Saturday, 30 April 2016

What I Learned in April

April has been a bit of a blur. To stop and reflect on what I've learned becomes even more important in months like that. Here is what I've learned over the past month:

  • I need to keep using my daily planner to stay on top of everything. I used my planner for a total of 3 days over April and I feel like I've dropped the ball on several fronts this month. (If you're interested in what planner I use, check out this post.)

  • Recovering from getting your wisdom teeth out can be more difficult than you initially anticipate. And then it can all suddenly improve overnight! It also involved far more stitches in weird places than I thought it would (which caused most of the pain issues.) My poor daughter was quite freaked out by my appearance and inability to smile or talk properly for a week. I was so grateful that it was over school holidays so that I could rest and recover without the usual pressures.
  • My little girl is developing a beautiful but quirky sense of style- mostly expressed in how she likes her hair done. I love that she has the confidence for this before self-consciousness takes over. I pray that confidence to be herself lasts a long time.

  • Isabel also has a deeply caring heart. I knew this already but the way she wanted to take care of me while I recovered from surgery was another demonstration.

Reading Mummy a story to make me feel better.
  • I really enjoy upcycling craft that produces practical but beautiful pieces.

  • The first time writing for an online publication other than your own blog can be daunting, exciting, nerve-wracking, thrilling and rewarding. It has been my first time working with an editor. My article will be published on Monday on Eek!
It has been fun reflecting on the month of April. What did you learn this month?

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman here.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Thankful Thursday

I am loving being back in the habit of recording what I am thankful for each week. I have caught myself being on the look out in my days for the little and big things that I may normally overlook.

Here is what I am thankful for this week:

  • The imagination and creativity that Lego has brought out in my daughter. She blows me away with what she comes up with. The creation on the left is apparently a chair up in space that has arms that move out from in and can become a diving board. Watching her development and mind work is such a joy!

  • Quality time as a family on our long weekend away camping. The nights may not have been fabulous but I am choosing to focus on the days spent doing new things and engaging together as a family.

  • Seeing my daughter grow in courage. This is particularly special for me as I have watched her battle anxiety. It makes me quite teary thinking of the progress she has made and how much more enjoyment she gets from the world around her when fear is not a paralysing reality for her. I am also thankful that the process of dealing with fear in her has meant needing to deal with it in my life too. Reinforcing the message that courage is not being free of fear but being able to try things even when afraid is key!

Climbing the stairs of a lighthouse. Issy got a little scared at times and needed encouragement which distracted me from my own fear!
The view from the top.
Climbing down into a cave.

  • God brings reminders of His presence, even in the depths of a cave. I found a feather down deep. It reminded me of these verses:

Not the most clear picture but the best I could get on a phone camera in the dark lighting.

  • The return of the cooler weather. I love being rugged up and listening to the sound of rain. I am definitely more of a winter girl than summer!
I would love to hear what you are thankful for this week. 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Thankful Thursday

My brain was obviously more full than I realised as it completely pushed the Thankful Thursday thoughts out of the window. I would be going about my day on a Friday and only then remember Thankful Thursday. And then I had dental surgery and everything went out of the window. I am choosing not to beat myself up over the unintended break and get back into it. Being thankful is never not going to be needed in my life.

  • Discovering a way of eating that is working to sustain my energy levels more, while also helping me lose weight. I have lost almost 10 kilograms this year and feel so much healthier for it. I never thought I could go sugar free or make the changes needed but it has not felt like a huge burden. For those interested in how I've been achieving this, I have been following the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan.
  • So many precious moments with my daughter. My heart wants to burst so often. I love this age and the imagination and silliness that she abounds with. 

  • Taking more serious steps in reducing my phone use and heading towards being less distracted and more present. This will need a whole post of its own I think! I have long identified my phone and technology use as a hindrance (read about it here and here) but have not successfully made lasting change. Stay tuned for details on what I am doing. 
  • The timing of my wisdom teeth removal to allow the school holidays to recover. It has been rougher than I imagined and I am so grateful to have been able to rest and not be under pressure.
  • The excitement of my daughter as we get ready to go camping tomorrow for the long weekend. I love the time to connect as a family and the removal of many of our usual daily distractions. I am sure that next week's Thankful Thursday will be full of moments from this weekend.
  • God continuing to use feathers as a reminder of His presence in my life. (Read more about that here.)

