Field of dreams

I needed a bit of headspace this afternoon so I’m sitting in a field mulling over a million thoughts. The grass is taller than my head where I’m sitting which might not be such a good plan since I’m allergic to it. 🤷🏼‍♀️

I’m grateful for the worship music in my ears. It reminds me where to put my hope. I’m grateful for the warmth of the sun. I’m grateful for the distraction of bees, butterflies, grasshoppers and other insects that I’m watching while they busily hop or fly from one flower or blade of grass to another.

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve sat in fields contemplating. Sometimes dreaming. Sometimes crying. Sometimes trying to make sense of life. Maybe there’s something that literally grounds you when you sit directly on the soil? More likely it’s the awesomeness of contemplating creation and God and things way bigger than me that makes me dream and hope for better things.

I feel small and insignificant sitting here. That’s okay though – it’s no pressure to be invisible. What is harder is knowing that there should be more and I’m not sure if I can ever be more or be enough. Part of me wants to turn this around and preach to myself right now. I know the ‘correct’ answer to that statement I just made but I need to sit with this emotion for a while. I need to empty out the pain once in a while. There’s no point in hiding the real me. That’s the whole point of this blog.

This is a bit of a verbal vomit type post so I know it probably won’t make a lot of sense to anyone but if you’re still reading I appreciate your time and that you cared enough to read this far.

Does anyone else sit in the middle of fields to process or is that just me? Where do you go for headspace?

Blogging Update

I know – it’s been a while – again! It’s not that I have nothing to say – it’s just that I don’t know where to start. As a result I thought I’d take the opportunity to answer some questions posed by Claudette, the lovely Writer of Words on her post about a week ago now. In fact I can relate to a lot of what she said at the beginning of her post too so check it out?

So these are Claudette’s questions and my attempt at answering:

All about blogging

1) Does belonging to a blogging community imply a responsibility toward the bloggers?

I had to think about this one because I do tend to take on responsibilities that are not mine and I also like to look out for others. Realistically though can you take any responsibility for people whose real names you don’t know, who live at an unknown address sometimes on the other side of the globe and whom you have no contact with outside of cyberspace? I don’t think so. Do I care? Yes, I actually do care. There are many blogs on here that I can relate to and people who I’m certain I’d get on well with IRL but you know…

2) Does it become a want or a need to read, like and/or comment regularly?

There are several blogs that I enjoy reading regularly and will often like or comment on. It’s definitely a ‘want to’ I think. I don’t feel I need to for similar reasons to my answer to question 1.

3) If you read, like and especially comment at least semi-regularly on a select few blogs and thereby get to *know* that blogger a little, does this relationship qualify as friendship?

I’d like to think it’s a sort of a friendship. There’s a connection there for sure. I guess the difference is that your IRL friends are actually there on the other end of a phone or at your door if you need them and you can be for them too. I think it’s definitely possible for a blogger friend to become a real friend if you get in touch outside of this platform.

4) Is a virtual relationship through a blog real?

It can definitely feel real but I don’t think that it would be possible to get all the qualities you’re looking for from a friendship/relationship through blogging and commenting. There would have to be more.

5) Do you feel reading there every time they post is the responsible thing to do or do you drop off on occasion?

There are some blogs that I read all the time but there are others that I’ve stopped reading as often or just dip in and out of. I tend to read what I enjoy.

6) If you drop off, what are the reasons you are taking a break?

There have in the past been a couple of blogs that I felt were affecting my own thinking and maybe even getting me down – I have to look after myself too. I’ve also accidentally taken a break from some blogs because of glitches in WP that have meant their posts stopped showing up for me.

7) What if you extend the relationship with a blogger beyond the blog and start emailing with them? Does this make the relationship more intimate, more real?

I think so. I guess it depends on how far you extend it but if you’re chatting back and forth by email then yes. I think you’re probably more likely to phone or video call too once you’ve taken this step.

8) With those more intimately connected bloggers whom you have an exterior relationship with (say through email) do you take the opportunity to check in with them when you read between the lines something they posted in their blog?

I don’t really have this situation. I have some IRL friends who read my blog but don’t blog themselves. If I was in this position I’m sure I would check in though.

9) When you formulate an opinion on a blogger based solely on what you read on their blog, do you make assumptions about them and/or their personality, character, lifestyle?

Definitely. I think it’s natural as humans to fill in the blanks in a story or make up what we don’t know. I don’t feel bad about doing that though since I always assume that people are generally pretty great.

