New Routines

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with routines. We all have them, even if they’re as simple as going to sleep at night or brushing our teeth in the morning. I love them because I feel more productive if I follow a routine but I hate being tied down to them and feeling like I can’t do what I want to do because of BORING routines! There have been times I’ve got so bogged down in them I’ve felt like I HAD to follow them and that just made me feel caged.

One of my good routines has been exercise. Exercise is not something I’ve always found easy (See this post for more) but I got into a good habit with it. Then when I was at my lowest point with depression I wasn’t doing as well with that routine although I’ve mostly managed at least a couple of times a week. I’m getting myself into a new routine with exercise now just to change things up a bit. The last couple of weeks I’ve gone to a class with my friend A on Tuesday mornings and gone swimming on Thursday mornings and I’m still trying to do some weights in the house too on other days. I’m not as consistent with that as I was though.

I used to be pretty good with my housework routines too. When my kids were little I discovered the Flylady (www.flylady.net). She has great suggestions about how to work short routines into your life to keep on top of everything. I never did follow all of her routines but I did try to do an evening and a morning one and did certain housework tasks on certain days of the week (like cleaning toilets on Thursdays 😂). I did struggle a bit with resentment at times when I felt like I was doing everything in the house and the rest of the family weren’t pulling their weight. In reality I put it on myself though. No one asked me to do it or expected me to do everything. Anyway my housework routines have gone to pot. I still try to keep the house tidy when I have the energy and the motivation but the routines are out the window on the whole. Maybe I need to try to work up to doing better with those again? While I’m on this subject I’d love to know your thoughts on this. What works best for you – cleaning a whole room at once or doing one job, like dusting for example, in all the rooms and then vacuuming all the rooms at another time?

The Flylady 😊

My work routine used to be pretty easy. Mondays, Tuesdays and alternate Wednesdays I was in school. On Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings I took relaxation classes. Now that I’m totally self employed that routine is less defined at the moment too. I do have some classes booked in on regular days but quite a few are still up in the air. I think routine is helpful in my work life so that I feel like I’m being useful and productive. I’m getting there with this one though. My latest decision is that Fridays will probably be my day off. 😁

The other really helpful routine I had was my devotional time. I used to be so good at getting up early and spending time reading the Bible and praying and listening to God. I’m not so good at getting up early now. I’m still reading every day and praying but it’s not like it was before. I miss those times. I know I benefited from spending that time alone with Papa God. I need to get back to this routine. This was highlighted for me at church today too. The pastor said ‘sometimes we get frustrated and disappointed rather than hungry.’ I think I’ve done that. I need to get hungry for God again. I know He satisfies.

Anyway enough of my random patter for now. I’d love to know what routines you find helpful? Maybe I could incorporate some of them into my week? Do you struggle with routines sometimes? What helps? I could use some assistance with this. 🙂

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Visible

It’s been a while again – I know. My head is still a bit like Cotton Wool and I’ve been doubting myself. I miss writing though so I’ll try to just focus on one thing at a time and maybe I can sort my thoughts out that way?

I had an unusual experience yesterday. I was looking after little B in the morning and took him out for a walk to the park in the village. As I was walking to and from the park several people spoke to me. That’s not unusual 😂 but what was unusual is that they were people I didn’t know. They spoke to me as if they knew me – two separate guys actually shouted across the road to say hello and ask how I was. One lady clearly recognised me and was chatting away but I didn’t know her.

I’m more used to feeling invisible to be honest (I think I might have mentioned that before). Most of the time I feel like I go unnoticed and many times in my life I have felt like people didn’t even hear me when I talked. This was different. I felt visible. Could they have mistaken me for someone else? Probably not – I have yet to meet anyone with hair like mine (it’s blonde on top and a deep pink underneath in a short asymmetrical style). Maybe they recognised me from the Community Fun Day – I was wearing an orange hi-vis vest at that so I was probably harder to miss?

Whatever it was it was different – good different. I guess it’s no surprise that it feels good to be seen. It made me feel like I live in a really friendly place too. Is it just me or does anyone else feel invisible at times?

Slightly random thoughts there guys but that’s one thing less buzzing around in my head 😝. More random thoughts to come I’m sure…

Cotton Wool

Cotton wool – I have a couple of friends who shudder at the thought of the stuff. They really can’t stand it. It makes their skin crawl just to think about it, never mind touch it. Anyway, I digress. This post is really nothing to do with cotton wool. It’s about my head, my brain or my thoughts. I don’t know really and that’s part of the difficulty.

Do you ever have one of those days when your head just feels like cotton wool or candy floss (cotton candy) or a tangled up ball of string? Like there’s something wrong with your brain and all your neural networks are connected up wrong? I’ve had quite a few days like that in the last couple of weeks (although I have to say I’m feeling better now on the whole) where there are so many thoughts jumbled up in my head that it sort of feels like I’m not thinking about anything. Do you ever get that? Maybe it’s just me? It’s like there’s so much going on that your brain just goes numb or shuts down but you know it’s not the same as having no thoughts because your head feels fuzzy and restless.

