me. I speak through gritted teeth, get irritated quickly and have a short fuse. 

How do I get that quiet? Doing little is often not the rest and answer that I imagine. For me, it is found in God's presence.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Thankful Thursday

As the weeks continue to fly by, we have come to another Thankful Thursday. I woke up this morning with my mind spinning, my heart racing and my to do list overwhelming. I am in need of a gratitude stop. Join me.
  • A Groclock- my daughter is a ridiculously early riser (think 4-4:30am EVERY day). We have tried various methods and a sleep trainer clock before but nothing shifted. We bought a Groclock a few weeks ago and she has been staying in her room until the sun is on the clock most mornings. This means we get a sleep in until 5:15am each day! I know that may sound awful to many of you still but it has been heavenly for us. We still have a couple of mornings where she is needing cuddles so will come through and have had to go through to stop her kicking on her wall or turn down her audiobook volume but a success on the whole. I am very grateful for the extra sleep! (You can check out the Groclock in this affiliate link below.)

  • The amazing carers at my daughter's daycare- this week saw the end of more than 3 years under their care. Emotional time for me! It was such a rough road at the beginning of this journey with my daughter having some intense separation anxiety but I am so glad we pushed through. We will miss them.

Heading off with Daddy to go on the bus to daycare for the last time!
  • The crazy, awe-inspiring creation found in this country- This week was Australia Day and we took the opportunity to go to the Pinnacles for a day trip. I was completely blown away by the magnitude of this place. We even saw emus there. The family time was wonderful too. Hide and seek among the rock formations. The photos below don't even begin to do this place justice.

  • Working for an amazing company that starts off our year building into staff- yesterday was our staff conference to start off the school year. Sitting under the teaching and encouragement of a variety of wise and experienced people, reigniting my passion for what I do, with a solid focus on building ourselves and caring for ourselves throughout the year to combat compassion fatigue and being anointed and commissioned for the year ahead. Magnificent!
I love hearing from others about what they are thankful for. I want others to experience the joy that comes from opening our eyes to see the good that is contained in each day.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Embrace these days secure in His embrace

How do I learn to abide (my word for this year)? What does abide look like? These questions have been swirling for many weeks. I don't have all the answers yet but am trusting that they will emerge as I continue to pursue this word with God. One element of abide that has been pricking at my conscious recently is abiding in my daily life. I find it so easy to skim through my days with my mind in the past and the future and the what ifs. Am I really living in my days? Am I dwelling in these fleeting moments with my daughter, my friends, my family? My little girl starts school in a week! I am caught in the desire to treasure these moments while quickly getting bored of playing and seeking distractions and other priorities. That is not abiding.

How can I abide in days that include meltdowns, or physical injuries causing frustrating limitations? How do I dwell in the painful moments, the mundane or mind-numbing moments? I was reminded anew in our church service this morning that it is how we process the painful parts of life that determine the condition of our hearts. This is turn determines the spiritual condition of our lives. (Watch or listen to the January 24th podcast of this message HERE). I was struck by the challenge to embrace the pain and hard times. Does it mean you enjoy every moment? Of course not. You grab on to those times, knowing that you have a choice in how you allow those times to grow and strengthen you, to shoot deep roots of strength, empathy and faith or the choice to allow them to harden you, to put up barriers to the world. 

I may not be facing anything earth-shattering right now but I realised that making the wise choice when faced with tough times is hugely dependent on what we are doing in the in between times. Am I embracing my daily life? Am I grateful for the million little and big gifts each day? 

I can embrace my daily life and my tough times only when I am secure and abiding in the embrace of my heavenly Father. Am I an occasional visitor or do I make my daily home in His presence? Do I recognise His embrace around me or am I too focused on the ways I mess up in the day? My heart longs to abide in His presence. When I am more fully myself through Him, I can be fully present in my life, in the lives of those I am called to journey with. 

Embrace these days secure in His embrace.

Linking up with:
Tuesday at Ten using the prompt word "embrace".

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Thankful Thursday Link Up- back for 2016!

I have missed creating my lists of what I'm thankful for and am keen to get back to the practice of noticing the good in my life. The MOPS theme for this year includes noticing goodness as one of the major areas to focus on. This link up is part of that process for me. 

