Sunday, 8 March 2020

Just Keep Running!

I've just been for a run. I have to go early, because when later comes, I talk myself out of going! It was a bit windy this morning, which I had not expected. Before I went, I checked the forecast for rain, but not wind!

As I was running back home, I was running into the wind and I thought it would have been easier if the wind was pushing me along on the last part of my run, rather than the first. As I only had my own thoughts for company, I began to think a bit more. Life can feel like I am running into the wind. Mostly, it feels like that as I am busy and there is lots to think about and that is fine, as I like being busy. Yet, sometimes the wind blows and life is suddenly really hard. Just like running into the wind this morning, you turn a corner, and it becomes really hard to keep going.

Something I also noticed, was that I would be running into the wind, I would turn a corner and, somehow, it became even more windy! The wind seemed to be blowing in two different directions! I am certain that a meteorologist would tell me I'm not correct, however, that is what it felt like! Again, I thought about how, in life, I can feel like I'm running into the wind, then I turn a corner and it becomes even more of a struggle. Something else is thrown into the mix and I wonder, if I can keep going.

Running into the wind this morning meant a lot of the steps were a struggle, however the thoughts that accompanied those steps made it worth it.

I kept going because I knew I was not far from home. I could use what I knew to help me with what I was feeling. It was a tough run, yet, I knew that I could keep going, so I kept going. Something that I can tell myself all of the time. Life may be feeling like a tough run, so it is then I need to remind myself that it has been tough before and I will get through it. I will make it home and it will feel brighter and better.

Running is a funny thing! For me, there is no rhyme or reason as to why some runs are easier than others. Even today, I surprised myself when I looked at the time of my run - it was quicker than usual! I can remind myself of that too, some seasons of my life are easier than others. So, when the wind comes, I can keep running, holding on to the hope of the sun bring a new and brighter day.

I also know that the direction of the wind will change - so why not apply that to my life as well? As I turn a corner, the wind may blow unexpectedly, yet, I can keep my steps firm, knowing the direction of the wind will change.

Just keep running!

Friday, 8 March 2019

#BeKind #UCBKindnessChallenge

I believe that I am loved. This love gives me strength. Each day, I choose to take time to be still and consider this love. I begin each day reminding myself of how faithful this love is and how I can live, sure-footed, in this love that never fails. 

From this belief, flows other things; one of which is following, or trying to follow, the UCB Kindness Challenge. Each day, during Lent, there is a suggestion of how to show kindness. I've had a little look ahead and some of them will be fine to do and enjoyable, however, some will involve going out of my way and even out of my comfort zone! To be honest, I can already hear myself talking my way out of those kindnesses! 

Yet, why should I? Do I not believe that life is about going that extra distance for someone else or putting the needs of others before my own? By making the choice to allow the love of God to be my motivation, I am able to take courage and take a path which is less trodden because it is a harder, bumpier and unpredictable path.

Not for one moment, am I saying that I always tread this path well. I trip up, make the wrong choice and avoid opportunities to be kind. 
However, having found a dictionary and looked up the word kind...well today, I am making the choice to #BeKind, even when it doesn't feel particularly comfortable. For these words, that I came across in the dictionary, are words which I would like woven through my being. 
I choose kindheartedness, tenderheartedness, goodwill, affection, warmth, gentleness, tenderness, concern, care, helpfulness, thoughtfulness, selflessness, understanding, bigheartedness, friendliness, courteousness, patience and graciousness. 
Yes, it is a big list, however, a list that is worth it every single time. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Today, I'm Thankful

Today, I’m thankful.

Earlier as I sat in my room, and my thoughts were whirring around in my head, again it hit me how fortunate I am because of the family and friends that I have.
I wanted to shout out a big thank you, so I did because no one else was in the house!!

I’m discovering - and I love all that is being revealed to me - that as I walk along in life, some of the things I thought were true, were actually not.

Today, I am thankful that I have discovered what a true friend is. I am even more thankful that I have true, true friends in my life. Ladies, you know who you are and you are an absolute blessing to me.

I am learning how important it is to not only receive that friendship, but to also wholeheartedly give it away. Why would I not want to show my friends, my family how important they are to me? I am realising that it's OK to show love in an 'out there, extravagant' sort of way. Today, I hope to be the friend, the sister, the daughter who gives back in a 'you first' sort of way.
The truth is that it is not about me, it is about others. Demonstrating that I am thankful for the care and the love that is bestowed upon me. I do not deserve it; however, I am so thankful for the people in my life who are courageous enough to care and to love, without asking for anything in return.

Today, I am thankful to have paused for a moment and noticed the wonderful people I have in my life. I feel so special, so blessed.

As the day went on, I wonder if it was because I had taken time to pause and be thankful, that I took more notice of a chance conversation. As I walked away, I was thankful that God is interested in the smallest details, even down to the timing of turning a corner.
Already feeling so thankful, I was then blown away by the flowers and the note left on my doorstep - thank you so much to whoever...what wonderful surprise, an amazing blessing.

As I've already said, today, I am thankful. Yet, I believe it cannot just be a feeling. This thankfulness must become an action too.
So tomorrow, as the sun brings its new day, I'm praying that my heart is ready to share this thankfulness in an 'out there, you first' sort of way.

Friday, 14 December 2018


I'm discovering more and more that days do not often go as planned. Not necessarily that bad things happen, it's just that things happen which were not part of the plan - or should I say my plan?

I get up, do my best to get sorted and ready for the day ahead. The children get up, this is currently not a very smooth ride with the dark mornings and tired eyes! Encouragement is needed to get them organised and in the end we head off, out the door, mostly ready for what we are expecting the day to bring.