I don’t even know what to tell you about those thoughts because when they’re all jumbled up like that it’s hard to distinguish between them. I guess there are thoughts about work and family and friends and what various people I know are going through. Thoughts of the past and the present and the future and what my hopes and dreams were and are and what God wants to do with my life – assuming my life is still in some way useful to Him.

I’m not even really sure what I’m trying to say about this. Maybe I’m not really trying to say anything? I’m just trying to process what feels kinda confusing at times. I guess what I need in those times is peace of mind? A peace that passes understanding. So I don’t need to be able to work out my thoughts or make any sense of them but instead just allow His peace to bypass my understanding and fill my mind. Maybe it’s about trust again? I don’t need to have it all worked out or understand everything because my Papa God is in control and I can rest in that.

Prayer of Dedication

I just wanted to share this here this morning. I didn’t write this prayer, it’s one I came across in a devotional I read about 4 years ago but it’s one I go back to fairly often and pray again. Maybe it will bless someone else?

Prayer of Dedication

God, today I dedicate my mind to you. I want to think on things that are good, right, pure, and excellent. I want to take captive any thoughts that aren’t from you. I want to remember your past faithfulness when I am tempted to doubt.

Today, I dedicate my eyes to you. I want to see others the way you see them. I want to view my circumstances through the lens of hope and faith. I want to look at life as one who is confident that you are with me. 

Today, I dedicate my ears to you. I want to hear your voice above all the others clamoring for my attention. I want to listen to you and to honor others by listening well to them.  

Today, I dedicate my mouth to you. I want my words to be life-giving. I want to speak honestly and sincerely. I want to think before I speak. I want to let others have the last word.

Today, I dedicate my heart to you. I want my heart to be pure and undivided. I want to master my emotions, not serve them. I want my dreams and desires to please you.

Today, I dedicate my hands to you. I want to work hard at whatever I put my hands to. I want to touch others in love and goodwill. I want my hands to be open for whatever you want to give me and willing to release anything you want me to surrender.

Today, I dedicate my feet to you. I want to go wherever you send me. I want to walk toward the messes, not run from them. I want to stand firmly upon the truth and not stumble.

The most important relationship I have deserves my greatest expression of worship: a dedicated life.

Elaine Scott
Browns Bridge Church

Busy, busy, busy!

Hey guys! Sorry it’s been so long since I posted anything. Life has been pretty hectic since our return from Croatia. It’s not that I haven’t had thousands of thoughts that I wanted to blog about – I even started writing a few that never got finished – it’s just that life has taken over or I’ve engineered it that way. It’s a tricky one ’cause I like to be busy and sociable. I get bored if I don’t have much on so I’m inclined to fill every minute in my diary. The downsides of that are that I then have no ‘me time’, no processing time and I have to be careful not to use busyness as a numbing strategy ’cause I’ve done that plenty too.

Anyway I’d better fill you in on what I’ve been up to. There were a few big events lined up just after our return. Our daughter was leaving for California ten days after we got back so I was trying to help her with last minute arrangements and packing and stuff. She’s off to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry for 10 months. I’ll miss her a lot but I know this is an exciting opportunity for her and I think she was ready for a bit more independence again.

We also had our local community fun day 8 days after our return. I’m on the organising team for that so I was busy with everything from signing the licence to occupy the site at the council offices to clearing weeds from the car park and picking up dog poo before we could get set up. 😝 Thankfully despite a lot of red tape this year it turned out to be a successful day and the sun even shone for us after what had been a pretty damp week. I think we must have had around 500 people turn up across the day – not bad for a small village. My boy’s band played a slot in the music tent and my lovely girl gave up three hours of packing time to face paint less than 48 hours before leaving.

We had a friend of my son’s staying with us from Australia for a few days while all of that was going on. I’ve looked after little B every week for a while and caught up with a few friends too. I went down to my parents new house and prepped and painted their bathroom ceiling for them one day. I’ve had a few fun nights out like one with my teacher pals to escape rooms and then out for dinner. That was such a good laugh. We’ve had some nice meals with friends and a trip to the spa with one of my besties K which is always so relaxing.

This last week or so I’ve been working a bit on my business again too. I’ve got a few classes lined up (and some supply days at my old school) but I need some more confirmed. Getting work set up is one of the hardest things about being self employed. I do have a few people interested just now I just need them to confirm. Hopefully that will happen soon.

In amongst everything else I’ve finally finished Skelly’s Square (started it towards the end of my holiday but I’m a slow reader at times) an excellent debut novel by one of my fav bloggers Stephen Black of Fractured Faith Blog . Totally recommend this. It’s a great read and I can’t wait for book 2.