  •  The timing of my suspected stress fracture- it happened while I still had a few weeks of holidays left, increasing my chances to rest and not have to worry about work, school starts and our generally busy term schedule. While it is looking like recovery will be continuing into the term, at least I have had this initial time to give recovery a kickstart.
  • Our new flooring! It is incredible what a difference it has made to the look of our house and my enjoyment of being in this house until we can eventually sell. 6 years of cream, stained carpets in the area we spend the most time in and see as soon as you step in are over!

  • A wonderful afternoon and evening spent with my fellow MOPS leaders overlooking the ocean. This mini-retreat was bonding, relaxing and productive. 

  • Finding yummy, healthy recipes and a way of eating that is helping me feel healthier and start to lose weight despite being so restricted in my activity levels right now.
  • Our vapouriser- allowing us all to get some sleep while my daughter has her cold.
  • The anticipation of the new term with its new routines and roles almost being here. My brain has been rolling around logistics and plans. I am looking forward to being able to just get into it and starting acting on plans. I expect my plans and ideas will change as I try them out but at least we will be out of limbo.
I would love to hear what you are thankful for this week either in the comments or through linking up your own Thankful Thursday post below.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Looking ahead into 2016

Well that was a longer break from posting than I had planned! The words just have not been there the past few weeks. I was journalling and writing Scripture but nothing came when I sat down to write here. I received some wonderful encouragement in the Hope*Writers Facebook group about reframing the way I looked at this break and sure enough, the words have been itching in my fingers all day, waiting for the opportunity to sit in the quiet. 

Life has continued in the interim and has even included some changes. It has also included some unexpected challenges, a big step in a long-held vision and diving into the new year with its new roles.

I am not a New Year's resolutions person. Putting that expectation on myself usually fails, admittedly due to the unrealistic nature of my goals often. I sometimes laugh at the to do lists I write up for myself and wonder how on earth I expect to be able to achieve all of it in one 24 hour period. A couple of years ago, I came across the concept of One Word. It intrigued me and I tried it out. I'm not going to exaggerate and say that it revolutionised my life, or that I could even remember what my word was at times later in the year. It did help me tune in to what was important more. My word for this year is "abide" (kind of in partnership with "dwell" which is often used interchangeably in different Bible versions and verses.) This word came up frequently for me in the last few months of 2015 and I sensed God stirring. It fits with the journey that God has already had me on for years but I sense a deeper calling into this, into Him. So often I can gloss through quiet times and through my day without really dwelling in the presence of God and I crave that more in my life. I also want to be more present and "abide" in the moments of my day with my daughter, family, friends and in those everyday mundane tasks. If you are interested in exploring the concept more, you can visit the One Word website HERE (there are several out there so you could also find a different one) and the You Version Bible app also has a short devotional that leads you through the steps too.

One area that I am looking at focusing on and making some goals around is my health, fitness and weight. I have been interested in the Trim Healthy Mama Eating Plan for a while and have taken the plunge, although in baby steps. I love the grace that shines through the book and the balanced approach to food. I am not going hungry, eating super yummy treats despite being off sugar and already noticing my clothes being less tight only a couple of weeks in and not even fully on plan yet. I think this is going to be very workable for me, especially with giving myself the grace to step in gradually and not have to be 100% perfect at it.

My fitness focus has proven more challenging. I was keeping going with the workouts and workout apps that I was using at home, with more consistency and was adding in running using the Couch to 5k app. I was really enjoying it but only a couple of weeks in, developed what was originally diagnosed as shin splints and is now looking more like a stress fracture. I am on crutches and restricted from any exercise that involves standing or using my leg. What a blow to my exercise plans, especially just as I joined a fitness accountability group. I have been determined not to let this completely derail my quest to be more healthy. My goal is to have the energy and vitality to engage fully in each role I have in life. I'm over being tired and lethargic. Weight loss is an added bonus and I am choosing not to focus on numbers or even look at scales right now to prevent the obsessive tendencies I know I have within me from taking me down a destructive path. So for now, I am focusing on my arms and core as they can be targeted while sitting or lying. I am a little nervous putting my health and fitness focus out there but hoping the additional accountability will spur me through the tough times. I look forward to seeing where I am at the end of the year.

Life may not always go according to plan but I am learning to let it go more. 

Keep a look out for the return of the Thankful Thursday link up this week.

I would love to hear from you about what your goals/ areas of focus or one word is for this year.