The best Christmas present

I really enjoy sharing my thoughts on here, and so much has happened in the past few months! It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted, so a lot of catching up to do. I’ll try and keep my posts short and sweet!

During our annual trip to the New Wine United summer conference with my church, I really felt God urging me to learn the guitar. I have never even picked one up before, let alone play! I can’t read music and don’t know about the theory. But I am part of our Worship Group at church and sing regularly. I mentioned quietly to James how I felt God was challenging me with this, so he very kindly made His suggestion into a reality by giving me a guitar for Christmas.

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Emerging from under the covers

After being stuck in the depths of migraine for the past 2 days, the fog finally began to lift this afternoon. I cannot begin to describe the frustrations of being stuck in a darkened room for hours, especially during the summer months. Having to block out the glorious sunshine and wishing that the birds would stop their tweet-tweet-tweeting in an effort to lessen the stabbing pain behind my left eye.

There is a feeling of complete helplessness as the world carries on around you. And all I want to do is close my eyes and pray for it to lift. The second round of Rizatriptan finally did the trick today, but I’m left in a fuzzy bubble for the next few hours as the medication wears off.

So in an effort to shrug off the fog, I went for a brisk walk to clear out the cobwebs. I came across a giant dandelion clock on my travels, and it really reminded me of how I’m feeling.

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An open letter to my father

Dear Dad

I always find myself with mixed feelings at this time of year. With Father’s Day fast approaching, it’s a bitter sweet reminder of how blessed I am to have had you as my Dad, and how sad I am that you were only around for 24 years of my life.

It’s been 12 years since I last held your hand on that humid, stormy summers night. The lightening illuminated the sky and the thunder boomed and cracked, as the heavens were preparing to open for you.

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Race for life, race for love

I’ve been training hard for the Chelmsford Race for Life, I’m out 3 times a week and really enjoying the challenge. I’m not sure I’ll be able to run 5k in 30 minutes by 10 July (in hindsight, a bit of a tall order for a newbie!) but I’ve definitely made improvements on my pace over the past few weeks.

I entered my first Park Run this Saturday. What an amazing group of volunteers who put this event on every week, come rain or shine. Despite the humidity, I managed a time of 34 mins 36 sec. Running with others really changes your mindset. I’m usually quite good at pacing myself, but I was swept away with everyone and found the last kilometre quite an effort. I was really pleased with the outcome, despite the young girl who sprinted the last 100 metres to pip me on the finish line!

James and the kids came to cheer me on; it was great to have their support, especially for my first Park Run. Definitely the first of many.

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But as I’ve been training, a different, unexpected challenge has arisen.

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9 Things I didn’t know about being a Christian

I became a Christian in 2009 after doing the Alpha Course with my husband at our local church. There were a whole series of events which lead us to that church and consequently doing the course, which I’ll write about later. But as I’ve been reflecting on my journey of faith over the past 10 years, it occurs to me that what I know now is vastly different to what I knew then. There were a lot of assumptions and misconceptions that I had. I occurs to me it might be helpful to my friends both in and outside of the church to share my observations. So grab yourself a cuppa, this post is a bit longer than usual.

They are completely my own views, and I’m sure some with have had similar experiences, and others not.

Before becoming a Christian I didn’t know that:

1. I wasn’t a Christian. 

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Fitness, faith and freedom

I can’t really remember what the catalyst was, but I had an underlying sense that I wasn’t getting any younger, and my fitness would only get worse if I didn’t actively do something about it. So in October I started running. I downloaded Runkeeper app on my phone to get me started and dug out my trainers (which hadn’t really seen the light of day since I had a gym membership in the run up to my wedding).

The app is very helpful. It gives you a summary of your run, where you’ve been, how fast you were, the distance you covered and even your elevation and heart rate. Over time I could see how my speed and stamina was improving. It gives you a little nudge when you haven’t been out for a while, and words of encouragement when you do.

But there was something thing that I hadn’t expected from my new found exercise routine. Faith and freedom. My life is full of routine; each week roughly the same with the daily commute, kids activities, church. But when I run I can go anywhere, wherever my feet take me. The options are endless and no two runs were the same. I love the spontaneity.

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Beaches and back seat drivers

We spent Saturday in Kent, skimming stones and paddling our feet in Whitstable Bay with the children and my lovely in-laws. I love the simplicity of the beach. Memories made with endless hours of fun. Sea, sky and pebbles as far as the eye can see. A time to be reflective away from the day-to-day routines and busyness.

Spending time on the coast always puts my life into perspective, and reminds me of the simple things. I find myself re-focusing on my priorities; precious time with my family and my relationship with Jesus. Like the stones on the beach, despite being so small and among so many others, I am comforted and reassured in the knowledge that God knows me intimately.

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Worship in the Spirit and in truth

They come along every now again – the crazy weeks where everything collides. You realise you’re out virtually every evening: Evening worship, Church AGM,  planning meetings. And then it dawned on me, not only was it home group on Thursday, but I’d offered to lead the session.

After work I hastily went through my iTunes worship collection and selected a contemplative favourite from Rend Collective, Simplicity, for us to open in worship with. We’d been looking at ‘thirst’ during our Sunday evening service, so thought I’d take the easy option and follow that theme.  I looked up a passage from John 4, ‘Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman’.  To be fair, I would have liked to have put a bit more thought into it, but time wasn’t on my side.

God doesn’t do coincidences.

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