What are you thankful for this week?

Sunday, 3 April 2016

What I learned in March

At the end of each month, I take some time to reflect back on all that I've learned and lived. This month has contained some big challenges and growth opportunities for me. I will attempt to corral my thoughts about these, although I know that there is still processing going on.

  • I can go away for a weekend and both my daughter and I will survive! I was so anxious about this trip for our MOPS Field Staff Training Seminar in Melbourne. It was the longest I had ever left my daughter and most definitely the furthest I had ever been from her. I was also well aware of the fact that the enemy was using this as an opportunity to ramp up old battles of panic and anxiety to stop me from taking the next step in the leadership journey God has me on. I am so glad that I went. I came back with new connections made, freshly inspired for this amazing ministry and feeling that little bit more equipped to do my role. I will say that my favourite part of the weekend, though, was arriving back at the airport to a very excited little girl running full tilt into my arms. She had been fine and there has been minimal anxiety backlash in the days since. So much prayer covered that weekend and the evidence shows.
  • Prayer is still a fiery part of my core, even if it dulls at times. If you haven't read Priscilla Shirer's book "Fervent" I cannot recommend it highly enough. I participated in the (in)courage online book club for this book during March and it has reignited my prayer life. I can also recommend the audiobook version. I love it when author's read their own audiobook as I feel it stays so much more true to what they intended it to convey. I am still processing much of it and will likely reread and listen to it several times to pull more out. I was always aware of some strategies of the enemy to throw us off course, but learned more from this book and was propelled into being intentional in my prayers to thwart these attacks. I have already seen incredible answers to prayer (not mine to share but trust me). I suspect that this knowledge and the wisdom gained will continue to grow and be needed as I move forward in pursuing God's will for my life. I also know that the first strategy that is discussed- passion for prayer- is one that I will need to stay on top of as it wanes at the first sign of tiredness and illness. I look forward to watching more fruit of this book unfolding in my life.

  • When everything in the shop costs $2.80, it is easy to get carried away! The only bit of shopping I ended up doing during my Melbourne trip was to a Japanese store that has a price of $2.80 on everything. There were some really unique and fun things in there and I quickly filled a basket with a result of spending far more than planned. In my defence, my daughter LOVED all the gifts I brought back and our present box is well stocked for the next few kindy birthdays coming up! 
  • Easter may be becoming one of my favourite times of year. I have loved digging deeper into the Easter story with my daughter this year and rekindling my own appreciation for what Jesus did for us. You can see some of our Easter activities here.  
  • A huge amount of artwork comes home from kindy!! I don't know what to do with most of it. 
What have you learned this month?

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman here

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Five Minute Friday (on a Saturday): Decide

So I missed writing this on Friday, so did it on a Saturday instead! It is still Friday in the US so that counts, right?! If you're new to the Five Minute Friday idea, you set a timer for five minutes and write on the prompt word. No editing, no over-thinking, just writing.

Being an adult seems to come with so many decisions. Some more mundane and others so much bigger. Sometimes I find it easy to make decisions and at others, I can barely wrap my head around all the implications. 

I have seen God taking me on a journey of big decisions over the past couple of years (aside from getting married and having a child which are obviously the biggest before then). Another decision was presented to me yesterday and it surprised me to note how different my internal response was from just half a year ago when presented with another decision that feels similar. Yes, I am being intentionally vague! I felt more at peace and confident of God guiding me through the process. It didn't knock me off my steady patch for the rest of the day/week. I trust that with prayer, talking to some trusted advisors and faith to take a leap if needed, I will get my answer and walk forward in it. 

Linking up with the Five Minute Friday crew over on Kate Motaung's blog.