Brave New Steps, The Same God As Always

These two Bible passages have been really important to me over the years, but I have been thinking about them a lot over the last few weeks, as I have been doing brave new things, getting reading for new steps and needing the God that I don’t often feel very connected to right now. I hope they touch you too.

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For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3 v 14-21

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Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

Psalm 139 v 7-12

I Cannot Be Silent

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For the past few weeks I have been in turn sad, angry, sick, frustrated, hurting and resigned over some news from America. I have debated again and again about saying something about it myself, but my passion for making sexual abuse (and every other kind of abuse) known and talked about in Christian and church circles only continues to grow. There are so many voices out there speaking about the Dugger family, but amongst them all, I have found Elizabeth Esther to be constant voice of balanced yet impassioned views. Please don’t ignore the victims that surround us all, in and out of church.
Elizabeth Esther’s Blog Friends

My New Venture!

Once again I have been silent for a while … but this time I have a very good reason!

I have started my own business!!

Allow me to introduce to you:

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Please do go and take a look at my Facebook page and then share it with your friends!

I love using my crafting and sewing skills to make toys and gifts for family and friends. I was making so many of the little owls I’ve shared with you before and receiving such a positive response to them and my other gifts. “You should sell these” became an often-heard comment. Hmm, what better way to earn money then by doing what I love?

So now we have Bright & Beautiful! This name actually came from when I was a kid planning what I wanted to do when I grew up – who would have thought it?

Here is a little peek at some of the things you can buy! Head to my page to find out more about these and my other items!

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13 Things

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I want to be thankful for some things today.

Thirteen things.

I have a thing about numbers, be kind!

  1. I’m thankful for a God that understands us when we don’t and meets us where we are
  2. I’m thankful for the best husband who tells me multiple times a day that he loves me
  3. I’m thankful for the bright, warm sunshine
  4. I’m thankful for my two working legs, which take me many places
  5. I’m thankful that my god-daughters have amazing parents who love them so much
  6. I’m thankful that I get to be Auntie to four precious little people
  7. I’m thankful for the most patient and understanding man by my side
  8. I’m thankful for my little house, that is mine
  9. I’m thankful that I get to wake up to my reality every day
  10. I’m thankful for a heart that wants to include every lonely child
  11. I’m thankful for “special kisses”
  12. I’m thankful for food in the freezer
  13. I’m thankful for the chance to be me!

What are you thankful for right now?

Giving Anonymously is Hard

I love giving gifts.

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No boasting intended here, just one of the things I love doing. Trust me, it can be so frustrating – like the sound of perfectionism, a creative mind, limited budget, too much ambition, short time frames and no crafting space all rolled into one? Like I said: frustrating.

But I still love it!

I love giving gifts, but can get really embarrassed by people’s responses, especially if they’re loud about their appreciation in front of lots of people. Ugh. Someone give me a chair to crawl under.

So giving anonymous gifts should be the perfect solution, right?

Wrong.

I gave an anonymous gift today and it is driving me crazy!

I managed (I hope!) to sneak it into a place where nobody saw me leave it, but it was sure to be noticed and picked up, but I can’t stop worrying that nobody noticed it and it’s still hanging out there in the dark, or that the wrong person saw it and it never got to the intended recipients, or what if it fell of and spilt open all over the place? I can’t check, because it’s anonymous!

I’m pretty sure, from my knowledge of the parties, that the gift will be enjoyed and the sentiment behind it appreciated. But I have to admit that I have been checking Facebook and Twitter all day to see if one of the people has mentioned getting it and/or enjoying it. Not witnessing the response myself is so frustrating. I have no way of finding out if it was enjoyed, because it’s anonymous!

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I spent time making this gift, carefully packaged this gift, planned a stealthy delivery of this gift, am confident in the enjoyment this gift will bring and didn’t get embarrassed by overly public thanks for this gift. Should be a winner for me.

Only I am left disappointed, frustrated, wondering …

I realise more fully now that for me, the reception of the gift is almost as important as the giving. Not – I hope – because of the praise, but because of the feelings I can see in the person who I gave the gift to.

For me, gift giving is all about how I make the recipient feel.

I love seeing the wondering smile on someone’s face, because you remembered what their favourites are. I love seeing the excitement because they immediately fall in love with it. I love seeing the softening look when it was just what they needed right then. I love seeing the sparkle in a kid’s eyes as they meet the new friend I sewed for them. I love the look of surprise when someone wasn’t expecting any gift. I love knowing that the person is going to walk away feeling more loved, more understood, more appreciated and maybe most importantly – remembered. I love knowing that I’ve given them two very important gifts beyond the physical package itself – thought and time.

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Today, I didn’t get to see any of that. Whilst I can guess, I don’t know. I haven’t witnessed any of the feelings that complete gift-giving for me.

Is my love of giving ultimately a selfish and self-serving process? I don’t think so, because my ultimate aim is to bring joy, love and hope to the recipients.

Do I find the process incomplete without witnessing the feelings my gift creates? Absolutely!

Which is an important reminder about what gift giving is really supposed to be all about for me – the person who receives it. It has surprised me how much I miss witnessing, or at least being told about, my gift’s reaction. It’s a bit of a jolt to find out how much pleasure I get from the appreciation of the recipient, how important that is to me – not really because of the praise, but the assurance that it brought about the feelings I intended to create.

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I need to practice this anonymous thing. I need to remind myself that the recipient is the important person in this process. I need to re-focus on why I give gifts in the first place.

Giving anonymously is hard.

I Still Will Remain

Today I came across a song that pretty much describes what life has been like for me this week.

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Beauty From Pain

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The lights go out all around me
One last candle to keep out the night
And then the darkness surrounds me
I know I’m alive but I feel like I’ve died
And all that’s left is to accept that it’s over
My dreams ran like sand through the fists that I made
I try to keep warm but I just grow colder
I feel like I’m slipping away

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain
Though it won’t be today,
Someday i’ll hope again
And there’ll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

My whole world is the pain inside me
The best I can do is just get through the day
When life before is only a memory
I’ll wonder why God lets me walk through this place
And though I can’t understand why this happened
I know that I will when I look back someday
And see how you’ve brought beauty from ashes
And made me as gold purified through these flames

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain
Though it won’t be today,
Someday i’ll hope again
And there’ll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

Here I am, at the end of me
Tryin to hold to what I can’t see
I forgot how to hope
This night’s been so long
I cling to Your promise
There will be a dawn

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain
Though it won’t be today,
Someday i’ll hope again
And there’ll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

You too will still remain.

… And she’s back!

Happy New Year to you!

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I hope you are having a good start to 2015?

L and I spent our New Year’s Eve at home with colds … but we had champagne and watched fireworks out of our back window! 🙂

One of my New Year resolutions – that’s right! I’ve made too many more than one! 😛 – is to get back to blogging. I miss writing, sharing my photos and keeping in touch with you guys!

Last year was a hard one for many reasons, which was mostly the reason for my silence. But here I am at the start of this next year – with more-than-plenty of challenges coming, that’s for sure! – but with exciting things happening and new things to experience! I can say without a doubt that I will say many silly things, do too many crazy things and take many many more than I need photos!! 😉

One new experience for this year – for both you and me! – is that I will be writing about the hard, dark things as well as the easy, bright things. I hope that this doesn’t scare you away, but just helps to bring a realistic slant to my blog.

I hope you’ll join me for the ups and downs of 2015!

Have you got new – exciting or scary! – changes happening this year?