Thursday, 29 December 2016

Simply Because

For me, the Christmas story had become too familiar and this year - once or twice - I have thought I would like to hear the story of that very first Christmas without knowing that next would come a busy Bethlehem, a birth in a stable, a visit from some shepherds and then later on some wise men who brought some special gifts.

So I am grateful that my thoughts have been led to some place new. Christmas is not just the story of a special baby, it reaches beyond that and tells the story of Jesus who came to show us and give us so much.

There is a line in a song that says, 'You didn't want heaven without us, so Jesus you brought heaven down.'

Jesus stepped down to give life and love simply because He wanted to and for that I am so thankful.

Why am I thankful? Why am I grateful for the birth of a baby that happened over 2000 years ago?

As I sit here now I know that I get it wrong. I mess up. I try to control what I say and then all the things I knew I did not need to say come tumbling out. I react because I am hurting. I try too hard. I expect too much of myself.

I could then see myself as a failure and not good enough. However because someone has hope for me I do not need to follow that path.

Instead I can dust off the wrong thoughts, words and deeds and begin again.

Regardless of what it would mean, someone reached down to grab hold of me with their love.

How beautiful.
How powerful.
How wonderful.

Actually, I am thankful for that old, familiar story simply because it will never change. I will always be held by a love that is greater than anything.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Advent #24

As always, it is Christmas Eve (I think all three are asleep!!) and there are still one or two or three jobs to do!

I will get on and do them, however for now, for this moment, I will pause and say thank you. Writing each day has meant I have thought more about Christmas and all that it means to me.

I am surrounded by love. People who are so willing to show love in a cuddle, an encouraging word, a smile, a text message or a what's app, through a thoughtful action. I am so thankful for that.

The greatest love though is the story of a baby, born in a manger. This baby came to show love that reaches out beyond anything. A Love that gave it's all to give me life. A life that is beyond anything I can imagine. An abundant life waiting - as each new day comes - for me to grab hold of it.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Advent #23

I have been reading about 'who I am' and as it is Christmas and a time to celebrate, I thought I would be a bit different! I am going to stand on what I know is true (although I sometimes struggle to believe it!) and celebrate who I am!

I am loved. I am known. I am worth it. I am very good. I am safe. I am secure. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
All this goes for you too!

Today I would like to be brave and take my worth from a God who knows the real me and still wants to know me - WOW! I would like to shout out and celebrate that I am wonderful!

And why not?!?! As it is true!


Thursday, 22 December 2016

Advent #22

Only 3 more sleeps! How did that happen?!?!

Before he went to sleep, Noah and I were discussing how many more times we would be doing Advent Box. We were talking about how people countdown to Christmas differently and he was rather intrigued when I mentioned that some people start Advent early and for them it lasts 40 days. I think he thought it would be a good idea as it would mean doing Advent Box more times!

There are many different Advent traditions and themes and people experience Advent in a variety of ways. Around the world traditions will differ, maybe around the corner they will as well. Our experience of Advent may be quite similar or it may be quite varied.

For the last 22 days I have joined with many, many others in the countdown to Christmas. I know very few of these others, yet we have all been united in our waiting, hoping, anticipating.

One of Advent traditions that some follow is that each Sunday has a theme and these can be hope, peace, joy, and love. How amazing would that be if we were united in these things too?

To share hope - hope that lifts our gaze and holds on to the certainty of brighter, better days.
To feel peace - peace that comes from holding on to what is good and true.
To have joy - joy that comes from knowing I am where I am meant to be so I will live for today.
To share love - love that is real and honest.

I know that I would like to have more hope, more peace, more joy and more love - I am not going to turn down having more of these things in my life.

In 3 more sleeps, Advent will be over. However there are some parts of Advent I do not want to put away in a box until next year. I hope that I can continue on with hope, peace, joy and love.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Advent #21

As I watched my children bounce around this morning they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. It made me think that so often I over can over complicate things. 

I may have looked for more than I needed, either in material things or in words and actions from other people. I know that in the past my expectations of others were set too high. I also set my expectations of myself too high. 

I am learning that there really is a lot to be gained by living in the moment. Enjoying the jumping and the bouncing!! The children knew that for an hour they were going to be able to jump, bounce around and sometimes fall over. Simply, they were there to enjoy what they were doing - there and then. 

As the sun brings the new day, I too could choose to enjoy what I am doing - there and then. To know that I may jump and I may bounce and there may be a possibility that I may fall down too. I could keep things simple too and enjoy what I have, right there in that moment. 

One of the rules at the trampoline park is to 'ALWAYS be aware of those around you, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to avoid others'.

Maybe this could be a rule I apply to each moment. To always be aware of those around me means I take the time to really see the people around me, I should notice them and think of them before I think of myself. To take the next part of the rule literally would mean that I may become very lonely! However if I see it as my responsibility to not bump into other people or crash onto their path, then I believe I am not relying on others or expecting them to take responsibility for avoiding me. I would hope that I would no longer blame someone else for making things over complicated and instead I would consider how I can make my steps or jumps more thoughtfully. 

Maybe then I would thoroughly enjoy myself too... 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Advent #20

Today, I haven't made the best choices with my words. I got cross when something was broken and I let myself get too stressed because I wanted it to be fixed when really it can wait until tomorrow.

I could make excuses and say I am tired and that I feel like I may be getting a bit of a cold. I could say there is so much extra to do so therefore it is understandable that I got stressy.

However, I spoke in a way I should not have and that is completely my fault. I know that I would rather show gentleness and kindness and self control. I know that I would like to behave better than I sometimes do.

