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Stumbling in – with a Smile and a half decent glass of Champagne

1 Jan

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That’s it!
We’re in!!
2014….

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For better, for worse, there’s nothing we can do about it… let’s stumble into it together, hand in hand and holding tight to the Saviour and Lover and Creator of each one of us.
After all he is the beginning and the end, and everything in between.
He knows all that we don’t yet know.
The good, the bad, the ugly; the triumphs and the sorrows.
So let’s stumble in, trusting that He has enough grace for us to face everything He has planned for us…and to be victorious in it all.
I, for one, am excited…
First stop: Australia, for two weeks holiday in the sun with one of my all-time besties…. Can it get any better!!?!

We think, quite possibly, not.

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Field Flowers in November

4 Nov

While I walked the dog yesterday I spotted some wild flowers still very much in bloom.

So I guess I had to take pictures…

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Too Excited for Words

12 Sep

….so this will have to do!

When I read it – it hit me right between the eyes.
Not literally you understand . Obviously.

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The Heart-Mouth Connection by Rick Warren

“Hard work is worthwhile, but empty talk will make you poor.” (Prov 14:23)

The Bible makes a direct connection between your heart and your mouth. For instance, if you have a problem with profanity, that’s not a problem with your mouth. That’s a problem in your heart. If you tend to be critical and say sarcastic things, that’s not a problem in your mouth. That’s a problem in your heart. If you tend to exaggerate things and shade the truth, that’s not a problem with your mouth. That’s a problem in your heart. If you tend to say things that you think people want you to say rather than what you really need to say, that’s not a problem with your mouth. That’s a problem in your heart.

What you say has a direct connection to your heart.

Whatever your heart is filled with is going to come out of your mouth. If you’re filled with anger, anger is going to come out of your mouth. If your heart is filled with depression, it’s going to come out of your mouth. If your heart is filled with joy, that’s going to come out of your mouth.

The Bible says, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (NLT). Another way to say this is, love God with all your talk, all your feelings, all your thinking, and all of your acting. God shaped you to primarily be either a talker, feeler, thinker, or a doer.

Heart people have a real hard time being quiet. They’re talkers. When you’re a heart person, you’ve got to let it out. You’ve got to tell other people. Heart people love to tell stories. They love to sit and converse, especially in heart-to-heart conversations.

The world needs people who are communicators. We need people who can lead discussions and who can verbalize what the rest of us feel. We need teachers, counselors, and coaches who can teach us and direct us. We need comedians. We need preachers. We need all of these people who are built on verbal skills and who are able to move the world forward.

And then this.
This last bit was written for me.
Directly.
It really was as if God was speaking straight to me.

God’s warning for talkers is this: You also have to act. Proverbs 14:23 says, “Hard work is worthwhile, but empty talk will make you poor” (CEV). That means you’ve got to move ahead. Some people never get past the discussion stage. What are you doing with your life? “I’m talking about doing this.” How long have you been talking about it? “Three years.” When are you going to stop talking and start doing? “I’m aiming to.” When are you going to stop aiming and pull the trigger?

Talk It Over

What is it that you’ve been talking about doing maybe for weeks or even months?
You need to move ahead. What steps will you take today to move forward? Don’t just talk about it. Do it!

I’m a talker.
All my life I have been dubbed “The Family Chatterbox”.
But that post by Rick Warren, it shut me right up.

It’s time for me to get on and DO what I have been talking about doing for years and years.

I have embarked on step 1 of many, many steps. There is a 5-year ‘plan’ I’m hoping to see come to fruition – but as I’m pretty sure it’s God’s plan, I’m going with it….

And I feel purposeful, excited and alive in a way that I haven’t felt for….well… years and years.

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MADE IT!

21 Mar

(…well kind of…)

Any guesses what I might be talking about?!?

Here are some clues.

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Now Lord…, would you be so kind as to arrange some sun and warmth for us soon??

…Pretty please?!

Half Term Tales #2: Beach, Blossom and Sunsets

20 Feb

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And so – On With Spring

16 Feb

There seem to be more and more glimpses of Spring all around.
I know I bang on about it a lot but I do love watching the seasons roll into each other…it makes a deep hope well up inside me and stirs up joy in my soul like nothing else.

So this is what I saw, today:

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Christ-less Christmas – or Xmas for short.

23 Dec

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It’ll be Christmas in less than 3 days.
And then it’ll be 2012, about a week after that.

Wow. What happened to the last 362 days?!?!?

GONE! Just like that, in the blink of an eye.

It’s history. All that you thought, said, and did. But how did it affect the course of your life? How did it affect you at your very core, deep down. Does it really matter? Do you even care??