If you’re still with me thanks for reading. That was a bit of a whistle stop tour of the last couple of weeks. Hopefully I’ll share some more soon. 😊

Still Alive!

Well I did it – and I made it. I was very much out of my comfort zone yesterday when we went canyoning. In case anyone hasn’t heard of canyoning you basically climb down into a canyon and then wade, swim or get pushed along the river by the rapids.

If you read my last post you’ll know this was a huge challenge for me because I really don’t like heights – particularly when you have to look over the edge of something – and since I was about six or seven years old I’ve been pretty scared of putting my head under water. That’s not without good reason; I almost drowned in a swimming pool at that age.

As you can imagine from these pics of our group there was a fair bit of looking over the edge getting down to the river Cetina and there was always a risk of your head ending up under the water while riding the rapids.

Have you ever had that feeling when you’re doing an activity in a group and you just know everyone else is better at it than you? I had that feeling a lot yesterday. I even asked one of the guides if they have the TV quiz show The Weakest Link over there. I kept waiting for someone to say ‘You are the weakest link. Goodbye!’ 😂

There were places where we had to climb up the side of the canyon a bit and dark tunnels to find your way through before heading back down to the water. The biggest challenge for me were the places where you can climb up the rocks a bit and jump into the water. Obviously that involves both my fears at once and since I don’t normally even jump into the swimming pool I wasn’t completely sure I was going to actually do it. There was always a way to get around these things so copping out was an option.

The first jump into the river was a smallish one so I decided pretty quick just to go for it. I’m sure I looked very awkward doing it but it wasn’t too bad and I only swallowed a little bit of water. I avoided the second one which was a lot higher but when it came to the third I watched lots of people doing it and started considering facing my fear.

It took a while but I decided to climb up the rock and do it. My son climbed up behind me and was encouraging me to go for it. I faltered quite a few times at the top. I couldn’t quite bring myself to actually jump. My legs were jelly looking over the edge but at the same time I was trying to tell myself that it was completely safe and everyone else was doing it and was fine. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to push yourself to do something that really scares you? If you have you’ll know what I was going through up there. Well in the end I managed to close my eyes and practically throw myself into the water. Unfortunately there is no photographic evidence because by the time I actually plucked up the courage the guide had put his camera away thinking that it wasn’t going to happen. 😝 Somewhere out there though are about 20 people who can vouch that I went through with it. The pic below shows someone else in the group doing the same jump so you can see what it looked like. I guess mine probably looked a lot less confident though 😂.

I’m not sure how much the whole experience helped me to conquer my fears but I’m glad I did it. Maybe next time it will be a little easier to persuade myself to jump even if I only manage to jump into the swimming pool.

I’m writing this post on the plane home so by the time I post it I’ll be safely back in my own house. No doubt it will be a lot cooler and damper than I’ve been used to for the last week or so but there will be benefits to being home too. At least I won’t get eaten by mozzies tonight, maybe just midgies!

Croatia so far…

I’m writing this this morning just in case I don’t make it home. 😝 Today we’re going canyoning which (from what I understand) basically involves two of my biggest fears – heights and water – including scary things called rapids!! I am determined to start facing more of my fears though so I’m gonna do it. Hopefully this won’t be my last post. 😂

So far Croatia has been gorgeous! I’ve definitely got my heat and sunlight fix for a little while. The temperature has been somewhere between 32 and 37 degrees Celsius every day and probably not much lower than 25 at night. Our apartment is close to the beach and there’s a shared pool so we’ve spent a bit of time at both of those. We’ve mixed up eating out and eating in but everything we’ve tasted has been really good.

In the first few days here we explored the old town of Split. It’s really pretty! We caught a glimpse of it in the dark last night too.

Split, Croatia

We’ve also been to Krka National Park which has the most stunning waterfalls. You can swim there in certain places too which is particularly welcome in this heat.

Krka National Park

On the way back I did something I’ve been putting off for a while – I drove a left hand drive car on the right hand side of the road (I’m used to driving on the left in the UK). It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Mind you my family might not agree 😂. I’m starting to get the hang of it though.

We sheltered from the heat one day for a couple of hours in Vranjaca Cave which was impressive. I couldn’t really capture how awesome it looks with my phone. It was really fun to explore though.

Vranjaca Cave

Yesterday we took a catamaran to Korcula Island (about 2.5 hours away) to spend time with my friend E and her family. It was my daughter’s 24th birthday. I don’t know how it’s possible that I have a 24 year old! We had a nice catch up with our friends and enjoyed a swim in the turquoise blue sea water and a meal together before we headed back to our apartment.

Well that’s all from Croatia for now. I’m hopeful that today’s adventure won’t be my last. I’ll fill you in soon. X