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.

I’m not a good blogger!

I’ve been thinking about this lately – I’m not a good blogger 😅! Good bloggers are consistent, they write regularly; some once or twice a week and some daily. If you follow this blog you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything for weeks! Maybe it’s even months?

Anyway, I’ve realised recently that I have a mental block (or something) when it comes to consistency. I started thinking more about this after I lost my 300 day streak on my Bible app a couple of weeks ago. I beat myself up about it, whining to hubby that I’m not consistent. He kindly pointed out that 300 days is actually pretty consistent – I’m just not perfect. After mulling this over for a while I realised that this is my problem (or one of them) – I equate consistency with perfection in my head. I put so much pressure on myself to be consistent/perfect with a bunch of things that I lose the point of doing them and the joy of doing them in the process. Sometimes I even lose the motivation to do them because I feel sure I’m going to fail.

I’ve been experimenting with this a bit over the last week or so. I’ve deliberately been trying to just ‘go with the flow’ more and not put myself under pressure to do certain things at certain times or do things daily even. I’m ignoring those little red bubbles on my screen and the warnings that my streak is in danger. It’s been interesting – I’ve rediscovered some energy and motivation to do things just because I want to and not because I HAVE to. On Friday I actually WANTED to go for a run!! Sorry, I should have warned you to sit down before you read that! 😂 I know… I never thought I’d actually write that either!

This morning I felt like sitting down to write this post. The truth is I actually feel like sitting down to write fairly often and I have ideas of things I SHOULD write about quite a lot too. I think I feel guilty about spending the time on writing though – that’s probably a thought for another post really. Anyway, it will be interesting to see if being less ‘consistent’ will actually result in me blogging more. 😝 Don’t get me wrong – I do understand that consistency is a good thing – I think it was just my view of it that wasn’t helpful. If anyone has any tips on how I can be consistent without putting too much pressure on myself I’d love to hear them.

Is it just me or does anyone else struggle with this? How do you deal with the consistency/perfection balance?

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

“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” ― J.K. Rowling

I was feeling like a bit of a failure this morning. I guess everyone has those thoughts sometimes… don’t they? I’ve done my best as a parent (this is where my thoughts were earlier) but if I could go back and do it all again I’d make several changes. I searched online for quotes about failure because I know there are loads of good ones – I’ve seen them before. After reading several of them I started feeling better. I think part of my problem is that I see failure as the end result rather than part of the process. Then it becomes my identity. It’s faulty thinking, I know, and I’m trying to change it but even that is a process – bear with me.

Does failure bother you? Do you find it easy to pick yourself up and try again? Is it possible to be a parent and not feel like a failure sometimes? I’d love to hear what you think.

If anyone else is having one of those days, here are a few more good quotes that might help:

“Do not judge me by my successes; judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” ― Nelson Mandela

“When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed, and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” ― Ellen DeGeneres

“You can’t let your failures define you. You have to let your failures teach you.” ― Barack Obama

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” ― Beverly Sills

“Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” ― Oprah Winfrey

“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” ― Michael Jordan

“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” ― Arianna Huffington

“Failure is success in progress.” ― Albert Einstein

“My grandmother once told me, ‘Don’t let failure go to your heart and don’t let success go to your head.’” ― Will Smith

“Courage allows the successful woman to fail and learn powerful lessons from the failure. So that in the end, she didn’t fail at all.” ― Maya Angelou

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’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

Following on from yesterday’s post – I saw this quote a few weeks ago and saved it. Growth is important to me. Moving forward is important. The hardest part is working out who and where I want to be and what I want to do. What I do know is I want more. I am capable of more than this. I will prove that to myself.

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.

Intentionality

intentionalitynoun
/ɪˈntɛnʃ(ə)nalɪti/
1. the fact of being deliberate or purposive.

This word has been in my head for the last few days. Maybe it should be my word for the (rest of the) year? Maybe for next year too? There were a few things that highlighted the word ‘intentionality’ to me over the last week.

Last Thursday I had a video call with a friend/leader from church. We’ve caught up a couple of times since I did a course with church in the first part of this year. Basically she wants to help me to find my purpose and grow and reach my potential – all of which is really encouraging. Since the last time we chatted I’ve done quite a few questionnaires and ‘tests’ to work out what my values and gifts are. When we were chatting about those my friend was asking how I was going to make sure that these things were prioritised in my life.

Over the last few years I’ve been working out lots about who I am as a person and what is important to me but this conversation really made me realise that I need to prioritise certain things in my life and not feel bad about making time for them. By a process of elimination I had worked out what my most important values are and then we talked about how I could make sure I have these things in my life. My top five values are love, connection, adventure, growth and making a difference.