If you do (care), then what are you going to do about it…? Surely you can just be pragmatic about it all and get over it, or at worst get some therapy. That’s what people do, isn’t it?!? That’s how it works.

Well, just one look at the state of our world right now, and it’s pretty clear “just getting on with it”, maybe with some therapy thrown in for good measure, won’t fix the deep deep wounds we have inflicted on ourselves. And the pain that people carry around is never more apparent than at Christmas time.

Now, I am always pretty ambivalent about Christmas. In fact most people who know me well know that I have a bit of a Scrooge/Grinch/whatever-attitude mentality (yeah – “a bee in my bonnet” would also do. So what?!? 😉 ) about the whole thing. I have even acquired a reputation as a “Christmas-Hater” at our church, so that whenever the pastor mentions people who dislike this ‘season’, he tends to glance in my general direction with much intent, making myself and everybody else stiffle a generously gracious chuckle at my expense.

Humph.

Bah Humbug!!

*stomps away in a huff*

*does a prompt about-turn*

Hang on a minute!!

Before you are too quick to judge me, may I plead my cause…? Please??

(If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, I think you know the kind of thing I’m gonna say, but I’m going to go right ahead and say it anyway. Because actually I am angry, and I suspect it is a God-given anger… So bear with me! 🙂 Thank you)

It angers me, it breaks my heart how we, in our western society, get so caught up in the noise, the busy-ness, the clutter, the rituals, the sheer materialism of this time of year… Year in, year out. We are too stressed, too preoccupied by the need pressure, the lure to make it all ‘perfect’, to make it “just so”, to honour age-old traditions – to really see what it is all about. In fact we are all so stressed and so busy that we have no space in our lives, in our families, in our homes for The One without whom CHRISTmas wouldn’t even exist.
We have become blind to Him.

Yet He came for US. Christ. Jesus Christ.

He is God.
He is perfect, holy, glorious, magnificent.
He was there before the world was made; and He is the Very One who made the universe in its entirety – yet he also made you and me, with much intricacy, intent and delight.
He loves us. With a burning passion. He knows us, each and every one of us, intimately. And get this: He WANTS you, me, him, her.
He is for us, not against us. But we have free-will; God never forces a relationship with us, we are free to choose. And because we choose to go our own, godless, separate way, we effectively choose to separate ourselves from him.

So He, GOD, came into our messed-up, messy, hurting world, as a small perfect human baby. Because it was the only way for us to be friends with God. It still is. And it ALWAYS will be.

Do you know what “IMMANUEL” means? It means GOD WITH US. This is one of the names given to Jesus in the Bible.

Immanuel.

An unwanted, illegal teen-pregnancy, a long, painful, risky labour culminating in the birth of a baby in a filthy, smelly animal shed, with no clothes, no bed. This is the context in which God chose to come to be with us.

He knows the mess we are in.
He understands all of our pain, our suffering, our trials. Our disappointments, our temptations, and every single one of our weaknesses and struggles. He is WITH US in it all.

Yet we are blind to Him.
Still.

He offers hope, release and freedom from all the stress and busy-ness of Christmas, and beyond that, from the pain, the wounds, the damage caused by life.

And yet we, in the western world, are strong enough without Him thank you very much… We really don’t need Him, do we?!

Or DO we?!?

Surely this is what Christmas is about – because the very essence of it is why I now have a purpose in life, why I am now free to live fully, forever, no longer imprisoned by shame, guilt, lies, accusations, low self-esteem, self-hatred, etc…

So what about you??

I’ll go back to those questions I was asking at the start of this post.

What are you going to do about all the stuff you’ve been through this past year…? And all the mistakes you’ve made – the people you’ve hurt, the lies you’ve believed about yourself, the nasty, clumsy things you’ve said…??

You can choose to ‘get through’ Christmas for one more year, without there being much point to it, frankly.
The likelihood is, sadly, that many of us will wake up on Boxing Day (and New Year’s Day, a week after that) weary, irritable, and dissatisfied – with a sickening, pounding, debilitating hangover, excess weight to lose, and a sorely depleted bank account (or hundreds, sometimes thousands, of £££ to pay back on a maxed-out credit card). The kids will have broken at least one third of all the presents they were bought at great cost, and there will probably be enough left-over food to feed a whole family in an african refugee camp for a week.

Frankly if that’s all there is to it, then YES I hate it!!!

The other alternative is this. You can choose to consider that, when the chips are down, Jesus Christ really is what it’s all about.
In which case Christmas isn’t just ‘magical’ – it’s a MIRACLE!!
And it’s not over in the blink of an eye – here one day, gone the next.

It will not leave you feeling flat, empty, cheated… Instead it will affect you for good, for the rest of your life, and fill you with the most incredible, indescribable joy.

It changes EVERYTHING.

🙂

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