Thanks Claudette for posing these questions. Just what I needed to break my silence again. 🙂

When Heaven Invades Earth

I was recently reading this book by Bill Johnson for the night class I’m attending (virtually these days) through church. As an assignment for the class we had to write a short reflection on the book and I mentioned this in a previous post. Today I wanted to go back and reread what I had said in the reflection; partly because I know that there were some things I planned to act on after writing it and I wanted to make sure that I’m doing this. I thought while I was going back over it I’d share it here to let you guys in on some of my recent thoughts about faith. Please feel free to leave questions or comments but be gentle – a lot of this is stuff that’s still pretty raw for me and I’m still processing and working through. I’m not at the end of this journey yet – maybe I never will be. So without further ado – here it is:

Reflection on When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson

On reading this book there were so many things that stood out for me; things that I want to be able to put into practise.  For the purposes of this reflection I’ve narrowed these down to four main themes that I felt were particularly powerful for me (in no particular order) – power, presence, testimony and superior reality.

Power

The first theme I want to look at is power.  I realise that my appetite for the impossible has shrunk over the years and that I have not been expecting miracles to happen in or through me.  Although I knew that anyone could access the prophetic, I was guilty of believing it was not my gift and therefore neglecting the prophetic. I have buried the gifts I was aware that I had out of fear of man or fear of being wrong.  I feel like my Christianity has been a compromise – there has been little supernatural power involved and little impact for the Kingdom.

Reading this book has given me an increased desire to see this change.  As it states in Chapter 11 “to re-present Him without power is a major shortcoming.” I want to display the power of God in and through my life so that the people I come into contact with get a true representation of Jesus. I realise that to do this I will have to be bold and take risks but in doing this I will become dangerous to the enemy.  In Chapter 3 we see that “Hidden sin…has kept us from the purity that breeds boldness and great faith.” I want boldness and great faith so I’m going to look to God to expose any hidden sin in my life so that I can be pure.  I intend to pray specifically about diseases that I want to see God heal through me and for the boldness to be obedient and the tenacity to keep on doing it even if I don’t see results straight away.

Presence

The second theme I felt was significant is the presence of God.  I feel that there have been seasons in my walk with God that I have been intimate with Him but I know that there is more.  I have been guilty of striving and being led by my intellect rather than living out of a place of rest and allowing Him to lead me.  I feel that I have also allowed others to influence my life more than I should have rather than listening to God. I know that my hunger and my passion for God is not what it has been in the past and I want that back.

I am already starting to spend more of my quiet time worshipping and developing intimacy with God. I am realising increasingly that what I need is His presence more than anything else and I want that continual anointing.  I want to feel His manifested presence as I walk with Him minute by minute.  I want a deeper encounter with the Trinity and to live completely surrendered to God.  I am praying for a hunger for the presence of the Spirit of God in my life so that I will be changed and humbled and He will be glorified. 

Testimony

Chapter 2 states that “When we are silent, we have chosen to keep those who would hear away from eternal life.”  This was a bit of a wake-up call for me.  I am often silent – about many things – and I have not been particularly vocal about my faith; in particular I have not been evangelistic.  I don’t want to limit other people’s opportunities to come to Jesus.  I have also listened to scepticism about the miraculous and allowed myself to be swayed towards unbelief.  I know that I have also believed lies about the value of what I have to say.

I am praying that I will conquer and be released from whatever it is that stops me from boldly speaking out.  I have already begun to declare the truth of what God says, out loud, every day and will continue to do this.  I also intend to make a point of reading and watching more testimonies about what God is doing to feed myself and increase my expectation and desire for the supernatural.  I know that God’s natural realm is the supernatural and what He has done before He will do again.  I am declaring that when I speak people will come to know Him.  I will continue to listen to God so that my faith is increased.  I want to speak out the message of the Kingdom and see that backed up with His power.

Superior Reality

For many years in my Christian walk I have lost sight of the superior reality of the kingdom and focused too much on the ‘natural’.  Like many Christians I have prayed for people who have not received healing and that has led to a fear of appearing to live in denial.  I think I have been guilty of focusing more on my inability than on His ability and I realise that I need my mind to be transformed.

I now understand that there is reality and a superior reality.  The reminder that Jesus lived as a man and could do nothing in himself, that He performed miracles and signs and wonders in right relationship to God made me acknowledge that as a Christian I should be doing this too. I want to live a life of ‘history-changing significance’.  I repent of my wrong thinking and surrender completely to God’s rule.  I am choosing to agree with God and stop partnering with what appears to be the truth in the natural.  I will ask God to open my eyes so that I will be more aware of the superior reality of the mysteries of His Kingdom.