Here in the moment, I have a choice. I could stop and stay in the guilt of getting it wrong or I could step forward. I am sorry and I have said sorry so I would like to step on in the grace and forgiveness that I am freely given. I would like to try again tomorrow and have another go at showing gentleness and kindness and self control.

With every sun comes a new day and new opportunities to make a better day.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Advent #19

Yay! It's the holidays!

If I am honest, I have not always been excited about the school holidays and have not always seen it as a blessing to have all this extra time with my children.

However, now I do.

Our holidays will not be picture perfect. There will still be mess and squabbles. I will still get stressed about things that I do not need to get stressed about! I imagine there will be words spoken that are not always encouraging and affirming and I hope I will be the first to apologise when those words have come from me.

There will also be laughter, lots of silliness and snuggles on the sofa as we watch another Christmas film. I hope there will be memories made and maybe new and unexpected Christmas traditions will be discovered.

I have come to realise that I must try my best to cherish my time with my children because as the sun brings its new day, my children are growing up.

So for now, I shall make the most of the fact that they are still happy to be with me and enjoy all that the holidays may bring!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Advent #18

I often get to the end of the day and think where did that day go! Some days feel like they are over before they have even started!

Today has been another lovely day, with plenty of carols, a fantastic Nativity (I think I may be a slightly proud and biased mum!), friendship and laughter.

There may be more going on at the moment with all the Christmas events and activities which may make the day whizz along, yet for me, there is always a precious moment to be found in the day.

It may be an unexpected hug, a kind word, a laugh out loud moment, a thank you, a silly text message conversation or a message shared.

If I am not careful, I could miss these moments or not take the time to appreciate them. If I look only to myself then it may be that these things will pass me by. However if I am intentional and keep my eyes on the view around me, then I believe I am more likely to see others and see opportunities. To find these precious moments, my direction of looking must be outwards not inwards.

So tomorrow, the sun will bring its new day and my intention is to look around me and in the hustle and bustle of the season, I shall pause and hopefully find those shared precious moments.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Advent #17

With every sun comes a new day and today I choose this truth...I AM LOVED.

His love gives life:

Friday, 16 December 2016

Advent #16

I read today that 'my emotions are generated by my thoughts'.

For me Christmas time is not what I would have liked or hoped for and most days - at some point - I find myself taking a deep breath to then breathe the hurt away.

So, I must then rearrange my thinking. If I let my painful emotions rule my thinking then Christmas is not going to be a happy place.

The better choice, although it can be so hard to do, is to lift my gaze and lift my thoughts.

If I believe that I am where I am meant to be, then I should look only at this moment.

In this moment I can be thankful for all that I have - three beautiful children, a huge blessing of friends and family, my health, our home and so, so much more.
Thank You God. 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Advent #15

For the first time in quite a few years, tonight, I went late night Christmas Shopping. Even though it was dark and it is Christmas, both my sister-in-law and I were very pleased and somewhat surprised to see the lovely Christmas lights decorating our fine city's streets!

The lights are all around and look really quite beautiful. There is even the UK's first 'tunnel of light' to appreciate and of course take the customary selfie inside!

The lights are attractive, I could have stood and gazed at them for a long time. As I write about them now the words I am using to describe the Christmas lights are all good.

Light is often mentioned during Advent and again this Light is good and bright and true.

With every sun comes a new day and the opportunity to, like the lights, shine out. I would like to be seen as bright and true. It is not going to happen all the time and there will be occasions when my light dims. However by looking to the Light that never dulls and always stays true, I hope I can find strength and encouragement to keep burning brightly.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Advent #14

'And there, in the stable, amongst the chickens and the donkeys and the cows, in the quiet of the night, God gave the world His wonderful gift. The baby that would change the world was born. His baby Son. 
Mary and Joseph wrapped Him up to keep Him warm. They made a soft bed of straw and used the animals' feeding trough as His cradle. And they gazed in wonder at God's Great Gift, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger. 
Mary and Joseph named Him Jesus, 'Emmanuel' - which means 'God has
 come to live with us'. 
Because, of course, He had.'
(Jesus Story Book Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones)

I was challenged this morning about being self-centred. Do I put my feelings first? Do I feel that my words are more important than anyone else's? Do I listen? Do I give the people I meet my full attention?

To be honest I can find it tricky to do these things. It kind of turns things upside down to put the feelings of someone else before mine or to let someone else speak first and to make my words less.

However it is possible and with perseverance it becomes easier. There are times when I really struggle to let go of 'me', although saying 'you first' is the better choice and makes for better relationships.

Also when it is a struggle. I can look to the example mentioned above...Jesus, who gave His all to say 'you first'.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Advent #13

Today has been a great day! I have had the privilege of enjoying not one but two Christmas performances. Today 'being mum' has been an absolute pleasure.

Taking time to consider what actually brings me joy has made me think about what I actually consider as important.

I know that in the past I have placed too much importance on Christmas being about the presents I receive. As I look back I can remember that I have expected too much and felt disappointed when my expectations were not met. However I am now beginning to realise that memories and shared moments can be more precious than material things.

Today I am thankful because I am blessed. As Advent continues on I would like to be mindful of the many blessings I have. Instead of pondering about what I do not have and what I think might make my life better, I choose to look at all that I do have and take pleasure and joy from that.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Advent #12

Advent comes and a lot of thought is given to what I might give others. This year I have been brave and moved away from the norm as I have bought people presents without looking at anyone's list! It has taken more thought and I hope people are happy with their Christmas presents.

