Pushing through 2020

Copied from a friend’s Facebook

I’ve been thinking about writing something for a while. It’s that time of year – I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas but I didn’t quite get round to it. I want to reflect on my year but I’m not quite sure where to start right now. There have been lots of good things happening and I’ve grown too but there have also been times that I’ve struggled and it’s been an effort to push through. The last few weeks have been a struggle but I’m still getting up in the morning. I’m still pushing on and by the grace of God I get through the days and sometimes I’m even able to be a blessing to others. I’m getting great feedback in my business, my family are healthy and I am blessed with a lovely home, food and clothing. I have some amazing friends who are there for me whether I’m feeling great or needing support. I have a lot to be thankful for.

I’m not sure what next year holds, or even tomorrow but I know that God will get me through. Some might see my faith as a crutch – something to hold me up because I can’t manage life on my own. Maybe that is one word for it? I don’t mind admitting that I can’t do this on my own. I tried being strong (and for a long time I managed it) but even then I had faith. Now I don’t think I’d have made it this far if it wasn’t for my faith. For me, the reality is that the other coping strategies I have are not enough. I need Jesus every day and I thank God for Him.

In case I don’t get round to posting anything else in the next few days I just want to wish everyone who reads this a very happy, healthy and prosperous year in 2021. I hope it will bring many good things your way.

Caption This…

I saw this picture on Instagram earlier. It was being used by a mental health support organisation and I wish I had paid more attention to what they actually said in their post. However, I loved the picture and it sparked several thoughts that I considered writing about… but then I had an idea. I decided to let you do the writing instead.

What would you caption this picture? Or what thoughts does it bring to your mind? Let me know in the comments. ☺️

Wednesday’s Wisdom

I’ve been thinking about this quote and other similar ones a lot over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been really struggling with my mental health on and off – feeling low and also anxious. I realise that I need to find happiness (or perhaps contentment is a better word) within myself and not expect or hope for others to make me feel that way. Happiness is an emotion that comes and goes and we can’t expect to be happy all of the time but contentment would bring peace.

When I was a child I had a little plaque with a quote by Mother Theresa on my wall. It said “If you don’t enjoy what you have how could you be happier with more?” For a long time I lived by that and I made the most of everything I had and didn’t feel the need for anything else. Something happened though and I started hoping and dreaming for a more fulfilling life – was that wrong? I don’t know. I guess I became dissatisfied with the way things were.

I’m still mulling this over I guess. I’m not sure what the right balance is. I don’t think it’s wrong to want more necessarily but I suppose I have to look to myself (or to God) for that and not to other people? What are your thoughts on happiness? How do you find happiness and contentment? Should we have any expectations around happiness coming from other people?

I’m always reading something or other. Books, social media feeds, study notes, blogs and more. Recently I’ve become even more aware of how much wisdom I come across in what I read so I decided to share some of it with you. I’m honestly not sure how consistent I will manage to be with this or how long I’ll keep it up but I’m going to try. It’s all part of the growing I need to do.

Wednesday’s Wisdom

I can’t actually remember when I first saw this (somewhere on social media I guess) but it was a helpful reminder at the time. I’ve started talking to myself a lot more this year – maybe I am a little crazy 😆. It started back before Easter when I did the Negativity Fast and Positivity Feast that I mentioned before. Then when I was doing the church course that I finished back in June we had a bit of a focus on ‘declarations’ too. Since then I’ve been giving myself a talking to most days – out loud. Telling myself truths about who I am and what God says about me and renewing my mind. Some people would call it positive affirmations. Whatever you call it – it works. I’ve definitely noticed some changes in my thinking since I started doing this more regularly. Do you ever talk to yourself like this? Do you find it helpful or does it sound ridiculous to you?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

I’m always reading something or other. Books, social media feeds, study notes, blogs and more. Recently I’ve become even more aware of how much wisdom I come across in what I read so I decided to share some of it with you. I’m honestly not sure how consistent I will manage to be with this or how long I’ll keep it up but I’m going to try. It’s all part of the growing I need to do.

Wednesday’s Wisdom

From “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” by Charlie Mackesy

This is from another great book that I got recently. There are so many little gems in this one too. I need to remember this often – sometimes just getting up and carrying on is brave and magnificent. If you did this today I’m proud of you.

I’m always reading something or other. Books, social media feeds, study notes, blogs and more. Recently I’ve become even more aware of how much wisdom I come across in what I read so I decided to share some of it with you. I’m honestly not sure how consistent I will manage to be with this or how long I’ll keep it up but I’m going to try. It’s all part of the growing I need to do.

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 😊.

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

Random Thoughts During Social Distancing

Should I reset my alarm?  It’s normally set for 6.15am on weekdays and 8am on the weekends so I can get up and spend some quiet time with God before everyone else starts to move.  Now that everyone is working from home no one is really moving before about 8.30am so I could shift it a bit – or leave it and use the extra time for something else?  Thoughts?

I’ve never been more grateful for the sunshine.  In the midst of everything that’s going on in the world, it just makes me feel better.

