Shoes

It’s funny, how shoes just always spark discussions…. too many shoes, do you really need more shoes? You already have shoes like that…

Shoes… I have to admit, I have a fair few of them… not counting boots and flip flop… a girl just needs all kinds!

What about men? It’s no longer true they make do with one pair! Or maybe 2, for work and going out…. trainers, shoes, sandals… all kinds…

Am sure we will discuss the topic of shoes 100s more times… it never fails to spark heated exchanges….

In the mean time… am going to buy me another pair… after all, I am 5000 miles away.. what’s he going to say after he bought shoes today?????

Quiet Time

We have been quiet on here… sometimes life just absorbs us so much, there is no time to stop and smell the roses….

It’s not a good thing! To feel you are being lived, instead of living. To feel you are rushed, instead of being able to take time to reflect on the little things. To worry, instead of remembering that even if the little birds don’t know where they will get their food from, they know they have a Heavenly Father who takes care of them.

The whole family has been very busy. But I want to share how super proud I am of my daughter. She has been working hard to get our Etsy shop updated (hope you are taking a moment to check it out right here on our blog, the tab marked Etsy), and has been finding opportunities to have a stall at various events to sell our handmade shawls and blankets. To build up a business like this takes time, and is very slow going. But she is sticking with it and I am not apologising for promoting this!

She is learning valuable skills, like patience… something I struggle with on a daily basis.

I am just trying to remember to stop once in a while and lookup and around me, to see the beauty nature has to offer me, and to remember that I have a Heavenly Father who longs to spend time with me, as much as I do with Him.

Below some snaps of some precious moments in nature where His voice is the loudest. Hope you are also able to take these moments of rest, quiet time, and find time to recognise those around you that make you proud!

Unselfishness

What a title!! To be unselfish… to put other needs before yours? To think of someone else more than yourself?

For sure ‘unself’ is not self… not seeking something for yourself..

I am wrestling with that verb. To be unselfish. Do I not count? Do my wishes and needs not count?

Jesus said in the Bible in Matt 22:39 that we have to love our neighbour as ourselves. He said it’s the second most important commandment. The first one being to Love God above all else. The new English translation says it as follows: And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” It almost seems contradictory to the verb of unselfishness.. we are tasked to love others as ourselves and we are to be unselfish.

I recently read an article, where being unselfish was quite nicely summarised:

Unselfish love is not about giving up what you want; it is about accepting and encouraging your partner’s desires and dreams as much as they do yours.

That’s what I want to be known as.. someone who is not selfish but seeks the others success as much as my own. That’s the kind of boss I want to be, the kind of friend, the kind of mother etc.There is this song from Amy Grant: My fathers eyes (https://youtu.be/D9L1ODcaE-k)

The words are like this:

I may not be every mother’s dream for her little girl,
And my face may not grace the mind of everyone in the world.
But that’s all right, as long as I can have one wish I pray:
When people look inside my life, I want to hear them say,

She’s got her father’s eyes,
Her father’s eyes;
Eyes that find the good in things,
When good is not around;
Eyes that find the source of help,
When help just can’t be found;
Eyes full of compassion,
Seeing every pain;
Knowing what you’re going through
And feeling it the same.
Just like my father’s eyes,
My father’s eyes,
My father’s eyes,
Just like my father’s eyes.

To me, that’s unselfishness… and I hope that’s shining through in my life.What about you?

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough…

So here I am…7 months after my operation (check out the ‘Living with a hidden (not so hidden) illness’ series if you aren’t sure what I am on about) and I am finally back on track. I am able to walk more than 50 metres without being out of breath…well unless I am walking with my mum, who runs more than walks!

We just had a bank holiday this past weekend in the UK and we thought we’d use the time to go and climb Pen Y Fan in south Wales. So after dropping mum off at the airport, who unfortunately had to go back to America for work, and off we went to Cardiff where we spent the night.

Following a filling and hearty breakfast and coffee at the ready, we drove into the Brecon Beacons and before I knew it…we were at the base of Pen Y Fan. From the road we could see how busy it was and it really didn’t look like it was much of a climb. Boy was I wrong.

Almost as soon as we started the ascent, I was already out of breath!!! However, after many breaks on the way up, we made it to the top of Pen Y Fan (886m) in just over 2 hours. We then also climbed Corn Du (873m) before a steep descent down a different route. We were so insanely lucky with the weather and somehow avoided the rain.