Christmas time should not be the only time that I think about what I give to others. I believe I should be considering how I give all year round.

What I give to others is not all about material gifts, it is also how I give my words, my deeds, my time and my love.

As I think about how I have given today, I know that I could have given more thought to my words. I could have given better, encouraging and more loving words.

A short while ago, I made the better to choice to give part of me when what I really wanted to do was to put me first.

With every sun comes a new day and plenty of opportunities to give. I would like to be brave and give more of me. I would like to make the most of those opportunities and learn to give even when it is not the easiest choice. I hope I can find the strength to think more about how I give and be able to say 'you first'.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Advent #11

Today I heard a song which had the line in it, 'when love was born.' During Advent and at Christmas time it is Jesus as a baby we consider. How can a baby demonstrate such amazing love?

For me it goes further than Jesus as a baby. As the story continues Jesus grows into a man and in the Bible we read about all that He did. The life that He led was all about love.

This love was given freely. However sometimes I really struggle to accept that love because I feel rubbish and feel that I don’t deserve that love...because I don’t feel able to love someone in such an extravagant way...because, humanly, I don’t feel loved in that way.

However this love that was born in a stable does not actually ask me to do anything, because;

it was not a gift of love that had a list of terms and conditions attached
it was not a gift of love that gave on condition of return
it was not a gift of love that had a sell by date attached to it.

That night, 'when love was born', it was given as a perfect, limitless, eternal and unconditional gift. 

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Advent #10

Christmas has to go on hold for a day or two whilst we celebrate the birthday of my eldest daughter. As I make all the preparations for her special day, I know that I am very blessed.

In our house we try and remember to do 'one good thing'. This is when we say thank you for at least one good thing from the day. Today as I look at my beautiful, precious, unique daughter, I know that I can be thankful for many, many 'one good things'!

Tomorrow Advent will continue on and I hope to again pause and be thankful.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Advent #9

Today is almost done and tomorrow will come. Then there will be 15 more sleeps until Christmas Day!

Today is almost done and it has been a good day. In amongst the hustle and bustle of the day, of discos and birthday preparations, there have been many bright moments.

Today is almost done and I have been able to lift my gaze. There has been much to be thankful for, especially the blessing of wonderful family and friends.

Today is almost done and I know I can face tomorrow.

I know I can face tomorrow because I know I am chosen and I know I am loved.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Advent #8

Earlier today I opened a Christmas card and the sender had written, 'have a wonderful Christmas.' If I am honest my initial thought was negative and then I slightly surprised myself with how quickly I turned my thinking around.

I am going to have a wonderful Christmas! I am going to choose happiness, fun, laughter, craziness, joy and hope.

As the advent journey continues, I am going to look to my children and follow their example. Each morning they awake with excitement and wonder as to what they might find. Tomorrow, as the sun brings its new day, I would like to be bold enough to awaken with excitement and wonder as to what I might find.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Advent #7

Each year Advent happens. The countdown begins and then along comes Christmas. Is there anything I need to do to make it happen? No, it just does!

Maybe I should apply this truth to every day. If I believe that all my days are written, then the reality is that this day will come and I do not have to do anything to make it happen. In the same way there is nothing I can do to stop it from happening.

Sometimes I feel that I have strived too hard to make things happen.

The simple truth is I do not need to strive.

Instead I need to allow myself to be loved and to love.

With each new day, if I can find the courage to walk and 'just do, just be and just love', then I believe that is enough.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Advent #6

Christmas time can be busy and right now my to-do list seems quite long!
 - wrapping presents
- writing cards
- decorating the tree
- buying Christmas jumpers
- remembering the many things going on at school so that the right child ends up with the right thing and in the right place at the right time!
- sorting Advent box (preferably organised the night before rather than a startled thought first thing when the children wake up!)

Even though life seems to become extra crazy, I do enjoy all the additions that come with Christmas time. However I do not want my busy to become so hectic that it overwhelms me. Therefore I must add to my preparation!!

Why would I want to give myself more to do?!?

Yet, what if this one additional thing makes everything else better?

If I take time to focus on me then I believe I can be of more use to all that has to be done. Taking the time to slow down and rest can only strengthen me. To be still and find the calm - even when everything else might still be hurrying on by - may sharpen me.

In resting and through the stillness I can refill and refuel. I would then hope to get back on with the to-do list with more joy and purpose. Hopefully I will give the better part of me to those around me. The rush will not consume me, I will fill up on Love, which will in turn be my motivation. 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Advent #5

A baby was born and the whole world was turned upside down.

A demonstration of love that was incredibly different.

A love that says, "You first".

A love that has the power to change.

A love that shamelessly shouts, "I LOVE YOU!"

A love that simply just asks to be received.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Advent #4

Yesterday I read something about how God does not go out of fashion. I then went on to think about how the story we tell at Christmas time has not gone out of fashion either.

Over the coming weeks the story of a baby born in a manger will be told many, many times in a huge variety of ways. 

I believe it is because there is something special found in this Christmas Story.
A story that brings truth, hope, light and joy.
A story that brings wonder.
A story that tells of the impossible, however at the time it happened - for most - it was an insignificant story.

It is a story that continues to be told and every turn of the page tells a story of outrageous love.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Advent #3

'Just Write!'

As I sit here these words have just popped into my head. I have many other thoughts that also run round my head, however these two words are what stood out.

So as I 'just write' I consider how I should also apply that simplicity to my life and 'just do'!

Today I shall try to make it my aim to 'just do'. I know what I am planning to do and I hope that as I do that, I will simply 'just do'. Yet if something unexpected or something different comes along, again I hope that I will be able to continue to commit to 'just doing'!

