All posts by lynne

Rhythms Of Rest

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A few weeks ago, one Sunday, our family was absolutely wiped out. Why? Because we did too much! It was a hard week that week with the kids going back to school and  my husband going back to work. I was getting into a new rhythm too of getting up early, getting things prepared and doing the school run. Over the summer, I had no worries about having to get up before the kids because there was no rush to get anywhere. Well, apart from going to work that is. But I had an extra hour in bed. ONE WHOLE HOUR! That’s like a lifetime to any mother I think.

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My body is taking a little longer to adjust to the early morning routine now though.  I am taking the kids into school earlier so that I can get into work earlier. The idea is that I can leave work earlier too, so that I can get time at the end of the day getting the little bits done that’s needed for home.   Trying is a bit of an understatement though.  It’s more like I am running a race, and I have an elastic band around me that is constantly pulling me back from reaching the finish line.

We also had an event that we needed to go to on the Saturday with the brass band that we play in. This meant that we were going to be out of the house at midday and not return for another 13 and a half hours later!  We did about 6-7 hours worth of travelling altogether.  So yeah, when we woke up Sunday morning at 6:30am we just wanted to hit that snooze button just a few more times! How we managed to leave the house at 8:15am to get ourselves to church I don’t know.  I think that God must have been driving.

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You are probably wondering why I am arduously undertaking fitting in so much during the week when I can spread it out at the weekend. (I think a part of me is wondering that too if I’m honest). I aim to change though the way that I do things for one reason – SABBATH! I want to enjoy some time at the weekend where I can rest with my family, and with God.  I want to be able to do the things that I love doing. I don’t want to be rushing around trying to get things done that really no body cares about.  I mean, seriously, what will my kids enjoy more…me playing with them, or me making sure that their clothes are clean?  I know which one I would rather do.

Starting a new rhythm though is not easy, but with the help of Shelly Miller’s new book “Rhythms Of Rest“, it has given me a little more grace to make it easier.  Her book is being launched on October 4th and is available for pre-order NOW!

imagePhotograph taken by Kris Camealy.

Inadequately Waiting

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got out of the car one morning.  With my hands full of shopping, there he was perched on my fence. I had to get a picture, and I had to do it quickly. Who knows how long he was going to be there for. I’m fumbling around for my phone in my pocket, juggling my keys as quiet as I can be so not to scare him away, whilst I had shopping in the other hand. I forgot to bring a plastic bag with me when I went shopping, so yes, my hands were a little bit full. No, I didn’t buy a bag either, to save me all this stress. He stayed there though for me to make one shot…

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He got me thinking though. That little robin has no worries, but yet God provides for him. Matthew chapter 6 v 26 says this…

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Me? Valuable? I am in a waiting season at the moment and it has left me feeling really inadequate. It’s like I don’t quite reach the mark and I don’t fit in with other people around me. I am sitting here thinking that I have so much that I want to give, but I feel like I am not good enough. I look at other people and see where they are in their lives and what they have achieved to do…what they are achieving. They are doing what God has called them to do and they are doing it so well.  And yet, I am still waiting. Am I not good enough to do Gods work? If I am, then what is the wait for?

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I know that God has His plans and that everything happens in His time. I know that! I am just so flippin’  impatient. I feel like a little child that is waiting for that special desert. I can see all the good things that will happen, but I can’t have any of it until I have sat through dinner and taken the time to eat and savour everything that is on my plate. But, like that little girl, I just want that sweet thing now.

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I know that God is teaching me something at the moment. With the help of a book called “Rhythms Of Rest” by Shelly Miller, I am learning that spending time with God is giving me moments where my heart is open to what He wants to show me. What He wants to teach me.  This book is not out to the public yet, and God has been very good to me in giving me the opportunity to be part of a fabulous launch team. I am learning that even just spending 5 minutes with Him helps me to bring everything back into focus.

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If making rest a rhythm in your life sounds like something you need, then come and take a look at Shelly’s website to find further information. Although the book is not out yet, you can pre-order it at Amazon by clicking here.

How my eyes and my heart have been opened because of ‘The Happiness Dare’

I was on holiday last week with my family on a cruise ship sailing around the Mediterranean. I have seen some absolutely stunning sites whilst I have been away. The sun setting in the sky melting away into the sea. Scenes where you don’t know where the earth starts or ends because the sky kisses the sea, and there is not a cloud in sight to be seen. I have been lucky enough as well to be able to capture a lot of them on my iPhone. I don’t poses any fancy camera to take detailed close up pictures…or the latest phone that has millions of pixels. But I have managed to capture pictures that will keep the memories lasting for a lifetime.

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Sometimes though, what the eye can see, the iPhone can’t! There was one night where I had one of those moments I wished I had a really good camera. I walked out onto the balcony of my cabin and I was absolutely astounded by what I saw. Stars. Not just one or two scattered around here and there, but hundreds of stars. Far too many to count. The more I looked, more stars kept appearing. I have never in my entire life seen stars placed in the sky like I saw them that night.  It was like God had thrown a netting of twinkling star lights over the sky.