This might not seem like a huge feat, and the mountain really wasn’t that high, but for me this was huge. This was the first real challenge I’d had since my surgery. Finally having two lungs I could use to breathe and no pressure on my spine, definitely helped. Yes I was still very much out of breath and it took me a longer than I’d hoped but I made it!

Hiking will never be one of my favourite things to do but getting to the top, I couldn’t help but feel proud and happy of my achievements. It is also the first step on a long journey. Dad and I have challenged ourselves to climb either Mount Kilimanjaro or to do the Base Camp trek of Everest in 2020. So keep an eye out for our other climbs and adventures!!

What about you? What is your favourite mountain to climb? What has been your proudest moment this year so far?

From Ferry to Fairy

Ok… maybe I borrowed the title from someone else… but it sums up this last weekend so nicely…. Melody and I made another trip to the land of magic and happy endings! We took the ferry over on Friday afternoon with a nice calm sea and the beautiful white cliffs of Dover behind us.

White Cliffs of Dover

We knew we would have a full day at Disney the following day, so we didn’t mind the fact that we would be arriving late in the evening at the hotel. We had also stopped off at a supermarket along the way to get some provisions for the weekend, but nothing quite beats an early morning cup of coffee!

Morning Coffee

I don’t actually like rides as my stomach is very sensitive and I easily get motion sick, but I love do love watching all the different types of people. Plus going on the fairytale rides such as ‘It’s a Small World’ and ‘Peter Pans’ Flight’. We were also insanely lucky as the weather was beautiful. We were glad we didn’t listen to the weather forecast, which had suggested rain, thunderstorms and cold temperatures.

Taking Instagram pictures at the different ‘walls of Disney’ and seeing all the different characters are all part of the fun that makes up a day at Disneyland Paris.

We love going on the water rides such as ‘Thunder Mesa’ and the fairytale boats…did I mention we were so lucky with the weather?

The traditional cookie and castle pictures have to be taken…no matter how many times we visit, these are traditions that will always be kept…

The day finished for us with the ‘Disney Stars on Parade’. We didn’t stay for the fireworks spectacle, as in the summer months they are at 11pm! This time however, we just wanted to get some food and put our feet up!! We had walked around and stood for hours! The burning sensation reminding us of every step we took.

Sunday was always going to be a quick visit before heading back to the ferry… the weather really turned, which was forecasted, but we managed to have some sunshine before the looming thunderstorm hit! So a quick walk around Walt Disney Studios to see the Marvel characters as it was the Marvel season…. give me fairytales and happy endings over Marvel anytime though!

When it was time to hit the road, the thunderstorm was overhead and so we decided to leave a little earlier than planned, just in case. We attempted to avoid the many potholes on the road and make it back to the ferry in time.

We will see you again soon Disney! I can’t get enough of all the magic! It really is the happiest place on earth!

Conference

It’s exciting to be able to attend a technology conference in the area of my work. The location is Orlando and although hot and humid, the presentations inside are cool!

The best one of the day was given by Bear Grylls. The topic: how to be your best. He came across so personable and humble, quite striking and awesome! He explained how he did not see himself as this very successful person and shared his 4 words of encouragement.

Am taking his idea and share it here, cause it’s too good to keep for myself!

A mentor friend of mine always says: fail fast, fail forward. And that was also Bear’s first word to share: Failure.

We don’t like to talk about failure.. failure is seen as negative. But for every success there are probably dozens of failures.. we should not be afraid of it, but embrace it as a path to learn.

The second word is Fear. We are probably all scared of the unknown, of taking the next step. Fear can also motivate us though.. to keep doing it, to put ourselves out there.

The third word is Fire. Fire in nature is the start of new beginnings. After a devastating forest fire, the forest renews. Fire can move us forward, gives us the passion and drive. Persistence is key. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little bit extra. Never giving up.

The fourth word is Faith. God is there to lean on and encourage us. We all gave our mountains we have to climb, and faith in God gives us that perspective to keep going.

Achieving dreams means embracing failures….

As a perfectionist and driver it’s hard for me to accept failure.. but keeping those 4 words in mind I am pushing forward.

What about you?

Easter

Am currently in the States and drive a rental car. A really nice new Hyundai something or other. It’s got this feature that takes a little getting used to… lane control! If you drive a little over the lines on the road, the car automatically corrects that. You have to indicate early or it won’t let you smoothly turn!

That got me wondering… especially since it’s the Easter weekend. How handy would it not be if our lives would get automatically corrected if we veer off course! Or would it be? Would it be just like the car I drive… a little scary?