I could also extend it further and 'just be'. If I believe that I am created for a purpose, then today I would like to live that out knowing I am where I am meant to be. Lifting my gaze, I shall not try to figure it all out, instead I shall 'just be'.

Then I could take an even bolder step and 'just love'. In this new day I would like to try to 'just love'. I will not ask for anything in return and I will choose love even when it may not be an easy choice to make.

How do I know that I can hope to simply just do, be and love? I know because I also hear the encouragement of my God saying, 'You go girl! You can do it...I am right here with you.'

Friday, 2 December 2016

Advent #2

Day 2..what will we find in Advent Box today? What chocolate will be behind door number 2? Which character or part will we add to our Nativity today? Before I know it, we will be on day 24 and all the Advent Box presents will be unwrapped, the chocolates will be eaten and the Nativity will be complete.

I know that I can get carried away by the run up to Christmas time. I can find myself rushing through the day thinking of all that needs to be done. When this happens I then fix too much on what I have to get done rather than enjoying the moment. 

If I spend my days rushing through to the next one, might I miss what is instore for me today? It might pass me by as I was too bothered about what I needed to get done before tomorrow. 

However if I slow down and take time to enjoy, I can make the most of each day. As I do today (and all the other days in Advent) I will do what I can. I have been given this day and I hope to grasp this day and live it to the full. I would like to take the time to make the most of each encounter and to see the wonder and blessings that are always around me...I just need to slow down, take the time to look and to receive. 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Advent #1

I imagine that in a very short while there will be three excited children full of anticipation for the first day of this year's Advent Box (I am very grateful to a friend who introduced me to this wonderful idea last year). 

Throughout Advent, our morning routine will be brightened by a dance and a chant around the Advent Box and the children will each find a gift. 

Last year I was overly concerned about whether or not the presents would be exciting enough or would the opening of the presents be met with a groan when they realised the gift for the day was some socks!?!? However my children surprised me - as they often do - by always being grateful. I soon realised that the excitement was in the finding of the gift wrapped especially for them. 

As Advent begins I should make a fourth excited child who is eager and full of anticipation for this new day that God has gift wrapped especially for me. A day that is fresh and untrodden, a day that holds opportunities and encounters that may brighten my path. 

Will I be bold and embrace my gift? Will I be excited to go looking for goodness of this new day? I hope so, I may never get this opportunity again and today I would like to make the most of this new day I have been given. 

Wednesday, 30 November 2016


Tomorrow in our house, Advent begins! The tradition of Advent will take on many different forms in many different homes. It is a bit of a journey, which for us will involve excitement, anticipation and hope.

This year as Advent brings each new day, I would like to begin a new tradition. Each day I hope to post and I wonder if  you may like to join me in this new tradition? 

Sometimes I feel that I get lost in the hustle and bustle and preparation of Christmas. I can get overwhelmed by how I feel and lose sight of others. So this year I would like to be intentional about taking a few moments each new day to consider what each new day of Advent could bring. I hope you might find time too...

Saturday, 26 November 2016


Sometimes I see, so very obviously, how conversations happen at just the right time and then the knock on effect is exactly what was necessary for me. Certain things stay with me because I have heard them or read them at exactly the right time.

This week I feel that I have not used my words as well as I could have done. However I have only reflected on this because of something completely unrelated that was said to me! As a result of what was said I read about 'quiet words being more effective' and this made me consider how I have not been using words properly.

I felt challenged about the rash and thoughtless words I have spoken. Also the way in which I may have used words to manipulate or hurt and the hasty words spoken from a place of fear.

Some of my words have most definitely not been effective this week.

With every sun comes a new day and the opportunity to speak wisely. I should consider how my words can bring with them grace and consideration. They most definitely should be quiet and I believe that I should think more about whether they even need to be spoken.

I know that my words will not always be effective however I would like to try to make the better choice and speak words that affirm and encourage. I would like to speak words that are true and sincere.

I hope to find within me the strength to pause, to take time over the words that I use and the boldness to quieten my words when they do not need to be spoken.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Lest We Forget

In Church today I watched a Remembrance PowerPoint. It was very thought provoking and as I watched many different images of war I was led to think of the way in which conflict ripples out and touches such a vast amount of people and places. Over the years people have had to endure such terror which I cannot even begin to comprehend. Images show homes being ripped apart and for some people their lives will never be whole again.

I am grateful that each year we remember. To take time to consider those who have served to enable me to live as I do today. To think of those who have lost and of those whose lives have been forever changed.

To be honest I would like to remember more and to be prepared to spare more thoughts and thank yous for those who have served and who are serving now. Often I will see a headline about current conflicts and my eyes will skim over it because I would rather not face the reality of what is going on in the world around me. It all seems too horrible and instead of reading on, I tell myself there is nothing I can do about it.

However there is something I can do. Instead of choosing the 'easier' headline to read I can choose the harder one and I can spend some time thinking about situations other than mine. I can pray for those involved and know that my prayers will be heard. I should not limit my prayers just because I am praying for an unfamiliar situation that is happening half way around the world.

I am also able to do my part. With every sun I can choose peace over conflict. Love should be my motive and my words should build up rather than knock down. As I do each day the ripples that flow out from me should be bringing unity rather than discord.

Today has been an opportunity to remember and I hope that when tomorrow comes I will not forget and instead I will do my part.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Day One

There are times when songs go round and round my head. When it is the random song that we were listening to at the children's disco on Monday that's not quite so good. However when it is a phrase from a particular song then, I begin to wonder if there is something I should be thinking about...