Sometimes, though, there is an interruption. As I said, this interruption may not be negative. Rather, it is something which requires me to stop and consider the best or the right thing to do. If, I am honest, I may not make the best or the right response. This might be because I have somewhere to be and I would prefer not to be inconvenienced. Or I might struggle to find the grace that is needed. Maybe, I might only want to consider how I am feeling and disregard anyone else's needs.

Whatever the interruption, it can, if I choose to let it, serve a purpose. It reminds me that however much I plan my day, ultimately I am not in control. The only thing I am able to control is my response.

These interruptions, could, if I let them, steal my peace. They could bring chaos and even derail my day. However, I believe that I am journeying to a place where I will no longer allow these interruptions to define who I am or what sort of day I will have.

Instead, I choose to breathe deep, lift my gaze and simply trust. I know that I am held by God.

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust me.

Psalm 91:14 (The Message)

Then I find it possible to allow these interruptions to become part of the plan. To consider a better and right response. To find the strength to make the better and right response. In that breath, I am reminded to whom I belong and that I am no better than anyone else.

So, maybe I should stop calling them interruptions and instead see them as opportunities.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Upside Down Or The Right Way Up?

For the last few years things have happened in my life that I never wanted to happen. Things that were simply not in my plan for my life.
One day life just turned upside down and I feel it has never really turned the right way up again.

However, alongside this, the last few years have very much had the stamp of ‘with every sun comes a new day’. Even though there have been times, particularly recently, that I have struggled to believe this.

I find, it is often the way that I hear someone say something and think, that’s good and those words stay with me, in the back of my mind. Then, all of a sudden there is this realisation and I see how completely those words were meant for my situation.

How I feel about my life, my plans depend on how I view my life, my plans.

Maybe I feel my life is upside down, yet actually it is the right way up and how it is meant to be.
The new days happen and are good, often they are more than good. Yet, I will not see that goodness unless I look for it.

My youngest daughter, when she prays at night, always begins with a thank you. A wonderful perspective and I know I should be more like her.

For me, the days are harder when I allow the rubbish stuff to consume me. When I stop believing that life can be good. When I give too much head space to the negative

I realise that I am best when I let go of my plans and actually live in this new day. To live, believing in the goodness of God. To embrace each new day, knowing this is where I am meant to be. To say, let’s go girl, thankful to God, that we’ve got this and together, we can do this.
Today will be a better day.

Monday, 24 September 2018

It Is OK To Fall.

Last week, more than once, I have completely and utterly got it wrong. I have let everything overwhelm me and reacted in a way that was completely unacceptable. My reaction was a demonstration of how not to behave.

My faith tells me that I am not able to do things in my own strength, so I know that it is best when I pause and shoot up a silent 'help me!' prayer. However, on one occasion last week, it seemed that even praying out loud was not even helping. The thing was, I wanted things to change in an instant. In that moment, I wanted to be all calm and peaceful. Instead I seemed to be falling apart even more! I had found myself at a place where I just did not know what to do.

Help did come and I think I needed to be reminded that I do not have to do everything on my own. I had wanted to be able to pull myself together and get on with what I was supposed to be doing. That didn't happen and perhaps it didn't happen because I needed to fall, and then admit, in that moment, I had failed. I needed to hear the good big sisterly advice I was given and accept the practical, loving support I was shown.

I know that I fall on a daily basis and I am grateful for each new day to begin again. However what I seemed to have convinced myself, is that when I fail, when I fall, I must get up without asking for help.

It is OK to fall. It really is. What is not OK is to allow myself to think that I am a failure. Yes, in that moment, I've messed up. However, that should not determine how I think of myself for the day, week, month, and so on.

By acknowledging I fall, by being honest and real and admitting that, in this moment, I haven't got it all together, I allow those around me to see the reality of my life. I see the wonder of those people around me, being willing to get involved in the mess too. They help me get back up, dust myself off and try again. Also, I must consider whether I need to say sorry. It's OK to fall. It really is. What is not OK it to knock others down as I fall. If my reaction as I fell, hurts others, then I must say sorry and I must look to the One who holds me, to find the strength, so next time I fall more thoughtfully, trying not to knock anyone else down.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Here And Now

This time last week, we were travelling home from our holiday in North Wales. A week and a day before that I was feeling overwhelmed by our holiday in North Wales. So many why's and worries.
Would we cope with a car journey that was nearly 300 miles? Would I remember everything? Would we all get on? Were the children going to enjoy themselves?
And, so on.

All these thoughts were running through my mind, when, instead, I should have been reading. I gazed at the words on the page, not even taking them in and let my mind race along with all these worries. Then I looked up and, because I was sat outside, I saw it. A cross in the clouds.

In that moment, it was where I needed it to be. Not a coincidence. Clouds move, I am usually looking down and reading. Yet in that one moment, I look up and I see - really see. I am letting these thoughts and concerns of things that may never happen steal my peace.
As I looked up and fixed my gaze on the cross in the clouds, my mind was flooded with much brighter thoughts. I have the strength to do this because God has placed that within me. Worrying about the week would get me nowhere. I could plan and have things in place to help me through the week, however, really, I had no idea what the week would bring. The picture that was in front of me reminded me that life should be about the here and now. Instead of worrying about what might come, I should make the most of each new day, for it truly is new and with a change of mindset I am able to see that.

So, I made the choice to leave the worries in God's hands, for there is no better place. I turned my thinking around - we were off on an adventure, we would get there OK for we were covered in prayer (thank you) and our satnav lady was always very helpful! I reminded myself that it is a privilege and a blessing to be able to go on holiday. We would journey through each new day, seeing it as an opportunity to make memories or to just simply enjoy being together.

In that moment, with that perfect picture in front of me, I determined that the next time my thoughts overwhelmed me, as they surely would, I would pause, look up and appreciate all that was in the here and now.