More wisdom from Bob Goff on Instagram

This post popped up on my Instagram and made me think again about intentionality. It’s really helpful to think about it this way. In the past it’s been easy for me to have my identity defined by what I do/did rather than the other way around. Who am I? Who do I want to be?

On Sunday morning we had some input from Bill Johnson from Bethel Church, Redding CA. during our online service. A story he told made me think about this again. He said there are three redwood trees behind his house and they each drink 40 to 50 gallons of water a day. They had a drought a few years ago and he was saying that during that time no one would resent the trees for drinking their 50 gallons of water because that’s what they were created to do. He said “It’s not selfish to behave as we were designed to be.” “Our responsibility is to discover what we were designed for.”

Sometimes I feel guilty about spending time on things like adventure and connection because they’re not things that bring in money or particularly benefit my family in any way. When I think of myself in the same way as the trees though it puts a different slant on this. If this is who I’m created to be then I need these things in my life to grow and flourish. Isn’t that enough reason to be intentional about prioritising them?

What are your thoughts about intentionality? Is it important to prioritise things that are important to you even if they don’t seem to benefit anyone else? I’d love to hear your opinions.

Wednesday’s Wisdom

I don’t really have anything to add to this quote today. I think it says it all. Just be kind!

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.

I need a map!

As anyone who knows me well will tell you I have no sense of direction. I can follow directions but I don’t have that innate ability to know which way to turn or which direction to walk in. I go into shops and then forget which direction I want to take on the way out so I have to stop and look. I lose my car in car parks unless I actually take notice of where I leave it and give myself landmarks to look out for so I can find it again.

Earlier this month, just for fun, my friend K and I went on a navigation course in the Pentland Hills. It’s not going to help with my sense of direction but it was a fun day out and something different to do. Our group was made up of my friend and I, one couple who were maybe in their twenties and the trainer. The girl from the young couple was from Canada originally and had done some navigation at school. The rest of us were complete novices (except the trainer of course) – navigation isn’t normally a big part of the curriculum in Scotland (beyond compass points and grid references anyway).

Our trainer was called Lucy and in my mind she was like the female version of Bear Grylls. She told us stories of her expeditions (yes plural!) to Antarctica among other adventures. She had some interesting descriptions of how to pee in a jar inside a sleeping bag and then sleep with it all night so that it didn’t freeze! 😆 She was pretty cool. We met an old man not long after we started out who seemed pretty keen to join in with coaching too. He told us how to use your watch to work out where North is using the sun. It was kinda cool but none of us actually had a watch and I can’t really remember what he said now. 😝

So the point of the day was to learn about how to use a map and a compass to navigate your way around the hills. We had a quick training session before we set off and then spent the rest of the day setting bearings and pacing out certain distances, looking for clues in the landscape to find ourselves on the map and calculating how long it was going to take us to get from one place to another. We also had to navigate some unusually aggressive Highland Cows on the way. 😬

K and I finished up the day with a lovely walk along Portobello Beach and a nice meal in one of the restaurants there. It was a really enjoyable experience.

I had a couple of days last week where I felt a bit stuck and I was thinking how useful it would be if we could have a map and a compass for life. I’d love to be able to find myself on the map and look at the contours of life and work out which direction I should go in. It would be amazing to be able to look ahead to your destination and set a bearing for the most straightforward route there – avoiding the steep slopes and narrow ridges. I wonder if I’d had a map if I would have chosen to take the journey I have through life? There are some wonderful things (summits if you like) in my life that I wouldn’t have achieved without going through some pretty rough places. I guess life isn’t about getting to your destination the easiest way. It’s often about what you learn from the journey and the lives you touch on the way.

If you had a map of your life would you have chosen the path you took? What would have changed? When you look back are there times that were difficult that have turned out to be something wonderful? I’d love to hear your thoughts – let me know in the comments.

Wednesday’s Wisdom

Wisdom from my Instagram feed

This popped up on my Instagram feed recently and I really love it. I definitely have a tendency to ‘shrink’ myself or take a back seat or ignore my own feelings and desires in order to meet the needs of others. It’s a difficult one in some ways because I was brought up to think of others before myself and I still think there’s a lot to be said for that too. I guess there needs to be a balance though because constantly being ‘selfless’ actually causes resentment to build up when others don’t reciprocate.

What do you think of this quote? How do you find a healthy balance between allowing yourself to live fully and ‘bloom wildly without regret’ and considering others? I’m sure these are not mutually exclusive but there are definitely times when it’s a choice between the two in my opinion.

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.