Recently, one line from the chorus of a song keeps playing in my mind. It is not one of my favourite songs and I have only heard it on the radio two or three times. The line is 'It's day one of the rest of my life.' (If you would like to listen to it too it is called Day One by Matthew West!)

I am seeing that this line is really quite a positive thing to be saying as I begin each new day. Today is brand new, it is an adventure to be had - who knows where my steps might take me?!?!

As today begins, I should be excited about the opportunities today has in store.

Why should I feel so positive? Because I am held. The more I get to know God, I realise more and more the depth of His love for me. I feel the strength of His arms holding me and I see the goodness in His plans for me.

There are many days when I still get it wrong, I worry and fix on the wrong things. Yet God is still there, patiently waiting. God is not reprimanding me for getting it wrong, instead I can picture Him there, cheering me along, saying "Go on Ruth, let's do this, because today is going to be more than good!" #TrustMe

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Press Play

Press play...I know that life can hurt. People can hurt us. I react to this hurt and life gets messy.


Rewind... to the point where life hurts. Something unexpected or even something expected comes along and it hurts like hell. 

Pause...I can react or I can respond, it is my choice. I am learning that a response is more thoughtful, more considerate, gentler than a reaction.

Take a moment to think - why? It is not possible for me to get into someone else's head and work out the whys and wherefores, however there is something I am able to consider which is...

If God can look at someone and it causes His face to shine then they must be rather special. Therefore I can choose to look past the pain and the hurt that I am feeling and take a better look to see what it is about that person that causes God's face to shine. 

I believe it has got something to do with love. 

Loving come what may.
Loving more.
Loving without expectation.

With every sun comes a new day, I press play and I hope to look past the mess and the hurt. I will try to look with love and search for what it is that shines. 

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Right Here, Right Now...

Right here, right now, I would like to do things differently. I am going to count my blessings. It only takes one moment for me to realise that I have so, so much to be thankful for.

Wonderful family and friends who make my life a better and brighter place. People who give me the strength to stand and words of encouragement.

My beautiful three who bring joy in so many different ways and the opportunity to love with a depth that I did not know was possible. Even though being a parent is the hardest thing I have ever done, there are many blessings in the new experiences and new discoveries that parenting brings.

Our home, a sofa to snuggle up on, the table where we sit and share #OneGoodThing. Water from the tap, a whole variety of different foods - the latte and dairy milk that are next to my computer right now!

I could go on and on because my life is blessed and for that I am thankful. With every sun comes a new day and the opportunity to take a good look around me and see blessings. As I wake each morning I can be thankful that I am able to get out of bed even if it is after I have pressed snooze once or twice!

As I sit here and write this I am listening to a song (music, another blessing) and the words say, "'Cause when I fall to my knees You're the One who pulls me up again".

Unfortunately life can bring me to my knees and today I would like to respond differently. Here and now I can look up and look around and see so much to be thankful for. I am certain that in any moment I can look and find so many blessings.

I shall not let being on my knees define who I am. Instead I shall let the One who pulls me up define me and be thankful for ALL that I have around me as I rise up.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

How Do I?

With every sun comes a new day and in that day there are things to do, people to see, words to be said, thoughts to be thought, moments to be shared and opportunities to be taken. 

However things, people, words, thoughts, moments, opportunities do not always go as planned and do not always happened as hoped. 

I get it wrong and at times I completely mess up. I do not do the things I should do, my words are not as kind as they could be, people might see the wrong side of me, my thoughts are not thoughtful, moments are spoilt and opportunities are wasted.

In these times I can react and cover up my mess by heaping the blame on to someone else. Or I can choose to do things differently and consider why I messed up, why I chose reaction over response. It is not always easy to speak the good and right things into the lives of the people we have the privilege of sharing. However it is my responsibility to press into what is good and right and make every effort to uphold truth and show worth. 

Today I would like to try and be someone who tries to do, see, say, think and be in a better way. I hope I can give myself a bit of slack when I get it wrong. I pray that when I fall, because I inevitably will, I can dig deep to hold on to what I know is true as I get back up. 

So today, as I do, see, say, think and be, I hope that I can find the strength to pause a moment and then, as I continue on make the better choice and respond with love.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

In This Moment

When the waves keep crashing down and I know that I am still a long way from the safety of shore. I sit here knowing that I could very easily sink, then I know that in this moment I have a choice to make.

So in this moment instead of saying, "I cannot do this," I am going to say, "God, please show me how to do this."

I will keep on and as I do I will lift my gaze and keep my eyes above the water. I will do today covered with the truth that I AM LOVED.

And when tomorrow's sun brings it’s new day I hope to be able to lift my gaze once again.

Monday, 5 September 2016

All Things New

Life is not always straight forward. The path can be bumpy or smooth, there may be unexpected corners and sharp bends or the road might be long and monotonous.

Life is a journey and as I continue on, I have been learning that God makes all things new. I have been challenged to look for the newness in my circumstances. To see things afresh rather than approaching them with fear.

This time of year is often thought of as a time of new beginnings, particularly if life involves school or college or university. For me, today was a new day just simply because it was! However, it was also the very first page of another chapter.

A first page that required choices...anxiety or calm...doubting or trusting. Life does not stand still and as I face each new day, am I going to make the better choice?

Well today, that choice was made for me!

I went outside into the garden to hang out the washing (somethings will never change!) and I noticed the colours of the sunrise reflected in the morning sky. Then I saw a beautiful rainbow yet it was definitely not raining.