In conclusion I want to stop living as a ‘good person’ and instead live as a citizen of heaven on earth.  I want to insist on a supernatural lifestyle that truly allows the world to encounter Christ.  I abandon my heart completely to Him and I am praying for a faith that brings the reality of heaven to earth.  I want a faith that knows God will do it when I pray for healing.  I want to discover who God truly is and put aside the religious misconceptions I have had which affect my faith. I want to take up the authority He has given me and move in that. I want to have a faith that “moves heaven, so that heaven will move earth.”

A New Day

Fresh starts are such a good thing. I’m grateful that bad days come to an end, you go to sleep and wake up to a new day, a different day and hopefully a better one. Yesterday was the worst day I’ve had with depression in a long time. But today is a new day and it’s going to be a better one.

I’ve been realising that I’ve been using social media to numb a lot over the years. I don’t think it’s healthy. I need it for work but I had excess accounts that I don’t need so I got rid of a bunch of them – including the ones associated with this blog.

I didn’t start blogging to get a following. I love the little community that I’ve connected with on WordPress but the majority of the people I most enjoy reading and connecting with on here are not the ones I connect with on Twitter or Instagram so those accounts are gone. It’s funny because on Twitter I had built up a decent following pretty quickly but it felt so fake. Most of those people didn’t actually connect with me or read my posts. I guess I didn’t with most of them either. I get that others will have a different experience or want to use social media to promote their blogs and that’s cool. It just wasn’t for me.

Anyway – I decided to live in the real world as much as possible. I’ll still be here on WordPress though. I enjoy writing here and reading your blogs. There are several that I follow closely and connect with regularly and I’m happy with that; I don’t need thousands of followers.

Well I guess that’s my little update for today. I’ve deleted a bunch of apps as well. Seems like a good time to declutter my online presence. I’ll have to face all the feelings now if I’m not numbing them – will need to watch my alcohol intake doesn’t go up as that’s another go-to for numbing. Hopefully I can hack it.

What are your thoughts on social media? Do you love it or hate it? Do you need it for work? Do you use it to promote your blog? Do you think I did the right thing or made a big mistake deleting those accounts? Let me know your thoughts. 🙂

Gluten and Dairy Free Super Speedy Brownies

If you’re like me there are times when you just need some deliciously, chocolatey comfort food and you don’t want the hassle or the wait for something to bake. For those occasions these rich, gooey brownies are perfect. They’re ready from start to finish in about 10-15 minutes. Technically you should then let them cool for 10 minutes before cutting them but that depends on how desperate you are.

Gluten and Dairy Free Super Speedy Brownies

150g dairy free spread (I use Flora Buttery)
65g cocoa powder
200g sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
50g gluten free plain (all purpose) flour
Half tsp xanthan gum

Put the dairy free spread in a bowl and melt in the microwave on high for about 40 seconds.

Add the sugar, cocoa and vanilla in that order and mix well.

Add the eggs slightly whipping after each one. Add flour and xanthan gum and mix well.

Grease a microwave safe dish (or use a silicone one like I do and don’t bother greasing it) and spoon in the mixture.

Microwave on high for 4-5 mins. Let rest for 10 mins before cutting into 16 squares – if you can wait that long.

Everyone will love these brownies whether they normally eat gluten/dairy free or not. They’re delicious on their own or served warm with dairy free ice cream. They don’t last long in this house! If you like you can also make them with regular butter and flour and leave out the xanthan gum. They are just as delicious this way if you don’t have any dietary requirements.

This is going to be my last batch for a while since I’m developing a food baby as a result of Coronavirus lockdown (eating and drinking too much obviously). Really need to start focusing on healthy food and more exercise next week 😝. If you have any yummy healthy snacks to share please leave me your links in the comments 😊.

He Wants Me

I wanted to share this song with you since I’ve been listening to it most of this week on and off. I came across it the other morning when I was feeling pretty low and it helped to turn around my thinking at the time and made me feel loved.

I think my greatest desire (for myself) is to feel loved and wanted and seen and known but my feelings don’t always oblige. This song reminded me that God sees me and knows me better than anyone and somehow even though he knows all about my shortcomings and my failures the God of the universe wants me. That boggles my brain when I think about it just for a minute. Anyway I hope the song blesses you as much as it did me.