All I could say to God that night was thank you. Thank you for everything that I have. Thank you for my beautiful family. Thank you for my wonderful husband who lovingly accepts me just the way I am. Thank you for my three gorgeous children, each of them unique in their own way. Thank you for the fantastic holiday that I have had to be able to appreciate all of these wonderful things. I know that I am fortunate. And I thank God for that too. Two months ago, although I knew I had all these wonderful things, I wasn’t able to truly see it. Two nights ago, I held my husband in my arms as we were dancing the night away, and I felt that same love that we had early on in our relationship. The love that just melts your heart and gives you that warm, happy feeling inside. People around us saw how much love we had for each other and thought that we were a young courting couple…laughing and dancing the night away without a care in the world. Little did they know that we had actually been married for nearly 13 years and had three children! They were amazed when they knew.

Over the last 16 years, we had never lost that love. We still have that feeling that we had when we first met, the feeling you get when you look into each other’s eyes and you know deep down you have your soul mate. Recently though, I had just closed my eyes to the goodness that I had around me. One of the reasons that I have been able to open my eyes more has been due to reading “The Happiness Dare” by Jennifer Dukes Lee. This is a book that I am going to have to read again to work through a few of the other issues that have around self-acceptance. For now though, what I concentrated on was finding my own unique happiness style, and how other happiness styles were also beneficial to me and how to use these styles in the situations that I was in. This has really helped me to open my eyes and to be more aware of what I have around me. Admittedly, it has helped going on holiday, but I have been able to look at situations more positively and instead of fretting about how things are going wrong, I’ve gone with the flow and enjoyed whatever has happened.

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One of our ports we visited was a lovely little Greek Island called Mykonos. My plan was to walk to a little restaurant and have some Greek food and then walk back via a beach and do some shell hunting…and maybe stop for an ice cream. I was determined to really enjoy family time and thought I’d planned it perfectly.

Well, things don’t always go to plan. It took us longer than anticipated to find a place to eat so the kids were getting tired and grumpy…grumpy and hungry is not a great combination for kids! We found a place though and settled and had some great food. On our way back through the beach, surprisingly we couldn’t find any shells! Really? Well, the kids had other plans instead! I was not prepared for what they wanted to do though so I had to really let go of my tendencies to pull them back…no swimming costumes or spare clothes and plenty of sand is not my idea of fun…but watching the kids opened up my eyes and I had to let go and let them just be kids and watch them enjoy themselves.

So glad that the day didn’t turn out how I planned it! If it wasn’t for reading the book ‘The Happiness Dare’ I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much. It has really changed my mindset on a few things.  I am consciously looking for the ‘happy’ in the moments that I am in.

If you would like to find out about your own unique happiness style to see if it might open your eyes to the beauty around you, then click here.  It will only take you 5 minutes to fill it in…you may feel that another form-filling exercise might not be what you want, but when I think about how my eyes have been opened up and how my heart now receives things, 5 minutes is nothing.  Try it!  You never know…it might just be what you needed.

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Happily Accepted? Why I feel I am not

Ok, so I am well into the book “The Happiness Dare” by Jennifer Dukes Lee now, and I’m up to chapter 4. Reading this book is like having Jennifer in the room next to me and understanding exactly who I am. She gets me! Her writing is amazing. There are not many people in my life that get me. I probably would say there is only one actually, and I married him…my wonderful husband.  Jennifer writes in such a way though that makes you go, “Hey! How did you know that’s what I’m like?”

Happiness Dare

The chapter that I am currently reading has really made me think back to when I was at school.  Being a child growing up in school is supposed to be a happy time where we form friendships and we find out who we really are.  There is so much pressure from other people though on what to wear, how to look, what to say, who to be friends with…the list is endless…that it is so hard growing up.  I feel that what happens at school at this age and how you react to all of these pressures is what makes you in life.

 

I want to make people aware of this pressure, or bullying, as it is known as…whether it is at school, or in the work place, or elsewhere. Do you know why I want to make people aware? Because this affects you for the rest of your life on how you perceive things…and more importantly, how you perceive yourself. I am writing this from the viewpoint of someone who has been bullied, and is now going through a time in life where I am not comfortable with who I am. I am not writing this to seek attention.  Well, I guess in a way I am, but not towards myself. I just think that there is not enough people out there that open up to these issues. And there are plenty of people I know that struggle with these very same issues.  Self worth and acceptance.

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It’s all about being loved and being accepted for who we are. It doesn’t matter what race we are, what sex we are, what jobs we have, (or what jobs our parents or partners have), how we manage our kids, what we are wearing (and how we wear it), what size we are, what grades we get…the list is endless. I believe a lot of our self worth stems from when we are children, growing up in school.