So where did the rainbow come from? Scientists might tell me different, although I believe that it was there for me, to remind me that God is Faithful and He will use whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. He will use them for good and in ways I could never hope for or imagine.

Each day and whatever comes with it, is an opportunity to step into newness. As every sun brings a new day and new circumstances, I hope to be faithful too.

'...all things have become new.'
2 Corinthians 5:17 (New King James Version)

Monday, 29 August 2016

Safe To Shore

This summer, I have had the privilege of spending a few days at the beach. The weather has been changeable, as you would expect! As has the sea - so we have seen a variety of waves. I think the best were last week when they were huge, yet gently so.

I love to look out to sea where it seems there are no waves. I imagine what it must be like to be out in the middle of the ocean and in the stillness. To look all around me and see only the sea and the sky. No land is in sight. Maybe I might be concerned that I have no sight of shore, that I am unable to see the haven of land. 

Would I panic or would I trust the captain to sail me safely to shore? I am almost certain it would be the latter choice...I do not see myself jumping overboard and trying to swim to shore. 

Sometimes I feel out to sea. I look around and there is no shoreline in sight, no sign of a welcome haven. Therefore I must trust my Captain who is faithful and will guide me safely to shore. When it looks as though there is nothing, I must hold on to the promises that my Captain has spoken over my life. 

He will guide me through...a bright new day is coming...there is hope, even when there seems there is none.

As I imagine the sea to be still, I must be still - not panic or jump over board. At times I feel it is a step of trust of which I am not capable. To give Someone else control, being certain that they have me safe. It takes courage to step out in faith, to let my hand be held and simply trust.

However with every sun comes a new day and the opportunity to take these simple steps of faith and to trust in the truth that my Captain will lead me to shore.

Monday, 15 August 2016


My steps were slow yesterday, as I walked home my heart was hurting and sadness weighed me down. It was an effort to put one foot in front of the other. As I took each step, it caused me to consider how each day brings different steps. I often write about the new steps I take and I am learning that each new day will bring steps that need real consideration and thought.

Over the last couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to tread all kinds of steps. I took thousands and thousands of steps as I had the privilege to serve at our Summer Camp, sharing in laughter, love, encouragement and other people's stories. 
This last week I have taken all sorts of steps - racing steps into the sea, jumping over the waves, reluctant steps into the chilly pool, steps along the cliff top surrounded by a glorious creation, quiet steps to snuggle the children as they slept. 

The majority of these steps were taken with ease and with enjoyment. Others were taken with great purpose as I had a job to do. Some were steps that have carved memories in my mind.

Whatever step I take, be it straight forward, happy, purposeful, difficult, slow or fast, they are my steps to step. Therefore I have to consider how I respond as I take each step. Both opportunities and obstacles will come my way. So knowing this, I have to choose how I step. There will be times that I will run to embrace the new steps and there will be times when I feel like I am walking through mud. When the muddy steps come there will inevitably be mud that clings to my feet. Will I choose to let that stick or will I stamp it off? I hope that I will find strength to stamp it off and not let it weigh me down. 

Today, I know for certain that many different kinds of steps will come my way. What I do not know is how I will respond as I tread those different steps. I hope that I will keep my gaze fixed up on the One who gives me strength to take the next step. I ask that grace will follow me for the times that I will get it wrong. As I take each varied step, I hope for love to be my greatest aim, whatever comes my way...

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

For Such A Time As This

Recently, I was challenged to consider that I am here 'for such a time as this'. My responsibility is to live now and for this day. If I believe that I was created for a purpose then, as I do this new day, I should live for today.

Today I would like my steps to be purposeful and when the opportunity arises I would like to choose love. I hope to find the strength to stand for what I believe and for the graces that holds me.

The words 'for such a time as this' come from a book in the Bible called Esther. This book tells the story of a girl who lived 'for such a time as this'. Esther had hope, she stood up for what she believed and changed a nation.

I may not be called to change a nation however I am called to change who I am; to be a better person, to make bold choices, to take risks and step out from where I feel comfortable. Love is to be my greatest aim. To love God and then to love others.

Esther stood up for her people and there was every chance that she could have been killed. Instead the King welcomed her and showed favour towards her. Living for this day and letting go of what has been and whatever may come will not necessarily be the easy choice. Although I believe living purposefully and for such a time as this may well lead to a great adventure, greater than I could ever imagine.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Freeze Frame Moments

I believe there is so much joy to be found in the moments around us. I just need to look for these moments and when discovered, these moments lead to a feeling of fullness.

Last week I came upon one such moment simply by turning round at just the right time. What I saw was my eldest daughter run into the North Sea, which is not known for its warmth, and then the beam that spread across her face was a wonderful freeze frame moment. The mixture of wonder and shock as she splashed through the waves completely lit up her face. Her eyes sparkled with excitement. I imagine my face reflected some of that as I too was caught in the joy of the moment.

Pausing to stop and enjoy the moment and being able to focus on the things that surround that moment; the beauty of that place and the many blessings my family bring.

As every new sun comes I am realising that blessings can be found in anything, I just need to be willing to look.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

I Am The One And Only!

I  am learning that 'me' is who I am meant to be! Right here, in this moment is where I am intended to be.

I am aware that I may be stating the obvious, however there have been many times when I have wanted to be someone else. Or I have thought that I would rather be doing what someone else was doing.

A song from my teenage years comes to mind and the chorus says,
"I am the one and only
Nobody I'd rather be
I am the one and only
You can't take that away from me!"