Control by Tenth Avenue North

Here I am
All my intentions
All my obsessions
I want to lay them all down
In Your hands
Only Your love is vital
Though I’m not entitled
Still You call me Your child

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To take my hands off of my life
And the way it should go

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To open my hands up
And give You control
I give You control

I’ve had plans
Shattered and broken
Things I have hoped in
Fall through my hands
You have plans
To redeem and restore me
You’re behind and before me
Oh, help me believe

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To take my hands off of my life
And the way it should go, oh

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To open my hands up
And give You control

Oh, You want me
Somehow You want me
The King of Heaven wants me
So this world has lost it’s grip on me

Oh, You want me
Somehow You want me
The King of Heaven wants me
So this world has lost it’s grip on me

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To take my hands off of my life
And the way it should go, oh

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To open my hands up
And give You control
I give You control

Oh, give You control
Oh, I want to give You control
I give You control

You want me
Somehow You want me
The King of Heaven wants me
So this world has lost it’s grip on me

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Jason Ingram / Matthew Bronleewe / Michael Donehey

Control (Somehow You Want Me) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Did you ever wonder…?

It’s 3.30am as I start writing this. I’ve been lying awake for a while with all sorts of thoughts running through my mind so I decided to give up trying to get back to sleep right now and spill some of those thoughts out here. I’ve made myself a cinnamon and apple tea (was looking for camomile but I think we’re out) and I’m sipping that while I type.

My sleeping patterns are weird. I can go for months sleeping soundly all through the night and then I’ll have several weeks when I’m awake at least two or three times. Sometimes I know why (too much sugar does it, or if there are people on my mind to pray for) and sometimes not. Well tonight I can’t figure out a reason for my wakefulness. I’ve prayed for several people who came to mind and I’m still awake. I haven’t had any alcohol in 5 days (that occasionally messes up my sleep) or too much caffeine, so I’m clueless.

Today (well yesterday technically) was a gloriously sunny day. We watched church online in the morning and then had a picnic lunch in the garden. I read some of my book (Rising Strong by Brene Brown) lying on the picnic blanket and went out for my daily exercise allowance (walk) in the fields nearby. After dinner (well during/after dinner) I decided to burn some of our paper rubbish in the fire pit. Due to Covid-19 changes they’re not picking up our recycling like they usually do. They’re now only collecting one bin every week again and everything is in the same bin (it’s like we’ve gone back in time).

Anyway I had this thought while I was feeding and watching the fire. I love a fire – I’m not sure why? Maybe it reminds me of my grandad who was always sitting by his open fire and ‘looking after’ it? Maybe it’s just that I’ve always enjoyed being warm – if there’s a fire in a room I’ll be sitting beside it. I wondered if I had been brought up in a completely different family would I have been an arsonist? 😂 It’s a silly thought really but I guess I was thinking that my fascination with fire could have gone a different way?

I was brought up in a semi-strict Christian family. My dad was a bank accountant and lay preacher who later became a pastor. My mum was a midwife. We were raised with tight rules and good morals. It got me thinking about what might have been different in my life if I had had a different type of upbringing. Not that I’d want to change it – I consider my childhood to have been a very positive experience on the whole; but for example if I had witnessed my parents fight or argue would I have known how to handle conflict better and not been such a teddy bear (my conflict style)? If my parents hadn’t sided with my foster brother against me that time (another story) would I have had less doubts about my worth in later life? If I had felt able to openly discuss my questions about faith and life that might not fit exactly with what the Bible says would I have felt more free to speak what is on my mind? Don’t get me wrong – I’m not dissing my parents – I think they did a great job. Nothing about parenting is easy and I’m quite sure my kids could make a long list of everything I got wrong. I’m simply wondering how things might have been different.

I appreciate that for some people reading this you may have had the opposite type of upbringing, with more negative experiences than positive ones. I suppose though my question still stands for you. How might things have been different?

Whatever your background was like I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you think that you would have been fundamentally different if you were raised in a different type of family? What aspects of your character or personality do you think were profoundly affected by your upbringing? Is there anything you wish you could change or are you convinced that whatever your journey has been it’s led you to become the person you are today?

Let me know in the comments. 🙃

Out of Hiding

It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote anything, pretty much three actually. I guess I’ve been a bit stressed and overwhelmed in some ways. It’s weird because on one hand there have been lots of positives happening and I’m not worried about the pandemic (as awful as it is). Something has shifted a bit though in the last few weeks and I’m aware that I’m more anxious than usual. Anyway, I’m working through it so I’ll not dwell on it except to say that it’s probably why I’ve not been writing – I think sometimes I clam up when I get overwhelmed. On the other hand sometimes I need to write when I feel that way. I’m a bit of an enigma – even to me. 😝

On a positive note – a couple of weeks ago my daughter returned early from the States. I’m so glad she’s home! She was in two minds about coming back but her flat mates were leaving and her school had gone online so when they advised UK citizens to return home she decided to come back. She made her decision on the Sunday evening (which was Monday morning here) and asked me to book her a flight on the Tuesday and she was home by Wednesday evening. I’m really enjoying having both my kids at home again – even if it’s only for a little while.