Yesterday we remembered Jesus was condemned to death and was nailed to the cross. Tomorrow we celebrate we worship a living King who conquered death. The Easter message. This should set the course of our lives.. the message in the Bible our lane control and the fact He lives should be enough to want to know Him more.

Psalm 8 says this: Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your nameA)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top”> in all the earth!

You have set your gloryB)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top”>
    in the heavens.

Apparently that was the inspiration for Swedish song writer Boberg who wrote the hymn ‘how great Thou art’. I inserted the second verse as that is so appropriate for Easter…

And when I think of God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

I need lane control in my life, just like I need it when driving and my distractions push me over the lines. The message given to us in the Bible is my lane control and I remember the message of Easter this weekend extra to remind myself I serve a living King whose lane control I want in my life.

How about you?

Happy Easter! The Lord is risen, He is risen indeed!

Eagles

Another couple weeks have passed with lots of happenings in it. My friend Althea and her family are mourning as both mother and mother in law passed away in quick succession. Death is such an enemy. It’s such a definite goodbye here on this earth. So hard to find the right words to say.

There is this verse in the Bible, Isaiah 40:31 where it says: but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.

That verse gives such a comfort. God will carry us on His wings, like the eagles carry their young.

There is nothing more powerful than seeing the bald eagle soaring in the sky. The bird is massive, majestic and the wingspan is huge. That verse always comes to mind when I see the telltale sign of the typical shape and white head and tail. I want to be carried on those strong wings, not having to carry my burdens all alone.

With a church band we used to sing that Hillsong song : Hide me now, under your wings… cover me, within your mighty hand… when the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with you above the storm… Father you are King over the flood… I will be still and know You are God. Find rest my soul.. in Christ alone.. know His power, in quietness and trust.

Through the hard and dark times we learn to trust in Him and allow us to be comforted by the strong wings. That’s what I also wish for my lovely friend Althea and her family. And all who are reading this and are grieving.

I read somewhere online: Grief is the cost of loving someone. We have to go through it. But His wings will carry us. If we let Him.

Wild and Free

The weekend was spent in the New Forest, a small national park in the South of England. The scenery is breathtaking and a huge bonus, bordering on the sea!

My peace and calm is found near the water. The waves crashing, finding shells, the wind blowing away cobwebs… I love it all!

Melody was in her element too, taking artsy pictures, identifying every part of left over crab.

A tradition is for us to drink an afternoon tea.. although this time I was quite happy with a cream tea instead! Delicious scone with just the right tangy jam and cream. All in a lovely little cafe near a farm shop.

But it was not really the ultimate destination of our trip. We wanted to explore the New Forest, and see the wild ponies!

So after a night in a nice hotel, overlooking a cricket stadium, we set off.

After a little driving around, we finally spotted some ponies, and then more! Such beautiful animals! And all roaming free in the park. Most were standing around in little groups. We were able to get quite close.

What an awesome life they lead! A whole forest to roam around, able to go where they want to go. Sleeping, eating, walking. No rules… well, almost no rules.. in order to keep the flock healthy and manageable we read that the free ones are all female. Males are only around a few months a year, as they don’t want the flock to grow beyond about 3000. Still, they are able to roam and enjoy!

Reminds me of the invitation Jesus gives to all of us. We can all be free! Free from bondage of sin. All we have to do is accept His saving grace. It will allow us to change and be like Him. Free!

I was born in a world of sin, but am now free, just like the ponies in the New Forest. What about you?

Happiest Place on Earth

When you think of your happy place, what comes to mind? Maybe a great cup of coffee shared with a friend? Having a special dinner with the family? Doing something you really love? Spending time with that special someone?

For my daughter it’s Disney I think… hence the title… a visit to the happiest place on Earth… Disneyland near Paris…

I had promised to visit for her birthday but life got in the way… off we went this weekend though!

We were blessed with the most beautiful weather for February… feels like Spring time. Blue skies, mild temperature… a great day for exploring (which mostly means walking around and watching every parade)

Mickey stuff everywhere!!! Including cookies, marshmallows etc.. we had to try something!

A little boat ride through frontier land is one of my favourite things to do.. usually no waiting, and a moment of peace…

Disney parades with all the dancing and beautiful floats is another highlight… we try to find good spots with great views.. even if we have to wait a half hour!

Character spotting was not terribly successful, although we did see Baloo from Junglebook

We decided not to stay for the fireworks.. the park was really busy… below just a few snaps of the lights and the castle… can’t miss that…

Is Disney the happiest place? Maybe not… but it may be a close second…

What’s your happy place?