This is a better chorus to be speaking over my life. If I believe I was created on purpose and for a purpose then I am who I am meant to be! I am the one and only me! 

Rather than be dismayed at who I am I should rejoice in who I am. Honestly, I find it a bit strange to be celebrating who I am. It does not seem very modest to be shouting about 'the one and only Ruth!'

For this moment, I think I would like to go against the norm and I am going to be excited about the one and only me. I shall try my best to live the life I am meant to be living. I am not supposed to be living anyone else's life. 

I am going to be brave and dream big dreams that are meant for me. I am going to choose not to try and borrow anyone else's dreams. 

With every sun comes a new day and today I hope to be intentional about discovering just who I am meant to be...

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

All Moments

Sitting in Schiphol Airport, listening and watching I soon realised that the running of the airport is completely down to the moment. Every aeroplane, vehicle, person and piece of luggage has a place. The routine of Schiphol is extremely precise and definite because every take off and every landing has to happen at exactly the right moment. I found it fascinating to watch as the necessity for everything to run perfectly never appeared to lead to chaos or frenzied activity.

Each moment is so important at Schiphol, an airport that flies almost 60 million people to 322 different destinations in a year.

So what has a bustling airport got to do with me and how I live each new day?

I recently read some words written by writer Frederick Buechner. At the end of the quote was the following phrase 'all moments are key moments'. The phrase spoke into my heart and stayed with me. I saw these words evident in the running of Schiphol and I believe there is no reason why they should not be evident in my life too.

My actions, my thoughts, my deeds are not insignificant. All I am, all I do and all I say are important - right down to the moment. Therefore if I walk each new day knowing all moments are key moments, I believe I have a choice in how I respond to all moments.

At the airport the moments are wholly purposeful. Do I hope for my moments to be purposeful? If I see the importance of each moment then I should show love and encouragement in all that I am.
If I believe all moments are key then I should respond with grace and wholeheartedness. If I believe that I am where I am meant to be for that one moment, then I should do all I can to make that one moment a better moment.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

By The River

Earlier today I sat by the river, in the midst of the wonder of creation. The river is fulfilling its purpose, seeming in some places completely still yet continuously moving. 

In this section of the river there is no rushing of water and even though there is noise all around, there is peace. 

I would like to be as the river is. The river has it's source (where is begins) and it's mouth (where it flows into another river or the sea). The source of the river is continuous and constant. I have realised that in order for me to flow as I should my source needs to be continuous. In order for me to fulfil my purpose I need to be flowing from a constant supply. 

My supply comes from a steadfast, unchanging love. A love that is lavished upon me and a love that does not fail. With love as my source I hope to bring love into the lives I run into to. 

My source is continuous and unchanging, however I can interrupt the flow. I might take on rubbish or I might build myself a dam. Then love is no longer my greatest source. Other things get in the way or I begin to control what sources me. 

Just as there seems stillness in the river, there must be a time when I am still, looking back to my source which in turn becomes my strength. 

I believe that perfect love should be my source. I must protect that source, make time to fill myself and flow from there. 

As I gain purpose from my source I hope that with each new day I journey, love flows with me. When it does not, I hope that I do not get swept away with the current but instead find the stillness in order to again be filled from my source. 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

With Every Sun

This morning I had the privilege of watching the sunrise from the most easterly point in the UK. As I was travelling there I felt a bit apprehensive, I was not sure why, I just knew that I did not want to miss seeing it. However, now having seen the sunrise I now know why!

Ness Point in Lowestoft is the most easterly point in the UK. It is an unusual place as it is surrounded by an Industrial Estate and there seems to be not much there.

Yet, as the sun brought its new day, there was so much there. As I watched the sky change from a pinky, blue to the most glorious orangey, gold there was incredible beauty.

Whilst I was waiting and watching the sky, I did wonder if the sunrise had already happened as I can sometimes miss the obvious (I think that has something to do with a lack of common sense!). Then the sun rose and I realised that the real thing actually far, far, far, outweighed what I was expecting to see. I thought I might have missed it because, until I saw the sunrise, my mind could not comprehend the awesomeness of what I was about to see.

During the time that the sun rose I could look at the sun. Shortly after I was not able to as the colour and the intensity of the glow of the sun had changed. As I watched the sun appear over the horizon I was able to gaze upon such splendour and power. For that moment I was surrounded by the greatness of creation. I could see love.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Preparing To Configure...

Over the last few months I have been waking up early. Most mornings I am up and out of bed getting ready for the day. Although on the mornings when there is no school there is a chance the children might sleep a bit longer so I stay in bed a bit longer.

Then I think! I find it absolutely fascinating how my mind can cover hundreds of different thoughts in what seems like the space of a minute!

However they are just thoughts - they are not reality. They might be on their way to becoming a reality but that is up to me and which direction I choose to take those thoughts.

With every sun comes a new day and today I have decided that I am not going to let my fearful thoughts take over. I sit here at the beginning of a brand new day and it is my choice how that day goes. As I start the day I could let all those thoughts consume me which would probably lead to a day which was quite low.

Or I could reconfigure!

Sometimes when I switch my computer on or off, these words appear in the middle of the screen, "Preparing to configure Windows. Do not turn off your computer." The computer needs to update, reconfigure, rearrange. Instead of letting fear guide my path, I shall say to myself, "Preparing to configure. Do not get out of bed".

I need to update and rearrange my thoughts and choose joy to guide my steps. I need to reconfigure and walk in the assurance that I am loved.

This week I was encouraged to think about the words I use; are they necessary? Is being silent a better choice? How about I apply that to my thoughts as well? Are they necessary? Can I keep those thoughts silent?