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I look at my own children and listen to stories of their day at school. My eldest daughter is very sensitive and loves to have friends around her. Her friends are important to her.  So, when she came home one day and said that her friend is no longer talking to her, and that she is always the one that is made to be ‘it’ when they are playing tag, she is devastated. I listen to her and try to comfort her that everything will be ok.  I try to reassure her that she doesn’t need to look to her friends and be like them to be accepted. It’s hard though. She is only 7 and I feel helpless. The next day however, everything is back to normal as though nothing ever happened and she is quick to get over it. She is fortunate. She has lots of friends around her and she is not being bullied.  I guess I am more scared of what she is going through because of what I went through myself.

 

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I found growing up really hard.  My parents had a job in the church where they had to move around a lot.  Moving house would always take place in June, so it was either around my birthday, or there would be exams that I would be taking.  It was close to the end of the academic year too, so I would be starting a new school when there was only 6 weeks left until the summer holidays.  Starting a new school is not easy, but when everyone else has already had a chance to make friends and get settled, I had no chance.  I was quickly made into the ideal target for others to fire names at.  To start off with, the name calling didn’t really matter.  But children are so persistent that eventually they hit the target.  Name calling then turns into ‘accidentally’ knocking over, which then turns into threats of being beaten up after school.  I was so scared some days to leave school and walk home, or even go out into the play ground at lunch time.  I felt really alone at school, and looking back now I see that I didn’t have any true friends…you know, the friends that you can rely on to give you a hug when you needed one, or to make you laugh uncontrollably.

I wish that I had someone like Jennifer back than to say to me what I am reading now.

“You don’t find happiness by being the best version of someone else.  You find happiness by being the best version of you”.

How revealing is this? It really opened up my eyes to a whole new concept.  How many of us are going around in life thinking about that child back at school?  How many of us look back and compare ourselves to our ‘friends’?  How many of us look to what someone great is doing and wish that we could be more like them?  I do!

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Do you know what?  There is only one of me!  No one else can write the poems the way I write them…or arrange music the way I arrange it…or play my instrument the way that I play it.  Hey!  Go me with the compliment giving to myself! I still need to do a little more ‘soul searching’ though. I know that I am not fully there yet with the “hey-Lynne-you-are-fabulous” type feeling, but I am on the right way to getting there.

Taking The Happiness Dare

Last week, I opened myself up a bit and revealed a part of me that I was scared to show. My insecurities. My lack of love…for myself. My hardness. Not to those around me, but being too hard on myself. I went to a talk last week that was given by Jo Naughton. I didn’t know what to expect and I was scared of going. Why? I was scared that God might actually meet me there and do something. Secretly, part of me was hoping that He would.

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I was sitting there, listening intently, hoping for a song that would speak to me, or a word that would pierce my heart. I wasn’t sure what I felt really. Part of me was a little angry. I could feel myself holding back. I wanted this big revelation that everything was going to be ok, and that my life would start to have a meaning. Everything that I had been through in my life would all be worth it. When it came to the point of coming to the front to ‘hand things over to God’ (so to say), about 95% of the women went forward. Me included. I knelt there, still hoping that God would touch me. I could feel this surge inside me. It wasn’t a feeling from being touched by God, but it was a sense of anger. Why was I not feeling anything? Why do I feel empty? Why did I not get this thunderbolt-lightening-revelation from God? People were crying tears of relief, tears of happiness and tears of sadness around me. Me? Nothing.

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I then asked a friend to pray for me. It was hard for me to convey to her what I was feeling, but she got the picture. Whilst she was praying, she had this vision of me standing in front of a big chest of clothing. I was trying on each item of clothing. Each one so beautiful, but not one of them looked right on me. I wasn’t happy with whatever I tried on. She revealed to me that God loves me for who I am and not what I wanted to try to be. I just need to be happy with that revelation. I need to be happy with who I am and the moment that I am in.

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What is happiness though? How do I get to be happy? How do I accept myself and be happy with who I am? Will my life start to mean something if I find this “happiness”? Well, I hope so! To help me find this happiness, I’ve done something a little bit daring. I have challenged myself to find this true happiness, and I am doing this with the help of someone. Jennifer Dukes Lee and her amazing book called The Happiness Dare. To say that I am scared is a bit of an understatement. Trying to break out of a cycle of where you are so use to feeling something is so hard. But, I owe this to myself, and to my family to do this.

Happiness Dare

Over the next few weeks and months, I will be involved with a team of people working through this book and being part of a launch team. (The book is not out yet, but it will be soon…2nd August to be more precise! You can pre-order it here though). As well as helping to launch the book, I am also hoping that this will be the answer I need to all my earlier questions. I mean, if this REALLY does do what it says, and you see this really transform me, then I am going to be living proof that you HAVE to get this book. So, I guess I’m going to be writing a lot about my journey through #thehappinessdare and mentioning the book a whole heap!