Writing in my garden while social distancing

I wonder when my daughter will come home?  We were chatting through her options yesterday.  Her school in California has gone online and her two roommates are leaving to go home on Tuesday so she could come home too.  She’s not keen on the idea of being on her own especially with all the social distancing but she also has FOMO if everything clears up and goes back to normal quicker than expected.  I’d love her to come back but I also want her to be sure she’s doing the right thing for her.  I don’t want to put pressure on her.

I wonder if we’ll be able to go on holiday in July?  It’s hardly important in the current climate but just a thought.

Will I be able to claim any money back for lost business? I’ve worked out that with the bookings I had in the diary I’ll be losing out on something like 26 days if the schools stay shut until the summer break (which seems to be what is expected).  I’m going to try to use the time to do other things that I don’t normally get round to – like my website for example.  If necessary I could get another job though.  The supermarkets are looking for more staff right now.

Will I do more writing or less?  I’m having another wobble about writing at the moment.  I don’t know whether to keep going or quit. 

Should I try to get a telephone appointment with the doctor?  I’m not sick but I’ve been wondering about whether I should try coming off the antidepressants?  They don’t want us to bother the NHS right now unless it’s an emergency though, and it’s not that.  Does anyone know how you get off these things?  Can I do it safely without a doctor’s advice?  I’m on a very low dose.

I have a gift card to use up before June.  Not quite sure if that’s going to be possible?  It’s maybe my own fault for holding on to it so long but I was hoping to buy a couple of new outfits for this summer with it.  It’s for one of the nearby shopping centres.  Maybe I could use it for food shopping or just go to the clothes shops one day and keep my distance from everyone?  I feel bad for the shops and businesses that are losing out because of this virus.  I know we have to be sensible to avoid spreading it but so many people are losing their livelihoods too.  That could have a knock on effect that lasts way longer than COVID-19.

I probably should disinfect the door handles and surfaces again but today is Mother’s Day in the UK so it’s going to wait till tomorrow.  I want to relax today.  I got the sweetest card with the most lovely words in it today from my kids along with some beautiful flowers.  I am blessed.

If you’ve got this far, thanks for reading my random ramblings.  Stay safe and don’t forget to wash your hands.  🤗

Yes I Will

I’ve been a bit quiet again – I know. It’s hard to explain. There are just times when I find it hard to ‘talk’. Sometimes it’s even hard to share with my closest friends. I just seem to clam up. It’s weird in a way because there’s nothing I want more than a safe place to spill out what’s on my heart.

I’m okay really – in the midst of all the craziness in the world right now. Everything feels a little surreal. Hubby is working from home for the foreseeable future. My son’s uni is closed and classes are going online. I’m taking business a day at a time and counting on nothing since it seems like schools could shut at any moment. My daughter’s mission trip has been cancelled and I’m just hoping that she’ll be able to get home from California okay when the time comes.

Friends are having their holidays cancelled and it looks like people of my parents age will be asked to stay at home soon. Many of the shelves in the supermarkets are bare, a Foodbank in my area was robbed and some self employed people are worrying about how they will pay their bills. Night shelters are concerned about homeless people who may come into contact with the virus and teachers are wondering how the children who rely on free school meals are going to get fed. Like my hubby says it feels like the plot of a movie.

Yesterday was a little unusual for a Sunday. Although our church was meeting we didn’t get up early enough to go so we listened to a message online about Kingdom in Mental and Emotional Health. I got pretty emotional listening to it actually. I guess a lot of things resonated with me. In the afternoon I went for a long walk in the countryside to make sure I got my steps in for my charity challenge. After dinner (and a little/fair bit of wine) I fell asleep just before the end of the movie we were watching. Then of course, during the night when I should have been sleeping I was awake! 😝

Photo from Pixabay

One of the things I enjoyed most about yesterday was listening to my music while I was out walking. There’s something about being in nature that makes it easier for me to hear God and there’s something about the lyrics of songs that has a way of getting through to me. Sometimes even when I’m having a difficult day singing at the top of my lungs or dancing around my kitchen can be enough to pull me out of the doldrums.

This song is one that has helped me out of a difficult place several times. I recommend turning up the volume to listen to it. 🙂

Yes I Will by Vertical Worship

I count on one thing
The same God that never fails
Will not fail me now
You won’t fail me now
In the waiting
The same God who’s never late
Is working all things out
You’re working all things out

Yes I will, lift You high in the lowest valley
Yes I will, bless Your name
Oh, yes I will, sing for joy when my heart is heavy
All my days, oh yes I will

I count on one thing
The same God that never fails
Will not fail me now
You won’t fail me now
In the waiting
The same God who’s never late
Is working all things out
Is working all things out

Oh, yes I will, lift You high in the lowest valley
Yes I will, bless Your name
Oh, yes I will, sing for joy when my heart is heavy
For all my days, oh yes I will
For all my days, oh yes, I will

And I choose to praise
To glorify, glorify…

Source: LyricFind