At the moment the house is silent although shortly I am sure there will be much more noise. So as I continue this new day I shall look to the strength God gives me and I will reconfigure my thoughts. I shall try to think less and aim to choose love and calm to configure my thoughts.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Hey there!

Hey there my precious child,

You are loved, you are held and you are cherished.

My love is poured over you and covers all. I look at you and you make me smile.

My love for you will never run out, it chases you and longs to be with you.

My loves brings hope and brings light.

My love for you is unfailing.

My love is the 'one set of footprints' for I am carrying you.

My heart is full to overflowing with love for you.

My love is comfort and security; I am holding on to you so tightly.

My love says, "you first..."

My love makes all things new.

My love is here for you...always.

A love so amazing.
With every sun comes a new day and the opportunity for me to try and show this love to others. The only way I can do that is because I know that I am loved, I am held and I am cherished.

Monday, 30 May 2016

A Simple Truth

In the still and in the mess...
In the joy and in the pain...
In the peace and in the confusion...
In the laughter and in the sorrow...
In the light and in the dark...
In the order and in the chaos...

In all these things I can stand and say Great is My Lord.

As the sun brings the new day I am held in the careful hands of my Heavenly Father. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A Lighter Load

My children, whom I love so very much, all have the ability to throw a wonderful wobble! I am sure that my parents would have said the same of me as I was growing up (now I just get it wrong in other ways!)
I can still recall when my eldest daughter decided she wanted some chocolate. When she was told she could not have any she then continued to ask, in a rather demanding fashion, for the next forty five minutes.

My role of 'being mum' repeatedly makes life seem very unfair when you are five, seven or nine. Often the response I receive is grrr, urgh, a tut, REALLY, a scream or a shout and sometimes even a growl.

There are occasions when I would love to join in the chorus of grrr's and urgh's. I want to scream, shout and stamp my feet too!

Maybe it is a way of releasing all the frustration and disappointment. However I believe there is a better way. Initially this choice requires probably as much effort as the wobbles my children have, however with practise, it can bring such peace.

These words give me encouragement, hope and strength. As each new day dawns I know that I am not alone. As I read these words I picture in my mind someone carrying the yoke with the buckets attached. In the buckets I am able to place all the things that weigh me down - my worries, hurts, resentments, bitterness, fears, feeling of injustice. My load is made lighter because there is someone willing to carry it for me. I can find rest because I can give my burdens and my weariness to Jesus. 

Without all these things weighing me down I believe I have become gentler. I no longer try to make everything 'right' because there is One who can do a much better job. Furthermore, with a lighter load it becomes easier to look up and see other people. To see how I am privileged to be sharing in their stories. 

There are times when I still want to carry that yoke myself and to hold on to my worries and my hurts. My impulse is to GRRRRRRRRRRRR until I am heard. Yet if I still my soul and come, giving my burdens to the One whose hands will perfectly carry them, then my heart stands in a far better place. 

Monday, 9 May 2016

This Is Now

I love listening to music. I can get lost in the words. I often sing like nobody is listening. Sometimes we even form our own little pop band in the car!
I like to put my music on shuffle so the next song will be a surprise. Today the next song came on and the words that really spoke to me were 'that was then and this is now'.

My now can only happen because of my then but it is my choice how I do my now. As each new day comes I can choose to do now without being restricted by my then.

Today I have been fearful of what comes next and because of my experience of then, I have found it hard to be hopeful in the now.

However I really have no idea of what tomorrow might bring. I am certain that I have no control over what comes my way although I do have control over how I react. There have been times when my reaction to people, situations, life have not been great. I have tried to control what comes next by my behaviour, by my words and by my response. I have made my now all about me and given little thought to the people around me - most of the time I did not realise how wrong I was getting it.

"With every sun comes a new day. A new beginning. 
A hope that things will be better today than they were yesterday."

I now realise that it is my choice to make now better. Each day does bring a new beginning and I do not have to be weighed down by my then. I am learning that my then can shape me as I do my now. I can learn from the wrong choices I made. I am able to choose to show love, in many different ways.

Another line of the song says, 'You'll never be that man again." I can choose to move on from what I was. I am being made new. The steps are not always easy and it can feel like I am walking through mud; though on some days I feel I might be running along the sand.

As I stand in the now, I look up and I hope that I can be better and not held back by my then. My now is new and surely it is better for me to choose love over fear. I would like to put my hope in a brighter day, a new view and a better way to love.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Take Another Step

As usual I walk into Lily's room to say goodnight. As usual she is fast asleep, yet as I lean over to kiss her goodnight she moves and pulls me to her and she hugs me tight. For that moment all is good and I am showered with blessings.

It is tempting to stay in that moment but I must continue on, step by step. Along with every sun come new steps to tread, however I am often wary and I no longer step with such assertiveness.

I do not consider it a bad thing to be wary and less certain in my steps as it means I rarely jump in feet first. I also seek guidance before I keep stepping on.

So, I take another step...I have no idea what I will be stepping into. However if I keep close in my sight the snapshot of Lily reaching out and holding onto me, this reminds me of what I am.

I am held. I am loved. I am secure. 

Always, I am these things, not just in that one moment.

So do I need to worry about what my next step will bring, no I believe I do not. The next step may bring loss or it may bring love. It may bring uncertainty or it may bring unexpected joy. Whatever I walk into, I walk knowing I am where I am meant to be. I hope that I am bold enough to keep stepping on knowing I will be guided by hands that delight in giving hope and by hands into which I can lean.