I’ve finished the first term of the night class I’ve been doing through the church. The last few weeks have been completed over Zoom and Facebook live due to social distancing but it’s worked out pretty well. I had to write a book reflection to hand in for the end of the term too. I may post that at some point. It has been really helpful in getting me to adjust my mindset recently, although there’s obviously still some work to do on that.

Over the last few weeks I’ve also been doing the Negativity Fast and Positivity Feast organised by Igniting Hope Ministries. I’ve found that really useful too and I have definitely made progress in my thinking through it. I know that might sound like a contradiction because I said at the start of this post that I’ve been anxious, but the negativity fast is not about denying the reality of how you’re feeling or doing it’s more about understanding and believing that there is also a superior reality which is what God says about you. More about that in another post perhaps?

Since I’ve not been able to do classes over the last few weeks I’ve been working on a few other things for my business. I finally got my accounts up to date (one of the jobs I love to hate) and I’ve been learning how to build a website using Joomla. I’ve even started a YouTube channel although I’ve not got much on there yet. Gives me some stuff to work on though.

Anyway, I really just wanted to break my silence to share this song. I heard it for the first time a few days ago and it stood out to me because it mentions the words ‘lockdown’ and ‘stand at a distance’ which are pretty significant terms with the whole virus thing. It’s not about the coronavirus though and it’s also relevant for this Easter weekend.

I love the words. It’s a great reminder of how much Jesus loves me and you; enough to go to the cross for us. I love that He holds our peace and that He’s just waiting for us to cast aside fear and run into His loving arms. Even if the music isn’t your taste have a look or a listen to the words. Have a lovely Easter wherever you are and stay safe!

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13

Out of Hiding (Official Lyric Video) – Steffany Gretzinger & Amanda Cook | The Undoing

Out of Hiding

You’ve got your reasons
But I hold your peace
You’ve been on lockdown
And I hold the key

‘Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave

Now rid of the shackles, My victory’s yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There’s no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You’re not far from home

I’ll be your lighthouse
When you’re lost at sea
And I will illuminate everything

No need to be frightened
By intimacy
No, just throw off your fear
And come running to Me

‘Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave
Now rid of the shackles, My victory’s yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There’s no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You’re not far from home
Keep on coming

And oh as you run
What hindered love
Will only become
Part of the story
Baby, you’re almost home now
Please don’t quit now
You’re almost home to Me

Promise Me

It’s Song Lyric Sunday hosted by Jim Adams of A Unique Title For Me. This week’s prompt is Promise/Vow/Oath. Ever since I saw this prompt on Jim’s post a few weeks ago this song has been going round in my head. Not really sure why it stuck out so much – I think I just liked it at the time.

According to Wikipedia the song originally failed to chart when it was released in 1990 but after a successful UK tour it was rereleased in 1991 and peaked at number 3 in May. To be honest I don’t remember hearing much more about Beverley Craven after this song but apparently she has continued writing and performing and her 6th album, Woman to Woman, was released in 2018.

‘Promise Me’ would have been in the charts when I was just finishing up at high school. Maybe that’s why it’s memorable? I think that summer I went off on a tour with The Continentals (a Christian young people’s choir) to Scandinavia and Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. It was probably pretty cringy stuff when I think back now but I guess it was different days. That was my first trip away without my family for more than a few days. I think we were gone about 5 weeks altogether. These days it’s holidays in the sun that are the done thing after finishing school (maybe not this year though).

Promise Me
by Beverley Craven

You light up another cigarette and I pour the wine
It’s four o’clock in the morning and it’s starting to get light
Now I’m right where I wanna be, losing track of time
But I wish that it was still last night

You look like you’re in another world but I can read your mind
How can you be so far away, lying by my side
When I go away I’ll miss you and I will be thinking of you
Every night and day

Just promise me you’ll wait for me
‘Cause I’ll be saving all my love for you
And I will be home soon
Promise me you’ll wait for me
I need to know you feel the same way too
And I’ll be home, I’ll be home soon

When I go away I’ll miss you and I will be thinking of you
Every night and day
Just promise me you’ll wait for me
‘Cause I’ll be saving all my love for you
And I will be home soon
Promise me you’ll wait for me
I need to know you feel the same way too

And I’ll be home, I’ll be home
Promise me you’ll wait for me
‘Cause I’ll be saving all my love for you
And I will be home soon

Promise me you’ll wait for me
I need to know you feel the same way too
And I’ll be home, I’ll be home soon

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Beverley Craven
Promise Me lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc